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Flora & Fauna Incognita and History

These sites provide information regarding outré flora and fauna that populate Terra Incognita.

Flora & Fauna Incognita

American 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.

Centaur of Volos — A clearing house of information regarding the discovery of remains of the mythical beast.

Colossal squid — Scientists in the Ross Sea of Antarctica captured a young Colossal Squid. The AP story is on USA today. “…[I]t is an extremely active and extremely aggressive killer,” says scientist Steve O’Shea. It has been all over the news that fisherman in New Zealand recently (as of February, 2007) 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.

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.

Cryptozoology by Philip Burns — An excellent resource for the gamut of cryptids.

The Dinosaur Interplanetary Gazette is a useful online resource for all things thunder lizard.

The University of California at Berkeley maintains a nice site concerning Dinosauria: Truth is Stranger the Fiction. The site offers some basic information, dispels some myths, describes the history of fossil hunting in the US, and provides links and bibliographical references for further study.

Early Dinosaur Discoveries in North America — Provides factual information, but could be reinterpreted in a “crypto–” vein.

Steve Pugh has thoughtfully catalogued Dinosaurs in Miniature: a plethora of miniature prehistoric beasties, in “scales” from 6mm to 28mm.

Fudged Monsters — Mike Harvey has laboriously typed in 350 Monsters from the D&D Rules and converted them to Fudge stats. If you’re in need of some foes and willing to overlook a fantasy pedigree, then this file is for you.

Gareth Long's Encyclopedia of Monsters — An excellent source for information regarding mythical creatures. Entries range in detail from a sentence to a multi-page annotated treatise (see the basilisk, for example).

Guineazilla — The current number (September, 2003) of the journal Science is reporting on the discovery of a fossil rodent. Not particularly engaging except for the fact that this particular specimen, which once roamed South America, was the size of a buffalo! Proceed to Science online to learn more about this creature discovered by the NAGS Society ten years ago. [N.B. You have to register with the site to read articles—it’s free to read abstracts and summaries, but access to the full scholarly articles costs $125.00, though there are discounts for academics and teachers.] Submitted by David Crowell.

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.

Those on the hunt for the elusive Mokele-mbembe, are directed to, where you might find information regarding the cryptid’s appearance, behavior, and diet.

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.

Do a little research on your foe by consulting the Monstropedia — 630 articles on “monsters in myth, magick and legend.”

Paper Dinosaurs, 1824-1969 is an online exhibition at the Linda Hall Library of a collection of the earliest drawings and scientific papers on dinosaurs.

Weird Creatures — “Tired of hearing about Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster? Here’s a menagerie of lesser-known yet equally strange and elusive creatures from around the world.” This page has information about all your cryptozoological favorites.



A variety of resources concerning the Terra Incognita timeline, from 1850–1940. See also the Pulp and Victorian sections for more links.

1893: A World's Fair Mystery is a text-based computer game set at the Chicago World’s Fair. Peter Nepstad, the author, 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.

Dale Cozort’s Alternate History Page “features over a dozen alternate history scenarios, an alternate history newsletter, book reviews, alternate history links, some hype for my alternate history fiction, and some favorite alternate history stories.  Browse.  Read. Enjoy!” (from Mr. Cozort). The Lost Cities page alone is worth a look.

If you’re looking to supplement the timeline in TI, have a look at the Alternatime site. From the timeline of Nubian Royal History to the Chronology of Scientific Developments, you’ll find events worth of the Earth Unknown.

For those whose campaigns are set in the USA during the Great Depression, the University of Virginia hosts a thoroughly useful site concerning America in the 1930s. Browse lists of radio programs, news stories, films, and a year-by-year timeline. [Suggested by Dirk Collins.]

American West — Here are a number of resources for campaigning in the American west. The Oregon Trail concerns the well-travelled path to the west. Of particular note is the Trail Archive of Period Books: A Prairie Traveler by Randolph Marcy is a wonderful guide to nineteenth century exploring. PBS maintains websites for several relevant TV specials: The Gold Rush and The West.

Ancient American: Archaeology of the Americas Before Columbus is a print magazine whose “editorial position stands firmly on behalf of evidence for the arrival of overseas visitors to the Americas hundreds and even thousands of years before Columbus — not only from Europe, but the Near East, Africa, Asia, and the Western Pacific.” The website features a number of free sample articles and images. [Submitted by David Crowell.]

Pomona College (CA, USA) hosts an interesting webpage devoted to Ancient Astronomy throughout the world.

Ancient Scripts is a wonderful resource for studying the history of language and writing.

Ancient Wonders — If you have the desire (and the deep pocketbook) to decorate with authentic ancient artifacts, Ancient Wonders might be able to help you acquire a Roman arrowhead or dinosaur fossil. hosts message boards and links to information concerning ancient sites throughout the world.

Behind the Name — Names are a critical part of any character (and they’re handy in real life, too). Behind the Name: the Etymology and History of First Names is an expansive site that reveals the history of nigh innumerable first names in a smorgasbord of languages. Find one for your character or name all your NPCs according to their hidden natures.

The Library of Congress hosts yet another brilliant exhibit of photos, this one entitled Bound for Glory: America in Color, 1939-1944. The photos are breath-taking, the color vibrant and unexpected in images from this era.

The British Broadcasting Company’s history website is a fascinating online reference, centered primarily on Britain, but with a worldly perspective. Subsections include archaeology, science and discovery, timelines, wars and conflict, &c.

The British Pathe Film Archive collects 3500 hours of fascinating film reels from 1896 to 1970. You can preview the footage for free or purchase them for commercial uses.

The New York Public Library held an exhibit in 2002 entitled “The Public's Treasures: A Cabinet of Curiosities from the New York Public Library” which examined this fascinating practice from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Calendar — If you have need of some specific chronological information for your TI campaign, here are two utile resources: either 10,000 Year Calendar or Time and can let you know that February 12, 1809 was a Sunday, with a new moon two days later (actually, you only get moon phases on the latter).

To get a Victorian perspective on the world, have a look at these excerpts from Chambers’s Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge of 1888. [Submitted by Jonathan Wells.]

Chicago World’s Fair — The Wikipedia page on the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, perhaps better known as the Chicago World’s Fair, is informative.

A thread on the Miniature Page offered this link to a BBC story concerning that old chestnut, Chinese explorers visiting the Americas before Columbus (but after the Vikings). As usual, only the NAGS Society knows the truth.

Colonial Voyage is a fascinating website that details the colonial history of Portugal and Holland. The pictures of extant colonial architecture are of particular interest.

Covered Wagon is an appropriately-titled site devoted to Old West gaming. You’ll find a lot of links to current western RPG publishers as well as other online resources that might be of use.

Current value of Old Money — Useful for resolving monetary issues.

The Dutch Wars, or Dutch-Anglo Wars (three of them, from 1652-1678, with intermissions) form an interesting background to a game set later (say, in the TI timeline of 1850-1940). They included, were influenced by, or resulted in such critical historical events as the Great London Fire, the transformation of New Amsterdam to New York, as well as some cool naval battles. The article on offers a précis, while a more extensive Google search should fill in the details.

The online version of the Telegraph describes how archæologists using radar technology located the subterranean tomb of the English saint, Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey.

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.

Encyclopedia Britannica — I just discovered the site hosting an online version of the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The entries are far from perfect — OCR errors and artifacts abound — but the meat is there for your browsing pleasure. Many people consider the 1911 Britannica to be the finest reference book ever published. To be sure, it is smack dab in the middle of the Terra Incognita timeline and contains numerous covert contributions by NAGS Society Members.

Eyewitness to provides first hand accounts of various and sundry historical events, from the Battle of Agincourt to Theodore Roosevelt’s African safari.

Famous Birthdays — August 15 is auspicious for its list of famous births, including Napoleon Bonaparte (1769), Sir Walter Scott (1771), Edna Ferber (1887), the late Julia Child (1912), and my first son (1997). You can look up the famous birthdays for any day on

The Forgotten Expedition

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…

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.

Friday the 13th — The Urban Legends and Folklore page has an interesting mini-treatise on the mythology surrounding Friday the 13th.

Historical Mysteries — Dean James has assembled a nice bibliography of historical mystery fiction, from ancient times to World War II.

Historias Paralelas — Among its numerous, excellent digital collections, the Library of Congress has put together this look at the relationship of Spain, the United States, and the American Frontier: Historias Paralelas. You’ll find relavent texts, maps, and images from the fifteenth century to the Spanish-American War. is primarily dedicated to booking your tours of historic locations in the UK, but the website itself has a bit of interesting information — potted histories, names and dates, and so forth.

The Historical Novelists Center is an invaluable resource for, well, historical novelists; but it is equally utile for TI game masters. From “Ware Words” (a list of modern slang terms that had alternate meanings in the past) to “You found that WHERE? Where to look besides history books” to expansive bibliographies organized by geographical region and time period—the Historical Novelists Center will have something useful for your historical roleplaying.

TheHistoryNet offers an ever-changing smorgasbord of historical tidbits for easy consumption.

Clark Elliot’s History of Science in the United States website is a treasure trove of information about American scientific progress. The Chronology runs from 1790 to the 1900s, year by year.

The Internet Guide to Jazz Age Slang. Exploration, Adventure, and Noodle Juice at Four… It’s the bee’s knees, and how!

Internet Modern History Sourcebook hosted by Fordham University. The extensive site includes articles and links to other sites of interest. For those “visual learners”, the site features a period-by-period annotated guide to Modern History in the Movies.

The Library of Congress website is the motherlode of digitized American history. The resources are incredible—to wit: One might browse the papers of Thomas Jefferson, then view photographs from the depression taken by WPA photographers, and finally download a movie taken at the windy foot of the Fuller (better known as the Flatiron) building in 1903. I can’t think of a better resource for historical research using primary documents., particularly the history section, features a collection of online tidbits of interest to the Terra Incognita player or game master.

Lost is an online “Interactive Museum of Native American history dedicated to telling the story of the lost civilizations of the Southeastern Indians.”

The Making of America is a digitized collection of primary sources from antebellum through Reconstruction America. There are nearly 9,000 volumes available, according to the home page, all courtesy of the University of Michigan.

Mexico Connect hosts a nice timeline of Mexican History which compares contemporaneous developments in the rest of the world and copious links to informative articles.

I love places like Hampshire’s Milestones Museum: a museum that recreates past places in 1:1 scale. The website gives only a taste of what it would feel like to walk down a Victorian street, but one might be inspired to seek out such a recreation nearer to home.

Michael Cremo’s Museum of Forbidden Archeology currently features an exhibit on California gold country (the Miners ’49er and all that).

Mysteries of History — The U.S. News Online Site features a nice double issue on the Mysteries of History.

Old Time Radio — Pulp master Joe Coleman on the Pulp_Games Yahoo Group gives us these two links for online connections to Golden Age radio programs of the same vintage as pulp: Old Time Radio and EY’s Audio Links.

On This Day — Some dates have memorable events connected with them that can tie into your historical roleplaying. Other days seem less important. The page On This Day can help you by listing the significant events in history that occurred on each day. For example, most Americans know that this was the day in 1776 that the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, but it was also the day in 1845 that Thoreau went to live at Walden Pond, and the day in 1848 that Marx and Engels published the Communist Manifesto.

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.

The site, devoted to the collection and study of postage stamps, is quite a useful resource in its own right. The thematic index will point you to a number of utile databases concerning interesting topics such as dinosauria, historical events of the 19th century, and an extensive list of capsule biographies.

Prehistoric Fiction — Right out of our time period, perhaps, but dead useful for Lost World adventures… Steve Trussel’s EclectiCity website features a great collection of resources on Prehistoric Fiction — that is, books set in prehistoric times (not novels carved on stone tablets).

Inject a little authenticity into your Egyptian adventures by studying the Pronunciation of Ancient Egyptian. Of particular use are the .wav files that allow you to hear the words pronounced aloud.

Randy’s Old Time Radio Shows. You can purchase shows from the impressively vast collection on CD ($5.00 for 650MB or about 40 hours of radio) or set up a download account ($6.00 gets you 1GB or 125 shows). The catalog of shows weighs in at 1.2 MB — almost 18,000 episodes! You can even try a few freebies before you buy. Great stuff!

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.

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.

Shopping Incognita — Terra Incognita: The NAGS Society Handbook has an expansive list of everyday items and their prices in the 1890s and 1930s, both in dollars and pounds, for when your Nag has to buy some knick-knack on the go. Here are three more online resources for Nineteenth Century prices: 19th Century Prices by Stephen Mann is a distillation of the 1897 Sears & Roebuck catalog (which was my source for many prices); Provisions and Prices focuses on the American West towards the middle of the century; and How Much Stuff Cost Long Ago offers an indirect, quick and dirty route: simply multiply an item’s current price by the appropriate decimal (listed by decade, from 1800 to the 1990s) and you have an approximation of the price.

The ought to have a little something for everyone.

Uchronia — An excellent resource for alternate history.

If you’re in need of a secret backstory to tie all of your campaign’s loose ends together, try some Unknown Ancient Hellenic History. The site has got Greek pyramids, great technology (the Antikythera mechanism and the Pharos of Alexandria), proof that Ulysses travelled to North America, and even a link to the Anasazi. A little something for everyone.

US History — The Kingwood (TX) College librarians has prepared some extremely helpful webpages describing the United States decade by decade, in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There are historical dates, fads and fashions, period music, &c., along with scads of links and bibliographical references. Well worth your time when putting together a historical game.

Victrola Music — A site devoted to propagating fin–de–siècle music. Some downloadable clips; mostly tapes and CD's for sale. Useful for establishing atmosphere.

Particularly for the martially minded, we bring you The War Scholar: A Military History Timeline of War and Conflict Across the Globe, 3000 BC to AD 1999. It is an undoubtedly useful resource for trying to determine into which turmoil your Nags might stumble.

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.

Wold Newton Universe — An excellent introduction and reference concerning the mysterious meteor that landed in England in 1795.

World History Chart and HyperHistory Online. Imagine when the NAGS Society makes available its Annotated Version! is an extremely informative site about all aspects of the Great War. Have a look at the VRML Hall to see some WWI technology up close.

The WWW Virtual Library can be an excellent resource for information when one cannot adjourn to an actual library.