Emblem from Michael Maier's Atalanta fugiens (1617).

Magic in the Ripper Game

As their investigations continue, the company are confronted with an increasing series of alchemical concepts. This began with the mad Dr. Lorenz, who engaged in a strange mix of alchemical and other experiments in an effort to bring to life alchemical concepts. Much of alchemy involves representing the physical processes as mythic journeys -- identifying key ingredients with universal occult symbols: planets, astrological signs, pagan gods, biblical figure, tarot cards, or simple images. A serpent crucified, a two-headed hermaphrodite, etc.

Lorenz mentions the White Lady and the Black King in his notes, which are alchemical terms. The White Lady here represents the force of order (illumination and vegetation), while the Black King represents the force of decay (putrefaction). Lorenz had made a full alchemical realization of the Red Man, the joining of these two -- a two-headed hermaphrodite like the one pictured above. However, it was flawed and either was set loose or escaped.

Within the game, the company have picked up upon this as a method of causing magical effects. Individuals, it seems, can become avatars of sorts for these symbols. Hilda Stein was the force in London for the White Lady, while Charles Milverton became the Black King. Our magic is done by acting to match up these images into mythic sequences.

Thus, the company captured the Black King by enacting the myth of Aphrodite and Ares being caught as adulterers in a metal web by Hephaistus. Here we figured the Black King as Ares and the White Lady as Aphrodite, then arranged other figures to represent the other forces in the battle.


Our real-world sources for this work are quite limited at present. The Blake Tarot is an original synthesis of Blake paintings and titles drawn from alchemical works. The White Lady and Black King themselves seem rather obscure.

One line is our ostensible allies, who guided the Boat of a Million Years out of Aegypt-London. The pilot identified himself by the sigil on his ring, and said that we would find allies wherever we find this sign. Hawksquill has identified the sigil on the ring as the Monas Hieroglyphica (Hieroglyphic Monad) of John Dee. Following this realization, she also has noted that the old man on the boat looked an awful lot like John Dee. The short Italian man bearing the Monad could conceivably be Giordano Bruno, although it is hard to identify a man who is severely burn-scarred. Of course, Bruno was burned at the stake in 1600....

About John Dee

For more information on alchemy, see the:
The Alchemy Virtual Library
For information of a published Blake Tarot (not the same as the cards being discovered in the game), see:
William Blake Tarot of the Creative Imagination