Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Sea of Shadows, Sea of Dreams

A shore in the night. No sun and sun will never rise there. The atmosphere is clear there and the stars are bright and stable. They do not glimmer but they wait.

There is another world in the sky and that world is vast. It is a blue-white world of could and storms and though it is always night here and the sun will never rise, the blue-white gas giant in the sky still shines in its reflected light. It is brighter than moonlight over the land, but not too bright. At all times the sky is black and the stars can be clearly seen. There are black cliffs there, and a beach of cracked black stone.

The sea is dark, but lit by trails and waves of phosperesence when the great leviathan pass.

A forest on the shore where the wind is heard. Quiet. Moving slowly amidst the boughs. A river and a bridge of dark wood over the river. A slender bridge.

White shells moving amidst the trees. Dangerous crabs.

The tower where I live is secure, the sea smashes against it. Solid stone. It is safe in the tower, there are lamps of blue-white flame, like the world in the sky, mirrors hold reflected stars and there are tame lumescent squid.

It is a phantasmal shore.

A warm phosphorescent sea of dreams. Sink holes full of strands of glowing light. Blood-warm water. Or cold and dark.

A labyrinth in the warm unfolding dark. Like veins of time.

The paths of the cephalopods make light under the waves.

White crabs clash mournfully on the silent sand. Huge slow white hermit crabs.

Warm saline water sinks down and forms currents and river under the fresh. The upper water is cold Atlantic-black.

Brave divers risk the freezing water and lee shore to dive through the cold uppers and fish the squid of the warm, light saline deeps. The Day Below, or The Deep Dawn. If they evade the storms and the many dangers, I hear them speaking as they pass back beneath my slender bridge.

So the sea is dark and the storms on that sea are higher than any storm seen on earth. The atmosphere has different layers and the cumulo-nimbus seem not like squat piles, but like slow towers advancing over the dark sea. The storms are towers reaching to the stars. If the storms here and on that blue-white world that takes up half the sky in its rising align, then lightning can reach between the worlds

And under the dark and the cold of the ocean are the strands and mazes of light made by the squid and plankton in the slow warm rivers that run undisturbed under the black storm-wracked sea.

Sometimes there are scrapes and scars where one of the sea-leviathan has dived down into the warm salt water in search of prey and the lights and warm water have scattered. But they heal quickly and return to their proper place.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

For the love of Dwarves.


Dwarves are made to make, not love.

Male Dwarves are bound up in their creations and their works, which expand in their minds like a maze so that they rarely feel desire. They must be seduced. The only way they can be distracted from their deep selves is with art. A truly amazing work of art will enthral and enrapture a male Dwarf and allow them to feel the stirrings of physical love.

Therefore every female Dwarf that wants to get laid is usually off on the road learning to become a supreme artist. The journey of the artist involves essentially understanding everything. You never know what knowledge or experience will inform your art. And so female Dwarves can be found in almost any place, doing or learning almost anything. Always with keen intentness and a with the relentless drive common to the Dwarves, yet also with an uncommon awareness and sensitivity to their environment rarely seen in Dwarven men. And always in the middle of mastering some subtle craft, whether a particular style of painting, poetry, sculpture, music or anything that could be used to produce a work of art. Truly mastering a style or form can take at least fifty years, and they have no idea ahead of time which form will be most suitable to produce their masterwork.

And killing things. Lots and lots of things. Ugly terrible things. Which is 'sculpting the world' literally, by cutting bits of it off, and 'painting the world' - usually red.

The art of the Art-Berserk is the wound they create and the scene of the wound, its a kind of performance art, like theatre, but real, whereas the art of the world-sculptor is the absence of the ugly thing they just destroyed.

So the high point of an Art-Berserk career might be a raid on, for instance, a Drow city where every member of the ruling class is chopped to bits in the space of an evening, the drow blood painting the walls.

Whereas the final work of a great sculptor might be the void left behind in hell when a major deamon lord is removed from existence. With an axe.

Its possible the performance on its own might be enough to do the job. If not, they will have to try to put it into words, or into a tune, or shape it in stone or paint.

Then, maybe, finally, they could possibly get laid.

Dwarven Women generally don't have beards. They do have a lot of facial body modifications.

They make masks, half-masks and eye-guards from varieties of precious metal. They create a wide range of tattoos. They use piercings and subdermal implants of multiple kinds. its common for a female Dwarf to combine these in various very beautiful, very radical ways

Since Dwarves see work and artifice before they apprehend anything else, to alter yourself is to become more like yourself. Your skill is more real than what you look like, so replacing your appearance with the products of your skill is becoming 'more real'. And in a sense, more beautiful, though they are not exactly the same thing.

For a Dwarf having a low level of skill is their equivalent to being ugly. Not exactly your fault and something we should try to look past, but not good. Unfortunate.

There are quite a few Dwarven women who, for various reasons, have no more sexual interest in Male Dwarves than Male Dwarves generally have in them. Which is lucky because it makes life a lot easier. And there are various people of different kinds who, for whatever reason, might be sexually interested in Male Dwarves and for them the path is the same. Produce a great work of art or its not going to happen.

Falling in love with a Male Dwarf is a rough gig.


EMPLOYMENT

Some roles you might find a female dwarf in:

Combat-Geologist

Earth-Skald : Learning and relating the songs of the earth. (Not the songs *about* the earth, the songs *of* the earth.) these can be very long indeed and you may have to travel to different points on or under the earths surface to learn them.

Historian : mainly correcting the dwarf-related historical inaccuracies of other races. By killing them if necessary.

Thief-Historian : to get back treasures held in the wrong hands ie most treasures, which have probably belonged to dwarves at some point. Even down to a single coin from a hoard.

Historian Of Crimes : Dwarves basically don't forgive anything ever.

Art-Berserk : These can meditate then create wild, action paintings from blood splatters.

Axe-Samurai : To others, quite similar to the Art-Berserk, but don't call them that, they both consider themselves utterly different forms.

Bookbinder : Dwarves write books 'so as not to shame the binding'. The construction of the book comes first, then the contents must be of a quality high enough to match the object, right down to the strike of the ink, and then the ideas communicated, which come last.

To write a book, first build the shelf. Work the gems, make the paper, bind the book, perfect your calligraphy, then turn your mind to a subject in order to add the proper finish to the thing (learning a subject takes about  100 years and may demand specialist knowledge ie an adventure.)

Miner : to get the right gems. To a dwarf, mining is like and adventure or an exploration, its like being in a forest for us, something new and strange each day. In a sense, all Dwarves are Miners. The same way all humans are hunter-gatherers. We might be doing something else right now but that’s our baseline. Its what we return to when things go wrong, its the skillset that informs us. We are generally hunting for something or gathering something.




CLOTHES AND ARMOUR

Dwarves tend to make their own clothes and their own armour, the only difference with female dwarves is that its hard to tell these two apart.

You can herringbone the patterns on ultrafine mail so that it falls like cloth yet, when struck, the patterns mesh and the force is distributed. You can interlace very fine chains through padded silk, you can hinge and layer plate so precisely that it looks like water falling, you can carve and emboss bronze so that, from a distance, it really does look like cloth, you can make the solid seem light, the fluid seem hard, soft things sharp and the sharp things hard to see. Put some fucking feathers on it, why not? In fact, why not titanium feathers so perfect they look like the real thing? why not a dress of them?

Armour and fashion are both considered a kind of liquid sculpture amongst Dwarves, essentially about form, and there is no reason for them not to get calmly and relentlessly good at them the same way they do with everything else. If you are running around beaning things with an Axe for complex sexual reasons then there is no reason not to look good doing it.


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Fire On The Velvet Horizon Trailer

(If you are familiar with our sound, you know you might want to keep the volume down.)




(I added a stinger)

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Interview with Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou

Firstly, this isn't by me, its from a youtube channel called DP/30; The Oral History Of Hollywood.

I would never usually just re-blog someone else's interview but this one is so interesting and so relevant to anyone interested in colour and form and all the unusual ways they can be expressed in genre movies and it comes from such an unexpected and charming source.

And one that relates everything in a laahndon accent.

Its also a pleasure to listen to someone who takes the world and reality of such an ephemeral and pop-culture form so seriously and uses it to inform their art. There is really surprisingly involved discussion of the nature of alien environments and how that would effect the way their skins and bodies develop.




"They are sort of cheeky chappies aren't they?"

"Dave Bautista started off as a 5 hour makeup, because he had all that keloid scarring. I don't know if you know but that scarring actually tells the story of his life? How he lost his daughter and all the battles he's been through."

I didn't actually.

Only about 608 people have watched this so far and it deserves a lot more views


Thursday, 5 February 2015

Some Dwarves

So Dwarves

They won't see race, or barely, but they will see what you make. So if you do something to alter your appearance then they will see that. So the races of the Dwarves (that is, until we get to stuff like Derro or Duergar), are the materials they generally work with.

The Dwarves we are familiar with are big on steel as they have a lot of it but other Dwarves tend to think of that as their specialist ethnic material. (Handy, hard, but how do you stop it rusting?)


Dwarves of Gold and Ivory.

Make elaborate mail of glass beads, which helps to keep them cool in their hot climates. Super curly hair means they tend to think of is as a kind of construction material for the head, forming beards and haircuts into asymmetric wedges, or sometimes three dimensional models of their home city or mountain.

Tend to break down laughing whilst trying to relate a joke they told a week ago, (these Dwarves laugh) its so funny in their memory that they can't get all the way through it without breaking down.

Really want to tell you about their family, in depth, for hours. Family is huge and has collectively done and experienced some of everything so no topic so strange that they do not have a handy homily about it.

Tend to announce that they are going to speak to you before, or as, they speak to you. i.e. sits down and says "I will speak to you now."

Iron is a currency to them and they wear thick torcs of raw iron around their arms and waists.

Most are very black and they smear fine gold dust all over themselves as a kind of makeup or war-paid, the dust catches in the folds of their skin and  makes them seem to glow like bronze. Other dwarves think looking like this is pretty cool and are slightly annoyed they can't really carry it off.


Dwarves of Jade and Wine.

These have wild black bristles that stick straight out. Very distinct mustaches. Tend to wear a lot of jade, including a kind of closely arranged mail of jade pieces that jingles softly as they walk, a distinct sound for each clan.

These Dwarves are named so as they are one of the few kinds of Dwarf that actively enjoys wine more than Beer or Spirits. (All Dwarves will drink wine if available, but these will actively seek it out.)

Brutal calligraphy duels with two-handed calligraphy brushes, if a dwarf dies they can still win the duel if they leave behind the superior poem on the paper floor where it is fought. The loser will always accept the superiority of the poem if it is better, even if they killed their enemy. In fact they will make a point of mentioning it in the future. "I bested Shan Lun in the Poets-cage, but only his flesh is dead, his words will burn through time when I am dead." Then they recite the poem.

These Dwarves are so friendly and luxurious when drunk, and so often drunk, that they are the only Dwarves that sometimes seem lazy. (They aren't really, but can sometimes give that impression.)

They like monkeys, are friends with them and even have a monkey god. (Very unusual.)


Dwarves of Obsidian and Bone

These very fierce Dwarves have even less metal available to them than most. Amazingly, they ritually shave themselves and tattoo elaborate abstract beard designs onto their faces and chests (presumably slowly expanding over the body during their life). They wear a kind of elaborate gorget/mask of obsidian shards which takes the place of a beard and which is fucking terrifying.

Their weapons are obsidian and hardwood, as well as other organic materials such as bone. They are always on the lookout for new kinds of bone and will raise incredible animals over centuries, simply to harvest the bone when they die.

In their homelands they are called 'Cave-Lords' and actually rule as an upper caste from very well-developed terraced farmlands on the shoulders of high mountains. They travel beneath the earth through the caves that are common to that part of the world and generally do not bother low-living peoples much, or at all, unless monsters threaten, in which case they issue forth with great violence




(Our (Western-standard) Dwarves call themselves the 'Dwarves of Stone and Steel', but really everyone likes stone, so when not present they tend to be called the Dwarves of Steel and Beer. Although most Dwarves are pretty fond of beer too.)

I was going to go for an Indian-Standard set but its hard to get a strong material signature for Indian crafts. Is there any material or set of materials that brings that culture strongly to mind? (Obviously dwarves with Bakh Nakh are a must so they have to have those. I was thinking of making them the only dwarves that actively use a wide range of weapons instead of just impact-damage stuff. Sikhs are so close to the cultural dwarf-zone that its hard to not just re-make them shorter.)

Thursday, 29 January 2015

STRANGE GRAINS - D&Difying 'The Art Of Not Being Governed'

This is everything I could easily D&Dify from 'The Art of Not Being Governed' by James C. Scott.

Yeah! Free to question your civilization-centered discourse!

My god Robert E Howard would fucking love this book. I half suspect he came back from the dead and wrote it.

“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?”



"Some subjects were no doubt attracted to the possibilities for trade, wealth, and status available at the court centres, while others, almost certainly the majority, were captives and slaves seized in warfare or purchased from slave-raiders."

(He never actually proves that its over 50%)

1. So ALL cities are over 50% slave populations, don't really see that expressed much in D&D.



"Virtually all hill peoples have legends claiming that they once had writing and either lost it and it was stolen from them."

"The Lahu, for their part, speak of once having known how to write their language and refer to a lost book. They, in fact, have been known to carry papers with hieroglyphic marks which they cannot read."

"Seven villages came together on the same mountain and swore to jointly oppose their Tai overlord. The oath was written on a buffalo rib, which was then solemnly buried on the mountaintop. Later, however, the rib was stolen, and "that day we lost the knowledge of writing and we have ever since then suffered from the power of the _lam_ [Tai overloard]"

2. Language and writing are actual treasures that you can actually seize and if you do then that people loses that language and loses that writing. It's a high level treasure and to either take or return a language from or to a people is a high-level quest.



"Thus precious commodities such as gold, gemstones, aromatic woods, rare medicines, tea, and ceremonial bronze gongs (important prestige goods in the hills) linked peripheries to the centres on the basis of exchange rather than political domination."
..

"aromatic woods, tree resins, silver and gold, ceremonial drums, rare medicines."

3. Ceremonial Gongs as quasi-currency based on prestige. (This also brings up the possibility of certain tones as a kind of currency.)



"To cite the most celebrated instance, Hsinbyushin, after sacking Ayutthaya in 1767, brought back as many as thirty thousand captives, including officials, playwrights, artisans, dancers and actors, much of the royal family, and many of the courts literati. The result was not just a renaissance in Burmese art and literature but the creation of a new hybrid court culture."

4. We have come for your artists. Wars declared specifically to abduct or commandeer the artistic cultural cores of city states, adding them to your own. Biggest culture wins.



(Scott does not go much into the attractive or generative power of art, probably because its something civilisation does well and the whole book is basically about civilisation being a bit rubbish.)

"Perennial manpower concerns favoured easy assimilation and rapid mobility and, in turn made for very fluid permeable ethic boundaries..... The manpower imperative was everywhere the enemy of discrimination and exclusion"

6. Moving up quickly in the City-State. So far, so D&D.



7. Another interesting thing that comes up later is hill peoples having permeable ethnic boundaries and an 'ethnic bandwidth' rather than a set race or culture – pretty interesting compared to the D&D race and culture selection process. You could start play with a diagram or something of your potential ethnic expressions, knowing multiple languages and able to shift your expression according to the circumstances.

Story Gamers would *love* this. I can almost sense the RPG.NET thread that is offended that all games aren't already like this. “I mean for god’s sake its 2014! Hasn't Mike Mearls read Scott?! God I am so tired of educating people on this.”



"The altitudinal dimension, however, was reversed, with the Inca centres at higher altitudes and the periphery being the low, wet, equatorial forests whose inhabitants had long resisted Inca power. This reversal is an important reminder that the key to pre-modern state-building is the concentration of arable land and manpower, not altitude per se."

8. In the Scottian analysis GRAIN=STATES and that’s basically it. Anywhere you can grow grain and communicate easily ends up being a state, where you can't - its barbarians. (This is over-simplifying, but not by much).

So all you need to do is work out where the arable land and communication channels are - that’s where your kingdoms will be.

So if you invent a new strange kind of grain that, for instance, grows under sheets of ice, or propagates in clouds, then that’s where the Cities are. So you just design your world starting from the phenotype of the grain and working on up and the stranger the grains then the stranger the world.



9. Scott also regards new crops as political factors which change societies by shifting the balance of power between peoples in the way they are grown. Which they are really. Potatoes are political and you could have a D&D game where the first potato is the treasure sought or set in a tumult as a new crop sweeps across the land and re-writes the agricultural power structure.



Each Dwarf is a state, or the memory of a state.
The deep memories of the Dwarves mean that what seems like dourness is actually heroic wrestling with deep history and struggling towards life.



"..this was especially so at the core and when the kingdom faced attack or was itself ruled by a monarch with grandiose plans of aggression or *pagoda-building*." - my italics

10 Insane Pagoda Building projects that bankrupt kingdoms., an entirely real thing I knew nothing about till now

"The late eighteenth-century mobilizations of Burmese King Bo-daw-hpaya (1782-1819) in the service of his extravagant dreams of conquest and ceremonial building were ruinous to the kingdom as a whole. First, a failed invasion of Siam in 1785-86 in which half the army of perhaps three hundred thousand disappeared, then a massive labour requisition to build what would have been the largest pagoda in the world, followed by mobilizations to repel the Thai counterthrust and to extend the Meiktila irrigation system, and, finally another general mobilization for a last and disastrous invasion of Thailand from Tavoy sent the population of the kingdom reeling."



"Despite their syncretism and incorporation of animist practice, Therevada monarchs, when they could, proscribed heterodox monks and monasteries, outlawed many Hindu-animist rites (many of them dominated by females and transvestites), and propagated what they took to be "pure" uncorrupted texts.

11 Transvestites in the hills doing animist rites.



12 Apes are simply men who became apes for political reasons. If you make certain political choices and end up in exile then you just become an ape. Therefore all apes have strong political views which are very important to them and this depends on the kinds of Ape.



13 There is an empire of cooked men. To join it you are forced into a pot and boiled. You come out like boiled meat but alive. As you rise through the hierarchy then you are cooked in more and more intensive ways. The Emperor is carbonised. No one wants to be cooked so the Empire keeps grabbing people to cook them. The punishment for not grabbing enough guys is to be promoted.



"While a grain-growing population whose granaries and crops were confiscated and destroyed had no choice but to scatter or starve, a tuber-growing peasantry could move back immediately after the military danger had passed and dig up their staple a meal at a time."

14 Potatoes of rebellion. Potatoes, and all tubers are banned by law, symbols and tools of rebellion and enemies of the state.



15 Some tribes avoid state control by taking off their heads an burying them in jars to make themselves useless slaves. They feel their way around by touch and retrieve their head once the agents of the state have passed. Others are simply out of focus, you can't really see them clearly up close, you can at a distance but the closer you get the more blurry they are.



"Another response to the pressure to create a political structure through which the state can act is to dissimulate - to comply by producing a simulacrum of chiefly authority without its substance. The Lisu of northern Thailand , it seem, do just that. To please lowland authorities, they name a headman. The Potemkin nature of the headman is apparent from the fact that someone without any real power in the village is invariably named, rather than a respected older male with wealth and authority."

16 There are no goblin chiefs or kings, and actually no Goblin government, and no Goblins. ‘Goblin’ is just a name that the people trying to kill them gave them, they don’t really recognise it, but the Goblins pretend there are and set up false kings to fight and die for false nations in order to confuse those who would control them.

Goblins don’t act chaotic because they are dumb or crazy, it is a political choice.



"The more turbulent the social environment, the more frequently groups fission and recombine, the greater the likelihood that more of the portfolio of shadow ancestors will come into play."

17 The Shadow Ancestors, in a D&D world, would be an active force rather than a mere reaction or creation of the living. Different groups of ancestors of different descents pulling the actions of their descendants one way or another depending on their power. Wars fought to re-arrange ancestral power.



"The Lisu, aside from insisting that they kill assertive chiefs, have a radically abbreviated oral history. "Lisu forgetting, Jonsson claims, "is as active as Lua and Mien remembrance." he implies that the Lisu chose to have virtually no history and that the effect of this choice was to "leave no space for the active role of supra-household structures, such as villages or village clusters in ritual life, social organizations, or the mobilisation of peoples attention, labour or resources."

18 Radically forgetting tribes. How far can you push that? Ancestor free tribes, then further away, one-year tribes, then in the reaches of the deeps, the one-day, impossible even to understand as they remember only for one day.



Under Scottian analysis, dispersed egalitarian communities create religious structures based around individual charismatic figures and has a kind of 'wide-low' spiritual world with the numinosity dispersed into lots of little places and things, centered hierarchical stratified societies create religious structures based around hierarchy and institutions and a spiritual world that is as ordered and pyramid-shaped as the society.

18 These gods and spiritual worlds are actually real and rather than man creation them, it really depends what kind of god or system you end up under. The Hierarchal god wants people to build empires and actually makes people do that, the animist network wants people to disperse and not form hierarchies and so makes people do that.



"Egalitarian, acephalous peoples on the fringes of states are ungraspable. To the command "Take me to your leader" there is no straightforward answer. The conquest or co-option of such peoples is a piecemeal operation - one village at a time and perhaps, one household at a time - and one that is inherently unstable. No-one can answer for anyone else."

"They are millenarians, forever generating warrior leaders, sects, 'white monks', and prophets, all persuading themselves that the Karen kingdom is, once again, at hand. Animists talk of the coming of Y'wa, Baptists of Christ, and the Buddhists of the Arrimettaya, the future Buddha. Somebody is imminent, Toh Meh Pah is coming, something will happen."

19 We can apply this stuff to Orcs and Gnolls if we like. It makes sense that a group with a very flat hierarchal structure would 'auto-generate' prophets and millenarian figures when it needed to operate on a wider scale. An interesting thing is how commonly these prophets bring together peoples from different ethnic groups and how often they are not core members of any of those groups but kind of 'barbarian-cosmopolitans of mixed backgroupd or mixed education or just full-on outsiders. Which fits quite neatly into a D&D game.

It also creates the idea of Orcs as merely Democratic Men. Extremely Free men.



Here's some more Robert E. Howard for comparison:

" What united the rebels was the belief that the python-god, a shared highland deity, had returned to earth to inaugurate a golden age. The dieu-python would destroy the French, and hence all taxes and corvee burdens, while those who followed the ritual prescriptions would enter the golden age and share French goods amongst themselves."

No, sorry, that was Scott. Like I said, hard to tell apart.

"Stepping back from this historically deep and remarkably widespread incidence of millenarian activity, there is a realist school that would regard the entire record as an abject failure of essentially magical solutions."

....(p_o)....


There is so much more in the book than this but there are limits to the notes I will take when I am doing this for fun. I might still try doing a proper actual review of the book because it is worth it.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

BLATSITSU! - An introduction


Except from

'BLATSITSU! - A fighting style for battling impossible things.
For gentlemen, scholars and ladies travelling without chaperon.

(2nd edition with additions by P Zenithal.)

by Junglangsing Leptoblast


It has been my fate and pleasure since my very early years to be subject to adventure. I have wandered and roved the wide world, seeking always some fresh discovery or unknown thing. Danger has been my constant companion, danger in a plethora or unexpected forms, whether from the common beasts of the forest and field, from the storms and winds which wracked the sky, from the turpitude and greed of men, or from, occasionally, the vagaries and inconsistencies of my own character.

But it is not of these dangers that I wish to speak, but of a particular kind of threat, the danger of the tetramorphs, those remarkable and unusual beings known commonly to men as 'monsters'.

The division betwixt animal and monster, and even between monster and man, must perforce be both permeable and loosely drawn. Is the Sanguine Crane a monster? In most circumstances, not at all. But, if it should come upon you in the morning while you sleep, and hunger for your blood, then certainly it is.

Is the Bedlam Bird a monster? It is and must be considered so at all times, so cunning and malignant a beast it is.

However we are to arrange such definitions, it has been always my desire and joy to seek out those creatures noted for their unusual nature and even for their potential danger, and to make what account of them I could. Combat, of any kind, has never been my intention. I am a scholar, not a warrior. Nevertheless, chance or dark circumstance has many times, in many places, lead me to affray. A rough milling indeed between the stones of violent time!

It would be a poor scholar indeed who sought out such circumstances, but a poorer one still who failed to learn, and make what devisements they could for the sustaining of their life in the field of wild peril and unexpected mischance.

It is the fruit of just such experience which this volume seeks to condense and lay before you as one coherent physical and psychological system which, if followed correctly, will gift the learner with the sum product, not only of my long experience, but of my careful analysis. BLATSITSU! is not only a mere fighting system, (perhaps the most comprehensive ever devised) but a pattern of thought, an attitude and way of being.

The greatest weapon, and sweetest boon of man has always been: THE MIND. And BLATSITSU! seeks to train not only the body, but the mind, body and spirit as one. It is an intellectual as well as physical journey and the deeper the efforts made in its employ, the deeper shall be the rewards.

I am no genius. BLATSITSU!, though an original creation of my own, has deep roots in the fighting styles of many cultures renowned for their martial ability. Over my long years I have been lucky enough to study with the exemplars of several of these styles. I have learnt the Hand of the Yam from the Yam Man of the Phyrrous Plains, I have taken instruction from the silent Rapier-Men, I have visited also with the Swamp-Drunk tribes of the Melanic Moors and learnt something of their 'Drunken Bog-Dance' style.

Yet there are still other cultures, not so famous for their martial abilities, who may still have much to teach us. Not all who posses knowledge are inclined to advertise the fact. I have also studied the slow-time trench-fighting style of the heralds of the dark, I have spoken with the shadows and learnt the true shadow-boxing, I have had converse with the Considerate Ones and learnt from them many secrets of war in the world beneath our own and the power of the 'discretion-punch'.

From all of these source and from many more, I have condensed the core lessons and attitudes and combined them into BLATSITSU!, a fighting style devised specifically for battling impossible and unexpected things.

The primary style of BLATSITSU! assumes its practitioner will have access to a basic dueling stick. However, as a scheme for training both mind and body, BLATSITSU! is an attitude so much as a fighting style, one based on boldness, innovation, subtlety and environmental awareness. Chapters clarify the use of BLATSITSU! when armed only with hand and foot, (the true BLATSISTU! practitioner is never truly disarmed), when tied up, when imprisoned and when asleep.

It is in the field of the unconscious that the mental and physical practice of BLATSITSU! combine to the deepest effect. You will never be in so much danger as when in a dream and the battles fought there can be of deep consequence in the waking world

This second addition of BLATSITSU! has been amended and increased with comments and recommendations from a young correspondent, one P. Zenithal, who contacted me after the original publication of the first edition with questions regarding the use of BLATSITSU! by a female practitioner.

I was at first quite surprised, I had assumed that no woman travelling with a chaperon or protector would need or require such an Art. However, after the exchange of several letters I became persuaded that it is no longer an unusual circumstance for women, young or old, to travel without male accompaniment, and in some cases into the very deeps of the wilds themselves.

There is no doubt that, should they come into contact with Tetramorphs, a woman would be in as much need of BLATSITSU! as any man. These creatures (with a few exceptions) are no respecters of gender.

As BLATSITSU! encompasses a coherent learning program for both mind and body, and since it is a mental attitude a much as a physical program, I believe it should apply equally well to both men AND women. The subtitle has therefore been changed. BLATSITSU! now advertises itself for not only Scholars and Gentlemen, but also any Lady travelling alone. After reviewing Ms Zenithals comments and finding them an excellent match with both the spirit and practice of BLATSITSU!, I have incorporated them into a new chapter addressing difficulties and opportunities likely to be faced by the female practitioner such as: 'What do do with your skirts in a fight', 'Fighting with an umbrella', 'Scissors and their uses' and 'Hair'.

I have also added some comments regarding the criticisms made of BLATSITSU! by several individuals both uninformed and unwise. BLATSISTSU! does not encourage 'low level alcoholism' though unlike most conventional fighting manuals it does acknowledge the uses of alcohol both in training the awareness and in loosening the muscles and encouraging improvisation. Neither is it 'a rag-bag of techniques arranged around some made up monsters', every creature described in BLATSITSU! is quite real and the techniques described are ones I have myself tested in the field. Furthermore, BLATSISTSU! is no mere list of techniques to be matched with each opponent like some petty accountancy of harm, but a system of improvisation and creation so that, no matter what strange and unpredictable threat the practitioner is faced with, they may formulate their OWN response to their PARTICULAR circumstances.

BLATSITSU! demands a great deal from its practitioners, but, if you follow the instructions and processes within I guarantee that you will discover for yourself its enormous transformative power. And remember, even if you should be small, apparently weak, of no matter what gender or shape you may be, if you have a MIND and a BODY then BLATSITSU! is for YOU.

"That ever was thralle, now is he free;
That ever was smalle, now grete is she"

It is true. It is BLATSITSU!