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PhilFleischmann

Fantasy Immersion and the Things that Ruin it.

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43 minutes ago, PhilFleischmann said:

I thought Franz Mesmer was common knowledge.  IIRC, he was one of the predecessors of Freud.

 

In any event, I hope we can all agree that there are certain words and phrases that should not be used in a quasi-medieval fantasy setting.  Like:

 

blueprint

electricity

virus

firing an arrow (unless you mean setting it on fire.  No one ever said, "fire!" meaning to shoot a weapon if it wasn't a firearm.)

 

I'm sure there are plenty of others we can think of.

He's not. 

 

I disagree. 

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35 minutes ago, PhilFleischmann said:

I thought Franz Mesmer was common knowledge.  IIRC, he was one of the predecessors of Freud.

 

In any event, I hope we can all agree that there are certain words and phrases that should not be used in a quasi-medieval fantasy setting.  Like:

 

blueprint

 

No question.  This word is of modern coinage.

 

35 minutes ago, PhilFleischmann said:

electricity

 

From electrum, the Latin word for amber (the material) (or, the Gygaxian word for "mixture of gold and silver"), derived from Greek elektron referring to the sparking display given off when rubbing a piece of amber.  Lightning (derived from Middle English) is probably usable enough, especially given the common lightning bolt spell, though one might coin the word "amberspark" for a fantasy world.  

 

35 minutes ago, PhilFleischmann said:

virus

 

"Virulent" is a late Middle English word from around 1400, describing a poisoned wound, from the Latin virulentus, deriving from the Latin virus meaning poison.  Plague is likewise a late Middle English word, deriving from the Latin plaga (stroke or wound), deriving from the Greek plaga (strike).  "Virus" with its modern meaning of "disease causing quasi-organism" is certainly of modern origin.

 

35 minutes ago, PhilFleischmann said:

firing an arrow (unless you mean setting it on fire.  No one ever said, "fire!" meaning to shoot a weapon if it wasn't a firearm.)

 

Also no question.  This irks me.  "Loose" is the command given to an archer.  (Incidentally, the act of bringing the notched rear tip of the arrow to the bowstring is nocking the arrow, not "notching".)  

 

Poul Anderson wrote a short story called Uncleftish Beholding, which is a sort of "what if" story explaining modern science using a variant of English based on German loanwords rather than French and Latin.  The phrase "uncleftish beholding" itself is a translation of "atomic theory" into that English variant.   

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This is more a complaint for fantasy artwork, and video games, but: Giant weapons for human-sized fighters. Seven-foot swords. Hundred-pound hammers. Axes as broad as a car door. All of the insecurity-overcompensating, penis-substituting, power-fantasizing behemoth bodkins that even Conan couldn't swing in a fight.

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I don't think "anachronism" is the right word for some of what Phil finds annoying. I'd suggest "anamythism" -- not from the wrong time, but from the wrong story. The genre boundaries of fantasy are very wide, but that doesn't mean every possible thing fits in every story.

 

For instance, take railroads. They can fit perfectly well in some alternate-historical fantasies such as Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest, in which the Industrial Revolution is happening at the same time as the English Civil War, and both are of interest to Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of the Elves. There is an internal logic here, and it is also important to the theme of the story.

 

Even in a setting with no explicit connection to Earth, railways are not unthinkable. The first RL railway was built, IIRC, in ancient Greece. It was short, powered by oxen pulling the cars, and not duplicated, but clearly the idea was possible. But... railways (whether powered by coal, oxen or dragons) aren't going to catch on unless there are certain political and economic conditions that don't apply in most bog-standard fantasy settings. They didn't even apply equally in RL Earth history -- development was much slower in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe. Railways say a lot about what kind of world it is, and what kind of story you're going to tell in it.

 

Dean Shomshak

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33 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

This is more a complaint for fantasy artwork, and video games, but: Giant weapons for human-sized fighters. Seven-foot swords. Hundred-pound hammers. Axes as broad as a car door. All of the insecurity-overcompensating, penis-substituting, power-fantasizing behemoth bodkins that even Conan couldn't swing in a fight.

 

I cannot add any more reactions today!  😭

 

To that I'll add, male artists that draw female characters adventuring in lingerie.  I don't have a problem with porn, but when I want porn I look at porn, and when I want gaming I look at gaming books. 

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8 minutes ago, DShomshak said:

I don't think "anachronism" is the right word for some of what Phil finds annoying. I'd suggest "anamythism" -- not from the wrong time, but from the wrong story. The genre boundaries of fantasy are very wide, but that doesn't mean every possible thing fits in every story.

 

For instance, take railroads. They can fit perfectly well in some alternate-historical fantasies such as Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest, in which the Industrial Revolution is happening at the same time as the English Civil War, and both are of interest to Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of the Elves. There is an internal logic here, and it is also important to the theme of the story.

 

Even in a setting with no explicit connection to Earth, railways are not unthinkable. The first RL railway was built, IIRC, in ancient Greece. It was short, powered by oxen pulling the cars, and not duplicated, but clearly the idea was possible. But... railways (whether powered by coal, oxen or dragons) aren't going to catch on unless there are certain political and economic conditions that don't apply in most bog-standard fantasy settings. They didn't even apply equally in RL Earth history -- development was much slower in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe. Railways say a lot about what kind of world it is, and what kind of story you're going to tell in it.

 

Thank you for this.  I am still out of reactions for the day.  

 

As for me, I want to see fantasy worlds with railroads, and/or guns, and/or lightning speech.  Grey aliens as a PC or NPC race.  Occasional crashed spaceships or cyborgs from other universes.  The early playtest D&D campaigns had characters traveling to John Carter's Mars and the Old West; sending an adventuring party into the Star Wars universe and coming back with lightsabers is certainly not conceptually far from this.  That's not for everyone, by any means.

 

And sometimes I'm happy with a setting that isn't too far out of the norm, though usually when I play with those I want to play with some of their assumptions, and see what happens in a hundred years.  Or see what happens when the players find a buried crashed spaceship under a mountain.  

 

You can't eat prime rib for every meal, nor can you eat McDonald's for every meal.  

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1 hour ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

From electrum, the Latin word for amber (the material) (or, the Gygaxian word for "mixture of gold and silver"), derived from Greek elektron referring to the sparking display given off when rubbing a piece of amber.  Lightning (derived from Middle English) is probably usable enough, especially given the common lightning bolt spell, though one might coin the word "amberspark" for a fantasy world.  

 

My desk dictionary, published decades ago, defines "electrum" as "A natural pale-yellow alloy of gold and silver." Latin, from the Greek elektron, with a note about its connection to "Electric." Gygax didn't invent it.

 

Dean Shomshak

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1 hour ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

From electrum, the Latin word for amber (the material) (or, the Gygaxian word for "mixture of gold and silver"), derived from Greek elektron referring to the sparking display given off when rubbing a piece of amber.  Lightning (derived from Middle English) is probably usable enough, especially given the common lightning bolt spell, though one might coin the word "amberspark" for a fantasy world.  

 

My desk dictionary, published decades ago, defines "electrum" as "A natural pale-yellow alloy of gold and silver." Latin, from the Greek elektron, with a note about its connection to "Electric." Gygax didn't invent it.

 

Dean Shomshak

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11 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

To that I'll add, male artists that draw female characters adventuring in lingerie.  I don't have a problem with porn, but when I want porn I look at porn, and when I want gaming I look at gaming books. 

 

Despite heartily agreeing with you, I wasn't going to say anything about that, because we all know why it's become a genre convention. But if you insist your female warrior fight in a bikini, at least don't make it chain-mail. That's serious chafing for negligible protective benefit -- literally adding injury to insult.

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oh, man... Where do I start?

 

Mythic or Fairy tale Cosmology.  Said on the other thread. not a fan of Geocentric flat earths on the backs of turtles going all the way down,  and "breathable space".

 

Eberron. Nope.  related: I dislike steam punk because it all ways devolves into  goggles,, and gears on hats, and two gun feminism. It's about as related to anything Victorian, as Star Wars is to NASA

 

Illiterate does not mean stupid.  Peasants had to know the land, the seasons and the growing cycles , and how to make and repair their tools (outside of blacksmithing), and manage their animals.  Unsuccessful peasants starved to death or became wards of their smarter relatives.  Barbarians aren't stupid, they just have different priorities.

 

I could go on, but I will keep this one short.

 

 

 

 

 

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I am still out of reactions.  LL, Dean, and Scott, consider yourselves "Like"d.  

 

35 minutes ago, DShomshak said:

My desk dictionary, published decades ago, defines "electrum" as "A natural pale-yellow alloy of gold and silver." Latin, from the Greek elektron, with a note about its connection to "Electric." Gygax didn't invent it.

 

That was the only definition I knew for "electrum" until earlier today when I went searching for the etymology of electricity.  :)  We live and learn.  

 

33 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

Despite heartily agreeing with you, I wasn't going to say anything about that, because we all know why it's become a genre convention. But if you insist your female warrior fight in a bikini, at least don't make it chain-mail. That's serious chafing for negligible protective benefit -- literally adding injury to insult.

 

👍 because I am out of rep for the day.  

 

19 minutes ago, Scott Ruggels said:

Mythic or Fairy tale Cosmology.  Said on the other thread. not a fan of Geocentric flat earths on the backs of turtles going all the way down,  and "breathable space".

 

Agreed.  I like spherical planets that revolve around stars.  But... as I said, sometimes I want prime rib, sometimes I'm in the mood for a Big Mac.

 

 

19 minutes ago, Scott Ruggels said:

Eberron. Nope.  related: I dislike steam punk because it all ways devolves into  goggles,, and gears on hats, and two gun feminism. It's about as related to anything Victorian, as Star Wars is to NASA

 

Or as medieval Europe is to fantasy gaming... 

 

"Steampunk is what happened when goths discovered brown."  :D 

 

I might not have been so into -- what, "trainpunk" fantasy? -- except that in the past couple of years I've gotten into, and very much enjoyed, two web serials (Mother of Learning (complete) and Worth the Candle (ongoing)), both of which take place in fantasy worlds that are on the upward slope of a tech curve.  They both explicitly have trains and firearms, and the latter has radio and telephones as well.  So if you -- the general you -- are into that kind of thing, I've linkified them for your convenience.  (The latter is also a "litRPG" which is a conceit whereby some part of the world -- in this case the protagonist -- explicitly functions based on a gaming paradigm.  The former does not mess with that.  So if that either floats your boat or sinks it, keep that in mind as well.)

 

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Explosives.  Incendiaries.  And especially Molotov cocktails made out of oil flasks.  These bother me in films too.  It's lazy.

 

Modern astronomy.  So many "fantasy" settings are explicitly set in an M-class star system for some reason.  It's fantasy my dude, the world can be flat, and the sun can be drawn by a chariot.

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2 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

I might not have been so into -- what, "trainpunk" fantasy? -- except that in the past couple of years I've gotten into, and very much enjoyed, two web serials (Mother of Learning (complete) and Worth the Candle (ongoing)), both of which take place in fantasy worlds that are on the upward slope of a tech curve.  They both explicitly have trains and firearms, and the latter has radio and telephones as well.  So if you -- the general you -- are into that kind of thing, I've linkified them for your convenience.  (The latter is also a "litRPG" which is a conceit whereby some part of the world -- in this case the protagonist -- explicitly functions based on a gaming paradigm.  The former does not mess with that.  So if that either floats your boat or sinks it, keep that in mind as well.)

 

 

Oh, I am not at all against climbing the tech tree in fantasy at all. In fact I wanted to run a "Early Nation states colonizing a distant continent." which would be 17th Century, or so, with plusses and minuses due to magic, but with Firearms, massed tactics, and printing presses.  The players, however wanted something else, and opted for a near future solar system game, which I am finding hard to write.

 

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5 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

I might not have been so into -- what, "trainpunk" fantasy? -- except that in the past couple of years I've gotten into, and very much enjoyed, two web serials (Mother of Learning (complete) and Worth the Candle (ongoing)), both of which take place in fantasy worlds that are on the upward slope of a tech curve.  They both explicitly have trains and firearms, and the latter has radio and telephones as well.

 

 

The latter sounds like it's bleeding over into dieselpunk.

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7 minutes ago, Old Man said:

Explosives.  Incendiaries.  And especially Molotov cocktails made out of oil flasks.  These bother me in films too.  It's lazy.

 

Early D&D almost forced players into this, as it was a cheap, high damage, area of effect option at low levels.  First level magic users were more or less forced into being bomb-throwing anarchists as a result of "Johnny One-spell".  

 

Quote

 

Modern astronomy.  So many "fantasy" settings are explicitly set in an M-class star system for some reason.  It's fantasy my dude, the world can be flat, and the sun can be drawn by a chariot.

 

Prime rib and Big Macs.  :) 

 

5 minutes ago, Scott Ruggels said:

Oh, I am not at all against climbing the tech tree in fantasy at all. In fact I wanted to run a "Early Nation states colonizing a distant continent." which would be 17th Century, or so, with plusses and minuses due to magic, but with Firearms, massed tactics, and printing presses.  The players, however wanted something else, and opted for a near future solar system game, which I am finding hard to write.

 

👍 because I am out of rep.

 

5 minutes ago, Old Man said:

The latter sounds like it's bleeding over into dieselpunk.

 

They're both high magic worlds, so if that makes or breaks dieselpunk, then... yes?  I have to admit that outside of cyberpunk and steampunk, I'm not very familiar with things with -punk on the end.  

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23 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

They're both high magic worlds, so if that makes or breaks dieselpunk, then... yes?  I have to admit that outside of cyberpunk and steampunk, I'm not very familiar with things with -punk on the end.  

FYI: Diesel Punk  is late 20's through WW2,  atomic Punk or atomic age is from the end of WW2 until  1970. ect.

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2 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

👍

"Steampunk is what happened when goths discovered brown."  :D 

 

Even as a life-long wearer of brown leathers, I am _totally_ stealing that!  :D

 

Any idea where it's from? 

 

 

1 hour ago, Scott Ruggels said:

The players, however wanted something else, and opted for a near future solar system game, which I am finding hard to write.

 

 

Are you going hard science, or retrofuture atomic rockets? 

 

If retrofuture, Google up an old radio program that was part of my childhood (AFN Japan would play it, and sometimes we could pick it up on the shortwave for reasons I never understood) called "X minus 1.". It's the golden age atomic rockets, as it happened. 

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24 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

Even as a life-long wearer of brown leathers, I am _totally_ stealing that!  :D

 

Any idea where it's from? 

 

I saw it at a science fiction convention some years ago.  I couldn't tell you which one, where, or exactly when, but it has to have been at least 10 years ago.  👍 

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1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

Are you going hard science, or retrofuture atomic rockets? 

 

If retrofuture, Google up an old radio program that was part of my childhood (AFN Japan would play it, and sometimes we could pick it up on the shortwave for reasons I never understood) called "X minus 1.". It's the golden age atomic rockets, as it happened. 

 

Hard science. Basically the solar system Gold Rush, after Elon Musk establishes the Mars Colony, and the Moon is the last exit before the deep black. no aliens, no FTL, but a bit lawless.

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Thanks.  I made that connection shortly after I posted, but by then break was over-- back to work.  Well, "break...."    Broken equipment was repaired; back to work.  :lol:   Gotta tell ya, I'm not as young as I used to be, and the 14=hour days just don't roll off quite as easy anymore.  

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5 hours ago, Old Man said:

Explosives.  Incendiaries.  And especially Molotov cocktails made out of oil flasks.  These bother me in films too.  It's lazy.

 

Really? Those are actual things people have had access to for centuries, everything from Greek fire to burning pitch. And bombs predate guns by centuries, not to mention full plate armor and the lightweight, signature forms of the katana and rapier.

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16 minutes ago, Cassandra said:

I always defined Electrum as taking a swig of rum while getting shocked with a stun gun.

 

I guess I went to a different college they you guys did.

 

You mean the stories I heard about sorority girls weren't exaggeration?! :blink:

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22 minutes ago, pawsplay said:

 

Really? Those are actual things people have had access to for centuries, everything from Greek fire to burning pitch. And bombs predate guns by centuries, not to mention full plate armor and the lightweight, signature forms of the katana and rapier.

 

The question was "what ruins your fantasy immersion" and those are my answers.  Greek fire was effectively magic and has never been exactly replicated; RPG players (and film directors) also tend to exaggerate how effective burning pitch and "bombs" actually were. 

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