Welcome to the original, official source of ClaWrite information!
For Dragons, By Dragons
ClaWrite is an alphabet based on a 3x3 grid of straight strokes -- which are very easily made with claws, hence the name. It was
something I designed in the early 1990s as a system of dragon writing, but it has plenty of applications for us folks in human bodies,
This page provides information about using ClaWrite with standard American English. The system can easily be adapted,
though, to any language with less than 50 letters.
If this is your first visit, the best thing to do is read through the language tutorial. To see
ClaWrite in action, go read a poem.
View printable version
The Official ClaWrite FAQ (and other stuff)
Got a question that's not covered?
Ask and ye shall receive!
Who is ClaWrite designed for?
Anyone who likes it, really. I've been known to take ClaWrite class notes in my secret identity of college student. :-) With
practice, it writes about as quickly as standard English, and it's far more legible if your handwriting is sloppy.
I've heard from people who have used it for diaries -- imagine being able to take notes in public and not have to worry about people
stealing glances over your shoulder.
Roleplayers may also want to use it for maps, drawings and props. Since it's just an alternate alphabet for English, it's a great
way to add a sense of foreign adventure to your campaign without learning or creating a foreign language.
Wherefore the vowels?
There's a very easy way to remember which vowels are which. (Which is a helpful thing, since at first glance they make little to no
sense.) They follow a simple progression...:
| - || ¯ | |
a e i o u
Notice they go from fewer to more lines as you go from A to U, and that they alternate between horizontal and vertical. This is
actually quite convenient because A and E are the most-often used vowels.
To be honest, practice will do it for you. Half an hour and you'll be fine, I promise.
Do I have to learn punctuation too?
No. You can continue to use standard English punctuation if you prefer. However, switching punctuation over adds to the effect of the
alphabet, and in my opinion looks a little more elegant. (It also makes it slightly less penetrable if you're writing in code to deter
snoopers.) AMEC punctuation is available here.
Any diagonal lines in there?
Yes, in fact. Only in two circumstances, though.
To illustrate the first, let's take our Word Of The Day from Webster's:
Chautauqua (shuh-TOW-kwuh) (n.) An educational and recreational
assembly with ... lectures, concerts, etc.
...In ClaWrite, it looks like this:
Ugly. Not to mention illegible.
Our fix is to slash through the U's to separate them from the A's, like
The second circumstance: A popular shortcut for the ellipsis (the
unit of punctuation consisting of three periods, like this...) is to
make three diagonal slash marks, like so: / / /
What's this AMEC stuff?
AMEC stands for American English ClaWrite. Since ClaWrite is, after all,
only an alphabet, AMEC tells you the handy information that it's an
alphabet for writing in English.
It can easily be adapted,
though, to any language with less than 50 letters. (Spanish and Ancient
Garnian alphabets have also been developed; contact the address at the
bottom of the page for foreign-language ClaWrite information.)
Why is there no '=' character? There's only E and O with horizontal
slashes, compared to A, I, and U with vertical.
Because GALC (Garnian Languages ClaWrite) has both a hard I and a soft I.
The '=' character was left out in AMEC for compatibility.
We have fonts to download!
Right-click on the image for the font you want, and click "Save File As ..." (or whatever your browser calls it) in order to
download the font file to your computer. Then just install the
font, and go!
Both of these files are TrueType fonts and should work on any modern system, regardless of OS.
- A downloadable GIF of the alphabet for those
with text-based browsers. If you can't handle GIF files, please
e-mail me with a SnailMail address and I'll be happy to send you ClaWrite
information in an old-fashioned letter. }:=8)
- ClaWrite: The Font. Macintosh version.
A bitmapped font developed for Mac OS ... um ... 7? May no longer work on modern computers.
Thank you Greffindel for your help in getting the font started!
The Font, part ][. This is a ZIP file for users with older Windows machines. Run
the enclosed application from a DOS prompt (such as 'cmd' in Windows XP)
and your system font will change to ClaWrite until you reboot your computer. Many
thanks to Mark Johnston
(numlock@escape dot ca) for the font!
- A sneaky link to make you mail
me with feedback and suggestions. Maybe you can actually download something
by clicking here. Try it and let me know. ;-)
The ClaWrite alphabet by Baxil (Tad Ramspott) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States
License. This means that you are free to use it, without asking (or even telling me), for any noncommercial
purpose, as long as you give me credit for the original work.
You can even modify it and share your version with others, as long as you make your modifications similarly free for others to use.
For more details, click the CC image above.
If you want to use ClaWrite for any commercial purpose (i.e. where money changes hands), please contact me.
A partial list of ClaWrite appearances in the wider world:
The idea of "marks made with claws" is a pretty basic one, and while I still think ClaWrite is the claw-script
that's easiest to read and write, others have produced some great takes on the same theme:
- The Footprint Alphabet from
Dinotopia, James Gurney's setting combining humans and sentient dinosaurs, uses the orientation of dinosaur
footprints to represent letters.
- Blue Lizardman Bold,
made by pressing the sides of claws into soft material, has larger curved indents that give it a much more
artistic feel. It would also work well as a signing system. It was created by Safari for the Swordfish Islands RPG setting, and features a