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Sunday, 1 November 2015

What was your RPG Halloween Like?

So for me, it was Dark Albion, featuring the Borgias, Pontifical court politics, the spear of destiny, Prophecies from the heads of long-dead saints, warnings of dire things to come, and deadly river-wights.

What did you do?


Currently Smoking:  Neerup Poker + Germain's Special Latakia Flake


  1. It was good. Half-Pint and I sat on the porch and gave out candy to trick or treaters, Afterwards we drove to Starbucks and then drove towards the sunset along the shore highway in my little two scoop. Next time we may do a costume ball outing. She will be a gypsy girl and me the dancing bear on a leash.

    I came across your blog while looking for a serviceable review of the DCC, and yours took the cake. Reading it, I was able to find out everything I needed to know. I will add it to my arsenal. I run a hybrid AD&D 1 St. Edition with the Runequest skill system and a my own campaign made from scratch, in a unique setting, so that reading D&D modules will not give anyone any advantage.

    Regarding your comment about the horror of Cthulu, you touched on something that every practicing psychiatrist and neuroscientist is keenly aware of - the extremely fragile and illusory nature of the human self. Any minor stroke, a brain injury, even a concussion from a car accident where no lasting damage is done, and the patients wakes up a totally different person. Oh, they remember they family and friends, but their likes/dislikes and interests are disconcertingly different. A brain injury, and a decade of life experience is obliterated forever. Is it terrifying? Not if you accept your own mortality.

    For years now, there were signs that our conscience and its control over ourselves is an illusion. First, it was glimpses from social psychology research, that first we act, and then we have a narrative of what happened and how we acted, not the other way around. Nowadays, there are neuroscientists talking about colonies and communities of neurons, which communicate among themselves and arrive at decisions, we are not consciously aware of, our self-awareness floating on the sea of unchecked, uncontrolled, and unconscious neural activity.

    Regarding the death, dying and finality of it. Human being is unique among all animals in that they can stress themselves out thinking about the pain that has happened or that will come, thereby traumatizing him or herself. And to be fair, when someone experiences the gory trauma that terrifies us all, they go into shock, and they enter an altered state of consciousness, where they feel no pain, they are not aware of what is happening, the state that will save them from pain, but which may kill them. There always is, of course, a long and slow lingering death, made obsolete nowadays with morphine and pain management. On the other side of the equation, there are the perpetrators of the horrific violence, who are normally enthralled in the grip of some political or religious frenzy, and enter into a state of denial, as to the humanity of the people they kill. Assyrians in ancient Egypt and Mongols, who terrified the world in their time, were herders by nature, they grew callous tending to their animals, butchering and killing them as necessary, when they formed into cavalry forces, they equated their enemies with cattle, and did not consider them to be a human opponent, nor did they take any actions taken by their animal as anything other than a behavior of a cattle in the flock that needs to be driven. So, human mind plays tricks on us to shield us from the terror of death and mortal violence, and we do not experience it as the others watching our downfall. Everyone gets scared, but the heroic control their fear and keep carrying on where others break and run.

  2. Regarding H.P. Lovecraft. He was a product of his time. I like the Color out of Space and his depiction of the rural New England. I was not impressed with the Call of Cthulu. Lovecraft lived through the roaring twenties and through the new deal, both periods of great modernism and social progress. People had fun. The quality of life had improved for the most of the regular people. They had better food, more money, better toys and better fun. Both Lovecraft and Tolkien were in the minority that did not welcome or enjoy the new, the way Fritz Lieber did, and at least Lovecraft was terrified of the social change (revolutionary, Marxist) and put his terrors and the anomie into his literary art. In Call of Cthulu he writes about the chanting menacing natives in the thrall of the Old Ones, whereas in the real world, the colonial natives were in the thrall of the anti-colonial struggle and the promise of the better tomorrow offered by the communists.

    Gary Gygax, incidentally, did not have Gonzo, just the opposite, he was a non-adventuring hobbit, if anything.

  3. Friday I ran an ICONs game on-line. Saturday, my wife released our latest Crawlspace release while I handed out candy.