Focusing on the Arte Magical as a practice and profession, we study various facets of magic through the lens of both classical and modern perspective. From ancient myth to urban legend to fiction and philosophy, all viewed through the eyes of a very practical magician.
Roll a D6
It's probably no surprise that I'm a huge fan of parodies and satire, or the various "-ifications" on the net (yes, I know that's not a word, I'm using it anyway).
I really enjoy it when people get creative about their interpretations of things- the creative world is too broad and vast for us to get terribly proprietary over our ideas. Copyright infringement and patent laws and such really bug me. Of course, I like the reversal of such things, like Repo: the Genetic Opera, which is not even terribly tongue in cheek in its commentary on commercialism in health care.
The reason I enjoy these things, far beyond the satirical and political commentary holding people accountable through mockery, is the actual creative genius of world-building. Taking a simple trope or theme, like maybe a memorable scene from a movie or book, and recreating it as a sitcom episode with the cast of Friends, for example.
Or rewriting the lyrics of a song to suit a completely different message, such as this:
That video, Roll a D6 by Assorted Intricacies, is a parody of Like a G6 by Far East Movement. I didn't relate at all to the original song by Far East Movement, and the marrying the catchy tune to a set of lyrics I can actually connect with was kind of awesome. Things like this are why I love being a part of the geek community.
However, for me it goes beyond that. The name of this blog post is Roll a D6 for more than just an oblique reference to a Youtube video. It's actually part of the philosophy of this blog, and states part of my vision.
When I was in my early 20's, I began experimenting with various forms of tabletop gaming, trying to find something that "wasn't D&D, and was actually fun," to quote myself. I played around with Mage: the Ascension, and Amber Diceless Roleplaying, and Shadowrun... I even read a few GURPS books, looking for inspiration. However, I had played AD&D extensively as a kid, and sort of hated it, and was looking for something nebulous and unidentifiable. So, I dabbled with the dice pool a bit, and got bored fairly easily.
One day, however, I was browsing one of the Mage books, and stumbled across an entry that was very clearly sort of a warning label. "Warning- this is just a game! Playing Mage will not grant you magical powers, yada yada, don't be crazy."
I mentioned it to my boyfriend at the time, and he pointed out that White Wolf had been having problems with the Vampire: the Masquerade LARP community, and that people were using the books as a means of stating they were real vampires.
His statements were a bit sneering, full of contempt at the "gullible losers." I myself had a different reaction.
I looked at the Mage book, and said, "well why not?"
That began my foray into the study of magical games and sacred storytelling. In the old days, we used to tell stories about things we experienced in nature, through stories about the gods. How Raven's feathers became black, why Spider can fly, and how thunderstorms are really the Gods fighting the evil Etins and driving them back to Jotunheim.
We used to gamble and bet to pass time, and indeed, there are a huge number of stories about gambling with the Devil or making bargains with faeries.
And I asked myself- what makes these stories any more real than the ones from Dragonlance novels about Paladine and Takhisis? Or the ones in my White Wolf books about the Umbra and the Weaver and the Wyrm?
I began using roleplaying games as paradigms for magic, much like folks will use Celtic or Roman or Tuscan culture and religion as paradigms for Wicca or more indigenous magical practices in a region. I learned that the dice used by gamers are actually descended from the Platonic Solids of Greek mathematical and mystical tradition, connected to the five elements of sacred geometry.
I started casting circles using the ten (nine and the tenth unknown) spheres of the Ascension, and speaking to my Avatar. I started referring to my magical objects as Fetishes and spoke of the internet as the Matrix, referencing Shadowrun.
And, I found a reason to play the games I'd only been reading. My friends and I would gather together, create sacred space, and then we'd do what we called a "Play Yourself" game- creating ourselves as characters in the World of Darkness or in a Shadow of Amber. And we'd have magical powers or special skills, right out of the book. Then we'd roleplay through our daily lives as if we'd met some sort of adventure.
The strangest things began to happen- things we roleplayed in the game like meeting people or gaining objects, would have analogues which would happen in real life. One of my friends got a van his character had acquired in one of our sessions, a week after the session. Several times, it snowed in the summer (not unheard of out here, but uncommon to say the least), right after we had battled a snow demon or someone had cast a hailstorm spell in the game.
In short, what we were doing was not simply fantasy. We didn't have to call upon the Four Quarters, or the Archangels of the Watchtowers, or any classical gods. Magic still happened.
These days, I enjoy roleplaying games not merely as a form of entertainment- I treat them as sacred rituals of honor to the forces which underpin the universe. In the roll of the dice, I see Fate. In the secrecy of the DM's screen, I see the great Mysteries. In the character sheets we design, I see Power and Destiny. And in every aspect of our gameplay, I see the totems and emblems of the universe being revealed, like the turn of a tarot card.
And everyone wonders why I keep playing magic users.
If you've had an experience like this, please, feel free to add to the comments! I also welcome those with dissenting opinions- if you've had experiences which seem to contradict what I've written, please share them. Let's have a conversation!
Everyone roll Initiative!
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