My writing process is strange, sometimes. I spent a lot of time in my youth creating game systems and running games for friends. I used to play D&D and others, both as the DM and as a player.

Nowadays, it’s basically impossible for me to get a group. I can live with the sadness, if only just barely.

That background seems to influence my writing quite a bit. I’ve been slogging along on Refuge, slowly. I hit a roadblock a little while ago. My first PVP battle.

Now, you might think that’d be no problem. I’ll just bang it out. But damn, it was. Three sides, two of which are players. The enemy party has a diverse party composition and the arena isn’t straightforward.

I started to write it and realized I had no idea what was going to happen. I stopped myself, and built my enemy party. What was their build, what items and skills/powers/spells did they have? That took a while.

Once that was done, I had to plan the battle. If I still had my D&D paraphernalia I would have broken out the playmat and the minis, but I had none of that.

So off to the hobby shop I went. I got myself some token backs and glue, and a big piece of paper. Here’s the result.

Our heroes are along the bottom, Troy, John and Roderick in a row with Lucianna hanging back.
The enemy party is surrounding two Valda with their archer and mage farther back.
John and Roderick attack the big brute in front while Troy rushes the enemy cleric.
The fight is almost over. I don’t want to spoil things here.

What you can see here isn’t the whole story. I have two sheets of notes describing seven “rounds” of this fight. I didn’t break out the dice. I’m an old DM after all, sometimes the dice just get in the way!

I felt a bit silly doing this, but it really helped. I also map out my heroes’ dungeons before they enter them, along with encounters. It works for me.

I hope you’ll enjoy the results.