Wednesday, February 23, 2022

deities as stories

The stories about gods are the stories of cultures. 

When ancient Romans prayed to the goddess of sewers, Cloacina, they might have been praying to a woman to unclog their toilet, but they were only praying because they had invented toilets to make their lives easier, and having the toilets meant that some higher power also needed to represent them. In the same way that modern people complain about, praise, or invoke the names of Apple, Tesla, Disney, China, or the Green Bay Packers. I think that we place a lot of stock into the relationships of corporations, without ever knowing the names of the people who make decisions or come to agreements that lead to corporations merging, cooperating, or becoming rivals. Huge faceless powers, governed in alien corners, whose methods and drives are seemingly inscrutable. In this way the modern companies are to us what the misunderstood motivations of the universe were to the ancients, deities.

Thus, I have taken a history of several companies and applied random themes to them, and over the course of their histories I make associations with their movements that could be considered narratives:

The Mountain god was uncle to the Snake god and father to the Forest god.
Both the Sky god and the Sea god were children of the Snake god.
The Mountain god raised the Sea god, the Forest god, and the Blind god as his own.
It appeared as if the Sea god had killed the Mountain god, but really the Sky god killed the Mountain god.
The Snake god kidnapped the Forest god.
The Blind god went to rescue the Forest god and both fought the Sea god in their escape.
The Sea god hunted the Blind god and they fought in a city where many people witnessed them fight to a draw.
The Blind god saved the Sea god from death, and the Sea god revealed the truth about the Sky god to the Blind god.
Both the Blind god and the Sea god adopted each other as brothers and ventured out to hunt after and kill the Sky god.

With this vague history, I have a litany of things to draw upon and create culturally for my fictional world. I can extrapolate modern motivations and transform them into a fantastical setting.

The Sky god is worshiped by the expansionist empire that subjugates all of its neighbors.
The Mountain god is dead, his worshipers have been fully assimilated by the imperial culture.
The Blind god is revered by desert-dwelling nomads.
The Sea god is revered by traders, merchants, and pirates who sail along the rivers and coasts, the primary link between the nomads and the empire.
The Forest god is revered by empire-subjugated hunters and farmers, the nomads and the merchants think of the farmers as a misguided people, much like their deity of choice.
The Snake god is worshiped in secret.

And with that I have a vague history of the world, places that have clung to holy names for their cultures draw upon these deities' representations, yet they are all connected because these people are all connected. It doesn't matter if I draw these deities up as beings in some version of D&D, or just let the idea of this culture fester in my mind as a world ready to explore. All it took was looking at my own current culture and it's history to create a wholly new one.

(special thanks to wikipedia for having really detailed histories of companies)

Saturday, February 19, 2022

pedantic shopping

purchasing from multiple stores online on a Friday evening! this is probably of no interest to anyone but myself, and I wanted to track this information for my own understanding, as I would sometimes order a book and forget about it before it arrived in the mail

here is how I rank them,

in terms of delivery time, from best to worst:
Spear Witch
Monkey's Paw Games
Exalted Funeral - Tuesday Knight Games
Indie Press Revolution

in terms of pdf delivery, from best to worst:
Indie Press Revolution - Exalted Funeral - Tuesday Knight Games
Monkey's Paw Games
Spear Witch

downloads are ready upon receipt of transaction from Exalted Funeral, Indie Press Revolution, and Tuesday Knight Games, obviously an automated process, only Exalted Funeral and Tuesday Knight Games offer access to your digital content from the order confirmation page

Spear Witch and Monkey's Paw have the same layout on their stores, which implies that these are truly independent sellers operating out of a storefront or home, the other stores all had unique layouts

Spear Witch gave me a tracking number within hours, but this was merely for a label that had been created. I don't know if this was done manually, but either way they are already one step ahead of everyone else.

The next day I get a message from Sean at Tuesday Knight Games thanking me for being a repeat customer. This appears automated since there is an unsubscribe button.

On Monday, TKG, EF, and IPR all sent me tracking numbers for my orders, but these are all for labels that were created. Monkey's Paw is shipping from Canada (I'm in the US), but also appears to be in the same situation.
Only the package from Spear Witch is listed as departed and on it's way.

Spear Witch arrived first, on Saturday exactly one week after ordering. On the same day I emailed both Spear Witch and Monkey's Paw to ask about getting digital copies. Spear Witch instructed me to contact the authors of the books, since they didn't provide digital copies to Spear Witch, and Monkey's Paw sent digital copies, further explaining that they should have a digital copy attached to invoices soon.

On the following Tuesday, the order from Monkey's Paw arrived.

On the next Thursday, both Tuesday Knight Games and Exalted Funeral arrived.

The absolute worst delivery time turnaround was Indie Press Revolution. Arriving more than three weeks after being ordered, 23 days total.

almost perfectly balanced on good and bad points, but I'm inclined to favor fast delivery over pdf availability as I'm purchasing from them for the physical books, my final rankings for each:

Spear Witch ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Exalted Funeral ⭐⭐⭐
Tuesday Night Games ⭐⭐⭐
Monkey's Paw Games ⭐⭐⭐
Indie Press Revolution ⭐⭐

Friday, February 11, 2022

introducing the Red Shirt

I wrote a playbook for Apocalypse World, you can find it by clicking here

Thursday, February 10, 2022


During my last gaming session I was reminded of a mechanic in the Forbidden Lands RPG, players’ characters have an attribute called Empathy, and this measures a character’s personal charm and ability to manipulate others, the skills associated with Empathy are called Manipulation, Performance, Healing, and Animal Handling … sort of broad, but each is meant to reflect the ability to read others’ emotions and adapt behavior accordingly, hence: empathy! Combat in Forbidden Lands usually lasts until someone falls unconsciousness and death is almost never an immediate consequence of combat (there’s only a 2% chance), most commonly someone falls to the ground in a Broken state, or they are Exhausted from fighting, or in rare circumstances they become Paralyzed or Breakdown from fear or despair …. Death is rare! The thing that I really like about Forbidden Lands, and about Empathy, is that when a player’s character wants to kill a defenseless foe, someone who is considered sentient or intelligent, then the character needs to fail an Empathy roll – and even if the roll fails the player must still have their character spend a point of Willpower and suffer a point of Empathy damage in order to kill the opponent. “Killing in cold blood is not as easy as you might think.” the rules say. This is somewhat incongruous with the type of game that Forbidden Lands is, but I feel like this could be built upon and expanded. Death takes a toll, even from those who deal it out.