Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Daily Cosplay

Bad Art by Steve

This is a sketch of a map I drew for Peter Bradley, TLG's art guy (that's his official title, art guy as he is go to for all art around here). I have absolutely no idea how he pieces together the maps we need from the crap I give him.


Star Wars, Who Knew?

So I picked this gem off the net. Back in 2001 a waitress entered a contest that promised a new 'toyota' to the waitress who sold the most drinks. Our adventurous waitress dove in, excited to win a new car. This was a Hooters

Upon winning the contest she was blind folded and escorted to the parking lot to get her prize. She was a bit taken aback by her new toy yoda action figure. She was stunned as she thought the prize was for a new toyota, a car. Clearly she didn't read the fine print, or there was no fine print to read as the managers said the whole thing was supposed to be a joke. A lark.

Well, fine print or not, joke, lark or hoax, she sued Hooters and won and they were forced to give her a new toyota of her choice.

The force was with her.

No news on whether she got to keep the action figure.

USA Today

post script: She just looks mean.

Now That's a Monster


I've delved into a book called Marathon by Richard A. Billows. Its a good read but he discusses something I've not run across before...though it may be common in Greek Historiography. The early Greeks fought like most ancient peoples, light armor, spears, javelins, slings etc. Only the aristocrats were heavily armed and these fought in small groups. These early city states were ruled by the aristocracy, those with the money to create weapons and armor.

Just previous to the age of tyrants Greece began to expand economically. Trade facilitated alot of this, followed by the creation of finished goods...pottery etc. Money flowed into the cities, tradesmen became wealthy. The age of tyrans rolls in, lasting about 30 odd years and spread through many states. Then the hoplite enters the scene. We don't know if one led to the other or if they were unrelated, but the ability of the small tradesman to arm himself with heavy weapons changed the nature of Greek society. Within a few decades citizen bodies were running the various states.

So one theory is that the ability of the small land holder, tradesman, etc to arm himself led to the end of the rule of the Tyrants. It also led to the creation of the Hoplite soldiery, that went on to defeat the Persian Empire on numerous occasions.

That's probably a gross oversimplifications, but food for thought.

Armor Up

Movie Trailer ~ 400 Days

Word of the Day -- Gill (unit)

So I spent a lot of the holiday re-watching a lot of Archer episodes.  You find a lot of interesting words in that show.  Here's one I had not come across before the show...

The gill is a unit of measurement for volume equal to a quarter of a pint. It is no longer in common use, except in regard to the volume of alcoholic spirits measures. In imperial units
1 imperial gill

≡ 5 imperial fluid ounces

≡ 1⁄32 imperial gallon

≡ 1⁄4 imperial pint

≡ 142.0653125 ml

≈ 142 ml

≈ 1.2 US gills

In United States customary units
1 US gill

≡ 4 US fl oz

≡ 1⁄32 US gallon

≡ 1⁄4 US pint

≡ 1⁄2 US cup

≡ 8 tablespoons

≡ 24 teaspoons

≡ 32 US fluid drams

≡ 77⁄32 in3

≡ 118.29411825 ml

≈ 118 ml

≈ 5⁄6 imperial gills

In Great Britain, the standard single measure of spirits in a pub was 1⁄6 gill (23.7 ml) in England, and 1⁄5 gill (28.4 ml) in Scotland; after metrication this was replaced by either 25 or 35 ml (0.176- or 0.246-gill) measures (landlords can choose which one to serve). The 1⁄4 gill was previously the most common measure in Scotland, and still remains as the standard measure in pubs in Ireland. In southern England, it is also called a noggin. In northern England, however, the large noggin is used, which is two gills. In some areas, a gill came to mean half a pint for both beer and milk.

In Ireland, the standard spirit measure was historically 1⁄4 gill. In the Republic of Ireland, it still retains this value, though it is now legally specified in metric units as 35.5 ml.

There are occasional references to a gill in popular culture, such as in the cumulative song "The Barley Mow". In L. Frank Baum's "The Patchwork Girl of Oz" one of the ingredients required for a magic spell is a gill of water from a dark well. In chapter 19 the obscure unit is used for humor including a pun with Jack and Jill, which also involved a well. It is also referenced in FX's animated cartoon "Archer", in both Episodes "Blood Test" (Season 2, Episode 3).  and "Heart of Archness: Part Three" (Season 3, Episode 3).  The word also appeared in a 2013 edition of the BBC TV programme QI, when it was mispronounced by show host Stephen Fry with a hard 'g' sound.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Magic in the Pulps

Doctor Faustus and Mephistopheles

Hey, all. Jason here again with another article expounding on some of the design decisions and options available in Amazing Adventures. One of the most common questions I receive from people is, "Why is there a spell-slinging Arcanist in Amazing Adventures? What's the pulp rationale for that type of character?" This is a strong and valid question with a somewhat involved answer. The first, most simple answer is that not all pulp is in the vein of Doc Savage. It's not all two-fisted adventure. There are many genres and sub-genres that fall within the overarching umbrella of "pulp." It incorporates fantasy, westerns, horror stories, science fiction, the works.

Yes, it also incorporates comic books, which were printed on the same cheap pulp paper as the pulp magazines were, back in the day. Many heroes of the golden age of comics, such as Batman, are very much pulp heroes. By the 1960s heroes such as DC's Zatanna and Marvel's Doctor Strange were mainstays in comics, and both are spell-slinging arcanists.

The fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard was rife with books of magical power and the men who plied those arcane spells. Lovecraft's Whateley clan, for example, are certainly arcanists of some power, as is the eponymous Witch of his "Dreams in the Witch House." In the current Second Printing the optional concept of tying Sanity to spell casting was introduced to better mimic this, an idea that was even further expanded in the Companion, which allows for swords-and-sorcery necromancers in the style of Howard, Carter, Clark Ashton Smith and their contemporaries and later adherents.

The classic pulp villain Fu Manchu could be argued to be an arcanist, as he certainly trafficked with supernatural elements.

Naturally, the genre of fantasy known by some as "Modern Pulp" is rife with examples of spellcasting heroes. Harry Dresden is probably the most famous of these, but the Urban Fantasy/Supernatural Romances of Kelley Armstrong are also full of witches and sorcerers.

In the end, the addition of magic in Amazing Adventures accomplished several things:

  1. 1. It allows for easily creating villainous spellcasters in the Lovecraftian and Supernatural Detective role.  
  2. It allows for the "toolkit" mentality that AA is designed to fill--not only by allowing magically inclined characters, but the spell effects themselves become a vital and really easy solution to the Gadgeteer system and to the super powers rules outlined in the Companion. 
  3. Quite simply, it's fun. And in the end, none of this is about, "is this realistic to the pulps?" It's about, "What would be fun to play?"
As always, if you don't think a spell caster fits into your game, don't allow them. Remember, AA is designed to provide you the tools to run whatever kind of game you want to run, and magic isn't for everyone's game.

As always, if you've got any questions or thoughts I'm glad to hear them in the comments below, over at the Troll Lord forums or on our Facebook page! Until next on!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Daily Cosplay

Z Nation

I need to check the credits for this show. Its been a fun romp with some really, really weird plot lines that border on ... well something ... but I've kept watching it because, well its fun. That and the cast is just awesome, all these cats are doing wonders with the show.

But suddenly, about mid season 2nd season, the tone changed. The shows are better directed, or written, or something. They are just better. A little tighter and a little more suspenseful. Its changed form something I get around to watching when I'm relaxing, to something I want to watch. And damned if the season isn't almost over...though it may be over, I have gotten all the way through yet, as its Apple TV. I think I have one or two episodes left.

Very cool. If you haven't already, check it out.


The Big Dirty...Well Condom Style

This sounds like something right out of the Trailer Park Boys.

Apparently on Christmas Day, three men tried to rob a condom machine. Somehow they set some small explosive to the machine and set it off. The hope of course was to get the money in the machine and not the condoms...well so I guess. Maybe they were headed to an orgy. It doesn't say. However, the caper went wrong when one of the men failed to dive into the car quick enough and was struck in the head by a piece of flying debris, killing him.

Money and condoms lay everywhere.

They took him to the hospital, but to no avail.


Art of Aufstrag

Coming from Troll Lord Games very soon!

The Afterlife

If our early ancestors were correct and we get to take to the afterlife what we are buried with then, taking this kids rattles is just mean.

Almost all prehistoric societies buried their dead with items that they used in life, or loved, or that they thought they might need in the afterlife. These ranged from dogs, slaves, horses, weapons, jewelry, short, all manner of stuff. We have these graves on every continent. IF our early ancestors knew something we didn't then every time we dig up these graves and cart the bodies off to some museum and scatter their possessions we are robbing the dead in the afterlife.

But in Russia they unearthed an infant, set in the ground in his crib with two large rattles on his chest. He's been dug up and carted off to see what his bones hold. And the boy has no somewhere, in the wilds of the afterlife this baby just lost his rattles.

Read on!

That's just mean...

Movie Trailer ~ Deadpool

Armor Up

Word of the Day -- Keep

A keep (from the Middle English kype) is a type of fortified tower built within castles during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars have debated the scope of the word keep, but usually consider it to refer to large towers in castles that were fortified residences, used as a refuge of last resort should the rest of the castle fall to an adversary. The first keeps were made of timber and formed a key part of the motte-and-bailey castles that emerged in Normandy and Anjou during the 10th century; the design spread to England as a result of the Norman invasion of 1066, and in turn spread into Wales during the second half of the 11th century and into Ireland in the 1170s. The Anglo-Normans and French rulers began to build stone keeps during the 10th and 11th centuries; these included Norman keeps, with a square or rectangular design, and circular shell keeps. Stone keeps carried considerable political as well as military importance and could take up to a decade to build.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Daily Cosplay Star Wars

Stone Henge Rediscovered (Again)

Archaeologists claim to have found where the stones from Stone Henge were quarried. They believe they found the quarry in Wales and that the stones were pulled out of the ground in 3200 BCE, some 500 years before they were actually set up at Stone Henge, 2900 BCE, where they are now.

One theory is that the stones were pulled from the ground, set up and then later dissembled and hauled several hundred miles to their final site. This is possible I suppose, but in a climate of everyone babbling about cultural appropriation it seems a bit too in sync to me. A theory posed for a previous time using our own mores and beliefs.

Another theory is that they took 500 years to drag them as far as they did. In a prehistoric society I think asking for 500 years continuity is a bit much.

The first I can buy, the second seems far fetched.

UFO Files

More sightings reported over at MUFON.

“I was so scared. I thought it would come close to my car. This is something I will never forget. It kept going side-to-side looking and this went on for 20 or 30 seconds and then it just turned off the light and zoomed away straight forward as fast as it could.

From a  sighting in Texas

Once can never tell. It could be a drone flying about or it could be a probe looking for something or someone.

Movie Trailer ~ Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2

Armor Up

The Dragon

Now this puts some fire in the belly! I love pictures like this. The scale is awesome, the breath is a gout of fire and the heat of it lies in the expanded throat....just enough real with just enough fantasy!


Word of the Day -- Oubliette

A dungeon is a room or cell in which prisoners are held, especially underground. Dungeons are generally associated with medieval castles, though their association with torture probably belongs more to the Renaissance period. An oubliette is a form of dungeon which is accessible only from a hatch in a high ceiling.

An oubliette (from the French oubliette, literally "forgotten place") was a form of dungeon which was accessible only from a hatch in a high ceiling. The word comes from the same root as the French oublier, "to forget", as it was used for those prisoners the captors wished to forget.

The earliest use of oubliette in French dates back to 1374, but its earliest adoption in English is Walter Scott's Ivanhoe in 1819: "The place was utterly dark—the oubliette, as I suppose, of their accursed convent."

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Daily Cosplay

Tavern Tales

As the stranger picked up the mutton, he tapped his forehead, just above his eye. “What happened here?”

Erik looked at him for a moment, lost, then realized he was asking about his missing eye.

Firdon interjected, “The boy was fishing on a willow’s knee and the willow-sprite up and plucked out his eye! ‘Taxes!’ it said. ‘You must pay old man willow his just desert.’” Firdon burst out laughing. He laughed from deep in his belly and though he smelled as only men can smell, hard and stout, the laughter was warm enough and infectious.

Erik handed him the boot beer. “Aye it was willow-sprite you old stump.” Smiling he turned back to the stranger, “I wish it were a willow-sprite. At least the willows sing you to sleep. But it wasn’t no willow nor willow sprite. It was a witch from the Bottoms as took my eye.”

“A witch you say.” The stranger leaned back a little as he ate and perked up some. A few others turned around to listen.

“Aye, it was a few years back . . . .

Excerpt from "A Night at the Cockleburr", Tales of Two Worlds

Be Wary of a Good Bowman

I really enjoyed this movie and I really enjoyed this scene, Brad Pitt outdoes himself.

Thus the Wall of Worlds was Breached

You've probably heard the news, Voyager 1 has broken through that narrow belt where our own solar wind collides with the interstellar winds.

At its edges, the solar wind piles up into the "interstellar wind," a cloud of cooler charged particles that suffuse the thin vacuum of space between stars. Since 2004, Voyager 1 had been traveling within the boundary region between the solar wind and the interstellar wind, which is the cooked-off debris of thousands of exploded stars in our Milky Way galaxy. ~ National Geogrphic

Thus we have broken the Wall of Worlds and entered the Great Empty, the Void, the All Father's Forge. We have shed our mortal coil.

May we find Iul, the First Wind and ride it till the Gonfod should take us!

True Giants

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...