Archive for the ‘History’ Category


D&D 40th Anniversary Questions in one Big (Blog) Hop

1 February, 2014

D20 Dark Ages is hosting a daily Blog Hop in honor of the 40th Anniversary of D&D.  But as I am not up to doing this on a daily basis (like Tales of the Rambling Bumblers) I will do it in one big post and wish the others well in their blog hopping.

1: First person who introduced you to D&D? Which edition? Your first Character?

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In Remembrance of Honorable Soldiers on Armistice Day (2013)

11 November, 2013

We have reached another Armistice Day (in modern parlance Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth and Veterans Day in the US).  It originally served as a remember of the end of the Great War, the Armistice that ended the war starting at 11:11am on 11 November, 1918, and those who served and died there.  Since then, it has been expanded to include the many others who have served and died for their country in honorable service through the years.

If you remember, pause for a minute of silence to honor the brave soldiers and other members of the armed forces that have guarded us -and still do- at 11:11am.

Though do not let us forget, “It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it.” -Robert E Lee

And, as is my want, a war poem, to stir memories, this one from an Austrian poet:

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Review – Chinese Warlord Armies 1911-30

14 July, 2013

I recently picked up a copy of Chinese Warlord Armies 1911-30 from Osprey Books as a reference and it succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.  The warlord period of 20th Century Chinese history is fascinating, though it must have been rather horrible to live through, the overthrow of the last Chinese Empire and the establishment of the Republic, which was unable to maintain order or any sense of control and the country rapidly descended into a period of warlord rule.

The warlords fragmented China in their constant grasping for an ever bigger territories to rule until the Chinese Republic finally got its act together and slowly took China back from the warlord, often by co-opting the warlords who saw the writing on the wall, by allying with the Chinese Communists and accepting aid from the Soviet Union.  Yes, history really is that strange.

This book is little more than an overview of the situation and the chaos of that era where warlords with colorful nicknames such as the ‘Dogmeat General’ and the ‘Jade Marshal’ using armies equipped with whatever weapons they could buy from the world market, steal from their enemies or (occasionally) have built.  Where European, Russian (red and white) and Japanese advisers and mercenaries worked for various sides.  What a model for a wild campaign, fortunes to be made (and lost), allies and enemies to make, deals and betrayals abound.

The book is well written with a variety of colorful anecdotes to leaven the basic facts of the situation but it is, of necessity, only a introduction to the complexities of this era but an interesting read and well illustrated both with Osprey’s color plates and a variety of photographs from the era.


To Honor the Fallen and Those Who Served

11 November, 2012

We have reached another Armistice Day (Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth, Veterans Day in the US), it seems odd to have it fall on a Sunday for some reason.

Originally created as a day to remember the end of the Great War, the Armistice that ended the war starting at 11:11am on 11 November, 1918, and those who served and died there.  Since then, it has been expanded to include the many others who have served and died for their country in honorable service through the years.

So let us honor the brave warriors that have guarded us -and still do- today.  However,  on today of all days we must not forget that war is a terrible thing. Read the rest of this entry ?


Ada Lovelace Day 2012

16 October, 2012
Ada Lovelace (1838)

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to raise awareness of the achievements and successes of women in technology and science.  This year it is today (16th October).

As is my want, I will be looking back at one of the early female scientists, Aglaonike of Thessaly who lived in the 2nd Century BCE naturally, we only have fragmentary information about her (which is true of all such people of that era).  Aglaonike was the first female astrologer in Ancient Greece and was able to predict Lunar eclipses, a Greek proverb makes reference to Aglaonike’s alleged boasting: “Yes, as the moon obeys Aglaonike” which indicate her confidence in her abilities.  Other female astrologers were inspired by Aglaonike becoming known as the “witches of Thessaly” and often regarded as sorcerers.  (You can learn a little more about her at Wikipedia.)

And, lastly, one would be remiss to not mention 2D Goggles where, in the universe next door, Ada Lovelace is a adventerous science heroine.

Notes: Picture from the Wikimedia Commons and is in the public domain.


Playing In Other People’s Worlds – September Blog Carnival

28 September, 2012

This is part of the September Blog Carnival: Running Games In Established Settings kindly hosted by Dice Monkey.

Generally, I do not play in established settings, early experience with the Forgotten Realm left a bad taste in my mouth for such for D&Dish fantasy games and since then I have been fairly aggressive about building my own worlds and settings.  Same for superhero games, I love supers but the existing worlds (DC and Marvel) are so bogged down in their own convoluted histories that they are near unplayable for me.  I want a world that in mine and, because it is mine, I understand how it works.

Now, there are two exceptions to this, Legend of the Five Rings and Shadowrun, both of which I have run off and on since each of they released.  We will look at them in reverse order:

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The Lupercalia Begins!

13 February, 2012

Welcome to another of the odd festival of Ancient Rome!  Today is the start of the Lupercalia, a purification ritual with very confusing origins.  (Purification was needed as February was considered ill-omened by the Romans.)

Palatine Hill, the cave is there somewhere

Palatine Hill

The ritual took place in a sacred cave, the Lupercal Cave, on Palatine Hill where two goats and a dog were sacrificed, to whom is still debated, but it was for purification and -as purification was linked to fertility- for fertility.  Two chosen boys, originally sons of the equestrian (aristocratic) order, who were marked on the forehead with the blood of the goats from the sword used to slain the sacrifice which was then wiped away with wool dipped in milk after which the boys must laugh(!).  The boys then took lashes made from the goat skin and run through the old boundaries of the city, dressed only in girdles of goatskin, striking people with the lashes.  Women would seek to be struck by these, offering their hands, as the touch of the lash was suppose to increase fertility, cure barrenness and ease the pains of childbirth.

Now, who exactly the sacrifices were to, where the ritual originated and many other details have been lost to the mists of time.  But a fascinating piece of history.

Notes: Photo by Rennett Stowe and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


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