29 March, 2011


Yikes, another long dearth of blog posts. My genius is suck.

In my Labyrinth Lord version of Eberron, I find it entirely inappropriate to refer to the train as The Lightning Rail. I do like the fact that it exists. One of my first favourite films was the 70's Murder on The Orient Express with the huge raft of stars from the period, including Albert Finney as Poirot. I think Sean Connery was in it too. Anyway, I find the idea of the train itself to be a wonderful fantasy possibility, but the name makes little sense for a very compelling reason.

There are no rails.

The train moves along above a series of relatively small stone pyramids. This isn't an upgrade from a time when it ran on actual rails, and there are no other rail-utilising technologies screeching around Khorvaire. Somehow 'The Lightning Stones' or 'The Lightning Pyramids' just doesn't convey the idea of any kind of transport, let alone a train. So what should it be called?

I know! I'll turn to you, rarified niche of the internet! Please tell me what I should call The Lightning Rail.


Arkhein said...

I have this strange mental image of an engine pulling water tankers along this conveyance - water skipping from stone to stone - like it was opposite day or something.

As far as a name - um - hmm.

A train, since it flies in a straight line, could be called an Arrow. And perhaps it was invented by a wizard named Haro. Haro's Arrow.

The stones in slings are called bullets. If the train was shiny . . . nahhh. Never mind. Too corny.

Lines of megalithic stones are called 'alignments.' Using it in place of 'railway' when speaking aloud is kind of fun. Try it.

'We caught the 3:45 alignment out of Sharn, headed for Tombstone.'

Depending on the disposition of the area, you could have lawful or chaotic alignments. Yeah, bad pun - but I stand behind it. :)

- Ark

Sean Robson said...

The Lightning Express has a nice ring to it, I think. Or perhaps the Elemental Express, considering its source of power.

ze bulette said...

I like Ark's arrow idea a lot. Before I saw that, I was thinking that it might be thought of as a river in some way.

Arkhein said...

@Sean - Express is really good - it remove the whole rail image as desired, but keeps the train mystique going. I like it.

@ze bulette - Hmm - a river - a Flow. That could work - they would 'flow' the train one way or another. Of course, on the line known as the Orinoco Flow, your conductor will be Enya.


- Ark

"jewerig" <- Oh come on, CAPCHA is just being anti-semitic now.

richard said...

I immediately thought of Ley lines, and then brightline or bright path, but I like express, or maybe even "flyer" as long as it's a reliable service.

Before the flyers, the fastest regular transport services were the packet boats. I could imagine calling it the packet, which now recalls packet-switching.

migellito said...

I really like several of these! There is definitely opportunity in Eberron to use more than one, too, since the train goes through multiple different cultures.

Thanks all!

Aberrant Hive Mind said...

Arc ports, Arks, sky ways/lighting trails?

You go to the arc ports where arks dock in between their routes across the sky ways of the lightning trails.

Does that work?

Sovereigneternal said...

In my mind's eye, I saw the cars of the train riding on rails of lightning which arced from stone to stone a little bit ahead and behind the train.
I supposed that is just my imagination trying to match something to the name "lightning rail."

My vote for an alternate name would be "Arc Lines" or "Arc Liners" with "riding the stones" being a common colloquialism.