NAGS Society Dispatch Archives
2006: Jan • Feb • Mar • Apr • May • Jun • Jul • Aug • Sep • Oct • Nov • Dec
[2001-2002 2003 2004 • 2005 • 2007 • 2008]
December 3031, 2006 Youthful Fountains from TRES
Double G Press, set to publish the Savage Worlds-powered pulp rpg The Ravaged Earth Society sometime next year, offers a free gift for the time being: The Search for the Fountain of Youth (the link directly downloads the 28 page pdf). From St. Augustine to Bimini (Hemingway is there) to the Fabled Fountain a wonderful pulp adventure.
And thus, the NAGS Society signs off for another year. Dispatches resume late on the First Day of the New Year!
December 29, 2006 History via the BBC
The BBC website has a nice section devoted to history:
This site is dedicated to bringing history to life, for the casual browser and the total enthusiast.
Experience history through animations, games, movies and virtual tours, or delve into more than 450 feature articles by leading writers.
December 28, 2006 Verne’s Maps
If you need some cartographic examples to inspire, here is a collection of scans of the maps from Jules Verne’s novels. You’ll find both a map of Lincoln (the “Mysterious”) Island as well as a chart of 20,000 leagues beneath the sea. Useful stuff!
December 27, 2006 Creative Cartography
This map of “Our Planet Earth in 1910” was designed for the Æronef universe (scroll along down the thread, the final map comes at the bottom), but might be of use to TI players. I thought it was particularly interesting that the cartographer shared the image step-by-step, so if one were to know a bit about using image-editing software, one might be able to create custom maps for one’s own use. Be sure to have a look at the original thread mentioned in the first post as he provides links to some of the resources he uses on this map.
December 26, 2006 If you didn’t quite get everything you wanted…
You might have a look at these online sources for the random necessities that you just know you need:
US Toy company;
American Science & Surplus; and the
Oriental Trading Company.
December 25, 2006 Victorian Christmas
If all the little Christmas villages don’t put you in the right state of mind, Victoriana.com has a Victorian Christmas section, with articles on period-appropriate crafts, toys, meals (in the Entertaining section), &c.
December 24, 2006 Historic UK
Historic-UK.com is primarily dedicated to booking your tours of historic locations in the UK, but the website itself has a bit of interesting information potted histories, names and dates, and so forth.
December 23, 2006 History from Kingwood
The Kingwood (TX) College librarians has prepared some extremely helpful webpages describing the United States decade by decade, in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There are historical dates, fads and fashions, period music, &c., along with scads of links and bibliographical references. Well worth your time when putting together a historical game.
December 22, 2006 Science Fiction Timeline
I believe the NAGS Society has previously Dispatched the link to the Science Fiction timeline, from Prehistory to the Cosmic Future. However, I hadn’t noticed that the host, Magic Dragon Multimedia, also provides a handy compendium of Scottish Inventions! Who knew?
December 21, 2006 Mooks, Mobs, & Men of Honor
Mooks, Mobs, and Men of Honor is a new supplement from Rattrap Productions for .45 Adventure featuring a rogues gallery of 55 pregenerated characters with backgrounds, useful for any pulp game (43 page pdf, $5.00 US).
December 20, 2006 Monstropedia
Do a little research on your foe by consulting the Monstropedia 630 articles on “monsters in myth, magick and legend.”
December 19, 2006 Science Hobbyist
Modern day Gadgeteers can find like-minded souls on the Science Hobbyist website.
December 18, 2006 Morgana‘s Observatory
Morgana‘s Observatory treats some of old favorite chestnuts: the water-eroded sphinx, Knights Templar at Rennes-le-Château. &c.
December 17, 2006 Cthulhu Nation
If you enjoy gaming online, a poster on the Miniature Page mentioned a Lovecraft-based MMORPG called Cthulhu Nation.
December 16, 2006 Wow!
I missed the end of the auction by nearly a month, but gamers who have their heads further into the æther than I might not know that Daniel Davis’ Ultimate Gaming Table sold for $455 dollars on ebay.
December 15, 2006 Chapman on China
This link has made the rounds of the relevant Yahoo Groups: Roy Chapman Andrews’ 1918 book Camps and Trails in China: A Narrative of Exploration, Adventure, and Sport in Little-Known China is freely available from Project Gutenberg.
December 14, 2006 Games From Out of the Box
Ken Hite’s latest Out of the Box column on Gaming Report mentions three games of interest to the Terra Incognita fan:
Full Light, Full Steam is a Space:1889-like bit of Victorian science fiction ($30 US for a 192 digest page book plus a pdf “full preview;” you can download a “sneak preview” now);
Passages looks to have more of that Victorian humor to it, and you can get the full pdf immediately (296 pages! for $13.95 US);
and finally, Ken reviews Spirit of the Century, the Fudge/Fate based pulp rpg from Evil Hat is available in print (420 digest pages for $30 US) or pdf (420 electronic pages for $15 US).
December 13, 2006 Gifts from the Ogrecave
If you need more inspiration for treating yourself or another gamer on the holidays, Ogrecave has posted the second, “over $30” part of their Christmas Gift Guide 2006.
December 12, 2006 Ancient Chinese Explorers
Here is a great source for adventure ideas concerning ancient Chinese explorers and their descendents in Africa, from the ever-reliable PBS Nova series.
December 11, 2006 Practical Magic
While one usually thinks of magic as being a bit more dramatic, here are some English translations of ancient Egyptian spells for really useful things, like removing a fishbone from the throat.
December 10, 2006 Asylum!
The Frothers Unite! UK have run another sculpting contest, this time with the theme “From H.G. Wells to H.P. Lovecraft: Asylum.” You can now purchase the set of winning figures, along with the accompanying boardgame Escape the Asylum commissioned especially for the contest.
December 9, 2006 Victorian London Street Life
Dover makes available numerous collections of historical photographs which might interest gamers; for example, Victorian London Street Life and the others listed below it are just a sampling.
December 8, 2006 Virtual Victoriana
I know nothing about the technology, but apparently one can purchase a virtual representation of a Victorian street, presumably for including in video games, I would imagine, if you happen to be a video game designer….
December 7, 2006 Victorian Stereoscopic Photographs
Here is a digitized collection of Victorian Stereoscopic photographs.
December 6, 2006 The Holloway Pages
The Holloway Pages provide a plethora of information about classic pulp heroes, including online versions some of the original texts.
December 5, 2006 Another Acronym
Of course “The NAGS Society” does not fall trippingly from the tongue. Here’s an organization with a better acronym which addresses a seasonal subject, perhaps serving as a corrective to those who take all of this stuff a bit too seriously…
December 4, 2006 Colonel Fawcett’s fate
This two-year-old article from the Guardian speculates about the fate of one of our old friends, Colonel Percy Fawcett, who disappeared in the Amazon rainforest in 1925.
December 3, 2006 Cast Your Own Egyptian Tomb
The Tabletop Terrain website features a little photo essay on a simple Egyptian tomb a chap has constructed using molds from Hirst Arts. I’ve always been a foam core and balsa man myself, mostly because I build for 15mm figures, but I’ve slowly been collecting some 28mm adventurers, so perhaps a foray into Hirst Arts is in order. The guide to building scenery for Descent is thoroughly tempting, for example. And, the Tips & Tricks are invaluable.
December 2, 2006 SJG is Busy
Steve Jackson Games has been busy of late:
GURPS Mysteries, formerly a pdf-only ebook (124 pp., $12.95 US), is now going to print. I haven’t yet purchased this one, but it looks like an excellent resource for hashing out the details of the mysteries at the heart of your gaming adventures.
One of the most useful parts of GURPS sourcebooks is their excellent bibliographies. SJ Games has now begun recreating Fourth Edition Gurps books’ bibliographies online, handily linked to Amazon.com if you’d like to put your hands on a copy of the book. At this point it’s just a few books and only marginally useful to the historical gamer, but perhaps the rest of the bibliographies are coming.
December 1, 2006 Underwater Dream Machine
The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) has created a website in support of the upcoming show Underwater Dream Machine (broadcasting on December 26) which describes Peter Robbins’ quest to build a submersible. There’s a tiny bit on the history of submersible craft and the inspiration from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
November 30, 2006 Lands Out of Time
Steve Jackson Games comes through once again, this time with a pdf offering from their e23 imprint: Lands Out of Time (43 pp. pdf, $8.95 US):
Humans and dinosaurs go together like gamers and pizza. That tens of millions of years separated the last of the dinosaurs from the first of the humans is a mere inconvenience, easily ignored. GURPS Lands Out of Time is a sourcebook for human/dino adventuring, providing all you need to know to place man and giant reptile side-by-side, whether it's a "Lost World" adventure, caveman slapstick, or something in between. GURPS Lands Out of Time is an e23 original game setting for GURPS.
November 29, 2006 In Search of Lost Time
Number 444 of the journal Nature, which came our today, features and article on our old friend, the Antikythera Mechanism. There are some great photos and illustrations, as well as a recreation of the sound it would make.
November 28, 2006 Waken the Storm
This is only related to our genre and time period tangentially (through the vector of the classic colonial wargame The Sword and the Flame, to be exact) but the Virtual Armchair General (aka Patrick Wilson) is currently soliciting subscriptions for the fantasy variant of TSATF, entitled Waken the Storm. Here’s a bit of the blurb:
After ten years in development, Waken The Storm! (WTS) is now ready for publication.
Written by author, artist, and sculptor Chris Ferree, WTS is the only Officially approved Fantasy Battles Variant of Larry Brom's classic rules system, The Sword And The Flame…
With all necessary modifications (mostly minor) made to the tried and true The Sword And The Flame system, the new game allows for various classes and effects of Armor, a wide variety of weapons, Giant Sized Creatures, Flying, and--of course--Magic!
Now you can bring the battles of fantasy novels to life with Waken The Storm! and field Armies of Goblins, Orcs, Trolls, Ogres, and Dragons against Halflings, Elves, Dwarves, and--the most dangerous of the lot--Humans! Magic is also possible from a range of Magic Users who can cast Spells ranging from Flight and Levitation, to Fire, Invisibility, and more. Heroes as well as Magic Users can wield Magical Items ranging from a variety of weapons to armor.
Subscribers pay a reduced price ($30 versus $35), get their name printed in the book’s Roll of Honor, and autographs from the authors. See the Virtual General’s homepage for more information.
November 27, 2006 Hollow Earth PDF
Exile Games’ excellent rpg Hollow Earth Expedition is now available for download as a pdf. The price ($24.99) is perhaps a bit steep considering one has to print it oneself. However, I can heartily recommend this book as an excellent read and the game mechanics are easily Fudgeable, or are enjoyable played as is. Whether you purchase this one on paper or electrons, I think it’s well worth your time and money.
November 2126, 2006 A Short Break
Familial responsibilities oblige the NAGS Society Home Campus from temporarily suspending Dispatches until next week. Our goal is to try to regain daily dispatching capabilities in the near future. Thanks again for your patience!
November 20, 2006 Eyewitness to History
Eyewitness to History.com provides first hand accounts of various and sundry historical events, from the Battle of Agincourt to Theodore Roosevelt’s African safari.
November 19, 2006 Tanzania Safaris
A site for planning your own safari in Tanzania also provides a few precis of famous Victorian explorations.
November 18, 2006 Zanzibar
For those planning an African safari, what better jumping off point than the island of Zanzibar. Wikipedia has an informative article. One of the more interesting facts I learned (though irrelevant to our present purposes), was that Queen’s Freddie Mercury was born there.
November 17, 2006 Pirates of the Mysterious Islands
The WizKids Pirates “constructible strategy” game, with little plastic pirate ships that you assemble and fight, is now becoming more relevant to the steampunkish genre. The newest incarnation, Pirates of the Mysterious Islands, includes Nautilus-like submersibles. The last one, Pirates of Davy Jones’ Curse, included sea monsters.
November 16, 2006 Pulp from Hero Games
Pulp enthusiasts on the Hero Games forums have been amassing a cornucopia of pulp related weblinks five pages’ worth! [Thanks again to John Taber]
November 15, 2006 Rosicrucian Symbols
In case you missed it in the University of Wisconsin’s History of Science and Technology page, they have Geheime Figuren der Rosenkreuzer, with wonderful scans of Rosicrucian symbols.
November 14, 2006 STV
Krzysztof Janicz has extended his compendia of steampunk to include Steampunk Music Videos. You can also browse his original effort, the Steampunk Chronology.
November 13, 2006 The Ultimate Game Table Can Be Yours
Daniel Davis (Terra Incognita website and Fudge logo designer) has decided to part with his fabulous, famous (Dragon magazine), handcrafted game table. Through the wonder of ebay, you can bid on and buy the Ultimate Game Table. Of course, you’ll have to pick it up in Arizona, as it is, shall we say, substantial.
November 12, 2006 History of Science and Technology
The University of Wisconsin hosts a digital library of important texts in the history of science and technology. Examples include C.G. Abbot’s Great Inventions of 1932, Hooke’s Micrographia, and The Book of Beasts. [Thanks to John Taber for the link.]
November 11, 2006 John’s Hero HQ
John Taber’s Hero HQ is a repository of years of great gaming material. Of particular interest to Terra Incognita players is the Von Braum material (scroll down a bit on the File Downloads page) which comprises an excellent horror campaign, designed for the Hero system, but, as always, easily adapted. John also attests to the the value of Peter Schweighofer’s Pulp Egypt (176 pp. pdf. $20 US), here previously Dispatched.
November 10, 2006 Flat Earth Theory
Unsurprisingly, the Wikipedia has an informative, illustrated article concerning the intricacies of Flat Earth Theory, which I suppose is the opposite of Hollow Earth Theory, and might make for a change-of-pace pulp adventure.
November 9, 2006 Cthulhu Gumshoe
Pelgrane Press (publishers of the Dying Earth RPG, one of my favorites) has announced that Ken Hite will be adapting the Call of Cthulhu setting for Robin Laws’ GUMSHOE game system. There are, of course, numerous flavors of CoC to choose from, but the unholy trio of Hite, Laws, and Pelgrane Press will, one hopes, allow this one to stand out.
November 8, 2006 Astronomy Cafe’ Attic
The Astronomy Cafe’s Attic gives a scientific spin to a variety of weird topics.
November 7, 2006 Fudge 2
Have a look at the Fudge 2 Development Group’s page for the latest information about a reworking of Fudge, “A project to rewrite the Fudge core rules to make them easier to understand and use, and to incorporate ten years worth of development.”
November 6, 2006 New Fudge Venture?
Back in June, Carl Cravens, the owner of the Fudge Phoenyx list, announced his plan to publish 32 page pdfs. Here’s a bit of explanation on his Raven’s Mutterings blog:
I’m going to start with a free “quick-start” fantasy rule set based on Fudge. It will be a “complete” rule set, with all the options set (no “toolkit” here), but it will be bare-bones. After that, I’ll be building a fantasy world, about 32 pages at a time. The opening book will be kind of like The Keep On the Borderlands... it will contain a little bit about the world, some detail about a specific area, containing an adventure and enough material to get you started. The world is one that my wife and I started working on a couple years ago... it’s familiar enough that your D&D-playing buddy will be comfortable in it, but it has enough twists and turns to keep things interesting.
Next are to come books in his Department 13 setting published in Fudge Factor. Carl said he’ll be working with freelancers on the project. I’m not sure about the status, but I’d love to see something like this happen.
November 5, 2006 Steampunk on IMDB
The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has a keyword function here’s the list of steampunk films. Some would be questionably categorized here the Firefly TV series, for example, but I had forgotten about the Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello, which someone recommended in Yahoo Group, and which I never got around to looking up.
November 4, 2006 Goodman Games Sale
Goodman Games is running a 25% off sale on all of the pdf versions of their books. If you haven’t picked up Etherscope (or its supplements) you can try it for $18.74 US. I’ll admit I’ve always been tempted by Broncosaurus Rex as zany VSF.
November 3, 2006 Building Gunboats
I’d be remiss as a dedicated 15mm miniature fanatic to provide the link to the free pdf How to Build a 15mm Gunboat from the Wasach Front Historical Gaming Society.
November 2, 2006 Hack -n- Slash
New from the Fudge front, Digital Alchemy’s Fudge-based fantasy rpg Hack -n- Slash has a new hardcover Gamemaster’s Edition which has gone to the printer and will be available this month. The tome will feature an adventure co-written by Ann & Paul Dupuis and Steffan O’Sullivan. It’s always helpful to support games that put the Fudge system to work.
November 1, 2006 Island of Lost Maps
Miles Harvey, author of The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime, has collected a number of links to map-related websites.
October 31, 2006 GhostStudy.com
GhostStudy.com “A Paranormal Adventure” features photos of suspected otherworldly apparitions. One can judge for himself if they are ghosts.
October 30, 2006 Wally the Block Mover
It seems a gentleman in Flint, Michigan has rediscovered the kind of simple yet powerful ancient technology the NAGS Society has labored to understand, yet keep hidden. Watch this movie to see him build a modern Stonehenge single-handedly. (The bit about moving the barn was likely inserted by the Society in order to convince the public that they are being put on….) Thanks to Dirk Collins for this one.
October 29, 2006 Lost World Safari
Lost World Safari is a new Yahoo Group dedicated to hunting dinosaurs. The Honorable Lead Boilersuit Company’s Saurian Safari and Mammalian Mayhem are the rules mentioned, but other folks, including rpg-ers, will find items of interest.
October 28, 2006 FieldTrip.com
FieldTrip.com is a collection of links to destinations in the northeastern US, from Connecticut to Pennsylvania. Intended for facilitating family outings, I suppose, it has links to interesting settings for adventures.
October 27, 2006 Pulp Adventure
Howard Whitehouse has challenged the world to design a pulp adventure for his miniatures game Astounding Tales! You choose from one of seven two-fisted titles (say, “Zombie Crime: The Screaming Corpse on the Desert Island,” for example) and go from there.
October 26, 2006 Ghosts of Albion
A link borrowed from my favorite, MiniatureWargaming.com, is a wonderful web-based animated cartoon from the BBC The Ghosts of Albion. I’ve just begun watching, but it would seem to be a Victorian era Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Flash animation is extremely effective I think there should be many more of such pulp and penny dreadful series available. We just need to pair an artist and writer (and perhaps a tech person).
October 25, 2006 Freighter Minos
This was well advertised, but 15mm enthusiasts can now purchase a mixed media (cardstock and metal) tramp steamer the Minos from Reviresco. You can use it at your pulp city waterfront or for heading to Skull Island.
October 24, 2006 Machyna
While the website is thoroughly bare bones at this point, Machyna looks to be a forthcoming steampunkish, Castle Falkensteinish rpg. Have a look at the preview art to get an idea.
October 23, 2006 Forbidden City
BeijingGuide.com provides a nice interactive map of the Forbidden City, home to the Chinese emperors. Be aware that the site has music (sigh).
October 22, 2006 Spirit of the Century
Spirit of the Century (scroll down a bit on the website) is a new pulp game based on the FATE system (a Fudge variant). Here’s the blurb:
The deadly Doctor Methuselah seeks to unravel time itself with his solution to the Eternity Equation... Gorilla Khan stalks darkest Africa from conquered Atlantis... Mad scientists, strange sorcerers, and power-hungry dictators all seek to undo the fate of humanity. It‘s the final century of the second millennium and you are our last hope!
Spirit of the Century is a complete, stand-alone pulp role-playing game based on the award-winning Fate system (Indie RPG Awards include: Best Free Game of 2003, Best Support, and Andy's Choice). Spirit features a heavily revised, revisited, and reimagined vision of Fate. Character creation can be done as quickly as a few minutes, or expand to take up an evening; adventure design is a snap with three methods for creating relevant, flavorful, player-focused stories at a moment's notice. Spirit's mission is to deliver an evening of fun, a “pick-up” game that requires little preparation, but provides hours of entertainment.
You can preorder the 420 digest size page softcover for $30 US and receive the pdf immediately.
October 21, 2006 1930s Guides
Hank Harwell has turned up some links on the Internet Archive to 1930s-era Federal Writers Project guides to various cities, including New Orleans and Philadelphia. The guides are free downloads.
October 20, 2006 The Ultimate RPG Table
Daniel Davis’ immense, elaborate RPG table has been featured on various websites of late, including Digg.com and BoingBoing.
October 19, 2006 Old Time Radio
The NAGS Society is too enamored of nineteenth and early twentieth century technology to even understand what “Podcasting” is, but it seems that the Old Time Radio Network uses it to broadcast vintage radio shows online.
October 18, 2006 Leiden University
The Leiden University hosts an interesting page on Ancient Archaeology with a variety of useful links.
October 17, 2006 Zeppelin Library
It has been an eternity since the NAGS Society has Dispatched a link to the Zeppelin Library Archive. Worth your time for all your dirigible needs.
October 16, 2006 The Sourcebook Project
The Sourcebook Project is an attempt to create an “objective, unsensationalized catalog of anomalous phenomena” (296 pages, softcover, $17.95 US). However, the Science-Frontiers site provides links online that are likely equally informative, if sensationalized.
October 15, 2006 Ghost Ships and Gratis Bronze
The self-proclaimed “Mysteries Megasite” features a long list of links (100, apparently) to sites concerning Ghost Ships and haunted shipwrecks.
Also, Louis Porter, Jr. has announced that his company will release the Haven: City of Bronze pulp setting as a free pdf.
October 14, 2006 Combat Zone Chronicles
The Combat Zone Chronicles is an online newsletter devoted to the modern skirmish game from EM-4, Combat Zone. Of particular inspiration on the website is the section devoted to building scenery, which features a number of articles by the redoubtable Tim “Gisby” Peterson. Most of the stuff is modern, but the Lewis Institute (kitbashed from an O scale model railroad town hall) is worth a look.
October 13, 2006 Obelisk by Sea
I’ve long been fascinated by the twin obelisks transported from Alexandria, Egypt to London and New York in the late 1800s. Here is a paper model of the ingenious barge created to ferry the first to London in 1878. If you poke around a bit more on the Waldenfont site, you’ll find a model of the 1866 yacht Ross Winans, apparently the inspiration for Verne’s Nautilus.
October 12, 2006 Halloween Horror 2
The second edition of Chaosium’s collection of fan-written Halloween adventures is now available: Halloween Horror 2.
October 11, 2006 River of Doubt
I somehow missed the release last year (it’s now in paperback) of Candice Millard’s The River of Doubt, detailing the fascinating adventure Theodore Roosevelt had in the Amazon rainforest after leaving the White House.
October 10, 2006 Abrasion Holography
Abrasion holography is a rather simple technique for creating passable holograms by hand. Now, one must admit that is a skill worth having….
October 9, 2006 The Fantastic in Art and Fiction
The Cornell Library has thoughtfully assembled an online exhibition of the Fantastic in Art and Fiction.
October 8, 2006 Flying Machines
Flying Machines.com is “Dedicated to the Preservation & Dissemination of Pioneer Aviation History” and well worth your time.
October 7, 2006 Ravenloft
In the spirit of the nearing holiday: if you have not already read it, you really should have a look at the AD&D module I6: Ravenloft. Tracy and Laura Hickman wrote the original module, which has all the classic gothic trappings: gypsies, a castle, a well-dressed vampire. One could run the adventure for any genre of game, merely translating the encounters for your favorite system. There’s even a Ravenloft Wikipedia page to fill in the details.
October 6, 2006 Exploring Caves
If you’d like to bring your gaming experience to life, have a look at the Exploring Caves website for some advice about spelunking perhaps you’ll find an entrance to the Hollow Earth.
October 5, 2006 A Sale at Noble Knight
Noble Knight Games is an excellent source for purchasing new and used gaming materials (loads of RPGs, some wargames, and even a few miniatures). The prices are always discounted, but Aaron is running a sale that ends Saturday. And, if you have a closet full of stuff you haven’t read in years, Aaron will buy it from you for store credit.
October 4, 2006 Legends of America
While I’m borrowing this link from MiniatureWargaming.com, have a look at Legends of America for a fabulous resource on interesting locations in the western United States. From Alcatraz to the Voyager Of Whulge, the site “focuses on small out of the way places and hidden attractions that appeal to the nostalgic and historic minded….”
September 26 October 3, 2006 Tombs of the Pharaohs
One can count on the Frothers Unite website to round up an inspirational collection of miniatures and terrain pieces. Their Tombs of the Pharaohs page could form the basis of a shopping list or just a source of adventurous inspiration.
N.B.: The NAGS Society and I appreciate your patience throughout various recent unexpected hiatuses (hiati?) which have been due to work obligations. Although it doesn't help you, my Loyal Readers, the NAGS Society now has an expected break of a week’s time as I travel to the frozen north of Minnesota.
September 25, 2006 Seaquake
Here’s another theory to explain the fate of the ghost ship Mary Celeste a seaquake. The Wikipedia has a brief but interesting entry concerning other Ghost Ships.
September 24, 2006 Suite 101
Suite 101 would appear to be a collection of online articles on a smorgasbord of topics. I found the page on Historical Mysteries to be of interest.
September 23, 2006 Verne’s Underground City on Gutenberg
The venerable etext source, Project Gutenberg, also has audio files of some books. Some are read by by people, while others were generated by software. It might be interesting to hear Verne’s The Underground City read by a computer, for example.
September 22, 2006 Hollow Earth
A new treatise on an old theme: David Standish has written a book on the Hollow Earth, from Edmond Halley to Edgar Rice Burroughs to modern day proponents.
September 21, 2006 Mexico Connect
The Mexico Connect website features a handy timeline showing Mexican history alongside that of Europe, the US, and the rest of the world.
September 20, 2006 Wilderness Survival
Wilderness-Survival.com provides the kind of information that brings gaming alive, and could perhaps be useful to you one day as well.
September 19, 2006 Pulp GM’s Toolkit
Pinnacle has released the second in the series of Pulp Toolkits: The Savage Worlds Pulp GM’s Toolkit ($12.95 US, 66 page pdf).
September 18, 2006 The Lost City
I’ve just reread, and must once again plug, Tom Moldvay’s superb classic D&D adventure B4: The Lost City. It is, of course, written for fantasy gaming, but it could be adapted almost in toto for a pulp of Victorian tale of derring-do. It features a pyramid buried in the sand, a mysterious, ancient people who wear masks and live in a world of hallucination, and a hidden horror deep below the desert.
September 17, 2006 Secret History
The Wikipedia entry on Secret History might be of use.
September 16, 2006 Merrimack Old Glory Shipyard
If you are in the market for ships, from 6mm (1:300) to 25mm “scale,” the Merrimack Old Glory Shipyard is a wonderful resource. Many of the ships have pictures which one might use as reference for scratch-building.
September 15, 2006 The Royal Society
This has been well-publicized, but the Royal Society is offering two months of free online access to their Journals. You can follow the progress of science from 1665 to the present day, read articles by authors from Benjamin Franklin to Francis Crick.
September 14, 2006 Old West
My yearly Old West kick has kicked in once again. If you’re looking to outfit yourself for some western adventures, you can’t do better than a stop at Knuckleduster.com for miniatures (some already painted), playing cards, period music, and resource material. Then you can proceed to Hawgleg.com to find out about Gutshot, a wonderful new set of western skirmish rules. I’ve got more suggestions on my Triggernometry page.
September 13, 2006 Secrets of the Dark Chamber
Secrets of the Dark Chamber is a well-named site that details the history of American Daguerreotype photography
September 12, 2006 The Invention of Tradition
While I have not read it, The Invention of Tradition by historian Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger appears fascinating. It would seem that the Victorians were responsible for a lot of the customs we take to be much older.
September 11, 2006 The British Library Online
If you can’t go in person, the next best thing is to visit the British Library Online.
September 10, 2006 Trade Cards
The Harvard Business School hosts an online exhibit of American business trade cards from the nineteenth century.
September 9, 2006 History by Google
Here’s a Google Directory of 19th Century History Sites. The images are perfect for emulating to create that nineteenth century atmosphere.
September 8, 2006 A Virtual Space-Time Travel Machine
A Virtual Space-Time Travel Machine has an impressive sounding title. It would appear to be a collection of computer generated images by Jean-Francois Colonna.
September 7, 2006 Ocean Explorer
The ever-interesting National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website features a fascinating page on efforts to explore and map the ocean floor.
September 6, 2006 Volcanoes of Lewis and Clark
I’m well aware that the epic journey of Lewis and Clark predates the TI timeline, but I love the story and think is has potential for inspiring gaming. The Volcanoes of Lewis and Clark website looks at the end of the westward leg of their journey and the volcanos they observed.
September 5, 2006 JAGS
In the spirit of the free, well supported RPG (such as Fudge) is a system that has been around for awhile JAGS. There are a plethora of genre sourcebooks, including horror, supers, (Alice’s) Wonderland, and a near-future but steampunk setting entitled C-13. As they have a free license version now, there is even the possibility for JAGS NAGS!
September 4, 2006 Ultimate Science Fiction Timeline of the 19th Century
The Ultimate Science Fiction Timeline of the 19th Century is an excellent web resource. There’s an “executive summary” of the century (which includes the dates of invention of a plethora of technologies and gadgets) and a decade-by-decade, annotated round up of nineteenth century science fiction writing. And if one backs up one page, one will find timelines stretching from Prehistory to the Cosmic Future.
September 3, 2006 Science & Society Picture Library
The Science & Society Picture Library is a mammoth online collection of images that:
represents the collections of the Science Museum, the National Railway Museum and the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television - as well as a variety of related collections
SSPL now has over 150 image collections from both within and outside the museums’ core collections. These contain over 70,000 online records, including over 40,000 digital images.
September 2, 2006 Inspirational Cartography
Shawn Brown is a professional cartographer whose elegant maps have been published in Dragon, among other places.
September 1, 2006 Lost Cities
The Wikipedia has a nice, informative entry on the world’s Lost Cities.
August 31, 2006 Queen Anne’s Revenge
Of course the sinking of Blackbeard’s flagship Queen Anne’s Revenge predates the Terra Incognita timeline, but one can image innumerable reasons why Victorian or pulp adventures might want to explore the wreck, which has (supposedly) been located only recently. The website of the Queen Anne’s Revenge Project will keep you up to date on the current exploration.
August 30, 2006 ’Neath the Waves
A recent poll on the Miniatures Page concerning the ’60’s TV show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea put me in mind of an old website devoted to a “Game of Deep Sea Exploration & Combat”: Aquazone. Wessex Games is planning to release Aquanef and Beneath the Waves remains freely downloadable.
August 29, 2006 Savage Heroes
While searching for a Savage Worlds to Fudge conversion, I rediscovered the Savage Heroes web resource. I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, but there’s a lot of great stuff. The official Pinnacle/Great White Games site has a new one page adventure for their Rippers setting entitled Unnatural History (the link is a direct download). Finally, Double G Press has posted a few more teaser items previewing the forthcoming Ravaged Earth Society.
August 28, 2006 Fudge Resources I’ve Missed
I’ve (unfortunately) not kept up with developments at the Fudge Guide, what I believe was the original online resource devoted to Fudge and hosted on Phoenyx.net. For example, back in ’03, George Harnish began posting a Fudge Steampunk page. William Stoddard posted a 1920s supers game called Gods and Monsters. In general, the Fudge projects are worth a look see.
August 27, 2006 Pulp for Savage Worlds
I just purchased the Savage Worlds Pulp Gear Toolkit (66 pp. downloadable pdf file, $12.95 US). It beefs up the Savage Worlds core rulebook with some pulp-era gear, design and action rules for ground vehicles, zeppelins, aeroplanes, and rockets, as well as a collection of fabulous treasures and gadgets. There is apparently a GMs Toolkit forthcoming.
August 26, 2006 Halloween Adventure Contest
Chaosium, publisher of Call of Cthulhu, has announced a Halloween- themed adventure writing contest. The prizes include getting it published as well as a bunch of Chaosium product, According to the rules, the adventure must use the Call of Cthulhu (6/e) rules, but doesn’t necessarily have to involve the Mythos. Read the complete rules here and then have a crack at it!
August 25, 2006 Great Moon Hoax
Although predating the Terra Incognita timeline, this is the anniversary of the Great Moon Hoax of 1835. Of course, perhaps part of the Society’s mission in 1850 was to continue to keep this a secret.
August 24, 2006 The BBC on Leonardo
The BBC hosts a companion website to their special on Leonardo Da Vinci.
August 23, 2006 Photos from GenCon
As Dispatched previously, Grey Ghost Press and Heliograph, Inc. shared a booth at this year’s GenCon gaming convention. The Heliograph website posted a few pictures of the booth.
August 22, 2006 Hollow Earth Expedition
Hollow Earth Expedition (256 p. hardcover, $39.99 US) is now available from the Exile Games Website. Here’s their blurb:
Explore one of the world’s greatest and most dangerous secrets: the Hollow Earth, a savage land filled with dinosaurs, lost civilizations, and ferocious savages! Players take on the roles of two-fisted adventurers, eager academics and intrepid journalists investigating the mysteries of the Hollow Earth. Meanwhile, on the surface, world powers and secret societies vie for control of what may be the most important discovery in all of human history.
Set in the tense and tumultuous 1930s, the action-filled Hollow Earth Expedition is inspired by the literary works of genre giants Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The subterranean action is powered by Ubiquity, an innovative roleplaying system that emphasizes storytelling and cinematic action.
August 21, 2006 Mysterious Tunnels
The Paranormal.About.com site features a nice page on Mysterious Tunnels, including some explorations in the Grand Canyon from 1909.
August 20, 2006 Cthulhu Lives
CthulhuLives.org is the website of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society and as such is thoroughly worth one’s while to explore.
August 19, 2006 Haunted Dimensions
I believe the NAGS Society has before Dispatched the link to Ray Keim’s cardstock versions of the Disney Haunted Mansion and Paper Model Purgatory. There would seem to be a few new items, including the Phantom Manor, to challenge your folding and scoring skills.
August 18, 2006 Davis’ Halloween T Shirt
Daniel Davis, creator of the Fudge logo (and this website) is locked in mortal combat over a Halloween inspired T shirt logo. Go to the Detour design page to vote your conscience.
August 17, 2006 Ultimate Pulp Era Gear Archives
The redoubtable Uncle Bear Kinsman hosts this collection of Ultimate Pulp Era Gear by Colin Chapman. Each pdf file includes pictures, dates of manufacture, and other real-world statistics which are, of course, easily Fudgeable.
August 16, 2006 Mysterious Mima Mounds
This article discusses the mysterious Mima Mounds scattered throughout the United States with theories as to their origins hinting from geological anomalies to industrious gophers.
August 15, 2006 Indian Mounds of the United States
This site is a clearing house of links to websites devoted to Native American burial mounds.
August 14, 2006 Flatland
For a more light-hearted sort of game, or perhaps when you’ve spent too many hours studying geometry, there is Marcus Rowland’s Original Flatland RPG. Based on Edwin A. Abbott’s 1884 novel in which the characters are two-dimensional shapes.
August 7-13, 2006 Unexpected Hiatus
Innumerable apologies for the unexpected week’s hiatus from Dispatching. The demands of employment prevented me from spending any time in the æther.
August 6, 2006 Ad*Access
The Ad*Access Project and Duke University have made available an online archive of 7,000 print advertisements from 1911 to 1955. One fascinating way to research a historical period is by examining what and how items were sold.
August 5, 2006 Dyehard Has Returned
Dyehard, a.k.a. Bryan Brooks, has for several years been assembling a collection of wed pages that do for 15mm Victorian Science Fiction what the Major General does for 25mm Colonial wargaming. His website was offline for awhile (as he searched for a new ætheric service provider, one imagines), but is now again online. Have a long look through Dyehard’s VSF for how to articles and general gaming inspiration.
August 4, 2006 Dubious Shards
Ken Hite has (finally) written a book on the Cthulhu Mythos Dubious Shards and you can get it from RPG Now 78 pdf pages for $11.95 US.
August 3, 2006 The Cheap and Cheesy Adventure Generator
The Cheap and Cheesy Adventure Generator is Clinton Nixon and Vincent Baker‘s online prod for the imagination. It’s written for the fantasy genre, but one can reinterpret at will for historical games.
August 2, 2006 First to Fly
First-to-Fly.com is a wonderful site devoted to the Wright Brothers and the early history of aviation.
August 1, 2006 Traps by Grimstooth
One of the joys of the back-in-the-day days of dungeon delving was reading about the dastardly traps collected by Grimstooth. Flying Buffalo is reprinting the series, beginning with Grimstooth’s Traps Too. You can preorder it on the Flying Buffalo site. (You’ll have to scroll down a bit.) And, in the announcement on Gaming Report, apparently the reprint will include guidance for converting the traps to Fudge.
July 31, 2006 Space.com
While most historical games will likely remain firmly seated on Earth, extraterrestrial components always have a way of working themselves in. Space.com has a good bit of useful information tucked in amongst the advertisements.
July 30, 2006 Pangea
Geology.com provides some interesting information and maps on continental drift, and the protocontinent, Pangea.
July 29, 2006 Free Adventures
I’ve attempted to tidy up a bit the links to free online adventures found on the Terra Incognita Resources page.
July 28, 2006 Cardstock Terrain
In the spirit of that eminently Victorian pursuit playing with paper dolls there has been a recent spate of wonderful cardstock terrain for bringing the world of Terra Incognita to the tabletop. To wit:
Papermodel Civilizations currently has a Desert Village, including six building designs, market stalls, a dome, &c, all easily customizable, that you can download from RPGNow for $12 US. They will release a nice looking Desert Fortress on August 1.
If castles or dungeons are more to your liking, Fat Dragon Games has a set of E-Z Dungeons: Castles and Keeps for $10 US, also at RPGNow.
Finally, if one’s adventures were to bring one to a Lost Roman Colony. Eric Hotz has nearly rounded out his Roman Seas collection. It’s in 1:300 (6mm) scale, of course, but perfect for playing out that epic final set piece battle.
July 27, 2006 Gear Krieg Adventures
Paul Lessack’s Gear Krieg page holds a number of free adventures one might run or mine for inspiration, all with a Nazi Menace theme.
July 26, 2006 Out of the Ashes
Out of the Ashes was an American Public Television program detailing the excavation of texts from the lost library of Herculaneum, buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The site features some images from the show, a great collection of links, and you can buy the show on DVD.
July 25, 2006 Cthulhu Live
For those who prefer to take their gaming off the table and onto the streets, Skirmisher Publishing is set to bring out the third edition of Cthulhu Live. Even if one doesn’t LARP, I would imagine the book would have good ideas for streamlining rules that could carry over into other types of gaming.
July 24, 2006 Grey Ghost Games at Gen Con Indy
Straight from the publisher:
Grey Ghost Press is sharing a booth with Heliograph at Gen Con Indy. If you're looking for Fudge stuff at Gen Con, you'll find it under the blimp! Between Terra Incognita and Zeppelin Age, there will be lots of pulpy goodness in the Greygraph/Helioghost booth!
Looking for some Fudge games to play in at Gen Con Indy? We'll be running Fudge demos in our booth (#1431) and will have a list of Fudge games offered elsewhere at the convention as well!
July 23, 2006 Picture History
Picture History is an absolutely invaluable online archive of images from American history, from Abraham Lincoln to War & Military.
July 22, 2006 The National Archives
The U.S. National Archives is a fascinating site to poke around, nearly as interesting as visiting the building itself.
July 21, 2006 Cool Technology
PC Magazine Online has an article detailing the Ten Coolest Technologies You’ve Never Heard Of. They’re all, of course, thoroughly modern, but could be mined for retrotech inspiration.
July 20, 2006 The History of Money
Glyn Davies was an authority on the history of money. This informative website is based upon his book on the subject.
July 19, 2006 Hollow Earth Expedition
This summer at GenCon Indy, Exile Game Studio will release a new pulp rpg, Hollow Earth Expedition. With adventure inside a 1930s hollow Earth and political maneuvering on the surface, the game would look to have a bit of everything that makes pulp great.
July 18, 2006 Mystery Guide
For those who enjoy reading mysteries, Mystery Guide might suggest a few good reads.
July 17, 2006 Dwarfstar Games
Not a single of these chestnuts from the early ‘80s has a single thing to do with Victorian or pulp roleplaying, but I just can’t resist a plug. In between dungeon delving back in the day, I loved playing Dwarfstar games: Star Viking, Goblin, Outpost Gamma, and of course, Car Wars (which was not a Dwarfstar game but did come in a little plastic box…). The website has everything for the download for you to print and play.
July 16, 2006 Athena Voltaire
Athena Voltaire is now a good old-fashioned, ink and paper pulp comic (in this world of æther and pixels). The website is helpful for learning about the dramatic personæ, reading the earlier online version, and a sample of the paper version.
July 15, 2006 Lead Adventure
The Lead Adventure Forum is the participatory arm of the fabulous Back of Beyond Times and Witchtown Tales websites of master miniature painter, Alexander Bews. You’ll find discussions about VSF, pulp, colonial adventure, swashbuckling, and various and sundry topics of interest to the Terra Incognita enthusiast.
July 14, 2006 And If One South Pole Isn’t Enough
… one might travel to Venus to explore the mysterious “double vortex” swirling about its southern extremes.
July 13, 2006 OPP
Dirk Collins has provided another, better link for those interested in exploring an icy terra incognita: The National Science Foundation‘s Office of Polar Programs.
July 12, 2006 War of the Worlds in 3D
The redoubtable steampunk cataloguer Krzysztof Janicz has sent along the following missive: “RETROSTACJA proudly presents a gallery of computer art inspired by The War of the Worlds. All graphics were created by Czarnyrobert, a Polish artist from Cracow.” The text is Polish and the images are awe-inspiring. If this puts you in the mood for a martian invasion and you didn’t have a look at my previous Dispatch, “Scratchbuilder Christian” has some pictures of his scratchbuilt tripods in his Victoriana section (down towards the bottom).
July 11, 2006 Antarctica Online
Sometimes the extreme heat of summer can put one in mind of cooler climes. AntarcticaOnline provides some images of the bottom of the world: Antarctica.
July 10, 2006 Dr. Mordechai Morrow’s Mechanical Monstrosities
“Scratchbuilder Christian,” a miniature painter from Germany, has posted some pictures of his thoroughly impressive figures for a wild west/VSF/pulp game featuring the mischievous Dr. Mordechai Morrow and his mindless Mechanical Monstrosities. Christian also has some pictures of his pulp and Victorian figures.
July 9, 2006 Wrecks of Lake Erie
Larry’s Underwater World of Sunken Ships provides images and information concerning a number of wrecks on the great Lake Erie. Submerged Productions concerns wrecks around Devon, England.
July 8, 2006 Mapping with ProFantasy
Being a Mac user, I’ve never been able to use ProFantasy’s impressive line of cartography software. But I do find myself looking through the website and thinking about borrowing a PC. Aside from the Campaign Cartographer, you can now chart space, spaceships, and worlds with Cosmographer, add a collection of modern map symbols to CC, and purchase ready-made, detailed maps of some Temples, Tombs, and Catacombs.
July 7, 2006 Terrain Guidance from GW
As always, Games Workshop’s website provides excellent, free tutorials for constructing miniatures buildings and terrain. The Warhammer Skirmish site, for example, while not new, is still a wonderful resource. I love this spooky mausoleum, for example.
July 6, 2006 Astounding Tales, 2/e
In addition to his VSF fiction, Howard Whitehouse has forthcoming a second edition of his pulp miniature rules, Astounding Tales. The publisher, Patrick Wilson, a.k.a. The Virtual Armchair General, is conducting a pre-publication subscription. I participated in the last subscription for Science vs. Pluck, and the autographed, numbered edition arrived in a timely fashion with my name printed amongst the list of subscribers (accidentally printed twice, as a matter of fact). Here are the details from Mr. Wilson himself:
[Nota bene: the subscription is now closed.]
The (Virtual) Armchair General now invites fans of the works of Howard Whitehouse to help make his latest masterwork a reality--hopefully in time for HistoriCon 2006!
“Astounding Tales!” 2nd Edition is rapidly approaching editorial and formatting completion. Doubling in size since the 1st Edition two years ago, the ultimate rules set for Pulp Era role playing games is more complete and wide ranging than ever, with new features and resources, but with the same simple, direct game mechanics.
As with other TVAG Subscription publishing projects, interested parties are offered the chance to buy the rules prior to printing at a discounted price with other inducements.
1) Pre-Publication Price: $20.00 USD (plus $5.00 domestic postage, $8.00 Overseas). Payment may be by PayPal to TVAG@worldnet.att.net, or by personal check/money order to TVAG’s earthly address. The expected retail price upon publication will be $25.00, and a PDF Edition on CD will be offered for $15.00 as well. NO MONEY will be requested until the minimum number of 35 copies has been sold, at which point the Subscription for this print run will be CLOSED. In short, it's “First come, first served!”
2) All Subscribers' names will appear on the Role of Honor printed in all copies of the initial printing.
3) Each Subscriber's copy will be personally numbered, inscribed, and autographed by the author himself.
Copies are expected to be mailed by HistoriCon, and some number are to be available for retail sale at the event through Mr. Bob Bowling of RLBPS. For those buying their copies at the Convention, Howard will be all too easily induced to autograph your copy then and there.
The clock is ticking! This Subscription will close at midnight (CDT), July 11. If there is insufficient response, the Publisher cannot promise printing and delivery in time for HistoriCon, though the rules WILL be printed.
Gentlemen! Ignite your Rocket Belts, man your Zeppelins, crank up your flivver, or just start running!
July 5, 2006 0One’s Blueprints
If all that you need is a good map to start creative juices flowing, 0One Games has a growing line of Blueprints that fit the bill perfectly. Of course, they are intended for fantasy games, but most of them are easily adaptable for nineteenth and early twentieth century derring-do Caverns of Chaos, City of the Dead, the Lost City all of these locations can be found in terra incognita. Those of us of a certain age get all dreamy-eyed with maps printed in blue ink, recalling the days of buying the new D&D modules. And they’re all $1.65 US, so the investment seems reasonable.
July 4, 2006 Un-Natural History
Arment Biological Press provides a free, online version of Edmund Goldsmid’s 1886 Un-Natural History, or Myths of Ancient Science:
The rest of the books (some free, others for a fee) sound fascinating as well. For example, Charles Gould’s Mythical Monsters, also from 1886, is illustrated.
In this publication, Goldsmid brought together rare treatises written in the 1600’s which discussed strange and mythical creatures. These fascinating works attempted to separate fact from fiction. While we may not today reach the same conclusions, they provide us with a rare glimpse into the minds of those early scholars who were struggling to understand the world around them.
July 3, 2006 Ancient Science
Santa Fe Community College provides this list of links to sites discussing Science in the Ancient World, organized by geographical region.
July 2, 2006 Physorg.com
Physorg.com is a wonderful roundup of articles on science and technology. This piece on the technology making possible “x-ray spectacles” is exemplary.
July 1, 2006 Subterranean Myths and Mysteries
Subterranean Myths and Mysteries hosts a number of articles that reveal all…
June 30, 2006 The Strictest School in the World
Wargame author Howard Whitehouse (Astounding Tales, Science vs. Pluck) has written a VSF novel for young people, entitled with authentic Victorian verbosity: The Strictest School in the World: Being the Tale of a Clever Girl, a Rubber Boy And a Collection of Flying Machines, Mostly Broken (Mad Misadventures of Emmaline and Rubberbones). You can preorder it today and have it in September.
June 29, 2006 Dark Secrets
Last year, the PBS program Nova examined Sir Isaac Newton’s predilection for alchemy in the program Dark Secrets.
June 28, 2006 Under Rome
The most recent issue of the National Geographic Magazine got me interested in the multi-layered historical cake that is Rome. For centuries, the Romans have constructed new buildings atop the old ones, creating a fabulous archæological world to explore beneath their feet. Under Rome is one website devoted to this subterranean world.
June 27, 2006 Pulp Egypt
Peter Schweighofer’s Pulp Egypt: Adventures Along the Nile, 1933-1939 is apparently being kept from the æther by bad weather, although it is due imminently. The 144 page pdf supplement ($20 US) will provide advice and inspiration for Egyptian adventures of all sorts. You can get a preview with a free, 12 page adventure: The Charioteer’s Tomb. The Any-System is easily Fudged skills are listed as Competent, Expert, and Signature.
And if your adventurers enjoy the tomb-raiding business, remember Ann Dupuis’ own We’re Archæologists, Not Grave Robbers! which is also free for the downloading.
June 26, 2006 Carnivore Games
Brad Younie’s Carnivore Games, publisher of the Fudge-based TV RPG Now Playing, has a couple of interesting titles for Terra Incognita players. Right now you can download a two part adventure, Ghosts of the Lady Grace (a 48 p. pdf for $5.95 US). The setting, based on the FPI from Now Playing, is currently being expanded into its own book, Strange World:
As members of the Foundation for Paranormal Investigation, you play the roles of “real” paranormal investigators, hunting for ghosts, Bigfoot and other bizarre phenomenon the way it is done in the real world. The game is built on the descriptions and details of real sightings and reports that have been recorded throughout history. Each creature will be described in detail based on real evidence and reports, so that if your character meets up with a Sasquatch in the forests of Washington State, it’ll feel as real as it gets!
The Foundation for Paranormal Investigation, or FPI, is a civilian organization dedicated to the study and investigation of all areas of the paranormal. It was founded by a well respected, yet rather eccentric retired British general, and has grown to be a large world-wide organization with chapters all over. It is intended that the cast play the roles of FPI chapter members, but that does not have to be the case. If you want, you can ignore the FPI part, and play normal people who have normal jobs by day, and hunt ghosts by night.
June 25, 2006 Frankenstein at the NLM
Back in 1997, the National Library of Medicine hosted an exhibit on Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature.
June 24, 2006 The Scarlet Tower
While the sands of Mars are further afield than most Terra Incognita games would travel, the Barsoom of Edgar Rice Burroughs is archetypically pulp and well worthwhile mining for inspiration. The Scarlet Tower is Jeffrey Kazmierski’s website lovingly devoted to gaming on Barsoom.
June 23, 2006 Patrick’s Hobby Shed
Patrick Smyrl’s Hobby Shed is an illustrated blog detailing his enthusiasm for gaming Victorian Science Fiction. Even if you don’t use little metal people in your gaming, Patrick’s work in inspirational.
June 22, 2006 Early Patents Discovered
Purportedly, a fire in 1836 destroyed all of the early patents in the US. Reportedly, some lawyers at Dartmouth College uncovered copies of many of the destroyed records in 2004. Here’s the New York Times article on the subject. And, of course, on the NAGS Society (which had not even been established in 1836 knows the true fate of those records….
June 21, 2006 Free Interactive Fudge Tools
These are not new, but they’re worth another mention. Dimension Games Software has a variety of free and for sale Fudge accessories. The interactive version of Fudge ($10 US) is helpful when you are customizing the core Fudge rules to play a new genre. The interactive version facilitates picking and choosing the components you need. Dimension Games also has a number of other interactive tools for Fudge, including a Random Bestiary Generator ($7.50 US). You can have a look at 250 Free beasts to see if it will be of use.
June 20, 2006 Pop-pop
Culled from the casting Yahoo group (as in casting your miniatures or terrain) is this link to the Pop-Pop Pages, a website devoted to a model boat you can make which runs on a simple steam engine. Looks like great fun.
June 19, 2006 Crabfu Steamworks
Crabfu Steamworks is the website of one I-Wei Huang, an artist/hobbyist who constructs working steam toys. Loads of inspiration for Nag Tech contraptions here.
June 18, 2006 Ancient Roman Technology
This site hosted by the University of North Carolina is an introduction to Ancient Roman Technology.
June 17, 2006 Secret Contents of a Certain Government Warehouse
This manifest, purportedly compiled by Stirling Westrup, lists the contents of the secret government warehouse pictured at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Here is a second list, cataloguing the same warehouse. There are certainly not the only lists of their kind, but worth a look.
June 16, 2006 ETANA
Intrepid Bookworm Dirk Collins returns from the darkest stacks of the international ætheric archives with this link to ETANA The Electronic Tools and Near Eastern Archive. The site is an electronic bibliophile/Egyptophile’s dream. It includes links to current archæological work, magazine articles, and the core texts for researching ancient Egypt and other cultures of the near east.
June 15, 2006 Terror Beneath Their Feet
Richard Johnson’s Rattrap Productions has released a free, pdf scenario Terror Beneath Their Feet pitting WWII GIs against Nazi zombies. The freebie is a teaser for the new supplement for .45 Adventure which comes out tomorrow Amazing War Stories: Pulp Action in WWII.
June 14, 2006 The Lost Battalion
One of the most famous battle reports coming out of the Great War was the story of the Lost Battalion. Here are two online resources: the Home of the Heroes Page and John Cotter’s Lost Battalion page.
June 13, 2006 H.P. Lovecraft.com
It never occurred to me that there would be an H.P. Lovecraft.com. But there is.
June 12, 2006 The Supernatural World
The Supernatural World provides links to various and sundry information on the web.
June 11, 2006 No Key
NoKey.com is a commercial site selling keyless locks; they have a fascinating history of Roman locks and sell a variety of Roman and medieval keys.
June 10, 2006 Deadlands Again
For 24.99 (!), you can instantly gratify yourself with a download of the pdf version of Deadlands: Reloaded, the new version of Deadlands which has been retooled to use the Savage Worlds rules.
June 9, 2006 Tabula Rasa
Tabula Rasa is an Australian site created by David Carroll and Kyla Ward and devoted to horror fiction (with a bit on RPGs as well).
June 8, 2006 Public History
The Public History Resource Center is a fascinating website devoted to peserving historical artifacts. Dig around for some interesting articles.
June 7, 2006 Penny Dreadful
Look to the Wikipedia for a discussion of that precursor to pulp fiction the penny dreadful.
June 6, 2006 Ancient Desert City
Archæologists have located the remains of a city in the Taklimakan Desert that vanished 2,200 years ago.
June 5, 2006 The Vatican’s Secret Archives
The Vatican hosts a website devoted to its famous Secret Archives. There is also a Wikipedia entry to shed more light on the subject.
June 4, 2006 Physics
If your taste in science runs to physics, the website of the American Institute of Physics is invaluable. The section on magazines leads one to the online version of Physics Today, which in turn links to abstracts of current research in the field. All of this is one more example of how the internet brings to layfolks (such as me) the sort of academic research that was once only available on university campuses.
June 3, 2006 Pulp Egypt
Peter Schweighofer’s Griffon Publishing will bring out what looks to be a useful sourcebook later this month: Pulp Egypt. The “Any-System” rules it will use should make it simple to translate into Fudge.
June 2, 2006 Extreme Science
Extreme Science is a nice site (with a good bit of advertising) devoted to various and sundry scientific topics guaranteed to set the gamer’s heart a flutter.
June 1, 2006 Monster Blog
Monster Blog is a nice-looking tribute to monster comics drawn by Jack Kirby. There are some scans of old comic books, and the Meet the Monsters section is particularly inspirational for gaming ideas.
May 31, 2006 Mean Sets
Pulp wargamers with a penchant for cardstock can order from the Virtual Armchair General a backlot worth of Mean Sets room interiors such as a P.I.’s office, Italian restaurant, or speakeasy. As always, the quality looks fabulous, and they are available preprinted on cardstock or as pdf files on CD. Also as always, I’ll note that I prefer to buy pdfs online and download them immediately….
May 30, 2006 Smithsonian Magazine
Having just spent a little time in the various museums comprised by the Smithsonian, I decided to have a look at the online version of Smithsonian Magazine. Many of the articles can provide background or jumping off points for adventures.
May 29, 2006 La Pyramide Inversée
I’m not certain if I should be embarrassed or not to admit that I only just got around to reading The Da Vinci Code. My favorite part of the book was the importance of La Pyramide Inversée the inverted pyramid in the Louvre. I was particularly interested because a different inverted pyramid figures prominently in the adventure I wrote for my original version of Terra Incognita The NAGS Society Worldbook which you can download for free. I didn’t capture the rich symbolism that Dan Brown created, but perhaps there is the germ of an idea that one might make one’s own.
May 28, 2006 Really Fantastic Victoriana
I can now whole-heartedly recommend Jess Nevins’ Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana as I have just received mine in the mail. The thing is a doorstopper of a book 1,000 pages (in easy-on-the-eyes 12 point type) that looks as solid and impressive as a college textbook. Inside are synopses and character sketches for hundreds of examples of Victorian “fantastic literature” (though, as Jess explains, there are various books included that both pre-and post date the 19th century). It can serve to remind one of books read long ago, suggest future reading, and explain those obscure allusions made by literate gaming friends.
Another book which I will recommend (once again) is Manguel and Guadalupi’s Dictionary of Imaginary Places. From Eco’s Abbey of the Rose to Middle Earth to Oz to Zenda (in Ruritania), this 750+ page tome is an atlas, travel guide, and gazetteer of fictional places.
May 27, 2006 Prehistoric Architecture of Oceania
Jane Resture’s website provides some inspiring images of the remains of mysterious Prehistoric Architecture of Oceania including statues from Easter Island, pyramid temple of Mahaiatea (Tahiti), the pyramid at the Lost City of Mu’a (Tonga), and the spooky, skull-like sculpture of Odalmelech (Pelau).
May 26, 2006 Paper Buildings of the World
For the cardstock modelers out there, Canon’s website features a collection of free, downloadable models of various buildings of the world. They are perhaps a little ”cartoony” and one would have to adjust the scale, but they include the Trojan horse, Mont-Saint-Michel, the Great Pyramid, and a moa from Easter Island.
May 25, 2006 Museum of Civilization
The Canadian Museum of Civilization maintains an interesting website, including an online companion to their exhibition on Petra: The Lost City of Stone.
May 24, 2006 Ancient Nile
The Ancient Nile website is mostly trying to sell you stuff, but the discerning soul ought to locate a few tidbits of interest.
May 23, 2006 Canals
I recently enjoyed a ride aboard a canal boat, piloted by knowledgeable and entertaining folks in period costume, in the heart of Washington DC. The Wikipedia entry on canals provides interesting information on this form of transport that has largely vanished in the US.
May 22, 2006 South American Subterranean Tunnels
Here is Warren Smith (from StanGrist.com) declaiming on the secret tunnels in South America used by natives to escape the conquistadores.
May 21, 2006 Haunted Hotels
I suppose I ought to have known that About.com would have a page devoted to hotels, and, of course, that there would be a subsection devoted to haunted hotels. If one plans to do some traveling, one might as well be sure that the stay will be interesting.
May 20, 2006 Capsule Pipelines
I absolutely love capsule pipelines those information-and-material exchange systems in which you put your item in a little cannister and it shoots along a tube, carried by pneumatic pressure. They are still often used in banks, and I believe Home Depot as well, in the US. Capsu.org is a website devoted to their history. New York City even tried building a subway system based on such technology, though they couldn’t generate enough suction to move the car. Of course, the NAGS Society has a functioning model….
May 19, 2006 Pulp Adventures
There are several newish pulp adventures and supplements that may interest the TI (or any other pulp game) Game Master. Louis Porter Designs has just released King of All Pulp Monsters, a nine page pdf devoted to King Kong (which, Mr. Porter argues quite vociferously in this press release, is apparently public domain…). Adamant Entertainment has several adventures in their Thrilling Tales line: Dragon Island and several more listed at the bottom of the page.
May 18, 2006 US Naval History
The US Department of the Navy’s Naval Historical Center website provides a treasure trove of information on the history of the navy, the conflicts in which they participated, photographs of ships, and whatever else might catch one’s fancy.
May 17, 2006 Kamat’s Potpourri
Kamat’s Potpourri, presenting “[t]he History, Mystery, and Diversity of India,” is a fascinating resource for researching the subcontinent.
May 16, 2006 A Walk Through Tine
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST an organization whose bureaucratic title rivals that of the NAGS Society) hosts A Walk Through Time, a website dedicated to the history of timekeeping. Equally informative is their Calendars Through the Ages.
May 15, 2006 Dead Men Tell No Tales
The golden age of piracy predates the Terra Incognita timeline by some years, but who can resist this website? Dead Men Tell No Tales a treasure trove of all things piratical.
May 14, 2006 Back of Beyond
Lucky Issue 13 of the Back of Beyond Times is up and ready to inspire.
May 13, 2006 Monster Machine
Daniel M. Davis, the ætheric design maven who created the Terra Incognita website, the Fudge logo, and the rather famous fantasy setting Agyris: The World of the Bell,has a new, daily web comic entitled Monster Machine.
May 12, 2006 Legends of the Old West
This French site (which is largely in French) devoted to Games Workshop’s western skirmish game Legends of the Old West is especially inspirational for painting figures and buildings.
May 11, 2006 Aquarius
One modern descendent of the NAG Society’s campus located beneath the ocean in the Great Barrier Reef is Aquarius, a submarine research center in the Florida Keys. I was pleased to discover that it is run by the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. The University of Wisconsin Sea Grant has a helpful timeline of undersea exploration, from prehistory to the present day.
May 10, 2006 E Telescope
E Telescope is, I believe, the first Greek site to be Dispatched by the NAGS Society (it’s available in both English and Greek). It provides links to articles on a variety of topics, from Science and Technology to History and Archeology to the ever-popular Mystery and Strange.
May 9, 2006 Sunken Cities
Going beyond Atlantis, a site on Nordic underwater archæology offers a list of sunken cities.
May 8, 2006 Time has run out…
For Blackmask.com. The online source for classic pulp fiction is currently offline, pending a ruling on its legality. The Vintage Library still has some reprints for sale, though not Doc Savage.
May 7, 2006 Witchhunter.net
I gleaned this link from a post on the Miniatures Page: Witchhunter.net has posted a number of photos of some fabulously painted Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde figures, as well as various Call of Cthulhu and Pulp Era miniatures.
May 6, 2006 The Secret Life of Machines
The Secret Life of Machines is Tim Hunkin’s online accompaniment to a television show (on the BBC and Discovery Channel) which began life as a newspaper cartoon. It’s a simple but informative “how things work” resource.
May 5, 2006 Ian Peter‘s History of the Internet
Nearly all of the events concerning modern information technology post date the Terra Incognita timeline, which ends in 1940, but Ian Peter‘s History of the Internet can serve as inspiration, or be re-imagined as a secret Victorian or pulp information explosion.
May 4, 2006 Coyote Trail
Those on the lookout for another set of western rpg rules might be interested in Politically Incorrect Games’ Coyote Trail and the retooled version of the Shady Gulch setting (which used to be available with its own rules). These are the same folks who now own the venerable Two-Fisted Tales, Matthew Stevens’ classic pulp rpg, one of the first I ever downloaded (probably at a lightning fast 14k, when I think about it).
May 3, 2006 Haven: City of Bronze
Somehow I was entirely unaware the Louis Porter, Jr. Designs has released (some time ago) a series of pulp sourcebooks entitled Haven: City of Bronze. The books include rules for airships, trains, robots, et al., all based on d20 Modern.
May 2, 2006 Castle of Spirits
Castle of Spirits.com is a wonderful online source for stories of ghostly encounters.
May 1, 2006 Adventure Travel
The About.com site on Adventure Travel is perfect for those intrepid souls for whom gaming will not slake their thirst for adventure….
April 30, 2006 Graveyard of the Pacific
Graveyard of the Pacific is a database of shipwrecks off Canada’s Vancouver Island from 1750 to the present. Note, the Flash components of the database wouldn’t work for me with Apple’s Safari browser, but did work with Internet Explorer.
April 29, 2006 Dover Clip Art
I own a number of Dover Publications’ fabulous clip art books. From Old Time Transportation to Victorian House Plans to Gustave Doré’s illustrations for the Divine Comedy… and recommend them all. One could find multiple uses for these collections, from inspiration to player handouts to illustrating your own gaming book. Note that some of the books also provide the images electronically on CD, while others are book-only, requiring you to scan them yourself, though all of the images are royalty free. I hope that one day all of the images will be available in electronic format.
April 28, 2006 TheNubia.net
TheNubia.net does its best to rectify the fact that ancient Nubia has been overshadowed by its famous neighbor to the north.
April 27, 2006 Ancestry.com
Ancestry.com provides links to digital versions of the United States Census from 1790 to 1930. Remaining steadfastly true to the .com domain, you have to pay for a subscription to actually view the records….
As promised, Jim Stuht has transcribed the two-fisted action of California Smyth & the Grotto of Evil.
April 26, 2006 California Smyth & the Grotto of Evil
These pictures are too great to miss Jim Stuht ran a .45 Adventures game at the Little Wars convention this year, featuring “California Smyth & the Grotto of Evil.” As is called for by the rules, Jim created several 2' x 2' boards for the miniatures, quite like pulp movie sets, one might note. In this thread on the Miniature Page, Jim promises a write up of the action and pregame planning.
April 25, 2006 MIT and Archimedes
Intrigued by the tale that in 212 B.C., Archimedes fashioned a weapon that used light to combust ships from a distance, students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) endeavored to explore the issue. They documented the results on this webpage.
April 24, 2006 ParaScope
ParaScope is a witty name for a D. Trull’s website featuring articles on conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal, &c.
April 23, 2006 Just Housekeeping
The NAGS Society Members were chained to the Babbage Engines today, parsing about a year and a half of Dispatches into proper categories on the Links page. Have a look to see what web resources you may have missed.
April 22, 2006 Brotron
Greg Brotherton’s Brotron.com features his thoroughly spectacular metal sculptures of robots, scientific equipment, and several models of death ray. A potent source of inspiration, and, if one’s pockets are deep enough, a source for fabulous pulp decor…. [Overheard on the Wessex Games Yahoo Group.]
April 21, 2006 Martius Incognito
In addition to providing links to everything on Earth, Google provides an online atlas to the red planet: Google Mars. (And I'm certain my Latin is incorrect.]
April 20, 2006 Victorian Villains
If you’re willing to do a little work to create the deck, Victorian Villains looks to be an exciting game of nineteenth century adventure, created by Lloyd Krassner.
April 19, 2006 Ancient Egypt
The British Museum hosts a useful primer on Ancient Egypt.
April 18, 2006 Caves of the World
Showcaves features clickable maps that will guide you to the world’s many caves. Show caves are those with lights and tour guides available; not those visited by members of the NAGS Society, but perhaps by gamers in quest of inspiration.
April 17, 2006 The Lost Sea
Sweetwater, Tennessee (USA) is built atop the world’s largest subterranean lake The Lost Sea. The website is bare bones, but eminently useful for inspiration.
April 1316, 2006 Tangled Forest & American Folklore
Tangled Forest.com features a helpful collection of haunted sites in the United States (along with witches, demons, &c., &c.).
American Folklore.com is a treasure trove of inspiration for all genres of gaming.
N.B.: The NAGS Society will suspend Dispatches until Monday, April 17.
April 12, 2006 Global Education Resources
Ohio State University hosts a wonderful collection of “Global Education” resources concerning five areas of the world: Africa, East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Slavic & Eastern Europe. There are numerous links to online information concerning the history, culture, and politics of these regions.
April 11, 2006 Amazon Research Network
The Amazon Research Network offers some insights into the historical sources for that classic archetype, the Amazon.
April 10, 2006 The RPG Consortium
The RPG Consortium:
strive[s] to be the ultimate online roleplayers community providing features from forums that discuss everyday life topics to roleplaying game discussions (like Dungeons and Dragons, Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms and D20) to actual RP on the site itself. We have many gaming articles and working on releasing various RPG tools to help you with such mediums like Free Form play by web to paper and pen table top gaming.
April 9, 2006 Colonial Voyage
Colonial Voyage is a fascinating website that details the colonial history of Portugal and Holland. The pictures of extant colonial architecture are of particular interest.
April 8, 2006 Webster’s Online
Webster’s Online goes far beyond a traditional dictionary, providing definitions, literary (and other cultural) references, images, related websites, crossword puzzle hints, &c. Have a look at the entry on Atlantis, for example, and then try a few of your own.
April 7, 2006 Science Daily
Science Daily.com features a section on Fossils & Ruins, along with other topics such as Computers & Math or Mind & Brain.
April 6, 2006 Mysteries of the Deep
New Scientist.com features an informative article about the Mysteries of the Deep.
April 5, 2006 Haggard on Wikipedia
The Wikipedia entry on H. Rider Haggard is informative, and, as always, links onwards to other Wiki topics, from lost worlds to Raiders of the Lost Ark.
April 4, 2006 Ancient Wonders
If you have the desire (and the deep pocketbook) to decorate with authentic ancient artifacts, Ancient Wonders might be able to help you acquire a Roman arrowhead or dinosaur fossil.
April 3, 2006 1948 Signals
1948 Signals would seem to be a pulp larp (live action roleplaying) game based in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. The website has various interesting tidbits, including a useful period reference. Its predecessor was 1936: Horror.
April 2, 2006 Silent Movie Monsters: The Lost World
Silent Movie Monsters: The Lost World is an informative, if aged, site dedicated to the 1925 silent movie version of Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, which, owing to the NAGS Society’s recent upgrade to a “modern” internet connection, I was finally able to see on the Internet Archive.
April 1, 2006 The Dinosaur Interplanetary Gazette
The Dinosaur Interplanetary Gazette is a useful online resource for all things thunder lizard.
March 31, 2006 Etherscope Intro
Goodman Games posted a 4 page introduction to their “cyberpunk Victoriana” rpg Etherscope, which I consider serendipity itself as I just purchased the core rulebook yesterday [N.B.:the link downloads the file directly]. The introduction reproduces several pages from the book and does a great job of explaining the game’s highlights: Victoriana, but the timeline is advanced to an alternate 1984; “internet”-like technology in the form of Etherspace, genetic engineering, Lemurians, and demons. As with any OGL game, the bulk of the book is filled with rules, but Messers. Nigel McClelland and Ben Redmond did manage to incorporate a tremendous amount of setting throughout. Ben Redmond has also created the Great Metropolis website in support of the game.
March 30, 2006 Fudge Forum
Please welcome Fudge Forum as a new, bulletin board-style website for discussing your favorite roleplaying game.
March 29, 2006 Conspiracy X
One of the many modern descendents of the NAGS Society is Aegis, the secret society that stars in Eden Studio’s Conspiracy X, which is just about to be released in a second edition. Apparently, the PDF version will be on sale April 1 from DriveThruRPG.com. If you prefer, the GURPS version of the first edition is still available.
March 28, 2006 Martian Empires in Wargames Journal
The thoroughly wonderful, free pdf gaming magazine Wargames Journal features an article of interest in this month’s number (Issue 5) to those who go in for the idea of redcoats on Mars. “1879: The Martian Campaign” by Stephen Rhodes spotlights Black Hat Miniatures’ Martian Empires line of 18mm miniatures. The article:
provide[s] a potted account of the Earth’s War with Mars and its subsequent bid to vanquish an alien invasion fleet. The first game takes place on Earth, just outside London in the leafy English countryside with the second game on Mars as the Expeditionary Force lands. The final game takes place in the shadow of Elysium Mons in the heart of the Martian homeland.
March 27, 2006 Roman Seas & Forbidden Kingdoms d20
Eric Hotz has followed up his fabulous Whitewash City with a new vision in cardstock: Roman Seas. This time he’s put together an extensive collection of Roman ships, buildings, and fortifications. They are intended for 6mm or 1:300 scale, but they’re in vector format so you can rescale them according to your means of printing them. Looking at all those temples and red-tiled houses with courtyards brings to mind a classic Aaron Allston-style lost Roman colony game….
In addition, pulp rpg Forbidden Kingdoms from Otherworld Productions has been rereleased with d20 Modern rules (104 pp., $3.99 US).
March 23-26, 2006 Appalachian Ghost Walks
Appalachian Ghostwalks.com allows you to plan your walking tour of the paranormal areas that abound in these ancient mountains in the Eastern US.
NB: Please forgive the recent dilatory nature of the Daily Dispatches. Various exigencies are interfering with broadcasting. An expected sojourn in the mountainous western regions will delay further Dispatches until Monday, March 27
March 22, 2006 Forbidden Archeology
Michael Cremo’s Museum of Forbidden Archeology currently features an exhibit on California gold country (the Miner ’49ers and all that).
March 21, 2006 Alternative Science
Richard Milton’s Alternative Science website offers some insights into the unexpected discoveries as well as the misunderstandings of scientists, recent and historical.
March 20, 2006 A Terra Incognita Adventure Starter
A bout of spring cleaning on the NAGS Society’s main Baggage Engine has turned up this interesting item: the low-tech version of the Terra Incognita Adventure Starter (5 page pdf file).
For several years now, harried GMs have been able to glean the germs of inspiration for Terra Incognita adventures with the online Adventure Starter:
Now, when you are in the field or otherwise deprived of electronic access, armed only with your trusty polyhedrals, you can generate a random TI adventure. One might also plunder the list for interesting locations, objectives, and motivations.
March 19, 2006 IEEE
The IEEE Virtual Museum hosts some helpful online exhibits involving the history of electronic and computer technology. One exhibit discusses technological advances occasioned by war in general, and WWII in particular.
March 18, 2006 VSF in 2mm
Those who like to look at the “big picture” of VSF might be interested in Paul O’Grady’s growing collection of 2mm Victorian science fiction contraptions. Down towards the bottom of the page (at least as I write this) there are also some images from a War of the Worlds game and some great shots of æronefs amongst the Martian pyramids.
March 17, 2006 An Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge
To get a Victorian perspective on the world, have a look at these excerpts from Chambers’s Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge of 1888. [Submitted by Jonathan Wells.]
March 16, 2006 Hermetic Fellowship on Mysteries
One can always count upon the Hermetic Fellowship to provide “Resources for the Study & Revival of the Ancient Mysteries.”
March 15, 2006 Quest Magazine
Quest magazine offers its guidance in exploring world mysteries.
March 14, 2006 Trivia Library
While not directly gaming related, the Trivia-Library.com ought to have a little something for everyone.
March 13, 2006 Ancient Technology
The Unexplained.net features an illustrated treatise on Ancient Technology such as ancient Egyptian airplanes and fossilized spark plugs. N.B.: The page is hosted by Tripod, so there is music, pop-ups, and other sundry annoyances.
March 8-12, 2006 A Host of Goodies
An unexpected hiatus put the NAGS Society Home Campus off the ætherwaves for a time. In the interim, here are a few commercial goodies and other assorted oddments that might interest the intrepid Terra Incognita game master. To wit:
This summer brings the release of Secrets of Kenya from Chaosium. An excellent resource on east Africa is always welcome, but one written from a Call of Cthulhu perspective should be excellent.
JR Miniatures has released a line of resin Steampunk buildings houses, a bridge, a mining rig, and more, all festooned with rivets and gears. Perfect for gaming the Etherscopic Metropolis, perhaps?
Contested Ground Studios’ a|state is another take on the future Victorian dystopia theme. The website describes their (rather extensive) line of sourcebooks which might be of interest. The most recent release is Faces in the Crowd, a collection of villains. You can also download a free version of a|state to see if it’s to your taste.
Mazes and Labyrinths by W.H. Matthews (1922) is a fascinating account of the history of these enigmas. Read it online from Sacred-Texts.com.
And finally, Earth-Keeper.com is a great resource for those working on Professor Challenger’s “Living Earth” thesis.
March 7, 2006 The Great Metropolis
Goodman Games’ first Etherscope supplement is Etherscope: The Great Metropolis:
Both the core Etherscope rule book and The Great Metropolis are available for download from RPGNow ($24.99 and $14.99 US, respectively).
In a world of out-of-control technology where every city chokes on its own filth, one city showcases the extremes. Smokier than London, more corrupt than New York, more productive than Detroit and seedier than Amsterdam, this true megacity supports a population of over 100 million people. Welcome to The Great Metropolis.
March 6, 2006 Modeling the Jungle
As always, Games Workshop’s online tutorials are incredibly useful for creating scenery for tabletop gaming. This fabulous workshop will teach you how they created a jungle environment for their Lustria campaign, but which would serve for any destination in terra incognita.
March 5, 2006 Wooden Anniversary
As of today, the NAGS Society has been Dispatching interesting ætheric information on the Terra Incognita website for five years, the Wooden Anniversary. Here’s an article from the Fortean Times on England‘s mysterious Clapham Wood.
March 4, 2006 Swan Pits
Through the years, various rpgs, most notably Call of Cthulhu, have relied upon mysterious cultists as their villains. This article from last year on the online Discovery Channel details the excavation of some mysterious British pits lined with swan feathers, thought to be evidence of a “secret swan sect.”
March 3, 2006 Ancient Technology
Ancient Technology provides a few interesting tidbits on the subject.
March 2, 2006 10 Ancient Civilizations With Advanced Technology
Here‘s an annotated list of 10 Ancient Civilizations With Advanced Technology.
March 1, 2006 Land of the Lost
As is to be expected today, the classic children‘s television show Land of the Lost has its own Wikipedia page. Visit and learn a little more about this inspiration from the days of yore.
February 28, 2006 Bulletin Geographique
Habitués of The Miniature Page have already seen this, but issue 5 of the Bulletin Geographique, a “Journal des explorateurs et des navigateurs” [it’s in French, obviously], which features some fabulous, inspirational photography of Deepest African Explorers [namely, extremely well painted Foundry miniatures]. And, the website design is itself worth the visit.
February 27, 2006 Prohibition Era Buildings
Supplementing the Matakishi-style pulp cityscape is this wonderful collection of Prohibition Era Buildings made by Jim Dirmaier.
February 26, 2006 Wargames Illustrated
One of the best wargaming magazines is Wargames Illustrated. They now have a website which will (eventually) allow you to search the first 200 issues for particular articles. The first 200 issues are currently available on eight CDs. I just got two, from Nottingham to North Carolina in about a week, and got my hands on a bunch of the Gary Chalk articles I’ve been wanting for years.
February 25, 2006 Horror Masters
HorrorMasters.com offers horrific fiction for download, formatted for your PDA, with many free samples and the rest for a dime to a quarter US. There are classic stories, modern stories, and efforts by aspiring writers.
February 24, 2006 Isle of Wight
I had no idea that the Isle of Wight was ”the world’s most haunted island,” though I suppose the name should have given me a clue….
February 23, 2006 Gutshot & Knuckleduster
Gutshot, Hawgleg Publishing‘s Old Western skirmish game, turned one this February. If you’ve not had a chance yet to indulge in an old-fashioned shoot ‘em up, perhaps its time to have a look. If you need some inspiration, Knuckleduster now carries Bob Boze Bell’s fabulous Classic Gunfights books.
February 22, 2006 "The Four Feathers": A swinging safari
Rudi Geudens’ colonial wargaming website is always inspiring and educative. "The Four Feathers": A swinging safari is an entertaining, illustrated battle report of some exciting goings-on in the Dark Continent.
February 21, 2006 Speaking Ancient Egyptian
Inject a little authenticity into your Egyptian adventures by studying the Pronunciation of Ancient Egyptian. Of particular use are the .wav files that allow you to hear the words pronounced aloud.
February 20, 2006 The Language of Atlantis
Occult-Advances.org provides a wonderful scholarly treatise on the Language of the Lost City of Atlantis, as reconstructed from its descendents, ancient and modern.
February 19, 2006 World-Mysteries
World-Mysteries.com is just too good a site to forget about have another look if you’ve not been in awhile.
February 18, 2006 Petra to the Pyramids
If you take your gaming research seriously extremely seriously you might consider the Petra to the Pyramids family holiday from Exodus, and regale your gaming group with firsthand accounts.
February 17, 2006 A Necronomicon Glossary
Dan Clore has painstakingly assembled this Necronomicon Glossary, a fabulous compendium of Lovecraftiana, which comes from his Necronomicon page.
February 16, 2006 Ghost in my Suitcase
Ghost in my Suitcase.com is none other than “your guide to haunted travel in America.” The Haunted Places link takes you to many states, though, sadly, none in North Carolina….
February 15, 2006 Pulp Project 1557 & Linked .45 Adventures
The Wikipedia resource Pulp Project 1557 has changed its url. Also, the prolific Richard Johnson of Rattrap Productions has contributed (to an RPG.net thread) some great advice on running linked scenarios, from the perspective of miniature wargaming, of course, but equally useful for designing roleplaying adventures.
February 14, 2006 Unhallowed Metropolis
Unhallowed Metropolis is a forthcoming Victorian/post-apocalyptic/horror roleplaying game from Eos Press. Here‘s a bit of the introduction:
Eos Press is pleased to announce the dawn of the new dark age with the development of Unhallowed Metropolis, the gas-mask chic role-playing game of Neo-Victorian horror. Set two hundred years after the first outbreak of a zombie Plague, Unhallowed Metropolis chronicles the exploits of Undertakers, gritty bounty men who make their livelihoods hunting the animate dead through the streets of a London that never was.
February 13, 2006 The Skeptic‘s Dictionary
The Skeptic’s Dictionary, available in print as well as online, offers the real scoop “from abracadabra to zombies.”
February 12, 2006 The Bermuda Triangle
It’s hard to believe, but the NAGS Society has not yet Dispatched a link to Bermuda-Triangle.org, “a journey into mysteries of the sea.” One interesting story (which has little to due with the triangle but rather the North Carolina coast) is the story of the Carroll A. Deering, a ghost ship from the ’20s.
February 11, 2006 Fragments of Time
If you’re really serious about your gaming props, visit Antiquities.com and bring home a bit of the past…. A nice crocodile amulet from the 5th century B.C. for $3000 US, for example.
February 10, 2006 Rigby’s World of Egypt
Mark Rigby’s World of Egypt is a helpful site for researching background information when your adventures extend to Egypt. There is a nice piece on the pyramids, Tut’s tomb (with a map), a chronology, and a series of pages on the Egyptian Museum. All well worth your time.
February 9, 2006 “I Left My Heart In…”
Chaosium’s new Call of Cthulhu 1920s sourcebook for this spring will be the Secrets of San Francisco. The write up sounds truly wonderful, with “he largest, oldest American enclave of Chinese settlers, the world’s most famous haunted house, and two of the most infamous prisons ever erected.” I’ve been enjoying the Secrets of New York, so this one ought to be good as well.
February 8, 2006 How To from Deep Fried
DeepFriedHappyMice hosts a wonderful How To page on miniature painting and scratchbuilding, which includes articles on converting figures, speed painting, and a link to a Dan Perez Studio primer on do-it-yourself casting. The commercial arm of Deep Fried is Scale Creep Miniatures, the US source for Black Hat Miniatures excellent 18mm Martian Empires figures.
February 7, 2006 Find A Grave
This link was gleaned from a Miniature Page conversation Find A Grave makes available online, in searchable format (Actors, Geographic Location,Victims of crime and disaster, &c.) millions of cemetery records, along with dates of birth and death and brief biographies. Thoroughly useful.
February 6, 2006 Allston‘s Hollow World
I just spent pleasurable afternoon buying, printing, and reading Aaron Allston’s superb Hollow World Campaign Set, a D&D supplement from 1990. As with Allston’s other great pulp supplement, Lands of Mystery for Justice, Inc., you get all the pulp clichés dinosaurs, lost races, Mesoamericans, Romans, and pirates as neighbors. There’s a timeline, detailed maps (the original boxed set’s poster map is split into pieces for printing and rejoining).Allston is a superb writer who knows the pulp feel as well as what would make a fun roleplaying game. And, for the cost of a 32 page module, you get 260-odd pages of inspiration. It’s written from a fantasy (D&D) perspective, but is easily translated to a more historical backdrop. Heartily recommended.
February 5, 2006 Forbidden Archeology
Forbidden Archeology seems to focus on debunking Darwinism and, essentially, modern science, but in the process serves as a brilliant source of adventure ideas.
February 4, 2006 Ancient Scripts
Ancient Scripts is a wonderful resource for studying the history of language and writing.
February 3, 2006 The Dark Chamber
The Dark Chamber “A Goth Art & Dark Culture Ezine” might have an article or two of interest.
February 2, 2006 Ragnarok
I can’t tell you how much enjoyment I derive from Ragnarok, the magazine of the SFSFW (the Society of Fantasy and Science-Fiction Wargamers [whew!]). The latest issue will contain an Aeronef scenario and 1950’s Earth Invasion rules using Chain Reaction, along with numerous, thoughtful reviews of rules and miniatures. Even the pictures on the cover are inspirational. You can have a look at the Ragnarok website and sample previous articles online.
February 1, 2006 Hollow Earth Images
Perhaps everyone else has begun using Google’s image search engine, but it’s new to me. Take a favorite topic, such as the Hollow Earth, for example, and one is presented with a smorgasbord of inspirational images, maps, &c. Thoroughly useful for putting together adventures and player hand-outs.
January 31, 2006 The Dutch Wars
The Dutch Wars, or Dutch-Anglo Wars (three of them, from 1652-1678, with intermissions) form an interesting background to a game set later (say, in the TI timeline of 1850-1940). They included, were influenced by, or resulted in such critical historical events as the Great London Fire, the transformation of New Amsterdam to New York, as well as some cool naval battles. The article on Bartleby.com offers a précis, while a more extensive Google search should fill in the details.
January 30, 2006 Fudging It
The latest article in Fudge Factor (The ezine devoted to the Fudge RPG) is Mitch Williams’ Fudging It!? a guide to converting your favorite rpg systems to Fudge. The article includes some notes on converting Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu.
January 29, 2006 Western Smack Down
This page from the Junior General offers an exciting retelling of a classic western bar brawl conducted at Historicon 2003 (with miniatures, not real convention goers): Western Smack Down. You’ll find helpful tips on constructing your own saloon in which to smack down.
January 28, 2006 Baden-Powell, Spy
Sir Robert Baden-Powell went on to found the Boy Scouts. But in 1915, during the Great War, he was engaged in another kind of scouting. Read his account of My Adventures as a Spy. [Thanks to Hank Harwell for suggesting the link.]
January 27, 2006 Giving the Huskies a Rest with Retro Tech
A discussion on the GASLIGHT Yahoo Group about alternate uses for aircraft turned up this link concerning Propeller-Driven Sleighs. Just the thing the NAGS Society would employ to traverse global extremes. And, of course, the sleighs are just one of many “exhibits” in the indispensable Museum of Retro Technology.
January 26, 2006 Matakishi’s Tea House
Paul “Matakishi” Ward has set up a website to feature his miniature wargame rules, galleries of painted miniatures, and of course the “how-to” articles for constructing his fabulous cities. Have a look at Matakishi’s Tea House for gaming inspiration.
January 25, 2006 Cartography from the LoC
This is a link worth repeating. The (US) Library of Congress hosts online Map Collections: 1500-2004. There are some wonderful panoramic views of a plethora of US and Canadian cities (which allow you to zoom in until you can see the individual trees in the background…), maps that resulted from the explorers of the 1600s, and maps of various military battles and campaigns. You can also order prints if you care to decorate with cartography.
January 24, 2006 The Active Mind: Mysterious & Unexplained
The Active Mind: Mysterious & Unexplained covers some of the same unexplainable subjects.
January 23, 2006 Unexplainable.Net
Unexplainable.net features scads of reader-submitted articles treating all the usual suspects: paranormal, hauntings, UFOs, &c.
January 22, 2006 Ooparts
Ooparts or, “out of place artifacts” is a website devoted to the idea that the Biblical flood occurred, as evidenced by the unexpected distribution of various artifacts throughout the globe. The site notes: “We have a Biblical viewpoint on the world. Ooparts are evidence, we think, that the Flood actually happened.”
January 21, 2006 Underwater Archæology
The website of the Advisory Council on Underwater Archæology provides a wealth of links to websites on the subject, including guidance on one could merge one’s gaming and work worlds by studying to become such an archæologist….
January 20, 2006 Cardboard Warriors
Patrick Crusiau has a new set of VSF-inspired cardboard figures, including heroes, villains, divers, and a great mechanical man (the link downloads a ~350 kb pdf). You can have a look at some of his other figures on Patrick’s Cardboard Warriors.
January 19, 2006 Xenophilia & the Hollow Earth
The Xenophilia website, which it would seem treats the outré with a refreshing sense of humor, features a reasonably informative treatise on the Hollow Earth, complete with maps and such.
January 18, 2006 The Inca Trail, Machu Picchu & Mysterious Peru
The Inca Trail, Machu Picchu and Mysterious Peru. The name says it all.
January 17, 2006 Prairie Ghosts
Ghosts of the Prairie is a “Travel Guide to the History & Hauntings of Illinois and Beyond.”
January 16, 2006 Golly! Thrilling Tales Theater
Gareth Skarka’s Adamant Entertainment has been gradually releasing pulp-related d20 material for several years now, at one time promising (and then deciding against) a magazine featuring original pulp stories. They have now gone the whole hog, releasing the first episode of a classic pulp episode featuring Commando Cody Radar Men From The Moon in mp4 format for viewing on your computer (it’s 47.7 MB, and therefore not for the faint of heart…) for only $3.00 US. Along with the flick comes a 6 page pdf of statistics for gaming it. I love the idea and can’t wait ’til next month!
January 15, 2006 Chinese Explorers
A thread on the Miniature Page offered this link to a BBC story concerning that old chestnut, Chinese explorers visiting the Americas before Columbus (but after the Vikings). As usual, only the NAGS Society knows the truth.
January 14, 2006 Solomon Kane on Mobipocket & a Jimland Update
Technology today is finally catching up to the fevered imaginations of the Gadgeteers in the NAGS Society. One is now able to read ebooks on one’s computer, PDA, or cell phone. Here is one example: Robert Howard’s Savage Tales of Solomon Kane from Mobipocket.
And, Jim Wright has sent along an updated version of the Adventures in Jimland rules (now version 1.7), which fix a few typos and includes a chart that shows how to bisect the table for terrain setup.
January 13, 2006 Superstitions, A-Z
Today is an auspicious day for examining our penchant for superstitions. Corsinet.com host a wonderful, alphabetical listing of superstitions, “old wives tales, folklore, bizarre beliefs, taboos, omens, lucky & unlucky things…”
January 12, 2006 Board Games Gratis
Board games are a fun break from the dramatic demands of roleplaying and the time necessary for preparing miniatures. Boardgame Geek is an irreplaceable resource supporting more games than one could play in a lifetime. And while downloading and printing out a game does take a little work, it’s almost instant gratification. This GeekList from Steve “Shadowglare” recounts 25 “Free-to-print games that might actually be worth printing.”
January 11, 2006 Hornblower
Although the books predate the TI timeline by a good half-century and are not at all in genre, I am thoroughly immersed for the first time in the saga of Horatio Hornblower (here‘s a fan site; the books are available anywhere). I remain a confirmed fan of the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian, but this Hornblower fellow shows promise I’ve read the first two books in two days. Both of these series, set on board ships during the Napoleonic wars, are of interest to Victorian era and pulp gamers because of their expert story-telling and characterization.
January 10, 2006 TRES
From the Double G Press comes this announcement: “Double G Press is publishing The Ravaged Earth Society, a game of two-fisted thrilling pulp adventure for the Savage Worlds roleplaying system! TRES is the first licensed pulp-themed game from Pinnacle, makers of Savage Worlds.” The appetite-whetting previews include archetypes for the G Man and Hotshot pilot.
January 9, 2006 Strange Science
Strange Science, which details “The Rocky Road to Modern Paleontology and Biology,” is a useful resource for those theories that the NAGS Society work so hard to discredit.
January 8, 2006 Adventures for All & Sundry
Two new free adventures are available for your pulp and steampunk adventuring: Into the Fire, an additional scenario for the .45 Adventure supplement Dragon Bones (available on the Rattrap Productions download page) and Just a Delivery for the newly released Etherscope.
January 7, 2006 On the Waterfront
Paul “Matakishi” Ward has been expanding his pulp/zombie city to the sea. His new pictures of waterfront terrain are, as usual, thoroughly inspirational.
January 6, 2006 Secrets of the Dead
Secrets of the Dead is a “crime scene investigations meets history” program produced by WNET, the Public Broadcasting Station in New York.
January 5, 2006 Egypt: Land of Eternity
Egypt: Land of Eternity is a rather old site which still holds a few interesting tidbits.
January 4, 2006 Coming Attractions & Fotosearch
I borrowed this one from the .45 Adventure website list of links: Coming Attractions is a great resource for keeping abreast of what’s new on the pulp front, from reprints to e-texts to DVD releases.
If you’re looking for commercial-quality images or clipart for a project, Fotosearch has a voluminous quantity for sale.
January 3, 2006 Subterranean Worlds
In this excerpt from Subterranean Worlds, Timothy Beckley describes a number of entrances to the world beneath.
January 2, 2006 Waterworld
When a nefarious villain comes up with a plan to reflect solar radiation onto the polar ice caps in order to restore the Earth to prehistoric times, one might wonder just what the new coastlines might look like. As one might expect, PBS comes to the rescue with the Waterworld website, with a number of maps depicting various coastlines 20,000 years ago, and if the East and West Antarctic ice sheets were to melt. Likely your villain would have just such maps on a screen in order to taunt the heroes.
January 1, 2006 VSF Month on MiniatureWargames.com
My favorite miniature wargaming blog, MiniatureWargaming.com, is devoting the entire month of January to Victorian Science Fiction. Tune in each day for a variety of VSF links, both familiar and obscure.