You take the Tureen and put it in the Marzipan, add propensity.


Dungeon Magazine General Discussion

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I just finished Prince of Redhand tonight, loved it. But, the adventure highlighted something that has annoyed me about Dungeon for a very long time.

Quite simply, your adventures use complicated words that make everyone at my table confused. For example when I explain to the players that "As the fourth course begins huge covered tureens are brought out", they will ask what is a "tureen"? Or if I say "the cake is crowned with a marzipan figure of Zeech" they will just look at me and not say anything, because they know I have no idea what a marzipan is.

I continue, with the same page from Prinze of Redhand. You use "Ziggarat" (I take it this is like a pyramid?). You use "propensity", really I know this one, but this is starting to feel like a Grade 8 english test. Lets continue with the words you make up that leave me utterly confused. Whats a "Tojbasrrige"? How bout the "Tojanida"? What is "C'Rosch", or "Proboscis".

These are words on just ONE PAGE in prince of redhand... and its not just this adventure, I continually am astonished at the level of vocabulary you use in your magazine. And I am 30 years old with 3 degrees!

To sum up, when I am reading a description to my players I would like the description to be in english, preferably english that a child at a Grade 8 level would understand.

Isn't a large portion of your market children anyways?


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"Tojbasirrge" is explained in the adventure as a nigh-inedible concoction of Zeech's. A "Tojanida" is in the Monster Manual, I believe. Personally, I found that one of the strengths of playing D&D or Magic: The Gathering was learning new words. You could just try to figure out words based on context; like a tureen is clearly a vessel to hold food and marzipan is a type of confection (almond paste). A thesaurus or dictionary is never a bad thing to have handy, in my mind.


James Keegan wrote:
You could just try to figure out words based on context; like a tureen is clearly a vessel to hold food and marzipan is a type of confection (almond paste). A thesaurus or dictionary is never a bad thing to have handy, in my mind.

So lets set the stage. Prince of redhand a different type of adventure, one I am excited to run, but, a type I have never run before. My players, will they simply cast meteor storm and go nuts on this Evil prince as the barbarian saying they should do? Will the passy their diplomacy checks and remember to bring a gift? I make sure I read up on the 10 or so NPC's, their pasts, their motives.. I modify some to be better suited to my campaign. I add in a Goliath Barbarian as an NPC to link to future adventures... in short I do a lot of work to make the game run smooth.

Now I am ready to play... oh no one more thing... pull out the Thesaurus. Look up the 3-4 complex words PER PAGE, write alternatives in their place and now I am ready. :)

Why am I doing work when the reason I am buying dungeon is that I want to reduce the planning time. If for example they substituted tureen for "jar", or "bottle" and Maziwhatever for "Almond paste" would that have ruined anyones game night?

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

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No apologies for the language in Dungeon. Part of the joy of this hobby is reading, and part of the joy of reading is learning new words.

A much longer version of this response comes in the form of the editorial for Dragon #346. I'd post it, but it's on a different computer. I humbly submit that it is worth a look.

--Erik Mona
Publisher

Grand Lodge

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As usual, I find myself agreeing with James here. I actually credit AD&D with teaching me English in the first place, back when I was a linguistically underdeveloped 12-year old. Also, when you are done with the adventure, you'll have all those excellent words to drop during your next social occasion. After all, how often does one get to use "proboscis" and "tureen" in the same situation?

Here's a good recipe for marzipan; it is a popular dessert item in continental Europe, but I've never seen it here in the US. Which is a shame, 'cause it is DELICIOUS. Yum!

Liberty's Edge

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No offense meant Hanexs, but … most of those words you mention are reasonably common words in my opinion - and I’m only 29 with two degrees ;-)

I mean, why use a different description for something when THAT is the word for that thing? Isn’t it simpler to say “they carry out large, covered tureens” than “they carry out large, covered deep pot like bowls for soup” (although its easy enough to change your verbal description for your players to this if you prefer). Why refer to a proboscis as a long snout or nose when proboscis is a more accurate and not terribly obscure description?

Yes, a ziggurat is like a pyramid, in particular a stepped or terraced pyramid, and yes, ziggurat is the correct word for such a thing.

I’m not trying to make out that I’m so good ‘cos I know those words – in fact, when I first came across them I probably didn’t, so I looked them up or asked someone, and increased my vocabulary in the process. In fact, at LEAST one of those words (proboscis) I think I first came across in the context of D&D (I think a description of a troll or a chasme or something), didn’t know it, looked it up, now I do.

I think it’s a great thing if a grade 8 kid is reading these magazines and finding lots of words he/she doesn’t know – as long as they are looking them up, and learning from it. I know if I have kids who are playing D&D I’d like for them to be learning from the experience (as I did) as well as having fun.

And I’m not sure the magazine is aimed at children, particularly. I’d say the average reader age is more like people in their twenties or thirties. But even if it is aimed at children or teenagers, I don’t think that level of vocabulary is inappropriate.

Prince of Redhand probably is a bit more verbose, and uses a slightly more obscure or archaic vocabulary than some Dungeon adventures – which I believe is totally appropriate for this style of adventure.

I do a lot of prep before I run an adventure too; and I don’t really see how it’s a whole lot of effort to look up a few words. I mean I wouldn’t think you’d even have to go to the effort of replacing words in the written description, just have a general idea of what they mean so when your players ask “whats marzipan?” you can say “it’s a type of confectionary”.

It would be a sad day when Dungeon needs to “tone down” the vocabulary used in the magazine to a lesser standard. That would be a very sad comment on the state of literacy (or perhaps general apathy, when people can’t be bothered educating themselves by the simple task of looking up a word in a dictionary) in our society.

Anyway, I don’t mean to offend anyone with these comments, but its just a subject I’m fairly concerned about. (Oh, and for the record I looked up “marzipan” in the dictionary while I was writing this, cos I didn’t realise until I read James’ reply that it was made with almonds! Took less than 60 seconds on Dictionary.com)


The only concern I would like to add on this note, is the fact that you guys probably have quite a number of non-native speakers who read the magazine as well. I wonder if your choice of words might put some of them off.

I'm a non-native speaker myself, but as I have a university degree in English, I should be okay, though I doubt all your foreign readers do ...


I fully support Eric Mona's position. There is a post somewhere on this site where I mention that I learned to read because I wanted to play Dungeons & Dragons. Many years later I did extremely well on the vocabulary part of the GRE (Kind of like the American SAT) and I think a large part of that is due to my continued love of reading and Dungeons & Dragons. Consider it one of the hidden costs of the game - at the end of the day you did not just slay the Manticore - you also learned something. The older readers who have been playing for many years don't use the Thesaurus to look up four words a page. Reality is many years of playing this game has increased our vocabulary to the point where comparatively few words we are likely to encounter stump us. Plus resolving a word these days is pretty easy - Google knows all.

I concede that non-native speakers might have it a little rough but at the end of the day they too improve their English simply by playing and that might just come in useful at some point.


26 years old, only 1 degree: English. Mostly because I wanted to write for a living (yeah right!) because why?

Because I loved my D&D novels and game books so much.

I remember acing every vocabulary test in high school honors classes because the "hard" words were uncommon words not used in everyday speech. Like: regeneration, ressurection, melee, thaumaturgy, stasis, tentacle, cerebellum, pyroclasm, temporal, and inevitable.

Amen and kudos to Dungeon (and Dragon) for keeping the bar set high. I'll be teaching my kids to read with them and the PHB. For non-native speakers, I can't really say anything besides maybe one day D&D will be big enough for its magazines to be published in different languages. I don't want D&D to be harder for anyone, thats counter-productive, but the world at large seems to be lowering the standards of various things every day. Here's to keeping the bar up a little bit longer.


Well, I had to look up Tureen and propensity (realizing that I had looked up Tureen already some time ago when I did). But that is not surprising, as I am german, and english is my second language. (And I don´t hold any degrees in languages, it is only school english) I learned a lot unusual, obscure and even obsolete english words from gaming (do you know what an ostler is? That one was in AC 1, The Shady Dragon Inn). Tureen is "Terrine" in german, and is a near-obsolete term today, but I think everybody would understand what it is.
Often, I try to guess english words I don´t know while reading, as I´m sometimes too lazy to get my dictionary (or go to the PC), and it works quite well.
I think it is ok if D&D uses obsolete or obscure words - it keeps you thinking, which is never a bad thing. So, keep going!

Stefan


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ED: You see a well groomed garden. In the middle, on a small hill, you see a tureen.
ERIC: A tureen? What color is it?
ED: (Pause) It's copper, Eric.
ERIC: How far away is it?
ED: About 50 yards.
ERIC: How big is it?
ED: (Pause) It's about 20 inches across.
ERIC: I use my sword to detect good on it.
ED: It's not good, Eric. It's a tureen.
ERIC: (Pause) I call out to it.
ED: It won't answer. It's a tureen.
ERIC: (Pause) I sheathe my sword and draw my bow and arrows. Does it respond in any way?
ED: No, Eric, it's a tureen!
ERIC: I shoot it with my bow (roll to hit). What happened?


Evilturnip wrote:
... a nice adaption of the gazebo classic

LOL. You just made my day :-)

Stefan

The Exchange

Personally, I have never had any problem with the vocabulary in Dungeon. It seems pretty standard. Tureen is hardly obscure.

My only beef is with some of the incorrect spelling. Armor? What's that? It's armour, dear boy. I could go on, but I won't. Honestly, these colonials......


Evilturnip wrote:
... a nice adaption of the gazebo classic

Haha! That's a great reference.

ED: (Thoroughly frustrated) It's too late. You've woken up the tureen, and it catches you and eats you.

ERIC: (Reaching for his dice) Maybe I'll roll up a pyroclastic thaumaturgist so I can avenge my Paladin.

ED: A what?

I like the big words in Dungeon. Just consider yourselves lucky it's not like The Worm Ouroboros or The Book of the New Sun!

Grand Lodge

Krypter wrote:

Just consider yourselves lucky it's not like The Worm Ouroboros or The Book of the New Sun!

Hey! Those books are awesome!


Context clues! Context clues are frieeeeeends.

That's it.
I'm submitting the Mome Rath as a new monster entry.
Fear its Outgrabe(Ex) ability.

Liberty's Edge

I'd be more worried about the gyre and gimble attack of the slithy toves.

Or is that a movement form?


Wow, I'm shocked to see that so many people feel "ok" with the "super words" that show up quite a lot in the adventures.
I agree with hanexs when he says these words only confuse players and DM alike, ESPECIALLY players.
Because of this I have to rewrite most of the texts in itallic meant to be read out loud to the players. While I don't feel annoyed by "super words" in the adventure it pisses me off to see a bunch of them in the "read out loud part". It destroys the esperience of roleplaying. My players hated these parts and often ignored it, even the more experienced players(they tried to keep up but i guess some times they just give in) when we first started to play D&D. And most importantly, is because of these very boring anti climat "read out loud parts" that many people find hard to start playing D&D.

Liberty's Edge

Frankly Im surprised that there seems to be a number of people who consider the vocabulary in Dungeon to be over the top, or for words like the ones singled out in this thread to be completely obscure or “super-words”, or not appropriate for the context in which they are used, whether they’re in the body of the text or the read aloud sections.

I’m also surprised and a little dismayed that people don’t seem to feel it’s worth educating themselves, taking a brief moment to find out the meaning of a word they’re not familiar with.

But I agree with you to a degree Hellfinger about the read aloud text in many D&D adventures seem stilted, or can throw out the rhythm of the game. I usually try to prep enough for an adventure that I can paraphrase or ad-lib these descriptions (although I admit I sometimes get lazy and just read it out). If you are doing this anyway, it shouldn’t be too hard to replace any words you think your players would get frustrated with.

I’ve always felt that the read aloud text is a useful tool when you don’t have time to prepare as much as you’d like for a game, but its perfectly acceptable (and expected) to change it if you do.

Contributor

HELLFINGER wrote:
Wow, I'm shocked to see that so many people feel "ok" with the "super words" that show up quite a lot in the adventures.

No one has yet to mention any "super words" from a Dungeon adventure. Really. I don't consider myself super-smart. But I can't recall ever seeing a word in Dungeon (or Dragon) where I either didn't know the word or at least couldn't figure it out from context.

The words "tureen," "marzipan," and "proboscis" (to grab three) are not obscure "super" words.


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As an English teacher, I say, "Do the proper research." Have a dictionary on the coffee table. Go to dictionary.com. ALWAYS look up words you don't know, even while watching TV, reading the paper or a book, or after casual conversation.

I expect Dungeon's language to speak to the educated adult. If there's a word in the literature that I don't know, it's my job to look up the word (or do any other necessary research) in order to prepare for the game/campaign.

Keep challenging your readers, Dungeon!


Well, I can only vouch for my players and my campaign and I know that 5 players at the table (4 players and me) did not know "tureen," "marzipan," or "proboscis".. Maybe in our area (Ontario) they just are not popular words.

The read aloud text is really important to me. I spend a lot of time understanding the way the adventure works, the way the monsters are supposed to fight, and they way the story is supposed to go. I do not however preread the read aloud parts.. I mean why would I? It is just a simple description of the room right? Thats why it particularly frustrates me when there are super words or super long descriptions. Quite often my players say, "can you just summarize the room for us".. Which is too bad, the descriptions should add life to the rooms. I know this is what you are trying to do by being descriptive, but I think you might be going to far.

As for those words not being difficult, Crust, I am also a teacher. So lets do something this week, lets ask our classes if they know what they mean. I have 90 Grade 11 & 12 students (computer classses), I am willing to bet that less than 2 students per class know what those words are.

As a side note, "EDUCATED ADULT"? Is that really who paizo is marketing to? If so I am shocked, we have a gamer club at school and many of our 9-12 kids play D&D on and off. From a business standpoint what are you gaining by using archaic words? I have a feeling that I could record every channel on cable for 2 weeks and NEVER hear those words. Perhaps there is some elitism in the D&D industry that is hindering it from becoming a mainstream game? I mean is this why D&D is synonymous with "super geek" for most of our culture while no one seems to mind Magic, World of Warcraft or even other systems of RPGs.

Liberty's Edge

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You spend a lot of time prepping for your games but you don’t pre-read the read aloud text? That seems … strange. Even if this text was just a simple description of the room or whatever, shouldn’t you have a good idea of this before you start the game? Particularly if these descriptions aren’t contained elsewhere in the text (and why should they be for the most part, otherwise twice as much space is taken up describing the same thing).

And as you say, these descriptions SHOULD bring the scene to life for the players. Now if your players don’t appreciate the wordy descriptions, cool, change them for your group. But really, describing (for example) a tureen is much more descriptive, emotive, precise and atmospheric than saying “a soup bowl”.

Now I don’t use those words every day either, and I would say they are probably not “common” words for a majority of Dungeon readers, but they’re hardly that obscure or jargonistic either, and I think its really a stretch to call them archaic.

I don’t think knowing or using words like these makes one an elitist or a super geek. I think it just means one has a reasonable good vocabulary and maybe slightly broader horizons than the average person.

As for the target audience of Dungeon, I guess I can’t comment with any authority on what it is, but I know a large portion of the readership would be adults. And whether the main audience is adult or children I believe it’s a moot point, sure, plenty of 9 and 12 year olds probably don’t know those words, but they SHOULD know how to use a dictionary, and if playing D&D is teaching them a few things then I consider that a very good thing.

I hope more than four of your 90 students know the meaning of, or at least have a general idea, of these words. If they don’t, well that’s a bit sad, but at least you can tell them what they mean, and they’ve learnt a couple more things today.

I’d rather my kids were broadening their vocabulary from reading Dungeon magazine than watching cable TV all day and probably not learning much at all.


Mothman, the reason I dont preread those sections is because they are usually irrelevant to me before the game. For example, if there are monsters in the room, they are rarely mentioned in those sections, their tactics, traps, treasure ect are not in those sections. All I really get from reading those sections is that in this room, the walls are weathered, some curtains are in a conrner, a tureen has been smashed by a desk in the back of the room ect Not usually stuff I need to prepare for before the game. I do however reprint all the maps, highlight traps, make tactic notes, draw arrows where monsters will move if there is sound ect.

If I have to summarize and look up definitions for minute details like a portrait in a room, or a cup that a waiter who I dont even have stats for is holding... Then I am afraid I may not have enough time to run Dungeon adventures.

Maybe I need a magazine that will summarize Dungeon adventures and present them in a time saving format? (hah, no really I like Dungeon adventures, but I think you guys are just wrong here.)

Liberty's Edge

That’s cool, I might be wrong - but I don’t think I am ;-)

I don’t mean to criticise, I guess it’s just a different experience for me (and my players). I like those descriptions, I enjoy reading them, and I consider its part of my job as a good DM to read them, understand them, and present them to my players in such a way that they become emersed in the world I (and the adventure) am trying to create.

I also don’t want to be caught out when my players want to be creative, and swing out the window on the curtains (that were in the read aloud text but not shown on the map), or use their appraise skill to see if the portrait on the wall is valuable. Sure, its probably not if its not also listed under “treasure”, but the players don’t know that, and I don’t like to be caught unawares and say “oh – portrait? Uh, its not valuable. What’s it of? Uh ….. this dude?”

I’m creating a much more realistic world if I’m describing these sort of details, and I just don’t like the situation where the only things described are things that are “important” from a game mechanics point of view (like treasure, or monsters or traps or even clues).

I prefer to run a role-playing heavy game, and in my opnion its these sort of details, words, descriptions that help encourage my players to interact with the (fantasy) world and roleplay. If I was running a pure hack’n’slash game, or a tactics oriented game it might be different.

You and your players may not need or use these sort of tools in your game (whether its roleplaying oriented or otherwise) but I really think your game would be richer for it.

And honestly, I think your overestimating the amount of extra time you would need to read and understand these descriptions before the game. I’m not trying to be-little the preperation you do, it sounds like more than many DMs do, but I think you’re really doing yourself and your game a disservice by not spending like an extra 5 or 10 minutes reading these bits before the game.

We obviously have a difference of opinion on this, and that’s cool. For what it’s worth I liked your idea on another thread about creating an AP from old Dungeon Adventures…

Liberty's Edge

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I think it's great that the people at Dungeon take the time to use proper diction in their storytelling. A tureen is a very specific type of serving vessel, and just calling it "big pot" or "food bowl" kind of kills the whole idea that the party in PoRH is supposed to be a high-classed affair.

IMO one of the great things about D&D is how it can trick you into learning things while having fun at the same time. There are complex mathematical and spatial problems to solve, obscure or archaic words to learn, and lots and lots of reading. Oh, and there's that whole imagination and social interaction thing too. :) That plus beer. Beer good. Foamy.

But I digress...

Personally, I think that D&D could be used as some sort of remedial learning tool in our flagging education system. Move over Kumon! Head for the hills Hooked on Phonics! Here comes D20:Junior High. Coming soon to a school board near you.

Liberty's Edge

When I first played D/d I was 10. back in 1980. I called the Paladin a Pladdin. I called the Alcove an Alclove.You could pay my English teacher 20 bucks and pass. All I ever learned I learned from D/d and... looking words up. If I am to lazy to look the word up I just edit the discription .It really doesnt take that much more time....I am surprised this is such a big deal...I am surprised I am even replying to this..... I could have been reading the discription...ITS GAME TIME>>>>

The Exchange

hanexs wrote:

Well, I can only vouch for my players and my campaign and I know that 5 players at the table (4 players and me) did not know "tureen," "marzipan," or "proboscis".. Maybe in our area (Ontario) they just are not popular words.

The read aloud text is really important to me. I spend a lot of time understanding the way the adventure works, the way the monsters are supposed to fight, and they way the story is supposed to go. I do not however preread the read aloud parts.. I mean why would I? It is just a simple description of the room right? Thats why it particularly frustrates me when there are super words or super long descriptions. Quite often my players say, "can you just summarize the room for us".. Which is too bad, the descriptions should add life to the rooms. I know this is what you are trying to do by being descriptive, but I think you might be going to far.

As for those words not being difficult, Crust, I am also a teacher. So lets do something this week, lets ask our classes if they know what they mean. I have 90 Grade 11 & 12 students (computer classses), I am willing to bet that less than 2 students per class know what those words are.

As a side note, "EDUCATED ADULT"? Is that really who paizo is marketing to? If so I am shocked, we have a gamer club at school and many of our 9-12 kids play D&D on and off. From a business standpoint what are you gaining by using archaic words? I have a feeling that I could record every channel on cable for 2 weeks and NEVER hear those words. Perhaps there is some elitism in the D&D industry that is hindering it from becoming a mainstream game? I mean is this why D&D is synonymous with "super geek" for most of our culture while no one seems to mind Magic, World of Warcraft or even other systems of RPGs.

Good grief, I knew all of those words when I was 10. My mum put marzipan on Christmas cake, proboscis is an insect part and tureen a big soup cauldron. This isn't tricky stuff. To be honest, I am appalled that someone who considers themselves educated does not know what they mean.

That said, it is not really a comment on intelligence, but education. I think that the fact you are a computer teacher says it all - you concentrated on sciences rather than vocabulary (though proboscis is a scientific term, albeit biological, and my education is scientific too). But just because you don't know what they mean doesn't make them super-words. I'm afraid you may need to get used to the idea that your vocabulary isn't perhaps as extensive as you might think.

The Exchange

Xuttah wrote:

I think it's great that the people at Dungeon take the time to use proper diction in their storytelling. A tureen is a very specific type of serving vessel, and just calling it "big pot" or "food bowl" kind of kills the whole idea that the party in PoRH is supposed to be a high-classed affair.

Absolutely - these words exist because they are precise and descriptive, not just showing off.


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Krypter wrote:
Evilturnip wrote:
... a nice adaption of the gazebo classic

ED: (Thoroughly frustrated) It's too late. You've woken up the tureen, and it catches you and eats you.

Heh.

Did I ever tell the story of the time I actually was attacked by a gazebo?

It was May 2004 and so, it being Scotland, the weather was foul. The winds were high, and there were periodic and heavy falls of rain, hail and snow. However, being hardy sorts, my pipe band were out at the Bargeddie gala day (a gala day is a sort of village festival; they've more or less gone out of fashion these days).

Anyway, we did the big parade, and got thoroughly soaked. After the parade, the band were scheduled to play for a time on the main stage, which was open to the air, but covered with a cheap plastic gazebo (bought from B&Q) lashed down with ropes. So, we played for a while.

And as we played, the wind gradually rose up. But we persevered. After the first set of tunes, I told the rest of the band to take a break, while the highland dancers danced. And, as I struck up to play the accompanying music, a gust of wind lifted the gazebo, and it lunged menacingly towards myself and the dancer (actually, I think it wanted her, being almost draconic in its tastes).

Fortunately, several local men were on hand to grab hold of the ropes. They made their grapple checks, and the beast was constrained once more.


hanexs wrote:
Well, I can only vouch for my players and my campaign and I know that 5 players at the table (4 players and me) did not know "tureen," "marzipan," or "proboscis".. Maybe in our area (Ontario) they just are not popular words.

Certianly I doubt if they come up much more often in the US (or I fear for the education system of our province). Tureen is kind of specialized and Marzipan is probably something your more likely to encounter in Continental Europe. Proboscis though is not that obscure.

Contributor

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Certianly I doubt if they come up much more often in the US (or I fear for the education system of our province). Tureen is kind of specialized and Marzipan is probably something your more likely to encounter in Continental Europe. Proboscis though is not that obscure.

I first encountered "marzipan" after reading The Nutcracker at Christmastime as a child. *shrug*


*scratches head*

What the hell ever happened to "if you don't know a word, look it up?" If you don't like "tureen," or think your players might be confused, why not say "an elaborate serving bowl" or "almond paste" instead of "marzipan?"


I think I would personally be insulted if Paizo were to limit the vocabulary in its magazines to the level of a 8th grader. One of the great joys of playing RPGs and related games is in expanding your vocabulary. The majority of new words I learned in middle school were from Magic cards. It's because of D&D, Magic, and fantasy novels that I read at the level I do. If anything, I challenge Paizo to increase the verbosity of its magazines. Show me something I haven't seen.


Just look up the words in a dictionary.


hanexs wrote:
I do not however preread the read aloud parts.. I mean why would I? It is just a simple description of the room right?

Not that I'm Dungeon's most prolific author, but with words at a premium, read aloud text is fair game in my book as a place to put clues that the PCs see the moment they enter the room. Anything essential to understanding the adventure is going to be repeated in the synopsis or expanded on in the text, but my assumption is that the DM knows everything the players know and more, meaning they read the read-aloud text as part of the preperation. Why would I spend words in the DM's room description repeating what I just said moments before?

And to throw one more vote towards what others have said, I like that D&D challenges and stretches my vocabulary.


Language is part of the fun.

"Short of offensive idioms, Dungeon's praxis of a heterogenous and outre nomenclature is both dialectic and copacetic," said the erudite Korranberg professor.

"Cor', berk, yer bone-box's flappin' but I can't ken wotcher pipin'!" responded the rather annoyed meat-pie vendor.

There's a fine line between well-educated and pretentious, of course.

Oh, and I buy marchpane all the time in southern Ontario.


One of the delights of English is its huge bastard lexicon. How condescending to roleplayers to think they need to be written down to in Simplified English.


I'd honestly pay to see a DM using the words 'tureen' and 'marzipan' when roleplaying his npcs. That'd be hillarious


Faraer wrote:
One of the delights of English is its huge bastard lexicon. How condescending to roleplayers to think they need to be written down to in Simplified English.

There you go. I had to look up the meaning of "condescending" and it seems you don't even know what you're talking about. I'd say you misunderstood the thread; we respect the other guys, but I just think it doesn't make sense using these weird words sometimes.


HELLFINGER wrote:
Faraer wrote:
One of the delights of English is its huge bastard lexicon. How condescending to roleplayers to think they need to be written down to in Simplified English.
There you go. I had to look up the meaning of "condescending" and it seems you don't even know what you're talking about. I'd say you misunderstood the thread; we respect the other guys, but I just think it doesn't make sense using these weird words sometimes.

No, he used the word correctly. It's his opinion that people who insist on "dumbing-down" the language are being patronizing, and that's the word for it. Whether you want to use "weird words" or not is your decision, but don't demand that everyone else stop using them.

The Exchange

Krypter had it right with her (his?) first post. How can anyone complain about Marzipan and be okay with thaumaturgist? D & D itself (and all fantasy in general) routinely takes us into the realm of linguistic gymnastics. I guarantee that not one person at my table would have an issue with any of the words cited in this post so far, with the possible exceptions of Tojanida and thaumaturgist.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Dungeon's language and the use of big words is not going to change as long as I'm in charge or as long as Erik's the publisher. Our target audience is not kids—I'd suspect the average age of our readers these days is in the 20's. That said, I'm delighted when we pick up readers under 20. D&D is a reader's game, by and large, and as Erik mentions above, one of the joys of reading is learning new words. Especially in the case of a word like "ziggurat" which is the precise word you need. Why call a dog a "barking long-legged cat" when "dog" is what you mean?

Even after a degree in English and two decades of being paid to write, I'm still learning new words. A fair number of them actually come from Dungeon's contributors. A lot more of them come from David Mamet, but our profanity filters won't let me share them here.

Contributor

Actually, the median age of our readers is 30 and 3/4 of them are college educated, so we're not really worried about shooting over anybody's heads. Particularly when those same people have no problem memorizing vast swaths of made-up monster and place names, obscure rules that would put tax accountants to shame, and a boatload of definitions for the word "level."

Dungeon: We take our readers seriously. Even when they're pretending to be fire-breathing halfling ninjas.

Contributor

Sniped by Jacobs AGAIN...!

Dark Archive Contributor

James Sutter wrote:
Dungeon: We take our readers seriously. Even when they're pretending to be fire-breathing halfling ninjas.

Stop reading future Class Acts articles over my shoulder, Sutter. :P


Seriously, hanexs and Hellfinger, would you prefer the longer 'sugar and almond paste' and 'tube sticking out of head' to marzipan and proboscis? Or do you think these *things* should be left out of adventures because some people might not know the words?

Liberty's Edge

S'wat Gygax did; forced people to learn words like "initiative" and "constitution."


James Jacobs wrote:
...as Erik mentions above, one of the joys of reading is learning new words. Especially in the case of a word like "ziggurat" which is the precise word you need.

I still remember coming across the phrase "inverted ziggurat" in White Plume Mountain when I was ten. I didn't know what it was then, but I've never forgotten it since. I've also never forgotten the pronunciation of brazier, after telling my very amused friends about the flaming brassieres flanking the altar in some Gygax adventure or another.

Erik's editorial in Dragon #346 was so good that I read it to my wife over breakfast before she really knew what D&D was. Well worth a read (and a posting).


Congrats to hanexs for being a teacher in Ontario.
It's a tough gig, I know. I'm married to a teacher in Ottawa.

I like to learn new words! I'm all for Dungeon articles stretching my vocabulary.

I think the first thing I needed to look up for a D&D adventure was a "plinth". I remember being young and wondering what the heck that was, but I found out, and was richer for it!

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