Role Playing Games and Practical Magic
During the last twenty years the Role Playing Games grew more and more popular amongst the younger generation. My own career as a Player and Game Master of various systems began in the mid 80īs. I can look back on many years of experience in the systems of D & D, AD & D, Rolemaster, Spacemaster, Cult and other less known systems. Strictly spoken Tabletop-Games and the new Trading-Card systems have only view things in common with Role Playing and thus are not subject of this writing. The Live Action Role Playing (LARP) however is being viewed here.
It may sound strange, but RPGs are the best way of getting used to the most important basic technics of magic and in some advanced techincs, too. RPGs are an excellent medium for training sessions as well.
Playing such systems principally is not difficult, even when the description may sound difficult for beginners. Players possess a Playing Character (PC), and a recording sheet on which the individual abilities which are prerequisite for creating a Character in the various systems are being noticed and fixed for the use in the actual playing session. These fixed attributes possess a certain value, which ranges between a lowest and a highest value. (Within D&D it is 3 - 18, in Rolemaster 1 - 100, for example). They are determined randomly with dices. Role Players use different "dice", a tetrahedron (1-4), the common dice (1-6), an octahedron (1-8), a decahedron (1-10), a dodecahedron (1-12) and an ikosahedron (1-20). With these dices a (un)controlable factor is invented during the sessions. On the recording sheet the Players keep track of their characters experience, his physical appearance, abilities, spells, equipment and so on which are the rough guidelines of the persona the player embodies in the campaign (the setting of the virtual world, the player characters are acting). The longer one character is being played the more vital is the persona of the character being developed by the player. Routined players know their character by heart and rarely use the sheet as a memory bank. The Gamemaster (GM) prepares the Campaign (the world the characters are living in) and the adventures. He confronts the SCs with various situations and must lead the gaming session. Creating an illusion of a coherent world with laws and structures in it is very difficult and requires much fantasy and an excellent memory.
But here is not the place to give hints for better Roleplaying. If you want to get further detailed informations on RPGs you should read the rule books or join a RPG group. The basic principles I have described now and we can go further. As mentioned above the Gamemaster creates a world where the SCs are living in. The Players try to get a picture in their mind of the described situations to act accordingly. Some Playing sessions last a whole night, but three to six hours is more common. At "Cons" gaming sessions of 20 hours (!) are not unheart of. During this time the Players are visualizing their own character in the campaign, the actions and encounters, the fights and the dangerous situations. Only shortly interrupted by dicing or some technical interrupts.
Useage of Role Playing Games within Chaos Magic
RPG is a kind of pathworking. It is interactive and collective, too. Most of the time at least two persons are taking part in a gaming session: The GM and the Player. If you want to make a Cthulhu - Pathworking it can be a great experience to make a Game session with a good GM. It is an unconventional approach to pathworking, but a good session can very well guide the participants to realms far away ...
Sessions last at least two hours. The game is living on creative and imaginative players which can feel in their characters and the situation and can act within this imagined surroundings. This furthers the ability of imagination and visualization. Of course smellings, emotions, bodily sensations and sounds are belonging to these imaginations, too.
Exercising other paradigmatas
One player often possess more then one character. The profession, gender, age, race, general outlook and cultural background of these will be always different, if the player is eager to play various characters in the same campaign. One SC may be an Necromant, another a hero, the next a priest of a healing god and so on. The more varieties are allowed in a given system or with a particular GM, the better. The characters should vary in their behaviour and general backgrounds. Some players manage to play more than one SC at once in one session. This is rare, however.
Creation of independent entities
Usually this does not happen in a regular Role Playing group. Sometimes, however, the favorite SC starts to live more and more on his own. During the regular procedure of playing such SCs drop out from the normal Character group and need more and more solo-sessions. At this time the GM normally suggest a new Playercharacter to the player. If you want to provoke the creation of this being you should continue to play with this character, to get used to it and to empower the entity. The character begins to be alive when you start to think on the character, what he/she is doing just now in the campaign. You begin to daydream and to journey to the campaigns world as your character. Controlling such entities is not as easy as expected. The further the development goes the more powerful the entity grows. As I mentioned above, in common gaming sessions this phenomenon does not appear.
Invocation or channeling
Characters can bear the names of any being you know: Angels, daemons, gods and so on. It is interesting to start such experiments with a GM actually not knowing anything about the name you have chosen for your character and doesnīt have experiences with magic in our world. In the long range it is much better to colaborate with a magician-GM. This specimen is really seldom, unfortunately. An example of a successfull contact: Once I called a PC "Achaiah" (7th. genius of the Schem-ham-phorasch). During the campaign the character received two flaming swords which were being used as weapons by the PC. Some years later I could lay hands on a rare manuscript about practical qabalah. The sigil of this genius is a flaming sword.
It is possible to make this experiment during any LARP. Usually invocation is the more smooth version of the LARP-version. During the game the player embodies the character as a whole person. He tries to look like and to act like his character. This common practice among LARPies remembers strongly some old exercises like asuming a god-form, for example. The problem of LARP players is that they donīt know anything on ceremonial or chaos magic, mostly. The basic technique is just the same with one difference: During LARP-meetings dozens of persons are asuming various god-forms at once.
I am not involved in any LARP activities anymore. During my shamanic and magic activities I have plenty of opportunities to invoke various ancestors, beings and my Tiergeister. I donīt need any LARP character. To conduct special experiments with possession and beings the LARP convention should not be one of the "Hac-and-slay" clubber meetings where everyone tries to kill everyone with swords. Unfortunately excellent LARP-Cons are quite rare.
Other magic technics could be tested, too. Evocation and sigil-magic spring into my mind. It is very powerful to play your own guardian angel or Poweranimal during gaming sessions.
Normally there is no bannishing after a gaming session. Keep this in mind when playing with your magic abilities. The common Player doesnīt know anything on magic - and most of the time this is good. The only bannishment I know is the "death" of the character or in LARP the end of the meeting. There are enough players around whose LARP characters are reaching beyond the LARP-convention into normal life. This can grow to really serious social problems like fanatism and loss of the sense of reality.