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#26 Komag

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 03:26 PM

It also makes their mouths appear to move according to the English! It must have some brainwave connection to make you THINK you are seeing their mouths speak English
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#27 Order of the Hammer Bureaucrat

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 03:42 PM

inventing a calendar system is just as stupid as inventing a language because everything is derived from history and politics of the people. You might as well have the precursor scrolls writtin in demotic. For convenience it's best to have english and earth calendar. of course it's a nice touch to taint the writings with UK languages and germanic, but i don't think anyone is going to bother doing that.

As to the location, I thought undead presence was due to simple laws of physics like rotting of corpses in our world. And maybe on the other side of the planet there is another continent with a different history and they already entered the modern age, but have no interest in exploiting or colonizing or even revealing themselves to this primite continent on which the City is.

#28 Gildoran

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 10:51 PM

inventing a calendar system is just as stupid as inventing a language because everything is derived from history and politics of the people.

Well, the whole reason Tolkien wrote the LOTR was to provide a history for his fictional languages to develop in.

#29 Komag

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 11:58 PM

Which is why I always skip those boring long songs and language junk spread throughout the books
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#30 Nyarlathotep

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 02:06 AM

You imply that you anyone had the patience to read the damn novels more than once.

#31 sparhawk

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 03:22 AM

You imply that you anyone had the patience to read the damn novels more than once.


I must be a freak, because I read it at least six times. Maybe more often even.
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#32 Crispy

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 05:08 AM

In high school I had a friend who read all of LOTR at least once a year.
My games | Public Service Announcement: TDM is not set in the Thief universe. The city in which it takes place is not the City from Thief. The player character is not called Garrett. Any person who contradicts these facts will be subjected to disapproving stares.

#33 Order of the Hammer Bureaucrat

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 11:58 AM

When life seems unsatisfactory flawed some people turn to fantasy.

#34 sparhawk

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 12:02 PM

What an acute and thorough analysis.
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#35 Vadrosaul

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 12:11 PM

When life seems unsatisfactory flawed some people turn to fantasy.

Such as the Thief games? :blink:
Loose BOWELS are the first sign of THE CHOLERA MORBUS!

#36 bob_arctor

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 12:55 PM

LotR is too long basically. That is all.

And I think it's best if FMs just leave the stuff in English. It just sounds better, and keeps it consistant instead of every FM writer inventing the calender, or having to find the "official calender"

#37 OrbWeaver

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 03:55 PM

What an acute and thorough analysis.


Don't knock it. Some of those Applied Armchair Psychology degrees can involve literally minutes of study.

#38 sparhawk

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 04:05 PM

Don't knock it. Some of those Applied Armchair Psychology degrees can involve literally minutes of study.


I'm impressed! Sorry for turning it down without consideration, it wont happen again. :)
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#39 Nyarlathotep

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 04:38 PM

When life seems unsatisfactory flawed some people turn to fantasy.

For me, I just sing a little ditty to lift my spirits:

Whenever life gets you down, keeps you wearing a frown
And the gravy train has left you behind
And when you're all out of hope, down at the end of your rope
And nobody's there to throw you a line
If you ever get so low that you don't know which way to go
Come on and take a walk in my shoes
Never worry 'bout a thing, got the world on a string
'Cause I've got the cure for all of my blues

I take a look at my enormous penis
And my troubles start a-meltin' away
I take a look at my enormous penis
Oh, the happy times are coming to stay
I got to sing and I dance
When I glance in my pants
And the feeling's like a sunshiny day
I take a look at my enormous penis
And everything is going to be okay


#40 Order of the Hammer Bureaucrat

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 07:17 PM

I do not understand if the above replies carry negative or positive emotions; just in case the first I'd like to defend myself by saying it is no more an excersise in psychology than an observation that when things go well people tend to be optimistic about the future.

#41 sparhawk

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 02:12 AM

Once could indeed construe the above opinions as a little bite on the negative side, considering that you phrased it as if poeple turn to fantasy just because they are not happy with their life. IMO the statement sounds much more different if you had included that optimistic bit as well, or phrased it differently. I'm reading fantasy because I like it, and I read it for all my live. I don't consider my life to be so miserable that I need to to turn to fantasy though, to compensate for it. Of course there are up- and downsides, but there is no signifcant correlation with my reading habits because of it.
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#42 Ishtvan

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 02:33 AM

I'm reading Tom Clancy right now, because in my real life, politicians are not corrupt enough and don't start enough wars for selfish reasons. Hey, wait a minute...

#43 Vadrosaul

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 03:33 AM

I'm drinking alcohol right now, because my life is in the gutter and it helps ease the pain. Oh....wait a minute!
Loose BOWELS are the first sign of THE CHOLERA MORBUS!

#44 Gildoran

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 04:08 AM

Meh... let's go back to describing our own ideas for a TDM background - that was far more interesting. What ideas have other people had?

#45 Ishtvan

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 06:02 AM

I also had the idea for being a port city on the edge of a dying empire thing, but rather than massive undead catastrophe, the empire has been slowly crumbling from the inside due to overextension and a series of bad leaders.

I was envisioning the Builders being present because there's a neighboring theocratic state that's home to the Builders, and the city was originally an outpost of that state, before being conquered by the expanding empire some hundreds of years ago. The city has a large population that ethnically hails from the Builder state and worships at the builder Church. The Builders haven't been able to re-annex the city outright (the other city-states would gang up on them if they tried to overtly take over such a major center of commerce). They continuously lobby the city to adopt their holy laws, and are very powerful in certain neighborhoods.

As the empire lost its hold on the region, the city was left to fend for itself among several rival city-states along the coast and on nearby islands. Trade flourished in the city, the merchant class along with it, and they founded the Inventor's guild (initially a loose federation of metal workers and thinkers) as a government institution to develop military defenses to protect the city and their shipping routes from rival states. After half a century of developing military technology in extreme secrecy that helped to repel advances of neighboring states, the Inventor's guild gained political clout of their own to rival that of the merchant rulers. The Inventors kept secrets even from their government supervisors. The city became dependent on the Inventors for its continuing defense, and the inventors eventually realized this and started using it to their advantage.

This sets the stage for a lot of political intrigue between different groups, which I would hope would make for some more interesting mission objectives rather than just "steal X amount of loot." You could get hired by a rival state to steal Inventor's guild secrets, or you could get hired by the Inventor's guild to assassinate a rogue member who is seeking asylum with another state, get hired by an Imperial agent to spy on the city leaders, or spy on the Builders, get hired by the local rulers to expose imperial spies, etc.

#46 Order of the Hammer Bureaucrat

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 02:03 PM

Regarding before, more than a dissatisfaction with life I meant seeing the flaws in the surrounding world, as when a person with certain ideals sees the world by far not conforming to those ideals.

Regarding now, Ishtvan, that sounds nice and to me very complicated as I'm a complete zero when it comes to big-time politics or economics involving more than a dozen people. I always "fail to understand". Sounds nice. The overextension I can say has been caused because the empire kept expanding, overfarmed its nearby lands necessitating organization of farms far away in the empire and importing the food, had an increasing military force which was increasingly less efficient, and had a growing bureaucratic layer who consumed increasingly more taxes and state-resources to run things. Thus they relied on continual expansion and capture of neighbouring states as well as the exploitation of easy to get fresh water, iron, gold, coal (perhaps the heat engine has been here for a while?), marble, stone, and food. They considered it a mark of the modern civilization and their achievenement to build gigantic stone and marble buildings in all reaches of their empire. They were also originally polytheistic and the builders (monotheistic) came to popularity only close to the time of and after the collapse of the empire. Their carpenters built gigantic wooden human-powered cranes using the very tall trees that grew around the empire as timber, which could lift blocks of stone into position up to 5 tons. Of course if they had such cranes then they only developed heat engines and industrial steel production (bessemer or siemens-martin process) only after the collapse of the empire. Maybe only the Inventor's guild, or the precursor to the Guild, some kind of Royal academy of industrial hammers in experimenting with iron making furnaces, made the temperature hotter, oxidized the carbon, etc, and made steel. So we can guess cast iron was discoevered a very long time ago. In our universe, the chinese discovered cast iron in 500BC and the europeans in 1200AD and started using it only in 1400AD.

edit; in ancient greece there was an inventor's guild or an academy some long time ago who almost came to the point of a heat engine, (they had something rotating by the power of steam upon heating), but they were not practical people - they preferred to invent for philosophical reasons. Due to overexpansion, and increasing complexity and exploitation the empire obviously could no longer sustain itself, people rebelled in various places, eventually rebellions could not be controlled and it collapsed. After the collapse a part of the empire remained as the "holy builder empire" or something.
And I myself read 60% fantasy, 35% science fiction, and 5% other when I was younger. Now it's mostly things like American Genesis by Thomas Hughes, upside of down by thomas homer-dixon, and success through failure by henry petroski. On my Palm I've got a bunch of older books which I consider it a must to have read eventually, and currently on the bus when I have nothing better to do I read the adventures of Hans Pfaal on the palm.

Edited by Order of the Hammer Bureaucrat, 03 March 2007 - 02:11 PM.


#47 demagogue

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 02:21 PM

Reading some of these posts on the City on the edge of a dying empire brings to mind something I tended to think about the City sometimes, which that it reminded me so much of Constantinople as the Byzantine/Eastern Empire slowly eroded away to the Turks (I minored in Middle Eastern Studies in college, BTW) ... very cosmopolitan, a center of trade, politics, culture, the Eastern Church.
It was really the city itself in which everything thrived; esp towards the end, the last remant of the entire Byzantine/Eastern Roman Empire, which once stretched from ... well, it was huge, left to one city. And while there may have been stuff like Church councils going on in Anatalia (Nicene, etc), outside the city, the engine running the culture was always Constantinople.
Another fun connection is that, in fact, Istanbul the word itself is literally a Turkish vulgarization of the Greek Ista Polis, "(to) the City"; Turks just called it by "the City".

If I were to add anything to this discussion, it's just that I find it fun to think about alternative histories in terms of playing with ideas brought up in real history. And I find Istanbul good fodder in particular.
I'll think more about it.

Edited by demagogue, 03 March 2007 - 02:23 PM.

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#48 Order of the Hammer Bureaucrat

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 02:24 PM

Turks just called it by "the City".

Now this is something!

#49 Ishtvan

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 02:27 PM

edit; in ancient greece there was an inventor's guild or an academy some long time ago who almost came to the point of a heat engine, (they had something rotating by the power of steam upon heating), but they were not practical people - they preferred to invent for philosophical reasons.

I think that was Heron of Alexandria with the steam engine. Not sure if he was part of a guild or an individual, but he's someone in the real world that would make a good model for the early Inventor's guild people in our setting.

I would argue that the engine was disregarded not because they weren't a practical people, but rather because at the time (Roman Empire in Egypt), that had massive horespower available in the form of slaves. The Roman central heating system worked fine, but it was basically a bunch of guys in the basement with fans. Hard to compete with slave labor until you've already made an engine that's more efficient to fuel than fueling humans. :)

#50 Dunedain

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 08:23 PM

It's interesting when you consider the Thief history. In many ways it's like our own history, but there are obviously some differences. Thief basically takes place in medieval England, with things being more or less exactly as one would expect them to be at that time. With several exceptions. The most obvious being that magic is real. It's certainly not something one encounters every day, but if you are in the right place at the right time, you might just see some. The Church that we are familiar with is instead the Order of the Hammer, with which it has many things in common. The Hammers intensely oppose evil and immorality, and those that are allied with those forces. We have the Keepers, who watch over The City and it's environs, keeping an eye out for trouble. They are very well educated, steeped in knowledge of ancient lore, and have mastery of magic through the use of these mysterious glyph symbols. And then we have the weird pagans, a violent bunch who lurk out in the wilds mostly and who serve evil and chaotic forces. The rest of the people are pretty much what you would expect in a medieval town near the coast, shopkeepers, guards, political leaders, sheriffs, tavern owners, noblemen, all kinds of workers, merchants, sailors, etc.

It's also not unheard of to encounter zombies and similar foul creatures in evil places. And a ghost of a good man with a friendly nature that is in need of assistance with something might even be bumped into on occasion in a Hammer graveyard. :)

There is also this odd technology situation. While almost everything in the world has the sort of technology that one would expect in medieval times, there are places where you do see the odd gas light, or even some crude electricity in evidence. But most of the time it's just normal candles, oil lamps, torches, etc. The gas lights one would assume are made to work by someone having stumbled on some place near the city where there were natural gas deposits very near the surface of the ground, detected by the odor, no doubt, and through driving some pipes down a ways were able to access small amounts of it. This would then be fed through pipes to a very limited number of gas lights in the nearby area, and thus they can sometimes be seen in the houses of the very rich, or fancy museums and such. Probably the best way to generally explain this stuff is to note that very few have access to these sort of things, these types of more advanced constructs and devices are the exception to the rule, not the way the vast majority of people live at all. You either have to be rich or well connected to the few than can build and maintain such devices for you to have any regular experience with them. And even those peoples' lives are mostly medieval (or renaissance, at best) in nature when it comes to their normal routines and daily lives.

Obviously some of this stuff doesn't exactly line up with the way things go in our history, with these incongruent technologies side-by-side and so forth. And other things like magic are purely fictional. But it's simply the way things work in Thief's version of our world. It's like trying to explain how the force works in Star Wars in the context of the real world. In that sci-fi galaxy far, far away, known as Star Wars, these things are simply assumed to be that way. It's not intended to be a 100% realistic depiction of the real universe. And neither is Thief.

I think Thief has a really intriguing alternate history of events, and it's a lot of fun to read notes, scrolls and books in the games to find out bits and pieces of it's history and lore. :)

Edited by Dunedain, 03 March 2007 - 08:28 PM.





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