Saturday, October 17, 2020

Reviving Arkhaven

It isn't just DevGame that is getting active again, although we're already seeing some incredible results out of the revival of the game developer site, by which I mean it looks like we are going to be publishing not one, but two, game design books by a truly legendary game designer. I'm referring to the Arkhaven Comics blog, which will now be featuring the talents of the Dark Herald and comics writer Jon Del Arroz on a regular basis. 

The Dark Herald has already written a highly informative initial post on Eastern Story Structure:

Hakawati, is the Arabic tradition of story telling wherein each story must have and teach a moral lesson.  I suspect this tradition is more Middle-Eastern than specifically Arabian because the story of Jonah fits perfectly within its structure.

Jonah’s story is rather unsatisfying to a Westerner, if you read the whole thing

Jonah is ordered by God to go to Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, and deliver a command from Him to stop sinning.  Jonah, like all of his people and well, everyone else who had come into contact with Assyria wants them all dead. So he refused to deliver God’s message and ran away to sea.  A terrible storm came up while the ship was at sea. The crew drew lots to see who was to be sacrificed to appease the waters.  The never-lucky Jonah lost and was chucked over the side.  God sent a whale to swallow Jonah.  Jonah repented and God had the whale spit, Jonah, on to a shoreline that had decent access to Nineveh.  Jonah delivered the message to the hated Assyrians and then went to a nearby hill to watch God’s wrath descend on Nineveh.  And it didn’t.  

The End. 

When I was in Sunday school the whale part of the story was the only thing that our teacher concentrated on. Mostly because a giant whale story would keep squirming seven-year-olds occupied while their parents had coffee and donuts after the service. It worked because that part of the story was the closest thing that conformed to the western idea of the three-act story structure with an introduction, an inciting incident, rising tension, climax, and then denouement.  

The original purpose of the story however wasn’t to entertain, it was to teach. You aren’t entitled to any special reward on this Earth just because you did what God told you to.

The dominant religion in an area strongly influences that area’s story-telling traditions and story-structures.

Christianity has been the dominant religion in the West for the past 1,500 years or so.  Give or take a few centuries depending on your physical location.  Conflict is central to the faith.  If you are a Christian, you are fighting Satan.  If you fail at the fight you go to Hell.  Win that fight and self-improvement will occur but it is a side-effect, not the goal.  The goal is salvation and you don’t have to be the wisest of the wise in order to saved. 

Buddhism is the dominant religion in East Asia.  Buddhism at its center is self-improvement for its own sake.  There is no conflict driving it forward.  If you screwup in this life you slide down the ladder into a lower form of life. Be that a lower caste, a woman, all the way down to animals and insects.  Improve yourself enough and you will achieve Enlightenment. And not have to be reborn into the world of suffering and desire anymore.

In Buddhism you absolutely have to be wisest of the wise.  Achievement is a requirement to reach Nirvana, and this has influenced all aspects of their societies. Especially with regards to storytelling and it’s concomitant tropes.

Read the whole thing there. And if you enjoy comics, add it to your daily bookmarks.



Blogger B-Rex October 17, 2020 9:43 PM  

Hey, good to see Dark Herald posting there as well!

Blogger B-Rex October 17, 2020 9:49 PM  

Also, no wonder the Midnight's War artist added Vox as a vampire: it had to be like 3am in Italy when this went up....

Blogger Glaivester October 17, 2020 11:35 PM  

The Dark Herald left out the finale of the Jonah story; the tale of the gourd plant, where Jonah's internal conflict is made explicit (but not resolved; we do not know whether or not Jonah sees the error of his ways).

Blogger Unknown October 18, 2020 12:32 AM  

Hi guys, long time reader/lurker here. Vox and this blog, with it's level-headed optimism has long been a rock. I almost never comment, because I think I'm too short for most rides.

Lately I feel my faith shaking, and that my demons (particularly addiction) are getting the better of me. I humbly ask that you include those in your prayers who are losing their way to Christ.

Apologies for commenting OT, the only reason I ask here is because this blog has more strong Christians than any I've ever seen.


Blogger Steve Samson October 18, 2020 4:25 AM  

Prayer said.

Blogger Silent Draco October 18, 2020 4:48 AM  

That's how to build community by collaboration and association. Each site or piece gets strengthened by using the links among them.

Unknown, you're added to my general "community" intention fit prayer. Faith and spiritual community builds in a similar way.

Blogger Careless Whisper October 18, 2020 8:14 AM  

I just got a security certificate expired error on Chrome and Brave trying to follow the Dark Herald link.

Is anyone else experiencing that?

Blogger JovianStorm October 18, 2020 8:45 AM  

Buddhism sucks because you're trapped in the dharmachakra with no real escape other than risk Enlightenment.

Jesus, on the other hand , paid for me so my salvation is guaranteed and I need to simply believe in it with my soul and mind and body. I can spend my life here enjoying things as blessings instead of trying to endlessly balance cosmic scales I can't perceive.

I'll take Christianity, thanks.

Blogger Beloved October 18, 2020 8:55 AM  

The gourd is the best part.

Jonah wanted to do things his way and have God bless it. The guord is Jonah's seed which God waters. It grows up pleasing to Jonah, but it's twisted and is destroyed.

Anything we do of our own initiative grows up twisted and corrupt. Which is why God must provide the seed (The Gospel of Jesus Christ) and we are to water it.

Do things God's way or fail.

Blogger Beloved October 18, 2020 9:31 AM  


Genesis 6:11-13

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.


Luke 3:16

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

In other words, your flesh is corrupt and weak. God doesn't expect you to be perfect. That's why he sent us his son.

Jesus loves you, Unknown. You may have given up but he hasn't given up on you.

Blogger Dark Herald October 18, 2020 12:06 PM  

One of the intriguing side aspects of writings this piece was the realization that the concept of the "Sigma Male" while more or less a UFO in the West, is common enough in Japan to be a recognizable trope.

But again that is a culture that genuinely values intellect.

Rather than fetishizing it.

Blogger Wazdakka October 18, 2020 12:25 PM  

Missing my arkhaven comic fix. Am praying for a printing frenzy of comics.

Blogger Valar Addemmis October 18, 2020 3:56 PM  

Dark Herald wrote:One of the intriguing side aspects of writings this piece was the realization that the concept of the "Sigma Male" while more or less a UFO in the West, is common enough in Japan to be a recognizable trope.

But again that is a culture that genuinely values intellect.

Rather than fetishizing it.

I had a similar thought reading your piece. Although at the end of the day, I'm not sure it's a problem of fetishizing intelligence as much as it is a massive cultural inferiority complex. It's really important that people that are better than us have something that makes us better than them. That's why there's an insistence that the intelligent cannot navigate social situations (and small-minded "geeks" and "nerds" of various stripes are happy to play into the cliche, since it lets them be assholes while just claiming they were "born this way" a la Sheldon from BBT), and that jocks are stupid.

It's a very comforting narrative that everyone is unique and special and the best at their own personal way, so we can't stand the type of ubermensch represented in the Top Student trope. This actually reminded me of something* I was reading recently on The Gervais Principle of organization, where what Rao was calling "Losers" manage social hierarchy through shared delusions where everyone is special because they all agree to measure each other by arbitrary, unique to the person measures. I'd simply go farther and say that the same mechanism underpins almost all of American personality tropes. Even our own ubermensch tropes need some serious downside, whether it's the social awkwardness or sociopathy or downright evilness.


Blogger Ahărôwn October 19, 2020 4:41 PM  

This was a fascinating read, Dark Herald. Thanks for the article, and Vox for promoting more of these sort of articles on the Arkhaven site.

Blogger Ceirwyn October 19, 2020 9:37 PM  

I think the west does have another version of stock gamma, but not one we see used much anymore: the Loki style trickster. It's still an underdog opposing position at least part of the time, but requires a clever and/or intelligent person. Marvel actually has done some really good work in their Thor comics with using Thor and Loki working together as totally opposite people (brains and brawn); Marvel's Loki is pretty much a staple archetype of gamma, IMO since they went to making him more gray than straight up villain. By far and away, he's Marvel's most interesting character as well.

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