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Idiosyncratic lowest quality

   
Idiosyncratic lowest quality

At the moment, the lowest material quality in our game has a different name (but is otherwise unaltered) on the three main continents of the game. On Sohei this is "bastard" quality, on Marakiz this is "scrap" quality and on Boreas this is "banjaxed" quality. It means the same thing on all three continents, that an item is absolute garbage, but each area has a different term for it. And that's where the question comes in. What do you think of using a different term for the same thing in different areas of a setting?

Sounds like it's basically just a regional slang, which is completely normal. Maybe it might be confusing if you're using it for out-of-character rules discussions, where players might expect each word to have a separate mechanical rule associated with it. But if it's NPCs using the terms during in-game dialogue, then that's just how people talk there. I don't even think you'd need to necessarily define it, just use it in context: "Oh, that rusty old sword was so banjaxed, it fell apart the first time he swung it!" Players will pick it up.

It's the term used in the actual rulebook. A zero-quality claymore is a banjaxed claymore. A zero-quality kodachi is an otoshi-kodachi (basard kodachi, but bastard is "otoshi-ko*" so I couldn't resist). A zero-quality kilij is a scrap kilij. That is the term the rulebook uses for them.

Oh. Then yeah, I don't really know why the authors would do that. It seems like something that should be relegated to fluff sidebars and kept out of the weapon tables, lest players think that they mean three different things.

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I am the author. One of them, anyway. You seem to have fundamentally misunderstood the question.

"I don't really know why the authors would do that", to me at least, seems like the answer is "this seems like a confusing thing and I'm not sure why you would do that".

Because that's pretty much it. Why would you need to ascribe different names to the same mechanical tag because the item comes from a different area? It's just bad form in terms of mechanical clarity and entirely unnecessarily confusing.

In addition, it seems to me that you're implying that people in a specific part of the world all have the exact same word for an object of a certain quality and only use that. Which is really, really not how language works.

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Originally Posted by Avianmosquito View Post
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I am the author. One of them, anyway. You seem to have fundamentally misunderstood the question.
OK, I don't know how anyone was supposed to know that from your first post, but there's your answer. Clearly, clarity of writing is not your strong suit, so avoid adding redundant rule terms to your game.

I think that, when discussing the rules of a game, it is important to have clear and we'll defined terms. Switching between terms, even ones with similar or identical meanings, risks confusing your readers. If you start a combat example with a bastard sword, don't switch to zweihander halfway through and end with a horse-killer sword, even though all those terms refer to similar types of sword. It's just confusing.

Yeah, there's a distinction between what words are used in a setting, and what words are used in a rulebook. Different words in different parts of a setting, sure - but I don't think it makes sense to conflate those with rules words. After all, the words people use aren't going to match the rules exactly. How will a given peasant know whether a sword is a banjaxed sword or not? What if it's only half banjaxed? In game terms it's either giving a -1 to whatever or it's not, but in-world these are intangibles - we know it's not very good but it's hard to quantify how much. It doesn't make sense for things to be so well-defined.

The line blurs a bit if you're writing a rulebook for a setting. I'd still favour just calling it "poor" quality and having those words be commonly-used slang-words, however (but it's not like a blacksmith is going to offer someone a "scrap sword", they'll just sell swords which are maybe a bit cheaper and certainly not as good).

So, if you are writing it and asking if it's okay to use different words for the same thing in different locations, then I'm gonna say - sure, people use or even make up lots of words for one and the same thing in different regions.
The important thing would be to not mix those nice fluff things into the mechanical aspects of the game. If there's different words for the same thing in different parts of the setting then I for one would rather find those specifics in the sections for the areas or in a small sub-box in the inventory section. For example, put a box in where the different terms are compared, like: "Garbage quality = bastard (Sohei), scrap (Marakiz), banjaxed (Boreas)" and leave it at that.







 

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