The following articles originally appeared on an earlier iteration of See Page XX in June 2008.

In this issue Robin D Laws discusses the use of genre conceits in Mutant City Blues, we have more music from James Semple, and a second interview by Luke Crane. This issue sees the return of Mystic Moo – learn how to get your fondest wishes, with cosmic ordering. I was very pleased with the results of the last poll – our readership is higher than I expected – so I’ve included another one, with a peculiar question. Your feedback really helps.

The following article originally appeared in an earlier iteration of See Page XX in June 2008.

By Paula Dempsey, alias Mystic Moo.

Mystic Moo explains how visualisation can get you the games of your dreams. We are lucky enough to have a transcript, despite the difficulty of typing with hooves.

Listen to the podcast here:

Podcast Transcript

Posh 1950’s announcer: Good Evening and welcome to the BBC. We now go live to Hamish the Highland Cow in the cowshed. Good Evening Hamish!

Hamish: Hellooo! This is Hamish the Hieland Coo on location for the BBC. The Bovine Broadcasting Company, that is. I’m here in the cooshed with Mystic Moo to investigate some pretty extravagant claims. Mystic Moo, you’ve been claiming that you can help our gamer friends get as many games as they want, just by listening to your voice. Tell us more.

Mystic Moo: Hamish, today we are going to help all our gamer listeners get as many roleplaying games as they want. They can do this through a process called Cosmic Ordering, or, as I prefer to call it, Cows-mic Ordering. On account of I’m a cow and I’m using a microphone. The theory is that they tune in to the frequency of the universe, send out their wish and, if the stars are right, their wish will manifest.

Hamish: So cows-mic ordering can get me anything then?

Mystic Moo: In theory, Hamish, yes. Of course, the universe has to think it is for the greater good that you get it.

Hamish (hopefully): Like a giant tin of shortbread, maybe?

Mystic Moo: That is not for your greater good, Hamish. Cows should graze on grass, not biscuits. The universe won’t send you biscuits.

Hamish: So Cosmic Ordering can get you anything but biscuits.

Mystic Moo: That’s right, Hamish, although Marigold claims she did once get three cans of low alcohol lager and a packet of ginger nuts, but that was less down to cosmic ordering and more down to sticking her head through the kitchen window when the farmer wasn’t looking. Anyway, today we’re going to concentrate on games. I’d like all our listeners to get in a position where they are comfortable and able to relax, but not go to sleep and listen to this special Mystic moo-ditation. (Moo runs through standard yoga relaxation techniques).

Now to manifest your desires. I want you to picture a green door. A green door. Open the door and go through it. In front of you is a huge warehouse, so big you can’t see the far wall. On either side of you are shelves stacked with your favourite games, in alphabetical order. To your right is a magical supermarket trolley. No matter how much you put in the trolley it is never full. I want you to imagine yourself going from shelf to shelf and filling your trolley with all the games you want. Really smell the cardboard, feel the shape of the dice, leaf through those pages there. And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Trail of Cthulhu, you really want that.

Now imagine yourself going back towards the green door. You see a cow sitting at a checkout. Her name is Marigold. She scans all your items and puts them in a big box for you to take home. Thank Marigold and make your way to the exit. Your games will be delivered shortly. Go back through the green door and slowly return to the real world. When you are ready, open your eyes and stretch. Welcome back to your cowshed or wherever you are.

Hamish: And will this work?

Mystic Moo: Depends how determined these gamers are to manifest their desires. If they really believe, it will happen. Now put the kettle on, there’s a good coo.

Hamish: This is Hamish the Hieland Coo, for the BBC, signing off.

The following article originally appeared on an earlier iteration of See Page XX in December 2007. 

Paula Dempsey, alias Mystic Moo, predicts your gaming future.

(To the tune of Let it Snow)

The weather outside is frightful
So Buttercup’s made a trifle
For Hamish the Hieland Coo

Let it Moo! Let it Moo! Let it Moo!

The cowshed’s bright and merry
And Marigold’s on the sherry
And Buttercup’s had one too

Let it Moo! Let it Moo! Let it Moo!

Sorry about that, but there’s no telly in the cowshed, so we’re making our own entertainment.  Hamish is over there with a wee dram and a mince pie and Marigold’s sleeping it off in the corner.  We’ve earned it, though.  Last night we invited some of our local human gaming group over to try a little experimental drama.  We had one gamer from each of the twelve signs in the RPG zodiac and we matched their starsign to their ideal pantomime role.

Mystic Moo proudly presents – Aladdin


All right everyone, places please.  I said, places please! I put those chalk marks there for a reason, you know! Look, I’ve committed a lot to this performance.  I’ve cancelled chess club, for heaven’s sake.  If you’re not going to take it seriously, then I’m going home.  Now, I’ve made these script alterations…




Right, Act One, Scene One.  Cue Aladdin.


Here comes I, Aladdin, on my magic carpet!  Ooh, what’s this old lamp?  I wonder what will happen if I rub it?


(Entering through trapdoor) You called, Master?  I am the Genie of the Lamp. What is your will? And is the pub open yet? I’m bored already and this costume is just so BRIGHT! Couldn’t I be a Dark Elf or something instead?


Ugg!  Hit things yet?


No.  Cue Princess Nanki Poo

Burrows:(Princess Nanki Poo)

I am Princess Nanki Poo and I’m so lonely locked up here in my wonderful jewelled tower.  I wonder if I will find anyone to fall in love with?

(Prince Charming)

Oi, Princess Nanki Poo, I don’t half fancy you.  Want to see my magic wand?


Try and stay on script please.  And what’s Prince Charming doing in Aladdin?


Call it dramatic licence.  Anyway, you wouldn’t let me play Aladdin.


Sorry to be mean, but you wouldn’t have made a good Aladdin.  Cugels are the slimeballs of the RPG zodiac.  And Travellers are the best flying carpet pilots – everyone knows that.  Sorry to be mean, though.


Hit things now?




Look, can we get on with this?  I’ve got the Dracula Society Christmas Party at seven o’clock and I haven’t ironed my cape yet.


Will you stop whinging?  Cue Shoggoth.

Shoggoth:(Arabian Nights dragon thingy)

Why haven’t I got any lines?  Every time I come on stage people just shout “It’s behind you”.  It’s a bit dull.


Sorry.  I think you’re not supposed to say anything, actually.  Just lurk about looking menacing.  I hope that’s OK and everything.


Oh for God’s sake. Cue Frodo.  And could he be a bit less perky this time?

Frodo:(Aladdin’s monkey)

(Perkily) Hello Aladdin.  Where are we going on the magic carpet today?  Can we go and find some treasure? And who is that pretty lady in the window of the tower over there?  I’m going to climb up and find out.

There then follows a tedious musical number between the monkey and the Princess.


This script’s crap.


You’ve missed your cue, you miserable git.


Sorry.  Monkey, where have you been?


I’ve been visiting a lovely princess.  I think she’d be the perfect girlfriend for Aladdin.

Werewolf :(Uncle Abenarzer)

(Entering stage right) Oh no she wouldn’t.


Oh yes she would.


Oh no she wouldn’t.


Oh yes she would.


Oh no she wouldn’t.


Oh get on with it!


I’m Aladdin’s Uncle Abenarzer and I’m going to make sure that he never goes out with Princess Nanki Poo.




Hang on, I’m the hero and I’ve hardly had any lines so far.  Genie, I command you to bring me the hand of Princess Nanki Poo! Oh bugger, I could have phrased that better…


It’s quite a nice hand.  Almost a shame you didn’t want the rest of her really.


This is a sophisticated audience.  Do you think they’ll be fooled by a lame conjuring trick like that? Not to mention that lame joke.


I agree.  Let’s do it for real.  I’ve got a ceremonial athame in my backpack.


(Tearfully)  You’re just spoiling it for everybody!


I’d like you to know how frustrated you are making me. 


At this point I transform into a ravening creature of the night and tear Aladdin’s magic lamp away from him.  Howling, I run off into the gloom.


(Leaping from balcony onto stage and slapping thigh) Ah, but you reckon without me!  I am Jack the Giant Killer, a mighty warrior, and I will slay you and retrieve Aladdin’s lamp for him.


Oi, that’s not fair! That’s my job!


But his magic is powerful.  I can’t do it all on my own.  Where is my loyal henchman?


Yeah!  Game on!

Cue a woefully unconvincing fight scene.  Abenarzar drops the lamp and runs off.  There’s another song.  No idea why.


I am Princess Nanki Poo’s handmaiden, but no-one knows my secret identity.  I am a peri and extremely magical!  I will take the magic lamp and give it back to Aladdin.


Huzzah!  Now I have the magic lamp back!  Genie, I command you to bring Princess Nanki Poo to me!

There’s a break at this point while we sort out the block and tackle, but eventually Princess Nanki Poo flies through the air and lands at the feet of Aladdin.


Princess Nanki Poo – will all the magic in the world make you agree to become my wife?


No magic in the world , because I already love you, Aladdin. 


(Sobbing) That is so touching that I renounce my wicked ways and promise to be a nice wolf from now on.


I’m lurking again.




Yippee, it’s over!  Right, can we go down the pub now?


Not yet.  We need to do the closing number.

Graceless tap dancing all round, to the tune of Cliff Richard’s Congratulations.


Hang on, where’s the Ninja?  The panto’s nearly finished and he’s not done anything yet.

Everyone looks up.  The Ninja is hanging from the theatre ceiling surreptitiously dropping icecream tubs onto the audience.


Strawberry or vanilla?


And what did we learn from this, admittedly experimental, performance?  That our actors played their starsigns to a tee, but unfortunately couldn’t play their characters if you held a gun to their heads.  Next year I think we’ll have a carol concert instead.  Moo for now!

That’s it for this month! Moo for now.

The following article originally appeared on an earlier iteration of See Page XX in October 2007. 

Paula Dempsey, alias Mystic Moo, predicts your gaming future.

The cattle truck has just left and Hamish is putting the kettle on. We’re home from GenCow and we’ve had quite a time of it. You wouldn’t think cows would have much luggage, given we don’t do the clothes thing, but Buttercup’s got enough Indie games to open a shop and even Hamish did some shopping, indulging his Braveheart fantasies with a spiffy new “Man Kilt”. Those of you who frequent human roleplaying conventions would find much that is familiar in GenCow, although we bovines tend to prefer slightly different games (usually based around themes like running around in fields, eating grass, herding) and burgers are, of course, banned.

Elsewhere in the cowshed, Buttercup’s New Age shopping catalogue is stalling due to the UK postal strikes. One way or another neither cows nor letters are moving much at the minute. Still, orders are coming in via the inter(hay)net, so if you’ve ordered an Aberdeen Angus Oracle set, Cow Chakra Crystals or a Dreamcatcher, handmade on the prairie by genuine American bison then keep your hooves crossed that she can get them to you by cow-rier soon.

There’s a new feature for you humans this month. Those of you with nothing better to do than follow the way of the mystical cow might remember my spirit guide, Zed, a sixties wallpaper designer turned pan-dimensional guru? Zed visited me again after GenCow and has agreed to work with me on a new problem page. See below for the first lot of divinely inspired answers, and keep ’em coming!

RPG Astrology

But first, as it’s Autumn, you might be thinking about a Halloween party. I know we are here in the cowshed. Here’s some recommendations based on star signs to help your party go with a swing.

Orcs 21 March – 20 April

Give Orc guests a bit of notice and let them put their hitting and squishing skills to good use without getting arrested. Encourage them to visit local streetmarkets and supermarket fruit counters and buy huge amounts of grapes, rhubarb and other soft fruits in preparation for a great Orcian winemaking frenzy. Orcs need to get a big wooden tub in the garden (or a washing-up bowl for flat dwellers) and stomp, squish and pummel to their heart’s content. My prediction is a massive hangover by Halloween. If you’ve never seen an Orc trampling rhubarb, you should, just once as an experience. You probably wouldn’t want to see it again, mind.

Gurps 21 April – 21 May

Gurps are the most mutable sign of the role-playing zodiac. That is, the most changeable. So for a great mix of sounds get Gurp guests to DJ at your party. One minute it’ll be Sinatra, the next Cradle of Filth with the Spice Girls and the White Stripes in between. The downside is that by about 10.30 the Gurp won’t know where he is or what the hell he’s doing and will probably threaten to sue you for trauma caused. Give him another half of shandy and he’ll have changed his mind by morning.

Shoggoth 22 May – 21 June

After an unremarkable and rather damp summer, Shoggoths are feeling a bit down in the dumps. I’ve had a lot of complaints from them recently asking if the stars will ever be right. If you must invite them to your party at all, ask them to co-ordinate some spooky party games like Pin the Tentacle on Cthulhu. Remind them, though, that moving stars about using supernatural powers is forbidden under intergalactic law. Especially moving them so they spell naughty words. So just stop it.

Frodo 22 June – 22 July

Frodos are the most hygienic of the starsigns and contribute best to the party by getting there early in the afternoon and getting the burrow, er, house spick and span. One note of caution – before letting them loose with the Dyson make sure all jewellery is securely stored away. If they do wander off glinting suspiciously don’t call the police. Just get a mate (Gurp, preferably) to dress up as a wizard and get your favourite earrings back for you. Unfortunately, your entire neighbourhood may end up being trashed as a result, but at least it will be a party to remember.

Werewolf 23 July – 22 August

Werewolves make great bouncers, so if you have any fears about gatecrashers get a Werewolf over. Each guest will be individually sniffed and assessed prior to admittance, which adds some novelty although your Aunty Gladys might take offence. Just one word of warning – keep the Pernod locked up. These guys go ape-poo for aniseed. Actually, another word of warning – don’t invite Marigold to your party as she goes mad for Pernod too. And advocaat, Guinness, a nice Merlot… She nicked my sherry last week.

Cugel 23 August – 23 September

Watch Cugels. They’re deadly in a social situation. Ten minutes in and they’ve drunk your booze, snogged your girl / boy friend, helped themselves to your I Pod and got themselves an invitation to stay for another week. I would strongly advise not inviting them at all, but unfortunately they’re also the world’s best gatecrashers.

Ninja 24 September – 23 October

Ninjas are party wallflowers, bless them. The problem isn’t that they’re shy, but that they actively enjoy sliding along the walls and hiding in shadows. Getting a drink from the kitchen becomes a military operation and more sensitive guests may feel Ninjas lack a certain sociability. Where they come into their own, however, is at 3am when you’ve run out of booze and the off-licence is shut (that’s liquor store if you don’t speak Brit-Bovine). Give ’em twelve feet of rope and a can opener and as if by magic three cases of Chardonnay appear in your front room. Followed half an hour later by the local police.

Dork 24 October – 22 November

The party invitation says 7pm. Dorks turn up at 7.03 and apologise for being late. They would have been on time, but their mum insisted on popping to Sainsburys on the way over in the car. Dorks come equipped with a two litre bottle of preternaturally orange pop and a family multi-pack of cheese and onion crisps. Once inside they install themselves somewhere inconvenient and hassle the Gurp until he puts on their Rush CD. Which is just the thing to get the dancing going. Still, they don’t usually stay for long, as mum will pick them up at 10.30, and they do a better job than beer goggles at making everyone else look devilishly attractive.

Vampire 23 November – 21 December

On the subject of devilish, here come the Vampires. Cool and sophisticated, they eschew lager and request absinthe. They’ll bring some class to the party as they’ll be impeccably dressed with amazing make-up. By the witching hour, however, they’ll be out of their skulls on snakebite, watching your sister’s / daughter’s Sabrina videos and playing the Salem drinking game. I love these guys. They can party round my barn any time.

Ranger – 22 December – 20 January

Don’t really like parties that much. The music interferes with the music of the night (round here that’s a bunch of foxes mating and next door’s mog having a scrap with our Tiddles). Where Rangers come into their own is when there’s a barbecue. They can get a fire going in a minute flat and before you can blink there’s burgers, fish, fillet of weasel… And afterwards they cut a neat hole in your lawn and bury the ash. Rangers also come in useful for helping tipsy guests find their way home. And for helping Vampires find their arses with both hands.

Traveller – 20 January – 19 February.

When the party’s over, if your guest needs a lift then the Traveller is always delighted to oblige. Three streets over, next county, Alpha Centauri, all no problem.

Burrows 20 February – 20 March

A Burrows guest will email a few days before. Should she bring anything? Then she’ll ring on the day. She’s made chocolate cake. Is that OK or should she have made lemon cake? Will everyone like chocolate cake? What time should she come over? Would the Frodos like help with tidying up? Can she wash up? She’s lovely, but my goodness she wears you out. If a Burrow is invited I suggest you get a Vampire to look after her. She’s a bunny that keeps on giving after all. And keep her away from any Cugels, or it’s not fair.

Mystic Moo’s Agony Column

Dear Mystic Moo,

I have rather recently been introduced into the wonderful world of Indie RPGs. There are soo many I would like to play: Burning Wheel, Burning Empires, Dogs in the Vineyard, GUMSHOE to name just a few. On top of that I’m supposed to playtest new games from a certain rpg publisher. But my players want to continue playing their old characters and the current stories too!

My boss is unwilling to pay me for playing rpgs and wants me to work on his strange cartography software, which doesn’t leave me enough time to satisfy all my gaming cravings. What am I to do?

An over-worked, time-stretched rpg enthusiast.


Buttercup spent a lot of time and money on Indie games at GenCow. One of the nice things about them is that, generally, they are smaller than mainstream games and therefore somewhat cheaper. As you don’t need quite as much money to fuel your gaming habit, I suggest downsizing. Tell him to stuff his cartography software and get a job with fewer hours, to give you more time to play. Alternatively, think about how to curb your cravings, which do seem a little excessive. Perhaps you can get some kind of gum at the chemist? Or a patch? I was considering suggesting cold turkey until Marigold pointed out that the last time we had any cold turkeys around here, the farmer had forgotten to pay the gas bill.

Dear Mystic Moo,

How can I find fellow gamers in China?

I tried to join “The Party” but it seems they are not really into gaming.

Red Panda

Dear Red Panda,

I can understand your problem, but living in the most populous nation on Earth you should be able to find three or four like-minded individuals. The Chinese must be up for it as in the past they have given great games to the world – Mah Jongg, for example, or anything by Mattel. Be a pioneer and introduce roleplaying to a whole new market. Think about what games would appeal. If The Party still holds sway, offer Paranoia. Feng Shui would surely go down well. Present it as a clandestine Western activity and offer crisps. They will come.

Dear Mystic Moo,

My character, Vadis, is a runepriest of Lankhor Mhy. The women in Pavis are very mean to him, although he buys them pretty things and lets them plait ribbons and bells into his beard. He’s heard them giggle about how they made the “wankor cry”. How can Vadis meet a nice girl?

Desperate and Sticky, the Wastelands

Dear Desperate and Sticky,

If you want to get a girl be a man, man! And if you don’t know how, get a book about it! If you go shopping with the Pavis women and let them do your hair you’re just asking for it, aren’t you? Stand up for yourself and next time they wind you up remind them that the Crimson Bat sees all and you have divine knowledge that he’s, ahem, batting in your corner. Failing that, get your Gorgorma sister to beat them up.

Dear Mystic Moo,

I’m not a gamer but every year at Gen Con I work as a demonstrator hanging around a stall in a leather bikini. I do this in time off from my day job as an international fashion model because I’ve found gamers to be generally a much less bitchy crowd than international fashion models. In fact, the gaming crowd is really quite friendly and I’ve often thought I might enjoy a game of Dungeons and Dragons or Mutants and Masterminds. Not that I really know what a mutant is but I do seem to have the power myself to defy gravity. Anyway, on one of the stalls I have noticed a man, a gentleman even, of such distinction. His greying hair and dreamy foreign accent are so distracting, I can hardly remember the game I’m supposed to be promoting. But as an international fashion model I don’t think a real gamer would want anything to do with me. I really don’t know anything about the games or all those funny little dice they use. So my question to you is which game should I try out if I am to get this gamer to even look at me.

Blushingly yours,


Dear Brandi,

Get out of here! We have Booth Bovines at GenCow too and international fashion models they ain’t. If you were earning your cowcake on the catwalk you wouldn’t need to get togged up in a chainmail bikini and point your bits at ogling gamers just to get them to buy the latest edition of Mootants and Masterminds or whatever. Believe me girlfriend, if you are for real you have bigger problems than what games to play.

Regarding this gentleman. Don’t let an accent like Simon Cow-ell fool you. He’ll roll your dice and break your heart. And he’ll either be married or desperate, neither of which bodes well.

That’s it for this month! Moo for now.

The following article originally appeared on in August 2007. 

Mystic Moo’s Convention Guide

By Paula Dempsey, alias Mystic Moo.

Editor’s note: The introduction to this column is a little bit British-centric. We have included links for those not familiar with recent bovine news in the UK. I’m afraid I have no better idea than you of the cow-centric aspects of the article.

Welcome cow-fanciers everywhere. The call came this afternoon: “What about a new Mystic Moo column?” he said. Well you may not have noticed, mate, that now is not exactly the best time to be a cow. Cattle movements are restricted, which is playing havoc with Buttercup’s line dancing classes, and as for the Shambo thing, well words fail me. So here I am, struggling to cope with all that bovine angst and you want a “humorous”column for some human magazine. Like I care about you lot!

Then the flannel started. “Your public need you, Mystic Moo. Spread cow wisdom. Help them realise the essential humanity of cows (excuse moo?). Be an ambassador for your species”. And finally, to top it all, “There’s a bottle of Bristol Cream in it for you”. So I thought, maybe you do need some homespun heifer wisdom. But what to write about? Then Buttercup comes crashing through the byre door like a bull in a china shop (but not quite as sexy). “Oi, Moo” she says “I just checked my email and my booking for GenCow has arrived. Lend us your dice bag, old flower”.

Inspiration struck like an over-enthusiastic mozzie. The cow-vention season is upon us and Buttercup’s getting all of a doo-dah over GenCow, the mother of them all and exclusively for those of a bovine persuasion. No humans allowed, so hard cheese.

I’ve asked old Butters to pick out some of the highlights of the event so you can see what you are missing. I’ve never really taken to White Wolf myself, but she reckons Friesian: The Milking is worth a go. She’s also written a LARP, bless her. It’s a Paranoia one where you have to work out who are the cows and who are the blokes from the department of agriculture. She’s a bit keen on Battle Cattle as well, but if you ask me she’s operating under false consciousness. Anyway, the mad cow is throwing things into a suitcase left, right and centre with two weeks to go. Talk about over-enthusiastic…

Then Hamish wanders in. Hamish is a nice bloke who self-identifies as a Hieland Coo. And today he’s not happy. “Mystic Moo”, he says. “I’ve been thinking aboot whether tae go tae GenCoo and I’m wonderin’ whether I’ll have a guid time or whether I’d be better abidin’ here in ma wee stall. How can I decide?”

No problem, Hamish. All you need to do is consult Mystic Moo’s Convention Oracle.

Step One

Reach for your dice bag and roll 273 assorted dice. If you can do this without ransacking the house for dice just play Dogs in the Vineyard all convention long and you’ll have a great time. If this presents a problem for you, go on to:

Step Two

Add together the digits of your age in DD MM YYYY format. For example, Hamish was born on 25th April 2005, so 2+5+4+2+5=18. Then roll a D10 for your lucky number. Hamish rolled a six. 18+6=24. Then roll a D4 to balance your karma and deduct this from your total. Hamish rolled a three. 24-3=21. Finally, add the digits together to get your overall Oracle number. So Hamish’s number is three. And before all you smartarse mathematicians write in to say this is simplistic, you try arithmetic with only two toes on each foot, and connecting with the universal whatnot at the same time!

Now you might be ready for Step Three, but frankly I’m not. All this number crunching really takes it out of a cow, so I’m getting Buttercup to stick the kettle on and Hamish has a tin of Hieland shortbread somewhere. Back in a mo.

Sorry for the gap in service. Someone mentioned drink and that old lush Marigold was right in there. Everyone knows she keeps a bottle of advocaat in her hayrack. Any minute now she’ll start singing. If I hear My Heart Will Go On one more time I’m going to go postal. SHUT UP YOU DRUNKEN MOO! Right, I’ll just dust the last few crumbs off my keyboard and here goes with:

Step Three

Look up your Convention Oracle number on the table below to find out what will be your best Con experience this year, then re-roll and recalculate for your worst experience and once more for what will happen when your just can’t take any more gaming.

Best Time Worst Time Between Times
1 You get shot during an archery demo but your copy of Hero is in your pocket and it’s arrow proof. You reach enlightenment.  Problem is, you realise Jack Chick was right and gaming is a passport straight to Hell. You order a frappacino in the convention coffee bar and it takes two days for your mates to dig you out of the whipped cream.
2 Your street cred goes through the roof when you whip out your signed copy of F.A.T.A.L. and wave it about. (One from Buttercup, there) You accidentally tread on a cosplayer’s tail and get beaten senseless by a six foot raccoon. The Tardis materialises in the Trade Hall.  Fill in the rest according to inclination.
3 You enjoy a game of Best Friends so much that the whole group goes out to a movie together afterwards, then for pizza, then a spot of shopping. Maybe we’ll give this whole convention thing a miss and get a manicure tomorrow. But don’t tell  Kelly ‘cos she’s such a B.I.T.C.H. You find the new edition of your favourite game in a limited edition handblock printed onto hand-made paper and illuminated by Lindisfarne monks.  This happens two minutes after you max out your credit card. A woman engages you in conversation.  After a while she  tells you she’s in touch with her inner cow and offers to cast your horoscope.  Don’t trust her.
4 The Animé cinema runs an all-night Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya marathon (aah, wishful thinking) You get the last ticket for the last available LARP and all the characters are clowns. Your cheap hotel room is pretty good.  And your 15 room-mates think so too.
5 The Trade Hall is selling Fruits Basket merchandise and they have cow hats. Your friend gets a hot date with a booth babe.  And it’s your sister. You eat an Igor bar and keep all your teeth.
6 Your new special friends invite you to play Breaking the Ice, the LARP. Someone compliments you on the detail in your monster costume.  You are not in costume. Fun on Sunday as you watch the Dogs in the Vineyard LARP group getting arrested outside the local Mormon temple.
7 There’s a mix-up at the Awards ceremony and you become the proud recipient of both the Gamer of the Year award and a year’s supply of Jolt Cola. Your hotel is a whole block from the convention and there’s no room on the shuttle bus. After a heavy game of Call of Cthulhu  you fall asleep in the bath and wake up to find the shower hose wrapped around your neck in tentacle-esque fashion.
8 Imagine the best thing that could happen to you at a con.  It happens.  If you can’t imagine anything, you shouldn’t be here. You suffer deep embarrassment during a Changeling freeform when your ears fall into your pint. You spend a whole morning hanging out on the Pokemon stall.  This is fine until a so-called friend sends a photo of you getting jiggy with a Jigglypuff to your significant other.
9 It’s the end of the con. You’re overtired and overdrawn but your plush Shoggoth loves you. You break the catch on your  chain mail bikini and nobody can find a can opener. Day 4 – You discover the mysterious world of Outside and sample the rare alien dish they call “salad”.

Happy Conventioning and Moo for Now!

The following article originally appeared on in December 2005.

Yuletide Moosings on Presents

Paula Dempsey, alias Mystic Moo, has felt your presents.

Yes, it’s that time of year again. So let’s talk presents. I can read your mind, don’t forget, so don’t even think about that 4th edition of Bunnies and Burrows in a limited print run of only 5000 copies with an authentic fur cover and floppy ears, because that is so SAD and also lapinist and contrary to my mystical respect for nature (especially bunnies) so just DON’T DO IT!

Every year my postbag overflows with letters from you, my little seekers of wisdom. And what are these letters? Well not bloomin’ Christmas cards for a start. You lot only write when you want something and number one in the Moo mail this week is “What do I get my gran / girlfriend / bloke from my gaming group / nice girl from the Post Office who smiled at me when I bought a stamp last week? ”What’s the Moo to do? Well, I just consulted my spirit guide.

Some of you may be surprised that not all spirit guides are Native Americans or girly Victorian consumptives. And thank the Goddess for that. My mate Buttercup (two stalls down, the one with the windowbox) had one of those sickly ethereal types and we were hosing the ectoplasm off her salt lick for weeks. I am currently channelling the spirit of a sixties wallpaper designer turned pan-dimensional guru who wishes to be known only as Zed. His teachings contain important messages for the future of mankind which I eventually intend to publish in book form, but until they up the advance I’m not inclined to put hoof to typewriter. All the publisher’s fault if you don’t get to read Z’s prophecies in time to prepare yourself for what is to come. In the meantime, as someone’s had the decency to drop a couple of mince pies and a half bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream into my hay net, here’s Zed’s advice on stylish present options for your loved ones this Christmas.

Right, settle down, chew a bit of cud, concentrate… Zed tells me that people fall into distinct personality types, which he says makes things a bit easier. These are karmic and based on their last past life. Some of us are old souls who fall into a mythic type. These are elves, magicians and owls. More common are those who were kicked out of the afterlife PDQ and bounced back to the earthly realm to burn off their karma before they did any serious damage. These are goths, combat wombats and grans. You can tell what type your friend / significant other / bloke who gave you a Polo mint on the bus last week is by reading their aura. If your psychic ability is too weedy to cope with that small task, try Buttercup’s Bovine Aura Wheel, yours for only £30 plus postage from the usual address. Mooooooooooo…woah, lost it there for a bit. Wow. OK, here are Zed’s tips for successful present buying and my own tips for buying games by personality type.


Elves are characterised by their green aura, willowy appearance, long straight hair and long straight noses. There’s one other characteristic too, but we don’t talk about that on the cosmic telephone if we’re all going to get along. Elves are difficult to buy for as they get bored easily, so forget the battery-powered dancing snowman or novelty chocolate Santa. Instead, go for something with longevity. Oh, and shiny. Elves like shiny. In short, diamonds are an elf’s best friend. Jewellery fits the bill, obviously, but elves also appreciate glittery makeup and elf gamers would love a set of crystal dice. Just don’t buy earrings. Darn, I said it… Mystic Moo effortlessly plummets down the karmic ladder…

Ideal game: SkyRealms of Jorune, as it’s suitably arcane and you need to be around for a few centuries to sort the rules out.


Their aura is purple and they have been there, done that and bought the demon a tee-shirt. You may sense a certain ennui from these souls that have been around for so long. Zed suggests that they will benefit from new experiences, so consider one of those vouchers for a novelty day out – ballooning, rally driving or visiting cows to take them sherry, for example.

Ideal game: Anything but Ars Magica. It’s hardly escapist for this mob.


The oldest souls of all, their aura is brown, the colour of nature and of the earth. They are small, rotund people with poor eyesight who frequently sport round spectacles. Owls appreciate books and value knowledge in all forms. As well as books, try anything which appeals to their love of nature. Gardening implements would go down well, as would binoculars, outdoor wear such as hiking boots and, most appreciated of all but terribly difficult to find, a nicely presented hamper of dead mice.

Ideal game: Big Eyes, Small Mouth. Owls like playing the baddies.


Plan to come back as Magicians, but they should be so lucky. Messy dabbling in the occult will do them no good whatsoever and the best they can hope for is speedy reincarnation as a bat. Buy these people big bunches of sunflowers, joke books, whoopee cushions, amusing horse-shaped cigarette dispensers. They’ll hate them, but it might lighten those auras from black to at least mucky grey for about two minutes. They’d probably have preferred the collected works of Edgar Allen Poe or Bauhaus’ Greatest Hits, but they already sold their grandmothers and bought those last week.

Ideal game: Star Children – Velvet Generation. They can live out those Bowie fantasies, preferably as far away from my field as possible.


Grans are wonderful people with a gentle lavender aura who appreciate the smallest gift if given with good intent. The more malicious and / or penny-pinching amongst you (or maybe girl gamers alert to the latest trends) could consider knitting a gran a jumper for Christmas. In my experience, shortbread, choccies, house plants or a mega crossword puzzle book go down well. More life-and-soul- of-the-party grans would appreciate a bottle of gin. Don’t forget that gran is a personality type. That gorgeous goth guy on the number 63 bus could be a gran deep down inside. Girlfriend, knit him a Dr Who style scarf and see what happens.

Ideal game: Buttercup recommends Secret Lives of the Gingerbread Men. Suggest you have plenty of Yorkshire Tea to hand whilst playing.

Combat Wombats

Oh Goddess, here we go. Combat Wombats are hugely over-represented amongst gamers. Historical re-enactors are almost exclusively CWs and all CWs share a distinctive khaki aura. Don’t believe for one second that they are reincarnated warriors. No enlightened soul would go through that again. They are more likely to have been put upon in a previous life – maybe servants in Victorian houses (cleaning up after consumptive future spirit guides, I daresay), refuse collectors or just plain timid. Indulge them with sets of miniatures or books on military history. Alternatively, give a teddy in combats from one of those make your own bear places. Come bed time, CW and his new furry friend will be snuggled up under the duvet dreaming of victories to come. By the way, not all Combat Wombats are men. Women CWs are in the minority, but unlikely to appreciate good perfume or jewellery. So save your money.

Ideal game: Anything spikey. Buttercup is a bit of a CW on the side and recommends Game of Thrones because if they if get bored playing it they can always beat the living daylights out of each other with the 500 page rulebook.

Zed has ceased communication for today, so, from one byre to another, enjoy your shopping and have a very merry Christmas, Yule, or whatever you celebrate.

Moo for now.

This article originally appeared on in November 2005.

Paula Dempsey, alias Mystic Moo, predicts your gaming future.

Whether Shoggoth, Cugel or Orc, we roleplayers are born under different stars to normal folk – discover you RPG star sign and learn your fate.

Although the sun shines outside, I confidently predict the return of Autumn. And how will the first horoscope of Summer affect your sign?

Orcs 21 March – 20 April
July marks a major transition point for Orcs. Having Mars as your ruling planet means your primary motivation is to hit things, hit them hard and make sure they don’t get up again. As the Sun moves into your fifth house you feel the need to take your urges outside, as it were, and hit things out of doors. A good month to take up pastimes such as cricket and baseball. Take care if driving, though.

Gurps 21 April – 21 May
Saturn moves into your eighth house on 19th July. As this is the part of your horoscope concerned with matters of money, sex and death I suggest you consider the following: Under no circumstances should you take your favourite D&D character adventuring on that day. Should you ignore this advice, I can personally guarantee that you will get at best a bloody nose and at worst your new character will have the stats of a one-legged weasel following Grumpo the Dwarf’s grisly demise at the claws of a big red dragon. Adding insult to injury, the rest of your gaming group will contrive to be in the little hobbit’s room when the delivery guy calls, leaving you to foot the bill for ten mega-sized pizzas. Best not to game that night. Or have sex…

Shoggoth 22 May – 21 June
As predicted in January, Shoggoths are having a rather subdued year. Your ruling planet, which is so damn freaky we astrologers haven’t actually named it yet, is lurking somewhere at the edge of the Milky Way and, quite frankly, it can stay there. Take time for introspection this month. Look at your life and how you can make it more fulfilling. Shoggoths can be their own worst enemies at times, especially those times when they menace other life forms and threaten the destruction of life as we know it. This doesn’t make you sympathetic characters. Think about how you could turn your life around; maybe take up voluntary work, get a puppy, that kind of thing.

Frodo 22 June – 22 July
Spring in the air! And Frodos do springing best. Comes of being only three feet high. Your excitable nature comes to the fore this month – you have big ideas for such a little dude. Mars in your second house has given you the impetus to get going, but Frodos tire easily and you could easily overdo it. Take particular care on the 14th, especially if using escalators. If not, you could end up with minor abrasions and having your feet shaved to get them out of the mechanism.

Werewolf 23 July – 22 August
Werewolves will be looking forward to the full moon on the 25th – which, as always, signifies a change for you. This month you are particularly concerned with career matters. It’s increasingly difficult getting to the office on time after a heavy night, and colleagues are starting to ask questions about the rabbit fur between your teeth. Buy floss and mouth wash or think about changing to night work in an isolated place out of doors. Werewolves have a unique selling point that security companies just love – once a month the German Shepherd gets a night off.

Cugel 23 August – 23 September
Venus enters your second house on 3rd July. This is the area of your sign concerned with material possessions and self-esteem. The two weeks it stays there is a great time to abandon your regular game of Traveller and go shopping instead. Visits to your local game store could yield some excellent bargains. If you really can’t bear to give up your regular gaming night, I suggest you play Dying Earth. Four hours where YOU are the hero – how can you resist?

Ninja 24 September – 23 October
Always sneaky, this month you become downright vicious. Dice are surreptitiously re-rolled and things go on behind that DM’s screen that would not be talked of in polite society. Towards the end of the month your gaming group will feel the need to retaliate, especially if you owe them for all that beer you drank. Use your heightened senses to look for traps such as cling-film on the loo seat or buckets of unpleasant substances balanced on doors. Or just say sorry and blame the stars.

Dork 24 October – 22 November
The moon has moved into your fourth house, which is where your karma lives. Dorks, bless them, are born with a great deal of bad karma and are destined to spend much of this earthly incarnation paying it back. This is why you have Duran Duran on your iPod instead of the White Stripes, work in cubicle hell and can never get a date on a Friday night. I would sympathise except that in your next life you’ll probably be wildly successful while I’ll come back as a cosmically aware one-legged weasel.

Vampire 23 November – 21 December
Poor you. As Summer beckons you want to go into a kind of reverse hibernation. It’s no surprise that you have travel on your mind this month. A long holiday in the Antarctic could be just what the witchdoctor ordered. On the upside, a long-term astrological trend for you between late March and early September lends a heightened sense of personal safety. Visualise your guardian angel, enveloped in silver light, reaching out to hold you in his protective aura. Of course, it could just be that long black cloaks show up better on light nights.

Ranger – 22 December – 20 January
You really are the dancing daffodil of the zodiac this month. Springtime sights and smells fill your senses and give you a new sense of well being. Your gaming patterns may become variable as you head out and about, eschewing five hours of D&D in favour of camping in the Cairngorms. Perhaps you could take your gaming group with you, they could probably do with an airing. Two things – remember to wrap up warmly and also playing knock down ginger on Vampires at 6:30am is VERY WRONG!!!

Traveller – 20 January – 19 February
Unusually for Travellers, you feel a strange urge to settle down this month. You’ve temporarily parked your Series 20 Starcruiser and are more mindful of roots than routes. You might move house or at least do some home improvements. Turning your attention to matters domestic buys brownie points with partners. Think ahead – a little wallpapering now could lead to a long and happy GenCon later.

Burrows 20 February – 20 March
Burrows like the summer. It’s warm enough to get out and do a spot of frolicking and it’s the mating season. For Burrows born in July now is the time to party like its 2099. However, Burrows have both gregarious and anxious tendencies, so it’s not all happy, happy, joy, joy. Those with July birthdays will probably be feeling a sense of impending doom. Especially, for some reason, those born in the 1960s. This is perfectly normal for your sign, and should pass once the cake arrives. If not, it won’t last past the sixth glass of chardonnay.

The following article appeared on in January 2005. You can find December 2004’s horoscope here.

Paula Dempsey, alias Mystic Moo, predicts your gaming future.

Whether Shoggoth, Cugel or Orc, we roleplayers are born under different stars to normal folk – discover you RPG star sign and learn your fate.

Welcome to 2005! We at Moo Mansion have used the stars to guide our New Year’s Resolutions. Let Mystic Moo put you on the astral path to a successful New Year!

Orcs 21 March – 20 April
Your resolution is the same this year as last year and the year before and the year before that… You want to hit more things, more often, harder and with nastier weapons. This is laudable and should go down a treat at your gaming group but probably not in your local pet shop. I suggest you stick with what you know. Resolutions to improve in other ways are doomed to failure.

Gurps 21 April – 21 May
Gurps are the shapeshifters of the zodiac. One minute 23rd century starship trooper, the next Victorian gentleman or sexy elf. You find it easy to make resolutions, but these are frequently scuppered by the irritating Gurps trait of actually forgetting who you are. Faced with a double mega choccie doughnut with sprinkles you say to yourself “I’m on a diet, but Augustus Hobbit isn’t”. Unfortunately, it’s not Augustus who piles on the pounds. Bless you for the power of your imagination.

Shoggoth 22 May – 21 June
Any Shoggoths with an interest in Chinese astrology (so that’s not many, then) will know that the Chinese New Year next month marks the start of the Year of the Rooster, with the element of wood. Wood Rooster years are characterised by their peacefulness. That’s you ****ed. Your resolution for this year should probably be world domination by around the 31st January. After that you have no option but to lay low. Thank heavens.

Frodo 22 June – 22 July
You have resolved to travel this year. This is a positive step as travel broadens the mind and too much time in the Shire fosters a small-town mentality. Frodos really are the wanderers of the zodiac, but having Venus in your house of travel does mean you let romantic views of foreign climes cloud your judgement. Picking up trinkets on your journey could lead to unexpected problems. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Have fun, take companions, buy maps and travel insurance.

Werewolf 23 July – 22 August
You are the only sign in the RPG zodiac that should resolve NOT to change. Nuff said.

Cugel 23 August – 23 September
Cugels have all resolved to be even more charming this year. This is bad. A New Year’s resolution should be about change, not just the same old same old. Plus, if you get any more smarmy you’ll start to slime like the Shoggoths. Why not resolve to do something useful for a change? My lawn needs mowing…

Ninja 24 September – 23 October
Pluto is in the part of your horoscope which governs how you appear to other people and will stay there for at least the first six months of 2005. You will absorb Pluto’s mysterious essence and become even more secretive and, well, downright sneaky. You’ll be lucky to keep any resolutions past the beginning of February and partners of Ninjas should watch out for those soundless glides to the kitchen at 4am for a sausage sarnie or that surreptitious ciggie in the back garden. While you’re out there, could you just check that Cugel is getting on with the mowing?

[Editor’s note: We apologize to all Dorks and Vampires, as we muddled up your dates last month. John Kovalic, of Dork Tower fame has a birthday on 14th November, so quite clearly we were wrong – he has to be a Dork. This was the fault of your humble editor and not Mystic Moo, who of course knew this would happen.]

Dork 24 October – 22 November
If ever a sign was in need of self-improvement it’s the Dorks. The problem is you just know you’re already perfect. Your computer confirms it every morning and your mum thinks you’re lovely. Resolve to make small lifestyle changes this year. Maybe wear a tie without egg stains to work on Mondays, try salad instead of McDonald’s once a month, read one book that’s not by Piers Anthony, that kind of thing. Good luck. You’ll need it.

Vampire 23 November – 21 December
You’re the sign most in touch with your mystic side, partly because only coming out during the hours of darkness means you see the stars more than the rest of us. The stars advise you to curb your ambition and wake up and smell the coffee this year. Resolve to get up a bit earlier, maybe. A bright light in the sky in early January awakens your preternatural senses and forms the basis of your new religious cult. Red faces all round in February when you find out it’s the top of a new cellphone transmitter.

Ranger – 22 December – 20 January
Because they are so in tune with nature, Rangers tend to be sensitive to changes in the seasons and are in virtual hibernation at this time of year, only venturing out bear-like on sunny days to stock up on pizzas and other essentials. New Year’s resolutions are beyond your torpid brain, so don’t worry too much. You could resolve to use newfangled devices like electric light and central heating, maybe. Or just stay under the duvet until Spring. That sounds good, actually. Room for two?

Traveller – 20 January – 19 February
Travellers are the kings of positive thinking. Any task or action you set yourself this year will be achieved. You’re an inspiration to us all. This is how you do it and manage to piss off hard-working astrologers at the same time. You simply visualise hopping into that there Series 20 Starcruiser and heading off to another part of the galaxy where the stars align to signify success. I suggest you add to your list of resolutions one about being so darn smug.

Burrows 20 February – 20 March
An error in a 16th century Italian astrological tome has been corrected. The sign formerly known as Cthulhu has now been redrawn as a giant rabbit entering her burrow. Former Cthulhus will count this a successful year if they come to terms with this fact. Some tips for you: resolve to do less sleeping, less dreaming and beat that craving for eldritch incantations with some of that gum you can only get from pharmacies. The attributes of your star sign will make you more active, a little jumpy and inordinately fond of lettuce. 2005 bodes well for dieters, then.

The following article appeared on in December 2004.

Paula Dempsey, alias Mystic Moo, predicts your gaming future.

Whether Shoggoth, Cugel or Orc, we roleplayers are born under different stars to normal folk – discover you RPG star sign and learn your fate.

Orcs 21 March – 20 April
Your pathetic attempt to convince the rest of your gaming group that you are the hard man of the zodiac falls flat this month as Mars, your ruling planet, enters the constellation of Throw Rug Major. Guess it will take more than rolling a critical on the dragon killing table and nabbing that last bit of pizza when no-one’s looking. Lucky gem dice color for this month: hot pink.

Gurps 21 April – 21 May
Your essentially mutable nature is especially active this month, and you may feel the need to experiment with different identities. This could involve dabbling with Vampire: The Masquerade but if you carry out the appropriate occult rituals (or just roll 3D6) you might be OK. Either way, avoid muskrats. Lucky gem dice color for this month: anything but black.

Shoggoth 22 May – 21 June
Don’t you think it’s about time you stopped being squamous and issuing vague and eldritch threats? Everyone’s well bored with you and you’re not going to get a date that way – let’s be honest, slime smells. Jupiter, bringer of jollity, enters your sign this month and gives you permission to lighten up. The stars are right for bowling or maybe inviting your friends round for tea and scones. Lucky gem dice color for this month: slime green, but sparkly slime green.

Frodo 22 June – 22 July
Having the Moon as your ruling planet can cause periods of vagueness and you spend much of this month searching for something. If you don’t know what it is, don’t ask me. What do you think I am, bleedin’ psychic? Wear furry slippers for extra luck on the 25th. Lucky gem dice color for this month: gold.

Werewolf 23 July – 22 August
You should be reassured that while the Moon does not appear in your horoscope this month, Mercury, the planet of intelligence and communication, does. This encourages you to be more outgoing. Why don’t you use your toothbrush, dog-breath, then call in to your local games store and buy something. That is, if you aren’t still barred for biting that tasty new assistant on your last visit. Lucky gem dice color for this month: tawny.

Cugel 23 August – 23 September [Dates edited to ensure that the Editor is a Cugel]
Well, aren’t you just the charmer of the zodiac? You’re a silver-tongued rogue at the best of times, but with Venus in your house of partnerships you’re unstoppable. Take care, though, or your flirtatious nature could lead to a nasty run in with a jealous rival on the 4th. Probably best to avoid sexually frustrated doxies, but consider giving your mobile number to any lonely astrologers. Lucky gem dice color for this month: what else but red, tiger?

Ninja 24 September – 23 October What are you doing here? That’s the trouble with you Ninjas, always hiding your light under a bushel. With Jupiter entering your sign this month, you need to be big bold and brash. So drop the little black number and go for stilettos and lamé. Beware of rival clans on the 12th, a sharpened kitten heel can do a lot of damage to your new hairdo. Lucky gem dice colour for this month: be proud, be loud, be bold, go gold!

Vampire 24 October – 22 November
Halloween falls into your sign and you love all that spooky stuff, don’t you? Unfortunately Uranus, the planet of surprise and change, enters your sign this month and wreaks havoc. You feel the need to wear a Burberry check shell suit and skip your regular goth club night in favour of taking your nan to bingo. Lucky gem dice color for this month: black, to remind you what you’re missing.

Dork 23 November – 21 December
Born in the depths of winter and with Saturn, the planet of discipline and restraint, in your house of public life it’s no wonder you don’t get out much. In fact, it’s just as well as everyone hates you. So indulge yourself this month. Buy a packet of Rich Tea from the Co-op on your way home from the laundrette on the 16th. Lucky gem dice color for this month: pale blue, then at least you’ll have one thing that looks cool.

Ranger – 22 December – 20 January
Yours is the sign of spiritual growth and deep intellect. Many rangers express themselves by wandering in wild countryside and indulging in rural pursuits such as hunting and not washing. This month is a good time to do that, but ensure that disruption caused by the Sun, that mischievous planet of vitality and personality, doesn’t cause you to go completely over the top. Consider eschewing blood sports in favor of more sedate activities. Maybe you could take an evening class in vegetarian cookery? And put that elf down… I said, put that ****in’ elf down… Lucky gem dice color for this month: green. You could use the camouflage.

Traveller – 20 January – 19 February
Neptune brings the gift of intuition and fantasy into your sign this month. Time to visualize what you want and use the power of positive thinking to make it yours. Your imagination is so keen on the 17th that you are able to design a whole new set of deck plans for a Starcruiser Series 20 without breaking into a sweat. And your intuition is strong enough for you to know exactly when to accidentally on purpose drop your dice on the floor and have another go. Lucky gem dice color for this month: cosmic purple.

Cthulhu 20 February – 20 March
You think the stars are right? Oh no, this is bad. This is very bad. OK, don’t go out, don’t even attempt to surface from the deep and please, please don’t listen to any rituals, even if they are elegantly worded by erudite chaos wizards. Most importantly, stay away from me and my hamster. I mean it… Lucky gem dice color for this month: that yellow one in the corner has an elder sign on it. Suggest you pick it up.

It is 1927, and August Darcy, a young journalist, is seized with a strange obsession to recover the very essence of England – her traditions, customs, and legends. Sketches of English life, in his unique style, are interspersed with private letters and diary extracts to offer an extraordinary insight into the victim of England’s most notorious occult crime.

In the early 1930s, England experiences the first portents of a magical war. Darcy’s mythic sites are the hidden battle fields; and that forbidden knowledge, the esoteric ordnance of the forthcoming conflict.

The Book of the New Jerusalem, by the author of The Book of the Smoke, is the Occult Investigator’s Guide to England, replete with mythic sites, occult rumours, and clues which will guide you on your quest for forbidden knowledge. Here is one such rumour:

County Cheshire: Bickerton

In 1798 two men were traversing Bickerton Hill just as the moon was rising in the night sky. Silhouetted against the moon’s disc was an enormous beast unlike any creature they had ever seen.  The creature threw back its head and emitted a howl which chilled the blood  and echoed for miles around.  Terrified, the chaps took themselves off to the nearest inn (which I personally find a useful strategy when faced with similar circumstances) and pounded on the door to be let in.  They sensibly remained there until dawn.

The following morning a group of farmhands brought news to the inn that one of their number, out early in the woods about five miles hence, had discovered the ragged corpses of two itinerant labourers. Both had been eviscerated by something with knives for claws. The remains of one were found on the banks of a stream, indicating he had been trying to flee across the water.  His head was missing and was not discovered subsequently. The other had kept the back of his head, but his face was gone and so were his ears.  His skull was cracked like a walnut at Christmas.

An anonymous missive to the local Methodist minister said that a werewolf had been active in the area for the past century and was in some way connected with the execution by burning at the stake of a warlock in Bickerton many years earlier.  The letter begs the question of why no sightings had been reported before. Additionally, witches and warlocks were not burned in England as the penalty for witchcraft was hanging, although the resultant corpses were sometimes disposed of by incineration  The creature’s transformation was, the correspondent claimed, triggered by lunar eclipses but it is obvious from the travellers’ account that the moon was full on the night they saw it. The letter further suggested painting crosses on houses to keep the wolf from the door, as it were.

Attacks by the giant wolf, or whatever the beast was, declined as time went on and there have been no reports in recent years.

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