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QUOTE(Allerleirauh @ Jun 20 2006, 12:44 AM) I was mixing my metaphors, which is a dangerous thing to do in mythopoeic enchanting.

The second bit refers to what Vivec and the Trib. did with the tools. They walloped the heart with it, creating a repeat of the mythic event of Lorkhan's heart being ripped out. Then they used Keening to turn the agony into a tone they could bathe in. Thus, Keening, wailing or suffering. The wraithguard was used to shield the user from the untransmuted... whateveryoucall raw mythic energy. You're the word dude, make something up.

First bit refers to the Numidium, which is what Kagrenac was trying to do before the Tribunal interrupted him. We know Kagrenac made the tools to create a mantella, a Crux of Transcendence. (For those who don't read the Tarot, the Hanged Man in Tarot symbolizes the Crux of Transcendence, suffering to gain transcendence: Jesus on the cross, Odin hanging from the tree to gain wisdom, etc.)

So, we know what the tools are like, and what the Tribunal did with them, and we know what the mantella is like, and more or less how Tiber Septim made it - he killed his best friend, reenacting the murder of Lorkhan by Akatosh, and shoved his best friend's soul (or his own, or both, since they were tied) into a fancy rock, and then he plugged it into the Numidium, or Divine Skin.

But anyway, there's a rather more significant problem trotting along behind all this madness stuff, one that does degrade the entire experience. It's this: if you're going to use madness as your core fictional motif, then it suggests you're going to pull out the big guns in terms of story-telling. You know the stuff - paranoia, hallucination, betrayal, trickery, illusion, misdirection, and outright weirdness. A realm of pure madness shouldn't be, well, a teeny bit dull. And that's the problem: The Shivering Isles is mildly eccentric and quite pretty, but it's definitely not ecstatically, brain-boiling insane. As such it's a wasted opportunity. All the characters you meet are supposed to be loonies, but instead they generally just say something a bit odd when you meet them. They have over-the-top character traits, but isn't that a bit like all videogame characters, ever? Instead of making us want to take a step back with this screaming lunacy, or putting a chill in our bones with their grotesque fantasies, they're just a mildly weird. One guy is interested in meat (who isn't?!), another is a bit patronising. One person believes she's going to die, another is worried about diseases. One guy is hungry. Are mad people just hungry? It would explain a lot. One guy - get this - wants a house. The crazy fool!

All this might be excusable with a grand turn from the prince himself, but he's just vaguely amusing. It's a childish portrait of a lunatic. He's like the evil madman might be in a children's TV show - all camp and without substance. He never really seems threatening, in the way that the truly disturbed do. It's all an act, and thank goodness he's got quests to dispense so you can get back into that exquisite world...

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