Saturday, June 30, 2012

Swimming in Armor

If you're looking for a bit more realism in your tabletop roleplaying game in regard to how well someone might be able to swim while wearing armor, there's a video on Vimeo worth checking out.  Check it out here!

Swimming Test from Michael K. Bergstrom on Vimeo.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Oldest Cave Art

Looking to put some extra touches into your cavern crawls?  Check out a recent BBC News article on what the real world holds in that department.  Read more here!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Surreal Inspiration for Settings

Looking for some surreal inspiration to include in a tabletop roleplaying setting?  The king of the surreal, M. C. Escher has always been a big help to me when someone wanted to travel to a bizarre plane of existence.  Aside from his own work, many inspired by him have cool works of their own like some in a Facebook album I recently stumbled across here.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Italian Stone Giant

There's a very cool statue, perhaps more of a carving, known as The Apennine Colossus over in Italy that someone posted on Facebook that realy sparks the imagination.  You can read more about it and the gardens in which it resides here.  Some more views of it can be had through Google images here!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Estonian-Latvian Joint Eagle Project

The Estonian-Latvian Joint Eagle Project has set up a couple of live feed webcams on an osprey nest.  You can watch things develop live and check out some select YouTube videos as important milestones are achieved.  Checking out the behavior of actual living creatures can help when running tabletop roleplaying games.  Enjoy!

Kalakotkas osprey arrival to the nest - May 04, 2012 - 9:26 am

Kalakotkas nest has first egg

kalakotkas brings a big piece of bark, a magazine for his lady

Monday, June 25, 2012

DungeonMasterMark Reviews DramaScape Tavern Map

Over on his YouTube channel, Dungeon Master Mark reviews a free download of a DramaScape Tavern Map.  This would be quite useful to flesh out a portion of someone's tabletop roleplaying fantasy (or other) setting.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Giant Wombat Mass Grave

Somewhere from one to two hundred thousand years ago, the BBC reports, about four dozen giant wombats met their demise and lay down to die in Queensland, Australia.  Now that location has been discovered by palaeontologists and they are quite pleased.  Now imagine how happy Game Masters will be to include such a find in their tabletop roleplaying setting.  Read more here!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Interactive 1934 Los Angeles Map has posted an interactive "Electric car and bus routes in L.A. (1934)" map that would be very useful for someone running a tabletop roleplaying game set in that place and period.  Check it out here!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Random Magical Effects Generator

While some of the results can be a bit outlandish (which might be a good thing!), it is worthwhile checking out the Random Magical Effects Generator here and the Magical Effects Generator on here!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lightning and Lava

A photo taken last year near Chile's Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano complex shows lightning dancing around the top of a volcanic smoke plume.  Imagine a setting where players had no choice but to send their adventuring characters directly toward such an event.  The following photo was spotted on Facebook in ThinkGeek's photo albums.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mirror Universe Theorized in Published Paper

In a recent article in Science Daily, scientists have mentioned the possibility of a mirror universe to account for some particle behaviors.  A little something to consider for your tabletop roleplaying setting.  In a campaign I ran last Fall, there was a strange ghostly scene playing out over and over in an abandoned outpost.  When the players disrupted the sequence by removing a powerful object from the location, they were shifted over to a parallel timeline that served, virtually, as a mirror universe in which history had played out quite differently than in their own.  The adventurers didn't discover this immediately, though they suspected something had changed, but only realized the full impact after some time.Although much of what had changed was theoretically in the favor of the group, enough of it was also very unsettling and sometimes outright terrible.  They spent several game sessions figuring out just how to set things right and did so as soon as they were able.  Read more from Science Daily here!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fodder for Other Planes of Existence

If you like to use other planes (or planets!) in your tabletop roleplaying setting but aren't always sure how to portray some of the harsher environments, check out this National Geographic video on their YouTube channel called "Naked Science: Storm Worlds."  Looks also get ideas about how to create symbiotic environments on the planet of your setting based off explanations of how real world environments and super-weather systems interact.  It's a 48 minute show with a few commercial breaks, though you know you can skip along through it if you just want to sample what they are exploring.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

While in South Carolina recently, I slipped away from the family early on a Sunday to catch the first showing of Snow White and the Huntsman.  My expectations weren't high regarding some of the titular-lead acting because, frankly, I don't feel Kristen Stewart has the chops to do much more than act as the demure damsel in distress with occasional forays into scrunchy-faced displeasure.  I also honestly didn't feel this would ruin the movie since the former is often how the character is portrayed in other works using this source material.  I wasn't wrong.

What I most enjoyed, of course, were the setting elements, the creatures as well as the environments.  There are a number of times that the Queen summons some "shard" monsters, the troll under the bridge is given an excellent look if somewhat surprising turn, the dwarves are all fun and funky, each with his own character, and the forest is without a doubt handled in a way that, if transferred to a tabletop roleplaying setting, would fascinate and frighten the bejeezus out of players (particularly the portions after the mushroom spores explode!).  If you haven't or aren't planning to see this in the theatre, you'll definitely miss some of the impact of these features but seeing it on DVD when it comes along is a must for Game Masters of fantasy RPGs.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

3,500 Year Old "Clarinet" and Dice

Back in September it was reported widely that the dating and identification on some objects in an Iranian archaeological site had been formalized.  This includes a primative form of a clarinet and hundreds of dice.  Many of the details can be found in the news section of, a website well worth bookmarking for those who like to add tombs and ruins in the tabletop roleplaying settings.  Read more here!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Encyclopedia Mythica

There is a cool website someone pointed out to me called Encyclopedia Mythica that is loaded with information that an enterprising Game Master can use to expand and deepen their own tabletop roleplaying setting.  Read more here!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Man's Best Friendbot

Leave it to DARPA to come up with the next phase in moving us closer to our own destruction.  They have set aside a portion of their budget to come up with robotic dogs of unusual size.  Naturally, they will be meant to companions for soldiers, able to sniff out landmines and other explosives, keeping the soldier safe.  And that's great.  But let's see how angry it gets the first time someone does a fakeout with an invisible ball!  Anyway, read more here and port these to your modern or future tabletop roleplaying setting right away.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The More You Know . . . About Tornadoes

A recent article titled "10 Things you Probably Didn’t Know About Tornadoes" gives some insights that could transfer to big picture considerations regarding having tornadoes in a tabletop roleplaying game setting.  Read more here!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

End of the World Scenario

Over on the Simon Fraser University website ( there is a new article called "Study predicts imminent irreversible planetary collapse" which, while a bit scary to conceptualize, might make for an interesting scenario set up in a modern tabletop roleplaying setting.  Read more here!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Epic Tale Characters

There is an interesting poster image I saw on Facebook from the photo pages showing many of the characters one might find in epic tales.  Check it out here!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Storytelling Rules, According to Pixar

On, there's an article titled "The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar" that might be of interest to setting creators.  Read more here!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lava Lovers

On the BBC YouTube channel, there is a video of a scientist getting right up to the edge of a lava lake to do a bit of research.  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Fantasy World Map

Over on, you'll find The Fantasy World Map which is a mash up of many fantasy settings into one world map.  Definitely looks like the kind of thing a Game Master rushed for time might come up with to lessen the amount of work he needs to do.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Under the Namibian Sky - The Movie

Need a little inspiration on how to describe a sky over the passage of a night?  Take a look at the loreastro YouTube channel's video "Under the Namibian Sky - The Movie" and you'll have thirteen plus minutes of some fantastic views.  In their own words -

The night sky of Namibia is one of the best in the world, about the same quality of the deserts of Chile and Australia. This 13 min video contains about 250 hours of actual exposures, gathered at Tivoli Farm, Namibia, during 10 perfectly cloudless nights.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Vampires are Real, Or So They Thought

A recent archaeological find in Bulgaria has uncovered skeletons that those doing the burying believed might become vampires, and this practice is as recent as one century ago.  Read more here!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Get Thee to the Nunney Castle

Here's a neat site worth exploring for setting ideas including one pointed out by some Facebook Freinds called wherein you'll find some information on Nunney Castle.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dyson’s Delve on Dyson's Dodecahedron Blog

There's a very cool mapping project over on Dyson's Dodecahedron blog that could save a busy Game Master a ton of time and has a neat, nostalgic feel to the style.  Read more here!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hack & Slash Blog Includes Treasure Table

Take a good look around over on the Hack & Slash blog.  There are all sorts of goodies including a very cool 12 page treature table.  Read more here!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Undersea Mystery in the Baltic Sea

Huff Post drew my attention to a curiosity in the Baltic Sea that might make for good tabletop roleplaying game fodder.  Read more here!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Carriage Step

It's a simple little detail but the details are what make a setting memorable.  Plus, it adds an unusual touch to terrain for when combat breaks out.  Check out this quick video from the blackbarnz YouTube channel showing a carriage step, or saddle step, used to allow for an easier dismount from beast or coach.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 1, 2012

National Geographic - Animal Attack! Blue Crab vs. Clam

There's a new video on the National Geographic YouTube channel in their Animal Attack! series.  This time it is Blue Crab vs. Clam.  Not much of a contest, obviously, but you'll have to imagine the vctor a fair bit bigger if you wish her to challenge adventurers in your tabletop roleplaying setting.  Enjoy!