Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Codex Egyptium - Codex Celtarum: 2nd Edition & 'The Island of the Mighty' Campaign Book (and Genetics)

I haven't posted on my blog in many, many months, almost a year, I know, and I am sorry! Much has changed in my personal life, and a little is left to go before it gets 'normal' again. I suppose with most authors and artists, it is typical that my personal life is one filled with turmoil and troubles, but not of my own doing. These problems were all done by my exes (something I will elucidate on later in future posts here) and not my own personal judgment or actions, only by me in default in choosing in being with them. These last six months have been some of my darkest in my life. 

In a more positive note, the Codex Egyptium, written between the summers of 2017 and 2018 and finalized by the start of last August, I tried to fit every useful and obscure amount of data in the tome except one thing - the Egyptian Zodiac & Astronomical charts. That was simply a larger amount of data that I could not find an easier way to simplify and place into the book. My rule in composing these Codices has always been the same, it is Einstein's rule, 'Make the complex simple.' If I cannot, then I will not. This was the case with their ancient and original system of Zodiac. Perhaps in a future publication, I will find a way. 

Regardless, this Kickstarter was 965% funded at $24,135 and all eight Stretch Goals met. Even more amazing, it was funded on its first day and with two Stretch Goals met then! Just to reassure everyone on the 2nd Edition of the classic Codex Celtarum, it is essentially a new book at four times the 1st Edition's size. This is what I first envisioned over two decades ago in its completeness from cover to cover. Here is just a small list of what the massive Codex has in its tome:

- All of Ancient Celtic Europe defined in use for gaming.

- Over One-Hundred Faeries, Monsters and Beings, most NEVER heard from in most sources.

- Hundreds of Deities from the many Celtic pantheons in Gaul, Ireland, and Britain.

- Druids, Bards, and Seers from their original Celtic cultural origins in both history and myth in depth and compared to the Fantasy counterparts.

- 120+ Faery Powers Defined as Originally designed, and how to use them with Faery characters, or half-blooded races.

- Hundreds of Celtic Tribes from the British Isles, Gaul, Spain to Galatia.

- The 'Otherworld' from a level never before handled in Gaming, with a depth of detail that is extremely unique and useful.

- What 'Celticity' means today in Academics, Ethnology, and other fields of research. This will aid Gamers in their portrayal and role-playing efforts.

- The Celtic peoples from both a large and intimate scope, for whatever is useful for the Castle-Keeper and the gaming group.

- Celtic history from Prehistory up to the Norman Invasion (1066 C.E).

Although I had semi-began writing on it many years ago, I never did anything more on it unsure about it, but now seeing the response by the fans during the Kickstarter, I will complete the campaign book of mine called 'The Island of the Mighty' or 'Ynys Y Cedyrn' in its original Welsh. This is my mega-sized Arthurian saga that is set in the Post-Roman Celtic Britain during the Late 5th and Early 6th Centuries, fusing myth and history together. I use the few remaining remnants of Brythonic tales and poems ('Culhwch ac Olwen', 'Preiddeu Annwfn', etc) and my own tales together. It runs in two massive parts, with many smaller adventures within each. Part One leads to the famous 'Gwaith Faddon' (Battle of Badon'), while the second half takes a darker plunge into Annwn and beyond and ultimately heads towards the infamous 'Gwaith Gamlan' (Battle of Camlan'). The players will be swept up into the tales and saga of the Celtic Warlord Arthur and his entourage of Semi-mythical warriors and godlings as they defend Prydain against Saxons, monsters and more. I have play-tested this saga three times over and it is simply brilliant. It will fuse the new 'Codex Celtarum' and 'Codex Germania' together. 

On a related note, I had my own genetics done by Helix/National Geographic a few months ago, to have more scientific confirmation of my ancestry. They made certain my Maternal DNA at being K1a1c, and it comes from Ireland, no problem there. What they didn't verify was my Paternal Y DNA being East Asian however! In fact, their results are completely contrary in every way. My original purpose for all genetic testing was out of curiosity and to hope to justify my Celtic Studies a little, to make sense of why I am naturally good at it all. Their results say that my Y DNA is R-L144 (U152), which is from the Alpine Gauls. This would make me 91% European (they still acknowledge my East Asian ancestry at 9%). I have written them three times, sent them my Korean Great-Grandfather's immigration information and his genetic raw data that I have inherited from other genetic companies, but they have not changed their results after four months now. Ugh. Sure, this would define my 'Deep Ancestry' as being both Insular and Continental Celtic ultimately, and THAT alone would justify everything I do. It does not explain it all though, or where my Korean Great-Grandfather's genetics enter into it all.


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Dusting Off My Oldest Project To Start Anew - Korean Style!

I know I haven't posted in a while, partially it was due to the holidays and to writing, and some contemplation about writing.

My old defunct project, 'The Rainbow Eyes' trilogy, going back over twenty years and themed on Celtic mythology and about 6+ drafts, countless failed attempts at acquiring agents, etc. has been always in the back of my mind. Out of all of my many projects, this has been the one that never made it to print or its actual cinema realization - ever. It was the original basis for what sent me into finally becoming a true writer too! How ironic.

Each draft, I worked it out, figured out my own faults as an author and the endless gaps lacking in Celtic mythology and pressed on hoping each incarnation was indeed better. It wasn't, not really. So, each decade's draft sat, hidden away next to the last again. My ambitions died with it all over and burst anew.

Finally, after having my DNA analyzed and finding unknown relatives, I was astonished to find out that I had no real 'Celtic' relatives, but Korean (and Jewish) ones. To make a long story short, it has altered my worldview greatly, and this very project. In fact, it might have saved it. My East Asian descent was so obvious and I was blind to it for most of my life, looking other places, being misled by odd family information and ignoring other family stories from childhood.

What if I had been writing the correct story or stories since it is a trilogy, in the wrong cultural context all along? Every problem that I found lacking in a Celtic context was easily made up for in a Korean one, in fact, improved upon, my tales wrote themselves when I mentally moved them over from one milieu to another - as though it was really meant to be placed in this setting after all. Placed in a Chinese Wuxia story-telling mode, it makes them even better!

I am aware that 20+ years is a long time to spend, or waste, on a project if the direction was wrong, but perfection comes often in angles we do not predict. Now I see (I hope) that I can possibly complete the first drafts of these tales in script form, then move to Manga and possibly novels.

An entirely new world has opened up on my own creations that I am discovering as I am writing them once more, and I hope others can finally see what I see too.

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.