Friday, December 30, 2011

The Hobbit Trailer Screenshots

Over on, they have posted 94 screenshots from the recent trailer for The Hobbit movie.  These images are a great inspiration toward descriptions of verious elements of any Medieval Fantasy campaign setting.  Check them all out here!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Middle Ages Timeline

Wondering how to flesh out your campaign setting?  Take a look at a Middle Ages Timeline to get a few idea on how to make the history of your setting as important as the present.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hidden Pool - Dungeon Flavor Manifests for Recreation

How many dungeon campaign settings have a room where the floor drops down and water (sometimes sand) starts filling up the room while the adventurers feverishly try to work out a puzzle?  Well, here's how that might look . . .

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mayans in the USA?

"Much more may still be hidden underground," says the article on regarding the discovery of Mayan ruins in the north of the state of Georgia in the USA.  Dating back 1,000 years ago or more, the site has been confirmed as a place where Mayans likely fled as their own Central American empire collapsed.  Read more here!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More on Coins

I recently wrote a blog post pointing out the "rediscovery of some silver coins in a Barvarian library."  For those looking to increase the tactile opportunities for thier players to immerse themselves in coinage during an RPG campaign, it has come to my attention that there is a Kickstarter program currently underway to produce coins for that very purpose.  Check it out here!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NOVA - 39 Seasons and Going

There are some fascinating and useful shows on the website that will help you with setting details and world building.  NOVA, a show now in it's 39th season, is one of the most fun to explore.  Not all of the episodes are up but recently I watch The Pluto Files which details how it became a planet and how planetary status was then removed from it.  These are the sort of conflicts that should be going on in the history of everyone's game world, to be stumbled across during the course of other adventures.  Such conflicts can even be adventures in their own right if the stakes are high enough.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What is Sealed Beneath the Ice?

According to a recent article from The Independent, scientists have discovered that over one hundred plumes of methane gas are now being released from the ocean that was once concealed by the Arctic ice shelf.  It would appear that these huge levels of gas will perpetuate climate change at an even more accelerated rate than our own feeble efforts have thus far produced.  But what of your campaign world?  Are there more monstrous things hidden below the depths and held at bay by the frozen waters of the icy north?  Read more about the actual occurence here.

Friday, December 16, 2011


A recent news article on the rediscovery of some silver coins in a Barvarian library got me thinking about coinage in Medieval Fantasy campaign settings.  I've always tried to include coins for each nation and make some determinations about the exchange rates, which coins can be used freely in which other locations, what it might say about someone who uses coins from one place or another and the impressions it might convey, and also make some provision for coins from ancient times in the game world.  Anyway, here's that article to check out.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It Ain't Heavy, It's a Dragon

In the Lambsuango Forest of Indonesia, you wil encounter a dragon, if you keep your eyes open.  Check it out here then add it to your campaign setting!

Monday, December 12, 2011

National Geographic YouTube Channel

If you GM and haven't been keeping an eye on the National Geographic YouTube Channel then you have been missing out on some very interesting videos.  Here's one on the egg production of a Termite Queen -

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Underwater Phenomenon

To add a little flavor to the water in your games, consider the five underwater phenomenon mentioned in a recent article entitled The 5 Most Mind-Blowing Things That Can Be Found Underwater.  From bodies of water within bodies of water to birds and spiders, as well as forests and sinkholes, there's lots to explore.  Read more here!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How Big is a Big Insect? has an article on the Giant Weta Bug, reported to be the world's largest insect.  Now it may be that all campaign settings have examples of giant insects like swarms of giant bees and colonies of very large ants, but how big do you make the normal instects in a campaign setting and still retain some credibility?  Well, the Giant Weta Bug has just raised the bar for all of us!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Release the Hounds!

According to an article on, a newly released study shows that all modern dogs originated from domestication that happened in southeast Asia.  Previous signs pointed to the Middle East as the location of original domestication of modern breeds but now scientists believe that though some crossbreeding probably occurred there and perhaps in other areas, southeast Asia shows the greatest levels of genetic diversity which speaks to its likelihood as the origin of modern dogs.  Just a little something to consider when deciding on how dogs began and spread through your own game world.  Read more here!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Oceanic Data for FREE!

If you are keen to collect way too much data from the real world as you develop the oceans of your world then you are in luck.  Liquid Robotics has launched a Pacific Ocean probing robot that will gather "huge amounts of data -- 2.25 million data points on on salinity, water temperature, waves, weather, fluorescence, and dissolved oxygen, to be exact -- and making it available in real time to anyone interested. Researchers and even kids in classrooms can follow along."  Check out more of the story at here!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Steampunk Setting Design

A hilarious new video on YouTube from Pikedeviant nicely sums up some error in thinking regarding Steampunk setting design.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ways to Reboot a Setting

A recent article at denoted "7 Horrible Ways The Universe Can Destroy Us Without Warning."  Included are such classics as rogue stars and black holes plus a few more esoteric endings.  Take a look if you're finally fed up with your current game setting and are looking for a spectacular way to stick a fork in it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Top 10 Bizarre Prehistoric Animals" from

There's a cool little article on that highlight ten of the ost bizarre prehistoric creatures known.  It includes some excellent photos, pictures and graphics.  Check it out here!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Gizmodo has run an excellent story on the "brinicles," a phenomenon which "are columns of ice that form under very calm ocean conditions, when there's a big differential between the water temperature (around -1.9C) and the air temperature about the sea ice (below -20C)."  Read more here!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Whales In The Desert"

There's an interesting article recently published called Whales In The Desert: Fossil Bonanza Poses Mystery that got me thinking about the fossil record of campaign settings.  Many games have "ruins" of various kinds but how many include some hints of pre-history?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Geeky Alignment Charts

Whether you agree in whole or in part with the following assessments, RPG alignment arguments are as old as the game itself.  The following compilation of geeky alignment charts are potentially inspirational toward getting GMs to consider the subject or, at the least, good for a laugh.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Photos of Extinct Species

Michael Tresca has clued me into a series of photos of extinct species that might help others to re-envision some animals in their own campaign settings.  Enjoy and check them out here!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Medieval Pouches

I did a quick Google search the other day to get a mental image of the many types of pouches that might be in use in a Medieval Fantasy setting and was amazed by the variety that came up.  Here's some of my favorites . . .

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Message for You, Sir!"

I recently saw that there is an art installation called Letters to the Ocean where the artist began sending letters to the Pacific Ocean only to have it returned stamped as "no such place exists."  Of course, it prompted him to begin sending daily correspondence and collecting the returned mail for display.

Funny and ironically sad, of course, but it got me thinking about messages, couriers, and postal systems in tabletop roleplaying game settings.  Typical Medieval Fantasy settings will include heralds and bards who will spread the news and history well enough but also will host couriers for nobles and governments.  Sir Terry Pratchett does a neat job of show a postal service in servere decline and how it gets revitalized in his excellent Discworld novel, Going Postal, to humorous affect, of course.  Naturally, there are all sorts of ways in between, utilizing magic and manpower to create systems of information tranismission and retrieval for your own setting.  At the least, it is something that should be addressed as surely as any other aspect of your setting, so get to it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Free Early and Renaissance Music - Classical Guitar Recordings

If you're looking for some music to play in the background of your Medieval Fantasy RPGs, particularly in tavern situations where a bard might be performing, have a look at the Musical Selections section of  While much of it is from the Renaissance period, one might argue that many Medieval Fantasy games border on the tail end of that period and that much of this music borders on the front end of the Renaissance.  Certainly, many of the instruments in use crossover well enough.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Can You Spot the Horse?

A recent article on the BBC website in the Science and Environment area of their News section discussed recent findings regarding how ancient cave art depicting spotted horses has helped steer scientists to look closely at DNA of ancient horses.  Past research had shown only brown and black colored horse coats but more recently they have discovered that dappled horses may have also been fairly common, as cave artistry might suggest.  Read more here!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Berlin Researchers Crack the Ptolemy Code"

This news is about a year old but I've just discovered it for myself and thought I would share it with others.  Apparently, a research group has managed to make some sense of the long-frustrating maps of Ptolemy and, in doing so, have added about 1,000 years of history to many Germanic population centers.  Just a little something to think about before giving players handout maps; they don't need to be perfectly accurate.  Maybe you don't want them to take 2,000 years to decode them, but they can be a little off.  Read more about it here!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Insect Identification Guide

Although this one is only for North America, I thought it was such a neat little application that I'd better share it with veryone.  Check it out!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lunar Cycles Explained

If you're planning on having a world with similar tides and weather to our own, you might want to know a bit more about our moon and it's affect on the planet.  To learn more, check out this website here!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Little Fiction on the Monsters of British Columbia

Over on the for Halloween was a particularly fun piece of writing on The Legendary Creatures of British Columbia I wanted to share.  It includes some lore on Ogopoga Monster, thought to be either a Basilosaurus or a plesiosaur, depending on who you ask, as well as some other folkloric creatures.  I hope everyone had a Happy Hallloween and Enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2011


A quick Google search of "tapestries" uncovers a world of ideas for how to decorate the walls of the castles in your game world.  Sure, you could just tell the players they depict battles and such but opportunities to pass along information to the players don't come any easier than this.  Here's a few of the tapestries I found particularly interesting.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Harryhausen Creature Collection

If you're a fan of the old movies which feature the animation work of Ray Harryhausen like I am, you'll love The Harryhausen Creature Collection website.  Much setting creature inspiration can be had while sifting through the pictures of his work all housed there for your entertainment and nostalgia.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"What Planet are We From?"

It's an interesting question and unless you are placing your campaign setting on an Earthlike planet in a solar system like ours, one worth exploring.  There's a lot to consider that will need adjusting if you don't use some sort of Earth analogue.  Just one sun?  How many moons?  How does this affect tides?  How close are other planets and how many are there?  It seems likely that unless you have a reason to not use an Earth clone, it might be the easy and maybe even the best choice from the perspective of player familiarity.  However, if you are looking to possibly do something unusual or unique, start with some basics from NASA regarding planets around other stars.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Violence in your Campaign Setting

Aside from the violence perpetuated by the player characters in your campaign games, a GM needs to consider how much violence is inherent in the campaign setting as a whole.  In a recent EN World thread on Banditry, EN Worlder (and friend of the show ;-) ) frankthedm pointed us to Chapter Eight - Violence and its Control in the Late Renaissance: An Italian Model by Gregory Hanlon a section of text book on googlebooks called A Companion to the Worlds of the Renaissance (edited?) by Guido Ruggiero.  It touches on banditry and violence in late Renaissance times that is good food for thought when designing your own campaign setting.  Check it out for yourself.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Living Bridges

"In northeast India, a giant cliff leads into a hidden world, Meghalaya . . ."  The living bridges of Megalia are a sight to behold.  Built over generations, they are the only way the people of the area can cross the raging torrents of the river during the rainy season.  Read more here and watch a video here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cyclops Shark

Some photos have shown up on National Geographic News of an albino cyclops shark, fetal and taken from the womb of an adult Dusky shark.  Fascinating!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Video of OSR Maps from Samwise7RPG

Some very nice OSR Megadungeon maps were recently shared by YouTube's Samwise7RPG in video form accompanied by Music in the form of "Foretold Revelation" by Severed Fifth (it kicks in rather loud after a minute or so, so be warned!).

Monday, October 17, 2011


If you're looking for some ecological and biological inspiration while world building, be sure to check out the website set up by the first year students from the Marietta College Department of Biology and Environmental Science.  It's got just enough information on many of the world's biomes to give an overview, just how you want to get your player's interested without overwhelming them.  It covers temperature, precipitation, geological information, flora, fauna, and the other basics needed to present a region in a complete but quick manner.  They also have lots of excellent charts and photographs to help better understand the diversity of each location.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Window Dressing for Medieval Fantasy Settings

I had such an enjoyable time Google searching for Medieval doors the other day, I thought it might be fun to take a look at, if not through, Medieval windows.  Here are some of my favorites for inspiration.

I like the way they aren't lined up evenly.

That looks like an easy climb.

That took a while to make.

Bars and shutters!

There's plety more to see you surf around a bit on your own.