Thursday, April 9, 2020

Easter Treatise

Sorry guys but Ostarra is bunk
For all the cute and awesome tales around Eostre, Ostre, and whatnot, the pagan traditions around the Spring equinox never knew her. Now if you told me that Bede, the Angle monk from north England around 725 BC, came up with a Mary Magdalene figure for long gone pagans to provide some background material for Saint Jerome's consolidation of the vulgate Bible in the 5th Century (AD), I'd totally be down for. With the changing world since about the 300 AD, intellectual discourse was forming the Christ cycle, and even as late as the 8th century things were a bit amorphous around the edges.
What with Jesus's birthday being officially removed from the Vernal equinox to December 25th, something had to fill the rites of Spring at the time of Saint Jerome's adulthood. This had to signify the gift giving of Saturnalia instead of the lusty nature of Spring Break. Since the skull-bashings of Nicodemia the son of god was the same as the sky god and therefore not to be associated with fertility rights. So the Christ-figure's fall would be moved to be closer to people getting some time to tend to the hay fields, leading to some rolling of hay that was not sanctioned by the parents. But alas for falling, there is redemption in Church-approved marriage licenses. And then the reformed harlot of Mary of Magdella, more often than not accompanied by, if not just conflated with the Virgin Mary (God's Mom), got to play a role.

The Prussian advertising character Borussia has had more "worshipers" than this Eostre. But the goddess and her earlier Christian archetypes have some great fantasy yarns around them, even if they're all probably from the ancient times of the first I-Phone release. Ostarra saw a cold goose in snow, (because geese are hot weather animals?) and changed it to a hare. The hare was much warmer, (because goose down isn't warm?) so it thanked her by laying a colorful egg. Then there is the one where either Mary Magdalene or the Virgin Mary, teleports to Rome from Jerusalem to brag to the pagan emperor about the rebirth of Christ by giving him rotten eggs, which she purifies with her matronly, superpowers derived from not having sex. That last one is a bit too deep for the average pagan of Southern Baptist origins, so in these modernest of times, the story-masters just have the egg turn Easter-eggy with a cross on it without a woman being all witchy. Folklore spun by people that live in apartments and don't know that Pontus Pilot was never a Roman emperor.

While I am at it, there is just no historical evidence of Germanic people's being that big into rabbits as deities, nor rabbits delivering eggs. The animals were and remain so, great punchlines. What there is is surviving Christian works where rabbits and eggs being cited as proof of immaculate conception while flies were proof of less than Holy spontaneous generation. Boiled eggs also were the Happy Meal of the Dark Ages, dunk them in beet juice and have the kids feed their faces with these lunches during extremely long masses on Easter Holy Day. Heck if you get the kids trying to sprinkle water on a rabbit's tale, while looking for hidden eggs, mom and dad can get around to their Spring Break, that means MAKING BABIES, in between the 4th and the 119th worship session of the day. Wallah a pleasant outing out in the fields around the county's church. But remember the Virgin Mary, err Mary Magdelene, err some reformed slut that God approves of is watching so don't have too much fun.

So to my whimsical and more revisionist fantasy friends, Happy Easter. May the most Christian of icons of the Easter Bunny and colored eggs not disrupt any crypto-racist symbolism about pagan Germany.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Do We Need New D&D?

Bear with me here. As a guy that plays D&D like an Irish drunk being dragged into church on Easter, I am not the most impartial observer on this matter.  I mean I say this as a guy that spent thirty years of my life absolutely loving the first rip-off of the brand called Tunnels and Trolls, but really is there not enough pseudomedieval to medieval accurate source material among the official brand and the offshoot, schools of thought, err Open Game License advocates to last a bit? Between five different editions of the strict game and dozens, possibly hundreds, of homebrew variations, can adventure gamers not find dungeon delving material that particular way to role-play out  scenario/campaign with or without steampunk gnomes or Tolkien's elves with crowd-funding yet another FRPG system?
Hanging out and meeting the guys from G Plus back in the halcyon days of almost five years ago, it's become more than obvious that are about twenty FRPG systems per single player. Even for nostalgia's sake why doesn't one find a copy of a favorite rip-off of D&D and just run that. Say that you want to play Warhammer why not play it instead of needing to create FleiSwatter Zee Schwanger Vit Minutia ScheisseSpeil. At least since DCC, the field is so broad one does not have to develop a whole game system to work Mad-Libs instead of crunch details into their cavern crawling sessions, why create yet another take on White Wolf's storytelling system but this time for D&D by being about the narrative? You need rules for narrative role-playing? 

Yes I am being a hypocrite as I use my own systems for my horror and science fictions games. For the S-F that's because I like a certain style of game mechanic, the 2D6 and DARO system, but it's not open licensed so a different rules system is required. For the horror, it's because my system is godsbedamned revolutionary, or more accurately, the TACK system lends itself for both LARP and tabletop roleplaying which is helpful for the crowd that plays and runs Crawlspace. Even given my ham-handed double standards, am I wrong? Is there just not enough choice already for yet another fake European Dark Ages tabletop product for anybody?

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Have You Ever Been In a Chatroom Orgy?

If you've never been enough of an IRC Maven to have participated in a Chatroom Orgy, I suspect you're really not about role-playing  beyond buying D&D and Chaosium books whenever their approved outlets tell you to. The first time I walked into a familiar "Books and Literature" chatroom and read the dialog be a debased but correctly-spelled cesspool of pornography, I quickly jumped out. The second time, I observed and had a couple good conversations in PM windows. I realized that anybody typing as much as these chatters were needed both hands and what I was reading took a whole lot of effort to produce. As I was a regular at the rooms I knew it wasn't the norm. As I was not in the inner circle, I didn't know exactly what the Mavens were doing. Later, I'd become a Maven in soccer games on-line and realize where they were coming from. It can get fucking boring being on-line despite the fun that you want to attach yourself to. It is then you have to decide, what are you really on-line for.

The Matt Mercer Effects Meets Adam Koebel
While I watched a GM make an embarrassing pass at a woman on his YouTube "show", I didn't see rape. I saw a bunch of people that were not friends doing a performance art piece that was supposed to depict role-playing.  Everyone was over 18 and any roleplayer could've interjected themselves OOC over the scene being played, but none of them did. Indeed only the two PLAYER-CHARACTERS in the scene worked through the incredibly creepy performance of pathetic seduction by Adam Koebel and whoever his player was presenting as a naive waif allowing the intercourse to occur. And the culmination was supposed to be "sex positive" but ended up being tone-death and not reciprocated by the room around the GM.
If you're not a point in sexual development where the above paragraph makes sense to you please stop reading.

Playing a PC Does Not Have to Be Demeaning or Dirty, Unless You Want It To
You as an adult role-player in the tabletop realm of things, are not supposed to do anything but what you want to do. GMs are people that stage manage events from a well-scripted format bending towards chaotic happenstance with hopefully some notes, or many situations in-between. They are not masters of anything accept their players wanting to explore roles outside of their places in life as they know it. 
Now if you're not running an RPG but making a piece of performance art replicating an RPG, you're rather pathetic already and should just stop. If you need a photogenic cast of  "Players" of people that aren't really tabletop role-players, you're putting your foot in the litter box of adventure gaming already. If you an ARSE ( Approved Rules Systems Expert), you really should be learning how to type a lot while not being an expert on anything. If you're a disinterested would-be actor, you might want to find a real job ALREADY.

Guys like Koebel have done nothing for the RPG hobby
Look if  on-line "role-playing" is your claim to fame, I suggest you get a job. I don't care if you're the lovechild of Gygax, Arneson, and Bat-Boy and have four credits in 13ed Call of Cthulhu, you are deficient.
Adam Koebel's problem is that he is not dealing with the break-up of a tabletop role-playing group. He is dealing with a bad decision in a made up, might-be market place. He has been providing nothing much for anybody and skimming off the top of what he has been doing. Of course the 9 year-olds of the Frog Club are singing about  his demise, they have been praying for it since finding out girls are allowed into "our" club.

So, as much as I gossip, I just don't really care.
By the way, Adam you ever do that to my daughter in one of her RPG sessions, I'll break your wrists. Creep.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Gonzo: It's Always Been There

The 2004 Cover
Since it's April 1st, let's talk about "gonzo" gaming. I was about to start this post with "I was gonzo before..." then I remembered Thundarr. So when I thought I was being clever by mixing up time travel from a favorite movie of mine, 2002's The Time Machine, into a Tunnels & Trolls scenario, I was actually nodding to the movie's producer's nod to Jack Kirby's artistic vision of a post-apocalyptic world without a nuclear doomsday. We were so over nuclear war back in the Aughts as well as the 80s. Truer fans of gonzo scoff at Kirby's hack of Gamma World forgetting that his comic book Kamandi was a hack of Planet of the Apes a whole year before the first release of that game. Then there all the Cold War gonzo flix, many actually partially funded by the Depart of Defense, from the 50s to the early seventies like Santa Claus Versus the Martians or Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster to name two. Let's just admit that modern gonzo as we know it on our view screens and soft-cover publications has been around since at least Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Indeed, looking at my own writing, while I have always been  "Non-Tolkien" I have not been that gonzo at all. As a kid that grew up in Big 70s America and Split-Down-the-Middle German, compartmentalization has influenced my own fantasy explorations. I have been "sticking to niche genres," to quote a friend from Detroit, exploration. I suppose that I have never been the fan of the goofy language of most "gonzo" RPG works today. Long before RPG Pundit exclaimed his dislike of made up languages with the apostrophe as a major feature, I was never impressed by many of them because, as Tarnowski points out, they are not really languages. Despite the hard work of Klingon LARPers, Tolkien scholars, and, sad to include, a couple of residents of Kekistan, most RPG language is either pun-based or stupidly not usable. Both kinds fall flat on being any fun to figure because the authors' refusal to do anything besides trying to sound kewl. Still, to think how innocent I am for thinking mixing genres back in Tweens was gonzo. While my scribblings are becoming more and more gonzo in my own mind, I doubt that I am keeping up.

In gaming terms, gonzo has moved beyond Rifts. Some would say these days that that game is just a genre of RPGs. It is the Mixed Genre so to speak and there isn't anything gonzo about it. Sure the GM can have Thor show up in a scenario with Mexican wrestlers fighting vampires in Robotech suits, but that's just RPG. And whoever says that is right.

Settlements By the Sea- end of season 1

The Far North
The combined forces of the godlings Hayn and Tuuki combined were not enough to force the alien forces of the giants and trolls out of this realm of existence. The two species though never working together seem to be cooperating with the other towards not being displaced by the encroaching new world creeping in around them. 
Wilder Haynfel- Explorers that have been here call it “a land mass of nothing but steep climbs and a sky full of bad weather.”
Yyena- Hyena-headed humanoids that are not at all related to the Dogger. They are meaner and less likely to to speak to anyone before trying to eat them.
Firbolg- These giant humanoids can grow up to as tall as a tree. They love to eat anything smaller than them. Despite their size they are known to be quite stealthy.

The Mountains of Ygirin- adsasd
The Trolls and Giants:
The Ettin- This two-headed humanoid is tall enough to have the clouds around its two heads. The names for the heads are Ygax and Arnsun.The arguments between the two heads causes thunderstorms and blizzards, sometimes Thunder Snow,  depending on the season.
Loomus the Cloud Giant- His palace is built with the treasure that he has horded.
Khenn Arth, the Troll God-The lord of the trolls, though they don't know it.

(Cliffhanger for season II)
The Wilder East
Tuukree- sdfsdf
Iersuf- sdfsdf