Thursday, February 28, 2013

Daily Cosplay

The roof of this one won me over . . . .

Survey Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Doug Smidebush of Indianapolis for having his name drawn at random from all the survey entrants. He will get a book of his choosing (5th printing of Players Handbook was his choice) for being selected. Thanks to all of you who participated in our survey; we really appreciate it! Be on the lookout for more contests and chances to win prizes from us.  Keep in touch with all the latest info from Troll Lord Games and Castles & Crusades by subscribing to our newsletter and you could be the next winner!

Hyperboria Found

As if we needed evidence, a team of Polish archeologists have discovered a human settlement in the Sudan that may date back 70,000 years. This pushes the human settlement theory way back, as it is generally thought that homo sapiens began building walls around themselves about 9-10000 years ago.

What this actually is, I suspect, is the remnants of Shadizar in Zamora.

Your Morning Western

From the movie Open Range (this is the first part of the ending of this movie, so do not watch if you wan to enjoy one of the best westerns I can think of)

Armor Up

AT Mobile Support Vehicle

Zombie Ants

Some months ago I wrote about the zombie ants. As it would seem, a certain fungus releases spoors that attach themselves to insects. The spoors settle in the brains of the insects and take control. The zombie becomes a host for the spoors to fruit and grow.

Ants in particular are susceptible as they live in giant communes; when one is infected the contagion can spread rapidly and kill an entire colony.

Tim showed me this video the other, the infected ant losing control and the spoor fruiting from his head:

To Mars

Dennis Tito, a billionaire who made his money in investments, has announced he's putting together the first commercial craft to travel to Mars. The craft will be small and hold only two people. His plan is to have an older married couple take the journey.

I'm not sure if this is a publicity stunt or not, it doesn't sound like it, but one can never tell; however, it is music to the ears, taking the first leap toward colonization of the planets. We should have begun this journey 20 years ago; the planet clearly has enough water to support life and probably more than we realize (water is the one of the hardest things to bring with you in space). Building colonies should be in on the horizon!

A nice little slide show here.

His ship.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Daily Cosplay


Fully five thousand years ago Egyptians were building cities, roads, cultivating the earth in broad fields; they put armies in the field; created organized religion, commerce and society. All this before the first dynasty was founded in 3150 BC by the Pharoah Menes, it lasted, with all the ups and downs such peoples suffer for 30 dynasties, almost 3000 years.

Not only all that, but they made bad ass worlds to boot!

Pluto's Children

Pluto has been classified as a Dwarf Planet by a poll of astronomers . . . although I'm not sure that a poll is the spirit of the scientific method . . . and it has been removed from the roster of Nine, that is now Eight, planets that circle the Sun.

But he is still a lord of the Darkling Skies holding the gates to the Deep Gulf, that region of Emptiness that lies between the Kuiper Belt and the Sun. He has many sons, smaller lords that cling to his side, holding evil's darkness at bay; Pluto's sons are named thusly: Charon, Hydra and Nix.

Fourth and fifth sons were discovered not so many years ago and in another poll it has been voted to name them Vulcan and Cerebus. Both of these moons are less than 20 miles in diameter. They circle their lord every 30 odd days, keeping watch or waging war as the circumstances dictate.

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This fellow is one dedicated car-owner, though I don't know if swimming around on the roof of the car is any more helpful than just lying still.

Interesting Place

In the Mattress, Under the Floor, In the Shoe

Apparently during the 80 Years War, or the Dutch War of Independence, a fellow found it irksome to give one side or the other his money. To avoid such a travesity he stuffed his worldly wealth in a shoe and buried it behind the wall of the Town Hall in Rotterdam.

Archeologists, whilst poking around as they are want to do, discovered the shoe stuff with 477 silver coins all with dates corresponding to the 80 Years War. Read Dutch News International.

The 80 Years War was sparked by heavy taxation upon the Dutch in the "17 provinces" by the Habsburg ruler of Spain, Philip II. The war ground on for many decades eventually dragging almost every one in and around the provinces into the rather bloody fracas (the town of Breda exchanged hand at least 4 times).

A Certain Beauty

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Daily Cosplay

Gossamer of Dreams

When gods walk the minds of men they leave the echo of their presence. That echo escapes into dreams and those so blessed often wake with the gossamer of dreams about them. The gossamer is thin, almost translucent, and utterly weightless. The strands are impossible to break, magical and are used by learned for a great many tasks. 

If laid upon a blade or weapon, the gossamer merges with the steel, honing the edge, or strengthening the head in such weapons like a mace. The gossamer grants the weapon a +1 to hit and damage for the next five swings (hit or miss). If placed in torn armor they grant that armor a +1 to AC for the next five strikes. They can bind clothing, backpacks, or any normal gear to permanently fix them. The gossamer can heal as well, if laced into a wound it merges with the wound and instantly heals 1d4 points of damage. The gossamer can capture the minds of men as well, if laced into a standard or scroll works any who view them gain a +1 to all morale checks or charisma saves. This affect only works once.

Value: They cannot be Sold Exp: 200 each

Text Copyright Troll Lord Games, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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Looper (Movie Review)

I had a chance to watch Looper last night, the sic-fi time travel flick with Bruce Willis. I was reluctant to watch the movie as it did not seem to have any of the dystopian elements I so enjoy in science fiction . . . Bladerunner. But Davis told me to watch it as I would be surprised.

I was very surprised!

The movie unfolds in a not distant future, 2044 where the only real technological change we've seen is solar panels on old cars. There is a wild west feel to it as clearly society has broken down to some degree, at one point a man guns down another in the street, but we are given nothing about that, which is refreshing.

The main character is a Looper. He isn't a time traveler at all. He waits for a contact time, when he gets it, he shows up with his gun and waits. Suddenly a man appears in front of him and he shoots. Killing the man, he can now dispose the body. That's the gist of the time travel. Criminals in the future can't get rid of bodies very easily so they send them into the past to be disposes of. The target/body shows up with silver cased on his back, he's killed an the silver is the payment.

The rub is the looping. Whenever a crime lord wants to close a loop, he sends the future self of the Looper back to be killed. The Looper knows his loop is closed when there is gold on the body. He's been retired, he can enjoy the next 30 years until his loop is closed and he too is sent back.

This is where it gets complicated and becomes a much see movie. Joe, the main character, gets outsmarted by Old Joe, who doesn't want to die. He doesn't want to die because he fears death, he doesn't want to die because he wants vengeance.

From there the movie takes a few nice turns, but some really great turns in the end.

I strongly recommend this movie. This is great science fiction without all the Hollywood bullshit, claptrap, thunderpows, etc.

Barsoom at its Finest

I grew up reading the paper back versions of Edgar Rice Burrough's John Carter series. The cover art that adorned those books was astounding and never let me down. The pieces in question were done by Michael Whelan.

Here are some of my favorites (You can get all these on his website).

Logan's Going to Run

Word of the Day -- Fugacious

I suppose a phantasm could be considered this, at least sometimes?
Fugacious means lasting a short time : evanescent.  It is often used to describe immaterial things like emotions, but not always. Botanists, for example, use it to describe plant parts that wither or fall off before the usual time. Things that are fugacious are fleeting, and etymologically they can also be said to be fleeing. "Fugacious" derives from the Latin verb "fugere," which means "to flee." Other descendants of "fugere" include "fugitive," "refuge," and "subterfuge."

Monday, February 25, 2013

Daily Cosplay

Curiosity Breaks Ground

This past week Curiosity broke ground by drilling into a Martian rock this week. The rock, named John Klien, delivered a fine dust to Curiosity, grains of which the scoop will delver to small valves that lead a belt that leads to the chemistry lab to be analyzed. 

Very cool for that intrepid explorer, riding the quiet, windswept dunes of mars.

Movie Posters

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Robin . . . Again

Spoiler Alert!

Haven't we already seen Robin die, like, 4 times or something? I'm not sure what is going on in DC but they desperately need to hire some new writers, or their existing writers need to go to and type in "new ideas." I saw their comics  on the 1% and 99% which has to be the silliest idea I've heard in a very long time; we've got Red Lanterns . . . ug the list goes on.

I'm not sure what they should do. In a vain attempt to appeal to older, more mature audiences, they are completely sacrificing any chance at younger ones. Take the tried and true heroes, and make stories about good and evil. No shades of gray (for grey you folks over in the UK and the Commonwealth). Good. Evil. Good. Evil. And then mix in some interesting dialogue. Dialogue. Good. Evil. 

I think the art of dialogue in fiction is the key. Three tv shows are perfect examples. Firefly. Justified. Walking Dead. These shows are cool in and of themselves. But they stand WAY apart because of the dialogue . . . and of course the actor's delivery of said dialogue. . . but the words that tumble from their mouths make the characters believable. They make them our own. 

DC would do well to remember that they  have 30-40 pages upon which they can put dialogue. 

They're Making it Up as they Go Along

I'm pretty sure Hubble is just making this stuff up now. ;)

From Wyoming Country

The Comanche were an offshoot of the Shoshone Indians and in the 1600s they dwelt on the eastern flanks of the Rocky Mountains in the high country of Wyoming. Their numbers are unknown but probably never amounted to more than a few thousand; pushed to the edges of the Great Plains they eked out a living through hunting and gathering.

The horse arrived to the New World in the 1500s and worked its way north, slowly at first, but after the first Apaches in Texas took to them, the spread very quickly up to the Plains of modern day Canada.

For some reason, somewhere between 1650-1680, no one knows where or how, the small tribe of Comanche took to the horse. In context the settles in the east were fighting bloody and devastating wars against the coastal Indians, losing as often as winning, for their fire arms were primitive and they used pikes and swords as much as guns and canon.

The Comanche took to the horse like few others. Within a generation they had moved south onto the Great Plains, pushing back Indians like the huge Osage tribe, the Apache, Cado and the Towankas. The Comanche spread like a prairie fire south into Texas and New Mexico; their numbers grew, their abilities improved and they soon drove all the souther tribes to the edge of the Plains, some to extinction. The Spainish Empre collapsed in the north due to Comanche raids. The Apaches were driven into the mountains. The Osage collapsed back across the Mississippi. By 1750 the Comanche had carved an empire out of the Great Plains that they would hold for the better part of a century.

Long before they knew white men existed their warfare was insanely brutal, burning people alive, torturing them to death. It was like all war across the Great Plains but with the Comanche it had a particularly brutal flavor.

They were most probably the greatest horsemen the world has ever seen. They learned to ride at age 6-7 and within a few years had to pick up items from the ground while riding. A crucial skill was scooping up wounded comrades from horseback. They are the Indians that slid onto the horse's flank to avoid an enemies weapon, all while holding lance, bow and shield. Their horses were trained to move at the sound of a bow twang. They fought from horse back which few other Plains tribes did.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Daily Cosplay

Speaking Dwarf

Here is a little grammar rule from the Eleriathian Dwarf/Vulgate Dictionary.

To make a plural of a noun one simply adds an ‘E’ to the front of the word. If the noun begins with a vowel, add an ‘EN.’

For Example:

Cun = eye                Ecun = eyes
Erde = Father           Enerde = Fathers

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Fluid Dynamics

Fluids obey the "Continuum Assumption." This states basically that substances consist of like-minded molecules and that each have space between them. But these like-minded molecules occupy a defined space.

Fluids obey the continuum assumption, however the molecules of a fluid act differently in that they continually collide with one another and other objects. Accurate measurements of such substances can be done only at infinitesimally small points; the substance itself however, continually changes density, temperature, pressure and velocity.

Eagle Strike

It doesn't get more glorious!

Songs from the Drowned Lands ~ Kernaghan

Recently I took a trip to New York (the city) and needed something to read that I could easily carry on the plane. I don't really buy pa...