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Messages - darkstorme
Just for Fun / What Rapid Shot Looks Like...« on: February 05, 2012, 01:25:26 am »
...in real life.
This is one of several reasons to be scared of archers.
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General Discussion / 'Tis STILL the Season...« on: December 29, 2011, 12:45:02 am »
...to give the gift of Layo!
(Or, at least, Neverwinter Nights.)
Good Ol' Games still has it on for $5.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
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General Discussion / Merry Christmas to all...« on: December 25, 2011, 01:57:11 am »
... and to all, a good night! *falls asleep*
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Just for Fun / The Problem Is...« on: September 20, 2011, 01:34:18 am »
... now I'm tempted to make a page for Kell.
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General Discussion / It's That Time of Year Again...« on: July 01, 2011, 05:22:09 am »
Happy Canada Day!
I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.
-- John Diefenbaker, from the Canadian Bill of Rights
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Roleplaying / Bards - Threas Theory with Therise - Built to Scale« on: June 17, 2011, 03:59:31 am »
*A note is left on the board*
My illusions are kept from me
Until I've had my reverie
And so, I must report with sorrow
Class will be upon the morrow.
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Roleplaying / Bards - Threas Theory with Therise - What's the Time; How Long Will This Last?« on: June 10, 2011, 03:12:31 am »
*A note is left on the slate: "Lesson delayed one day - teacher is out viewing a performance by the local chapter of the Ineffable Chord. See you tomorrow!"*
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Just for Fun / DETA Presents...« on: June 06, 2011, 12:54:49 pm »
Druids for the Ethical Treatment of Animals presents:
Don't you feel guilty about killing those dire badgers now?
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Poetic License / Elven Recorder Trio« on: June 04, 2011, 05:20:22 am »
*Three musicians, one dressed all in red and wearing an Ilsare cloak, take the stage in the Bulls-Eye. As the other two assemble their instruments, the red-garbed elf speaks*
This little ditty we're playing today
Is a folktune of elven roots
So I've penned variations that we're going to play
On a trio of elven reed flutes.
Before the performance, I'll sing for you all;
This same elven folktune, learned when I was small...
*she pauses, then sings, unaccompanied, in a clear soprano*
Hello there my lord and my lady fair - my parents are away
They're fighting Bloodstone, 'cross the sea - but they'll come back someday.
*Her mouth quirks in somewhat bitter humour, and then she lifts the recorder to her lips and repeats the tune. The musician to her right, playing a larger instrument, picks up a bass line, followed by counterpoint from the musician to her right, all three instruments blending together.*
To the scattered applause, the three bow, and depart.
// Therise's Perform skill is much higher than mine, and I only spent an hour writing and recording this. Don't judge her!
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Roleplaying / Bards - Threas Theory with Therise - Take Notes« on: June 03, 2011, 02:46:02 am »
(The first installment of this series is here; the subsequent installment is here.)
*a pair of burly dwarves haul a heavy baby grand piano into the centre of the room, by the slate the elf has set up. She nods and gives them each a few coins, and they walk out as the last of the students seat themselves. She plays a quick set of chords, at which point all the students turn to her*
How do we know what we are singing?
Or which of a harp's strings are ringing?
Or all of the manifold players who make up a band?
The notes that they read are the key
And if you will listen to me
You'll find these notes are easy to understand.
/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /
*Therise turns from her seat at the piano, again clad in red jeans and an Ilsare t-shirt*
Hello again! Today's discussion will be about notes and notation. I'm going to move pretty quickly through this, so be sure to ask me any questions you have after class.
First, a bit about sounds. A note, whether sung, strummed, or played by some other means, is sound at a particular frequency. As an example, the note to which most orchestras tune, A (more on why it's "A" later) is four hundred and forty vibrations per second, or hertz. It sounds like this.
Now, different cultures use different subdivisions, but every culture has a sense of what is known as the "octave". This is the range of notes that occurs between two pitches that are "alike". As it happens, these "like" pitches occur at frequencies at powers of two. So if you play pitches of 440 Htz, 880 Htz, and 1760 Htz, it sounds like this. You've probably experienced this yourself when singing along to a piece that's outside your normal vocal range. You are still singing the "same" notes, but lower or higher than the tune to which you're singing.
So that's an octave - a range from one pitch to another at twice its frequency. Why "octave", suggesting eight? Well, come over here and look at the piano keyboard.
The two keys in red are both "A", the note you just heard. If you count from A to A on the white keys, you'll find that there are eight. That's why it's an octave. *she grins* But why the black keys? That makes twelve from A to A, after all. Well, in some cultures, there are as many as twenty-four notes in an octave; in other cultures, fewer - you can feel free to ask about that after class. But as I mentioned in the first lesson, we're going to be working from a largely western musical tradition... and there's a reason rooted in physics for the way that the western note scheme is laid out.
*she takes a breath* If you sing a note, or play it on a piano, or violin, you're not just playing the one frequency. You're playing what's called the "harmonic series" - the base frequency, plus a set of overtones. *she takes her harp out of its case and sets it on the piano* If I pluck one of these strings, it has one frequency which has a wavelength that corresponds to exactly the length of the string - that's the base frequency. But other frequencies appear as well: the frequencies whose wavelengths are integer divisors of the base frequency's wavelength.
So there's one wave that's half the length of the base, and therefore twice the frequency - and, as we just discussed, that's the octave above our base. The next wave is a third of the length of the base, or three times the frequency, and that's a very important note as well. It's a "fifth" above the root, and is often referred to as the "dominant", or, more tellingly, a "perfect fifth". The frequency above that approximates a fourth, then a major third, then a minor third... but we'll get into intervals later. The fifth is the important note, because it's the first "different" note in the harmonic series, and the one that sounds "best" to the ear - for that very reason.
But how do we get from this to our twelve notes in an octave? Well, this is a neat little musical trick called the "circle of fifths". Let's get that piano keyboard back, but we'll put some note names on the keys...
So, for the sake of precedent, let's start on A. A perfect fifth above A is E. A perfect fifth above E is B. A perfect fifth above B... isn't F. It's about halfway between F and G, pitchwise. You'll note, conveniently, that there's a key between F and G - that's F sharp, or G flat. Got it? Alright, moving along. A perfect fifth above F sharp is C sharp. (It's the key just between C and D.) A perfect fifth above C sharp is G sharp. A perfect fifth above G sharp is D sharp. A perfect fifth above D sharp is A sharp. A perfect fifth above A sharp is... F. (Makes sense, doesn't it? If B's perfect fifth is F-sharp...) A perfect fifth above F is C. A perfect fifth above C is G. A perfect fifth above G is D, and a perfect fifth above D is... A. And there we have it: A->E->B->F# ("#" is the symbol used to denote "sharp")->C#->G#->D#->A#->F->C->G->D->A. Twelve different pitches, in a circle of fifths.
So that's why there are twelve different pitches in the space of an octave. Hooray! But I did promise you some notation as well, so while the students there *gestures at the Hempstead classroom* get their quills and parchment out, how about you start up MuseScore. I'll wait. *whistles idly to herself*
While you're doing that, a brief word on nomenclature. In english-language western music (and a few other regions), the notes are given letters - A through G, with the black notes as "modified" letters (A sharp, B flat, etc.). There's no particular reason for this other than the fact that having a coherent system makes it much easier for everyone to be on the same page when reading music. Some other languages (slavic and romance languages in particular) use what's known as "fixed solfège", where the notes are represented by the syllables "do", "re", "mi", "fa", "so", "la", and "ti". Moveable solfège (as popularized by certain Austrian nuns) is a popular teaching technique for singing, but the syllables do not represent particular pitches, simply pitches relative to one another. Fixed solfège has correspondences - "do" is C, "re" is D, and so on, to "ti" as B.
You have MuseScore open now? Excellent! Go to File->New... Don't bother filling in any of the documentation right now; this is just a 'scrap' session. Select "Create Score from Template", click Next, and select "Piano.mscx". What you should see ought to look something like this...
Yours will have a time signature (that's the 4 on top of another 4) - ignore that for now. This is the Grand Staff. What we'll look at first are the clefs. The one on the upper staff is called the "Treble Clef", or G clef, so named because it curls around the line on which G is written.
This clef is the highest unmodified clef - it usually denotes higher-pitched instruments or voices (sopranos *she preens* and altos).
The Bass Clef or "F Clef" (so named because its dots bracket the line on which F is written) is the lower counterpart. Taken together, the Treble and Bass clefs and their respective staves form the Grand Staff, which is employed when writing condensed orchestral music, small vocal arrangements, and piano pieces.
On the treble clef, the lines (taken from bottom to top) are E, G, B, D, and F. As a child, I was taught these as "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge". (Which seems unfair. What about girls?) The spaces spell "FACE", which is pretty straightforward. The space below the E line is D, and the space above the F line is G (which makes sense, doesn't it?). The A in that FACE, by the way, is the A which is conventionally four hundred and forty hertz, as discussed earlier.
On the bass clef, the lines (again, from bottom to top) are G, B, D, F, and A. The mnemonic for that one was "Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always" (*pouts*). The spaces are A, C, E, and G ("All Children Eat Gumdrops"). The space above? B. The space below? F. Simple!
One more detail, however - you may have noticed that there's a note missing between the top of the lower staff and the bottom of the lower staff. This note, known as "middle C" for its position on the piano keyboard and the staff, sits on what is called a "ledger line" - a line, just the length of the note, written just below the upper staff, or above the lower. Ledger lines are also employed when the treble part needs to descend into the bass, or exceed its own upper bounds - and likewise with the bass.
Here, however - *she gestures and a staff springs into the air before her* - I've made a little cheat sheet.
"But why do the notes look different, some empty, some full?", I hear you ask. "What are the squiggly things, and the bars connecting them?" Those have to do with time signatures and duration - and will wait for another day. The spell's almost worn off again for another week. You can, of course, speak to me in #theory_threas on IRC - and I'll post a few little exercises to this thread later this week.
For now, 'ta! *she mutters something and vanishes as the classroom comes back to life*
/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /
*Therise looks in satisfaction as her students scritch away with quill and parchment. She plays a few opening chords on the piano and sings, to the tune of what would, if it were not horribly anachronistic, be 'Sandra Dee' from Grease...*
Now, you see, it's A to G
Deceptive in simplicity.
Now it won't be long
'til you're writing in song...
All thanks to A through G!
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Wild Surge Inn / Bounty Board« on: May 31, 2011, 01:28:40 am »
It's a big world. And even the Rofirienites can't be everywhere at once. (Jennara can be in, at most, five places at once.) So occasionally, local authorities will place bounties on the heads of those who have evaded the normal agents of the law.
In the theme of Mixafix's Last Stranger Standing, this thread will be the bounties posted by various regional authorities on those that they could not hunt down themselves, and now simply want dead. When a bounty is placed, an NPC will be placed somewhere in the world (possibly alluded to in the bounty post). To collect the bounty, a player (or group of players) must find the target, kill them, and return their ear to the authority in question as proof of the deed. (When you have secured the ear, contact me on IRC or PM me so that the handover can be arranged.)
Be warned, however, that not all authorities are equal, and not all the bounties posted may be palatable to all characters.
Edit: After the first bounty, I had a brainstorm - a format for capture PMs!
Please format your PMs as follows:
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Roleplaying / Bards - Threas Theory with Therise - What's the Score?« on: May 27, 2011, 03:34:46 am »
(The next installment of this series is here.)
*In a rented hall in Hempstead, a comely elf sets up a slate, laying out chalk on a table. The hall holds a few dozen people of varying ages, from children to the elderly. The elf carefully writes "Therise Silverstar" in both Common and Elven characters, then turns to face the group, brushing chalk dust off her hands and smiling*
I'm glad you're here - now let's begin
You're here to learn some composition
It's not a game that you can win
But part of the bardic tradition.
You needn't be a master bard
To write a song that's nice to hear
Just learn some rules; it's not too hard
To find notes pleasing to the ear.
You'll need a quill, with which to write,
Paper too, to hold your song
I'll start you on that path tonight
And you'll be writing 'fore too long!
* * * *
*The scene grinds to a halt, as if a mage cast a Time Stop spell, and the same elf steps out from the side of the room, this time wearing a t-shirt with Ilsare's image on it. She smiles cheerily at the fourth wall, and waves.*
Hi folks! I'm Therise. Darkstorme had this idea for a segment where - for the benefit of those who haven't had any (or much) formal music training - someone could explain the basics of songwriting, composition, and the history/theory behind music. I'm the only Bard he personally knows, so... *she shrugs*. The reason all this winds up in the Roleplaying forum is because this will give bards and other in-game songsters a chance to write their music down, and let others experience it as well! Also on the plus side, I get to speak to you all normally - no rhymes! I also get to know a bunch of anachronistic things.
First of all, this is western notation - specifically, the notation employed primarily in the US and Canada. I'll try to mention other notation systems and musical traditions when I can, but my own expertise derives from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Or a bard academy on Voltrex, take your pick. I'm also not going to say that the notation I'm describing here is the same employed in the world of Layonara - it might not be, and I'm not going out on a limb - I don't want to get retconned! *she shivers*
Courtesy of being out of character, I also know about the Internet... which is good, because today's theory lesson is just about the tools we'll be using. These guys *she gestures over her shoulder at the frozen classroom* will be using quill and parchment. And while that was good enough for Mozart, we can do a little bit better these days. Say hello to Musescore. It's available for all platforms - Windows, Linux, or Mac - and the source is available too, for anyone who has a particularly... unique... setup. It is also free, and can readily compete with Finale as a notation program.
The advantages here are several: first, it means that I can provide you with lessons that you'll be able to download and play with on your own machine. You won't need any staff paper, pencils, or erasers. And - something that cannot be emphasized enough as a benefit - you'll be able to listen to everything you write, without even having to learn an instrument! I would also highly recommend picking up a soundfont. These give MuseScore more of an "orchestra" to work with, and give you a much better sense of what your composition would sound like if performed. Myself, I prefer the Fluid Soundfont.
So, go ahead, download and install it. That'll get you set up for next week's lesson. And I'll even provide a bonus! Attached to this post will be a little lullabye I've been working on. It's not done yet, but it'll give you an idea of what this software can do.
If you have any questions, leave them in this thread, and I'll answer them to the best of my abilities - hopefully, enough people will be interested that we can make this a fun learning experience. And now, I've got to dash - the spell keeping everything frozen's about to wear off, and I can't be seen with me! Next week - notes, and basic notation! *she blows a kiss, and vanishes 'offscreen' just as motion resumes*
* * * * *
*The elven bard leading the class smiles as the students start packing up*
Now put your quills and ink away
We're done, at least tonight.
But one short week after today
We'll start on how to write!
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General Discussion / Canadian PSA« on: May 02, 2011, 03:50:07 am »
Regardless of your political affiliations:
So get out there tomorrow!
That is all.
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Just for Fun / New Spell...« on: March 10, 2011, 04:30:00 am »
YouTube - shiba inu white pupy
YouTube - Golden retriever Puppy falling asleep
YouTube - beagle puppy howl
YouTube - Golden Retriever Puppies eat boy ALIVE ~ William Lavinger
YouTube - Siberian Husky Puppy - That's my Slipper
YouTube - Cutest Mishka Video Ever - Talking Husky Dog
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Ask A Gamemaster / Ask a World-Definer: Ghost Sound« on: January 11, 2011, 04:18:31 am »
This doesn't necessarily have to be Ed - just someone who can make an official ruling (hence World-Definer). It's also an issue that a number of players might be interested in.
There is a precedent (outside of Layonara) for using the D&D spell Ghost Sound to provide instrumental or vocal accompaniment to a singer. Is this also possible for Bards in Layonara?
If it requires keeping a spell slot blank, that's entirely acceptable in exchange for a means of providing Therise some backup.
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General Discussion / By The Pricking of My Thumbs...« on: October 22, 2010, 04:08:12 am »
* * *
Ouroboros and Alan-a-Dale present, for the week before Halloween, Something Wicked, a set of loosely-coupled events, impromptus, and quests.
First up: We're All Mad Here
Keep an eye on this space, and the calendar, for further events!
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Just for Fun / Apropos of Nothing...« on: October 16, 2010, 07:43:54 pm »
Before I learned of the issues with using a piece of music you enjoy (but do not own the rights to) as a backdrop to a Youtube video, I had planned to use Disney's Illuminations 2000 Soundtrack (not posted by me) as the backdrop for just a "Layonara is cool" video.
Here, then, for posterity, was the storyboarding I'd laid out:
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Rumour Has It / Corathite Activities in the Taur'en Hills« on: October 16, 2010, 05:58:05 pm »
Reports from Fort Angle indicate that authorities are concerned about multiple sightings of cultists in the region. The presence of undead minions has lead authorities to believe that the individuals are Corathites, but this is, as yet, unconfirmed.
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General Discussion / Yo-ho!« on: September 19, 2010, 12:43:48 pm »
Avast ye scurvy sons o' lubbers! Ahoy, ye saucy wenches! It be Talk Like a Pirate Day!
If yer speech be hopelessly land-bound, there be hope for ye yet: the swabs at LoadingReadyRun can help ye.
And if ye be seekin' t' sing like a pirate, here be Kevin Kline, a fine sea-dog t' coach ye in piratical performance.
(An' if ye seek t' be plunderin' north o' th' forty-ninth, best listen t' these lubbers.)
Now get t' plunderin', me hearties!
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Rumour Has It / Godsawful Stench in Leringard« on: August 22, 2010, 12:56:01 am »
While business continues as usual on the Leringard docks, most of the commonfolk have abandoned the area in favour of places more upwind. The stench of rotting fish has been building by the docks for days now.
Much, much worse than usual.
And some of the fishermen have had some strange things to say about what they've been catching for the last few days.
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