Kid just loves him some cows (komos) wrote,
Kid just loves him some cows

Do not call up what you can't put down

I got off the train at Harvard Square last night and was confused for a few minutes until I realized that I told Pablo I'd chase down a book for him. I failed the last time he asked, mostly because I couldn't keep straight in my head which volume of Elektra Assassin he was missing. Addled but determined, I made my way to Pandemonium Books to fetch the Exalted Players' Guide. And Pablo, if you're reading? I sure hope it was the Players' Guide and not one of the half dozen other Exalted-related books that I was supposed to fetch, otherwise I will be sad.

Anyways, finding the book wasn't much of a problem. It took a moment to grasp the gaming-store mindset again, but once done, I found grabbed the sole remaining copy. A quick aside here - perhaps I've just become increasingly impatient in as an old codger, but man does geekery abound in that place. It's not even an attractive geekery. It's more of an awkward narcissistic geekery. I did manage not to say, "Oh honey, I know exactly where you're headed, and I'm pretty sure you're not going to like it there." I did not manage, however, to be terribly polite to the socially maladroit teen who was draped across the shelves I needed to get to while RPing on his cell.

Really, that's not what I was going to talk about.

Although my intent was to do a select-pay-go mission, I lingered. There's been some rumblings amongst people I know about RP nostalgia, and I can't say as I'm entirely free of that pull. I ended up flipping through some supplements for Call of Cthulhu (a game that was usually most fun when you were "losing") and then Paranoia XP (about which I'm probably safe saying the same.) It's not that unusual for me to do this if I get close enough to a gaming store. Sometimes I'll even have a look around to see if there's anything new that

[Holy cow! There's an eagle outside my window(!)]

catches my eye. Yesterday, my eye was drawn to Nobilis. I have to confess, I'm terribly attracted to good design, and this really is a beautiful piece. The core book is massive, unusually shaped, and unabashedly white. It looks like something destined to hold arcane secrets, and really, that's what you want out of one of these games, right?

The base concept is this - characters are personified representations of aspects of reality (picture Gaiman's Endless, and you've a fair idea of what it's about). It initially struck me the same way that In Nomine (which is about angelic beings) did, which somewhere in the realm of "Huh. That's kind of neat..." 'Course, then I read about game concepts like prosaic v. mythic reality, and the chancels that represent the spheres of influence of the characters. Reading about the cosmology of the system, my imagination began to run crazy with images forming one after another in my head. Transported is a word I could use. I was reminded of my occasional perception of reality-skipping, and even of the weird sense of the sweep of history I've gotten from places.

It was really quite fascinating, even if it's not translating that well. I guess what was so compelling was that there, in that moment, it didn't feel escapist so much as affirming. It was a creative moment.

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