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Thinking About Ninja

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I’ve been thinking about ninja. Kind of. And as with most of my creative thinking these days, I did a little art along the way. My render above depicts a fairly typical Japanese shinobi, or ninja. It’s adapted from Lubthbel’s lovely Way of the Shinobi model available from DAZ. It was conceived and rendered in DAZ Studio with postwork in Photoshop.

(The ninja bit stops here. The rest of this post is obscure rpg stuff. Strictly for completists and Ontolosnans).

What was I really thinking about? Ontolosnan ninja-equivalents. Empty Sky Dharmists. There are four or five key ‘adventuring’ groups which will be of key interest and concern to player parties. There are of course the Dakinis, solitary tantrikas who serve the Aji. There are the Mirror and Lens cults, who primarily serve the purpose of the rajina courts. There is the Ministry of Sunlight and the Graceful Iron Forge, who police the creation and worship of kut. And there are the Empty Sky Dharmists, servants of the kut temples.

The central passages of the Bhagavad Gita describe Krishna’s teachings to Arjuna on perfect action and perfect duty – dharma yoga. My (evolving) conception of the Empty Sky Dharmists are an elite ‘whatever it takes’ force who usually work in secret, agents of the Theagyns and the kut temples, They espouse an ethos of perfect duty and perfect obedience, no questions asked. They’re starting out a little bit like ninja. I wonder if you’ll recognise them at the end? Stay tuned.

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Ontolosna Creator’s Guide 2: On the Back of the World Bird

The second Ontolosna Creators’ Handbook – On the Back of the World Bird – has been updated and is available for download. It is a 20 page PDF reference for fellow world makers examining suns and seasons, time and meaning in Ontolosna. All of the Guides are available from the Guidebooks & Maps page.

Ontolosna is set upon the back of Huksae, the World-Bird, the Crane of Being, whose flapping wing cycle (visible across the parasol sky) determines Ontolosna’s seasons and years. Three suns are eternally visible. The movement of On, the primary, can only be measured across epochs, though she undergoes a daily colour cycle that determines ‘night’ and ‘day’.

Ontolosna Creators Guide 1: Mountain Breaks Storm

The first Ontolosna Creators’ Handbook – Mountain Breaks Storm – has been updated and is available for download. It is a 22 page PDF document. All of the Guides are available from the Guidebooks & Maps page.

Ontolosna is a shared fantasy roleplaying and storytelling world. A long-time personal obsession, it is now being developed under a Creative Commons License as a communal vision; The Bright Journey Project.

In every Age an Aja of Joy, and in every Age a dark Hero of sorrows. In every Age an Aja of Change, and in every Age a demon Hero who destroys. Yet the choice between Ajahood and herodom can be decided in the fall of a blade, the tone of a single word. And even in a world of peace, there can be some things even more terrible than war …

Beneath many-coloured On, the unmoving sun, the world of Ontolosna wings forward on the back of the World-Bird. Queens and traders and theagyns and daki ni seek to guide the fate of empires and peoples. But all know that history is ending. Who will be the Aja of this Age? And will her Awakening once more tear the world apart?

Ontolosna is a progressive realm of female power where violent warfare is comparatively rare, and where humans create and direct their deities in massive Theagyn (‘goddess birthing’) rituals. Ontolosna’s cultural analogues are North Asian in inspiration—Tibet, India, Korea, China, Japan—and the project’s design aims are to question and explore notions of gender construction, religion, myth, violence, non-violence, and social change in a game environment with special attention to the nuances of genre.

The first guidebook provides an introduction to the world and to the key historical events which have shaped its present.

Blue Shadow: Lantern & Blade

This one is for Pippin, my light and strength. It depicts a young Ban woman abroad at hosook, the midnight hour of purity and transformation.

My way of explanation, this is an Ontolosnan scene. Ontolosna is lit by three unmoving suns, and the colour changes of On the primary mark the division of the Ontolosnan day (see Time).

The blue and violet/black colour cycles constitute narim or shadow. Hosook, or the moment of purity – pure violet – is ‘midnight’, and is the time when On takes back. Temperatures fall dramatically over just a few heartbeats; and fog or frost may form, even in the heat of monsoon.

Hosook is associated with private ritual, with healing, with endings, with tantra and transformation. It is sacred to Komun Black Tongue, Dark Mother of the Kal’ttar. Humans tend to awaken at Hosook, and so the long narim is broken into two sleeping cycles.

DAZ Studio and Photoshop. Clothing textures taken from Pip’s kimono collection.

Ontolosna: Maps of Tlon and Regions

I know of a world with three rainbow suns that shine unmoving ‘neath a pearling sky.

I know of a world set upon the back of a giant bird, journeying to an unknown destination.

I know of a world at peace, a world that has forgotten the terrors of war.

I know of a world where Time is ending.

This world is Ontolosna, and we are part of its weaving.

Several updated maps of Tlon and its surrounding regions are now available  from the Ontolosnan downloads page: a new 3D depiction of the major regions and an updated ‘mud pilgrim’ master map, in which the strange case of the river that crossed a mountain is no more.

Sadly. 🙂