Archive for the ‘Accross the Web’ Category

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History Resources for your Game

28 August, 2015

A variety of interesting articles and sites about history I have found recently and wish to share:

An amazing site that is a collection of thousand of aerial photographs of England taken between 1919 and 1953, Britain from Above.

A good article about the new display, Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire, at will be at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Anna Wintour Costume Center.  The Victorian attitude toward death was so very different from ours.

While this bends into a political discussion, it still has interesting information on the history and development of dyes.

Ten apartment building floor plans from early 20th Century NYC (you can find the source for such and more at the New York Public Library Digital Gallery).

From Historic England,  an Introduction to Medieval Settlements, technical but short and packed with information.

One of the ways news was spread of judicial punishment in early modern Europe was through murder ballads, recount the crimes and (more importantly) punishment of those executed.  Your campaign needs these.

Any new of a historical nature catch your eye lately?

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Dark Future Ahead 12 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

20 August, 2015

There has to be an adventure in disrupting (or supporting) an internet troll factory, a place than manufactures opinion for a government, or megacorporation, by spamming social media with posts in support of this or against that.  Fascinating.

Listed to to soothing sounds of the BotNets,  MicroSoft is listening to the web, literally, to locate and analyze botnets.  Quite intriguing.

What will the skyscraper of the future look like?  Architect Ole Scheeren has some interesting ideas.

Transparent aluminum!  We can make transparent aluminum, a staple of early SF becomes reality.

Talor Swift’s video Bad Blood has the right sort of vibe for entertainment within the cyberpunk future.  I see it as a future video game trailer with each of the named characters available as playable options.

Make your own opiates from sugar with the right yeast.  More use for those biochemistry degrees.

And how about 3D-printed pills to go with your yeast grown opiates?

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

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Summerland Blog Carnival – the Empress’ Birthday

22 June, 2015

The Sea of Stars is unusual in that all of the lands upon it have the same seasons, indeed the same length of day, as the Sun is allowed out for longer times during the summer and shorter periods in the winter.  As the Empress likes summer best, it lasts for four months, rather than the three for each of the other three seasons, and in the middle of Summer on the day with the most daylight, her birthday is celebrated (or at least recognized) across the Empire.

Enjoy the show!The tradition has evolved to have a huge party in the Capital starting at dawn.  The Empress mingles with her people and gives out gifts and recognition to the Imperial bureaucracy and military and, occasionally, to one or more of the Draconic Houses.  In the later afternoon, she ventures out to visit other celebrations, bringing stories, entertainments and gifts.  The appearance of the Empress at one of the distant celebrations is a great honor . . . and a terrifying experience.  There are rumors, never proven, that one insult will lead to the wrath of the Empress and the extermination of all who participated.  But no one has visited such a place, or even met someone who has, but always a cousin who met someone who knew a traveler who found such a ruin.

Feasts, contests and fireworks after the Sun returns to his prison are the traditional entertainments and Imperial duties and taxes are suspended for the day, the Empress wishes everyone to enjoy the day, at least, so her proclamations say.

While the Empress’ Birthday is celebrated, her age is never discussed.  (Though it is believed to be well over two millennia possibly as much as three and a half.)

Notes: My contribution to June Blog Festival – Summerland hosted by Tales of a GM.

Photo by Kevin Dooley and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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So, I have a Patreon account now

30 May, 2015

I joined the tide of hopeful content creators and have created my own Patreon account.  So, if you would like to support and encourage my creativity, I will be grateful.

In any case, I will be continuing to create new content here which I hope has been useful for people.

Thank you for your support here or there.

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My ‘What are you good at’ GM Challenge

29 May, 2015

From the devious mind of Barking Alien comes the ‘What are you good at’ GM Challenge.  It is pretty simple, five systems/genres you do well, three you do not, five GM skills you excel at and three that need improvement.  For me:

What genres, settings, or games in general do you GM best? Which ones do you think you totally rock?

  1. Traditional (as in D&Desque) Fantasy, fantasy is a good standby and the central pillar of my gaming experience, by now I am pretty good at juggling the needs of it as a genre.
  2. Silver Age Superheroes, when heroes were heroes and villains had themes (“Not this day, Comet Master!“).
  3. Cyberpunk/Shadowrun, the dark future is a surprisingly fun place to play games.
  4. Legend of the Five Rings, the Empire of Rokugan has always proven to be a good place to run games.  Everyone likes magical samurai, right?
  5. Action/Adventure, as a general rule, this is my strength.

Which games could you use to work on? That is, if your group wants to play one of these games, you yourself would probably recommend a different GM.

  1. Politics, I have real trouble tracking the vast number of NPCs and plots required for a really solid political game.
  2. Horror, never sure how to get player buy in for this.
  3. Comedy, while I have run games with lots of humor, a pure comedy game I suspect would collapse with me as a GM.

What elements of Gamemastering do you do best? What aspects do you nail more often than not?

  1. Flexibility, I can adapt quickly to whatever craziness the players throw at me.
  2. Making Players Awesome, I want everyone to be awesome!  So, letting players and their be cool is what it is about.
  3. Imagination, I like to think that I present an exciting and interesting world.
  4. Action/Adventure (again!), presenting high action really does seem to be one of my strong suites.
  5. NPCs that help without getting in the way, this is a skill that took me sometime to learn as a GM but I think I have it down now.

Which elements are still a work in progress? Name some things that you don’t do as well as you’d like.

  1. Organization/Note-taking, not as careful or as complete as I should be on either of these (linked) GM duties.
  2. Politics/large number of required NPCs, as mentioned above, the organization and tracking needed for large scale politics and intrigue seem beyond me.
  3. Player Commitment, not as good as inspiring this as I would like, no one seems to be willing to do more than the minimum needed to play.  Which can be understandable but to build a strong campaign some additional interaction and support is needed.

An interesting exercise and food for thought.

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Dark Future Ahead 11 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

30 March, 2015

Generating power from water mains, clever.   Not surprised that Portland, OR, is in the lead installing these but they could show up all over the place.

And speaking of power generation, in the fragmentation of Lebanon, people are hostage to the “generator mafia” for power.  Useful for understanding what life might be like in the abandoned areas, barrens and under-cities.

How the Disney MagicBand system works and the implication it has for the future.  They know where you are, where you and going and what you want (probably).

So, Prince has a secret vault full of unreleased songs.   Someone will certainly want those songs.

Are we approaching the end of farming?  Could factories replace factory farming?

Japan is constantly rebuilding and remixing the America of the past.  There has to be some gaming potential there.

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Dark Future Ahead 10 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

25 February, 2015

Blood sports seems to be one of the staples of cyberpunk futures, what about blood sports without the blood?  Unified Weapon Master is trying to build a MMA sort of league for armed combat using high tech armor to keep the fighters safe.  You can read a bit more about UWM here as well.

The Russian official media is a tool for propaganda and disinformation, read about how it works for Putin.

A hacker has caused actual physical damage to a German steel works, read about it here.

Its not all soy in the future, how about cricket flour or sweet blue lupine seeds?  Read about the (potential) future of food.

One step closer to a direct neural interface?

The Regenerative Bioscience Center of the University of Georgia is trying to Save Endangered Species: the Sumatran Tiger and the Clouded Leopard by using stem cells to increase genetic diversity.  How biopunk is that?  It is a worthy goal and an good way to advance several interesting fields of study.  Please help if you can, I have tossed my bit in.

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