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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 74 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: The game formerly known as Aisling  (Read 1926 times)
clehrich
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Posts: 1557


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« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2003, 08:26:08 AM »

I don't love Elohim, either; I don't know if it means something in some Celtic language, but it's got a very specific meaning in Hebrew, and I don't really think you want that.

I'm confused, though.  You started this thread by saying that you wanted to get rid of "cultural bias," specifically the Irish/Celtic bias.  So why not do that?  It seems to me that you could take the point someone made about these beings not thinking of themselves as fae at all, and run with it.

Suppose that's in fact a big part of the point.  Humans have a nasty tendency to colonize what they perceive, to impress upon things their own desires and cultures.  This is precisely what's wrong with the environment, for example.  So to call these beings "fae" is to accept human-Celtic ideas about them.  Now some of them think that it's best to get humans to understand themselves better through a better understanding of the creatures they call fairies; others think that this colonization and imperialism and destruction is inherent in humanity, and thus they should be stopped by whatever means.

So what terms do you use?  A scattered mixture.  And include lots of bits and pieces about how wrong all of them are.  Unseelie/Seelie -- these are prejudiced views imposed upon so-called "kami" by humanity.  Among some of the more radical, the word "seelie" has come to mean something rather similar to the word "oreo" among African-Americans, and "Unseelie" becomes a badge of pride.  Others think using these words at all degrades the whole nature of natural-spiritual being in the first place, by buying into human categories and defining oneself in those terms.

And so on.

Seems to me if you use a lot of Celtic terms, your game will be read as Changeling: Next Generation, which I doubt you want.
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Chris Lehrich
Thomas Tamblyn
Member

Posts: 105


« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2003, 11:50:19 AM »

But that creates its own problems - if you have their own terms then the players have to put a hell of a lot of effort into just working out what on earth you're on about because none of the terms are familiar.

I've run into this with Nobilis - A game I've finally decided is excellent, but for 3 months after i bought it I wanted to sell it simply because it's such heavy going until you've come to terms with what everything means.  Even (to a much lesser extent) exalted can be confusing since it has so much unique jargon.
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MathiasJack
Member

Posts: 75


« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2003, 12:00:34 PM »

I guess I agree with Clehrich on terms, which goes along with my earlier posts. The familiar terms can be there, and if you tend to use them a lot you are playing a human-oriented game with "Seelie" overtures, as Clerich used it. If the group goes with the new terms, then the game is more spirit creature-oriented game with "Unseelie" overtures.
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Mathias the Jack
Trickster, Hero,
Sage Scholar
clehrich
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Posts: 1557


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« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2003, 12:33:39 PM »

I didn't actually mean that taalyn should invent a whole new set of terms.  As you point out, Thomas, this will just seem pretentious and unnecessarily difficult.  My thought is that there would be a little stock list of terms, ranging from the very well-known (fae, elf, fairy) to the more obscure (shen, leshii) and a kind of freeform swapping around of these.  The point being that none of them really means anything from Their point of view.  It's kind of like when Sam asks Galadriel about Elvish "magic," and she says she doesn't really know what mortals mean by that word.  Similarly, these beings really don't have a single term for themselves, and in fact they don't really have a consistent culture or identity as beings (one of their problems, politically speaking).  So in explaining the game, you walk around the need for the term as much as possible, and when you can't get out of it you use something quite generic and not very consistent.  About the best term one could come up with would be Them, but of course that's from a human perspective; the problem is that They don't think of Themselves as "Us."

Ermm.  Does that make any sense at all?
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Chris Lehrich
taalyn
Member

Posts: 370

Aidan Grey


« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2003, 12:48:19 PM »

Fae are the spirits of nature - beings who embody wind, or a stream, or gold-backed beetles. Humans are, well, humans. Once, the two groups had a Compact, by which they cooperated to each side's benefit. When the Comapct was broken (sometime during the 5th century, I think, when the Age of Philosophy reduced the physical world to a 'Bad Thing' and Christianity really started to take hold), the Luck than humans create started to flow in directions other than towards the Fae. This Luck pooled, and drew reality from human dreams and works to create Breed. Breed are the fears, hopes, and dreams of humanity. Fae are leprechauns and naiads, where Breed include bogeymen, werewolves, and the lesser spirits of machinery known as gremlins. Breed tend to predominate in urban settings (along with Wormwood fae (the unseelie court) whose homes have been polluted), and Fae in the countryside or in parks (including Dream Breed, whose development depended only on human dreams, not on human works).

It's actually unclear whether humanity dreamt Breed and created Fae, or whether Breed realized humans together with Fae. Are Humans just the tendencies of Breed made real in the Untell (this world), or are Breed the result of human desire in the Tell (Otherworld) - it's like the chicken and the egg.

Aidan
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Aidan Grey

Crux Live the Abnatural
taalyn
Member

Posts: 370

Aidan Grey


« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2003, 01:08:11 PM »

Clehrich, I get what you're saying.  And I agree - this is why I as looking for some way to get a little more culturally imprecise. There will always be a bias, because I'm American and know certain cultures and don't know others, but if I could make something less precise, or incredibly unique, then I'd be able to defeat a lot of culturally inspired assumptions. If I call the Fae the Squigglies, other than the silliness of the word there's less implication of what that means. I'm free to create whatever I want it to be. Clive Barker's Weaveworld, Imajica, Great and Secret Show - these are all good sources for the kind of thing I'm aiming for.  When terata are introduced, you don't know what it means, so he has freedom to define it however he likes. Same with the mystif (vaguely mystic, but not...).

That's the example I'm trying to work towards by replacing the specific Celtic terms. As you correctly observe, I do not want to be Changeling: the Next Generation. I'm trying to work towards something entirely different, and more like Barker than DeLint or Bull (though both are still useful inspirations).

I want the term for 'Fae' to be vague - if I can come up with one term, unique and innovative, I won't have to resort to 'Them'. Though I still want to bring up the other terms just to give an idea of how meaningless they really are from the 'Fae/Breed' perspective. They're called Inchoa (in-COH-uh), and that's what they call themselves (to whatever degree they recognize themselves as distinct from humanity), but they're also valled kami, larvae, spirits, totems, manitou, fairys, and so on.

Is this making sense? maybe I just need to read Imajica again....

Aidan
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Aidan Grey

Crux Live the Abnatural
MathiasJack
Member

Posts: 75


« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2003, 02:27:39 PM »

Imajica, Weaveworld, Great and Secret Show, they all rock. If you can capture the mysterious surreal mysticism of Barker, you definitely will have something original on your hands. The actual pure power, majesty, mystery, and vulnerable threat of what the Fae are I think would be much more a kin to that which Barker presents us than Changeling does.

Interesting take on the Breeds... like you are seperating the spirit creatures born of nature and human dreams, from those of nature corrupted by humans and born of darker desires.
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Mathias the Jack
Trickster, Hero,
Sage Scholar
taalyn
Member

Posts: 370

Aidan Grey


« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2003, 03:29:07 PM »

It's capturing that 'surreal mysticism' (excellent terms) that's the hard part. I think my mechanic is conducive to a concept like Gentle's Pneuma or to characterizing the operation of a Boston Bowl. The setting allows for Cenobytes as well as unicorns. It's not that we're making all these creatures up, but rather that we're remembering them.

I know that some of the ideas and concepts that Barker presents will come over directly into Aisling (which I've decided is just a working title). Terata, raptures, pneuma, the conspiracies that hide magic, these will be a recognized part ofthe world. At the same time, I wan't some of the ideas of DeLint, Windling, et al. to be visible as well (I'd argue that the same themes are treated by Barker, but in a darker and more opaque way) - heroes struggling with humanity, love, personal meaning and place in the world - these are the sources of our fears and our dreams. That's a big part of the draw of these authors (for me), and what I want to accomplish in Aisling.

Aidan
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Aidan Grey

Crux Live the Abnatural
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