29 January 2010

Dreams from the Fresh Kills, Pt 2

Update: Second session of Dreams from the Fresh Kills online.

Oh yeah, I forgot to post the usual update about running a session of my current RPG, Dreams from the Fresh Kills, a couple weeks ago. Once again there was a lengthy break between sessions. Nothing new for our group, alas. Nothing much to add, all the relevant information is on that page.

I'm also currently re-running Beyond the Bridge for a different group. I won't be posting any additional write-ups about that, though, as the story's essentially the same, even though the characters are different, of course, and I've made little tweaks here and there.

21 January 2010

A Touch of Vertigo Vol. 2

Nearly two years ago I wrote about the Vertigo tarot deck by Dave McKean. Well, I finally got to buy it last summer. I meant to write about it then, but, as it goes, I've been really lazy in my occult 'dabbling'. I finally got around to taking a closer look, and so far I like it.

Like all of McKean's work, the images are eerie, abstract, imaginative and often bordering on the grotesque. The suits and names are all traditional. I like the court cards a lot. The Page, although called such, is obviously female, as it should be. The small cards bear no titles, which is probably usually best, as authors tend to differ on them (I've come to prefer Crowley's versions myself). They're naturally the most abstract cards of the deck, but mostly seem to fit in reasonably with traditional interpretations (though not always).

The trumps are perhaps the most controversial, as they feature characters from Vertigo Comics (even though McKean's style is so abstract that many are almost unrecognisable). Some of these suit the cards very well. Consider Death of the Endless for the trump titled Death, for example. And Constantine as the Fool makes me smile. Some, however, differ somewhat from my ideas of the trumps. Also, some unnecessary changes have been made to the astrological attributions of the trumps (which are marked on the cards).

Right now this deck ranks among my favourites and is certainly usable. It's not a perfect deck (none I've tried yet is), but it holds a definite appeal, and not only due to the geek factor. Who knows, it might even become my primary deck for the foreseeable future. But of course it's early days, and I've always been fickle in these matters.

For the record, if and when I buy another deck, it will almost certainly be Crowley's Thoth deck.

18 January 2010

Tehafek, ze'e hak

It was a lazy friday afternoon. So what's the natural thing for a sane person like me to do? Make up a language, of course.

Of course it didn't come quite out of the blue. There's been a seed of an idea buried in my head for a good while, with one or two thoughts about the basic mechanics of the language. But I'd never really thought seriously about making it reality.

When I decided to give it a shot, the language almost seemed to create itself. Things just fell into place naturally, over the past weekend. Of course it's very, very far from being anything like complete. But I think I've already got down most parts of a workable grammar and some primitive vocabulary. There's no name for it yet, apart from 'Tehafa', which is just the word for 'language'.

Here's a rendition of Bashō's famous haiku:

esu etuu valap
valaga ada'e tabep
la'o ratap

(old small lake
frog leaps in
water’s sound)

The question now is, of course, what am I going to do with it? The natural option is of course to use the language as the basis for a fantasy world. I already have Wyrmvoid, of course, but that is tailored for D&D style high fantasy. This should be something more personal, more original. And it should be a lasting world, not something I'll discard when the next neat idea comes along. It's not like I'm going to make up a new language every weekend.

(The post title translates as: 'I speak, therefore I am.')

13 January 2010

The Secret Update

The occult. Ooh. Spooky.

Except it's not. The word might mean 'secret' or 'hidden', but all the secrets of ancient secret societies have long since been published. In today's world it's just a metaphor.

So what does it mean then? It's just another word for spirituality, really. For meditation, the search for enlightenment, and all that. Europe's equivalent for yoga or Zen Buddhism. Quite boring really, most people would likely think. All these complicated philosophical and psychological concepts, countless holy words and spirits and angels and whatnot. But all they're really for is to get you in the right mood, to inspire you, to make you a better human being.

Now, I think I had a point beyond word definitions... Oh yeah, I've been adding stuff in the spirituality section. Articles that deal with my world view and understanding of occult concepts. Strange ideas that most people won't find even remotely interesting, which I mostly write to put my own thoughts in order rather than to benefit others.