The Bend

Jeffrey Alan Love

A little background. I was running a Pathfinder game for some friends a few months ago. A neophyte-friendly, short campaign to introduce a bunch of youngsters to the hoary arts of dice rollin’. 

I got busy, and they got busy — and is all too often the case, we never got to the end of the story.

This weekend, out of the blue, one of the players emailed me. Warming the cockles of my wintry aorta — they asked how the story was going to end.

I stared at the email on my phone and mouthed the words, “How am I supposed to know?”

Maybe I’m a bad storyteller, or a bad DM – but my brain doesn’t operate the way. I can only see so far ahead of the players, just one bend ahead. That’s half the excitement for me — finding the story. Getting little glimpses of the horizon. Broken snippets, and flashes of moments, and vague ideas that will only fall into place when the time is right.

I mean, I generally know the end. The big events, the major developments — but the steps that link these, the tiny choices, human moments that connect them? Who knows?

And this, of course, made me think about Spell/Sword.



Because I do know the end of that story. And it’s horrible. The adventures of Jonas and Rime do not end well. Their tale ends in shadow.

Maybe that’s why I’m so excited to tell their story. I know where they end, but I don’t know how they got there. And as long as I don’t know, then it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it doesn’t have to happen?

It does have to happen.

But they will shine before the end. That’s all that I ask. For the book, for this dimension, for everything. Because everything ends. The sum total of human expression: the light we emit before nightfall.

Running away from the end, running away from maturity. This is a feat that I am familiar with — maybe I can help them run faster than I did?

Well, this turned maudlin.



I was staring at my phone, at the email — wondering what to tell the player. Then I knew, I knew what to tell him. I turned the bend, and there was the answer like I had always known it, like I had outlined it carefully on graph paper in my head. Fortunately for this story, it’s not a true ending — more of a End of the Beginning. The end of their first adventure, and a hook into the next. 

Here’s what I told him.

The Heroes of Riddlewood [you guys] would have explored the ominous manor of the Count, encountering many strange things and perils in their search for the kidnapped adventurer, Martin Wise. They would have located the prisoner behind a secret wall that lead to a high tower. Under the cover of night, the party attempts a daring rescue mission, only to do battle with the supernatural minions of the count – undead primarily, along with a couple of lycanthropes. They break out Martin and race back through the manor to escape, where they are caught by the Count himself. The Count attacks, revealing several dark powers, that seem to emanate from a gauntlet that he wears. The young heroes are overwhelmed by the assault — until reinforcements arrive in the form of the elder adventurer, Dennis Wise and the local magical instructor, Vurbane and his Mouse Brigade. The two old men work together to seal part of the Count’s dark power, allowing the party to fight back on even ground. The final blow falls and the dark gauntlet shatters — a phantom erupts from the Count’s body, and shrieks promises of revenge into the abyss.

The Count awakes, and thanks the heroes from saving him from the spirit that had possessed him for many months. The source of the possession was obviously the gauntlet, but the Count shares disquieting news…the gauntlet comes from a larger suit of armor unearthed from his family crypt. He had terrible nightmares about the armor for weeks, until he felt compelled to put on the gauntlet. He has no reliable memory of his time under the dark spirit’s control — but he has a terrible feeling that he spent some time sending pieces of the armor all throughout the land….

Another story leading off into the unknown, a story with no end — just a beginning. 

Some press for Spell/Sword!

Sean Polite, a scientific diagram.

I was interviewed recently by the irredeemable Demon of the Sea, Sean Polite. It’s for his “Movers and Shakers Project” nominally exploring people of cultural resonance in/and around Athens, GA.

Nominally I say, as my interview is a long, rambling discussion of storytelling, video games, classic anime, Dungeons and Dragons, and other avant garde nerdery. If these topics interest you, or you’re just curious what I sound like — click and be whelmed.

Click to be info-tained!

Be warned, there are some naughty, naughty words. The interview is available as a free download, or to stream online.



Here is Sean’s writeup — I blush, I blush!

There is a story in everything we do, in each action we undertake, and even in the hesitancy that keeps us rejecting other actions.


Today’s guest, Derek Adams, a bard amongst men, sees the plethora of lore and legend in the grand and mundane things in life, and his insight has yielded creative results with a role-playing twist and a growing footing in the literary world.


A student of role-playing games (a.k.a. RPGs)  and an advocate of the art of collaboration, he’s created a series known as Lodestar.  With an eye for talent, he’s recruited a group of friends with unreal writing ability, to craft an ongoing tale of adventure, magic, betrayal, battle, and endless interaction.  While he will admit that his own experiences with the RPG system are an influence, Lodestar is not exclusively defined within the categories of the typical role playing game.  You create the adventure and he oversees it!  He breaks down a good portion of the standard role playing terminology also.


The total flight hours of Lodestar: 500,000 words in a year and a half which equals a staggering amount of novels as you’ll hear.


This experiment in adventure has been a massive success, and has lead to a journey into the world of information age publishing.   At the current time, the players have created a new story, set 15 years prior to the events of “Lodestar.”  Derek is compiling these stories into a book, a massive volume called “Spell/Sword.”  While the history of the characters,  and motivations are a budding foundation for the journey to the past, no prior knowledge is required.


While he is a versatile masterful Mover and Shaker, he’s taking the plunge for the first time into the mind-numbing world of manuscript editing and confessing to the challenge of it.  You can take a peek into “Spell/Sword” by going to


There is a link between every role playing game and the anime series “Record of Lodoss War.”  Stick with the interview, and you’ll find out what it is.


A link we share is our mutual participation in the activities of the oldest continually running community theatre in Georgia, Athens Community Theater—home to the Town & Gown Players.  We discuss his introduction to and ongoing involvement with the volunteer organization, and his transition from acting to contributing behind the scenes with stories well known and unknown—culminating at the high helm of the director’s chair.  I’ve gotten to collaborate with him in some of the shows, and true to the community theater experience, it’s been a wondrous fulfillment.  You’ll hear about how you can contribute to the arts scene with a simple step towards the 60 year old coven behind the big white house on Prince Avenue.


Causing a stir in the cultural bowels of the Classic City are The Shadeaux Brothers, an enigmatic pop duo with a knack for songwriting at the maddening line between obvious parody for laughs and intense seriousness.  Fresh off of creating the anthem of your summer that you never knew could be known to, Derek breaks down their history with a sensitivity to their abhorrence of any forms of the beast that is celebrity promotion.  We go into their pioneering act of creating the medium of music known to the naked eye as ELF ROCK.  Few are the talents who’ve been enlisted to aid in their sonic sojourn of Christmas albums, but distinguished are they all.


The language is vivid (some profanity in good fun), and it is undone by the luminescence of the pop culture spectrum which Mr. Adams keeps at his bay of knowledge.  Subjects are deftly switched at supersonic pace, from video games to Dungeons and Dragons, Doctor Who, social media/blogging sites (tumblr, WordPress) and the like.  Even people who walk in on the interview are seamlessly woven into the conversation/interview.  His super fast wit inspires a lightning round at the end of this segment, and the commentary is enlightening and humorous—as this whole interview is.


The link to my interview with Derek is below, and this writing is only a hint of the fun behind the story of Derek Adams, a fresh new addition to the Movers and Shakers Project!

A diagram for the Lodestar series. While we generally use pictures of the interviewees, in this case, the grandeur of the story takes precedence before the storyteller.


Link to Interview:


Extra Info Links:

Shadeaux Bros. Facebook Page:

Shadeaux Bros. Reverb Nation Page: