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Oerth vs. Earth nomenclature and distinctions

 
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vestcoat
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Joined: Jul 29, 2006
Posts: 379
Location: Dantredun, MN

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:18 pm    Post subject: Oerth vs. Earth nomenclature and distinctions Reply with quote

There's been a subtle trend in our fanon and online communities over the last couple decades to replace all references to "Earth" with "Oerth." The Earth Dragon is increasingly called the Oerth Dragon, S3 is the "Unoerthly Cave," the underdark is the underoerth, etc.

Nothing wrong with the word Oerth, but I'm a Taurus and I dislike changing things. I find it particularly irksome because "Earth(day)" has been plainly spelled out on page #4 of the Folio since 1980 and the cover of D1 since AD&D was born in 1978. Both words have always existed side by side in Greyhawk. Oerth seems to be the name of the planet and earth seems to be the word for the ground, the dirt, and the elemental plane. Using "oerth" for new proper nouns is fine, but why rewrite history?
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Cebrion
Black Hand of Oblivion
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Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Establishing a common vernacular for a game world is a good thing, because immersion is a desirable thing. That any prior authors were not aware enough to do this should not be taken as the basis for not doing so later on. Authors do know better now. *We* know better now. If I were reading an old Star Wars novel and a character was referred to as an earthling, I'd kinda be pissed off at the author/editor, but I can tell you that if I read a *new* Stars Wars novel and a character was referred to as an earthling, because "that's the term a previous author used," I'd be more pissed off at the newer author's/editor's continuance of idiocy (because I am a bit more aware of what the implications of "A long time ago, in galaxy far, far away..." means with regards to using the term "earthling" than when I was eight years old). Now, said vernacular doesn't have to be all crazy like Planescape cant, but some common terminology is surely a good thing.
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vestcoat
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Joined: Jul 29, 2006
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Location: Dantredun, MN

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good points. Thanks Cebrion. I guess I just hate change (still coming to terms with the "Tomb of Yagrax's Hands" Wink )
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jamesdglick
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Joined: Jul 09, 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:17 am    Post subject: Re: Oerth vs. Earth nomenclature and distinctions Reply with quote

vestcoat wrote:
...I find it particularly irksome because "Earth(day)" has been plainly spelled out on page #4 of the Folio since 1980 and the cover of D1 since AD&D was born in 1978. Both words have always existed side by side in Greyhawk. Oerth seems to be the name of the planet and earth seems to be the word for the ground, the dirt, and the elemental plane. Using "oerth" for new proper nouns is fine, but why rewrite history?


-Agreed on this example. "Earth" is an element, jujt like "Fire", "Water", and "Air". Assuming that "Earthday" refers to the element (like "Waterday"), then "Earthday" is correct.

Would Oerthians find it odd that there's a planet named after the element? Probably not.
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rasgon
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Joined: Aug 03, 2001
Posts: 2814
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always found it off-putting that in the DANGEROUS JOURNEYS RPG, Gary Gygax used the spelling "Ærth" to refer to both the planet and the element.

My take is that writers should for the most part avoid using eccentric fantasy spellings for common English words.

"Unearthly" is fine for use on Oerth. It's a common word that means supernatural, out of the ordinary, otherworldly etc. We understand that they're not actually speaking English on Oerth and this is a translation of Common or Keoish or the Geoff dialect of Flan. It doesn't mean "not in the dirt" (the Barrier Peaks crash is covered in dirt) and it's not so literal that it only means "not from the planet Earth" (the Barrier Peaks ship probably is from the planet Earth). The irony of referring to a ship from Earth as "unearthly" by Oerth standards might even have been deliberate.
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