Dojo Darelir, the School of Xenograg the Sorcerer

Posts Tagged ‘role play’


New Fiction: Rescuing Grimblade

I still role-play Xenograg live on Rings of Honor, Dragon’s Mark Red Dragon Inn, and AOL Instant Messenger. I log all chat sessions and occasionally transcribe one into a proper story. My latest page in the Other Fiction section is one of these. Xenograg summons one of his students, Wyheree, to Dojo Darelir for a secret mission:

Rescuing Grimblade

A Bronze Age Setting

I came across this pair of blogposts on Tankards and Broadswords:

  1. Bronze Age Settings (Aside From the Obvious)
  2. The Great Ziggurat of Ur

The first contains a clear imagining of what a Bronze Age setting could be like—would feel like. The second illustrates the cyclopean architecture found in the period.

Xenograg’s homeland is supposed to be Early Iron Age. Bronze armor and, weapons, and architecture are still seen in some places, and the magical arms in tombs will likely be of bronze. I even have a house rule that says bronze is better than iron for enchantment.

My compliments, Badelaire.

Proving One’s Ability to Oneself

The coaching technique profiled in the New York Times article “Teaching Golf Pros What They Already Know” is just what I strive to impart as Xenograg to his dueling students. He does not impose his style upon a student, but seeks to enlighten her regarding her1 own natural style—and to trust in it (and thus herself).

Here is the key quote:

“I don’t teach; I help these guys learn,” Lynch said. “You can’t tell someone to do XYZ because they won’t do it out there.”

 

Concept of a Manifest Deity

People often ask me if I believe in the Goddess. I reply, “Do you believe in rocks?” It is extremely difficult for most Westerners to grasp the concept of a manifest deity. The phrase “believe in” itself implies that we cannot know the Goddess, that She is somehow intangible, incomprehensible. But we do not believe in rocks—we may see them, touch them, dig them out of our gardens, or stop small children from throwing them at each other. We know them; we connect with them….

Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, Chapter 5

Manifest deities are not just a staple in role-playing games; they are usually the default cosmology. Characters do not have belief or unbelief in deities, but rather trust or lack trust in them.

Cartoons from ‘Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord’

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord was the first computer role-playing game I ever played. One of my favorite parts of the game was the manual and its humorous cartoons.

Here are the seven best ones:

The Adventurer’s Inn

The Adventurer's Inn

Show-Off

Show-off

An Act of the Gods?

An act of the gods?

The Year-End Clearance Sale

The year-end clearance sale

What Happens When You Stutter During Spell Casting

What happens when you stutter during spellcasting

MATU!

Matu! Gesundheit.

How Not to Open a Chest

How not to open a chest

© 1981 Sir-Tech Software. Used without permission.

Imagining the Centaur

The power of the steppe was based on the individual pastoral unit, the man on horseback. By all accounts, he was a unique creation, singular in his abilities and outlandish and terrifying in the eyes of victims, so much so he frequently defied description. Aesthetically, he left much to be desired. Clad shabbily in boots and trousers—both inventions of the steppe—kept supple through liberal portions of leftover butter and grease, he was likely a pungent warrior, especially since he himself never bathed. Upper garments were composed of crudely stitched pelts, valued only for warmth and protection. Strapped to his back was a quiver full of carefully crafted arrows and his formidable bow, both encased against the elements due to their extreme vulnerability to moisture. A well-cast bronze dagger would have completed his personal arsenal, since the steppe’s rich copper and tin deposits were exploited almost from the beginning of penetration.
It was horsemanship that set the pastoral trooper apart. Under ordinary circumstances control was exerted by reins attached to a bit—sometimes copper or bronze, but also bone or hemp. Saddles were blankets and hides. There were no stirrups, not before 500 [C.E.] at the earliest, so balance was based on experience and skill. Over time a horseman’s thighs and knees grew so sensitive to his mount’s movements that it became possible to maintain a firm seat at full speed using legs alone. The net effect was a union that left some wondering where the man left off and the horse began—the Greeks, for instance, imagined a race of centaurs, wild and unpredictable, humans and equines joined at the hip. Others were less fanciful, but nearly all who crossed his path were amazed by the steppe horseman’s ability to let go the reins and launch a rapid-fire barrage of arrows at full gallop through an arc of 270 degrees or more. He was as dangerous in retreat as moving forward—his fabled rearward Parthian shot brought an end to a legion of pursuers. No one was more lethal in the ancient world.

Robert L. O’Connell, Soul of the Sword, p. 50

Emphasis mine.

I never understood why centaurs were envisioned as forest creatures. Horses and ponies live on plains, steppes, and savannas.

I occasionally regret creating the Rellugai as turkic humans instead of centaurs. They would have been more difficult to write, but my writing can sometimes be too human-centric.