Friday, November 30, 2012

Daily Cosplay

Winter Cloak...New Magic item

The rangers of old hunted the winter wolf for the value of its fur. When fashioned into a cloak by the priests of the Og-Aust, the old gods, the spirit of the wolf remained, imparting the wolf's powers to those who wore it. The cloak is white, or white with touches of grey, or on very rare occasions black. It is long, at least 5 feet and broad, wrapping around a normal human with ease. The head and upper snout oft times remain on the cloak, for warmth and decoration.

The cloak gives the wearer a base AC of 15. It also imparts heightened senses to the wearer, giving them a +1 on all listen, scent and sight checks. The wearer can withstand temperatures up to -20 degrees below zero. The winter's cloak also gives the wielder the ability to send a chilling blast of air, once per day, for 4d4 points of damage; constitution save for half.

the cloak can be used with armor but does not impart any extra AC. For instance if worn with banded mail, that gives the wearer AC 16, the cloak adds nothing more to it. The cloak can be used with other items however, such as bracer of defense, ring of protection, etc.

Mercury Rising

For those who follow the blog, yesterday we posted that perhaps it would be a good time to buy some property on Mercury due to the sun's impending collapse into a white dwarf and how this would cool Mercury. So the time is now, get in on it while you can, before the prices skyrocket.

Well, it just got better. You can now get water-front property on Mencury!

Read More.

Armor Up



Breaking Lances

In the joust it was almost as good to break your lance upon your opponents shield as it was to unhorse him. If you failed to unhorse him and he failed to unhorse you, but you broke 3 lances on his shield to your 2, you were the victor.

Slavery in the Middle Ages

We had a spirited discussion...more humorous than serious...about slavery at the game table the other night. The party has taken it upon itself to free slaves whenever they meet them, which has led to some interesting encounters. But I posed the question as to whether slavery existed in the middle ages, specifically in the feudal kingdoms such as France. I thought that it had, but was probably less common than it had been in antiquity, but as the periord of manorialism is dominated by the serf/vassal/lord relationship the history books rarely speak of slavery.

Apparently it did exist. Some estimates report that well over 10% of the population of the Carolingian Empire were slaves. Criminals could be enslaved. Slaves were actively traded in the southern cities, mostly sold to the Middle East.

Later realms, such as the Grand Duchy of Warsaw made owning slaves illegal, but for the most part they were not addressed in the various codes. William of Normandy made owning Christian slaves in England illegal in 1066, but had no affect on the French realms to the south. By the time the Church had declared that owning Christian slaves was against the spirit of the religion and as a practice it died out. However, owning non-Christian slaves was allowed. It did die out for the most part as the middle ages progressed and serfdom, that one was tied to the land they farmed, not to one who owned them, replaced all.

This all makes sense, rarely do things end abruptly unless done so in a wave of cataclysmic violence, and the Roman Empire with its hosts of slaves, did not die in a cataclysmic collapse, but rather through as slow grind of economic ruin.


 photo from Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Word of the Day -- Foment

We Crusaders sometimes like to "foment" rebellion, which means to promote the growth or development ofto rouse or incite.

If you had sore muscles in the 1600s, your doctor might have advised you to foment the injury, perhaps with heated lotions or warm wax. Does this sound like an odd prescription? Not if you know that "foment" traces to the Latin verb "fovēre," which means "to heat." The earliest documented English uses of "foment" appear in medical texts offering advice on how to soothe various aches and pains by the application of moist heat. But the idea of applying heat can also be a metaphor for stimulating or rousing to action. Within 50 years of its English debut, "foment" was also being used in political contexts to mean "to stir up," "to call to action," or, in a sense at least figuratively opposite to its original one, "to irritate."


That's Just Not Right

I don't think that a Viking would store his war gear like this...even if it was a shield he took from the dead body of a knight . . .


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Daily Cosplay


A zombie hunting we go!

Of Fang and Claw

Whatever you think you fear; whatever dark corner of your room holds the shadows of your childhood's memories, whatever monsters you face, they are nothing compared to that our forebears stood against. From our primeval past . . .


Iron Bound


I used to had so many of the Frazetta pieces in puzzles. I am very familiar with them . . . though this piece, The Death Dealer, is not one of those. I love this picture, even to the bend in the spear as the weight of the dying man falls from the castle walls.

If the Sun Collapsed

The sun is a main sequence star, it also has the characteristics of a  yellow dwarf. When death comes, the sun, or so astronomers theorize, must follow one of two paths.

The most likely route is that of the main sequence star. After the sun has converted about 10% of its hydrogen to helium, the process of hydrogen fusion, it begins to loose mass (I might be off on that term) and looses its ability to undergo hydrogen fusion. The core becomes more dense, fusion slows and the outer layers of the sun hang on, expanding, as heat is want to do. Now the helium begins to fuse as the core is denser than before; around the core hydrogen fusion begins again. The elements begin to fuse into iron until the core eventually collapses in on itself, a shockwave blasts the outer layers of energy into the universe and all that remains is a white dwarf, slowly burning out. The shockwave will engulf little Mercury and perhaps Venus and blast our only atmosphere into nothingness.

The other path is less dramatic, but offers Mercury her only hope. If the sun dies like a dwarf star, she just burns out, slowly consuming herself until she is a shadow of her former self.

If this happens Mercury will live in the heat of the dying star for billions of years. The Kiper belt will contract, following the path of the suns trajectory and gravitational pull and a shower of meteors will pepper the inner planets, bringing precious ice...water.

Thus Mercury can have life of its own, in time, beneath the shadow of a dying star.

I'm investing in property now!

Armor Up

The Tar Kiln became a little more interesting. . . .



Word of the Day -- Ogee

This word came into my possession (that's what I call it when I discover a word for the first time) when I got interested in architecture.  I had moved to Maine and was noticing all the different types of houses than the ones I was used to.  So I started reading about them, and came across this word, ogee.  Sounded funny then, and still does to me now.  It reminds me of the film Fargo for some reason, when the girls that are being questioned by the police say: "oh yeah" and that guy saying" "oh jeez" in those nasally north central accents.  But of course it has nothing to do with accents.  Rather it is a type of molding that are on houses and other structures.  It is basically any S shaped molding, or an arch that comes to a sharp point and then reverses itself.  This is a popular word in crossword puzzles because it is odd and can help fill out a board for the maker who needs one more word.  What I find particularly interesting is the origin of the word.  It comes from Ogives, which any firearm fans will know is the tapered curve on a bullet or projectile.  I'm assuming this is because of the approximate shape of it, but couldn't find any other information about it. If you know anymore about it, comment here.  Happy reading,  Tim

Firefly

Still the best show to hit the airwaves. The theme . . .

Snow on the Creek

I love this picture, captures the concept of traveling in the snow and forest. In the weekly game this is what they face next week as they head into the wilderness knows as the Tar Kiln.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Daily Cosplay

The Primeval

This is the Stuff Dreams are made of . . . .


Tarzan of the Apes by Neal Adams!

(NOTE: you can click on the picture to see more detail!)

This is Mars! ERB Style

So somewhere in the back of our mind, as Curiosity probes the deserts of the warlord planet, Mars, we cannot help but hope, to cling to the deep desire, that he will find proof that John Carter was telling the truth in his epic story, John Carter of Mars!

Here is the map of the world as he found it, as put together by Oberon Zell. You must read this article in the ERBzine. Its fascinating, noting such things as early renditions of Carter's Mars were done upside down as that is how astronomers mapped Mars. Very cool.

These two maps give you a sample of the bad assert of it all.




post script: I consider John Carter Warlord of Mars to be one of the best yarns ever penned, with I rank Tarzan of the Apes and King Kong; all these are great stories of man's struggle against the primeval world, the clash of emotionally driven civilization with the indifference of nature. Awesome stuff.

Armor Up

This miniature is Vlad Dracul and may have just become the next villain in our weekly game. This guy looks just beautiful, imposing, evil. 





No Rest in Death

Apparently a group of Italian historians/scientists/archeologists have nothing on their slate as they are digging up, or rather have dug up, the body of a 16th century warrior and mercenary captain, Giovanni de Medici of the Black Bands.

The Black Bands were a mercenary troop, heavily armored, mounted on destriers. They were well known for carrying arquebus in battle. They fought in numerous campaigns throughout the 1520s. They took their name from the black arm bands they wore in morning for the death of Pope Leo X, their master.

Giovanni was killed when a ball from a small cannon shattered his leg.

He lived the kind of lives we have at in our RPGs!

They are digging him up to determine what kind of surgery they used to work on the famed Captain.


Hmmm

I think the company retirement plan is on track .  . . .

Pac Man Giant

A few years back the Cassini probe discovered some odd temperature variances on one of Saturn's moons, Mimas. The infrared showed it to have a strange heat signature that looked very much like a giant pac man. Cassini found a similar pattern in another moon Tethys.

It is caused, they theorize that certain surface areas are more thermally conductive than others.

They have yet to determine if the moons are eating asteroids and running from ghosts.

Do you want to know more?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Daily Cosplay


Is this real? It is bad assery...

Horn of White and Emerald

Long ago the elven smiths set their minds to making weapons of war. Bound to the worlds of fey they longed to return to the world's of men and right the wrongs of the evil that dwelt there so long. So their forges smoked hot, crafting swords of steel, long axes, yew bows and arrows long; but other tools besides these were fashioned. The Horn of White and Emerald was one such.

The elves harvested strands of spider's web and hardened it with ivory, pulled from the wild erok's tusk, into thin strips of aluthian. The ivory white aluthian they cut with their long knives, and this they used to fashion the horn itself. As white as clouds, hard as iron, the horn carried simple notes far and wide. But they set it in a chain of gold and bound emeralds into the chain and set them in the horn and fashioned the Horn of White and Emerald. Its clear and pure sound brought hope to the friends of elves and terror to their foes.



The Horn of White and Emerald is a war horn of chaos and good. Only someone with a chaotic good alignment can sound the horn. When it sounds it emboldens those around the horn blower, giving friends a +1 on all their attacks, all the while that it disheartens those who oppose him, and they suffer a -1 on attacks. But more than that it summons the grey wolves the elves love so much. Small and lithe they arrive upon the field in a packs of 1-12 for each time the horn is sounded. The horn can be sounded four times before it plays out and cannot be sounded again for four days. The wolves obey the command of the elf sounding the horn.

post script: I changed this from the original. I didn't like it.

Armor Up

I've discovered a new weapon to use in my weekly games . . . snow. I've always enjoyed the mood of rain and storms, but recently discovered the fun of snow and storms.

This fellow fits well into that.


Pole Shifting

Not as vulgar as it sounds . . . .

The pole shifting hypothesis states that on occasion the poles of the planet dramatically shift, changing position by over a hundred degrees. It would seem that we have normal pole wander, the pole's much as any southerner knows enjoy a bit of a mosey. They creep about the planet, moving 1 degree every million years or so (and that's even slow for a mosey). This doesn't cause anything dramatic environmental changes, unless, as we discussed yesterday, it leads to a magnetic pole shift in which case we all might be sitting in a microwave oven.

The geographic poles are those two points on the surface of the planet that the axis of rotation intersects. The pole shifting hypothesis postulates that these poles may dramatically shift "with respect to this axis." 800 odd million years ago these poles may have shifted up to 155 degrees. Now, that means, not the poles, not the axis, but the surface of the planet…so that the planet rolls over…or under…what our neighbors down under would call a Walk About…distinctly different from the mosey we practice here in the deep south of U.S.

Here's a diagram (because I fell like this post needs one) of the earth and its present pole/axis/rotation.

 Just imagine it all flipped over.

But the theory states that the pole reversal is dramatic, being quite sudden. Though I'm not sure what they base that on (we really don't have a good measuring stick for things beyond 1880) it sounds like it would be an astoundingly wild ride for a few minutes.

But this comes with massive problems with the tides, tectonics, weather and netflix, a true apocalypse.

The Apocalypse

Is going to be awesome . . . .


These piece is called "Cornered" by Frank Frazetta.

Pong 40

The Dens missed it apparently, but Pong just turned 40! The first ever commercially successful video game, if not the first video game ever, became available some 40 years back in 1972, just in time for the Christmas season.

The history of Pong.


Blood Red Tide is Coming In

This is the perfect thing to do a group of characters. As they wander down from the high plains and see the curled water's of the ocean's waves they come face to face with a blood-red sea. They won't have any idea what it is and the cleric will no doubt speak of prophecies of doom . . .

And so it is at Bondi Beach in Australia. A huge algae bloom has exploded in the waters and turned the ocean blood-red. 

More from the Mail.

If ever anyone on this planet was saying "What the F*#&?"its this bird.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Daily Cosplay

This Could be It

Geomagnetic Pole Reversal. Last time we underwent this sucker was 41000 years ago. Apparently the "poles" reverse themselves for any number of reasons and the north pole ends up in the south the south pole in the north (this would play hell on old Confederate and Union die hards).  Last time this happened the earth's protective barriers were greatly reduced and radiation poured into or onto the planet.

This diagram explains how crazy its going to be . . . .


Apparently the shift of the pole has been taking place for awhile now and is doing so at an accelerated rate. Up until 1990 it seems to have been moving only a few kilometers. But starting about the time I took a job at Mazio's Pizza it began doubling each few years…so that now it is moving over 70 kilometers a year. Either this thing is drunk or the scientists who are measuring keep moving around…


At any case it sounds fun. This should only interrupt phone service for awhile and upset re-inactors, not too bad as the Mayans go….oh and burn all life on earth to death with solar radiation.

Tomorrow the Dens will discuss the pole shift hypothesis where the earth just roles over like a bob in the water . . . which might be a really cool ride for about 14 seconds.

The Hobbit Is Almost Here

I've heard a great deal of complaints about there being 3 movies and what nots, but truthfully, if the movies are good, Jackson could make 10 and I would be happy. I just weathered through Oliver Stone's Savages, so a good movie would be …. most welcome.

Armor Up


More Wolves





Giant Planets

Astronomers have discovered a gigantic planet circling the star known as Kappa Andromedae . . . a star within spiting distance of the better known Andromedae. The planet's orbit is further from its star than Neptune is from our own Sun. Its fairly warm there, about 2600 degrees Fahrenheit (1400 Celsius). The planet is so ver large, 12 times the mass of our Jupiter, that it borders on being a brown dwarf. Thus it has been called by scientists a super-jupiter . . . until they can better pin point its role in structure of the Universe.

There are no doubt more planets just a swinging about the Kappa Andromedae, rocky abodes much like our own, probably with some terrestrial life up there even now blogging away.

Read more from Nasa.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Daily Cosplay

Okay, you might think that I put this up for the rather skimply clad wonder woman/super girl...but I didn't. Honestly. Check out the dude behind her with the beard and staff. Its Gandalf Gangnam Style!

Top 10 End of the World List

Interesting list here, but I'm not buying it. What about Ragnorok. How awesome is the world ending...giant boats made of the clippings of unburnt fingernails, snakes that devour gods, a giant wolf large enough to consume the gods, frost giants and the end of all  . . . but the list does point out one thing. The subtly of an author like Ray Bradbury is genius.

Yahoooooooo List.

28 Days is in there, not sure about that one.... maybe The Walking Dead, but 28 days, though a fun zombie movie, wasn't as bad assery as the title sounds.

Not sure what they are missing but something seems to have slipped the list.


post script: This is a cool picture. And as commentary, that section of highway in the foreground, where there are 5-6 cars in the middle of chasm. Those people are in a tight spot, a real tight spot.

Its so Beyond Time

That we opened the moon and space to commercial exploration. Heavens above and the moon is too...this stuff should have happened by 1999. We are still throwing satellites sand probes up there. We need a moon base.

We can use this to there...


We can call it Moon Base Alpha.



We can make the coolest future clothes of all time . . . 


Time to settle the moon.

Armor Up

Of course if we are going to the moon, we'll need to suit up for the occasion . . . .




From this board, but this is an Andrea Miniature I think.