umbral / rhizome

umbral / rhizome is a ludo-theoretical text about thresholds and connections, darkness and belonging. It was drafted for the Cryptid Jam, though it does not, in fact, feature any cryptids. On the contrary, as an exercise in ludo-theory, umbral / rhizome is instead about the conditions of crypticity itself, the existential fact of the “crypt”—the birthplace of cryptography, encryption, and, yes, cryptids. Ontologically, the “crypt” is the hiddenness of the real that is prior to, and remains resistant to, the disclosure and representation of philosophy. More simply, the “crypt” is that which has been named as Tiamat (Enûma Eliš), chaos (Hesiod), the deep (Genesis), and the void (Alain Badiou).

But what does all this mean for play? Despite not actually being a game about cryptids proper, umbral / rhizome can still be played. Nestled in the middle of the text is a one page ttrpg designed to enact these ideas, to draw players into the in-sufficiency of tactile relation that rustles in the elemental darkness prior to the searing light of sufficient reason.

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