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Ravens_cry
2011-01-12, 04:28 PM
OK, this one is for the greybeards, even the ones without beards.
I was reading a copy of the Players Handbook for the first edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and I saw something that blew my mind. OK,I saw a lot of things that did that, but this more so. Apparently, everyone can speak a language that corresponds to their alignment. If their alignment shifts, they can no longer speak or understand that language.
Wait . . .what?
A lot of stuff in there I can see an ancestry in classic fantasy. After all, the whole idea was to play the kind of worlds the books presented. I've read quite a bit and I read TV Tropes quite a lot, so I like to think I have a certain familiarity with the tropes of fantasy. But I have never come across anything quite like this. Just where did this come from? Why was this rule added? What did it add to the game? Did you as players use this rule? I know AD&D was eccentric, but this is just one big "what."

Mark Hall
2011-01-12, 04:33 PM
Truthfully, that's one that's never quite made sense to me, either. In theory, they were solely for the discussion of moral and ethical concepts... someone who did not share your alignment would not be able to understand these, so they became kind of a "test' for alignment (making it a LOT easier for Paladins to employ only those who were LG or assassins), but, quite frankly, they never made any sense to me.

The Big Dice
2011-01-12, 04:35 PM
It wasn't just AD&D that had them. Those colourful boxes by Frank Mentzer had Alignment Languages too. It was all a bit more homespun and haphazard back then, and most people either forgot them or ignored them.

hamlet
2011-01-12, 04:50 PM
Most folks ignore them in the end.

Though if you do think about them, they do make a kind of sense, credulity straining as it is.

Think of it not in terms of a full on language more as an expression of common reference points based on coincidental points of view. I.e., two Lawful Good characters will view the world similarly and share a certain moral frame of reference, and so can communicate some limited ideas referentially that might pass by unknown to an evil listener.

Think "Darmok and Gelad at Tenagra" kind of thing.

Calmar
2011-01-12, 04:51 PM
That rule doesn't make much sense in a 'realistic' world, but it might be really cool in some more surreal setting.

nedz
2011-01-12, 04:58 PM
I never saw them used.

But I suppose you could think of them like 'political language'.
I always thought that they were silly.

Ravens_cry
2011-01-12, 05:00 PM
Most folks ignore them in the end.

Though if you do think about them, they do make a kind of sense, credulity straining as it is.

Think of it not in terms of a full on language more as an expression of common reference points based on coincidental points of view. I.e., two Lawful Good characters will view the world similarly and share a certain moral frame of reference, and so can communicate some limited ideas referentially that might pass by unknown to an evil listener.

Think "Darmok and Gelad at Tenagra" kind of thing.
Yes, I can see that, Evil Cannot Comprehend Good and tropes of that nature. But that is not how it is presented. It is presented as a full on language, with nouns and verbs and syntex. It is almost like the Black Speech from Lord of the Rings, but good beings like Gandalf could learn and speak that.
Heh, speaking of TV Tropes, the language of Darmok is like what happens when you read too much TV Tropes, your brain starts thinking in terms of the tropes and their titles. Incidentally, it is one of my favourite Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes.
Excuse me, Cacofonix and His Lyre, the Water Fell.

Amphetryon
2011-01-12, 05:11 PM
Puppy Sunshine Blanket Spring Rain? [/CG]

Thunder Destruction Brimstone Hellfire! [/CE]

:smallconfused: yeah, never really made sense.

Comet
2011-01-12, 05:18 PM
They don't make any sense if you think about them for longer than five seconds, for sure.

I found them lots of fun, though. We started with the Red Box basic D&D, which had those Alignment languages too.

They really create a very distinct "us versus them" feel. Like you belong to some sort of secret cult and the other guys (be they good or evil, depending on campaign) are the opposing cult that you really can't understand no matter how much you try.

And when the players try to talk to an NPC with their Alignment language and you describe said NPC as looking slightly puzzled and reaching out for his sword, the players instantly know that stuff is about to go down.

Kurald Galain
2011-01-12, 05:19 PM
I... think... that you could pick up other languages for your character, including other-alignment languages. So your chaotic rogue could learn to speak Lawful, or something.

Doesn't make it any less silly, though. The closest I can imagine is either legalese (for lawful) or thieves' cant (for chaotic).

Mr.Bookworm
2011-01-12, 05:20 PM
This is not coming from the most informed person, but wasn't it just Law and Chaos back in 1E?

I could see, say, the most common alignment by far being Neutral, with only mortal paragons or monsters like demons having an alignment of Law or Chaos. If you're that dedicated to an alignment's ideals, I can easily see knowing the secret special language (Druidic, anyone?).

...That still doesn't make sense though, because there would be a Neutral alignment language. Which makes no sense on multiple levels. Unless you count Neutral as the absence of alignment, thus no language.

[/WILDLY UNINFORMED IDEAS]

EDIT: I mean, was the Chaos language Abyssal and the Law language Celestial or something? That would make a certain amount of sense.

Oracle_Hunter
2011-01-12, 05:21 PM
Feh, Alignment Languages were just a version of Black Speech (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BlackSpeech) - languages that were tied to a particular axis of the morality spectrum. It just so happens that what was cool in Tolkien gets a bit silly when applied more broadly :smalltongue:

Comet
2011-01-12, 05:22 PM
This is not coming from the most informed person, but wasn't it just Law and Chaos back in 1E?


Yeah, with Law being pretty much equal to Good and Chaos being equal to Evil. As I said, a really effective setup for all kinds of conflict.

Siosilvar
2011-01-12, 05:22 PM
I... think... that you could pick up other languages for your character, including other-alignment languages. So your chaotic rogue could learn to speak Lawful, or something.

Doesn't make it any less silly, though. The closest I can imagine is either legalese (for lawful) or thieves' cant (for chaotic). Only Assassins can pick up alignment languages (and druidic) without being that alignment, IIRC.


This is not coming from the most informed person, but wasn't it just Law and Chaos back in 1E?

I could see, say, the most common alignment by far being Neutral, with only mortal paragons or monsters like demons having an alignment of Law or Chaos. If you're that dedicated to an alignment's ideals, I can easily see knowing the secret special language (Druidic, anyone?).

...That still doesn't make sense though, because there would be a Neutral alignment language. Which makes no sense on multiple levels. Unless you count Neutral as the absence of alignment, thus no language.

[/WILDLY UNINFORMED IDEAS]

AD&D had all nine alignments. D&D, on the other hand, had lawful/neutral/chaotic only.

And yes, there was a Neutral language, technically. And Neutral Good was completely incomprehensible to anyone speaking Chaotic Good. Don't think about it too hard.

Mr.Bookworm
2011-01-12, 05:29 PM
And yes, there was a Neutral language, technically. And Neutral Good was completely incomprehensible to anyone speaking Chaotic Good. Don't think about it too hard.

Bwuuuuh?

Wellllllll. *thinks*

I guess it could maybe make sense if you think about it in terms of 3.5 D&D languages, where you have LE devils and CE demons and LG archons and CG eladrins speaking different languages (and I'm sure the planes of Neutrality have their own language which is escaping me right now).

...But that still doesn't make sense, because I'm taking a wild guess and saying that Abyssal and such were also around back then in addition to the alignment languages.

Gah.

Siosilvar
2011-01-12, 11:00 PM
Bwuuuuh?

Wellllllll. *thinks*

I guess it could maybe make sense if you think about it in terms of 3.5 D&D languages, where you have LE devils and CE demons and LG archons and CG eladrins speaking different languages (and I'm sure the planes of Neutrality have their own language which is escaping me right now).

...But that still doesn't make sense, because I'm taking a wild guess and saying that Abyssal and such were also around back then in addition to the alignment languages.

Gah.

Let me check my PHB for the "list of languages typically used".

Dwarvish, Halfling, Lizardman, Elvish, Hobgoblin, Ogrish, Goblin, Kobold, Orcish.

And almost every creature in the Monster Manual speaks its own language and usually one other. No languages mentioned for demons and devils, though I'd assume the alignment languages are the Abyssal/Infernal/Celestial of today.

PairO'Dice Lost
2011-01-13, 02:01 AM
I guess it could maybe make sense if you think about it in terms of 3.5 D&D languages, where you have LE devils and CE demons and LG archons and CG eladrins speaking different languages (and I'm sure the planes of Neutrality have their own language which is escaping me right now).

Nitpick: There's only one good language in 3e, Celestial, so the archons and eladrins speak the same thing.

And no, there weren't Abyssal and Infernal back then, just the alignment languages. If you think of the alignment languages as people just speaking Infernal, Abyssal, Slaad, etc. it does make a bit more sense.

Eldan
2011-01-13, 05:24 AM
Bah, Celestial. I just re-introduced Eladrin and Elysian, with Celestial being the language of Celestia. Similar with Infernal, Fiendish and Abyssal. There's also Slaad and Modronic (not Moronic!).

Coidzor
2011-01-13, 05:25 AM
There's also Slaad and Modronic (not Moronic!).

Not Machine Code? :smallfrown: Or Mechanical?

Eldan
2011-01-13, 05:30 AM
Mechanic was considered for the language of Mechanus, yes, but I dropped it in the end. Mainly because my players spontaneously adopted Modronic because they thought it was funny.

hamlet
2011-01-13, 08:17 AM
1) I didn't say my explanation was good, merely that it was how it was explained to me and that it made some sort of sense within the framework of the game assumptions. Yes, if you think of the alignment tounges as "Infernal, Abbyssal, Celestial, etc." it makes even just a little more sense. Though only a little.

Best not think on it too hard.

2) AD&D 1ed (i.e., Gary's Greyhawk Version of D&D with the demon idol on the PHB and the efreet on the DMG) had all nine alignments from LG to CE. These were new at the time and a lot of people didn't like them because original woodgrain/whitebox D&D had only three alignments - Law, Neutral, Chaos and Law was NOT implicitly "Good" and Chaos was NOT implicitely "Evil" - based almost word for word on Moorcock's system of morality. Good and evil really didn't factor in as the concept was more about high cosmic forces at war. In the end, the best explanation I've heard for original D&D's alignment system was to ask and honestly answer the question below:

"If the end of the world arrives, where do you stand? With the forces of order and law trying vainly to hold the fabric of the universe together and preserve creation? With Cthulhu and his slathering horde of cosmic horrors bent on its unmaking? Or do you simply stand back and enjoy the show?"

By the time BECMI started rolling out and D&D was becoming slightly more kid friendly, Law and Chaos started to be equated with Good and Evil respectively.

Caliphbubba
2011-01-13, 08:52 AM
I never saw them used. Really the only non-racial languages I ever saw used much were Druidic and Theives Cant, with a splash of Slyvan now and again.

Matthew
2011-01-13, 09:01 AM
This is not coming from the most informed person, but wasn't it just Law and Chaos back in 1E?

No. There are two separate lines of games running off from the 1974 OD&D game, "Classic" and AD&D. The AD&D game has most of the ideas you will be familiar with from D20/3e, the nine point alignment system being one of them. It was first introduced in Strategic Review (the seven issue precursor to Dragon) for OD&D. The "Classic" line made little use of the various expansions for OD&D, though. Classic is better known as the "Basic, Expert, Companion, Master, and Immortal" rule sets, eventually amalgamated into the Rules Cyclopedia. Here is a quick visual line-up of the books in question:

Original (1974-1977)


http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_1974MenMagic.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=1974MenMagic.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_1974MonstersTreasures.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=1974MonstersTreasures.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_1974WildernessUnderworld.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=1974WildernessUnderworld.jpg)



Classic (1977-2000)


http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_1980Basic.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=1980Basic.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_1980Expert.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=1980Expert.jpg)
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_1983Basic.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=1983Basic.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_1983Expert.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=1983Expert.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_1984Companion.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=1984Companion.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_1985Masters.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=1985Masters.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_1986Immortals.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=1986Immortals.jpg)
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_1991Cyclopedia.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=1991Cyclopedia.jpg)



Advanced (1977-2000)


http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_phb.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=phb.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_dmg.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=dmg.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_mm-b.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=mm-b.jpg)
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_phb-b.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=phb-b.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_dmg-b.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=dmg-b.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_mm-e.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=mm-e.jpg)
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_phb2-a.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=phb2-a.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_dmg2-a.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=dmg2-a.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_mm2nd.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=mm2nd.jpg)
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_phb3.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=phb3.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_dmg3.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=dmg3.jpg)http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/th_mm2nd-b.jpg (http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Manuals%20Handbooks%20and%20Guides/?action=view&current=mm2nd-b.jpg)


[edit] Bloody Photobucket/Preview button! Ignore this post until later! :smallbiggrin:

As for alignment languages, I cannot say I ever used them, but I have heard they have some sort of precedent. Maybe Moorcock?

The Big Dice
2011-01-13, 09:13 AM
No. There are two separate lines of games running off from the 1974 OD&D game, "Classic" and AD&D.
D20 is specifically a continuation of AD&D. Hence 3rd edition. "Classic" D&D went through at least five editions, including the wite box 0 or OD&D version, the blue cover "Holmes" edition, the red Tom Moldvay edition which expanded into the Expert Rules and is known as B/X edition. Then came Frank Mentzer and the many colourful boxes, known as BECMI. And finally was Aaron Allston and the Rules Cyclopedia.

Personally, I think the Rules Cyclopedia edition of D&D is the best version of the game yet published, but obviously WotC disagree...

bokodasu
2011-01-13, 09:13 AM
We used it. It's just one of those things you can't think too much about. Go team law! Go team chaos! Woooo!

Matthew
2011-01-13, 09:39 AM
D20 is specifically a continuation of AD&D. Hence 3rd edition. "Classic" D&D went through at least five editions, including the wite box 0 or OD&D version, the blue cover "Holmes" edition, the red Tom Moldvay edition which expanded into the Expert Rules and is known as B/X edition. Then came Frank Mentzer and the many colourful boxes, known as BECMI. And finally was Aaron Allston and the Rules Cyclopedia.

Personally, I think the Rules Cyclopedia edition of D&D is the best version of the game yet published, but obviously WotC disagree...

Whilst D20/3e presents itself as a continuation of the AD&D line with the moniker "3rd" it actually uses as much "Classic" material as it does "Advanced". The Original and Holmes editions of D&D are actually quite different from the "Classic" line that emerged later, about as different as Advanced is to them. A lot of the confusion has to do with the fact that the "Classic" line was folded into AD&D in the mid nineties when Mystara was made an AD&D game setting.

In any case, what you actually have are two separate lines built off the original game, though for legal reasons AD&D was presented as a different game to OD&D. If you look at the supplements ([I]Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Eldritch Wizardry, Gods Demi-Gods & Heroes, Swords & Spells) though, it is evident that OD&D + Supplements = AD&D. Holmes is a slightly different kettle of fish, as it is an edition of OD&D with additional "pointers" introduced afterwards by Gygax that make it seem to be an introduction to AD&D.

MickJay
2011-01-13, 09:52 AM
As for alignment languages, I cannot say I ever used them, but I have heard they have some sort of precedent. Maybe Moorcock?

Yes, it's Moorcock, there's some reference to Melnibonian language being a version of the language of chaos. Mind you, while it made sense in D&D, with the introduction of nine alignments and a massive change to the cosmology, alignment languages stopped making any sense. It seems like they were just mechanically transferred into the newer edition without giving the whole concept more thought.

Incidentally, the whole "chaos=evil" and "law=good" doesn't really hold for Moorcock's writings. The only "good" side is Balance, since a total victory of either Law or Chaos would lead to a total destruction of everything. Moorcock's heroes fight against both, supporting the one that is weaker at the time. I think it might be a reflection of Moorcock's political views: too much of conservatism or too much of liberalism would be, in the long run, harmful to the society. It seems to me that this view of Chaos and Law was considered too "unfriendly" for the purposes of d&d (what with there being to universally acceptable "evil" targets to slay :smalltongue:), and the more useful, from gaming perspective, 9 alignment were introduced.

Matthew
2011-01-13, 09:57 AM
Yes, it's Moorcock, there's some reference to Melnibonian language being a version of the language of chaos. Mind you, while it made sense in D&D, with the introduction of nine alignments and a massive change to the cosmology, alignment languages stopped making any sense. It seems like they were just mechanically transferred into the newer edition without giving the whole concept more thought.

Incidentally, the whole "chaos=evil" and "law=good" doesn't really hold for Moorcock's writings. The only "good" side is Balance, since a total victory of either Law or Chaos would lead to a total destruction of everything. Moorcock's heroes fight against both, supporting the one that is weaker at the time. I think it might be a reflection of Moorcock's political views: too much of conservatism or too much of liberalism would be, in the long run, harmful to the society. It seems to me that this view of Chaos and Law was considered too "unfriendly" for the purposes of d&d (what with there being to universally acceptable "evil" targets to slay :smalltongue:), and the more useful, from gaming perspective, 9 alignment were introduced.

Right. From what I understand, Moorcock apparently admitted to borrowing the law/chaos thing from somewhere else (Anderson maybe, or Vance, I forget), the original I have heard would more closely fit the D&D version, and Gygax was familiar with both.

MickJay
2011-01-13, 10:42 AM
That would be Anderson, Three hearts and three lions, from which D&D also borrowed trolls and much of the paladin fluff.

Matthew
2011-01-13, 10:52 AM
That would be Anderson, Three hearts and three lions, from which D&D also borrowed trolls and much of the paladin fluff.

That would be it, then. One of these days I will get round to reading some Anderson. :smallbiggrin:

hamlet
2011-01-13, 12:27 PM
That would be Anderson, Three hearts and three lions, from which D&D also borrowed trolls and much of the paladin fluff.

Loved that book.:smallbiggrin:

Best exemplar of a Paladin going.

Ravens_cry
2011-01-13, 12:36 PM
Loved that book.:smallbiggrin:

Best exemplar of a Paladin going.
I haven't read that book, but my favourite paladin, is Sam Vimes.
Best cry of outright determination and courage?
"THAT IS NOT MY COW!"

Mark Hall
2011-01-13, 12:40 PM
That would be it, then. One of these days I will get round to reading some Anderson. :smallbiggrin:

Indeed you do. I might have to send you some if you don't get on it, crackerjack.

Oooooh... just wondered if I can get some of that on my Kindle...

hamlet
2011-01-13, 12:45 PM
Indeed you do. I might have to send you some if you don't get on it, crackerjack.

Oooooh... just wondered if I can get some of that on my Kindle...

You can. And it's a good thing.

The Big Dice
2011-01-13, 12:50 PM
Whilst D20/3e presents itself as a continuation of the AD&D line with the moniker "3rd" it actually uses as much "Classic" material as it does "Advanced". The Original and Holmes editions of D&D are actually quite different from the "Classic" line that emerged later, about as different as Advanced is to them. A lot of the confusion has to do with the fact that the "Classic" line was folded into AD&D in the mid nineties when Mystara was made an AD&D game setting.
My first D&D set was the pale blue "Holmes" edition. With Keep on the Borderlands and the sheet of dice chits in the box. The only thing I remember it having in common with AD&D is the 9 point alignment chart. Though there were a few places in the book where it said "If you want more detail, go get AD&D." Other than that, it had teh same structure and spells and so on as the B/X and BECMI that came after it.

I always though AD&D should have been called "Overly Complicated D&D" since there was so much clutter in the system.

Right. From what I understand, Moorcock apparently admitted to borrowing the law/chaos thing from somewhere else (Anderson maybe, or Vance, I forget), the original I have heard would more closely fit the D&D version, and Gygax was familiar with both.

I've never seen anything like that in any interviews with Moorcock I've read. This is the guy who coined the term 'multiverse.' It's not unreasonable to assume that while he was influenced by Poul Anderson, though more by The Broken Sword than Three Hearts and Three Lions, that certain ideas were his own. After all, the guy was also influenced by the Norse and Anglo Saxon sagas, as well as by Jungian psychology and Mervyn Peake. Plus the copious amounts of drugs and alchohol that came with living in London during the mid 60s.

I have seen a diagram he drew visualising the relationships between Law, Chaos and the Balance. And it has little in common with any D&D alignment.

As for the language thing, Melnibonean wasn't the language of Chaos, especially as there was also High Melnibonean, which was the language Elric and his peers used to work their sorcery. I'm pretty sure of this because High Melnibonean was the language used to speak to the Elemental Kings and to the Beast Lords, neither of which are Chaotic in nature.

Matthew
2011-01-13, 01:04 PM
My first D&D set was the pale blue "Holmes" edition. With Keep on the Borderlands and the sheet of dice chits in the box. The only thing I remember it having in common with AD&D is the 9 point alignment chart. Though there were a few places in the book where it said "If you want more detail, go get AD&D." Other than that, it had the same structure and spells and so on as the B/X and BECMI that came after it.

I always though AD&D should have been called "Overly Complicated D&D" since there was so much clutter in the system.

Well, without a copy to hand at the moment I would not care to comment on the specifics, but as I say, Holmes is a rewriting of OD&D with some bits and pieces from the supplements and of the editor's own invention. AD&D is OD&D with almost all the supplemental material appended and expanded. Holmes is certainly different enough to be treated as a separate preliminary entity, given how close B/X and BECMI are, and also how close AD&D/1e and 2e are.



I've never seen anything like that in any interviews with Moorcock I've read. This is the guy who coined the term 'multiverse.' It's not unreasonable to assume that while he was influenced by Poul Anderson, though more by The Broken Sword than Three Hearts and Three Lions, that certain ideas were his own. After all, the guy was also influenced by the Norse and Anglo Saxon sagas, as well as by Jungian psychology and Mervyn Peake. Plus the copious amounts of drugs and alchohol that came with living in London during the mid 60s.

I have seen a diagram he drew visualising the relationships between Law, Chaos and the Balance. And it has little in common with any D&D alignment.

Right, which is why I am saying that although many people think the D&D law/chaos thing is borrowed from Moorcock, it probably has more in common with Anderson. Apparently what Moorcock specifically said about Anderson was that "[he was] a definite influence [on Elric], as stated. But oddly, the Kalevala was read to us at my boarding school when I was about seven." Whether he definitely borrowed the concept of chaos versus law from Anderson, I cannot speak to, but I suppose that has been inferred. That is not to say that the result was not a complete reworking of the concept, so perhaps "inspired by" might be better than "borrowed", if there is indeed any truth to it.



As for the language thing, Melnibonean wasn't the language of Chaos, especially as there was also High Melnibonean, which was the language Elric and his peers used to work their sorcery. I'm pretty sure of this because High Melnibonean was the language used to speak to the Elemental Kings and to the Beast Lords, neither of which are Chaotic in nature.

No idea as to that.

The Big Dice
2011-01-13, 01:24 PM
Well, without a copy to hand at the moment I would not care to comment on the specifics, but as I say, Holmes is a rewriting of OD&D with some bits and pieces from the supplements and of the editor's own invention. AD&D is OD&D with almost all the supplemental material appended and expanded. Holmes is certainly different enough to be treated as a separate preliminary entity, given how close B/X and BECMI are, and also how close AD&D/1e and 2e are.
One thing I do wish is that my pale blue booklet hadn't long since vanished. I had that and the colourful boxes, plus a few modules and the Hollow World set when I was 16. By the time I was 21, all of it had vanished into the aether.

I wouldn't have said the Holmes edition was that different from the Frank Mentzer one. But either of them was worlds away from AD&D. Comparing D&D to AD&D isn't easy, because they were such different beasts. AD&D didn't have the stronghold rules for one thing.


Right, which is why I am saying that although many people think the D&D law/chaos thing is borrowed from Moorcock, it probably has more in common with Anderson. Apparently what Moorcock specifically said about Anderson was that "[he was] a definite influence [on Elric], as stated. But oddly, the Kalevala was read to us at my boarding school when I was about seven." Whether he definitely borrowed the concept of chaos versus law from Anderson, I cannot speak to, but I suppose that has been inferred. That is not to say that the result was not a complete reworking of the concept, so perhaps "inspired by" might be better than "borrowed", if there is indeed any truth to it.
That refers more to the story elements than to the philosophy and cosmology elements.As far as I can tell from my Moorcock readings, the struggle between Law and Chaos were something that he came up with for himself. Though ideas like the black sword that is destined to betray it's owner were the kind of things he got from Anderson.

As far as I can tell, the ideas of a world gone too far to Chaos were explored in the Elric series, while the Hawkmoon books looked at a world skewed too much to Law. Corum seems to be about things coming to an end, while Jerry Cornelius is something of an experiment in whether it was possible to retell the same stories with different trappings. The Dancers at the End of Time seem to be agents of the Balance, maintaining equilibrium between Law and Chaos.

Matthew
2011-01-13, 01:59 PM
One thing I do wish is that my pale blue booklet hadn't long since vanished. I had that and the colourful boxes, plus a few modules and the Hollow World set when I was 16. By the time I was 21, all of it had vanished into the aether.

I wouldn't have said the Holmes edition was that different from the Frank Mentzer one. But either of them was worlds away from AD&D. Comparing D&D to AD&D isn't easy, because they were such different beasts. AD&D didn't have the stronghold rules for one thing.

Well, I will go dig up a copy and get back to you, but I am pretty sure Holmes is nowhere near as close as B/X is to BECMI. I guess, though, that some of this stuff will largely be in the eye of the beholder. :smallwink:

[edit] Yep, it is a lot different. From attribute bonuses to class as race, minimum and maximum spells per level and on and on. Holmes is definitely its own thing.



That refers more to the story elements than to the philosophy and cosmology elements. As far as I can tell from my Moorcock readings, the struggle between Law and Chaos were something that he came up with for himself. Though ideas like the black sword that is destined to betray it's owner were the kind of things he got from Anderson.

As far as I can tell, the ideas of a world gone too far to Chaos were explored in the Elric series, while the Hawkmoon books looked at a world skewed too much to Law. Corum seems to be about things coming to an end, while Jerry Cornelius is something of an experiment in whether it was possible to retell the same stories with different trappings. The Dancers at the End of Time seem to be agents of the Balance, maintaining equilibrium between Law and Chaos.

Fair enough. As I say, from what I gather the law versus chaos stuff of D&D is supposed to borrow more heavily from Anderson than Moorcock, and it is certainly possible that the latter referred not at all to the former with regard to his own ideas about what that might entail. If not Moorcock, then, I wonder what the precedent for alignment languages might have been? I am sure that I read somewhere that there was one.

The Big Dice
2011-01-13, 02:06 PM
I wonder what the precedent for alignment languages might have been? I am sure that I read somewhere that there was one.
It could just have been that Gygax and co, while modding plastic army men so they could play fantasy battle games, decided that all these whacky creatures needed some method of being able to talk to each other. It would certainly be one of the less fever inspired ideas to come from that crowd.

As for the AD&D and D&D line separation, I heard a rumour that there were two lines so that Dave Arneson didn't get royalites from AD&D, but EGG got them from both product lines.

Matthew
2011-01-13, 02:16 PM
It could just have been that Gygax and co, while modding plastic army men so they could play fantasy battle games, decided that all these whacky creatures needed some method of being able to talk to each other. It would certainly be one of the less fever inspired ideas to come from that crowd.

Oh certainly, but I read there was an actual literary precedent.



As for the AD&D and D&D line separation, I heard a rumour that there were two lines so that Dave Arneson didn't get royalites from AD&D, but EGG got them from both product lines.

Sure. That is not just a rumour. They had a massive falling out, and Gygax was required to be able to show AD&D was a totally different game from D&D in order to retain sole control of the product. Here is what he had to say on the subject in OD&Dities #9 (February 2003). Bear in mind, of course, that the remembrances of individuals involved in disputes are not always perfectly accurate!



Not a lot to say here, as it has been over 20 years since Dave and I had much to do with each other… What was exactly the role of Dave Arneson in the creation of D&D? In his www.castleblackmoor.com web site, Dave defines himself 'the father of role playing'.

As Dave noted in his interview in "Different Worlds" #3, I wrote the whole of the D&D game. Arneson contributed ideas for the D&D game. Also, some of the contents of the D&D Game supplement, "Blackmoor", contained his concepts and writing, as developed and edited by Tim Kask. As for paternal claims to roleplaying, well, if Dave wishes to call himself that, okay. That's his affair. He must be very old, though, because as far as I can tell, roleplaying began about the time children in past historical ages played "let's pretend" games… For my part I am satisfied with whatever credits others care to assign to me and I believe my work speaks amply for itself.

Was Dave Arneson's role recognized by TSR Hobbies? How many times did he sue TSR Inc.? I remember hearing from Peter Adkison in 1997 that he had finally settled the last suit of Dave against TSR Inc.

As to Arnesons's role in the creation of D&D, Tactical Studies Rules (actually me in this case) listed his name on the product, right? His name continued to be so shown when Tactical Studies Rules was acquired by TSR Hobbies, Inc. He received royalties according to his contract. The "Blackmoor" supplement was published and promoted. That answers that question fully I should think. Only one legal action was filed by Dave against TSR. That never went to court, was settled.

What Peter Adkison was referring to, I am sure, is the acquisition of certain remaining rights held by Arneson in the D&D game. There was no litigation involved, of that I am sure. WotC made Dave Arneson an offer for residual rights, he accepted, and that was that. I speak with authority here, because thereafter the same process acquired the residual rights
I held.

What is your relationship with Dave Arneson now?

As far as I am concerned, one might characterize the relationship between Dave and me as distant but cordial. We are separated by distance and approach to gaming. We have no interaction in gaming or casual communication, but when we meet we enjoy a pleasant exchange. As a matter of fact, if Dave were to be running a miniatures game at a convention I was attending, I would make an effort to play in it.

Cyrion
2011-01-13, 02:59 PM
There's another basic box set that I didn't see pictured earlier. The cover of the box looked like the one here (http://tsr.bothgunsblazing.com/dd/dd-1box.htm). However, when I got mine in 78 or so, it didn't come with a module, but it did come with a complete set of dice instead of chits. Also, in dusty and little-used corners of the memory, I seem to recall this one had the nine alignment system, but no (or ignored by me) alignment languages. Is this the pale blue book people are referring to?

Personally, I've never seen the alignment languages used.

The Big Dice
2011-01-13, 03:15 PM
There's another basic box set that I didn't see pictured earlier. The cover of the box looked like the one here (http://tsr.bothgunsblazing.com/dd/dd-1box.htm). However, when I got mine in 78 or so, it didn't come with a module, but it did come with a complete set of dice instead of chits. Also, in dusty and little-used corners of the memory, I seem to recall this one had the nine alignment system, but no (or ignored by me) alignment languages. Is this the pale blue book people are referring to?

Personally, I've never seen the alignment languages used.

That's the Holmes edition, but the rule book was packaged with either the In Search of the Unknown or Keep on the Borderlands modules at various times, plus versions with and without dice. Something to do with the fledgling TSR buying up the entire US supply of what had been novelty polyhedral dice.

Ravens_cry
2011-01-13, 03:26 PM
I have a copy of the Expert set (http://tsr.bothgunsblazing.com/dd/dd-xbox.htm) including character sheets, the Expert rulebook and the Isle of Dread. No dice however. All in all, the production values appear quite a bit higher then that for AD&D, despite that being hard cover, the illustrations are more consistent and mostly more professional.

The Big Dice
2011-01-13, 03:32 PM
I have a copy of the Expert set (http://tsr.bothgunsblazing.com/dd/dd-xbox.htm) including character sheets, the Expert rulebook and the Isle of Dread. No dice however. All in all, the production values appear quite a bit higher then that for AD&D, despite that being hard cover, the illustrations are more consistent and mostly more professional.

I'm reasonably sure that's the Tom Moldvay edition of the Expert Set. The copy of X1 in there should be slightly different from the one that came in my old Frank Mentzer edition of the same. And there's a few minor differences between the two rulebooks as well.

And I quite agree that the Basic/Expert game has higher production values than AD&D. Especially the ones with Larry Elmore artwork.

hamlet
2011-01-13, 03:45 PM
That is at least partly due to the lower cost of printing the Basic and Expert books which were quite a bit smaller. Hardcover 100+ page rule books are significantly more expensive to have printed.

Matthew
2011-01-13, 03:51 PM
That is at least partly due to the lower cost of printing the Basic and Expert books which were quite a bit smaller. Hardcover 100+ page rule books are significantly more expensive to have printed.

Indeed, and whilst the internal production values are unambiguously higher, the physical quality of the hardback books has (unfortunately) never been equalled. Robust is not even the word. The PHB and DMG I have show virtually no sign of wear in thirty odd years, comparing extremely favourably with my second edition versions! :smallbiggrin:

hamlet
2011-01-13, 03:53 PM
Indeed, and whilst the internal production values are unambiguously higher, the physical quality of the hardback books has (unfortunately) never been equalled. Robust is not even the word. The PHB and DMG I have show virtually no sign of wear in thirty odd years, comparing extremely favourably with my second edition versions! :smallbiggrin:

Early printings of the 2nd edition hard backs were of equal sturdiness. Mine have lasted with almost no signs of wear except the PHB which fell apart when I threw it across the room at somebody. Damage was easily repaired with a bottle of strong glue.

Matthew
2011-01-13, 03:55 PM
Early printings of the 2nd edition hard backs were of equal sturdiness. Mine have lasted with almost no signs of wear except the PHB which fell apart when I threw it across the room at somebody. Damage was easily repaired with a bottle of strong glue.

Not too surprising, I suppose, since they were concurrently printing first edition and second edition PHBs in 1989. Mine is a freaking wreck, but it is from 1991 or 1992, I think. Too much lugging it round school, no doubt! :smallbiggrin:

a_humble_lich
2011-01-13, 04:09 PM
Indeed, and whilst the internal production values are unambiguously higher, the physical quality of the hardback books has (unfortunately) never been equalled. Robust is not even the word. The PHB and DMG I have show virtually no sign of wear in thirty odd years, comparing extremely favourably with my second edition versions! :smallbiggrin:

What? I have completely different experience. My second edition books are still in nearly perfect shape, but many of my first edition books had been reduced to a stack of loose pages by the time the second edition came out. Now that may be a function of how well the 10 year old me must have treated books, my copy of the Lord of the Rings isn't doing so well either.:smallsmile:

Edit: My second edition came from that first printing too.

Matthew
2011-01-13, 05:05 PM
What? I have completely different experience. My second edition books are still in nearly perfect shape, but many of my first edition books had been reduced to a stack of loose pages by the time the second edition came out. Now that may be a function of how well the 10 year old me must have treated books, my copy of the Lord of the Rings isn't doing so well either.:smallsmile:

Edit: My second edition came from that first printing too.

I have heard that the binding on the supplementary hardbacks was poor [e.g. OA, WSG, DSG]. Out of interest, is it your PHB/DM/MM that are damaged?

a_humble_lich
2011-01-13, 05:22 PM
Yeah, most of my supplemental books are fine, but my PHB, DMG, MM2, UA have all lost all or most of all their pages. It could be the printing, I had the second version with the guy opening the door on the DMG, but I think it's more that use and abuse I gave those books back in the day:smallsmile:

As for the topic of the thread, I don't remember anyone ever using alignment tongues. But there was a lot of stuff in 1st ed that nobody much used.

Marveljew
2017-04-18, 09:56 PM
Here's the alignment languages to my understanding. The languages are a series of words and gesture that only make sense to a person of a certain alignment. Because of the importance of gestures, the language cannot be properly written down. For some reason, one of the books claim people will be offended if you use an alignment language in public.
I have a theory on why this is a thing. Some editions claims that races are born a certain alignment because of the influence of the Outer Planes. So maybe, these languages are somehow a result of this influence.

Mark Hall
2017-04-19, 11:31 AM
In the Outer Planes so far
Alignment tongues for the course are par
Still, on one thing they all agree:
One should not commit Thread Necromancy