Recent comments

  • Life is Fun, Death is Peaceful.   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I have been a fan of the world of Kelestia for 10 years. I am very sorry to hear about your health issues and wish you the best possible outcome given the situation you outlined.

  • Life is Fun, Death is Peaceful.   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Robin,
    My sincere condolences on this horrible news about your nasty, brutish oncs. Sending you good thoughts/prayers.
    Regards
    Dan

  • Demon in the House   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Its not a question of will. Thats why I like the story so much - I've been blindsided by requests that seem obvious to her but have never occurred to me. Like the farmer I do them for her but sometimes its a complete surprise. Its important because she is and thats enough. Doesn't mean its easy.

    It is fundamentally easier to do things that aren't real, that I see, over things that are real, that I don't. Do not mistake my honesty and will to change for something dishonourable or combative. A weakness unconfessed is never addressed.

    Sigurd

  • Demon in the House   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I am *so* pleased there is evidence that someone has finally read this story :) I wrote it such a long time ago, and it has elicited narry a comment... 'til now.

    Unfortunately, I am placing an increasing burden on my own lady as I have been unable to do some of my own chores (those that involve bending over). However, it is possible that I will get an 'Indian Summer'... who knows? :)

  • Demon in the House   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Just DO IT!

    It does not matter if it has anything to do with reality.
    After all, she is putting up with your FRP habit...
    ...Where is the reality there?

    (Letting your imagination live: in truth. Writing that can be prose: maybe. Beauty of a world in stories: a belief. Reality: no)

    Council of The Ancient One
    "The man who WOULD NOT be king."

  • Demon in the House   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I'm amazed at the perception of wives. Things of vital importance that I just don't see. For my wife's sake I wish I was less like the husband of this tale but alas....

    For the 'zen' of my lady - for I can't quantify it in my mind - all manner of things must be done. It all seems to me like putting newspaper under the Cuckoo Clock. I do it because otherwise she is not happy. But, like the husband in this story, I can't see it to dedicate myself to it.

    Good story.

    Sigurd

  • Life is Fun, Death is Peaceful.   6 years 9 weeks ago

    It's my favorite comment when things go badly, please feel free to use it.

    You're work has been a beacon of light in an all too often dark world. I must admit I have been one of the collectors; admiring it for beautiful maps, interesting historical footnotes, and completeness of form. The richness of the details and the way the piecies fit together (with their surprising junctures) is always a joy.

    As for the enviroment... The world will survive, even if man makes it uninhabitable for man. It is the lesser beings I most feel sorry for. Ironically the rising price of oil maybe mankind's best hope for salvation, we simply won't be able to afford to kill ourselves off.

    With best wishes for recovery,
    (Hint: Miracles do happen, usually when we need them most.)

    The Ancient One
    (Ten Grandchildren and counting)

  • Life is Fun, Death is Peaceful.   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Good Luck.

    Good Luck.

    Good Luck.

    Creativity, especially giving people joy, is a force for good. I hope you get more of that coming around.

    _When_ you're better, I'm going to pester you with every annoying Newbie question about Harn...

    Sigurd

  • Language and Pronunciation   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Robin

    Thanks for taking the time to reply, especially during your current circumstances ( :( doesn’t really do it justice).

    I know very little about languages, even my own, and I probably have the englishmans prejudice against those ‘nasty foreign’ accents. Acceptable in café, but nowhere else. There is, as you say, currently a move towards name changing and local pronunciations. Beijing and Mumbai are two examples that spring to mind; though my local Chinese restaurant still sells Peking duck and the local Indian makes good Bombay potatoes.

    I’ve always been concerned that accents could put off purchasers. My concern was based on the dismissive, or hostile, responses on the HârnForum. I admit that I’m one who dismissed the need for accents. If, as you say, the majority of your customers are in favour of the accents, any argument against them fails.

    The fact that your publications are all issued electronically allows huge flexibility. A simple accents on/accents off switch on the pdf’s (if it’s possible) should silence most of the critics. The devil in me wants to suggest that any new map of Hârn should have three options for labelling: unaccented (true) English, accented (Hârnic) English, and true Hârnic, written using the Lakise script.

    Finally, as a Glorantha fan, I’m well aware of the ‘Creator knows best’ syndrome I had a long, and interesting, discussion on the difference between Hârn fans and Glorantha fans on the HârnForum. My view is that Hârn material is presented as ‘factual/real’ and Glorantha material is presented as ‘mythic/opinion’. This difference means that Glorantha fans are more accepting of change of amendments imposed by the creator.

    Best wishes to you and your family

    Neil

    - "Pardon me for living, I'm sure."
    - NO-ONE GETS PARDONED FOR LIVING.

    -- (Terry Pratchett, Mort)

  • Life is Fun, Death is Peaceful.   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Robin

    I'm sorry to hear that your current treatments have stopped working. Chemo is a mixed bag and can usually only help for so long. Here's hoping that you roll a critical success on your remaining treatment options.

    I truly appreciate the work that you have done over the years. I discovered Harn in the mid 80s and loved what I saw. There are many FRP worlds on the market but none come close to the detail and realism of Harnworld. Thanks for creating worlds for us to play in. Looking forward to more!

    Garry

  • Life is Fun, Death is Peaceful.   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Robin,

    Well that is just rotten news. I hope that something changes to improve your diagnosis.

    I, for one, have purchased many Harn products over the years. They have inspired me and led to endless conversations with friends. And, despite the fact that we all have busy lives and precious little free time, we still talk about Harn today. In some ways Harn seems more real than the real world. Perhaps you have done your work too well. So thank you for that.

    People are always going to complain and argue about small things. You should not let it disappoint you. That means they care. I have had many ideas for Harn adventures, but you have set the bar for quality and realism very high and I can only hope to show them to you and the Harnic community some day. When they are more polished.

    In the mean time, keep writing. We will keep reading. Do the important things. Let us know if we can help.

    Fight the Good Fight,

    Severin

  • Language and Pronunciation   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Sometimes the criticism one receives is of a very harsh tone, it was of that, rather than of your thoughtful and considerate tone, that I was thinking when I asked for some respect.

    I was probably too dismissive of Option Two when I simply wrote it off as a hodgepodge. I realise that a lot of people 'grew up' on 'hodgepodge' maps. One object of the maps these days is to present a document that 'could be' of entirely local make - having English tends to distort the view. However, with interactive maps, I have invited 'interested parties' to include English Language Layers (and Option 2 seems to be the 'way to go' in their view).

    However, I should point out that 'purging English' from a regional map, for example, does not exactly begin and end with me. Terra's number one mapmaker, the National Geographic Society, in the United States has (almost surprisingly) taken to using the local words for bay, sea, strait etc., on their maps. The only concession to the 'give me English or Give me Death' crowd is that there are glossaries included ;). Interestingly, I think, most of these glossaries are completely unnecessary as there are, at most, a couple of dozen words involved and they can all be gleaned without a moment's thought from the context.

    Of course, my motivation for removing English from a map (and I don't actually completely remove English for any of the maps) is not about my having a liberal view toward the local inhabitants, or even the desire to sell maps to people living in my fantasy world ... (hmmm that might suggest a certain disconnect, the wrong degree of the supension of disbelief even). This may even seem petty, but my sense is that "Rayésha Erd" is simply more convincing than options three or two. Even I need a suspension of disbelief (maybe not to produce the maps, but certainly to 'believe' in them). It is easier for me to 'fool you' into believing that these places are 'real' (even for an evening) if I first fool myself...

    I expect, in this regard, I am something of a mystic. While I am usually willing to get into answer mode and respond to questions like "How did you think up Hârn?" or "What inspired you to create the churches, or the shék-pvâr, or the guilds as they are?", on the whole I like to try and preserve the 'possibility' that I am just copying a reality onto paper. It helps if even I am surprised by the depth and breadth of the vision, or, if you prefer 'it's about the look and feel'.

    It has frequently been suggested that a 'one time' pronunciation guide might suffice to 'teach' standard Harnic etc.

    But the fact of the matter is that a 'one time' list of accent and pronunciation rules (as given in the Penny Arcane above) together with accents and words that follow those rules is the most efficient way to establish a 'standard' pronunciation.

    I know some people don't see the need for standard pronunciation, but a lot of people do. Partly because, in the real world we can actually talk to French folk saying "Paree" while in the fantasy world we rarely meet people from Chélemby saying "Chélemby": except that is for the GM who plays the role.

    Putting a pronunciation guide in every single publication is a horrid waste of space, and could prove as much an imposition as did the previous inclusion of, for example, a full set of D20 stuff with each module. Well, perhaps not that much ;).

    Once you know the four of five 'accent rules', for example, all you need to implement them is an accented word.

    If, for example, we left the accents off in the text, and then put a list of the words with accents in the back somewhere, does anyone really think that would be more convenient? Or that anyone would ever bother to look up the pronunciation.

    My solution is to accent all occurances of the foreign words (as necessary, as I said I have dramatically reduced the number of accents with the introduction of one new rule). That way, if you come across an occurance (whether it is the first middle or last occurance) your accenting information is there if you need it (and hopefully, if you don't need it, you can ignore the tiny little helpful marks).

    An aside: In upcoming products, I am actually able to make plays on words (in Chéler) and puns in long, clever 'Pratchett-like' footnotes. I'm having a lovely time with this sort of thing, but it would not really be possible without using foreign language in moderation...

    Ultimately the accents and pronunciation guide in general are not even necessarily for the players, they are, primarily, for the GM who must play the 'locals' and express a reasonably correct version of local pronunciation.

    As for not changing an Englishman's pronuncaion of even French words, well that's an interesting point. I remember my father trying to get directions off a gendarme to Orleans. The cop had no idea what he was saying until he was shown the map... then he said "Or lee on"... my father said "no! Orleans!" they yelled at each other for nearly five minutes until it finally tumbled. From then on, everyone in our family said or lee on. When the 'if I shout loud enough in English' method fails, some of us actually do learn the local pronunciations.

    As for the popularity of accents which you ask me to substantiate (fair enough) I have run three separate surveys over the past 20 years or so among Harn fans/customers only. Each one came out overwhelmingly in favour of using accents as a pronunciation guide (the smallest margin was 2:1). The most recent survey involved a free download of an article (Port of Káldôr) both with and without accents. The 'project' invited an email response, and I was actually surprised at the hundreds of respondants who actually took the time to write quite detailed responses.

    When asked which version they preferred, they came out 6:1 in favour of the accented version.

    Even then, of course there were maybe a dozen or so, who took a rather extreme view that "not only do I not find them useful, but I refuse to tollerate them in the product!" This is a veiw I have always had difficulty understanding, but I suppose there is always going to be a fraction of any audience who are fundamentally opposed to a plot twist, story arc, layout, or pronunciation guide, and fundamentally hostile to the notion that the 'creator knows best' ;)

    Interestingly, my audience is only about 60% English speaking (as a native language that is, I expect most of them speak English as a second language at least otherwise they'd just be buying the stuff for the look... Half my market is outside Canada and the US, and curiously, I seem to be getting *new* customers every week. These are mostly people who have never bought anything Harnic before... (Very gratifying really). What this makes me wonder is 'if people were *used to* accents in Hârn products from the beginning, would anyone be making a fuss about them now?

  • Language and Pronunciation   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Robin

    Interesting article. Though I disagree with some of your ideas, at least I can now understand why you do what you do.

    Some observations:
    You suggest that option 2 is a hodgepodge, and wonder why people would use it. I can’t say why, but they do, often.
    I am certainly no language expert, but there is no standard of naming in English, which is the language used to publish HârnWorld materials. It is commonplace to use a ‘local’ name and a ‘home’ descriptor.
    Example: the Mediterranean Sea. We would not look at the derivation of the word Mediterranean and translate it back to it’s original meaning. Most nations use that name. But, whether it is a sea, a see, a mer, a mare, or a hav depends on the language being used by the mapmaker, or article user.

    This is why I (for one) have no problems with Kaldor, Orbaal etc., but dislike Rayesha Erd etc.

    Taking it one step further, I’m lazy! I can’t be bothered to learn the defined use of accents. I, for one would prefer to be told, once, in a glossary, that Melderyn is pronounced mel-der-REEN. Then I can pronounce it properly, but I don’t have to look the word up every time to figure our where the accents should go.

    The Important Notes are useful, and IMO all that is needed for me to produce something approximating correct pronunciation.

    Telling people how to pronounce even a simple word like Paris is of little use. There is little likelihood of any change in the english pronunciation of this city (the same goes for Munich, and many others), though when a Frenchman says Paree everyone knows what he’s talking about.

    Regional accents vary. The city I live closest to is Newcastle. The BBC call it nyew-carsell, the locals call it nyu-cass’l. It seems to me that insisting on one correct pronunciation of a word is unnecessary and, itself, unrealistic.

    You say of accents that ‘to most eyes they make words look more interesting and aesthetic’. First, not to mine they don’t. Second, can you tell me where you’ve got this information from?

    I’m certainly not trying to be disrespectful. As you say, you are the creator, I’m not going to tell you what to write, or how to write it. What concerns me is that, from feedback on the HârnForum it seems to me that most of your customers are neutral toward, or dislike accents. Just go to the forum and do a search on the word accents if you don’t believe me. If one person says (and at least one (not me) has):

    ‘The main reason I don't buy Chelemby and other Kelestia products is because I HATE all the accents. They're everywhere, it seems. It makes the text much harder to read, and doesn't help English-speakers (probably 95% of this market) one bit.’

    Then you’ve lost a sale.

    I don’t see this discussion as me trying to disparage your approach to your creation, I’m not expressing contempt, merely trying to understand why accents, which I and many others dislike, are so important to you. I’m some way towards that now. But I disagree with your reasons and I hope that this explains why.

    Neil

    - "Pardon me for living, I'm sure."
    - NO-ONE GETS PARDONED FOR LIVING.

    -- (Terry Pratchett, Mort)

  • Language and Pronunciation   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I wrote this article in two bits a long time ago, and I have been thinking that people had read it and were familiar with what I am doing with pronunciation and accents.

    It was a foolish assumption: it just occurred to me, that hardly anyone read any of this at the time, and almost no one read it since... so it's past due for it to see the light of day again.

    Thanks for your immediate comprehension and support :)

  • Language and Pronunciation   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Nicely done, Robin. And no one has the right to disparage your approach to your creation - let them work on their own for thirty years instead . . .

    ----------

    Old style heraldry: Sable, the pale argent.

    New style heraldry: Oreo, resting on edge.

  • Accents - HârnMakers views?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Well, folks that agree with a position rarely find it necessary to speak up as you've already said what they believe. Folks that disagree, well, you've asked folks to respect your position and stop blathering on about it. :) Either way, you get silence. :)

  • Accents - HârnMakers views?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I have to say I am surprised at the complete silence on this topic now that I have uploaded 'Language & Pronunciation'...

    I had hoped that everyone would read the article and think to themselves "selves... hmmm... now it all makes perfect sense", but I never really expected that to happen.

    How gratifying ;-)

  • Courage, as a ritual invocation   6 years 9 weeks ago

    They work for shamans just as they work for knights, mages, and the occasional gong farmer. A shaman and a priest are two different critters. :)

  • Accents - HârnMakers views?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I have now published 'Language & Pronunciation' as promised. Hopefully, it will clear up what I perceive to be a great deal of confusion... of course, I see confusion in the world to such an extent that I begin to suspect that my brain may be a contributing factor.

    'Language & Pronunciation' is presented as a Penny Arcane article and also with a pdf version attached thereto.

  • Accents - HârnMakers views?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Greetings all.

    I will shortly be publishing a document called Language & Pronunciation, which I hope will end the interminable debate about these matters. In the meantime I ask for your consideration.

  • Accents - HârnMakers views?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Having been off-line for a while I'm back and playing catch up. I don't think I've seen this part of the forum before!

    I don't like accents, and I never will.

    There is no 'received pronunciation' in english and despite the best efforts ot the BBC there never has been. I'll freely admit that I ignore accents. I noticed at Harncon that while I was pronouncing Jedes as Jed-ess (with two 'hard' e's, Kerry was pronouncing it Jeeds.
    Who is right?
    I don't care!
    I agree with most folk that the best solution would be to simply put a pronunciation guide at the start of any publication, and leave the accents out of the main body of the work. Frankly, I can't be bothered to re-edit text to stick the damn things in!

    I certainly agree that using (for example) Oy instead of isle is also confusing. My players hate it and make fun of it.

    One mans Muncibeddu is another mans Mongibello and if I was talking to my players I'd say Mount Etna anyway! Because then they'd know what I was talking about.

    The tension here (IMO) is between a desire to create a living, breathing world with it's many languages and the requirement to make a world suitable for gaming. Clear labels (like calling a mountain a mountain) are essential IMO. English first, then local colour later.

    - "Pardon me for living, I'm sure."
    - NO-ONE GETS PARDONED FOR LIVING.

    -- (Terry Pratchett, Mort)

  • Courage, as a ritual invocation   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Well, it is a bit odd that courage is not allocated to any of the ten major deities, however it would also be odd if I had avoided every possible mistake and pitfall in constructing a set of rules, especially since I was never trying to create a perfect system.

    I think your 'solution' is reasonable, bearing in mind that I have also tried to 'balance' the 'power' of each type of cleric. It may be that courage *should* belong to Laráni, and I can't see a big problem either way. However, I suppose it is vaguely possible that it might be too much.

    Also consider, that there are numerous aspects and 'fusions' of deities (and demi-deities) as well as the possibility of indirect worship (though a demi-deity) that certainly suggest both a variation (stronger or weaker) of these rituals together with a variation of the success rates. Different aspects and fusions of deities would also suggest different combinations of ritual invocation. There is room for a lot of fun here.

    There is also a question about how ritual invocations may or may not work for shamans...

    In fact, if there is interest, I may ask one of the talented and very helpful folks in the HârnMakers Guild to put together an Invocation 'profile' for 'Méndiz Worshippers' or some such ? (This would form the basis for all indirect worship :)

  • Contours?   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Our new maps are meant to give the best possible feel for the nature of 'what's on the ground'. This seems to work best with heavy use of relief shading and fairly light use of the kind of technical data you might find on a traditional topographic map. This is not because we don't like technical data; it's because the Vegetation & Relief maps are 'art' and technical data tends to mar their beauty.

    Nevertheless, with layers, it's possible to have the best of both worlds, but not necessarily both worlds at the same time.

    I suppose what I'm saying is that I am trying to produce data-enhanced ariel photographs rather than maps in a traditional sense.

  • Contours?   6 years 10 weeks ago

    I've been dabbling in converting maps to 3d terrains using Vue 6. I haven't really delved very deeply, but I think there is great potential.

    Contours and/or spot heights can be used to create Digital Elevation Maps, which I haven't really explored yet. So far I have I've experimented with creating greyscale maps using contours, then using these to create topography in Vue. It's time consuming but the results have been quite pleasing so far. Problem is, I haven't finished anything yet (vegetation, roads etc.)

    Maybe we should swap notes?

  • Hârnic tarot cards?   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Wow - good to hear they're possibly coming some day :) I agree that the amount of pictures is a mighty task.


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