Tools of a Thief is the sort of novella you can lose yourself in instantly. When you pick up D. Hale Rambo’s Dungeons & Dragons inspired book, you’ll be swept up in an immersive world filled with dynamic characters and radical romps. If you’re a fan of roleplaying games you’ll also discover new magic systems, intricate world building, and you can even continue the story in your own tabletop games! Basically, it’s the RPG novella you never knew you needed.
Building the World of Kairas
The first awesome action-packed book in Rambo’s new series of novels introduces us to a thief named Zizy. Trying to evade their past and make a future leads her on a treacherous journey. Luckily for us, that journey is through an unbelievably multifaceted land known as Kairas. “I wanted to create a world that readers could discover through Zizy’s story and explore on their own through their games,” Rambo explained. “Kairas started as an outlet for my fascination with deities. I love a good creation myth. Their personalities and desires shaped the world, inhabitants, and conflicts. Drawing on my inspiration and love of Egyptian and Greek mythology, I created diverse personalities for each deity. Deities I’d want to hang out with!”
Set in the fantasy world of Kairas where the gods no longer rule, Rambo wanted her witty and delightful lead to reflect the world she was living in. “This series is where I explore the world after everything went horribly wrong for the gods. The world is in a ‘renewal’ period without its creators. That means a lot of people are trying to figure out, ‘what’s next?’ I thought the best character to dip a toe into that chaos would be someone also trying to go through a personal renewal. Zizy, in Tools of a Thief, is trying to start her life over. She’s meant as a mirror for the rest of the world in book one.”
A Hero You Can Relate To
Rambo continued. “Zizy’s need is immediate. She wants to move on, do something new, and be joyful again. I really related to Zizy when I started writing this story. She is my absolute favorite character because no matter how confused or down she gets, she sort of shrugs off the frustration and gets on with it. A lot of people deal with hurdles this way, myself included. We slap on a smile and keep going, climbing over obstacles to get what we want. It doesn’t mean it’s not hard and that you don’t ever wish you could just say, steal your way to a better life. It’s just a crappy fact of life, and Zizy’s life has been lousy for a while now. Her joy is instrumental in kicking the series off. Nothing would happen without her growing and finding her own place.”
Inspired by her love of role-playing games, it’s clear how much being a part of the RPG community has shaped Rambo’s life and creativity. “Roleplaying games are absolutely fantastic,” the writer enthused. “Growing up, I had no idea they existed. I was very, I don’t know if sheltered is the right word, but I read many books, and I loved theatre, which was about all I did. So, when I got to my twenties and discovered this whole category of games that provided me with a way to make stories with people, act as little or as much as I wanted to, and let my imagination loose, I was totally hooked. I’ve pretty much never looked back.”
The Author’s Journey
D. Hale Rambo
A few years ago Rambo began writing “basic fantasy” stories for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, which was where her journey as an author began. “Then I wondered what else I could turn into an adventure,” Rambo explained. “I took a favorite, Pride and Prejudice, and made a mystery adventure module out of it. My friends really enjoyed that. And then I got excited about all the books I could make homebrew adventures with and just enjoy. Doing it for my own book seemed like the natural next step.”
One of the coolest aspects of Tools of a Thief is that Rambo built an entire world guide for readers. “I really enjoy worldbuilding,” Rambo shared. “I’m definitely the type of writer who builds a world and then looks for plots and characters living there. To not include items not relevant to the book, I put it in the world guide for others to peruse. History on the different cultures, character profiles, location deep dives—it’s all there. So a potential reader who is into the extra bits of a story can find additional lore or world information in the guide.”
You Can Read the Book and Run a Campaign!
Not only is the book an immersive and engaging fantasy romp, but using the world guide tabletop game players can actually run a campaign in the world of the story! “For a potential game master, the world guide is meant to be an in-depth view of the 2nd and 3rd era of Kairas, where Tools of a Thief takes place. I host a couple of campaigns in this world, so I know which elements a game master needs if they want to utilize any part of it for their tabletop role-playing game. There are various ancestries for players and even a specialized class, Ardent Deity Ambassador, for the 2nd era in the world guide. ”
And if you’re just a book lover who has yet to embark on your own D&D adventure but wants to try, Rambo has some great advice. “Prepare to have fun!” she exclaimed. “There are a lot of people getting into D&D for a variety of reasons right now. Finding a group has never been easier. Just remember that your imagination and excitement are really the only tools you need to have a good time. Everything else from rules, playgroups, and dungeon masters are changeable until you find what works for you.”
Tools of a Thief hits shelves on May 25.