Edit: Dang, I thought I had this scheduled for Monday morning. For shame.
My wife told me to read the Johannes Cabal books.
Over my week-long vacation — went with my wife and my mother to California, met up with my dad and my brother, and we all spent the day at Disneyland — I read three books and two short stories:
– Johannes Cabal the Necromancer
– Johannes Cabal the Detective
– Johannes Cabal and the Fear Institute
– “Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day”
– “Exeunt Demon King”
It’s the most fiction I’ve read in some time, and the first long-form fiction I think I’ve read since A Game of Thrones sometime last year or . . . the year before.
I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking over the last few days.
Not that you would know from looking at me.
From the outside, it probably looked like I was dragging luggage to and from hotel rooms, bouncing up to fetch diapers and fresh clothes for a nearly-three-year-old, and chasing after the aforementioned nearly-three.
Nevertheless. In all the hubbub, thinking happened.
Among other things, after reading The Fear Institute, I realized how much my D&D was suffering for a lack of an analogue for The Dreamlands. Nothing I know of suffices. It seems wholly unaccounted for in the New School.
With the possible exception of like, a Nightmare Realm in 3.5’s Heroes of Horror, which I’m sure we all know isn’t really The Dreamlands. Not really.
Anyway, the inclusion of The Dreamlands offered me an interesting perspective on a few things — including some insight into the strange balance between the less intuitive realms like Faerie and the Plane of Shadow.
I’ve reorganized my cosmology somewhat to account for them.
Our group is using a modified version of 4e’s cosmology — the Planes Above and Below — actually, I’m not sure what the cosmology goes by these days.
Not that anyone cares.
The point for me was to place something above The World, and beneath the Astral Plane. It was just too . . . easy to climb the nearest mountain and find oneself in the celestial kingdoms. No, far too easy.
The Dreamlands make another excellent borderland — like Faerie, the Underworld, and the Plane of Shadow. Also, a convenient excuse for some stuff.
For one thing, The Dreamlands takes its shape from the dreams of more than just humans — more than just mortals — and more than just our world.
I can use it as an excuse to justify some of the setting shenanigans I got up to with my Greek campaigns, which I’d feared would be mothballed forever.
They can serve this final purpose, I think.
The Greek gods, being the petty nuisances they are — are more or less the equivalent of the uh, ‘Lesser Gods,’ or the young gods, in the Cthulhu Mythos.