A Harrowing Experience
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
From the journal of Mike Selinker, the first harrower:
The story of Harrow starts as all good stories do, with Erik Mona and a portent of doom. "You, Master Selinker," he foreshadowed, "are being hunted by a undaunted band of brothers. A band that cannot be daunted by the mightiest of daunters. I speak, perforce, of the strapping young men of Pathfinder. They are coming for you."
I sought an exit, but these are Pathfinders, you see. They can find anyone, and since I am anyone, they found me. From me they demanded a boon: a tarot deck they could call their very own. Messrs. James and James and Jason and F. Wesley believed that the world thirsted for such a deck. I was the humble peddler of games that could slake this thirst.
"Sa-ha!" I vocalized to all who would hear, "I shall call this deck 'Harrow,' as it speaks of travels through the inferno, and it rhymes with 'Tarot.' And I shall not be alone in this undertaking! If I am to walk this road, I will have a mighty illustrator to illuminate my path." This depicter of souls would be Kyle Stanley Hunter, he who could pluck from the darker planes the disturbing images that would force legions of gamers into hiding betwixt carpet and bed.
"I need one card," I posited to Mr. Stanley Hunter, and his expression of relief was palpable, and just as fleeting when I continued: "One card for each of fifty-four intersections of alignments and abilities laid upon an imperceptible grid. This is what I command. But what shall they be?"
"There may be a prince of rabbits," Kyle pronounced, "and a cricket with a melon, and a queen with six legs, and...." I left him to his prattle, and hearkened for a woman who could detail our method of beckoning that would strip the truth from the past, the present, and the future. This woman was the oddly-named Teeuwynn Woodruff, an oracle of (Phila-)Delphi(-a). "Tell me of my future," I beseeched Mistress Teeuwynn, "the future which involves you writing most of this rulebook."
She set her laptop to such a divinatory task, and I returned to Squire Bulmahn, he of the boisterous laugh and unbending stomach. "From you I do exact a concept for a cutthroat gambling game," I invoked. He had been warned of his destiny. "There shall be towers," he declaimed. "Oh, yes, there shall be towers."
Could there be a pair of stalwarts to weave all this together, I conjectured? There could. We would enlist yet another Mike (McArtor) and still a third James (Davis) in the editing and graphic design of this most epic of decks. From hither and from yon, they weaved.
Now it was done. The past, present, and future were divined. All that remained was the ritual sharing of the stomach-turning soda pops, and the recounting of the glories, and the filling of the requisite 500-word count. Which is now complete.
I mean, now.
Titanic Games Designer