Dungeons and Dragons is a great tool for creating fantasy characters

STK463898Characters are the driving force behind every story. If you don’t have great characters–strong, inviting, mysterious and like able–people are not going to read your stories. That’s the one thing I really have to attribute to my early days of playing Dungeons and Dragons. It helped me design characters and weave their stories together to make them almost real in the game.

Character creation is an essential part of the D&D. From the very start, you take basic characteristics–strength, dexterity, wisdom, intelligence and charisma–and use them as building blocks. These traits determine what type of person you are. Are you smart or wise, fast or strong, like-able or trustworthy? Add in that an alignment, from Lawful Good to Neutral to Chaotic Evil, and you have a fantasy character of your very own.

The protagonist in the Forever Avalon series is Lord Bryan MoonDrake, the Gil-Gamesh of Avalon. He has two identities within the story, that of a Sailor and as a Warrior/Wizard. The later aspects of his personality came from one of the best characters I ever created in D&D.

His name is Luna Moonstone, a Half-Elf Fighter/Thief/Magic-User. He was a bad ass, one of the best characters I ever rolled, and everything about him inspired the Gil-Gamesh. A lot of the magic items and weapons he used in-game, I brought over to Forever Avalon, including Whirling Death, the Cloak of Thieves and the Gauntlets of Stone Giant.

Sorry, I digressed … I get nerdy when I start talking D&D. In any case, it was these games that helped me develop such wonderful characters for Forever Avalon and The Dark Tides. In a look ahead to my next book in the Forever Avalon series, The Outlander War, I am pulling out my old character sheets and bringing another of my old D&D characters to life in my trilogy.

One of the most powerful characters I ever created in D&D was a half-Orc fighter. He is special to me because I rolled a perfect 18/00 for his strength and, anyone who’s played D&D knows how hard that is.

He is a sword master, proficient in the use of every type of sword. He collects the swords of his enemies, hanging them in a special vault in his keep, just so he can constantly laud over his many victories. This creature is evil, mean and rotten to the core. In his mind, he has no peers and he lives by one ethos; only the strong survive and he is the strongest there is.

He has a scar across his face, from his right temple to his left cheek. It was given to him by his mother, who tried to kill him at birth. She was stopped by her grandfather. He noticed that the baby didn’t cry out, even after being wounded. The old man took the child to raise into a great warrior.

He is a General amongst men, leading through fear an intimidation. His name is Ben-Farst; now, that being said, there will be some changes made.

First and foremost, I am not using Orcs in my series. Orcs were a creation of J.R.R. Tolkien and not a part of any cultural mythology. I don’t want to bring something into Avalon just to use a popular race from RPGs and other fantasy novels. So for The Outlander War, he will be a half-demon instead.

Next, his name. I honestly don’t remember how I came up with he name Ben-Farst, but I got grilled and taunted for it on a regular basis. I know “Ben” was the name of the grandfather that raised him and “Farst” was a knockoff of farce, because he was rejected by both man and Orc. I want to keep something from him but make it match his new persona as a half-demon. So, I am going with the name Abdel Ben Faust.

Abdel is Arabic for Servant and Faust is associated with Hell so I think “Servant of Hell” fits perfectly for a ruthless half-demon military commander; but I’m also keeping Ben to illustrate that there is a human side to him.

So how does General Abdel Ben Faust fit into the world of Avalon? You’ll have to wait until next year and The Outlander War to find out! In the meantime, catch up on what’s happening on the island of Avalon in my latest book, The Dark Tides!

The Dark Tides is now available for purchase at AmazonBarnes and Noble and iUniverse.

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