As a writer, I am always on the look out for story ideas. Inspiration can come from anywhere: a dream, a TV show, a role playing game (RPG), like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).
Up until a two and a half ago, I never played D&D. I knew it existed and what it was generally about, but none of my friends played so I never played. That is until I met my fiance. He's been playing RPG games practically his whole life and he and his friends have a standing Saturday night game. A couple of months of dating, I met his friends. A couple of weeks after that, I witnessed my first Dungeons and Dragons game. A couple of months after that, I was building my first D&D character.
Building a D&D character is like building a character for a story, so the process was natural for me. I wanted a female character who was head strong, independent and could kick some butt. This character has a tragic past, one that lead her into the game and meeting the existing set of characters. But, here's what was different for me.
I knew of fantasy characters: elves, orcs, wizards, etc., but I never really immersed myself into that type of fantasy world. I write mostly contemporary stuff. Even the current book I'm writing is grounded in contemporary fantasy: wicca, voodoo, grimoires, etc. It won't have the fantasy characters that RPGs are built around. This meant, I am learning something new. Something that I could include in a future book should an idea present itself. In fact, one did.
10 months into playing D&D, it was time for me to build another character. This time I was building a female, tiefling, rogue assassin. I was building her along side my fiance (who obviously know more about the fantasy element than I do) and as we were creating her backstory, her personality, who she is as a person, I started falling in love with her. I wanted to know more about her and build out her life far beyond what was needed for the game. She's sitting in my back pocket to develop in the future.
I have built three characters thus far and with each iteration I learn more about this world as well as my habits. Apparently, I have a type. Strong female characters with a tragic backstory who need to overcome their grief. This experience into RPGs have taught me to not only to expand out of my comfort zone sometimes, but that this world is so rich that I should try creating a fiction story for it. Who knows, maybe my tiefling, rogue assassin will be at the center of it.