Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

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Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by Simons Mith » October 27th, 2011, 8:15 pm

I have a number of Wesnothian idioms and phrases buzzing in my head (some mine, some others'), so as there's a bit of writing activity going on ATM I thought I'd try to get them down. This is probably wiki-fodder, but I prefer to start somewhere it can be discussed first.


By or about elves:

Phrase: 'A green-eyed elf did it', and variants
Meaning: 'A big boy did it and ran away', 'Noman' (as per the tale of Sinbad meeting the Cyclops), and similar
Explanation: According to some near-canon comments - by Kitty, I believe - it's biologically impossible for a Wesnoth elf to have green eyes. Some Wesnothians know this, many don't. Hence we may see phrases such as, 'I bought it from a green-eyed elf', meaning, 'It, er, fell off the back of a chariot.' Occasionally a scammer may pretend to be a green-eyed elf and get away with it. It's not a particularly sophisticated deception, but it's often a workable one, among the less-educated and more gullible.

Phrase: 'Laughter of the ice fairies', 'Song of the ice fairies'
Explanation: The clatter of falling stones in the high mountains, and the eerie keening sound of the wind whistling round the peaks. Attributed to gryphons instead in many areas. (source: Fate of a Princess)


Undead:

Phrase: 'As mad as a lich.'
Explanation: In order to become a lich, you have to be a powerful necromancer with such an all-consuming fear of death or desire for power that you're willing to kill yourself in a magical ritual and come back as an undead. Only people driven and obsessed to the point of monomania are likely to take such a path. Hence 'mad as a lich' is a pretty pragmatic acknowledgment of these individuals' mental states. The Northern Rebirth lich Malifor is a prime exemplar.

Phrase: 'The ghouls will eat well tonight'
Subversion of the orcish 'wolves' taunt. In Wesnoth, wolves and ghouls probably compete with one another for carrion after a battle. In fact necromancers may show up too, because they need corpses, bones and unquiet spirits as raw materials for their dark arts.

Orcish

Phrase: 'The wolves will eat well tonight' and variants
Explanation: Wesnoth wolves will apparently eat anything and everything their orcish masters feed to them. This one is probably a cliche we want to kill off or subvert, rather than accept as canon.
Wesnoth wolves will eat anything and everything their orcish masters feed to them, and this seems to be the only taunt many orcs know. I suggest greater variety in how it's used - first, give the orcs more insults so that this isn't the only one they come up with, and occasionally put this comment in the mouths of the non-orc side. Obviously they'll be less keen. Or transfer the comment to a necromancer talking about his ghouls instead.

Orcish shamans:
'Orcish shamans are the guardians of orcish tribal lore.' Naturally this would tend to put them in a position to advise or influence the actions of the tribal warlords, provided they're not too blatant about it. (Source: revised unit writeups in Fate of a Princess)

Orcish berserkers:
Orcish berserkers are... 'eager to devote their lives to an orgy of slaughter and destruction that – they believe – will grant them respect and privileges in the afterlife to match those of the greatest orcish warlords and kings.' (Source: revised unit writeup in Fate of a Princess)


Dwarvish:

Phrase: 'Advance to the sigil.'
Explanation: A poetic term relating to the dwarvish equivalent of taking holy orders, that is, to set on the path of becoming a dwarvish runemaster. (Source: unit writeup in Fate of a Princess)

Phrase: 'I am a witness' and other related phrases
The Hammer of Thursagen expands significantly on dwarvish culture, and there are many semi-religious/legal phrases related to this. I have't played THoT in ages. I may re-visit and collect some of these terms here once I have.

Phrase: 'Iron dragon' and variants
Dwarvish thunderguards use 'thundersticks' or 'dragon-sticks', and hence their firearms may be referred to by a variety of dragon- and thunder- themed poetic phrases. 'Iron dragon' is used in Fate of a Princess, for example, as is 'Two-headed dragon' for a shotgun-like custom weapon.

Phrase: 'Anoint me beard!', 'Ancestors' beards!' and variants
Meaning: Exclamation of surprise. Use sparingly, I suggest.

Phrase 'Since [dwarf's] beard was less than an inch long'.
Meaning: For many decades - or centuries if the named dwarf is a famous dead one.


Drakes
'Blademaster': specifically refers to the drakish war blade. A drake who masters some other weapon must call themselves, e.g. a swordmaster. Applies to third-level units only; you can't really be a 'master' at less than third level.


Saurian

Phrase: 'Fate spirits', 'Spirits of Fate', 'Whispers from the spirits'
Explanation: It seems saurians are some of the most skilled astronomers in Wesnoth. They also have skills in astrology and soothsaying, which may even work, to a degree. Hence in addition to the Lords of Light, we have the Spirits of Fate. (source: Fate of a Princess)


Merfolk
Hydra: 'The hydra is an amazing monster rarely seen by land-dwellers... The merfolk and nagas know more about this creature than land-dwellers do, and many of their magical rituals involve an offering to the hydra, just as other races seek to ward off evil land-borne spirits.' (source: Fate of a Princess)

Nagas
[see offerings to the hydra]


Human/Generic

Phrase: 'The halls of the dead'
Explanation: Hell, Hades, Heaven obviously don't exist under those names in the Wesnoth setting. 'Halls of the dead' is a reasonably generic way to refer either to the afterlife, or to the 'staging area' that the spirits of mortals must pass through before they can go to their afterlife, whatever it is.

Phrase: Demons' blood!
Generic oath


Speaking of oaths, I came across a nice collection of poetic curses of various kinds. Lots of inspiration here: http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publica ... um=1&id=23


Unicorns:
...'Unicorns are strongly imbued with the powers of Light and Life, and their very presence is enough to heal allied units nearby.' (Source: revised unit writeup in Fate of a Princess)

Collected religious phrases:
'May the Lords of Light guide your path.' 'I call on the Lords of Light...' (Father Morvin and Sister Thera in Northern Rebirth)
'Through Eloh's grace', 'Thank Eloh', 'All things of this world come to an end, but the power of Eloh endures.', 'Thanks be to Eloh' (and others) (Under the Burning Suns) (also used once in Fate of a Princess)
'Spirits of Fate', 'Fate Spirits' - see saurian entry.
'powers of Light and Life' - see unicorn entry.


So... anyone want to add any others, or refer me to campaigns with good collections of these phrases so that I can collate them?


[Edits and additions in response to comments]
Last edited by Simons Mith on November 19th, 2011, 7:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 

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Re: Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by vodot » October 27th, 2011, 10:29 pm

I'll keep an eye on these for inclusion in the HttT rework. Let me know if you have suggestions.

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Re: Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by Sapient » October 28th, 2011, 6:31 am

Personally, I don't see what's so bad about the hungry wolves cliche in Wesnoth. I mean, isn't one of the primary benefits of having wolves in your army to intimidate your enemies? And what is the alternative anyway: peaceful, vegetarian wolves?

FYI, I looked up "wolves" and "hungry" on TVtropes and didn't find anything.
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Re: Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by Drakefriend » October 28th, 2011, 10:12 am

And actually, why are wolves sometimes (for example Germanic/Norse Mythology, where most things used in modern fantasy come from, due to Tolkien being an expert of Anglosaxon literature; many kennings for warrior are about feeding wolves) associated with war? Because they are canivorous, and, well, after a battle, there is lots of fresh meat... (also probably the reason why jackals were associated with the afterlife in Ancient Egypt, due to prowling at the necropoleis).
The term for the motive of maneating evil wolves is Big Bad Wolf, but maybe they use some of their obsure references instead at tvtropes.
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Re: Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by Simons Mith » October 28th, 2011, 10:33 am

I think my main gripe with it is not that it's unrealistic, but that it's the only taunt many orcs seem to know. More variety is needed. And by subverting it, I mean things like, the soldiers on the non-orc side saying it. Although obviously they'll be less keen on having packs of non-ravening wolves. Or, have a necromancer saying, 'the ghouls will feed well tonight' instead.
 

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Re: Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by Drakefriend » October 28th, 2011, 11:01 am

Other animals associated with battle for eating the fallen include eagles, hyenas, jackals, and in Europe especially the corvids (just for example: another kenning is "war falcon" for ravens, thus a warrior is a "feeder of the war falcon"). This can effectivly be used for most common canivorous animals, as most of them are very willing to feast on prekilled corpses. And of course, there are beings that are mostly (known as) corpseeaters.
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Re: Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by johndh » October 28th, 2011, 3:44 pm

Alternatives to the orc taunt:
"The ground will run red"
"We will bathe in your blood"
"Your skulls will make fine trophies"
It's spelled "definitely", not "definately". "Defiantly" is a different word entirely.

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Re: Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by Simons Mith » November 7th, 2011, 11:26 pm

johndh wrote:Alternatives to the orc taunt:
"The ground will run red"
"We will bathe in your blood"
"Your skulls will make fine trophies"
"'Bathe in our blood?' - What, you too feeble to bathe in cold water? Awww!!"

But while I'm here, can anyone suggest a good orcish derogatory term to use for dwarves? My placeholder text is 'anklebiters' which is a bit weak, I think. Anyone got a better?
 

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Re: Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by Boldek » November 8th, 2011, 1:37 am

"half meals"? would upset me, at any rate. "knee strikers"? "beard rats"?
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Re: Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by Sapient » November 8th, 2011, 1:52 am

Simons Mith wrote: "'Bathe in our blood?' - What, you too feeble to bathe in cold water? Awww!!"

But while I'm here, can anyone suggest a good orcish derogatory term to use for dwarves? My placeholder text is 'anklebiters' which is a bit weak, I think. Anyone got a better?
Dwarvenworms :P
( no just kidding... I hate that "humanworms" epithet )

I propose that Dwarves are Clangclangs! They are always making this sound "clang" with their picks and hammers, so you know when you are within a mile of a dwarven village. Also they tend to have a lot of "-ang" sounds in their names (coincidence?). But coming up with other names for those potbellied crack-dwellers is just too easy.
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Re: Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by Pewskeepski » November 8th, 2011, 3:09 am

Simons Mith wrote:But while I'm here, can anyone suggest a good orcish derogatory term to use for dwarves? My placeholder text is 'anklebiters' which is a bit weak, I think. Anyone got a better?
Hairy Shrimps?

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Re: Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by Sapient » November 8th, 2011, 5:37 am

Pewskeepski wrote:
Simons Mith wrote:But while I'm here, can anyone suggest a good orcish derogatory term to use for dwarves? My placeholder text is 'anklebiters' which is a bit weak, I think. Anyone got a better?
Hairy Shrimps?
Well let's not forget that orcs are pretty hairy themselves, and they have a lot of short ones, a.k.a. goblins. A better target for mockery would be the way that dwarves sometimes braid and even decorate their beards with ribbons (gasp)! And any orcish taunt mocking a dwarf's short stature would probably involve unfavorable goblin comparisons (or insults that they would be just as likely to apply to a goblin).
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Re: Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by Drakefriend » November 8th, 2011, 12:21 pm

"Even my goblins are taller!"
"Cave Goblin"
"I will hang you with your beards!"
"Cave Trash"
"Mini Miner"
(something that implies they want to loot their weapons)
I like the "Clanclang" idea- Dwarves have high quality armament and are heavily armoured, so the Orcs might taunt them for "overdoing" the armor and/or by calling them a still-living armory to be killed and looted.
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Re: Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by Pewskeepski » November 8th, 2011, 5:26 pm

How about "I will cut off your beard and shove it down your throat!"

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Re: Wesnoth lore, idioms and phrases braindump

Post by Simons Mith » November 8th, 2011, 5:52 pm

@Pew That one's a threat, not a derogatory term.

It seems dwarves are actually quite hard for orcs to insult properly.

'Clang-clangs' sounds a bit childish to me, but I think 'clankers' might be ok. 'Clangers' is out; these are Clangers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HArUmqqiL0s

Terms like 'half-pints', 'stunties', 'midgets', even 'hobbits' and 'kobolds' all have the flaw that a dwarf not much bigger than a goblin is a match for a full-grown orc. Hence mocking them for their size carries a constant risk that the insult will backfire.

'Tin-cans' and so forth draw attention to the fact that the average dwarf is way better armoured, better-equipped and in general richer than the average orc. So a lot of risk of a backfire there too.

'Hole-dwellers', 'cave rats' and 'dirt-grubbers' work a bit better. Calling a magnificent dwarvish cave a 'hole' may even be a bigger insult than the orcs realise.

Dwarves' beer-drinking habits may come in for a bit of stick - calling them a something to the effect of bunch of beardy real-ale swilling CAMRA geeks might work, but dwarves are better brewers than orcs, who generally make do with grog, rotgut and who knows what other kinds of fermented or distilled hooch. So another insult type that may backfire.

The best ones I came up with today played on the fact that dwarves spend their time burrowing, and likened them to insects that infest or eat their way through various materials - hence 'rock grubs', 'weevils', 'maggots', 'mountain lice' and so forth might do the trick. If you wanted something a bit longer, phrases like 'fungus-faced rock grubs' might fit.

But basically I'm still looking. Any more ideas? Or ways to reduce the weaknesses in some of the ideas already proposed?
 

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