Wednesday, 23 November 2011

One thing you find a lot in fantasy literature is that the heroes have to stop off for information. This usually involves a wizard, but there are plenty of other options:

  1. The traditional hermit. Hermits are surprisingly easy to find in medieval literature, showing up all the time to help people out with tricky quests, circuit diagrams and so forth. So why not have one show up to help your heroes out? They're in somewhere unsuitable, such as a modern supermarket, you say? Well, even hermits have to do their shopping sometime.
  2. Have a conveniently located citizens' advice bureau in the middle of that magic forest. Why? Typical government thinking, that's why (no, I don't know what sort of typical government thinking either).
  3. Ask a rather uncooperative magic mirror. I do this a lot in stories. In fact, one shows up as a rather amusing minor character in Court of Dreams.
  4. Demand it from a particularly legalistic group of baddies under the rules of full disclosure.
  5. Overhear it in an inn. Or better yet, find the bloke whose job it is to whisper such things in inns and make him tell you.
  6. Defeat dread powers in an unfathomable contest (or Scrabble, though this is only doable if the proper names of ancient Things are not allowed)
  7. Ask a wizard's apprentice, who is the one who has actually been out to get the information.

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