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Filtering by Category: Curse of Strahd

Curse of Strahd 29: Garuda

The Garuda is a massive eagle-like creature, described as the king of the birds, that appears in Hinduism and Buddhism. Portrayed as the god Vishnu’s mount or as a dharma protector in Buddhism it seems as though the myth about this powerful bird predates both religions.

Garuda can swiftly fly anywhere, appearing where it’s services as a protector are required. It is a sworn enemy of the serpent and is in various forms used in the state insignias of both India, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia.

The legend of Garuda has travelled west, morphing in to the middle eastern legend of the Roc; a similar eagle like creature that appears in “One Thousand and One Nights”.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  Protector.

Protector.

Curse of Strahd 28: Terra Nova

In 1911 Captain Robert Scott led an expedition of adventurers that were dead set on being the first to reach the South Pole on Antarctica. They had received funding for the expedition from the public with the support of a government grant. The admiralty provided transportation and experienced seamen for the journey. It was supposed to be a heroic success proving to the world yet again the superiority of the British Empire. Hubris and arrogance was brought in great supply.

The preparations for the expedition were a complete disaster with Scott opting against using dogs to pull the sleighs, which was a proven method, instead opting for horses. Horses were a much more romantic way to travel after all, more fitting for a gentleman. He also brought a specially built motorized sleigh. The man who had built the sleigh was supposed to join the journey but was told to stay behind last minute, meaning nobody could fix it when it eventually broke down. He also brought five men instead of the four he had planned for, and messed up his calculation of the rations on top of that meaning they brought way too little food.

He also didn’t properly seal his fuel containers, in spite of having experienced that in a previous journey, making them leak and robbing the crew of the ability to cook and keep themselves warm. On top of all of this he only brought one navigator who wasn’t trained in reading latitudes. The expedition reached the South Pole, second after Amundsen’s expedition, missing them by 34 days. On the return journey they were unable to find their supply drops, due to their navigator having messed up the coordinates. All of the five men perished from the cold and starvation.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  Doomed.

Doomed.

Curse of Strahd 27: Einstein-Rosen Bridge

A wormhole is a speculative structure that connects two points in space-time, either separated by vast distances or by time. Their existence is hypothesized based on a solution of Einstein’s field equations and a number of possible types of wormholes have been proposed to exist by different scientists.

If we imagine space-time as a sheet of paper, and draw two separate dots on one side of the paper, far from each other, we can fold the paper; folding space-time, to connect the two and thus create a direct route.

Schwarschild theorized that such wormholes would only allow for one-way travel, but Thorne proposed that using exotic matter one might be able to hold the “throat” of a wormhole open and allow for travel back and forth.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  Cross the bridge.

Cross the bridge.

Curse of Strahd 26: Death Spiral

A shortcut in accounting is to book overhead costs based on sales volume of products rather than by activity the cost was related to. Through this, when analyzing profitability, high volume, successful products end up looking less profitable than they actually are, and low volume sellers inversely look significantly better for the profit & loss than they actually are.

This then tends to cause the management of the company in question to discontinue the successful product, try to outsource the product in order to reduce overhead or increase the price in order to increase profit margin. All of these actions have the potential to kill the popularity of the product, thus forcing the accountant to again move overhead costs to the remaining top sellers, with exactly the same results for them.

This is known as the “Death Spiral”.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  Heading down.

Heading down.

Curse of Strahd 25: Tudós kocsis

The word “coach”, describing a covered horse-drawn carriage for passengers or mail, is derived from the name of the Hungarian town “Kocs” where the coach is believed to have been invented. Hungarian villages still today hold competitions for “Coachman of the Year” and the coachmen have even found their way in to Hungarian Folklore.

In the stories the “Clever Coachman” appears out of the blue during the hero’s journey, inviting him to enter the coach. The coachman will then end up not taking the hero where he wants to go, rather taking him where he needs to be; thus making fortunate turns in the plot more plausible and making unexpected twists possible.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  The Clever Coachman.

The Clever Coachman.

Curse of Strahd 24: Caroline Test

Striking at an enemy before they can strike against you is known as ”pre-emptive self-defense” and traditionally two conditions, known as the “Caroline test” need to be fulfilled to justify such an action.

The "Caroline" was an American steamboat used to supply settlers rebelling against the British Colonial government in Canada in 1837. American sympathizers provided weapons and food to the rebels, effectively keeping them in a fight they would otherwise lose.

The British decided that enough was enough and a force entered the United States during the night, set the boat ablaze and spectacularly sent it over the Niagara Falls. One American was killed in the operaton.

The British argued that this was simply self-defense because A) The threat was imminent. B) No peaceful alternatives existed. C) The action was proportional with a clear goal that it achieved.

It has since become accepted as part of customary international law and was for example cited at the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  The Caroline Affair.

The Caroline Affair.

Curse of Strahd 23: Capacocha

The ”solemn sacrifice” was a sacrificial rite conducted by the Incas on the order of the Incan emperor to celebrate important events in the emperor's life or to prevent natural disasters. It was a human sacrifice done with the intention of sending humanity’s best to join their deities. To ensure that the souls given were pure, children were typically used for this purpose. Until the sacrifice would take place the chosen children were fed well to ensure they would be happy when the time came. 

During the sacrifice they were dressed in royal clothes and paraded around the four statues depicting the Creator, the Sun God, the Moon God and the Thunder God. The murder was done by a blow to the skull, strangulation or by making them intoxicated and then leaving them to lose consciousness on a mountaintop where the cold and low oxygen conditions would lead to death by hypothermia.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  A royal obligation.

A royal obligation.

Curse of Strahd 22: Orcus

Orcus is a god of the underworld in Etruscan mythology. He is often portrayed as a blind, bestial, gigantic, tusk-faced monster who eats human flesh; similar to the Cyclops, and is said to be the punisher of broken oaths. Primarily worshiped in the remote countryside people continued worshiping him well in to the Middle Ages.

His connection with the underworld has led to his name being connected with fairy tale monsters in popular fiction. Tolkien’s famous orcs for example have their name derived from Orcus.

Another fairy tale monster whose name comes from Orcus are the Ogres. Large giant-like beasts, they are said to have inhabited the British isles before humans settled there.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  Orcus awaits in the underworld.

Orcus awaits in the underworld.

Curse of Strahd 21: Damocles

At the tyrant Dionysius II of Syracuse’s court there was a courtier named Damocles. According to the story Damocles was flattering the king and telling him how great and fortunate a man he was to have so much authority and magnificence. The king seemed pleased and offered to switch places with Damocles for a day so that he could get a taste of that fortune himself. Damocles accepted and was sat down at the opulent throne surrounded by all the luxury the kingdom could offer.

But Dionysius had arranged that a huge sword should hang above the throne, held only by a single hair of a horse’s tail, only a moment away from falling on Damocles and ending his life.

Damocles saw this and begged the king to switch back as he no longer wanted to be so “fortunate”; having realized that with great fortune and power comes great danger.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  Power.

Power.

Curse of Strahd 20: Societas Draconistarum

The Order of the Dragon was an order of nobles founded by the king of Hungary, Sigismund von Luxembourg, in 1408. Modeled on the orders from the Crusades, its purpose was to fight the enemies of Christianity in general and the Ottoman Empire in particular. Its members pledged to:

“In company with the prelates, barons, and magnates of our kingdom, whom we invite to participate with us in this party, by reason of the sign and effigy of our pure inclination and intention to crush the pernicious deeds of the same perfidious Enemy, and of the followers of the ancient Dragon, and of the pagan knights, schismatics, and other nations of the Orthodox faith, and those envious of the Cross of Christ, and of our kingdoms, and of his holy and saving religion of faith, under the banner of the triumphant Cross of Christ...”

One of its members was Vlad II Dracul, "Vlad the Dragon". His son, Vlad III, would be known as the son of the Dragon… Dracula.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  Order of the Dragon.

Order of the Dragon.

Curse of Strahd 18: Lychantrope

Werewolves are widespread in European folklore, with stories of men turning in to wolves going back to late antiquity. In Western Europe werewolves were often connected with shape-shifting sorcerers and witches who abducted children. During the European witch hunts large numbers of people, especially in France, were accused of being werewolves and burned at the stake for it.

In Eastern Europe however it seems that some of the stories may have originated from Viking berserkers dressed in wolves’ hides, resistant to pain and fighting viciously to the end; not unlike the animal whose hide they were wearing.

The stories there focused more on the superhuman speed and strength, such as in the tale of Vseslav the prince who ruled the town during the day and prowled in the guise of a wolf all across Belarus and Ukraine during the night. Gradually the stories of werewolves in Eastern Europe became intertwined with those of the vampires.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  Man-wolf.

Man-wolf.

Curse of Strahd 17: Orphanim

In Ezekiel, the throne of God is said to be moved around on wheels: “The four wheels had rims and they had spokes, and their rims were full of eyes round about.” These wheels are called the “Orphanim”.

Other texts, such as the first book of Enoch portray these Orphanim as a class of celestial beings, angels, listed alongside the Seraphim and the Cherubim. They are said to never sleep and guard the throne of God with their many eyes.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

Web: https://www.redmoonroleplaying.com
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  Ezekiel's vision.

Ezekiel's vision.

Curse of Strahd 16: Prometheus

The story of Prometheus, the champion who stole fire from the gods to give to humanity, is a story about us as a species. It's about our efforts to improve our existence and not accepting things as they are. It's also a tragic story about overreach and unintended consequences for that ambition. The immortal Prometheus is ultimately punished by the gods and bound to a rock. Every day an eagle would come to eat his liver, only to have it grow back overnight; repeating the process the next day.

The liver was thought to be the seat of human emotions, and similar to Mary Shelley's "Modern Prometheus", Victor Frankenstein,  both men suffer greatly for their ambitions. 

In Frankenstein one of the final words of the protagonist is to "avoid ambition". 
But we wouldn't be human if we did...

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  Ambition.

Ambition.

Curse of Strahd 15: Traducianism

Traducianism is a Christian doctrine about the origins of the soul originally championed by scholars such as Tertullian. It holds that God created Adam’s soul but that all the souls created thereafter are actually generated naturally along with the body and derived from the individual’s parents. This is in opposition to the creationist view on souls which states that God creates each new individual soul.

Traducianists argue that this does not make sense in relation to fundamental tenets such as the original sin. God created all things ”very good” but in order for the original sin to be transferred, the creationist view would require God to create sinful souls. They also argue that God’s creation is supposed to be finished, so how could he still be required to create new souls?

Finally, in Genesis 6 there are stories of offspring with human bodies and demonic souls, resulting from the union of angels and humans. Surely God could not be responsible for having created those demonic souls?

However, the creationist view is held firmly today within the Roman Catholic Church. It is in line with the churches’ stance against abortion and according to “The Catechism of the Catholic Church”, 366, “The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God – it is not ‘ produced’ by the parents”, thus helping the church to, in their view, solidify the personhood and sanctity of each embryo.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  The original sin.

The original sin.

Curse of Strahd 14: Westinghoused

Electrocution is a portmanteau of” electro” and “execution” and was originally coined to describe electrical execution through the electric chair. At the time the “war of currents” between Thomas Edison’s direct current (DC) and George Westinghouse’s alternating current (AC) was at its peak. Edison and anti-AC activist Harold Brown had managed to get AC to be selected for powering the chair and were now portraying it as the “executioner’s current”.

The New York Times, who was generally supportive of Edison, tried to introduce the word “Westinghoused” to describe the execution method and thus discredit AC. The war raged on with DC scoring many propaganda victories like this.

However, AC was ultimately victorious, this after Thomas Edison had ended up sidelined in the new Edison General Electric company and he, and his dogmatic anti-AC stance, no longer kept the war going.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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iTunes: http://apple.co/2wTNqHx
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  The executioner.

The executioner.

Curse of Strahd 13: Heliophobia

In Bram Stoker’s "Dracula" the eponymous Count was weakened by sunlight, but it did not kill him. Trying to trace where the idea of vampires exploding in to a cloud of dust or catching on fire when in sunlight seems to lead to the 1922 movie "Nosferatu". In the movie, Count Orlok needs to sleep by day as the sunlight would otherwise kill him. 

One theory goes that this element was introduced in order to differentiate the story somewhat from "Dracula" which it quite proudly stole most of its plot from.

The attempts at differentiating were not enough however and the movie company Prana Film was forced to declare bankruptcy after Florence Stoker, Bram’s widow and holder of the estate, sued the company for copyright infringement and won.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  Sensitive to light.

Sensitive to light.

Curse of Strahd 12: Hamartia

Hamartia is a term used to describe turns of events in dramatic literature and usually refers to the protagonists erring or having a fatal flaw, setting off a chain of events that reverses their fortunes and leads to their downfall.

In his treatise Poetics, Aristotle deemed hamartia to be necessary to create the optimal tragic hero and achieve catharsis. He wrote: "...the character between these two extremes – that of a man who is not eminently good and just, yet whose misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity, but by some error or frailty. "

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  Tragic downfall.

Tragic downfall.

Curse of Strahd 11: Kresnik

Legends in Slovenia and Croatia speak of the "Kresnik", a shaman whose spirit wanders into that of an animal at night. It does this to protect the lives of the people of the land, fighting the evil powers that stalk the night. The Kresnik's nemesis is the "Kudlak", a vampiric animal that he hunts, said to represent the evil in the world.

The word Kresnik may have been derived from the Slav word for “resurrect”, making the Kresnik the “resurrector”.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

Web: https://www.redmoonroleplaying.com
iTunes: http://apple.co/2wTNqHx
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  Darkness falls.

Darkness falls.

Curse of Strahd 10: Valravn

According to Danish folklore, when a chieftain was killed in battle but never found, ravens would come and eat him. The ravens that ate the chieftain’s heart would gain human intelligence and supernatural powers. They would also become malicious and evil, leading wanderers astray. These ravens were known as "Valravn", "raven of the slain".

Other accounts speak of the Valravn as a restless soul flying through the night as a raven. One tale tells of a Valravn that helps a maiden find her lost betrothed in return for the life of her firstborn. The maiden agrees and the Valravn flies off…  returning years later when the couple has had their first child. It then asks the maiden if she has forgotten her promise, proceeding to rip in to the chest of the child and drinking the blood from its heart.

According to the story the Valravn then turned in to a knight, presumably having been returned to its former life.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  Restless soul.

Restless soul.

Curse of Strahd 09: 4'33

Four minutes, thirty-three seconds is a composition by the American composer John Cage from 1952. The score instructs the performers not to play their instruments for the duration of the piece. It is effectively, four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence…

But not complete silence.

Because there is always the sound of the environment where the piece is performed. For Cage 4’33 epitomized his idea that any combination of sounds can be music.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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  Don't make a sound.

Don't make a sound.