Friday, May 5, 2017

My East Asian Connection - What It Means For Future Projects!

Having undergone some genetic testing with 23andme initially, after many, many years of wanting it, to verify my heritage and ethnic origins, and put many family stories to rest (i.e,. 'Korean Royalty', 'Coming from Ireland', etc), it was done. After a LONG nearly seven week wait, as my DNA sample was analyzed and then my Haplogroups were defined with my ancestry, to my horror and surprise I was scientifically defined. The joke is on me as I thought I was more of a 'Celtic' American but I am actually an Asian American, with the genetics to prove it! 

I grew up hearing that my Dad's side was Korean and royal but never believed it for many reasons: I never saw anything from it, never met anyone from that side, etc - ever. So for the last forty-five years, I really had no reason to think otherwise, in addition, I never met that side of my family but knew they generally lived in California (he was from there). After my genetic results, ALL of that changed. 100%. I have 13% East Asian origins, with a unique Haplogroup (and an ancestry of Mongolian, Japanese, Uzbek, Tibetan, Han and obviously Korean), and all from him. Then, using their 'Cousin Find' system, I was able to locate my long lost relatives and link up with my family and begin to piece together my Korean family tree a little. It was all true after all. 

We are descended from the Yun family that inspected the Emperor's Court and his Empire for corruption and weaknesses, and even further still back in time, we derived from the ancient Gogoreyo Empire or Dynasty. We also shared a past with the empire of Khitai and the Emperor Cao Cao in China. What our connection to Tibet is, I am not sure yet, but I am related distantly to the many peoples in the plateau that live there today. 

I ran my raw DNA data through many other genetic sites to get other results, and the end results were the same regardless. I did a lot of research to track down my Asian relatives and their past, and to know more, and every little amount of data continues to add up. As a young kid I trained in Martial Arts (Go-Ju Ru) and was almost a Black-Belt but my Dojo closed on me! I sought to run away to join a Shaolin monastery and dedicate myself to Kung-Fu, even learned the art of meditation, memorized the Tao. I didn't obviously run away to Tibet, I was only about eleven or twelve years old at the time. 

What all of this means is that my future Asian Codices will be even more in-depth and personal than envisioned before. There maybe three books, possibly four in the set for Asia, I am not sure yet. They will rival and do better than the old classic 'Oriental Adventures' AD & D book.  

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The 'Codex Celtarum - 2nd Edition' is Written!

At long last, and after spending nearly the recent 3-4 months writing, not counting the previous two decades (and more) of play-testing and the release of the 1st Edition and its award and success - the 2nd and FINAL Edition of the 'Codex Celtarum' is finished! It is the largest book I have ever written, being over 230,000 words in size, and packed with SO MUCH useful data, it will make gamers not know where to begin!

I put everything that I have promised and ever wanted from the beginning of this project into this book (within limits), and it is massive. There are so many monsters and faeries now, compared to the 1st Edition, it is a wondrous catalog of the mythic and folkloric Celtic mind through the ages. The new character classes are the actual 'Celtic Druid', 'Celtic Bard', and 'Celtic Seer', as titled, to differentiate them from the Fantasy versions. Obviously, these were originally Celtic ethnic occupations from Antiquity, and so now it is possible to play them with a mythic touch that was barely possible before in the 1st Edition.

The complete rules on Reincarnation, Ogam and more are in this tome, and the Faery Abilities, as originally intended. The Gauls, Galatians, Celtiberians and other Celtic peoples from the past are now all provided throughout this massive Codex, and their glorious glimpses into the Afterlife. There is less than 5-8% from the 1st Edition's content in this Edition, as it is a completely original and new book from cover to cover.

Next, I write the epic campaign adventuring book, 'The Island of the Mighty', as a companion to it and my many modules. It will take players on the legendary adventures alongside Arthur and his warriors, as they earn their place in his mythic warband in 6th Century Britain. Imagine many modules together in one book, broken into two parts, first working towards the 'Battle of Badon', and then the dreadful 'Battle of Camlan'. There will be nothing quite like it....

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Covers for the New Codices are...

Update on PhD and Codices.

Most bloggers say you should blog or post daily and keep this thing active all of the time, but really, if you have little to say that is worthwhile, then you only end up ranting or spewing ego driven words endlessly and I feel that if I need to post here, it should be important - and it has been a while! 

Since the last time, my thesis direction has diverted towards where my Masters from Prifysgol Cymru Llanbedr-Pont-Steffen was focused, and that is 'Arthur' or as many know him, as 'King Arthur', in 'Arthurian Studies' (Astudiaethau Arthuraidd). Under the Supervision of Dr. Tregidga and Vandrei at the University of Exeter (Penskol Keresk), I will write my Doctorate about the role Arthur has played to the Cornish Celtic people in their history simply put. In doing this, I have developed a unique angle that may also finally lay to rest the subject about him as well. That is a TALL order as generations of scholars have bickered over him endlessly either way to the point that he is not even mentioned in serious academic books any longer and ignored all together.. Only the 'fringe' element mention him at all now and are not taken seriously due to the misuse of his name. I have, in my thirty years of being interested in Arthur, finally saw through the many layers of scholarly debate and sources available to us, chopped away the clutter, and may have an answer to it all. I can't tell you about his personality, hair color, etc. but I can tell you about certain things I believe and put to rest centuries of debate FINALLY. The answers were right in front of us the entire time. 

The read them, you will need my PhD thesis however. I am excited to at last be able to have some breakthrough material on Arthur as there really haven't been any in decades. 

My three new Codices, the 'Codex Germania', 'Codex Slavorum' and 'Codex Classicum' will be completed with interior artwork very soon and in print for everyone. Perfected. They will be amazing as expected and overdue I know. On a similar note, I am hard at work on the 2nd Edition of the 'Codex Celtarum' and it is blows away the original, reinvents it in fact. I should have it completed in a month or so. Then I will begin on a special Arthurian Campaign adventure book called 'The Island of the Mighty' that will be for the Kickstarter with it when the time comes. The campaign will span from the 'Battle of Badon' to Arthur's last, the 'Battle of Camlan' and be epic, taking place in all three worlds, tying together all the 'F' Series adventure modules of mine as well. 

After this is written, I will begin on the 'Codex Aegypta' and 'Codex Mesopotamia' to complete the series in the Western Hemisphere. These will be the definable tomes, as the rest, on the subject, for gaming. Prepare for more character classes specific to the ethnicities, especially with the 2nd Edition of the Codex Celtarum.    

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Beginning my PhD, New Projects and More!

It has been a long time in the making, over twenty-five years of research regarding the Celtic-speaking peoples and their lost and fragmented beliefs, or what many consider today 'Druidism', but I have been dedicated in my pursuit since 1991. All of my game designing and Celtic related novels, even film scripts are connected to its basic ideas in some way, and I have been piecing together the vast remains of that era. Just as Tesla could understand the Earth's Magnetics and Electricity, and Einstein Gravity and Relativity, and each made it their own life's work, Stephen Hawking's work with Black Holes, I have really dedicated my own life secretly behind the scenes to unraveling the 'World of the Druids', and their philosophies. Their cryptic designs and fragmented concepts and lore make clear sense to me in the same way that Tesla, Einstein and Hawking (et al.) could understand their various fields.

I wanted to know who and what they were really were. Not what people told me they were. Not the Romans, Greeks, and especially not the wacko New-Age/Neo-Pagan Gurus today who are absolutely a universe away from that world. To better comprehend it all, logically, I had to learn the languages, past and present, and the prevailing theories of Celticity and Prehistoric European religion(s), and philosophies. The matter grew complicated many times over in the decades.

No one has yet figured the ancient beliefs of the Celtic peoples, or the teachings of the Druids, or the extent of where they went in Celtic Europe. All books about the Druids repeat the same information and only give some different angles in places, but generally share the same data without daring to explore anything deeper. This had always puzzled me. The top minds of Celtic Studies would write the same information time and time again essentially, if that, or take a harsher view towards the Druids and view them as barbaric knife-wielding priests bent on murdering innocents with a primitive religion (as Christian and Roman sources tell us). I do not see it this way, as the evidence betrays a very profound and deep philosophical system. 

During my first two degrees I expanded my understanding of the material and Celtic Studies likewise grew into new and profound theories and views regarding who the Celts were and are today. This increased and advanced my own work, even simplified it. Using Einstein's own words, 'If you cannot explain it to a child, then you do not understand it yourself.' Now, after these many years I have it broken down to what could be a new startling and groundbreaking perspective on Druidism, Metempsychosis, which goes hand-in-hand with Celticism in Europe. I am about to start on my PhD in Celtic Studies from the University of Exeter (Studhyansow Geltyon dhyworth an Benskol Keresk) and finally put all of this data, decades' worth, into the thesis. I now hope my dissertation will prove this in a few years....

There is so much that I can expand it into nearly two more studies, lengthy, and will, extrapolating with early Pythaogorean Hellenic sources and other related materials, it will be unlike anything anyone has ever written on the Druids. I see it as a pivot-point in our already changing view on early man's religion from the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron-Age in Britain and Western Europe.

In essence, my interest in the Celtic Otherworld and Faery-folk goes back to the early 80's, and searching for that hidden spark of 'magic' in music and life. So this has been my life's pursuit from the earliest days. It is the core of who I am in the end and the basis of everything I have really ever done and sought, now culminating in my Doctoral work at last. The only difference is that, when I was younger, growing up in a very disjointed, culturally illiterate society in Oklahoma that was ignorant about the 'Celts', I didn't know who they were until the mid-80's. This was thanks to the BBC series, the famous six episode set of shows, and that fact that I was told of my own Irish, Scottish and Welsh ancestry and put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Related projects, are several books dealing with the faery-folk of which I am teaming up with well-known authors Dr. Alan Kent and Kevan Manwarring on one of my books. These faery themed books are a new direction in my own writing and are related to my PhD research, as everyone will later find out.

On the Troll Lord Games front: the Codex Germania is completed, and now the Codex Slavorum is next in line with editing and art, leaving the large and monumental Codex Classicum. Following in the wake of those books will be the supplemental adventures. Smaller but wondrously fun books to immerse yourself into the Germanic and Slavic worlds of gaming.

Separately, the blog of another fellow author, and the head of my English Department in which I teach at, Steven Wedel, has gained a global and viral attention lately. If you haven't kept up with our state's problems, education is being reduced down to its barest level of funding by an uncaring government. They have stripped away our funds, and continue to do so without comment coldly. It is the usual case of thoughtless politicians, never the educated or ones experienced as educators, dictating how education should be managed. I come from a town where a similar dilemma was already underway by an uncaring ego-driven, over zealous, local government hell-bent on ridding the town of its legacy, arts and eventually culture (from what little it possessed to begin with). Now, added to the state-wide nightmare caused by the Governor and her cronies, Oklahoma is really set on destroying teachers and ensuring that children will never be fed, given decent funds for their proper education and emerge as broad (and open) minded individuals, ready to break this pattern of self-inflicted ignorance. 

Ironically, I sit and write at the crux of anti-intellectualism in our country in Oklahoma, and it hurts every minute. The majority find their 'facts' in the media and by Social Media in general, or by their Religious 'Leaders', and disdain academics. They waste time and money battling over placing the Ten Commandments at the State Capital instead of focusing on making our students acquire a better education, THAT is their priority. Ignorance is plenty and it speaks heavy. Phone zombies, as I call them, are everywhere, and yet, having access to the Internet and all of the history, science and information of Mankind, they choose to linger on gossip and other petty nonsense. It is beyond Oklahoma I know, but here it is endemic. Being normally a history teacher since 2002, I remember that other times in history, scholars and teachers that were distrusted and campaigned against by the government: examples of this occurred by groups such as the Nazis, Qin Shi Huang, Stalin and many others who suppressed the spread of knowledge because it might harm their seat of power. When teachers and scholars are shunned by those in power and then the populace, as this State, and country, have done, then we are in dreadful times.

When Creationism and Religious Dogma is mandated as law over scientific and logical education and thinking, then things have begun their downward spiral into oblivion. I do not consider personally a scientist valid, or his or her, methodologies or words so, if they are a Theist and openly profess to a belief system. That would be contrary to the rational approach of Scientific Thinking and at odds. One cannot believe in some invisible Space Daddy on one end, in which you cannot prove through these same methodologies, and then be expected to act the part of scientist as well (especially when lives might be on the line due to your intervention).

This is not meant to give an answer or rant, just a quick observation of the problem. By this August, I have been teaching for fifteen years, in both Higher and Public Education, and the subjects I can teach cover the breadth of over a dozen or so at the moment. After my PhD is finished, this will grow to larger depths and range of over twenty topics I am qualified to teach - if not more. What is sad, is that my home state and home-town, frown upon intellectualism and being unique more than ever. The 'Buddy System' has thrived here forever and poisoned every aspect of life and now completely strangled it until nothing is left. Aside from these religious-minded politicians physicially closing our schools personally, or stepping into our classrooms and censoring what we teach, and they are getting close to that...we do not have much left. The students do not fully realize the danger they are in. My seniors do, and are savvy to the threat, but are powerless to stop it. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Kickstarter of Epic Proportions Has Begun!


Between these three books, you will have over 8 to 9 new character classes deriving from these cultures and myths to include in your games and over four hundred (or more) mythical monsters and beings, not including five hundred or more deities, titans and demi-gods. There is so much in these three books it is difficult to even easily define so quickly, and I wrote them!

Having these three will also complete the European Codex set with the 'Codex Celtarum' and 'Codex Nordica', which will be a total of five hardback volumes to use at the table. Once the Kickstarter link is up I will provide it here and all of the information during the month long progress. It will be an exciting time!

The 'Codex Germania' obviously focuses on the Continental Germanic peoples, their histories, myths, monsters and more in one book, and works as a companion to the 'Codex Nordica' since those peoples are culturally akin to each other. There is even a small starter adventure in the back that links this book with the 'Codex Celtarum' and the beginning of the Anglo-Saxon settlement into Celtic, Post-Roman Britain. New character classes include: Rune Master, Dragonslayer, and Haliruna or 'Witch'.

The 'Codex Slavorum' details the Old Slavs as they swept out of the Steppes north of the Black Sea following the end of the Roman Empire in 475 C.E and flooded Eastern Europe and the Byzantine Empire. There are very unique character classes here including the Shaman, Witch/Vampire-Hunter and more. Quite possibly the largest list of mythological beings as well are given in this book. If you ever wanted to play a 'Bogatyr' from Russian legend, it is now possible!

And finally, the 'Codex Classicum' is about Ancient Greek civilization, both Hellenic, Hellenistic, and even including other Mediterranean cultures nearby that were influenced or influencing them: Etruscan and Roman. One of the new character classes is the eerie but real 'Necromancer' of old, that wandered graveyards and battlefields for the dead, and the Gladiator class in its many varieties, and the Explorer/Adventurer, in the style of the first such as Pythias, who traveled from Magna Grecia to the British Isles and even possibly beyond, or Alexander the Great, who conquered the greatest Empire the world had ever seen! These are not the fantasy classes you are used to! Classical myths and civilization are now possible in this book at last....

Around the corner I will be updating my award winning Codex Celtarum and giving it the original vision I intended after two decades of playtesting and design as well. This means completely fleshing out the sections on the Celtic peoples to include the Gauls, Celtiberians, and Galatians, and their histories, myths and adding LOTS of expanded content including Reincarnation and more Faery-folk. If you thought the book was something before...just wait until you see it again! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Publications, Chaosium and More! (It has been a while on here)

Since the publication of my 'The Axis of Shadows' by Damnation Books last February, it appeared online, or at least on here that I went silent in the writing department. That wasn't true fortunately. Due to my teaching High School Freshmen English, which was a very involved job day to day, my writing did slow. Novel three in my Celtic series had abruptly stopped last August in 2014, leaving me hanging with only 20,000 words left! I do plan on finishing that wondrous adventure tale, filled with intrigue and Prince Rhun's first introduction to the Otherworld physically in the saga, and it isn't pleasant. 'A Perilous Pursuit' is my Troll Lord Games module 'A Crimson Pact' brought to life, and trust me, it has been! There is also wild passionate romance within its pages.

On that note, the first two books in the series, 'The Sullen Queen', and 'Within a Dark Mountain' will be re-published soon by Chenault & Grey Publishing officially. New covers and meticulous editing will help bring this Celtic series alive for readers. Once the third book I mentioned above is done, it will be added. The tale of Prince Rhun and his father's own powerful rise to power, King Maelgwn of Gwynedd, in 6th Century Britain, will be unlike any set of books before it. Last year I self-published the first on my own. 'The Sullen Queen' had limited success and it was tough, but I didn't like the uphill struggle that it involved. I wanted the comfort of having access to artists and editors. I edited the novel ten times, paid a moody and random artist to do the art (of which I could have done myself, as I was a professional Celtic artist in the 90's of some renown). I made my money back roughly but it wasn't what I wanted to do, not at the pace that I write. My ambitions are higher and my production skill is greater, so I need the backing of funds and people to support me.

So the opportunity arose and I took it! Self-publishing works for some, but unless you have a million dollar seller, you never make your money back in the end and you are always in the low-end struggling to get noticed, handling advertising and getting paid. It is too much work added to the work of writing already.

Next month my long awaited 'Codex Germania' begins its Kickstarter! Finally! Yes, it is true. You can recreate anything from the ancient Germanic sagas and tales, whether it is Anglo-Saxon, Frankish, Gothic, or name it, you can do so in this newest Mythic tome of gaming goodness. I even added a small starter adventure in the battle that takes place in Celtic Britain as the Saxons are trying to establish a foothold after the Roman Empire left. This sort of bridges the gap between the 'Codex Celtarum' and the 'Codex Germania' books now. This book is also a companion to the 'Codex Nordica' as the cultures are shared and alike, both linguistically, mythically and otherwise, so expect many commonalities.

In addition to this, it appears that later in the Fall my 'Codex Slavorum' will be next in line! That is right. The Slavic Codex, so you get a double shot of Codices so close to each other in this short time and that is amazing. That isn't all. In all of this, it is planned to get the next one (I am assuming), the 'Codex Classicum' for the Winter/Spring. This is the next volume I need to write obviously before that time comes, and includes Greek mythology (with the Roman and Etruscan). So by Spring of 2016, you will have FIVE Codices on your gaming shelf! That will be the entire European set in one swoop amazingly. Then I will plan to write the Asian set, which will be two books. One for the Japanese islands, and the surrounding isles, and another for the mainland. Added to this, I will also write a 2nd Edition for the 'Codex Celtarum' in the manner I intended originally, adding the material that I never included and much more. So it will be a mega time for Mythic Codices and gaming to come!

Now...onto Chaosium. It had long been a goal of mine someday to write and design for them. I had started gaming around the time I discovered both 'Call of Cthulhu' and H.P. Lovecraft in 1984-5. Now, that goal has come true this summer. If you know the recent news, Sandy Peterson and Greg Stafford are back to save the company from peril. I submitted a campaign book idea just barely a month before they returned. By August I will be working on it. It will be a sort of....'Codex Celtarum' meets the Lovecraftian Mythos adventure campaign book. Imagine the classic campaign books 'Shadows of Yog-Shoggoth', 'Masks of Nyarlethotep', etc but with a Celtic theme throughout Celtic Europe and time. It will be compatible with their 'Dark Ages', 'Cthulhu by Gas-Light', 'Green and Pleasant Land' and 'Cthulhu Invictus' books as the Celts occupied nearly all of Europe throughout the last 4,000 years. I have one adventure written already and it takes place in 1920's Ireland. This will be odd and mindblowing tentative name for it is 'Savage Hyperborea: Mythos Terror in Celtic Europe'.

Also, my old scriptwriting venture is brought back to life too, with new Hollywood connections and more. One of these scripts dates back to 1999, and if ever taken by a producer and studio, it would be my 'Codex Celtarum' and the modules/novels associated brought to life on the screen. Major things are happening. So the silence on here is NOT indicative of the reality of the fervent energy going on behind the scenes.