The Toy Soldier Saga is an epic science fantasy and military fantasy series. It was originally set in the Dungeons & Dragons Spelljammer® fantasy universe. It has become its own phenomenon and support is growing rapidly. Picture the Age of Sail if it were space opera, with elves and orcs! Starting from an original series of five novels, and at least one novella and short story, developing projects include a radio play and an audiobook.
The first novel in the saga, “A Few Good Elves,” was my entry in National Novel Writing Month 2011, a contest in which participants are challenged to write 50 000 words in the 30 days of November. I succeeded in meeting the challenge. I tried again with “Brothers in Arms” in 2012, but because I wasn’t able to start until halfway through the month due to a deadline for my non-fiction book, “The Witch’s Eight Paths of Power,” this time I was not successful. “Brothers in Arms” is still in progress, however, I redeemed myself in 2013 when I was a winner with the first part of “Sable’s Privateers.”
About the Toy Soldier Universe
The Toy Soldier Saga takes place in a fantasy setting that combines high seas swashbuckling adventure with space opera, “seeking out new life and new civilizations, boldly going where no one has gone before.” Flying ships sail into the stars with their own laws of magical physics (such as the magical helms that power the ships through the spellcasting power of the helmsmen, which also create their own “gravity wells”; also, any body in space is said to carry its own “etheric membrane” that holds in its air; how much air, and how long it lasts, depends on the size of the body, so you don’t need airlocks and decompression is not a concern.) If you have seen the animated film “Treasure Planet” (Disney 2002, or the recent re-release on Blu-ray with updated graphics that’ll blow your mind) then you have some idea of how this works.
A wide variety of races can be found. Some are the more familiar fantasy races of humans, elves, dwarves and so forth, and some are very alien, from the fantasy villain elder eyes (like beholders) and Cthulans (like mind flayers). The feel is very much like the Age of Sail and Golden Age of Piracy, just with aliens and the hazards of space instead of the high seas. It depends heavily on the Space is an Ocean trope.
The Toy Soldier Saga is inspired by the Spelljammer® fantasy setting of Dungeons & Dragons. For more information, you may wish to check out Beyond the Moons, the official Spelljammer® website. Or if you’d like a good laugh, combined with an excellent explanation of the setting, read this blog. Also of interest is Jeff Grubb’s (the developer’s) secret history of Spelljammer.
However, all Spelljammer®-specific content has been removed. In many cases I’ve gone back to the folkloric roots that the literature was itself inspired by, from European mythology to historical nautical fiction to classic pulp science fiction. And in many cases, things that I extrapolated were entirely of my own creation. In those cases, I’ve kept those things.
As one sourcebook put it, “It’s magic, and it knows it’s magic.” So if you can’t put aside your firm belief that “air go out like WHOOSH” on spaceships if you don’t have everything sealed on the other side of an airlock, you’re not going to enjoy the setting or my story. I invite you to embrace infinite possibilities and take a voyage of imagination!
About the Novels
This series was, naturally, inspired by a Dungeons & Dragons® roleplaying game character. I figured it was a good story and wanted to share it. I had hopes of publishing with Wizards of the Coast® since rumour has it that they are reviving the Spelljammer® material for their D& D Next® game, but they do not want unsolicited manuscripts. So I made it my own!
The first book in the series, “Mr. Midshipman Sunfall,” is about how our character, a mixed-race elf named Shaundar Sunfall who suffers from prejudice in his home community, leaves home and lies about his age to join the interplanetary Avalonian Imperial Navy.
In the second book in the series, “A Few Good Elves,” Shaundar learns that war is no great adventure.
A short story, “Survivor,” takes place between the first and second book. It has been published in Separate Worlds e-zine and SciFan Magazine.
In the third book, “Brothers in Arms,” Shaundar joins a secret program to infiltrate their enemies, the orcs, and discovers that when you learn to think like your enemy, you might also learn to love them.
A novella, “Eye of the Storm,” takes place in the middle of Brothers in Arms and was published in Chasing Fireflies: A Summer Romance Anthology.
In the fourth book, “Sable’s Privateers,” Shaundar, cut loose and drifting after his experiences, and struggling with PTSD, finds a home in a ragtag band of misfit freebooters, who help him to fight the real enemy behind the war, and try to get his life back.
In the fifth book, “May the Airts Blow Fair & Free,” Shaundar and Sable’s Privateers work to unite the elves and the orcs against an existential threat that endangers them both.
This is a work in progress. It may undergo several revisions after publication. If you read my Blog page, or sign up for my Crew list (the link is on the sidebar) then I will keep you informed as to any changes as things progress. I make no promises as to my schedule of publication, so please do not write me asking when the next installment will be published. I am a very busy person and so this project, much as I am drawn to do it, will have to take a back seat to my real life.
About the Author
My name is Diane Morrison, and I am known in some circles as Sable Aradia or just Sable. I’m the author of the Wyrd West Chronicles. I am a writer,singer/songwriter, artist, and Witch. I’m a sci-fi, fantasy, historical adventure and war novel fan from early childhood. I have been playing Dungeons & Dragons® since it was originally just called that, and went on to do all the stereotypical geeky activities of playing Vampire: the Masquerade® LARP, joining the Society for Creative Anachronism, and playing World of Warcrack (World of Warcraft®). At one time I was one of the major contributors to Fantaseum, which was the largest Dungeons & Dragons Core Rules® website, and I am the Managing Editor for Wildspace: the Spelljammer Fanzine. I was just asked to help the President of SFWA to help manage and produce content for their official YouTube channel.
My first book, “The Witch’s Eight Paths of Power,” was published by Red Wheel Weiser books September 2014 (currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Google Books.) I rarely have time for the SCA these days, but I still go to all kinds of Pagan festivals where I sell witchy ware and teach workshops on Wicca and magick, and I still play tabletop RPGs regularly. Shaundar Sunfall, “Toy Soldier’s” protagonist, is still a character that I actively play.
You can find my full list of writing credits here.
I have many other websites and blogs if you want to check them out: