Sunday, November 2, 2014

D&D character sheet in Sindarin (Elvish)

In Tolkien's universe, Elves speak a variety of elvish languages. As JRR Tolkien was a professor of Old English at Oxford, he knew his stuff when it comes to linguistics, so like Klingon and Valyrian, Elvish is not a crackpot's attempt at a language (unlike too many made-up sentences in movies with jarring mistakes). Tolkein Elvish is a family of languages, which include Quenya, nicknamed Latin-Elvish, and Sindarin, common Elvish. The script is called Tengwar. The character sheet is written in Sindarin using the Tengwar script.

It should be noted that Dungeons and Dragons calls Elvish "Elven", which Tolkien distinguished as the former pertaining to the culture of Elves and the latter of the race of the Elves. I discuss the concept in another post (is it inhumane to call aliens "men"?). Garry Gygax and co. drew heavily on Tolkien when creating the D&D universe, but due to legal reasons they alter names (Ents > Trents, Hobbits > Halflings etc.) and make up really sloppily and badly a form of "Elven" script and never bother to spell out what words are in Elven (e.g. as discussed in the Oathbow post, the words "swift defeat to my enemies" are "dant lagor anin gyth nîn" in Sindarin). The reason why it is badly done is not aesthetic —that is subjective, but in my opinion it is—, but because there is a one-to-one mapping to the Latin alphabet, which, due to the many phonetic differences of English with Latin, does not fit perfectly the sounds used in English and relies on digraphs and personal knowledge (e.g. th stands for two sounds and not t followed by a h). In the Star wars universe, Aurebesh is a simple alphabet, but takes that into account  —comically on the Clone Wars cartoons there are a few blunders, such as mirrored plaques. Consequently, this character sheet is written in Tolkien Elvish and not a lame remapped English.

Sindarin is a cool language as it has a phenomenon called lenition, which is also seen with Irish. That is, the ends (Gaelic) or beginning (Sindarin) of words change depending on the neighbouring letter on the other word. It also has plurals that work like goose/geese in English (Germanic umlaut).

Anyway, here are the character sheets in Sindarin:
Sindarin (Elvish) character sheet with skills in the order seen in English
Sindarin (Elvish) character sheet with skills grouped by ability
(If the links were to not work, they and many more are also available here:

These are my notes in my poor attempt at translating D&D character sheet in Sindarin:
  • Dungeons and Dragons: Gedyr ar lhuig
    • Gador means 'prison/dungeon'. The plural is Gedyr.
    • A or ar or ah, all mean 'and' —Google that nightmare if you may.
    • Lhug (lhuig) is a dragon. There are many times of dragon in Sindarin. Alûg is another option.
  • Character name: eneth i tailon (lit. name of the hero)
  • The attributes are all absolute nouns, due to the hodge-hodge nature of English they have a sundry of origins. The suffix –as makes adjectives into absolute nouns.
    • Strength: bellas
    • Dexterity: celegas (Agility)
    • Constitution: Hardiness or fitness are not in the dictionary. tarias is in the dictionary but means toughness/challenging, not hardiness. mudas means toiled. iechyd means health. tû means vigour and is probably the best match.
    • Intelligence: handas
    • Wisdom: Golu
    • Charisma; miluias (friendliness)
  • Class: job, position, occupations are not in the dictionary. maenas means art/craft (technically cleverness), tass means task or trouble. A job is one's work: own (garn)+work/toil (mudas)?. More than toil I'd prefer skill (maen). Skillset (allskill) maenathnostalë is kind in Quenya.
  • Level. It is level as in rank, not flat. grade in Quenya tyellë, no idea how it evolves. nedia- means to count. So I'll rock with nedias (count-ment). gwanod means number and gonod- means to sum, so gonodas is summation. Numerality would be gwanodebas, maybe?
  • Background (history): pennas.
  • Player name. Player: teilia- is an A-verb for play, so teliadir. name of the playman is eneth i teliadir.
  • Race: nûr.
  • Alignment. lifestyle or choice or behaviour. Way of life: way (as in mode) is missing, I could make the same abstraction. in-line-ment: ne-lir-eb-as.
  • Experience points: points? mark of number: taith+gwanod, pretty sure it changes radically, but I don't know how. knowledge ist. taithgwanod ist.
  • Inspiration. brainwave > spark [of] mind/thought: hâl nauth
  • proficiency bonus. skilled (manual) flâd. skilledness flâd+as. bonus >gift ant. ant flâdas
  • Saving throw. Save, help, aid not in dictionary. to defend gartha- present participle garthol. throw nasta-. garthol nastas
  • Armour class. The class is actually just a historical remnant from THAC0. number gwanodArmour > Shield thand. number of shield? shieldliness? -ebas
  • Initiative. quickeness. brêg+as
  • Speed. Rinc means jerk (derived from move ritho-). Switching speed and initiative. jerkfulness. rithoduiag?
  • Meanas
    • Acrobatics: leap cob+ui+as leapability? passive? leapfulness: cobwegas?
    • Handle animal: use of animals: iuith levain
    • Arcana: angol (magic lore)
    • Athletics: nor- run. runfulness? norwegas?
    • Deception: gweria- cheat. cheatfulness gweriadwegas?
    • History: background used pennas. gobennas also means history. go- = together. ist gobennas
    • Insight: with ne- see ceb- ness -as. imcebas
    • Intimidate: gruitha- terrify. terrification? +as. terrifacienticity/scarefulness: gruithawegas. groga- fear. grogauias? Nah.
    • Investigation: glance at glinna- glinn+as abstract noun (atglancing). atglancefulness glinnawegas
    • Medicine: heal nesta. healfulness nestawegas
    • Nature: lore [of] wilderness ist rhovan
    • Perception: seefulness cen+weg+as
    • Performance: singfulness: glirwegas
    • Persuasion: Convince, win over, talk into, OE beswapan.  sayfulness: pen-weg-as. That would be talkativeness. Tulu support. tulupen- persuade? tulupenwagas?
    • Religion. lore of valar? ist balan/belain
    • SoH: hûr (action) caim
    • Stealth: doltha- conceal dothawegas
    • Survival: brona- survive. bronawegas
  • passive him
  • hit points. ? gwanod neastas?
    • total pant.
    • current?  dartha- remain. darthol
    • temporary > non-eternal. al-uireb
  • dice…?! roll is missing too. Not even checking polyhedra. telien sport. sportmak? nah. Loanword. Dis (as in Welsh).
  • Death save. defence(s) from death gartha-> garthas/gerthais dan gûr.
    • successful. win? degil is winner. tûr mastery. uu-tur
  • Attack? maeth flight. ant maeth
  • Damage > pain naeg. type > clan noss. noss naeg
  • Spellcasting. spell luith. lûth magic. lútha- to spellcast. lúthas —plural lyythais or luuthais or luithais? I'll ignore it. maethais a lúthais
  • Other proficiencies and languages. other is missing, so are addition and so forth. Other in OE meant second, so I could use second. exa in Quenya. What does the x evolve into? Let's say echa. flâdas (fledais). Langauge lam/laim.
  • Equipment? items, stuff. carry=col. colas/celais
  • Personality traits. own/property = garn. gûr, inner mind, heart. trait > mark tagol. tegyl gûr
  • ideals > notions inc
  • Bonds > oath gwaedh
  • Flaws > error mist. mist gûr
  • Features >quality in OE ownness, garn+as gernais
  • copper rust, celeb silver. gold côl, jewel mîr. Electrum? No amber. so loanword.
  • age. years idhrinn
  • height, taen
  • weight > heaviness long-as
  • eyes hind
  • skin. Quenya. helma
  • hair fîn
  • char appearance. thia- seem thias i thailon
  • Char backstory > tale narn narn i thailon
  • Allies and organisations. I'd be mad not to use mellon. mellyn a aphadrim (followers)
  • echa gernais a tegyl
  • Symbol ambal (quenya for flag). tan is sign —amend.
  • Spellcasting class. maenath luuthas
  • Spellcasting ability garas luuthas
  • Spell save DC. Number of difficulty against spell. gwanod tarias dan luith
  • Spell attack. maeth luith
  • Cantrip. luitheg
  • slot ruin/rŷn. Expended >worn out bruin
  • prepared tannen. known isten

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