Thursday, October 27, 2011

New blog.

My blog is now at I'm going to keep this blogspot blog up, but I won't be posting here any more.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blog problems.

Blogger deleted this blog for a brief period today. Obviously they've put it back, but I'm going to move the blog to my own server. I'll post the link when I've done so.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The City of Dignity

This forest settlement, despite its name, probably has no more than a few hundred inhabitants. It was founded by a group of young people from Karsh led by a man known as Uncle, which he uses as both name and title.

The 'city' is extremely secretive. Although it has few buildings, with most people sleeping in tents, it has a defensive wall that would be the envy of any great city. Some who have escaped say that there are hidden caches of weapons which are likewise of the highest quality.

The inhabitants of the city consist of the original founders, their children, and some of the local tribespeople, who entered the place due to starvation. Some say that the inhabitants of the city deliberately drove off game and poisoned water supplies to achieve this end, and that children were outright kidnapped.

It seems that everyone is effectively a slave of Uncle. It is said that sexual intercourse can only take place with Uncle's blessing, and that even talking without permission is a crime. Uncle is said to force the inhabitants to ingest various substances which render them more docile.

The stories of some escapees who made their way back to Karsh caused even the wicked people of Karsh to become outraged. Karsh thus sent an expedition to capture Uncle. However, true to their nature, the Karhsians accepted a deal which kept Uncle in power. The Karshians received a number of slaves, none of whom were the original colonists (although some may have been their children). It is also whispered that political prisoners of Karsh are sent to the City of Dignity, where they are tortured and subject to medical experimentation.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

from the Odyssey

...the gods, in the likeness of strangers from far countries, put on all manner of shapes, and wander through the cities...


Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Planets of the Celestial Realm

The planets of the Celestial Realm differ from the world of Teleleli (and from our own Earth), in that almost all of them contain only one climate each. Not all of these climates have parallels in the world below: there are jungle planets and ice planets, but also planets made of diamond, living flesh, or pure sadness for example.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Isle of Letters

The animals and plants of this isle all have the form of letters. Many valuable T trees grow there, but it is also home to dangerous Killer Bs, and the surrounding waters are filled with C Monsters.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

from The Swords of Lankhmar

...into the dark, spacious, low-ceilinged pleasance of a subterranean rat-metropolis, lit by phosphorus, where robed and long-skirted rats whose hoods hid their long faces moved about mysteriously, where rat-swords clashed behind the next pillar and rat-money chinked, where lewd female rats danced in their fur for a fee, where masked rat-spies and rat-informers lurked, where everyone -- every-furry-one -- was cringingly conscious of the omniscient overlordship of a supernally powerful Council of Thirteen...

Fritz Leiber

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why Grognards Aren't Hipsters

Hipsters and grognards have completely different terrible beards.

Grognards aren't wearing their Transformers tshirt ironically.

Hipsters like the early albums, before they got commercial, not the early edition, before they got commercial.

Hipsters argue about stupid things like the definition of 'alternative'. Grognards argue about important things like the definition of 'old-school'.

Hipsters use pretentious French words like mis-en-scene and cinema verite. Grognards use pretentious French words like bec-de-corbin and glaive.

Hipsters are into irony, which is where you wear something even though you don't like it. Grognards are into nerd-rage, which is where you talk incessantly about something even though you don't like it.

Hipsters spend hours making themselves look like they just put on any old pair of clothes at random and didn't bother to do their hair. Grognards don't spend hours.

Hipsters write zines because their band fell apart. Grognards write blogs because their campaign fell apart.

Grognards know that what they're doing isn't impressing women.

(in response to this).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What I'm Going to Write Next

I've decided that I'm going to finish two poems that I'm in the middle of, one of which is A Princess of Mars, then work on a novel set mostly in Telelee. Thanks to everyone who responded to my previous post on this.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fantasy-themed stamps from Australia Post

Australia Post recently put out this set of stamps, called Mythical Creatures. This is a bit of a pet subject of mine, but it reminded me how fantasy in general popular culture is quite different to fantasy as represented in role-playing. D&D and other games seem to have a lot more 'sex and violence', in the form of female nudity and concentration on weapons and armour, than you'd get in most representations of fantasy worlds (heavy metal album covers and the work of Frank Frazetta being obvious exceptions, and perhaps that's what a lot of D&D artists were inspired by). In this case the differences between new and old versions of D&D don't really matter.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Soul-Sun

I have heard that in the Celestial Realm there is a certain sun, all of whose planets were inhabited. When a creature of one planet died  it was reborn on the next planet in, until at last it died on the innermost planet and became one with the sun. But the inhabitants of one planet invaded one nearer to the sun than themselves, and killed all the creatures thereof. Thus when they died there was no vessel for their rebirth, so they were reborn as rocks, and must stay in this form forever.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What Should I Write Next?

Now that The New Death and others is out, I'm wondering what I should write next. I have two different projects that are half-finished:

  • A poem of A Princess of Mars.
  • A story called All-American Detectives, with a similar premise to the comic and film Watchmen: that is, a detective story where the detectives are superheroes.
  • I was also thinking of doing a story using the Teleleli material I've been posting here. It would probably be like those old science-fiction stories where someone from Earth journeys to another world, and the emphasis is on the details of that world.
I'd be interested in hearing people's opinion. Feel free to suggest something other than any of the above. I haven't turned this into a poll, because I want to hear people's reasons rather than just get numbers.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Phantom Time Hypothesis

The Phantom Time hypothesis is the theory that the Dark Ages, the period in Europe immediately after the collapse of the Roman Empire, did not in fact occur. It is stated that the 'missing' years are a result of the change from the Julian to the current Gregorian calendar, made worse by medieval reliance on oral history (such as the legends of Charlemagne, King Arthur and Robin Hood). Another factor is the desire of many medieval rulers to present the history of their families or kingdoms as being longer than in reality. The theory is said to explain the almost complete lack of invention and progress in Europe over a period of 500 years.

When I mentioned this theory to a certain Telelelene mystic, she told me that the years had not been misplaced, but stolen, and taken to lands within the world of Teleleli. Her meaning, like most pronouncements by such people, is unclear to me, and I present her words to the reader without judgement as to their value.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nadifa's Nominative Navigation

This spell allows the wizard to transport themselves, and perhaps even companions, over an unlimited distance. However it only allows travel between places with the same name. For example, someone on our world would be able to travel from Perth, Scotland to Perth, Australia. The names must be exactly the same (it would not allow travel from Main Street to Main Road, or from Mount Albert to Mont Albert). However the similarity may be in the names of countries, cities, streets, or even individual buildings (for example, two taverns with the same name).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Volitional Fluid, or Gods' Tears

It is rumoured, but not substantiated, that this substance may be found in Teleleli.

It is said to be a milky, thick fluid, like a liqueur, and beautiful to behold. It is not, however, desired for its appearance, nor even for its delicious taste, but for its ability, when treated correctly, to give the power to move with the speed of thought.

Some say that it is literally the tears of a god. Others contend that very enlightened mystics may enter a state of deep meditation, wherein they secrete the substance from their eyes or skin.

It is notable that the Tibetans ascribe various miraculous properties to the tears of Buddha and other holy men.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vampires and the sun

While all vampires have a fear and loathing of the sun, referring to it as 'The Enemy', not all vampires will die from its light.

Very recently-created vampires can go out in the sun with no abnormal effects: indeed they do not suffer sunburn like mortals, retaining the pallor of death. Somewhat older vampires will not die, but will blaze with a light that is said to be very beautiful. Finally, very old and powerful vampires may be able to go out in the sun, but while they do so lose all their undead powers.

The light emitted by young vampires is said to include colours that are not otherwise found in the world (by which is meant the world wherein lies Teleleli, although there is no overall difference between the light there and in our own world). These extra colours are named by some ulfar and jale. Science tells us that all the colours visible to humans are found in nature. Thus it may be that this light alters its observer, allowing them to perceive infra-red or ultra-violet. Alternatively, it may act directly on the human brain, bypassing actual sight altogether. Perhaps this phenomenon has come connection to the auras said to be perceivable by mystics, or the Third Eye of the Tibetan lamas. The Barsoomians, too, speak of a Ninth and Tenth Ray, which possess various powers, and which their ancestors extracted from normal light by a process now lost.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vampire bites

If a mortal is bitten by a vampire, and their blood falls upon the ground, and they survive, the wound will always give a sharp pain in the presence of vampires, no matter how well-hidden they may be. For this reason, it is the law of the vampires only to bite once the victim is dead. However, the taste of fresh-bitten live blood is intoxicating to vampires beyond all else, and so the law is frequently broken.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Electric Pentacle

I returned then to the center of the room, and measured out a space twenty-one feet in diameter, which I swept with a 'broom of hyssop.' About this, I drew a circle of chalk, taking care never to step over the circle. Beyond this I smudged, with a bunch of garlic, a broad belt right around the chalked circle, and when this was complete, I took from among my stores in the center a small jar of a certain water. I broke away the parchment, and withdrew the stopper. Then, dipping my left forefinger in the little jar, I went 'round the circle again, making upon the floor, just within the line of chalk, the Second Sign of the Saaamaaa Ritual, and joining each Sign most carefully with the left-handed crescent. I can tell you, I felt easier when this was done, and the 'water circle' complete. Then, I unpacked some more of the stuff that I had brought, and placed a lighted candle in the 'valley' of each Crescent. After that, I drew a Pentacle, so that each of the five points of the defensive star touched the chalk circle. In the five points of the star I placed five portions of the bread, each wrapped in linen, and in the five 'vales,' five opened jars of the water I had used to make the 'water circle.' And now I had my first protective barrier complete…I turned-to now to fit the Electric Pentacle, setting it so that each of its 'points' and 'vales' coincided exactly with the 'points' and 'vales' of the drawn pentagram upon the floor. Then I connected up the battery, and the next instant the pale blue glare from the intertwining vacuum tubes shone out. 

William Hope Hodgson.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Land of the Father-Eaters

The people of this far land have the custom of eating their old people, and those who are sick unto death. Those who are consumed do not object to the practice. In fact, no one in this land fears dying in this manner. This is all the more remarkable since they have no religious beliefs about the fate of one so eaten.

Their fear of all other forms of death is the same as that shown by people of other lands.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dungeon Generator

This is a project I did a while ago. It's a random dungeon generator, for either Tunnels & Trolls, or Basic D&D/Labyrinth Lord combined with Mutant Future.

I know there are a lot of random dungeon generators around the web. But this one is a lot more detailed. For example, it doesn't pick monsters from a list: it creates all-new monsters for every dungeon. It also has a lot of features that most generators ignore, such as relations between different groups of monsters, the difficulty of bargaining with them, the availability of hirelings in the area and so on.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Burley, or Oh-Be-Joyful

Burley is a variety of the hemianthropoi's pipe-weed. Smoking it will temporarily banish the effects of lack of sleep. To enhance this effect, the weed is not mixed with cheap wine or ale like other varieties. Instead it is flavoured with the essence of printers' ink, and the paper used in books.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Creation of the Hemianthropoi

Legend says that the first hemianthropoi, or halflings, were the offspring of a human child and a rabbit.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

More free adventures

I don't know if anyone remembers the Worldwide Adventure Writing Month that Jeff Rients ran in 2007 and 2008. However all the entries are listed on my site here. There are a total of 17 free adventures, for various systems.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Land of Candy

A vast jungle of treacle swamps, candy-cane trees, and mountains as dangerous as they are delicious. It is ruled over by the jungle lord Tarzipan.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The New Death and others: buy it, or get a free copy for a review.

The New Death and others is now out. You can buy it from Amazon or Smashwords for 99c. Amazon has it as a kindle file, and Smashwords has it as a kindle file and various other formats.

I'll send a free copy to anyone who agrees to write a review on their blog, or on a relevant forum such as Just email me (news at apolitical dot info) and tell me where you'd write a review, and what file format you prefer.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

If we're not meant to eat people, why are they made of meat?

    October 31st, 1839, Thursday. This morning we witnessed a shocking spectacle. Twenty (20) dead bodies of men, women and children were brought to Rewa as a present from Tanoa. They were distributed among the people to be cooked and eaten. They were dragged about in the water and on the beach. The children amused themselves by sporting with and mutilating the body of a little girl. A crowd of men and women maltreated the body of a grey-haired old man and that a young women. Human entrails were floating down the river in front of the mission premises. Mutilated limbs, heads, and trunks of the bodies of human beings have been floating about, and scenes of disgust and horror have been presented to our view in every direction. How true it is that the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.

    November 1st, Friday. This morning a little after break of day I was surprised to hear voices of several persons who were talking very loudly near the front fence of the mission premises. On going out to ascertain the cause of the noise, I found a human head in our garden. This was the head of the old man whose body had been abused on the beach. The arm of the body had been broken by a bullet which passed through the bone near to the shoulder, and upper part of the skull had been knocked off with a club. The head had been thrown into our garden during the night, with the intention no doubt, of annoying us and shocking our feelings.

Reverend David Cargill

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The New Death and others: contents

This is the complete listing of what will be in The New Death and others. It's not necessarily in the right order. The stories with links have been published online. I have a series of poems that are based on fantasy stories in the public domain. The links for these are to the original stories.
The God of the Poor
How the Isle of Cats Got Its Name
The Enemy Within
Under the Pyramids (based on the story of the same name by H.P. Lovecraft)
The End
The Lamb's Speech
A Date with Destiny
Everlasting Fire
The New Death
The Prince of the Howling Forest
The Uncharted Isle
The Moon Sailed Sadly Through the Sky
The Scholar and the Moon
When Love Calls
Weary Love
Fame's Beloved
The Name of the Helper
The Warring Gods
The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune (based on the story of the same name by Robert E. Howard)
The Adventure of the Murdered Philanthropist
The Doom That Was Laid Upon Fame
May Every Woman
Death and the Merchant
Lost, Feral or Stray
The Apprenticeship
The Jeweled City
The Producer
Law and Justice
The Bird and the Two Trees
The Sailor
The Prince and the Sky-Maiden
The Face in the Hill
The Garden of Adompha (based on the story of the same name by Clark Ashton Smith)
The New Magazine
The Perfect Woman
If My Life Was Filmed
Legend: The Story of Kevin Marley
The Construction Workers of Telelee
The New God
That Which Unites Us
Two Brothers
The God of the City of Dust
The Dragon Festival
I Heard the Mermaids Singing
Singles Bar
The Auto-Pope
Diamanda and the Isle of Wives
The Death of the Artist
The Morning Post
My Cat Is Not Like Other Cats
The Handsome but Impossibly Demanding Prince
The Exchange
Charon  (based on the story of the same name by Lord Dunsany)
Mourning Has Broken
Sigrun and the Shepherd
Local News

Monday, September 26, 2011

The New Death and others: blurb

Death gets a roommate...

An electronic Pope faces a difficult theological question...

A wicked vizier makes a terrible bargain...

44 stories. 19 poems. No whiny vampires. There's a thin line between genius and insanity, and James Hutchings has just crossed it - but from which direction?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Flights of Fancy is now The New Death and others

Hey, you know how I said I'd changed the title of my ebook to Flights of Fancy? Three days is a long time in publishing...

Friday, September 23, 2011


In our world baboons have been known to kidnap the puppies of feral dogs, and to as it were domesticate them. The dogs are able to be trained to stand guard duty, and receive food for their service, like the dogs of humans.

In Teleleli troops of wild baboons live on the roofs and in the sewers, and have gone further than those of our world. As well as dogs, they have been known to kidnap children. Some of these children have become the leaders of baboon troops. The Telelelene scholar Snorri Troll-Tongue has even investigated the possibility that some baboons have a measure of human ancestry. At least he claimed that was what he was doing.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Once Upon a Time is now Flights of Fancy

After getting some feedback, I've decided to change the cover and title of my upcoming ebook. This is the new cover.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Poles

It seems likely that either the North or South Pole once held an entrance to the world where Teleleli lies.

My suspicions were first aroused by reading of the secret world or city of Agartha, which is said to reside at the Earth's core and be accessible by entrances in both poles. It is described by some sources as being a place of great wealth and knowledge. Others describe a complex of dismal caves inhabited by evil demons. This contradiction might be explained as originating with the accounts of two or more travelers who had made their way to different parts of the same world.

The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing-World, published in 1668 by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, describes a world, filled with talking animals, that is likewise entered via the North Pole.

It seems to me that some groups of the 19th and early 20th centuries, perhaps even in various governments, may have believed that this portal still existed. This could explain the otherwise disproportionate efforts expended in attempting to reach the North Pole. Indeed United States President John Quincy Adams gave his approval for an official expedition to the North Pole for the purpose of entering the supposed hollow Earth, but left office before it could be organised.
Perhaps when it was discovered that no portal existed at the North Pole, they concluded that it could be found at the South Pole, and put their efforts there only to be disappointed again. Of course this assumes that they were in fact disappointed. I note the desperate efforts of various governments, extending even to the present day, to extend their claims over Antarctica. Obviously there are more prosaic explanations for this phenomenon, for example that they are motivated by the large number of frozen cavemen there that could be thawed out to form an army.

Monday, September 19, 2011


These creatures have, thankfully, never been seen in Teleleli. They are only known there through descriptions given by refugees from Barsoom, who say that they came into conflict with them in the distant past.

The original appearance of the creatures is not known, although they may have resembled Barsoomians, or even been a branch of that species. The prevailing philosophy of their society seemed to be based on a belief that the mind was separate to the body, even to the brain, and a hatred of the body combined with an idealisation of the mind. Possessing advanced science, they were able to alter their bodies. Perhaps this led to a vicious cycle where they found themselves in bodies instinctively alien to them, which caused their hatred of the body to grow, and led in turn to more extreme modifications.

Whether this is the reason, it is undisputed that they altered their bodies more and more. At one period in Barsoomian history they are reported as having soft, oversized, but otherwise human- or Barsoomian-like heads, but lacking any other body. Instead, they grew headless bodies, on which they 'rode', controlling them by unknown means.

After many centuries their bodies were huge, and resembled machines more than biological creatures, having a metal-like skin and weapons of great power, including poisonous black smoke and a 'Tenth Ray', which is described as a special form of light which incinerated whatever it fell upon. They are said to have had many tentacles instead of arms and legs, and to have been able to travel land and sea with equal ease, though not to fly (the name Sky-Tyrants derives from the fact that they towered over the Barsoomians).

It strikes me as a peculiar coincidence that the loa of Haitian voodoo are said to 'ride' the worshippers whom they possess, and perhaps this provides some clue as to the Sky-Tyrants' eventual fate. It may be that they managed to become altogether incorporeal. In any case, after a destructive war they are heard of no more in the history of Barsoom.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Flying City of the Night

As the name would imply, this structure is a flying city. Its appearance is feared by many, since it appears only with the intention of destroying and looting. However it seems to choose its targets carefully, on political grounds. The inhabitants of the city appear to have similar views to the Conspiracy of Equals. When asked who led them, they are said to have replied "Prince Nobody" or "Captain No-one."

As well as flight, the city seems to be capable of submerging itself under the sea, which it does to avoid pursuit. At other times it has flown away over mountain ranges or forests, slowing down land-based pursuit. It does not appear to be able to fly as high as cloud level, or to remain in the air indefinitely.

It is often said that the City will free political prisoners, debtors or slaves, and that some have gone with the city when it escaped. This has led to speculation that the inhabitants of the city may no longer be its original builders. Thus it is not known whether the inhabitants understand how the city flies.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Teeth of Fairies

Unlike humans, fairies only ever grow a single set of teeth. They are also prone to losing them, especially from their habit of chewing on stones and wood. Having never taken to false teeth, they have developed the custom of taking the teeth from humans and carving fairy-sized teeth from them. They make a magic glue which adheres the teeth to their gums, called Pixie Stick..Generally they will pay for human teeth - sometimes quite generously, since they have little other use for money. However they have been known to steal them from sleeping humans.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bad Water

Bad Water is water that has been used by undertakers or priests to wash corpses. This is the first stage of most funerary rituals in Teleleli, and is especially necessary in embalming and mummification. Bad Water is widely held to be an ingredient in Paste of the Spirits.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Please Pirate My Work

My ebook collection of poems and stories, Once Upon A Time, is due to come out on the 28th (at least that's when rights to a couple of stories I sold will revert to me, and I can upload it to Amazon and Smashwords - it might take a couple more days for them to process it).

I'm going to release the text under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license. This means that anyone can legally use the text, including putting it on file-sharing / torrent sites.

I'm doing this partly because I'm against the way that copyright is being used to give private individuals indefinite control over material that would have gone into the public domain, without those individuals having to give anything back.

However, I also think it will actually help me. In my experience people who create things often worry that someone will steal their ideas. I've seen this for board games, fiction, and role-playing games. I've found that, far from people stealing your ideas, it's actually quite hard to get anyone to take any interest in them even when you're giving them away.

Science fiction author Andrew Burt wrote that when someone put one of his books on a file-sharing site, that book got a spike in sales. So we'll see whether it helps me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Neck-Weasels: A Warning

The traveler should bear in mind that criminals are rumoured to train small snakes and dress them in the skins of neck-weasels. When a victim has worn one for a few minutes the snake chokes its wearer in the manner of a boa constrictor, and the criminals rob the corpse.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Origin of Ghouls

It is believed that babies who are born dead must be either cremated, or buried face down with a sickle around their neck. If neither is done the creature will rise again and eventually grow into a ghoul. Ghouls themselves claim not to remember their own births, and so do not confirm or deny the belief.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


It is generally believed that if a pregnant woman goes outside during a total eclipse, and with no clouds to protect her from the 'black rays' of the sun, she runs the risk of her baby being born very frail and sickly, half-witted, mad, or more than one of these, and with an inborn magical talent.

Such children will excel in areas of magic which match their spirit. One who rains fire and death on their enemies will be quick to anger and blame. One who excels in illusions will be a font of false oaths and promises, and a leader-astray of the innocent. One who begets madness will themselves be mad. It may be that this could work the other way, with virtuous spells matching virtuous magicians: but such would be a rarity of rarities.

They are also said to excel in the learning of languages. They are sometimes said to be able to learn languages without even hearing or reading them. Though, alas, they have little of sense to say in any tongue.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dryads and Fauns

Fauns and dryads are members of the same forest-dwelling species. Fauns are the males and dryads the females. The species has no name, since humans have traditionally treated the two genders as separate, and they simply call themselves 'the People'.

Dryads are born in an acorn, from which they hatch to reveal a creature that looks like a human baby, only much smaller. Within a few weeks they are the same size as a human baby. Fauns are also born very small and rapidly grow to human size. At puberty fauns develop hairy legs and horns, and dryads the power to change into trees (although cutting the bark will bring forth blood, not sap).

Friday, September 9, 2011

19th Century Edition Wars

Eventually so many rules sprang up, as each regiment improvised their own variations, two versions came into use. One, known as "rigid Kriegspiel", was played by strict adherence to the lengthy rule book. The other, "free Kriegspiel", was governed by the decisions of human umpires. Each version had its advantages and disadvantages: rigid Kriegspiel contained rules covering most situations, and the rules were derived from historical battles where those same situations had occurred, making the simulation verifiable and rooted in observable data, which some later American models discarded. However, its prescriptive nature acted against any impulse of the participants towards free and creative thinking. Conversely, free Kriegspiel could encourage this type of thinking, as its rules were open to interpretation by umpires and could be adapted during operation. This very interpretation, though, tended to negate the verifiable nature of the simulation, as different umpires might well adjudge the same situation in different ways, especially where there was a lack of historical precedent. In addition, it allowed umpires to weight the outcome, consciously or otherwise.

From Wikipedia.

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