Bardic Inspiration

Bardic Inspiration: Sounds of a Druid

Druid inspired songs for your creation needs!

It’s been a while since we’ve done a bardic inspiration post, and this one is all about druids! As someone who has been role-playing a druid in our TTRPG for 8 years, and has been writing Jade in our books since 2019, I know the music that gets me in the druidic vibe.

Celtic – Nathalie Manser

This is one of the first druid-inspired songs I ever saved. This was in my early days of getting into instrumentals, as well! The melody is so moving and so beautiful.

Spirit of Freedom – Peter Crowley

I love songs that feel like they take you on a journey. This one starts out humble, and then ends in this fantastic burst of druidic adventure and fun. I’d actually had this one saved for a while before listening to it fully, and then I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t experienced it all the way through yet!

Dance of the Druids – Outlander

I’ve never seen the show, but I do love this track. I guess it’s not technically an instrumental since there is singing in another language in it. But it is subtle enough that’s it’s something I listen to while I write (I usually can’t write at the same time I hear lyrics).

Jade’s Theme – Sean Gartner

The track specifically composed for our character Jade obviously holds a special place in our hearts. I love the subtle melodies and sounds in it; it makes me think of wandering a forest and all the life there.


Sick with Bronchitis, Running from Wolves

This is an autobiographical post. The names of people and places may be changed.

We decided to write autobiographical posts about the colorful life we have lived. There will be tales of sleeping in a campervan on the beach, of defending a bird’s nest from a snake, and of running away from wolves while sick with bronchitis. There will be tales of diagnosis with PTSD and ADHD and how it changed our lives, of meeting biological family, and of job loss. It’s a tale of overcoming challenges, of finding out who we are, of love, hope, cats, and of a marriage that’s gotten stronger through it all.

Autobiography Post 11

“You’ve got to see these railroad tracks,” John said. “They’re my favorite place to take photos at. It’s not far.”

His wife gave us a look. “He says it’s not far. It’s like three miles.”

Dorian and I looked at one another. It was the evening of 4th of July. We were spending the holiday with Dorian’s co-worker and rambunctious family. They lived out on multiple acres, and there were only grass fields as far as we could see.

“Sounds fun,” we agreed.

Dorian hadn’t been feeling well for a few days now. I’d ask him to see a doctor, but he didn’t want to and said he’d be fine. This was before we were married and even before we were engaged. It actually would be the next 4th of July that we’d take some Save the Date pictures at this spot with sparklers in hand.

But this year, we were up for an adventure with our friend. Jon and his brother led us away from the party and off into the sunset. We chatted as we waded through all the grass. Dorian huffed closer to me.

“I’m really not feeling so good, it’s hard to breathe,” he admitted.

“Do you want to go back?” I asked.

“No. I’ll be fine.”

It was a long walk, but we were in our early twenties then and had stamina to spare. Jon took us to the spot. The forest opened up in a gorge. A bridge crossed that gorge, topped by a railroad tracks. It was a really pretty sight. We took a lot of photos and admired the view.

“Oh look,” Jon pointed, “a coyote.”

Down below us we caught the briefest glimpse of a coyote dart into the tree line.

“Are there wolves around here?” Dorian asked.

“Oh yeah, I hear them howling at night,” Jon replied.

That made me nervous. The sun was almost completely set by now. We decided to head back in time to see the fireworks start. But we had only made it halfway before we heard the howls in the darkness.

“Those sound like wolves . . .” Dorian trailed off.

“Those are wolves,” Jon agreed “Let’s go!”

The four of us took off running. With a chorus of howls in our ears we rushed through the long grass and toward the safety of a gate we could lock behind us. As we neared it Dorian just stopped, dropping to his knees.

“I can’t run, I can’t breathe,” he panted. “Just go on.”

I grabbed him and hauled him up. “Absolutely not. Come on.”

I dragged Dorian through the gate as Jon locked it behind us. With that sense of relative safety, we went back to the party to enjoy the fireworks.

Dorian felt even worse in the days following until at last he gave in and went to urgent care.

He was diagnosed with bronchitis and put on a string of medication.

“Hmm,” he remarked thoughtfully. “I guess I really was sick.”


Playing Level 18 Characters in DnD

Some may say level 18 characters in DnD are overpowered and no longer fun, but we disagree.

“My GM ended the campaign at level 10. He said that’s how most people do it because upper levels are too powerful.”

“We ended at level 14. Things get too complicated above that.”

“Does anyone actually get to tier 4? Most campaigns fizzle out before that.”

After a number of similar things being said from friends and online, we now find ourselves in the talked-about scenario. After nearly eight years of playing the same TTRPG campaign, we have level 18 characters. And this isn’t a game we just play once a month, either. We play it every week with the exception of being sick or being out of town (though we have played from a lakeshore cabin before!).

Progressing This Far in a Story

Being able to bring characters from level 1 all the way to level 18 in DnD is thrilling. You feel them grow up, get stronger, and take on bigger challenges. They change, for the better or the worse, with the story. You build relationships with NPC’s, with other party members, and you definitely get long-running rivalries with antagonists. It’s truly a joy to tell a story for eight years, and now be so close to seeing it come to a satisfying conclusion.

Level 18 Character Powers

We played in a short-term level 20 game with B. Dave Walters. He said, “Some people think you can’t challenge players at this level. I disagree.”

That certainly was the case in his game, with many of us coming close to death. And that’s been the case in ours, as well. There is no shortage of challenges. In fact, they just get bigger and more difficult. We’ve had characters go down, we’ve had spell slots run low, and we’ve had mid-battle stress deciding what to do next.

To clarify, we are heavy homebrewers. While DnD stat blocks are very useful for level 18 characters, it’s also entirely possible and simple to build your own bad guys and monsters from scratch that are up to the task.

Tips on Tier 4 Storytelling

If you find your party in tier 4, that is to say levels 16 – 20, here are some of our tips to make it less daunting.

  • When you’re this deep in the story, it’s not always about combat. The narrative and the characters are driving it at this point. Don’t worry so much about the biggest, baddest monster you can find.
  • The environment can play a huge factor in challenges for high-level DnD characters. Steep drops, crumbling ground, dangerous thunderstorms, blizzards, and more offer expanded challenges beyond just who can hit the hardest.
  • Keep it character-focused. Involve NPCs and antagonists frequently. Give characters situations they don’t want to just firestorm their way out of, like saving innocents.
  • When role-playing a high-level character, think about the weight of their power on them. How does this affect them? Are they more or less likely to use it? Do they feel heavy responsibility? Or has it made them arrogant and reckless?

The Spool of Souls: Updates & News

Happy Halloween / Samhain!

Happy Halloween and bestest Samhain! We’ve enjoyed an October full of fun activities and celebrations. While we are not into deep horror that is rampant this time of year, we do enjoy some mild spooks, fun decorations, and of course dressing up!

This year our costumes were Rhea Ripley and Dominic Mysterio from WWE. When we went to a Halloween party at a local events facility it was great to be recognized. Our favorite moment was a slightly inebriated man walking past and saying, “It’s Dirty Dom and Mami!”

We enjoyed events around the city, including a hay ride during a fall festival. There was plenty to celebrate at home, as well. We played spooky video games including Resident Evil Village and the Neverwinter trickster festival. We carved pumpkins, had a horror-themed Magic the Gathering battle, and played the Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate board game.

Every Friday night we had a movie night! This year’s round-up was A Haunting in Venice, Coraline, The Addams Family Values, The Owl House season 3, and Hocus Pocus 2.

Our biggest celebration, of course, was Dorian’s birthday! Sadly he had a sprained ankle across his three-day weekend, but we still managed to see Josh Gates Live which was so much fun.

Celebrating my Celtic heritage we have had a good time with Samhain activities. We walked through a cemetery, and the oldest grave was came across was 1796. We also saw an old mausoleum that hadn’t been touched in years nestled halfway into a forest.

Tonight we’ll be celebrating at home with dancing, costumes, tarot and rune readings, and mummy bowling! Wishing you the happiest celebration! Let us know in the comments what your costume is this year!

The Spool of Souls: Updates & News

Spool of Souls: October Wrap Up

It’s been a busy month! We’ve been out enjoying the activities and events that are spooky season related, as well as doing activities at home. We’ve been hard at work for Thread of Souls and other projects. We actually took over 100 photos this month alone, so it’s been easy to tell we’ve had a good time!

Thread of Souls Books

We are currently working on Book V of Thread of Souls. Part II is completed and I have done a round of edits. This week I’m passing that section of the book over to Dorian for his round of edits. Then, I’m going to take another look at Part 1 for even more edits! And finally, at the start of November I can begin writing Part 3. Editing can be tedious, but it is a necessary process.

Other Projects

  • The audiobook for Phantom Five is in the process of being edited.
  • We’ve updated the Welcome page and Blog pages of the website, check them out!
  • I’ve been lending my hand at Game Sandwich (a website co-founded by Dorian) doing social media marketing and editing. It’s been a good time!
  • Been on the lookout for some new merch on our shop in time for the holidays!

Our Lives

Dorian sprained his ankle and foot, which has made us go to the doctor’s office every Friday for the last three weeks for check-ups. He did it at work on the TV show set, so we assume it’s part of the process for worker’s comp to continually go in for follow-up visits.

We got to see Josh Gates Live which was an amazing event! We love Josh Gates and have been watching his shows for nearly a decade now. It was a cold and rainy night, but the theater was beautiful!

Otherwise, we’ve been celebrating spooky season all month long. Pumpkin carving, going to a fall festival, playing themed board games, visiting a cemetery, and more. One of our highlights was going to our first-ever adult Halloween-themed party hosted by an event center. We had such a blast!


Why We Don’t Use AI to Write

With the spread of AI in the creative field, we give our thoughts on it and why we don’t use AI to write our stories. Or anything, for that matter.

It wasn’t long ago that I was on LinkedIn. On the front page I saw a post by another writer who loved using AI, specifically ChatGPT. He was fully championing it’s use for everyone’s writing. This perplexed me and I shared my thoughts that an AI’s writing will never be up to the caliber of a human’s writing.

“It does need editing, I’ll admit,” he said. “But it sure makes things faster, doesn’t it?”

I never responded, but it left me thinking. Dorian and I got into the writing business because we like to write. Because it was a hobby before it was a job. Because we can’t see ourselves doing anything else. We are creators in the heart and soul. Why would I want to minimize something I feel like I was born to do? Why would I want to cut out any part of that process?

don't use AI to write

Prior to being laid off last year, we both worked for a very large online game on the creative team. I launched the very first narrative arc for this game in a series of short stories. Everyone on the team took turns writing a short story a week. We remember finding the writing of one of our team members odd. Their stories were confusing, and the writing was hard to chew through. They briefly mentioned in one virtual meeting that they used a software to help them write. At the time, I didn’t realize they were talking about AI.

After being laid off, we looked for jobs. The writing field was polarizing when it came to AI. Some jobs wanted you to work with their AI to be faster. Others said they wanted “real writers” and anyone caught using AI would be terminated.

So where do we stand on all of this?

I can see the benefit of AI for people who do not know how to write. But even then, it requires editing to sound normal. For professional writers, I don’t see any reason one would need to rely on AI. And I couldn’t imagine tossing away any part of what I love to do most.

For fun, I decided to compare lines I have written in our books to the way AI would write them. Asking AI to offer me different ways to word my original work, here is what it produced.

  • My original writing: “That’s just madness,” Ruuda sighed. “Gods are terrible.”
  • AI’s suggestion: “It’s madness, plain and simple,” Ruuda sighed in frustration. “The whims of the gods are quite vexing.”
  • My original writing: Taliesin and Ruuda walked several feet ahead of her, side by side, often exchanging looks like a silent conversation.
  • AI’s suggestion: Taliesin and Ruuda, on the other hand, walked a few paces ahead of her, walking side by side. They frequently exchanged meaningful glances, conveying their thoughts through unspoken words, resembling a silent, wordless conversation.
  • My original writing: The field of tall grass, bronze in the harsh sunlight, slapped across Unolé’s skin as she ran. It tugged at her legs, threatening to trip her. But she pushed on. She had to. At least until she and her sister found somewhere to hide. All that mattered now was keeping the little girl at her side safe.
  • AI’s suggestion: The expansive expanse of sunlit bronze tall grass brushed against Unolé’s skin as she sprinted, its slender blades teasingly tugging at her legs, as if conspiring to make her stumble. Nevertheless, she persevered. She had no choice but to keep running, at least until she and her sister discovered a sanctuary where they could seek refuge. The paramount goal was ensuring the safety of the little girl who clung to her side.

Final Thoughts

No, we don’t use AI to write and never will. The quality is terrible and the phrasing laughable. It doesn’t have the ability to change tone in subtle ways depending on how a character is speaking. And honestly, the examples above were some of the “best” it produced. It had a hard time differentiating that we meant “gods” as in a pantheon, instead of “god” like a swear word.

But the most important reason is that we like to write. It’s fun. And I am still as puzzled today as I was the first time I read the LinkedIn post by a professional writer who wanted to use AI just to get his writing over with faster.


Creating Characters Using Myers-Briggs

We talk creating characters by using the 16 Myers-Briggs personalities.

We have discussed the Myers-Briggs personalities in the past. In our series of very popular blogs we did a survey of 500+ people regarding their personality type and playing habits with D&D. The results were pretty interesting! We’ve taken the test ourselves and agreed with the outcome. We’ve also taken the test in-character as characters from our Thread of Souls book series and found perfect alignment, as well! So that got us thinking about how writers and creators could use the personality types on Myers-Briggs to help them develop new characters.

When you visit the 16 personalities website, you’ll find an overview of each type. You’ll find the Inventor who has a thirst for knowledge, the Campaigner who is a free spirit, the Executive who excels in managing things, and more. By clicking on each personality type, you get an extremely comprehensive breakdown.

The Breakdown

When we click on the Logician, we get a highly detailed breakdown of this personality type. It starts with a page-long Introduction, which is very useful in getting a feel for this character. It also provides real-world examples of Logicians to put things into context, such as Albert Einstein, Kristin Stewart, and Lord Varys from Game of Thrones.

We have series of pages after that. The Strengths and Weaknesses page is great for developing a well-rounded character. We get pages on how they deal with Romance and Friendships, which is great for inter-character relations. There is one for how they would act as parents for characters that have children. Career Paths and Workplace Habits are excellent references for choosing a profession for them. And finally, Conclusion gives more thoughts for this character.

Using a Personality Profile to Create a Character

Let’s use the Executive one, and say we are going to create a character that would exist in our high fantasy Thread of Souls world.

Introduction: We learn that Executives are “model citizens” in a sense they uphold the law, follow rules, and focus on a democratic community. We will design a character that lives in Sunspire and is actively involved in the community. They take the laws of the city very seriously.

Strengths & Weakness: We flesh out our character with their strengths being highly organized, very patient, and extremely dedicated to the tasks they take on. For their weaknesses, we choose from the provided list that they are stubborn in their viewpoints, not comfortable with new and untested ideas, and never relax.

Romance & Friendships: Learning from the personality website, we put our character into a stable and long marriage, where they are committed, honest, and reliable, but not very romantic or spontaneous. For their friendships, our character has a very wide net of friendships and connections, however, there isn’t much diversity in people or viewpoints. We will have our character socialize in one part of Sunspire and not interact much with different people.

Parenthood: Reading that Executives tend to be strict parents, we think it will be fun to give them a rebellious adolescent child that challenges their way of thinking.

Careers & Workplace Habits: By reading we learn that Executives tend to stay with one employer for their entire career, and like a culture of hard work and discipline. Suggested careers are the military, law enforcement, hospitals, legal firms, and politics. We will put our character as a leader within Sunspire’s military establishment, the Solchens.

Conclusion: Going through the conclusion, we will add the last details to our character. Their story will revolve around having to learn to accept different views and unorthodox approaches in order to overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge. The solution will be brought to them by their rebellious adolescent, giving them an opportunity to heal a strained relationship.

We hope this helps you learn new ways to create characters and generate ideas for your stories!


Growing Up on the Plains

This is an autobiographical post. The names of people and places may be changed.

We decided to write autobiographical posts about the colorful life we have lived. There will be tales of sleeping in a campervan on the beach, of defending a bird’s nest from a snake, and of running away from wolves while sick with bronchitis. There will be tales of diagnosis with PTSD and ADHD and how it changed our lives, of meeting biological family, and of job loss. It’s a tale of overcoming challenges, of finding out who we are, of love, hope, cats, and of a marriage that’s gotten stronger through it all.

Autobiography Post 10

An Oklahoma Childhood

We both were born and raised in Oklahoma. It was in the same suburb, and we went to the same schools, though Dorian was a grade ahead and we never met one another. Since leaving the state we never wanted to return, though circumstances brought us back for a brief period. Childhoods in Oklahoma are full of hot, thunderstorm summers and ice-covered winters, with very little to appreciate in terms of the weather, things to do, and a future outlook.

We both always had big dreams of creativity, travel, and opportunities. And Oklahoma is not where those things happen. Unless you’re a country singer, as the state has birthed quite a few of those!

The suburb we grew up was all barbeque and burger fast-food restaurants. It’s a good place to gain weight. There’s little in the form of community spaces and activities. It’s not walkable. Everyone lives the same life. They grow up, work in Tulsa, and get a little house with a little family.

That wasn’t what we wanted to do.

Family Life

I was adopted as a baby. The story as it was told to me at the time was that my adoptive parents weren’t successful in having children, so they adopted from a woman who was pregnant. Though, five years later, they did have their own child, my younger sister. Whenever I asked about my biological family, it was usually met with the same response.

“I don’t know anything. You can try to find them when you’re older. But, I don’t want you to leave me.”

My adoptive father was reserved and cold. He didn’t like to interact with anyone, including the family. He went to work at the same place he’d work at for 20+ years with little in terms of promotions or changes. When I remember him, it’s sitting on the couch, watching tv, with the remote and snacks balanced on a large belly.

He and my adoptive mother fought at least once a week, usually every day. Large fights where things were thrown, furniture was turned over, and each would promise divorce. I recall comforting my crying baby sister in my room while we heard our father bash our video camera into the wall during one of his rages. He liked to break things in his anger. My adoptive mother was far more manipulative with her anger.

A textbook narcissist and lifelong “victim”, she would openly admit she liked to lie and pretend to cry to get what she wanted. She couldn’t keep any job down for long and so never had any career to speak of. She always would rage quit, leaving a long line of drama wherever she went. Each day she came home from work was a new story.

“You won’t believe what happened to me today! I have the worst luck!”

Her drama wasn’t just contained at work. She spread it across the neighborhood, across the extended family, and to my sister’s athletic events. It’s little surprise my adoptive mother never had any friends. Gossip, backstabbing, and arguments were her hobbies. I remember her also sitting on the couch watching tv, shoveling candy into her mouth.

“I’m so fat,” she’d complain around her mouthful. “I hate myself.”

My younger sister inherited my adoptive father’s rage and adoptive mother’s passive aggression in one nice bundle. You could never tell if she was lying right to your face or if she was about to hit you. It still makes me sad to this day because we were close when we were younger. But as she got older the bullying, verbal abuse, and talking behind others’ backs got worse. Her and her mother were tandem partners in this, whispering and laughing at other people (always making sure the victim could see this) while her and her father would have physical standoffs with one another.

I used to think something was wrong with me. I preferred to sit and draw rather than play sports like the rest of the family. I wanted to travel instead of being content in this town like the rest of the family. My refusal to take part in their passive aggressive activities meant I would end up being the target. I often felt alone and misunderstood, with deep insecurities. My days typically ended crying myself to sleep, praying another family would come to get me.

Dorian’s childhood wasn’t so different. His parents also had trouble conceiving, so they adopted his older sister from India. A few years later, he was born.

His father is a busybody, and we suspect its where Dorian inherited his ADHD. Soccer, gardening, housework, biking, boating . . . you are unlikely to ever find his father sitting down. His athletic ability didn’t prevent his heart attack in 2015, but he made a full recovery. He works as a computer technician and has made a long career of it. He is a soft-spoken man, good-natured and rarely upset. But the downside of that is he never protected or stood up for his son against the neighborhood bullies, or the bullying of the mother and sister.

Dorian’s mother is a Boss. She ensures everyone knows she is in charge, and dominates the conversation no matter who it is with. You are always wrong, and she is always right. She works in accounting, and she is very organized and very detailed. This is both a boon and a bane. Her own way of planning supersedes everyone else. And if you question, then you get the cold shoulder.

Both of Dorian’s parents are fond of drinking. Vacations as a child centered on going to breweries and sampling beer. The children had no choice but to go, but weren’t allowed to bring their own games or activities. This meant Dorian spent many vacations bored and watching his parents drink.

His older sister is a complicated person. She has no interest in her Indian heritage, despite her parents trying to get her involved in cultural activities. Passive in her aggression, she shows her anger at others by simply not speaking to them, sometimes for years. If the target of her silence tries to talk it out like an adult should, her response is:

“I’m not mad. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

And then she goes back to the silent treatment.

Kids’ Stuff

My adoptive family tried to get me into sports, but I don’t have a single competitive bone in my body. I hated sports. For some years I did martial arts and dance which I loved. The helicopter parenting style of my adoptive family meant I wasn’t allowed to go to summer camps, birthday parties, sleepovers, etc. This meant keeping friendships long-term was very difficult.

So, I would spend my time writing stories, drawing art, and reading fanfictions online. I enjoyed being outside, taking walks, and photography. And reading. I loved reading anything and everything, but especially the fantasy genre.

Dorian’s family also tried to get him into sports, which he equally hated. He also is not competitive. His main activity was band, which he did in school for many years. He was extremely close to Cameron and his family, and he had an extended friend group that hosted large-scale video game parties at his parents’ house.

Dorian liked to play games, create stories, and film homemade movies with his friends. It’s little wonder he’s ended up as an executive producer in television! He was never much into reading (a hobby I introduced to him once we started dating), but stories and characters he loved.


Are memories of childhood complicated for everyone? Or are there people out there who only have happy and good memories?

Being raised by a narcissist in a household where I was the scapegoat for the family’s problems was painful and what led to my adult diagnosis of CPTSD. But there are some fond memories. Playing video games for hours with my adoptive sister. Large holiday parties with my extended family of 30+, even if there was drama between other people.

Dorian fondly remembers growing up with Cameron, playing games with his friends, and his father playing the accordion at the Christmas Eve parties. Those good memories are equally mixed in with an authoritarian household and lack of emotional connection with certain family members.

I felt this post was necessary to talk about our childhoods as a whole. In the future I may tell particularly funny, entertaining, or impactful stories. But this is a good overview of how we grew up, and how it shaped us.


Baldur’s Gate III – Act II Thoughts

We recently completed Act II of Baldur’s Gate 3, the immersive game based around Dungeons & Dragons. Following up on our thoughts for Act I, here is a spoiler-free overview of Act II.

The Story

The second act of Baldur’s Gate 3 is heavily story-based. From early on you begin to pick up on lore about the largest enemy (or ally, depending on if you are playing a good or evil game), Ketheric Thorm. Through exploring, talking to NPC’s, talking to your own party, and reading documents around the map, you begin to piece together the story of what took place in this shadow-ravaged area.

The storyline is compelling, with complicated characters and fully realized histories. Each step you take leads you to another, and everything logically falls into place. The only thing that stood apart was what felt like a sidequest in the Gauntlet of Shar, but actually was part of the main questline.

The stories you discover here can be depressing. This act is centered on death and destruction on a large scale, with innocent lives caught in the middle. But if you choose a heroic game, it does feel nice to restore goodness to the area once again.

The Gameplay

The fights are a lot of fun, and there are truly some spectacular dungeons. Grymforge was one of our favorites to go through. Aside from one small puzzle in the Gauntlet of Shar, every challenge felt logical, every puzzle made sense, and you were never left wondering what you to do next.

There is a good balance here between peaceful interactions and violence. That is to say, there are areas where you can explore and socialize without fear, and other areas where dangers and horrors are aplenty. The Last Light Inn was a standout location, offering more and more areas of intrigue the further we delved.

The Locations

Beautifully realized locations are across the map with this act in Baldur’s Gate 3. From the soaring peaks of the monastery, to the dark and dangerous shadow lands, the environments invited more and more exploration.

That being said, there were a few areas we chose not to fully explore because they were too disturbing and too gory. Balthazar’s experiments and Reithwin were our top two that we sped through, only hitting the highlights, because of the body horror and grotesque elements. So fair content warning for those curious about the second act.


All in all, the second act of Baldur’s Gate 3 is deep, story-driven, and offers some truly spectacular locations and dungeons to explore. It’s good fun all around.

Pros: Well-written, fun dungeons, detailed locations, good characters

Cons: Depressing, too gory

The Spool of Souls: Updates & News

Don’t Be an NPC

Don’t be an NPC, aka, be the main character of your life.

We’re always amused when we see memes online about finding out you’re an “NPC” in life. One joked that a man realized he takes the same route every day, he has the same schedule each week, and he talks to the same people, which makes him an NPC. Anyone in the gaming community is familiar with the term NPC, or non-playable character. It is a character that does not have the same adventures as the characters you play. They are usually found in the same place, providing the same services, with similar dialogue. No one wants to be the NPC. Everyone wants to be the main character. That’s why we play their stories.

In life, though, it’s easy to get caught up in routine and expectations. You stop dreaming of great adventures and instead make do with the mundane. But can’t life be more? That isn’t to say that having a steady job, paying bills, and doing chores aren’t important in life. Through those, we can set ourselves up to be the “main character”. A person with a life worth talking about. As two people who were inspired by stories and sought to move beyond an NPC life, here are our tips.

Takes Chances

You never seen an NPC taking chances. Their function is to support others that take chances. This doesn’t mean invest all of your money into a stock and hope it makes you rich because you “took a chance”. It’s deeper than that.

Taking a chance can mean starting a side hustle with something your passionate about. It means independently publishing a book about a story dear to you. It means learning a new language, moving somewhere you’ve never been, or trying something that is usually frightening to you.

By taking chances, we open our lives up to new experiences.

Seek New Experiences

I read a quote once that said something along the lines of “sometimes one day in a new place gives you more life than 10 years at home“. That always stuck with me. Our lives are enriched when we doing something new. It doesn’t have to be big, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Just this week we went to a fall festival that we’d never been to, to this massive farm/campground we’ve never been to, and took a hayride tour through beautiful nature trails. It was our favorite part of the whole day, because it was a brand new experience.

An NPC is predictable because they don’t try new things. But a main character is worth playing because they do try new things. Go somewhere you’ve never been before, even if it’s in your own town. Try something you’ve never tried before, like camping in a tent, going to a painting class, or taking a road trip.

Last month we took a road trip up to Wisconsin. We had a great time because we’ve never been to Wisconsin. We loved looking at the sights, even if we were just passing through a small town or seeing a major company’s headquarters. Our lives were broadened by this new experience.

And sometimes, the way to have the most new experiences, is to leave home.

Leave Home

You are likely to always find an NPC in the same place. They don’t leave home. The reason you follow the main character is because they do leave home. And this starts their adventure. I read a quote once that said “all adventures start by running away from home“. Until the day I die I will be an advocate for everyone leaving their hometown at some point in their lives.

We’ve lived in three states and eight cities. From the beaches to the mountains to the plains. Rural communities, active suburbs, and major metropolitan areas. Houses, apartments, townhomes, and even a campervan. The best part of our lives started when we decided to leave home.

Your world view is so limited by only staying in the same area your whole life. You never really shake free from the mindset of when you were in high school. You don’t see new cultures, new ways of life, and new landscapes. It’s more than just being a tourist for a week. It’s integrating your everyday life in a brand-new place. And through that, you have access to so many new experiences, and you take so many new chances. I would call it one of the most rewarding experiences of your entire life.