Greetings, Dandy Silverstone!

They’ve probably changed the rules by now, but way back in the dark ages (early-1980s) when I started playing AD&D, a human fighter, beginning level, was (according to some table I no longer have access to) assumed to be something like sixteen to eighteen years old.  A half-elf with the same basic abilities was assumed to be quite a bit older, like in their eighties.

This niggled at me until one day the solution came to me: It simply takes elves a long time to learn anything.  They aren’t stupid. (After all, elves are known to be brilliant.)  However, maybe as a result of their very long lives, they have no incentive to learn anything, so they don’t bother.

From this, I came up with one of the most restful characters I’ve ever played: Kymbree Silverstone.  The surname was taken from a then popular alternative to Teflon coating, and Teflon, as you may recall, was famous for being a surface that everything slid off of.

Kymbree was unable to worry.  She lived in the moment.  She sang a lot, and usually remembered to swing her sword when something came after her.  That particular game was a short one, but I still remember Kymbree fondly, both for herself, and because of how she was the solution to a problem of ramifications.

Ramifications are something that, as a writer of SF/F, I think about a lot.  Every story starts as a blank slate, but once you have an element, you’re stuck with all that goes with it.  Kymbree’s shiny steel sword implies that someone, somewhere, is making steel.  Steel takes iron (so someone is mining, or maybe there are meteor tracking groups).   Making steel takes heat, so someone is polluting the air by burning wood or coal or whatever.  (Or maybe they have really big magnifying glasses and focus the sun’s heat.)

Forging the sword means that somewhere there are stinky forges, burly people wielding big hammers.  (Or maybe they’re made by earth elementals who have no sense of smell and smooth out the steel by touch.)

But whatever the answer, you’ve created not just a sword, but all that goes into making a sword.

Or maybe swords drop out of the sky…  But who is dropping them?  Where did they come from?

Ramifications.  They’re part of the writing game, especially the SF/F writing game.  At least they are for me.


12 Responses to “Ramifications”

  1. Beverly Martin Says:

    BRILLIANT! I enjoyed your deductions! I think it is fun to follow the chain!

    • janelindskold Says:

      Thank you! It’s a window into how my writing brain works. I come up with a cool idea, and follow through the ramifications. Firekeeper being raised by intelligent wolves was the initial idea that shaped a world. (Are there other intelligent animals? How do they interact with humans? Or not. Do they know more about the overall world than humans do? After all, birds fly. And on and on…

      • Kim Says:

        Your solution to the whole “how can a feral child be proficient at language without any humans around” was/is one of my favourite (and most effective) ones in the whole genre of fictional feral children! Royal, language using wolves!

      • janelindskold Says:

        Thank you, Kim. I actually made certain Firekeeper was exposed to spoken language before her parents’ deaths, because there is some evidence that w/o that it is more difficult to learn to speak and to read.

  2. A. L. Kaplan Says:

    Ah. I have fond memories of AD&D in college. Also had some annoying ones. My very first game, a couple of experienced players got sick of us nubies and turned on the party. Only two characters survived the assault. We kicked the trouble makers out of all future games and went on to have a great time.

  3. A. L. Kaplan Says:

    Reblogged this on alkaplan and commented:
    Ever wonder what happens when a wand of wonder explodes? I found out the first time I played D&D. So many butterflies…
    Check out what Jane Lindskold has to say about one of her characters.

  4. A. L. Kaplan Says:

    My friends and I still play 3.5 and rotate who is DM. We refuse to buy any more books. We also have a super hero campaign using GURPS. That one is lots of fun.

  5. Harried Harry Says:

    I’ve never played D&D, but all three of my children did when they were younger. I still have a few of their books on a bookshelf but soon most of the books will go to the library. The local library now has a game day in which D&D is one of the key attractions.

    Everything is relative. Without considering the who, what, where, when, and how of things, nothing will be accomplished. Even drinking a pint of a favorite beverage requires some effort and consideration of the relative merits. Great thinking for a strange week.

    I hope everyone enjoyed their Valentine’s Day.

  6. Jerry R. House Says:

    A logical, regressive path of tangents?
    Or the theory of multi-universes emanating from every human decision?
    My lizard brain constantly runs in the background, to the point that it intrudes into my real time thought processes.

  7. dbarandlou Says:

    fascinating. Especially the comments about pollution. I never really thought about non-physical ‘chains of life.’

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