Home > Uncategorized > I don’t want all Ken Hite’s speculations to be made real…

I don’t want all Ken Hite’s speculations to be made real…

…but this one just might be my all-time favourite. A replica air loom. What’s an air loom?

…a human Influencing Machine. Borne of the same paranoia and psychosis that characterises contemporary reports of mind control… [its designer/whistleblower] believed it ran on magnetic fluids. Operated by skilled pneumatic chemists who controlled the warp of the fluids that travelled out of the machine toward the intended victim. The primary targets were MPs and the patients of mad houses (including Matthews himself). Targeted in coffee houses by the Assasins who worked the machine, their victims were surreptiously primed with vapours, ready for the dreadful event-workings of the machine. Matthews writes of the formidable arsenal of tortures that the Air Loom could deliver. They include: Kiteing, Bomb bursting, Lobster cracking, Thigh Talking, Fluid Locking and Lengthening the brain.

Apparently it was (is?) on display in Newcastle.Dallas McNally suggests a dungeon that rises from the material plane to the ethereal or astral, using the old Yogic chakras:
The root chakra dungeon level is the level which abuts the PCs’ prime material plane. The third eye and crown chakra dungeon levels abut the astral plane.
My aim is not to make a new-agey D&D but merely to imagine how the pieces of the PHB Appendix IV fit together without ending up with Star Trek.
Sounds like an example of Ars Magica’s regio to me, or maybe the hermetic idea of shaking off the influences of the planets to rise to your proper god-nature, but he mentions specifically the old new agey changing frequency idea – getting a new vibe – as a means for etherastral travel, and it set me thinking first about the air loom and second about what I actually want from the  ethereal/astral/altered states/ghost/spirit world/umbra in fiction or games. I always find the ones people come up with unsatisfying, maybe because when you talk about what this Other World of the Imagination is, you’re really asking “what is fantasy?” in the widest, most far-reaching and personal sense. And… I still want to be surprised. Any time you nail it down – any time I have to decide myself what it is – it can only disappoint.

Update: from the same G+ thread, Heikki Hallemaa mentions the Temples of Humanity, dug out of the mountains near Turin! How did I not know about this when I actually passed through Turin earlier this year, dammit! Must go back.

On the topic of fooling with things man was not meant to fool with, check it out, they’re digging out some Easter Island Moai! Unhinging of the continents in 10, 9…

On the topic of things that should be hoaxes but might not be, here’s a series of lectures by Borges! I know what I’ll be doing for the next few evenings.

Finally, there has been much discussion of DnD’s endgame – should you set about running a kingdom, or get lost in clearing brush and charming the locals, or fight gods to claim your place in the sky, or eventually kill the source of all the trouble in the gameworld (the DM?) and retire to the Western Isles? Well, if the campaign’s been a Tolkien manque with all your standard fantasy creatures and whatnot, then this is my answer right here:

That‘s planar travel I can get behind.

  1. May 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Interesting. I would say I like my planes and what not suggestive rather than unknowable. I want a central cloth of a concept that frays into the misty of ambiguity around the edges, but I do want the cloth. I think this is why riffs off real world occult/fringe belief or literary borrowings make better planar inspiration for me than most game stuff. Subtext flies right out the window win it has to be mechanized enough for characters to go physically exploring.

    • May 16, 2012 at 12:14 am

      I agree, in that I would have to know what was going on in those planes to have them play an active part in any story… and I’d have to make them a lot more concrete than I really want to in order to give players enough purchase to be able to adventure there. So evocation of an existing property is probably best – something you can agree on the outlines of.

      Honestly I only really have this reaction with the ethereal and astral… and my problem with them might be exacerbated by how very dull I find their standard writeups.
      Scrap Princess’s recent handlings of the outer planes have been goldmines. I guess most of all I want the players to get that “new campaign” feeling and uncertainty when they go to a new plane.

      • trey
        May 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm

        I’ve done some takes on the transitive and outer planes myself that are fairly divergent in some respects. I don’t know if they’ll be your cup of tea or not:

        Here’s the astral.

        The others are all in here.

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