Friday, April 24, 2009
Comments are a privilege provided by me. I provide them as a service so you can respond on how you think on what I post. I welcome any and all comments. However, this is my blog and I reserve the right to censor comments if I choose to do so. I can even close comments down. This blog does not represent a company, it does not represent the government: it represents me. One individual person. All I ask is that comments are made within context of the post. You think Creating is boring, make a comment that it is.
If you want to write a responsive argument, you may do so. I have comments enabled so you can voice your opinions on what I think. So lets take a look at what this reponse is more critically, and refute it.
"A belief in magical creation is boring because it's a childish idea that requires no thinking."
There are some key words here: magical, and childish. There is also a key phrase here -- no thinking. Lets debunk the first:
Magic, sometimes known as sorcery, is a conceptual system that asserts human ability to control or predict the natural world (including events, objects, people, and physical phenomena) through mystical, paranormal or supernatural means.
So, what is magic anyway in this context? So in this context, all I have to do is wave a wand and a woman would instantly appear, willing and able to do my bidding at every opportunity? Really? Is that magic? Has anyone really taught you the Law of Attraction and the Law of the Harvest? What do you take me for? Some kind of magician that will instantly get what he wants in physical form? Didn't you even take Quantum Physics in your university program?
Childish is b : lacking complexity in the context of that remark. Lacking in complexity? When Darwin wrote the Origin of the Species, he saw the human cell as childish. But microbiology has revealed this to be not the case. By what authority do you have to make such a remark?
. . . idea that requires no thinking. What do you mean that it requires no thinking? So, you think I don't think? By whose authority do you have to make such a judgment? Thinking is the act of creating energy. A thought is an energy construct. We do this all the time. So this idea of creation requires no thinking? What kind of a statement is that? Hasn't anyone taught you the Law of Attraction?
"t's much more interesting to solve scientific problems instead of giving up and saying god-did-it."
But, in what way are you going to apply your new knowledge? By bashing other people who want to apply it in a certain way? Is that a practical way of applying new knowledge? What does that attract to you?
"By the way, Ben Stein is a fucking idiot and a liar."
Why are you attacking Ben Stein on my blog? This isn't Ben Stein's blog, this my blog. So, you can believe and say he's a fucking idiot and a liar. But really, I think he's a courageous person for producing the documentary in the first place. It is you who is an ignorant know-it-all.
Its not so much the belief that I'm defending, it's the process. A man said that the process is boring, yet this process works for Darwinists as well as for Christians. Lets take a look at how a Gamemaster puts together a fantasy world for gaming as an example.
The process of designing a new world begins somewhere. and logically, it begins with a thought. Everything begins with a thought. Just a simple little thought. In world design parlance, and as well as Marketing and Advertising, this is called the hook.
After the hook comes the process of building the world around that particular theme. Often the process demands study in several fields of science since most fantasy GMs build their world around a garden world. Although, in actuality, you don't need all of this, but it makes the world more interesting if you did study. Often, you can take a top down approach -- which is what I do, or a bottom up approach, which is safer to do.
Going bottom up: The bottom up approach is safer because you start with something small. Like a town nestled in a little valley with a dungeon a league away. However, as your world grows, it can grow organically and pretty much out of control as you go bigger. There is a possibility of hapzard design if you let it go out of control.
Going Bottom Down: I take the Top down method. I build the whole planet out of whole cloth. This requires more work. Let me say that again: it requires more work. Not only do I have to build the plan (or two suns), how many planets there are, whether there is a asteroid field, an Oort cloud or not, and other considerations. For a fantasy world, I choose a yellow G2 Sun with a luminosity of 1 and put in planets and then just go on my happy way turning my focus to building the planet.
Building the planet, I have to decide what world it is. In our solar system, there is several rocky worlds. There is a desert world (Mars), a Greenhouse world (Venus), a rocky ball (mercury), and a Garden world (Earth). I pick a planet type: Garden, and continue the work. To build the world to have any sort of reality, I have to study many different disciplines of science.
A Garden planet, with its index of DNA and abundant life, is the hardest planet to design for fantasy gaming. But most people do it anyhow. After the physical world is described, you have to populate with Life.
Life means plants, animals, and monsters (in fantasy gaming, we deal with monsters a lot). Plants and animals you know. Monsters are animals with enchanted (or genetically engineered) form. After that, you do intelligent beings. Intelligent beings require more work. After doing the Hard Science building the world, Intelligent Beings demand knowledge of soft science.
you have to describe their culture, their religion, their propensity for warfare, how they move, their history, their beliefs, how they see magic, and if they call it magic or not. You have to design mythology, creation myths and so forth. And decide if they are true or not. You have to describe prenatal rights, birthing rites, childhood rites, coming of age rites, marriage rites, and burial rites.
You have to make a lot of other choices in your design. And a lot of these things are taken care of during the game. And it is this precise process, that takes many manhours, that is declared -- BORING --.
How dare you try to evangelize to me without even taking into account what I said.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Excuse me? Creation is boring?
Something so wonderful, so beautiful, is boring? How can he say that? I felt totally, and completely insulted at what this evolutionist said. As a game designer, I often try to design worlds that scientists would approve of. Something other world designers don't do. The Known Lands is built on a world that works on scientific principles. I studied a lot of science to do this, and there is still not a lot that I don't know.
Solar system models, planetary accretion, moon models, atmosphere and ocean dynamics, oceanography, biology, wildlife, ecology, desert ecology (I have a text book on deserts to help explain Athas' environment, the world of Dark Sun); anthropology, history, civilization. A lot of knowledge and work went into creating the Known Lands. I'm just describing it in scientific terms (then bring in the religious world view of the inhabitants). And what I do is boring? How can he say that?
Frankly, I don't know what your religious leanings are. If you are a Darwinist or not, if you play or GM D&D; you still participate in world design. I realize I do, and I actually get a beautiful rush doing it. I get high on building worlds. It makes me happy. Frankly, who has the authority to say in an authorative canonical statement that what I do is boring? It's pure and utter nonsense for one man to say that the activity that makes me happy is boring. I think this person is just monumentally naïve on how much work is put into creating a high quality, scientifically based, "fantasy" world.
The first person that stands up and says that the Known Lands is science fiction gets a candy, but I still say its built for fantasy gaming. :)
Friday, April 17, 2009
Laura was a citizen of Tyr until she discovered magic. She then learned the aspects of Preserving rather than defiling. She teamed up with an old druid to protect a forgotten jungle on Athas. With the druid gone, she is sole protector of that particular jungle.
This is an Earth Defender preserver. It is also a work in progress as I work in a Frazetta style (full nudity, but this blog is also about nudism). She is a Preserver (wizard) 5/Shaper 3 according to D&D 3e. In 2nd Edition, she's simply a Preserver with the Earth Defender kit. They are about as Green Peace or in some cases, Earth Liberation Front, as you can get in Athas.
I'll do up her stats later for 2nd Edition.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
IT has been suggested on Enworld that Wizards of the Coast should turn to Print on Demand for all of TSR's back catalog and for their 3e back catalog. I believe it is an awesome solution. It costs more to print it through lulu, but you won't be dealing with a large inventory. Although turning most 3e stuff to the open content community would work as well, PoD works better because you are making money when you do it. An open suggestion, to be sure.
This can quickly get you out of hot water with your fans: both 4e and 3e. It will also support old school gaming and give access to the D&D Basic Set to a lot of young kids. No need to reinvent the wheel, a basic product won't be necessary. A parent just needs to go to Lulu and order a copy of the Basic Set to be printed and buy a set of dice for their impressionable, precocious child. And you will have expanded the hobby by a lot.
This doesn't prevent piracy, but it is a satisfactory way to discourage piracy for both fans and production people. Just a little bit of insight into a brillant idea about regaining what you have lost through bad publicity.
LETS TALK ABOUT HOW IT IS GOOD!
The Constitution of the United States has guaranteed protection of Copyright, the right for an Author or company, in United States law. This allows the user to defend their copyright if it has been violated by a 2nd or 3rd party. Wizards of the Coast is duty bound to defend their copyright of D&D 4e (and other editions that they own).
They are currently suing eight so called pirates because they managed to "steal" copies of the 4e PHB2. Wizards of the Coast has moved in to defend their copyright of that book. Their right to distribute that book has been violated and they did the right thing in doing so.
Because, if their material enters the public domain, they will lose their copyright if it remains in the public domain. Pulling .pdfs is regarded as a sound, legal move.
So, lets now talk about how it is bad!
We've talked about how it is good. Now lets take a look at the bad side. There are a couple of things wrong with pulling .pdfs so abruptly. It was legal, but the action was immoral.
Loss of Customers: WotC has lost many of their customer base for pulling .pdfs. A lot of customers felt that they got the shaft. Me included. There is a lot of legacy stuff I wanted to buy: D&D expert, D&D companion set, D&D Master set, D&D Imortal Rules -- some second editon (AD&D) .pdfs, and some first edition (AD&D) .pdfs (including the 1st edition DMG). Buy pulling .pdfs so abruptly, Wizards are treating their customer base as theives. And most of these people are law abiding, honest citizens. This is the main reason, actually.
Bad Publicity: in our economy, a move like this attracts bad publicity. Wizards of the Coast has already gotten a heap of bad publicity due to the dick like way they handled the Game System License at first (it was the major reason why I didn't buy 4e: for me to buy 4e, 4e has to be either totally open, or totally closed. Not somewhere inbetween). Pulling the .pdfs has attracted more bad publicity than the first GSL. In the eighties and the nineties, any publicity was good publicity. However, in the midst of a depression economy, bad publicity equals no sales.
Death of the Dungeons and Dragons brand: The game won't die. The brand will because of this move. Dungeons and Dragons has always been the gateway to the hobby that appeals most to highly creative people -- Roleplaying Games. Wizards of the Coast may be the juggernaut of the hobby industry, but it doesn't mean that juggernauts can not be slain. Wizards of the Coast may be unstoppable -- but the best thing to do as a participant is to buy a copy of another game in .pdf or in physical form. Don't buy Wizards of the Coast until this thing at least has been straightened out.
Other companies, good companies, to buy from include:
Malhavoc Press (Iron Heroes is high quality)
Steve Jackson Games (their 4th edition GURPS is of much higher quality than Wizards of the Coast's Dungeons and Dragons 4e)
Iron Crown Enterprises (love it or hate it, Rolemaster Classic is the best game of it's type of RPG out there).
White Wolf (Exalted was put out for free)
Palladium Books (Hell froze over when KS decided to put his stuff out in .pdf)
Green Ronin (Mutants and Masterminds)
Mongoose Publishing (Conan)
West End Games (d6)
Morrigan Press (Atlantis: the Second Age)
You may be a 4e fan when you read this, but by supporting the "rebellion" against WotC you are helping the economy over all and the hobby industry over all by buying from these fine companies. .pdf is really the future of roleplaying games, its the most economical way of distributing RPGs for both the consumer and the producer. Show everyone that this is the truth, buy a roleplaying game in .pdf. I have Exalted for free. So I count. In the meantime, I'm planning on purchasing the 1st edition of Palladium Fantasy Roleplaying (revised) sometime in the near future. :)
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
One of the best things about joining the Frank Frazetta Contest is this:
1. I haven't participated in a DAZ sponsored contest before.
It's something always kicking around that I liked Frank's style when you do Old Style D&D. The Known Lands came out of WoW, but it was also heavily influenced by Frank Frazetta and the good people at the Judges Guild. Classic fantasy (Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, John Norman, etc.) is one of the biggest inspirations for Dungeons and Dragons than most people really realize.
Frank Frazetta produced paintings of gorgeous women (even though they were curvy), powerful barbarians, and fantastic locales. To this day, he's the biggest inspiration for trying a Stone Age (read: neolithic) campaign. How would a stone age campaign work?
Simple: Cavemen and magic. :)
The Neolithic Era is a fantasy, truly. We don't have much about it, except monuments like Stonehenge and archeological tools -- and a way of explaining all this through antropology's un-exact science. However, it's more than man living in caves, its about the start of agriculture, adventuring in a time when it was very dangerous for human beings (sabre-toothed cats, dire wolves both domesticated and wild, wooly mammoths, dire lions (panthera atrox) etc.)
Couple that with monsters (lesser evolved creatures -- h. habilus, h. eogaster, h. erectus), apes, and monstrous versions of normal creatures and you have a good campaign. You can make it even more fanciful if you add the dinosaurs.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I am going to render a picture inspired by this painting. It's a Frank Frazetta, and he usually does ladies with luscious curves. If you like, I can show you step-by-step how I am going to render this. The following materials are what I'm going to use:
1. DAZ Studio
2. Lisa's Botanicals - Jungle Mist
3. Luscious Curves for V4-A4-Elite
4. Heart of the Jungle
5. Millennium Big Cat
6. Victoria 4
7. Sensual Hair V4
8. V4 Sexy Shirt Plus (Earrings source)
9. Jungle Vines
If you want to render your own jungle queen, pretty much items one through 6 and 9 are needed. :) We will go by this step by step, consider it the first of the Mastering DAZ Studio series.
Monday, April 13, 2009
The Afternoon of the First Resurrection ensures that those who are Terrestial in spirit are resurrected also. And the evening or the Second Resurrection resurrects those who followed the Law of the Jungle -- i.e. telestially minded. Finally, those who choose error in this Life over truth are also resurrected.
The first to be resurrected is Joshua ben Joseph of Nazereth. He is known in the world as Jesus the Christ (Christ is Greek for the "annointed one.") Many other blogs have noted that the day of Easter is actually a pagan holiday. The worship of Eostre, the ancient Indo-European goddess of the dawn, took place around this time. However, Easter somehow follows the Jewish Passover on most years, so the time to worship and to remember the Resurrection is set for all us Christians.
Christianity is a religion that offers hope to many people around the world. You can't be a Christian without believing in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ -- ie. the act of Him reuniting with his body. Joshua ben Joseph is a real person. He atoned for our sins, was crucified, and was resurrected after. He is the Messiah, the Annointed One. He didn't come down to be our God, nay . . . he's our Savior instead. He taught us, through his life, how to live and obtain happiness.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
An Amazon of the Known Lands. Done in anime style.
This is Celestia. I used my Beldandy morph and then morphed her eyes a little more. Celestia is ready for Greywulf's next collection of character portraits.
Friday, April 10, 2009
"In the Beginning was Chaos, for that was all that is. Then God moved upon Chaos and thought the thoughts of Creation. As God thought, so was the World of Arborea was made. God had created all things with his thoughts: including the mountains, oceans, rivers, valleys, woods, and animals of Arborea.
"Then God said all was good and left Aborea unto itself. However, the Gods came to Arborea and found a world that was good and pristine. The Gods decided that Man (meaning the Eladrin) should inhabit the world and created two eggs. From these were hatched Angharradh and Labelas Enoreth: Man and Woman.
"The gods then dressed Angharradh and Labelas Enoreth and pronounced them "good." and left them to rule all of Arborea. From the midst of the Garden World Angharradh and Labelas Enoreth started to give birth. From these two sprang the Seldarine and the entire Eladrin race.
This part of the Myth recounts the creation of the Eladrin and the garden like state of Arborea.
"Strange beings known as the Illithid came to Arborea, they were akin to walking talking squids. They had bargained with both Labelas Enoreth and Angharradh. But Angharradh was taken in by the Devilish Illithids. The walking squidmen had beguiled Angharradh and both Labelas Enoreth into discovering that they were naked. So Angharradh and Labelas Enoreth had made garments and put them on and made their children wear them.
"When the Gods came back, they were sorely angry at the Eladrin Race, but also the Illithid. Angharradh had blaimed the squidmen for being beguiled, and so the the Gods declared that the Eladrin will live in a lone and dreary wilderness and never again attain Aborea. So the Gods moved the Eladrin out of Arborea and into the Wilderness, and the garden state was never attained again."
The Elvish Race fall from Grace and the loss of Arborea. From here, the Massalian account follows the account of the Ancient Times, when the world of the Known Lands descended into Violence and God punished the whole world for its violence with the Great Flood. The Eladrin then settled in a valley during a time which there was no written record.
The Account of the Massalian Elves --
"Long ago, Massalias led certain Eladrin to the land some Ten score and twelve leagues across the sea to a land of bounty. Massalias established a city where the Eladrin could believe in peace and build up a mighty nation. However, there was not a lot of trees in the land so the Eladrin turned to stone as the primary building material.
"Massalias and his wife prospered in the land. However, it was not long that the Titans would come a conquering their former homeland. Massalias then knew his wife, Shashalla, and made love to her. He then gave birth to a son named Faralas. When Faralas came of age, he became king and built a hundred Triremes to do battle against the Titans. After this, he sired two sons: Cadmus and Kaelthas. Then Faralas sailed the open sea with his navy to conquer the Titans.
"At the sight of their army, the Titans laughed and caused the mighty navy and army to be baptized in the sea. All, including Faralas, drowned. At this point, Cadmus swore revenge on the mighty Titans who destroyed the ways of the Eladrin. Revenge burned in the heart of Cadmus and he told Kaelthas to go up unto the land of the titans and steal their greatest secrets. Kaelthas did go up unto the land and returned with a book of wisdom and a book of damnation.
"Kaelthas learned from the book of Wisdom and learned the secrets of defeating the Titans through magic. Cadmus studied the book of Damnation and learned the secrets of steel. Cadmus then made a powerful sword into which was the symbol of his Revenge and his lust for justice against our race. Kaelthas incorporated the wisdom and created magic.
"Although Kaelthas and Cadmus fought over how the Titans would be taken care of, and Cadmus convinced Kaelthas that killing the Titans was the only way. So they both went up unto the land of the titans. Through the use of steel and Cadmus' magic, the two brothers slew or captured many of the Titan leaders and brought them back to Massalia.
"Here, the brothers commanded a great pit should be dug and he shut the Titans up into it. The people then shut up the pit and the brothers took joint rulership of the kingdom. Kaelthas repented of his evil ways, and started teaching the disciples the way of magic. Cadmus, however, had a heart burning for more revenge and taught his disciples the ways of War, Steel, and Demons.
"In time, Kaelthas organized his disciples into the first Council of Magisters. While Cadmus organized the new government of Massalia. But Cadmus' serpents overcame him and he fought his brother. In time, Kaelthas was forced to slay his brother Cadmus. When he slew his brother, Cadmus exploded into puss, ichor, and ugliness. Kaelthas, sorrowful that he slew his brother, ordered that a monument be built for his brother's deeds and to never forget the Titans and how they conquered their people and to be ever vigilant of invaders."
How Cadmus organized the government of Massalia and the Council of Magisters were organized. How Kaelthas slew his brother and the story of corruption that Revenge brings.
The two myths of Massalia teaches the young Massalian elf their origins and the ultimate sin -- revenge. Revenge is held as one of the sins to be shunned by Massalian culture and the myth of the founding of Massalia illustrates this.
Both myths are allegorical. One is highly symbolic, as Aborea is looked as Eden for the elves. The other is very moral. Its absolutely ironic that a culture based on revenge and war looks down on both as sins.
Known as the Seldarine, which translates roughly as the fellowship of brothers and sisters of the wood, the Massalian Pantheon is led by Corellon Larethian. The pantheon itself is tight in the Massalian Cosmology.
Creator of the Elves, First of the Seldarine
Greater Elven Deity
Symbol: The Eagle
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Domains: Law, Elf, Magic, Nobility, Protection, War
Favored weapon: Broadsword
Corellon Larethian is the leader of the elvish Pantheon of the Massalian Elves. He is a war deity, as the Massalian Elves currently view him. He is also a diety of magic, being the prime diety that all the Council of Magisters defer to. Corellon Larethian is invoked when the Massalian Elves go into the battle, when great magics are wrought, and when buildings are built. He is the lord of all the elves.
Protectress, Bride, Flowery Hera
Symbol: Gold Heart
Domains: Community, Elf, Nobility, Protection, Trickery
Hanali Celanil is the Goddess of Marriage and Beauty. She is also Corellon's unconquerable wife. She represents unions and sealings of those unions. She is the patron of marriage, but also of jealous wives. Jealous wives often invoke her power when their husbands go astray. In Massalian Myth, she is a sneak, a spy, and a plotter; and many of her followers are often proud to be the same. Although she leans a bit on the evil side, the wife of Corellon Larethian has many good followers who extol her good attributes. She also patronizes nobility and good government.
1. I got the name for the Massalian Elves from the ancient name for the city of Marseilles (Massalia).
2. They are loosely based on the Blood Elves.
3. I used the Ancient Time of Myth described in the Table of Nations (which is described in the Bible, Genesis Chapter 10). Your mileage may vary searching the Table of Nations links.
All Massalian Elves are descended from the Eladrin (in D&D 4e, these are listed as a Core Race). The Eladrin are descended from the First Ones, who came to the world of Arborea through the use of lost technology (a Stargate? Probably). The First Ones, finding such a world as Arborea, adapted themselves to the environment using genetic engineering -- becoming the Eladrin.
The Eladrin race propagated themselves and prospered on the world. During the great Interstellar War between the First Ones and the vile Illithid; the Illithid came to Arborea and started to conquer the world. Fearing for their freedom, many of the Eladrin escaped back to the world of the Known Lands even as a First One doomsday device utterly destroyed Arborea's ecology, transforming it into a desert world where nothing can grow.
Forced to adapt in their new home and helping the First Ones, the Illithids' empire was broken and the war was over. The Illithids were forced to retreat from the Known Lands. The Eladrin then grew and prosper.
Then the war with Dragons eventually ended up in a coalition of Eladrin, Orcs, and First Ones. Even as the dragons from Draconia was defeated; the Merebemoch (Great Flood) came and flooded the whole world as the world of the Known Lands was filled with violence.
After the flood, the survivors took their places. The Eladrin settled in a land that was like Arborea, and started to propagate in the land. Hundreds of Years later, the Pelagasir Elves, elves that had been corrupted; invaded the lands of the Eladrin. The Eladrin, living in a land in a Balkan government (that is, all the Eladrin were living in un-unified city states) were easily overran.
The Pelagasiri tore the nation apart, killing many, enslaving more, and forcing many to flee to other lands for safety. The only Eladrin City State that did not suffer invasion was Massalia. It was five hunded miles away, a colony of one of the other Eladrin states. Hearing reports of invasion, the Eladrin of Massalia sent a fleet of one hundred triremes to strike at the heart of the invaders. The Pelagasiri baptised the entire Massalian fleet into the sea using Arcane Magic. A thousand men of the Eladrin drowned in the depths of the sea; including the King Faralas.
The people of Massalia were devastated by the loss. It was at this time that Prince Cadmus named the people: Massalian Elves -- as they were of Massalia. Searching for a way to defeat their enemies, the Pelagasir, Prince Cadmus transformed Massalian Culture. First, scouts stole copies of the Necronomicon and the Grimoire of Mysteries from the Pelagasir. Secondly, using the two sources of Arcane Magic, Prince Cadmus created the Council of Magisters -- powerful wizards and warlocks who harnessed arcane magic and the power of demons.
Third, Prince Cadmus changed how people devote themselves to Correllon Larethian; altering Correllon Larethian from an image of a benevolent god to a god of warriors. The Massalian Elves became regimented. In time, the use of Warlock magic made the glow in their eyes fade to a firey green. However, within their hearts burns the lust for one thing: the destruction of those who call themselves High Elves. The Pelagasiri.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Researching Creation Myths to come up with one for orcs has come up with a lot of wierd creation myths. I'm still looking for one to adapt to the orcs.
Here are a few:
The Ainu people of Hokkaidō recount the demiurge with a cosmology consisting of six heavens and six hells where gods, demons, and animals lived. Demons lived in the lower heavens. Amongst the stars and the clouds lived the lesser gods. In highest heaven lived Kamui, the creator god, and his servants. His realm was surrounded by a mighty metal wall and the only entrance was through a great iron gate.
Kamui made this world as a vast round ocean resting on the backbone of an enormous trout. This fish sucks in the ocean and spits it out again to make the tides; when it moves it causes earthquakes.
One day Kamui looked down on the watery world and decided to make something of it. He sent down a water wagtail to do the work. By fluttering over the waters with its wings and by trampling the sand with its feet and beating it with its tail, the wagtail created patches of dry land. In this way islands were raised to float upon the ocean.
When the animals who lived up in the heavens saw how beautiful the world was, they begged Kamui to let them go and live on it, and he did. But Kamui also made many other creatures especially for the world. The first people, the Ainu, had bodies of earth, hair of chickweed, and spines made from sticks of willow. Kamui sent Aioina, the divine man, down from heaven to teach the Ainu how to hunt and to cook.
Damballah (Sky-serpent loa and wise and loving Father archetype) created all the waters of the earth. In the form of a serpent, the movement of his 7,000 coils formed hills and valleys on earth and brought forth stars and planets in the cosmos. He forged metals from heat and sent forth lightning bolts to form the sacred rocks and stones.
When he shed his skin in the sun, releasing all the waters over the land, the sun shone in the water and created the rainbow. Damballah loved the rainbow's beauty and made her his wife, Aida-Wedo. (Aida-Wedo represents the sky powers and is symbolized by the rainbow; wife of Damballah, she shares his function as cosmic protector and giver of blessing.)
The revelations of the loa (deity) descended upon the first faithful in Ifé, a legendary city located in Nigeria. Therefore, everything in life and all spiritual strength comes from Ifé. The homeland of all voodoo devotees, where Ifé is located, is Ginen, from where they were forced to flee in the African Diaspora. In death, the higher soul will return to Ginen (the world of the dead, said to be under the water below the earth) to reside with the loa and the ancestral spirits. Because of this, all practitioners of voodoo refer to themselves as ti guinin, sons or daughters of Ginen.
The Yoruba creator is called Olorun or Olodumare and is often assisted by the spirit, or "lesser god", Obatala. In the beginning, there was only water and chaos. The supreme being sent Obatala or Orishanla down from the sky to create some land out of the chaos. He descended on a long chain (umbilical cord) and brought with him a rooster, some iron, and a palm kernel. First, he put the metal on the earth and the rooster on top of that. The rooster scratched the metal and spread it out to create land. Then he planted the palm seed and from it grew the Earth's vegetation. Olurun named earth "Ife" and the first city "Ile-Ife." Orshilana created humans out of the earth and got Olurun to blow life into them.
The Maasai of Kenya in their creation narrative recount the origin of humanity to be fashioned by the Creator deity from a single tree or leg which split into three pieces. To the first father of the Maasai, he gave a stick. To the first father of the Kikuyu, he gave a hoe. To the first father of the Kamba, he gave a bow and arrow. Each son survived in the wild. The first father of the Maasai used his stick to herd animals. The first father of the Kikuyu used his hoe to cultivate the ground. The first father of the Kamba used his bow and arrow to hunt.
All the attention I've been giving to the orcs means that they are pretty much like the klingons in Star Trek; probably. I haven't touched the Massalian Elves yet, so you just have to wait. The purpose? To show that orcs are more than just pc slaying fodder. I want to show them as a real race, and not just a monster to stick your sword in.
So, what do we do about the orcs in the Known Lands? I already described their marriage ceremonies. I still have to get to Shaman initiation rites, Mythology, and all that happy stuff (I already established that the orcs came from the First Ones, or the Precursors, or the Ancients in an earlier post).
Lets talk about Coming of Age rites next, since Coming of Age stories are often a source of drama. Lets talk about rites where an orc child becomes a man. I chosen that the Orcs had some rites that would represent their culture: circumcision and the journey.
Orcs and Circumcision
One of the important differences in cultures that rely on war over cultures that work toward peace is circumcision. In boys, this is the cutting of the foreskin. In Judaism and Ancient Hebrewism, circumcision of the penis was a token of the covenant between God and Father Abraham.
When Jesus Christ had performed the Atonement, the covenant between God and Abraham was fulfilled, and now circumcision is not required in the Christian faith. Circumcision, however, was performed by idolatrous and non-Hebrew and Christian cultures. It's a practice found all over the Middle East and South Central Asia. Even the Egyptians practiced circumcision. Other Ancient Cultures did not.
So what does this have to do about the orcs in the Known Lands?
Orcs of most tribes of the Horde circumcise their male children when they are twelve years of age. This is part of an orc boy growing into manhood. The idea of circumcision is built around the idea that a boy is ready to leave his parents and become a man. After circumcision, the boy chooses his profession: usually between being a shaman, scout, hunter, or a warrior (barbarian or fighter) of some sort.
As for warlocks, they usually kidnap their apprentices. Hence, there is a strong undercurrent of pedophilia and pedorasty among the members of the Tribe of the Burning Sword, but that will come in a discussion of Warlocks among the Orcs.
Ahem . . .
Orcs and the Journey
When an orc male is sixteen years of age, his formal training in hunting, war, scouting, or shamanism is complete. Then comes the Journey. The Journey is a time of separation of a young orc's life from his parents to complete a coming of age quest. Some orcs don't grow out of this stage and take up Adventuring as a full time profession.
For the young warrior, his quest is to slay a beast and bathe in its blood. The quest is often the slaying of a powerful predator, or the slaying of an enemy human or elf man in single combat. The orc warrior often comes back with a scar to prove his mettle as a warrior.
For the young hunter, his quest is often to hunt a questing beast -- such as a mighty roe stag or hart stag, and slay the beast using what he knows. He then must bring back the meat to be served in a Coming of Age feast.
The young scout must be able to do something truly noteworthy. He must either infiltrate a human city and get something valuable without being recognized; or he must traverse the Orc nation in order to show he understands where the landmarks are and how he can use the knowledge to his and the tribe's advantage.
The young shaman must partake in a vision quest, in which he learns of his place and the orcs' place among the spirits of the land. The shaman must go into the wilderness of the Orc nation, seeking communion with the spirits after a period of fasting. Then a guardian animal would appear to the shaman and give him the direction he should go. Sometimes, however, some orc shamans see elemental spirits (an Earth, Air, Water, or Fire spirit) and find them called to follow the elements rather than an animal spirit. Most orc shamans, however, see the vision of a wolf, eagle, panther, tiger, or lion.
For orc warlocks, they must be able to show that they won't succumb to demonic corruption; that the can control true power. Usually this means investigating some demonic presence in the land and defeating it; then the warlock learns how to summon a demon. Usually an imp or quasit. Then they must show that they can control the demon. Once they have it successfully under their control, they proved that they can control the power they are given and are considered to be full warlocks.
For young orcs of other professions -- such as boat building, tent making, leather working, and so forth; the vision quest is often all that is needed. They don't need to prove anything, so they often go on a vision quest to find out their place in the world.
Monday, April 6, 2009
So far, I've got it down to seven tribes and marriage rituals. I decided to base the marriage ritual on Malay customs, since the western style of Marriage in America (and England) seems so common place.
You exchange vows and a cleric or a judge pronounces you man and wife. Didn't seem fair to put that spin on a Warlike race, especially when marriages today doesn't seem to be so special. It's easy to get divorce in America, so I wanted my orcs to have some class.
I looked up Indian and Malay marriage customs, and picked the Malay marriage rituals and added the Polynesian bride price ritual of giving a herd of cows to the bride's father. I then added a feast where a bull is slain and the orcs partake in the feast. Eggs are given to most every guest as a symbol of fertility. I could add shades of the Orphic Egg to the Mythology of the orcs to explain the Creation. ("from a cosmic egg laid by a diety, sprang forth the first orc man and the first orc woman. They then had sex, and gave birth to our race.")
However, I love the idea that the orcs believe that they came about as a result of an act of sexual reproduction. A society's religion that teaches that man and woman came from sex puts special emphasis on the family. I may even have tribe justify masturbation by making it into a creation myth ("Gruumsh rubbed his penis and spilled his seed upon the ground, and from the ground sprang Luthic"), thus justifying that tribe's backward ways in treating their females.
However, if you are a world builder, I must reccommend GURPS Religion. It teaches you how to build religions for your world. Since I'm building by ideas incorporated from other cultures, I tend to build mythology around this. But the book has been invaluable.
I love it when DAZ gives me some new things to work with. One day, I grew tired of rendering toothpicks, so I decided on a full figured woman. I got luscious curves the other day and wanted to experiment with Frazetta's style.