Friday, November 11, 2016

Fallen Empire, Carcosan Nonsense - A table of metaphors, lies, and explanations.

Inspired largely by this post at Rotten Pulp, and by a nice big hangover binge on Calvino, I've prepared this handy table.  Useful perhaps for when people ask scholars or oracles how the game world came to be a sublime ruin teetering toward the aesthetic of grotesque.  Of course you might find it useful for other reasons as well - for example I'm keeping it open on my phone to help talk to relatives at Thanksgiving.

Michael S. Hutter paintings are always good for inspiration.

Roll 1 or 2D12 to help explain how this all came to pass.

The Empire Fell ________________, and in the Streets of the Capital__________________
Gasping, stabbed through the heart with a rusty kitchen knife

The monuments to ancient lords in the squares and the paintings of near forgotten Empresses in the galleries and salons all scream in endless rising cacophony.
From the inevitable weight of its own hubris

The towers of wealth, and the shanties of the poor began to fold in on themselves, the architecture itself lost.  Marble crumbling to plaster and iron becoming rotten pine.
With barely a whisper, but surely over ten generations, until it’s great store of power and majesty is well and truly gone

Dust swirls in every fountain, and the footings of the bridges and terraces are cracked and rotten, mansions and temples reduced to mere facades or burnt shells.  The populace seems not to notice.
Because it never really was, always a dream or delusion its consistency maintained only by the lies told between its deranged subjects.

The streets, plazas, walls and canals faded to ghostly memory and afterimages.  Left behind is a small village, it’s dusty street home to the babbling lunatic in a bark and grass crown who claims to be Emperor.
Like a sweet cookie left after a garden revel, forgotten by the dancers and bon vivants, and nibbled from its edges inward by ants.

The streets run with blood and the barbarians stable their carnivorous steeds in the basilicas.  The invader spares only the maimed veterans of the Imperial army, long ignored in their squalid camps beneath the aqueducts, and behind the tanneries.
From the palace to the pallisades, it’s own corrupt heart devouring the limbs and organs of the polity.

Bureaucrats and parasites a solid corpulent mass, that spills into the street forming barricades of velvet robes and tangled chains of office.  The scent of curdled partridge fat and caviar fills the air, but there is not bread to be found at any price.  
To the fretful worry and chagrin of old grey men in stuffy rooms, arguing in polite tones and pushing carved wooden armies across yellowed maps.

Every child and youth wakes suddenly from the same prophetic dream - they are all to be Emperor, they are all destined for greatness, imperious conquerors individually marked by the gods.  The mutual slaughter begins at dawn.
Gloriously, like a star gone supernova, with empty promises to the future

The screams of the dead, maimed, starving and enslaved traveling slowly behind the shockwave of revolution - no less real even as the distance from the event increases.
After choking on a surfeit great pie of jellied eels

The humor and absurdity of the situation is greeted with gales of laughter even as the machines run down and the crops rot in the fields.
When the quality of leadership could no longer keep pace with the mismatch between the development of new and greater forces of production, the mode of wealth’s accumulation and a rising tide of exploitation

Ghostly cats the size of buildings, inky except for their gold eyes stalk quietly, where they pause to brush their diaphanous cheeks against building or pedestrian they leave behind hunger ruination, rags, desperation and puffs of flimsy worthless fiat currency.
In a morass of Ressentiment, distilled into a pure black liquor of confusion, sickly sweet rage and tarry blindness

Cannibals roam, breaking the thighbones of their former fellows for marrow and each pack or individual ghoul justifying the daily atrocities though claims of past mistreatment by its victims.
Due to the inherent contradictions of its foundational documents and the unexamined ambiguities in its codes and statutes

The new Scrivener King rides on his palanquin of fluttering writs and official seals. Lictors try to fend of the ink stained hordes behind who chase afterwards to pull him down and take his place each with new claims, rights and novel interpretations born before them like weapons in white knuckled hands.


  1. ...and not

    due to the breakdown of social cohesion caused by the excessive division caused by neoliberalism?

    resulting in wandering mobsters machine gunning social services driving honest hard employed/unemployed workaholic citizens to vote for Hitmusofarastarumpolisilpot's Big Long Straight Road Forever Party?

    1. This is elfgames man...

      The Empire fell when all turned against all, and the Streets of the Capital filled with stunted, heavy browed aberrations as generations of education and civilization slipped from the devolving populace in a night.

    2. Notional Elf service games 'r' us...

      "Ghostly cats the size of buildings, inky except for their gold eyes stalk quietly, where they pause to brush their diaphanous cheeks against building or pedestrian they leave behind hunger ruination, rags, desperation and puffs of flimsy worthless fiat currency."

      Those will be ghostly Fat Cats who also have the business of minting more money needed because they piled up so much to one side that there was a shortage of currency/money moving around so they were paid to mint more money which is exactly how a fiat monetary system works and the elusive Fat Cats get fatter and the division becomes greater in everything. And since money circulation depends upon social currency which it rides on the back of the increasing division undermines that which is necessary for the economy to operate hence the civilization falls due to lack of social cohesion. i.e. too much money in one pile which does worse than nothing.
      Maybe Smaug was an unElfilly anti social Fat Fiat Cat disguised as a dragon.

  2. Loving Fallen Empire. I just want to offer encouragement - when its up on rpgnow I'm buying it.