Having read Lord of the Rings in my teenage years, I was eventually inspired to try my own hand at writing. I’d always enjoyed writing stories at school. The trigger that started me writing in earnest was after a walking holiday in Cornwall with two friends from University. I wrote a diary of our adventures walking round the Coastal Path from Hayle to Penzance in the summer of 1980 and this turned into the beginning of a novel that was never completed where a trio of walkers got transported to a fantasy world.
Later it started to get converted into a Dungeons and Dragons setting but that initial effort never went very far and it was left for a few years until I had been playing Kallisti in Saturnalia for a while. I the for some reason I cannot now remember was inspired to write a story about a Kallisti character based on the Saturnalia Kallisti, but nowhere near as evil.
This first story, “A Lady’s Progress”, was pretty bad and is not reproduced here as frankly its too bloody awful! However parts of it do resurface as flashbacks in “Hand of Fate”. I enjoyed the process of storytelling and even invested in an early word-processor, an Amstrad PCW to allow me to type the stories. My audience was initially quite limited to just friends who indulged me a little, but recently I found some pages where friends had provided feedback and nice comments.
My big ‘breakthrough’ came when a new gaming magazine was launched called GM. I knew one of the editors who was another player in Saturnalia and he asked if they could publish some of my stories. I jumped at the chance and so Issue one contained “Pearls of Wisdom” and Issue 2 contained “Hand of Fate”. I still have in my possession 4 copies of issue 1 but sadly have lost my copies of Issue 2.
Not long after these stories were published I spent a very pleasant afternoon in a bar at a small sci-fi writers convention getting drunk with Terry Pratchett, before he became famous and a Sir. He had read my Kallisti stories in GM and said he liked them!!!!! Me? Chuffed? not arf!
Kallisti’s story in Mardona developed over the years and I discovered I enjoyed writing her storyline more than the original stories that I had started. There was even character development and a plot arc developing!
Then in the early 90s, I helped start up a new Role-Playing group at my workplace and decided to pick up the idea of developing Mardona further as a D&D campaign setting, and so the town of Three Ways was created as the basis of the RPG group and further background was developed. The D&D campaign lasted about 2 years and then went on hiatus for some time during the mid-90s. At the same time I stopped writing – real life issues were dominating my time and all my efforts at getting published were failing and there is only so much rejection one can take!
A few years later the possibility of restarting the D&D campaign resurfaced but rather that pick up where the previous one had left off, the new campaign would take place a few years later, after Mardona – the country in the fantasy world the stories had been set in – had been at war with its neighbour, Laar and the social upheaval that had caused, tainting the governance and leadership with a more authoritarian streak.
The last story in the Kallisti cycle had been “The Inn of Blood” which was set against the background of the war with Laar and Kallisti infiltrating into that country, ostensibly to attempt the assassination of what she’d been led to believe was the charismatic leader of the Laarian nation. That plot arc was never followed up and the campaign never really took off – once again real life scheduling and other pressures resulted in the breakup of the gaming group in the early 2000s.
In the meantime, Kallisti had started appearing in my online gaming, but that is a story for those pages.
Bringing the story full up-to-date, (so far), the inspiration for the Kallistiverse concept was the multitude of parallel-timeline Kallistis in City of Heroes. Then recently I started playing Conan Exiles and of course created a Kallisti character in that. It then occurred to me that even though that Kallisti wasn’t in City of Heroes, she was still part of the Kallistiverse. This then led me to the realisation that the Kallistiverse isn’t limited to CoH, but ALL the Kallistis are part of the Kallistiverse and there is a story that connects the Mardonan Kallisti to the Conan Exiles Kallisti and eventually to a Kallisti in City of Heroes!
This led to the most recent chapter in the Mardonan Kallisti storyline which picks up Kallisti’s story many years after the war with Laar and gives hints as to what happened. I’m really pleased with the connections that came up across genres of writing and gaming – it seems that there is a much better and coherent storyline developing that I had ever imagined before.
We’ve come full circle and that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that maybe this is important somehow… it isn’t really but I’d like to think that!
Below are the stories that were written for Kallisti in Mardona. There are some gaps where stories were part-written but never completed to my satisfaction. I may now be able to revisit those gaps and do a better job of it now 30 years later!
Early Kallisti Stories
These are the stories of Kallisti’s early days, when she was a thief and ‘entertainer’
Pearls of Wisdom
Where were first meet our heroine and the first part of the plot arc.
The Hand of Fate
Where we discover a bit more about our heroine’s history
Honour of Thieves
Our heroine’s past comes back to haunt her
Companion of Mages
One mistake is all it took!
Later Kallisti Stories
These stories take place later in her career once she has grown and developed new skills and moralities
The Temple of Lithil
An infiltration mission of utmost importance
The House of Death
An unfinished story, taking place in the southern city of Arhas
Kallisti goes undercover
The Flames of Love
Dealing with the aftermath of Ambre Rat
The Inn of Blood
An isolated Inn in a blizzard, what could possibly go wrong?
The Story Continues 30 years later (or about 50 in the Mardona timeline):
Kallisti and the Apparition: Hyborean Exile Part 1
and crossing over into Conan Exiles…