• Symbol of the Month: Stars

    by  • October 1, 2012 • Essays • 2 Comments

    A time back, I wrote a Back to Basics article about how to use symbols in gaming and stories. I had quite a bit of private communication on the subject about how people would have loved to see the discussion go longer on both of the symbols, or how there were others they wanted to see addressed. One person even just found it very inspirational for gaming.

    So I return to the symbols, one each month, except this month which will have two: one at the start, and one on Halloween. I will be going far more in depth with each symbol as much as I can, but what really makes this sort of series is a discussion on the subject of each symbol. How can we come up with the most amazing ways to make each symbol feel more real? But for now, I say this.

    Look forward to a return to the Mask as a tool of horror and joy. But for now, the stars have aligned and the times are wrong…

    Stars, you look up and they’re everywhere. Sometimes even looking down, left or right you’ll see them. And what’s there to say about using them in your games that hasn’t been said before? Hopefully a lot, or this will be a far shorter article than I expect!

    The magic of stars is a pretty common. They control time, fate, as their celestial movements above, so goes that of mortals below. I think for any proper bit of exploration we’ll have to look not just at them, but at related ideas. Let’s start with the last of those first.

    Stars as a marker for souls is not an uncommon idea, but what can we do with this? What if each star isn’t a soul but the connection between a soul and some non-human and probably supernatural entity? Considering their links to time and fate, the obvious solution is… everyone has a “guardian”, or at the very least kindred, fae being who watches their life like it was a favored TV show made just for them. So what happens when a star falls? What calamity must occur that the bond between fae and mortal is severed once and for all?

    How many of you know about astronomical clocks? Not the same an orrery, but both have linked purposes. Soooo, why not use both together in your symbol manipulation of stars, like say a device designed to no longer just have the power to tell how things will be, but to make those times now (at least in a figurative fashion, turning the stars right for some purposes).

    And then there’s color and size of appearance. There’s so much malefic sense bound to a red star, but what about blue or green?

    As if that wasn’t enough for you, there’s the legends of the stars in constellation form. But when you look up, do everyone see the same stories? The same truths hidden in the night sky? In the end, the only story that matters is the one you and your players write about the vault of heaven. Just ask yourself the next time the next you see that star fall, is it an omen of good or ill? And what comes when stars really fall to earth?

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    I am a young trans woman living out in a small town. I mostly game online, as I can't find players for meatspace. I write, most often prose, and consider myself passing good at such. I have a recent surge in my interest in feminism, though it has always been there. I love to read, play video games on occasion, and be outside.

    2 Responses to Symbol of the Month: Stars

    1. avatar
      Sally
      October 30, 2012 at 12:32

      And then there is the Red Star in the eponymous game of the same name set in alt.USSR.

      In the game-world the Red Star, “whose light pierces into the deepest trenches and the darkest hearts, exposing the lies to which the unjust cling so fiercely,” is the physical representation of Pravda – Truth – the Ur-Goddess of the Reds (an ethnic description in game, rather than a political one). Pravda taught the Reds the morality of communalism and the arts of civilization, but was imprisoned far from the human realm, allowing Her sister, Krivda – Injustice – to gain a foothold.

      In my game, the group’s commander carried an antique Nagant revolver into the butt of which was set a small red star. This began to glow, and got stronger, as the commander focused righteous anger against the bad guys in combat.

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    2. avatar
      Sally
      October 30, 2012 at 12:34

      Yes, I know that I’ve just posted a tautology in “eponymous game of the same name”!

      :O

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