The D&D Connection: Authors and TTRPGs- What You May Have Missed

I was joined by several excellent authors, to talk about any possible connections between great fantasy writing and table top roleplaying games. I’ve gathered the posts here, so you can easily find any that you may have missed.

The D&D Connection: Authors and TTRPGs

The D&D Connection: Authors and TTRPGs-Zack Argyle

The D&D Connection: Authors and TTRPGs-Geoff Habiger

The D&D Connection: Authors and TTRPGs- Dorian Hart

The D&D Connection: Authors and TTRPGs- Rowena Andrews and Jonathan Nevair

The D&D Connection: Authors and TTRPGs- Dan Fitzgerald

The D&D Connection: Authors and TTRPGs- Thomas Howard Riley

The D&D Connection: Authors and TTRPGs- Jeffrey Speight

The D&D Connection: Authors and TTRPGs- Ricardo Victoria

The D&D Connection: Authors and TTRPGs- Rob Edwards

TTRPGs that are Based on Books

From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Discworld

I had a hair-brained idea for my blog: a discussion on magic in fantasy! Not just in one fantasy book, but across the broad spectrum that is my favorite genre. Of course, there is absolutely no way I could do something like that justice, so I put a call out for bookbloggers and authors to lend their unique perspectives. They have shown up in a huge way to kindly share their time and opinions.

Author and Youtuber Rob Edwards sharing his thoughts on a big addition to fantasy: Discworld. You can hear his discussion on YouTube.

Rob Edwards:

Look, there in the dark. 

That shape.

It’s hard to judge size when the only comparison available is an endless stretch of inky dark nothingness, but the shape is huge. Beyond huge. Huge, and moving. Huge, moving and, on reflection, not just one shape, but a compound, complex set of shapes. Flippers. An impossibly vast shell. And standing on that shell, four elephants. Perched on their backs, it can only be…

Shape, then, is the wrong word. This has every appearance of being a place; more geography than geometry.

And this is a place steeped with magic. The sort of place the word “steeped” was made for. A place left to soak in an octarine infusion, like a tea bag left in a cup so long it… 

This metaphor is getting away from me.

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is quintessential gateway fantasy. It is a place of wonder, a place of life, of humour, sharp satire, beguiling stories, larger than life characters and a whole lot of magic. Both in the world, and the way it is described.

And yet, while there are multiple volumes about the Science of Discworld, if there is such a treatise on the magic of the Disc, I’ve not encountered it.

So, what then can I divine about the Discworld’s magic system? This is my interpretation based on many rereadings of the series, but only recent revisits of Eric and Reaper Man. 

Three fundamentals drive all magic in Discworld: Purpose, Personality and Belief.

Magic wants to be used. We see it time and again across the series, from the single spell that Rincewind learned, to the magic of Moving Pictures and the mysterious globes in Reaper Man. Magic once manifested, needs to fulfil its purpose. 

It is something that the Wizards and Witches appreciate. The more senior the Witch or Wizard, the more power they have access to, the less likely they are to use it. You don’t claw your way up the hierarchy of the Unseen University without learning a healthy sense of self preservation, and an appreciation that wotting things man was not meant to wot of, is just not the done thing. Much better to have a big dinner and then a long nap instead.

Which is not to say that Witches and Wizards are fakers incapable of magic. There are plenty of examples in the books where both engage in activities which can only be described as magical. But there is always a risk in the act, the chance that the Wizard or Witch might get carried away. Sometimes literally. The Dungeon Dimensions and the terrible horrors which live therein are always waiting to take advantage of the unwary. We see several times in the series what happens when magic is unleashed too freely. Calamity and Chaos are never far away.

With purpose, oftentimes, personality follows. 

Death is the prime example of this. He is an embodiment of the most fundamental aspect of life, he has purpose to which he must attend, but more he has, he is, a personality. One of Sir Terry’s greatest creations, in fact, and one of the most beloved characters in the franchise. Which is weird when you think about it. He’s not the only example, though. The Hogfather, the Tooth Fairy all fill similar roles. And it’s not just the anthropomorphic aspects of reality that end up with personality. Almost anything infused with magic develops personality eventually, like Rincewind’s Luggage.

The final pillar of magic in Discworld is belief. Most obvious in the case of the Disc’s pantheon of gods, large and small, sometimes all that is needed to manifest something magical is enough belief. Pratchett lays it out specifically: the existence of gods does not result in belief in them, belief in gods results in their existence. Again though, the use of belief in magic is not limited to the gods. If you come in the door marked wossnames, that means you get treated as a wossname, right?

At the end of the day, Discworld is not the sort of series to have a regimented magic system. Instead, it’s a tool that Pratchett uses to fill a need in the story, a useful tool that can fit many shapes. Still, if the specifics of magic are malleable, I think it’s clear that the principles that underpin it are consistent.

About the author:

Rob Edwards is a British born writer and content creator, living in Finland. His podcast, StorycastRob, features readings from his short stories and extracts from longer work. He writes about coffee, despite not drinking it, spaceships, despite being down-to-earth, and superheroes, despite everything.

His debut novel, The Ascension Machine was published in 2020. His short stories can be found in anthologies from Inklings Press and Rivenstone Press.

A life-long gamer and self-professed geek, he is proud of his entry on wookieepedia, the result of writing several Star Wars RPG scenarios in his youth.

Links

Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/StorycastRob

Check out his Podcast: http://storycastrob.co.uk/

Or YouTube: Rob Edwards


For more from this series:
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Wheel of Time
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- The Coldfire Trilogy
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Magic for Mercenary Kings
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- The Weather Warden
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- And Now This
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Blood, Fire, and Death
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Teaching Physics to Barbarians

From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Teaching Physics to Barbarians

During this weeklong discussion on magic in fantasy, we’ll be talking about the truly fantastical magic system. But there are also magic systems that I like to think of as “reality-adjacent”, ones that have a basis in the scientific. After all, things that seem completely normal to us now would seem completely inexplicable and magical to people from, say, the 1400s.

The magic in The Wolf in the Blood fantasy series by author David McLean falls into the second category. I’m happy to be able to get a close look at how “realistic” magic operates in his books.

David McLean:

Teaching physics to barbarians – magic in a really real world

How real is your magical world? If it’s wholly fantastic, great! Magic can just exist. It’s not necessary to look behind the curtain. It can just be so, and you can write about how it’s used, not why it works.

But if your world intersects with the modern, real* world, I think you have to keep it real. 

I write ultra-naturalistic fantasy – a world recognisably our own, working in the same way, but with magic and monsters. This is not a novel idea. But for magic and monsters to exist in a really real world and not be rendered hopelessly implausible by physics, you have to think through how the universe works on a fundamental level. This is great fun. 

I’m not a physicist, and I didn’t fancy writing a textbook on if-magic-was-real physics. So I came up with some basic rules to apply in my books.

Let’s science! 

It’s consistent with general relativity. For it to be otherwise is universe-breaking. In my world, magic appears to be a fundamental interaction, like electromagnetism. It’s the force which changes other forces. If this sounds unlikely, bear in mind scientists discovered a new fundamental force just this year (probably). Magic has time translation symmetry (it always works the same way) obeys conservation of energy (you can’t create it or destroy it, only transform it) and is subject to entropy (actions have irreversible consequences). It affects thermodynamics (fireballs), evolutionary biology (dragons), gravity (massive flying dragons) and spacetime (wormholes and time travel). 

Everyone knows. You can’t casually slide fantasy into the gaps of the real world like a dudebro into your DM’s and expect no one will notice. How do you hide how the universe works? Humans understand physics at a deep level which far surpasses the ‘mystic scrolls of wisdom tropes of fantasy (I am not putting down mystic scrolls – you do you, scrolls). Even in a hellish dystopia where magicians are routinely wiping minds on a planetary scale, all it takes to know is looking and everyone can. The logical contortions are too great to sustain that narrative in a really real world. I do feel that if magic was real, Richard Feynman would have written an amusing book on the subject. So no need for secret wizard school, Harry. 

It’s weird and unsettling. The universe is strange, man. However strange your magic system is, quantum mechanics has it beat. Science grapples with the deep profundities of existence, including ethical and moral questions about free will and agency as inferred from physical laws. I’ve applied these to my world. So magic is a force, but it may also be sort of sentient and vaguely malevolent, with limited agency and unknowable desires. Using magic is profoundly invasive. It never helps. It only hurts.  

It’s accessible (but dangerous). Anyone can use gravity. Jump up and down – you are a puissant gravity user. But defying gravity is hard (song lyrics have misreported this). So it is with magic. In the in-world olden days, magicians of towering supremacy tried to bend it to their unconquerable wills, and sometimes succeeded but often failed. But so could anyone. The consequence of failure is pain – it consumes their energy and scars them with a biting rust. People understand it according to their lights – I set my third novel in 51 BCE. It features a Roman legionary, an Irish druid, and a Sri Lankan princeling. None of them could know about relativity or quantum anything. Consequently, they treat magic as, well, just that. And that’s fine. You don’t need to teach physics to your barbarian, after all. But even modern people will have different views. Magic? It’s all a conspiracy, my dude. It said so on The Magic Channel, it must be true… 

About the author:

David McLean is the author of three books – THE WOLF IN THE BLOOD (2018), THE WOLF CURE AND OTHER STORIES (2019), and THE NINE WIVES OF RANDAL RHIN (2020), published by Swordsaint Press in the UK. You can buy them on Amazon and read free chapters and stories on his website. His next book, FOX SILVER, will be out in early 2022. Follow @SwordsaintPress on Twitter.

For more from this series:
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Wheel of Time
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- The Coldfire Trilogy
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- The Weather Warden
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- And Now This
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Blood, Fire, and Death
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Teaching Physics to Barbarians

From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Weather Warden

This week Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub is being joined by a great group of bookbloggers and authors, discussing magic systems in fantasy books. This is such a huge subject and there are so many books with killer magic systems!

Author Rachel Caine has created some incredibly distinctive magic systems in her books. Tabitha from the excellent blog, Behind the Pages, has offered to talk a little about the magic system in Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series.

Tabitha:

When I found out Jodie over at Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub was doing a project based on magic systems I had to join in! Unique magic systems are a key element to the fantasy books I truly enjoy. While characters certainly play a large part in what I love, I need the magic system to be a worthy component as well. Today we’ll take a look at the magic in the urban fantasy Weather Warden Series by Rachel Caine.

Little do people know, there is an organization of magic users taming the wildest of Earth’s natural disasters. The Wardens Association is made up of people who have abilities to manipulate fire, earth, and the weather. But the magic they use has to be executed carefully, or the disasters they try to quell can become phenomenally worse. All those natural disasters that have happened at devastating proportions? Someone made a mistake and manipulated the wrong molecule.

The magic in the Weather Warden series leans more towards a soft magic system. While it’s based on science, manipulating molecules, and meteorology, there are fantastical elements as well. Each warden generally possesses one of the three abilities. Those who possess more than one are rare and often more powerful than the wardens who possess only one. If you possess more than one, chances are you’ll have a target on your back as well. The Wardens Association doesn’t like what it can’t control and views people with too much power the same way it views a devastating storm. They need to destroy them before they can no longer be contained.

As long as you fly below their power radar, the Wardens Association will take you in and educate you on taming the Earth. Unless of course, you can’t even control your singular power. They will magically neuter you if you prove inept. Most likely this will turn you into a babbling incoherent person they then put into a hospital to live out the rest of their lives.

But what happens when the Earth throws a particularly nasty disaster that even the combined power of the wardens can’t handle? Well, that’s where the Djinn come in. Djinn are creatures of fire that are manipulative and spiteful. Though I can’t say I blame them, as most people who encounter a free Djinn try to immediately bind them into servitude. 

The Wardens Association keeps Djinn trapped in bottles to help amplify their own power when needed. The Djinn are little more than slaves to most. Tools to be used then stuffed away, even though they have thoughts, feelings, and emotions just like any other person. And those wardens who show they will play nice with others, rise up in the ranks of the association and earn themselves their own slave to use.

It’s a twisted world and oftentimes the main character, Joanne, battles with what is morally right and wrong. As much as the wardens help people by taming the Earth, they can be pretty corrupt. But it isn’t just the wardens you have to watch out for. Sometimes, natural disasters are caused by demons trying to enter our world.

What is your immediate thought when you think of demons? It’s probably something along the lines of what traditional stories paint them as. Horns, pitchforks, nasty creatures that are some combination of human and animal. In the Weather Warden series, demons are like a parasite. They leech onto wardens, draining their power from the inside out. Sometimes the victim doesn’t even know it until it’s too late. And as the demon leeches a person’s power, it also begins to corrupt their very being. Turning them violent and unpredictable. 

The problem is with demons, they won’t leave a powerful magical host. They sit and squirm, growing until they can no longer be contained by the body they’ve taken over. To say letting a demon fully manifest is a disaster would be putting it mildly. The amount of magic and power released by a demon is catastrophic and just about the world ending.

I love the Weather Warden series. The use of magic is so original and refreshing. The way Joanna can manipulate the molecules around her and change the atmosphere is fantastic. Not to mention the constant twists and turns that are thrown throughout the series as the use of magic by the main character evolves. It is definitely one of my favorite urban fantasy series. And I highly encourage you to give it a try!

About the blogger: Hello everyone! My name is Tabitha and I run a review blog called Behind the Pages. It’s my little corner of the internet where I geek out about books. I’m an avid fantasy reader, but dabble in other genres from time to time. Book blogging has allowed me to connect with so many other people who love reading as much as I do. I hope you enjoy this snippet of my bookish thoughts!

Find Behind the Pages on her blog: Behind the Pages

For more from this series:
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Wheel of Time
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- The Coldfire Trilogy
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- The Weather Warden
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- And Now This
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Blood, Fire, and Death
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Teaching Physics to Barbarians

From Merlin to Mistborn- Magic for Mercenary Kings

This week, I’ve gotten the opportunity to hear from some excellent bookbloggers and authors about magic in fantasy. I have yet to read The Mercenary Kings by Nick Martell but Fantasy Book Nerd, bookblogger extraordinaire, has succeeded in moving it up my massive tbr with his explanation of magic in Martell’s books. Check it out below!

Fantasy Book Nerd: When I was asked to do this by Jodie, I have to admit that I had to wrack my brains for a maximum of about two seconds before I knew what I wanted to discuss. And that was Nick Martell’s magic system, which I have found to be one of the most fascinating magic systems that I have read recently.

Now, I know that Nick Martell has only released two books in an ongoing series, but with both ‘The Kingdom of Liars’ and ‘The Two Faced Queen’, the magic is developing in ways that I didn’t expect.

For those of you that have not read these books, I will try to avoid spoilers because as I said the story is still developing, and no one likes spoilers. 

Right, before we go anywhere let’s first look at the word ‘magic’! What does it actually mean? 

There are many definitions of the word. The Collins English Dictionary describes it as: –

  1. The Power to use supernatural forces to make something happen, such as making things disappear or controlling events in nature.
  2. You can use magic when you are referring to an event that is so wonderful, strange, or unexpected that it seems as if supernatural powers have caused it. You can also say that something happens as if by magic or like magic.
  3. You use magic to describe something that does things, or appears to do things, by magic.
  4. If you refer to the magic of something, you mean that it has a special mysterious quality which makes it seem wonderful and exciting.

    Hmm, all of these definitions of magic apply in fantasy fiction really don’t they, each and every one, and they are prominent in each of the magic systems that I have read.

Prior to discussing the magic in the books of Nick Matell, let me tell you a little of the story for those that don’t know it. The main focus of the book is Michael Kingsman, the disgraced son of the king’s right hand man, David Kingsman who was executed for killing the king’s young son. 

That is about as much as I am going to tell you about the plot. 

I have found in fantasy books, there are many ways that magic systems are introduced, some authors will describe how their systems work in one go and will give the information in one long exposition, and others will drip feed the system throughout the book as the story demands,and it will be used as a device to move the story along.

Fabrication,the magic system of The Kingdom of Liars comes in many forms, such as light and dark fabrication. Additionally, the magic can take different forms and be individualised to each person, with the effects of the magic having a different effect on those that use it. As the story progresses, we learn that there are Lightning and metal fabricators. 

In Nick Martell’s books, the power of fabrication is primarily used for militaristic purposes, and most of the characters (especially if they are from the lower classes)  strive to get into the Fabricator  army, or in guard service. At this stage of the books, it isn’t described as being intrinsic or part of the essence of the world like in some other fantasy systems. 

Now, when describing magic systems, they can effectively be placed in the soft magic/hard magic camps. Depending on the author they can fluctuate between the two on a literal spectrum and can have as many or few rules as the author sees fit.

You all may have heard of a relatively unknown author by the name of Brandon Sanderson (yes, yes! That was a terrible example of sarcasm) who puts forth that there are rules in relation to magic systems.

(I have no doubt that someone will have mentioned the difference between the soft and hard magic camps. But just in case they haven’t, here is a quick recap).

Soft magic follows very few laws. However, there is a law attached to it, in that if it is used to solve problems, in a deus ex machina kind of way, it can diminish the impact of the magic system.

However, with hard magic there are explicit rules for the magic system and the characters do not step outside the boundaries.

Additional to this, there is the middle ground, in which the author designs a set of rules, but they are fluid as the story progresses. 

(If you want to read these set of essays on the rules of magic, then I suggest you go to Brandon Sanderson’s website and have a look, they are all  rather good pieces, and I attribute all the words above to those pieces)

Looking at Nick Martell’s books, the magic system in there definitely falls into the hard magic camp, (now please don’t quote me on any of this. This is conjecture on my part). Throughout the book, most of the characters can only have one fabrication (although, there are exceptions to this rule, but it is very rare). The magic is based on tangible things in nature i.e. elements, such as lightning, metal, smoke, fire, light, dark etc. and they may take on certain characteristics of the said fabrication. For instance, if you are a metal fabricator, you can alter your body to be hard and impervious to damage. However,it doesn’t make you impervious to everything as  this can be negated by a lightning fabricator who could use your body as a conductor for electricity or maybe throw you in a pool of water, in which you sink as if you are heavy, like metal. 

From the outset, Nick Martell is applying rules to the magic system. This obviously has an effect on the reader, as it is applying boundaries and laws and also giving the reader a limit as to what magic can achieve, thus making the reader more involved with any plot developments that may arise.

However, when you look at Nick Martell’s magic system, it is not just the ‘what can the magic system actually do’ point that makes it interesting, it is also the ’what can’t it do, and the effects that it has on the user’ that elevates it’s wow factor.

In his essay on the second law of magic systems, Sanderson identifies that limitations are greater than powers. He then goes on to discuss that in the Wheel of Time,Robert Jordan introduced one of the greatest costs to any magic system, in that men who use magic lose their sanity, thus increasing the jeopardy when using a magic system and has ramifications on the story and the characters..

Similarly, in Nick Martell’s magic system, he introduces a significant cost to the use of magic. The concept is introduced in the early stages of the book when Nick Martell highlights that the use of magic leads to the user losing memories. This could be some simple everyday memory. However, this is not the only cost. In some instances it can leave the user blind, because they have ‘forgotten’ how to carry out this intrinsic task. And if there is a constant use of magic, the user is at risk of becoming something called ‘a forgotten’ which is basically a fantasy representation of Alzheimer’s, where the person loses most functional skills, in addition to their memories. This weakness of the magic system introduces some pretty large ramifications to the story in that it introduces a significant element of risk and thus reducing the use of magic as a ‘deus ex machina’ plot device.

In the second of his two books, he expands the magic system to include other races in the world and differing systems. However, again, he introduces cost, and I have to say that in this instance, the ramifications are more visceral in that the use of magic comes directly from the infliction of pain, and this pain comes from the user in order to access magic. So, the user may break their own fingers, or use other instances of pain. However, either way there is a cost that can have a permanent and lasting damage to the magic user.

As you can see, this gives the reader the sense of jeopardy and brings to the fore that magic cannot solve all the problems that Michael Kingsman comes across, thus having to force him to use other methods that he may have at his disposal, such as his wits, or other tools. 

Now, we come to the final bit of the magic system. How does the magic system develop and grow? 

Relating this to Sanderson’s third law of magic, Expand what you already have before you add something new. .

Throughout both Kingdom of Liars and The Two Faced Queen, Nick Martell is constantly evolving the magic system. In the first chapters of The Kingdom of Liars we are introduced to just the two fabrications – Light and Dark Fabrications. However, as the story progresses and the main character is attempting to find his own power, we are introduced to the other facets of fabrication, and that people have other abilites beyond these two powers. We learn that there is lightning, metal and a plethora of other interesting things. And then we come to the second book, The Two Faced Queen, again the magic system is expanded with the introduction of other races and cultures. But not only that, there is the big expansion of the magic system, and when I say big, I mean big. However, I am not going to tell you anything about that – major plot spoiler!  However, the expansion of the magic system with the other cultures is relatable as it is building on to a similar concept used by Michael and the other characters in the book.

Right, there you have it. My ramblings on Nick Martell’s magic system. I hope you enjoyed it and please check out the other contributors on this week of magic systems..

About the Blogger: Fantasy Book Nerd here! As you can see from the name, I might have a bit of a thing for fantasy. 
I know, shocking isn’t it? I don’t know what gave it away!
Anyway, if you liked what I wrote, you can find some more reviews on www.fantasybooknerd.com. Don’t be scared, I don’t bite, and neither does Frank – The skelebog jester who guards the site.
Oh, and I also occasionally post on Gingernuts of Horror.

For more from this series:
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Wheel of Time
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- The Coldfire Trilogy
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- The Weather Warden
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- And Now This
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Blood, Fire, and Death
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Teaching Physics to Barbarians

From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic – Magic in the Copper Circle

This week I’ve been fortunate to welcome many guest contributors on my blog to chat about magic systems in fantasy. I am privileged to have Dan Fitzgerald, author of the (fantastic) Maer Cycle and the upcoming Weirdwater Confluence. One thing I really enjoyed about the magic in the Maer Cycle was how the magic seemed to be connected to the character’s own energy. It was incredibly unique and led to interesting growth.

Instead of carrying on and possibly butchering any descriptions, Dan Fitzgerald will explain his magic system.


Dan Fitzgerald:

I’m thrilled to be invited by Jodie of the Witty and Sarcastic Book Club to discuss the magic system in my newly named Copper Circle, which includes the Maer Cycle trilogy, the upcoming Weirdwater Confluence duology, and the planned Time Before trilogy. There are several systems in the Maer Cycle, but I’m going to focus on the one that connects to the other series, which is inspired by yoga and meditation, with a little alchemy and artificing mixed in. 

In the Maer Cycle, we meet Finn, whose discipline is called Bodily Control. He uses a regimen of three-times daily yoga-like poses to focus his mental energy, which allows him to perform seemingly impossible physical feats like harden his skin to ward off blows, leap great distances, and eventually heal himself or others. As the series progresses, he learns to conserve his power, so each feat takes less out of him, and he recovers more quickly, in a way inspired by meditation. It involves silent concentration and poses, becoming aware of the body’s energy and bringing it to the center of his mind. In yoga and meditation, the idea of centering is essential, and my own practice has led me to think of magic in a similar way.  

Ujenn, the Maer sorceress in the trilogy, has powers of empathy, language, and communication, as well as a little fertility magic she uses in the mystical surrogacy in The Archive. The essence of her power is the ability to feel what others feel, through a combination of touch, ancient spells, and herbal concoctions. Perhaps the most interesting are the ancient copper circles she uses to communicate with Carl over great distances. This magic requires intense concentration, and though the connection is imperfect, they are able to communicate simple but important details over hundreds of miles.  

In the Weirdwater Confluence, which will be independent of the trilogy but with some underlying connections, followers of the Endulian tradition use meditation and mindfulness-based practices to enhance their awareness of their bodies, their minds, and the minds of those around them. It allows them to share each other’s thoughts and feelings, usually in combination with alchemical tinctures, though there are some whose power is great enough they do not require tinctures. The Living Waters includes a number of scenes of such mind-sharing, which leads to some very interesting discoveries between characters and factors into an unusual romance subplot.  

Copper circles similar to the ones in the trilogy are seen in The Isle of a Thousand Worlds as elements of the mystical social media-like platform known as the Caravan, which allows communication over great distances. It requires extensive meditation training, specially designed ‘cradles,’ and highly refined alchemical tinctures, and the book features an alchemist MC whose search for the Universal Tincture may turn the entire system on its head.  

The copper circles themselves are all ancient, and the planned Time Before trilogy will take readers into the distant past, 2,000 years before, when the magical tech they represent was at its apogee. I can’t say too much about that, as it’s not even written yet, but it will involve the origins not only of the circles themselves, but also the philosophical traditions underlying the magic system described above. Finn’s bodily control magic, Ujenn’s communication powers, the Endulian meditation practice, and the Caravan all have their origins in the events of the Time Before, which is planned for release from Shadow Spark Publishing in 2023. 

  The Maer Cycle trilogy is available now in various formats at https://shadowsparkpub.com/dan-fitzgerald. The The Living Waters (October 15) and The Isle of a Thousand Worlds (January 15 2022) will be available via the same link. You can read more about my books at www.danfitzwrites.com

For more from this series:
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Wheel of Time
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- The Coldfire Trilogy

About the author:

Dan Fitzgerald is the fantasy author of the Maer Cycle trilogy (character-driven low-magic fantasy) and the upcoming Weirdwater Confluence duology (sword-free fantasy with unusual love stories). He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, twin boys, and two cats. When not writing he might be found doing yoga, gardening, cooking, or listening to French music. 

Buy my books in any format: Dan Fitzgerald — Shadow Spark Publishing 

Twitter: Dan Fitzgerald (@DanFitzWrites) / Twitter (writing and bookish stuff—this is my home)

Instagram: Dan Fitzgerald (@danfitzwrites) • Instagram photos and videos (nature photography and bookish posts—this is my playground)Website: Dan Fitzgerald (danfitzwrites.com) (Find out more about my books, plus there’s a blog, and some bookish extras like maps, art, short stories, etc)

From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Wheel of Time

This week is magic week on my blog! That means discussion about all the wonderful sorts of magic that is found in fantasy. I think that, if I were to skip Wheel of Time, I would have to turn in my Fantasy Lover card. However, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve read WoT and I am not known for having an excellent memory. Luckily, Rob Edwards, author and youtuber, has lent his expertise. As he points out, there is an upcoming TV show. If you’re a book hipster who likes to read the book before the adaptation, you might want to hop on it! You can also hear Rob Edwards’ thoughts on WoT on Youtube.

Rob Edwards:

The Wheel of Time turns…

And what turns it is magic. Or, more specifically, the True Source and its male and female halves, saidin and saidar. Every aspect of the world Robert Jordan created is predicated on this fact. The existence of people who can channel, men who can use saidin, and women who can use saidar, touches almost every aspect of the world.

I want to be particularly careful of spoilers, as Amazon’s television version of Wheel of Time is getting closer, and this story is (hopefully) going to find a brand-new audience. On balance, I think I’m safe to spoil things that happen in the prologue of book 1 of this 14-book behemoth.

The male half of the One Power, saidin, is tainted by the Dark One and male channelers are doomed to insanity as a result. One of the earliest victims of this (at least on this turning of the Wheel) is Lews Therin Telamon, who slays his friends and family, and releases so much power he reshapes the very geography of the world. Ever looked at the map of the Wheel of Time and thought it looked a bit weird? Blame Lews Therin’s madness and saidin.

The fact that only women can safely touch the One Power makes their order, the Aes Sedai, a power in the world. I’m not going to attempt to argue sexism isn’t a thing in the Wheel of Time, it is, but there are women in positions of influence in most cultures of the world. The story starts in the Two Rivers, a village so provincial they don’t even realise what country they are in, but they have heard of Aes Sedai. They don’t trust them, but they have heard of them.

But I wanted to talk about the magic system. What do we know about how the One Power works?

Quite a lot, in fact. Over the course of almost 4.5 million words of fantasy epic, we spend a fair amount of time with women, and men, who can channel. We watch them learn, and come to understand their methods and risks.

To access the power, women must surrender to saidar, being careful not to be consumed by the desire to draw too much power, or risk burning themselves out. Men channelling saidin, don’t talk about it as a surrender, their use of the power is more combative, and while the desire to draw too much power is there for them too, it is set against the oily poisonous feel of the Dark One’s taint.

The one power is used to create weaves from earth, air, fire, water and spirit. Women are typically strongest with weaves of air and water, men with earth and fire. These weaves can be used for all sorts of purposes from fireballs to Healing, from influencing the weather to influencing people. 

Over the course of the series, we learn so much more about the intricacies of use of the power. We learn the circumstances in which a channeler can (or cannot) detect other channelers’ weaves. Inevitably, we learn what happens when two channelers come into conflict.

Really, I’m trying to be vaguely specific here to avoid spoilers!

The way that channelers can come together to create greater effects are explored, including noting that in earlier Ages, it was only by linking men and women in the same circle that the true wonders of bygone Ages were achieved. To keep me on brand, there’s a table in the old Wheel of Time RPG which shows how many men and women are needed for what size Circle. This table is not something invented for the game, it’s all in the books, though admittedly not in table form.

I’m barely skating across the surface here. I’ve not mentioned the differences and significances of power-infused items like angreal, ter’angreal and sa’angreal. That new weaves are created, or old ones rediscovered. Each with implications that are explored in the…

Burn me, there’s a lot. I guess that’s part of why this series is so long.

Still, if you’re looking for a fantasy series which really explores its magic system and its implications. If you want to get into the crunchy, almost scientific minutiae, Robert Jordan’s work is astonishingly detailed. It’s not a series for everyone, it has its problems, and some of the books are… not as good as the others… But light blind me for a wool-headed sheep herder, I love this series, and if you’re into this kind of thing, you might too.

Or wait for the TV show.

About the author:

Rob Edwards is a British born writer and content creator, living in Finland. His podcast, StorycastRob, features readings from his short stories and extracts from longer work. He writes about coffee, despite not drinking it, spaceships, despite being down-to-earth, and superheroes, despite everything.

His debut novel, The Ascension Machine was published in 2020. His short stories can be found in anthologies from Inklings Press and Rivenstone Press.

A life-long gamer and self-professed geek, he is proud of his entry on wookieepedia, the result of writing several Star Wars RPG scenarios in his youth.

Links

Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/StorycastRob
Check out his Podcast: Storycast Rob
Or YouTube: Rob Edwards

For more from this series:
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Wheel of Time
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- The Coldfire Trilogy
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- The Weather Warden
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- And Now This
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Blood, Fire, and Death
From Merlin to Mistborn: A Discussion on Magic- Teaching Physics to Barbarians

All the Acronyms: The Skinny on the Amazing Competitions for Self-Published Authors

If you’ve been reading blogs, Twitter, or possibly even Facebook pages over the last little bit, you’ve probably seen a lot of odd acronyms: BBNYA, SPFBO, and now SPSFC. We could pretend that we’re all super secret spies and these are our codenames…or I could give you the equally cool skinny on the awesome competitions available for self-published authors.

There are so many incredible books out there, more than anyone could possibly read in a lifetime. Unfortunately, not all of them are available at your local Target (or other such store). This is where bookbloggers and competitions come in. As a bookblogger, I’ve been fortunate to discover and fall in love with books from multiple publication routes: indie, self-published, and traditional. Sometimes, the first two publishing routes get an undeserved bad rap. One publishing choice is not better than any other. At all. Competitions like BBNYA, SPFBO, and SPSFC exist to shine a spotlight on some of the many amazing self-published books that have been written! Each competition fills a unique and important spot. Here’s a rundown of what each one is, how it works, and why it’s fantastic!

Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA):

I was fortunate to be a panelist last year for BBNYA’s first year ever! BBNYA is unique in that it is open to indie publishers as well as self-published authors. Spearheaded by the Write Reads, booklover and captain of the largest group of avid bookbloggers on Twitter, BBNYA is also co-sponsored by the Folio Society (seller of incredibly drool-worthy books). BBNYA is open to all genres: last year there were thrillers, sci-fi novels, fantasies, YA paranormal books, and even a couple romance novels.

The competition is closed for entries this year, but you can sign up for email alerts regarding next year’s competition here ( BBNYA) . Readers, keep your eye on this contest: your “to be read” list will grow by leaps and bounds.

Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO):

I am privileged to join team Before We Go Blog for this year’s competition: year number seven! It is run by Mark Lawrence, the brilliant author of many books, most recently The Girl and the Mountain. Aside from the epic Selfie Stick award (it may look a little like a HP wand, but I promise it’s as cool as the Stanley Cup), winners get major bragging rights and a ton of blog raves. This competition is solely for self-published fantasy authors, so bring out your dragons, magic, and all things fantastical!

SPFBO spots filled up in less than a day this year, and I can tell you that the books all look amazing. I can’t even figure out what toppings I want on my Subway sandwich: how on earth am I supposed to help pick one book among the many great ones that are entered? This is a competition to watch, folks: you’ll be set on fantasy reading for the next year plus!


Self-Published Science Fiction Competition (SPFSC):

Here’s an awesome new competition! As the name suggests, this one exists to shine a spotlight on fabulous self-published science fiction. Led by prolific author Hugh Howey, this one has a similar style to SPFBO. Oh, and bookbloggers: there are openings for judges right now! If you’re a sci-fi lover, click on the link to find out more (SPFSC).

Winners will get bragging rights and the badge of honor for your book. Or, as Hugh Howey puts it, “a blaster set to stunning”. You can’t beat that. Keep your eyes peeled for the contest to open for entries, authors, and best of luck!

Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Tasslehoff, Flint,and Tika

Image Credit: Larry Elmore
Logo Credit: Wizards of the Coast
Banner Credit: Fantasy Book Nerd

Throughout a weeklong celebration of Dragonlance, there will be profiles for some of the important characters in the Chronicles, which is the original trilogy, and the books that started it all. So far we’ve discussed Tanis, Laurana, and Stum, as well as Caramon and Raistlin. Today, let’s learn a little bit about three more beloved characters: Flint Fireforge, Tika Waylan, and Tasselhoff Burfoot.

Image Credit: Clyde Caldwell

Flint Fireforge:

The first time I read the Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends trilogies, I immediately followed them up with Kindred Spirits, a book that features Flint heavily. If I didn’t already love Flint, that book would have done the trick. He’s always been there for Tanis, a character who sorely needs a friend.

That caring nature doesn’t stop with Tanis: Flint takes on a grandfatherly role for the entire group. He’s the sort who grumbles incessantly (and don’t you dare try to put him on a horse!), but he’s also the backbone of the group. I love that grumpy old dwarf so much!

-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

Image Credit: Valerie Valusek

Flint Fireforge:

Flint is an experienced fighter, with many years under his belt. He can come across as gruff, but this grumpy old man is full of heart. He doesn’t like boats, mind you, and will grumble quite often if he is forced to go in one. Heck he will grumble about many things when one thinks about it. To be fair, it is really quite understandable: he just wants to retire from questing, he’s been away from his home for so long. But when danger presents itself in the end he will have your back, even if he grumbles about it.

Reorx’s Beard! He can’t let these youngsters go off and get themselves into trouble or worse killed can he?

Tanis’s oldest friend,
Tasslehoff’s truest friend and companion
Grumpy as heck with the biggest heart

-I Can Has Books

More Books Featuring Flint Fireforge:

Flint the King

Kindred Spirits

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Tasslehoff Burrfoot:

If you ever come across our little Kender friend Tas, be sure to hold your purses and other goods near you and/or out of sight. Because it might just happen that you “drop” something and he will just happen to pick it up. He’s not a thief, just extremely curious. This curiosity can lead to some interesting and possibly dangerous adventures. So keep your eyes open, he may be tiny but look for blue leggings, they seem to be his favorite item of clothing and he wears them all the time. 
So if you are lucky to befriend him and you ever need a lock opened he’s your guy, there is the possibility of getting into trouble but Tas is braver than you realize because Kender don’t know fear only wonder. 

He is loyal beyond words. A true friend is he.

-I Can Has Books

Image Credit: Artist Unknown

Tasslehoff Burfoot:

Watch your pockets!  And your knapsacks.  And handbags.  And anything not nailed down, locked up, or perched high above.  Wait.  That stuff’s not safe, either.  But Tas promises he’s just borrowing it.

Tasslehoff Burrfoot, loveable Kender.  Tasslehoff Burrfoot, bane of many an existence.  Tasslehoff Burrfoot—one of the most entertaining characters to ever grace the page of a book.  I think what endears me most to Tas is his unconditional caring.  He genuinely enjoys the people with which he keeps company.  He cries along with them, laughs along with them—even when they tell him straight to his face that he’s annoying.  (Looking at you, Flint…)  He’s the master of Taunting.  He heads straightforward into adventure—because you never know what treasures will be ripe for the—borrowing.  He promises he’ll return it someday.  At the end of the day Tas is always there for his friends—be it on purpose or accidental—and having him in the ensemble not only brings some comic relief, but an almost child-like look at life in an increasingly violent and dangerous world.  Sure, there might be Death Knights and dragons chasing them down, tricks and traps around every corner—but that pales in comparison to the treasures Tas is bound to find within every dungeon, cave, or, you know…a street stall selling books that just happen to be right there in the open.  He’ll only hang onto the priceless magic tome for a little while, he swears.  At least, until he finds something more intriguing…

– L.A. Wasielewski

Image credit: Larry Elmore

Tasslehoff Burfoot:

Here’s the thing: Tas is great. I think he often gets viewed as comic relief, a character not to be taken seriously, but that’s a simplification of who he is. Sure, he tends to find the positive (and often funny) side of most situations, he might “acquire” things in dubious ways, and his stories are not necessarily believable, but his very nature allows for the best relationship dynamics. His friendship with a certain gully dwarf is golden, and the way he and Flint interact is one of the best things about the trilogy. Not for nothing, but it’s a Tas scene that makes me bawl each time I read it, despite knowing what’s coming.

All kender are struck by wanderlust at some point, and Tas is no different. In fact, he manages to traverse the length and breadth of Krynn many times throughout the Dragonlance series, appearing in more books than perhaps any of the other companions. I’m always happy to see him. I know I can rely on him to bring a smile and some unexpected wisdom.

-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

More books featuring Tasslehoff Burfoot:

Wanderlust

Kendermore

Image credit: Larry Elmore

Tika Waylan:

I feel like out of all the heroes of the lance, Tika gets the least amount of attention. But you know what? Let’s turn that around. While Tika may not be the strongest amongst the heroes, I certainly view her as one of the bravest. Before war descended on Krynn, Tika grew up at the Inn of the Last Home. As an orphan, Solace and the bar were all she knew. And yet, when the time came down to it, she joined a crew of warriors and magic casters to try and save the world.
Tika may have been the underdog, but she refused to back down. She showed readers that it’s worthwhile to put your whole heart into something. And if you happen to meet her by reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight, you’ll be able to see just what she was able to accomplish.

-Behind the Pages

Image credit: Larry Elmore



Tika Waylan:

Tika plays an important role in the storyline. While she might be viewed as a side character, she is the first character mentioned in the prologue. Deadly with a skillet- er, shield- with a quick tongue and a fiery temper, Tika keeps Caramon’s head above water when he feels like he’s sinking. She’s brave in many ways, and rarely complains.

-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub







More books featuring Tika:

Time of the Twins (Dragonlance Legends book 1)

Dragons of Summer Flame


About the contributors:

Behind the Pages: Hello everyone! My name is Tabitha and I run a review blog called Behind the Pages. I am an avid fantasy reader, but dabble in other genres from time to time. I love writing and talking about books. Dragonlance is my absolute favorite fantasy series and I am so psyched to be a part of Dragonlance week.

Check out my review blog at www.behindthepages.org

You can also follow my random bookish thoughts on my Twitter: @behindthepages1

And if you prefer to follow along with reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5863594-tabitha


I Can Has Books: Carrie (ICanHasBooks) can be found surrounded by tomes as books make up the foundation of who she is and possibly her home ,which is in desperate need of more walls for shelving, because like her name says I can has books? Yes Carrie, yes you can. When she is not reading, she can be found roaming around Azeroth (Wow Classic as her computer currently sucks), walking in graveyards or wandering in the woods. If you would like to follow her around:

Blog:https://icanhasbooks.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/I_can_has_books

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/663898-carrie

IG: https://www.instagram.com/carrieicanhasbooks/

Author L.A. Wasielewski: L.A. Wasielewski is a gamer, nerd, baseball fan (even though the Brewers make it very difficult sometimes), and mom.  When she’s not writing, she’s blasting feral ghouls and super mutants in the wastelands, baking and cooking, and generally being a smart-ass.  She’s very proud of the fact that she has survived several years with two drum kits in the house—and still has most of her hearing intact. 

Books 1&2 of her adult epic dark fantasy Alchemist Trilogy are out now, with Book3 due to debut Autumn 2021.

Find her online at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorBebedora

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LAWasielewski/

Website:  http://www.lawasielewski.com/

Amazon link:  https://www.amazon.com/L-A-Wasielewski/e/B07KNTW444/

Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub: Jodie is the creator of the Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub blog and a contributor to Grimdark Magazine. She either lives in Florida with her husband and sons, or in a fantasy book-she’ll never tell which. When she’s not reading, Jodie balances her time between homeschooling her hooligans, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and lamenting her inability to pronounce “lozenge”.

Find her online at :

Blog: https://wittyandsarcasticbookclub.home.blog/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WS_BOOKCLUB




Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Caramon and Raistlin

Logo Credit: Wizards of the Coast
Image Credit: Larry Elmore
Banner Credit: Fantasy Book Nerd

This week is a celebration of the fantastic book series, Dragonlance. The characters are all unique and well-developed, so of course they deserve introductions. So far, Tanis, Laurana, and Sturm have been discussed. Let’s talk about Caramon and Raistlin Majere today.

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Caramon Majere:

DragonLance. I don’t remember if I encountered the book first, or the (Advanced) Dungeons and Dragons adventure. Either way the two are inseparable in my mind. It was a unique idea, creating novels and games that told the same story. Letting you experience the same adventure in multiple ways. The first module, Dragons of Despair (DL1), covers about the first half of the novel Dragons of Autumn Twilight. I owned and enjoyed both back when they first came out, but I couldn’t tell you where my copies went.

I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Dragons of Autumn Twilight of late, savouring the nostalgia. It’s let me see the book in a new light — and learn that potentially I’d been mispronouncing “Caramon” and “Draconian” for years. The book works better than it has any right to. The attempt to dramatize the mechanics of D&D rules and adhere to the terminology of the game in the book does necessitate quite the balancing act. When Raistlin, the party magic-user, uses fine sand as a material component for his Sleep spell, you can almost hear the dice rattle. Is it more or less too distracting to read that if you aren’t a D&D player?

The books do rise above these limitations, however, thanks to some deep world-building, fascinating lore and some truly memorable and likable characters.  The kender, Tasslehoff, the aforementioned wizard Raistlin, Tanis, Goldmoon and the rest. But the character I am most drawn to on this journey though the book is Raistlin’s twin brother, Caramon.

Caramon Majere may not be as cool a character as his spell casting twin brother or as quirky as Tas or even a leader like Tanis. Caramon’s strength is in his right arm and his big heart. He’s a likable, affable giant of a man who seems adept at making connections. He’s the centre of it all. Not always the centre of the action – though often that too – but his relationship with Raistlin is a core element of the books. He has strong ties to Tanis, he is half-brother to Kitiara, and even Sturm notes that it was Caramon he first felt kinship with when he arrived in Solace. 

Caramon is loyal. Loyal to his friends, but first and foremost loyal to his brother. If you need his help, Caramon will give it, as long as Raist doesn’t need him first.

His failings are all very human. He’s a little too fond of food and drink. Far from stupid, he does tend to favour action over intense planning sessions. And yes, he does spend a lot of time ignoring his brother’s… let’s say foibles… but that’s family for you.

Basically, if I can bring this back around to D&D, he’s the perfect player character. And that makes sense. Even now the most common choice for D&D character is Human Fighter with a big sword. And that, friends, is the big hearted, affable giant Caramon Majere.

To hear this excellent profile read aloud and discussed by author Rob Edwards, click Dragonlance Caramon Majere

-Rob Edwards

Image Credit: Daniel Horne

Caramon Majere:

Kind and charismatic , Caramon Majere is everything his twin brother is not. He’s probably the most likable character of the group, although perhaps not the brightest. With his easy going nature, Caramon could be in danger of being overlooked as a character. What keeps that from happening and makes makes him a fully developed character is his relationship with his brother.

Caramon’s brother, Raistlin, is weak and sickly. He relies on Caramon to be his physical strength when his own strength gives out. Caramon is loyal to each of the companions, but he would betray them all if Raistlin gave the word. Caramon is his physical strength, but Caramon relies on Raistlin for direction. Without having someone to care for, someone to tell him what to do, would Caramon survive? Or would he find himself adrift?

This dichotomy makes for an engrossing relationship, and one that bleeds over into Caramon’s interactions with all the companions. Ultimately, Caramon is more than a meat shield; he’s a complicated character who, for good or ill, wears his heart on his sleeve.

-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

More Books Featuring Caramon:

Time of the Twins (Legends trilogy)

Brothers in Arms

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Raistlin:

I can think of no character in the history of fantasy books more incredibly written than Raistlin Majere.  Margaret Weis’ creation of this character may very well be the most valuable gift the fantasy community has ever been given.

Powerful.  Arrogant.  Mysterious.  Purposefully difficult.  Ill-tempered, yet caring.  (Sometimes…usually when it’s to his benefit.)  Complex.  Frail.  Manipulative.  Helpful.  Crabby.  Calculating.  Intelligent.  Observant.  Awe-inspiring.  Terrifying.  The layers of this magician run so deep, I don’t think we’ll ever peel them all back—and that’s the beauty of Raistlin.  

I was trying to come up with some complex character analysis and kept coming back to the one simple fact that everything about Raistlin is perfect—even down to his negative traits.  He’s crafted in such a way that it all melds together masterfully.  He makes readers love to hate him—but care about him in the same breath.  He treats his brother like garbage, yet will be there to help him if his life is in danger.  He manipulates those around him, enrages them to the point of exasperation.  But beneath those heavy robes and golden skin, there’s a man who is constantly haunted by his own mortality and weaknesses, whether he wants to admit it or not.  And those factors drove him—to, well, read the books…

-L.A. Wasielewski

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Raistlin Majere:

Raistlin, Raistlin, Raistlin, my dear old wizarding pal. How I like you and dislike you, all at the same time!
If I was doing a forensic history of Mr. Majere, I would conclude that this dude has issues! Not little issues like he might be a bit unrealistic at times or he might be a bit uncouth. No, he has full blown personality issues. He is a total narcissist, and if I was putting him in the DSM – 5 or ICD -10 diagnostic criteria, he totally fits the bill for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. 
My evidence, he is Deficient of conscience; unscrupulous, amoral, disloyal, fraudulent, deceptive, arrogant, exploitive; dominating, contemptuous and vindictive.
However, not all the time! Raistlin is more complex than that. At times, he can be gentle, kind, playful and also show all the opposite qualities listed above. For instance, just think back to the part in the Dragonlance Chronicles when Raistlin et al, take on the disguise of travelling performers. At this point, Raistlin is almost likeable. He appears carefree and believe it or not, he is even nice to children. 
What? Raistlin, nice to kids? You are kidding right?
It just shows doesn’t it? Even the most seemingly unlikeable characters have a good side and are more complex than what we think, and that is most true of Raistlin. One of the most complex characters in modern fantasy.
I was first introduced to The Dragonlance Chronicles back in the 90’s by a friend who was really into D&D. At this point, I had read loads of fantasy, stuff like David Eddings, Tolkien, David Gemmel, Piers Anthony, Stephen Donaldson and Raymond E. Feist to name but a few. 
On the whole, I had come across lots of wizards, Gandalf and the crew, and most of them fit the bill of being generally bumbling old men. However, this belied the power they exerted and they could at once be powerful and terrible and I liked that juxtaposition of their characters.
However, it was not until I met Raistlin in The Dragons of Autumn Twilight that I had any inkling that they could be different. Here was a guy that was similar in age to myself at the time. He isn’t particularly heroic or even likeable. He can be snarky, petty and vindictive. It went against the grain of most of the other wizards that I had read at the time. He wasn’t interested in the greater good. He was interested in what he could become and how he could get there. Not particularly admirable qualities, but a refreshing change. 
In some ways, he reminded me of one of my favorite characters, Elric the Enchanter. They are both similarly afflicted by their frailties, both needing to imbibe some sort of concoction to keep themselves alive (although Elric managed to find Stormbringer and that ate the souls of those he killed and then transferred the power to him), both on the arrogant side and both had odd skin tones. 
Although that is where the similarity ends
It’ s interesting watching Raistlin’s journey throughout the original Dragonlance chronicles, how he develops from his begrudging reliance on his brother Caramon to becoming an individual that relies on nobody but himself.
One of the things that is quite admirable is that Raistlin never shies away from his own actions. He always maintains ownership of his actions whether right or wrong, and you have to say, he never lies. He may not give the whole truth, but he never lies. He will always tell you the truth, regardless of whether you want to hear it or not.
One of the other characteristics that I like about him is his constant skirting of his personality. At times, he will happily wear the robes of neutrality, at others, he will wear the robes of darkness, similarly reflecting his roles within the books. At times, he will be the protagonist, at others the antagonist. I suppose looking at it, Raistlin probably started my love for grim dark fiction. Here was a character that was not particularly likeable, but could carry the weight of the story on his shoulders regardless of his lack of affability. That is not to say that he can’t be funny. He can, but it is always tempered with that underlying snarkiness.
On top of that, let’s not forget Raistlin’s power. He is definitely one of the most powerful wizards in fantasy, and this tapped into my love for beings that could warp the very essence of reality and transform it into something completely different.
So there we have it. Raistlin in a nutshell!

-Fantasy Book Nerd

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Raistlin Majere:

There have already been two fantastic descriptions of Raistlin. However, I love him so much that I’m going to add my two cents’ worth anyway.

Raistlin is cunning, he’s smart, he’s untrustworthy. He’s known as “the Sly One” for good reason. He’s also brilliantly written and his story arc is what spawned my love for morally ambiguous characters.

Raistlin is the twin of the affable Caramon. The uncanny side of the coin, Raistlin is everything Caramon is not. He has made readers uncomfortable since his conception and I think I know why. He takes the parts of us that we all prefer to keep hidden- our jealousy, bitterness, anger, and hunger for power- and proudly brings them into the open. He isn’t a “good guy”, but he’s not your typical “bad guy” either. He doesn’t apologize for who he is, and he never hides it. He is the epitomy of a morally gray character.

Raistlin can be very cruel, which is especially evident in his interactions with Caramon. He’s also capable of great compassion. He understands what it’s like to be looked down on or bullied. His relationship with his twin is a codependent one, and is developed amazingly well throughout multiple books. Caramon is the physical strength of the frail Raistlin, but Raistlin is Caramon’s will and purpose. It’s hard to say who needs the other more.

Raistlin can’t swing a sword, nor can he shoot a bow. He’s a magic user, extremely skilled in his art. Oh, and did I mention that he has hourglass eyes and golden skin? I’m not explaining, I’ll leave that to the books. Let’s just say, Raistlin is hardcore. However, it’s his complexity of character that makes him one of my favorite characters of all time. Certainly, he’s my favorite magic user (sorry, Gandalf).

-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

More Books Featuring Raistlin:

Time of the Twins (Legends trilogy)

Soulforge

About the Contributors:

Rob Edwards: Rob Edwards is a British born writer and content creator, living in Finland. His podcast, StorycastRob, features readings from his short stories and extracts from longer work. He writes about coffee, despite not drinking it, spaceships, despite being down-to-earth, and superheroes, despite everything.

His debut novel, The Ascension Machine was published in 2020. His short stories can be found in anthologies from Inklings Press and Rivenstone Press.

A life-long gamer and self-professed geek, he is proud of his entry on wookieepedia, the result of writing several Star Wars RPG scenarios in his youth.

Links:
Amazon: The Ascension Machine
Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/StorycastRob
Check out his Podcast: http://storycastrob.co.uk/
Or YouTube: Rob Edwards

Fantasy Book Nerd: Fantasy Book Nerd here! As you can see from the name, I might have a bit of a thing for fantasy. 
I know, shocking isn’t it? I don’t know what gave it away!
Anyway, if you liked what I wrote, you can find some more reviews on www.fantasybooknerd.com. Don’t be scared, I don’t bite, and neither does Frank – The skelebog jester who guards the site.
Oh, and I also occasionally post on Gingernuts of Horror.

Author L.A. Wasielewski: L.A. Wasielewski is a gamer, nerd, baseball fan (even though the Brewers make it very difficult sometimes), and mom.  When she’s not writing, she’s blasting feral ghouls and super mutants in the wastelands, baking and cooking, and generally being a smart-ass.  She’s very proud of the fact that she has survived several years with two drum kits in the house—and still has most of her hearing intact. 

Books 1&2 of her adult epic dark fantasy Alchemist Trilogy are out now, with Book3 due to debut Autumn 2021.

Find her online:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorBebedora

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LAWasielewski/

Website:  http://www.lawasielewski.com/

Amazon link:  https://www.amazon.com/L-A-Wasielewski/e/B07KNTW444/

Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub: Jodie Crump is the creator of the Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub blog. She either lives in Florida with her husband and sons, or in a fantasy book-she’ll never tell which. When she’s not reading, Jodie balances her time between homeschooling her hooligans, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and lamenting her inability to pronounce “lozenge”.

Find her online:

www.wittyandsarcasticbookclub.home.blog

Twitter: @WS_BOOKCLUB