Elminster Mire originates from discussions in the ur-Ghyll: the Ghyll that existed nine months before the version you're looking at now. The question Sean and I discussed concerned exactly how players would communicate with each other in-game and out. I had brought up the old Elminster articles from Dragon Magazine:
This is an interesting idea, and falls inline with something I've been thinking about lately: the outsider's viewpoint. Many moons ago, within the pages of Dragon Magazine, there used to be a series of articles concerning the great mage Elminster and how he would describe things or chat with people in the Forgotten Realms campaign world. The real-world author of the articles would "step-out" and clarify Elminster's descriptions (via footnotes) or thoughts based on other-worldly knowledge or their own "research". I like this approach, and what you're saying above is similar. If our scholars are publishing this encyclopedia for the world to read, the world (the Ghyll world, not the Web world) must be able to react: penning in notes in the margin, holding riots outside their abode, creating pamphlets denouncing the heresy, creating conspiracy series that the scholars are being paid off, etc. How do we handle that within the Wiki? Should we define a "Reader Footnotes" heading that would contain the "common man's position"? I certainly think this should be integrated somehow or another.
As you can probably guess, the above has been implemented via the scholar footnotes (in-game; bottom of encyclopedia entries) and Talk: pages (out-of-game; "away", but nearby, encyclopedia entries). Anyways, though my memory is clouded, I recall the "hook" of the articles being that the author was stuck (secretly) inside this full body suit of armor whilst the greatest mages sat at a table sipping tea and discussing matters of great import. This "eavesdropping" is one of the things I wanted to convey in Elminster Mire.
"1,300 Ghosts" is a rather blatant relation to THI13TEEN GHOSTS (the original movie or the sequel, take your pick). A mere 13 or 130 ghosts was too small for an entire mire (I thought), and 1,300 was more than enough (perhaps too much) and not entirely cheesy (like 1,313 or something). If you were to pay strictest attention to the movie, each Ghost is wildly unique, though I'm now wondering how possible that is with such a huge multitude (especially one that is ever changing due to the Lottery). Ah twell.
There were a few additional things I had hoped to write about, but never found a place to fit them in creatively or logically. Chiefly, Doc Rockett had written a book called Resentful Ghyll, concerning the "Ghyll-wide environmental crisis", where stillicide was affecting the Mire. The definition of stillicide is pretty oddish for a crisis ("A continual falling or succession of drops; rain water falling from the eaves"), so I decided to just skip it and maybe attack it in a more macro environmental entry. --Morbus Iff 00:16, 13 Oct 2004 (EDT)
Well, I recognized the Elminster reference right off. Of course, I'm also a D&D geek. I'm not sure if anyone's noticed or not, but Ignatius Maximillian Albertus Crank's initials become IM A Crank. It took me a bit to work that one up. Glad someone phantomed him! A well done entry, indeed. Worth the wait. --Doctor Phineas Crank 07:34, 13 Oct 2004 (EDT)
As I've said on #swhack, I was alluding by my use of "stillicide" as a (metaphorical) crime and "emphyteusis" as a disease (of which Doc Rockett died) to one of my favorite Robert Louis Stevenson quotations: "I still remember that Emphyteusis is not a disease, nor Stillicide a crime". They're both terms of Roman law: the former is the leasing of land for long periods at a fixed rent; the latter is the right to let rain spray from your roof fall on someone else's land. Of course, in the Ghyllian context they can and perhaps do mean something quite different!
As for Resentful Ghyll, it parodies Asimov's The Angry Earth, written in collaboration with Fred Pohl. --John Cowan 10:00, 13 Oct 2004 (EDT)