The Anatomy of a Villain

When I first started writing Abscondita, I had a great deal of work to do beforehand.  The story I wanted to tell would take ten books and a minimum of 2,000 pages.  I started by plotting out the Three Act Structure on a giant whiteboard and showing the progression of the main characters.  As the protagonist (Amanda) moved along her story arc, I wanted to also give you a glimpse into the lives of the side characters.

In The Serpent and the Light, there are four main points of view characters that are given their own chapters.  I planned to provide the reader with a glimpse into the motivations and lives of the other elements of the story.  So many times we read great literature, and sometimes we want to know what motivates the side characters.  In the magnificent books by J. R. R. Tolkien, it would have been fascinating to have a Sauron chapter, where we might understand his goals and passions.  The_Serpent_and_the__Cover_for_Kindle

In the Abscondita Est Magicae series, I leave it up to the reader to decide who the villains are, except for one.  Richard Enfield is the foil to Amanda and are two sides of a coin.  Enfield is vicious, power hungry and isn’t afraid to take a risk.  One of his greatest assets is his former mentor, the ghost of Samuel Howard.  The two are bound together in service to Cthulhu, and Samuel acts as a mastermind.

The idea of Samuel came from a long time friend named John Rey.  John has played Dungeons and Dragons with me for over ten years and has mastered the art of villainy.  His most famous character, Cyrin, was the main villain character for my first book The Keswick Player’s Handbook published under Pathfinder.  During a 2003 campaign that lasted for over a year, he crafted Cyrin into a Demi-Lich that began at level 1.  Every action he took had a long game in mind, and he never took chances that were not calculated first.  During that campaign, he adventured with aggressively lawful and good party members who refused to allow him to be “evil.”  By the end of the first year, he had become a Lich, and the party began to value his immense power.

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Left to right – Bo Luellen, Karla, John (not smiling)

Through slow immersion into the motivations of Cyrin, the party started tilting to his point of view.  After all, a powerful undead creature, that requires no sleep, works endlessly and has little moral boundaries can overcome many obstacles.  By the end of the campaign, he had their characters sacrificing innocent creatures in return for powerful magical items.  Through careful manipulation, character development and positive results, he not only swayed the party to his point of view but arguably made them into his minions.

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Cyrin from The Keswick Player’s Handbook

I modeled Samuel Howard from that example.  The ghost plays the long game and invites the reader to sympathize with him, even when he is at his worst.  The real monsters of the story aren’t the ones that scare you but make you scare yourself when you start finding their story sympathetically.

Early Look – Book Two – The Storm of Garmr

When I started the series, Abscondita Est Magicae, I had a few goals in mind.  I wanted to start and finish the story in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the story would have a running theme of duality that challenged the concept of good and evil and would introduce new classic monsters we grew up with.  In Book One, The Serpent and the Light, I started with two iconic horror figures:  Cthulhu and Mr. Hyde.

While the take on Mr. Hyde was unconventional and dabbled into the spiritual realm, the angle of Cthulhu kept as traditional as possible.  I developed a new cult, called The Crimson Brotherhood, which had its own twist on worshiping the Great Dreamer.  It was critical to place four humans in the middle of supernatural circumstances, then let the reader see the story from their own eyes.

In Book Two I introduce two new classic monsters, that interact with the evolving story.  With each new book, I will throw in one or two new traditional monsters.  I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but in this ten book series, you will visit some old friends in the world of horror.

Below is a link to the Epilogue and first chapter of the new book.  For those of you that have read the first novel, I think it will give you some exciting directions the story is going.  If you are a first time reader to the series, then welcome.  Grab some hot cocoa, curl up in your comfy chair, dig in and enjoy!

Early Look – Book 2 – The Storm of Garmr

Keswick Player’s Handbook – Introduction

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(King by Skaya)

Written by Bo Luellen and Johnny McLain

The new Pathfinder system supplement by Pick Up the Fork Media LLC. is due to be released in November.

What is Keswick?

The Nation of Keswick is a shinning beacon of bravery and chivalry to the rest of Arreanna.  It is based on the Arthurian legends with a twist of pop culture.  The war torn landscape shows the scars of cataclysms and disasters that nearly wiped out civilization from the face of the planet on several occasions.  Now the small number of civilized races struggle to survive in sporadic settlements scattered through the land.  Out numbered by the vicious races of The Wild almost 2 to 1, The Crown of Keswick is determined to defend The Realm.

What does this book bring to my gaming table?

New game mechanics such as:

  • Cache Renown’s:  Organizations that give players an career path and an edge when starting their adventuring career.
  • Mecha’s and Kaiju (Godzilla sized monsters):  Defend the Realm from 200+ foot tall monsters in equally massive mechanized robots made from forgotten and ancient Arreanna technology.
  • Well Crafted History:  The designers have been writing Arreanna since 1996, which results in one of the most well organized and thought out histories to any campaign setting.
  • Mini-Races:  Certain races of marsupials were awakened during the Age of the Purge.  Play as cute 6 inch Murine (mouse), Dragon Shrews or Flying Chipmunks in adventures from a smaller perspective.
  • New Combat Rules:  Mechanics developed for Mini-Races as well as Kaiju sized encounters that makes sense.
  • Brand New Classes, Races, Feats, Traits and Pantheon:  Keswick has options that allows for them to play anything from a bold Knight from one of the 13 Orders or a thief looking to rob a tomb.  High adventure is the order of the day!
  • Much more…

Follow The Keswick Player’s Handbook Facebook Page for updates.

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(Lich by Mattdon Nici)