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D&D 5E Content Warning Labels? Yeah or Nay?

Today, both "fay" and "fey" are Modern English words.

"Fay" means fairy, the equivalent of Middle English, fairie.

"Fey" doesnt.

It is a matter of looking a word up in a dictionary.

In my 40 years of gaming, and longer for reading fantasy novels, I have never seen Fay used for fairy. It has always been Fey, especially when referring to Celtic-type Fairy folk.
 

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When it comes to Arabic, it really is up to the author. I would ignore apostrophes in English. On the other hand, I expect every Arabic speaking nation will have an official transliteration system, which its citizens may or may not tend to use. I would look up the system from where the folkbelief comes.

At the same time, I would try to make it look pronounceable to an English speaker. For example, for the sacred text, I would spell it Quran, rather than Qur’an (with glottal character) or Koran (Anglicization).
This shows a level of inventiveness that demonstrates you know there is absolutely no council in either English or Arabic.

Dictionaries are reactive, not proactive. Common usage for modern words and transliteration guides decisions by those that make dictionaries.

Since the audience you are insisting is wrong is dramatically larger than the audience that you insist is correct, fey is in fact being used correctly. That's how English works (French doesn't work this way).
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
If you used Faie for a creature, most of us would think its some kind of construct make of pâté de foie (liver pâté) from Belgium and north of France. :p

My next campaign will have an evil alchemist selling pâté de faie. I wonder how I'll get this joke in writting, probably through a prop, hoping the players will point out the error for it to be corrected as fée. There is a very slim chance it happens but it's worth trying.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Heh, maybe the spelling variant faé is better for a Modern French ear?
Not really, this does not make the sound you seek. Fée is pretty much pronounced like Fey/Fae.

''Faé'' would be whole other pronunciation and wouldnt mean nothin'.

well...what do you know....French is complicated thing!
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
well...what do you know....French is complicated thing!
Yeah and the borrowing from Old French to Modern English is similarly complicated.



It looks something like:

Classical Latin fatum → Vulgar Latin fata → Old French fae → Middle French fée → feie → Middle English feie → faie → Modern English → fay

Relatedly:

Old French faerie → Middle English faierie → fairie → Modern English fairy

(Modern English faerie is an intentional borrowing from the archaic Old French spelling.)



Notably, in every case, these terms mean: magic, magical, magicked, and magicking.



When I look at the prominent dictionaries, the term is fay. However when I look at wictionary the term is fey. This suggests recent popculture has adopted an improper use of fey under the influence of fay and fairy. This usage derives from a sense of fey that came to mean otherworldly, even clairvoyant, but in recent decades comes to be used to specifically mean magical and fairy.

Compare how the incorrect use of "longsword" by D&D entered popculture.
 

Current edition actually uses longsword more or less correctly. It is, well, a longish sword, that can be used either by one or two hands. The issue (if you consider it to be such) is that there is no separate arming sword. But I guess in D&D terms it would simply be a longsword without 'versatile' property.
 

S'mon

Legend
Current edition actually uses longsword more or less correctly. It is, well, a longish sword, that can be used either by one or two hands. The issue (if you consider it to be such) is that there is no separate arming sword. But I guess in D&D terms it would simply be a longsword without 'versatile' property.

The 5e longsword killed the bastard sword & took its stuff.
 





Yaarel

Mind Mage
Current edition actually uses longsword more or less correctly. It is, well, a longish sword, that can be used either by one or two hands. The issue (if you consider it to be such) is that there is no separate arming sword. But I guess in D&D terms it would simply be a longsword without 'versatile' property.
I consider the normal arming "sword" to be something like: martial finesse d8 with a choice of piercing or slashing.
 



Yaarel

Mind Mage
5e Longswords are more accurately described as Hand-and-a-Half Swords, IMO.
Long sword and great sword (and the equivalent) are the historical terms. For example, the Scottish claymore (claidheamh mòr) is literally a "great sword", and while it can be wielded effectively one-handed, it is typically with a two-hand grip and wielded two-handed.

The term "hand-and-half" is modern jargon from archeology, that specifically refers to the grip type, where the end of the grip might have a knob that can be held by the offhand.

The same bladelength of a medieval longsword might have a grip that is one-handed, two-handed, or hand-and-half. The grip depends on wielder preference. Presumably a wielder who uses the sword exclusively one-handed is remarkably strong.

D&D 5e returned to the correct meaning of a longsword, whence its versatile property. But now missing from 5e, is the normal "sword" (arming sword, knightly sword, viking sword, spatha, etcetera).
 

Hussar

Legend
All this hand wringing about the dictionary aside, this is a book for D&D. D&D has spelled it "fey" since at least 3e - Fey type and I imagine longer than that. So, no, there's no particularly compelling reason to use "fay". Heck, even in your own definitions @Yaarel, you note that it means "otherworldly". So, right off the bat, it fits fine.

And, just as an added thought, there are some rather unfortunate connotations between fay and derogative slang which get avoided when we use fey. At the end of the day, it's a very complicated issue and it's certainly not wrong (for a given value of wrong) to simply use the accepted terms like "longsword" and "fey". Are they technically wrong? Yeah, probably, but, that never stopped anyone before.

This is a really, really weird hill to die on.
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
All this hand wringing about the dictionary aside, this is a book for D&D. D&D has spelled it "fey" since at least 3e - Fey type and I imagine longer than that. So, no, there's no particularly compelling reason to use "fay". Heck, even in your own definitions @Yaarel, you note that it means "otherworldly". So, right off the bat, it fits fine.

This is a really, really weird hill to die on.
The book by @Sacrosanct is more than, "I made stuff up".

Its purpose is for 5e gameplay. But it seeks to introduce players to reallife folkbelief. Some of this folkbelief includes tropes that are psychologically or socially troubling. Besides the possibility of psychological triggers (reminding me of legally required allergy warnings), terms like "fairy" and "fey" can also relate to cultural appropriation if employed to misrepresent a Nonbritish culture. In any case, the reference to reallife folkbelief includes the reallife academic study of it.

The book is serious, even if only it only states such considerations briefly.

Sacrosanct asked for feedback. I personally find the discussions in this thread valuable.

I dont think the book needs to use the spelling "fay". But it should mention it as a book that is informed about reallife folkbelief.



Maybe say:

The term "Fey" comes from the D&D 5e creature type, whose origin is an otherworldly plane called the Feywild. The D&D term relates both to the adjective "fey", otherworldly, and to the noun "fay", a fairy. Generally, this type is a creature of magic from a magical realm.

This book uses the D&D term Fey in the sense of a magical creature. It includes creatures that British cultures consider kinds of "fairy" (magical spirit), such as elf and leprechaun, as well as comparable creatures in other cultures, including those that medieval Norse cultures consider kinds of "vættr" (nature being), such as alfr and dvergr, and that modern folkbelief considers kinds of "troll" (magical being), such as hulder and tuss.

And so on.
 
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Hussar

Legend
@Yaarel - Yeah, I'd buy that. Nothing wrong with a nice healthy sidebar somewhere that talks about this. I'm always a fan of these sort of "editorial interjections" in books like this.
 


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