Who Is This Prosatio Silban, And What Does He Want?

Prosatio Silban in his galleywagon / Illo (c) 2008 Alana Dill, http://youbecomeart.com

IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA’S DIABLO VALLEY c. 1978, Dungeons & Dragons was barely known outside the fantasy-and-science-fiction community. I first learned of it around that time via David Hargrave‘s Arduin: a created world not unlike J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, or Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar.

The most addicting D&D element for me has always been “worldbuilding” – establishing an ecology of people, monsters and treasure within a self-consistent storytelling framework. It’s an excellent outlet for structured creativity, and one day, while at my day-job as an offset printer, I grabbed a pad, scrawled a coastline and bay, added some mountains and a river basin, and began describing those who lived there.

Some years later I had compiled several notebooks and folders full of maps and diagrams, charts and lists, races and religions, legends and monsters, mostly written in two-to-60 minute slices during and between offset jobs. It was a lot of fun. But it was also pretty lonely; at that point, I didn’t play D&D anymore, and I felt a bit … unrequited. And, to be honest, somewhat silly.

The Exilic Lands and environs

So in 2005, I decided to tell stories to answer the question, “What would it be like to actually make a living in one of these invented worlds?” After all, somebody has to clean up all those slain dragons (and, probably, buy groceries and pay rent). Thus was born Prosatio Silban, self-defrocked holyman and mercenary cook.

Worldbuilding and its fruits have brought me great joy (and occasional comfort) during the past several decades. I hope you have found some joy in it too.

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