Monday, March 25, 2013

Inspirations from Web Wanderings

Like most people I have various bookmarks saved from various times spent following web posts. I think everyone is guilty of this at one time or another. We start out looking at something then we drill down to a link that looks interesting, and before we know it we have have surfed through countless links to a page not even remotely related to our starting point. This usually happens to me late at night and usually it's time I could probably have better spent sleeping. The following links are the results of some of these late night web wandering sessions. I post them here to give everyone else the opportunity to avoid the hours spent getting to these sites and just enjoy the fun and wonder that they inspire (in me anyway).

Please note many of the descriptions for the attached links are taken directly from the articles themselves.

Baen Free Library - Fantasy
The Baen Free Library features  some full-length novels from recent top authors, that are free to download. Well worth your time to check 'em out.
Bayeux Tapestry - Fantasy
The full Bayeux Tapestry consisting of 35 parts. A full Latin to English translation is included. Also includes a selection of layman commentaries, highlights of various sections, and a section relating to the construction and history of the Bayeux Tapestry. There is also a link to the more important events that recount the story of the Battle of Hastings 1066.
Built4ever (Francois Beauregard)  Mapping
Drawings from a residential designer, an architect, an artist, and an illustrator. A wide variety of drawings and watercolors here, some of them historical subjects, some of them original designs. Lots of inspiration.

Chaotic Shiny Generators - Random generator
Generators are divided into rough categories based on what they come up with. Some of them, such as the drink and name generators, are simple, whereas others, such as the civilization and pantheon gens, are much more detailed. If you want a generator that you can't find here, you can make your own with the custom gen builder.
Clash of Steel Re-Enactment Directory - Fantasy, Historical
Various re-enactment groups. From Classical Roman, Vikings on through the Dark ages all the way up to the Modern Era. Articles on early various technology, crafts, and photo galleries.
Dave's Mapper - Online Mapper
Dave's Mapper is an online tool that allows GMs/DMs to generate random maps from a variety of map tiles created by artists in the gaming community.

Dungeon Painter Online - Online Mapper
  • Free online mapping software.
  • No downloads, installation or registration required.
  • Simple interface
  • Vast selection of objects and textures
  • Layers and groups
  • Export to png and jpg
  • Maps sharing through online gallery
  • Export to multipage pdf for print
  • Special black & white collection for print
  • Tile categories & subcategories with preview
  • Square and hex grid
  • Hotkeys

Donjon Random generator
Generators are divided into rough categories based on what game they apply to. From games of Fantasy to Science Fiction it has most of the popular ones covered.
Encyclopedia of Fantasy - online Encyclopedia
The entire text of John Clute's 1997 work is a part of the beta text of the third edition of Clute's Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. While both books are technically aimed at academic users, they still make for good reading.
Encyclopedia of Science Fiction - online Encyclopedia
The third edition of Clute's Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. While technically aimed at academic users, it still makes for good reading.
Ex Astris Scientia Starship Gallery - Science Fiction
Various photos, schematics, renderings and screen captures of Federation and alien vessels, including many seldom "Alien-of-the-Week" ships. With very few exception most of the images are from "official" sources or based on the CGI models.
Hero Machine - Character Portrait
HeroMachine is a Flash-based web applet that allows you to dynamically create a customized character portrait.
Island One - Science Fiction
A vast assortment of science and science fiction related info for anyone looking to build an extraterrestrial settlement. Covers various aspects such as engineering, funding, earth based examples, and political structures. Good background for SF games.
Internet Guide to Jazz Age Slang - Action 
An alphabetical listing of slang words used in the "Jazz Age" (1920's). The twenties were the first decade to emphasize youth culture over the older generations, and the flapper sub-culture had a tremendous influence on main stream America; many new words and phrases were coined by these liberated women. These are the most common words and phrases of the time, many of which we still use today!
Mad Irishman Productions - Character Sheets
Mad Irishman Productions specializes in quality role-playing products, particularly character sheets for your favorite games. Here you will find many free goodies in Adobe PDF format and the occasional PDF Form which you can fill out directly.

Maps Collection - History, Maps
Represents a small fraction of the 4.5 million items in the Library of Congress - Geography and Map Division that have been converted to digital form.The focus of Map Collections is Americana and Cartographic Treasures of the Library of Congress. These images were created from maps and atlases and, in general, are restricted to items that are not covered by copyright protection.
Orc Magazine - Fantasy
An online magazine made for Ogres, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Gremlins, Ridgelings and all other manner of green-skinned Orcs!
An inspired collection of Orc-themed magazine spoofs.
Pawn - Fantasy
Pawn is a whimsical fantasy erotic comic that contains as much nudity as it does humour, therefore it's best suited for equally silly adults. If you are new to it start at part 1.
Renaissance and Fantasy Fonts - Fonts
A collection of renaissance, historic, and fantasy TrueType fonts (text, runic, and symbols). Useful for maps, handouts, character sheets, and whatever else you can possibly think of.

Sailing Ships - Action
The main part of this site is a database of historical sailing vessels, with technical data as well as "biographical" information on individual vessels. The aim is to have a comprehensive listing of 19th and 20th century square riggers.
Seanbaby's Super Friends Page - Superheroes
The Super Friends somehow stayed alive for 10 years by hiring people who could talk to fish, match a cape to their underwear, and turn into a bucket of water. They fought everyone from supervillains to dolls from space to insane altruists who decided that making giant unstoppable mutant fish and running the Earth into a comet was the best way to solve our "food shortage."
This site is to help you relive insane cartoon memories, see Green Lantern's preteen pal, or learn how to incorporate the Super Friends into your binge drinking.
Silent Movies - Action, Pulp, Horror
A variety of image galleries featuring stars from the silent film era. Useful for character illustrations.
Starship Dimensions - Science Fiction
This site gives visual comparisons of the true scale of your favourite science fiction spacecraft. It compares ships across genres, as well as comparing them with contemporary objects with which you are familiar.
Starship Schematics - Science Fiction
Starship Schematics is dedicated to the sole purpose of archiving every single starship design ever conceived in the Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, and Space Battleship Yamato (a.k.a. Star Blazers) Universes, both official and unofficial, interesting and mediocre.
Star Wars Deckplans Alliance - Science Fiction
A website for use with the Star Wars® Roleplaying Game by West End Games®, within you will find deckplans and schematics of space transports and vehicles for use as player handouts, and/or Gamemaster reference. Created by fans for the fans of the Original Star Wars® Trilogy, the players of the D6 roleplaying game, and fans of the Star Wars® Expanded Universe.
Star Wars Artists' Guild - Science Fiction
The Star Wars Artists' Guild (SWAG) exists to promote the development and unity of artists in the Star Wars Roleplaying Game community. In pursuit of this, SWAG provides a venue where SWRPG artists can exhibit their work, thereby helping create a library of high quality SWRPG art available to all members of the community for use in their own roleplaying games. In addition, SWAG also provides a means for members of the SWRPG community to contact various artists regarding specific requests for SWRPG-related art and similar exchanges.
The List Of Evil Baby Names - Misc
Do you want your child to become an evil genius when he or she grows up? Perhaps you can prepare for this by giving the child the right name to begin with. Here is a list of names which mean dark, deadly, spooky or just have plain neat meanings.
Thundarr the Barbarian - Fantasy
The home of Thundarr the Barbarian on the web. Features news, images, various downloads, an episode guide, message board, and Awards. Ariel! Ookla! Riiiiide!

The 36 Plots - Storytelling
The 36 Plots is an interpretation of The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations by French writer George Polti. The original work analyzed classic Greek literature, classic and contemporary French literature, and a handful of non-French texts as an extension of Carlo Gozzi's work from the mid-1700's in order to categorize every dramatic situation that could happen within literature. This article applies the concept to RPG games, though in my mind, any good fantasy story should be written so it could fit into an RPG which is why I stumbled onto the article.
They Fight Crime! - Action
A wonderfully zany source of random ideas you would probably never think of, ideally suited for brainstorming.
Some examples are;
He's a scrappy misogynist photographer from a doomed world. She's a pregnant out-of-work former first lady looking for love in all the wrong places. They fight crime!
He's a war-weary zombie librarian with a mysterious suitcase handcuffed to his arm. She's a man-hating Bolivian advertising executive from aristocratic European stock. They fight crime!

Twilight Agency - Action
An online fiction project using comics and text stories to explore two worlds. Follow an intrepid trio of paranormal investigators through a world of science gone mad and myth come alive. Twilight Agency is a web comic set in the near future, after an unnatural disaster has merged myth and reality. If your new to this comic I'd suggest you start at the beginning -  Home Again 
Terra Incognita: The NAGS Society Web Site - Action
Lots of links to mysteries of the world + some extras. Excellent for Victorian Era and pulp RPGs  ie Call of Cthulhu.

Zot! Online: "Hearts And Minds" - Science Fiction
"Hearts and Minds" is a complete original Zot! graphic novella by Scott McCloud, totalling over 440 panels (roughly the equivalent of 70-80 standard comics pages) in 16 weekly instalments.

Now some of you may have stumbled across these sites without my help, but don't blame me if you find yourself following some of these links and losing all track of time.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Vikings on the History Channel

Yeah, I haven’t posted anything in a while. What can I say, real life keeps intruding. But anyway enough about my whining. I watched Vikings last night on the History Channel and it was pretty damned cool. Just check out the opening credit sequence. I really like that song.

Vikings (History Channel) Episode 3 “Dispossessed”

History Channel’s new series Vikings episode 3 “Dispossessed” airs on Sunday March 17 at 10 p.m.
Episode Synopsis: Vikings (History Channel) Episode 3 “Dispossessed” – A monastery in Lindesfarne is about to get a firsthand look at how the Vikings operate. In and out in a flurry of violence and terror, Ragnar and his crew raid the monastery for everything it contains from treasure to monks who can be sold as slaves. Unable to ignore the riches this unsanctioned journey has returned, Earl Haraldson has no choice but to agree to let these warriors undertake a second trip out. The west has now been opened for the taking by Ragnar Lothbrok and the world of the Vikings will never be the same
Show Summary: The extraordinary tales of the lives and epic adventures of these warriors are told in VIKINGS, a new nine-part scripted series premiering Sunday, March 3 at 10 p.m. (ET) on HISTORY. The drama portrays the world of these Dark Age raiders, traders, explorers – not from an outsider’s view, but, through the eyes of Viking society.
While VIKINGS is filled with conflict, warfare and bloodshed – for these were extreme times – it is a family saga at heart. It follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel, The Beast, Baytown Outlaws), a curious, compelling man who is always looking to break through barriers and discover new worlds to conquer. A young farmer and family man, Ragnar is deeply frustrated by the unadventurous policies of his local chieftain, Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment, Usual Suspects, Millers Crossing), who continues to send his Vikings raiders east every summer, to the Baltic states and Russia, whose populations are as materially poor as themselves.
VIKINGS will chart Ragnar’s ambitions to discover civilizations across the great ocean to the west as well as his inevitable conflicts along the way. With the help of his jester friend Floki, (Gustaf Skarsgard, The Way Back), they build a new generation of boats – faster, sleeker and more beautifully crafted than anything else on the sea.
The series will also delve into how the Vikings – the last pagans – worshipped ancient gods like Odin, Thor, Freya and Loki. Ragnar claims to be a direct descendant of the Norse god Odin, who, as well as being the god of warriors slain in battle, is also the god of curiosity.
Joining Fimmel, Byrne and Skarsgard are Katheryn Winnick (Bones, Love and Other Drugs, The Black Marks) as Lagertha, a fierce shield maiden and Ragnar’s wife; Jessalyn Gilsig (Glee, Heroes, Nip/Tuck, Friday Night Lights) as Siggy, Earl Haraldson’s beautiful wife; George Blagden (Les Miserables, Wrath of the Titans) as Athelstan, a young, innocent Christian monk captured by Ragnar on his first raid on England and Clive Standen (Camelot, Robin Hood) as Rollo, Ragnar’s impulsive, wild, care-free brother.

Vikings (History Channel) Episode 3 Dispossessed (3)

Unfortunately, like most things romanticized in Hollywood a few of the actual underlying facts aren't really accurate. For a breakdown on the actual facts see this article. The History Channel version sure makes for great viewing though.