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Technical/ Mechanical
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ID: 1784


November 25, 2005, 12:57 am

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Trollish Measurements


Hathalfar holds the writhing troll down with his gloved fist and sword. The beast squirms at the touch of metal. “How far is Kolm?” he demands for the third time. “I said! A long way away,” replies the troll.

Trolls have difficulty counting because they’re so thick, so their system of measurement might be less easy to follow…

Trollish measurement:
Despite their inability to quantify distance, trolls are nevertheless very good at judging it. Their small minds cannot cope with the metaphor of describing lengths with numbers. They simply have a good intuitive grasp.
# “Near” corresponds to ~ 20m
# “Not far” corresponds to ~ 1km
# “A fair way” corresponds to ~ 5km
# “Quite far” corresponds to ~ 10km
# “A good walk” corresponds to ~ 30km
# “A long way away” corresponds to ~ 100km
# “As far as the eye can see” varies with visibility

So a city that’s about 150km away would be described as being “A long way away and then a good walk after that” which isn’t too useful till you know how trolls think about distance…

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Comments ( 10 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted RuthieA
November 29, 2005, 21:50
Funny. Simple, but funny :-)
Voted Zylithan
November 30, 2005, 11:21
This gives trolls lots of credit for understanding distances well, but it's well written and light to read. It also points out the fact that often npcs can't give info (not just that they wont). bravo.
Michael Jotne Slayer
June 15, 2006, 5:26
I like this, simple but good. Not only does it function as a Trollish measuremennt post. But it sets of all kinds of other ideas and images.
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
June 15, 2006, 5:27
Only voted
Voted MoonHunter
July 16, 2006, 13:29
People will ask, "MH, why did you HoH this one?"

So let me explain. It is little quirky elements like that that help a place or species alive in the players' minds. They don't take much work (once you have the basic idea) and it can add much to your game.

Think about some of the good fantasy novels you have read. Didn't they have quirky details (like knights being called Ser, Clerics using musical metaphors and being called Dancers, and Little Folk measuring time in "meals", fighters measuring time in beats (which could be heart beats...)? These are the things that caught your interest in the novel, even though you might not of been aware of them originally. They add depth and color to the setting, enriching the story. Eventually they "click" in your head and you realize that they are interesting and important.

Now you don't have to put the total depth of background that an author puts into a novel into your game. No, you need more. Unlike the author who only needs to work on areas important to their story, you have minimal control over your story... thus need to be prepared for all the odd zigging and zagging of the characters. So yes, you will concentrate on things that are important to your PCs (and your projected storyline), but some other details "on tap" might be handy.

That is what this site is for. So you can have someone else do the "little bits of chrome" for you... and you can grab what you need.
Voted Mourngrymn
July 17, 2006, 14:07
That was a long winded explanation there Moon... I like it... but what about time?
July 30, 2006, 12:12
Write up some. Arth has its own time system (that strangely enough dovetails with my game system....). But odd times are easy enough.
Voted Pariah
July 28, 2006, 22:08
I luuve it. It is so simple that it's confusing. I must start giving ALL directions that aren't incredibly importent using this.

Me: "My house is a fair way down 100. On the right, you can't miss it"
Other Person: "O.o How far did you say again?"
Voted Murometz
July 28, 2006, 22:30
yep, this is fun!
Voted valadaar
October 15, 2006, 19:05
This is great!
I cook like this.
"How much salt?"
"How long to cook?"
"Till it's done."

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       By: ephemeralstability


Having left the hush of the upper halls, and crossed the depths of the Braeth (an underground river, which is not all that deep because bear in mind we're talking about gnomes here), you would find yourself in Wattling Street, the main road through Udnalor. It's actually a long, well-worn passageway which opens out eventually into the City Centre. The gnome-buildings branch off Wattling Street as small burrows or caverns with boulder-blocked doorways for privacy. You can find armourers and smiths (though their armour tends to be on the small side for humans to buy) and many other types of trader.

There are many streets, ginnels and cooies which run off Wattling Street, the most famous probably being Smell Street, the domain of the infamous gnomish alchemists, the eponymous smell being very distinctive: the stench of cooking fungus, the aroma of subterranean spices, the pungent reek of rotting carcasses (used in some of the more notorious experiments). An encounter with an alchemist can really be spiced up (excuse the pun) if you have a well-stocked herb cupboard, and actually make up the potions, elixirs and draughts as they are ordered by characters.

Ideas  ( Locations ) | May 4, 2002 | View | UpVote 0xp

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