For the purposes of including information in Encyclopedia Ermarian, priority is given to game canon. Material from other sources can be included, provided it does not contradict the game canon either in letter or in spirit, and fits with the world of Ermarian reasonably well. Entries whose information comes largely from these auxiliary sources is considered apocryphal and should be marked with the appropriate template. Such entries may also be distinguished by their presence in Category:Apocrypha.
An overview of all sources and canons is given by this table, elaborated later in this text. Note that "source" and "canon" are synonymous in this context, although "canon" is usually used to refer to a more expansive source or whole collection of sources.
|Canons of Ermarian|
|Game | Ermarian | Apocrypha|
|Relhan | Ironclad | Urermariana|
|Akhronath | Drizzt | Jubilee | Kelandon | Nephil's Gambit | Olly | Thralni|
|Alec | Arena | Echoes|
Types of canon by priority
Game canon refers to information that is derived directly, and solely, from the Exile and Avernum works of Spiderweb Software. This includes a number of games and scenarios:
- Exile: Escape from the Pit / Avernum
- Exile II: Crystal Souls / Avernum 2
- Exile III: Ruined World / Avernum 3
- Valley of Dying Things
- A Small Rebellion
- The Za-Khazi Run
- Bandit Busywork
- Diplomacy with the Dead
- Avernum 4
Within game canon, an additional distinction can be drawn between explicit statement and reasonable inference. Priority is given to material the game states or presents directly, but reasonable and solid assumptions can be included. For example, there is no explicit statement that the lich named Anastasia who appears in Avernum 4 is the same character as the mage named Anastasia who is killed in the first game in the series. However, there are numerous facts suggesting they are the same person (see Talk:Anastasia).
To be reasonable, an inference cannot be arbitrary -- it must be the most reasonable conclusion you could arrive at, given the evidence in the game. Empire-Avernum War provides a good example of an article that makes a number of reasonable inferences based on a profusion of scattered facts from the game.
There are several major holes and discrepancies in game canon that would destroy any encyclopedic endeavor if they were not addressed. For that reason, EE recognizes a limited number of additions to the game world as Ermarian canon. These additions are treated as if they were game canon:
- The name Ermarian -- the world has no name in the games
- Totally restricting the use of Exile to refer to the caves, and Avernum to refer to the kingdom Micah founded, with no cross-usage -- this was done to reconcile this most obvious difference between the Exile and Avernum games. (See Exile vs Avernum)
- The chronological terms Imperial Era and Before Pralgad
- The Timeline of Ermarian -- this reconciles apocryphal content with the chronology of game canon
Information from other sources can be further divided into several categories, depending on how well it fits with game canon. There are two categories that are suitable for inclusion in the Encyclopedia:
- Sensible, seamless extensions of game canon. These are entries that fit with both the spirit and the letter of game canon and simply make sense in the game world. (Example article: Chimney)
- Believable but arbitrary additions to game canon. These are entries that provide plausible and uncontradicted information that doesn't go against the spirit of game canon, but which does not blend in very well and is recognizable as a third-party addition. (Example article: Novah)
The last two categories of apocrypha are deprecated and generally should not be included in the Encyclopedia:
- Uncontradicted, but really unlikely additions to game canon. A good example would be the list of Emperors preceding Emperor Stewart. In general, this kind of information can't be included, but a number of individual exceptions have been made for additions that are widely used by the community, most notably for Relhan canon. However, the special status of these entries allows only their inclusion, and they are subordinate to other apocrypha.
- Information that does not contradict game canon because it has almost nothing to do with it. This stuff really has no place in EE and should be expunged. (Example article: Arena)
Apocryphal entries may refer to the canon of a particular scenario, person, or group from which they are drawn. These pages are intended to look up the source of a statement on demand, not to verify everything said in an article. The following is an incomplete list of sources that have been used or may be used with the Encyclopedia:
- Third-party additions
- Entire "alternate" continuities
- Alternate continuities generally deprecated for EE purposes