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Occult elements in roleplaying games


 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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The idea came upon me while taking a shower. I played through one computer roleplaying-game (RPG) last night. I had in mind to do a more traditional ceremony as it was a night of a partial lunar eclipse, but the atmosphere of the game really got me.

Now, most of the RPGs have magical elements, but it's a sort of pop-version where you are supposed to please the gods and the magic is so simple - you learn a spell just by pressing a button. This is really not my idea of turning teens into occultists by way of RPGs. We need something more to scare the hell out of parents. πŸ™‚

How about making a truly high-magical RPG that would incorporate all key elements of western ritual magic in the sense of Crowley's system and The Golden Dawn?

The quests would be travelled along the Tree of Life and the monsters and characters that the player encounters during each quest would have characteristics in accordance with each path.

Also the magic should be more complex. Ingredients needed for a ritual would be traditional. So if you were to summon Pan to your aid in the game, you would use a correct astrological situation with the correct weeds & herbs an all that. The music of the game should also vary harmoniously with the emotional aspects of all these elements.

The game would have different levels of difficulty and this would be in proportion to the complexities of the needed formulas.

Computer playing can really take one to a different level of reality while having the quality of centering attention more than pure visualization - at least for some people like me. Now if you were to do these magical quests in a computer game, would the results be the same as in doing these things astrally or by visualization? I know that it would not match a proper ritual done with both body and mind. But this could be a learning tool - to learn the magical view of reality and the relations of traditional archetypes.

So if you're a computer programmer with nothing else to do, do this game and post it to the downloads section of this forum. πŸ™‚


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gurugeorge
(@gurugeorge)
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I've had this idea myself before, and I think it would be a great idea. The problem is, I think it would only a appeal to a small audience that wouldn't be big enough to sustain the development of a modern game with the huge resources modern games have dedicated to them that make them look so fantastic. It would have to be a mod team's or a small developer's project.

I think the PC game to date that has most given a feeling of real magick was a DOS/Win95 CRPG/fps/adventure hybrid game called Realms of the Haunting (there's a nice "making of" clip there).


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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I've read several reports of people running around the dungeons of Doom or Quake after having an intense playing session. Some people have even said that after ingesting some drugs, they've got vivid images of being inside these games!

I've thought that some kind of a computer game or a just a walk-around type of a system could be useful for solo practitioners who don't have the opportunity of working in a spacious and well-furnished real-world temple, but still try to do a similar thing in their living room or the astral space.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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If you're interested in pen and paper RPG games, I've done this in The Swing.

http://www.93gamesstudio.com/site/node/9

For the time being I've taken it off line while updating it to the new Reflex System rules but it should be back up before the end of the year.


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Baxian
(@baxian)
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Narwhal

I know that it would not match a proper ritual done with both body and mind. But this could be a learning tool - to learn the magical view of reality and the relations of traditional archetypes

.

Interesting thought. Seems to me if you applied some basic ritual, for playing the game, you could get some interesting results similar to doing some of it in a more traditional way maybe.
This reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend recently, about acting being like assumption of the god form.
Acting is not often thougth of as magic by many people I would think, but when done effectively the result can be quite amazing I think.
Roll play acting is another area I would say is similar to what your getting at, and it also has the physical side. Lots of occult aspect exist in it, like in RPG's for the computer.

Whats missing to make it effective magically? maybe Ritual, (Will, and belief etc) would make a difference.

Though honestly I enjoy games(when I rarely play them) to be only games. haha
But yes interesting thought for a modern computer based system of magic...

Baxian


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kidneyhawk
(@kidneyhawk)
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Narwhal-

Hey.

You may want to check out E. J. Gold's work in this regard. He worked extensively with Quake 1 as a means of "Bardo Training" and developed a free download "astral" experience called "ZENN." www.slimeworld.com will link to his thousand and one other sites, including the gaming material. He's a character and most of what he's created and has to offer is for sale but I've purchased some things from him before and found them to be quite useful. There was an interview with Gold in Gnosis magazine years back where he talked a bit about on-line gaming as a spiritual tool and it seems to be something he continues to work with.

Gold is very eclectic but amongst his interests we will find Crowley. I laughed out loud when I clicked on one of his links which purported to lead to the "Library of the Masters." Every volume listed was by Aleister Crowley!

I strongly agree with Anpi that Quake, Doom, Metroid and other POV "shooter" games can be a tremendous aid to getting into and functioning in one's "Body of Light."

Good luck-and a very intriguing topic with lots of possibilites!

93,

Kyle


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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I was recruited into the occult by the Dungeon Master running a D&D campaign (just kidding)! Although that is what some of the people I know believe... Though I believe that some experience with role playing is good for ones magick. It assist in developing the ability to put yourself in another kind of mindset. During games of D&D you have to train yourself to think like your character as opposed to what you might want to do in a situation.

What also comes to mind is a recent game of Civilization IV, where I as Aleister Crowley am ruler of the Empire of the New Aeon, aggressively spreading the Law. πŸ™‚


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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Way back in the dark ages of computer gaming, there was a game called Uninvited that made a stab in this direction. The setting was a thinly veiled Boleskine, and the villain bore some resemblance to Crowley. As an example of one of the puzzles in the game, a secret door in the greenhouse is opened by arranging pots of roses to make a cross. And so the game went....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uninvited_(game)

-Andy


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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"DisposableWombat" wrote:
Way back in the dark ages of computer gaming, there was a game called Uninvited that made a stab in this direction. The setting was a thinly veiled Boleskine, and the villain bore some resemblance to Crowley. As an example of one of the puzzles in the game, a secret door in the greenhouse is opened by arranging pots of roses to make a cross. And so the game went....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uninvited_(game)

-Andy

I don't remember I have ever heard of this game, but what the Wiki page says is interesting:

"In the original game, the address was, "Master Crowley, 666 Blackwell Road, Loch Ness, Scotland". However, at the time the game was released, Nintendo had stringent policy necessitating the removal of any remotely offensive material.[1][2] Rather than create a new address, it was simply shortened to "Master Crowley". This is likely a reference to occultist Aleister Crowley, but Nintendo (perhaps unknowingly) allowed the name to remain in the game. Other changes that may relate to censorship issues, are pentagrams turned into stars (or, in one case, a ruby) and a cross into a chalice (while another cross that only served as decoration was removed altogheter)."


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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As I remember, Final Fantasy ( Played FF VII through like 10 years ago.. ) has got a lot of Mythological elements, Tiamat from Sumerian mythology and everything. And I remember, was it Wolrd of Warcraft which has Chaos Star very known in the consept. If the guy from my former school is talking the truth, it has some connections to some so called chaos-gods in that game, which are made especially for the game and not taken from any ready consept.
I don`t play games myself, but I love to watch someone others play RPG and try to catch magical elements.


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ptoner
(@ptoner)
The plants talk to me....
Joined: 15 years ago
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Further to this.. there is a veiled reference to Crowley,Anton Lavey and Walter Raleigh in Warcraft that i have stumbled across.

You get a quest from Brother Crowley (level 44) in the Cathedral of Light, he is part of the Scarlet Crusade grouping and sends you to see Brother Anton... Quite funny i thought.


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ptoner
(@ptoner)
The plants talk to me....
Joined: 15 years ago
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below is a link in reference to the above.

http://www.wowwiki.com/Brother_Crowle y"> http://www.wowwiki.com/Brother_Crowley


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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There`s templates of both John Dee and AC as vampires in an old V:Tm book called A World of darkness. They are quite funny actually, Crowley`s a Malkavian with manupilation 7 and humanity 2. I`ll try and see if I can post image-copies when I have more time.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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In France they have a game called Nephilim based on occultism, it was loosely translated in the States by Chaosium. Pagan Publishing published a sourcebook for the Call of Cthulhu game called Golden Dawn that includes the stats for all the major members before the Golden Dawn revolt and it included COC rules for familiar rituals like the LBRP etc. There is a popular French RPG called Kult that uses many, many elements of real world Gnostic Occultism and mixes it Clive Barker style horror to produce one of the most atmospheric and intriguing RPGs out there. Mutants & Masterminds, a superhero RPG, has a setting book called Freedom City that includes references to Crowley, Gardner, La Vey, Robin Wood and many other Pagan authors. Unknown Armies from Atlas Games is about transcending and becoming and archetype but pokes fun at our system. Mage: The Awakening has a very gnostic setting, not as horrific as Kult, but very intriguing in similar ways from the magic system to the setting itself.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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However, wouldn't it be dangerous for people ignorant of the potential psychological effects of ritual working to engage in the activity proporting it to be merely a game. And isn't the practice thereof always sanctioned as one comes to it of the own 'free will'. I think it would be undermining the sacred western tradition, which has already been blasphemed by the ignorant as devilworshoping witchcraft that needs to be chased to the ends of the earth by rich white republicans! Don't get me wrong, I love fantasy rpg's, but I have my reservations about indoctrinating youth anawares to the sanctity of the Great Work.

a.t.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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That is the basis of the arguement against RPGs but you are playing a game, the rules of which do not emulate actual ritual performance. If an RPG required the performance of a ritual, I'd see yer point but right now it is more akin to Pat Pulling and the fundamentalist arguements.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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hmm, I suppose, it is devoid of the external elements, and of course, which is something I neglected to consider, is the extreme exertion of will involved with actual ritual working.

thanks for shining some light,
a.t.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 
"DisposableWombat" wrote:
Way back in the dark ages of computer gaming, there was a game called Uninvited that made a stab in this direction. The setting was a thinly veiled Boleskine, and the villain bore some resemblance to Crowley. As an example of one of the puzzles in the game, a secret door in the greenhouse is opened by arranging pots of roses to make a cross. And so the game went....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uninvited_(game)

-Andy

93

Thank you for pointing out this game I've been looking for something new to play on my emulator for the NES on my PSP and this being a game i never heard of will be a joy for me to try out.

In regards to the whole RPG thing i have to also add Elder Scrolls IV into the mix as is has no direct references to Crowley or mention of other magical persons or orders so to speak it does however carry many herbal items and some symbols used in the occult as well as other references to the occult.

It would be nice to see a real life (so to speak) RPG based game involving a initiate moving up the grades of a magical order while banishing demons of the land and saving towns or something from a evil entity over taking the land and it's your job to stop it as many RPG are based on now.

93/93


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lashtal
(@lashtal)
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There was The Curse of Crowley Manor on the Tandy TRS-80:

http://www.gameboomers.com/wtcheats/pcCc/CurseCrowley.htm

I wasted many days trying to crack that little text adventure.

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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I have to say, however, upon further preponderance, isn't adding actual esoteric ritual elements a little debasing. Implying that it's only fit for fantasy, and games played by adolescents? Because it is "just a game" is no excuse, because this the Great Work, is not 'just a game'. Isn't it like giving to Caesar what is Gods? Eating the Eucharist as a snack? Debasing spirituality for entertainment purposes? I'm not saying not to allude to it, or add fanciful elements of mythology, or that which is proven to be fantasy, but keep the true workings out of the mainstream, from the profaning eyes of the ignorant, who seek not but to sully it further. Should we help them in this?

a.t.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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As a father though my kids are still to young to even think about a RPG style game i have to admit something with factual ritual elements aren't all that bad but as everything will be taken the way the reader or user wants to take them. I would rather see kids researching something they saw in a game as true or not rather then talk about how many people they wasted playing the latest shoot-em style game. Adolescents should not play games that beyond their age group but with that said it goes back to what their parents are doing to watch their child's video games. Here in the USA any games like GTA,DOOM,Quake and others all carry the M for mature rating that that more or less screams adult subject matter but yet parents seem to care little about these warnings and try to turn their attacks on the game industry as a whole when little Johnny copy's something he saw in GTA and goes out and wastes a few people.

No matter what way something in the real world or fantasy world of gaming goes it will always finds a way to be debased and twisted. Back in the 80's i remember people saying that playing D&D was a practice of devil worshiping and the kid that chopped up his parents the media and others were quick to blame D&D for his actions rather then point out the psychological issues the boy already had. Same holds true even though not game or RPG related was Ozzy's "Suicide Solution" which here in the US was used to sue Ozzy after a teenager killed himself and his parents and prosecutor calmed that Ozzy's song said " get the gun..get the gun ..shoot..shoot..shoot" which i can say i never heard in the song, but the truth of the song was it was written as a remembrance of former AC/DC band member Bon Scott of course twisted for the prosecutions purpose. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_Solution

Sure it may debase some items but the same holds true for all things that videos games have touched on, from the stereotypical pasta eating Italian plumbers all the way to debasement of military actions. If people wish to chose ignorance over fact and take the word of fantasy over the word of truth and not find the answers for themselves then it should be on them.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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"tesorthena" wrote:
I have to say, however, upon further preponderance, isn't adding actual esoteric ritual elements a little debasing. Implying that it's only fit for fantasy, and games played by adolescents? Because it is "just a game" is no excuse, because this the Great Work, is not 'just a game'. Isn't it like giving to Caesar what is Gods? Eating the Eucharist as a snack? Debasing spirituality for entertainment purposes? I'm not saying not to allude to it, or add fanciful elements of mythology, or that which is proven to be fantasy, but keep the true workings out of the mainstream, from the profaning eyes of the ignorant, who seek not but to sully it further. Should we help them in this?

a.t.

No, not at all. This way of thinking gos to the extreme in the OTHER direction.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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I fail to see your point, or rather, I understand that spiritualism should be worked into every day living, but perhaps the method of introduction should be considered. If it's in a game, I would urge a FAQ, or some further resource to devulg the meaning behind the aspects in the game, thus by enlightening the player to the real life connotations of the workings of magic. Do you agree?

a.t.


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 Anonymous
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Wow, you're onto some great ideas Narwhal.
A video game RPG/FPS based upon the writings of Aleister Crowley would be amazing.
Considering a successful game like Bioshock is partly the result of the inspiration of the writings of Ayn Rand upon the developer, a Crowley inspired game of that type would blow Bioshock away.
However, I think Bioshock sets such a great example of a template to follow, not only for the aspects of environment and gameplay design but the inclusion of ethical dilemmas, like the litte sisters, that change the character and outcome of the game. IMO, this type of philosophical introduction to Crowley would be better than trying to induce high magick states, styled after magickal ceremonies, through video game play.
Following a type of design where the gameplay and environment would be purely fictional with the inclusion of difficult ethical choices that are based upon the writings of Crowley would make for an amazing game with the right developers.
Also I think it would be very cool to hear Thelemite splicers yelling out-of-context aL quotes in their murderous rages and for Rapture to be a technological, Ancient Egyptian styled, fortified island city.
hmm...Bioshock 3 maybe...


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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I placed the wrong link with 'developer' in the post above.
This is the link I meant to post.


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gurugeorge
(@gurugeorge)
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"mal" wrote:
Wow, you're onto some great ideas Narwhal.
A video game RPG/FPS based upon the writings of Aleister Crowley would be amazing.
Considering a successful game like Bioshock is partly the result of the inspiration of the writings of Ayn Rand upon the developer, a Crowley inspired game of that type would blow Bioshock away.
However, I think Bioshock sets such a great example of a template to follow, not only for the aspects of environment and gameplay design but the inclusion of ethical dilemmas, like the litte sisters, that change the character and outcome of the game. IMO, this type of philosophical introduction to Crowley would be better than trying to induce high magick states, styled after magickal ceremonies, through video game play.
Following a type of design where the gameplay and environment would be purely fictional with the inclusion of difficult ethical choices that are based upon the writings of Crowley would make for an amazing game with the right developers.
Also I think it would be very cool to hear Thelemite splicers yelling out-of-context aL quotes in their murderous rages and for Rapture to be a technological, Ancient Egyptian styled, fortified island city.
hmm...Bioshock 3 maybe...

Agreed. Consider that moment in Bioshock where you're ruffling through some cabinets looking for goodies, and you turn around and a zombie has been standing there watching you - it's pant wettingly good (depending on how immersed you've been up to that point). One can easily see tricks like this being used in a virtual ritual. The power of ritual to a large extent depends upon suspension of disbelief - or as its called nowadays in videogames "immersion".

In fact, the very idea of a "quest"-story upon which most of these games are based, which was noted by Arthur Machen as being the plot line par excellence, is itself a metaphor for initiation.

I think some of the quests in BioWare games like the Baldur's Gate series, NWN, NWN2 and Knights of the Old Republic (and latterly Mass Effect) are also in the right ballpark. I'm thinking particularly of KOTR where at one point you encounter the "Prisoner's Dilemma".


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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"gurugeorge" wrote:
The power of ritual to a large extent depends upon suspension of disbelief - or as its called nowadays in videogames "immersion".

I'm right with you there, gurugeorge. Immersion is the key to getting the full gaming experience. In metaphysical terms, I look at the video game enviroment as a Khu that I'm able to create a Khabs in. When in that immersive state in a video game, the gaming experience feels very real and with Bioshock that kind of immersion reveals the emotional horror of Rapture.
I very much enjoyed the experience of Mass Effect and would recommend it. Bioware's take on conversational interactivity was exceptionally great. The whole thing is as close to a Star Trek holodeck experience as I've had in a video game so far. I haven't played any of the other games you've mentoned but do have Bioware's martial arts rpg Jade Empire, which I haven't played yet. KotR sounds like a great game.


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