Thursday, 19 August 2010

Certifiable Vader

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, Anakin "He's holding me back" Skywalker suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This is apparently not news, but since it was on the radio today, I decided to post on it. For my part, both the fact that I am a SW-fanboy, and that I work in psychiatric institution peaked my interest in the topic. 

I must admit that when I heard the arguments for why , I had an of-course moment. Then again, I only watched the Gungan-infested prequels once, and more or less disbelieved the whole thing.

"He's suffering. And he's suffering from a disorder"
-Dr. Eric Bui (source:

So, what is BPD? The following is from the Web MD's PBD-page. "A common feature of this disorder is fear of being left alone (abandoned), even if the threat of being abandoned is not real. This fear may lead to frantic attempts to hold on to those around you and may cause you to become too dependent on others. Sometimes you may react to the fear of being abandoned by rejecting others first before they can reject you. This erratic behavior can lead to troubled relationships in every area of your life."

These are some of the most common symptoms:

  • A pattern of difficult relationships caused by alternating between extremes of intense admiration and hatred of others.
  • An unstable self-image or be unsure of his or her own identity.
  • Acting impulsively in ways that are self-damaging.
  • A frequent emotional overreactions or intense mood swings, including feeling depressed, irritable, or anxious.
  • Inappropriate, fierce anger or problems controlling anger. The person may often display temper tantrums or get into physical fights.
  • Temporary episodes of feeling suspicious of others without reason (paranoia) or losing a sense of reality.

Sounds familiar?

There are those who think that by giving Anakin a psychiatric condition, and one mostly found in teenage patients, the writers may have helped lessen the stigma attached to such disorders. Maybe, but I think it is just as lame as the Midichlorians. Whatever happened to the Light Side vs. the Dark Side? It's like they're saying that Darth Vader isn't evil, he's just not properly treated and medicated.

Still, it does make sense. And it touches on a vaguely formulated pet theory of mine. Some of the disorders we treat today may well have been seen as a resource in earlier days. Especially those that have symptoms like aggression and a black/white-mentality. Young adult males with such conditions tend towards a physical solution to their problems, and often have a strong sense of loyalty.

Today we discourage such behaviour, and try to treat and medicate those who are diagnosed. In a time when the local community or tribe could be threatened by neighbouring bands or strongmen, these men would probably have had a well defined role as warriors; attacking the enemy without hesitation and with a frightful disregard for personal consequences.

So perhaps it's just as well that Anakin grew up a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away.

[Picture rights: Lucasfilm]

Saturday, 7 August 2010

New Season: Shadow's Fall

Western Eria

The last season ended with the start of the great magical congregation. The war had begun in earnest, with both sides having suffered defeats as well as claimed a few victories.

The forces of evil, under its Dark Triumvirate,  controlls the entire Dark Continent after having defeated the Stygian Empire. Great weapons have been used against the Hegememony of Man, perhaps the most successful being mistrust, deceit, chaos and despair.

The heroes of the Pius Cabal, the last, best hope for mankind, came into their own, with all of the magicians ascending to Masterhood. At their hands, a terrible demon has been imprissoned, the Dread Captain Armand killed, the Pendrellian Ministerium shattered, and the Elves sent on their last attack.

Now let the game begin anew.


Present day: 3 Quintum, 1022

The Great Arcane Congress has been concluded, and the Oath of Enlightenment has been sworn by all present. All vow to heed the call of Creation, and to oppose all its enemies. Again magicians stand united on the front-lines of the War of the World.

The following are reports received during the last two months.

The king is rumoured to be ill, and hasn't been seen in public for months. The queen, ruling the realm in his stead, is never seen without her priest, a mysterious hooded figure called El Caperucho.

The realm is preparing for war; a large force is being mustered in the northern province of Aperuche.

Rumours have it that trade has been opened with the Dark Continent.

The Elfswood, the sorcerous forest that spread across the realm like a plague after the fall of the Five Forts, now divides the realm in a Northern and Southern part. Few who enter the forest return.

The Civil War between the forces of King Rowar II and the Presbyterium has resulted in a division of the realm. South of the Elfswood the king rules, while the Presbyterium controls the lands to the North.

The Ministerium has been broken, and the Houses of Parliament has granted the king the Right of Enlightened Autocracy for a full year.

Duke Waylon oc Aleicola of Corillia, a Macharite, has allied himself with the Wezellian Syndicate.

Grasse, now also an ally of the Syndicate, has deared itself a Free City, ruled by the Chamber of Ministers. Lady Thorne, formerly Witchfinder General of the Pendrellian Ministerium, has been named Mistress of Swords.

The Enlightened Skythian Empire
After the Imperial army sent to crush the University of Marburg was defeated in its attempts to cross into Maravia, dozens of cities have revolted against the Humanist rule. In response, the Emperor and the Temple have declared a Pogrom on all heretics, as well as all who refuse to bow before the image of Man Invincible and swear obedience to the Imperial Crown.

In Kierovia, a peasant army following the Prophet Lydiger have burned temples and slaughtered Imperial officials, Perfecti, and defeated a smaller Imperial force. The conflict has spread to Emertal.

Thousands are displaced, and several cities have been sacked by marauding armies.
The king has pledged 16,000 infantry and 6,000 dragoons to the War of Enlightenment.

An envoy from the king to the Arcane Congress begs assistance; aver the winter, hard frosts have frozen the River Wyz over, and barbarian hordes have swarmed into Kengelian lands.

Rumours speak of a dragon awakening in the East, and driving the peoples before it.

By orders from the Queen, several Pogroms are being carried out. Whole parishes have been tried and executed by the Black Hand.

After the Great Arcane Congress the Syndicate is preparing for war with the Temple of Man Supreme.

Waymar Islands
Still no ships from the Western Isles, but reports tell of Aragonian merchants selling goods from the West.

[Picture source 1: Atlas, vol I; 2: Get Enlightened]

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Poll: Return of the Last Chapter

In the first months of this blog, I posted regular write-ups of the play-sessions. Then I stopped doing it. The reason was that I didn't really find it that interesting, since I tend to remember what happened anyway. That, and I published about twenty posts each month, and by not doing the Last Chapter posts I reduced my workload.

Initially the plan was that one or more of my heroic players should take over the responsibility. That didn't pan out, and that's fine -- this is my blog, and I can't expect someone else to shoulder the work I've started.

Since the last Last Chapter I've been thinking about this from time to time. There are arguments both for and against. I am, in a word, undecided on the issue. Then it struck me. I have a lifeline I can use: Ask the Audience. And so it is that I turn to you, gentle reader. Would you want to see the return of the Chapter-posts?

If you check your answer in the poll, the winds of public opinion will decide the outcome.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

At the Mountains of Madness

At the Mountains of Madness
According to, and countless other sources as well by now, James Cameron has come aboard with Guillermo Del Toro on the making of H. P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness. And, yes, the buzz is that it'll be done in 3-D. I really don't care about the 3-D, or that Cameron has signed up. For me, Del Toro doing Lovecraft is what makes me all anticipatory and enthused. The fly in the ointment is that while Del Toro is doing this, he won't be doing The Hobbit. Oh, well.

For those who aren't immediately familiar with Guillermo Del Toro, he's been behind movies such as Blade II, Hellboy, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and last but certainly not least, the absolutely brilliant Pan's Labyrinth. So far there's no release date, but rumour has it that they'll start shooting next summer.

The Pale Man from Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth

[Picture source 1: Robert A. Weingart; 2:]