Yours is the Sword of Michael!

My good friend Paula has had a really bad week, and is at me to compose something amusing to cheer her up. Unfortunately I’m just not up to it today, but I found this clip from The Venture Brothers freakin’ hilarious, so maybe it’ll help…

It stands up perfectly well on it’s own, but it’s even funnier (in a really, really dark way) when you realise that each member of the gang is modeled on a famous psycho. “Ted” is serial killer Ted Bundy, “Patty” is kidnap victim and Stockholm Syndrome sufferer Patty Hearst, “Val” is extreme-feminist and would be assassin of Andy Warhol Valerie Solanas and “Sonny” is David Berkowitz, the “Son of Sam”, who famously claimed he was ordered to kill by his neighbour’s talking dog.

Bizarre and disturbing genius!

Oh yes, carn the Dockers. Carn.

Lovecraft World Redux

Long time readers may remember my post about Lovecraft World, the fictional Cthulhu Mythos theme park I did a TAFE assignment about way back in the heady days of the late 1990s. This was a theoretical amusement park that really tried to get into the spirit of Lovecraft’s oeuvre by killing, maiming and driving-into-insanity it’s patrons in the manner of a particularly bleak and bloodthirsty Disneyland where Mickey has fangs and tentacles.

Well, it turns out that Lovecraft world wasn’t entirely a product of my imagination, as it seems to have manifested itself in late 70’s New Jersey in the form of Action Park.

Attractions at Action park included…

  • An Alpine slide cart ride with two speeds – abysmally slow and “death awaits”.
  • A skateboard park so badly built that it was closed and filled in after one season.
  • Go carts that were used as 80kmph bumper cars and gassed their riders into unconsciousness.
  • Tanks that could shoot high velocity tennis balls at each other or, more often, park employees.
  • Speedboats that raced around a snake infested pond at dangerous speeds.
  • Bumper boats that raced around a second snake infested pond and randomly sprayed petrol over their pilots.
  • A bungee cord slingshot ride that induced whiplash.
  • An enclosed water slide that did a vertical loop, resulting in facial and back injuries and the occasional trapping of patrons.
  • A wave pool so terrifying that people got injured just trying to get out of it.
  • A whitewater ride with an electrified riverbed.
  • A tarzan swing with water so cold that it caused paralysis and heart attacks.
  • A raft ride that often dislocated and broke limbs.
  • A second raft ride that took patrons through a pitch dark tunnel, lined with sharp rocks.
  • A diving attraction that allowed patrons to plummet seven metres down onto unsuspecting swimmers.
  • A ride where patrons were skimmed over a shallow, concrete lined pool at high speed. If they sat exactly right, and weren’t hit by other patrons.
  • A skydiving simulator that severed nerves.

I am speechless. Abdul Alhazred would be proud!

The Pèá Vágás

(People have been bugging me to post something to remove our new Prime Minister’s visage from the homepage. Well – to quote TISM – bash this up ya ginga!)

As is common among many human-variant species of local probability, the Zurvár use cards (pèá) for purposes of both gaming and divination. The most common set of cards are called the Pèá Vágás.

The Vágás are divided into five suits, corresponding to five elements of the Zurvár creation myth. These are lòtò (boats), katálá (fish), rindû (seabirds), táká (knots) and minak (stars). Each suit has 10 cards, numbered one to five and double one to double five. The double five of each deck is the pèá tálá or “great card” and has its own name and unique symbol…

lòtò (boats) – altáká (The Sun)
katálá (fish) – hì sùim (The Incoming Wind)
rindû (seabirds) – hì piridim (The Outgoing Wind)
táká (knots) – takal (The Takal – the knot symbol that represents the Zurvár people)
minak (stars) – minak tálá (The Great Star)

Each of the suits is associated with a number of elements and ideas, chiefly of use for divinatory purposes, but also featuring in some card games.

Suit Element Positive Aspects Negative Aspects Roles
Living Things Protection,
Protectors and Defenders
Water Reliability,
Workers and Labourers
Air Creativity,
Artists and Performers
Earth Wisdom,
Resistance to
Change, Passivity
Light Ambition,
Guides and Leaders


The most basic form of divination is to draw three cards while considering the situation one seeks advice on. The first card reveals positives about the situation, the second negatives, and the third provides a balance between the two. Many Zurvár regard this as nothing more than outdated superstition, but a surprising number will still ‘draw the cards’ before commencing a major undertaking “just for luck”.

In addition to the attributes listed above, every card in the Vágás deck is associated with a particular profession. Again this is used for divination, but it is also used in a number of childrens’ games such as motás qudáqurn (‘balanced house’) where the players attempt to assemble a hand of compatible workers to inhabit their ‘house’.

Lòtò (Boats)
1 – Healer/Doctor
2 – Metaphysician
3 – Militia Member/Peace Officer
4 – Judge
5 – Warrior
11 – Scout/Explorer
22 – War Leader/General
33 – Advocate/Lawyer
44 – Ship’s Carpenter
55 – Ship’s Captain

Katálá (Fish)
1 – Farmer/Butcher
2 – Baker
3 – Brewer
4 – Sailmaker
5 – Carpenter
11 – Potter
22 – Weaver
33 – Labourer/Builder
44 – Metalsmith
55 – Boatbuilder

Rindû (Seabirds)
1 – Sculptor
2 – Dancer
3 – Carver/Engraver
4 – Painter
5 – Singer
11 – Musician
22 – Writer
33 – Tapestry Maker
44 – Storyteller/Bard
55 – Creator (an individual skilled in many artforms)

Táká (Knots)
1 – Student/Scholar
2 – Philosopher
3 – Accountant/Business Person
4 – Historian
5 – Researcher/Scientist
11 – Engineer
22 – Architect/Builder
33 – Marine Architect / Boat Designer
44 – Poet
55 – Sage

Minak (Stars)
1 – Messenger/Mail Carrier
2 – Parent
3 – House Elder
4 – Mayor (elected leader of a Zurvár settlement)
5 – Counselor/Adviser
11 – Mystic/Prophet
22 -Lawmaker
33 – Mapmaker
44 – Teacher
55 – Pilot

Pèá Vágás decks may easily be obtained in any Zurvár settlement and vary from cheap, printed pasteboard to elaborately engraved metal plates aimed at the fortune telling and tourist markets.

Concerning the Eldar

…you’re correct about the Eldar having a kick-ass interstellar empire back in the day. The problem was that it was too kick-ass. Life was too easy, everything served up on a platter with no challenges, which lead to the Eldar getting bored out of their pointy little skulls.

Some of them dealt with this by exiling themselves to primitive border worlds, where life was tougher (the descendents of these guys are the Exodite Eldar of the 41st millennium). The majority however started looking for things to excite them, and ended up getting into all kinds of weird and perverse stuff that would make a modern day S&M club look like a kindergarten picnic.

In the 40k universe, emotion affects the warp. The emotions of the Eldar are far more powerful than those of humans, so billions of Eldar getting their rocks off with weird excesses caused one hell of a disturbance, which culminated in the Fall (with a capital F). This involved the birth of a new Chaos God, Slaanesh, and the conversion of the core of the Eldar Empire into a breach between realspace and the warp which is known in the 41st Millenium as the Eye of Terror. The vast, vast majority of the Eldar were instantly consumed by Slaanesh, with only small numbers surviving via a number of lucky or ingenious methods.

(There’s some very old fluff that talks about some Eldar surviving within the Eye of Terror and worshiping Slaanesh. You can take or leave this as you see fit).

Additionally the Eldar had their own gods, most of whom were eaten by Slaanesh. Exactly what these gods were is open to all kinds of interpretation, but a couple of them survive in some form or other.

OK, so the survivors of the Fall…

The Exodites: As mentioned above they were on outlying planets of the Empire and weren’t corrupted like the rest of the Eldar, so they managed to survive. The Exodites avoid getting eaten by Slaanesh (which would normally happen when they die and their souls enter the Warp) by wearing psychoactive crystals called “Spirit Stones”. Spirit Stones capture their souls as they leave their bodies, and hold them safe until they can be transferred to matrix of wraithbone built into the planet and known as the “World Spirit”. The souls of deceased Eldar then chill out in the World Spirit for all eternity – or at least until someone comes along and destroys it, or a mutant tyranid vampirises it, or they need some more wraithbone constructs to trim the hedges.

The Dark Eldar: Way, way back in history the Eldar (or their creators, the Old Ones, who may or may not have been giant frogs) built a system of extradimensional tunnels that kind of go into the Warp without being part of the Warp. This is the Webway, and it allows quick travel back and forth across the galaxy with minimal chance of being eaten by Daemons. A whole bunch of the corrupted Eldar took shelter in the Webway when Slaanesh turned up, and remain there still in a vast city named Commorragh.

Because the Webway is so close to the Warp, Slaanesh can reach in and suck at their souls, so they need to either replenish their souls via mercilessly torturing other beings to death, or fend Slaanesh off with the souls of other beings, who they mercilessly torture to death.

(The Dark Eldar are not your friends.)

The Craftworld Eldar: Craftworlds are Eldar spacecraft the size of planets. They were built prior to the Fall, either (depending on which fluff you read) as trading craft traveling slower than light between Eldar worlds, or specifically as refuges for Eldar worried about the way their society was going to hell in a handbasket. In either case, some Craftworlds managed to get the hell out of Dodge before the Fall happened, and continue to sail between the stars to this day.

The Craftworld Eldar are (understandably) paranoid about falling prey to the same temptations that destroyed their ancestors. As such they control their emotions by devoting themselves to a “path” – a code of behavior similar to martial art, perfected to the nth degree. The most detailed paths in the background are those of the various Aspect Warriors, but there is a path for every job that needs to be done on the Craftworld, which presumably means there are things like “the Path of the Window Washer” and “the Path of the Waitress”. But hey, it seems to work for them.

The Craftworld Eldar also use Spirit Stones to save themselves from Slaanesh, and transfer their souls into the wraithbone structure of the Craftworld, which is called the Infinity Circuit. There is a rumour that when the last Eldar dies, the Infinity Circuits of all the Craftworlds will spontaneously combine and birth a new Eldar god, who will kick Slaanesh’s ass – but I wouldn’t bet on it. In the meantime they can temporarily pull souls out of the Infinity Circuit and use them to power wraithbone constructs, although they don’t like doing this because it’s kind of like digging up grandpa and making him wash the car.

The Harlequins: The Harlequins are merry pranksters with the mystical powers of interpretive dance and converting your internal organs into mincemeat as soon as look at you. They’re the wandering minstrels of the Webway who turn up in Craftworlds, on Exodite Planets, in Commorragh and even (on occasion) on human worlds to perform their dances, which tell the stories of Eldar history. They are protected from Slaanesh by one of the few remaining Eldar gods, who duels Slaanesh for their souls when they die. Their acrobatic skills and shiny costumes make them terrifying in combat, so if they put on a show for you, sit down, shut up, and clap at the end.

If a Harlequin offers to kiss you, politely decline.

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