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Have Sword & Sorcery: Will TravelHave Sword & Sorcery:
Will Travel
Updated: 19/02/17

This is part of The Website as defined in the SOAUL, and falls under that Licence.

Flippantly Asked (and/or Answered) Questions

Why are they posing like fashion models on the cover of Book I?
I assume it's because the cover artist thought it looked like an alert weapons-ready stance. She's married to someone who does Viking re-enactments, so she probably knows what she's doing.


Why is that girl holding a radioactive orange?
The girl sitting cross-legged is Morgan, and she is holding a Powerstone, not a radioactive orange, although I can see why you'd think that.


What's a Powerstone?
A stone, usually crystal, but precious or semi-precious are sometimes used, that a magic user can use to store extra energy with which to cast spells. Creating them perfectly without any quirks (such as only working at night, or in wet weather, or in the presence of a live dung beetle) gets increasingly harder the more energy the stone can store.


Has it got anything to do with a caster's level of magical power?
No. Think of it this way: Casting a spell is like jumping over a wall. The higher the wall, the more difficult it is to cast, but height has no bearing on how much energy you need. The scope and magnitude of the spell's effect determine the energy needed, and using a Powerstone enables a mage to not use as much of their own energy to get over the wall. A mage with a higher level of magical power can jump from a platform built some distance up the wall - they still need to jump to cast the spell, but not as far, and the amount of energy needed is still the same.


What about spells? What does spell [X] do?
Most spells have a function that is encapsulated in their name. Exact details can be found by consulting GURPS® Magic or Grimoire 3E. I didn't make the spells up, Steve Jackson Games™ did.


Can I use your books as the basis for an RPG campaign?
No. You can use the setting (as described elsewhere on this website), but using information from the books (other than as background events) that aren't described on this website is not permitted. If you find something you want to use, check the top of the page - if there is a red-bordered notice, you may NOT use it; if there is an orange-bordered notice, you may.


So I can't use the Goodies or Baddies, but I can use everything else?
Basically, yes. But check the terms of the SOAUL, because Steve Jackson Games may have additional conditions that need to be met, which are described in the SOAUL.


Steve Jackson Games?
Steve Jackson Games publish GURPS, the RPG rules system that I used as a framework for making storytelling decisions for the first four-ish books. They own all rights to GURPS, how it works, its' logos and so on. I merely utilised it as a writing tool, and because I did so, the parts of my writing that relied on it (such as character creation and the detailed character information derived from it) are subject to Steve Jackson Games' interpretation of Fair Use. For more information, read this page, but broadly speaking, you can play in my world, but you can't play with my characters, and you can't play with Steve Jackson Games' intellectual property. Playing does not make anyone money, but it's still not nice if you're taking someone else's stuff to do so.


Will you be making any more material available?
The books are for sale through several popular retail channels, and I occasionally post short stories and news to my Dreamwidth, which is mirrored on facebook.


Do you have any plans to publish the short stories in dead-tree or eBook formats?
Yes. Eventually.


But why should I buy them if they're freely available on the internet?
Because each time I publish a trilogy, I include an exclusive short story that won't be found anywhere else, ever. I see no reason not to do the same for the short stories when I get around to publishing them.


So the trilogy books contain stuff that's not in the individual novels?


What made you decide to write the books in the first place?
You can find the answer to that in the introduction I included in the first trilogy.


Why are the trilogies only available as paperbacks?
I like books. Despite how popular eBooks are, they are still somewhat less "real" to me than actual physical copies. So if you want to know my innermost thoughts on the creative process - I dunno, become a telepath or something. If you want to read a vaguely-relevant author's introduction and a short story that will never be available online or as part of an eBook, buy the trilogies.


Where did you get the series name from?
Basically, I was riffing off both the general mercenary-type tagline probably most-often heard in Westerns (as, "Have gun, will travel"), and the writing genre of sword & sorcery. Since the books follow a group of mercenaries, and are in a sword & sorcery-type setting, y'know.


But isn't it similar to the title of an obscure TV show from before you were even born?
I have no idea, and couldn't care less. TV shows don't have exclusive rights on punny titles or the rate of popcultural osmosis.


Why do you use miles and so on? How long is a mile?
A mile is 1.609km or 1760 yards. A yard is 3 feet, a metre is 3.281 feet. A foot is 12 inches or 30cm. An inch is 2½cm. I use them because medieval people wouldn't know what a kilometre was if it sat up and bit them on the bum. There are also things like leagues (3 miles) and furlongs (1/8th of a mile) and chains (22 yards), but I don't use them, because they don't have a comparable SI unit.


The map doesn't seem very accurate compared to what's described in the books. Why is that?
It's about as accurate as real-world medieval maps. Okay, maybe Renaissance-era maps. Early Renaissance-era.


Why do your characters never fire arrows?
Apart from a short passage in Book III and another one in Book VI where actual fire-arrows are used, they never want to set to fire to something at range without letting anyone know they have a wizard with them. Only firearms fire projectiles, bows and other mechanical projectile weapons shoot or loose. Also, there is no such thing as platemail. Plate armour, yes. Chainmail, yes. Half-plate, yes. Scalemail or scale armour, yes. Platemail, no.


Which of your characters is most like yourself?
There's a bit of me in all the main characters. I'd like to think of myself as very Cullan-like, but I'm almost certainly much closer to being Dalian.


Which authors and/or series did you take inspiration from when writing?
All of the ones that I've read and/or seen.


Any in particular?
If you see something in my work that you think was inspired by other works, please do start a TV Tropes Wiki page on it.


But how will I know what to look for if you don't say?
Inspiration happens constantly, whether we're aware of it or not, so I can't really tell you what's inspired me when writing. Sometimes it comes in floods, sometimes it's like a welded-shut bottle of water when traversing the desert.


So what sort of things might you have been exposed to that would have contributed to your inspiration?
I was raised on some of the very finest in British absurdist humour and speculative fiction: The Goon Show, Fawlty Towers, Monty Python, Red Dwarf, HHGTTG, Tolkien, Terry Pratchett, Blackadder, Lindsey Davis, Bernard Cornwell, George MacDonald Fraser, Top Gear, Hot Fuzz, even Harry Potter. Foreign sources include Star Trek, Star Wars, Farscape, Firefly, Babylon 5, Buffy, Fritz Leiber and Asterix. Neither list is by any means exhaustive (or in any sort of order).


Do you browse TV Tropes Wiki looking for ideas?
Not on purpose. See above re: Inspiration.


What does NaNoWriMo Novel mean?
NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel during the 30 days of November. All the HS&S:WT novels were written during NaNoWriMo between 2006 and 2016.


So doesn't that mean that they're all rushed and un-edited?
Do you level that accusation at professional writers who complete two books a year? Just because mine were written in 30 days doesn't mean they're poorly-written. They've all had at least six-to-eight months of planning, and three months of reviewing, revising and editing. When it comes to writing (and acting), I believe in getting it right first time, if at all possible. And since I've been creating stories since I was four (and writing since I was 12), it is very possible indeed.


Who's your favourite author?
Whoever wrote the book I'm currently reading.


Why do you sometimes put extra letters in words?
I'm assuming you're referring to things like the letter U in colour or harbour?
I'm British, it's how we spell. If you're going to complain about sometimes not being able to understand the proper spellings of words, I suggest you move from America to a country with a functioning education system. (Not necessarily the UK, these days...)


Are you a smartass?
I am not any sort of donkey at all.


Are you a smartarse?