Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bactrian in The Saddle Again

One of my plans for my campaign world is to do away with horses. They are extinct. As a result, it has become a badge of affluence to have a golem sculpted in the form of a horse -- dungeon-bling, if you will.

But what does everyone else do?

However much I loved the idea of one of my fellow blognards -- a series of catapults and nets as a means of transit -- it just didn't have the right tone.

The first cromulent idea came to me as I was watching some travel show about the Chinese hinterlands -- just a shot of a Bactrian's lower half coming over the crest of a sand dune.

After all, my world is inspired, in part, by Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique, which he described as comprising "Asia Minor, Arabia, Persia, India, parts of northern and eastern Africa, and much of the Indonesian archipelago."

In a word (or two): camel country.

Quite helpful is an article by Mitch Williamson over at War and Game: "Camels in Ancient Warfare."

After all, thanks to the President's new anti-tobacco pogram, Joe Camel will definitely be needing work.

Now, I just need to get me a DVD of Hawmps! and I'll be set.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ever Girl Crazy 'Bout A Sharp-Dressed Grognard

Just in time for Father's Day, what says "Old School Gaming" more than a Jim Holloway cover of B4 Lost City t-shirt?

Buy one here ...

Lest We Forget...
Every American should remember the Sixth of June -- when a group of Americans assembled for one purpose: Liberation. In the face of armored cars, and tanks, and jeeps, and rigs of every size, they did their duty.

A short video -- in their memory.

Friday, June 5, 2009

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert ..."

h/t Curious Expeditions

Can't seem to find the remains of Jeremy Bentham? Looking for a 500 year old sculpture of a man eating a sack of babies? Or just searching for the sunken stumps of an ice age forest? Well, look no further! Atlas Obscura has all this and more. The Atlas bills itself as "a compendium of this age's wonders, curiousities, and esoterica." On the bill of fare are "outsider architecture," bizarre collections, medical museums, underground points-of-interest , and more.


h/t Superhero Necromancer

Like Br'er Necromancer, I too spend a lot of time browsing art/illustration for writing ideas. I've pulled freely from the likes of Tim Bradstreet, Alex Toth, Doug Wildey, and N. C. Wyeth. Now, thanks to via Superhero Necromancer, I think I can add at least two artists to the list: Michael W. Kaluta and Virgil Finlay. Kaluta's work in Fax's 1976 edition of Robert E. Howard's Swords of Shahrazar reminds me of the pen-and-ink by Gary Gianni that made Michael Chabon's Gentlemen of The Road one of my favorite novels ever.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Nugget from Lord Kilgore

h/t Lord Kilgore
Only 161,000 Tons of Gold

Was flipping through the January issue of National Geographic when I noticed this:

In all of history, only 161,000 tons of gold have been mined, barely enough to fill two Olympic pools.

On the one hand, 161 thousand tons is quite a bit. That’s 3,220,000,000 gold pieces at 10 per pound. Gonna need at least several Tenser’s Floating Discs to get all that back to town…

On the other hand, though, given the piles of treasure, golden statues, and gilded whatnot present in the typical fantasy adventure game, the amount doesn’t seem quite so big. Particularly if you consider this:

More than half has been extracted in the past 50 years.

So without the conveniences of modern excavating equipment, transportation and logistics, and advanced prospecting technology (not to mention the skyrocketing demand due to rich and wealthy societies) only one Olympic pool of gold existed in use in our world in 1960. This seems to me to indicate that gold is far more common and accessible in RPG land than in our world.

And that all those dwarves have been busy.

On Sleestaks
While other American families were having backyard barbecues and the like, my family was enjoying the Land of The Lost marathon on the Sci-Fi channel. My son described the Sleestak as "half-leaf, half-dinosaur, half-man."

New Additions to the Blog Roll:
  • Permission to Kill, a site dedicated to spy-fi in all of its many incarnations.
  • Spy-Fi Channel, another spy-fi site.
  • Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot, with one of the coolest names for a blog I've ever heard, JLCS is devoted to "trashy movies, trashy paperbacks, trashy old TV shows, trashy...well, you get the picture."
  • The Paris Market & Brocante, a purveyor of fine exotica in Savannah

    Blackmoor Trivia

    h/t Sham aka Dave

    Notable players in those first Blackmoor sessions included Greg “Svenny” Svenson, Stephen “Rocky” Rocheford, Mike “von Ricthofen” Carr and future professional golfer “Fairway” Freddy Funk. The earliest participants in Blackmoor actually took on the role of their real life personae, except for role-playing pioneer Bill “Three-Dollar” Hastings, who insisted on playing as Annette Funicello's Dee Dee from the uproarious 1965 film, Beach Blanket Bingo.

    Tom Swift and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    Sci-Fi Wire reports that a Tom Swift movie is in the works via Columbia Pictures and Barry Sonnenfeld. I won't get my hopes up as the original source, Variety uses the term "reimagining" to describe the project. I've come to find that the word "reimagining" is Hollywoodese for "blasphemy" (see Tim Burton's Planet of The Apes).