Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Lost Emaindor

About a year ago, my mother brought me some things I'd left behind in my childhood home. Among them were a couple of huge three-ring binders filled with yellowed, dog-eared, typed pages. These were the notes to the campaign setting I created and used in the mid to late 1980s. In this, I was inspired by an article from Dragon by Arthur Collins called "The Making of a Mileu." I can't begin to tell you how influential that one article was on my thinking. After reading it, I decided I had to take the plunge and collect all my disparate ideas about an original setting in one place.

In saying "original," I am reminded of the aphorism attributed to Samuel Johnson (among others), "Your manuscript is good and original, but what is original is not good; what is good is not original." That pretty well sums up my Emaindor setting. I cribbed mercilessly from all sorts of things: a little – or a lot – of Greyhawk here, some Forgotten Realms there, and so on. Re-reading these sheaves of paper, all of which bear the stains of hole reinforcements, most of which fell off long ago, I was initially quite sheepish. I immediately recognized the sources of my numerous acts of plagiarism and shook my head. 

Yet, there's nevertheless some good stuff in here, things that are genuinely original and perhaps even good. The seeds of some of my later ideas are here – inchoate, yes, but present nonetheless. For example, my conception of elves as literally otherworldly is in these pages, as is the notion of jettisoning halflings as a playable race and substituting another one. From the vantage point of thirty-five years in the future, my juvenilia are nothing to write home about, but they're not utterly without interest (to me, if no one else).

I was sorry to see that these binders of material did not contain any of my constructed language grammars, lexicons, or alphabets. The loss of the latter is particularly disappointing, since the Emânic alphabet was an elegant one created for me by a young woman I met during my first year of college. Reminiscent of Insular Script, it made use of a vowel pointing system not unlike Hebrew or Arabic (or Tengwar). It's possible these documents might still exist somewhere among the things my mother gave me, but, if so, I cannot presently locate them. If I should ever locate them, I'll make scans and post them here.


  1. I'm always interested in fantastical alphabets, symbols, and such.

    Paolo Greco did a wonderful rendition of Trampier's magical scripts from Wormy at https://tsojcanth.wordpress.com/2016/03/31/new-font-pg-trampier-runes/ with some other useful Wormy materials (not by Paolo) at http://www.suberic.net/~dmm/graphics/wormy/circles.html.


  2. Ye Moulde'd Olde Bindre . . . everyone created their own relic, nearly forty years ago (and some kid is doing it right now) and what delight they bring upon rediscovery.


    Gnollsblood grenades were so cool back in Restenford.