Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rain and Witches

hello everyone. welcome back.

this post is supposed to be my thoughts about how dr fits into game theory. i have been working on that idea, and writing about that idea, and learning about game theory (or at least, wikipedia game theory, which i recognize for what it is. game theory. on wikipedia. i get it.).

(note: i came back and added the aside below as i was editing this post before publishing it. this should probably not go right at the begining, since it's my thoughts from after having finished the post. before i got distracted. i know, i haven't told you about the distraction yet. that's because for you, right now, this one time only i'm from the future, and for you, right now, i will make a prediction about the future of this post: after this note, and the aside which follows it, which seems to be about what my original topic was, i will get distracted...)

(aside: the simplicity of wikipedia allows me to get a basic understanding of game theory. i assume that parts of it might be wrong or misrepresented or amaturish, but at this point in my game theory development, that's okay. i think i am learning. i've been playing with putting the terminology into more intuitive terms. than "co-operative" vs "non-cooperative" by looking at dr as an example. i feel like i'm learning how an engine works. this is the mode of thought i was in when i came up to my room to write. just before getting distracted. i can't write about this tonight because my earlier distraction became inspiration in a roundabout way for the new game, and i want to share with you how i become inspired.)

well, i came upstairs and into my room tonight to write.

i settled in to write about game theory, but then i noticed an odd sound. it's raining out, raining hard. the streets are slick and black with rain, the air is full of raindrops which flicker and glow like lightning bugs, catching the light here and there as they fall.

night rain is the best kind of rain. rain on the prairies here is magical. it seldom rains in these deep thirsty fields east of the Rocky Mountain ridge. one of the things i love about calgary, nestled between the foothills and the fields, is how often it rains. in saskatchewan, where i grew up, a solid rain that might soak through your clothes to your skin was rare to the point of scarcity. and for the last two weeks it's been cold here in our almost-mountain city, past the crisp cold evenings that make the end of your nose feel nothing but cold, into sharp nights where the very lights also are cold, cold unwavering stars in an uncaring sky. winter is a time of beauty, and of risk.

but tonight, it's raining, a heavy soft warm rain cleansing the city, washing away the dirty slush of the day. i open my windows as far as they will go, and it's far. life in this city is rich even for mendicants like me. the window far open, my feather pillows pressed against the sill, a warm feather blanket over my legs, silky and grey like the down of a silver swan. warm light from the beautiful dusky rose shades of two lamps. i feel surrounded by warmth and beauty, and the soft gentle sound of rain. this will be the last rain before winter. the land now must sleep.

people think that saskatchewan is a land without nature. when people think of nature, they think of trees. forests, woods, possibly the beach (though one should note when people say they are getting "back to nature" no one assumes they are heading to the beach). for most people, woods are necessary for a setting to be considered "nature". in the long dull drives through saskatchewan, most often done in the heart of winter on a dreary trip to stay with in-laws for the holidays, the land is hidden. all that can be seen is the dark muddy fields and spots of patchy snow which may not even be snow but salt flats, where the land has been destroyed and left untillable by nature itself. the few trees in sight are desolate and fornlorn. what a barren place, these strangers think, and they drive on.

but saskatchewan in the summer is a wholly different place. in the summer there is nothing but one day after another of long, cloudless summer blue sky sunshine. all creatures live and grow here, but they are subtle and small, delicate-looking but hardy and resistant. this is the paradise to which creatures return in the summer. there is nothing like going out on horseback, riding for five or ten minutes over a rise and looking off into eternity, until the eye can no longer follow the low stretch of land to the horizon, until nowhere can be seen any sign of mankind. instead, there are: deer. antelope. songbirds. hunting birds. harmless snakes. rattlers. gophers, dozens of gophers. grasshoppers. butterflies. nowadays, as the wide wild places dwindle even in canada, there are moose. even the moose seek sanctuary in the deep secret places of saskatchewan.

you see, the land looks flat. but looks lie. as you continue out into the plains, away from the highways, amazing things begin to appear. lac pelletier is a lake hidden entirely within a folded valley. it is long and narrow. one can drive within ten miles of it and not see that there is a lake hidden below.

near my hometown is a tiny crevice which holds a forest, complete with a creek for wading or fishing, and full of animals such as wild beavers, birds of all kinds, deer, and, if you believe my father, cougars. they are woods built equally for exploring, and for lying beneath the trees and staring up at the ever blue sky just visible through the swaying branches. these are the whispering pines.

much of my childhood was spent exploring the nature of the prairies. watching gophers or badgers or anthills for hours, bringing home baby magpies, baby hawks, injured kittens, plastic crates of grasshoppers, plastic buckets full of frogs or garter snakes, my pockets always full of pretty rocks i'd found and often wearing crowns of golden dandelions which i had plucked long-stemmed and woven together.

once i found a bumblebee which was clearly dying, and although i was afraid it would sting me, i felt sad that it was dying all alone in a playground. i argued with myself: never trust a bee. they sting. And i argued back: they do. but even bees deserve to have someone care that they are alone and injured. i built around it a beautiful temple of dandelions as bright as the bee, so it wouldn't feel lonely, and then read aloud to it from my book. when i looked down again, the bee was clearly dead. the next day i went back out to that spot of the playground, and the dandelions were there, looking sad and limp and dull, but the bee was nowhere to be found. i hope his bee family found him and took him home.

i have tried to paint a portrait of the prairies, a place which i love and miss dearly. i want you to understand the frame of mind i am in when i am building and designing for our game. the rain tonight brought me back into this dream of nature and compassion, of innocense and happiness and hope in faith and goodness. this portrait of empathy. imagine this portrait now as the backdrop of one of only two classes the new mud will have: the witch.

the witch. witches in our game will not be the witches of fairy tale, nor the wiccans of new religion. our game will have no religion. witches will be as i imagine them, in the secret unfolding land of the deep prairie. i think a witch would be someone with compassion and empathy to build places of power for injured creatures. witches would tap into the power of nature, becoming one with all things, all people, all living creatures who whisper and breathe, from pine trees to insects to birds and animals of all kinds. no witch would ever harm a living thing, believing as they do that all living things are one. to kill another would be to kill the self. gains in experience and advancement for the witch will not be brought about through the deaths of live things... unless... the witch herself were to become evil, and her powers darken into destruction and capricious chaos.

i meant to write about gaming tonight, and was distracted by the rain. thank you for bearing with me. i will write more again soon. there is so much more i want to write about, such as why we are only going to have two classes on the new mud, and what made us decide that, and of course, what the other class will be. (psst. it's ninja. very. cool. class.) but for now, writing has wrung me out. i debated about posting this or not, since it's not typical game blogging fare, but what the heck. this is what came out tonight. blame it on the rain.

i will be back with less girly thoughts soon.


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