An author can’t resist portraying himself somewhere in his fiction. Even though the entire work of fiction is actually a map of the inside of the author’s self, there will be a character who is the self-portrait of the author buried somewhere within. It may be the first person narrator of the story. Or it may be a background character lurking at the periphery of the plot.
In the ongoing work of fiction that is my family D&D game, that me-character is the wizard in red, Eli Tragedy. Yes, bumbling, doddering, and constantly babbling Eli Tragedy, aged half-elf with a little more than half a wit, is basically me. His two apprentices, Bob and Mickey the Were-rat, are constantly at his side to open doors for him, set off booby traps stupidly before he gets there, and generally demonstrate the level of his teaching ability by their lazy incompetence and general inability to learn anything.
Now, lest you think I might really be exactly like this exaggeratedly foolish fool of a character armed with way too much magical ability and arcane knowledge to be safe wandering around freely in public, let me assure you, we are very different, Eli and I. He’s at least a centimeter taller than I am when he stands up straight. I have, however, aimed more than a few metaphorical fireballs at my own image in the hallway mirror. And I may have burned my own eyebrows off more than once. But Eli’s real purpose is mainly to poke fun at myself and create a few laughs, along with a few D&D style world-ending crisis-es, as when Mickey the Were-rat stole and misused Eli’s magic hat. Dang, those toe-dancing pink rhinoceroses with the nitroglycerin in their over-sized backpacks were heck to herd back into the King’s Royal Zoo!
But now, I am finally ready to admit it. Eli Tragedy is my alter ego. I like the color red. I am fond of random explosions and acts of inexplicable transformation. Eli Tragedy is me. And I promise, I won’t really blow the world up. It is only a role-playing game after all.