The Deimos board of tourism just announced its new slogan for the year: Wow! Deimos! But really, I liked the runner up slogan, “Deimos. We just don’t know what to say.”
This week we take a Jungian approach to character brainstorming in Hc Svnt Dracones, because…well, because we don’t think anyone’s done that before.
In hindsight, I’m not sure this episode’s built on solid ground. My thought was that using 12 Jungian archetypes as lenses for HSD characters would be a fun way to unpack the world, and I think that worked. But the archetypes are complex, not thumbnail characters but complete story archs. For example, “The Warrior” isn’t about combat, he’s about striving, fear of weakness, competition, slaying dragons. We spend a lot of time talking about The Sage from a very D&D “expert-for-hire” perspective, but the journey of the Sage is more like the Buddha than Elminster: his story is that through knowledge and discerning, he can move past illusion into enlightenment. All of these are about the campaign, not the character sheet, and time and again I think we’re side-tracked in this episode by looking at the thumbnail descriptions, rather than the story archs. We probably could have broken this into four episodes, looking at little trios of character archetypes, but I’m not sure that would have been super-useful.
♃ 01.00 — Meet the hosts! Corbeau dotes briefly on The Amazing Criswell, no doubt part of his morbid fixation with Plan 9 From Outer Space. Learn more about how “the future is where we will spend our days,” and his stunningly accurate prediction of Denver’s death by rubberizing space beam.
♃ 02.55 — The official HSD Discord chat here! This week’s Question and Opinion: Is there space for humor in HSD? Consensus is yes, the tone of the books are generally light. I liked Starcofski’s point that while, yes, the books have quite a bit of horror, the opposite of humor is seriousness. Horror and humor go hand in hand—frantic laughter is a release of tension.
♃ 06.30 — Vitae zombies come up more than a few times today. Oh good. “Vitae” is a hypertech version of the classic supersoldier serum—a vector dosed with the stuff literally can’t die, and doesn’t meaningfully feel pain. They can get hacked apart, but, to quote M. Python, “It’s just a flesh wound!” This creates some horrorshow monsters that often augment their bodies with blades and other add-ons.
♃ 07.47 — Article: “A Game of Shares: Adventures in Investment Brokering in HSD”
♃ 08.17 — HSD has an on-again off-again relationship with furry. In so very many ways it’s a furry fan service game – with taurs, macros, animal-shapes, and the design-your-own-concept Blips out there, every standard furry character’s within reach. But the vectors are fundamentally human, not animal, and most of the standard species jokes are overturned. Cats and dogs don’t particularly love each other, but they’re also vying for the “first” race. Mongooses and snakes get along fine. Hyenas aren’t scavengers.
♃ 08.34 — An article from HuffPost about the rediscovery of “Just Imagine,” the original science fiction musical. There are three types of humor that don’t fly well—the funny ethnic character, the funny old character, and the funny drunk, and in a way, this one nails all three in the same character.
♃ 09.56 — I’m sure I’ll come back to Bulldogs: The sci-fi RPG of second-rate shippers and bargain basement space explorers again and again. It’s kind of Futurama meets Han Solo.
♃ 12.31 — Information about Steve Jackson Game’s “In Nomine,” angels and demons in a somewhat satirical battle for the souls of humanity.
♃ 14.59 — onward to the topic: Looking at character concepts for HSD through the lens of Jungian archetypes. A good place to start looking at Carol Pearson’s work on the 12 character archetypes is the Wiki article on the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator. This PDF shows the archetypes in a clearly outlined summary form, it was really helpful.
♃ 21.42 — I’d almost forgotten “The Last Starfighter!” Ashtaar and Whines are a bit all over the place on their interpretations of the various archetypes, this episode isn’t as scripted as some, and they were unpacking the archetypes as they encountered them. Some interesting ideas, still, and the juxtaposition of, say, “mad scientist as naive idealist” is worth holding onto. I don’t know if I’d come up with that, what with knowing how the list ended…
♃ 22.58 — Striving to remember Jack Burton’s name, from “Big Trouble in Little China”
♃ 25.22 — I suspect I’ve already linked to the Titan AE “Cosmic Castaway” video, do love this scene though.
♃ 32.45 — Broadly, Eudaimonia is the perfection of virtue. Without taking a deep dive into Greek philosophy, I’ll leave it there, I can’t even begin to unpack this one.
♃ 34.00 — Thank you, YouTube: Every spell Dr. Orpheus has ever cast.
♃ 35.12 — From Brazil: Harry Tuttle, Electrical Engineer. And from House II, Bill Towner: Electrician…and Adventurer! Got the name of the film wrong, I’d seen “The Gate” recently…
35.46 — Is Princess Carolyn a caregiver? I think she grows into one. Maybe she’s just been burned a few too many times by Bojack…
♃ 41.00 — For those that are new to HSD, “Whispers” are one of the dominant alien menaces in the campaign world. They’re the harbingers of the weirdness from beyond, the most alien of HSD’s aliens.
♃ 44:00 — The trailer for Silent Running, a sad, thoughtful sci-fi, a lone scientist losing the battle against the corps.
♃ 50.46 — Random references to “Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” were so big in the mid-nineties. Trust me.
53.52 — Wicked and the Divine’s new “Destroyer” character is a perfect little crystal of the destroyer archetype. She’s an avatar of Persephone, the goddess of spring and rebirth. That’s the transformative nature of the Destroyer—Shiva recreates the universe even as she tears it down.
♃ 54.13 — Travis Kalanick, CEO of UBER, is another avatar of the Destroyer in its Disruptive Technology Guru manifestation. Not to get too political, but he tears into local laws and established institutions to get his product into the public spotlight, and the degree to which the rest of the world can burn while he does so is remarkable.
♃ 54.43 — Whines drops a reference to PC Hodgell’s “Kencyrath” series, which begins with Godstalk – the main character of the series, another Jaimey, is destiny-bound to destroy gods. She’s otherwise quite nice. At some point around here Corbeau mentions John Constantine, the dark antihero of Hellblazer, who is followed by a string of deaths. The “Deadlands” game made this into a PC character trait, the “Grim Servant of Death” merit/flaw…the PC’s acquaintances tend to meet grisly ends and just end up six feet under distressingly often.
♃ 59.24 — I’m reasonably sure that the majority of our listeners and HSD players have seen Disney’s Robin Hood, but just in case…
♃ 01.17.16 — “Hydra” and backstory. HSD is a posthuman game setting. The “Post” part came about in about AD2085 or so, best guess: the corpornations and Terra Firma world government had planned to rattle sabers and bluster, but cold war escalated to hot. When it seemed like the bombs were going to drop, a virus called “Hydra” was unleashed that was supposed to disarm the entire nuclear escalation scenario. Instead, it launched missiles steadily for the next five years or so. Looking back, it’s interesting that the bombs didn’t just go in a single blast, it would have been more efficient. Hmm. Regardless, the “Hydra” virus is one manifestation of the game’s Alien Conspiracy of Evil, other manifestations curl out of the darkness to the present day.
♃ 01.18.52 — Middle Management as Sage: in HSD, most characters are aspects of the corporate culture, and many of the game’s mysteries are aspects of that culture: replace “ancient kingdom” with “corporation too complex for any single entity to comprehend.” I think “middle management” has a negative, bureaucratic element today, but in a sprawling, multi-planet corporate environment, a well-placed mid-level character with a long employment history could have vast reserves of knowledge.
♃ 01.19.26 — the IRPF (Inner Ring Police Force) is the hired security of most of the megacorp nations, towns, and colonies. There is no “law” in HSD beyond the rules dictated by the corps, and that varies widely (Progenitus likely has an open and visible government, compassionate justice, and may embrace whistle-blowers and free speech. Transcendent Technology is a secretive monoculture, the smallest and likely most heavily controlled of the corps, with a distinctly Russian look and feel. MarsCo may be the best corp for placing vectors over corporate interests, or they may not care at all…and then there are smaller corporations that may have established their own towns and laws, outside of the “Big Six” corps. IRPF has to navigate all these laws, dealing with borders and overlapping spaces accordingly. An IRPF employee stationed in a MarsCo town most of her life won’t know the rules of engagement in the coked-up, in-your-face Pulse town her investigation carries her into.
♃ 01.20.00 — In retrospect, the X Files’ “Fox Mulder” is a seeker, more than a sage. He’s not discerning or judging, and he’s questing after the ghost of his sister. I think I picked this one wrong. Pearson’s archetypes are more about the character’s greater storyline than specific skill sets and interests…I think you could make a case for Sherlock Holmes being a kind of “Warrior” archetype, who uses his mind to engage countless foes, but the underlying fear of weakness doesn’t seem to be built into the character.
♃ 01.21.52 — Sandman, Issue 74, “The Exiles” here
♃ 01.22.25 — A lively conversation about The Matrix’s Architect and Prophet. I think we’re using Sage in the D&D sense of the word, “an expert the PCs have to find,” rather than the more heroic sense of “someone with great expertise and wisdom, seeking to move past illusion into true knowing.” The Oracle and the Prophet are destinations for knowledge. One interpretation of the Matrix is as an allegory for Gnosticism—the Matrix is a false reality, the entire setting is illusion, and Neo, as the Chosen, transcends that illusion. But I can’t handle any character being played by Keanu Reeves as wearing the mantle of “The Sage.”
♃ 01.26.30 — Name-drop for David Icke, a new-age conspiracy theorist with a huge bibliography, much of which appears to be efforts to uncover the lizard-people Illuminati.
♃ 01.29.50 — Most canines are social, and most felines are solitary. There are exceptions to both. Lions have a pride structure, and hyenas (technically felinoids, not felines) have a highly-developed clan structure. On the other side, foxes have taken on a lot of catlike traits. They’re solitary hunters, they pounce, they even have catlike eyes. The book “Foxes: The Catlike Canine” is a good read if you want to unpack this idea.
♃ 01.32.10 — What’s awesome this week? Whines and Ashtaar go for a ramble in a talk about the cars of the future, with friendly animations around the car’s entire body and interior and holographic interfaces with haptic feedback in the form of compressed audio waves. Corbeau can really only say “Wow.”
♃ 01.34.40 — Corbeau goes retro with a mention of the History of Hollywood podcast “You Must Remember This,” which looks at Frank Sinatra’s album “Past, Present, and Future.” Corbeau’s interest here is on his sci-fi song “What Time Does the Next Miracle Leave?” You are also welcome to disturb yourself with Shatner’s interpretation of Bohemian Rhapsody.