Technopagan Sacrifice

While the occult aspects of my life are in many ways the most important, it is not unknown for me to be seen around the Steam Store looking for the next big hack and slash role playing game, or taking my Black-Blue Dimir deck out for a spin against all comers during Magic the Gathering games nights. While the paranormal has been with me as long as there has been blood in my veins, my heart also beats for the thrill of the kill, though only in a digital sense of course. I am by nature a collector, a hoarder of unreal trinkets, and as such I take my time building the perfect digital treasure hunter to get the job done.

Yet if my existence up to this point could be defined by a single tenet, it would be that the magick always wins. As such it never takes long for my more mystical interests to shade their way into the many and varied hobbies that make up my already limited free time. One solid example of this is the following ritualistic endeavour, which I have called the digital sacrifice. All that is required to succeed in this operation is a suitable RPG, a couple of hours here and there to play it, and the skill to stay alive. Because the game has to be one utilising that usually most frustrating of optional features, the permadeath.

This is an additional packet of code that binds itself to your character’s save file and erases them outright when they die. A little too real for most casual players perhaps, but exceedingly useful to those that dabble in technopaganism, as you will come to appreciate by the end of this blog. In simple terms I am proposing the use of said game, and the associated option, to create and fire a meta sigil based around a given intent. Fuelled by the continued mental strain needed to keep the character alive, this is finally triggered by their all too planned demise at a certain point against a previously chosen foe.

The process is simple. Firstly, go through all the stages to create a bog standard sigil for whatever you desire at the time, but only up to the point where you have a short stream of nonsensical latters. Instead of drawing an image with these, jumble them around as you wish until you get something approaching the usual post Tolkein gibberish favoured by both talentless fantasy writers and bored Hollywood film executives, adding vowels back in as required. This deconstructed text, in all it’s Conan-esque glory, is then used to name your character, and play begins once the permadeath option is selected.

Every time you revisit the status or inventory screens during the game you will be presented with the name that you have chosen, but without the time to ruminate on the meaning behind it. Even better, during either particularly intense combat sequences requiring a swift change of equipment or the always dull and prolonged city hub trading trips essential in keeping your character well stocked you will stop noticing the name at all. This allows it to sink down deep into your subconscious where it can lay it’s slimy little eggs in the darkest corners for future use.

Meanwhile, every close call, every hair trigger escape from a potentially ritual breaking early death works towards charging your character with the mental energy required to make the spell fire when the time comes for them to return to the pixelated dust from whence they came. This will be at a point that you decided upon previously. A given experience level perhaps, or a certain game realm. Even a boss battle that speaks to you in some personal way can work too. After leaving any particularly choice equipment with another of your characters or in a shared stash all that remains is to journey to that location and release your adventurer to the ages, thus firing the sigil and completing the operation successfully.

The game that you decide upon to perform the digital sacrifice is up to you, though I personally like Diablo II running the frankly essential PlugY. This is a mod which greatly enhances both the shared stash and hud elements without changing the core gameplay in any major way. I guess I am a purist at heart after all. And it is worth noting in closing that an unplanned death is not a sign that the desired outcome is doomed to failure, it is just a symptom of bad planning. Keep trying until you get to the point that you chose to end it all, and let your character go gently into that good night knowing that his or her sacrifice was far from in vain.