My writing compatriots often joke with me that I write novels like a game designer: eighty thousand words into world building before I realize that I need a plot and some characters. In the case of Sacred Band, the joke is literal truth, though.
As part of my character design, I decided to turn to a familiar “language” for my development of Gauss, Deosil, Sentinel, Optic, and Llorona – the language of game mechanics. Specifically, the Mutants & Masterminds rule set. Building my protagonists in that system allowed me to make decisions on things like abilities and limitations as a structured undertaking.
Of course, when the story needed something that the rules didn’t or couldn’t account for, the story won out, but having that starting line to apply my creativity to in the first place made the process much easier than just writing into a blank space entirely.
First out the gate, we look at Gauss, the young magnetic college kid who is the catalyst for the formation of Sacred Band! He’s a mag-leving daredevil who prefers to work his powers through a cloud of ball bearings he keeps with him. Though he’s new to the superhero business, he’s all in.
Sacred Band is now on sale in the Green Ronin Online Store (in print or in ebook) and on Amazon (in print or for Kindle). It’s even available in ebook on DrivethruRPG. Look for it at your local retailer as well!
Joe is a developer for Green Ronin’s Blue Rose AGE line. He has worked in the tabletop gaming industry for nearly twenty years, during which he’s been a fiercely outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion, both in the industry and in the games we make. He is also a novelist, with his first novel Sacred Band garnering starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly. Both Sacred Band and his second novel, Shadowtide, are available now from Nisaba Press. Joseph lives in Portland, Oregon with his fiancé A.J.