Weekly Design Blog #23: Rites for the Dead, New Blood, and Taking Room to Breath

Hello All,

Today is Wednesday, not Tuesday -- when I normally try to deliver these Design Blogs, but a number of recent events (some good, some very bad) lead to a very crazy Tuesday, and it didn't get posted. So a few things...

A Death in the Family

On my own Facebook page last Saturday, I made the following post:

It was an odd event, going to an American funeral for someone that matters to you more by how much they matter to everyone else in your life. I also attended my wife's Grandmother's funeral, but I have more specific and vivid memories of time with her, and so I was one of those mourners, same as my wife and in-laws. 

My wife's Grandfather though was something... else. I knew the man personally, but more than the kindly old man I met late in his life, there were the "tales" I had heard. Grandpa had once been a Harley-riding Hell-raiser, and was proud of that life. He also been the kind of "greaser" that the play and movie of Grease makes much less terrible than they could be. He had to leave school by 8th grade and get a "real" job in lumberjacking and extracting trees from the forest with the help of a horse, and he put in over 30 years in a car factory, living a hard life that involved many misadventures I'll never get to hear. 

But this past weekend also then was an odd experience in the "culture" of Death in America, which I could compare to those in Japan. I was fortunate enough that while in Japan I got to attend a host families' memorial service for one of their ancestors. This was a formal gathering, almost more a "family reunion" of sorts than what you might be thinking, only rather than merely getting together to eat, we specifically went to the family graveside -- then out to eat. I don't recall what year-anniversary it was, but it is traditional to 'celebrate' the passing of a family member in the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 13th, and others up to the 39th to even 50th year after passing. 

I'm not expecting to spend a lot of page-space in the core Steampunk Musha Player's Guide on "death rites" (though we did have two excellent books in our Knowledge Check series exactly about this topic!), but in the land of Rosuto-Shima, these kinds of rites may be even more important as ghosts and the spirits of the dead aren't just "real" but will honestly comeback to horrifically murder you and your whole family if not properly respected. 

You can tell a lot about a people by how they treat their dead.

New Blood in the Design Team

We've had various shake ups of the Steampunk Musha Design Team (sadly, those blog-posts are some that were lost), but I have just finally received a new contract for someone that I think you should all be excited to have added to the team. He's not a 'Big Name,' or anything, but he has some very solid credits behind his name AND, even better, he's spent the past 5 years living in Japan. I'm hoping he can channel his personal experiences into his work on the SpM task.

I'm going to "save" a thorough introduction of the new player till next week because...

Taking Time to Breath

So, even before I had written this blog for the week, I'd already been making plans for a break -- but I knew I wanted to "explain it" to you all. Partially, everyone "deserves" a vacation, etc. and I could have scapegoated my wife a bit and said "she's the one that pays the bills" etc. and thus I go when she asks OR I could have played up that the reason I'm "not working" next week (roughly June 11th to June 19th really) IS work-related because I am attending the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio -- but those are only half-truths. 

No, instead I'll point to The Oatmeal, a favorite webcomic/commentator on modern life and his recent post: "Creativity is like breathing".

I highly recommend you go and read The Oatmeal post. I also highly recommend you get both of his books -- coloring really can be great fun and relaxing, as I've learned when "forced" to do it with my daughter. 

Also, if you happen to be attending Origins, especially on Thursday, June 16th in the evening, or Friday, June 17th in the morning -- 100% please reply here or message me on Facebook and I will try to best to meet you in-person. I can chat about gaming, give you some insider info on Steampunk Musha that I will totally deny having told you, or I can tell you about other fun projects I've been working on etc.  

As for me -- I'm sorry if "nothing" gets done on Steampunk Musha for the next two weeks it seems. I'm busy breathing.

Lucus Palosaari, Editor & Project Manager at Fat Goblin Games (Like us on Facebook!) 

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