Monday, August 31, 2015

Daily Cosplay

The Hollow Skull

It is well recorded that before the fall of Aenoch and the rise of the Unklar and Aufstrag that many of the nobles of that realm fell to the fad of being slain and risen from the dead. They returned as undead lords and knights. Many of these went on to serve Unklar in their own fashion and fleshed ranks of officers and commanders.

Such was one Baron Herovich. An evil man in life, he became dreadful in death. He haunted the realm of his people for years and when he passed to the service of Unklar he continued to haunt it. His guile and his robust approach to meting out punishment allowed him to rise high in the ranks of Winter’s Dark. But that all ended when Unklar was banished from the plain and his earthly realm collapsed. Herovich was one who attempted to rally the peoples of Aufstrag around the priests but was shunned and driven to the deep holes of Aufstrag by Coburg the Undying (who now holds dominion in the Citadel.

Hereovich lingered in the darkness for many years until he felt his strength returned. He gathered a small army about him and waged war in and around the lower levels until he was driven to heal. He took up refuge in the stables in the Bone Pit. From there he plotted to master the bone devils and bent himself to that task. He attempted to over-awe the devils of the Long Hall but failed. He attempted to split their ranks but found them indifferent to the power of the world. At last he made war on them, summoning the undead to aid him.

It was a short lived war as the bone devils made short work of his people and drove him to the edge of the Dwimmelere. There he fought, but fell to the overwhelming strength. Though he was not destroyed, his bones were carted off, all in separate directions, so that his power was much wasted.

Herovich now is little more than a skull. For the longest while he sat atop one of the columns, watching and plotting, hoping against hope that somehow fate might reunite him with his scattered and much ruined bones. Eventually he was knocked off the column and landed with a thud and a crack to his cranium on the floor below.

There he sits, nestled against the column, looking out from his hollow eyes.

Aufstrag, The Bone Pit

Imaginarium ~ Into the Night

Weapon of the Day

Spontoon (half-pike)

This weapon consists of a 6 foot long shaft with a double edge blade attached to the top. At the base of the blade is another crescent shaped blade extending out. The tips of the crescent pointed up and the belly is sharpened. The weapon is used similar to a pike though is more easily maneuvered due to its shorter length. The blade length is approximately 12 inches making the overall length of the weapon 7 feet. It weighs about 9.8lbs. It originated in Italy.

Armor Up

Fire Hardened Spear

You know we always give recognition to the caveman, or woman, who harnessed fire, and invented a way to make fire, as well as the one who created the wheel. These people made a pretty significant contribution.

But what about the one who figured out fire-hardened spears? That's a pretty important leap in weapon's technology. To go from a throwing stick to a spear with a hard point. It keeps the weapon sharp, together and a far more useful in flight.

Somewhere along the line this caveman...or woman...stumbled on or had the idea to make fire hardened spears.

That's pretty cool. That and flushing toilets.

Movie Trailer ~ The Scortch Trials

In the Deep Quiet

Word of the Day -- Ambergris

Ambergris is a solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull grey or blackish colour produced in the digestive system of sperm whales.

Freshly produced ambergris has a marine, faecal odour. However, as it ages, it acquires a sweet, earthy scent commonly likened to the fragrance of rubbing alcohol without the vaporous chemical astringency. Although ambergris was formerly highly valued by perfumers as a fixative (allowing the scent to last much longer), it has now largely been replaced by synthetics.

Ambergris occurs as a bile duct secretion of the intestines of the sperm whale and can be found floating upon the sea, or lying on the coast. It is also sometimes found in the abdomens of whales. Because the beaks of giant squids have been found embedded within lumps of ambergris, scientists have theorised that the substance is produced by the whale's gastrointestinal tract to ease the passage of hard, sharp objects that the whale might have eaten. The sperm whale usually vomits these, but if one travels further down the gut, it will be covered in ambergris.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Daily Cosplay

16 Seconds of Cool ~ Star Wars

In case you missed it on instagram earlier yesterday (today) or at some point, Disney dropped a nice 16 seconds of cool. Its only a few shots, but what you can see is EPIC!

Falls the Divide

As is known the Darkenfold is divided into two large plateaus. In the west they are starkly divided by Alice's Bluff, named so for the mother of the child kidnapped by the elven king who threw herself from the cliff to the rocky creek below. The bluff runs from the cloudy Mistbane River to the tangled thickets that grow along the cliffs at Gurthap Falls. Here two river join, the Wachita and Westerling. Their tumbled paths collide beneath the stark cliff that houses the castle of the same name.

Gurthap Heights straddles the lip of land that lies between the confluence. It commands both rivers, the falls and the larger river to the south. None know now who built it, or why, situated as it is, in the deeps of the forest. But it has stood the test of time . . .

Falls the Divide

Imaginarium ~ By the Moon's Wane Light

Sparta Uncovered

Mycenaean Sparta was part of a larger culture that dominated mainland Greece, as well as some of the outlying islands. It predated the Sparta that we know from popular history, the Sparta ruled by two kings who forged unconquerable armies for 3-4 centuries. Roll the clock back another 1000 or so years and you have Mycenae.

Archeologists have recently uncovered a palace located just north of where traditional Sparta existed. Its a huge find because we don't have a lot of info on Mycenae, much of it coming from a few sites that were burned and destroyed by forces unknown.  The palace has a small host of artifacts in it, from murals to drinking cups.

More interestingly there a number of clay tablets with names and transactions written on them. These survived the centuries, because when this palace was burnt, they fires baked the tablets, preserving them.

Very cool. Read on.

Movie Trailer 2 ~ Rock the Kasbah

Armor Up

Weapon of the Day

Framea! (Migration period spear)

This spear is made of a thin shaft of soft wood, such a pine or heavier hardwoods. The shaft is approximately 6 feet long. The spear head on top is very narrow. A slight bulge at the base tapers gently to a fine point. These spears are light weight, excellently balance and capable of being thrown a long distance. Due to their light weight they are also excellent melee weapons as well. They can be used equally well from horseback and afoot. The blade is approximately 1 foot long making the spears length 7 feet. It weighs about 3lbs.

Here's Your Villain

Concept art by Chris Rallis

Word of the Day -- Twenty-Cent Piece

The American twenty-cent piece was a coin struck from 1875 to 1878, but only for collectors in the final two years. Proposed by Nevada Senator John P. Jones, it proved a failure due to confusion with the quarter, with which it was close in size.

In 1874, the newly elected Senator Jones began pressing for a twenty-cent piece, which he stated would alleviate the shortage of small change in the Far West. The bill passed Congress, and Mint Director Henry Linderman ordered pattern coins struck. Linderman eventually decided on an obverse similar to that of other silver coins. Although the coins had a smooth edge, rather than reeded as with other silver coins, the new piece was close to the size of, and immediately confused with, the quarter. Adding to the bewilderment, the obverse, or "heads", sides of both coins were almost identical. After the first year, in which over a million were minted, there was little demand, and the denomination was abolished in 1878. At least a third of the total mintage was later melted by the government. Numismatist Mark Benvenuto called the twenty-cent piece "a chapter of U.S. coinage history that closed almost before it began".

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Daily Cosplay

The Lake of Nunt

In the long ago Days Before Days Nunt came to Aihrde. His path was a lonesome one for his mind was twisted with visions of the River of Erde, that is the paths of the dead. His thoughts were lost in the gloaming of life. At some point he came to the Ethvold and there, beneath the cold dark eves of that vast forest he found a sanctuary. He settled beneath the waters of the lake that now bares his name and took the guise of a large white fish. Settling upon the bottom of the lake he became a conduit from this world to the next.

Or so the legends say.

What is known is that the Lake of Nunt lies deep in the Low River Country and is visited by few. The land about is dangerous, prone to flooding and filled with all manner of predacious beasts, dark hearted trees, and faerie whose lust for distraction has led more than a few to their untimely deaths.

The Lake itself is large, some 8 or 9 miles from east to west and half again the size from north to south. The waters are still, cool and deep, the center of the lake being roughly 420 feet from the surface. Very little plant life grows along the lake's edge, the pebbly beaches that surround it afford little purchase, and those that do grow and devoured by fish before they become much more than a small shoot. For this reason the lake remains the same size, year after year, swelling during the rainy season, and losing only a little during the dry.

Few creatures find purchase here, a dozen type of fish, frogs and turtles. But beyond that the giant carp keep all at bay, devouring the young of anything that attempts to settle in the lake itself. For this reason the lake offers good fishing for those brave enough to eat fish from the lake where a god of death is purported to dwell.

~Harvest of Oaths

Imaginarium ~ The Sun Shall Rise

Sups Down for the Count

Even after hearing, and talking about here, that George Miller might be directing the next Superman movie comes the news that its on permanent hold. No one knows why, but the rumors tumbling out of Warner Bros. is that the movie has been moved off the schedule (where it really never was) and is close to being canceled.

Superman is a hard character to come to grip with. He's not simple like Batman or Green Lantern, or even the X Men or the webslinger. Superman is an iconic character that was created in the glory days the United States' power and symbolizes the way we perceived ourselves in those long ago days. Today's audience  . . . hell the western world . . . is jaded with some assumed secret knowledge of what the world is really like, so the character's appeal of strength, decisiveness and over all good is tough on the crowd's today.

Worse its tough on the story writers. People don't relate with victory any more. At least those in the artistic circles (well except Frank Miller, he damn well does). The concept that good can truimph over because in good lies true power is lost in a wedge of second guessing, nail biting and curious ramblings about it takes a village.

Someone needs to take a script about this iconic symbol of good and give audiences hope for the future.

Weapon of the Day

Glaive Gisarme

This is a polearm with a 6 foot shaft and an 18 inch blade attached to it. The blade is broad, single edged and has a slight curve appearing as a half-moon. The reverse had a small spike or tine attached to it. The glaive is used as a hacking weapon and the spiked portion to penetrate armor or pull riders from a horse. The blade measures approximately 18 inches long with the overall length being 7’6”. It weighed approximately 5.6lbs. The glaive was a common weapon in Europe.

Armor Up

Movie Trailer ~ Para Elisa

Good lord have mercy!


Disney Rolling Out The Big Guns

Disney has tapped some of the largest internet starts to help promote the release of The Force Awakens this coming December. They'll be using the online video site, Makers Studios (that they just gobbled up), to begin a series of unboxing events.

"Maker Studios is the largest content network on YouTube, attracting over 10 billion views per month. Its stars, including EvanTubeHD, Bratayley, Expcaseros, AlexBy11, and Chris Pirillo, will unbox different Star Wars toys in fifteen events on September 3, the day before Force Friday, all live streamed on the Star Wars YouTube channel over an eighteen hour period." ~ICv2

Gotta love the marketing strategy. That spread should get ga-jillions of viewers from all walks.

If you hadn't heard the force is going to awaken by now, you will soon. 

(see what I did there?)

Wizard's Way

Word of the Day -- Chariot

A chariot is a type of carriage driven by a charioteer using primarily horses to provide rapid motive power. Chariots were used in militaries as transport or mobile archery platforms, for hunting or for racing, and as a conveniently fast way to travel for many ancient peoples.

The word "chariot" comes from the Latin carrus, itself a loanword from Gaulish. A chariot of war or one used in military parades was called a car. In ancient Rome and some other ancient Mediterranean civilizations a biga required two horses, a triga three, and a quadriga four.

Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two-wheeled conveyance drawn by two or more horses that were hitched side by side, and was little more than a floor with a waist-high semicircular guard at the front. It was initially used for ancient warfare during the Bronze and the Iron Ages, but after its military capabilities had been superseded by other vehicles, the chariot was used for travel, in processions, for games, and in races.

The critical invention that allowed the construction of light, horse-drawn chariots was the spoked wheel. The earliest spoke-wheeled chariots date to ca. 2000 BC and their use peaked around 1300 BC (see Battle of Kadesh). Chariots had lost their military importance by the 1st century AD, but chariot races continued to be popular in Constantinople until the 6th century.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Daily Cosplay

World's First Sci Fi Convention

Back in 1937 the world's first science fiction convention was held in Leed England. About 20 people gathered for the days lectures and presentations. Among the several notables was a much younger Arthur C. Clark.

Strangely the title for first convention is contested by a convention held in America in 1936. Though in reading this seems more of a gathering friends than a convention with a program and schedule in it. I think for this Troll's part I'll have to give the title to Leeds.

But that aside, its really something to thing of the genre in its early days, and these were way before it became main stream.

Of equal interest is the program guide. Not only is it short and simple and to the point, its reveals a convention that is actually structured much like an academic conference. Much of it is about the creation of the Science Fiction Association. See playbill here.

Its also interesting to note how many people in that picture are smoking.

Read the full story of the con here!

Imaginarium ~ Forest Trails

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,...