Human Physiology in Fantasy

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    • I would imagine that dwarven religiosity would, for the most part, not be true believer zeal as much as a general part of their social conservatism. Their gods and their respective cults have their proper recognized places in dwarven society, and everyone is expected to conform, but as long as you go through the motions, nobody is going to find your lack of faith disturbing.
      Sunna is not with the big battalions, but with the ones whose parts move with the best coordination.
    • Konrad von Richtmark wrote:

      Ghiznuk wrote:

      Konrad von Richtmark wrote:

      Or, since their lives are short and of uncertain length anyway, have less inhibitions about risking them or outright sacrificing them for a greater cause. As in, we're all going to die anyway, so might as well make it count and die with our boots on
      … said professor Tolkien in the Silmarillion ;)
      Oh. I truly did not know he said that.
      S…S…Seriously ? :o
      Guys, there is here someone who's never read the Silmarillion !
      (bringing pitchforks, setting the brazier alight)


      Yeah, right from the beginning, he explains, somewhere around the creation of the world, that it is the main and most important difference between Elves and Men. Death for Men is an integral part of his whole cosmology, and many parts of the intrigue revolve around this fact.
      Tolkien called Death « Men's Blessing ». It was created by Eru (= God) as something entirely positive.

      Elves are attached to the world. Indeed, they never actually die (in Tolkien's universe) ; if their physical body is destroyed, their soul join some cave in the land of the Valar (= Gods, but not the same Gods as God, they're the under-Gods, like very big angels, who decided to go and live on Arda after they created together with God), and after a while, they can reincarnate, either as elves in Valinor (land of the Gods, now entirely separate from Middle-Earth), or, in some rare cases, on Middle-Earth (debatable, google « Glorfindel » and enjoy the fan war).
      So no matter what, Elves have to take care of the world, because there is no other world accessible to them.

      Men on the other hand may be conceived as « dimensional travelers », because their days on Arda are counted but with Death, they go somewhere « completely different », only Eru knows where (he never told even the Valar).
      So this is the meaning of Arwen for example choosing Death with Aragorn upon their wedding. She's not really going to die – she'll merely go with him to wherever he's going after his death, departing Arda forever (thus saying goodbye to her father forever). So she's not dying for the sake of prooving her love, when she could have lived. In Tolkien's understanding, they both are going to live, except not on Arda.

      The secret that surrounds Men's destination after Death is the target of lies by the Devil (Melkor/Morgoth, then Sauron after Melkor was thrown out of the world ; Melkor being a Vala = a God, and Sauron a Maia = an Archangel, just as Gandalf). Sauron propagated the idea that Eru is lying, that Death is truly final, and that Men need to revolt against this fact, by following him. That's why you never see Elves fighting for Sauron (well, unless you consider Orcs as corrupted Elves, another debate), but a lot of Men.
      Sauron was a councillor to the king of Numenor (= Atlantis, the ancestors of Aragorn), and convinced the Numenoreans to rebel against the Valar. They prepared a whole armada to sail to Valinor and attack it.
      That is when the Valar decided to « sunder » Arda – the Earth that was flat was broken exactly on the location of Numenor, which was thrown in space (hence, we can never find Atlantis on Earth), Valinor flew away into space and became invisible, with the only connection being the rainbow (elven ships can fly following the rainbow, that is the « straight road » to Valinor, instead of following the bend of the round Earth ; in time, most elves relocated to Valinor, but some remained on Earth in reduced form as the flow of magic decreased, becoming nothing more than sprites and leprechauns), the Earth got folded on itself, thus bringing the Far-Eastern lands of America West of Europe (explaining why people hadn't found these lands before). From that time on, the Gods gradually disappeared from Earth, meaning it made less and less sense to pray to them ; with time, praying to the old Gods meant you were actually worshipping the Devil. This was set right when God sent Moses and Mahomet later, to explain to the remaining Men that the old Gods sould not be prayed anymore, but that people should instead pray directly to the « big boss », Eru/Yahwê.

      So that whole story is in essence a story of Men revolting against Death, because of lies spread by the Devil, whereas Death was actually meant to be a good thing, a gift designed by God for the Men that he loved.

      Or so claimed Pr. Tolkien, anyway ;)
      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa
    • Now we even have people in the Art Team who've never read Tolkien ! Wonder where is all that leading us ! :P
      Well, that be pitchforks and rioting for you, sir ! :largegrin:

      I think I'll make up a kind of formal exam for recruiting new folks in the project 8-)
      With questions such as
      « Which of these authors has goblins keep their clipped nails and other bodily secretions for religious reasons ?
      a. Moorcock / b. Bradley / c. Pratchett / d. Le Guin »
      or
      « What colour are most Orcs in Faerün ? »
      or
      « What do Tarzan and John Carter have in common ? »
      :thumbsup:
      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa
    • @Ghiznuk side note since i’m a fanboy XD given the clear intent of Tolkien to merge tomistic theology with Scandinavian folklore, i’d say that the Vala are more like first circle Angels (very likely they’re seraphims given the way they contribute to the world crafting) while Maia are second circle (dominations and virtues). Such interpretation fits pretty well since some of Christian and Muslim angels are in fact older middle-est divinities (like the Vala clearly beeing Asa-inspired). But I admitt, in order to make it simple we could just say “very big angels” XD
    • Well, the thing is like, yeah, he wanted to provide a way to justify that the pagan polytheist beliefs of the Old Germanic people were compatible with Christianity and monotheism.
      Old pagans worshipped gods, whom they assumed were gods. Then Tolkien comes and explain to us that these « gods » were actually lesser beings than the actual « One God (to rule them all, joke) », and might be understood as having been just very powerful angels, not gods.
      Still, note that the Valar actually contributed to creating the world before it came to be. Unlike the Maiar, who were created later (if I'm not mistaken). So in that sense they can be considered as « gods », just « lesser gods ».

      All in all what Tolkien wrote was a way of saying :
      « It's fine if our ancestors worshipped Thor and Freya (/ Jupiter and Venus), because at the time, Thor and Freya were gods under authority of Yahwê. But then the Sundering happened, and it became useless or dangerous to worship them, and this is when Yahwê decided to take direct responsibility, and sent Jesus to explain this to us. »
      AKA you can be fan of Beowulf and still be a devout Christian :hiddenthreat:
      AKA neo-pagans got it all wrong :whistling: (in Pr. Tolkien's point of view)

      Of course, when you read this, you understand better why the other professors at Oxford might have considered him as a particular weirdo :thumbsup:
      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa
    • Ghiznuk wrote:

      Well, the thing is like, yeah, he wanted to provide a way to justify that the pagan polytheist beliefs of the Old Germanic people were compatible with Christianity and monotheism.
      Old pagans worshipped gods, whom they assumed were gods. Then Tolkien comes and explain to us that these « gods » were actually lesser beings than the actual « One God (to rule them all, joke) », and might be understood as having been just very powerful angels, not gods.
      Still, note that the Valar actually contributed to creating the world before it came to be. Unlike the Maiar, who were created later (if I'm not mistaken). So in that sense they can be considered as « gods », just « lesser gods ».
      It's not actually Tolkien. As usual, as a wondeful, astonishing expert of human mythology, even if deeply christian, he actually applied (consciously or not, we can debate about) the very same process monotheisms applied to previous cults.

      The Torah, and more extensively medieval jewish mystics, integrated previous politheistic tendencies into the names of God - the angels, which is why they all end in "-el", semitic for God (and of course main canaanite and mesopothamic God).

      The very same process was applied by the Roman catholics to overcome politheism and, particularly, local/territorial cults (-----> saints and angels), but also more widespread ones (for example, the warrior Christ and Saint Michael are derivative cults from the roman solar imperial cult).

      A similar process has been applied to Islam too, in fact you have cults of angels and particularly the Yezidi and Shias has strong influence from late neoplatonic-influenced cults.

      Of course all these process are partially focused on overlapping of "good" deities and opposition to "evel spirits" (old deities).

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      A jackal, O Karna, residing in the forest in the midst of hares regardeth himself a lion till he actually sees a lion.




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    • Marcos24 wrote:

      @Stunt I guess we’re off topic again, you gonna delete these posts too? :whistling:
      Would be faster to rename the thread so that they become on-topic
      (and I would keep my personal record of so many posts deleted in a single sweep thanks to my initial contribution :P ).

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    • VisconteDimezzato wrote:

      Ghiznuk wrote:

      Well, the thing is like, yeah, he wanted to provide a way to justify that the pagan polytheist beliefs of the Old Germanic people were compatible with Christianity and monotheism.
      Old pagans worshipped gods, whom they assumed were gods. Then Tolkien comes and explain to us that these « gods » were actually lesser beings than the actual « One God (to rule them all, joke) », and might be understood as having been just very powerful angels, not gods.
      Still, note that the Valar actually contributed to creating the world before it came to be. Unlike the Maiar, who were created later (if I'm not mistaken). So in that sense they can be considered as « gods », just « lesser gods ».
      It's not actually Tolkien. As usual, as a wondeful, astonishing expert of human mythology, even if deeply christian, he actually applied (consciously or not, we can debate about) the very same process monotheisms applied to previous cults.
      The Torah, and more extensively medieval jewish mystics, integrated previous politheistic tendencies into the names of God - the angels, which is why they all end in "-el", semitic for God (and of course main canaanite and mesopothamic God).

      The very same process was applied by the Roman catholics to overcome politheism and, particularly, local/territorial cults (-----> saints and angels), but also more widespread ones (for example, the warrior Christ and Saint Michael are derivative cults from the roman solar imperial cult).

      A similar process has been applied to Islam too, in fact you have cults of angels and particularly the Yezidi and Shias has strong influence from late neoplatonic-influenced cults.

      Of course all these process are partially focused on overlapping of "good" deities and opposition to "evel spirits" (old deities).
      Don't forget the speculation that El and Yahweh are originally separate gods in the old Canaanite mythology (a sky god and a war god of different tribes, if I remember correctly) that were later merged into one. ONe of the reasons why the bible talks about Elohim in the plural.
      “The touch of a sword handle is the deadliest poison known to man. It settles in, deeper than the bone, instantaneously. It is a deep curse that can never be lifted and will last you the rest of your days.”
      – Ryo-ten-Ryam
    • Ghiznuk wrote:

      Now we even have people in the Art Team who've never read Tolkien ! Wonder where is all that leading us ! :P
      Well, that be pitchforks and rioting for you, sir ! :largegrin:

      I think I'll make up a kind of formal exam for recruiting new folks in the project 8-)
      With questions such as
      « Which of these authors has goblins keep their clipped nails and other bodily secretions for religious reasons ?
      a. Moorcock / b. Bradley / c. Pratchett / d. Le Guin »
      or
      « What colour are most Orcs in Faerün ? »
      or
      « What do Tarzan and John Carter have in common ? »
      :thumbsup:
      1c. Pratchett. Also, I hate that book, it's by far the worst Discworld book and I can't stand his goblins, they are annoyingly perfect and twee, where usually, he had some depths to all his characters

      2 Who cares. Faerun is the most boring D&D world. Come back with some questions on Planescape or Spelljammer for real nerds, please. :P

      3. They are both called John C.? Also, they are both immortal.
      “The touch of a sword handle is the deadliest poison known to man. It settles in, deeper than the bone, instantaneously. It is a deep curse that can never be lifted and will last you the rest of your days.”
      – Ryo-ten-Ryam
    • Ghiznuk wrote:

      lol to your answers hahaha

      3. –––> they have the same author…… ;)
      Ah. I was thinking about the characters, not the books.
      “The touch of a sword handle is the deadliest poison known to man. It settles in, deeper than the bone, instantaneously. It is a deep curse that can never be lifted and will last you the rest of your days.”
      – Ryo-ten-Ryam
    • I'm going to do some thread necromancy over making a new thread for this question: how old do the various races get in T9A? Elves being thousands of years old like in Middle-Earth or that other setting that's gone now seems a little absurd if you consider the realistic effects that would have on population growth. However, a lifespan of several centuries for elder races like Elves and Dwarves seems fair. If an age lasts at least a millennium or even 1500 years, very few creatures should be able to survive that long.

      >Humans: 70-100, the baseline for the setting. It depends a lot on lifestyle and diet. A poor peasant or worker won't live as long as a noble. A Grail Knight or a human mage may even reach 150 thanks to the effects of the Grail or restorative magics, respectively.
      >Dwarves: 300-400, old enough to be significantly more long-lived than humans so that a dwarf could have known a human's grandfather and fought alongside him. Dwarven culture should emphasize family, heart and home, and most Dwarven families should have four living generations at the same time.
      >Elves: 450-600: they should be the race with the longest lifespan. I personally don't like the concept of Elves as a dying race (or Dwarves, for that matter) Their longevity should result in population booms in peacetime, because children are being been born but it takes forever for generations to die off. This would lead to the establishment of colonies across the world, as seen in the lore for Highborn and Dread Elves. Sylvan Elf tribes would have to migrate to a new forest if things got too crowded.
      >Saurian Ancients: lots of subraces here based on various animals (frogs, snakes, crocodiles, etc.), but given their reptilian or amphibian nature they should live as long as dwarves, 300-400 or longer? Not sure about this.
      >Ogres: Same as humans, I think.
      >Orcs, Beastmen and Ratmen: 40-55, but the average lifespan should be a lot shorter than that due to a violent society.
      >Vampires, undead and demons: immortal, but they can be destroyed by mortals or by more powerful demons.

      Thoughts and comments?