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What are your favorite narrative/thematic elements of Pillars' world/story/lore? And Why?

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Pillars of Eternity has a lot going on within it. I find it incredible that they got as much interconnected lore working given the time they had. Me thinks Josh and others had been day dreaming some of these things for a long time!

 

For me I love that it's set in a "New Word." Age of Sail and Colonization and all that. Where old established cultures are confronting complete unknowns, in every imaginable form. Isolation on the frontier, colonial conflicts, lack of or imperfect law of land. Especially since it's exploring this era of history from a fantasy perspective. For me it's just a very fresh setting to experience and I feel I've only just gotten a small taste of it.

 

I also love the idea of man made Gods. The whole setup of them actually being powerful, but also having seemingly abandoned most of kith-kind creates a really interesting dynamic. This contrast between a desire to be free, but also subjugated under a super-ordinate being. And how existing faiths will be shaken. Who knows maybe there are even true gods, or maybe Pillars metaphysics is far more secular. Animancy is sort of presented as a secular pursuit within the world, but is viewed through the eyes of jealousy and superstition by those that ascribe the views of old. Either way it's an incredibly different way to setup the metaphysics of a fantasy world.

 

So how about you?

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Aight, I get it. This was a self-indulgent thread. I feel you guys.

 

That’s okay. I post self-indulgent threads all the time ;)

 

The themes of immortality and what people would do to achieve it (ie transferring your soul to a corpse or statue etc.), a new science in a skeptical world facing a disaster, and killing a God with a bomb were all appealing to me.

 

Colonial conflicts? Hmmm… I didn’t really feel this so much in PoE1, past the villagers bullying Aloth for being from Aedyr. If there was a political faction blaming Aedyr for all the troubles in Dyrwood, that would feel much more post-colonial :p I think this theme will be a lot more present in the upcoming Deadfire.

 

Man-made gods… not so much either. I know this has been rehashed so many times but, in a world where you can talk to Gods and do magic, atheism is a rather silly theme, even if there is an interesting spin on it.

Edited by Heijoushin
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I guess this thread shoulda been in the Stories forums (you know, the one with spoilers free policy). This is the no-spoilers section.

 

As for the topic, gonna write something up later ;)


It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air...

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Pillars of Eternity has a lot going on within it. I find it incredible that they got as much interconnected lore working given the time they had. Me thinks Josh and others had been day dreaming some of these things for a long time!

 

For me I love that it's set in a "New Word." Age of Sail and Colonization and all that. Where old established cultures are confronting complete unknowns, in every imaginable form. Isolation on the frontier, colonial conflicts, lack of or imperfect law of land. Especially since it's exploring this era of history from a fantasy perspective. For me it's just a very fresh setting to experience and I feel I've only just gotten a small taste of it.

 

I also love the idea of man made Gods. The whole setup of them actually being powerful, but also having seemingly abandoned most of kith-kind creates a really interesting dynamic. This contrast between a desire to be free, but also subjugated under a super-ordinate being. And how existing faiths will be shaken. Who knows maybe there are even true gods, or maybe Pillars metaphysics is far more secular. Animancy is sort of presented as a secular pursuit within the world, but is viewed through the eyes of jealousy and superstition by those that ascribe the views of old. Either way it's an incredibly different way to setup the metaphysics of a fantasy world.

 

So how about you?

Everything you said (especially the part about the gods) and the collide of "civilization" vs "barbarism". Super interesting stuff. IMO, it shows that Josh Sawyer is a student of history.

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Hokai.

 

Colonisation

This is quite interesting to see nations trying to expand in the newly discovered lands. Also it was a good call, because this whole setting is *really* new, so the world your protagonist gets to explore is also new for him (the character) and you (the player). You are actually being amazed by the things you discover, because you know next to nothing.

 

Renaissance-ish period

I like the medieval themed european settings just as the next guy, but this whole age of discoveries, gunpowder etc. was a refreshing of the genre without being over the top in my opinion.

 

Artificial gods

It makes you wonder about the Engwithans even more. What was life back then without gods? What/who did they worship before creating the current pantheon? Was it even ethical to impose such a belief system in this world?

 

Smaller things and details

Different types of currency, a unique reasonable calendar, a lot of detail put into the made up languages. I love it, because you can literally translate some of the things yourself when you see the pattern. The world building of this game is great.

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It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air...

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There is almost nothing I don't like about the setting or the lore.

 

At this point, it is the best fantasy setting I get to adventure into. Not too highly fantastical not too low either. Not too grim (grim for grimness' sake like most grim settings) not too yoohoohoo fairies and magic everywhere either. Not too generic european middle age-y, not over-the-top steam/magic technology either. Not too exaggerated history, not boring either. No real gods, no totally fake either.

 

Sheeeeeeeeeit! It strikes the perfect balance.

Edited by Sedrefilos
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The combination of the the Age of Colonization/Sail/Discovery (makes for lots of conflict combined with a wide open world and a sense of wonder), the combination of the physical reality of souls and the relatively recent takeoff of the science surrounding them (opportunity for mirroring real-world issues, again lots of conflict, lots of philosophy), general darkness including lots of dark humor but with spots of hope, subversion's of typical of fantasy genres.

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As others have said, the themes are all damn good, the setting is damn good, gunpowder good, not too grim not too light, about the only thing I feel is missing is fencing schools and their rivalries.


"That rabbit's dynamite!" - King Arthur, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail

"Space is big, really big." - Douglas Adams

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Definitely the whole man made gods theme. Overall I find the ideas in the book exceptionally well written and thought out. Especially for a computer game. It also asks some pretty darn good questions about religion. But I am biased because it reminds me a huge amount of one of my favorite books, "lord of light".

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"Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, 'He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destruction. She is Love.' So, to reply to your statement, they do not call themselves gods. Everyone else does, though, everyone who beholds them."
"So they play that on their fascist banjos, eh?"
"You choose the wrong adjective."
"You've already used up all the others.”

 

Lord of Light

 

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One more thing!

The world is very unique but I also like the familiarities with other work (NOTE: some are quite obvious, some are pretty subjective and entirely mine)

 

  • Iovara is Deionarra (Planescape Torment) redesigned, not only in name but a bit of her story as well
  • Fulvano is Volo (Forgotten Realms) redesigned (and a hack)
  • Godlikes are Planetouched (Dungeons and Dragons) redesigned, while aumaua and orlans cover for halforcs and halflings
  • Teir Nowneth - aka Heritage Hill tower - is the Severed Hand (Icewind Dale) redesigned, even dev commentary says it so
  • Durgan's Battery is your beloved abandoned dwarven fortress in fashion of Mithral Hall (Forgotten Realms)
  • The Black Hound inn is a nod to the cancelled 3rd part of the Baldur's Gate saga
  • Svef is Fisstech (The Witcher) redesigned
  • St. Waidwen, the divine king of Readceras, is based on legends of Hans Böhm, the Drummer of Niklashausen
  • Aedyr Empire is our world Roman Empire with some pieces of The Empire from Warhammer Fantasy (sidenote: the union of men and elves is quite new and interesting)
  • Eír Glanfath has some Loren Forest vibes (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Sanitarium in Defiance Bay is Spellhold (Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn) redesigned
  • Vailians from Old Vailia and the Republics are so much like Tilea and Estalia (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Dunnage in the Deadfire is Sartosa (Warhammer Fantasy), the seat of power of local pirate princes ("Príncipi sen Patrena" means "Princes without Fatherland" imo) and Captain Furrante is boss
  • And last but not least: the Eastern Reach is the Dalelands (Forgotten Realms) flipped over

There is a notable absence of a good super wizard w/ pointy hat in likes of Gandalf, Elmister, Zandalor... archmages you meet are kinda dix, but that would be just another cliche on my list. And yet I like these things!

Edited by Messier-31
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It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air...

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I liked the most how could you define your memories. You could define your past choices and relationship with Iovara. I thought it was really neat.

 

 

What I could use are less obvious tropes. While I liked how clever the game was, giving a twist to traditional D&D quests and ideas I did roll my eyes a couple times. While some quests had nice subversion of expectations I, for example, didn't like the Heritage Hill area. Maybe because it reminded me of Neverwinter Nights (not a fan of this one.)

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One more thing!

The world is very unique but I also like the familiarities with other work (NOTE: some are quite obvious, some are pretty subjective and entirely mine)

 

  • Iovara is Deionarra (Planescape Torment) redesigned, not only in name but a bit of her story as well
  • Fulvano is Volo (Forgotten Realms) redesigned (and a hack)
  • Godlikes are Planetouched (Dungeons and Dragons) redesigned, while aumaua and orlans cover for halforcs and halflings
  • Teir Nowneth - aka Heritage Hill tower - is the Severed Hand (Icewind Dale) redesigned, even dev commentary says it so
  • Durgan's Battery is your beloved abandoned dwarven fortress in fashion of Mithral Hall (Forgotten Realms)
  • The Black Hound inn is a nod to the cancelled 3rd part of the Baldur's Gate saga
  • Svef is Fisstech (The Witcher) redesigned
  • St. Waidwen, the divine king of Readceras, is based on legends of Hans Böhm, the Drummer of Niklashausen
  • Aedyr Empire is our world Roman Empire with some pieces of The Empire from Warhammer Fantasy (sidenote: the union of men and elves is quite new and interesting)
  • Eír Glanfath has some Loren Forest vibes (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Sanitarium in Defiance Bay is Spellhold (Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn) redesigned
  • Vailians from Old Vailia and the Republics are so much like Tilea and Estalia (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Dunnage in the Deadfire is Sartosa (Warhammer Fantasy), the seat of power of local pirate princes ("Príncipi sen Patrena" means "Princes without Fatherland" imo) and Captain Furrante is boss
  • And last but not least: the Eastern Reach is the Dalelands (Forgotten Realms) flipped over

There is a notable absence of a good super wizard w/ pointy hat in likes of Gandalf, Elmister, Zandalor... archmages you meet are kinda dix, but that would be just another cliche on my list. And yet I like these things!

Pointy hats for wizards are impractical and not historically accurate. 


h1dczBG.jpg

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One more thing!

The world is very unique but I also like the familiarities with other work (NOTE: some are quite obvious, some are pretty subjective and entirely mine)

 

  • Iovara is Deionarra (Planescape Torment) redesigned, not only in name but a bit of her story as well
  • Fulvano is Volo (Forgotten Realms) redesigned (and a hack)
  • Godlikes are Planetouched (Dungeons and Dragons) redesigned, while aumaua and orlans cover for halforcs and halflings
  • Teir Nowneth - aka Heritage Hill tower - is the Severed Hand (Icewind Dale) redesigned, even dev commentary says it so
  • Durgan's Battery is your beloved abandoned dwarven fortress in fashion of Mithral Hall (Forgotten Realms)
  • The Black Hound inn is a nod to the cancelled 3rd part of the Baldur's Gate saga
  • Svef is Fisstech (The Witcher) redesigned
  • St. Waidwen, the divine king of Readceras, is based on legends of Hans Böhm, the Drummer of Niklashausen
  • Aedyr Empire is our world Roman Empire with some pieces of The Empire from Warhammer Fantasy (sidenote: the union of men and elves is quite new and interesting)
  • Eír Glanfath has some Loren Forest vibes (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Sanitarium in Defiance Bay is Spellhold (Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn) redesigned
  • Vailians from Old Vailia and the Republics are so much like Tilea and Estalia (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Dunnage in the Deadfire is Sartosa (Warhammer Fantasy), the seat of power of local pirate princes ("Príncipi sen Patrena" means "Princes without Fatherland" imo) and Captain Furrante is boss
  • And last but not least: the Eastern Reach is the Dalelands (Forgotten Realms) flipped over

There is a notable absence of a good super wizard w/ pointy hat in likes of Gandalf, Elmister, Zandalor... archmages you meet are kinda dix, but that would be just another cliche on my list. And yet I like these things!

Pointy hats for wizards are impractical and not historically accurate. 

 

Well actually pointy hats were worn, usually in more eastern or central Europe but they were worn, good for keeping the rain off, and there is one major thing that needs to be considered: pointy hats are cool!

 

3067544.png

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"That rabbit's dynamite!" - King Arthur, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail

"Space is big, really big." - Douglas Adams

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One more thing!

The world is very unique but I also like the familiarities with other work (NOTE: some are quite obvious, some are pretty subjective and entirely mine)

 

  • Iovara is Deionarra (Planescape Torment) redesigned, not only in name but a bit of her story as well
  • Fulvano is Volo (Forgotten Realms) redesigned (and a hack)
  • Godlikes are Planetouched (Dungeons and Dragons) redesigned, while aumaua and orlans cover for halforcs and halflings
  • Teir Nowneth - aka Heritage Hill tower - is the Severed Hand (Icewind Dale) redesigned, even dev commentary says it so
  • Durgan's Battery is your beloved abandoned dwarven fortress in fashion of Mithral Hall (Forgotten Realms)
  • The Black Hound inn is a nod to the cancelled 3rd part of the Baldur's Gate saga
  • Svef is Fisstech (The Witcher) redesigned
  • St. Waidwen, the divine king of Readceras, is based on legends of Hans Böhm, the Drummer of Niklashausen
  • Aedyr Empire is our world Roman Empire with some pieces of The Empire from Warhammer Fantasy (sidenote: the union of men and elves is quite new and interesting)
  • Eír Glanfath has some Loren Forest vibes (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Sanitarium in Defiance Bay is Spellhold (Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn) redesigned
  • Vailians from Old Vailia and the Republics are so much like Tilea and Estalia (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Dunnage in the Deadfire is Sartosa (Warhammer Fantasy), the seat of power of local pirate princes ("Príncipi sen Patrena" means "Princes without Fatherland" imo) and Captain Furrante is boss
  • And last but not least: the Eastern Reach is the Dalelands (Forgotten Realms) flipped over

There is a notable absence of a good super wizard w/ pointy hat in likes of Gandalf, Elmister, Zandalor... archmages you meet are kinda dix, but that would be just another cliche on my list. And yet I like these things!

Pointy hats for wizards are impractical and not historically accurate. 

 

Same for godtouched and adra pillars, but they're damned cool!

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Pointy hats are definitely _not_ cool. They're as cool as the flame of a candle - very much not so, and also quite unimpressive. :grin:

 

To be fair, though, that list has quite a few bullet points that basically list some earlier occurrence - which was in no way the first or only occurrence of that trope. An Empire with some clichés based on the Roman one is really ubiquitous - in fact, it'd be probably not that easy to find a fictional Empire that doesn't have something Roman about it. If the setting features some addictive drug, it probably will be really similar to Svef or Fisstech because that is all these things are. And so on.

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Therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium. -W.B. Yeats

 

Χριστός ἀνέστη!

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I liked the use of souls as the source of various "supernatural" powers as a concept, as well as the related concept of animancy.

 

Artificial gods

It makes you wonder about the Engwithans even more. What was life back then without gods? What/who did they worship before creating the current pantheon? Was it even ethical to impose such a belief system in this world?

 

Yeah, I thought that was a really interesting concept and raised some interesting questions. The ethics of creating the gods, as you say, is one, but also why the gods being artificial makes them not real gods in the eyes of so many (players and, presumably, Eorans given the conspiracy to hide this fact). Whilst the main story wasn't always that well executed, the core concept behind it was very interesting to me.

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faith. the core theme o' poe were faith.  we weren't satisfied with obsidian efforts to be exploring faith, but we must commend the writers/developers for the use o' companions and gods to develop poe faith.  

 

in crpgs, joinable companions typical have unique story arcs, but those companion stories rare is used to reinforce or develop core themes.  companion quests and stories is understandable gonna be insular from the critical path story as the developer don't necessarily know if any particular companion will be in a given player's party for a significant portion o' the game. companion quest resolutions is also gonna have at least a bit o' variation as crpgs promise at least the illusion o' player choice.  have the companion sidequests be integral to central plot is understandable problematic given the element o' player choice.  however, poe writers utilized all companions to explore central theme. every companion had a kinda crisis o' faith.  with all o' the tangential sidequesting available in a game such as poe, it is no doubt difficult to keeps a thematic focus, but the companions helped to keep theme grounded for the entire length o' a game lasting possible dozens o' hours.  common theme for all companions has been inexplicable rare in crpgs, with poe as a rare and noteworthy exception and all future obsidian gamess should adopt similar thematic reinforcement and bolstering via joinable companions.

 

the synthetic nature o' poe gods were also a clever solution to dealing with the faith problem which exists in almost any crpg with traditional rpg gods.  in a setting wherein the gods manifest predictably, faith is not a viable theme. in a setting where priests pray and receive spells, questions o' religious faith is obliterated.  in a world wherein gods regular interact with mortals, direct altering events and even landscapes, notions o' religious faith is comic. the synthetic nature o' poe gods allowed the developers to include a traditional crpg pantheon capable o' granting spells and divine powers to multiple fixed classes while also making religious faith thematic possible and intriguing.  

 

we got loads o' complaints and criticisms 'bout poe storytelling. poe setting, theme, character development and plot is all ripe for the typical bloody Gromnir harvest wherein we slash and burn our way through writer mistakes.  

 

*shrug*

 

been there and done that.

 

regardless, obsidian does deserve considerable credit for handling o' faith in poe.  

 

HA! Good Fun!

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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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Yeah this should be in the spoilers section.

 

On the artificial gods, I've seen bits and pieces, but nothing like a full on admission or something.

 

Also, fisstech itself is based off of cocaine, so, svef could just be based off of cocaine rather than based off of fisstech. Though the naive responses make it sound more like marjuana.

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Aight, I get it. This was a self-indulgent thread. I feel you guys.

 

Colonial conflicts? Hmmm… I didn’t really feel this so much in PoE1, past the villagers bullying Aloth for being from Aedyr. If there was a political faction blaming Aedyr for all the troubles in Dyrwood, that would feel much more post-colonial :p I think this theme will be a lot more present in the upcoming Deadfire.

 

I must agree with this.

While I certainly love the idea of a colonial setting, I feel this was sadly underutilized and hope PoE2 will rectify this (the factions certainly seem to indicate so).

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Pillars 1 had no colonial conflicts in Dyrwood because they were hundreds of years old over at the time the player gets there.

Pillars 2 setting is based on colonial conflict, though.

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  • Aedyr Empire is our world Roman Empire with some pieces of The Empire from Warhammer Fantasy (sidenote: the union of men and elves is quite new and interesting)

 

I saw it as British Empire.

 

 

ed: My fav thing is that tech progression is a thing in Eora, its not medieval or x-era foreva.

Edited by Quillon

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I like everything about the setting. It just works and it is nice to see a new time-period in an CRPG.

 

But what I really love about the world is this:

There are no questions, that can't be answered by mortals.

 

What do I mean by this? Well, in most fantasy worlds mortals are bound by the rules of very powerful gods (Forgotten Realms for example), who also deliver the answers to every mystery about the order in the world or the common people don't have the resources to make technological progress.

 

In Pillars we reached a point where kith can ask the questions and answer them. They are researching and get closer to the answers ... but this opens a new can of questions! That's how it should be and it fits the theme of the game. A world doesn't become uninteresting just because it's inhabitants learn more about it's surroundings, it just get's more complicated. So does Eora and that's how it should be.

Edited by Harry Easter
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Likes
-the fact that PoE gods are more like sentient manifestations of ideals/concepts rather than just petty, fickle beings with incredible power ala D&D/the greek pantheon. Because seriously, that much pointless drama only belongs in reality TV. If you're going to add drama, employ those on characters people actually care about.
-the fact that magic boils down to soul energy, and that soul energy explains why even non-magic classes can do what they do (non-magic classes regularly performing superhuman feats in other games is a personal pet peeve).
-the choose your own adventure-type interactions - there's plenty of room for improvement there too like narration, a bit of animation (even if it's only the interface), etc. These are great mini-games that also tell a story.

-the fact that each culture in pillars seems to have its own unique idiosyncrasies, like how female godlike are not seen as women in the Valian Republics or how Twin Elms is in some ways actually more civilized than Defiance Bay or the weird thing they do with powerful landowners in the Aedyr Empire (see Aloth's dialog)

-little things like people standing around smoking pipes and stuff. We need more of these IMO.

Dislikes
-the fact that whether the gods are "real or not" is supposed to be such a big deal. Is there a universally approved definition of "god" in Eora that we don't know about? So what if the PoE gods are not the equivalent of creator deities? These beings already care about issues that fall within their sphere of influence, they do have incalculable power, and they even try not to influence the lives of mortals directly. I mean that already puts them in the top 10 of "gods who aren't assh*les" list.
-not enough NPC banter. I expect more from NPCs, even if it's only exposition (like Sagani telling you about possible logistical dangers while you're adventuring around in the White March, for example).
-the item histories could benefit from better stories (convert a wacky everyday experiences into item descriptions if you have to), and there is hardly any flavor text for spells/abilities and the like. An occasional something like Fan of Flames: "Rumor has it that the wizard who created this spell, Ortagonus, was secretly a draconophile." or Chill Fog: "In the Valian Republics, Chill Fog is widely used on a mixture of churned cream, milk, sugar and eggs to create a popular frozen confection." was an unfortunate missed opportunity IMO.

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