[Mystara Database] Officialness

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Thorf
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[Mystara Database] Officialness

Post by Thorf » Mon Jul 07, 2008 1:52 am

I came up with this category in the maps thread, and I thought it deserved a thread of its own for discussion of the categories.

The basic concept is to provide a way of marking how official information in the database is. Given that eventually we will have information from all sorts of different sources, including the official books as well as the Vaults of Pandius, fan authors, etc., it's important to be able to tell not just what came from which source, but also where those ideas came from, and how likely they are to be compatible.

So far I have defined six categories:
  1. Official - An official publication, or an extract from one. No paraphrasing, adaptation, speculative expansion, or other non-official influence.
  2. Paraphrased official - Based entirely on official sources, expressed in a slightly different way. No adaptation, speculative expansion, or other non-official influence.
  3. Adapted official - Based primarily on official sources, but changed slightly to fit non-official ideas.
  4. Expanded official - Based primarily on official sources, but expanded in a speculative way, drawing conclusions from official sources and developing them.
  5. Unofficial - Not based on official sources, but rather introducing entirely original ideas.
  6. Alternate - Designed to fit with a different conception of the world.
  7. Official Adaptation - Officially-produced adaptation of original Mystara products or ideas.
Do you think these categories are clear? Do they cover everything at the Vaults? Can you easily see what would fit in each category?

Edit: Added number 7 to the list.

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Re: Officialness

Post by Andaire » Mon Jul 07, 2008 6:51 pm

This is the degree of officialness, but how should we represent the degree of fandom? (is this or that compatible with the MA, with GazF, ...?)
Or, for that matter, the degree of canonicity (is the new Isle of Dread really Mystaran?)
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Re: Officialness

Post by Thorf » Tue Jul 08, 2008 2:20 am

Andaire wrote:This is the degree of officialness, but how should we represent the degree of fandom? (is this or that compatible with the MA, with GazF, ...?)
Or, for that matter, the degree of canonicity (is the new Isle of Dread really Mystaran?)
How's this?
  • Official Adaptation - Officially-produced adaptation of original Mystara products or ideas.
I think we can fit these options in on this scale too. We just need to come up with easy-to-understand titles for them. Fandom is already incorporated in options 2-6, but if there is something specific you want to add we can certainly add it too.

One more thing: remember that "Officialness" is not the only variable at work. We also have fields like "Series" to play with; fields used by official products but not by fan products. It would make sense to add things like the Mystaran Almanacs and the GAZ F Series to the "Series" list, for use with fan products.

On the other hand, Compatibility/continuity is perhaps another matter. I don't think it's all that simple, either. A single article can be compatible with all sorts of other articles, so it might be best to start a separate table for it, and choose a number of landmark articles to include as baselines for compatibility. (For example, World in Flames, Mystaran Almanacs, GAZ F Series, etc.)

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Re: Officialness

Post by Andaire » Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:13 pm

Ah, I wasn't aware of the Series field.
Compatibility is an important and delicate situation. Your solution may work. It remains to be seen how we treat internal inconsistencies (including withing canon).
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Re: Officialness

Post by Thorf » Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:17 am

With official sources, I'm not sure we need to deal with inconsistencies at all. Just document them and allow people to make their own choices.

But if you have a better solution, I'll be happy to try it out. :) For example, we may want to have some sort of yes/no field to indicate inconsistency (consistent/inconsistent). That would allow us to highlight the problem areas, although I'm not sure how effective it would be.

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Re: Officialness

Post by LoZompatore » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:58 am

Official - An official publication, or an extract from one. No paraphrasing, adaptation, speculative expansion, or other non-official influence.
Paraphrased official - Based entirely on official sources, expressed in a slightly different way. No adaptation, speculative expansion, or other non-official influence.
Adapted official - Based primarily on official sources, but changed slightly to fit non-official ideas.
Expanded official - Based primarily on official sources, but expanded in a speculative way, drawing conclusions from official sources and developing them.
Unofficial - Not based on official sources, but rather introducing entirely original ideas.
Alternate - Designed to fit with a different conception of the world.
Official Adaptation - Officially-produced adaptation of original Mystara products or ideas.
I'm a little confused about some categories you made. I'll try to show you what I understood about them with an example:


Official:

During this period, Nithia discovered the insular Tangor civilization, which apparently survived the Blackmoor and Glantri disasters intact.
(Text taken as it is from Hollow World: Kingdom of Nithia supplement, DM's book, "History" section)

Paraphrased official:

Nithians met the Tangor civilization, which seemed a very ancient culture.
(It's just another way to write the sentence above)

Adapted official:

Nithians met the Tangor civilization before a series of land upheavals changed their archipelago to the mountain chain we know today.
(This concept is never stated anywere in the official material, but it could be added to fit the AC 1000 map of Skothar and other sources).

Expanded official:

Nithians and Tangor people, being at the height of their civilizations, peacefully met each other along the southern Skothar coast around BC 1000. A group of Tangors, the Nuari, decided to settle nearer to the Nithian empire, so they started a prolonged colonisation effort to the Pearl Islands.
(Many speculations connecting official material - the colonisation of the Pearl Islands and the meeting between Nithians and Tangor people - and unofficial toughts - it's never stated the two civilizations met halfway along the southern Skothar coast, nor that the meeting was peaceful)

Unofficial:

As soon as the Nithians met the people of Tangor they started a long military campaign in order to conquer these attractive far lands, which were full of relics from an unknown past. Iuzmosis I (:P) the Nithian pharaoh of the time, soon engaged in a long naval warfare encompassing most of the sea south of Skothar. Facing the conquest and the enslaving by Nithian hands, the mages of Tangor rose massive submarine volcanoes in the deep ocean, producing such a thick fog and treacherous navigation that the crossing from the Nithian Empire to Tangor become almost impossible. That was the origin of the Sea of Steam. Most of the huge Nithian fleet, including the Pharaoh flagship, was caught in the disaster and sank or was wrecked. Unluckily, the magic conjured up by the people of Tangor turned over themselves, and volcanic eruptions destroyed their archipelago, creating the Tangor mountain chain we know today. The Nuari, a group of Tangor refugees, managed to flee the catastrophe and sailed west. The benign pharaoh Tokoramses XI allowed them to settle on the fringe of the Nithian empire and so they colonised the Pearl Islands around BC 1000.
(Most of the info written here are entirely ideas and speculations of mine)

Alternate:

Actually the Nithians and the people of Tangor never met each other. Tangor became a peninsula shortly after the upheavals of the Great Rain of Fire, and every pre cataclysmic civilization on the previous archipelago was shattered. Some Tangor settlers from the plains in central Skothar managed to settle the new peninsula in the following centuries, but they never built such a refined civilization as the Nithian one. On the other hand, the Nithians never sailed east of the Alatians, as they toughts that only savage lands laid beyond.
(The description above do not use the info from HW:KoN and describe the area using info taken from other official supplements. What if the info are taken from fan-made material? Are these "Alternate" descriptions of the setting, too?)

Original Adaption:

N/A with this example, I think.


If I misinterpreted some category please would you mind to write down your own example in order to clarify it?

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