Thursday, September 29, 2016

Linguistics in the Flannaes: Oeridians are still from outer space

Over on Canonfire I found this cool article An Alternative Linguistic History of the Flanaess  written by someone identified only as Ullmaster [EDIT 12/21/16: Actually, Ullmaster is just the dude who uploaded the post, Joe Chevalier is the actual author of the piece.].  If you're a Greyhawk weirdo like me then you'll find that it's definitely worth your time.  Here's a highlight:
"I subscribe to the theory that they arrived on Oerth from another world, and brought their language with them." Ullmaster, An Alternative Linguistic History of the Flanaess
Anyone who remembers my bit on the Oeridians being extraterrestrials based on linguistic and spaceship crash-site evidence will think I've found my soulmate here, except that the "they" that the author is referring to in this case is the Olman people who occupy the jungles to the south of the Flannaes, not the Oeridians.  Ullmaster, offers no justification for why the Olman (Olmen?) might be from a galaxy far, far away, and yet by his very name he should know damn well that the Oeridians landed their starfleet in or near Ull some 1200 years ago. As the Oeridians are very secretive about their origins, it's only natural that Ullmaster--indubitably an Oeridian himself--is trying to deflect attention from UFO seekers to a point as far from Ull as possible.

To further demonstrate the lengths to which the Ullmaster is willing to go to mask Oeridia's true origin, s/he has this to say: 
"Oerid:  This people came from a land to the northwest of the Suel, in a coastal land ruled by dragons." 
Only by tacking the words "and unicorns" to the end of that sentence could it be made into a more blatant fabrication. We're on to you and your alien-people, Master of Ull.

All kidding aside, it is a pretty fascinating read wherein the author compares Greyhawkian languages to earthly ones. I highly recommend it.


grodog said...

My guess is that Ullmaster refers to the Olman as being from a galaxy far far away, because of the presence of the Warden II spaceship in C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. But that's just a guess, since I've not read the article or C1 in strange aeons ;)


Timrod said...

Whoa! I gotta' dig out C1. I'm intrigued.

Peter V. Dell'Orto said...

I think he's talking about the silvery flying thing in room #19 that's labeled II-NEDRAW. I think that's about it - it's an unexplained object.

Timrod said...

Ullmaster may be on to something.

I have the Hackmaster version of C1; I'm gonna' check it and see if they retained that detail.

Rick said...

Hey, I am too dense to find an email address for you, but have you found the 4th edition re-do of Village of hommlet? Heroic Tier Adventure. Which is also previewed/abridged in Dungeon #212.

AAAAAnd, while we are on it, Dragon 285 had a pull out map of the village, to fill out your collection.

Easy peasy post material, right there. tell us why the new stuff is no good compared to original gygaxian homebrew


Timrod said...

Whoa, thanks for the hot tip Rick.

I've tracked down a PDF of the Dungeon mag version and stopped taking my OCD meds; should have something for you in a few days.

As for the Dragon mag pullout map... blecchh. Just from an aesthetic standpoint it's really, really poor. It looks like it was handed in as someone's first assignment for an Intro to Photoshop class. And was most likely completed slightly before dawn on the day it as due.

What makes this even more embarrassing is that it was the actual map that came with the Return to Temple of Elemental Evil module, which means it was most likely churned out by a professional graphic designer in the employ of Wizards de la Playa. It's so poorly articulated it's only value is giving you the sense that Hommlet has become a bland, crowded suburban version of itself... please... I can't look at it anymore.

Rick said...

yeah, I feel that way about a lot of the art after around 2003....

if you can, hunt down a copy of the Heroic Module from is 46 pages, vs 24 in dungeon. some of that could be font size, but I am thinking there are dungeon gives it as levels 3-5, and the module is "enough to take a group of level 4 characters to level 5"


p.s. sorry about the OT, but this was too important to pass up

Rick said...

Oh! also, I believe, like the original, this leads into the temple of elemental evil, but in this case, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil.....

I need to hunt down a copy of that, I have the PDF, but not the same...


Timrod said...


I haven't been able to find a freebie of "Heroic Tier" Hommlet and, though I'd like to give it a fair shake, I'm not willing to spend $50 for it on ebay--heck, I'm not willing to spend $5 on it--so I'm gonna' run with the Dungeon version unless something comes up soon.

Also, I reposted my email address. Not sure when that disappeared from the ol' site...

Rick said...

Yeah, the prices on modules right now is silly. I paid 20 Canuckistan Pesos for BSOLO today, and I am not proud of that.

I was right, the Village of hommlet leads into Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (with the first section of that megamodule being the village etc.

Adventurers league play had a season of "Elemental Evil" but that says it was set in Forgotten Realms (?). That is a free download from Either Drivethrurpg or DMsguild

One of the 4e Versions of VoH I have was a DM Reward for 2009. 2010 was new tomb of horrors, 2011 was hidden shrine of tamoachan. you may be able to find a pdf of those floating around.

Thanks for having a great blog, I have loved it so far.


Unknown said...

Hi! I've read and enjoyed your blog for a long time, but have just come back after maybe a year away. I'm the author of the Alternative Linguistic History of the Flanaess; "Ullmaster" isn't the author but the username of the guy who actually posts it on the site (He's also known there as Mortellan, aka Mike Bridges). I'm trying to recall my reasoning for the Olman as otherworldly - I think it was partly the way the entire (actual) Mesoamerican pantheon was imported into GH, and partly the artifact Grodog mentions. I'd have to dig up my notes.

I certainly recall your fascinating theory about the Oeridians being aliens - if I didn't already have another substantial history built up I would use it! Also explains how they end up with things like Machine of Lum the Mad, Mighty Servant of Leuk-O, etc. As far as the dragons: Oeridian names in the GtGh tend to resemble French names; French is descended from Latin; the 1E MM dragons all have Latin(ish) "scientific" names and in modules, often Latin-sounding personal names. So I figured, according to the logic used elsewhere in the article, Oeridian is descended from Draconic.

-Joe Chevalier (Chevalier on Canonfire)

Timrod said...

Hey Joe,

That is actually some pretty cool logic, I don't remember reading that part of your comment way back when you first posted this. I think I was mostly too embarrassed by the shame of having mis-credited your work to Ullmaster. I hope you've forgiven me.

and I totally get the substantial history build-up, part of the reason I reacted as I did to your Dragon-land idea is that after positing my outer space hypothesis, I've got so much baggage tied up in it that the Oeridians have to be from the Twelve Colonies of Battlestar Galactica or the decaying Empire from the Foundation series.