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Jeff's Gameblog
Friday, 30 April 2004

I'm going over to Don & Sue's tomorrow night, maybe to play a boardgame, maybe to play a session of Sue's D&D campaign. I'm hoping to jumpstart interest in resuming my Marvel campaign "Home Team".

Since I'm thinking about it, here's my cover image from the first session of the campaign.

Hideously amateurish, I know, but it did help set the mood for the game.

Posted by jrients at 9:22 PM CDT
I *heart* Google
Googling "Jack Ripper Aleister Crowley" yielded, among other things, this lovely site. I love these kids and their kooky conspiracy theories. Quator Coronati Lodge is about as Satanic as a church sewing cricle.

Here's another link that might prove handy. Could teenaged Edward Alexander Crowley be one of the PCs?

Posted by jrients at 11:18 AM CDT

So yesterday the Golden Dawn book I've been needing to finish my Enochian chess project came into the library after I got back from it. And my schedule doesn't allow for a trip back today. Grrr. At least they got it in. I should be able to complete and transmit the article tomorrow.

Last night I read the main section of The Red Baron, the part containing Richthofen's memoirs and letters. I don't see the overbearing arrogance that Kennett warned about. Maybe he read it in the original German or one of the earlier translations. The rest of the book contains some meaty stuff: a short memoir written by Manfred's brother Lothar, an account of the death of the Baron, and an appendix will plane illos among other things. I plan on photocopying the appendices and sticking the pages in my Dawn Patrol boxed set.

Posted by jrients at 9:32 AM CDT
Thursday, 29 April 2004
Saucy Jack
My brain is starting to work over the Jack The Ripper CoC scenario idea again. I'm now suspecting that maybe I should do it as a mini-campaign, maybe a three-parter. (Run at one convetion? Over three years? I dunno.) Anyway, this blog is as good a place as any to store the booklist I am working on. Hopefully my friendly local library can get me at least some of these texts.

The Complete History of Jack the Ripper
Philip Sugden
Carroll & Graf. 1994. 532 pages.
ISBN 0-7867-0124-2. photographs. index., bib.

Did Aleister Crowley Know the Identity of Jack the Ripper?
Pangenetor Lodge Publications, 1993.
Frater Achad Osher 583

East End 1888
Fishman, William J.
London: Duckworth. 1988.
343pp. Illustrated, Bibliography, Index. [Victorian London]
ISBN: 0715621742

Alias Jack the Ripper: Beyond the Usual Whitechapel Suspects
R. Michael Gordon
McFarland Publishers, 2001. ISBN 0-7864-0898-7
363pp., photo, maps, chronology, bib, index.

The Jack the Ripper A to Z
Begg, Paul, Martin Fido & Keith Skinner,
Headline, dist. by Trafalgar Square. Sept. 1991. 523p. photogs. index.
ISBN 0-7472-3676-3. pap.

I also need to find out what Colin Wilson has written about the case.

I'll also need some good maps. Props would be wonderful as well.

Another thing I need to do is work up some operating parameters for designing the scenario. What am I trying to accomplish? What don't I want to do?

(Total aside: I find it weird sometimes that Victoria London, with Sherlock Holmes and the Golden Dawn and Saucy Jack is the exact same period as the Old West.)

Posted by jrients at 4:53 PM CDT

I'm on hold with a librarian as I type this. Seems the Golden Dawn history by Howe isn't in from the University yet. I am hoping she can help me track down a copy of Duncan Anderson's The Falklands War 1982 and Greg Bear's Songs of Earth and Power. Bear's novel has been recommended to me as a spot-on representation of the kind of thing that can happen in a well-crafted Lords of Creation campaign.

Getting back to going to the library is good for the soul, even if all the books I'm checking out are intended solely to inform my gaming. Any reading is probably good reading after all.

Posted by jrients at 10:11 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 29 April 2004 10:54 AM CDT

This morning I finished reading Lee Kennett's The First Air War, 1914-1918. Here's one of my favorite passages:

If aerial combat was admittedly an affair of great complexity, still there were rules to the game, and if a pilot learned them and applied them, then he should have victory within his grasp-- this was the reassuring message of the tactical manuals and the flight school lectures. Then came the reality of combat. One must wonder how well the precepts were applied in one air battle a German captain described after the war. It came toward the end and it was fought in appalling conditions. There were perhaps 100 planes contending in limited airspace, flying at less than 3,000 feet under a ceiling of thick cloud; antiaircraft fire, particularly threatening at that altitude, was constantly arching up from below. On the ground the German and British armies were locked in combat. The pilots caught occasional glimpses of the battlefield with its drifting clouds of gas and the bright streaks made by flamethrowers. Above, the airplanes twisted and climbed and plunged "like wild things." The captain continued: "In the rain and mist the danger of midair collision was added to all the other hazards. Other planes would suddenly appear like phantoms. An adversary would emerge as a shadow for a fraction of a second, then vanish into the black clouds. There was something uncanny, sinister, about this flying in rain and storm, cloud and mist." The pilots, German and British alike, were "half-dead, exhausted and worn to tatters by the inhuman strain and the nerve-shattering tumult." It was eery and unearthly, like some "frantic witch's sabbath in the air." Such was the recollection of Captain Hermann Goering.

I enjoyed the book immensely and am desirous of continuing to learn more about WWI flying aces and the period in general. Kennett recommends as good reads the memoirs of airman Cecil Lewis, entitled Sagittarius Rising and Red Knight of Germany, a fictionalized account of the Red Baron written by a fellow named Floyd Gibbons. I have Richthofen's autobiography, but Kennet warns that the arrogance of the man grates on some readers.

I'd also like to read a short overview of the political events leading to the war and maybe another text otulining the war itself.

Posted by jrients at 9:08 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 29 April 2004 10:13 AM CDT

Last night Pat lent me a copy of Israel Regardie's The Golden Dawn. I had read this book years ago and wasn't expecting to find much substantive information on Enochian chess. Surpise! Nestled towards the back of the book I found about a dozen pages dedicated mostly to the magical aspect, but with some substantive information on the game play, including a short treatise penned by MacGregor Mathers! Regardie confirmed two of the starting arrays as presented by my primary source, Zalewski. Mathers also confirmed the unorthodox queen movement. This material prompted a rewrite of several passages in my article. I'm going to the library today to see if Ellic Howe and his Magicians of the Golden Dawn contain any additional surprises.

Posted by jrients at 8:54 AM CDT
Wednesday, 28 April 2004
So close I can taste it.
The Enochian chess page is almost done. The coding and main body of the text are finished. I've even tested the page and it looks okay. I only have two tasks left: get my historical references in order and figure out how to turn this thing into a zip file for submission.

Posted by jrients at 10:19 AM CDT
Tuesday, 27 April 2004

Argh! I just realized I need two more Enochian Chess graphics to illustrate a stupid special case involving pawns. And I'll have to renumber the figures in the text as well! Grrr.

Posted by jrients at 4:52 PM CDT

Not a whole lot to blog about today. I'm not feeling well and what efforts I am expending are going towards the Enochian chess article. The combination of mild illness, HTML coding, chess variants, and the occult is really doing weird things to my brain. I'm starting to regret the decision to code and write the text in parallel but I'm in for well more than a penny at this point.

Posted by jrients at 3:50 PM CDT

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