Nounfall Adverbborn, or The only type of naming convention in fantasy and nerdom

Although slightly silly and inconsequential, the issue in this post points to a more important (philosophical even!) question about the human mind and its relation to speech and language: why do people speak (and write) the way they do? Are we rational agents who, as if homunculi living inside our own skulls, have an idea, and then have to rationally choose the best way to express it? Or are we more like Skinnerian rats who use the words and expressions we use because these have been socioally reinforced and happen to be more effective to achieve a goal we might not even be completely aware of? My experience doing posts about writing and language, as well as observing how people write in what are heavily Skinnerian domains (social media,) makes me think truth points towards the latter. After all, who has never noticed a new expression that everybody seems to be using all of a sudden?

Continue reading “Nounfall Adverbborn, or The only type of naming convention in fantasy and nerdom”

Level Inflation is a disease even clerics can’t cure.

I recently read a Twitter conversation about high-level cleric characters in D&D and their effects on the game, and I thought about writing something on that. But as usually happens, I can’t tell the difference between things I have already written or just things I have thought about, because as it turns out, I already had a post about this very same thing. But it was in my drafts folder, from July of 2016, unpublished. For reference, this is the tweet that triggered memories of that three-year-old dusty draft:

So here it is, with some minor variations, the post I wanted to write three years ago but never did for some reason:

Continue reading “Level Inflation is a disease even clerics can’t cure.”

The pitfalls of worldbuilding.

You are hungry, but there is a bakery near your place, so you go up and leave your home [you are a ratman, and you live in the sewers], following that delicious smell.

“Hello, Mr. Ratman,” says the fine lady behind the counter. “May I help you?”

You can choose one of these answers:

a) Just ask for a classic butter croissant.

b) Ask for the same croissant, and explain to her why you like them so much, perhaps illustrating the point with a humorous or beautiful short story about your croissant-filled past. It’s a small town (but with big sewers!), though, so people don’t mind a bit of small talk.

c) Ask for the croissant, and then go rambling for half an hour about its origins during the Siege of Vienna, and about all the European kings who have ever suffered from lactose intolerance.

Continue reading “The pitfalls of worldbuilding.”