NAGS Society Dispatch Archives
2007: Jan • Feb • Mar • Apr • May • June • July • Aug • Sept • Oct • Nov • Dec
[2001-2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2008]
December 29-31, 2007 GSF & An Anticipated Hiatus
Here’s a thread from the Miniature Page from a year ago concerning science fiction set in the 18th century, call it Georgian Science Fiction, Lacepunk, or what-you-will.
Dispatches resume in the New Year!
December 28, 2007 Victorian Era Adventure
Here’s a thread from ENWorld (a website I’ve not explored in quite awhile) on Victorian Era Adventure. And, by carefully perusing the forum archives, one might find a treasure trove of interesting inspiration. Here’s just a sampling.
December 27, 2007 D20 Eternity
D20 Eternity would seem to be an interesting idea, using the d20 system and its myriad supplements.
December 26, 2007 Pulp Project 1557
Pulp Project 1557 “The Collaborative Repository of Pulp Information for Pulp RPG GMs and Players” has changed homes since we last Dispatched its æther address.
December 25, 2007 18th-19th Century Automata
Da Vinci Automata “A Blog on the Clockpunk genre of Science Fiction” has posted a link to a website concerning 18th-19th century Automata.
December 24, 2007 Benign Urban Encounters
From Johnn Four’s Roleplaying Tips comes this list of 150 Benign Urban Encounters just some little tidbits to spice up roleplaying.
December 23, 2007 TerraGenesis
If you’ve not been in awhile, TerraGenesis remains an extraordinary source of inspiration and guidance for scratchbuilding gaming terrain and structures.
December 22, 2007 Antikythera Mechanism Research Project
The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project is devoted to unlocking the secrets of my favorite bit of ancient technology: Antikythera Mechanism.
December 21, 2007 Iron Stars & Æronef
If your idea of Victorian Science Fiction extends into the æther, then you might want to have a look at either of these games: Iron Stars from Majestic XXII games or the venerable Æronef from Wessex Games.
December 20, 2007 A Word About Roundbottom
The online Fantasy Magazine features an interview with Jeremiah Tolbert, creator of Clockpunk.com and its intrepid explorer/photographer, Dr. Julius T. Roundbottom.
December 19, 2007 San Splendido
If wintery weather has got you down, you might perhaps contemplate a trip to San Splendido, Tom Mouat’s [fictional] South American Banana Republic. Roll back the clock a bit, and one might fashion a great interwar game of intrigue and adventure. If Africa is your continent, then Bongolesia might be your destination.
December 18, 2007 Ever Forward!
Folks on the Miniature page are keeping up with Jim Wright and Jimland. If you’ve not yet explored it, treat yourself to an expedition into Jimland.
December 17, 2007 Victorian Age from Brigade
Brigade Games has added some 28mm figures to their Victorian Age line, timely to the season in that they were inspired by characters from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. You can order them from the Brigade Games website (although the pictures aren’t up yet) and see them by joining the Brigade Games Yahoo Group and looking in the photos section.
December 16, 2007 Magic Skull
The NAGS Society will happily make it’s yearly plug for the work of Daniel M. Davis, designer of this website and the cover for Terra Incognita, as well as the Fudge “swoosh” logo you see below. Visit the Magic Skull shop for more of his work as an illustrator, and you can even get some of the characters as plush toys!
December 15, 2007 Familiars
This is not really in our genre at all, but I’ll post a link to Familiars an RPG devoted to roleplaying a familiar, both because it seems Golden Compass-like (which has an alternative steampunk feel to it) and because Grey Ghost has “Another Fine Mess” available, and Ann is always threatening to finish Animal Companions….
December 14, 2007 DinoFiles
Those who use the d20 system might be interested in this offering from Black Dirge Publications: DinoFiles.
December 13, 2007 Boomtown Planet - Saturday Edition
I purchased the original Boomtown Planet and found it to be a mixed bag a grab bag of NPCs and plot hooks, but not something I would use by itself. I’m curious about the Saturday Edition a “complete overhaul” of the original, according to the press release.
December 12, 2007 Twelve Games Under the Tree
Ogrecave provides gift-giving suggestions with Twelve Games Under the Tree: A Dozen Games for Over $20 in 2007.
December 11, 2007 The Cartographer’s Annual 2007
I remain ever-frustrated that I can‘t use Campaign Cartographer (as a confirmed Mac-o-phile), but the Cartographer’s Annual 2007 looks interesting.
December 10, 2007 Marvin
Brass Goggles, which was lamentably off the ætherwaves for awhile, has returned with a link to this fabulous Anthropomorphic Babbage Concierge.
December 9, 2007 FreeWargamesRules
FreeWargamesRules.co offers a plethora of rules at an unbeatable price.
December 8, 2007 Making Desert Buildings
Matakishi has come through once again with plans and guidance for constructing some utile wargames terrain this time some Desert Buildings which are billed as modern but could easily pass for our time period.
December 7, 2007 The Patrick O’Brian Compendium
This is right out of our time period, but I’m sure enterprising souls can find a way to make use of it. I’m a huge fan of the Aubrey/Maturin series of novels by Patrick O’Brian, following the careers of an English Navy Captain and his particular friend, a surgeon, naturalist, and intelligence officer. If nothing else, the books are examples of great characterization which is always inspirational for better role-playing. The Patrick O’Brian Compendium is a worthy online resource.
December 6, 2007 Chariot Master
If you have need to recreate a Roman chariot race (in your Lost World setting, perchance), you might want to have a look at ChariotMaster, based on GW’s 10mm Warmaster rules.
December 5, 2007 ExpoMuseum
ExpoMuseum is a website devoted to those great Expositions and World’s Fairs from the past two centuries of which I am a great fan.
December 4, 2007 VSF from the VFS
Chris Paul, a student at the Vancouver Film School, created this footage of a steam powered tank on the rampage.
December 3, 2007 Spirit of the Season
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year… For EVIL!” Atomic Sock Monkey and Evil Hat (a.k.a. Chad Underkoffler and Fred Hicks) have teamed up to offer the free pulp/supers adventure Spirit of the Season.
December 2, 2007 Gift Giving Guides from Ogrecave
I’ll give my yearly plug for the excellent gift giving guides from the Ogrecave. They’ve begun with the year’s 12 best stocking-stuffers, and will press on anon with games over $20, d20, and pdfs.
December 1, 2007 African Hunter
“Welcome to our savage continent.” African Hunter is an online resource for folks who really do what we imagine and roll dice about. “Shot Placement” … “the Ultimate Snakes of Southern Africa” … It’s all there.
November 30, 2007 The Forge
I’ve not kept up with the Forge in years, but it’s the mother ship for those interested in all things alternative RPG. It’s great to see a forum for Evil Hat’s Spirit of the Century.
November 29, 2007 Tooth and Claw and Thanks
The ever-excellent VSF Blog Yours in a White Wine Sauce has posted a review of Chris Peers’ latest ruleset Tooth and Claw (“Rules for Prehistoric Animal Hunting”) as well as a link to Jim Wright’s Adventures in Jimland, hosted on this very TI website, as well as my Jimland photo album. Many thanks, chaps!
November 28, 2007 Mini Mag Volume One
Mega Miniatures has done the metal buying public a great service by embarking upon a campaign to catalogue 25mm miniature from a variety of manufacturers Mini Mag Volume One ($1.99) making it easier for one to decide where to spend one’s gaming money. Of particular interest to TI gamers are the great minis from Pulp Figures and the Call of Cthulhu and Space: 1889 figures from RAFM.
November 27, 2007 Young Indiana Jones
Young Indiana Jones was a television show (‘92-‘96) chronicling the adventurous youth of our favorite neopulp hero. The first volume The Early Years went on sale in October The second volume The War Years comes out on December 18.
November 26, 2007 The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne
There is a wonderful website devoted to the steampunk TV show The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne.
November 19 25, 2007 The Virtual Armchair General & an Hiatus
This is a commercial Dispatch, perhaps in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, but Patrick Wilson’s Virtual Armchair General is one wonderful source of wargaming resources, from pulp rules (Astounding Tales!) to cardstock buildings and ships to Thrilling Combat miniatures (for fighting the Gangs of New York).
My regularly scheduled holiday hiatus will run through Sunday. Dispatches resume Monday, November 26.
November 18, 2007 The Dangerous Book for Boys
This one has been out for awhile, but if you’ve not had a look, I recommend taking an afternoon to peruse The Dangerous Book for Boys. It’s a compendium of all the sort of adventurous knowledge that the authors (and this author) fear that is being lost with the ascension of television watching and video game zombidom. There’s illustrated accounts of pivotal historical battles, instructions for building a (non-powered) go-cart, and even role playing (in the form of Dungeons & Dragons) gets a mention.
There seems to be a new companion book for girls which is not at all the same thing, concerning passing notes and tea parties but, wait! I suppose that the bread and butter of NAGS Society Members is transporting secret messages and they certainly need to learn the intricate etiquette for taking high tea, so I guess we can recommend The Daring Book for Girls after all!
November 17, 2007 It’s in the Stars
One possible basis for a role-playing campaign is that various pseudo-sciences astrology being a great example are in fact true. The GM could read up and work out the logic by which the advances of modern science are, in fact, completely under the control of the motions of the stars and planets. The existence of the æther is a Victorian science fiction staple, while the four elements and humours are worth consideration.
November 16, 2007 Thoroughbred Miniatures
Most folks who employ miniature figurines while gaming understandably favor the popular 25-28mm size, with its kaleidoscopic variety. If, out of perversity, you have sallied forth in another scale, it can become a “game” in itself to find or convert suitable figures. All of this is a preamble to say that I discovered some fabulous 10mm civilians from Thoroughbred Miniatures who are perfect for most stops on the the Terra Incognita timeline.
November 15, 2007 Thomas Edison
It seems to me that, from a pulp gamer’s perspective, Nikola Tesla has been elevated to rarified heights, if only for his oddness factor. Here’s a website devoted to his “arch enemy,” Thomas Edison.
November 14, 2007 Old West Names
Mike “Gutshot” Mitchell has thoughtfully worked up a free pdf for randomly generating entertaining names for your Old West characters. Read up on this thread from the Miniature Page the direct link to the pdf is about halfway down.
November 13, 2007 Curious Expeditions
Curious Expeditions “Travelling and Exhuming the Extraordinary Past” is the work of kindred spirits in terra incognita.
November 12, 2007 Dinosaurs & Diaries
Brass Goggles is, of course, in irreplaceable steampunk blog. Note, for example, the link to this fabulousness: assemblage artist AlexCF’s Many Dead Things and his breathtaking Lost World Research Case.
November 11, 2007 Fictional Cities
In a different vein than our fictional countries, Jeff Cotton has assembled his Fictional Cities website, a collage of writings on his three favorite cities, Venice, Florence, and London.
November 10, 2007 Tacoma’s Tunnels
And yet more tunnels! If you’ve not yet been inspired to set an adventure in Washington State, here’s a compelling reason: the existence of secret tunnels beneath the city of Tacoma.
November 9, 2007 Templar Tunnels
The English town of Hertford boasts tunnels attributed to the Templars.
November 8, 2007 Fictional Countries
From a thread on the Miniature Page comes this link to a Wikipedia List of Fictional Countries.
November 7, 2007 Triggernometry
For those interested in gaming the old west, I have assembled a modest list of utile resources Triggernometry. It’s updated sporadically and by no means exhaustive look to Eric Hotz’s Whitewash City Links page for more depth.
November 6, 2007 Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies
Chad Underkoffler is currently at work on an rpg with an interesting premise Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies.
Skyships ply the 7 Skies, soaring from Cloud-Island to Cloud-Island for conquest, espionage, trade, and piracy. Kingdoms clash, cultures collide, and secrets abound. Heroes and villains roam Above the Blue, seeking action, intrigue, adventure, and style. Will you be one of them?
November 5, 2007 Beyond the Mountains of Madness
If you’ve not yet game-mastered, played, or just read the Call of Cthulhu super-adventure Beyond the Mountains of Madness, they are once again available and you are in for a treat. It reads like a novel and has an encyclopedic wealth of knowledge concerning Antarctic exploration.
November 4, 2007 MagWeb
MagWeb is a treasure trove of digitalized versions of numerous military historical and gaming related magazines, available for a modest subscription. There are sample articles you can download to have a look.
November 3, 2007 A Steampunk‘s Guide to the Apocalypse
Steampunk Magazine brings us A Steampunk‘s Guide to the Apocalypse. In this 31 page pdf, Margaret Killjoy assembles a quantity of useful knowledge for surviving the apocalypse, including how to make a trapped birdhouse (to acquire food), solar cooking, water filtration, &c., &c. It’s not entirely “steampunk,” strictly speaking, as there are references to plastic bottles and houses made of automobile tires; still, a great read.
November 2, 2007 Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction (1816-1939)
The blog “Listology” provides a roundup of Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction (1816-1939), including some less-well-known suggestions by readers.
November 1, 2007 An Encyclopedia of Role-Playing Games
You can easily track down a précis of an rpg on John Kim’s exhaustive Encyclopedia of Role-Playing Games.
October 31, 2007 Victorian LARP
For those who need to take their gaming extremely seriously, here is a thread from RPG.net concerning Victorian or steampunk LARPs (live action roleplaying).
October 30, 2007 Science Fiction Studies
Science Fiction Studies is a magazine from Depauw University. The website features abstracts of all of the articles as well as the complete text of the sold out numbers. There is some fascinating stuff here; the abstract of “The Illustrators of Jules Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires,” has some great accompanying illustrations, for example.
October 29, 2007 The Masons and Washington, DC
The RPG Consortium website features an article on The Masons and Washington, DC.
October 28, 2007 Fudge Forum
And while I’m plugging the online Fudge community, the Fudge Forum has a good bit of traffic and earnest exchanging of ideas. Well worth your time.
October 27, 2007 Tales of Zimdar
Tales of Zimdar is Scott Mathews’ colonial wargames/VSF site, with some great scenarios, scratchbuilding ideas, and all around inspiration.
October 26, 2007 Planet Steam
One of the things I discovered while knocking about the Fudge Guide was Planet Steam “an aggregated feed of blogs and news about pulp, steampunk, retrofuturism, and Victorian topics relevant to (but not specific to) roleplaying in those genres.”
October 25, 2007 The Fudge Guide
The Fudge Guide really is a treasure trove of information for gaming with Fudge. If you need inspiration, to confer with others on how to use the rules, or a detailed (and generally, free) world that someone has created, have a look.
October 24, 2007 Strange Magazine
Strange Magazine (“exploring strange phenomena”) is an online publication that is available in a condensed, free version and as a subscription of $5 per issue.
October 23, 2007 Subterranean Myths and Mysteries
The website Subterranean Myths and Mysteries muses upon the postulations of Richard S. Shaver, a luminary in the pantheon of Hollow Earth advocates.
October 22, 2007 Urban Exploration
Some folks need to go to a level beyond the imagination here‘s the Wikipedia entry on Urban Exploration, “the examination of the normally unseen or off-limits parts of human civilization.”
October 21, 2007 Greywolf‘s Glyphs
T. Jordan “Greywolf” Peacock has created a variety of fonts as resources for roleplaying. Of particular use to TI players would be the font of Egyptian hieroglyphics.
October 20, 2007 Russian Airships
Borrowed from the Wessex Games VSF Yahoo Group comes this link to a collection of images of Russian airships, from 1908 onwards.
October 19, 2007 The Knuckleduster Firearms Shop
If you harbor any sort of gaming interest in the old west, I can’t offer enough praise for the The Knuckleduster Firearms Shop. It’s an extremely thorough compendium of the variety of firearms one might encounter in the American West. Each entry is illustrated and includes the year issued and other pertinent information. “Rules” information (damage, range, drawing speed, &c.) is, ever so helpfully, provided in Fudge terms! While you’re there, have a look at the also-excellent Cowtown Creator.
October 18, 2007 Dial P for Pulp
Dial P for Pulp is a “Podcast for fans of Pulp Fiction.” It looks to be great.
October 17, 2007 The Foundry PDF Library
Remember that the Foundry PDF Library is a treasure trove of game rules, modeling tutorials, and historical information, from Chris peers’ In Darkest Africa to Gary Chalk’s pirate ship and colonial buildings to “The Piratical History of Tortuga Pirates of the Caribbean.”
October 16, 2007 En Garde!
A discussion regarding a Deadwood-style Western campaign on the Two Hour Wargames Yahoo Group dredged up this old chestnut En Garde! which, I would imagine, was the original swashbuckling RPG. It was interesting in that players competed for social standing rather than gold pieces and that they filled out a social card at the beginning of the day and then set out to accomplish it (rather like recording orders in an old wargame, I suppose). Well, it warms the heart to see that En Garde! is still in print. I’ve always thought that a Victorian version would be fascinating.
October 15, 2007 War Factory
The War Factory is no longer updated, but has a respectable quantity of great tips and tutorials for building nice looking miniatures terrain.
October 14, 2007 Vulcania Submarine
How can I not nick this one from the ever-excellent Yours in a White Wine Sauce? Vulcania Submarine, a website “for fans of underwater technologies in general, and Walt Disney’s 1954 movie version of Jules Verne’s 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA in particular. If you’re interested in either or both, you’ve come to the right place.”
October 13, 2007 Fudge Horror: Vampires
In time for Halloween, ComStar Games brings us a new Fudge-based RPG Fudge Horror: Vampires by Jennifer Lee (105pp. pdf for $7.99 US). Here’s the blurb:
Using the popular Fudge rules, this book provides rules for playing many types of vampires, playing their hunters, for making unique vampires, and for populating your world with interesting character types. Researched and written by a fan of the horror genre and the vampire, this book will give you all of the classic vampire goodness that you love, with some ability to create your own unique vampire lore!
• Adapted Fudge rules for playing vampires and their hunters.
• Customizable vampire elements to create your own vampire lore.
• Vampire types several different archetypes of vampires in popular culture.
• Human types archetypes of humans most commonly found in a world with vampires.
• New skills, gifts, and faults to customize your character.
• New secondary attributes to add a new depth to your characters.
• Sample characters.
• A full action adventure for Fudge Horror: Vampires.
October 12, 2007 US Naval History
For those who enjoy naval contemplation, the Naval Historical Center’s website is a utile resource.
October 11, 2007 CrichtonMiller.com
Crichton Miller’s website has some interesting speculations concerning the true import of the Celtic cross.
October 10, 2007 The Lost Continent Finally Found
Atlantis: The Lost Continent Finally Found is, apparently, Prof. Arysio Nunes dos Santos’ “definitive localization of Plato’s Lost Civilization.” Wow!
October 9, 2007 Secrets of Easter Island
PBS’ NOVA provides us with the wonderful Secrets of Easter Island website.
October 8, 2007 Egyptology Online
Egyptology Online is a helpful introductory site, useful as a player introduction.
October 5-7, 2007 The Plateau & Pyramid Excavation
If you’ve watched any PBS specials on Egypt , you have no doubt encountered the enthusiastic Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr. Zahi Hawass. Firmly in the digital age of archæology, Dr. Hawass has his own website, The Plateau.
Richard Hoagland examines a gameable topic in his article “A Secret Tunnel Being Excavated in the Great Pyramid?”
Dispatches will resume on Monday, October 8.
October 4, 2007 Dice ’n’ Diapers
Dice ’n’ Diapers is a blog with an interesting angle it’s geared towards gamers who are also parents of small children. All the usual blog stuff is there forums, game reviews, thoughts of would-be game designers but also:
Because we endure the pleading for cookies while attempting to settle Catan...
Because we guard our polyhedral dice from sticky fingers and tiny throats...
Because we willingly sacrifice our miniatures funds to finance purchases of Candyland and Chutes & Ladders...
And because we helped build the past, are participating in the present, and are raising the future of gaming, I say:
GAMER PARENTS, UNITE!
October 3, 2007 Cartographers’ Guild
The Cartographers’ Guild is: “
… a forum created by and for map makers and aficionados, a place where every aspect of cartography can be admired, examined, learned, and discussed. Our membership consists of professional designers and artists, hobbyists, and amateursall are welcome to join and participate in the quest for cartographic skill and knowledge.”
Well worth your time to poke about to glean some tricks and to salivate over some gorgeous maps.
October 2, 2007 Victorian London
The Victorian London Website has two items of interest:
A Dictionary of Victorian London (see the website for the table of contents), and
A link to Victorian London Google Earth “An interactive atlas of Victorian London. Divided into Areas of Interest, Buildings That No Longer Exist, and Surviving Buildings.”
October 1, 2007 Cleopatra’s Needles
As usual, Wikipedia has an informative page on one of my favorite subjects: the matching set of Cleopatra’s Needles in London, New York, and Paris (of which, I previously knew not).
September 30, 2007 Terror of the Metal Menace
If you didn’t yet bite for the print version of the latest supplement for Richard Johnson’s pulp skirmish .45 Adventure Super Science Tales: Terror of the Metal Menace you can now get it as a pdf for 11 samoleons. It’s well worth the cost for pulpy inspiration, even if you don’t play .45 Adventure, with rules for flying, creating and using inventions, robots, and the mighty death ray. There are a couple of adventure scenarios as well.
September 29, 2007 Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century
Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century is a companion website to a book. Not the most detail, perhaps, but a useful primer to spur further research into early 20th century technology.
September 28, 2007 Flames Rising
Flames Rising is “a website dedicated to the fans of horror and dark fantasy entertainment.” I find the reviews to be thorough and helpful boy, did reviewer James Desboro hate Colonial Gothic!
September 27, 2007 Vanished!
Vanished! is one of the many excellent PBS Nova websites this one devoted to mysterious plane crashes.
September 26, 2007 Hydra’s Lair
October 1, a new company, Hydra Miniatures, will begin taking orders for their slightly larger than typical (32mm) pulp sci-fi figures. If you scroll way down, I also love the plant men (which are intended for a line of fantasy figures, but which would be right at home in Terra Incognita).
September 25, 2007 Early Aviators
The Early Birds of Aviation, Inc. is “an organization of pioneers who flew solo before December 17, 1916.”
September 24, 2007 Le Grande Cirque
When nothing more than a good old fashioned race will resolve a conflict, Walt O’Hara’s Le Grande Cirque is just the ticket.
September 23, 2007 Bob Hart’s City
Dropping by “Matakishi‘s” website, I noticed he had posted a link to a treatise by Bob Hart on the Pulp era city he had constructed using the patented Matakishi Method. It’s well worth a look-see for inspirational purposes.
September 22, 2007 Colonial Gothic & Witchhunter in PDF
Colonial Gothic, the “supernatural historical horror roleplaying game set during the dawn of the American Revolution,” is available as a pdf from RPG Now ($9.99 for 220 pages).
If you want to backdate the story even further, Witchhunter: The Invisible World would seem to be a Solomon Kane inspired game from the same company ($19.99 for 256 pages).
September 21, 2007 Freak Vehicles
From Popular Science Magazine (via the fabulous blog Modern Mechanix) comes a collection of what were considered Freak Vehicles for Air, Land, and Water, circa 1933.
September 20, 2007 Fantasy Games Unlimited
If you like old school rpgs, it doesn’t get any more old school than FGU’s Daredevils or Flashing Blades.
September 19, 2007 Knuckleduster
Head by Knuckleduster for all your Old Western gaming necessities.
September 18, 2007 Lead Adventure Forum
While the Miniature Page is the gold standard of online gaming communities, the Lead Adventure Forum is a worthy alternative.
September 17, 2007 Mars
If your adventures extend into the æther, you may be interested in Adamant Entertainment’s MARS: The Roleplaying Game of Planetary Romance:
this is Mars as it should be and as it was once imagined to be - an ancient, dying, but not yet dead world, a world where a vast canal network reaches from pole to pole, bringing water and life to vast and fantastic cities. A Mars where albino apes run a vast empire in the last surviving jungle, a world where warrior tribes of Green Martians raid the outlying cities of the canal dwellers, a world where, in places dark and quiet and forgotten beneath the surface, ancient and terrible intellects plan dark and dire deeds.
September 16, 2007 Victorian HERO Resources
From the HERO Games forums comes this helpful collection of Victorian web resources.
September 15, 2007 Airship Adventures
Airship Adventures is a good old-fashioned free boardgame from Warpspawn. You’ll need to make all the parts yourself, but the website provides serviceable guidance. This one brings me back to the days of the old Microgames and one is sorely tempted to find a small plastic box in which to store the components.
September 14, 2007 Col. Marbles
If it has been awhile since you’ve paged through the Col. Marbles VSF Showcase, you owe yourself a return visit. Here, for example, you’ll find “An Engineer’s Dream Collection of Industrious Vehicles.”
September 13, 2007 Presipality of Monte-Cristo
The Presipality of Monte-Cristo by “LaceW” is
Devoted to the uneventful History of the fictitious Presipality of Monte-Cristo by the mid-18th century, and to boring logorrhean expectorations about fictitious wargame armies and their uniforms by the Lace Wars times. All texts herein are clumsy translations from Franco-Phocean gibbersish to pidgin English.
Of course, it predates the TI timeline by a century, but there are some wonderful images of early “sci-fi” technology that could have been stolen from the NAGS Society drawing boards. I suppose when you think about it, a society with such a silly name would perhaps be most at home with Munchausen and Tristram Shandy.
September 12, 2007 Jurassic Terrain in White Wine Sauce
Paul O’Grady’s ever-utile blog Yours in a White Wine Sauce has turned its attention to crafting terrain for Jurassic adventures. Stop by for some scratchbuilding advice, rules for how the terrain will affect the adventurers, and links to other resources. Many thanks, Good Sir!
September 11, 2007 The Real Siberia
The intrepid Dirk Collins has ventured into terra incognita and once again returned with a valuable bit of information:
Every once-in-awhile I come across a historical story that surprises me with the sheer volume of information, details, facts, and observations. Such is the story of John Foster Fraser, English Journalist, about his journey in 1901 from Moscow to Vladivostok on the newly constructed Trans-Siberian railroad. A vivid picture of Tsarist Russia in the late Victorian age, a preview of things to come, and a good resource for TI in the far east just prior to the 1905 war between Japan and Russia.
By this account, easy to see why the Russians rebelled and brought down the Czar just 16 years later.
September 10, 2007 Tramp Steamer
For those who use 25-28mm figures for their pulp gaming, here is a (pricey) tramp steamer from Old Glory. Taking this vessel as inspiration, I imagine that by using Gary Chalk pirate ship construction methods, one might cobble together something serviceable from foamcore and cardboard for a fraction of $195…
September 9, 2007 Popular US Names Since 1879
The US Social Security Administration provides this online source for listing the most popular US names from 1879 to the present. Not particularly useful, I suppose, but at least one can ensure that historical characters are named a la mode.
September 8, 2007 Random Chart Design
I have always loved random charts the old AD&D Dungeon Master Guide abounds with them and the TI Nag Tech glitch tables are a testament. The RPG Site is running a contest with a $50 prize for creating the best random chart. Read the press release for more information.
September 7, 2007 Five Room Dungeons
It’s been awhile since I’ve read Johnn Four’s Roleplaying Tips newsletter. This week he’s got a call for submissions for “Five Room Dungeons” those smallish encounters that can be played when you have limited time. He includes a template describing what he has in mind, and although fantasy themes predominate, it seems that historical scenarios wouldn‘t be out of place.
September 6, 2007 TI: Ancient Mysteries
Just a quick post to say that John Taber has posted an updated version of his Terra Incognita: Ancient Mysteries document since last I Dispatched the link.
September 5, 2007 Terrain Thralls: Methada
The Terrain Thralls website features some great terrain making tutorials. I would love to have a go at Methada (scaled to 15mm), a middle eastern type fortified town.
September 4, 2007 ERB’s Summer of ’93
In this fiction from ERBZine (devoted to the life and works of Edgar Rice Burroughs), Bill Hillman dramatizes ERB’s impressions of Nikola Tesla at the Chicago World’s Fair: Master Mind of The World of Tomorrow.
September 3, 2007 Dino Hunt
Here are some daguerreotypic images from a dinosaur safari.
September 2, 2007 Prehistoric Pulp
Prehistoric Pulp is Walter Williams’ “blog dedicated to fantastic fiction about dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, with reviews, cover blurbs and news about upcoming works.”
September 1, 2007 Ironclad Empires
Ironclad Empires is Scheltrum Miniatures’ line of 28mm Scale Victorian Science Fiction figures and terrain pieces.
August 31, 2007 Tongwancheng
“… the only Hun city ever discovered.” Here is a bit of information about and a few photos of a Chinese city Tongwancheng which has been buried in the sand for a thousand years.
August 30, 2007 Leptis Magna
Leptis Magna was a Roman city in Africa, the impressive ruins of which are in modern Libya, near Tripoli.
August 29, 2007 Dinodictionary
I’ve been looking for something like this for a long time an online resource on dinosaurs that have a human-size-comparison chart. Dinodictionary is perfect.
August 28, 2007 Into Skull Island
Here is a detailed description by Bob Beattie of a miniatures game he created for exploring Skull Island, home of King Kong.
August 27, 2007 TI: Ancient Mysteries
Earlier this month, John Taber posted the first (thoroughly excellent) Campaign Document for his Terra Incognita: Ancient Mysteries campaign. See the Kingbeast’s Lair downloads site for the campaign doc and his GM Screen inserts. “Some rocks are better left unturned…”
August 26, 2007 Bested by Bunnies
Our intrepid publisher, Ann Dupuis (who was dashingly name-checked by Ken Hite in his blog wrap-up of Gen Con from 8/21) reports that the Terra Incognita demo at Gen Con was popular, second only to the Bunnies demo. Note that if I had been able to be there, I would have played the Bunnies demo myself!
August 25, 2007 Wild West Scale Model Builders
Wild West Scale Model Builders offers a number of lovely laser-cut buildings in model railroading scales (N, HO, O, and S). They ain’t cheap, but the details are spectacular.
August 24 2007 Halloween Adventure Contest
Chaosium is in the midst of its annual Halloween Adventure Writing Contest. You have until September 15 to submit your Halloween themed adventure which will see print and win you a copy of the 1920s sourcebook The Secrets of Los Angeles.
August 23, 2007 For Faerie, Queen, and Country
It always amazes me to find old chestnuts, such as the early Victorian rpg For Faerie, Queen, and Country from TSR still available on Amazon. Of course, you can also get it electronically from RPGNow.
August 22, 2007 Your Peculiar Aristocratic Title
This one has been around for awhile, but if you have not yet discovered your own Peculiar Aristocratic Title, please do so immediately!
August 21, 2007 World Civilizations
Washington State University provides these “learning modules” on the world’s civilizations. There are not, perhaps, the most in-depth studies one might find, butt such overviews can make useful background reading.
August 20, 2007 Photos from the RGS
The online arm of the Royal Geographic Society makes available a treasure trove of lovely images that reflect the breadth of the Society’s travels. You can download them or purchase prints.
August 19, 2007 Victorian London via PDF
Here are two pdf products recommended by the estimable John Taber: A map of London in the 1860s which prints to 70.7 inches wide by 46 inches high ($5.00 US) and a set of paper miniatures of Victorian era characters such as an explorer, a thug, and even a steam car.
August 18, 2007 15mm VSF Blog
Paul O’Grady has been extremely helpful lately in his blog “Yours in a White Wine Sauce,” finding links to the 15mm VSF blog as well as reminding us of the Steampunk Forum Brass Goggles.
August 17, 2007 Boilerplate
Apparently there are, or were in 2004, a significant-enough number of people who believed that Paul Guinan‘s Boilerplate, the Victorian Robot, was real to warrant an article in the Christian Science Monitor.
August 16, 2007 Patent Pending
Patent Pending is Bob Shaver’s blog “celebrating the history of technology and creative genius over the centuries.”
August 15, 2007 Cabinet of Wonders
The Cabinet of Wonders is a blog/forum combo that treats some of our favorite old chestnuts.
August 14, 2007 Time Traveller’s Guide to Victorian London
From Channel 4 comes the Time Traveller’s Guide to Victorian London. A tad cursory for the serious GM of a historical game, but perhaps just the thing to get players unfamiliar with the era up to speed.
August 13, 2007 Trail of Cthulhu
There is a development blog for Pelgrane Press’s upcoming Ken Hite-penned Cthulhu rpg Trail of Cthulhu. You’ll find loads of the atmospheric artwork.
August 12, 2007 Houses from Shifting Lands
The expert modeler at Shifting Lands has fashioned some houses which should serve as inspiration (and I believe they are for sale). While intended for fantasy/pirate games, I think they have a whimsical Victorian colonial feel that make them appealing. I love the resin ships as well for their cartoony feel just like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyworld.
August 11, 2007 Passages
Here’s a detailed review of the Victorian era roleplaying game Passages from Blue Devil Games. I haven’t tried this one yet, but it looks to have many of the qualities I admire in Victorian gaming, especially a sense of humor. There is a new free adventure, The Spooring of the Jabberwock (direct pdf download), based on Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.
August 10, 2007 Leadbear’s 15mm VSF
Leadbear has an inspirational collection of pictures of VSF miniatures on Photobucket, including close-ups of Brigade Games’ adventurers, which I own and highly recommend.
August 9, 2007 The Cthulhu Lexicon
The Cthulhu Lexicon is a thoroughly useful reference on the characters, places, and Things one encounters in Lovecraft’s writings. The entire Netherreal site is devoted to Lovecraft and holds much of interest.
August 8, 2007 Planet of the Apes Timeline
I’m not exactly certain how the Planet of the Apes would fit into a Terra Incognita game, but I’m such a fan that I must Dispatch this link to a Planet of the Apes timeline.
August 7, 2007 Apes of Nature, Myth, & the Imagination
Here’s an interesting pdf release that could inform many a TI adventure: Apes of Nature, Myth, & the Imagination by Sean Butcher (66 pp., $6.95 US). The blurb runs:
Go ape! Apes of Nature, Myth, & the Imagination takes you on an exploration of the world of apes, journeying from the ancient to the modern world, from pre-history to the 19th-century exploration of Central Africa and the Far East, with stops in the fields of cryptozoology, mythology, fiction, and fantasy.
August 6, 2007 Kingbeast’s Lair
Kingbeast’s Lair is John Taber’s blog in which one finds “Growling about the RPG industry and my gaming life.” John is keeping tabs on the rpg industry and his downloads section is brimming with useful items. He was only too kind to mention the TI site.
August 5, 2007 Rattrap’s Summer Releases
Rattrap Productions (.45 Adventure pulp skirmish rules) has a plethora of great releases this summer. Brigade Games has a page for their action-packed shaolin monks, the fearsome Mongolian death worm, and some fantastic robots out next week.
August 4, 2007 Sewers and Aletheia
A couple of interesting items came out whilst I was absent from the ætherwaves:
0one Games’ new $2.95 blueprints are of the Sewers Below, a collection of four maps that you can print and configure to create your own custom sewer system. If you’d like to play out the scenario with little metal people, print out Microtactix’s venerable Dirt Cheap Sewers. And, from the Key20 website,
Alien abductions. Crop circles. Spontaneous Human Combustion. Such things defy modern science and spark human curiosity. But what if these things are not really unexplainable? What if humanity is only viewing these phenomena from a limited and flawed perspective? Perhaps a simple, yet invisible, explanation underlies all such phenomena.
Aletheia is a role-playing game about the strange and mysterious corners of reality. Players investigate the anomalous phenomena and impossible occurrences that defy logic and commonsense. Through exploration of these mysteries, they will discover the true nature of reality.
July 29-August 3, 2007 The Forbidden City
A week-long training will delay Dispatches further!
The Forbidden City website offers a number of maps of the Chinese imperial city, including a “360° Virtual Tour.”
July 22- 27, 2007 Izanami’s City and a Mea Culpa
Alas, the mælstrom that is the beginning of a new school year (on the year ‘round schedule) has kept me from the ætherwaves. Many, many apologies and hopes that I will once be able to increase the frequency of my Dispatches in the near future. (Not next week, though, as the next Dispatch explains…).
Meanwhile, here are some images of some sunken pyramids in Japan: Izanami’s City.
July 21, 2007 The Lost City on BLDG BLOG
Last year, BLDG BLOG “Architectural Conjecture, Urban Speculation, Landscape Futures” discussed the fascinating “Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille,” the famous set from the movie The Ten Commandments.
July 20, 2007 Parse
Here is an article on the archæological exploration of the Iranian buried city of Parse from the Achaemenid Era (559-330 BC).
July 20, 2007 Parse
Here is an article on the archæological exploration of the Iranian buried city of Parse from the Achaemenid Era (559-330 BC).
July 19, 2007 Texas Beyond History
Texas Beyond History is the informative “the virtual museum of Texas’ cultural history” from the University of Texas at Austin.
July 18, 2007 Humongous Fungus
Here’s a story from the University of Chicago concerning a twenty-foot-tall Devonian/Silurian fungus called Prototaxites. Adding some of these to a Lost World would make it even more alien.
July 17, 2007 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
If you’ve not yet bit for Jess Nevins’ companions to the Victorian science fiction graphic novels The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the excellent Wikipedia page is a serviceable substitute.
July 16, 2007 Ancient Technology Speculations
Here are some musings on the existence of ancient technology such as ancient Egyptian vacuum tubes complements of the Quantum AetherDynamics Institute.
July 15, 2007 Previews Aplenty
The summer convention season brings a plethora of previews of new role-playing games. None is exactly in our time period, but each has something to recommend it:
Rogue Games has posted a few sample pages from their upcoming (August) Colonial Gothic;
Contested Ground Studios (who published the innovative a|state) have quickstart rules for Mob Justice, a present-day noir game in which American prohibition was never repealed; and
Contested Ground Studios also brings us Cold City, which involves monster hunting in Cold War Berlin.
July 14, 2007 Ancient Technology
The “Golden Age Project” website hosts a variety of resources concerning ancient technology.
July 13, 2007 The Difference Engine
The Computer History Museum (in Mountain View, California, USA) will feature an exhibit on Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine this September, which would seem to include a working model. The webpage is bare-bones at this point, but perhaps they’ll add material along the way.
July 12, 2007 James Essinger
While I’ve not read any of his books, James Essinger (”A writer who’s fascinated by science, technology and ideas that have changed the world”) looks to be an interesting chap. He’s written on Joseph-Marie Jacquard, who’s punch card technology for looms is considered the forerunner of computer storage devices, and he’s apparently at work on a novel concerning a Victorian computer revolution.
July 11, 2007 Meet Mr. Steampunk
Here’s an article in Wired Magazine about the chap, Jake von Slatt who created that Steampunk computer, keyboard, and assorted other accoutrements that made their rounds a few months back.
July 10, 2007 Terra Incognita GM Screen Inserts
Esteemed NAGS Society member John Taber has created these wonderful GM Screen inserts (scroll down a bit), bursting with information for your explorations of Terra Incognita. Many thanks to John for assembling this useful resource, and stay tune for more information as his campaign comes together. Note that the landscape style inserts are perfect for the GM Screen from Pinnacle’s Smith & Robards online store.
July 9, 2007 Two Fisted Tales Revised
Whilst I was away, PIG Games announced that the venerable pulp rpg (I first encountered it online about the same time I first found Fudge) Two Fisted Tales by Matthew Stevens will be revised.
June 29 - July 8, 2007 Astounding Adventures! and a Hiatus
The Virtual Armchair General is now accepting subscriptions ($15 US, $20 after the subscription period closes on July 15) for a collection of pulp gaming scenarios entitled Astounding Adventures! (Read the announcement on the Miniature Page.) They’re written for Howard Whitehouse’s Astounding Tales!, and include conversion information for all the major pulp skirmish games: .45 Adventure, Rugged Adventures, and To Be Continued... By Gaslight.
Despite my attempts to get back on track with daily Dispatching, the NAGS Society will have an expected hiatus from June 29 to July 8. If it’s any consolation, all of the Dispatches from 2007 have been categorized. Upon my return, I’ll endeavor to prune out the dead links and work on parsing the remaining 2006 Dispatches into their proper locations on the Links pages. I hope that you have rediscovered one or two helpful links among the hundreds!
June 28, 2007 Historic Forts
Games set in North America between 1850 and 1940 might involve a visit to a fort. As usual, one can count on the web for a variety of resources. North American Fortifications: 1526 - 1956 is a “Catalogue and Gazetteer of Forts and Fortresses, Frontier Posts, Camps, Stockades, Blockhouses, Garrisons, Arsenals, and Seacoast Batteries in the United States and Canada,” for example. The American Forts Network is another helpful resource.
June 27, 2007 Strangemaps
Strangemaps is a blog devoted to cartography. Lots of interesting, inspirational stuff, including a good bit on Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
June 26, 2007 Steampunk Magazine #2
The second number of the free online Steampunk Magazine is available. The theme is “Misapplied Technology” and the magazine contains articles on Steampunk fashion (if you’d like to dress like your character all the time), how-tos for making an apron and a pennyfarthing bicycle (by cutting and rewelding a standard bicycle wow!), and a wonderful piece on the history of Steampunk. This one is well worth your time.
June 25, 2007 Land of Pulp: Dark Jungle
Land of Pulp: Dark Jungle is the newest Louis Porter, Jr. Designs release for their Haven: City of Bronze “neopulp” setting.
Also, my apologies to Ross Edwards for having the name to his award winning western adventure wrong in my May 31 Dispatch it’s Bullets for Breakfast.
May and June Dispatches have been placed in their proper pigeonholes, and work continues apace…
June 24, 2007 Housekeeping
In an effort to make years’ worth of Dispatches more useful, I have broken the extremely unwieldy Links page into various subpages according to the subjects:
June 23, 2007 Mighty Empires
Mighty Empires is a campaign system by Games Workshop. It was originally a stand-alone game (and is still available to print-and-play from GW: rules here, near the bottom and tiles here) and will come out again this summer as a Warhammer expansion with interlocking plastic tiles. Joshua Peery has created a massive Mighty Armies tome, integrating many GW games (Warhammer, Man O’ War, Warhammer Quest, &c.) into one humongous campaign. Of course, all of it is fantasy set in the in the thoroughly idiosyncratic “Warhammer universe,” but I find it inspiring for creating a largish Victorian Science Fiction-style campaign. And, of course, I’ve Dispatched before about how much I love these 3D campaign hexes which would serve perfectly for Mighty Armies.
June 22, 2007 Noble Knight Games
I will happily plug Aaron Leeder and Noble Knight Games. Over the years, I’ve bought numerous rare, not-so-rare, and slightly used games from him. When my shelves become too full, he’ll even buy them back for store credit.
June 21, 2007 Summer Solstice at Stonehenge
Being the summer solstice, one feels strangely compelled to participate in Druidic rites at Stonehenge….
June 20, 2007 Blogs Among Many
These are well-known (and have been Dispatched here before), but if you’ve not visited in awhile, the blogs Brass Goggles and Da Vinci Automata both continue to be worth regular visits.
June 19, 2007 Unexplained Earth
UnexplainedEarth is “the online journal of [Chris Maier’s] personal accounts of exploring mysterious places and unexplained phenomena.” This one is commercial about $7.00 US and I’ve not yet bit for it, so I can’t comment on the quality. The photographs look beautiful, however.
June 18, 2007 A Morgue in Chicago
I recently found myself with the need to review some articles from the Chicago Tribune from the early 1890s. I was pleasantly surprised to find that their archives are online, searchable and readable, from 1852! Now, unless you are a subscriber, you have to pay to read the text of the articles, but it still seems like a useful resource for historical researchers. I imagine other large (and old) newspapers offer similar services.
June 17, 2007 Cellmate Miniatures
Those in the market for some 18mm Boxer Rebellion figures might have a look at Cellmate Miniatures. You’ll find all the major factions Americans, Europeans, Russians, and, of course, the Chinese. A number of civilians represented as well, including a Chinese butcher with a big, mean cleaver and a parson with bible and pistol.
June 16, 2007 The Undersea Adventures of Cap’n Eli
The Undersea Adventures of Cap’n Eli is a pulpish webcomic featuring the young, submarine explorer, Cap’n Eli.
June 15, 2007 Altervistas
Altervistas: Cataloging the Bizarre, Weird, and Strange does just as it advertises.
June 14, 2007 Crank.net
Crank.net: “Cranks, Crackpots, Kooks & Loons on the Net.” Please tell me what is not to love about this one?
June 13, 2007 Dr. Grordbort’s Infallible Æther Oscillators & Other Marvellous Contraptions!
Link pilfered shamelessly from Yours in a White Wine Sauce, you owe it to yourself to have a look at Dr. Grordbort’s Infallible Æther Oscillators & Other Marvellous Contraptions! The little movies alone are worth the price of admission (which is, of course, free).
June 12, 2007 Lostpedia
I’ve never seen, but read much about, the popular TV series Lost. There is a bit of the Wikipedia devoted to it, appropriately entitled the Lostpedia.
June 11, 2007 Suppressed Transmission
Reading the popular nonfiction book Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City which juxtaposes the Chicago World’s Fair and serial killer Dr. H.H. Holmes, I was reminded that Ken Hite also looked into the Murder Castle in the second of his collection of Suppressed Transmissions. If you don’t subscribe to Pyramid Magazine, or you’d like to get a look at the informative notes Hite adds to the printed version, I recommend you have a look at these utterly useful gaming resources.
June 10, 2007 June 10
It still amazes me that one can simply type in the date in Wikipedia and helpful souls on the æthernet have compiled significant events, births, deaths, &c. I suppose the accuracy is about as suspect as anything else on Wikipedia or the internet in general, for that matter, but it’s a great place to start.
June 9, 2007 Steampunk Gadgets
Here’s a collection of photos of various objects laptops, electric guitars that enterprising folks have steampunkified.
June 8, 2007 VSF Fiction
The helpful folks on the Miniature Page posted these suggestions towards a Victorian Science Fiction reading list.
June 7, 2007 Photoshop Cartography
The Zombie Nirvana Games website features a series of articles about creating fantasy maps using Photoshop. Of course, who’s to say one couldn’t create fantastic Victorian or pulp adventure maps using the same techniques?
June 6, 2007 1893: A World's Fair Mystery
Following up on the Dispatch from June 4, I remembered a text-based computer game set at the Chicago World’s Fair entitled 1893: A World's Fair Mystery. As fate would have it, the author, Peter Nepstad, just emailed purchasers to say that he is working on a sequel. Peter also has a couple of “interactive fiction” games based on Lord Dunsany stories free for the download; kind of like a modern version of the “choose-your-own-adventure” books.
June 5, 2007 GURPS Dinosaurs
I picked up and set down a “dead tree” version of this one GURPS Dinosaurs almost 15 years ago and have regretted it over the years. Through the wonders of digital technology, I could download it now for $7.95.
June 4, 2007 World’s Columbian Exposition
I’ve long been fascinated by the 19th and early 20th century craze for world’s fairs I even wrote an article for Pyramid magazine about the first major one, the 1851 Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace in London. The Wikipedia page on another great one, the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, perhaps better known as the Chicago World’s Fair, is informative (whereas that on the Great Exhibition is useless).
June 3, 2007 American Artifacts
American Artifacts is apparently a print magazine devoted to the fascinating world of nineteenth century inventions. For example, here’s a page concerning aquatic velocipedes. There is even a catalog of tools and implements for sale no velocipedes, however, more’s the pity.
June 2, 2007 Chaos in Carpathia
If you derive amusement from pushing around little metal people, then Blue Moon Manufacturing’s Chaos in Carpathia ($10.95 for an 88 pp. pdf) might be of interest. It’s a skirmish game pitting Victorian era monster hunters against classic foes vampires, werewolves, and rapacious treasure hunters. The rules boasts Fudge-like simplicity, and there is a campaign system to create an ongoing story. There is a thorough review on RPG.net.
June 1, 2007 Ottensteam
From Paul O’Grady’s most excellent VSF Blog Yours in a White Wine Sauce is wantonly pilfered this link to a similarly most excellent website: Ottensteam.
May 31, 2007 Bullets for Breakfast!
The second in Hawgleg Publishing’s Showdowns & Shootouts series of free western adventures is out: Bullets for Breakfast! by Ross Edwards. It’s designed for Hawgleg’s wonderful Gutshot miniature rules and the characters are easily adaptable to other systems, even Fudge, of course. [Nota Bene: I’ve had the wrong title in this Dispatch for almost a month! Sorry, Ross. It’s still a great adventure, whatever I call it.]
May 30, 2007 ERBzine and an Update
There are many zines and websites devoted to the life and work of Edgar Rice Burroughs. ERBzine is one of the better examples.
Regarding the fate of Aaron Allston’s Lands of Mystery, the word from Hero Games’ president Darren Watts, conveyed to me by John Taber, is “we had to indefinitely postpone LoM, though we still have hopes of doing it eventually- we just couldn't make the logistics work for 2008.” So hope is still alive! In the meanwhile, I heartily recommend Hero Games’ Pulp Hero (in paperback for $34.99 or pdf for $24.99) as an excellent pulp gaming resource.
May 29, 2007 Modern Mechanix
Modern Mechanix (“Yesterday’s tomorrow, today”) is a fascinating blog devoted to weird science and technology.
May 28, 2007 A New Zeppelin Age
I must celebrate serendipity by recounting the adventure that occurred today. In the morning, I did a bit of research on early airships, searching for a plausible (in gaming terms) means for Nellie Bly to be on a dirigible in 1891 (I found something that will work). Having adjourned to the workshop for a bit of carpentry, I suddenly heard the grumble-rumble of old engines above the house. I ran out, thinking the biplane that had flown by yesterday (a farmer's old barnstormer, I suppose) had returned. My jaw must have hit the ground as, directly above me and not that high up, was the Goodyear Blimp. It was the first time I had ever seen it in person, and here it was flying over my back yard in rural North Carolina…. Let’s hope that Zeppelin Age will be out soon!
May 27, 2007 Pulp Resources
From the Hero Games Pulp Hero forum page comes this excellent collection of Pulp Resources. I got there because I was checking out Aaron Allston’s website after rereading his incomparable Lands of Mystery book dedicated to gaming Burroughsian “Lost Worlds Romances.” Allston reported in 2006 that Hero Games would bring out a revised and expanded edition of Lands of Mystery. I find no mention of it on their website, but I only had time for a cursory glance. Perhaps (sigh) the deal fell through.
May 26, 2007 Conversation for Exploration
Conversation for Exploration looks to be an interesting radio talk show (the archives of which are easily accessible online) that treats all of our favorite topics of mystery. Here’s a story about a giant Chinese pyramid, for example.
May 25, 2007 Underground History
Underground History is a website devoted to disused stations on the London tube.
May 24, 2007 New Orleans Cemeteries
Here is an online tour of some of New Orleans’ cemeteries, which are all-the-more creepy by being above ground.
May 23, 2007 Teotihuacan
Count on Crystalinks to have an informative page on that fascinating, pyramided Mexican city of the dead, Teotihuacan. And here’s a nearly ten year old article concerning the discovery of a tomb in one of the pyramids.
May 22, 2007 Come to the Speakeasy
Drop by the Speakeasy, the new online forums for Rattrap Productions’ miniatures games, including .45 Adventure (Pulp) and Gloire (Swashbuckling).
May 21, 2007 World’s Longest Underground River
National Geographic Magazine reported back in March that divers have been mapping what is likely the world’s longest underground river in Mexico.
May 20, 2007 Subterranean River Canyons of California
Here are excerpts from what are no doubt scholarly works on subterranean river canyons of California.
May 19, 2007 Haitian Art on eGallery
The eGallery hosts online version of various original artwork. Here is a gallery of Haitian and Voodoo inspired artwork.
May 18, 2007 The Passage of Darkness
Here is a review of another of Wade “Serpent and the Rainbow” Davis’ books offering a scientific explanation for Voodoo zombies, entitled The Passage of Darkness.
May 17, 2007 African Religion
Wim van Binsbergen has assembled a comprehensive (if visually overwhelming) website devoted to African Religion.
May 16, 2007 Secrets of the Dead
Secrets of the Dead is another of PBS’ fascinating television series. The most recent features the 1866 of the Fremantle Six, Irish Fenians transported to Australia. Others concern the Salem witches, the Zulu, Stonehenge…all of our favorite topics.
May 15, 2007 South American Magic
About.com has a nice piece on the Myths, Folklore, Magic and Monsters of South America.
May 14, 2007 Witchcraft, Magic & Religion
Here are a boatload of links from Christopher C. Fennell on Witchcraft, Magic & Religion.
May 13, 2007 Economics of Witch Hunting
Truck and Barter would seem to be a blog with a variety of contributors. There is an interesting, brief piece on the Economics of Witch Hunting.
May 12, 2007 Haunted Bay
Haunted Bay would seem to be a website devoted to the spooky side of San Francisco.
May 11, 2007 Ravensblight Toys
Pass a gloomy afternoon printing and assembling these free cardstock toys from Ravensblight, including a haunted mansion, graveyard, original boardgames, and Necronomicon Notebooks.
May 10, 2007 Archies Archive
Archies Archive is one among many blogs, but it contains a few interesting tidbits.
May 9, 2007 Mars RPG
Thus far, I’ve only travelled to the earth‘s core and the land that time forgot with Edgar Rice Burroughs. I know there are many out there who would relish a trip to Mars. Adamant Entertainment has brought out a Mars RPG using the d20 system, which, I imagine, is as close to Barsoom as one could get without a license.
May 8, 2007 Compendium Magnificum
It’s the closest thing to the enormous "wish books" put out in the ’70s from the major department stores at Christmas time Eureka Miniatures’ Compendium Magnificum. The catalogue of Eureka’s extensive line of miniatures, along with those they cast under license (including my beloved Irregular Miniatures), is now available on CD. The invaluable component of the catalogue is that nearly all of the miniatures are photographed at their actual size, so you can see exactly what you’ll get. You’ll have to print the pages out yourself, but since I imagine most folks concentrate on specific periods or scales, this shouldn’t be too cumbersome. And, if you purchased the 8th edition of the Compendium on paper, Eureka will send you the CD for free. I inquired last night, and Nic Robson got back to me within hours.
May 7, 2007 Fudge Forum
Remember that the Fudge Forum is one online meeting place for discussing Fudge and its many incarnations.
May 6, 2007 ERB Atlas
My continuing foray into Edgar Rice Burroughs finds me a third of the way through The Land That Time Forgot and thoroughly enjoying myself. There are many online resources concerning Burroughs. For the cartographers, the ERB Atlas.
May 5, 2007 Aviation Pioneers
From the Steampunk Yahoo Group comes this excellent link concerning aviation history: Hargrave Aviation and Aeromodeling. For our purposes, the Pioneers page is an invaluable resource.
May 4, 2007 Nott’s Nasca Æronautics
Ballooning enthusiast Julian Nott has recreated the balloons some folks think the pre-Inca Peruvians of 500 AD used to fly above the Nasca Plains.
May 3, 2007 Victorian Newspapers
The British Library provides this helpful list of nineteenth century British periodicals. It seems that one must be in a position to visit the Library itself to peruse the papers; the long arm of the internet only reaches so far….
May 2, 2007 Ambush at Coyote Canyon
Ambush at Coyote Canyon is the first winner in the Showdowns & Shootouts adventure writing contest from Hawgleg Publishing. The goal is to provide twelve great scenarios for Gutshot (or another wild west skirmish game, if you must). The adventure is free for the download. Thanks to the Gutshot posse and the Ambush’s author, Al Theobald.
May 1, 2007 Tales from GHQ
Tales from GHQ is David Bickley’s online collection of vignettes from various periods of gaming with miniatures. Both the Pulp Adventure and the Nineteenth Century Galleries are inspirational.
April 30, 2007 Victorian Roleplaying
We‘ve Dispatched this one before, but it’s so thoroughly useful that it warrants another mention: Victorian Roleplaying Themes is a helpful meditation on the many tropes of Victorian literature (social reform or industrialization, for example) that make for richer historical roleplaying.
April 29, 2007 American Monsters
American Monsters.com is “your one stop guide to all things cryptozoological.” It’s a well done site with a great map that indicates sightings worldwide by creature type, along with articles, links, and other goodies.
April 28, 2007 Chaos in Carpathia
May will bring a new set of gothic horror skirmish rules entitled Chaos in Carpathia from Blue Moon Manufacturing. There’s a four page preview available on the website, and the supporting line of miniatures are a treat.
April 27, 2007 Fantastic Fiction
Fantastic Fiction is a helpful source of information on authors and their work. Notable as it’s independent from booksellers such as Barnes & Noble or Amazon.
April 26, 2007 Steampunk Yahoo Group
The Steampunk Yahoo Group is a wonderful place for one to indulge a passion for gaming in an alternative Victorian age. Thanks to John Taber for sending along the link.
April 25, 2007 Great Pyramid of Giza
It has been some time since the NAGS Society Dispatched the link to the website of the Great Pyramid of Giza Research Association. You’ll find copious articles on this classic architectural marvel.
April 24, 2007 Sewer History
I suppose one could guess that there would be a website devoted to the history of sewers.
April 23, 2007 NoveltyNet
NoveltyNet is “An Online Archive for Orphaned Information” which is a great conceit, if nothing else.
April 22, 2007 United States Patent 1096102
Apparently the discovery of the Hollow Earth has been patented. Read the details from Mark Harp.
April 21, 2007 Hollow Earth Insider
The Hollow Earth Insider (a perfect name) is Dennis Crenshaw’s attempt to promulgate the truth on such matters.
April 20, 2007 The Neverwas Haul
Firmly in the category of bringing the imaginary to life, the Neverwas Haul is “a self-propelled 3-story Victorian House, made from 75% recycled equipment and materials.” There is also, apparently, a comic based on the world. And here is the Neverwas Haul Times.
April 19, 2007 London Bridge
The Old London Bridge, although predating the Victorian/pulp Terra Incognita timeline, was a fabulous setting for a variety of adventure games. The bridge was a community unto itself, with houses, shops, and a chapel. Wikipedia offers a précis of the bridge’s history while the BBC offers a virtual tour.
April 18, 2007 Mysterious Africa
Mysterious Africa an “InstaBlog” site contains some inspirational images of the people, flora, fauna, and terrain of modern Africa.
April 17, 2007 Martin and Osa Johnson
Filmmakers (and spouses) Martin and Osa Johnson led lives worthy of inclusion in the NAGS Society. You can learn a bit about them at the Safari Museum website.
April 16, 2007 Pike’s Catalogue
Those gaming in the early portion of the Terra Incognita timeline (mid nineteenth century) might encounter inspiration in the free Pike's illustrated descriptive catalogue of optical, mathematical and philosophical instruments, manufactured, imported, and sold by the author; with the prices affixed at which they are offered in 1848.
April 15, 2007 At the Earth’s Core
For some reason, I’ve always harbored an anomalous (and untested) dislike of Edgar Rice Burroughs. In an attempt to overcome such irrationality, I’ve plunged into At the Earth’s Core, which, I am pleased to announce, is thoroughly delightful. It’s easy to see why Burroughs provides such inspiration to gamers. You can conduct your own expedition into the hollow earth with Hollow Earth Expedition, which is now $19.95 for the pdf at RPGNow.
April 14, 2007 Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
I’ve never been to Seattle, but if I go, I will head straight to Ye Olde Curiosity Shop.
April 13, 2007 Friday the 13th
The Urban Legends and Folklore About.com page has an interesting mini-treatise on the mythology surrounding Friday the 13th.
April 12, 2007 The Weird Review
The Weird Review is “Close-ups of Antiquarian Supernatural Literature with some emphases on the Short Story” which is a literary niche if I’ve ever heard of one, but a good niche, nonetheless.
April 11, 2007 Dinosaur Collector
Dinosaur Collector is a roundup of the available crop of dinosaur models, thoroughly useful for bringing the lost world to life. And, now that we have some preserved T. rex soft tissue (though no DNA, sadly) perhaps we can really bring a lost world to life….
April 10, 2007 Colonial Gothic
First we had Northern Crown (which began life as Septentrionalis, which certainly makes “The NAGS Society” sound euphonious) and now Rogue Games is poised to bring out Colonial Gothic:
To me, such games serve as the mysterious backstory to Terra Incognita and the equally-mysterious nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. You can download a seven page sample for free, or plunk down $5 US for the Primer, which is an 80 page distillation of the rules along with sample heroes and an adventure. The full book is apparently due this August.
You know the history.
All have read about the founding of America. This history shows what led to the American Revolution and the cry for independence. The history is clear, and there is no real dispute over these events.
Or is there?
There is a secret history, and this history deals with events that took place in the shadows. These events played as much a role in the history of the American colonies and the Revolution than many know.
The truth is hidden, and plots are afoot. Events are moving behind the scenes, and lurking in the shadows are agents with their own agenda.
War is coming. The Siege of Boston is lifted, and General Washington is leading the Continental Army to New York. The enemies are many, but as to who they are, you do not know.
Colonial Gothic is a supernatural historical horror roleplaying game set during the dawn of the American Revolution.
April 9, 2007 Larklight
Larklight is a young adult VSF novel by Philip Reeve. You can get a sense of it through the wonderful Larklight website (which is Flash based and overwhelmed my DSL connection, but may instead have been outpacing my Victorian-era computer). It is simply beautiful and one imagines the book will be as well.
April 8, 2007 Victorian Names
If you’re looking for an authentic name for your Victorian-era character, here a a couple of sites that can be of assistance:
“Victorian Era Names circa 1840’s-1890’s Being a compilation drawn from old census and vital statistic records” offers a lengthy list of the same; and
This page from the Great Dickens Christmas Fair (a kind of holiday LARP as far as I can tell) offers a list of surnames culled from the works of Charles Dickens.
April 7, 2007 Write for the Imaginary Dictionary
On her “UrbanGeek” website, Kris Naudus has set up an online supplement to Manguel and Guadalupi’s Dictionary of Imaginary Places. You’ll find in Naudus’ supplementary Imaginary Places entries for various locations in the Lemony Snicket novels as well as my personal favorites, Frostbite Falls, MN. There is also a style guide, you one could contribute one’s own imaginary entries.
April 6, 2007 Shifting Lands
Shifting Lands is a website with fabulous examples of scratchbuilt wargames terrain. I’ve attempted my own Pirates of the Spanish Main table and 3D islands based on his excellent examples. The Tips & Tricks are useful for modeling any genre.
April 5, 2007 Da Vinci Automata
For those who prefer Tudorian Science Fiction is Da Vinci Automata: A Blog on the Clockpunk genre of Science Fiction.
April 4, 2007 The British Empire
It’s been some time since we Dispatched a link to the excellent British Empire site, an invaluable resource for gaming in the Victorian British colonies which encircled the globe.
April 3, 2007 Trufax
I’m not sure about the Leading Edge International Research Group at Trufax.org except to say that it has one of those great old-fashioned web interfaced with frames blinking animations and pop-ups and pulldowns and millions of links to who knows where….
April 1, 2007 Steampunk Workshop
From the GASLIGHT Yahoo Group comes this link to the Steampunk Workshop, in which intrepid inventors share some of their creative steampunk modifications and inventions. The keyboard and copper electroplated Altoids tins are my favorites.
March 31, 2007 Egyptian Thrillers
“Pharaohs are assassinated, Egyptologists murdered, treasures lost. Whodunnit?” Ancient Egypt in Mysteries and Thrillers is a bibliography of adventure fiction with an ancient Egyptian theme.
March 30, 2007 The Time Machine Project
The Time Machine Project is a website devoted to the classic Wells novel and the film adaptation.
March 29, 2007 Secrets of the Surface World
Exile Games is readying the next release in their Hollow Earth Expeditions rpg line: Secrets of the Surface World. I noticed that in the download section of the website you’ll find some fan-written adventures for HEX, but easily adaptable to other game systems.
March 28, 2007 Giants of the Solomon Islands
I’ll let the author introduce this one:
Contained in this Website is extraordinary information that brings to the forefront worldwide issues that has been tormenting intellectuals for centuries. It is about two phenomenal discoveries that I have found existing in the Solomon Islands and this Website is a further attempt once again to bring them to the attention of the Modern World.
The first discovery is about how the people of the Solomon Islands have shared their Islands with ‘previously undiscovered to the modern world’ race of hominoids for millennia right to this present day, and for a variety of reasons explained, this has not been known about by the rest of the World, until now. The second discovery is about the whereabouts of hidden UFO Bases that I have found existing in the Solomon Islands for quite possibly the same amount of time, and how there seems to be a link between the Giants and the Extraterrestrials making the Solomon Islands their home.
March 27, 2007 FATE & Spirit
FATE is an excellent rpg by Fred Hicks and Rob Donoghue which descended from Fudge (you can read about the differences in the Wikipedia). As with Fudge itself, there is a FATE system reference document (which you can find on the FATE rpg downloads page) so you can design your own game using the FATE rules. And, of course, Spirit of the Century is the newish pulp rpg from Fred and Rob’s company, Evil Hat Productions.
March 26, 2006 Weird Tales
Lars Klores has created a wonderful online homage to Weird Tales, the classic magazine of outré fiction.
March 25, 2007 Steampunk Star Wars
Artist Eric Poulton has reimagined the Star Wars universe as it would appear as Victorian science fiction or steam punk. Have a look at the inspirational images.
March 24, 2007 Infections of the Earth vs. Statue City
The fascinating BLDGBLOG (“Architectural Conjecture, Urban Speculations, Landscape Futures”), which yielded yesterday’s link about the Guatemalan sinkhole, also provides the most gameable idea I’ve read in awhile. Apparently a naturally occurring bacteria, Bacillus pasteurii, converts soft or sandy soil into rock. This reminds the author (Geoff Manaugh) of a genetic mutation in humans (sporadic fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva) that converts human soft tissue into bone, turning people into living statues. Now, if the world’s art market were suddenly flooded with incredibly life-like statues, the NAGS Society would need to look into the matter….
March 23, 2007 Into the Earth
The National Geographic News webpage reported in February on the massive sinkhole which opened in Guatemala City. At 330 feet, it could hold two Statues of Liberty.
March 22, 2007 The Second Battle of Lake Wittelsbach
Have a look at this exciting retelling of the famous Second Battle of Lake Wittelsbach, pitting our hero, Lieut. James Bigglesworth, Royal Flying Corps, against General Von Hanneken. Good fun and great photos of some nice wargame scratchbuilds.
March 21, 2007 Derelict London
Derelict London is a website devoted to images of London’s abandoned or otherwise forgotten gems buildings, tube stations, cemeteries, &c. They are terrific inspiration for certain kinds of campaigns.
March 20, 2007 Wuthering Heights Roleplay
Wuthering Heights Roleplay is Philippe Tromeur’s take on literary roleplaying in a world of anguish and despair (based on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights). It’s not a new free, online game, but it’s worth a reread as it forges a different path of roleplaying.
March 19, 2007 Black Mask
Online “ebook” vendor BlackMask was shut down awhile back for distributing copyrighted material. It is once again up and running, with, one would assume, only legal books.
52 Books (in blog and non-blog format) is “Bibliophile”’s collection of book reviews. She reads a lot of mysteries and fantasy/sci fi, so the reviews are helpful from a gaming perspective. She’s also interested in bookmaking/binding, which I love to do myself.
March 17, 2007 The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire
The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire is a blog by “a bunch of people who like horror and things related to horror (sometimes only tangentially, we freely admit), looking to create a little bit of the web where we can share the things we find with y’all.”
March 16, 2007 The Subterranean Kingdom: Update
While not the most expeditious book order I’ve experienced, my copy of Nigel Pennick’s The Subterranean Kingdom: A Survey of Man-made Structures Beneath the Earth arrived today from The Midnight Muse (perhaps she had to get it from England before passing it along to me?). At any rate, the book is great from a gamer’s perspective. It’s not hard research one wouldn’t cite this while defending one’s dissertation, for example but it’s great in a David-Hatcher-Childress Adventures-Unlimited-Press kind of way.
March 15, 2007 Astounding Hero Tales
Hero Games is releasing a pulp fiction anthology entitled Astounding Hero Tales, which includes previously unpublished fiction by Lester “Doc Savage” Dent, as well as a story by rpg luminary Robin Laws, et al. (320 trade paperback pages for $16.99 US).
March 14, 2007 Winter Steel
Wintersteel.com hosts a page devoted to the Unexplained which includes a number of interesting links to articles strewn about the web.
March 13, 2007 ArchaeoBlog
ArchaeoBlog is, of course, a blog devoted to archæology (although the most recent piece is on the archaeology of a stereo speaker, though that, too, is interesting…).
March 12, 2007 Ladatco Tours
For those who like to do gaming research first hand, Ladatco Tours advertises a Mystery Explorer package, a 21 day tour “Highlighting Ancient Mysteries of Peru, Bolivia, and Chile.”
March 11, 2007 The Great Temple at Petra
Here’s a bit from the online version of Archaeology Magazine on the Great Temple at Petra.
March 10, 2007 High Tea
Morbid Outlook, an online magazine devoted to “Goth,” features an interesting article on the custom of taking high tea.
March 9, 2007 Frictional Heroes
If you enjoy rules in the beginning stages, Frictional Heroes is a Pulp skirmish wargame that is currently under construction.
March 8, 2007 Steampunk Magazine
The transparently-titled Steampunk Magazine is a print magazine ($3 US) which you can (currently) download for free. I’ve glanced through the first issue (as my ætheric absence attests, I am currently swamped by the demands of quotidian employment), which includes sundry editorials, an interview with Michael Moorcock, and articles such as “The Pyrophone: The Flaming Acoustic Organ of Doom.”
March 7, 2007 Free Zeppelin Gondola
Richard Johnson and Rattrap Productions have released a free, downloadable cardstock model of a zeppelin gondola interior, designed by Lee Rawcliffe. When one doesn’t worry about modeling the gasbag (and therefore compressing it to fit on a reasonably sized gaming table) it’s amazing to see just how roomy a zeppelin was.
March 6, 2007 OED
There’s nothing quite like using the OED, or Oxford English Dictionary. The complete version comprises numerous volumes, the shorter version has two in a slipcase with built in drawer for the magnifying glass, and my concise version is one sad little volume. Of course, these days, one can just access the OED online.
March 5, 2007 Crypto Corner
Author Simon Singh devotes a portion of his website, entitled the Crypto Corner, to his books and their BBC tie-ins on the history of codes.
March 4, 2007 Gumshoe
From Pelgrane Press and Robin Laws comes Gumshoe, a new rpg devoted to solving mysteries. The first iteration is called The Esoterrorists, in which “[y]ou are elite investigators combating the plots of the Esoterrorists, a loose affiliation of occult terrorists intent on tearing the fabric of the world.” Forthcoming are supplements devoted to horror and the Trail of Cthulhu, written by Ken Hite.
March 3, 2007 New Dawn
New Dawn is a “Journal for a New Consciousness, A New Humanity and a New Era! … Covering alternative news and information” from Australia and New Zealand. While it’s a print magazine, the website features a number of representative articles on our favorite old chestnuts.
March 2, 2007 Giants in the Earth
Here’s a bit of scholarship that giants (mentioned in the Bible) who were once in the Earth, were really there.
March 1, 2007 Nigel Pennick
An entry in Ken Hite’s blog Prince of Cairo mentions a book by one Nigel Pennick, likely The Subterranean Kingdom: A Survey of Man-made Structures Beneath the Earth. While, like most of Pennick’s books, it would seem to be out of print, the title alone marks it as a worthwhile search. (It does appear to be available from Libra Aries in the UK.) Also, Ken is embarking upon a Tour de Lovecraft on his blog, which should make for an interesting couple month’s reading.
February 28, 2007 Oddica
Oddica is a free, pdf magazine featuring the work of T shirt artists. Number Four features a piece by our own Daniel Davis, Terra Incognita cover and Fudge logo designer. You can lean more about Klawberry herself at her website.
February 27, 2007 Hollywood Gothique
Hollywood Gothique is a website devoted to “the best sci-fi, fantasy, mystery-horror & Halloween happenings in and around Los Angeles.” There’s also capsule reviews of a bunch of movies, which might point one in the direction of something worth watching.
February 26, 2007 Colossal Squid
It has been all over the news that fisherman in New Zealand recently caught a living colossal squid. Wikipedia (of course) has an informative article on the mysterious creature which inspired the Terra Incognita “monster” the Dream Weaver.
February 25, 2007 Future Wars
I recently purchased Future Race (scroll down to the bottom), Jamie Davis’ rules for Star Wars style “pod racing” and I plan to use them to have a go at a Le Grand Cirque VSF (which will apparently soon be a boardgame) extravaganza.
February 24, 2007 Just a Random Dungeon
Sometimes one gets that hunger for an old fashioned, doesn’t make a lot of sense but it’s fun, randomly generated “dungeon.” Now, for a historical game, it might be repackaged as the city sewers, or newly discovered catacombs, or a cave complex, but the heart of the idea is the same. Years ago, Jamis Buck created an online random dungeon generator which will do all of the work of creating and populating one for you. If you can use some D&D style denizens, they are there as well. You can use Fudged version of the monsters, if you wish.
February 23, 2007 Nautilus
For a non-rpg gaming experience, Mayfair Games offers the boardgame Nautilus:
Now, groups of researchers have come together to build a fantastic underwater city, made from the many components sunk on the ocean floor. Their quest? to search for lost treasures, scientific sensations, and of course glory! But, most of all they seek the remains of the lost civilization. Each searcher follows his own passions, seeking his own goals and judging his own success.
The website includes links to several reviews.
February 22, 2007 Illuminati Conspiracy Archive
The Illuminati Conspiracy Archive catalogues the Complete Truth About Everything. As always, entertainment abounds.
February 21, 2007 Oxford Castle
If you happen to find yourself in Oxford, England, you can visit Oxford Castle:
The walled site has been used as a place of incarceration since 1071, continuing until the closure of HM Prison in 1996. The old buildings have been preserved and are now open to the public revealing a time capsule allowing the buildings to tell their story.
Experience the austere confines of the 18th-century Debtors’ Tower and Prison D-wing and the dark atmosphere of the 900 year old underground Crypt; marvel at the Mound of the 11th-century motte and bailey castle with vaulted well chamber; climb the Saxon St George’s Tower, now open for the first time in its history, and enjoy its stunning 360° panoramic views over Oxford.
February 20, 2007 If You Want Something Done Right…
You have to do it yourself. For those who can’t find the perfect set of game rules/supplement/&c., and are thereby forced to write your own to share with the world, this thread on the Miniature Page concerns some members’ experiences with various print on demand (POD) companies. It is amazing how (relatively) simple it is these days to see one’s name in print. Furthermore, if your creation is a board game, here is some advice for crafting durable game maps and chits.
February 19, 2007 MSPE
Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes was one of the first rpgs I played after expanding my vision from D&D. It’s still available from Flying Buffalo and is still a great read, all these years later.
February 18, 2007 American Secret Architecture
The Secret Architecture of Our Nation‘s Capital: The Masons and the Building of Washington, D.C. by David Ovason looks to be a fascinating read.
February 17, 2007 Asian Historical Architecture
OrientalArchitecture.com is a collection of photographs of famous and architecturally significant structures throughout Asia. Great for researching the setting of your next Far East Adventure.
February 16, 2007 A Century of Flight
Century of Flight is a wonderful website devoted to the history of aviation. You’ll find loads of information and photos a look at the “flying wing” section, for example, yield photos of Clement Ader’s aircraft rather than the usual drawings.
February 15, 2007 Royal Engineers
For a different look at the history of the British Empire, have a look at the Royal Engineers Museum website, which chronicles the history of these indispensable souls.
February 14, 2007 Crimson Skies Universe
The Crimson Skies Universe page covers the varied incarnations of this pulp aircraft game, from the computer version to the updated miniatures game.
February 13, 2007 Fantasy Aircraft
I just discovered a section on the previously Dispatched Dannysoar devoted to Fantasy Aircraft those designs that for one reason or another never became reality. Some links even feature blueprints perfect for the scratchbuilder.
February 12, 2007 Adventures in the Hollow Earth
Exile Game studios is hosting an adventure writing contest for their Hollow Earth Adventure rpg. The winner receives original artwork and the accolades of their peers, one would imagine.
February 11, 2007 Shellendrak Manor
It’s almost enough to revive my mania for cardstock. Worldworks is about to release a fabulous new cardstock creation Shellendrak Manor a mansion with decorated interior rooms. Notice the moose head trophy in one room! If you can’t wait, Reviresco has a Victorian Mansion for $15 that you can download now or a free, downloadable version of the Disney Haunted Mansion, neither of which have interior rooms, however.
February 10, 2007 How to Build a Zeppelin & Dannysoar
From the blog of Mike Whybark come these musings (accompanied by assorted links) on How to Build a Zeppelin. One of the aforementioned links is to Dannysoar, a website devoted to idiosyncratic aircraft, both models and the originals.
February 9, 2007 Horror Masters
If your taste in fiction runs to the frightening, perhaps HorrorMasters.com is for you…. There are many free stories and the rest run from $.25 to $.40 US.
February 8, 2007 Planetocopia
Just in case you missed the link in the Prince of Cairo, Planetocopia is Chris Wayan’s fabulous website devoted to alternate planetary geographies, and a great source of novel terræ incognitæ. [N.B.: Having no Latin, I made up that plural; if it’s correct, it’s due to serendipity.]
February 7, 2007 The Prince of Cairo
Devotees of RPG critic and author Kenneth Hite are no doubt already aware that he has his own blog, the Prince of Cairo.
February 6, 2007 Voyages of the Pyramid Builders
Here’s the précis of a book with yet another theory on the origin of the world’s pyramids: Voyages of the Pyramid Builders.
February 5, 2007 Viktory II
I love “world conquest”-style boardgames. Viktory II has a few interesting innovations, including the size (it doesn’t take a weekend to play a game) and the hex-based map that changes with every game, a la Settlers of Catan. A different take on exploring terra incognita.
February 4, 2007 Dinosaurs in Miniature
Steve Pugh has thoughtfully catalogued Dinosaurs in Miniature: a plethora of miniature prehistoric beasties, in “scales” from 6mm to 28mm.
February 3, 2007 Mongolian Death Worm
Intrepid NAGS Society Member Jonathan Wells sends this link to the Wikipedia entry for the Mongolian Death Worm, a worthy subject of study for any self-respecting adventurer.
February 2, 2007 Weird America
I’ve not read this one, but Weird America: A Guide to Places of Mystery in the United States by Jim Brandon looks interesting, and, perhaps, doesn’t take itself too seriously.
February 1, 2007 Urban Adventure
For those who prefer reality to imagination, Urban Adventure details the quite likely illegal activities of “drain exploration, college tunnels, abandoned buildings, catacombs and other Urban Exploration around the world.”
January 31, 2007 Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained
The online Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained provides links to all the usual chestnuts of mystery and adventure.
January 30, 2007 Brass Goggles
Brass Goggles looks to be a fabulous blog devoted to “the lighter side of steampunk.” Many thanks to Hank Harwell for sending this one along.
January 29, 2007 An RPG Encyclopedia
If I had to look for information about a roleplaying game, one could not do better than John Kim’s RPG Encyclopedia. As an testament to the obscurities Mr. Kim has dug up, the encyclopedia not only list Grey Ghost Press and Terra Incognita, but also Circa Games, which is a “company” made up by me to publish TIs forbear, the NAGS Society Worldbook.
January 28, 2007 Steam Crab
Reviresco has done it again with another fabulous cardstock creation for VSF: a steam crab. ($10 US for the downloadable pdf.)
January 27, 2007 Masque of the Red Death
I never played this one, but it looks interesting: Masque of the Red Death is an AD&D 2/e Ravenloft variant set in the 1890s. At $4.95 from RPGNow, it would appear to be a reasonable investment, even if only for an idea mine.
January 26, 2007 D'Ordel's Pantechnicon
Provided by the incomparable Marcus Rowland, D’Ordel’s Pantechnicon is a 1904 parody of Victorian/Edwardian illustrated magazines, many of which serve as source material for Mr. Rowland’s Forgotten Futures rpg.
January 25, 2007 Bill Witthans’ GASLIGHT Page
Bill Witthans has an excellent page devoted to GASLIGHT, with some inspirational images of his fabulous scratchbuilding skills. I particularly envy him his workbench.
January 24, 2007 The Oldest Language
I have always been interested in ancient languages, specifically in the possibility of a language that serves as ancestor for the multitudinous tongues spoken today. The Wikipedia has an interesting entry on the Oldest Language.
January 23, 2007 Ancient Scripts
One can bone up on his dead languages through the assistance of AncientScripts.com.
January 22, 2007 The Forgotten Expedition
Here are two websites with information of the forgotten expedition of Hunter and Dunbar: a Real Player stream of the program The Forgotten Expedition from the Arkansas Educational Television Network and a bit from Hot Springs National Park.
Most Americans have heard the story of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery that was sent by Thomas Jefferson to explore the new Louisiana Purchase from 1804-1806. What most people do not realize is that Jefferson also commissioned a second expedition to explore the southern areas of that new frontier…
January 21, 2007 Ancient Astronomy
Pomona College (CA, USA) hosts an interesting webpage devoted to Ancient Astronomy throughout the world.
January 20, 2007 Earthbound Expeditions
The Spirit of Adventure is most certainly to be found on the Earthbound Adventures website, specializing in “adventure travel to the Himalayan countries of Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and India.”
January 19, 2007 Diving to Mu
FlyerTalk “The world’s most popular frequent flyer community” features an interesting post by a flyer who travelled to the Orient in order to dive to the sunken continent of Mu. It is refreshing to se that the Spirit of Adventure is still alive in the world.
January 18, 2007 Indonesian Lost Kingdom
This news is almost a year old, but scientists have uncovered the remains of a “Lost Kingdom” in Indonesia, buried in “the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history” in 1815.
January 17, 2007 Australia’s Lost Kingdoms
Australia boasts a fascinating evolutionary history. The Australia Museum’s Lost Kingdoms website details the changes of the creatures through time. It is truly fertile ground for setting “Lost World” adventures.
January 16, 2007 Recovering Archimedes
Scientists at Stanford University are using x-ray technology to uncover the writing of Greek mathematician Archimedes, hidden within a 13th century prayer book.
January 15, 2007 Sceptic’s Dictionary
Robert Carroll’s Sceptic’s Dictionary and accompanying website bring together all the “Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions” that make gaming terra incognita so much fun.
January 14, 2007 Paris Catacombs
The Wikipedia has a nice entry on the famous catacombs beneath Paris, complete with photographs.
January 13, 2007 Many, Many Maps
We’ve Dispatched this old chestnut before, but if you’re in need of maps of the world, from New York in the precolonial days to modern day Afghanistan, the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection from the University of Texas libraries is the place to look.
January 12, 2007 Dinosaurs in the News
This link has made the rounds of the pertinent Yahoo Groups, but in case you missed it, Cryptomundo has some scans of newspaper stories from the ’20s and ’30s regarding the search for dinosaurs in the world’s remote corners.
January 11, 2007 The Army of Qin Shi Huang
Wikipedia has a wonderful page devoted to Qin Shi Huang, first Emperor of feudal China, and commander (in death) of the famous terra cotta army.
January 10, 2007 Alexander’s Tomb
The lost tomb of Alexander the Great would provide an interesting objective for a Terra Incognita adventure.
January 9, 2007 Lost Worlds.org
Lost Worlds.org is an online “Interactive Museum of Native American history dedicated to telling the story of the lost civilizations of the Southeastern Indians.”
January 8, 2007 Sipapu
Sipapu “The Anasazi Emergence into the Cyber World” is a website devoted to that fascinating vanished Native American people, the Anasazi. The site has some interesting “3D” digital renditions of Anasazi architecture.
January 7, 2007 A Multitude of Maps
The NAGS Society has Dispatched these links on occasion before, but we feel compelled to plug them once again. There is nothing like a good map to inspire adventure. For the last seven years, Wizards of the Coast has been providing free maps every week in support of D&D. Many are thoroughly useful for depicting terra incognita.
If you don’t mind spending a little money, 0One Games has an extensive series of “Blueprints” for around $2.00 US each. There’s a Lost City, Old Lighthouse, even a Vampire Castle, all in he blueline style that recalls classic D&D modules. There are several free previews to download to see if they suit you.
January 6, 2007 The Search for Hidden Chambers
Here is an article from Tour Egypt concerning the search for hidden chambers within Egyptian pyramids.
January 5, 2007 A Pyramid in Bosnia
The Times Online ran an article last year concerning a mysterious geological feature in Bosnia a hill that contain a buried pyramid.
January 4, 2007 The Buried Pyramid
I’ve not read this one Jane Lindskold’s The Buried Pyramid but the description makes is sound like a made-to-order roleplaying adventure.
January 3, 2007 The Imperial Age
Adamant Entertainment, which publishes loads of pulp rpg material in their Thrilling Tales line, also have a line for Victorian adventure roleplaying (using d20) entitled The Imperial Age. At the moment you can get a few classes, a magic supplement, and a subscription for the 2007 releases (which, according to the press release, will be “the Gamemaster's Guidebook to Victorian Adventure; Imperial Age: British India; Imperial Age: Engines, and more.”
January 2, 2007 Haven: City of Bronze
As promised, Louis Porter, Jr. Designs has released the Haven: City of Bronze “neo-pulp” campaign setting as a free, 17 page pdf download. There’s also a variety of supporting material you can purchase.
January 1, 2007 Steampunkopedia
We start the New Year with redesign of Krzysztof Janicz’s indispensable compendium of all things steampunk. It’s now known, appropriately, as the Steampunkopedia, combining the Steampunk Chronology, Links, and TV pages. This is the mother of all online steampunk references. Many thanks to Krzysztof!