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Messages - brandon

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AW:Dark Age / Re: Name lists
« on: September 03, 2014, 08:33:01 AM »
I'm a linguist, but this sort of work falls really far from my own research interests; as such, I think it'd be best to disregard my word in favour of any testimonial given by a speaker of a language. I do have a bit of training and experience here, but most of these observations are the results of intuition rather than intensive analysis.

I'm not entirely sure what names like Gunnarr, Hakon and Tryggvi are doing on the list of Germanic names, when their origins are in Old Norse. I suppose you could make the argument that since Old Norse is descended from Proto-Germanic, and that Nordic languages in general fall under the umbrella of Germanic languages, those names are Germanic. But if the list of Nordic names is there, those names ought to be on that list instead.

Jordanes, if I remember correctly, was a Roman known for conducting diplomacy with Gothic tribes. Definitely open to correction on this one, but I think that name would serve better on the Latin list.

The English names are especially odd, a bunch of them are actually Dutch (Douwe, Gerbrandt, Martinus, Wilrik), and, to the best of my knowledge, there isn't really any historical precedent for that sort of influence. I don't think there was a period during which England was under some sort of Dutch control, let alone one significant enough to realise that sort of linguistic change. Again, there's the same argument as above, that they're both Germanic languages. But they're on entirely separate branches of West Germanic, Dutch being Low Franconian and English a member of the Anglo-Frisian branch. 'English' in general is super tricky, even in medieval times, and depending on when the game is set, that name list could be hugely different. Pre-1066, most of the names would be Germanic, Anglo-Saxon specifically, but after William of Normandy conquered England, French became the language used in noble courts (if you've ever wondered, this is the primary reason we have so many French loan-words in English), and Romanic names would have become more prominent.
Of course, dealing with languages that haven't been spoken in centuries, or are still extant but vastly different, is a really difficult job. There's this great William Labov (renowned sociolinguist) quote that I feel should preface every attempt at historical linguistics: "the great art of the historical linguists is to make the best of this bad data, ‘bad’ in the sense that it may be fragmentary, corrupted or many times removed from the actual productions of native speakers" - and that's just it, nobody's alive to testify, and written works are extremely rare, if they exist at all. I'm totally in favour of linguistic accuracy and not misrepresenting anyone's culture, but if historical linguists whose job it is to tell us what a language might have sounded like in 800AD can't provide a fully accurate answer, I'm willing to extend some leeway to this project.

AW:Dark Age / Re: A bunch of questions and a comment
« on: September 03, 2014, 02:32:29 AM »
Ooh, another question:

Why does stronghold creation require you to spend more on gear like mail coats and swords when they have the same armour and harm values as the 'cheaper' items like hide armour and spears? I'd guess it's to do with the actual cost and effort required to make those items being greater, but why would the players spend more 'stronghold creation points', for lack of a better term, on something when the cheaper gear is just as effective?

AW:Dark Age / Re: A bunch of questions and a comment
« on: September 02, 2014, 11:32:35 AM »
Thanks for the quick reply, Vincent!

I really like the idea of matriarchal paganism(s), so if you're crowdsourcing that decision, I vote to keep it!

If you're interested, Marija Gimbutas has written about the possibility of matriarchal societies and religions across continental Europe prior to the migration of the Proto-Indo-Europeans.  I can't really speak to the validity of the idea, I've only read about her in the context of a historical linguistics course I did last year, and I've mostly forgotten all the linguistically relevant stuff. But if it sounds worthwhile, Wikipedia is a pretty good place to start, and has references and links to related ideas, like the Goddess movement that was in part inspired by her feminist archaeological ideas.

AW:Dark Age / A bunch of questions and a comment
« on: September 02, 2014, 10:48:28 AM »
Hey, I'm new here. I've just finished reading the playtest documents, and I have some questions (and a comment at the end). In no particular order, and numbered for convenience:

1) Does a people consisting of x warriors mean when you muster warriors you get x warriors (assuming a 10+ roll), or can you recruit from regular souls as well? The war companies seem pretty small if they're composed only of a people's warriors.

2) How does crossing off the 'each of us'/'each warrior' harm track work after counting your fallen? Do you cross off up to the worst condition, or do you indicate what proportion of your army is at each condition? The instruction document says the battle moves will give further details on that, but unless I missed something, those details aren't there.

3) Regarding the right to marry - is it analogous to the 'get a gang' move in AW in that selecting the right gives you a spouse (after sufficient explanation within the fiction), or is it essentially giving your character permission to marry within the social structure set out by the fiction?

4) Why exactly would the MC and other players instruct someone to mark off experience in 'abandon this character to die'?

5) "You have the right to appoint a girl to be your acolyte" and "your foremothers were queens of the Old Blood" - is there a reason for the gendering in these particular rights?

6) Can improvements on a stronghold only be selected once, or could you end up accruing every fortification (aside from ones that seem to replace others or defy reason, like suddenly gaining an island position) over the course of play?

7) It seems pretty easy to end up with permanent harm. Is that intended, or is healing large harm numbers not as difficult as I've understood it to be?

8) Bonds have been removed here, which at first I thought was quite disappointing, but it seems like they're actually still in the game, though perhaps not as mechanically relevant as in AW. I imagine that history between characters would arise organically in the creation of strongholds and households, as well as selecting playbooks that could come with implicit relationships, like the Keep Liege and the Castellan. If that's the right reading, it's really cool that it happens without explicitly saying "okay, now explain how you know the other PCs."

Maybe at some point - if it'd be useful at all - I'll post about all the things in the playtest document that make me arm-flailingly excited, but there are the things that have me somewhat confused (and one thing that I think is rad).

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