Friday, 4 December 2015

Fire on the Velvet Horizon - Statistics

There's a title for a blog that's almost oxymoronic.

In case anybody doesn't know what Fire on the Velvet Horizon is (which is unlikely, considering the tiny sum of you that have read my bumbling shit are more than likely drawn from the OSR blog crowd), let me enlighten you: it's a book of monsters rendered in both prose and visual terms as a fever dream.

 Imagine William Burroughs was a medium, as in a human conduit between worlds. Cool. Now imagine he visits one of these worlds during an opium excursion.
 He wakes up. Shaking, he tries to recall the wonder and horror of it all. He enters trance state.
 He begins scribbling. He's a medium, see? Automatic writing is his thing.  Automatic drawing in fact.  Austin Osman Spare style. And they come through.

Later, when the hard grey light cuts through the kitchen space, as he lifts his face from the cold table top, as he rises, as he drinks metallic tasting water from the heaving tap; he remembers. He partly remembers. He sits back down and carefully, methodically stacks the drawings.

 His typewriter,(not now insectile). In studied bursts of flashback-memory, he recalls and writes.

In some ways he is now two people; a twin engaged with...SNIP

Fire on the Velvet Horizon was created by two people, Patrick Stuart (writer of the dense image fest that is False Machine and Scrap Princess, she of the automatic art exorcism (and creator of the Monster Manual Sewn From Pants blog). Off the top of my head, I don't think I can recall seeing a book where the art and writing were so beautifully, symbiotically entwined. It's truly remarkable, transcending its suggested utility, projected well beyond the 'is it art' solar system and into an ovoid galaxy wherein dwells Borges, Focault and erm, Burroughs.

Anyway, I'm going to give everything in it D&D stats and then you can fucking deplete the HP of the Eonian Wyrm like it was no thang.

I must admit, I feel a certain trepidation concerning the task; not because of the work entailed, but because the book does float within the imagination, suspended in the gaseous cloud of its own pellucid impenetrability. Stating it up almost feels like an experiment in sacrilege. Or an entirely superficial, trivialising none-activity.

But I'm going on anyway because I want to play with these creatures. I want to meet them. I want more people to meet them, even the ones who would probably prefer it in a WOTC style gloss, digital art package. I mean, how are you supposed to read this thing?

Patrick expressed a desire on his blog to give some tabletop time to his work and produced, for me, highly serviceable versions of the Abhorrer and the Aeskithete from his and Scrap Princess' book. I offered to throw in some time trying to put numbers and rules to it all and he very kindly accepted. Indeed, the vibe is 'Living Document', so with time, play testing, the work of others and their own interpretations, we can maybe have something that'll be quite useful to the Philistine in us all.

Not that I think RPGs are shallow. And yes, I think they are definitely art.

But then so is tying one's shoe.

In one's opinion.

Anyway, Patrick will correct my work and add his own definitions. And I encourage you to do the same. And remember, you can ignore all of this if you want. They're just interpretations.

The Book of Interpretations.

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