Playing with Fantasy XXXV

More icosahedral fantasy thoughts.
  • Man it's hard to come up with a Dwarven script that looks as good as my Elven script (if I say so myself). Took me forever to figure out what shape I wanted it to be based on (I use a "theme" shape in most of my nonhuman scripts). Was thinking triangles, maybe use some element from the Covenant alphabet from Halo. My Elven draws inspiration from the 3e rework of Espruar and the Eliksni script from Destiny.

    Eventually decided, my Dwarven combines the Covenant script with the "cat-pupil shape" that Rellanic, the 4–5e Elven, uses. See, I realized, dwarves aren't carving their script into rock with a chisel or wood with a knife. They're engraving it in metal with a burin (which burin is a single one of their mushrooms, metallized and with a sharpened tip). And you can get insanely florid with a burin engraving, so I actually have complete freedom in letter forms!
  • My Ogrish (based on Dwarven) retains more elements of the original, Covenant-like triangle script, but is more of a cursive form of it, like the version that you can find in signs and stuff on Sanghelios, in Halo 5.
  • Decided that the best way to do my games at the actual table was to get a cheap (something like $250) flatscreen, hook a laptop to it, and then use a map program like Megasploot's Dungeondraft to make a dungeon map, to scale. You put a cover (we got a special one eventually but the first time we just used carefully arranged overhead-projector transparency films), and just move your miniatures, pawns, etc., around on it. Given the prices of poster printing, it pays for itself by like the sixth map you use it for.

    Of course this would all be somewhat moot (I keep having players have to telecommute, and have someone on my end point their camera at the map and stuff) if virtual tabletop programs like Foundry were easier to use (also apparently there are issues with how you host it?), and if Roll20 was not a terrible, terrible company, from being shockingly petty to critics of their business practices to obnoxious Corporate Woke™ grandstanding on Twitter and elsewhere.
  • I would say my view of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves does not even approach cautious optimism, but I am willing to be impressed. Kinda wish they would actually play things straight for ten seconds, though. Not every movie has to be the thing those "Marvel fans when The Batman doesn't…" memes were talking about. (Also I loathe, abominate, and revile the "fast-talking bard" archetype that shallow 5e fans seem enamored of.)
  • It occurs to me that making my dwarves actually be gnomes, and therefore have roughly the same build as half-elves, will make the dwarf/gnome-based ogres and orcs be much more similar to goblins. Then again I suppose my elves and gnome/dwarves are big and little "fairies", so it kinda makes sense that the monster versions are similar to each other.

    The culture is still very different, with goblins having strong personal loyalties and an obsession with fear and stealth, and ogres being very nearly a war of all against all, with a penchant for frontal attacks (which in no way means they won't stab each other in the back, though). Among other things, goblins get a Dexterity bonus, while ogres get a Strength bonus.
  • Very hard to figure out what to do with my Draconic, since too cuneiform-like will be too much like Dovahzul. Kinda wanna examine the Banished alphabet from Halo Infinite (which is in many ways the worst Halo, not least because the Banished suck as villains—Cortana would have been much better, but 343 has an amazing ability to utterly squander villains, see also the Ur-Didact and Jul 'Mdama). There's also Iokharic from D&D, which as I may have mentioned at some point shares letter-shapes with 3e Espruar.

    Thinking I'll do something like the Naboo futhork from the Star Wars prequels, probably combined with vertically skinny letter-shapes reminiscent of NĂ¼shu, an odd women-only script from part of China. Though with the letters grouped closer together (and words grouped into trios, in formal writing, like the tetrads in Classical Chinese).

    Also reworked my "Sylvan", which in my setting has become the language of the araneas, formians, and thriae—bug people—that serve the law-spider outsiders. The previous script looked much too much like "Daedric" (really Dunmeris, with the other name being just what it was called in the Daggerfall game files). Went with, in contravention of my usual practice, a featural alphabet, since they're the minions of law-spirits; it wound up looking vaguely reminiscent of "Daedric" anyway.
  • Apparently Spelljammer in 5e, rather than bothering with ship's ratings (a table based on the level of a spellcaster sitting in the helm that would determine how fast the ship could move), has the thing go 10 miles per hour per level of the highest unspent spell-slot the spellcaster has. I take a couple issues with this (miles per hour do not tell you tactical speed intuitively—10 mph is a "normal move" of about 45 feet, or a "full-round move" of 90 feet—and I liked the major-minor helm distinction, though I suppose the latter does also affect the largest ship you can move via the helm in question), but it does streamline things. Might use it for my airships, or some of them, since I think Wizards has the basic Spelljammer rules (such as how helms work) as OGL.
  • A search of le blogue suggests I have not mentioned the problems with Stranger Things? Probably the more fundamental but also the simpler is that it allowed the shills at Hasbro to market the game by the most shallow methods imaginable, flooding us with bandwagon-jumping bounders with no respect for the hobby (that invasion really took off with Critical Role but Stranger Things began it).

    More complex, probably less important but more emotionally visceral, is how they have warped a generation's understanding of the names they have the characters drop. Demogorgon has two baboon heads and tentacles for arms (also that thing is a damned gug). A mind flayer…you know what a mind flayer is, and you probably know the thing in Stranger Things is nothing like one. And Vecna is an archlich.

    Of course, D&D itself visited upon us the ludicrous idea that Vecna could lay siege to Sigil. Right, because She Who Flays, who can impose terms on entire pantheons, would need adventurers' help against an attack by one lich-god.

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