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Caolin
Senior Scribe

682 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2018 :  06:45:54  Show Profile Send Caolin a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
One of my biggest concerns with the ending of the novel line was the lack of interest that could spawn from such a move. I think it was under appreciated how much interest in D&D and FR the novels generated. And here I am, checking in on Candlekeep out of sheer habit thinking to myself "would I even care if a new novel came out?". I had a chance to sit in on a D&D session last weekend and I passed on it. I've moved onto reading other settings like the Expanse and G.R.R.M's works and I have games like the Witcher to fill my fantasy needs. Reading FR novels filled a big spot in my mind and now that it's filled with other things I don't see me giving all that up just to come back to reading novels that.....let's face it.....aren't up to the Martin or Corey level of writing.

Any ways, not sure what the point of this was. I just had a depressing thought and I wanted to vent. I hope everyone is still enjoying the Realms in some way. I'm not at all, but hopefully someone is.

Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3085 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2018 :  12:16:42  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's bizarre not having new FR novels to read ... but honestly the quality of the novels has been trailing off steadily over the past decade or so anyway, so I'm not that disappointed either. Like you said, there are plenty of other well-written fantasy books to read.

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way. -Steve Martin

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VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
336 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2018 :  02:18:16  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is depressing for me to read. When I was a teen in the 90's I could go to Barnes and Noble and find several aisles full of D&D worlds - Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, Darksun, etc. Now I go in and see one single shelf with like 2 or 3 totally random Dragonlance books and then maybe 15-20 Realms books - 75% of which are Drizzt novels in various reprints or collector package sets. I lived in these worlds as a kid and invested so much time learning their histories, the major movers and shakers, and all the important storylines.

Ten years from now there will be teenagers who have never heard of the Forgotten Realms, let alone the other smaller, niche worlds. Think about how many hours of time from various authors and writers went into building these locations - literally thousands upon thousands of pages of text in the form of novels, campaign boxed sets, and various other supplements, and all of it will be almost entirely lost to all but the tiniest percentage of fantasy fans who just happen to stumble upon it and say, "What is this weird stuff?"

I guess if the upcoming FR movie is a runaway smash hit on par with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it may spark a revival and a torch passing to the next generation. But, yeah....
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31234 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2018 :  05:21:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
New FR books started losing their appeal for me in the 3E era -- I read a lot of them, and enjoyed more than a few, but I also read a lot that thoroughly underwhelmed me. Most of the class books didn't do much for me, I simply don't get why people love the Erevis Cale or Sembia books, and I was so disappointed with the cash grab War of the Spider Queen books that they're among the few that I go out of my way to speak poorly of. The Return of the Archwizards trilogy was hugely disappointing, as well.

And some of the cover art from that era was simply awful. I'll readily admit that at least a couple of FR books had such bad cover art that I had a negative opinion of the book before I ever read the back cover blurb. Yeah, I know, don't judge a book by its cover and all that -- but it's the cover you see first, and that's what has to pull you in to make you want to read the back cover blurb.

There's a lot of older stuff I still like -- I just finished rereading some of Elaine's stuff, for example -- but the novels were failing to grab me long before the flow of them slowed down.

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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2313 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2018 :  13:30:10  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If the line is ever revived--and that's a very big IF--the writers who do so will need to address both of these concerns.

They will have to write stories that have a strong sense of setting, one that will resonate with the people who love the Realms. The flavor of the Realms will have to be strong, distinct, and interesting enough to counteract the sense that "you can't go home again" and experience anything like your first introduction/immersion.

They will also have to write at a level of characterization, plotting, diction, and style that can stand alone WITHOUT the support of the setting. The only way to counteract the dismissal of shared-world books as "lesser than" is to write books that are not. Some people will always find them so, and that's their prerogative, but I believe this is a goal every shared-world writer should pursue.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7145 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2018 :  16:04:49  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well said Elaine, and the mere fact that you took a character created by someone else (Elaith Craulnober) and so infused him with such personality that many of us think of him as "yours" just in my mind shows that it CAN be done. Khelben in my mind belongs to Steven Schend. Ed owns Elminster and the Simbul. In my viewpoint, Lauzoril was best portrayed by Lynn Abbey (though I don't see her choosing to tie herself strongly to the realms). Aoth is well done by Richard Lee Beyers. While I can see you guys sharing these individuals, and other writers DO do well in the sharing (for instance, I feel Lauzoril had a decent representation by Mr. Beyers, but he wasn't the focus in that novel). I think that's a key point to this kind of thing is the authors sharing characters, but trying to keep true to each other's visions... and that's not easy. Of course, I'm an outsider, so I can't truly appreciate how hard it can be to herd authors like that, but can only equate it to my current job which sometimes requires an iron fist.... and that's NOT what you want with creative personalities.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2313 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2018 :  18:03:53  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Well said Elaine, and the mere fact that you took a character created by someone else (Elaith Craulnober) and so infused him with such personality that many of us think of him as "yours" just in my mind shows that it CAN be done. Khelben in my mind belongs to Steven Schend. Ed owns Elminster and the Simbul. In my viewpoint, Lauzoril was best portrayed by Lynn Abbey (though I don't see her choosing to tie herself strongly to the realms). Aoth is well done by Richard Lee Beyers. While I can see you guys sharing these individuals, and other writers DO do well in the sharing (for instance, I feel Lauzoril had a decent representation by Mr. Beyers, but he wasn't the focus in that novel). I think that's a key point to this kind of thing is the authors sharing characters, but trying to keep true to each other's visions... and that's not easy. Of course, I'm an outsider, so I can't truly appreciate how hard it can be to herd authors like that, but can only equate it to my current job which sometimes requires an iron fist.... and that's NOT what you want with creative personalities.



It's my observation that the best results are obtained when "signature characters" are written by the authors with whom they're associated. It's entirely possible that someone other than Bob could write a good story about Jarlaxle, someone other than Ed write about Mirt, and so on, but continuity of plot/setting AND characterization are better served by each writer having his or her own corner of the sandbox.

I've written in series that had several authors writing the same characters, and while it can be done, it adds another level of difficulty.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31234 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2018 :  03:58:05  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That was part of my issue with the War of the Spider Queen books... Each book having a different author meant character personalities weren't always constant. Most of them stayed pretty close to what had gone before, but there were a couple of very notable personality shifts that were painfully jarring.

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Caolin
Senior Scribe

682 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2018 :  07:53:55  Show Profile Send Caolin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Honestly, I never had a problem with the quality of Realms novels even up til the end. I honestly enjoyed the setting regardless of where it was or who it was about. Back when we had 12 books a year, if you didn't really like a story you had another one coming in a month. The fact that we still have former FR authors still dedicated to the setting shows how special the novels were and still can be.

But the way WoTC has totally handled things has made me feel bitter and unappreciated as a fan. I refuse to support anything from the company until I see some proper attention paid to the FR novel line.
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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
3166 Posts

Posted - 16 Jan 2018 :  04:00:45  Show Profile  Send Lord Karsus an AOL message Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Novels, to me anyway, were what made the world feel "alive." Back in the day, maybe I didn't read everything, but I read most of the things that were published. Over the course of any given year from 2003-2008, whatever it was when I was most into the Forgotten Realms, stuff happened in the world. Coupled with sourcebooks, web articles, and DRAGON Magazine, it all made it feel like a living world with stuff that was happening, stuff that I wanted to talk about, etc.

-Fantasy books, physical books, I dunno. It'll never be a "dying industry", but it's a niche thing that definitely isn't as big as it used to be.

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Edited by - Lord Karsus on 16 Jan 2018 04:01:58
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31234 Posts

Posted - 16 Jan 2018 :  04:31:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-Novels, to me anyway, were what made the world feel "alive." Back in the day, maybe I didn't read everything, but I read most of the things that were published. Over the course of any given year from 2003-2008, whatever it was when I was most into the Forgotten Realms, stuff happened in the world. Coupled with sourcebooks, web articles, and DRAGON Magazine, it all made it feel like a living world with stuff that was happening, stuff that I wanted to talk about, etc.

-Fantasy books, physical books, I dunno. It'll never be a "dying industry", but it's a niche thing that definitely isn't as big as it used to be.



Me, personally, I think it could be as big as it used to be -- if someone would simply do it.

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Caolin
Senior Scribe

682 Posts

Posted - 16 Jan 2018 :  16:57:56  Show Profile Send Caolin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
Me, personally, I think it could be as big as it used to be -- if someone would simply do it.



Yes, I agree with this. WoTC (Hasbro) is too wrapped up in the "new media synergy" thing to understand that they had a committed base of fans to leverage. But they continue to pursue the casual fan at the expense of the committed fan.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31234 Posts

Posted - 16 Jan 2018 :  18:05:06  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Caolin

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
Me, personally, I think it could be as big as it used to be -- if someone would simply do it.



Yes, I agree with this. WoTC (Hasbro) is too wrapped up in the "new media synergy" thing to understand that they had a committed base of fans to leverage. But they continue to pursue the casual fan at the expense of the committed fan.




I don't blame them for pursuing the casual fan -- there are more casual fans than dedicated ones. I just have an issue with the fact they seem to have no interest in cultivating new dedicated fans.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 16 Jan 2018 18:08:04
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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
3166 Posts

Posted - 16 Jan 2018 :  23:32:44  Show Profile  Send Lord Karsus an AOL message Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Me, personally, I think it could be as big as it used to be -- if someone would simply do it.


-I just don't see it. Video games have basically taken up the "off beat recreational niche" that D&D and other games used to occupy, except they have an even bigger reach. That's a battle no company can take on.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

Elves of Faerūn
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Vol. III- Spells of the Elves
Vol. VI- Mechanical Compendium
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Sunderstone
Learned Scribe

82 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2018 :  01:16:18  Show Profile Send Sunderstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Caolin

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
Me, personally, I think it could be as big as it used to be -- if someone would simply do it.



Yes, I agree with this. WoTC (Hasbro) is too wrapped up in the "new media synergy" thing to understand that they had a committed base of fans to leverage. But they continue to pursue the casual fan at the expense of the committed fan.




I don't blame them for pursuing the casual fan -- there are more casual fans than dedicated ones. I just have an issue with the fact they seem to have no interest in cultivating new dedicated fans.



I think I would be ok with that if they created a generic vanilla setting for gaming materials and released the IP for the Forgotten Realms back to the TEGG. I'm not sure the causal fan cares as much about Lore or the level of detail and history in the secondary world.

TEGG would be able to give FR fans what they want to plug into the gaming system.
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Shadowsoul
Senior Scribe

Ireland
697 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2018 :  10:30:00  Show Profile Send Shadowsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Reading and Audio are just as big as ever. When I ride the bus everyday to and from work, there are loads of people reading from either physical books or e-readers. I see ads for audible all the time. For me, WoTc is basiclly the Simon Cowell of the industry. He turns out mediocre to crap songs and singers that for some reason people like.

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31234 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2018 :  15:21:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Shadowsoul

Reading and Audio are just as big as ever. When I ride the bus everyday to and from work, there are loads of people reading from either physical books or e-readers. I see ads for audible all the time. For me, WoTc is basiclly the Simon Cowell of the industry. He turns out mediocre to crap songs and singers that for some reason people like.



I wouldn't say that's a good analogy -- because WotC isn't turning out anything at all other than a trickle of gaming material

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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2231 Posts

Posted - 19 Jan 2018 :  23:48:33  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am a fantasy lover (and I also read a lot of m/m romances. Guilty pleasure), and I was reading fantasy before I was introduced to the Realms. I have other worlds I enjoy, though FR is thus far the only game setting novel line I have read. Well, that isn't entirely true. I have begun reading the Pathfinder novels, but those too are on hiatus, albeit for different reasons.

Anyway, it saddens me that there aren't anymore Realms novels to look forward to, especially as they move on to 5th edition, and made such a big hype about it. While the novels may not have sold as well as other game products, there was still a market for them. There are obviously many people who are upset by the lack of novels. I also remember being able to walk into B&N and see a good selection of FR novels, even during the 4e era. Now, all that is there is Drizzt. I will agree with what others have said in that the novels help bring the setting to life. Yeah, you can do that through gaming (and use your imagination and OCs), but there is something about reading stories set in a world you love.

Sweet water and light laughter
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1788 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2018 :  15:14:53  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
It may have been a question of scale. Yes, the novels made money, but did they make enough to impress some highly placed decision maker in Hasbro as worth the trouble? I don't know the answer to that, but if it's no, that could be why the plug was pulled.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31234 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2018 :  15:42:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers

It may have been a question of scale. Yes, the novels made money, but did they make enough to impress some highly placed decision maker in Hasbro as worth the trouble? I don't know the answer to that, but if it's no, that could be why the plug was pulled.



From what I've heard, from at least one TSR insider, the problem wasn't the money, the problem was that the company never considered itself to be in the novel business. So even though a lot of people became customers just because of the novels, and even though the novels were more profitable, they were always considered a secondary concern, at best.

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TomCosta
Forgotten Realms Designer

USA
556 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2018 :  21:28:04  Show Profile Send TomCosta a Private Message  Reply with Quote
To me the novels were a great tie in with the game. They helped make the world come alive and I think it worked. The novels encouraged development of source books and vice versa, though I guess from a sales perspective they may have oversaturated things in the 2E era, which led to the acquisition by Wizards.

And that said, I think the quality of the novels varied tremendously for every Elaine Cunningham and Richard Lee Byers there were at least two folks who's names I forget. Most weren't horrible, but many were meh. Nevertheless, they helped weave the tapestry, and until 4E I read them all, every single one.

The same is true for Marvel. The comics were starting to wither until the movies started, but you can't really have one without the other. If they stopped making the comics, the movies would lose their audience. Without the movies, the comics will lose the free advertising they need.

So I suppose like most folks on this board, I wish they would bring back some of the novels. I'd love to see Kemp and Cunningham finish their story arcs or see new stories from Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak or Richards Baker or Byers.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7145 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2018 :  02:00:46  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
god yes, I would love to see Cunningham finish her stuff with Elaith. Granted, its been so many years, I'd bet it would take her a while to get caught back up. I would love to see something more done with the Brotherhood of the Griffin as well. I'm so far behind on Salvatore's stuff though that I can't honestly say I'd be driven to buy anything from him (I even pushed myself a year or so back to get through all of his novels so that I could read his sundering one... and I think I stopped at the ones with "King" in their name... and I think there's like 6-10 more since that). I'd love to see Ed not do full length novels, but I'd love to see him do some short stories. In fact, I'd love to see some new "Realms of" set of short stories for 5e.... maybe a couple of those anthologies, even if they're set in the past and explore the time post-spellplague but pre-sundering. Hell, I'd love to see them bring in Erin Evans and have her do some exploration of Abeir pre-sundering.... and then do some short stories with other authors based on that as well. All of this could help whet people's appetites, make them ask "what happened next".... meanwhile, they can be planning that out... taking cues from our discussions here, etc...

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Gyor
Master of Realmslore

1307 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2018 :  16:56:45  Show Profile Send Gyor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Caolin

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
Me, personally, I think it could be as big as it used to be -- if someone would simply do it.



Yes, I agree with this. WoTC (Hasbro) is too wrapped up in the "new media synergy" thing to understand that they had a committed base of fans to leverage. But they continue to pursue the casual fan at the expense of the committed fan.




Yep, it's sad, hopefully they find someone better to run things.

Edited by - Gyor on 23 Jan 2018 17:35:49
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Gyor
Master of Realmslore

1307 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2018 :  16:59:20  Show Profile Send Gyor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TomCosta

To me the novels were a great tie in with the game. They helped make the world come alive and I think it worked. The novels encouraged development of source books and vice versa, though I guess from a sales perspective they may have oversaturated things in the 2E era, which led to the acquisition by Wizards.

And that said, I think the quality of the novels varied tremendously for every Elaine Cunningham and Richard Lee Byers there were at least two folks who's names I forget. Most weren't horrible, but many were meh. Nevertheless, they helped weave the tapestry, and until 4E I read them all, every single one.

The same is true for Marvel. The comics were starting to wither until the movies started, but you can't really have one without the other. If they stopped making the comics, the movies would lose their audience. Without the movies, the comics will lose the free advertising they need.

So I suppose like most folks on this board, I wish they would bring back some of the novels. I'd love to see Kemp and Cunningham finish their story arcs or see new stories from Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak or Richards Baker or Byers.



The comics started to wither because the people in charged picked people for ideological reasons, not comic book love or talent.

The diversity & comics vlogs going to great detail about that.
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Zeromaru X
Master of Realmslore

Colombia
1072 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2018 :  21:09:07  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TomCosta

The same is true for Marvel. The comics were starting to wither until the movies started, but you can't really have one without the other. If they stopped making the comics, the movies would lose their audience. Without the movies, the comics will lose the free advertising they need.


This is not so accurate. While killing the comics of the Fantastic 4 killed the movie line as well (got riddance after "Fant4stic"), that didn't worked for X-men. Heck, they even went as far as to kill for reals their emblematic characters (Cyclops, Wolverine, and others), and that didn't worked. People still wanted the X-men, and while Apocalypse wasn't a blockbuster, taught Marvel a lesson (people love X-men), and they had to revive the comic line with the new versions of X-men Blue and X-men Gold, using characters from another timeline to replace the killed ones, like young Cyclops or old man Logan.

Long ago, in the distant past, they fell into decay. The philosopher’s path... The river of glory... Even the saints resting in the darkness rise up without response and block the way...
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31234 Posts

Posted - 24 Jan 2018 :  03:14:35  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've not read a Marvel comic in years, and when I was reading them, I was into Ghost Rider and some of the X-books -- so I've basically never read any of the stuff from the MCU.

And yet, I'm a huge huge HUGE fan of the MCU.

I saw the first couple of X-Men movies... But the third one ruined the franchise for me, and even though he was always a favorite, I was unwillingly drug along to see the Wolverine origin movie. I went in with low expectations, and the movie failed to meet them. Since then, I've ignored everything even tangentially X-related, with the exception of the Deadpool movie.

I think part of the strength of the MCU is that you can go into any of those movies without knowing a thing about the character, and still find it very enjoyable.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 24 Jan 2018 03:15:31
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