mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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The Quick & the Dead & the Slow. (44)

Mediums: Speakers with the Dead by White Wolf.

Try to remember
the ghosts of November, &
follow, follow, foll...

Making that haiku was rough! Like saying "antici...." & then never closing it. Haunting! Which is the point. This is an old Wraith: The Oblivion book that Ed gave me (& partially wrote & edited). Wraith, in case you missed it, was a game that was too brilliant for its time. It is the game that prefigured a lot of the smaller pretentious art games that are circulating now. The basic premise of the game-- you are a ghost-- is buoyed up by the extraordinary cosmology, what with lands of the living being like the scum on the ocean, & beneath is the Shadowlands, & beneath that the Tempest & the islands of Stygia et al, & beneath that the hellish Labyrinth & finally at the center of all things, infinite Oblivion. The simplicity & sheer resonant mythological oomph of it still gets me. Besides that, rules like the Shadow (where another Player portrays the dark side of your personality, a whisper in the back of your head urging you towards Oblivion) & the Harrowing (where, when your character takes enough damage to "die" you fall into a passion play enacting your deepest fears) are still some of the most elegant innovations in gaming, if you ask me.

Mediums was part of the "Year of Allies," along with books like Ghouls: Fatal Addiction. Mediums are the humans that can contact the dead, however they manage to do that. I understand the impetus for this book-- it is hard to play a wraith in the "typical" Old World of Darkness (oWoD) game. Vampires & Werewolves had major antipathy, but at least they lived in the same dimension! Mediums was a book ahead of its time-- it prefigured books like Geist: The Sin-Eaters & Second Sight. & really it foreshadowed the publishing direction of the whole New World of Darkness (nWoD): optional niche books. That is, a medium might never become germane to a campaign but in case you do want or need one, here is the book for you! There is information on a wide range of (mostly shamanic) practices; indigenous North American traditions from the Hopi to the Ojibwa; vampiric Giovanni necromancers, fennel sword wielding Benandanti; pseudo-scientific government agencies; boardwalk fortune tellers; cults devoted to the Shadow-dominant spectres---the whole shebang. The book is rules light-- you get a couple of merits, but mostly it is setting information & plot hooks. This is a win; it gives the book long term legs. If you are running a modern game, if you are playing Geist & want some ideas or just want a fortune teller, this is most certainly worth picking up to mine for ideas.
Tags: books, haiku, rpgs, wod

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