Terminology

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alex_greene
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Terminology

Postby alex_greene » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:00 am

Here's a thing.

Let's assume your Adventurer discovers the skill of hypnosis. Somebody has to. Now, in your fantasy world you don't have a god of sleep called Hypnos, and your name is not Franz Mesmer so you can't call what you do either hypnosis or mesmerism.

What name would you give to your newly-discovered skill, as you set off on your long world tour of societies and scholarly fellowships to demonstrate it to the world?
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Lord High Munchkin
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Re: Terminology

Postby Lord High Munchkin » Thu Aug 20, 2015 10:00 am

alex_greene wrote:Here's a thing.

Let's assume your Adventurer discovers the skill of hypnosis. Somebody has to. Now, in your fantasy world you don't have a god of sleep called Hypnos, and your name is not Franz Mesmer so you can't call what you do either hypnosis or mesmerism.

What name would you give to your newly-discovered skill, as you set off on your long world tour of societies and scholarly fellowships to demonstrate it to the world?
How about "Personal Magnetism"?
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Re: Terminology

Postby Olaus Petrus » Thu Aug 20, 2015 10:33 am

Personally I don't see problem with those words, because also fantasy literature uses them. Here's an example of the usage of the word mesmerism from Robert E. Howard:

"For there are worlds beyond worlds, as Kull knows, and whether the wizard bewitched him by words or by mesmerism, vistas did open to the king's gaze beyond that strange door, and Kull is less sure of reality since he gazed into the mirrors of Tuzun Thune."

But perhaps you could call it suggestion.
ShawnDriscoll
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Re: Terminology

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:23 am

Robert E. Howard should have made up words like H. P. Lovecraft and Shakespeare did.
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Re: Terminology

Postby soltakss » Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:32 pm

By the same reasoning, you can't use silhouette, or saboteur.

I'd use the terms as they have come to be used and not care about the origin.

However, if you absolutely must use a different term, then name it after the Adventurer who discovered it, in the same way as mesmerism.

So, Jimbo Boddikins finds a new hypnosis power and teaches it to other people, so they become Boddikinners and use Boddikinism.

See, hypnosis is a lot easier.
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alex_greene
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Re: Terminology

Postby alex_greene » Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:57 pm

soltakss wrote:See, hypnosis is a lot easier.
Unless her name is Seren Trance.
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Lemnoc
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Re: Terminology

Postby Lemnoc » Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:06 am

Many of these early practitioners were originally called "alienists."
If you believe that humors in the body call forth spirits, you could be a "humorist." :lol:
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Re: Terminology

Postby Prime_Evil » Sun Aug 23, 2015 5:43 am

And don't forget that a lot of the classic Swords and Sorcery fiction of the 1930s was written under the influence of late 19th century occultism - particularly theosophy. Many of the concepts that found their way into the genre were derived from a heady mix of theosophy, spiritualism, and other ideas floating around on the fringes of popular culture (such as the works of Sir George Frazer and Margaret Murray, both of which attracted academic criticism even at the time they were published). Read Robert E. Howard's outline of the Hyborian Age for an indication of how this eclectic mixture of concepts informed the authors who pioneered the American form of the fantasy genre. Or look at how often Lovecraft invokes Sir George Frazer and Margaret Murray to justify the survival of ancient cults built around patterns of death and rebirth. Against this backdrop, terms such as mesmerism were easily assimilated, even though they were blatantly ahistorical. The notion of mesmerism became entangled with depictions of Middle Eastern and Far Eastern cultures under the influence of Orientalism, leading to stock pulp villains who regularly used hypnotic powers. The classic example of this are the movie adaptations of Sax Rhomer's early Fu Manchu novels, such as the Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (1929) and the Mask of Fu Manchu (1932). Mesmerism is a significant element in these movie adaptations, even though it isn't in the novels that provided the source material.
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Re: Terminology

Postby auyl » Sun Aug 23, 2015 5:55 am

Just sticking to the OP, I'd still just call it Hypnosis for the sake of simple clarity. Call it whatever you want in the role-playing world, but to call it hypnosis as a player would make a whole lot more sense and cause less confusion. For instance, in some game worlds a spell may be called "sleep" in the rulebook but in the game setting may be called something different in each culture or kingdom. You could do something like that where everyone who she displays the skill to calls it something different, but in the end it is still just "hypnosis"
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Prime_Evil
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Re: Terminology

Postby Prime_Evil » Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:24 am

auyl wrote:Just sticking to the OP, I'd still just call it Hypnosis for the sake of simple clarity.
Hypnosis works for simplicity, although I'd argue that Mesmerism is more closely aligned with the history of the genre. I'd argue that it evokes a more pulpish and cinematic feel as the word has largely fallen out of popular usage - most people probably don't know who Franz Mesmer was.
auyl
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Re: Terminology

Postby auyl » Sun Aug 23, 2015 4:41 pm

Prime_Evil wrote:
auyl wrote:Just sticking to the OP, I'd still just call it Hypnosis for the sake of simple clarity.
Hypnosis works for simplicity, although I'd argue that Mesmerism is more closely aligned with the history of the genre. I'd argue that it evokes a more pulpish and cinematic feel as the word has largely fallen out of popular usage - most people probably don't know who Franz Mesmer was.
I'm honestly not that familiar with the history of Hypnosis, so I'll have to take your word for it. Either word would work. In the book 99% of skills you can guess what they do just based on the name so keeping that in mind the argument for either term for Hypnosis/Mesmerism would be valid.
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