Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wolf of the Steppes: Vocabulary Building

Over here on good old Google books is a preview of Wolf of the Steppes by Harold Lamb. Here are some various words that I was like... must look that up.

Atamans: General officer of the Cossack.

Bogatyr: Similiar to a knight errant.

Hetman: Title of the second highest commander from 15th-18th century in Poland and the highest in the Cossack military.

Zaporogian Siech: The Cossacks of the sixteenth and seventeenth century called their isolated war encampment.

Kurens: Barracks

Nankeen Breeches: Cotton cloth

Sequin: Coins used in the Mediterranean. Also used to make jewelry like viels of Sequin.

Versts: Equal to 3500 feet.

There was a wide variety of language in the book that piqued my interest and made me look up terminology. In today's era it's pretty easy with the internet to act as a guide and much of it being found at good old Wikipedia. Still, the fact that so much of it is unfamiliar to me, gives me an idea of how, when I run games, if I want players to know that they're no longer in a standard dark ages generic fantasy, can use language and vocabulary to build on the differences of the cultures. Language is an excellent tool for communicating the familiar and for showcasing difference.s