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Legend of Hero: 017-019 - Baxil [bakh-HEEL'], n. My Sites [Tomorrowlands] [The TTU Wiki] [Photos]
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December 23rd, 2008
06:40 pm
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Legend of Hero: 017-019
Going around my friends list right now is a link to artwork of Inuit mythological creatures. It's fantastic art -- I'm especially partial to #5 -- but a little more relevant to my current project was a side link I followed that led over to InuitMyths.com. They describe the Taqriaqsuit, or shadow people:
They live like we do in a world like our own. Their world, however, is beyond our perception. They are almost never seen, but sometimes when conditions are right the Taqriaqsuit can be heard. Have you ever heard the sounds of footsteps or the sound of talking or laughing in the distance but see no one around? Maybe it was the Taqriaqsuit. ...
Stories tell us that some Inuit have crossed over into their world, but few have ever returned to tell us what it is like. If the Taqriaqsuit invited you to cross over into their world for a visit, would you go?

Strangely enough, that's exactly what the characters in Legend of Hero have been doing this past week. Their shadow world is full of surprises -- such as treasure chests and their contents, in Hall of Heroes IV. HoH V finds them debating whether to continue exploring. And in HoH VI, our heroes find a clue suggesting what happened to their mysterious benefactor. (The clue has some fairly dramatic consequences, but you'll just have to read on to find out ...)

This weekend was Solstice -- we've officially turned the corner on the season, and days are growing longer rather than shorter. Hurrah! To celebrate, my gaming group and I sat down and roleplayed 'til dawn. They cleared out the campaign's first dungeon -- some undead-infested catacombs underneath the city hospital.

As they were advancing through the catacombs, they found an unexpected shortcut that caused them to end up facing both bosses at once -- which worked out alright for them, since the burly fighter with the two-handed sword scored a double critical on his first swing and nearly one-shotted the vengeance-mad demon-thing. The druid went toe-to-toe with the ghoul and it looked like they'd be mopping up pretty readily -- and then they made a big tactical error.

They set fire to the sad, ineffectual, recently embalmed zombie of a seven-year-old boy.

Crispy (as A.J. nicknamed the monster) immediately became the scariest foe of the encounter. Once he was on fire, his attack dice wouldn't roll anything less than an 18. He took the party apart piece by piece, lighting at least three of them on fire and bringing the mage to -6 HP before one of them dove past the ghoul to smother the mage with a wet cloak. I very nearly got a TPK before Crispy finally collapsed under the sustained fire damage.

The only explanation we could come up with later was that it was karmic retribution. The seven-year-old had originally died because our druid botched a Heal roll when trying to save him from dying from massive burns. So it goes.

Speaking of karma: kadyg brought home a new Tarot deck to play around with. It was given to her because the previous two owners found it too temperamental to effectively give readings with. She showed me the deck; I shuffled it, asked "So, deck, how are you doing today?", drew a card at random, and stared into the face of "Death."

I have a sneaking suspicion the deck will be on owner #5 pretty soon.

Current Location: ~spiral
Current Music: DJ Shadow, "You Can't Go Home Again"
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From:luna_torquill
Date:December 24th, 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
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I have what I affectionately refer to as "The Jewish Momma Deck" (or the Black Momma Deck). It's a Sacred Circle deck which lets me know, on no uncertain terms, that I had better damn well be at the end of my rope before I resort to a reading, 'cause otherwise it'll open up the can of Major Arcana whupass and slap me into next week.

"What the heck are you asking me about this for? You already know the answer. No, don't give me that look, you already know the answer, and if you don't, it's just 'cause you haven't looked hard enough for it yet. *siiiigh* Okay, since you need my help to even tie your shoes, HERE's about THREE or FOUR very POINTED HINTS on what you should do. Too much Major Arcana? What are you talking about, they're only eight out of thirteen cards! You never appreciate what I do for you."

I haven't done a reading on myself in years. :)
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From:baxil
Date:December 24th, 2008 11:36 pm (UTC)
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Interesting - I'd never thought of the majors that way. My first Tarot deck would pretty reliably give me majority-major readings, but without that sort of attitude.

Of course, these days, my life's a lot more domestic; the readings have settled down accordingly.
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From:paka
Date:December 24th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)
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Wait. Works better while on fire. Therefore, your zombie NPC has a VW engine similar to that installed in Microbusses.
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From:baxil
Date:December 24th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
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Funny 'cause it's true. :D

Also has a lot of elements of the Pinto: Vaguely useless product of shoddy manufacturing, that nobody notices until it's set on fire by a small crew of interlopers with delusions of grandeur. Kind of a "GM Pinto," if you'll forgive the manufacturer substitution.
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From:siege
Date:December 24th, 2008 05:55 am (UTC)
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What Tarot is this? A standard Rider-Waite, or something else?
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From:baxil
Date:December 24th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
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The Quest Tarot, which is about as far from the standard Rider-Waite you can get and still call it "Tarot." The cards have Ouija-board-like letters, and "also contain gems and stones; suit, month, and season indicators; eye, hair, and skin color; hebrew letters; rune symbols; and astrological symbols." (If you suspect this makes them look something like Magic: The Gathering cards, you wouldn't be far wrong.) There are a few major arcana and court cards that the deck author added into the standard set.

Anthropomorphizing Tarot decks is an easy mental model to fall into (see first comment above), and given this deck's history and immediate reaction, I can't help but think of it as some sort of pompous British aristocrat, inducted as a 42nd-degree Übermagus of the Subtle Infinite Supreme Mystic Order of the High Holy Hoo-Hah, which holds its nightly meetings in the basement of the castle of the Queen Herself, drinking Courvoisier on the rocks and joking with the spirits about how the commoners are revolting.

It took one look at my filthy hands (hey, dragons are quadrupeds, it's not like we can walk around with our forepaws in our pockets), sniffed down its nose at me, and harrumphed, "Begone with you, you spavined jackdaw! You dare to think you are worthy to associate with me when you can hardly tell a Six of Wands from a Three of Pentacles? Go back to playing with your entrails and leave proper divination to the experts."
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From:siege
Date:December 25th, 2008 03:47 am (UTC)
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I dunno. From the description given at the link you provided, I think it's a confused newbie fluffer-nutter trying to act pompous because it learned a few Jewish symbols and talks to spirits.

"How are you doing today?" Death.
Sounds emo and over-wrought to me.

I happen to have a Thoth Tarot which I've given up on; the symbology is just too wrapped up in Qabbalistic structures and correspondence tables to really make sense to me. Even when the cards drawn seem obvious to others, I tend to Just Not Get It.

Why don't we trade? I think that crazy overdone deck could use some extremely calm and patient energy, and maybe you have use for an otherwise reasonably useable Tarot.

And I'm mostly bipedal - forepaws are used for grasping and climbing.
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From:baxil
Date:December 28th, 2008 12:34 am (UTC)
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Technically, the deck is kadyg's, but I'll be sure to pass the offer on to her. If she has issues with it too, I'll let you know!
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From:natetg
Date:December 24th, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC)

Death isn't That Bad...

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Really, in traditional interpretation, it represents the end of one thing, and the beginning of another. It's the card of closure. Entirely appropriate for something like the end of one owner, and the beginning of another...

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From:baxil
Date:December 24th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)

Re: Death isn't That Bad...

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I'd agree with you, except this deck is kind of ... special. (See comment directly above.) It's also not subtle. The cards themselves have a few words of interpretation right under the name, and this one was labeled simply "Endings."

I could take that as the deck being emo, or I could take that as the deck being dismissive. Given its history, I'm pretty confident it was the latter.

BTW, sorry about the chaos this weekend. You doing anything for Christmas Eve? Kady and I should be home all night.
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From:zon14
Date:December 25th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)

Re: Death isn't That Bad...

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They say it's up to the reader to make the final interpretation.

Heh, deck acted like that to me, I'd probably open up a book of matches on it.

Of course, it may just be the previous reader's energies upon it as well. Might take a little while to get rid of them.
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