Monday, January 24, 2011

Wiki, January 24, 2011

I am running out of maps.

What I've had has sustained the wiki for the past two and a half months ... and while maps were not the only thing I've added to the Wiki, it's felt good to know that if I produced a dribble during the week, the maps would pad out my contributions.

But, that time is nearly over.  I have perhaps three more weeks after this to post what I have, mostly the southern edge of what's mapped, and then nothing.  Oh, yes, I will occasionally print updates, like the addition of the Low Countries I finished last week.  But the big complete maps, those will all be up.

Sigh.  Oh well, here's what's been added for this week: Babylonia, the Persian Gulf and Gedrosia.  There's a lot of desert in these three.  People might be interested in the first one, since it includes southern Iraq, Kuwait and northern Saudi Arabia.  Sorry parts of the southern kingdoms, around Burayda (should be Buraydah) are unnamed.  If someone complains, I'll label it a bit more and post an update.

The Persian Gulf is mostly southern Iran, or Persia, at the time of my world ruled by the Safavids.  Gedrosia is a huge empty chunk of southeastern Iran, western Afghanistan and western Pakistan.  The large river on the right side of the map is the Helmand, which serves as a very important breadbasket for modern day Afghanistan.  The familiar city of Qandahar is just off the map to the right (east of Qal'eh-ye Bost), at the point where the various feeder streams for the Helmand descend out of the Hazarat Mountains.  It will be included in a map next week.

Maps aside, the really big work that I finished last week is the Tarot, which I've been working on for months.  After a long hiatus, I plunged into finishing it for two weeks, which proved to be a daunting task.  The hard portion was, in fact, the research.  Not content to just make up 156 different story arcs which would serve to apply to the cards (both in the upright and reversed positions), I did my very best to identify the core meaning of the card and to build the interpretation from that.  Since most interpretations of the Tarot are written so as to be intentionally vague, to facilitate bullshitting people for money, this was not easy.  It required delving exhaustively into symbolic references, and puzzling out how that could be applied to a D&D campaign.

As an aside, the research I've done into the Tarot has done nothing to interest me in the use of cards has they have come to be used.  Most of the cards are given the exact same meanings, over and over again, with the least bit of distinction, and at least half the cards enable the card reader to counsel the querant (the so-called mark) to "look within" or to "change your outlook" ... which really means jack shit.  Of course people should be introspective or open to change.  How exactly are the cards useful in telling me the obvious?

To reassure the gentle reader, my interpretations are not like that.  I would ask that the cards are given a good read before being dismissed; even if the Tarot has no interest, I assure you there are a great many story arcs which could be incorporated into your sandbox campaign, which perhaps you've never run before.  The list is intended, if nothing else, to be a resource in creating adventure ideas.

Part of me wants to take certain cards and write posts about just those interpretations, since they proved to be interesting and with definite potential that might be missed in the short description space on the table allowed.  I may do that at asome point.  For now, I'm happy to be finished.

The actual application to my campaign, and how it works according to my principles of wild magic, haven't been tested.  But many of these story arcs are fairly common.  I'm not worried about incorporating them in, only in how often the tarot cards can be read and still have an effect.  After all, you can't have a reading, then sit down and request another reading.  Only the first card pulled on a particular day has any relevance ... and I am unsure as to how long that relevance should last.  I'm going with one card being potentially pulled every three sessions; I'll have to see if that is too often, or not often enough.

I'll finish by making another pitch for people to contribute to the wiki.  I promise not to bite.  The process works no different than any publication would.  Send me, the Wiki's editor, material you think would make a positive addition.  If it looks good our IT Guy, Carl, will give you a password and you can create a page.  If you have lots of material, I'll only ask after that you give me a sign when you've posted something.  I'm afraid that there is a certain level of quality that is requested, primarily that the information is clear, concise and detailed.  By 'detailed' I mean that a fair amount of thought has gone into the content, that it isn't something that's been slapped together in an afternoon.

If you can meet these standards, I'm not concerned if your material would be something I would agree with or wish to use in my world.  I am not here to judge the nature of the content, only its quality.  There is plenty of room in the Universe for differing ideas, for every kind of world and for every kind of play system ... so long as an honest labour has been applied to its creation.

Please do not feel intimidated by my usual rhetoric on this blog, or worry that you will be publically hounded by me.  There are no comments permitted on the Wiki, precisely so that materials posted there will stand on their own, and not suffer the reflections cast by abusive Internet persons like myself.  I will give you three answers if you make an offer: "No," "Work on it some more," and "When can you post?"  I will restrain myself from personal observations.

My email is alexiss1@telus.net.  Submissions should be sent there.

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