Thursday, July 31, 2014

Daily Cosplay


When Nepeleos was a child he wed his mother, Imbree. They dwelt in the lands of Al Liosh for many years before she conceived a child by him. At the child’s conception, Nepeleos knew that his mother was actually Imbrisius, the Maiden of Pain, and that she was a god. Knowing his own divinity made him hate her with force, and he tried to slay her. She merely laughed at him and cut him with her nails. After that, she paid him no heed, raising their son as she saw fit. But Nepeleos turned his mind to the darker sorceries and practiced magic when none had done so before. He wrested magic from creatures great and small and did so with malice and cruelty. In time, age took him, and he feared of where his soul would end. So he made for himself a vessel, to live forever. He became a wild, cold wind. He left then for places unknown and his mother, his wife, took no notice then or ever more.

In life Nepeleos was a powerful magic user, steeped in the machinations of the magic of the elder gods. His was a lonely life, spent in the youth of the world before there were scrolls and books to pour over. So he read the book of living creatures, as is written in their flesh and minds, and he extracted this knowledge through torture.

He is seen as a hollow cloak, wrapped in human form, as though a ghost were wearing a cloak. The only other corporal thing about him is the torturer's knife he always carries in his left hand. His idols are carved from colored stone, like turquoise, and are valued for their intricate detail.

~Gods & Monsters of Aihrde (the Black Box)


Rather Mean Icecycle

Everything it touches, dies. It reminds me of the Mel Gibson movie, Payback. When Mel's character shoots the Alligator Skin suit cases and Coburn says "That's just mean!"

Primeval Totems

With animal hide cloaks thrown over bronzed shoulders the small band of warriors led their people up the valley draw to the wide mouth of the cave above them. The weather had hounded them and they sought shelter, but more the hunting lions were driving the herds ever north. And where the herds went, they went.

They settled in the cave. Gathering firewood they brought light and warmth to the deep, cool dark. Water was plentiful and they settled their packs and skins upon the ground, making room for all and sundry.

Thus they lived. Hunting, gathering, fighting the manifold dangers of the primeval world. But the lions hounded them, and though they carved totems to the wild beast in hopes to ward off its predations, they failed and eventually all were driven off or slain.

But in the ruin one left a small token. A lion carved in ivory.

Archeologists digging in 1931 uncovered this ivory carved lion totem. But recently, while revisiting the site in the Vogelherd Cave, another fragment of the lion was found. The totem is dated to 40,000 years ago.

Read on.

Armor Up (Ancient Rome)

UFO Files

A strange object was photographed hovering over the Hearst Castle in California this past week. While looking through his pictures the witness noticed a picture of a bird flying above one of the towers. He then zoomed in to look at the bird and noticed some weird object above it. Further close up did not unravel the mystery so a UFO investigator has been sent over to examine the siting.

Read on.

I can't really say what it is. Doesn't look like a plane, but could be. A baloon as well. Of course the investigator will check local flight schedules of any airports, flight patterns in the area, and any other odds and ends that might explain the craft.

California has had quiet a few sitings in recent months.

She Got Stuck

The Mummy Returns

They are reoptioned the Mummy franchise and are rolling out a whole new series of the movies. I enjoyed the Brendan Frazier flicks, especially the first one, but don't know if they need to be remade. They aren't but a few years old for heaven's sake.

It would be interesting if they went with the more classic horror movie motif. I'm curious how audiences would react to more subtle horror as opposed to the pain racked terror of someone putting a key behind their eyeball . . . I don't even know how you would do that.

Word of the Day -- Polynya

A polynya (common US spelling) or polynia (common UK spelling) /pəˈlɪnjə/ is an area of open water surrounded by sea ice. It is now used as geographical term for an area of unfrozen sea within the ice pack. It is a loanword from Russian: полынья (polynya) Russian pronunciation: [pəlɨˈnʲja], which refers to a natural ice hole, and was adopted in the 19th century by polar explorers to describe navigable portions of the sea. In past decades, for example, some polynyas, such as the Weddell Polynya, have lasted over multiple winters (1974–1976).

I first came across this word in a book back in the late '70s and it has stuck with me ever since.  It is such a neat concept.  I've kept it in my back pocket ever since and bring it out at parties.  Yeah, I'm a geek.  :-)  But it always seemed it would be a good segue into an adventure, using polynyas as water portals...

Polynyas are formed through two main processes:
  • Sensible Heat Polynya: this is thermodynamically driven, and typically occurs when warm water upwelling keeps the surface water temperature at or above the freezing point. This reduces ice production and may stop it altogether.
  • Latent Heat Polynya: is formed through the action of katabatic wind or ocean currents which act to drive ice away from a fixed boundary, such as a coastline, fast ice, or an ice bridge. The polynya forms initially by the first year pack ice being driven away from the coast, which leaves an area of open water within which new ice is formed. This new ice is then also herded downwind toward the first year pack ice. When it reaches the pack ice the new ice is consolidated onto the pack ice. The latent heat polynya is the open water region between the coast and the ice pack.

Otherworlds Through the Ice


Dice are just cool. There have been bazillions of them made in the past 40 odd years of gaming, but none ever so cool as these!

I have a picture of my original dice somewhere but can't seem to find it. Davis still uses them in our thursday night game, though the 20s are almost completely round at this point. All the fancy colors and what nots of the modern dice are cool, but never quite as cool as simple, straight forward monochrome colors.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Daily Cosplay

The Mistbane River

The Mistbane River, or the Blue Creek, has its headwaters in the far Rhodope Mountains where it begins as little more than a trickle. It tumbles and flows, following many courses through the Shelves of the Mist, where it gains more strength from tributaries and earns its river name. It breaks free of those hills just north and east of the small town of Petersboro and the Darkenfold. The river widens here and slows its pace considerably, drifting down beneath the eves of the Darkenfold where it continues its southern journey. The river is slow, ranges from 80-120 feet wide, and is rather deep except in the few fords that breach its travel. The Mistbane’s flow is often accompanied by patches of light or heavy fog, which reduce visibility considerably. The fog is considered by many of the locals to be dangerous and is avoided at all costs. They speak of tales of ghosts who snatch the unwary from their roosts and carry them to the seas beyond. The river continues its course through the Darkenfold by turning sharply west in the Millorian and passing through Lilly Fair, an even more dank and deadly portion of that horrible wood. It is eventually joined by the Westerling and then flows into the Bay of Brundus near the sandy beaches of Lawn. The banks of the Mistbane sport many wonderfully tall and full-bodied willow trees. These trees often reside on small grassy knolls at the water’s edge allowing their branches and leaves to brush the water. They are vaguely-sentient relatives of the older sentient trees and treants. These willows serve the river as guardians of sorts, offering refuge from the river or the forest, or both.

The river is, as the locales attest, haunted. For to the north, just below the river’s headwater, in the lands known as the Shelves of the Mist, the elves once gathered in great numbers. They built refuges from the Winter Dark in the many hidden valleys and dales. But a long war, the Seven Years War, with orcs from the east, left many homeless and or dead. Amongst these was their beloved Princess. She was buried upon the banks of the river amidst a field of winter lilies. Hence, the name of said fields. From there, her spirit rose and traveled the full course of the meandering river to the Beaches of Lawn. The Fields of Winter Lilies are often covered in a thick fog, for here the dead gather (the spirits of the fallen elves) both of the great wars and those who lived in more modern times. The scars of the Winter Dark still haunt the elves of Aihrde and their fallen cannot come back to life. When they die, their spirits perish with them or wander as lost souls throughout the world. And here where the winter lilies grow, they gather, for rumor of their Princess comes to them and they seek to follow her to the sea.

In patches great and small, these dead spirits of the elves travel the length of the Mistbane River, wrapped in fog and mist, following the river’s course to the Bay of Brundus. They do not travel quickly and only the strongest winds can move them, but even then these patchy clouds of soul-dust defy the wind, moving slower than one would think they should. Each patch contains 1-4 banshees, some are evil, some are good, and most are uncaring, seeking only to be reunited with their princess. They haunt the river all year long, and are often hidden in real patches of fog or river mist. Encountering one does not necessarily mean a battle must ensue. As often as not, they drift by or around creatures without ever taking notice, though those so engulfed may see the haunted, terrified faces of the dead leering out at them from the moist fog. The banshees are driven to rage by any form of excitement. If creatures flee or attempt to cast spells or act out in any way, it may drive the banshee to attack (50% chance); however, if there is battle or they are openly attacked, the banshees are driven wild and attack anything within the mist or on its edges.

Encountering these creatures can be deadly as any encounter with a banshee can, though the banshees rarely travel more than a dozen or so feet from the waters edge. Protection can be found in the shade of the willow trees that dot the bank of the Mistbane. Here the spirits of the dead will not go, for the willow trees hold a deeper appeal than that cast by their fallen princess – and they fear them.

~The Mortality of Green & The Codex of Aihrde

Imaginarium ~ The Mistbane

Evil Dead to the Small Screen

Sam Rami announced at this past weekend's comic con that he is penning a new Evil Dead, but this time for the small screen. Helping him with the scripts is the man himself, Bruce Campbell. The remake of the movie that came out last year did very well at the Box Office which has probably prompted the tv show.

All good. Though it looks a little more frightening and less tongue in cheek than the original. Though of course the original may not have meant to be tongue in cheek . . . . I may be getting it all jumbled in my head with Army of Darkness and the battles with the chain saw!

Movie Trailer ~ Sin City (new)

The Russians Keep Finding Holes

Deep in the wilds of Siberia strange holes keep popping up. Locals stumbled on the first one in 2013, but since then several more have been discovered. They are new formations and noone has yet determined what is causing them. Some are very big and all are rather deep.

From UFOs to mining accidents, to weird earth news . . .

But it sure does look like something came OUT of that hole.

Siberian Times.

Armor Up (Celtic Warrior)

ISEE-3 ~ Explorer 3

Several weeks ago we commented that a privately funded group was working to get the 30 year old ISEE-3, better known as Explorer 3, spacecraft up and running. They raised money, got permission from NASA and got her all going. The intent was to position it in an Earth-Sun axis and see what they could learn.

However, there doesn't seem to be enough juice left in the tubes to fire her stabilizers and put her on the new course. So she continues on lonely journey, slowing dying. And thus it was meant to be.

They have however turned on five of Explorer 3's instruments and will begin data mining the cosmos for things like gamma rays. Read on.

Not bad for privately funded astro-scientists!

Word of the Day -- Abenaki

The Abenaki (Abnaki, Wabanaki, Waponahki) are a tribe of Native American and First Nations people, one of the Algonquian-speaking peoples of northeastern North America. The Abenaki live in the New England region of the United States and Quebec and the Maritimes of Canada, a region called Wabanaki ("Dawn Land") in the Eastern Algonquian languages. The Abenaki are one of the five members of the Wabanaki Confederacy. "Abenaki" is a linguistic and geographic grouping; historically there was not a strong central authority, but as listed below a large number of smaller bands and tribes who shared many cultural traits.

The word Abenaki means “people of the dawnlands". The Abenaki people call themselves Alnôbak, meaning "Real People" (c.f., Lenape language: Lenapek). They also use the autonym Alnanbal, meaning "men".  In addition, when compared to the more interior Algonquian peoples, they call themselves Wôbanuok, meaning "Easterners" (c.f. Massachusett language: Wôpanâak). They also refer to themselves as Abenaki or with syncope: Abnaki. Both forms are derived from Wabanaki or the Wabanaki Confederacy, as they were once a member of this confederacy they called Wôbanakiak, meaning "People of the Dawn Land" in the Abenaki language — from wôban ("dawn" or "east") and aki ("land") (compare Proto-Algonquian *wa·pan and *axkyi)—the aboriginal name of the area broadly corresponding to New England and the Maritimes. It is sometimes used to refer to all the Algonquian-speaking peoples of the area — Western Abenaki, Eastern Abenaki, Wolastoqiyik-Passamaquoddy, and Mi'kmaq — as a single group.

Dragonriders of Pern Movie?

Warner Bros. has optioned the rights to the works of Anne McCaffrey, which of course includes the Dragon Riders of Pern. I've always loved these books. The stories are very original. Something completely different than the normal fantasy worlds. It would be cool to see them put up on the big screen. No easy task I should suspect

It never hurt that the books sported Michael Whelan covers!

Of course an option doesn't mean a film, but with their big successes with Harry Potter and the Hobbit, they may just be looking for something new to do. And just think of all those toy dragons.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Daily Cosplay

The Wall of Worlds

The Wall of Worlds is not a plane in and of itself, but rather a magical barrier that lies between the Void and the Inner Planes. It is crafted of pure magic and its nature reflects this. It was created by the All Father, but Unklar devoured it and cast it back out again as the Shroud of Darkness. After the Horned God's fall, some of the wall remained and Corthain refashioned it and placed within it the Runelords to guard creation from the Void and to keep those who Void from crossing into the Inner Planes.

Even in its diminished state its size is stupefying for the Void is infinite and surrounds all the Firmament and the Maelstrom. It can only be located through diverse magics and carefully crafted lore, the Winter Runes. When one does find it they are greeted with its seemingly infinite nature, for the Wall rises from bottomless depths and reaches limitless heights. It stands as a giant wall of fog and mist. At times it is calm, with the white mists quiet and serene. But sometimes the Wall rages in mindless anger, hurling great bolts of electrical energy through the heart of its own teeming clouds.

There is no physical limit to the Wall, so it is impossible to determine where one is in relation to any other plane or reality. Once breeched the Wall yields to the cold horrors of the Void.

~The Codex of Aihrde

Imaginarium ~ Dark Clouds

Movie Trailer ~ The Hobbit

Who Killed the Cliff Dwellers

Historians and archeologists have long debated the whys and wherefores that caused the collapse of the Pueblo or Chacoan culture. These peoples dwelt in the American South West, in and around what is today northern New Mexico and Colorado. They built impressive buildings, farmsteads, villages and what not throughout the region. They eventually moved out of the low lying valleys and up and onto the walls of valleys and steep canyons. The society lasted about 3-500 years. It originated in the broader region where the Chacoans had dwelt for a much longer time, farming and building (their ruins litter the region) and then, for some unknown reason moved to the cliffs.

But why they moved to the valleys and cliffs and then why the society collapsed after only a few hundreds years has been a mystery.

It has become a recent thing that deforestation caused the collapse. Its been touted so much that its become . . . like the asteroid and the dinosaurs . . . an accepted fact. The indians destroyed the native plants and killed the eco-system.

Turns out that might not be true. Recent studies have shown no evidence for deforestation and no evidence that the Indians destroyed their local environment.

Read on.

My guess . . . and its utterly a guess . . . that outside pressure drove the Chacoans into the valleys and cliffs. I've recently visited those things and attacking them with stone age weaponry would be next to impossible. They are perfect for defense. Except for water.

So pressure put upon a people from another people might have driven them to the cliffs. We know these people abandoned their cliff dwellings and began moving south, west and east around the year 1450. It is highly possible that continued pressure from other groups drove them south. (one has but to look what the Sioux did to the Pawnee, or the Commanche to the Apache and you can see how the early Americans pushed one the other from this region or that).

Good article linked above.

post script: environmental science seems to have leaked into every other branch of the sciences today. Its a bit unnerving.

Armor Up (Ramses)

The Language of Creation

As anyone who reads the Aihrde mythologies (TLG's and C&C World), they know that the building block of all and sundry things lies in the Language of Creation. Understanding this language allows one to do all manner things, one of those things, as noted in the book Rune Lore, is to bend light to protect oneself, hide oneself etc.

Well it seems scientists have done just that. In a laboratory in Cambridge England, they have begun to assemble material out of parts that are less than a few billionth meters wide and the size of these building blocks allows them to bend light through the item, affectively cloaking it from being seen.

Read on!

post script: I have no idea what that graphic is, but it looks cool. It actually looks like an upcoming encounter in my weekly C&C game…after I create a monster around it.

Movie Poster Legend

Word of the Day -- Bindle

A bindle is the bag, sack, or carrying device stereotypically used by the American sub-culture of hobos. The person carrying a bindle was called a bindlestiff, combining bindle with the Average Joe sense of stiff.

In modern popular culture the bindle is portrayed as a stick with cloth or a blanket tied around one
end for carrying items, with the entire array being carried over the shoulder. Particularly in cartoons, the bindles' sacks usually have a polka-dotted or bandanna design. However, in actual use the bindle can take many forms. An example of the stick-type bindle can be seen in the illustration entitled The Runaway created by Norman Rockwell which appears on the cover of the September 20, 1958 edition of The Saturday Evening Post.

Though bindles are rarely used anymore, they are still widely seen in popular culture as a prevalent anachronism. The term bindle may descend from the German/Yiddish word Bündel, meaning something wrapped up in a blanket and bound by cord for carrying (cf. originally Middle Dutch "bundle"), or have arisen as a portmanteau of "bind" and "spindle".

Memories from the Office of a Game Publisher – Office Space

Everywhere I look across social media I seem to be encountering two things. Economic news about the pending commercial real estate collapse,...