One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
I wanted to take the time to respond to them here, and get into a little more detail than I could in responding in the Comments section.
First off, Mystic-Scholar is painfully right when it comes to dissecting the original story where the Companions get together. In my defense, I wrote that more than seven years ago. I'd like to think my writing skills have improved since then. Again, the plot holes here are big enough for a hill giant to comfortably pass through.
As for the second, more recent post, I have to admit that that I was trying too hard to include some conflict among the group, and provide a means of fleshing out their personalities. Unfortunately, it seems like it worked too well. In either case, it shows that I'd need to sit down and put more effort into fleshing out the characters and why they're together in spite of their conflicts. My intention was to show that this was a difficult world to live in, and that even the closest friends have their own underlying problems, but it obviously didn't work too well.
I would like to thank Mystic-Scholar for this, as it made me rethink exactly what I'm trying to do here. I do have a half-baked pipe dream of writing my own Greyhawk fiction, but it clearly needs a lot of work.
Any suggestions would of course be welcome, either from Mystic-Scholar or anyone else.
CSL you took that well and as I intended it. Thanks
I see much potential in your work and would like to encourage you to continue it. And I invite you, personally, to comment on the short story I submitted a few weeks back, once its posted of course.
You state that it was your intention to show that "this world" (GH) was 'difficult to live in even for the closest of friends.' I suggest to you that people who have only just met -- as shown in your story -- and have traveled together for only a couple of weeks are by no means the "closest of friends." They are still very much strangers -- three disparate groups -- seeking a way to bond with their fellow traveling companions.
And I like the "strife" aspect to flesh out characters, but it was a little over done. Racial strife was too strong to use here, this fledgling adventuring party would have never gotten started. On the other hand, a conflicting interest manifested by some of the male members for some of the female members would have worked better. Just a suggestion though.
But I like where you are trying to go with this and I'm sure that your writing has improved during the intervening years since. I was simply trying to follow my own advice to encourage participation in the site and encourage burgeoning writers to write more by commenting on their articles.
In this spirit I've commented on several "older" submissions. Please return to your story and show us how much you've progressed as a writer and thus encourage the rest of us to continue striving in our own efforts.
As kooky as this seems, my initial intent in writing this sort of thing was to try and show that gaming fiction doesn't necessarily have to suck. I've always felt that, in the process of creating and evolving D&D, Gary Gygax and his successors have created a very rich mythos that has blossomed with a life all its own, distinct from anything else.
Aside from all its value for gaming, I like to think that it could be used as a background for engaging fantasy stories on its own. Whether stories of high adventure like something out of The Lord of the Rings or grim and gritty stories like something Conan the Barbarian would be caught up in, I see no reason why the D&D tropes can't be used to tell stories along the lines of War And Peace or the Shakespearean plays.
Whether grand historical epics detailling the Turmoil Between Crowns, or a series of slice-of-life vignettes that depict what life is like for the average farmer or city dweller, there can be much, much more to a D&D-based universe than just the band of adventurers and the quests they go through. Such things can obviously be a part of it, but there's nothing that says they have to be the only part.
Obviously, what I've got so far needs some work. But all the same, I think that this is something that could at some point be pursued...
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