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Fantasy Immersion and the Things that Ruin it.

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17 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

well...https://www.behindthename.com/name/kevin

 

Of course, the issue of "real world names" is an issue parallel to "just stupid names" if the game is not intended to have "real world" links.  What would you think of Edward or William?

 

A little better, but not much. Those don't really fit my setting which isn't old english but depending on the culture more celtic or germanic, with some Russian analogues. At least, that was the campaign where Kev-An played. The one I'm running now is set much earlier in the settings history and is much closer to Greco-roman. 

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2 minutes ago, Tywyll said:

 

A little better, but not much. Those don't really fit my setting which isn't old english but depending on the culture more celtic or germanic, with some Russian analogues. At least, that was the campaign where Kev-An played. The one I'm running now is set much earlier in the settings history and is much closer to Greco-roman. 

 

Funny...Kevin is celtic in origin.  Although adopting one of the variants would have been a better fit.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

Funny...Kevin is celtic in origin.  Although adopting one of the variants would have been a better fit.

 

 

 

It comes from an earlier Celtic name, which is neither spelled nor, I imagine, pronounced the way Kevin is. 

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8 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Similarly, in a world of Harry, Ron, Molly, Tom and Ginny (each with surnames), Hermione Granger is a bit jarring and what kind of name is "Voldemort"?

 

 

What? Puny muggle. Voldemort is a name with which to conjure terror in those who hear it!

 

Which begs the question, "why does it sound like Mouldy Wart?"

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10 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Similarly, in a world of Harry, Ron, Molly, Tom and Ginny (each with surnames), Hermione Granger is a bit jarring and what kind of name is "Voldemort"?

 

Hermione is a real name.

 

In the books, Voldemort was an assumed name. More Dark Lord-ish than Tom Riddle.

It was part of an anagram. The full anagram was from "Tom Marvolo Riddle" to "I am Lord Voldemort".

 

According to Google Translate, vol de mort translates from French to English as "flight of death". Translating it back again gives "vol de la mort".

 

Dark Lord-y enough, and not coincidental on the part of the author.

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6 minutes ago, assault said:

 

Hermione is a real name.

 

 

 

Yep.  Sorry, Hugh: it's actually a real name-- slightly more common in the UK than North America, but its a real name.  When I was like a _little_ kid-- like first grade-- I had a little puppy crush on the little girl a couple miles down the road.  She was a Hermione.

 

 

10 hours ago, Tywyll said:

 

It comes from an earlier Celtic name, which is neither spelled nor, I imagine, pronounced the way Kevin is. 

 

 

KWEE-vin or KEE-veen, depending on wether or not you spelled it with an "L" in the middle.

 

(gotta love Gaelic and Celtic.   Welsh, though....   they just took it too far....  :rofl:  )

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Yep.  Sorry, Hugh: it's actually a real name-- slightly more common in the UK than North America, but its a real name.  When I was like a _little_ kid-- like first grade-- I had a little puppy crush on the little girl a couple miles down the road.  She was a Hermione.

 

Yep - moved from very common names to less common name.  Of course, "Albus", "Dumbledore", "Severus" and "Snape" aren't exactly all that common either...

 

Try introducing yourself at a party as "Voldemort", even before prefacing with "Lord".  He chose to pick a weird name for his own reasons.

 

16 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

KWEE-vin or KEE-veen, depending on wether or not you spelled it with an "L" in the middle.

 

(gotta love Gaelic and Celtic.   Welsh, though....   they just took it too far....  :rofl:  )

 

Yeah, I kind of figured the evolution to "Kevin" would spell it more phonetically in English (or any other language that adopted it) without markedly changing the pronunciation.

 

Kind of like English speakers do not see the name "Siobhan" and immediately parse it out as "Chev On"

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On 3/5/2020 at 4:26 PM, assault said:

 

Hermione is a real name.

 

In the books, Voldemort was an assumed name. More Dark Lord-ish than Tom Riddle.

It was part of an anagram. The full anagram was from "Tom Marvolo Riddle" to "I am Lord Voldemort".

 

According to Google Translate, vol de mort translates from French to English as "flight of death". Translating it back again gives "vol de la mort".

 

Dark Lord-y enough, and not coincidental on the part of the author.

 

Huh. I never thought to check if "Voldemort" actually translated as something. I just assumed it was meant to sound deathly and Dark Lord-y. Thank you.

 

Do other names in the series have meanings? Checking a French/English dictionary, the closest to "Malfoy" seems to be mal foi, "bad/evil faith," which seems appropriate for some of Lord Voldemort's dedicated disciples. Though there's also mal foie, "bad liver." And the Malfoys sure show the anger ande bitterness associated with the liver's product, bile.

 

A "baby names" book says Hermione means "Of the earth," a suitable name for the series' most prominent Mudblood. (Though Robert Graves' The Greek Myths translates it as "Pillar Queen.")

 

Dean Shomshak

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I kind of have an aversion to neologistic fantasy names, so I will tend to use Earth names or similes of them to give a hint of cultural expectations, at least among “human lands”. I reserve alien names for alien creatures. 

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Looking back at the thread, I think it is more things that I strongly dislike rather than things that affect my immersion.

 

I already mentioned the pathetic way ship's are usually handled in RPGs. 

 

Another item is exploding "races", where we have multiple races of elves, dwarves, etc.  Humans are humans with cultural trappings.  Elves should be the same.

 

And the last for this post is zombies.  I am sick of them and will simply walk away from a game when they appear.  Zombies are even worse than the Vampire/Werewolf craze of the 80/90's.

 

 

 

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53 minutes ago, Spence said:

Humans are humans with cultural trappings.  Elves should be the same.

 

I say Elder Scrolls to you, sir!

 

Multiple races of humans with unique stat adjustments and their own magical abilities.  Bretons vs. Imperials vs. Nords, etc.

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On March 13, 2020 at 3:22 PM, Spence said:

Another item is exploding "races", where we have multiple races of elves, dwarves, etc.  Humans are humans with cultural trappings.  Elves should be the same.

 

I am out of rep, Sir, or I've have slapped some across your shoulders for that:

 

A human with dark skin is still a human.

 

A human that lives naked and runs through jungles and has no spoke language is still a human.

 

A human who lives in Australia is still a human.

 

Why is a dark-skinned elf not an elf?  Hill Dwarf?  Mountain Dwarf?  Cave Dwarf?  Giant Dwarf?   It's a freakin' DWARF!  Get over it!

 

 

 

On March 13, 2020 at 3:22 PM, Spence said:

And the last for this post is zombies.  I am sick of them and will simply walk away from a game when they appear.  Zombies are even worse than the Vampire/Werewolf craze of the 80/90's.

 

 

I can't remember the name of the movie, but my brother D says it all started with some Frakenstien's-monster-as-an-intellectual-hermit movie, and moved on from there.  Suddenly were were seeing the society and culture of alien "monsters," the humanity of Adam (the monster), Vampires as a culture and species living in secret fear of humans and each other, werewolves that weren't just horrific killers--

 

he refers to the entire trend as "the pansy-fication of monsters," and it bugs us both to an extreme degree.  (personally, I think it started with intelligent dragons, but he's nearly two decades younger than me; I don't think he's ever seen a non-intelligent dragon in his life).  We were both pretty sure Zombies would be immune, because who wants to schtup a corpse, right?

 

Turns out there are a lot more disturbed people than I ever would have guessed...

 

 

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1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

Turns out there are a lot more disturbed people than I ever would have guessed...

 

Far far far far more than you can guess....

 

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You know, maybe it's just me, but I never considered High Elves, Hill Dwarves, etc. to be separate "races," any more than Caucasians are a separate race from Orientals. I just treated them as various ethnicities of Elves, Dwarves, and whatnot, with somewhat differing physical features, and sometimes distinctive cultural habits.

 

Now, if you have something like a Dark Elf that's developed significant physical differences from other Elves, such as enhanced senses to cope with perpetual darkness, and inherent photophobia, I'd argue they've branched off to become a distinct species.

 

I think part of the problem stems from the creatures in D&D-inspired fantasy settings being called "Elf" and "Dwarf" with some adjective preceding the name to distinguish specific groups, implying that they're a unique "breed" of their kind. "Humans" in most fantasy settings aren't categorized that way; when humans are distinguished at all, it's by some ethno-national label such as "Hyborians" or "Rohirrim." But Tolkien at least gave us a general name for the human species, "Men," wherever they were from. OTOH he had good in-setting reasons to divide his Elves into Noldor and Sindar, and to distinguish Caliquendi from Moriquendi.

 

Hero Games' Turakian Age setting always annoys me by following a similar pattern as other D&D-esque fantasy games, clumsily referring to "the Elves of Shularahaleen," or "the Dwarves of Algarhaime," or "the Gnomes of the Drachenloch Hills." Yet TA never refers to "the Men of Mezendria," for example -- they're Mezendrians. For my own use of TA I always tried to make names for each of the established nationalities of non-humans in that world, usually derived from the name of their country.

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3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

Now, if you have something like a Dark Elf that's developed significant physical differences form other Elves, such as enhanced senses to cope with perpetual darkness, and inherent photophobia, I'd argue they've branched off to become a distinct species.

 

Like thick, straight hair that stacks and insulates against heat loss from generations of living in colder climes?  Of blue eyes that let in more light through the iris itself?  Or darker skin to protect against the damage sun does?

 

All the differences between ethnotypes of humans are the result of genetic drift and viability in an environment that was not the same as the one from which the base type sprang.

 

 

 

3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

Hero Games' Turakian Age setting always annoys me by following a similar pattern as other D&D-esque fantasy games, clumsily referring to "the Elves of Shularahaleen," or "the Dwarves of Algarhaime," or "the Gnomes of the Drachenloch Hills." Yet TA never refers to "the Men of Mezendria," for example -- they're Mezendrians. For my own use of TA I always tried to make names for each of the established nationalities of non-humans in that world, usually derived from the name of their country.

 

 

I am equally annoyed by such.  I mean, I don't think I have ever _once_ said "the orientals of Korea"  or "the crackers of France."   :lol:

 

The Elves of Shularahaleen are the Shularahaleen, or the Shularahaleenites, or the Shuharans, because if I ever use TA, Shularahalareen is getting whacked in half for communicative reasons.  Welcome to Shulara.  Enjoy our elfishness,  for the Shularans are elves.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Like thick, straight hair that stacks and insulates against heat loss from generations of living in colder climes?  Of blue eyes that let in more light through the iris itself?  Or darker skin to protect against the damage sun does?

 

All the differences between ethnotypes of humans are the result of genetic drift and viability in an environment that was not the same as the one from which the base type sprang.

 

No, not like that. All those differences are essentially cosmetic, just a slight variation on or more of what all humans have. They do bring some benefits, but humans living in those different climes still adapt -- like tanning, for example, or growing thicker hair. None of those differences allow a human being to see in the dark like a cat, nor do they cause someone to become blinded and suffer physical pain under normal bright sunlight. Those qualities would be major anatomical/biological departures from the human norm, even greater than the differences between dogs and wolves.

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3 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

I am equally annoyed by such.  I mean, I don't think I have ever _once_ said "the orientals of Korea"  or "the crackers of France."   :lol:

 

The Elves of Shularahaleen are the Shularahaleen, or the Shularahaleenites, or the Shuharans, because if I ever use TA, Shularahalareen is getting whacked in half for communicative reasons.  Welcome to Shulara.  Enjoy our elfishness,  for the Shularans are elves.

 

The Turakian Age p. 36 mentions that when dealing with shorter-lived races (nearly everybody) Elves use shortened versions of their full names. I figure those races shorten Elvish place names as well, for convenience. But "Shularahaleen" isn't that lengthy a name, actually. It's no worse than Herzegovina, for example. And the Welsh would laugh at its brevity. :P

 

BTW France doesn't have crackers. France has frogs. Georgia has crackers. [Preceding included for reference purposes, not as recommended usage.] ;)

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15 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

A human with dark skin is still a human.

 

A human that lives naked and runs through jungles and has no spoke language is still a human.

 

A human who lives in Australia is still a human.

 

Why is a dark-skinned elf not an elf?  Hill Dwarf?  Mountain Dwarf?  Cave Dwarf?  Giant Dwarf?   It's a freakin' DWARF!  Get over it!

 

12 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

You know, maybe it's just me, but I never considered High Elves, Hill Dwarves, etc. to be separate "races," any more than Caucasians are a separate race from Orientals. I just treated them as various ethnicities of Elves, Dwarves, and whatnot, with somewhat differing physical features, and sometimes distinctive cultural habits.

 

I'm with LL on this.

 

Anyone remember Chaosium's Stormbringer?  You rolled for your ethnicity with each nation having its own bonuses and penalties.  All were human, except the Melniboneans.

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I'm going to disagree.  There are several real world reasons why game books might have 15 different types of elves, and only one type of humans.

 

First, books are generally written from a human perspective.  So we say "Russians" instead of "men of Russia".  That's a normal part of the English language.  On the other hand, we don't have real terms for the nationality of made-up races.  If you say Russian, I'm going to assume you're talking about humans from Russia, not Russian dwarves (in a fantasy setting where dwarves are different from just short humans).  If we want to distinguish, we have to work around it.

 

Second, people have a long history of racial discrimination in the real world.  It's a sensitive topic, and so we mostly avoid giving humans from different areas differences in abilities.  If you gave one group 5 points of cold resistance, and another group +2 with sports, your game would get the wrong kind of media attention.

 

Third, often games are trying to include creatures from many different real world cultures and fictional sources.  A Tolkein elf is different from a Keebler elf, which is different from an Irish fae, etc.  Given the need to fill out Monster Manuals and sell books, I think it's understandable that game companies try to draw from as many different sources as they can.  And for the casual player base, it's probably easier to say "Mountain Dwarf" than to use a bastardized English version of some ancient Swedish mythological name.

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The D&D 4th ed. Forgotten Realms book gave a table of "Regional Feats" for every country in the setting. If you're from Amn, take your pick from Cosmopolitan, Education, Silver Palm or Street Smart. If you're from Damara, choose from Bullheaded, Foe Hunter or Survivor.

 

Not quite the same as sub-templates for High Elves, Wood Elves, Dark Elves, Sea Elves and Keebler Elves, but heading that way. <eyeroll>

 

For my 5e campaign, I really really tried to stay close to the published material instead of rewriting everything, but... Well, the elf sub-templates are the result of training, not birth. Any elf can grow up to have Wood Elf stealth and concealment, or a High Elf bonus cantrip, or whatever. It's just a matter of how a young elf chooses to express the faerie magic of their kind. Different elf ethnicities (Rhovistae, Taishomanae, Usmantae, Chulangkorae -- or Forest Elves, Mountain Elves, Desert Elves or Jungle Elves) may favor one path or another, but that says nothing about any particular elf.

 

There are also Street Elves, because in the Plenary Empire many elves live in cities among other folk, and this leads to a new expression of faerie power.

 

Drow are a story to frighten children, Everybody says so. If you absolutely must play a special snowflake character, I give other options. 🙂

 

Dwarves? If anyone ever wants to play a dwarf, I'll let them pick either the Hill Dwarf or Mountain Dwarf template, as they feel suits their character, but nobody ever speaks of Hill Dwarves or Mountain Dwarves because there ain't no such thing. There are Fjellkin, Zilkin and Svarkin, who are identical for rules purposes.

 

And so on. I have already spoken of my I eliminated half-whatevers, and why.

 

One great advantage of the Hero System is that one can ignore such nonsense, and I see no good reason to bring it into a FH campaign.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

 

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5 hours ago, massey said:

I'm going to disagree.  There are several real world reasons why game books might have 15 different types of elves, and only one type of humans.

--snip--

 

Understand your point. 

But my point is that they are not different species.  Differences are "cosmetic" or cultural.

 

A human is a human.

A elf is an elf.

 

You could designate cultural or occupational packages to predesignate what and how well a "Wood Elf" performs in a skill from how a "Sea Elf" does, but they would not be "racial" differences, they would be cultural based on where they were raised and their occupations.

 

 

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