Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Mermaid Myth

On National Geographic's YouTube channel, "Photographer Brian Skerry reveals the creatures once believed to be mermaids."  The myth of mermaids is one of the most enduring, perhaps dating back to the sirens of Greek mythology.  Adding creatures of this type, and maybe of several kinds, or at least rumors of them, to any campaign setting is a must.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Nature at its Finest

You'll find 25 Awe-inspiring Nature Photographs over on wokay.com that should be very inspirational to your campaign setting creation.  Check them out here!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Abberant Behavior in your Setting?

Someone pointed me toward a particular page over at the website of crusades.encyclopedia.com that reccounts some actions on the part of crusaders that is rather unsavory, so to speak.  If the practice of cannibalism didn't exist at all, then it would be no great feat to dismiss the claims outright, but such things do happen in some cultures, in some extreme circumstances, and in some crisis.  So the question for us becomes, how much of this if any do we add into our tabletop roleplaying game settings?  At the least, it is a good bogeyman to put out there as rumored in a neighboring setting location.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sedlec Ossuary

There's a very bizarre place in the Czech Republic that any campaign setting builder would benefit from adding.  It's called the Sedlec Ossuary and it's a small chapel where so many folks wanted to be buried that they needed a new way to accomodate all of the skeletal remains.  During numerous reconstructions and expansions, bones were moved here and there but eventually, in 1870, a woodcarver was hired to put the whole place in order.  What he did there is both innovative and very, very creepy.  Some might recognize it as one of the settings in the Dungeons & Dragons movie.  Read more here!

Friday, January 27, 2012

How Big and Green is my Emerald?

Most GMs use gems and jewels in their games but just how big can they get?  From the ABC News site, and according to Western Star Auctions, "What is said to be the 'world's largest emerald' is 12 inches long and weighs 11.5 kilograms. It was appraised at $1.15 million because it is a rough cut stone."  And, it will be auctioned on Jan. 28 at Western Star Auctions in British Columbia, Canada, so get in line!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Greg Stafford's Pendragon Page

Even if you are not running a Pendragon RPG campaign, or even a campaign based on Arthurian legend, you'll find a lot of useful Medieval Fantasy fodder, particularly for the Dark Ages, on Greg Stafford's Pendragon Page.  Check it out here!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


There's a rather cool new material being spun from the fibers of recycled plastic bottles.  Definitely something for any future setting and certainly something we should have in the real world, and now do.  Check it out here!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nuclear Extremophile?

Last December, as reported on io9.com, a potential newly-discovered lifeform might have been found growing on our nuclear waste.  Experts aren't committing just yet to that conclusion but the possibility alone is rather intriguing.  Extremophiles live in some of the oddest places but most are at least natrually occurring environments.  That something might be developing in a place that is both extreme and manmade has rather fascinating implications and should make great fodder for tabletop roleplaying settings.  Read more here!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Room Details

Although it might not be the scale you're looking to use, some interesting things have been done with "dollhouses" or, perhaps more properly put, with Medieval replica diorama displays, that can help you flesh out the various setting locations in your game.  Add that to your regular searches for inspiration and here's one to start you off.  And here are a few more.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Lion's Mane Jellyfish

Someone recently pointed me toward a photo on theweekmagazine.tumblr.com showing a Lions Mane Jellyfish.  It gives you some perspective on the size of this magnificent creature.  Some things in the oceans of your campaign setting can be both beautiful and deadly.  Read more here!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Quasi-Eternal Forest

A recent article on DailyMail.co.uk detailed the loss of a 3,500 year old cypress tree to fire.  Said to be the fifth oldest tree in the world, oldest in the USA, it succumb to a forest fire.  Read more here.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Vancian Magic, According to tetsubo57 on YouTube

YouTube's tetsubo57 has uploaded a video with his RPG Pondering's on Vancian Magic.  Check it out here!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Making Mead

Ever wonder about tavern drinks in your setting?  A popular one is Mead.  YouTube's StormTheCastle.com has a video now on what it is and how to make it.  Watch it here!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA and PIPA Protest Blackout

This site is participating in the SOPA and PIPA Protest Blackout.  Please contact your legislators to protest these poorly written initiatives. I will be unavailable for 24 hours CST on January 18, 2012.  Here is more information on the details.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

1960's UK Witchcraft Documentary

If you're running a tabletop RPG set in the 60's with an element of witchcraft, this rare documentary (that I learned about through the DangerousMinds.net website) will help you set the tone.  Follow the link to the view the video but, of course, don't take it all too seriously and I should warn viewers that there is a bit of nudity.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Alt-World Setting Idea

A recent article on BuzzFeed.com took a look back at a Ladies Home Journal article written in 1911 predicting how the world would look in 2011, called "What May Happen in the Next One Hundred Year" by John Elfreth Watkins Jr.  It has some interesting thoughts that could easily be incorporated into an alternate universe setting.  Check it out here!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

2012 Seventy Science Fiction and Fantasy Films

Earlier this month an article on io9.com called "70 Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies to Watch Out for in 2012" discussed what to look for in the coming year in film for all of us genre film enthusiasts including the first of the two Hobbit movies.  Read more here!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Random Playtesting Results Generator

The hilarious minds at the Blog of Holding have come up with a Random Playtesting Results Generator for our amusement.  (Feel free to steal them to create adventures.)  Oh, you poor paladin!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Maps You Can Count On

A recent article on io9.com (getting lots from them lately!) discusses some wonderful census maps from the 1870s.  Read more here!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Eight Below Ain't Enough

A recent article on io9.com discusses how some octopi have rewritten their RNA to allow them to adapt to much colder climes.  Read more here!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Map Room - A Weblog about Maps

Just a quick post to point out the excellent reading any setting designer will find on The Map Room - A Weblog about Maps.  The site is loaded with excellent information and links for cartographers and campaign setting enthusiasts. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Give Us that Winning Smilodon

A recent article on io9.com discusses the new research that professes smilodons not only had huge fangs but also unusually large and muscular front legs.  Read more here!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Genre Movie List (with TV Bits!)

A recently bumped thread on ENWorld.org brought my eyes back to a list of genre movies (including some made-for-TV) that I have found inspirational.  Though I have posted before about the pedigree of the Grymvald setting, I thought it might be nice to house a larger list of movies, videos, and TV series that are fantastical in nature (or that have a science fiction, some action/adventure/sword-fighting and/or Medieval, Dark Age, Ancient World, or Mythological themes that easily cross over for tabletop hobby gaming).  I've expanded on that original list, including some that are not yet released, and added links here to IMDb.com for easy reference.  There are a few animated features and animated television series on the list but I won't be adding many more, just those that are tied to classics like the ones listed.  I'm only passingly familiar with anime and feel that would require a separate list put together elsewhere by someone more familiar than I.  If you start one and it becomes fairly extensive, let me know and I'll see about linking to it at the bottom of this list.  This is far from complete so feel free to drop me a line or add a comment with something that could be added.  Enjoy!

10th Kingdom, The (2000, TV Mini-Series) IMDb.com

13th Warrior, The (1999) - IMDb.com

300 (2006) - IMDb.com

7th Voyage of Sinbad, The (1958) - IMDb.com

Adventures of Sinbad, The (1996, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944) - IMDb.com

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944) - IMDb.com

Angel (1999, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Armageddon (1998) - IMDb.com

Arthur the King (1985, TV Movie, AKA Merlin and the Sword) - IMDb.com

Beastmaster (1999, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time (1991) - IMDb.com

Beastmaster, The (1982) - IMDb.com

Beowulf & Grendel (2005) - IMDb.com

Beowulf (1999) - IMDb.com

Beowulf (2007, Animated) - IMDb.com

Blade Runner (1982) - IMDb.com

Braveheart (1995) - IMDb.com

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) - IMDb.com

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Camelot (1967) - IMDb.com

Camelot (1998, Animated) - IMDb.com

Camelot (2011, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Children of Men (2006) - IMDb.com

Chronicle (2012) - IMDb.com

Clash of the Titans (1981) - IMDb.com

Clash of the Titans (2010) - IMDb.com

Conan the Barbarian (1982) - IMDb.com

Conan the Barbarian (2011) - IMDb.com

Conan the Destroyer (1984) - IMDb.com

Court Jester, The (1956) - IMDb.com

Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966) - IMDb.com

Dark Crystal, The (1982) - IMDb.com

Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King (2004, AKA Curse of the Ring) - IMDb.com

Doctor Who (1963, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Doctor Who (1996, TV Movie) - IMDb.com

Doctor Who (2005, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka (2003, TV Mini-Sries) - IMDb.com

Doctor Who: Time Crash (2007, TV Movie) - IMDb.com

Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) - IMDb.com

Dracula 3D (2012) - IMDb.com

Dragon Chronicles, The (Fire & Ice) (2008, TV Movie) - IMDb.com

Dragonheart (1996) - IMDb.com

Dragonheart: A New Beginning (2000) - IMDb.com

Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (2008, Animated) - IMDb.com

Dragons: Fire & Ice (2004, TV Movie) - IMDb.com

Dragonslayer (1981) - IMDb.com

Dungeons & Dragons (1983, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Dungeons & Dragons (2000) - IMDb.com

Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (2005) - IMDb.com

Erik the Viking (1989) - IMDb.com

Excalibur (1981) - IMDb.com

Excalibur (1981) - IMDb.com

Fifth Element, The (1997) - IMDb.com

Fire and Ice (1983) - IMDb.com

First Knight (1995) - IMDb.com

Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge, The (1974) - IMDb.com

Gladiator (2000) - IMDb.com

Golden Voyage of Sinbad, The (1973) - IMDb.com

Green Knight, The (2021) - IMDb.com

Grindhouse (2007) - IMDb.com

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) - IMDb.com

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2011) - IMDb.com Part 1 & IMDb.com Part 1

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) - IMDb.com

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) - IMDb.com

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) - IMDb.com

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) - IMDb.com

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) - IMDb.com

Hawk the Slayer (1981) - IMDb.com

Heavy Metal (1981) - IMDb.com

Heavy Metal (2000) - IMDb.com

Highlander (1986) - IMDb.com

Highlander (1992, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Highlander II (1991) - IMDb.com

Highlander: Endgame (2000) - IMDb.com

Highlander: The Animated Series (1994, Animated) - IMDb.com

Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994) - IMDb.com

Highlander: The Raven (1998, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Highlander: The Source (2007) - IMDb.com

Hobbit, The (1977, Animated) - IMDb.com

Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The (2012) - IMDb.com

Hobbit: There and Back Again, The (2013) - IMDb.com

Imortals (2011) - IMDb.com

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) - IMDb.com

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) - IMDb.com

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) - IMDb.com

Jabberwock (2011) - IMDb.com

Jabberwocky (1977) - IMDb.com

Jack the Giant Killer (1962) - IMDb.com

Jack the Giant Killer (2012) - IMDb.com

Jason and the Argonauts (1963) - IMDb.com

Jason and the Argonauts (2000, TV Movie) - IMDb.com

King Arthur (2004) - IMDb.com

King Arthur, the Young Warlord (1975) - IMDb.com

King Kong (1933) - IMDb.com

King Kong (1976) - IMDb.com

King Kong (2005) - IMDb.com

Kingdom of Heaven (2005) - IMDb.com

King's Whore, The (1990) - IMDb.com

Knights of the Round Table (1953) - IMDb.com

Knight's Tale, A (2001) - IMDb.com

Krull (1983) - IMDb.com

Kull the Conquereor (1997) - IMDb.com

Labyrinth (1986) - IMDb.com

Ladyhawke (1985) - IMDb.com

Legend (1985) - IMDb.com

Legend of Prince Valiant, The (1991, TV Series, Animated) - IMDb.com

Legend of the Seeker (2008, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Life of Brian (1979) - IMDb.com

Lord of the Rings, The (1978, Animated) - IMDb.com

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001) - IMDb.com

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003) - IMDb.com

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002) - IMDb.com

Magic Sword, The (1962) - IMDb.com

Merlin (1993) - IMDb.com

Merlin (1998, TV Mini-Series) - IMDb.com

Merlin (1998, TV Movie) - IMDb.com

Merlin (2008, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Merlin's Apprentice (2006, TV Mini-Series) - IMDb.com

Mighty Joe Young (1949) - IMDb.com

Mighty Joe Young (1998) - IMDb.com

Minotaur (2006) - IMDb.com

Mission, The (1986) - IMDb.com

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974) - IMDb.com

Mummy Returns, The (2001) - IMDb.com

Mummy, The (1932) - IMDb.com

Mummy, The (1999) - IMDb.com

Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The (2008) - IMDb.com

National Treasure (2004) - IMDb.com

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007) - IMDb.com

NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, The (1990) - IMDb.com

NeverEnding Story III, The (1994) - IMDb.com

NeverEnding Story, The (1984) - IMDb.com

NeverEnding Story, The (1995, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Paladin: Dawn of the Dragonslayer (2011?) - IMDb.com

Pathfinder (2007) - IMDb.com

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) - IMDb.com

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters (2013) - IMDb.com

Planet Terror (2007) - IMDb.com

Power of the Dark Crystal, The (2013) - IMDb.com

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) - IMDb.com

Prince Valiant (1954) - IMDb.com

Prince Valiant (1997) - IMDb.com

Princess Bride, The (1987) - IMDb.com

Quest for Camelot (1998, Animated) - IMDb.com

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - IMDb.com

Red Sonja (????) - IMDb.com

Red Sonja (1985) - IMDb.com

Resident Evil (2002) - IMDb.com

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) - IMDb.com

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) - IMDb.com

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) - IMDb.com

Return of the King, The (1980, TV Movie) - IMDb.com

Rob Roy (1995) - IMDb.com

Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption, The (2012) - IMDb.com

Scorpion King, The (2002) - IMDb.com

Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior, The (2008) - IMDb.com

Season of the Witch (2011) - IMDb.com

Sheena (2000, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Sheena: Queen of the Jungle (1984) - IMDb.com

Sin City (2005) - IMDb.com

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) - IMDb.com

Son of Ali Baba (1952) - IMDb.com

Son of Sinbad (1955) - IMDb.com

Surrogates (2009) - IMDb.com

Sword and the Sorcerer, The (1982) - IMDb.com

Sword of Ali Baba, The (1965) - IMDb.com

Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1984) - IMDb.com

Sword of War (2009) - IMDb.com

The Last Legion (2007) - IMDb.com

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, The (1999) - IMDb.com

The Sword in the Stone (1963) - IMDb.com

Thief of Bagdad, The (1924) - IMDb.com

Thief of Bagdad, The (1940) - IMDb.com

Thief of Baghdad, The (1978, TV Movie) - IMDb.com

Three Musketeers, The (1948) - IMDb.com

Three Musketeers, The (1973) - IMDb.com

Three Musketeers, The (1993) - IMDb.com

Three Musketeers, The (2011) - IMDb.com

Time Bandits (1981) - IMDb.com

Torchwood (2006, TV Series) - IMDb.com

TRON (1982) - IMDb.com

TRON: Legacy (2010) - IMDb.com

Troy (2004) - IMDb.com

Unbreakable (2000) - IMDb.com

Underworld (2003) - IMDb.com

Underworld: Awakening (2012) - IMDb.com

Underworld: Evolution (2006) - IMDb.com

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009) - IMDb.com

Valhalla Rising (2009) - IMDb.com

Van Helsing (2004) - IMDb.com

War Lord, The (1965) - IMDb.com

Warrior and the Sorceress, The (1984) - IMDb.com

Watchmen (2009) - IMDb.com

Willow (1988) - IMDb.com

Witchblade (2001, TV Series) - IMDb.com

Wizards of Aus, The (2016) - IMDb.com

Wizards (1977) - IMDb.com

Wizards of the Lost Kingdom (1985) - IMDb.com

Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II (1989) - IMDb.com

Wrath of the Titans (2012) - IMDb.com

Yellowbeard (1983) - IMDb.com 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Arrogant Ants, Naw Just with Big Heads

A recent article on io9.com discusses a trait in ant populations that seems to be millions of years old that can resurfaced from long-dormant DNA producing huge heads in some sects of soldier ants.  Read more here!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

David Imus Cartography

A recent Slate.com article called "The Greatest Paper Map of the United States You’ll Ever See" highlights the excellent cartography of David Imus.  His map of the USA is recieving great praise and the article includes some detailed photos of portions of the map that show why this praise is so well deserved.  You can pick up some excellent tips on the decision-making process that should go into any cartography project for a campaign setting.  Find out more here!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chronicle (2012)

There's a trailer out for a new movie coming in early February called Chronicle.  It follows three high school friends as they gain super powers and deal with that new reality.  It might have some interesting new takes on an origin story and how to run a supers game in an otherwise real world setting.  Take a look . . .

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Angry Birds?

Looking for a scientifically based rationale to have the birds of your campaign setting act hyper-aggressively ALA the Hitchcock thriller, The Birds?  There's an article on io9.com with some details on how to do just that!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Invented Monsters

There's a very cool article on Salon.com discussing "Why We Invented Monsters" that gives some excellent insight on the cultural origins of scary creatures.  It's an excerpt from “Deadly Powers: Animal Powers and the Mythic Imagination” by Paul A. Trout. (Prometheus Books, 2011).  Check it out here!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wrath of the Titans Trailer

I've got to say, this Wrath of the Titans trailer looks better than the first one, Clash of the Titans.  Perhaps not being hamstrung by the early Eighties script (which made the film awful despite the Harryhausen greatness) will make this sequel much stronger.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dinosaur Names

There's a really neat little article over on the blog for ScientificAmerican.com from about a year ago worth reading. It's called How to Name a Dinosaur and it'll give you some real world idea about how tough it can be to go through such a process. It'll also give you some ideas for creature names for your tabletop roleplaying campaign naming conventions, for dinosaurs anyway. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Orca vs Sharks

Some recent footage was caught off the coast of New Zealand of at least one Orca fighting and/or attacking a number of sharks.  It seems the footage may be of one of a pod of whales, these sharks killers, and that its role is to chase members of this shark school away from the beach where they can be more easily killed and eaten by the rest of the pod.  Here's a Yahoo News video account of the action.

For your own setting, sometimes when you want to show the dangers in an area but without directly confronting the characters, having a couple of the local heavyweights duke it out nearby so that it can be witnessed is a fun alternative.  One of my favorite storytellers, Ray Harryhausen, did this regularly in his stop-motion animated film sequences.  This is a good way for a GM to introduce the full range of hazards and creatures, rght up to the top of the food chain, to players even when they have rather fledgling characters.  Have fun!