Languages of the World

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AuthorTopic: Languages of the World
Off With Their Heads
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For the record, the Encyclopedia Ermariana is located at http://www.geocities.com/arancaytar/ , and while it does clear up some of my questions about aspects of history (though certainly not all -- it is QUITE incomplete), it does not answer the fundamental question of source and authority. If these articles were written mainly by Arancaytar, he just sat down and made some stuff up? I realize that this was sort of designed by committee, but I feel like I'm reading a summary, rather than the history itself.

So I guess my actual question is, phrased as simply as I can: did Drakefyre, Akhronath, and a few others just get together and make up some stuff about these languages (and the histories behind them) or is there some other source for the Exile/Avernum world other than the games themselves?

EDIT: err, it seems (based on the last couple of posts) that they did in fact just sit down and make some stuff up. This is almost disappointing. I suppose this means that I will now have to distinguish between the stuff that they made up and the stuff inherent in the games, because I wouldn't want a scenario of mine to contradict an Avernum game, but I wouldn't care if it contradicted some stuff that some fans arbitrarily made up.

[ Saturday, February 28, 2004 15:37: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Shake Before Using
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Novah is a nice naming language, since it's almost completely taken from Vahnatai prefixes and suffixes used in the games. Characters named in Novah will tend to "match" with the actual Vahnatai from the games, which is always a plus.

Just about the only piece of fanon which it would be generally confusing to dispute is the name Ermarian for the planet that Exile takes place on. Enough people have called it that for long enough that naming it something else in a BoE scenario would just be confusing.

(Then again, being a strange person, I call the world that Exile takes place on Ermarian and the world that Avernum takes place on simply the World of Avernum.)
Posts: 3234 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Triad Mage
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Novah is basically a naming language used for places, people, control panels, etc. and it would be very difficult to adapt it to an entirely spoken/written language. Oh, and Jeff has said that he likes Vahnatai Week, so nyah.

When Alec/Djur talks about 'our current plotline', he's talking about the Arena.

There are some things that are canon, like the continents, what they hold, some immediate history of the Empire, etc. The rest is left up to us. The Encyclopaedia Ermariana is meant to be a resource for scenario designers to use if it so moves them. I suppose it would be useful to create a section that is 'pure canon' as well. But the rest is just for the fluidity of scenarios set on Ermarian, and to provide background on the world.

All of the following is pure canon:

South of Pralgad was Valorim, a land ruled by the vicious Ratbane clan of Nephilim. The Empire constructed Blackcrag Fortress at the southern end of the isthmus connected Pralgad and Valorim and began to mount attacks. After about 50-75 years, the Nephilim were overwhelmed and the cities of Gale and Lorelei were established.

At this point, Hawthorne I was the Emperor. His court mages discovered the system of caves beneath the surface, and he sent an expedition. The expedition was led by Thralni, and some of the other members were Scrioth, Karzoth, and Korthax. This expedition was slaughtered, "to a man and a woman."

After Hawthorne I's death his son, Hawthorne II, came to power. He began to send down violent and dangerous criminals of the foulest sort, instead of executing them. At this point, there was a power struggle among the mages, and Garzahd and his cronies won and appointed him the advisor to Hawthorne II. Hawthorne II sent these mages down to Exile, including Erika, Rone, Solberg, Aimee, and Patrick.

When Hawthorne II died and Hawthorne III came to power, Garzahd remained his advisor. Hawthorne III saw the portal to Exile as the answers to all of society's troubles. All the misfits, antisocials, petty lawbreakers, and more were sent down to Exile. And this proved to be his undoing.

After the first few people were sent down, they established a city and began to fight the demons and sliths that threatened them. When the mages were sent down, they were able to help stage an assault on Grah-Hoth, and they captured him in a bottle and stored him in Akhronath, with the lich-ified Prince Hrothar, who had fallen in the battle, to watch over him.

When Micah was sent down, he worked closely with the archmages to establish a society. They created glowing mushrooms, built more cities, learned to fight, and they took over the caves.

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This Side Towards Enemy
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As far as I remember, it's never conclusively said that Valorim is directly south of Pralgad, and certainly not that they're joined. As far as continental position goes, I find both Stareye's theory and Alec's unlikely.

Even the canon information can be quite happily ignored if you so wish, since whether the accepted geography is completely accurate is doubtful (a comparison would be map of the world from 1450.)

As I said, if you wish to do something different, nobody will really mind. Much of the decisions made were inspired either because Stareye made another huge scenario or the Arena (a long-running roleplay set on Ermarian) need to clarify something for plotline purposes. Since we've since had about 3 or 4 milleniums and two near extinctions of earth on Ermarian, it's not going to establish an official version of much else, of course.

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Off With Their Heads
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Drakefyre, you kick serious butt. First person to understand/answer my question. And yeah, it would be really nice to separate canon from Alec/Djur's inventions in some way.

The Arena? Interesting. I'm going to look around for this now, but can someone post a link? And are there other intricate long story arcs going that I should know about?

And now that Drakey's reminded me of it, TTIVAG, I think in Gale or somewhere pretty far to the north in A3, someone says that Blackcrag is in fact on the southern end of an isthmus.

EDIT: and for those who are paying attention... the link to the Arena is in Drakey's signature.

[ Sunday, February 29, 2004 12:49: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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This Side Towards Enemy
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Yes, but whilst it's likely (although not certain) that the other side of the isthmus isn't Valorim (although that would make Valorim a godawful excuse for a continent in size terms) that doesn't mean Pralgad is on the other end of it. Given that Valorim was the last continent discovered, it's more likely it's connected to Vantanas, the second last continent discovered.

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The Empire Always Loses: Never Proved to Be a Contributory Factor to Stomach Cancer
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Triad Mage
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Well, Valorim is most certainly not on the other side of the isthmus - it's explicitly stated to be a different continent.

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"At times discretion should be thrown aside, and with the foolish we should play the fool." - Menander
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Shock Trooper
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Whatever it is, I'd say all the continents should have not very much between them. Valorim seems to be a small continent separated from (Pralgrad) only by a mountain range, but so what?? Europe is a small continent separated from Asia only by the Caucasus and Ural mountains. It is perfectly feasible to be connected to (Pralgrad).

Perhaps the Vahnatai have a completely different spoken language. It's also perfectly feasible that Novah is only their archaic language of the scriptures and inscriptions, such as Latin is to us, and that they speak a language more like French or Spanish to us, ie. evolved from Novah...
Posts: 316 | Registered: Saturday, May 25 2002 07:00
Warrior
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quote:
Originally written by T3h Invisible n00b:

I think it would be cool to abolish Mage Lore and just show all the runes and languages as the party would see them. It'll never happen, of course, but it'd rock to have to learn the stuff for yourself... :D
I kinda like this idea, you could do it like in final fantasy X-2, where special items teach you a bit of the language, so you can understand somethings, but not everything straight away. That would be way cool. Also it would'nt be that hard to do in a homemade scenario, just have the scenario text in code then have bits of translation based on what special items you had.

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Law Bringer
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Edit: That's what happens when you don't look at the page number and see there's MORE than one page. :rolleyes:

[ Saturday, March 13, 2004 10:24: Message edited by: Arancaytar ]

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There's the problem that strictly speaking, Europe is not a continent, merely the western sub-continent of Asia (or so I've heard, but that was from a pretty archaic source.)

More importantly, whilst Europe is several thousand miles across, Valorim is about the size of Britain or possibly even Scotland.

And of course, there's the issue of why Valorim wasn't discovered until after Vantanas (which wouldn't be a massive issue, were it not for the fact that if Valorim is considered a continent, presumably Pralgad would be similarly minute.)

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The Empire Always Loses: Never Proved to Be a Contributory Factor to Stomach Cancer
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Off With Their Heads
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I'm thinking Valorim is to Pralgrad kind what India is to Asia, only an even greater size difference.

You're right: there's no real (non-Eurocentric) way to define Europe as a continent without making any peninsula a continent. In terms of plate tectonics, it is part of the Eurasian plate, which India is not a part of -- it is its own plate.

So we might just assume that Valorim is a tiny continent beginning to collide with a much more massive one.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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Triad Mage
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Let's put size differences aside for now - Valorim is not described as a tiny continent, and it's probably roughly the same size as Pralgrad. What we have in the Arena is a large mountain chain at the south end of Pralgrad that was unscalable and inhospitable until much later on, and on the other side was Valorim.

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Bob's Big Date
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By walking distance and sign distance, Valorim is *possibly* the size of California if you stretch it.

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Triad Mage
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Yes, but there's also the possibility that miles and days are not the same on Ermarian as on Earth.

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"At times discretion should be thrown aside, and with the foolish we should play the fool." - Menander
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Law Bringer
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The whole planet of Ermarian might be slightly smaller than Earth. It would slightly lessen the relative enormity of the huge water masses covering most of the planet. If we have two California-sized continents, plus Aizo and Vantanas (Doston is afaik an invention of the Arena, so let's disregard that for now), then the planet has only very little land compared to water.

I don't think it'd affect day length, but I'm not an astronomer.

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Law Bringer
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It's also quite possible that Jeff didn't bother to think about the actual size he was creating when he designed the outdoors. Just add a zero after all the distances given and make days pass faster and Valorim is reasonably sized.

—Alorael, who does think that Valorim seems a lot smaller than Europe, let alone Eurasia. Perhaps Ermarian has smaller landmasses and more oceans.
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BANNED
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For gameplay purposes, having night and day "flash" every 2-3 turns would be annoying, and having to walk for such incredulously long ammounts of time would be a royal pain in the ass. Besides, A3 was late as-is: Would you like to see Jeff spend a billion years on outdoors? Then we're back to Padres Valley. Bah.

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Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Off With Their Heads
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Because *I* care, even though it seems like no one else does...

I actually went back to verify Custer's remark that Valorim is roughly the size of California. I started at Krizsan in A3 and waited for a day change. Then I walked to Blackcrag Fortress (on foot, without horses). It took almost precisely a day. This is how I would analyze that on Earth: assuming we're walking for 24 hours straight with no breaks, which evidently our heroes do, at a fairly strenuous forced march, so say about 6-7 mph, that gives a total length of about 150 miles. That's TINY. But Drakey's right: Ermarian's days may not be the same as Earth days. Venus, for example, is about the same size as Earth (slightly smaller ) but it has much, MUCH longer days.

However, there's a signpost outside of Blackcrag that says the fortress is 25 miles to the north. (And I reject the suggestion that miles are different... this is an English word that is invariant in meaning across all fields of study, unless you're talking about nautical miles, which don't really count :P , rather than "day," which in astronomy just means the rotational cycle of whatever planet you happen to be on.) The entrance to Blackcrag is 12 steps to the north (slightly farther, because some of the steps are diagonal). This leads me to believe that each outdoor step is 2 miles. I counted the number of steps in each outdoor section and came up with 48 by 48. Then I counted length and width of Valorim, and it's 10 by 7 outdoor sections. That would make it (10*48*2) 960 miles long and (7*48*2) 672 miles wide, for a total of 645120 square miles.

However, near Lorelei, the sign east of Bengaro says that Bengaro is 30 miles west when its entrance is 11 steps west. It says Dellston is 60 miles south when it is 41 steps south. It seems pretty clear that Jeff didn't intend to be consistent in terms of space and time. But let's figure each outdoor tile to be 2-3 miles by 2-3 miles, because most of the distances roughly agree with that. 3 miles gives Valorim the an area of (161280 tiles * 9 square miles per tile) 1.45 million square miles. We might as well assume that it's as big as reasonable based on the numbers, because it's a continent.

So I conclude that Valorim is about 1-1.5 million square miles. For reference, California is 156,000 square miles in area, Alaska 656,000 (from this site). Australia is, if I'm not mistaken, about 3 million square miles, India around 1.2 million.

So, bottom line: I think Valorim could be approximated at about the size of a small Earth plate, like India.

P.S. I have looked for the place where A3 mentions the other continents and their respective sizes, but I haven't found it yet. I seem to recall it describing one of the other continents -- Pralgrad, I think -- as "enormous," presumably significantly larger than Valorim, so maybe the size of North America. Also I'm guessing that Ermarian days are significantly longer than Earth days, maybe six or seven times longer (for 950 miles traversed in one day, rather than 150).

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
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...b10010b...
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Geography and cartography in the pre-industrial era weren't very accurate in the real world either. That would explain the signs. :P

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Triad Mage
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Either Aizo or Pralgrad is larger than Valorim, and the other is roughly the same size.

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This Side Towards Enemy
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It's entirely possible Valorim works on Devon cartography. Not even Alec maintains the Arena cartography to be strictly accurate and we certainly can't say Jeff's geography is inch-perfect. But Kelandon's argument is persuasive (although I would think the difference in day lengths would cause definite sociological effects.) Mind you, nobody seems to think it strange when you sleep in an inn in the day.

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Oy! What's all this? Bunches of different languages, and histories, and things I've never heard of!

Are you all making this up? Is all of this featured in game, but silly 'ole me just missed it? Are there companion books or guides that can help me understand just what the stink you're all talking about?

It seems the games are far deeper and richer than I first thought.

Also, I very much support the idea of assembling a solid record of history, peoples, and geography of the lands in the Avernum games. I've been considering the possibility of perhaps making scenarios based in the past, on the historical events.

[ Thursday, March 18, 2004 11:58: Message edited by: Captain Uglyhead ]

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Off With Their Heads
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I had the same reaction, Captain Uglyhead, as you can read in my earlier posts in this thread. Two words: The Arena . More importantly, the link at the top of the 2nd page of this topic, The Encyclopedia Ermaria , a VERY incomplete summary of [EDIT: of god knows what, based on Drakey's comment]. And yeah, they made most of this stuf up (although it is never, so far as I've found, outright inconsistent with the games). For other historical discussion, see the Slith Homeland thread from a short while back, Drakefyre's Demesne , and many of the other links sprinkled around in people's signatures and this site.

[ Friday, March 19, 2004 07:04: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Triad Mage
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No, that's not it at all. The Arena is separate from most of the history - the Arena comes much later than this timeline and history. This history is a mixture of Relhan and *i's, and it's the most logical one, based on events and books from the Exile series.

The Arena plotline starts in about 1800-2000 IE, whereas most of the history we're talking about is from 0-1000 IE.

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"At times discretion should be thrown aside, and with the foolish we should play the fool." - Menander
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