Friday 2 December 2016

Red Dawn & Gawain 1319 - 1372, Bloody numbles

I'm interested to see what Jeff Rients and Kiel Chenier produce with their new adventures. They both have quite a different aesthetic feel and a different animating spirit to the part of the post-Vornheim OSR with which I am most intimately familiar which orbits quite closely around a particular vein of darkness, decadence, alienation and ruin.

Jeff is pre-Vornheim. Jeff may be pre-dice. It's possible he's teaching Beowulf from first-hand experience. All we know for certain is that he is a confirmed cannibal. (Broodmother has been in-vitro for so long that when its born it will be legally able to drink.)

Keil has also been around for ages but his aesthetic is more post-Steven-Universe than post-Vornheim. So, still social justicey but without decaying onto a fat pile of passive-aggressive tics or an eternal entropic socio-political-maelstrom like a boring Chaos God.

If I was betting on anyone from the OSR finally getting a good enough toehold in mainstream D&D to finally beat some decent fucking information design, or even some actual original ideas into them then it would be Kiel. he's a worker, he has the almost magical ability to get on with people in corporate situations and he still has decent quality control and a capacity for originality. I would recommend checking out his ENWorld adventure in the Feywild which is almost interesting enough to make me not hate the name 'Feywild' and has decent enough informational layout that I sense he must have strained his whip-hand chastising the peons of WotC to get it produced properly.

Jeff is kind of joyful with the imperishable sweetness of a child, Kiel is kind of modern and millennial but without being punchable. It's interesting becasue we've not had anything quite like this in LotFP before (Zzarchovs 'Gingerbread Princess' comes closest I think). Together they rise like twin ginger suns over the glorious bochean wasteland of our imaginations, perhaps adding  the lyre of Thalia to the song of Melpomene which as for so long been our anthem.

Ruins must sometimes prove themselves cradles and even death can die if it permits no change. Who knows what might spring from such visions? We must build out as well as down. Beyond the horizon what strange new lands might lie beneath these ginger suns?


Now here are some scenes of disturbing butchery.

This while the lord of the land is lost in his games,
To hunt through hoar-frost and heath the barren hinds.
Such a slaughter he served there before the sun sank,
Of does and other deer, you'd deem it a wonder.
Then fiercely they flocked in, folk at the last,
And quickly of the quelled deer a quantity piled.
The nobles came nigh first, with butchers and knives,
Gathered the greatest of that gruesome hill,
And sliced them quite rightly and searched within;
Two fingers-width of fat they found on the thin.
Then they slit the throat, seized the gullet,
Scraped it with a sharp knife, and the guts tied.
Severed right the four limbs and ripped off the hide,
Then breaked open the belly, the bowels out took
Lightly, not to loosen the loop of the knot.
Then grasped the gorge, and grimly divided
The maw from the wind-hole and whisked out the guts.
Then shear out they the shoulders with their sharp knives,
Heaved them through a little hole to keep whole both sides.
Then broke open the breast and burst it in twain,
And then at the gargling part began their work,
Ripped it up roughly, right to the bite,
Dumped out the flesh-dregs, and directly thereafter
All the rib reinforcements they rapidly slice.
So strip they in the same way the spinal cord,
Trimming to the haunch, so together it hung,
And heaved it up all whole and hewed it off there -
At that part they call "numbles" by name, as I claim,
          by kind.
By the back of the thighs
The skin they cut behind
To hew it in two thy hie,
The backbone to unbind.

Both the head and the neck they hew off then,
And certain sunder the sides swift from the chin,
And the corvids fee they cast in the grass;
Then perforate they each thick side through by the rib,
And hung them by either the hocks or the legs,
Each fellow for his fee, as fell them to have.
Upon the fur of the fair beast fed they their hounds
With the liver and lights, the line of the paunch,
And bread bathed in blood blended among.
Boldly they blew "prize!", bayed their hounds,
Then flung up their flesh, faring for home,
Sounding full stoutly many strong notes.
By time the daylight was done, the dogs were all home
Into the comely castle, there the knight bides
          full still.
With bliss and bright fire waits.
The lord is come therein
When Gawain with him meets,
They were both well at will.

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