Friday, April 20, 2012

Warhammer 40k OSR?!

While my focus in gaming is pretty much back to RPGs and computer games these days, I have a soft spot in my heart for wargames. I'm a big fan of the 40K setting, both its current incarnation in the hands of Dan Abnett and Sandy Mitchell, and its early days with Elves! In! Spaaaaaace!

I prefer the Abnett-verse for my 40k RPG needs, but if I play the wargame, my inclination is towards the ridiculous gonzo early days - both the 2nd Edition (same basic premise as the current setting, but sillier and more 2000 AD showing through), and Rogue Trader (no Chaos explicitly mentioned, half wargame/half RPG, Space Marines are crazy psychos instead of boring warrior-monks).

While checking around for resources to run a Dark Heresy game over G+ using a system that's not the FFG Dark Heresy ruleset, I happened across this fellow, who's blogging about an OSR movement in 40K. I'm absurdly happy about more folks being interested in what I find to be some of the coolest stuff in 40K.

(Oh, and ol' Mandamus gets a shout-out there too!)

And now I'd better get back to this final paper. Last one for law school...!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mistress Meena's Travelling Circus

Here we finally go, only like 2 months late.

The wastelands near Sanctuary are a grim enough place, and it's always nice to have a little bit of color, glamour, and spectacle to liven up the land. Even if the color, glamour, and spectacle is as terrifying as Mistress Meena's Travelling Circus.

Mistress Meena appears human, but she's been around for hundreds of years. Probably since the Bieth fell. Her circus takes in the wretched, the poor, the dying, and those simply down on their luck. She doesn't flinch from the sick, the leprous, those twisted by the magic coursing through the wastelands.

That's because she changes them. She shapes their bodies, ripping and tearing, fusing metal and wire and wood to flesh and bone, and reweaves them into what she needs.

The acrobats that dash across the stage have springy spurs of bone emerging from their calves, allowing them to bounce and bob with the utmost dexterity. When they spread their arms wide, the scarlet, pink, and blue ribbons stretch from their arms down to their ribcage.

The clowns have had the color bleached out of their skin and concentrated into their hair and nose, their lips swollen comically, their eyes cartoonishly large.

The harp that plays itself has a human head, with golden tresses, and she sings to accompany herself. The graceful arc of the harp's body used to be her spine. Arms and legs, she has none. The trapezes used to be two lovers, and now they come close each night but never touch.

Mistress Meena seems to be the only unshaped person in the circus. She never doffs her black domino mask.

The circus caravan proceeds through the worst parts of the wasteland. They never turn aside, and never seem to be molested by the wild creatures or bandits.

When the circus comes, you do not turn it away. Once in a while someone from an outlying village, or even Sanctuary or Lithquil, will approach Mistress Meena after the show. She will smile kindly, and touch their arm, and lead them away. Sometimes their friends see them again, changed into another component of Mistress Meena's show. If they do, they always regret it.

Think: Freaky batshit John Blanche art, travelling circuses, and Alistair Reynolds's Diamond Dogs with a creepy-ass Zatanna as Dr. Trintignant.

(Disclaimer: idea cribbed from a description of the Circus Tresaulti I heard, but I haven't read any of the stories yet.)

Relevant quote from the Amazon preview: "Their dancing names are Sunyat and Sola, Moonlight and Minette. (Their real names don't matter; no one in the circus is real anymore.)"