“Inspirations and Influences” is a series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their…well, Inspirations and Influences. The cool thing is that the writers are given free rein so they can go wild and write about anything they want. It can be about their new book, series or about their career as a whole.
Today, we are thrilled to once again welcome Jackie Morse Kessler as part of the Blog Tour for her new release Loss, the third book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series (which Ana will be reviewing later today).
Please give it up for Jackie!
Magic Weapons And Other D&D Influences
By Jackie Morse Kessler
I used to play Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. A lot. Every Sunday afternoon, I’d get together with about ten other people, and we’d go off and save the world. Well, at least our characters did. Us? We kicked back and ate bad food. I hugely enjoyed playing AD&D – getting to roleplay, getting to solve puzzles, and, as mentioned before, getting to save the world.
One of the tropes of AD&D is the magic weapon. You know, the +5 sword or the shield that you can use as a mirror to behold monsters in their true forms without any permanent damage to your mind, body or sense of humor. If you had a magic weapon, life got much easier for your AD&D character.1 Magic weapons, like bow ties, are cool.
My AD&D roots peeked through when I wrote Hunger, the first book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series. In that book, the protagonist, Lisa, is given a set of bronze (or maybe brass) scales—an old-fashioned balance. This gives her the power of Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. There are hints in that book that Famine is its own being, separate from Lisa—and this becomes clear in the second book, Rage.
In Rage, the heroine, Missy, gets a sword. Not just any sword, either—when she first looks at it, it’s more like the suggestion of a sword, but as soon as she picks it up, it transforms into a sleek silver weapon. And that’s when she starts hearing the voice of War in her head.2
Another AD&D trope? The intelligent weapon. That is, a magic weapon that has its own personality. You know, like the ring in The Lord of the Rings, or Lindsey McDonald’s evil hand in Angel. 3 The tools in the Riders of the Apocalypse, whether or not they’re weapons, are intelligent. And that can be a real headache for the Riders wielding those tools.
In LOSS, one of the tools is a bow that requires neither string nor arrow. When Billy, the protagonist, wields it, he accidentally unleashes disease. Whoops. The other symbol is the Conqueror’s crown—and wearing it can be devastating.
What are some of your favorite magic weapons from books, film or television?
One lucky commenter below will win a small cover poster of LOSS and will be entered in the grand prize drawing! The grand prize winner will receive signed copies of HUNGER, RAGE and LOSS—and will get to name a character in BREATH, the fourth book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series. The grand prize winner will be picked on Sunday, April 1, 2012. No foolin’.
Giveaway is open to ALL and will run till Saturday March 24 11:59PM (PST). Good luck!