The Fell Gard Codices

Questions and Answers About Fell Gard

What are The Fell Gard Codices?

An ongoing fantasy fiction serial at There has been an extended, and unwanted, break since the publication of the last chapter. The next installment will be coming soon, though, with further chapters to follow once a week.


What’s the story about?

A varied group of wanderers find themselves in a vast dungeon out of ancient legend, a place filled with wonder, magic, and treasure — but also monsters, traps, and great danger. Some of them come to believe there is a reason for them to be there; others just want to escape. The story follows them as they explore the labyrinth, seeking their various goals, and finding both enemies and allies along the way.


Is it an adventure story?

There’s definitely adventure in it. There are quieter moments as well.


How long will it be?

The randomness inherent in the process of creation precludes a definite answer.


Say what?

Philip K. Dick wrote The Man in the High Castle by consulting the I Ching. Italo Calvino wrote The Castle of Crossed Destinies by using a tarot deck. I’m using dice and a set of charts to map out the dungeon and fill the rooms. The story develops out of the characters interacting with the randomly-generated material — and finding new randomly-generated characters as they go.


How do you get a story out of randomly-created material?

That’s the trick of it. And also the joy of it. I look at what the rolls tell me, and try to make sense of what I’m seeing given what’s already been established. You can read the story for yourself, and see if it works. There is the possibility that I’ll fall on my face before all’s said and done; possibly several times. But that’s true of any storyteller telling any story, I think.


Don’t you have an ending in mind?

I have a very general ending, yes. How I’ll reach that ending, and what exact shape it’ll take, I have no idea. I want to let the story tell me how it ends.


Isn’t this just a game of Dungeons & Dragons?

No. To start with, I want to be very clear that I’m not using anyone else’s intellectual property. None of the creatures, spells, and the like are intended to be representations of anything in the Dungeons & Dragons system. So creatures like ‘goblins’ or ‘dragons’ that appear in my story are meant to derive from folklore and similar sources, not from the depictions of those creatures in Dungeons & Dragons products.

But I also want to be clear that I’m approaching this as a story, not as a game. The two sometimes end up as the same thing, of course, but the idea here is that all the dice-rolling is opening me up to random factors that will shape the story in ways I hadn’t expected, perhaps making it richer than what I would have created on my own.

As I say, you can read for yourself and see if it’s working.


Who are you, anyway?

I’m a Montreal-based writer. My story “Kreisler’s Automata” was published by the Beneath Ceaseless Skies webzine and reprinted in The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year One. My story “The Word of Azrael” was published in Black Gate, and will be reprinted in The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy: 2011 Edition. Among other things, I’ve written criticism for various venues, including The Comics Journal, the Montreal Gazette, and I also blog weekly at about fantasy fiction.

Aiding me in this endeavour is my One True Love, writer Grace Seybold. Grace has had work published at Beneath Ceaseless Skies — a story that was also reprinted in The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year One — as well as in Aoife’s Kiss, Neo-Opsis, Polygraff, and the anthology Tesseracts Twelve. Grace is also a freelance editor who works with McGill-Queen’s Press, so her eyes are invaluable. Having studied linguistics, she’s also created some languages for The Fell Gard Codices, helping round out the world no end.


What’s your posting schedule for The Fell Gard Codices ?

The first run of chapters, up through chapter fifteen and the uncompleted chapter sixteen of Part Four, were posted on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I think that was an unsustainable schedule, and when posting resumes it’ll be at a rate of one chapter a week.

In addition to chapters of the story, I also blog at the Fell Gard site. Those posts present thoughts on various subjects — the story, fantasy fiction, history, perhaps gaming, whatever seems relevant. I’ve been putting up some kind of content every weekday.


Why the delay in publishing?

I have some minor but occasionally debilitating health issues. Specifically, I have a chronic sinus condition that can affect me more or less significantly for extended periods of time. I wrote about it here. The problem with being sick isn’t just that it knocks me out as far as fiction writing, it leaves me unable to string words together at all — meaning that when I recover I have to scramble to catch up with my paying work. Over the past months I’ve been trying various medications, learning what foods can help, and generally working out how to manage the condition as best I can. At this point I expect to be able to handle a reduced posting rate, and put together a bit of a backlog in case I get knocked out again.


How can I support the Fell Gard project?

You may have noticed a link to a ‘Donate’ page over in the sidebar to the left. If you’d like to send me some money through PayPal, that’d obviously be greatly appreciated. In the long run, once the story reaches a certain length, and ideally reaches a logical climactic point, I’m planning to start selling collections as e-books.

Also, and especially, if you enjoyed the story, please tell other people about it!


I’d like to report some typos; also, I have questions that haven’t been answered here.

I’d love to hear about them. Feel free to e-mail me at Matthew at fellgard dot com.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the story!

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