Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Myths at the table

Noah is very much a film of two halves. Russell Crowe leading a pretty if rainy mythic adventure with special guest disfigured stone Watcher Angels, and Russell Crowe going mad on a boat in the dark. Both are roughly accurate to his bit of the Bible, although the Watchers are a bit of an embellishment, and the end really is.

Before the rain starts it’s largely set in horrible rainy wasteland east of Eden which I can imagine being the version in the classic World Of Darkness, enlivened by glimpses of beauty and flashes of strangeness. And rocky Ent angels. The portrayal of The Creator (aka God) as a source of visions and miracles who never appears on-screen works well, I think, while the depicton of the Creation as a super-accelerated version of the Big Bang and evolution with a discreet gap between monkeys and (glowing golden) humanity doesn’t.

We play with a lot of myths in gaming, from real-world pantheons in everything from Scion to Marvel to angels and demons next to faeries and Frankenstein in the World Of Darkness settings. I for one don’t want to cause offence, but view Biblical stories as just as much fair game for interpretation and inspiration as history, Greek or Norse myths, Tolkien, or Star Wars.

I’ve never had Cain(e) on stage in Vampire: The Masquerade for example, but that’s mostly because he would shift the games power and Weird Level way too high. If I ran Demon: The Fallen I would probably feature its Miltonian/Byronic Lucifer. I’ve never gone as far as The Exorcist, but that’s on general grounds of taste.

I probably wouldn’t set a game in Biblical times because it would be sure to hit potentially offensive themes in all directions. And also because all those shabby robes and sandals lack a certain panache...

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