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Lost in The Wood -- Leonard and Ann Marie Wilson

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Useless Answers to Real Questions #4

Street sign: Truth, Reality, Lies Photo by Gerd Altmann on Pixabay



"What is more important- truth or fact, and why?"



— Asked by Anat Eliraz


Who, where, when, how? They all fade into insignificance unless propped up by a good, solid, "What?"—preferably with at least two or three exclamation marks.
I can't…

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Useless Answers to Real Questions #3

Grayscale photo of silhouette of woman with devil's horns pointing her finger under cloudy sky Photo by Minja Milošev on Scopio



"What do you think are the 5 darkest series in all grimdark?"



— Asked on Facebook (Fantasy-Faction - Fantasy and Science Fiction Book Discussion)


In no particular order:

• ABC World News Tonight
• CBS Evening News
• NBC Nightly News…

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Useless Answers to Real Questions #2

Person Walking on Brown Floor Tiles Photo by Kazu Sakuragi on Scopio



"A friend of mine is looking for a book. No title or author name. Here's the description: two brothers (grown men), one a little slow-witted, both enjoy jigsaw puzzle, slow one has the ability to teleport. They are being chased/hunted, possibly by the govern…

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Useless Answers to Real Questions #1

Man in Purple Suit Jacket Illustration Illustration by Pablo Nidam on Scopio



"What makes a villain three-dimensional?"



— Asked on Quora (Supervillains, Fiction Writing, Villains, Heroes, Fiction, Comics (narrative art), Fictional Characters)


It's the special glasses.

— Leonard

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Useless Answers to Real Questions

"Do you have a super power and how do people react to it?"

— Asked on Quora (Super Power (ability), Superpowers (special powers), Human Behavior, Survey Question)


Man in White Shirt Lying on the Road Photo by Brandon Basara on Scopio

Well, since you asked, yes: I do indeed have a super power. I was gifted with th…

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Yes, Dark Fantasy Can Go Too Dark

Woman with Lighted Cigarette Stick on Mouth Photo by Vlada Teaca on Scopio

Time for a visit to Ye Auld Social Media Mailbag.

Q: "Have you ever read dark fantasy so dark that you don't like it? Why?"

If you're looking for a broad psychological reason: why do amusement parks build roller-coasters? I mean, all those curves and hills and loop…

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There and Back Again: An Author's Holiday

We took the long way home from our 4th-of-July weekend at InConJunction--handling things we'd been putting off until we'd reached full vaccination status--but we're finally back to relieve our house-sitter, and we had a great time.

Because we launched our first book in October of 2020, InConJunctio…

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The Books We Love to Hate--or Something

So I've noticed a thing since I started joining reading groups: Even the most beloved books have a lot people who hate them passionately.

When someone comes out and declares a book I consider sociopathic rubbish to be a masterpiece, it's hard not to think of it as a personal attack.

When someone…

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Relax and Enjoy That Star Wars Sequel -- Your Childhood Is Safe

Woman in Black Shirt Holding White Book Photo by Marie Dashkova on Scopio

Every time a new sequel for a beloved franchise hits the theaters a new wave of angry hysteria hits the Interwebs. The same things happens when the film adaptation of a beloved set of books arrives. No matter how it turns out, someone somewhere is going to be…

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There's Goodly Trade in Unicorns

I love a good charlatan. It doesn't take a deep analysis of my work to notice that. I've got a soft spot for fictional con-artists like Harold Hill, Bugs Bunny, or the Hugh Jackman version of P.T. Barnum. Yet somehow I can't abide a liar in the real world. Counterintuitive, yes, but it's hardly the…

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Outside the Asylum

Once upon a time, the greatest and most advanced super-power in the world built a mighty wall and set up strict laws to keep out uncivilized foreigners who threatened its way of life.

Outside the wall, shut off from becoming part of the super-power's shining dream, the rest of the world busied it…

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Pawn or Protagonist? (Part 2)

Reconciling the Dual Nature of Player Characters

The 1980's was one long journey down the road from pawn toward protagonist for the player characters in RPGs. The novelty of controlling a pawn as he crawled through mazes, battling monsters and collecting loot, was wearing off. Jaded players wante…

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Pawn or Protagonist? (Part 1)

Reconciling the Dual Nature of Player Characters 

Nameless, faceless, identical -- pawns exist to be sacrificed on the chess board. Growing emotionally attached to your playing pieces, struggling to keep them instead of staying focused on which ones to give up in order to move yourself close…

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The Rules of Narrative: Every PC Comes to the Table Armed with Chekhov's Gun


"If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there." -- Anton Pavlovich Chekhov


Much ink, both virtual and real, has been spilled on the subject of how important it is for a GM, in his limitless power,…

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Further Thoughts On the Resolution Bonus Chart

It was brought to my attention after my last post that the defensive fight maneuver was changed in fifth-edition Pendragon. It now longer allows a normal damage roll on a critical success, so the maneuver has been reduced to use as a delaying tactic. I only checked to make sure that the maneuver sti…

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Wilsonshire Pendragon Mods: The Resolution-Bonus Chart

Here’s the first and most important house rule I made to make Pendragon playable with an over-achieving player: the resolution-bonus chart.

The number one thing that makes the game’s rules fragile is the over-20 resolution-roll bonuses. Grab yourself a sword (so that it doesn’t break on a tied…

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How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Game

Hello. My name is Leonard, and I'm a power gamer. It feels a curious thing to admit to, given some of my other beliefs about myself, but there you go. And I think it's why I was able to get my mind around D&D 4E and have some fun with it while my friends were dissing it as a lost cause. I've also go…

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Ed Greenwood Still Owes Me an Apology

I recently threw out as a one-liner joke on Google+ that, "I blame many things on Ed Greenwood. Some of them might even be justified." After that, another participant in the conversation observed that he didn't "get the anger toward Ed".

I can't speak to any issues other than my own, b…

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What's Your Role-Play Alignment?


It's a well known social acxiom that when your goal is to have an amiable chat with someone you don't really know, never allow the topic of conversation to turn to politics or religion. A less well known social acxiom is never discuss whether or not you believe a game master should allow h…

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Gotta Start Somewhere

Google has managed what Facebook never could, in that I find myself increasingly becoming a member of the online community. As such, I periodically find myself part of discussions where I have so much to say that it seems gauche to throw it into the middle of an ongoing dialogue. So when those occas…

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