Monday, January 30, 2012

Adventures Near Home #3

So we talked about why Israel is a very cool place to set modern fantasy adventures in, and we watched some pictures supporting this claim. Now it's time to no longer beat around the bush, but to stab it in the heart and find out who is hiding inside. There is no way this can end badly...

Specifically, we're going to take three locations, and see what adventures hide behind their normal (relatively, speaking) facades. Next post, we'll do it again, but with different locations.

Tel Aviv, or To Walk For an Hour
Let us begin by introducing a little known fact about Israel. Unlike most other places, the Israeli day is actually 25 hours long. That one extra hour, however, is quite exclusive and can only be accessed by very special people. And by special, we don't mean have-to-wear-a-helmet-in-restaurants special, but blast-you-with-a-gaze special.. Most of these people are Kings and Queens of emptied kingdoms, that is, the last people to claim rulership over a depopulated kingdom. The rule is simple - the power of a nation is a constant, the less people remain in a nation, the more powerful each remaining citizen is. When only one person remains -- you get a new King for the 25th hour. Hail!
Most of these people are worse than vampires. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The more kingdoms a King steals, the greater his power grows and the greater his greed for kingdoms becomes. Now imagine a simple man gets lost in the hot and steamy Tel Aviv night and finds himself brushing shoulders with old, power-hungry, barely-human monarchs who keep thinking of various way to get him involved in their plots and schemes. The text messages sent by this man can be really quite fascinating... provided he ever leaves this unreal hour of the night...

Embarking on yet another quest with a brave companion...

Ein Gedi, or The God of Little Things
As you probably know (if you paid attention in school) Lilith is the protector of arid places and nocturnal animals. As a rule, the lives of animals are not terribly exciting and mostly consist of searching things to eat while avoiding things that eat them (not unlike the lives of most D&D characters). However, when a grave crime is committed against a nearly extinct species, an animal might choose to go on a quest across oasis and desert in search of divine justice (again not unlike most D&D characters).
Why, animals are very religious and have a rich mythology, didn't you know? Why do you think dogs and wolves bay the moon, or lizards prostrate themselves before the rising sun every morning? Why do ibexes look so thoughtful all the time? You really ought to pay more attention in school...
I was lucky enough to learn of one such quest and translate it into the language of humans for your benefit. Trust me, many people and animals were hurt in the making of this documentary. However, we did find a date for a very lonely demon in the process, so give us some slack, will you?

Yes, this is the hero of one of my adventures. An excellent chap, by the way.

Qumran, or Cave Books
Ah, the mysterious Scrolls of the Dead Sea. A cult of wise men wiped out by fanatic brutes before they had a chance to finish their great work. Tens of thousands of unique scrolls, found by Arab nomads and sold to British archeologists-- seriously, do you think anyone is that dumb? Sure, the nomads sold the British some scrolls, like the one with revisions of the solar calendar in light of recent astronomical discoveries, or the theological treatise on the gematrical meaning of the names of angels. But what about the scrolls that told the true story of Noah and the true origins of Man? What about the Book of Many Curses, that eldritch tome that manipulates luck so that someone could find a brick of gold just lying there by the road, while someone else could fracture an arm in seven places by slipping in a sheepskin tent, or choke to death on ant?
Believe me -- the scrolls are still there. Some of them being translated into English for your pleasure and entertainment even as you're reading this post. And that god damn evil book, the one that inflicted the tribe that found it with so many disasters since the poor sods found the book and tried to tame it? It found its way into very demonic hands, if you know what I mean (which you don't because the story wasn't published yet). Now it's up to the reluctant hero Khalid, mystic champion of the Banu Safiru and captain in the Israeli Border Police to face the master of the book before it transforms the whole region into a hotbed of almost humorously ridiculous bad luck. Will he make it? Statistically highly unlikely...

Found these interesting? Be sure to take a look at Tales from an Israeli Storyteller and help me make this into a full-fledged fantasy setting!

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