D&D General High Gygaxian: Time To Post Your Favorite Purple Verbiage

Laurefindel

Legend
In much the same way that "Everyone who heard the Velvet Underground went on to form their own band," it has been my experience that everyone who was really into OD&D / AD&D (as opposed to the people who briefly played it during the fad times) tend to be over-represented in certain fields, from coding to engineers to lawyers to certain artistic endeavors.

But that's just anecdotal.
I corroborate your information.

Actually, I’m pretty sure we can find enough evidence support on these forums to elevate your « anecdotal experience » to « dubious empirical data ».
 

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Lidgar

Gongfarmer
Our group loves to read the boxed text from old adventures he authored. Here's two that immediately come to mind. Re-reading them, it's funny to see how similar some of the text is, like bones scattered on the ground and leering avians.

The forest you have been passing through has been getting more dense, tangled, and gloomier than before. The thick, twisted tree trunks, unnaturally misshapen limbs, writhing roots, clutching and grasping thorns and briars all seem to warn and ward you off, but you have forced and hacked your way through regardless. Now the strange growth has suddenly ended - you have stepped out of the thicket into a ravine-like area. The walls rise rather steeply to either side to a height of about 100’ or so - dark, streaked rock mingled with earth. Clumps of trees grow here and there, both on the floor of the ravine and up the sloping walls of the canyon. The opening you stand in is about 200’ wide. The ravine runs at least 400’ west (actually 440’) to where the western end rises in a steep slope. Here and there, at varying heights on all sides of the ravine, you can see the black mouths of cave-like openings in the rock walls. The sunlight is dim, the air dank, there is an oppressive feeling here - as if something evil is watching and waiting to pounce upon you. There are bare, dead trees here and there, and upon one a vulture perches and gazes hungrily at you. A flock of ravens rise croaking from the ground, the beat of their wings and their cries magnified by the terrain to sound loud and horrible. Amongst the litter of rubble, boulders, and dead wood scattered about on the ravine floor, you can see bits of gleaming ivory and white - closer inspection reveals that these are bones and skulls of men, animals, and other things,. . .

You know that you have certainly discovered the Caves Of Chaos.

(B2: Keep on the Borderlands)

As you approach the Temple area, the vegetation is disconcerting—dead trees with a skeletal appearance, scrub growth twisted and unnaturally colored, all unhealthy and sickly looking or exceptionally robust and disgusting. The ruins of the Temple's outer works appear as dark and overgrown mounds of gray rubble and blackish weeds. Skulls and bones of humans and humanoids gleam white here and there amidst the weeds. A grove of some oddly stunted and unhealthy looking usk trees still grows along the northern end of the former Temple compound, and a stump of a tower juts up from the northeast corner of the shattered wall. The leprous gray Temple, however, stands intact, its arched buttresses somehow obscene with their growth of climbing vegetation. Everything surrounding the place is disgusting. The myriad leering faces and twisting, contorted forms writhing and posturing on every face of the Temple seem to jape at the obscenities they depict. The growth in the compound is rank and noisome. Thorns clutch, burrs stick, and crushed stems either emit foul stench or raise angry weals on exposed flesh. Worst of all, however, is the pervading fear which seems to hang over the whole area — a smothering, clinging, almost tangible cloud of vileness and horror. Sounds seem distorted, either muffled and shrill or unnaturally loud and grating. Your eyes play tricks. You see darting movements out of the corner of your eye, just at the edge of vision; but when you shift your gaze towards such, of course, there is nothing there at all. You cannot help but wonder who or what made the maze of narrow paths through the weedy courtyard. What sort of thing would wander here and there around the ghastly edifice of Evil without shrieking and gibbering and going completely mad? Yet the usual mundane sounds of your travel are accompanied only by the chorus of the winds, moaning through hundreds of Temple apertures built to sing like doomed souls given over to the tender mercies of demonkind, echoed by macabre croaks from the scattered flapping, hopping, leering ravens.

There is no doubt; you have come to a place of ineffable Evil. Still, it is most certainly a place for high adventure and untold treasures. It is time to ready spells, draw weapons, check equipment, and set forth into the maze of peril that awaits you.

(T1-4, The Temple of Elemental Evil)
 
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I do quite like the attempt in the Vault of the Drow to describe something that we literally cannot perceive with our own senses!

Apropos of @Whizbang Dustyboots last post, there can be found passages of text in other D&D works that to my mind approach High Gygaxian without quite going over the edge - no doubt the work of an editor.

Here is part of page 93 of Out of the Abyss, for instance:

Read-aloud text pg. 93 said:
You have no clear reference to judge the towering mushroom's size at this distance. Thousands of smaller fungi cling to the main stalk, which itself splits into several lesser stalks, each long enough with a cap big enough to be the top of a great tower. The cavern floor surrounding the stalk is covered by a carpet of fungi.

An eerie luminescence pours through slitted windows carved into the trunk, with the same cacophony of atonal music heard earlier echoing within. A stench of rot and decay wraps around you, seemingly threatening to penetrate your flesh and pervade your soul.

Following DM text said:
Ystabrod's Garden of Welcome is a pale reflection of the true horrors surrounding Yggmorgus. A 20-foot-high crescent-shaped ledge hugs the cavern wall and gradually slopes down to the lower basin. The ledge is covered with a carpet of moss and fungi, scores of variously sized lumps, and pockmarks where pools of vile fluids suppurate and ooze, some drying out and scabbing over.

I'd never encountered the word "suppurate" before this book.
 





Elphilm

Explorer
Probably spoken by people with a formal education who look down on working class writers IMO
Yeah, I find it hard to interpret this attitude apparently shared by "many people" as anything other than a "Know your place, trash" type of sentiment.

Gygax just loved Jack Vance and the "big three" of Weird Tales, all of whom used obscure or archaic terms in their fiction. That Gygax's imitations weren't as well put together as, say, Vance's prose is no great sin, because Vance was a masterful stylist, and writing fiction was never anything more than a lark for Gygax.
 

Blue Orange

Gone to Texas
Yeah, I find it hard to interpret this attitude apparently shared by "many people" as anything other than a "Know your place, trash" type of sentiment.

Gygax just loved Jack Vance and the "big three" of Weird Tales, all of whom used obscure or archaic terms in their fiction. That Gygax's imitations weren't as well put together as, say, Vance's prose is no great sin, because Vance was a masterful stylist, and writing fiction was never anything more than a lark for Gygax.
Agree, in the visual arts I feel like a lot of the 'low arts' are the last refuge of representationalism. Give me Kinkade over Kandinsky or Colman-Smith over Koons anyday. Ed Hardy over David Hockney.
 

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