Jump to content

Does the depiction of the Vahnatai reflect 80s attitudes towards Japan?


Recommended Posts

Playing Avernum 2, one thing I notice is that the moment you contact the Vahnatai, a horde of Vahnatai weebs appear. Patrick and the Totem Tunnel dervish redecorate in Vahnatai style, and they're not the only ones I think. And there's two quests bringing people Vahnatai cloaks.

 

And, maybe I'm just making insane connections, but the Exile games are from the 90s. And in the 80s, Japan became established in the American imagination as an exotic place with superior technology. People were interested at the time in understanding how they were able to achieve what they did in the automobile and electronics industries. And the Vahnatai are also from an exotic place with superior magic.

 

Do you think there's anything to this resemblance, intentional or not? I mean there are more obvious influences on the Vahnatai: they're like elves, but also greys. Anyway, just something that occurred to me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm, interesting question.

 

Maybe, maybe, maybe at a very, very subconscious level.  Jeff more or less came of age in the 80s (he's roughly the same age as me so going off of my memories of Japanese influence here), so there certainly was the "Hey, look at the way Japan is doing 'x'..." going on in the background of everyday life. That was also around the time that business really got serious about cost cutting/efficiency, something that the Japanese were doing very well.  So there were a lot of people, who had a large impact over a lot of society (not that they would individually change society per se, but if they changed their company & grew it to be huge... then scatter that theory over all sectors of the economy)   Then too there was the potential Vietnam influence.  Roughly a decade after pulling out of Vietnam, (very few) people were asking/saying/pondering "30 years ago we beat the hell out of 'this' relatively advanced country (Japan) & now we essentially lost a war to 'that' underdeveloped country (Vietnam) who is nothing like the country we stomped on in living memory (as both are in Asia & everyone knows that all Asians look & think the same... (:rolleyes)).  So that put some focus on what Japan was doing so well too.

 

As far as Avernumites redecorating, iirc it was mainly the diplomatic types (the Castle had at least one room/wizard redecorated/studying them) or the scholars (Patrick, Rone(?), ToM had both diplomacy & scholarship as they had the conduit to Vahnatai lands & were devoted to learning to begin with, and others) who were dealing with/studying this new species/civilization ... the people you kind of expect would immerse themselves in this new field of knowledge/diplomacy.

 

So, a long way around to getting around to "maybe?"

Link to post
Share on other sites

Intentional, definitely not.

 

Unintentional... I don't know, I think that's a hard sell.

 

As you note, "exotic place with superior magic" describes something in almost every fantasy setting, certainly including elves.

 

And it's a bit of a stretchy path from "what some Americans stereotypically imagined Japan to be in the 80's" to "what a statistician-programmer Harvey Muddite (who was a teenager in the 80's) and who was all over Usenet may have thought about Japan in 1995."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh - I'm chuckling at the OP's opening comments. They remind me of the good-old-days of the internets, and it makes me smile.

 

...With regards to said comments, the first thing that comes to mind is the Vahnatai swordsmith in Olgai. He certainly reflects those "cultural superiority" sentiments that have either been ascribed by the Japanese themselves, or been ascribed by others for them. That he also represents part of the Vahnatai "sword culture" while holding these sentiments makes for quite the double-dose of the phenomena waterstrider is describing.

 

As those more knowledgeable than I have noted, it's impossible to know if the Vahnatai were supposed to have anything to do with Japan. However, now that it's been mentioned, the Vahnatai definitely fit into the trope of the mysterious land with untrusting people who see little or no reason to accept you as part of their world. Obviously that's not entirely true, but I think what I'm getting at is clear enough. Otherwise, the "mysterious" part encompasses an old and well-tested culture with an arcane knowledge of things which is deeply fascinating. Is the latter superior? One can't say for certain, but because it's something you are kept from having, it draws you in. All of those tropes kind of work for Asia at large, including Japan.

 

That said, I kind of like your thoughts on the matter, waterstrider. Shoot - the Vahnatai throw shurikens (razordisks) for Pete's sake! Intentional or not, I'd say that the Vahnatai certainly have something in common with contemporary thoughts on Japanese culture from way-back-when (NOT including your grandfather's bad experiences in the war... more like samurai movie stuff). It's a neat connection I never thought to make before!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Like Tri-Rodent I am very close in age to Jeff.  From what I remember, there was generally less participation in/appreciation for Japanese pop culture, we were worried about economic domination.  Animae and Manga were mostly in specialty stores, not Barnes and Noble and J-pop was very hard to find.  Some people had watched Speed Racer and Star Blazers, but even that was rare.  Asian weapons were popular, but most depictions of them made absolutely zero distinction between Japanese and Chinese culture with the rest of East Asia being completely left out.  Shurikens, Katanas and Nunchaku were popular from B martial art movies (whose most famous actor was Chinese, not Japanese), Kris swords were somewhat rare, and of course are mostly from South Asia not East Asia anyway.  

 

I think that the Japanese influence is very slight.  The mysterious culture thing has been applied to every unfamiliar culture (from a US/European perspective: North Africa, Africa, East Asia, South Asia Central Asia and Western Asia were all inhabited by mysterious cultures).  I think that Jeff was looking to making the Vahnatai "Alien" with the definition of different, and so equipping them with Elvish cloaks, Japanese missile weapons, South Asian swords, and very vaguely Arabic architecture provided a large visual break from his typical Northern/Western European theme.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cannonball Run (1981) was the first Western movie to star Chinese actor, Jackie Chan, and the Chinese Charlie Chaplin as Japanese racers. In the US the distinction wasn't that great even though they were different cultures. If it wasn't for martial arts movies, they was much influence except the economic fears that Japan would take over.

 

Jeff was heavily influenced by late night martial art movies as seen by the Monastery of Madness in Exile/Avernum 3.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Thaeris said:

hat said, I kind of like your thoughts on the matter, waterstrider. Shoot - the Vahnatai throw shurikens (razordisks) for Pete's sake! Intentional or not, I'd say that the Vahnatai certainly have something in common with contemporary thoughts on Japanese culture from way-back-when (NOT including your grandfather's bad experiences in the war... more like samurai movie stuff). It's a neat connection I never thought to make before!

I totally forgot about the razordisks. The only connection to Asian culture that I had been able to remember is that Crystal Souls are sort of like if Asian-style ancestor worship actually worked (now I'm seeing a resemblance between the Shrine of Crystals and all the spritis arguing with each other in Mulan's family shrine...). Also I sort of remember a description that they sit at low tables but I could be misremembering that. These were not exactly striking coincidences, which is why I didn't bother mentioning them in OP.

 

But really I think Edgwyn is right that Jeff was drawing on a very large variety of sources to create a feeling of foreign-ness and contrast to the medieval fantasy setting.

 

I guess I mainly just think it's interesting how many Avernites are interested in studying and imitating the Vahnatai. It's not something you see in, for example, Lord of the Rings: nobody's trying to dress in Elvish styles, or reverse-engineer lembas-bread. I have to admit, that's probably just because magic in the Avernum setting is much more scientific than in Lord of the Rings. But it's also interesting that the original game was written at a time when Americans were very open to learning lessons from a very foreign culture, namely Japan. (unlike today when American anxiety about China expresses itself with dismissal and condemnation, and it doesn't occur to them they might have something to learn)

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, waterstrider said:

Crystal Souls are sort of like if Asian-style ancestor worship actually worked

 

What, exactly, is "Asian-style ancestor worship"?  Serious question.  Asia's a big place, and ancestor worship isn't specific to it.

 

That said, I'm not sure ancestor worship is a good analogue in the first place.  Very few Vahnatai become Crystal Souls, so it seems less like venerating familial spirits (something the Romans did, and were depicted doing, btw, in a Spiderweb game! ) and more like the cults of the saints in Christian Europe, complete with miraculous relics, shrines, pilgrimages, and wars fought over them.

 

As with the other assertions, I see the "exotic" idea, but Japan just feels like a forced connection based on stereotypes that we are bringing, rather than anything in the actual game.

 

4 hours ago, waterstrider said:

I guess I mainly just think it's interesting how many Avernites are interested in studying and imitating the Vahnatai. It's not something you see in, for example, Lord of the Rings: nobody's trying to dress in Elvish styles, or reverse-engineer lembas-bread.

 

Well, the elves aren't new in Lord of the Rings.  They had been known to Men for literal Ages; their cultures had had thousands of years to intermingle, not to mention to intermarry.  In contrast, the "Vahnatai fascination" examples mostly come from E/A2, the same game where first contact occurs.

 

4 hours ago, waterstrider said:

But it's also interesting that the original game was written at a time when Americans were very open to learning lessons from a very foreign culture, namely Japan.

 

I'm still confused by all of these comments, which (1) rely on sentiments ascribed broadly (overly broadly, IMO) to "Americans" despite Jeff being a pretty serious cultural outlier, and (2) are apparently based on the 80's, while the game was written in 1995.

 

I'm not sure Jeff's ever talked about Japan, whereas he did talk about watching the X-Files during that time.  I just think this is pretty far down the list of likely cultural forebears.

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, waterstrider said:

I guess I mainly just think it's interesting how many Avernites are interested in studying and imitating the Vahnatai. It's not something you see in, for example, Lord of the Rings: nobody's trying to dress in Elvish styles, or reverse-engineer lembas-bread. I have to admit, that's probably just because magic in the Avernum setting is much more scientific than in Lord of the Rings. But it's also interesting that the original game was written at a time when Americans were very open to learning lessons from a very foreign culture, namely Japan. (unlike today when American anxiety about China expresses itself with dismissal and condemnation, and it doesn't occur to them they might have something to learn)

I don't remember clothing styles being that well described in LOTR to determine if people were dressing in Elvish styles.  In the real world, I am sure that we can all come up with examples from at least the last 150 years or so of Europeans and Americans adopting art, architecture and to some extent dress from other cultures and those other cultures adopting European and American dress and pop culture.

 

With that said, I think that the difference in Exile/Avernum is that we are dealing with a group of people who have been cut off from their home society and put into a giant cave with minimal resources.  Vahnatai styles are a way to survive:  "If the Vahnatai have made it down here for the past 2000 years, maybe we can too. Oh wait, they hibernate for 1000 years at a time, well that is awkward."  That Vahnatai cloak is warmer than my cave mushroom cloak and keeps the cave fleas off better so I am going to wear it.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Randomizer said:

Cannonball Run (1981) was the first Western movie to star Chinese actor, Jackie Chan, and the Chinese Charlie Chaplin as Japanese racers. In the US the distinction wasn't that great even though they were different cultures. If it wasn't for martial arts movies, they was much influence except the economic fears that Japan would take over.

 

Jeff was heavily influenced by late night martial art movies as seen by the Monastery of Madness in Exile/Avernum 3.

I had forgotten that, but Bruce Lee was the actor that I was thinking of, and who I believe had more of a cultural influence on the teens of the 1980s.  Certainly to my friends and I at the time, Bruce Li and Jackie Chan were not the original.  Not trying to take anything away from Jackie Chan's fantastic career and abilities.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I kinda feel like it's tough to call. No ideas come completely out of nowhere and the Vahnatai have some (some) elements which might fit with an 80s pop culture understanding of Japan; funny-shaped swords and ancestor worship which has some (some!) similarities with Shinto. But they're also underground magical Roswell aliens who live forever in/as crystals and hibernate like bears. None of those traits are particularly Japanese.

 

The departure from elf/dwarf/orc is what makes the Avernum setting such great fantasy, but you could still pull the Nephils apart like 'they're elves with fur.' Everything has influences.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Did those lizard people conflict with each other over demon worship, originate in deep caves, revere their ancestors with statues, or learn to speak the human tongue? I'm just curious how similar they are, not being familiar with Quag Keep. Just being lizardmen doesn't make them the same any more than the Vahnatai are just regular Greys.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quaq Keep was a poor attempt at a D&D novel so it didn't have any of what you mentioned, I mean characters wearing charm bracelets with multisided dice that spun whenever an initiative roll was needed to warn them was ridiculous. The plot took place in a swamp so they were used instead of orcs and goblins.

 

Lozard men were a generic race that appeared out of the water to attack with tines spears. They weren't fleshed out to the detail Jeff did in his games. However he would have been aware of them from his gaming days.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Slithzerikai are very different from the Lizardmen of AD&D, Wizardry, and other precursors to Exile.  Sliths are smart and have an aptitude for magic, pretty much the opposite of traditional Lizardmen.

 

I also don't know how you can get "elves with fur" from the Nephils.  I guess if you want to define the race by being agile and good with bows?  But that really just speaks to the similarity in combat system and game space.  Appearance and culture are completely difference, behavior is completely different, and we have the opposite of the magical aptitude reversal with Sliths.

 

We do know that Jeff ranted about dwarves and elves being everywhere when Exile came out, and that he deliberately wanted to avoid going down that road.

Link to post
Share on other sites

AD&D module I2, published in the early 1980s did a little better job with the Lizardmen then most sources from that era.  While they were certainly not identical to the Sliths, I do feel that there was some definite influence there, but I may be mis-remembering since it has been over 30 years since I have looked at the module last.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I still think if anything was a source for Sliths, it had to be this:

 

https://gammaworld.fandom.com/wiki/Sleeth

 

- humanoid lizard

- very intelligent

- negates force fields (admittedly not with fireballs, but still)

- resist poison

- live in small communities

- delight in discussions of philosophy and religion (hi Pathass)

 

OTOH, looking into Edgwyn's module...

 

- Sakatha -> Skatha

- Swamp temple

- Groups of lizardmen around campfires

- Lizardmen mages, though as a whole the race doesn't seem especially smart

- King uses a trident (close enough)

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

I don't remember what the text in-game says regarding two versus three tines in Exile, but the Exile Slith spear graphic is clearly a trident.

 

I beg to differ, Almighty Doer of Stuff!

 

So far as I’m aware, the sliths have always used spears with two prongs (or ‘tines’). This distinguishes the spears from tridents, which necessarily have three tines. I suppose you could strictly call the slith spear a ‘bident’, using the ‘bi’ for two rather than the ‘tri’ for three, although personally I feel that would be a little misleading. At least in my mind, slith spears have their prongs a little closer together than classical bidents.

 

The two-tined slith spear has been something of a feature of the race since their first appearance. To demonstrate this, here are a few graphics taken from Exile I. The first two are from the earliest version I have available – 1.0.5 – which is as close to original release of Exile as I can get. The third is taken from 2.0.1, using the new set of graphics used in Exile III onwards. I’ve blown up these graphics a little to make them a little easier to see.

 

Exile 1.0.5, Example one:

 

ZDknwF0.png

 

Exile 1.0.5, Example two:


JfWwNnH.png

 

Exile 2.0.1:


wHlVfUS.png

 

While it’s not always straightforward to determine little details in small-scale pixel art, I think this is one situation where the art is fairly clear. At least to my eyes, all these spears have two prongs.

 

The nature of the weapon is also explicitly referenced in Exile I. Here’s some text referring to Garthass in Gnass:

 

“A gigantic slith, green skin bright and shiny, muscles bulging awesomely, forges a slith two-tined spear.”

 

And in case there’s any doubt, here’s a really nice example from Avernum 6. While there is a small central prong, this is largely as an extension of the spear's haft for balance and parrying (much as in some historic bidents). Since the part of the spear used as a weapon consists of only two prongs, this is still a two-tined spear:

 

4eHBt6L.png

 

It’s easy to misremember little details like these, which is one reason I just wanted to write a quick clarification. We sliths need to stand up for our culture, after all! Ahssss.

 

Incidentally, for those who want to read a little more fan-created lore about these spears, it’s worth at playing Kelandon’s Homeland trilogy, not least Exodus. He has an interesting theory about the origin of these spears, and the weapons traditionally used in the slith’s homeland!

 

On 6/9/2021 at 12:35 AM, Salt Monolith said:

Sliths are smart ...

 

I’ll be sure to remind you of that, Slarty, next time we get into a long, protracted argument about a little detail of Spiderweb lore :)

Edited by Ess-Eschas
Fixing a mistyped word.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Not the slithzerikai holding slith spears, I mean the slith spear item graphic, found in OBJECTS.BMP.

 

objects.png

 

(This includes some graphics created by me, which Celtic Minstrel thought would improve OpenBoE by their default inclusion, but the original slith spear is the second item in the second row.)

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
added image
Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know what relevance icon sets from E3/BoE (let alone a modified version... do we really need to have that conversation again) have to this question -- Slith spears were described and delineated in earlier games.  Luckily, we have the icon sets for the original game.  I thought I was going to find generic weapon icons where e.g. bardiches and halberds shared an icon (as is the case), so of course there would be no slith spear icon.  But it turns out there was, and it has two tines:

 

Item.bmp

 

Even the tiny inventory version has two tines:

 

Mixed.bmp

 

The slith on the title screen demo has a spear with two tines:

 

Startmsc.bmp

 

Really, this is a small detail that Shirley (I think these were Shirley graphics) went out of her way to highlight and make visible, in very, very low-res graphics.

 

Between this and the dialogue (and other images) Ess provided, I think there can be zero doubt about Slith spears having two tines in Exile.  Any partial variance in E3/BoE is a lazy icon set issue, not a change to the game world.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That graphic sheet is modified, but other than the bottom two rows and the pile of treasure, those are the original Exile 2.0.1 item graphics by Andrew Hunter, created for Exile III and backported to Exile I and II.

 

I'm not saying there's any lore or reason to believe Sliths ever used tridents. I was just commenting on your statement about the Quag Keep king's weapon, and saying that the item graphic matched, accidentally though it was. I was just making note of something I thought was interesting and relevant to the conversation. Not relevant to slithzerikai lore directly, but still relevant to the conversation, I think.

Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

those are the original Exile 2.0.1 item graphics by Andrew Hunter

 

Sorry to keep contradicting you, Almighty Doer of Stuff, but that’s not quite the case here. The graphics you’ve posted are mostly from Blades of Exile, but not from Exile I.

 

To demonstrate this, here’s a set of items taken directly from my copy of Exile I 2.0.1. As before, I’ve blown these up to make them easier to see:

 

FwAaxna.png

 

As you can see, the slith spear still has two tines, even in this newer version of the graphics.

 

This graphic was changed in the new graphics in Exile II onwards, for some curious reason. This includes Blades of Exile, which is probably why you’re familiar with that version! It’s not clear why the change was made, since the games still make it very explicit that slith spears have two tines. And all the rest of the art shows two-tined spears. As you’ve seen, that extends well into the Avernum games, and in fact right into the modern day! (Fun side fact: there’s a slith spear in the splash art for 5 out of the 7 Avernum games.)

 

If I were to guess, I would suggest that the trident graphic was made for Exile III. Perhaps Jeff originally intended to include a trident weapon as a replacement for the slith spear, something made on the surface world? After all, it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine a version of Exile III which didn’t feature any sliths at all, save for the player characters. Perhaps his plans changed, and he ended up just using the trident graphic for slith spears after all?

 

At least from my perspective, it’s actually pretty hard to tell the graphic is a trident when viewed in-game. For what it’s worth, I don’t think I ever actually noticed it was three-tined before you mentioned it!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, that's really interesting. I wonder why some graphics were backported and some were given new graphics in the reskin. I always liked the old gold graphic more than the BoE gold graphic. A lot of new graphics for Exile 1 and 2 were not included in BoE for unknown reasons. I never would have suspected that an authentic slith spear would have been created for the older games, but replaced with an inauthentic one for the new games. Maybe it's because E3's Andrew Hunter graphics came first, and E1 and E2 were reskinned to match at a later date, and an authentic slith spear was made in that process, but after it was already placed incorrectly in E3.

 

EDIT: To avoid looking silly again, I double-checked. E3 has a trident graphic, not a two-tined slith spear.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

I was just commenting on your statement about the Quag Keep king's weapon, and saying that the item graphic matched

 

No, you originally wrote "the Exile Slith spear graphic is clearly a trident" which is flat-out wrong.  It matches one version of that graphic used in some later games, but never Exile.  Even assuming you meant the series, it would be an overly broad conclusion based on a narrow data set plus assumptions, and the assumptions turned out to be incorrect.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I said "slith spear graphic", not "slith holding slith spear graphic". I should have clarified that I meant the item though. I would have said "Exile I" if I meant Exile I only, but I should have clarified that too. I definitely specified that I was not aware of what the lore was one way or the other, but was speaking only of the graphic.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, and I took you as only meaning the item graphic, and I did take you as probably meaning the series.  But you said "the Exile Slith spear graphic" not "one of the Exile Slith spear graphics."  And as we know, there were at least three different item graphics in the series, and only one of them is as you described.  You overgeneralized from the datum you looked at, that's all.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Slartibus, I had forgotten about the Sleeths from Gamma World.  I had a fair amount of the original Gamma World material (not the even older Metamorphosis Alpha), but didn't really ever play it.  Thinking back now, I think that there was a lizardish race in Star Frontiers as well which came out 3-5 years later, but again, my memory of that is not as good as it is of the AD&D 1st edition.  

 

In any case, Lizard men were not nearly as omni-present in fantasy or gaming as were Dwarves, Elves, Hobbits, Orcs and Goblins and choosing the Sliths did indeed help set Jeff apart.  He also created a lot of back story and culture for them which was pretty much lacking in almost every source except Tolkien (who did not have Lizard men at all).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Worth noting that if you visit Gnass in A2, the smith there mentions that younger or less experienced warriors use single-pronged spears before progressing to the Slith variant. He also mentions that some of the beefier warriors have taken to using human halberds and that there is "no dishonour" in that.

 

Basically, Sliths care way less about what spears they use than y'all 🤣

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Sticks2Snakes said:

Basically, Sliths care way less about what spears they use than y'all

 

On the contrary, I think what you’ve said here only serves to highlight the importance of the two-tined spear in slith culture!

 

Before I go any further, I should stress that the comments you make here are all based on material added into the remake of Avernum 2, information which is not present in earlier games. So the information you’re referring to weren’t present in the series prior to 2014. We’ve been discussing the first appearance of the sliths in Exile back in 1995, predating this information by nearly 20 years – which is perhaps one reason it didn’t crop up.

 

In any case, let’s take a look at what Ortho says on the matter in 2014. Firstly, here’s his comment about the use of conventional spears:

 

“The slith style [of spear] is superior for our battle techniquesss. Yet, the two-tined spear is only for full warriors. The young use the simpler, cheaper type.”

 

In other words, the conventional spear with a single point is only used by the young. There is of course good practical reason for this. Conventional spears are far simpler to wield than the two-tined variant, and much simpler (and therefore cheaper) to make. This makes them excellent practice weapons, since they’re easy to use, and it’s not too much trouble if one of them breaks.

 

However, it also marks an important distinction between immature and adult sliths. Note how Ortho says that a two-tined spear is only used by ‘full warriors’, which implies that the two-tined spear is a sign of status. I would take from this that the two-tined spear has an important symbolic value, a public symbol of when a slith has fully matured, and become an adult.

 

In our world, there are many examples of societies in which various distinctions between the young and adults are a symbolic sign of status, with that sign of status further being an important hallmark of the culture of that society. For a few examples from some modern cultures, consider the ability to drive a car, or to drink alcohol. These mark the transition from childhood to adulthood, and are also important facets of certain cultures (some more than others, of course!).

 

I would argue the same for the two-tined spear. At least to me, Ortho is indicating that such spears are an important sign of status amongst adult sliths. And so sliths really do care about what spears they use!

 

Here’s Ortho’s second point:

 

“Also, some of our warriorsss with bigger strength use the human-styled halberd. There is no dishonor in thisss.”

 

I think it’s interesting that Ortho feels the need to state that there is ‘no dishonour’ in using human weapons. At least to me, that implies that there must be some who would disagree with him, even if it’s a small minority. After all, I feel that one rarely talks about there being ‘no dishonour’ in commonly accepted practices, like buying peaches or going for a walk, but only in issues which are in some way contentious.

 

So, at least to me, this implies that there is a deep-seated feeling of honour in slith society associated with the slith spear, even if not all modern sliths would hold to that view. But that's only my reading of it, of course, and the game doesn't state this in any explicit way!

 

In other words, my feeling is that Ortho’s words only serve to highlight the importance of the two-tined spear in slith society. I don’t take from them that sliths use whatever spears they feel like. Rather, that the two-tined spear has an important cultural significance for the sliths, and that sliths would generally use one in preference to any other type of spear – unless they turned their hands to a different type of human weapon, of course!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, if there's going to be a great speculative lore derailment here, I want in! I made this comment in another thread some time ago:

 

Quote

As an interesting aside regarding martial culture and the Sliths, consider again the spear as a utilitarian weapon. We know the Sliths enjoy fish and are good swimmers. Slith spears, on that note, are rather comparable in design to fishing spears. It's possible this was an active design decision by Jeff, though Jeff might offer up that he in turn borrowed the idea from somewhere else. The latter is fine and happens in fantasy all the time, but regardless of the origins of that design decision, it kinda works out - and, if you take to that idea, it says a lot about the Sliths (and it's not bad, either!).

 

Source: https://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/26054-a-few-lore-questions/?tab=comments#comment-313122

 

In terms of real weapons, there are variations all the time. There tends to be things within the center of the bell curve, and then there are outliers which are so out-there that some might have a hard time believing that they could have existed at all. Like, you know, that Slith trident, for example! I like reading about the flavor and variety added to the game, as it brings it that much closer to reality, as fantastic as the game itself might be.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Oh, throw down your plow and hoe. Rest not to lock your homes." --- "The Battle of Evermore" by Led Zeppelin

"Arise, arise, seaman arise. Each does it in his own way: One thrusts the spear into a man, another then into the fish." --- English translation of "Reise Reise" by Rammstein

 

Those songs popped into my head when I read your post, Thaeris. It may even be a weapon designed for withstanding inter-tribe ambushes, which the Slithzerikai are known to be skilled at. You're out in the shallows spearing fish, and the neighboring tribe decides you have better fish than them, and they attack. If your fishing tool and your murderizing tool are the same, you don't even need to think about switching implements. You're already prepared to fight.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...