Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dante's Dungeon

I am not a Zak S fanboy, really I'm not. It's just that everything he says on his blogs these days seems to go right into the D&D place in my brain and resonate with every single thing in there.

His post on the G monsters is pretty awesome.

"When Dante wrote the The Divine Comedy he wasn't thinking "Hey I'm making up a bunch of stuff about Heaven and Hell so I guess I'm risking blasphemy, but whatever, the Church is pretty laid back about these things, especially these days," he was thinking "I guess I want to write about the details of Heaven and Hell because God is telling me through the medium of my imagination what all is in there," only he was thinking it in Italian and in terza rima."

This is right where I'm at about dungeons. Maybe a given dungeon has a naturalistic explanation and maybe it doesn't. But all the dungeons in my world have a connection with something alien and weird and not at all friendly. If they don't they're just caves.

Also, Zak makes a defense of the Gas Spore that wholly makes up for his defamation of giant beetles.



Blogger Unknown said...

If you want to be accurate about it, Dante was exhaled from his home in Florence for accruing a politician (I forget the name) of taking bribes. The Divine Comedy is an allegory of what Florence is and what Florence can be through the medium of divine order. The Divine Comedy has very little to do with imagining what Hell, Heaven, and Paregoric actually were and looked like. Back in Dante's time, the bible was not read literally, but as an allegory, similar to the Divine Comedy.

March 24, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Blogger squidman said...

Ian, you certainly have a point there, however, I think that's only one of the possible interpretations Dante's work. It would be a serious oversimplification to impose only one way of reading this complex work of art.

March 24, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Blogger Steve Lawson said...

When I realized that Zak is the same guy who did "One Picture for Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow" and "We Did Porn: Memoir and Drawings," I decided that yes, indeed, I AM a Zak fanboy.

March 24, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, I was totally ignorant of Zak's artistic pedigree, but I had seen the Pynchon work before. It's pretty awesome.

Ian's got a point about the literal level of Dante's work, but I think that Zak's right on about the inspiration. It's about channeling something.

So in my world, I want dungeons to be the channeling of some twisted nature from beyond, with a touch of allegory tossed in. I'm not sure I'm up to that. My dungeons have been a bit borning when run, so far, but I'm working on getting it better.

March 24, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

squidman, yes, frankly my comment was a gross over simplification of Dante's work. However, I like to keep my comments at about 100 words as to not dominate the original post. Most of my post was, what is considered historical fact. the part about the divine comedy having little to do with imagining heavenly bodies was probably going a little too far though. Thanks for calling me out.

Tony, I think it's great that Zak is using Dante for inspiration. I just wanted to clarify what is taken as history a little.

March 24, 2010 at 9:23 PM


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