Starlight Mage Number 2

A second edition

²1988 Steve Marsh

P.O.Box 2552

Wichita Falls, TX 76307



Pilferbaby

the superpersonna of Victoria Ann Mylonas (Jessica's alter ego)

02 STR -8 Fond of Chocolate (common/irr) -20

08 DEX -6 2d6 Stun Chocolate/Pilfers things -15 (must eat)/-15

08 CON -4 Full Time Powers/Emotional Attach -05/-20 (Lionfire)

08 BODY -4 1½ Levels Shrinking 15

08 INT -2 Always On/0 End 11

06 EGO -8 Martial Arts (d6 punch/1.5d6kick) 05

02 PRE -8 Climbing 05

20 COM 05 Clinging 10

01 PD Forcefield 10PD 10

02 ED Forcefield 10ED 10

02 SPD 02 1/8th END on Forcefields 14

02 REC Regenerate (2pt)/+10Rec

16 END (only when unconscious/worse) 20

13 STN 3d6 Luck 15

-53 for Requisites, -75 for Disadvantages, = 128 points available

115 for powers (13 unused)



Remember, I'm doing a little baby. As she gets older she'll move to only one level of shrinking (always on) and move points into her requisites. As a DPNPC I felt that she should be limited in her "useful" powers (i.e. ones that would allow her to contribute). At the same time, I decided to give her the benefit of protective spells from Mom & Dad (since they are both magically oriented super-heros).

Kept her climbing skills and her attraction to/problems with chocolate (chocolate doesn't do Jessica good even though she always is looking for it. Figured that was a fair disability to give her. Always looking for something that gives her 2d6 stun).

The Indo-Europeans



Most of the readers of TWH probably know that many modern languages are descended from a single root tongue. That language is called Indo-European. It is an interesting language of which only traces survive (e.g. we know the word for stone and for father). From India (the Indo) to all of Europe (the European). Excepting (probably) the Ainu and other small groups, all Caucasians spoke derivatives of that language.



Interestingly enough, there is also an Indo-European root religion. It features a sky/sun god, a storm god and a god of the underworld. Apollo/Zeus/Hades. Tiwas/ Thor/Woden. Etc. (It is fun to watch how the religion changed shape over time, Tyr/ Thor/Oden sure are a different group than Apollo/Zeus/Hades -- or Baal, et. al.).



The similarities led the Romans to conclude that everyone worshipped the same gods -- just by different names.



All of these groups shared some mystery religions as well (at least by 1000 B.C.E.). What is fascinating is that some of the mystery cults had a wider spread than the religions. The Triad Lodges share several symbolic elements with the American Indian Ghost Shirt groups. We owe a great deal to British Masons who were fascinated with recording mystery religions where they found them. With their bench marks we can chart the changes that occurred from the earlier (1000 B.C.E. or earlier) funary rites.



Read Who Was Hyram Abiff (available on interlibrary loan) for more detail.



In addition, all of the groups incorporated a female pantheon that was not co-terminus in time with the male pantheon (I'm not going to enter any of the arguments about which is older). The Aesir/Vanir conflict cycle incorporates that as does the worship of Kali Durga (the black earth mother) in India.



The sky/sun god opposes a hound or a wolf. The storm god opposes a serpent/ dragon. The death god is also a judge. // In the alternate set, the earth goddess is always female and the barley god always dies yearly. Both sets have a god who is overcome, yet lives (the sky/sun is swallowed but escapes. barley is reborn).



Human sacrifice was not limited to either pantheon.



An extremely difficult historical task is to unravel the "Druidic" religion against this backdrop. "Druids" ranged from Gaul to Ireland in space and from Tiwas to Tyr in time (Tiwas was the king of the gods, Tyr was a minor godling who had had most of his position usurped by Odin). Add to this the (mostly undocumented) worship of Freya (et. al.) and you've a complicated riddle.



We do know that by "druid time" the green man had semi-replaced the barley king (but John Barleycorn still lives on today -- so it wasn't total) and that the great stag hunted by the goddess (cf Diana and her almost lover) had become a horned king of sorts (and possibly a second year god). We have The Golden Bough -- a good text of various year kings and surviving myths from a masonic view. We can make guesses.



This background is an important background for deriving fantasy religions that draw on european themes.



COMMENTS



I'm sticking with the zine name (Starlight Mage) for the next issue or two. I've even started to number them. Expect more print enhancements as I've received Wordstar 4.X (intermediate upgrade). (No charge). (And telephone/letter support on a toll-free number!)(is this Micropro?!). (love it!).

Speaking of the Starlight Mage (a/k/a Untitled Hero), I'm trying to decide what to do with the "extra" points (not used in disadvantages). My current predilection is to invest in a magic ("cosmic") power pool and the skill of magic (modify power pool) at one level (5 pts, 9 + int/5 base).

Pilferbaby will keep her unused points for the future (to be matched with her experience points as she "grows into" a character). //Win can worry about Lionfire.



On Superhero Names: I've decided that most names should have at least two parts. Thus Red Fenris rather than Fenris Wolf. Lionfire rather than just Fire. Golden Dragon instead of Dragon.

There are several reasons for this. First, the names are more descriptive with two parts (Starlight Mage is alot more descriptive than Mage). Second, there are too many heros (and villains) in print right now. Since I thought up Red Fenris I've run across three Fenris Wolf types. Mage is the name of a comic book. Etc.

Finally, (and Third), it makes a good convention. I feel that generally, conventions are good things (hmm, anyone for an essay on "How to name that superhero").



Book Reviews:



The Silicon Mage, Barbara Hambly, Ballantine 338 pages, $3.95.

I've been encouraging everyone to boycott Hambly until the sequel to The Silent Tower was released (because there is no warning that that novel is part of a series and because the novel breaks cold in the middle). It is out and I'm recommending this book.

It does suffer from the typical Hambly heroine in love with older, slightly ragged, slightly strange man. A friend criticized Hambly's characters as "mix & match" -- and he was somewhat right. However, the misc. characters are crisply done, the bad guy is cut from new cloth, and the plot contains proper forshadowings and warnings -- even down to the deus ex machina (or should I say machina ex deus mage?).

Taltos, Steven Brust, Ace 181 pages, $2.95.

The Jhereg series is interesting in that it has two prequels and one sequel to the original novel -- with clear plotting and foreshadowing throughout. Even more interesting (from a technical standpoint) is that the writing style matures chronologically so that the last novel (chronologically in the series) is the most mature and the first (Taltos) is the simplest -- even though it is the most recent to be written. The novels read well in chronological order.

This novel is the "first" in time. It brings all of the characters on screen, uses simple terms to describe many characters and races (e.g. the gene-spliced and semi-cold-blooded Dragaerans are simply referred to as elves in this novel) while providing new perspectives. It tells the story of how the major characters met and of how Vlad went to the paths of the dead.



Web of Wind, J.R. Rivkin, Ace 202 pages, $2.95.

This novel is a "sequel" to a novel that I quit reading half-way through the first chapter or two. Unlike its preceding work it keeps the characters in bounds, controls its scope, and tells a clear, solid, believable tale. Forgive the uneven first chapters (and ignore the first book) and you have the story of two friends who stumble across a riddle that threatens extended family members. It is well done.



The Burning Realm, Michael Reaves.

This book is (apparently) a sequel. The reader is treated to old, hashed out martial arts tales (that I've seen seven or eight times before) applied to fighting with a weighted and bladed cloak; amoral murderous thieves as leading characters; faithless lovers; etc.

The book does have a nifty setting, some interesting ideas, and factors I fail to understand, all used to chronicle the adventures of generally unlikeable characters as they move along toward the ordained end of the novel. You can tell I did not like the novel, the execution or the characters.



Seventh Son, Orson Scott Card, Tor 241 pages, $3.95.

TOR has got to do something or it is going to get a reputation for first class books and fine authors. Seventh Son is a tale of early America as it would have been if the folklore had been true. Well done.



Watchmen I did not like the book (a collection of comics), especially the autistic blue grossly overpowered alien. COMMENTS ON TWH 135



Swanson: I've used Chaosium Scenario Packs. In fact, my Call of Cthulu campaign was started in order to run one of the packs. I know of campaigns started just to run the Borderlands RQII pack and if I had a current gaming group I would have started a Dreamlands campaign.

A friend has used my Hardeman House setting to start his Champions campaign, which is using an almost commercial product.



Blacow: I'm glad the Electric Odalesque has worked out. I hope that it increases your ability to do semi-pro writing. Talk to Scott Bennie about just how much work is now available and just how much it pays these days. Things have really changed.



McCue: Any Flinx book is recommended. If you are going to read several, I would recommend that you read them in the order they were written (check the copyright dates). // I enjoy your factual essays and excerpts.

RE Champions Comic review. In the comic, Rose gets one point for a takedown but Marksman gets two points for a reversal. In wrestling each of those manuevers is worth two points. I apologize for being too terse.

RE Watchmen *Spoiler Warning* I really did not like the fact that a) the blue alien warns the meglomaniac that his plan to create a utopia will not work <cf the news conclusion that the psionic monster was not intelligent> and b) kills the character I liked the best to keep him from having any chance at harming the plan. I also did not enjoy much of the dark mood.

Not to mention that being smarter doesn't translate into winning physical contests without training, exercise or practice . . . *end spoiler warning*



Plamondon: I proposed a once a month cycle to try to control the problems you mentioned. Do time delays and batch mode cycles help control flame or not?



Castillians: By all means, use GURPS SUPERS or GURPS WILDCARDS. Ok, I'm letting the cat out of the bag on both, but the games use similar point totals for characters in the "super" range.



Heinsoo: The God Learners manipulated religious magic with "sorcery like" skills. Imagine Intensify applied to a rune magic spell. In so doing, they sucked many gods dry of power. When they tapped into dragon magic and started eating other people's children (cf Robcradle), things got nasty.

I admit that Martian Manhunter takes three issues to cover one issue's worth of plot, but the plot and the artistic style match well. I only wish it fit the earlier timeline (such as the Martian Invasion stories) as well.



Stone: Cf my religious essay. // My campaign rationalization also involves magic -- but without the Gods (but with the lesser powers) actively involved. // Would like to see you contribute to Musical Chairs.



Harlan: I like your write-ups -- keep them coming. Huff; you too.



Butler: FEEDBACK!!!. Important, no?



Keller: Most vocational guidance tests seperate intelligence into multiple parts as you did for determining a person's best choice in employment. I've always wanted to see a Science Fiction game that used the "real world" categories.



Huff: Keep writing. John Sapienza; you too.

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