Thursday, February 11, 2016

Underdark Caves and Underground Rivers

While perusing the internet doing research for my campaign which recently went into the Underdark I ran across these interesting articles. They were helpful in getting into the right headspace while laying out the upcoming sessions.

via Collossal
A Trip by Air and Kayak Through Tham Khoun Xe, One of the Largest Active River Caves on Earth by Christopher Jobson on February 10, 2016

All photos © Ryan Deboodt Photography
Beijing-based photographer Ryan Deboodt (previously) recently returned from a trip to Laos where he spent two days exploring Tham Khoun Xe, one of the largest active rivers caves in the world. Stretching nearly 4.5 miles (7km) underground, the cave system is extraordinarily remote and Deboodt was permitted to photograph and film beyond where tourists are normally allowed to visit. The immensity of the subterranean space is staggering, with an average ceiling of almost 200 feet (60m) and width of 250 feet (76m) it’s hardly imaginable a space like this could exist underground.
Deboodt brought an arsenal of camera and video equipment as well as a drone to capture the expansive interiors of Tham Khoun Xe, much of which he edited into a short video included below. You can follow more of his cave photography from around the world on Facebook or Instagram, and read an interview about the endeavor on Smithsonian.

via Colossal
An Aerial Tour of ‘Hang Son Soong,’ the Largest Cave on Earthby Christopher Jobson on March 13, 2015

In his new 6-minute film, cave, adventure, and travel photographer Ryan Deboodt takes us on a breathtaking aerial tour of the world’s largest cave, Hang Son Doong, located in central Vietnam. Deboodt brought a drone and an array of cameras to help capture the cave system, the largest chamber of which is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) long, 200 meters (660 ft) high and 150 meters (490 ft) wide. Despite its enormity, the cave was only discovered in 1991 by a local man, and it wasn’t even studied by scientists until about five years ago. One of the most disorienting thing about watching Deboodt’s film was my brain not comprehending the scale of what I was looking at. It’s only once you notice the ant-like people walking through some of the shots that you realize just how massive this place is. You can see more of Deboodt’s cave photography on Instagram. (via PetaPixel)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Map of British TV Series Filmed in UK

Because I'm a big fan of maps as well as British television, below is a detailed map showing where some of the more popular British TV series take place and are filmed in the United Kingdom.

Great Britain TV Map
The Great British Television Map by Tim Ritz shows the locations where popular British television series take place and are actually filmed in the United Kingdom. Prints of the map are available through Society6.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Underdark Map - Trading Grounds

Since the last Underdark update the party has been exploring the lower third of the map. Actually more accurately party B has been exploring the Underdark while party A has been travelling the surface world clearing the Gray Plague from the land. Most of the player's had 2 PCs for a while there and since they're getting pretty high level [in the low to mid-teens] the group decided to split the party into Group A and Group B so that they weren't waltzing so easily through encounters and also partially to avoid having to split up XP so many ways.

As mentioned in my previous post I've been using much of the material from the Dragonsfoot Collaborative Project: Mapping the Depths of the Earth. As happens much of the time the players decided to go where you haven't prepared fully ahead of time. Wouldn't you know it the party decided to go to the trading grounds [L/19 M/19 on the Underdark map] which has no associated map. So I put together a quick map from the description for the PCs on the spot. This is the PC version only, the DM version has the manor and the rest at the bottom of the map behind the locked gate. I edited that portion out because the players do look at the blog posts occasionally. This way they're not tempted to look at what they haven't seen/explored yet. I'm finding the whole Encyclopedia Subterranica from this project to be of tremendous help and a great time saver in getting the various locations fleshed out for exploration. I would recommend it highly for anyone running the D series modules or any other Underdark adventure.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

OD&D Dungeons & Dragons Original Edition (0e)

For those who might be interested and haven't yet heard, over at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow the original Dungeons & Dragons (0e) Boxed Set (White Box version) is available in PDF format. Again. Now they just need to come out with the supplements.

Blurb from the product page.
"First published in January 1974, the original edition rules of Dungeons & Dragons would go on to see six different printings. This edition is for the Original Collector's Edition released By Wizards of the Coast in 2013, which was itself a revision of the 6th and final printing, the "Original Collector’s Edition" or white box edition.  You get all three books contained in the original boxed set: Men & Magic, Monsters & Treasure, and Underworld & Wilderness Adventures plus the Reference Sheets booklet. Great to read and still great to play, the original edition shows you where the roleplaying hobby began and the original version of the game that spawned a hobby."

The covers are the re-release covers not the original artwork pictured. If you had previously purchased the PDFs, prior to their removal years back, you can download the new version gratis. Get them right over here.

If you're hankering for a classic science-fiction game instead, then Jim Ward's original TSR 1st Edition of Metamorphosis Alpha should fit the bill quite nicely.

On the heels of the Original Dungeons & Dragons Boxed set releasing in PDF we now have Supplement I: Greyhawk in PDF form for $4.99. It's only a matter of time before the rest get released, I suppose.

Edit #2
So they're coming out in dribs and drabs. The Blackmoor supplement was just released.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Five Planets at Once

Stargazers, you’re in for a treat. From Jan. 20 to Feb. 20, people around the world who wake up just before dawn will be able to see five planets. FIVE! (BuzzFeed News) ALT Here’s what the sky should look like. To see this, you’ll have to set your alarm really early. Like an hour before sunrise. Sky and Telescope Magazine

Monday, January 11, 2016

D3 - Vault of the Drow Walkthrough - Jason Thompson

I enjoy all of the cartoon adventure walk through's drawn by Jason Thompson. They are overall endearing, pretty amusing, and quite often uncannily accurate as to what happens in one of the depicted adventures. I'd love to hang 'em all on my wall.

The latest release is the classic AD&D 1ed Vault of the Drow from the bygone days. Below is the lo-res version. Go to the WotC link for the larger, hi-res version.

WotC link for larger version

In an odd bit of serendipity, the FtF group is just now finishing up D2 and getting ready to go on to explore D3. That is, after they take care of the grey plague ravaging the land as a result of Lareth's machinations.

Bowie Through the Years

David Bowie through his many incarnations.

David Bowie 1947 -2016 Video Tribute

...and so many more.