As a storyteller and world builder, you like to see your characters come to life not just on the pages of a book but in myriad different ways through the various media channels today. Whether that’s through animation, movies, or games, it’s exciting to see the iterations grow and add to the lore of the character you birthed into the world.
For me, I met Adlai Blackson years ago in 2004 in a game called City of Heroes. I’ve talked about this awesome game in a previous post some time ago. It was an online multiplayer superhero roleplaying game. You could create your own superhero and go around Paragon City fighting various nefarious criminals and saving citizens from their dark deeds. It was my first, and it was hands down the best superhero MMO ever made.
Hmmm. What I just said about the time frame when I met Adlai Blackson was not accurate. It was actually in 2005 when City of Heroes came out with their expansion City of Villains. Now, not only could you be a hero, but you could turn to the dark side and build a reputation as a dangerous and powerful supervillain in the Rogue Isles. When that expansion was released, I got it and the first villain I created was an assassin named Blackthorn’s Revenge, real name David Blackthorn. This would be the first iteration of Adlai Blackson.
The story behind him was created, and I thought about a series of books that could be written about him. I had the name of each book. I had the basic premise for each done as well. The ideas swam around in my head for years as I edited and restructured the premise for a trilogy. I never wrote anything down (don’t ask me why) but the idea never left my mind. Just the opposite. It grew.
Then in 2010, another expansion was released called Going Rogue. This allowed good characters to become villains and vice versa. The possibilities were endless as they added the designations of either being a rogue or a vigilante to hero and villain. The stories got better; the world was expanding, and the game just rocked. It was a comic book geek’s dream to see a hero they had created be in virtual live action. I had over 14 characters made.
In 2012, a bomb dropped. The publisher of City of Heroes, NCSoft, announced they were closing down the game. They didn’t really care about the fans. The game had already paid for itself, so all that was being made was pure profit. Nevertheless, they shut it down. No reason. No explanation. For me, it broke my heart. So many memories and ideas I could no longer see come in action. It was lights out. For years, I attempted to find an alternative in other similar games, but they simply couldn’t hold a candle to City of Heroes.
In 2018, I decided it was time to bring Blackthorn to life. However, I did some research and found that Blackthorn’s Revenge was actually an expansion put out for a game called Ultima Online. I couldn’t use that. So, I changed his name to Blackson. I also changed his first name from David to Adlai. There’s a reason behind that. Remind me to tell you sometime.
Fast forward to May. 2019. I discover that a secret server has released City of Heroes again called Homecoming. I can’t believe it. I’m ecstatic and all is right with the world again. I get busy remaking old characters and some new ones as well. All of them are in my novels. Among those is Adlai Blackson. The Poltergeist. It is in his new iteration from the novel. He along with the Makarios Cadre are part of this new Paragon City universe.
I’m still playing the game and use it for inspiration for possible new characters as well as writing established ones in the RIU. All of my characters are on the Everlasting server. I’ve decided to play out Adlai’s story as I write the series. So currently, he is a villain.
UPDATE: As of 2021, he’s a vigilante which follows where he’s at in the series.
Redside is what that’s called in our game speak online. Heroes are blueside. Since someone already had the name Poltergeist, I had to get creative with an alternative spelling. His name is Poltergyst.
Now, with the upcoming release of Blackson’s Repentance, you can see a live-action version and meet him yourself. I roleplay his character so if you happen to come across Adlai in the game, expect him to be like he is in the novels. Watch him evolve in the game at the same time his story unfolds in the novels.
See you in Paragon City and the Tapestry!