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metcalph

Wyrms Footnotes nuggets

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3 hours ago, metcalph said:

People speak all the time with contractions and elisions.  Speaking formally in conversations just sounds plain weird.  Where you should be complaing about is the use of contractions and the like in written language. 

 

I am talking about written language. (Originally topography, but expanded to written words in general).

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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I'll go ahead and suggest that sometimes in fiction, the spoken / written distinctions are intentionally blurred.

Most particularly for F & SF languages.

And without further explication, we don't even.know it this usage of  ' (and other nonalphabetic marks) even represent a contraction or the like... it may be another sound!

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19 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Going down that hole quickly just becomes a bit nonsensical, like wondering what phoneme Chris Metzen left out when he made up the names "Quel'Thalas" or "Gul'dan" for Warcraft.

Obviously it's a click sound!

Diane Wynne-Jones:

"APOSTROPHES. Few NAMES in Fantasyland are considered complete unless they are interrupted by an apostrophe somewhere in the middle (as in Gna’ash). The only names usually exempt from apostrophes, apart from those of most WIZARDS, heroes, and COMPANIONS on the Tour, are those of some COUNTRIES. No one knows the reasons for this. Nor does anyone really know how an apostrophe should be pronounced, though there are theories: 1. You ignore the apostrophe and simply pronounce the word. (Here Gna’ash = Gnash.) 2. You leave a gap or lacuna where the apostrophe occurs. (Here Gna’ash = Gna-ash.) 3. You make a kind of clucking-sound to stand for the apostrophe. (Here Gna’ash = gnaglunkash.) Persons with insecurely mounted tonsils should adhere to one of the other two theories."

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On 2/11/2020 at 6:48 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

There's always the argument that most of these writers are English and so would default to English grammatical usage, of course, but that raises the question why they would make their imaginary language chock-full of contractions or elisions to begin with, like a writer typing out dialectal speech phonically for a culture that we haven't even been able to get to know yet, "y'all catchin' m'drift?" Going down that hole quickly just becomes a bit nonsensical, like wondering what phoneme Chris Metzen left out when he made up the names "Quel'Thalas" or "Gul'dan" for Warcraft. Applying Occan's Razor and say that a lot of apostrophes are added because they look exotic is imho the more commonsense way. 

Anyway, sorry if this came off as a bit terse, I didn't intend to, but now that I look back at it, I might've gotten carried a bit away. It's one of those things that honestly don't really matter, but I get worked up over it because apparently that's how my nerd brain works. 

Except that these fantasy worlds are usually described in English, so that the punctuation norms of Western scripts should be relevant, rather than misuse of them.

Contrast, for a counter-example, Tolkien's deliberate divergence from those norms ; except that he provided a clear and easy description to let readers understand his variätions ...

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5 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

Except that these fantasy worlds are usually described in English, so that the punctuation norms of Western scripts should be relevant, rather than misuse of them.

 

But the specific words containing apostrophes are intentionally made to be a non-English language, therefore we can at best guess that the name has been transliterated into English ortography from whatever writing system this fantastic language uses, but that still leaves us with no real hint at purpose what the apostrophe serves. Does it mark a contraction? Does it mark a glottal stop? Does it delineate stems in a compound word? Does it refer to a sound not otherwise marked in the Latin alphabet such as a clicking sound? Does it SOMETIMES mark elision and OTHER times a glottal stop? WHEN? How do we tell them apart? WHO KNOWS. Certainly not the reader, because 90% of these languages are evidently made up haphazardly and don't have any pronounciation guide. 

Hence my point on it being an, for want of another term, "exoticism crutch". It's the same reason why you give aliens or demons or whatever names with x's in them, even though the letter x is mostly just a dumb accident of Greek and Roman ortographic history. It boggles the mind why a completely alien culture would create the same exact odd duck of writing that combines the k and s sounds and sometimes just pronounces the s sound. The answer is of course that it's less about the sounds and more that the writers knows it just gives off an impression of exoticism or possibly ancient age. The alternate is that it's due to a complex in-universe linguistic history where the aliens have names that humans for some reason chose to use the letter 'x' in whenever clusters of 'ks' came up, and possibly in some cases where an initial 's' came up. But that's a hell of a thing for a reader to just infer when, I dunno, the "Great Director Xaxarbaxxus" lands with his galaxy destroyer or whatever. (The RW language of Nahuatl (Aztec) uses 'x' to mark a "SH"-sound, whereas the IPA uses it to mark a rough throaty sound, like in Scots "loch", and Old Spanish and Basque uses/used it to mark the less rough throaty sound found in "Xavier"/"Javier". If a writer chooses to adapt a letter to a specific sound like this, that's admirable forethought, although it should probably be explained to the reader at some point for clarity.)

Tolkien, funnily enough, admits to using such aesthetic tropes when he talks about choosing 'c' over 'k', and using 'q' over 'kw'. He agonizes a bit over it in a few of his letters, but argues that in order for the elven languages to come off as ancient, beautiful and cultured, 'c' is a better choice than 'k'. His choice is very deliberate, and as a result also very consistent ('c' is pronounced as a k even where it in English would be pronounced as an 's', ie. "Celebrimbor" being "Kelebrimbor", etc.). 

Just to be clear: not every writer making up a fantasy language should need a linguistics degree, that's clearly absurd - but I think it's good to give your imaginary language some thought, if only to make pronounciation for readers easier, or to have some personal foundation in case you want to build on it later. 

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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30 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

The alternate is that it's due to a complex in-universe linguistic history where the aliens have names that humans for some reason chose to use the letter 'x' in whenever clusters of 'ks' came up, and possibly in some cases where an initial 's' came up.

This is something we see also in Glorantha as well.

The emperor Anaxial is more properly Anaksial (as seen on page 349 of the guide).

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9 minutes ago, GianniVacca said:

Advertised in Issue No.6 of Wyrms Footnotes. What did this become?

I'd guess it's the Hero Wars campaign (i.e. the RQ equivalent of the Pendragon Campaign) - the material that will outline the overall events and personalities from 1625 until the Red Moon falls.

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21 minutes ago, GianniVacca said:

Advertised in Issue No.6 of Wyrms Footnotes. What did this become?

Capture.PNG

I have Greg's copy. It has been a foundational text for what I have been working for the last several years. Some of it made it into Cults of Terror, some of it into KoS, and some of it into the Guide and the Sourcebook.

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2 hours ago, GianniVacca said:

Advertised in Issue No.6 of Wyrms Footnotes. What did this become?

Capture.PNG

Side note: For many years we thought this manuscript was lost, as we only had photocopies of bits and pieces of it. We found the full original manuscript in late 2017.

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49 minutes ago, Rick Meints said:

Side note: For many years we thought this manuscript was lost, as we only had photocopies of bits and pieces of it. We found the full original manuscript in late 2017.

Some day I'd love to see a book about the secret history of Gloranthan gaming (similar to Designers & Dungeons, but with lavish illustrations/photos similar to D&D's Art & Arcana). Hey, is Shannon Appelcline doing anything these days? :)

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3 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Some day I'd love to see a book about the secret history of Gloranthan gaming (similar to Designers & Dungeons, but with lavish illustrations/photos similar to D&D's Art & Arcana). Hey, is Shannon Appelcline doing anything these days? :)

That would be cool. Alas, a lot of stories got lost when Greg passed away. Not sure what you mean by "secret" history.

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14 minutes ago, Rick Meints said:

Not sure what you mean by "secret" history.

The private history?  What Oz was doing behind the curtain before the dog started nipping the hem of his trousers.  You know, how the sausage was made.

!i!

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3 hours ago, jajagappa said:

There's likely a lot that will never be known, and a lot that we probably don't really want to know.

Probably the closest we will have is what Shannon Applecline outlined here: A Brief History of Game #3: Chaosium

We worked with Shannon to update the Chaosium history for his Designers & Dragons series. That goes into far more detail than the RPG.net article cited above.

One of the big limitations is that many people don't want to go on the record and bad mouth other people in the industry in general, and in their own company in particular. That applies to people even if they are no longer employed by that company or even when they are no longer in the industry. 

Because I have a tremendous curiosity and interest in the history of The Chaosium I have tracked down and chatted with many former Chaosium people and freelancers who worked on projects back in the early days. Lots of great stories, although I'm not so sure they want them all in print. 

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45 minutes ago, Rick Meints said:

Because I have a tremendous curiosity and interest in the history of The Chaosium I have tracked down and chatted with many former Chaosium people and freelancers who worked on projects back in the early days. Lots of great stories, although I'm not so sure they want them all in print.

Yeah that’s understandable... I think that given all the little gems one can find on various forums and mailing list archives (I recently found a great anecdote about Greg and Hargrave but it turns out Shannon had already compiled it in Designers & Dungeons), there’s probably enough material out there that there’s no need to find any new stories — the real work and value would be to edit it all together, find cool pictures and documents to scan, and make a big, coffee-table worthy book that would look as nice as any movie “behind the scenes” art book, something that we can get for a nerd’s birthday. And by that I mean something I would get myself for my own birthday. On the day it’s released, regardless of when my birthday is.... anyway yeah it’s just a dream (the market for this is fairly small, it might only be doable via Kickstarter), but hey, we can dream. And, ahem, the 30 year anniversary of Chaosium is not too far away... ahem...

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Some thoughts on WF 1’s editorial.

Love the beginning of the Monomyth...

Quote

Then when Jessie Salmonsen (editor of Fantasy & Terror) rudely rejected a story of mine with the comment that "All S&S is cliches," I realized the handle I'd been seeking, took it to grip, and turned to with a renewed vigor.

As if to prove her right, I found it very easy to convert the standard parts of S&S
into a game-reference system,

  • Started from a challenge. Challenge accepted and turned on its head. Turned into a game. Love it!
  • Love how Greg was such a California hippy, no quote needed. The entire editorial confirms it.
  • Love how he played Tactics II and wanted to write a war game, Me to, I tried my damndest to write a game based on Helm's Deep and failed miserably!
Quote

All of these people were instrumental
in getting the game where it is today: onto your tables.

I have been using the term ”your table" for years, Nice to see it started right at the beginning.

Quote

"Ab Chaos : lux, lex, et legumes."

If this does not prove that Greg was an odd duck nothing will. Thanks for the memories, Rick!

Saving the best for last. Yep, the proofreading was as bad then as now!

All quotes from WF 1’s editorial.

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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7 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Some thoughts on WF 1’s editorial.

Love the beginning of the Monomyth...

  • Started from a challenge. Challenge accepted and turned on its head. Turned into a game. Love it!
  • Love how Greg was such a California hippy, no quote needed. The entire editorial confirms it.
  • Love how he played Tactics II and wanted to write a war game, Me to, I tried my damndest to write a game based on Helm's Deep and failed miserably!

I have been using the term ”your table" for years, Nice to see it started right at the beginning.

If this does not prove that Greg was an odd duck nothing will. Thanks for the memories, Rick!

Saving the best for last. Yep, the copy-proofing was as bad then as now!

All quotes from From WF 1’s editorial.

I'm not terribly well-versed in the history of tabletop gaming, what is S&S? 

Also, on a tangent, it's nice to see women get mentioned in the annals of nerd history. I know too many folks who view ladies as newcomers (or worse, invaders or appropriators) of nerdy stuff, and it's just good to have more references in the bag to disprove the notion. This is probably old news to everyone here, though. 

My Latin is a bit rusty, but "Ab Chaos, lux, lex et legumes." means "Out of Chaos, light, law and peas", right? :D

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30 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I'm not terribly well-versed in the history of tabletop gaming, what is S&S?

I believe S&S means "Sword and Sorcery" here. In other words, that standard cry of  "fantasy's old hat, everything's a Tolkien rip off" that's still going strong today.

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1 hour ago, Tindalos said:

I believe S&S means "Sword and Sorcery" here. In other words, that standard cry of  "fantasy's old hat, everything's a Tolkien rip off" that's still going strong today.

Ah, gotcha. Thanks. :) 

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2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

My Latin is a bit rusty, but "Ab Chaos, lux, lex et legumes." means "Out of Chaos, light, law and peas", right?

More or less "From the Chaos, Light, Law and Vegetables".

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11 hours ago, lordabdul said:

And, ahem, the 30 year anniversary of Chaosium is not too far away... ahem...

Chaosium's 30th Anniversary was in 2005. Founded in 1975, we are celebrating the 45th anniversary of The Chaosium this year, and are looking forward to our 50th in 2025.

Typo! indeed. 🙂

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3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Also, on a tangent, it's nice to see women get mentioned in the annals of nerd history. I know too many folks who view ladies as newcomers (or worse, invaders or appropriators) of nerdy stuff, and it's just good to have more references in the bag to disprove the notion. This is probably old news to everyone here, though. 

 

A quick side note, if you really want to get my goat, mention that women have no place in computing! HELLO!

Google "women in computing" and start learning!

3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

My Latin is a bit rusty, but "Ab Chaos, lux, lex et legumes." means "Out of Chaos, light, law and peas", right? :D

close

 

2 hours ago, Tindalos said:

I believe S&S means "Sword and Sorcery" here. In other words, that standard cry of  "fantasy's old hat, everything's a Tolkien rip off" that's still going strong today.

correct!

49 minutes ago, Kloster said:

More or less "From the Chaos, Light, Law and Vegetables".

and again correct!

Edited by Bill the barbarian

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