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  1. Ommonite
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    Ommonite Senior Member

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    Fantasy Novelist's Quiz

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Ommonite, Aug 22, 2008.

  2. ZionsRodeVos
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    ZionsRodeVos New Member

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    Thank you for posting this. I found it interesting. I only answered yes to a few of the questions. I guess I need to get rid of the fireball. And perhaps not add the elves like I was thinking to do.
     
  3. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Does nothing happen in the first fifty pages? No (meaning something happens)
    Is your main character a young farmhand with mysterious parentage? No.
    Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn’t know it? No.
    Is your story about a young character who comes of age, gains great power, and defeats the supreme badguy? No.
    Is your story about a quest for a magical artifact that will save the world? No.
    How about one that will destroy it? No.
    Does your story revolve around an ancient prophecy about “The One” who will save the world and everybody and all the forces of good? No.
    Does your novel contain a character whose sole purpose is to show up at random plot points and dispense information? No.
    Does your novel contain a character that is really a god in disguise? No.
    Is the evil supreme badguy secretly the father of your main character? No.
    Is the king of your world a kindly king duped by an evil magician? No.
    Does “a forgetful wizard” describe any of the characters in your novel? No.
    How about “a powerful but slow and kind-hearted warrior”? No.
    How about “a wise, mystical sage who refuses to give away plot details for his own personal, mysterious reasons”? No.
    Do the female characters in your novel spend a lot of time worrying about how they look, especially when the male main character is around? No.
    Do any of your female characters exist solely to be captured and rescued? No.
    Do any of your female characters exist solely to embody feminist ideals? No.
    Would “a clumsy cooking wench more comfortable with a frying pan than a sword” aptly describe any of your female characters? No.
    Would “a fearless warrioress more comfortable with a sword than a frying pan” aptly describe any of your female characters? No.
    Is any character in your novel best described as “a dour dwarf”? No.
    How about “a half-elf torn between his human and elven heritage”? No.
    Did you make the elves and the dwarves great friends, just to be different? No.
    Does everybody under four feet tall exist solely for comic relief? No.
    Do you think that the only two uses for ships are fishing and piracy? No.
    Do you not know when the hay baler was invented? No.
    Did you draw a map for your novel which includes places named things like “The Blasted Lands” or “The Forest of Fear” or “The Desert of Desolation” or absolutely anything “of Doom”? No.
    Does your novel contain a prologue that is impossible to understand until you’ve read the entire book, if even then? No.
    Is this the first book in a planned trilogy? Yes.
    How about a quintet or a decalogue? No.
    Is your novel thicker than a New York City phone book? No.
    Did absolutely nothing happen in the previous book you wrote, yet you figure you’re still many sequels away from finishing your “story”? No.
    Are you writing prequels to your as-yet-unfinished series of books? No.
    Is your name Robert Jordan and you lied like a dog to get this far? No.
    Is your novel based on the adventures of your role-playing group? No.
    Does your novel contain characters transported from the real world to a fantasy realm? No.
    Do any of your main characters have apostrophes or dashes in their names? No.
    Do any of your main characters have names longer than three syllables? Yes.
    Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named “Tim Umber” and “Belthusalanthalus al’Grinsok”? Yes.
    Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings? Yes.
    How about “orken” or “dwerrows”? No.
    Do you have a race prefixed by “half-”? No.
    At any point in your novel, do the main characters take a shortcut through ancient dwarven mines? No.
    Do you write your battle scenes by playing them out in your favorite RPG? No.
    Have you done up game statistics for all of your main characters in your favorite RPG? No.
    Are you writing a work-for-hire for Wizards of the Coast? No.
    Do inns in your book exist solely so your main characters can have brawls? No.
    Do you think you know how feudalism worked but really don’t? No.
    Do your characters spend an inordinate amount of time journeying from place to place? No.
    Could one of your main characters tell the other characters something that would really help them in their quest but refuses to do so just so it won’t break the plot? No.
    Do any of the magic users in your novel cast spells easily identifiable as “fireball” or “lightning bolt”? Yes.
    Do you ever use the term “mana” in your novel? No.
    Do you ever use the term “plate mail” in your novel? No.
    Heaven help you, do you ever use the term “hit points” in your novel? No.
    Do you not realize how much gold actually weighs? ???
    Do you think horses can gallop all day long without rest? Obviously they can't.
    Does anybody in your novel fight for two hours straight in full plate armor, then ride a horse for four hours, then delicately make love to a willing barmaid all in the same day? No.
    Does your main character have a magic axe, hammer, spear, or other weapon that returns to him when he throws it? No.
    Does anybody in your novel ever stab anybody with a scimitar? No.
    Does anybody in your novel stab anybody straight through plate armor? No.
    Do you think swords weigh ten pounds or more? [info] More.
    Does your hero fall in love with an unattainable woman, whom he later attains? She's not unattainable at all, so no, and she's not a woman, she's a girl, so again no.
    Does a large portion of the humor in your novel consist of puns? No.
    Is your hero able to withstand multiple blows from the fantasy equivalent of a ten pound sledge but is still threatened by a small woman with a dagger? No.
    Do you really think it frequently takes more than one arrow in the chest to kill a man? Yes.
    Do you not realize it takes hours to make a good stew, making it a poor choice for an “on the road” meal? My characters don't eat stew.
    Do you have nomadic barbarians living on the tundra and consuming barrels and barrels of mead? No.
    Do you think that “mead” is just a fancy name for “beer”? No idea, I don't drink.
    Does your story involve a number of different races, each of which has exactly one country, one ruler, and one religion? No.
    Is the best organized and most numerous group of people in your world the thieves’ guild? No.
    Does your main villain punish insignificant mistakes with death? No.
    Is your story about a crack team of warriors that take along a bard who is useless in a fight, though he plays a mean lute? No.
    Is “common” the official language of your world? No.
    Is the countryside in your novel littered with tombs and gravesites filled with ancient magical loot that nobody thought to steal centuries before? No.
    Is your book basically a rip-off of The Lord of the Rings? No.
    Read that question again and answer truthfully. I did, and no.
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I saw this quiz on a different site. It's one that MUST be ignored.
     
  5. Ommonite
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    Ommonite Senior Member

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    I think the fireball question's wording means you can have fireball but don't call it something like a "level 22 havigheifeet spell)

    The message they're trying to get across is don't call something by a brand new word when the norm will do fine.

    And Lucy, you didn't need to post the whole quiz, since msot of your questions were answered with no. but do waht you wish.
     
  6. Ore-Sama
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    Ore-Sama Senior Member

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    We think anybody considering writing a fantasy novel should be required to take this exam first. Answering “yes” to any one question results in failure and means that the prospective novel should be abandoned at once.

    I hope this is meant to be a joke. Mary Sue litmus tests at least don't try to pass themselves off as the gospel truth, not to mention Litmus tests are far less fundamentaly flawed then this test.
     
  7. Ommonite
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    Ommonite Senior Member

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    It is meant to be humorous (there is an action movie version that is in no real way helpful) but it can be used intelligently. Answering 'yes' to maybe more than five is pushing it, but you shouldn't abandon the whole novel.
     
  8. ZionsRodeVos
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    ZionsRodeVos New Member

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    Well, I misunderstood that. I thought it was meant to be serious.

    When I use a fireball or elf in my story that is what I call them. I don't give them a different name.
     
  9. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    That was funny. I read the whole list and recognized half the books being refered to, or rather the three or four books that work for each question. They did rip into TSR quite a bit though didn't they.

    I still love Dungeons and Dragons despite what they say. Although if you answer no to every question that would be a boring Novel I think lol
     
  10. Jade
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    Jade Active Member

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    Glad to say I passed the first 24 questions, then tripped up on 'Do you not know when the hay baler was invented?' because I don't understand xD.
     
  11. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    The hay baler was built in the early 1900's I believe. In medieval times hay was roped together if I remember right. in a lot of fantasy stories there are bales of hay.
     
  12. Ommonite
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    Ommonite Senior Member

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    what is TSR???
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Tactical Studies Rules - the company that originated the Dungeons and Dragons RPG - before there was an anline - well, just about before there was an online anything.
     
  14. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    This was worse then the Mary Sue tests, and done in a much cruder and insulting overtone.

    It sounds like the makers of this test are suffering from a savage case of sour grapes as opposed to offering anything of value.

    I firmly think any aspiring writer needs to avoid sites like this as if they are plague ridden places of refuse and write as they feel inspired to write.
     
  15. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Tee hee. Just for fun, here are the question(s) I answered yes to:


    .....
    ....
    ........
    .......................
    o.0
     
  16. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    Mine's a contemporary fantasy, Percy Jackson style:

    1. Is your story about a young character who comes of age, gains great power, and defeats the supreme badguy?

    Yyyes. >.> But his power is to screw everything he does up. Seriously.


    2. Does your novel contain a character whose sole purpose is to show up at random plot points and dispense information?

    Yup. A four-year-old prophet.


    3. Is any character in your novel best described as “a dour dwarf”?

    Yes, but only because the four-year-old is very cynical (and a dwarf by nature of being short)


    4. Do you not know when the hay baler was invented?

    No, no I don’t… what’s that got to do with anything?


    5. Is this the first book in a planned trilogy?

    Mmmaybe >.>


    6. Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings?

    Orcs. But in a shopping mall!

    7. Do your characters spend an inordinate amount of time journeying from place to place?

    Well, they’re kids, they can’t drive, plus they have to get from the suburbs to the city, so…yeah.

    8. Does your hero fall in love with an unattainable woman, whom he later attains?

    Yes, but then the unattainable girl turns out to be the Big Bad who tries to kill him repeatedly, and then dies.



    So I answer yes to a few questions, but overall I'm comfortable with my plot.
     
  17. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    Funny quiz, my "yes" list is short *understatement*, but then, I've never written "high fantasy" ... still I used the one that came closest (medieval world + magic (no elves/dwarves/orcs though ... one golem))

    #50 Do any of the magic users in your novel cast spells easily identifiable as “fireball” or “lightning bolt”?

    Yes, the world's magic system is "elemental", "fireball" would be a lower level fire spell and "lightning bolt" is an upper level air spell. "upper" and "lower" levels indicate the difficulty of the spell not the effectiveness. More difficult =/= better.

    ((#33 was hilarious))
     
  18. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    I answered "yes" to "Is your book the planned first of a trilogy" and "kinda" to "Does your book feature a young man who is trained, becomes really really powerful, and then destroys the bad guy". He does the first two; fails badly at the third, and dies. (Paraphrasing the questions.)

    I knew the haybaler was invented in the 1880s at least; they were in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. I just Googled it; it was actually the 1850's. The quiz's point was, if you have very many farmers and very many mechanically made devices, a hay baler will be in great demand - so if you have hay in bales in the middle of a farming town, that's great, but not if you have hay bales in the middle of Nowherestown if you have nothing else mechanical at all.

    Actually, I thought it was a fairly reasonable quiz. Sure, one or two "yes" answers doesn't break a story - but a mental red flag should definitely start to rise after four or five of them crop up, and if you have fifteen or more you should consider whether your novel is distinguishable from any other fantasy novel you've randomly picked off the shelf at Barnes & Thornton.

    But in all honesty, I think only about five questions mean an instant novel death. (By this, I mean serious and thoughtful consideration of what you must change to make your novel better, not "You must scrap everything.")

    1. Does nothing happen in the first 50 pages?
    2. Do any of your female characters exist solely to be captured and rescued?
    3. Did absolutely nothing happen in the previous book you wrote, yet you figure you’re still many sequels away from finishing your “story”?
    4. Does your story involve a number of different races, each of which has exactly one country, one ruler, and one religion?
    5. Does your story revolve around an ancient prophecy about “The One” who will save the world and everybody and all the forces of good?

    The reasons for these should be fairly intuitive. Nothing happens for a long time at the beginning? Edit that section heavily; make it shorter, not longer, or start right before the action. Ancient prophecies can be done well, but are more often written in a very cliched fashion. (Some popular books do both, such as most novels by Anne Bishop. I enjoy her writing, but it is the literary equivalent of soda pop, while I as an author strive for a rich red wine, a bittersweet cranapple juice cocktail, or even a plain and wholesome glass of milk.)

    But enough of that; you guys get the idea.
     
  19. Jade
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    Jade Active Member

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    Ah, thank you very muchly. It does sound kind of straightforward now :p
     
  20. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    I posted my whole quiz to prove that the statement about abandoning the novel is completely ludicrous. I've answered a few questions as 'Yes' and I'm not abandoning my novel.
     
  21. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Excuse the double post, but can I just add that the quiz was more insulting than humorous.
     
  22. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    This test is very insulting and things like this need to be ignored. Notice that many very well known and popular fantasy authors would have a whole lot of "yes" on this test and that did not stop them from being published and developing a fan base.
     
  23. katzklaw
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    katzklaw Senior Member

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    and how many 'yes' answers did you get, Ungie? *tease*

    but seriously, now... this test could definitely be considered as insulting, if you take it seriously (or if it was actually meant seriously... hard to tell) if you're going to take it seriously AT ALL... just use it as a loose helper tool. it presents a long list of cliches, and if you spot something in that list in your story, its not a death knell, but you should at least make sure that it makes sense in your story. just my 2 cents
     
  24. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    I really don't think it's insulting at all, because it's a joke. It's humor! You know, that thing where it's funny? You remember that part of the human psyche? That's what this falls under. It's not meant to be taken seriously or tell you what to do (and besides, I do agree with a few of the questions. I hate hate hate hate hate LotR rip-offs).
     
  25. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Well given that I write High Fantasy Fiction, quite a few to tell the truth.

    Do the female characters in your novel spend a lot of time worrying about how they look, especially when the male main character is around?

    Yes and I would like to add that in rich (wealthy) culture an inordinate amount of time was spent priming and primping to get dressed and 'suited up'. So in that regard yes, there are females (And males) that end up spending quite a bit of time "getting ready" and worrying about appearances.

    Do any of your female characters exist solely to embody feminist ideals?

    Yes, since back in the era of Medieval Fantasy any woman that wanted to stand beside a man would need to be a first class top of the line 'ball buster' it would stand to reason that they would HAVE to be the ultimate butch feminist if they expected any measure of respect or attention from the men around them.

    Would “a fearless warrioress more comfortable with a sword than a frying pan” aptly describe any of your female characters?

    Yes, see above why this would need to be the case.

    Is any character in your novel best described as “a dour dwarf”?

    Right, because we all know if you use a dwarf you need to limit yourself to Sleepy, Dopey, and Happy. After all we can't have serious dwarfs since Snow White.

    Of course if I am going to put in a dwarf race there are going to be a few grumpy ones, maybe a whole lotta grumpy ones.

    And yes.. I put in Dwarves, that live in caves and mine the earth.

    Did you make the elves and the dwarves great friends, just to be different?

    Right... because we all know if you write about dwarves and elves they are all cookie cutters and lack any form of originality.

    And if I use "fantasy races' I should just ignore that people are people, regardless if they are elf, dwarf, or anything else, acceptance or disdain for another race is dependent on the individual not the race as a whole.

    And I was supposed to take this question seriously because?

    Do you think that the only two uses for ships are fishing and piracy?

    You mean there is another use for a ship beyond that?

    Do you not know when the hay baler was invented?

    No, but why is this important. The cotton gin was an equally important item, but you are not asking about that.

    How abut charcoal? Ever wonder when that was invented?

    Or cement?

    What is so special about a Hay Bailer?

    Did you draw a map for your novel which includes places named things like “The Blasted Lands” or “The Forest of Fear” or “The Desert of Desolation” or absolutely anything “of Doom”?

    Oh absolutely. Because going to "The Happy Happy Joy Joy Desert" just did not have the same ring or effect as "The Sands of Doom"

    Is this the first book in a planned trilogy?


    Oh yes.. I so have planned to write more books about this story because you know slamming my face into my keyboard as I try to develop a whole world is only meaningful and worth it if I use it to only write ONE book with.

    How about a quintet or a decalogue?


    That is a much better idea, why stop at 3. Good call!

    Did absolutely nothing happen in the previous book you wrote, yet you figure you’re still many sequels away from finishing your “story”?


    Can this even be done? I mean seriously the person asking this question scares me if they can do this. How can you write an entire book and nothing happens?

    Oh wait, maybe this question is not totally stupid.

    Well if it is focused at technical manuals and the like.

    No, I did not start with Technical Manuals or things like that. I am not sure if such would even be possible, but I'll leave that door open in case something does arise and I have the chance to do some fun books on that subject matter.

    Are you writing prequels to your as-yet-unfinished series of books?

    Dang right I am.

    Do any of your main characters have apostrophes or dashes in their names?

    Yes.. Very Much so. Happens when you have different languages and stuff. As well as fantasy races and all that. Just one of those things that has to go, I also have Hyphens for those dual named marriages and such, like we do today Like Pamela Lee-Anderson. I also have double name names, like Mary-Kate Olsen

    I even have people that are "Formally known as" because their name is really just an emblem, I know this is fiction, but i feel the need to add some realism to it.

    Do any of your main characters have names longer than three syllables?


    Yes, and if you looked at Spanish names in the early 1400's you would know that very common to have long names among the wealthy as a means to separate them from the lower class. Many times people even had four names to a person. I might add that dutch names can be quite long as well.

    But I suppose you expect me to keep my entire story on one little island... right?

    Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings?

    It's High Fantasy, of Course I have those things in it.

    How about “orken” or “dwerrows”?


    Again, Yes. It is high fantasy.

    Do your characters spend an inordinate amount of time journeying from place to place?

    Given you have only a few choices of how to travel, Foot, Horse and carriage, none of which are going to "fast trips" you need to put in "Travel" for the pure sake that it is THERE.

    Do any of the magic users in your novel cast spells easily identifiable as “fireball” or “lightning bolt”?

    High Fantasy, Yes, Balls of Fire and Electrical Discharge caused by magic are going to happen.

    Do you ever use the term “plate mail” in your novel?

    Oh I am sorry, so when I try to describe an suit of armor made from interlocking plates of metal, backed with interwoven circlets of steel wire I should call it... What?

    Heaven help you, do you ever use the term “hit points” in your novel?

    And this is where I realize that the people writing this novel are just a bunch of jerks.

    Do you not realize how much gold actually weighs?

    Yes. Do know how much plutonium really weighs? May I suggest the writer of this go pick some up and find out.

    Does anybody in your novel fight for two hours straight in full plate armor, then ride a horse for four hours, then delicately make love to a willing barmaid all in the same day?

    No because the people in novel do not use terms like "Full Plate" as opposed to "Half Plate" or "Field Plate" which the makers of this test seem to be confined to.

    Does your main character have a magic axe, hammer, spear, or other weapon that returns to him when he throws it?


    Of course, welcome to the wonders of magic.

    Does anybody in your novel ever stab anybody with a scimitar?

    Yup! and if you saw a Scimitar, you would go "ooo that had to hurt"

    Does anybody in your novel stab anybody straight through plate armor?


    Yup, and there were daggers designed to do just that.

    Do you think swords weigh ten pounds or more?

    Depends on the sword and what it is made from. An original Galdus was very heavy because of the iron content.

    Also old bronze weapons were very heavy and then you have to deal with smelting and forging issues of the time and era.

    They were not like todays 3 pound display models, or the 440 stainless lazer edged weapons we have open to us, that is for sure.

    Is your hero able to withstand multiple blows from the fantasy equivalent of a ten pound sledge but is still threatened by a small woman with a dagger?

    Anyone who has been reprimanded by their mother or is married knows that the answer to this should be YES.


    Do you really think it frequently takes more than one arrow in the chest to kill a man?

    It depends on where the arrow hits, but mainly it does take more then one arrow to the chest to outrightly kill someone, even if the pain would in fact incapacitate them.

    However in the Medieval Times, such wounds were not treatable so if a vital organ was hit death would happen, slowly and painfully.

    Do you not realize it takes hours to make a good stew, making it a poor choice for an “on the road” meal?


    Given that breaking camp started at "Night fall" which left a lot of "Awake Hours" this would be a great way to pass the time until you got tired and needed to sleep. a great "day ender meal" I would also add that stew can be left on the 'fire' for something to eat in the morning as well, making it a near ideal "on the road' meal.

    But the makers of this test I bet did not take that into consideration.

    Do you have nomadic barbarians living on the tundra and consuming barrels and barrels of mead?

    Yes, just like really existed 400 years ago.

    How about that.

    Do you think that “mead” is just a fancy name for “beer”?

    Diffrent brewing process, but for all "practical" purposes it is.

    Only those intellectuals" that got into debates about Lager vs Beer would care. Someone that wanted a "Stiff Drink" most likely would not care to spits less what they were drinking.

    Does your main villain punish insignificant mistakes with death?

    No, that was the job of the normal rules of the people. When you consider in the 1600's that stealing was punished by death. This sounds very viable. I might add that 'Begging with out a license' was also punishable by death.

    But again, the people that made this test do not seem to want to be bothered by learning anything relating to the reality of the situation and just feel the urge to write some moronic 'test' to try and destroy the inspiration of writers with their own ignorance.

    So, if you are an author and want to really gauge your work and it's merits, please, do NOT bother yourself at this type if worthless junk, not in jest, humor or even fun.

    It is pointless at best and destructive to your own creativity at the worst.
     
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