Friday, October 26, 2018

Year of the Mask

Over the last few months I keep running into more and more cool ideas about masks.

What is with peoples fascination with masks?
They have been around for ever, used in religious, ceremonial and nowadays more practical functions. And at the same time they hide the one behind it. Gone are the familiar and human features. The eyes. All the nuances of facial expression. And yet they are very very cool at the same time.
Image result for lionel smit sculpture
Sculpture by Lionel Smit

Ive been slowly reading thru Dorohedoro, a manga about about cranky wizards doing bad things. Each wizard is granted a mask, they wear it publicly all the time, taking it off only while eating or in more intimate surroundings, surrounded by friends and family. Throw in that each spell caster has a very niche theme of magic they are capable, for example a lot of beginning plot is about finding a lizard transformation specialist. It all makes for a very evocative setting.

Then I stumbled into these two shortly after.

A blot that talks about an idea that magic is in the masks themselves - 1d20 magical masks. And i really like the picture with the blue masks, so I had to find the artist behind it. Bask in the glory of Lionel Smit.

And second one is a small home brew setting  by a someone named Unusual Existence called Tenebrae. Time when the Sun has died, the survivors are hiding beneath the earth and religiously delve into endless dungeons that honeycomb the earth. Players get to pick their classes from mythic archetypes the heroes of yore, whose masks they don. I love this thing for multiple reasons, first its evocative as fuck. Second because someone is making what I want to play before I can think of it my self. And as of now its slapped somewhere at the end of what I imagine at after the tales of Dying Earth. Here is more in depth and eloquent review by Kyana if you are interested.

And now it turned out that masks feature prominently in Ben L, amazing new zine - Through Ultan`s Door, which has finally arrived, or so Ive been told. Since its one of the firs things I plan on running for meatspace games. Masks now are featured on the to do list.

Some tough Ideas.

  1. "In Ancient Rome, the word persona meant 'a mask'; it also referred to an individual who had full Roman citizenship. A citizen could demonstrate his or her lineage through imagines, death masks of the ancestors." Lazy quote from wiki, but this ties in wonderfully with what I know of Zyan. 
  2. Masks grant single wizard power set to its wearer. Use ideas like Whitehack, Freebooters on the Frontier or Maze rats style generator.
P.S since Ive finally gotten physical copy of Through Ultan`s Door, that means I should do second part of Mirrors of England and whole map thing soon.


  1. Thanks for the shout out and link to my blog!

    1. Your Welcome.
      With whole G+ apocalypse feels like a good idea to do some shout outs to other people out there. Especially since I blame partially you for this post :D

  2. Interesting stuff. Thanks for this. I will definitely need to investigate further.

  3. And i found another one -

  4. Thanks for putting Tenebrae on my radar.

    1. Gladly, that thing is a real gem, diamond in the rough.