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Old 09-08-2014, 03:23 PM   #11
PK
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Default Re: Modular Abilities and Alternate Abilities

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Originally Posted by Anders View Post
I actually originally used Alternative, but discovered that the tag was Alternate so I went with that.
Fixed the tag. :)

The word "alternate" refers to a repeated cycle: The traffic lights on US-27 alternate between red, yellow, and green in a frustrating pattern.

The word "alternative" refers to a choice between items: Because I wish to avoid the traffic lights on US-27, I'm taking an alternative route.

It's become an "Americanism" to misuse the former as the latter. (Much as we like to use "literally" as a generic emphasis word now.) Some dictionaries have even added "(regional) synonym for alternative" to the definition of "alternate." But that's still not what the word was ever intended to mean.

A set of "alternate abilities" would be a fixed set of abilities in which you had access to the first one, then the second one, then the third one, etc., looping back to the first after the last. And no, I don't plan to weigh in on how to model that, because it is a silly thing. :)
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Old 09-08-2014, 04:56 PM   #12
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Modular Abilities and Alternate Abilities

Merriam-Webster and whatever source dictionary.com uses don't feel obliged to throw in any regional caveats or slang notes. Both of them include a definition for "alternate" that's simply the one word "alternative", making them synonyms.
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:35 PM   #13
PK
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Default Re: Modular Abilities and Alternate Abilities

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
Merriam-Webster and whatever source dictionary.com uses don't feel obliged to throw in any regional caveats or slang notes. Both of them include a definition for "alternate" that's simply the one word "alternative", making them synonyms.
As I said, language drifts over time, in this case to conflate the two words. But the two still retain distinct meanings, and that's the distinction I was drawing.

At any rate, I didn't really intend to derail this thread with etymology -- it just seemed like a good place to bring up a common mistake. I've had to fix more than my share of references to "alternate abilities" in books and articles, so if I can drop a countermeme here and there to try to fix it, that's my good deed for the day. :)
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Old 09-16-2014, 02:06 AM   #14
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Default Re: Modular Abilities and Alternate Abilities

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Originally Posted by PK View Post
Fixed the tag. :)
A set of "alternate abilities" would be a fixed set of abilities in which you had access to the first one, then the second one, then the third one, etc., looping back to the first after the last. And no, I don't plan to weigh in on how to model that, because it is a silly thing. :)
The Heavenly Menagerie, who has Divine Boons bestowed by the Patron Deities of the Chinese Zodiac, must always transition between them in sequence, for to do otherwise risks breaking the ever turning celestial wheel of the heavens.

This is not "Silly"

Ordained Cats are "Silly"
So there.

... Let us have a minute of silence for this hero, sadly undocumented into GURPS stats due do the pique of a dismissive feline.
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