NEWS: Thanksgiving Is Also Cancelled

It’s that time of year again: Thanksgiving! And you know what that means? Thanksgiving has been cancelled this year! There will be no Thanksgiving this year, because going to Thanksgiving is probably the most lethal thing you could possibly do. 

How is this possible? Well, earlier this year you might have remembered a little something called Coronavirus happening. But what’s that, you say? You thought that ended back in June, and you’ve been licking each others’ eyeballs like old times? Well, you stupid little moron, you’re completely wrong and also an idiot. Coronavirus never went away. It has always been there and now is going to get worse than ever, due to it getting cold and everybody will start wanting to sit inside by the fire and cough and sneeze and breathe really hard towards the fire, causing huge numbers of coronaviruses to fly around in the room and kill them. This is unacceptable.

So, in our authority ordained by all living kings, we are banning Thanksgiving. This has been a long time coming – let’s be frank, Thanksgiving is a holiday commemorating genocide in a buckled hat, so there wasn’t much good reason to celebrate it in the first place. But now, Thanksgiving has moved past “merely” being offensive and distatestful, it’s outright lethal. We have to take action. It falls on us to make the decision that others were too afraid to do. There will be no more Thanksgiving. Ever.

What about next year, when the virus crisis has hopefully cleared up? Nope. No more Thanksgiving. We gave you all the chance. You could’ve washed your hands and wore the masks. And even if you did, did the government do jack shit to help? Nope. Two hundred thousand people are dead and we are taking Thanksgiving away from everybody to give you all some time to think. 

We hope you will learn an important lesson from all this. Don’t kill your grandparents. Wash your hands and wear a mask. And seriously, do a little research on American holidays. A lot of them are celebrating genocide in one way or another. Look it up.

Surveying the Vaults of Vaarn

In case you aren’t keyed into the broader tabletop RPG universe, there’s something of an Old-School Revival or Renaissance (henceforth OSR) going on. Many RPG gamers are looking towards the past, to the RPG heydays of the 70s and 80s, to draw inspiration for the future of tabletop games. And what, exactly, does this imply? Well, the members of the OSR aren’t always sure themselves, but it’s typically a broader focus on player agency and dungeon crawling, increased risk of character death, and reduced focus on pre-written plots. The gamemaster of an OSR game is once again an impartial referee, whose role is to simply mediate the world that the players explore in a sandbox style. “Rulings, not rules” is a common refrain – instead of having granular rulesets that explore every possible corner-case, OSR games prefer lighter and simpler rules, giving the gamemaster the final say on what is and isn’t permissible. 

But what I like about the OSR scene is the incredible bulk of content for it. There’s a lot, and I mean a lot, of really fantastic OSR blogs, zines, and books out in the world filled to the brim with imaginative and wild settings. One of these settings is Vaults of Vaarn, a pay-what-you-want zine by author Leo Hunt A.K.A. graculusdroog on itch.io.

I downloaded Vaults of Vaarn on a lark, looking for more interesting RPG content to consume, and found myself blown away. Hunt emphasizes strongly his influences, naming Dune, Hyperion, and The Book of the New Sun, as well as the art of Moebius. He says it’s fine if you’re not familiar with these works, because it’ll “make his theft seem original.” Well, I’m not familiar with any of these works (aside from the art of Moebius), and Vaarn seems pretty damn original to me. So original, in fact, I thought I’d do a little review of it, just because it’s got me so jazzed.

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