Fictional writings

I used to write a fair bit of fiction when I was more involved in role-playing games like AD&D in college. Although now I can certainly see some flaws in the writing, I've gotten enough positive responses from people over the years that I keep these up on the web. Just bear in mind that some of them are now more than a decade old.

At the moment the files are separate independent pages (written in the HTML dialect of their time period) instead of being integrated into the structure of this site, so their formats may vary a bit.

AD&D-inspired works

During my undergraduate years, some folks on my freshman hall got together a little group to play Dungeons and Dragons. The game agreed with me, and the core of that group actually survived all the way to graduation. To go along with our gaming sessions — to flesh out a character concept or keep track of what had happened — I got in the habit of writing up stories inspired by our games. Naturally, they are limited a bit in the conventions of the genre and game universe, but if you like that sort of thing, you may like these, here listed in internal chronological order, since there are some recurring characters.

The Wizard of Bourbafon Rise

(13000 words) In the summer of 1993, after my freshman year, I was planning to introduce a new character into our campaign, a sort of anti-hero by the name of Korel the necromancer. In order to get a better handle on the character, I decided to write a fiction story using him. In this particular case, he would be the villain.

As it so happened, I was simultaneously planning to introduce a bard character into another campaign, and so my hero for the story was found. Thus my AD&D writing began. This is the original story: it is not as good as some of my later work, but stands as one of the few pieces which can be said to be completely finished — I have a nasty tendency to write 50% of something and then stop, going on to something new.

The Wizard of Crossed Arrows

(17000 words) Though written after the journal immediately below, this takes place right after the events in "The Wizard of Bourbafon Rise" and stars the same main character, Korel the necromancer. The intention was to go back and tell how his personality was transformed from the villain of the first story into a person that could function with other party members in our campaign. I should warn you, however, that this story was never completed. If you need a sense of closure, just skip this one right by.

Korel's Adventuring Journal

(52000 words) During most of the school year 1993-94, I kept a journal of our Greyhawk group's activities, written from the point of view of my character. The first few adventures of the group weren't recorded, but that isn't really important to the appreciation of the tales. Entry lengths vary, because in at least one case the journal was destroyed in the game, and had to be "rewritten." This is by far my longest work, and I would not suggest you try to consume it all in one sitting.

The Wizard's New Face

(15000 words) This tale, also starring Korel the necromancer, takes place immediately after the events in the adventuring journal above. I don't want to spoil the ending of the journal, but it suffices to say that Korel had, in game time, a few years to kill on his own, and this is how he spent it. For the curious, this also elaborates on a little more of his personal history. The format of this story is one that I particularly like: sections alternate back and forth between an objective viewpoint and Korel's journal. Thus, long spans of time can be skipped with an entry, and Korel's personal reactions to events that happen in the objective section can be related. Again, I need to warn you: this tale is incomplete. If you need closure, skip it.

Patientia Est Virtus

(11000 words) For the DragonCon convention held in July, 1995 in Atlanta, I wrote this story. However, the short story contest underwent some changes, and this never ended up being submitted after all. This is the only AD&D-inspired story of mine that has been completely stripped of game-universe specifics (or at least as far as is remotely feasible). It is set some 100 years or so after the other Korel stories, and stars the necromancer, though he is not named. No background in the other stories is needed, though. This is an independent effort, intended for judges who had never heard of me.

Najib's Letters Home

(4000 words) In 1995 we started up a campaign in the Al-Qadim world, which was the Arabian setting in AD&D. It's a great world, and we all thought TSR was insane to cancel it, but that's beside the point. My first character there was Najib al-Qudra, a mage of the sha'ir kit (such a mage relies on relationships with genies for his powers). The fiction given here is in the form of letters written to the his mother back home. Although the campaign continued for quite a while, I didn't keep these letters updated, so only a small part is here.

The Tale of Anwar

(2500 words) In the same Al-Qadim campaign, I later planned to introduce a dwarven holy slayer as a secondary character. To get a handle on the character, I penned this short tale, which gives a bit of the troubled background behind Anwar ibn Umar.

The Tale of Kiara

(15000 words) This was my last AD&D-inspired tale, written over Christmas break 1995-6 to introduce an unusual character. Unfortunately, due to my use of some elements from Terry Goodkind's "Sword of Truth" series (specifically the AD&D-ization of the Mord-Sith character class), this story can't be put on the net due to an explicit legal request. My first cease-and-desist... Sorry about that. My understanding is that direct person-to-person distribution isn't prohibited, so if you're read the other stuff on this page and want to complete the set, you can ask me and it should be okay.

Other works

Beyond AD&D genre fiction, I've also written some random standalone things, which vary a bit in style and format.

Twilight of the Gods

(5000 word screenplay) The Vanderbilt University student-run cable channel was at one point planning to produce a very ambitious dark-heroic series in the style of Batman, starring a cloaked student granted a few magical tools through a complicated subplot involving an ancient Norse artifact. Unfortunately, the series never hit the screen, but you can still read my script for the hypothetical special-effects-laden season finale.

Kadath in the Cold Waste

(11000 words) In an excellent Fall 1995 honors seminar at Vanderbilt involving studies of utopias throughout history, our final project was (you guessed it!) to create our own utopia, and present it in any format. As the sci-fi buff than I am, I wrote mine as a short story, describing a future utopia (or maybe a dystopia?) that might be waiting for us a hundred years or so down the road. It's entitled "Kadath in the Cold Waste", though it has almost nothing to do with Lovecraft. The science-fictional ideas in it are a bit more mainstream now, but a decade ago I like to think I was ahead of the curve.

The Pitch

(1300 words) This is a quick little work I wrote in 2001 for the Twilight Zine, the fanzine of the MIT Science Fiction Society. The timeliness of the premise is a bit worn out now, but I still like some of the writing itself. Plus, it's the shortest thing on this entire page, so if you just want the merest sample of my style, this is the one for you.

Feedback is of course encouraged on any of these stories. You can get ahold of me on the contact page. Enjoy!