Weird Bible me up (Judd's Bible Sorcery)

Four years ago, Judd had a stroke of brilliance: using the Bible as a post-apocalyptic pulp fantasy setting for Sorcerer. So far as I know, Judd lost interest in the idea. I want to pick it up and make it sing a little bit.

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Genre: pulp fantasy
Proper Nouns & values: Biblical stuff
Laser Sharked by: Space Age techno-gibberish

BUT HERE'S THE DEAL!
I was not raised in anything resembling a religious household. I'm like . . . "Garden of Eden?! Isn't that the one with, like, the thing? And that other thing? You know, the famous one."

I know there is crazy-ass shit in the Bible, or Bible-related stuff. What is the most crazy weird stuff? Like, isn't "qlippoth" supposed to be the residue of matter left over from the first creation or something? Isn't Lilith some weird-ass precursor to Eve that didn't take? And Legion, and Asmodeous from the Book of Tobit, and like all that?

There's a joke somewhere in sci-fi nerdery that if the Bible had been published for the first time as an Ace Double, it would have been retitled: Master of Chaos / The Thing with Three Souls. That is precisely the gaming madness I am after.

Comments

  • I'm sure you'll get good responses here, but I think you're barking up the wrong tree. The only way to truly appreciate the glorious weirdness that is the Bible is to read it yourself. It's not as big a chore as you think, and otherwise you're bound to miss something good. You'll want to make sure to get one with the Apocrypha (no Book of Tobit otherwise), which means a Catholic Bible - the New American Bible is probably the easiest translation to deal with...
  • Did Judd really use interest in it? Isn't that what Dictionary of Mu is (Bible + Mars + Sorcerer)?
  • Its funny, I didn't see this setting as pulpy, nor as apocalyptic. I pictured Grant Morrison's run on Klarion the Witch Boy, Salem Witch-Trials if goat-headed devils wandered New England woods and tri-cornered hats.
  • edited June 2011
    Historically the thread post-dates Mu's publication, but I don't want to quibble. I agree that Dictionary of Mu comes close to what I'm after, but I think doesn't quite go far enough theologically, if that makes sense.

    If it's conceptually simpler to treat this as slight setting hack for Mu that's cool with me - but the question still stands: wacky-bible-lore-weirdness, please!
    I pictured Grant Morrison's run on Klarion the Witch Boy, Salem Witch-Trials if goat-headed devils wandered New England woods and tri-cornered hats.

    I totally got a 1930's crisis-of-ideological-politics vibe from it, personally. Like Bible themes + Conan action + Klarion clothes + Cold War society. Like if the English Civil War (or the Thirty Years War) was being fought with dragon-tanks and mind-breaking angelic hallucinogens. I definite see Old West style locomotives halted on tracks that used to lead to Sodom.

    Maybe....
    The Garden of Eden was an experimental laboratory testing and vivisecting the man-apes, who were fatted up and kept comfortably sedated during their (unwitting) incarceration. A demon of some kind induced the man-apes to undergo a type of neurological uplift leading to self-awareness (and "Humanity" as a game mechanic). The uplifted creatures were eventually ejected from the laboratory. It's possible that there's some kind of wild animal in this setting that's exactly like humans physically, but just hasn't clicked on mentally/spiritually, they're simply beasts. And under conditions of extreme emotional/spiritual stress, the uplift mutation undoes itself--you end up as a brutal, unthinking, cannibalistic animal living in the wilds. (Maybe.)
  • edited June 2011
    Bible weirdness? How about the time the Angels knocked up a bunch of human women, producing heroic super-people?
    When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

    The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

    The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
    There's a strong implication that the "wickedness" that causes God to cleanse humanity in a flood is none other than the Angel-human mating that produces monstrous/heroic demihumans. Like God feels threatened by the new super-race, maybe?

    Kind of like the time King Nimrod united all the peoples of earth in a bold plan to invade Heaven, and God fractured their civilization because they just might pull it off.
    Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward,[a] they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
    They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

    But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

    So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
    Or hey, you're not up on your Garden of Eden? Let's back up and talk about how mankind, under the Serpent's tutelage, attained enlightenment and God cast them out of the primordial paradise lest they usurp his place.
    Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

    “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
    And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
    And not long after that, their son Cain's sacrifices were rejected by God while his brother's were accepted, so he committed the first murder, causing a taint upon the land, and recieved a divine mark to protect him from humanity's retribution.
    Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

    Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

    “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

    The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

    Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

    But the LORD said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
    That oughtta get you started. And that shit's just the opening chapters--the prologue, really, for the main plot of Abraham, Moses and King David. I recommend reading Genesis, bits of Exodus, and the book of Daniel for some core weirdness. You can also dip into Joshua, Judges and Ezekiel for some juicy stuff. And of course in the New Testament you've got the Revelation of John, which is where people usually go for some Biblical Freakout material. but I say don't neglect the Old Testament; it's got some great trippy stuff.

    I was raised Baptist, so I don't know from Apocrypha. But I bet it's got some gems, being too far out even for the Protestants!

    Peace,
    -joel
  • edited June 2011
    Ages ago on my bloog I posted a little throwaway setting idea:

    Catholicspace

    It's "A Canticle for Leibowitz" mixed with Vincent Ward's Alien 3, with a dash of Dune, and a sprinkling of WH40k.

    The central conceit is FTL travel powered by starship drives that are fueled by consecrated communion wafers, a.k.a. the flesh of God. A priest consecrates the wafer, which transubstatiates into the literal flesh of Jesus Christ, and then the wafer is burnt as fuel which can make faster-than-light travel possible. Schisms in the church mean that some branches see it as the worst blasphemy to use the flesh of god that way, and others see it as a gift from heaven.

    The ships fly around, still taking many years to complete their journeys, run like little flying monastaries. There are wooden planets, pykrete space stations, prison hulks, peasant farmers, and space-libraries. There are religious conflicts over the use of the communion. There are atheists dealing with incontrivertable proof of the existance of god - or of some kind of thing. There are the ruins of alien civilisations, vast and incomprehensible.

    The issues are things like: "What if there is objective morality, and it goes against everything you believe?" "What if there was proof of the existance of a deity, but it wasn't what people expected?" "What if progress isn't always good?"

    Maybe play it with Sorcerer? Or maybe Dogs? You could use an AW hack as well.
  • edited June 2011
    The "Biblical definition of marriage" actually turns out to involve a number of weirder permutations than you might think.
  • Beyond the Golem is an excellent source for weird beasts and creatures out of Jewish myth and mysticism. Giant fish, two headed men from beneath the earth, a man born from a statue, and a rabbi who can sing so well that your head will explode.

    A lot of weird stuff sprang up around the edges of Judaic/Christian culture, but never is directly mentioned in the Bible. The story of Satan being a fallen angel, kicked out of Heaven for rebelling? That's totally extra-Biblical. So there's a lot of other material out there to draw from as well, like the Jewish mystical sources cited at the above link, or the Gnostic Gospels. (E.g., St. Thomas Aquinas said that angels and devils all have perfect knowledge of everything that happened and will happen, which is why you cannot beat any one of them in a theological debate.)

    Which isn't to say that some judicious Google searching for weird Bible Verses is a bad idea.
  • There's a comedic talking donkey sidekick in the book of Numbers (22:21-29).

    And a golden dildo at Ezekiel 16:17.

    God moons Moses at Exodus 33:23.

    Since God is unable to harm people inside iron chariots (Judge 1:19), you get this modern extrapolation of how angels would fare fighting against tanks.
  • If you can get a copy of Outrageous Tales from the Old Testament, it's worth a look. Some lessons you can learn:

    Don't be Job.
    Don't be Lot's virgin daughters.
    Don't be Lot's wife.
    Don't be Jephthah's daughter.
    Don't be a kid who calls a prophet names.
  • I think you can count out being a woman period in the Old Testament.
  • This bit from the 4th Chapter of Judges may not be "weird" in the sense of woowoo, but it certainly falls into the category of vivid violence:

    Sisera, meanwhile, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was an alliance between Jabin king of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite.

    >

    Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, "Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid." So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.

    >

    "I’m thirsty," he said. "Please give me some water." She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up.

    >

    "Stand in the doorway of the tent," he told her. "If someone comes by and asks you, 'Is anyone in there?' say 'No.'"

    >

    But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.

    >

    Just then Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. "Come," she said, "I will show you the man you’re looking for." So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple - dead.

  • edited June 2011
    Jael and Sisera is one of my favourite OT stories, ever. Has been since I was first introduced to it at school. I was all "wait, seriously? She nailed his head to the floor? WTF?" in excited posh English 10-year-old schoolboy-speak.
  • There's also the story of Jacob and Esau, whose moral is "Judaism is founded upon deceiving a dying blind man". I always liked that story. It's got a weird Revenge of the Nerds style jocks vs. nerds undertone going on, too.
  • The book of Judges is generally badass, and the whole story of Samson is pretty worth checking out for this purpose. It's like having a superhero comic embedded right in the Bible. My favorite Biblical WTF story is when Samson decides to take down the Philistines. He does this by a) rounding up a truckload of foxes b) grabbing pairs of foxes and tying them together by their fucking tails, c) sticking lit torches in the knot, d) letting them loose on his enemy's fields, incinerating their crops Sherman's March style. (Judges 15)
  • Posted By: Mr. TeapotBeyond the Golemis an excellent source for weird beasts and creatures out of Jewish myth and mysticism. Giant fish, two headed men from beneath the earth, a man born from a statue, and a rabbi who cansing so well that your head will explode.
    Man, just drawing attention to the site referenced here. Wow, crazy stuff. Thanks!

    I'm actually pretty tempted by R. Crumb's version of the Book of Genesis (it's $17 in hardback on Amazon) - does anyone have it? is it an enjoyable artifact to have around? (regardless of whether it can be used for weird-ass RPG purposes)
  • Crumb's Book of Genesis is really great.
    I'm not sure if it's all that weird though?
    I'm glad I own it.
  • The best comic-strip version of the bible I've seen was Chester Brown's version of the Gospels.
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