Monthly Archives: March 2013

Story Plotting Dilema

I’ve been considering restarting work on a fantasy story I started writing a couple of years back.  At this point before I start writing, I want to get a bit better idea where the story is going.  But, while I’ve got some of the next part figured out during my working sessions (i.e. during the time between lying down and night and falling asleep), I’m stuck on what to do with two of my characters.

First A bit of background.  The characters and story started out as a setting, pre-generated characters and an adventure start for a D&D campaign I never ran.  The setting for the start of this campaign and, thus, the story is in The Dwarven Kingdom and a large valley nearly encircled by the mountains that make up the valley.  This valley is inhabited by halflings (“Valley Folk”), both farmers and the merchants and traders to facilitate the moving of goods in and out of the valley and the mountainous areas inhabited by the dwarves.

The characters I have are:

  • A dwarf fighter who is the leader, a squad leader in the  official military/police of the kingdom, but given command and responsibility for building an ad-hoc command to start the investigation which leads to the adventure.
  • A pair of dwarf brothers who are very close in age and have a relationship akin to twins in human populations, who were forced to take different career paths by their clan leaders.  One is a ranger trained with the king’s gamekeeper and the other is a monk – one of the few non-human monks – trained at a monastery outside of The Dwarven Kingdom to the north and east.
  • A halfling female cleric.  She is the adopted daughter of a village pastor, having had the rest of her family killed in an orc raid.
  • A halfling paladin.  He is the son of a very rich family, and became a paladin after reading adventure stories set in the human lands to the east.  He is in love with the cleric, but is also a bit arrogant (or at least is supposed to be, I’m not sure I’ve written him that way)
  • The adopted brother of the cleric.  He ran away from home and has become a rogue while keeping an eye on his sister during her training.  He is also convinced that the paladin is only using his sister until someone of his class shows up, and doesn’t trust the paladin alone with his sister – fearing both for her emotions and her chastity.

So far, the party has investigated the initial problem and partially solved it – defeating the remaining people at an evil, false, temple and discovering that many dwarves and halflings have been led north as prisoners or slaves.  When I stopped writing, the party was heading to the capital – a large dwarven city located in a large cave above the end of the valley opposite its opening.

I’ve decided that at least for a while I will need to split the party, having the squad leader and the ranger track the captives and sending the monk and the rogue to the larger church installation that included  the monastery the monk was trained at.  The rogue is being sent there as the person who found a key piece of evidence that indicates greater evil is afoot, or at least that is what he’s being told.  A friend of his father has also suggested this noting his interest in the monk’s abilities and the need to push him away from his roguish start.

The problem I am left with is what to do with the other two party members at this point.  Each option I can come up with has consequences for the character development – or doesn’t really make sense.

Sending both the cleric and the paladin with the party tracking the captives would make external sense – putting a healer and another skilled fighter with the party most likely to run into trouble.  But the rogue would at the least object strongly, and might insist on going with his sister.  The later option would be disruptive to my growth plans for that character (one fo the few times I’ve had a character I was writing tell me to move him in a different direction than I first had planned), and could be bad from a story direction.

I could split the two up, putting one in each party.  This might be the best option, but I’m not sure which split would work better.  Neither of these options would be objectionable to the rogue – but I don’t think he’d like being under the command of the paladin which would be occur if they were in a party together without the squad leader.  I’m also not sure that the cleric and the paladin would be happy being forced to split up.

I could also create a third mission for the paladin and cleric – probably searching for an individual who has skills and knowledge that may be needed later int he adventure.  But this has the same drawbacks regarding character conflict as the first option, and would require that I deal with three story lines instead of two.

I welcome any suggestions or ideas to help me out of this dilemma, so that the only obstacles remaining are my lack of free time, motivation and writing skills (or perceived writing skills).

If there is interest, I may be persuaded to put what I have online as well.  I doubt I’d ever be in a position to publish this in any way that early web publication would hurt.