“Then [the LORD] said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’”
This is from the Bible, Ezekiel chapter 37. The prophet Ezekiel, a Jewish prophet, is recording the message God wanted to deliver to the people of Israel and the LORD used a story to communicate the fullness of His purpose to His people. In this story, we see a broken and unquestionably dead people being reconstructed and brought to life as a strong and powerful army. Sounds like a crazy gaming campaign to me!
The concept of resurrection and the power of bringing the dead back to life occupies a huge place in the narrative of real world myths and legends as well as space in the rulebooks and tabletop games across game space. There is something about the dead and our inability to move beyond the last transition of life that fascinates and frustrates us. The fact that the resurrection of the dead factors so strongly in the religions of the world only gives further curiosity to just what we do with those who have died and that curiosity and fear carries over to my game table at least.
This depiction from the writings of Ezekiel has always stuck with me because of how bizarre it comes across. The idea that a simple man could function as a divine conduit and give wind to the very breath of God raising an army of the dead into a powerful host is the stuff of fantasy (if not horror) and yet this exact circumstance is what God describes to Ezekiel as the way He will rebuild His people.
I’ve felt dead before. I was completely lost and without hope or power to act and it was the divine breath of God that gave me life. That’s what this blog is all about. I want to explore just what it means for the dead to be alive, specifically in my games. God is the breath that brings life to my old bones and I’m tired of my game being a pile of old bones as well. I’ve been playing RPGs long enough now that I’m not satisfied with a simple enter dungeon, beat down monsters, extract reward scenario. The narrative of the game and the mechanics therein can tell a story and jump into exactly what it is God is doing in the world. Here you can expect to see examples of how I’m trying to integrate this mentality into my game design, how my faith informs my gaming, and hopefully experience a little of that same breath that raises the dead and brings life to dried bones.
So RAISE THE DEAD! And the living beware.