Archive for the ‘Accross the Web’ Category

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Wizards in the Sea of Stars

30 July, 2016

Wizard EarlMy, rather last minute, addition to this month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme of the Ways of the Wise hosted by my friend Brandes over at Harbinger of Doom.

Wizards were once a great power in the pre-Sundering Sea of Stars, indeed the gods feared that it would be the wizards that made a play to displace the divine beings and so agents of the faiths were actively working to undermine the power bases of the great wizards and keep them divided.  Unfortunately, the gods focus on the wizards caused them to almost entirely overlook the draconic conspiracy.

When the dragons attacked the gods, the wizards dithered, some arguing that the gods needed their help, others were happy to watch two rivals tear each other apart, most just waited and trying to figure out what was happening in the heavens.  A handful of ambitious wizards in the immediate aftermath of the Sundering tried to caim their own independent states, the Empress offer them one chance to bend the knee to her, most did not and were destroyed in swift and decisive action.  The other wizards either went into hiding or found draconic patrons, the choice was stark, avoid the eyes of the dragons or serve them.  The wizards’ ruins were left behind by the Empress’ wrath, she forbid anyone from looting them, leaving them as a testimony to her power.  Of course that has not stopped the greedy and the curious from exploring them, especially as Imperial oversight of the ruins fell away after centuries.

The wizards who found draconic patrons, most found them to be generous and willing to give them free reign as long as they produced the results there patron desired.  Such pressure to succeed does sometime lead to the cutting of corners and taking of risks, such as hiring of venturers to acquire needed items or information.

Those who went into hiding pursued various tactics to vanish, some found patrons among the elves, dwarves or even the criminal underworld, others traveled to the wilds at the edge of the world where few went, other concealed their skill and power and posed as hedge wizards or scholars.  Most managed to avoid detection by a few were swept up by Imperial forces or the Draconic houses to be pressed into service or executed.  After a century, the wizards had either integrated into their new lives or died, but the power of these rogue wizards was vastly reduced and the Imperial project to find them was wound down.

Wizards and their machinations, abandoned towers and labratories, can serve as adventure locations and seeds.  While not directly able to challenge the power of the dragons, the magic secrets of the wizards are a stepping stone toward equalizing the power imbalance between mortal and dragon.

Notes: Image of the Wizard Earl (Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland) by Nicholas Hilliard, held by the Rijksmuseum and is in the Pubic Domain.

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Dark Future Ahead 17 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

28 July, 2016

Looking at the future of fashion among other things.  Now, tune in for the latest interesting and cyberpunk inspiring stories that I have found:

The Museum of Fine Arts – Boston is hosting a exhibit called #Techstyle looking at the overlaps and twists between technology and fashion.  Reason magazine has a good interview with the curator here.  You can also look at the tech fashion accessories of CuteCircuit who are providing items for the exhibit.

For protection against the paparazzi, ISHU has produced a scarf made of reflective material that uses the light from camera flashes to ‘blind’ cameras.  Useful for those trying to keep out of the public eye, ISHU also makes neckties and other things of the same material.

On a different level, there  are bunches of companies recycling bit of piece of cars and bikes into bags, clothing and even clothing.  Good ideas for the sorts of things you might find in street markets and underground bazaars.

Would you wear leather made from vat grown human skin?  What if it included tattoos and was cultured from a celebrity?  Fashion is going to be strange in the future.

In flightFacebook moves closer to its goal of bringing the internet everywhere with the test flight of the Aquila solar powered drone, designed to circle for months and act as a broadband link for people and areas outside of usual connectivity.  (See a video of the test flight here.)

Lastly, a Dutch company is upcycling industrial waste, (ceramics, glass and insulation) into fancy bricks, read about it here.  Or visit the company’s, StoneCycling, webpage directly.

What visions of the coming dark future have you seen recently?

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Dark Future Ahead 16 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

30 June, 2016

Lots of information on architecture this time around but buildings are important.  Now, tune in for the latest interesting and cyberpunk inspiring stories that I have found:

When business travelers suspect they will need help, they often contract with International SOS (or similar firm) to provide advice and action when required (from the Economist, may requires registration).  Seems like the sort of company who might have to hire spJohammer from aboveecialists now and then.

What about the Johammer J1, an electric-power motorcycle from Austria.  The can visit the company’s site here to learn more about the interesting vehicle.

Would you feel safe in a skyscraper made of wood?  I think I would as long as it was not too tall.  But lots of opportunities for incorporating things into the structure of the building if you can hit the right point of the production process.  Also, a very green way to construct buildings if done properly.

The future of building is green is various ways, visit the Edge in Amsterdam, a green, interconnected office building complete with security drones(!).  It is the greenest building built so far with a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) score of 98.36%, the highest ever, making it the target to match (or beat) for sustainability in buildings.

How security uses intelligent design of buildings to control your movement and get a good look at you.  Things to remember for people on both sides of the law.  Remember, cameras are everywhere, plan accordingly.

What visions of the coming dark future have you seen recently?

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Creative Sunday – Dave Cain, maker of chain mail jewelry

29 May, 2016

Bracing, no?It has been a while since I have done a creative Sunday, but here is one:

Dave Cain has been a friend and member of my gaming circle for years, he used to make chain mail, first of steel and later of aluminum, for LARPs but he then branched out into working with precious metals and has become a full time, independent jeweler now.

Read the Red and Black’s, the University of Georgia student newspaper, interview with him here.

It will not fly awayHis work is really quite impressive, you can visit his Etsy Shop and he is also happy to do custom work.  So if you are in need of a unique, handmade piece for yourself or as a gift, take a look.

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Dark Future Ahead 15 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

5 May, 2016

About to run Shadowrun tonight, not stealing anything directly from the articles below but hopefully they will prove inspiration to others.  Now, tune in for the latest interesting and cyberpunk inspiring stories that I have found:

Sometimes extreme measure are needed to protect endangered animals, rangers authorized to use lethal force to protect rhinos in Kenya.  Surely there is a place in a cyberpunk game for this.

Wearable technology finding its place in modern fashion at long last?

The global language of music is found in heavy metal?  Metal music is everywhere and increasingly as a international, cross cultural genre.  Fascinating.

Using modern technology to spread ancient thought, Xian’er the robotic (Buddhist) monk is here to help and teach you.

Your lead singer is a hologram?  Wasn’t that a 1980s cartoon?  But jokes aside, the Japanese have created a realistic(ish) holographic singer and she tours.

The Belgian military is using drones to keep an eye on their ports.

What visions of the coming dark future have you seen recently?

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Royal Armouries for all!

19 April, 2016

The British Royal Armouries have placed their collection online!  It is a treasure trove of useful resources especially image of weapons and armor from the collections.

A gift from Japan

The collection of pole weapons is especially fun.

Photo of Sword (katana) (1370) by Masamitsu, Royal Armouries, no date, Photo, subject to Crown Copyright and used under the Non-Commercial Government Licence (U.K).

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Encouraging and Inspiring Players

18 February, 2016

Though that I should make an attempt to contribute to this month’s RPG Blog Carnival “How do you inspire your players?” hosted by Roleplaying Tips.

Inspiring players is often a challenge and part of the answer for a GM has to be:

GM something that Inspires You.

If you are excited and involved with the game and its world, it will be easier for the players to become inspired and involved in it.  If it is your passion, people will feel that and respond to it, just do not become too proprietary, no vision of the perfect campaign survives contact with the players; The world will both shape and be shaped by player action.

Communicate and Share what Inspires You.

Part and parcel of the first point, but let your player know what inspires and excites you about the game you are GMing.  If there are movies or music that communicate ideas about your world, share them, put together a Pinterest board (or use some other site) to share images (I have one for the Sea of Stars, another for Petrichor and for other games and genres including the Noir Revolution campaign).  Anything that helps put you all in the same mental landscape for the game.

In my experience, communication between GM and players (and between players) is what makes  or breaks campaigns.  So, talk, share, debate, build castles of the imagination together.

Not a long post, but I hope helpful.  Now, go and inspire people.

 

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