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  1. - Top - End - #121
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    For one thing, when Merry and Pippin first wander into Fangorn Forest they walk right past Treebeard, thinking he is a slightly strange looking tree. Can't remember the exact description. Later on, other ents are described as slender, especially the younger ones like Quickbeam.
    There's quite a ways from two Hobbits walking past without noticing him to him and a tree being outright indistinguishable. The Hobbits fail to notice Strider, Gollum and Elves, too, while these are observing them.
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    There's quite a ways from two Hobbits walking past without noticing him to him and a tree being outright indistinguishable. The Hobbits fail to notice Strider, Gollum and Elves, too, while these are observing them.
    The point is, he's a thing that looks like a tree. He wasn't hiding or in the shadows, like Strider and Gollum and the rest. He was standing on a hill enjoying the sunlight. If they studied the strange stump carefully, they would have noticed he wasn't a tree but some kind of person, but at a glance it was not obvious. And Treebeard describes how ents gradually can go "treeish" when they stop moving, and more ents nowadays are going "treeish" than there are trees becoming "entish". If trees can become "entish" and vice versa, they can't be all that different in look or proportions.

  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    The point is, he's a thing that looks like a tree. He wasn't hiding or in the shadows, like Strider and Gollum and the rest. He was standing on a hill enjoying the sunlight. If they studied the strange stump carefully, they would have noticed he wasn't a tree but some kind of person, but at a glance it was not obvious. And Treebeard describes how ents gradually can go "treeish" when they stop moving, and more ents nowadays are going "treeish" than there are trees becoming "entish". If trees can become "entish" and vice versa, they can't be all that different in look or proportions.
    Which is also very different from the two being indistinguishable. I'm not having problems with 'Ents look like trees'. I'm having problems with 'Tolkien said Ents and trees look exactly the same'.
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    Which is also very different from the two being indistinguishable. I'm not having problems with 'Ents look like trees'. I'm having problems with 'Tolkien said Ents and trees look exactly the same'.
    No, he didn't say exactly the same. But they aren't proportioned much differently, because they can turn into trees and trees can turn into them. The movie did make them look more tree-like than I think the book describes them, with all kinds of knots and extra protrusions and skin exactly like bark. "Indistinguishable" is a matter of degrees. An ent standing completely still (as they often are) can be mistaken for a tree, that is what the text describes.

  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    No, he didn't say exactly the same.
    Well, Jay R seems to think he did, so I'm interested in seeing what he was referring to.

    "Indistinguishable" is a matter of degrees.
    But

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    Tolkien said that when an ent isn't moving, you cannot distinguish him from a tree.
    is definite.
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  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    FWIW I found this description from Wikipedia.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    [A] large Man-like, almost Troll-like, figure, at least fourteen foot high, very sturdy, with a tall head, and hardly any neck. Whether it was clad in stuff like green and grey bark, or whether that was its hide, was difficult to say. At any rate the arms, at a short distance from the trunk, were not wrinkled, but covered with a brown smooth skin. The large feet had seven toes each. The lower part of the long face was covered with a sweeping grey beard, bushy, almost twiggy at the roots, thin and mossy at the ends. But at the moment the hobbits noted little but the eyes. These deep eyes were now surveying them, slow and solemn, but very penetrating.
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  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by nyjastul69 View Post
    FWIW I found this description from Wikipedia.
    That's the (I'm pretty sure mis-quoted by womeone writing it into Wikipedia) description of Treebeard when the Hobbits first encounter him. Later, at the Moot, we also hear about Ents as different to him as one kind of tree is to another, except their eyes all have that same, peculiar quality.
    So the description doesn't apply to every Ent.
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  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    That's the (I'm pretty sure mis-quoted by womeone writing it into Wikipedia) description of Treebeard when the Hobbits first encounter him. Later, at the Moot, we also hear about Ents as different to him as one kind of tree is to another, except their eyes all have that same, peculiar quality.
    So the description doesn't apply to every Ent.
    Yeah, I realize that is only a description of Fangorn.

    Are you saying that Wiki quote is incorrect. I didn't bother to cross reference it to the novel itself. I assumed it was accurate.
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  9. - Top - End - #129
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by nyjastul69 View Post
    Yeah, I realize that is only a description of Fangorn.

    Are you saying that Wiki quote is incorrect. I didn't bother to cross reference it to the novel itself. I assumed it was accurate.
    Why would, and why wouldn't you? I'm certainly not faulting you.
    It doesn't spell 'Hobbits' with a capital H. I'm pretty sure the book gets that right.

    Edit: Well, that shows me! The 'h' is correct. Both 'Man' and 'Troll' are spelled with a capital letter, but not Hobbit. *shrug* Well, what do I know?
    Last edited by hymer; 2016-08-24 at 01:06 PM.
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    Why would, and why wouldn't you? I'm certainly not faulting you.
    It doesn't spell 'Hobbits' with a capital H. I'm pretty sure the book gets that right.

    Edit: Well, that shows me! The 'h' is correct. Both 'Man' and 'Troll' are spelled with a capital letter, but not Hobbit. *shrug* Well, what do I know?
    Well, it *is* Wikipedia. Generally trusted, but not a primary source. Interesting bit about the H in hobbits though. I didn't know that.
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    Well, Jay R seems to think he did, so I'm interested in seeing what he was referring to.
    It was an interview I read when he was still alive, which makes it 1973 or earlier.

  12. - Top - End - #132
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    I also though Merry was a girl. I don't remember if I was mistaken about Pippin, too, or not. Probably not.

    I remember when I took karate, sometime when I was in elementary school. I asked the teacher if we were going to learn ninja magic. So apparently I thought ninjas and karate masters could do stuff like teleport or do stuff like Ryu from Street Fighter.

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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeenLeen View Post
    I also though Merry was a girl. I don't remember if I was mistaken about Pippin, too, or not. Probably not.

    I remember when I took karate, sometime when I was in elementary school. I asked the teacher if we were going to learn ninja magic. So apparently I thought ninjas and karate masters could do stuff like teleport or do stuff like Ryu from Street Fighter.
    What was the instructor's response to that?
    Last edited by nyjastul69; 2016-08-25 at 12:27 AM.

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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by nyjastul69 View Post
    What was the instructors response to that?
    Asking the real questions.

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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    And promptly trip and fall down the stairs, or bump into things, because of their lack of depth perception. Hence the stories of them being always drunk.

    Wait - you were talking about one of your misconceptions weren't you ?
    Try walking around with an eye closed - absent some serious clutter there's not even a noticeable difference in difficulty, particularly if you're in an area that you know.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Try walking around with an eye closed - absent some serious clutter there's not even a noticeable difference in difficulty, particularly if you're in an area that you know.
    That's because your brain is familiar enough with depth perception to fake it for at least a few weeks. Also, yeah, just walking around and stuff isn't going to be severely impacted either way.
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    That's how wizards beta test their new animals. If it survives Australia, it's a go. Which in hindsight explains a LOT about Australia.

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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by nyjastul69 View Post
    What was the instructor's response to that?
    I don't remember the words he said, but I recall he took it pretty well but nicely said no. I think he might've gone on to say we'd learn to break wooden boards with our hands or some other cool stuff.

    I do recall he didn't make me feel embarrassed about asking. I think some of the other kids laughed -- I was probably between 6 and 9 -- but I appreciated how it handled it.

  18. - Top - End - #138
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    In reference to the invisible-can-see-invisible ringwraiths-can-see-Frodo-when-he-wears-the-One-Ring thing, I believe the books said that ringwraiths actually SEE darkness instead of light, like a pitch black moonless night would be like broad daylight to them, but a well-lit room with multiple light sources, so nothing really cast a noticeable shadow would leave them blind. I took this to mean something like the One Ring sort of half-shifts you to something like the Ethereal Plane or Plane of Shadow, and the Ringwraiths, who were also on that plane could see you.

    As far as my own misconceptions, when I was really small, I thought "Poverty" and "Puberty" were the same word, and that no one was allowed to have any money between like 12 and 16 years old...

  19. - Top - End - #139
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chimera245 View Post
    In reference to the invisible-can-see-invisible ringwraiths-can-see-Frodo-when-he-wears-the-One-Ring thing, I believe the books said that ringwraiths actually SEE darkness instead of light, like a pitch black moonless night would be like broad daylight to them, but a well-lit room with multiple light sources, so nothing really cast a noticeable shadow would leave them blind. I took this to mean something like the One Ring sort of half-shifts you to something like the Ethereal Plane or Plane of Shadow, and the Ringwraiths, who were also on that plane could see you.
    That's basically how it works, according to Gandalf.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gandalf
    ...You were in the gravest peril while you wore the Ring, for then you were half in the wraith-world yourself, and they might have seized you. You could see them and they could see you.
    Last edited by Minescratcher; 2016-08-27 at 01:25 PM. Reason: Fixed text
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    +1 syringe vampires. I find the widespread belief rather fascinating.

    Embarrassingly, I used to believe tv and movies were made by following people around with little flying cameras and would sometimes talk to my camera in an imitation of characters addressing the audience

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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclopean View Post
    If an invisible creature reflected only wavelengths of light we couldn't perceive, it would appear to be completely black, not transparent.
    That would require it to -absorb- EM waves in the visibile spectrum. If it's transparent in the visible spectrum it can still be opaque to other parts of the spectrum.

    Take glass for instance: while not perfectly so, it's mostly transparent to visible light but completely opaque in infrared.
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclopean View Post
    If an invisible creature reflected only wavelengths of light we couldn't perceive, it would appear to be completely black, not transparent.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    That would require it to -absorb- EM waves in the visibile spectrum. If it's transparent in the visible spectrum it can still be opaque to other parts of the spectrum.

    Take glass for instance: while not perfectly so, it's mostly transparent to visible light but completely opaque in infrared.
    This would be true in a world with no magic. By definition, magic doesn't follow scientific principles.

    I don't even assume that light has a spectrum in a D&D world. An invisible creature is simply one that you cannot see, and nobody in the world understands the mechanics of how we see anyway.

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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeenLeen View Post
    I don't remember the words he said, but I recall he took it pretty well but nicely said no. I think he might've gone on to say we'd learn to break wooden boards with our hands or some other cool stuff.

    I do recall he didn't make me feel embarrassed about asking. I think some of the other kids laughed -- I was probably between 6 and 9 -- but I appreciated how it handled it.
    Cool, sounds like a good instructor.
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  24. - Top - End - #144
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    This would be true in a world with no magic. By definition, magic doesn't follow scientific principles.

    I don't even assume that light has a spectrum in a D&D world. An invisible creature is simply one that you cannot see, and nobody in the world understands the mechanics of how we see anyway.
    Why wouldn't light have a spectrum in D&D? How do you explain things having colors to your players?

    Wouldn't it be easier to say: Everything works exactly as in our world, but wizards can turn themselves transparent and change their refractive index to that of air because magic.

    Also note that in other media than air, it is possible to become invisible even in our reality (Search for refractive index matching on YouTube)

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuzWaatensen View Post
    Why wouldn't light have a spectrum in D&D? How do you explain things having colors to your players?
    You don't explain things having colors to your players. Even if they ask. You just smile conspiratorially and continue with the game.
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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuzWaatensen View Post
    Why wouldn't light have a spectrum in D&D?
    Why wouldn't light have a spectrum in D&D?
    Why would light have a spectrum in D&D?

    Both questions are unanswerable. We know that mass and energy and momentum and angular momentum are not conserved. We know that the laws of thermodynamics are often broken.

    The same set of physical laws that include a spectrum also prevent inter-species breeding, like dragons and humans, or owls and bears. They also prevent flying without wings or jet exhaust or being lighter than air.

    Therefore there is no reason to assume that any other physical law works.

    Quote Originally Posted by GuzWaatensen View Post
    How do you explain things having colors to your players?
    In over 40 years of role playing, I have never once explained things having colors to my players.
    Not in historical games.
    Not in modern games.
    Not in superhero games.
    Not in science fiction games.
    And not in fantasy games.

    Quote Originally Posted by GuzWaatensen View Post
    Wouldn't it be easier to say: Everything works exactly as in our world, but wizards can turn themselves transparent and change their refractive index to that of air because magic.
    Yes, it's easier. It's also meaningless.

    When discussing universal laws, "Everything works exactly the same except when it doesn't" is semantically equal to "It doesn't work the same."

    "There is a law of conservation of energy, except magic" is the same thing as "energy is not always conserved."

    "There is a universal gravitational constant between two bodies unless magic changes it" means that there is no universal gravitational constant.

    We don't consider something a physical law unless it's universal. Saying that mass & energy is conserved unless magic changes it is as meaningful as saying that an eggshell has never been cracked except once.

    Quote Originally Posted by GuzWaatensen View Post
    Also note that in other media than air, it is possible to become invisible even in our reality (Search for refractive index matching on YouTube)
    Or even in air. Oxygen is invisible to us. But it doesn't turn invisible, by changing its refractive index at whim.

    One reason not to assume modern physical laws exist except when they don't is that the assumption serves no purpose. It doesn't help the game in any way, and it didn't even preserve the physical laws. Furthermore, if the players use any knowledge of physical laws, they are using meta-knowledge - player knowledge that the characters don't have, since Knowledge (modern physics) isn't included in the rules. I once ran a game in which the following was part of the introduction:

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    A warning about meta-knowledge. In a game in which stone gargoyles can fly and people can cast magic spells, modern rules of physics and chemistry simply donít apply. There arenít 92 natural elements, lightning is not caused by an imbalance of electrical potential, and stars are not gigantic gaseous bodies undergoing nuclear fusion. Cute stunts involving clever use of the laws of thermodynamics simply wonít work. Note that cute stunts involving the gross effects thereof very likely will work. Roll a stone down a mountain, and you could cause an avalanche. But in a world with teleportation, levitation, and fireball spells, Newtonís three laws of motion do not apply, and energy and momentum are not conserved. Accordingly, modern scientific meta-knowledge will do you more harm than good. On the other hand, knowledge of Aristotle, Ptolemy, medieval alchemy, or medieval and classical legends might be useful occasionally.


    Another reason is to allow cool story ideas. In the same game, I introduced seven artifacts, in the hands of adventurers, called the Staves of the Wanderers. They turned out to be staves that each carried powers from the seven planets of the Ptolemaic system ("planetes asteroi" - the wandering stars). So they were themed to the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Note that I used the medieval assumption that the sun and moon are planets, and the earth is not. An unthinking assumption of modern physics would have prevented that entire adventure.

    Note also that I told them, above, that stars are not gigantic gaseous bodies undergoing nuclear fusion, and that Ptolemy might be helpful

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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vrock_Summoner View Post
    Kids think up the craziest things sometimes, for no real reason other than that they're kids. That's part of why we love them so much.

    So what're some of the wackiest theories and silliest misconceptions about elements common to fantasy and fantasy gaming that your young self, your own children, or other kids you've known pulled out of seemingly nowhere?

    I'll start with myself. I really have no idea what inspired my brain to assume this and miss the most obvious choice, but for some reason, it took me watching my first R-rated vampire movie (at the tender age of... Actually, I don't remember, but I had to have been at least 9) to realize that vampires just use their teeth to make incisions and then drink the flowing blood in the normal swallowing methods. It blew my mind when I finally realized that, because I'd spent my whole experience with vampires working off the much weirder assumption that they drank more like four-pronged mosquitos, with their teeth having little tubes in them that sucked the blood directly out of your bloodstream. To this day, I'm both confused by what I was thinking, and cautiously optimistic about the idea of someday implementing insectoid vampires into a game.
    Scrape and lick

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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    I suspect that leather gloves were far more common then. It might take some experimentation to come up with the idea of woven gloves.
    maille then

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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    In over 40 years of role playing, I have never once explained things having colors to my players.
    Not in historical games.
    Not in modern games.
    Not in superhero games.
    Not in science fiction games.
    And not in fantasy games.
    Amusingly, and quite in line with your post, the only time I've ever had to explain things having colors to players was during a historical fantasy game explicitly (rather than implicitly) running on Aristotelean and Platonic ideas of how things work.

    Player: "Wait, but what about this otherwise reasonable argument hinging on how light actually works in real life?"
    Me: "Sorry buddy, this is Ars Magica, you see things because visual species are emitted by what you're looking at. For that matter, all of your senses work off the same 'specie emission' system, it's just that some senses' species fire longer and shorter distances from the source. You have to get really close for a touch specie to reach you, for example."
    Player: "... What?"

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    Default Re: Silly Childhood Misconceptions on Fantasy Elements?

    Quote Originally Posted by comk59 View Post
    I used to wonder why people didn't just stab a hydra's head, and concluded that a hydras brain must be in it's chest.
    I never, to this day, understood how the regenerating heads thing ever managed to come into play at all. Unless your enemy is Maximilien Robespierre that doesn't seem to be a thing which is at all likely to come up.

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