Everyone who reads these Weekend Reading posts likely knows that I’m a huge U2 fan. They’ve produced some tremendous albums over 37 years together. But when you’re trying to create for that long, and trying to reinvent yourself along the way (or perhaps, trying to find yourself over and over again), there’s bound to be a dud or two. Christ & Pop Culture has a fascinating take on the failed, but spiritually aching U2 album Pop, in John Graeber’s “The Case for Pop: U2’s Forgotten Dance Record”. And there’s a C. S. Lewis comparison to boot!
The album is the culmination of the decade of U2’s discontent that began with Bono lyricizing Judas in “Until the End of the World” and inhabiting MacPhisto, a shiny-suited devil during the Zoo TV tour. It ended with the band prostrate, literally begging the God they believed would change the world in the 1980s to do something, anything about the evil they saw all around them.
In “Wake Up Dead Man,” Bono openly questions whether God is even able to intervene:
Jesus help me
I’m alone in this world
And a f*cked up world it is too
I’m waiting here boss
I know you’re looking out for us
But maybe your hands aren’t free
It’s always interesting to hear a new, first-time GM talk about their experience running their first game. Emily Knight wrote up her first time running a game in pretty great detail, over at one of our listener’s blogs, and it’s a very interesting read.
I started wanting to be a DM as I ended high school. I started with a test run for my dad, where as per normal, he skipped parts of my carefully crafted castle and did stuff all not as intended, but it went well. Then, as my friends and I all graduated, I wanted to play D&D with them and figured that if they all hated it, we weren’t all forced to be in the same building for 8 hours a day, so it couldn’t go that badly.
Finally: It’s not quite reading, but it’s almost as good! Listen to BBC Radio 4’s Orpheus Underground, in which Neil Gaiman—yes, that one—converses for thirty minutes about the Orpheus myth of the ancient Greeks, with contributions from other tremendous authors (notably Margaret Atwood—yes, that one) and a few other artists.
Novelist Neil Gaiman explores the intricacies of the Orpheus myth, the timeless story of art’s place in trying to recover the dead.
One thing I’ve often said is that of all the classes I took back in high school, the one that stuck with me the most and the one I was most grateful to have taken is a root words and etymology course. So imagine my delight wen I came across this HUGE list of root words recently! In addition to this just being a handy resource for puzzling out unfamiliar vocabulary, you can also use these to come up with new terms for stuff in your game world.
Reddit just recently had an AMAA with a Catholic Priest. For those of you reading this (like me!) who come from a Protestant background, it’s a pretty cool read. Just be aware, Reddit does have the occasional foul-mouthed commentor and/or jerk as you’re reading.
I’m a Roman Catholic priest here in the US. I’ve been a priest for over five years and I’ve been on reddit for quite a while. I believe with the Church and I love being a priest.
This is my somewhat annual AMA. I’m happy to talk about what it’s like to be a priest and other priest-specific questions, especially with some background music. If you want to know what we Catholics believe about something, then I suggest that you try /r/Catholicism or Catholic Answers or the Vatican’s website. If you need more music, then have this going and see how it goes.
Finally, how about a HUGE stack of content? Johnn Four has been maintaining a regular RPG tips newsletter for years and he’s collected it here. Enjoy!
I’ve been writing and publishing Roleplaying Tips since 1999. I produce books, courses, and an app to help game masters have more fun at every game.
Alex Mar of Atlas Obscura has written quite an extensive article detailing The Rebel Virgins and Desert Mothers of early Christianity. These women rejected the roles society had set out for them, instead choosing to live for Christ in some very extreme ways. It’s a pity that these women aren’t talked about more in church, because they were certainly instrumental in the church’s founding and success.
Many of the female leaders of Christianity—in the Catholic Church in particular, with its 1.25 billion followers around the world—are barred from being fully ordained and are closely overseen by men. But this was not always the case. Scores of early Christian women—like Marcella, the desert-dwelling Susan, or the scholars Melania and Paula—embraced radical lives, helping the young religion fan out across the Roman Empire and beyond.
One of my goals whenever encountering someone who wants to get into tabletop gaming is to make things as accessible for hem as possible, whether they’re neurotypical or neurodivergent, able-bodied or disabled. This hobby hasn’t always been the easiest to get into for everyone, with cramped gaming stores, dim lighting, and too much overwhelming noise.
I was very happy to see recently that Jack Berberette made models for braille dice available to be 3D printed for free via the DOTS the RPG project. He even included fudge dice! He also has a Shapeways page set up, in case you’d like to pay for them to be printed for you. I’ll be taking the designs down to my local maker space to be printed ASAP, because I think this is one of the coolest things.
The goal of DOTS the RPG is to bring about collaboration to create/translate braille rulebooks and associated gaming aids for the Visually Impaired. The goal of DOTS is to empower the Visually Impaired to run, play, and experience the magic of tabletop roleplaying with complete independence. There are a few tactile dice on the market, but there are no rulebooks, adventures, or character sheets produced in braille…DOTS is hoping to be the Stylus & Slate RPG Project that blows the doors wide open for this overlooked demographic. Join us and participate on our journey to open the world of tabletop gaming up for the Visually Impaired!
My father was very heavily involved in the aftermath of the Fukushima reactor meltdown. The event actually occurred just before our first foray to Fear the Con. (Dad would also like for me to note that when he visited Fukushima reactor #5 a couple years ago, one of the German scientists was able to measure his radiation doses before and after the visit, and he’d received more radiation during the flight to Japan than during his tour of the reactor.) Well, it’s been a full seven years since then, and nature seems to be taking over the exclusion zone. A photographer went there and took some fascinating photos and video of the area just being completely taken over by vines and grasses.