A Brief Overview of D&D Settings

In the 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide, the various D&D settings released over the years were consolidated down to a list of seven. The only one to receive official support is the Forgotten Realms, but the inclusion of the other six suggests some degree of official recognition above and beyond the dozens of other settings that have been included under the D&D brand at various points (fun fact: The exhaustive list of all settings included under the D&D brand at some point includes Azeroth, the World of Warcraft, which received an official Wizards of the Coast d20 adaptation back when “juggernaut” was too feeble a term to describe their dominance over the MMORPG market). This post is going to include a one paragraph explanation of each of these seven settings.

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Why Are They Called “Orcs?”

Another quickie for buffer reclamation purposes. Why are they called “orcs?” This one here includes a dive into a completely made up language by the only one who has ever done fantasy languages right, JRR Tolkien. The Elvish word for “goblin” is “yrch” in JRR Tolkien’s complete, properly developed, “I have an actual PhD in this field” constructed language of Sindarin. The word “yrch” is Romanized or…I guess Westronized? Into “orc” by human speakers.

That quick dip into Tolkien lore is not actually the answer, though, because the foundations for the word “orc” existed in real languages already. The connection to Sindarin was just Tolkien adding fictitious etymologies to his world, something he did because he had the attention to detail to actually get languages right. Has it come across that I really dislike the constructed languages of most Tolkien imitators? That’s a thing I’m not fond of.

In any case, the real world etymology of “orc” is not entirely clear. There are four possible antecedents some of which may have informed one another, and any or all of them could have been the predecessor to “orc” (and the etymologically related “ogre”). The Latin Orcus is another word for Hell or the Underworld, and is where D&D gets the name of its most famous demon prince, but a more direct connection comes from the Old English “orcneas,” which means “monsters,” and the Italian “orco,” which means “monster.” Italian is informed quite a bit by Latin and not so much by Old English, so my guess is that this is a word spreading from Latin or Italian to Old English, but actual real linguists are apparently undecided on the issue, so I wouldn’t bet anything on that.

How to Run An ERPG

So, the following came up in a Reddit thread recently and since I’m still doing damage control on the buffer, I need to post it. It contains a snipe at GRR Martin, which is always fun, because that always brings out of the woodwork all the people who’ve never read any literary fiction before ASoIaF and are so blown away by the concept of literary foreshadowing that they assume GRRM invented it himself and is therefore an unqualified genius who can do no wrong.

So, here’s some stuff I wrote about how to run an effective erotic RPG. I’m aware the audience for this is super niche, but if that audience isn’t you, you don’t have to read it.

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Dark Heresy 2 Shameless (and Possibly Wrong) Powergaming

We’re rebuilding our buffer a little now that we’ve found the time to start actually producing content again, but the effects of the past couple of weeks are still with us in that our buffer is in a scarily damaged state right now. So, we’re going to post some more random stuff from the vault in an effort to rebuild. This is some musing on Dark Heresy 2 power gaming I wrote at about the same time as FFG announced they were giving up the license and wouldn’t be producing anymore DH2 splats. I don’t actually know if it’s good advice at all, since it was originally written spur of the moment and was never really meant to be a guide for other people. Indeed, it doesn’t even provide detailed build advice which means it’s probably only comprehensible to people who know the system well enough that the advice is already obvious. But hey, content is content.

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