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Once in a blue moon...

by numerous authors on The Piazza

by Hervé Musseau

Angry as the Old Man. - said about someone whose temper that can flare suddenly, generally in a violent way.

Straight as a Daro. (slick, devious, untruthful, silver-tongued)

"You will rain fire upon us" (you will bring us misfortune/doom/death)

by Robert J. Nuttman, Jr.

"Darokinian in a thieves' den" -- meaning one who's too late in being cautious.

"When in trouble, call a Druid."

"When trouble calls, its a Druid."
(referring to the tendency for Druids to be in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time)

".. and dragons only have a passing fondness for gold."

by Ville Lähde

"He's thicker than a troll's bottom." (Vestlandian, about a dull person)

"He rides higher than the World Mountain" (Ethengarian saying of a too proud person)

"We're tracking Al-Kalim here." (Ylari: we are well and truly lost)

"Crooked like a Glantrian." (Widely spread)

"They breed like mundanes." (Glantrian, high society, spoken about vermin or other nuisance)

"Feels like the days of the Kings again." (Darokinian, mainly borderlands, when something good happens at last)

"It's raining gnomes and hin." (It's raining a lot. Not used in polite society.)

"It's food on wheels, boys!" (Broken Lands, euphemism for trade wagons.)

"Dragon's eyes on us." (Description of an ominous feeling, common around Altan Tepes range.)

"When the sky falls/When it rains Fire/Once a mountain falls on me" (Many versions. Both the meaning "When Hell freezes over" and "If it comes to worst")

"He's got elven problems." (Dwarven insult, refers to lack of sexual prowess or ability, or physical details.)

"Dwarven work." (Elven metaphor: something done in too grandiose way, overtly functionally or even too quickly.)

"Good potatoes." (Karameikan, said out loud after a satisfying swig of vodka. Newer generations occasionally use it with other spirits too.)

"Honest like a Heldanner." (Northern. Interpretation varies, obviously.)

"He is thicker than Canolbarth." (Darokinian)

"Just wait until the 29th." (X will never happen)

"Shadowelf stories." (Expression of doubt, GAZ and pre-GAZ era, even in some parts of Alfheim.)

"Blue ones are at it again." (Ylari/Sindian: Storm is brewing - lightning is often associated with sex/battle among blue dragons.)

"It's like trading with Minrothaddans." (Common: Fighting an uphill battle.)

"Go where the zzonga blooms." (Known World, Get the hell out of here, Go away and don't come back."

"Hulean rumours." (Expression of doubt.)

"He's fog crazy." (Common expression among sailors of the Sea of Dread. Roots is kal-muru, but extended to
refer to strange behaviour at seas.)

"Gracious like a Grunalf." (Chossum, refers to bad trading manners.)

"He's got Chossum." (Grunalf, refers to young elves who wish to leave the forest.)

"Loricus damn you." (Many versions of the name, refers to the transformed legends of Loark. This is a Thyatian version.)

"Did you invite the Korizegys?" (A somewhat dark joke, used in unpopular parties in Karameikos.)

"Thyatian dawn" (Used in Specularum by Traladarans, often during busy season when the horizon is full of sails.)

"Corunglain wasn't built once." (Darokinian saying, refers to optimism in the face of adversity.)

"Silver is not for spending." (Karameikan: New generations use this to teach thrift. Originally it referred to the usefulness
of carrying silver coins as a talisman against lycanthropes.)

"Horseman is about." (Karameikan, used when horses are restless. Most people do not understand the reference to chevalls.)

One subcategory is of course the sayings and parables from Nahmeh and the commentaries. This is the prime source of
anecdotes in Ylari life (although I always like to play in some humour and irony regarding this religious tradition, as I
do not want to portray the Ylari as a caricature of a religious schism). In our campaigns we have developed dozens of
them, but unfortunately most of them are buried in piles of paper. Let's see if I can dig up some:

"A prudent man is him who follows the scorpion. Hide in the sand when giants tread, but sting them when they are
not looking." (Original context: guerrilla warfare against the colonial lords. Contemporary context: reference to
guile as opposed to direct approach.)

"Our spirit is like a candle. Hide it, and it still shines. Extinguish the flame, but the wick it always ready to catch flame.
Melt it, and it can always be reshaped."

"Do not gorge yourself. Stay lean, and follow the fleeing waters."

"Remember, that even the Prophet needed wise council in his travels." (Direct reference to Farid, used to criticise overconfidence when one
wants also to compliment the recipient.)

Well, in keeping with the actual depiction of the Hin in the GAZ:

"Never turn your back on a Hin." (Enemies of Hin)

"Crazy as a Hin pirate." (Sea of Dread)

"This is like ruling the Hin." (Used by dwarves and orcs, but perhaps not very common.)


"Smokier than the Shires." (For example in a barroom full of pipesmoke, or when a chimney is blocked, or after eating too much smoked meat.)

"We're Hin-deep in trouble." (To which a Hin Striker would proudly reply: "So watch your ankles.")

"Let's cut to the Hin." (An especially ugly Glantrian saying, meaning that an issue must be dissected... I mean examined very closely.)

"A sword's as good as an axe to a gargoyle." (An old proverb among mercenaries, reminds one that gargoyles can't be hurt without magic.)

"Gold endures but clocs fade away." (Darokinian traditionalist saying, expressing doubt of the modern monetary systems.)

"Cloc travels like the wind." (Darokinian modern saying, expressing the benefits of the cloc system, the ability to transfer large amounts
of money effectively by transferring debts.)

"Plague traveller." (Bearer of bad news. Refers to the great plague of 802.)

"Yeah, and we walk on the world." (Shadowelven expression of extreme doubt. Refers to legends of Hollow World.)

"Be good or the Pale Ones will get you." (Alfheimian saying, used to keep kids in line, pre-WotI of course.)

"Immortals work in mysterious ways."

"Let's keep it under the saddle for a while." (Ethengarian: let us thinks about it for a while.)

"He is Ethereal." (He is miles away.)

"And cities fly." (Known World: "And cows have wings." Alphatia: "It's not such a big deal anyway.")

"Beware Alphatians bearing gifts." (Alphatian periphery.)

"A dragon in need is a dragon indeed." (A warning against aggravating potential enemies.)

"Glitter is for fools." (Darokinian: refers to the foolishness of boasting one's wealth.)

"A real gargoyle gathers no moss." (Actually not a proverb, it is literal advice.)

"Better a horse than a home with no legs." (Ethengarian, expresses the advantage of the nomadic life.)

"Build your own gallows." (Carry your own cross)

"You too, Akhilleus?" (A very old proverb, the roots of which are unknown. Actually it refers to Akkila-Khan's betrayal of Loark.)

"You don't fight rust monsters with steel." (meaning: Choose your battles/tactics/weapons.)

"Help yourself and daros will help you." (Darokinian)

"Troubles are like Hattians; you should never let them raise their head." (Old Thyatian saying, refers to the rebellion. Hattian version says "women.)

"If Fate won't seek the Prophet out, the Prophet must seek Fate." (Ylari Preceptor proverb, refers to the potential in all men.)

"Third time is the charm." (Broken Lands orcs, refers to Sitting Drool's third successful attack on Corunglain.)

"Third time will hurt." (Corunglainian, see above)

"I looted, I pillaged, I razed." (Attributed to Sitting Drool.)

"Are Hin short?/Do dwarves have beards?/Is the Emperor rich?/Is Etienne old?..." (Is Pope Catholic?)

"It ain't over till the axe drops." ("It ain't over till the fat lady sings." would not work in most countries due to the absence of opera. Reference to executions might work.)

"Nomad is an island." (Ylari. Nomads use it to refer to self-sufficiency. Hazar use it to disparage them for their backwardness.)

"There's something rotten in Halag." (Line by Duke Stephan in a modern - GAZ-era - Specularumian play.)

"Ich bin ein Heldanner." (Attributed to Klaus Stammhoffer. An expression of proud among the Vanyans. Hated by many original Heldanners.)

Hin proverbs:

"Stuck between an orc and a dwarf." (A very bad situation. Refers to the time before Loktal's reign.)

"Never be too gentle." (An ancient proverb, used in child education. Sometimes it is accompanied with transformed parables
of the fate of the Gentle ones.)

"Trust no one and keep your dagger handy."

"Down the mushroom road." (Dwarven, refers to delirium tremens from mushroom moonshine.)

"He went down the tube." (Dark humour, refers to relatives lost in Glantrian experiments.)

"Said the choker to the thief." (Dwarven, similar to "Famous last words")

"Every tyrant has a master." (Black Eagle Barony, refers directly to Bargle, but it is also used more widely to claim that every evil has its origins.)

"Whiskey from Averoigne, Wine from Klantyre." (Glantrian: Refers to bad planning.)

"Dodgy as the displacer beast."

"When Ylaruam freezes over."

"Like a werewolf in the Silver Purge." (In a lot of trouble, that is.)

"Wyrwarf workmanship." (Other clans: refers to poor quality. Wyrwarf: Used when something as mundane as food, clothing etc. saves the day.)

"Somewhere over the rainbow." (Alfheimian, used to doubt a story. Refers to the Feadiel clan, whose stories some elves still doubt.)

"Like sleeping with spectres." (Describing something extremely tiresome or draining.)

"He/She joined the Marilenev ranks." (Traladaran militant expression, refers to martyrdom.)

"Accurate as an Aalbanese clock." (Glantrian saying.)

"It's a dog eat dog world out there" (Kobold proverb, used in times of conflict, especially civil war.)

"When it's sunny in Niflheim." (Norse proverb, meaning that it will never happen.)

"Let's take it to the stone." (Soderfjord saying. Refers both to the ting and settling an issue with ritual combat, sometimes both.)

"Like setting ashore on a dragon turtle." (Sailor saying. Something very stupid, unskilled or ignorant.)

"He's beyond the veil." (Specularum: someone is protected by the Veiled Society.)

"Shifty as a doppelganger."

"Vanished like a coin in grey ooze."

"He's got estate in Ardelphia." (Northern Darokin: refers to bad financial fortunes.)

And to use Mystarised Finnish proverbs: "Vanished like a fart in the Sind Desert."/"Like a s**t of a fly in the Sind Desert."


"My cousin in Sulescu." (Used in many contexts to denote people whom one rarely sees, or non-existing people. For example:
"I do not have any money. Go ask my cousin in Sulescu." or "I see my cousin in Sulescu more often.")

"Every bird wants to leave the Nest." (Specularumian proverb. Refers to the harsh conditions of the nest and the willingness to
do anything to get out.)

"Bigotry breeds behind the veil of ignorance." (Specularumian, Traladaran, refers to militant anti-Thyatism in general, and to the
Veiled Society especially.)

"Giants stumble under canopy." (Dymrak goblin proverb, refers to the wisdom of fighting on their home turf.)


"He has more bones to pick than a broken skeleton."

"He has more axes to grind than a dwarven weaponsmith."

"When the Father returns." (Rockhomean. Refers to Denwarf, obviously. In addition to the literal sense it is used
to console in bad times, to promise vengeance etc.)

"Like building the Sodervirk Wall." (Soderfjordian. Refers to poorly coordinated efforts and/or squabbling in the face
of a problem or a common threat.)

"Moulder Dwarf tales." (Northern Reaches: pure nonsense.)

"Canned food." (Humanoid expression, refers to humans in full plate.)

"Beholder roulette." (Gamble with death etc.)

"Colder than a white." (Red Dragons. Refers to a prospective mate who turns the suitor away.)

"I could dissolve a clan of trolls." (Northern Reaches. Used to refer to an especially violent heartburn or a particularly nasty vomiting session.)

"Like he ran into a gelatinous cube." (Many variations. Refers to someone who is struck speechless, is stunned, shocked etc. For example: "When Ivan's new
bar wench came with the pints, it was like Yuri had sat on a gelatinous cube.)

"Broke like the Alphatian Spear." (Thyatian expression of defiance or optimism. Refers to the eventual rout of the Spear offensive.)

"When in Glantri, you'll act as the Glantrians do." (A common proverb that refers to the supposedly thorough corruption of the
Glantrian society.)

by Marco Fossati

"If a shadow elf dies no one cries" - from Alfheim Avengers

"It's a Senate affair" (common Thyatian people talking about complicate and often obscure matters)

"The Immortals bless the sage who leaves before the storm" Ylari common saying

" like hin between two giants" (highly impolite if a hin is present)

"Thyatis City wasn't built in a day"

"When in Kaldmont there will be 29 days" (to refer to an impossible thing)

by Geoff Gander

"Scarcer than/As common as a sunny day in Littonia." (used to describe something that is very uncommon or happens infrequently - commonly used in Norwold, Heldann, and Ostland, but the use is spreading).

"Damn your scales!" (obscure - variations are heard in Ylaruam, Thyatis, and Darokin. It is commonly thought that this relates to trade (i.e., weighted scales), but in fact this is an expression that survived the fall of Mogreth, when it was a common invective against its people).

"Clean as a hin's plate." (used to describe something immaculate - common in Darokin, Minrothad, and Thyatis. Obviously considered highly impolite when hin are present.)

"He's/She's going (all) to Dannon!" (the person is getting into trouble - common in southern Darokin. Many people think: 1. That Dannon might have been a nasty Immortal; or 2. There is something about the Darokinian region of Dannon that is undesirable, and therefore going there is a bad thing. Naturally, saying this in Dannon is liable to attract dirty looks. "Dannon" in this expression actually refers to the accursed city of Ardannon, which was destroyed long ago.)

"Talkative/Cheerful as a Molharraner." (used to describe someone who is overly severe or strict - common around the Streel River. This expression dates from a time when the fall of Molharran was better known. Molharraners, in their day, were generally regarded as a serious, private lot. People from Elstrich and environs aren't too fond of this one.)

"Wild as a Marchman/woman." (used to describe someone who is undisciplined or uncontrollable - Darokinian. The Streel Marches were a lawless region, and the people who lived there either learned to become self-sufficient, or they died. After many decades, Marchfolk began to see themselves as separate from other Darokinians, and initially strongly resented the restoration of government, used as they were to living life as they pleased. Even today, people from the rural regions of the former Marches tend to be very independent-minded. Saying this in the Marches will (at best) attract dirty looks, but more likely start a fight.)

by Greg Weatherup

"That's like Frigg and Odin" (In Ostland: "That's just wrong..." i.e. Incestuous, in most other Antalian lands: "Those go together" or "True love")

by John Calvin

"Thick as a dwarf's skull" (Used all around the KW to denote something as being sturdy. Considered impolite to use in the company of dwarves.)

"Gone/Sent to Jhyrrad" (Used by Rockhome dwarves either to denote something that has completely disappeared, or something they want to disappear)

"... eats canned food." (Used by dwarves to denote something as being as crazy as a Modrigswerg. Often used to describe traps and mechanical devices, in which case there is a double meaning - the "canned food" being whatever moron was dumb enough to get chewed up by the trap."

"Hotter 'n a clan forge" (Used by dwarves - but never with non-dwarves around. Denotes something that is either highly desirable, or something that is extremely dangerous. Often times both meanings apply.)

by Roger LV Girtman II

One from GAZ7: "Honest to Odin!" (Northman; I swear to you...)

A favourite of mine: "Your mother was an elf and your father took baths!" (Insult used to taunt a humanoid, orcs especially.)

"Oh! You're an adventurer then?" (In response to the statement "I come from/hail from Threshold.")

"Your momma wears combat boots!" (An attempted insult, usually translated as "Your mother wears the footgear of a warrior" in most martial cultures.)

"When the unseen moon becomes known..." (A portent or prediction made by an Atruaghin Shaman.)