02/02/2011 StF: "A Linguistic Look at Besieged"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Savor the Flavor, which goes live Wednesday on magicthegathering.com.
Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld are going to be very upset at being called "Twinkie" instead of "Okra". I know that Norse mythology isn't "real" real, but it's a cultural reference outside of the world of Magic.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

creature type:gremlin ???? why did you feel to create a new type. especially something silly?
Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld are going to be very upset at being called "Twinkie" instead of "Okra". I know that Norse mythology isn't "real" real, but it's a cultural reference outside of the world of Magic.

Maybe they accidentally re-created the word Norn without realizing that it was "real"?
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Hmm, the word norn made me think of Tolkien and since I know he used Norse mythology as one of his sources, I am not surprised to learn this.

Also: How strange that Doug describes galvanic as having to do with chemically induced electricity, but doesn't mention the process usually (I don't know enough about chemistry to say whether or not it should be always here) involves metals. And the process of galvanization in particular in which a thin layer of another metal is used to prevent rusting. Seems like something to add when using it on an artifact plane such as Mirrodin.

"norn" is also a noun in modern Icelandic with an equivalent meaning to "witch" - the word's meaning has grown to encompass all black-magic dabblers, not just the 3 original fate-spinners of Nordic mythology.
creature type:gremlin ???? why did you feel to create a new type. especially something silly?


Isnt it an old creature type that they got rid of and have now brought back?

Re: the article: Just like the last one, I loved it.

~ Tim

I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
Got all 12 right, but lots of interesting tidbits in there nonetheless. I love the quiz format. And the cell division joke made me smile
Doug's gonna get beat up by mythology buffs for saying "Norn" is a made up word. 
Got "compleat" wrong, but got the rest right. I knew an English major was good for something! Smile

As for "Norn", I realize it's a Norse/Scandinavian/whatever word and Doug should have mentioned that, but I thought he just meant that, as they're using it here on this card, it has no connection to that. Make up enough terms over enough years and some of them will sound like something that exists somewhere else. It can even happen in real life. The tofu word "Gnathosaur", for example - I was right that it was tofu, but I was right for the wrong reasons. "Saur" is obviously related to the Greek word for "lizard", same as in "dinosaur", but I had assumed that "Gnath" was a creative misspelling of "gnash", meaning to grind teeth together. Turns out that according to dictionary.reference.com, "gnash" probably comes from Old English via Scandinavian, and has no connection to the Greek "gnatho".

The point is, if Doug is saying that Magic's creative team just made up the name Elesh Norn for a character without thinking of the norns, I don't find it hard to believe.
creature type:gremlin ???? why did you feel to create a new type. especially something silly?


Isnt it an old creature type that they got rid of and have now brought back?

Re: the article: Just like the last one, I loved it.

~ Tim




i thought gremlins turned into ouphe.
For the record, I'm not a fan of the "Okra / Twinkie / Tofu" articles. Finding the root of the cardnames within real world languages seems far removed from establishing the flavor of the setting.

That's just my two cents. But I hope I'm not the only one who feels this way.
pistus is a past participle of the latin word 'pinsere' which means to pound or crush.  it is also responsible for common words of today like piston, pestle, and pesto.

i will give doug credit, though, as it takes some digging to find latin roots sometimes, and i doubt he named every card mentioned in the article himself.
From Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norns):


The Norns (Old Norse: norn, plural: nornir) in Norse mythology[1] are female beings who rule the destiny of gods and men, a kind of dísir comparable to the Fates in classical mythology



Now, it could just be me, but the Pyrexians seem to be pretty much all about shaping destiny to their own form and flavor.  Or, I could just be a little agitated that this is the only one I got wrong. But, I would suggest doing some more digging into the roots of Elesh Norn.  You may find something you didn't expect.

That is all.

Edited for spelling.
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My guesses for who the Phyrexian Praetors are:

vorinclex, voice of hunger
jin-gitaxias, core auger
elash norn, grand cenobite
urabrask, the hidden
sheoldred, whispering one
I'm just surprised that there weren't any "Oh! My Goddess!" fans around. The title character, Belldandy, has Urd and Skuld as her sisters... so that introduced the Norns to many.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

"Belldandy" is derived from Verthandi/Verdandi, too. Transliterating a word into Japanese and back can give you a mess like that.

I got all of them right except "Norn" and "pistus".
blah blah metal lyrics
Looks like various folk beat me to beating Doug up over the Norn goof.  Definitely a mythological borrow-word.  "Priests of Norn"?  As soon as I saw the cards mentioning "norn" this and that, my mind immediately went to the Edda.

I'm surprised Doug missed a specific reference re: "Compleat".  Does this jog any memories?

"We are the Borg.  Resistance is futile.  You will be assimilated.  Your culture and technology will be adapted to service us." 

Corny, yes, but if your target audience for your card game is mostly nerds, then a nerdy analogy will do the best job of explaining your intent.  Phyrexia = The Borg.  Keep it simple.

As for decimation, yes, one in ten men was killed, but you neglected to mention that in true Roman Legionary decimation (first practised, if my research is correct, under Crassus), the tenth man was to be bludgeoned to death by his nine buddies who lucked out on the long straws.  Of course, later practitioners of this punishment weren't quite so picky about who dealt out the punishment.

"truly "decimating" the opposition..."   "I suppose there are situations where Odyssey's Decimate could actually decimate your opponent in this sense, too..."

Come on, Doug.  Flavor aside, are you seriously failing to recognize which is the better card?  I'd say the one-tenth thing matters less than "how do you feel after your opponent does this to you?"   My answer for Decimator Web would be "ooh it tickles".  My answer for Decimate is "Oh my god, I think I just lost the game, I just got four-for-oned.  "

(note:  I play a lot of EDH, the format in which Decimate always has the targets it needs.)

As for Karn getting all weepy-eyed and Yawg-masky:  you just gave me a sad, sir.  I've been rooting for Ol' Silver Hide to shake off the corruption and stay a hero.  :\ 
Well, live and learn.  I knew that a shrike was a bird, but I didn't know they impaled smaller creatures on sharp objects (I wonder why.  It seems like a difficult way of killing bugs).  That makes the Shrike from the Hyperion novels make a lot more sense, though unfortunately it's not enough to make the books good.  I admit to only reading the first two, however.

Also thanks to all the forum-goers for pointing out the info on Norn.  I figured it was just a made-up word.  Guess I need to brush up on my Norse mythology.
pistus is a past participle of the latin word 'pinsere' which means to pound or crush.  it is also responsible for common words of today like piston, pestle, and pesto.


Looks like various folk beat me to beating Doug up over the Norn goof.  Definitely a mythological borrow-word.


...In other words, they pistus him about the norns?



(Joking aside, I did some checking around online. The sources I found all listed the past participle of "pinsere" as "pistum", not pistus. So that might be wrong. Still, even if this is another unintentional resemblance, conceptually a "poundfly swarm" sounds a bit scary.)

Whoever came up with the name 'Mortarpod' probably wasn't thinking of 'pod' as in 'foot', they were probably thinking more of 'pod' as in 'pod'.
Whoever came up with the name 'Mortarpod' probably wasn't thinking of 'pod' as in 'foot', they were probably thinking more of 'pod' as in 'pod'.



"Mortarfoot" is a great name for a metal band.
(Joking aside, I did some checking around online. The sources I found all listed the past participle of "pinsere" as "pistum", not pistus. So that might be wrong. Still, even if this is another unintentional resemblance, conceptually a "poundfly swarm" sounds a bit scary.)




dictionary.reference.com/browse/piston
here is one example which mentions 'pistus'.  also, you can see in their definition of piston references to pushing fluid, which is what the pistus swarm apparently does, from the article's description.  perhaps the bugs have some kind of piston-like internal apparatus that they use to pump the oil into their victims.

it could still be a completely made up word, but it would make for a pretty incredible coincidence.  also consider that it should be unlikely for them to use a completely made up word that sounds so similar to a popular 'bad' word unless there was some other reason for doing so.

but then wizards has been known to use some low-brow humor and puns in their cards from time to time.  maybe they just wanted people to be able to say 'man, you really pistus off with that play!'
creature type:gremlin ???? why did you feel to create a new type. especially something silly?



The creature type, "gremlin", appeared on only one other card in the past, the Phyrexian Gremlins.  That said, the fact that this card was in Antiquities means that it is one of the oldest creature types in the game.

In other news, the Flavor and Storylines board recently figured out that Doug's statement about the Praetors (that they all had flavor text in MBS, but one of them had no flavor text in SOM) is incorrect.  All five Praetors had flavor text in Scars.

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... 
"We will all be purified in Wurm. What is good will be used to heal Wurm, or grow Wurm, or to fuel Wurm's path. What is vile will be extruded, and we will be free of it forever." --Prophet of the Cult of Wurm