Wandering heroes of Mars, Haiti or the Brandlewood.

Now that I’ve finished my second d6 Shooters game, I’m ready to start designing my own version.

Hopefully this will turn into its own game, but I’m going to start from the base of d6 Shooters’ rules.

However, I’d like to try a theme other than Westerns.

I’ve been thinking about doing a game set on a ‘sword and planet’ Mars – mostly like the Barsoom series, but adding in elements from Dune, The Martian Chronicles and so on.

I was also considering a¬†fantasy version of Haiti – based on Wade Davis’ studies of zombie folklore.

Finally, a fairly ‘vanilla’ fantasy setting has the advantages of familiarity and popularity, as well as the capacity to add just about anything (‘brandle’, by the way, is a made-up word from a role-playing blog, but I can’t find the source now – can anyone help so I can give credit?)

Your comments and suggestions?

Real(?) zombies, part 2.

In a previous post I briefly discussed Haitian folklore about zombies (quite different to zombies in Western popular culture, which are largely based on the film Night of the Living Dead). In particular I mentioned Wade Davis’ theories that there’s some truth to the idea that Haitian bokors can turn people into zombies.

Anyway, I wanted to add that these ideas would be particularly useful for Carcosa, which tries to combine horror with a non-supernatural explanation for everything.

As I said before, this is a good introduction to the subject. But Wade Davis wrote two books about his investigations in Haiti: The Serpent and the Rainbow and Passage of Darkness. The Serpent and the Rainbow was adapted into a film, but the adaptation doesn’t seem to have kept much of the original book.

Real(?) zombies

I based the zombies in my fictional world more on Haitian folklore than on the brain-eating ‘viral zombies’ based on Night of the Living Dead that are more popular. I’m not one of those people who think that ‘real’ mythology is better than modern fiction. It was just what I was more familiar with. Zombies in D&D seem to be a mixture of the two: they’re animated corpses rather than living people robbed of their will but, at least in the 1974 rules, salt will thwart them.

Anyway I was vaguely aware that an American had written a book arguing that Haitian bokors really had reduced people to a zombie-like state, but I assumed he was a crank.

It turns out that his name is Wade Davis, he’s actually qualified (Harvard funded his research in Haiti), and his argument is quite convincing. Having read everything I could find on the subject (for a university assignment) I’m unsure whether he’s right or not, but of course that doesn’t matter for the purposes of D&D. You can read one article about it all here.