Abecedarian Arcana

I keep a pocket notebook in my bookbag for the scrawling of notes and ephemera to remind myself something at a future date. Occasionally, my notes are a little too ephemeral.

Last night, for instance, I found the phrase “abecedarian arcana” on a line all by itself. The uses of the word generally have to do with the alphabet: ordering it, learning or teaching it and so on.[1] Now I’m not sure why I wrote “abecedarian arcana” down, as it doesn’t seem to be a title or name for anything on a cursory search. It was probably a turn of phrase that popped into my head one day.

It immediately puts me in mind of one of Unknown Armies‘ less well-known schools of post-modern magick, anagram gematria (also known as A Grammarian Gate). What sort of power does a magician wield through the ordering of letters? They’re the visual symbols for the sounds we make to talk to each other. By changing the qualities of letters, maybe one could obscure meaning or remove certain words from consciousness.


[1] Interestingly, the Abecedarians were a 16th century Christian sect that eschewed human knowledge and instruction, believing God would grant them knowledge directly. I wonder how they managed to pass on their teachings.

The Kickstarter Compulsion

I’m starting to think of Kickstarter projects as addictive little rushes. I’ve done two now — I can’t remember if crowdfunding the original edition of Wild Talents was actual Kickstarter or something Kickstarter-esque — for Conspiracy X books. There’s more than a bit of frisson, repeatedly checking in on the total, wondering if the project will reach its goal in time.

Most recently, with The Paranormal Sourcebook, Eden Studios threw in some additional enticement. First they offered Zener cards for pledges of a certain level, then created a secondary fundraising goal, on attainment of which the pledged get GM screens for the game. The project reached that secondary goal today, so I’m feeling pretty jazzed, like I accomplished something good and right for the world. That’s probably a gross overestimation of a role-playing game supplement’s impact on the destiny of billions, but it’s possible the book may not have seen the life of day if I hadn’t pledged and done my portion of sharing links and so forth.

And that’s maybe one of the cleverer parts of Kickstarter: the projects are set up that the pledged are motivated to promote. They want the thing being promised, so it’s in their direct self-interest to make it happen by telling friends and interested parties. It’s a built-in marketing effort. And at the end of it, one gets to feel good for contributing to the creation of something that likely otherwise would not have existed.

Of course, I’m crowing before the game’s over. I haven’t actually gotten any of this stuff for which I’ve pledged. The Extraterrestrial Sourcebook has reportedly gone to the printer by now. I wasn’t happy that the two fundraisers overlapped such that I wouldn’t be able to receive and gauge the first book before the pledge deadline for the second passed, but I took a gamble. The play’s still underway, so we’ll see how it goes.