Author Archives: Rob

Reading Gurdjieff: On Journalism

In the process of gathering what Mr. Gurdjieff wrote about journalism and journalists, I’ve put together some brief notes from Meetings with Remarkable Men p. 18-28 on just what he wrote on the subject:

  • Journalism is a fundamental evil that exerts a poisonous influence on mutual relations among people today and offers nothing whatsoever to the development of the mind.
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Coral Palace of the Marid—Published!

GPH2: Coral Palace of the Marid is now available on DM’s Guild!

Finally, after five years, I’ve completed and published the sequel to GPH1: Alabaster Palace of the Dao. This new adventure is the second in a series of short adventures or heists that take place in a genie palace, this time, in the coral-covered basilica of the pelagic marid.

I created the series of four adventures to test for myself and my group how D&D 5e plays at mid to high levels (11-15). The long delay between publishing this next adventure was because the adventures were created and run in a theater-of-the-mind mode, with flowcharts instead of maps and scant written details.

Two down, two to go! On to GPH3: The Marble Palace of the Djinni!

Palace Map

Page 14: Palace Map

Pages 3-4: Table of Contents and Introduction

Pages 3-4: Table of Contents and Introduction

Homebrewing an Investigative Horror RPG, Part 2

Thule

original photo credit: Martin Schmieder, Stuttgart

Aside from the system, for the setting of this investigative horror RPG, I use an alternate Earth history as the basis of past events, peoples, and locations that lead up to a different present. Robert W. Chambers used this technique in his collected short stories, The King In Yellow, to produce a subtly unsettling effect on the reader. Alternate history also serves as protection for the lazy gamemaster from history buffs.

The alternate pivotal moments of history in this setting include the following:

  • Scandinavian explorers successfully settled the northeastern parts of North America in the 10th century.
  • The Yellowstone Cauldera erupted in the 15th century, plunging the world into a little ice age, delaying further European exploration, expansion, and the so-called “Enlightenment” by centuries.

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Reading Gurdjieff: Categorical Necessity

Not an aphorism of Gurdjieff

I have heard some say, in approaching the work, that reading Mr. Gurdjieff’s writings is entirely optional, that taking or leaving them is a matter of personal preference, conveniently forgetting how unconscious and habitual personal preference is. Besides the practical examples of the reading of Mr. Gurdjieff’s writings during group meetings, there is a passage in his third series that sheds more light on the importance of reading Beelzebub’s Tales.

“This benevolent advice of mine to you Americans, composing in the given case this group, and who became, thanks to a series of accidentally arranged circumstances of life, my nearest essential friends, consists in indicating the categorical necessity that each of you should cease entirely, at least for three months, the reading of your newspapers and magazines, and during this time should become as well acquainted as possible with the contents of all three books of the first series of my writings entitled An Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man. “ 3

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Garden Update: Berry Flowers, Corn Bed, Green Door

Strawberry Blossoms

Strawberry blossoms

All of the berry bushes and plants have begun to flower. We have about fifty strawberries plants scattered around the garden. We heard that they can be invasive (and what’s better than invasive food), so we were somewhat concerned that they would spread far beyond their designated areas. But this has never happened. So my wife transplanted many of them to a better location in hopes that they will spread and be more productive. We harvest around 1 gallon of strawberries per year.

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Homebrewing an Investigative Horror RPG, Part 1

142857 Dice

[This post may seem arcane for the uninitiated; it is on the topic of roleplaying games.]

For a long time, I have wanted to gamemaster an investigative horror roleplaying game that involved the Cthulhu mythos. The problem was finding a game system and setting that balanced my players’ expectations with my own. I’ll focus here on system, and detail setting in subsequent posts.

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Gurdjieff and Games, Part 1

Gurdjieff said “there is everything” in his book Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson.1 In addition, this book is subtitled “An Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man” and has the stated purpose of the merciless destruction of all our long-rooted beliefs and views about everything.

Putting these statements to a small test, I ask a few questions of narrow interest to myself (and I hope others): “What does Beelzebub’s Tales have to say about games? What objective and impartial criticism is offered about games? What ‘merciless destruction’ must our beliefs and views on the subject of games undergo?”

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