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13 Apr 19:30

Boston's New Edgar Allan Poe Statue Is Going to Be Epic

by Katharine Trendacosta

Boston's New Edgar Allan Poe Statue Is Going to Be Epic

This is a clay model of the final design for the life-size statue of Edgar Allan Poe that will be unveiled on October 5, 2014 at 2pm, at the corner of Boylston Street and Charles Street South in Boston, which is also named "Edgar Allan Poe Square." It's got Poe with his coat flapping in the wind, a suitcase, and raven heralding his arrival.

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04 Dec 23:50

missdying: the-blossom-on-the-wall: hunson—abadeer: bordeaux-i...

27 Nov 14:09

Happy Thanksgiving! flubby:  













Happy Thanksgiving!

flubby:

 

22 Nov 17:06

Photo

by theburnlab


21 Nov 22:29

evilsupplyco: What is a hero without a villain?Useless. What is a villain without a...

evilsupplyco:

What is a hero without a villain?
Useless.

What is a villain without a hero?
Successful.

20 Nov 18:12

Cosmic Machine: deeply groovy 1970s French electronic music

by David Pescovitz

Perm fr5351 200Cosmic Machine: A Voyage Across French Cosmic & Electronic Avantgarde (1970-1980) is a fantastic new compilation showcasing the musical matrimony of experimental electronica with freaky disco. Among lesser known artists, you'll find tracks by Serge Gainsbourg, Frédéric Mercier (whose song above, "Spirit," was sampled by Jay Z), and Daniel Vangarde (DVWB) who just happens to be the father of Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter. This underexposed genre of diverse dance (and some chill) music will delight fans of Giorgio Moroder, Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, and the history of the future.

Cosmic Machine: A Voyage Across French Cosmic & Electronic Avantgarde (1970-1980)

    






19 Nov 22:50

Lydia Deetz returning to Beetlejuice 2, OMG think of the hats!

by Meredith Woerner

Lydia Deetz returning to Beetlejuice 2, OMG think of the hats!

Winona Ryder just spilled the beans that she probably going to return as the great Lydia Deetz for Beetlejuice 2. Okay, she didn't outright SAY that, but the implication is there, and it is awesome. Three important questions remain: What is Lydia Deetz up to now? What is she wearing? And where can I buy it?

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19 Nov 00:45

[Short Film] Exordium

by Greg Gorgonmilk
Some rotoscoped fantasy action!

19 Nov 05:03

Lord Byron's (Eldritch) Clubfoot

by Jack

Want to start an argument among a group of Romanticists?  Casually drop this query: "Byron had a club foot, didn't he?"  Suddenly, the room will be aflame with scholars each advancing their own theory as to what afflicted Byron's limb.  I've heard everything from infantile paralysis, dysplasia, and a persistent inflammation of the Achilles tendon--alongside the more widely talked of clubfoot deformation.

Despite of whatever his disability actually was, Byron was quite athletic and noted as a fantastic swimmer.  Actually, it might be more accurate to say that he was physically fit in spite of his medical condition; as John Galt noted, Byron would exercise "violently" perhaps to compensate for his emasculating limp.

But what if Byron's strange limb and notable swimming prowess had a far more disturbing link?  What if the same tainted blood that resulted in the dreadful "Innsmouth look" also flowed through Byron's veins?  Byron's scandalous relationship with his half-sister August Leigh seems almost natural in light of the inbreeding practiced in that horrid Massachusetts port.

Byron's deformity wasn't a clubfoot...it was a flipper.

Lord Byron, the Deep One Romantic (Wild Card)
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d10, Spirit d10, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Boating d6, Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Knowledge (literature) d10, Notice d8, Persuasion d10, Stealth d8, Swimming d12, Taunt d10
Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 6 
Special Abilities
• Aquatic: Pace 8
• Poetry: As an action, Byron can recite poetry that causes a mild hypnotic state in those exposed to it for more than a single round. Anyone who fails a Spirit roll upon hearing the crooning suffers a –2 to all rolls for the duration of the scene. 
• Low Light Vision: Byron ignores any penalties for Dim and Dark lighting
Spells: Perhaps all that business about occult powers and summoning spirits in Manfred wasn't just poetic license; at the GM's discretion Byron might know d6 spells and have the appropriate casting skill at d8.

(Katie gets credit for inspiring this take on the "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" Byron.)

10 Nov 14:19

Aliens, Saucer Men and Space Gods of Psychon pt 4

by noreply@blogger.com (Konsumterra)
Space gods and Saucer men 
To recap what we have done so far is to describe typical UFO encounters, saucer occupants, infiltration and invasion by various species.

Space gods are a bit different. Most evidence of space gods is ancient and interpreted from monuments of ancients, artifacts and supposed evolutionary leaps. Space gods are more aloof and dont zoom around in saucers scaring motorists and eating cow faces or stealing brains.

Spacegod artifacts are more likely to be encountered such as a monolith or crystal skull with psionic puzzles required to activate.

When space gods do visit it is a great event and those who contact them are changed forever.

Space gods may have servitor races, often which they have log abandoned. Many carry out agendas that no longer exist. Robots or androids are fairly common. Prometheans are one good candidate but they are arrogant and seek to exterminate failures and managed to wipe selves out with own bioweapons. Most aliens fear space gods and flee. Space gods are to normal aliens what UFOs are to humans.

Space gods typically come into play differently to plain aliens and UFOs. Usually spacegod artifacts or mysteries are uncovered.and possibly activated sending them a signal. Sometimes a servitor is uncovered and awakened but they are often hostile or uninterested in welfare of primitive animals. Spacegods may send mental communications but these are awesome mindblowing communications which may unhinge fragile minds. Spacegods test people with puzzles, leave around powerful weapons or other tests. Failure can mean failure for all humans not just yourself.

A cleric may wish to worship space gods instead of AI gods. Some say spacegods are yet another cruel hoax of of AI gods but most Psychononians cant be sure. But they do grant spells and may commune with some chosen. Such priests especially deal with other aliens possibly being able to turn aliens instead of undead. The power of the spacegods is recognizable and fearsome to saucer folk.

Spacegods may battle with the old ones or possibly kaiju from time to time but such conflict is sure to be very destructive. Why a spacegod would choose to wrestle a kaiju instead of turning them into a tadpole is a mystery but kaiju have their own priesthood too which might explain something.

Spacegods while judgmental will protect innocent from aliens, undead swarm, kaiju attack, mythos gods, or sometimes even Psychonian AI gods. The AI gods seem to not discuss space gods but they are frequently hostile to other aliens due to ancient earth defense protocols.

Other aliens may pretend to be spacegods but this calls the wrath of the Spacegods. Some servitors using the spacegods name in vain likewise displease them. Rogue spacegods do exist but are usually captured by their peers and imprisoned. Hopefully not under your city or on your planet. Evil spacegods take a hand in controlling their servitor species minions.

Several types of spacegods have been documented. The first are the Celestrions, apearing as collosal titans in space armour which may land on a planet and walk around. They walk through oceans waste deep but can walk on water or hover in the sky. They have abandoned vessels but some of these may still be found. Saucer men with ambition might try to occupy a space god vessel but outcome i usually bad. Statues of them may be found in ancient sites. Their impenetrable kirbonium armour is covered in mysterious symbols but a nuke might bother one if surprised. If they knew it was coming they might just dampen the nuclear reaction with a thought. The other variety are the Starchild. Usually appear as fetal beings in glowing spheres (some say they have seen them with tentacles).  Archons are another type whose fused dead bodies may be found in tombs, temples or crypts but these remnants may awaken if disturbed. They are humanoid but withered with domed heads and large eyes. Archons may grant individuals great power and will take it away if squandered on selfish goals. Their consciousness dwells on other planes and it seems ones on earth came here to find a place to die.

Spacegods when they do have ships are huge structures. Stargates are commonly employed also.

The best use of aliens is to send players to a hex with an invasion by saucer people underway. Spacegods are usually involved when greedy evil wizards seek artifacts, communication with evil spacegods or to meddle with their puzzles left to test the race. Spacegods arrival should be a climax. Artifacts or servitors should be seen first.




d20 Ancient Monuments
Some ideas for ruins and alien remnants. Crop circles good for temporary ones.

1 Huge carvings in plain depicting spacegods or landing sights
2 Crude megalith with rock paintings or carvings of spacegods
3 Strange archway of natural stone or carved which could have been an operational gate once
4 Huge wall wade with fused stones and possible carvings of spacegods
5 Cave temple complex with carvings of spacegods and possible secret chambers
6 Tomb of servitors who rulled or crashed here long ago
7 Huge statue of a specific space god
8 Field of statues of many spacegods
9 Temple with statues and carvings inside or all over
10 Pyramid sealed with artifacts sealed inside
11 Ziggerutt with temple on top where ancients communed with spacegods
12 Lost city with alien servitor mummies and and carvings of spacegods
13 Shrine with slightly alien looking god, dead alien or spacegod relics inside 
14 Sunken city ruins with spacegod
15 Huge crater with scraps of spacejunk remains
16 Remains of servitor saucer possibly crashed or in hanger or temple
17 Sarcophagi of servitors in sealed chamber
18 Huge carving in cliff, mountain or rock depicting spacegod or hybrid alien
19 Sacred area two more times
20 Ruined holy precinct roll 1d4+1 more rolls


d20 What are Aliens in art doing?
1 Saucer crash
2 Saucer crash with survivors meeting locals
3 Saucer crash with aliens dying one by one
4 Saucer crash with aliens becoming priest kings of locals
5 Saucer crash with aliens hybridizing
6 Aliens sharing advanced knowledge with human
7 Aliens destroying life
8 Aliens saving people from disaster
9 Aliens having sex with humans
10 Aliens Building a city or sacred precinct
11 Aliens building monument with advanced technology
12 Aliens kidnapping people
13 Aliens of different types fighting with troops
14 Aliens bringing law to mankind
15 Aliens bringing peace and prosperity
16 Aliens of different types fighting with saucers
17 Alien priest in meditation looking serene
18 Aliens breeding monsters which eat people
19 Alien priests sacrificing people
20 Alien wizards performing miracles like healing or monster killing

d100 Alien Artifacts 

Use adjectives like mysterious, unfathomable, strange, weird, whenever describing them. Most have mysterious purposes which cannot be fathomed. A lab might spend 100 years and a grey will activate it instantly on touch.

1 Crystal or jade
2 Crystal Skull
3 Idol of alien god
4 Idol of Saucer
5 Disc with alien text
6 Stone Tablets
7 Scrolls with alien text
8 Map
9 Medallion
10 Crystal
11 Sarcophagi
12 Bracelet
13 Ring
13 Alien Bones
14 Alien Skull
15 Strange meteor fragment
16 Headband
17 Broach
18 Implant
19 Glove
20 Headband
21 Mask
22 Stone Head
23 Alien Drugs
24 Crystal Psi Helmet
25 Alien Communicator
26 Living Organs
27 Rust eating slug
28 Hair eating slug
29 Crystals that glow in certain situations or near other crystals
30 Game board with depressions for crystals
31 Sword Hilt
31 Silver sphere32 Pandora's Box
33 Jade Tablet
34 Pellet of normally unstable element in sold form
35 Fragment of non terrestrial metal
36 Skullcap
37 Metal rod
38 Dodecahedron
39 Small Crystal Pyramid
40 Hexagonal Plate with symbols
41 Pentagonal Plate with symbols
42 Hexagonal crystal prism
43 Octagonal crystal prism
44 Crystal octahedron
45 Metal Hexahedron (cube)
46 Stasis bubble
47  Crystal Wand
48 Necklace
49 Isotope in box with pulsing message frequency
50 SOS signal gem
51 Spool of monofilament
52 Puzzlebox changes into different polygons
53 Vial of black twitching fluid
54 Green liquid in cylinder
55 Glittering Powder in canister
56 Crystalline Egg
57 Box that goes ping
58 Hybrid skull
59 Alien fossil
60 Human petrified skull
61 Gelatinous Blob
62 Flat metal square with static charge
63 Magnetic sphere
64 Strand of alien hair
65 Human mask
66 Alien eye contacts
67 Jar of swirling vapour
68 Stone sphere
69 Metal cone
70 Cluster of black metallic spheres
71 Metal plate with nude figures and map of local quasars
72 Plastic card with microchip and symbols
73 Crystal which has random images appear
74 Black box with illuminated red changing symbols
75 Mummified alien hand
76 Chrome vibrating wand
77 Green glowing wand
78 String of glowing spheres
79 Spiked sphere
80 Egg shaped object floats
81 Complex metallic crystalline object changes shape daily
82 Statuette of strange creature
83 Alien looking foetus in jar
84 Tiny alien skeleton in box
85 Caste of alien footprint
86 Alien scalp
87 Metallic rings that hover and spin above each other
88 Fragments of alien container of some biological material
89 Container of hostile liquid entity
90 Container of gelatinous blob that eat flesh and grows
91 Container with DNA hacking nanosoup inside
92 Crystal if dropped in sea grows into crystal castle
93 Crystal if dropped in sea or soil grows into liquid crystal slime creature
94 Crystal shows images of alien world
95 Egg may hatch into tiny beast that rapidly grows to kaiju size
96 Monolith black slab actually a hyperspacial marker buoy with pocket dimension inside
97 Monolith black slab actually an AI
98 Monolith black slab actually a communicator
99 Monolith black slab actually a evolution accelerator
00 Monolith black slab actually a stargate


Other Aliens
Psionic devil bugs from quatermass i should have remembered

Aeons and Auguries been tag teaming on this:

more UFO types:
http://aeonsnaugauries.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/saucer-and-ufo-configurations.html
I guess i wanted a limited type so ppl unsure of diferences between aliens but this i excellent variety I will probably use

why are they here? - this is gold
http://aeonsnaugauries.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/why-are-they-here.html
beaten me to it and very funny - my aliens mostly bastards or patronizing at best but I will use this

aliens are elves a hypothesis I have always liked
http://aeonsnaugauries.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/faeries-are-aliens.html

more aliens with more plants beings and some other things...
http://aeonsnaugauries.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/death-turnips-and-other-saucer-men.html

Awesome 70s SF art page - very much Planet Pychon idea
http://70sscifiart.tumblr.com/

04 Nov 04:55

newvagabond: did-you-kno: Source

04 Nov 16:32

Dice can "dramatically decompose"

by Minnesotastan

Cellulose nitrate was used to make dice from the late 1860s until the middle of the twentieth century, and the material remains stable for decades. Then, in a flash, they can dramatically decompose. Nitric acid is released in a process called outgassing. The dice cleave, crumble, and then implode.
From Dice: Deception, Fate & Rotten Luck by Ricky Jay and Rosamond Purcell, 2002.
After reading that I immediately checked my box of D&D dice, which have been sitting on the shelf for years. They all seem to be intact.

Text and image via Sutured Infection.


05 Nov 20:11

[Rifts:2112] Fresh Brain Droppings

by noreply@blogger.com (David Larkins)
With the release of BRP Mecha, I've found my thoughts increasingly returning to my Rifts:2112 project. Statting up mechs and power armor was one of the stumbling blocks in my ongoing mechanical conversion process, and BRP Mecha has excellent guidelines in that regard, obviously. (Although I'll only be using some parts of the book's systems, as its focus is more on running anime mecha campaigns in the vein of Robotech or Voltron.) As before, mechanical conversions spark thoughts on setting development, and I figured it was time to fire up a post and throw out some of the latest ideas and see which ones stick.

One thing I've noticed in the course of following along as other people develop a published setting into their own personal vision (as with Scott Driver's gone-but-not-forgotten Wilderlands OD&D project), is that, after a certain point, the developing setting comes loose from its original moorings and increasingly the personal vision shares less and less in common with the original example. I feel like I may just be getting to that point now.

For example, my initial plan was relatively modest in its re-imaginings, only implementing minor changes to bring the world of Rifts a bit more in line with a "realistic" sensibility that I favored. More and more, though, I've changed and modified things to the point where I'm thinking about making some pretty broad-brush alterations.

For example, I'm seriously considering dialing down all my creative focus into the North American region and not concerning myself much, if at all, with the rest of the world. Frankly, back in the day, I was surprised that the official line of supplements skipped over the Atlantic so early on and started detailing England, Africa, and Europe so quickly - there's so much going on in North America, even in the original core book, that the line could've stayed there for a good dozen supplements or more.

Insofar as I am thinking about Europe, I'm thinking about ditching the whole "New German Republic" thing altogether and probably just cludging in Palladium's other great post-apocalyptic European setting, Mutants in Avalon. This would make the British Archipelago the focus of any sort of remnant civilization in Europe, and relegate most of the continent to monster-haunted wilderness for the mutant knights to go questing in. I'd retain the Rifts vision of Russia as another, far-distant center of civilization (sort of like, in the original Arthurian mythos, the distant "Roman Empire"), but at this point I'm thinking the only other locus of human dominance aside from the American Midwest and Mother Russia would be Japan (where all the cool mecha get to go). My vision of "purestrain" human centers of survival is getting increasingly grimmer, evidently.

But back to North America. My ideas for some of the basic foundations of the setting have been undergoing some changes there, as well. Like, across the board, I'm thinking of toning down the tech just a bit. For example, making any anthropomorphic mech taller than a suit of power armor into a major rarity; the Ulti-max (supplied by intergalactic arms dealers, as per my re-imagining of Triax) and the Glitter Boy (bestowed to selected champions by enigmatic Powers) being the only major examples known.

Because, honestly, how could I not include this?
All Coalition mechs are arachnid, in the style of the Spider Skull Walkers or the URR-1. Most other factory outfits manufacturing any kind of mechanical suit are confined to power armor. Gone are things like the UAR-1 Enforcer or the NG V7 Hunter - "generic" bipedal mecha. At least among human manufacturing capabilities. With aliens like the Kitani, all bets are off.

Because, again, how could I not include this?
It's the sort of thing that'll be decided on a case-by-case basis as I work my way through my source material, but as a general rule, it's mostly about refocusing on power armor, tanks, sky cycles, and the like.

I've had some other thoughts on the Coalition, as well. Like, what if I combined Emperor Prozek and A.R.C.H.I.E. and made the Emperor of the Coalition a giant A.I. brain? Those A.R.C.H.I.E.-bots always reminded me of Coalition Dead Boys anyway. This would allow me to play up the whole Rush in-joke, too, as I could make the Coalition's highest-rankers into a caste of tech-priests administering to the God-Emperor, S.Y.R.I.N.X. (Synthetic-Yield Research Intelligence [Neuronet-X] - thanks for acronym, +Zak Smith!).

Oh, and speaking of Dead Boys - a comment from way back in 2010 on my initial Coalition post got me thinking about re-imagining the look of the Coalition's military elite. The skull-face armor has always been a bit of a giveaway as to who the baddies are; but the Helghast from Killzone II retain a suitably "Dead Boy"-ish look without being quite as over-the-top EVIL, and nicely fitting my more "realistic" post-apocalyptic/dystopian sensibilities:


Handily, as I've had the idea to do a "Space Marine/Imperial Guard" split of the Coalition forces for some time now, Killzone II also provides suitable imagery for the Guard half of the equation in the form of their ISA infantry:


So I think a "Coalition II" post is in order, obviously. Another post I want to write is on Lone Star. I'll save the details for that post, but I'm envisioning a slight re-arranging of the geopolitics of the southern end of the Coalition States and an opportunity to talk about how I hope to incorporate yet another book from the After the Bomb series, Road Hogs.

Lastly, I've been giving some thought to doing a post on the Coalition's enemies - I haven't written much, if at all, on Lazlo, the Federation of Magic (such as it is in my setting), or Tolkeen. The former two will probably be encompassed in a single post, as I view them as opposite sides of the same coin - the "good" magic-based society, and the "bad" one.

Tolkeen, though, deserves a post of its own. I understand and accept that, from the beginning, Tolkeen existed to be the country that's there for the Coalition to invade and conquer. Keeping in mind that I never read the Coalition War Campaign books (and don't intend to), Tolkeen always came off a bit bland, like a "Lazlo West" if you will. For a country called Tolkeen, centered (in my re-imagined setting) on a rift in Gary Gygax's basement, we can do better.

As I'm most likely ditching the New German Republic, I see Tolkeen as being a worthy recipient of the D&D-fantasy/alchemy/steampunk mashup vibe I'd originally placed there. In fact, I could do a lot worse than by adding to what I've already got by mercilessly looting the Iron Kingdoms setting, taking the best parts, filing off the serial numbers, and calling it Tolkeen. I'll give it some more thought, but I like the direction that it's headed . . .




Rifts®, The Rifter®, RECON®, Splicers®, Palladium Books®, Phase World®, The Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game®, Megaverse®, Nightbane®, The Mechanoids®, The Mechanoid Invasion®, Coalition Wars® and After the Bomb® are Registered Trademarks of Palladium Books Inc. Heroes Unlimited, Beyond the Supernatural, and other published book titles, names, slogans and likenesses are trademarks of Palladium Books Inc. and Kevin Siembieda.

All art is copyright its respective artist.
29 Oct 22:37

Sugar Skull Spoon, A Stainless Steel Teaspoon Shaped Like a Skull

by EDW Lynch

Sugar Skull Spoon

Sugar Skull Spoon is a stainless steel teaspoon that is shaped like a skull. When used the scoop sugar, the teaspoon forms a skull-shaped mound of sugar as grains escape through the eye holes. The Sugar Skull Spoon was created by London design studio Hundred Million. They’re raising funds for the project on Kickstarter.

34f88000387db9a4a73e63d90dbfa64f_large

via Cool Material, This Isn’t Happiness

30 Oct 15:43

Calvin & Hobbes Dance in an Animated Short by Adam Brown

by Justin Page

Toronto-based animator Adam Brown (Ugly Americans on Comedy Central) is back, and this time he created a wonderful Calvin and Hobbes animated short that shows the mischievous comic strip duo dancing all of their worries away. To complete the piece, Adam used Flash and inspiration from comic drawings by Bill Watterson. Previously, we wrote about Adam’s animated short in which Calvin is tackled by Hobbes.

Here is an image of the actual dance moves seen in Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes comic strip:

Calvin & Hobbes Dance

music by ProleteR – “April Showers

video and image via Adam Brown

via Tastefully Offensive

30 Oct 16:13

Thug Notes, Gangsta Speak Summaries of Classical Literature

by mikl-em

Turns out there’s a difference between being illiterate and ill literate. Sparky Sweets, PhD hosts Thug Notes a weekly series of gangsta speak dissertations on classic literary works via YouTube. Sweets delivers genuinely insightful, erudite reviews of books by the likes of Orwell, Huxley, Hawthorne, Dostoevsky, and even Tolkien. Along the way we get a kind of thesaurus of streetwise synonyms for “kill”. Murk, cap, ice… it turns out there’s a lot of murder in classic literature.

Join me as I drop some of da illest classical literature summary and analysis that yo ass ever heard. Educate yo self, son.

Dr. Sweets’ critiques touch on foils, motifs, themes, symbolism and all that. While he has major literary knowledge, he clearly brings a minor in philosophy–dropping Nietzsche quotes like they were über hot and explaining Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 with a pertinent dose of Heidegger. Here are a few choice off-the-shelf examples:

“Thug Notes” debuted on YouTube earlier this year. The name is a play on “Cliffs Notes” the original literary summary series for lazy high school students.

Sweets, who is from LA, claims to be a legit PhD and have an agenda to deflate the exclusivity of academia. In an interview he says he wants to inspire teachers:

Sometimes you have to seize it, and I hope Thug Notes inspires teachers to explore alternative methods to really engage their students. On a larger scale, I also hope that people realise that comedy is a powerful tool for education!

It seems to be working:

We forreal just watched Thug Notes in my English class #ThugNotes

— Chase C. Coleman ? (@TrippCHunnit) October 14, 2013

Thanks Tony Campanale!

30 Oct 19:12

A Supercut Video of Badass Female Characters in Horror Films

by Kimber Streams

Vulture has put together a supercut video of “Final Girls,” a term coined by film theorist Carol J. Clover to refer to “badass” female horror movie characters who outlive their companions and defeat the film’s horrifying monster or vicious killer.

Final Girl

video via Vulture

30 Oct 21:02

Little Girl Dresses Up as All Eleven Doctors From ‘Doctor Who’ For Halloween

by Kimber Streams

Doctor Who

Todd Kent’s two-year-old daughter Katie dressed up as all eleven Doctors for Halloween this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. To see the rest of her outfits, head over to Kent’s blog. In previous years, Katie dressed up as every member of The Avengers and every Lantern color.

Doctor Who

Doctor Who

Doctor Who

Doctor Who

images via Todd Kent

via The Mary Sue

25 Oct 22:39

gimme



gimme

23 Oct 04:01

How to Make Your Own Soundtrack for Horror Games

by Jack

Playing music in the background while gaming is a tricky proposition: if the music is too engaging on its own merits, it can distract you from the game; if the music doesn't fit the game, it works against the atmosphere you're trying to create; if the music is too obvious, it cheapens the effect you're going for, etc.  

In horror games, music can be especially problematic: you don't want the music to be more scary than your game, you don't want to play something too light that spoils the mood, and you don't want to rely on "Tubular Bells" again.

The solution that avoids all those pitfalls is to DIY your own horrorific ambient soundtrack.  It sounds like a lot to ask, doesn't it?  "I have to make my own adventures, draw my own maps, learn the rules of the game, and now I have to make music too?"  

You're going to be surprised by how easy this is.



1) Download Audacity, a free audio editing program here.  Install the program.

2) Start Audacity.  File-->Open--> and load any music mp3 you've already got on your computer.  Seriously, it doesn't matter if your source file is Carly Rae Jepsen or Rammstein, this process will make it into a long, creepy ambient track.

3) Effect-->Change Speed--> and reduce speed by about 90% or so.  It will take a while to apply the change, as this makes the track significantly longer.

4) File-->Export the file as a mp3 at the bitrate of your choice.  You're done.

The end result will be a slow, eerie track full of ominous rumblings, unexpected noisome growls, and Cthulhoid mutterings.  If there was a pronounced beat in the original file, it will now likely be at a dragging, funereal tempo that sounds like footsteps through an abandoned slaughterhouse.  



Play your new soundtrack at a low volume in the background for your next Call of Cthulhu or Don't Rest Your Head game and marvel at your ingenuity. 

As an example of what the end product might sound like, here's one I made from a Combichrist song.

As another example, here's another one made from a Smiths song.
18 Oct 14:30

kukashkin: Machete reads.



kukashkin:

Machete reads.

19 Oct 03:25

Rabbit you sick bastard

14 Oct 17:53

The 12 Weirdest Vampire Movies Ever Made

by Meredith Woerner

The 12 Weirdest Vampire Movies Ever Made

It's October, the month where we celebrate all things horror. We love horror movies when they're terrifying and spine-tingling — but also when they're just plain weird. And the decades of vampire movies have included some super-bizarre bits. Put your pants back on Eric Northman, because these are the 10 weirdest vampire movies.

Read more...


    






09 Oct 13:12

Photo





04 Oct 19:52

Astounding game-tokens from Cthulhu Wars, the $1.4M kickstarted board-game

by Cory Doctorow


I'm the guest of honor this weekend at Fencon in Dallas, which is just getting started. One of the exhibitors is Cthulhu Wars, the Lovecraftian boardgame that raised over $1.4M on Kickstarter (they were looking for $40K). They've brought along the prototype for the game, and the tokens are amazing. They were kind enough to let me photograph them, and I've uploaded the hi-rezes to my Flickr; there's a gallery of some of the best after the jump.











    
01 Oct 12:58

Land of Perpetual Stone and Mire- An example of the layout of Hubris

by wrathofzombie

frank_frazetta_deathdealerIV

I am getting closer to completing the territories of Hubris.  I have been asked a few times what my format/info for the territories is.  I haven’t said much on this, save for posting the summaries of a few of the territories here and there on the blog or on my G+ community page (feel free to join that if you want.  I do posts there about the setting that don’t make it to the blog).

My goal for the territories has been to provide a GM with the tools to use the book at the table and on the fly to generate a situation/story, rather than pages and pages of fluff and description which, while may be an enjoyable read, doesn’t make a great thing to have at the table.  Each territory has a d100 Lay of the land table and a d100 Encounter table, a few “locations” with a brief description (roughly a paragraph) and each with 2-6 plot hooks/rumors that the GM can use on the fly.  Some territories (as the one I’m about to post here) have charts or tables that aid the GM in generating ideas, etc. for encounters or whatever.

Another goal I have with Hubris, in general, is to encourage the GM and the players to make the world theirs.  Many authors of settings I’ve read through treat their world like gold and there (sometimes) is a feeling of “this is how it has to be played!  Changing or altering is badwrongfun!”  Not with Hubris.  With these charts and tables provided throughout the book and the territories- each Hubris campaign will be different.

I am REALLY interested in some constructive feedback here.  I have used this format for all the territories I have finished (6 out of 10) and have used them during play and it (for me) has worked really well.  You can either comment on the post, on my G+ community page, or email me at ihaveangerissues AT G M A I L DAWT C O M.

Thanks for taking the time to look through this.

Land of Perpetual Stone and Mire- The Land of Perpetual Stone and Mire is a grim territory full of grey soil, groves of petrified trees with twisted human features, bogs, tar pits, strange swirling sentient mists, and nightmarish spirits.  Rabid Ravens sit on trees or fly through the air uttering unnerving garbling noises, whilst spouting out strange prophecies.  Many people attempt to parley with these birds in the hope of learning what the fates have in store for them.  Often times these foolish people have their mind’s shattered and are driven insane, becoming devote worshipers of the birds in the Cult of the Molted Raven.  Ruins of great wealth and knowledge have been discovered throughout the land, but few are brave, or foolish, enough to venture into them.  Alters to long-forgotten gods dot the landscape, whispering dark secrets and ill-promises to those who stumble across them.  The huge Floating Island of Terror can always be seen drifting throughout the area while slaves and workers toil in the mines below.

Priestess of the Cult of the Molted Raven

Priestess of the Cult of the Molted Raven

Cultist of the Cult of the Molted Raven

Cultist of the Cult of the Molted Raven

The discovery of rich mines led to an influx of the desperate and hopeless traveling to the Land of Perpetual Stone and Mire in the hopes of finding work and riches in the mines.  While most of the minerals found are taken by the Black Queen, some is traded to the other nation states.

Of the most troublesome creatures that make their home in this grim land, none is more feared than the roving orc bands.  What these creatures may have been before the Klind flesh-weavers experimented and warped them beyond the point of return has been lost to history.  Orcs raid camps, attack trade lanes, and capture other animals and creatures.  More frightening than their bloodlust and utter ferocity is that the orcs have somehow learned the secrets of Klind flesh-weaving and subject their prisoners to the alchemical baths, transforming them into grotesque abominations that bolster orc ranks.

Lay of the Land- Land of Perpetual Stone and Mire

1-15 Barren wasteland, cracked dry ground, with patches of barbed grass

16-17 Ancient cemetery of long-forgotten kingdom.  Several small crypts line a path to a giant mausoleum made of marble and gold

18-20 Area of petrified trees, while in area no sound can be heard.  Spells are unable to be cast, and the divine is not felt

21-25 Horrible alter to long forgotten god (use Alter generator)

26-27 Massive mound that is a physical wound of Hubris.  It steadily trickles hot acidic blood, and stinking pus bursts out every 1d6 hours.  All are sickened in a 1 mile radius when this occurs

28-29 A gigantic petrified tree that a group of the Cult of the Molted Raven are using as a tree fort.  They caw and flap their wings and jump out of the tree and attempt to fly, failing horribly

30 Field of cracked and jagged glass that bursts from the ground.  20% chance that looking through the glass will tear open reality and transport the viewer to another plane of existence for 1d4 days

31-32 Grove of twisted petrified trees with over-large human faces frozen in expressions of utter agony that whisper the secrets of the characters as they pass

33-34 Large gnarled tree with dead humanoids and animals that have been gutted and left impaled on the thick branches

35 Ancient swirling mist that contains the knowledge of years past.  Those who remain in it for an hour gain +1 Int, but also incur one minor corruption.

36 Dehydrated carapace of a gargantuan maggot.  1d12 Shriveled Eye clan goblins have made this their home

37-40 Huge statue of a brooding head.  On top of the head are 2d4 Rabid Ravens.  Their eyes are rolling in their sockets as their terrible garbbled cawing fills the air

41 Abandoned orc camp.  Tattered tents made of tanned human flesh, large rotted and mutated bodies litter the ground.  In the center of the camp a cauldron containing some of the terrible alchemical substance of the orcs still steams and bubbles

42-45 A hastily abandoned mining camp.  The town is overrun by 1) infected villagers; 2) giant rodents; 3) Shriveled Eye clan goblins; 4) swarms of parasitic insects

46-50 Large tar pit.  Any thing that falls in sinks 1d3’ per round.  Strength check DC 20 to get out

51-55 Active mine maintained by a small group of guards that bully and lord over slaves and indentured-servants

56-57 Orc fortress built of the still living flesh of thousands of creatures

58-60 Small group of explorers from: 1) Fairweather; 2) Shadowfall; 3) Eisenbar; 4) Klind

61-62 50’ discarded smoke stack from the Floating Island of Terror.  An old man lives inside the cavernous cylindrical structure

63 Keep of the evil wizard Iboz.  Constructed out of white marble, it resembles the upper body of the wizard

64-65 Orc incubation structure.  Looks like a gigantic hive, like that of a wasp, but constructed from the flesh of hundreds of creatures.  Humanoids and creatures trapped inside the structure can be seen gestating and becoming warped hideous abominations

66-67 Active Klind enclave capturing various species of life to experiment on back in their kingdom

68 Abandoned Eisenbar paladin camp

69-71 Huge black pit.  Heat and shimmering gasses waft up the large hole.  Glittering gems can be seen along the rock-face

72-74 Mine that is heavily guarded by several Black Guard and murder machines.  The miners are carrying out crates of faintly glowing green rocks

75-77 Geyser field erupting, sending jets of hot, sulfuric water and globs of yellow slime into the air

78 Huge swarm of Rabid Ravens blot out the sky.  The concentration of their prophecy causes a void to open in the sky.  Any character that looks into the center of the void catches a glimpse of future times and gains +1d3 Luck, but this vision of the future has a cost to their psyche and they lose 2d2 Personality

79 Cave of obsidian that is home to the Cult of the Molted Raven

80 River with water flowing south to north.  The water is full of skeletal flying fish.  Anyone who submerges themselves in the water ages 1d10 years.  Drinking the water ages the person 3d10 years.  If dead, they become a sentient skeletal wanderer

81 An ancient tower covered in life leeching vines.  The tower is the prison of an ancient primordial demi-god of hunger

82-83 Village of exiled and hunted mutants.  They are outright mistrusting of outsiders and non-mutants.  Any character able to cast arcane spells feels a draw towards the largest structure in the village, the manor house.  Inside it is a golden statuette that vibrates in their hands when held and whispers in their mind

84 Long abandoned village constructed of bland grey stone.  The architecture is sharp with strange corners and heights.  In the basement of one house is 1d3 wights that are all that remains of this settlement

85 Raised dais with an alter in the middle.  The creature has the head of a man with a halo of a thousand screaming heads, eyes bleeding acidic blood, and mouths all over its body.  At its feet are 2d6 crazed fanatics.

86-88 A fetid bog that has a green haze that wafts lazily through the brambles and gnarled trees.  In the middle of the bog is a gigantic anthropomorphic frog statue that is weeping nasty smelling water from its eyes into the bog

89 The remains of a gigantic murder machine.  Its parts are scattered over a 25’ radius.  It looks to have exploded and sent shrapnel everywhere.  Several dead bodies are around the area, killed by the chunks of flying metal

90 Klind fortress and a ritual to Set in progress

91 Gigantic roving slug with ramshackle fort of Withered Eye clan goblins on its back

92 Beautiful healthy tree in the middle of a stretch of wasteland.  Produces amazing fruit of various colors: 1) Red- heals 1d4 HP; 2) Orange- grants thermavision for 2d4 days; 3) Black- Fort Save DC 20 or die; 4) Blue- gain ability to breathe underwater for 2d4 days; 5) Yellow- completely rested as if slept for 8 hours; 6) Green- rejuvenates 1d3 years; 7) Purple- Int tests are made one step higher on the die ladder, but Personality tests are one step lower as your skin is now purple- lasts 1d3 days; 8) Grey- painfully grow calcified rock claws that do d4+1 damage.  Lasts 2d5 hours.  The tree has 2d4 fruit on it.  Once picked the fruit will grow back (roll for color) in 30 days.

93 A field of arms and legs that look as though they have been planted in the ground.  The appendages wiggle and flail in desperation, when dug out there is nothing there.  The appendages wither to dried husks and crumble to dust in 1d8 days

94-96 Deserted mine.  Several pieces of equipment are scattered over the ground.  An ill wind blows from the shaft and an unsettling clicking noise is carried up on the draft

97 A klind enclave that is under siege by a warband of orcs.  Several klind are being dunked into an alchemical bath.  Their screams fill the air

98 Mudflats that stretch for miles.  While traversing them, all suffer extreme thirst that cannot be satiated until through the area.  Many go mad before they ever get out

99 Three sculpted stone statues of powerfully built men with brooding features.  They are each sitting on differently crafted thrones.  Their eyes seem to follow the characters wherever they move.  For a price they will answer a question posed by a character.  One will lie, one will tell the truth, and one will ask a question of their own

00 Large tower with large telescope pointed towards the sky.  Magical runes have been inscribed all along the towers base

Encounters- Land of Perpetual Stone and Mire

1-10 2d4 Marauding orcs

11-12 Large rock spider with 2d20 babies on its back

13 Thick fog that holds the consciousness of a cleric of the Terrible Whisper.  The cleric gained utter disapproval of his god by burning down a library of ancient and lost knowledge

14-15 Large band of Eisenbar paladin and their support marching across the Land of Perpetual Stone and Mire to cleanse the corruption

16-21 2d5 members of the Cult of the Molten Raven sitting beneath a tree listening to the garbling of a Rabid Raven

22-24 1d8+1 Klind slavers, one is a cleric of Set (lvl 1d4)

25 A sky whale, transformed into an abomination by orcs, drifts in the sky

26-27 A living acid cloud is slowly drifting towards the characters

28 A wyvern is attacking an expedition force from Fairweather

29-32 2d4 Shriveled Eye clan goblins are running at the players with glowing maggots strapped to their backs.  These maggots explode for 2d6 damage

33-34 2d4 slaves that escaped from a mine and are attempting to get to the civilized territories

35-36 An old man sitting cross-legged on a rock, smiles at the characters.

37 2d8 humans- their skin is shriveled skin and clumps of rock piercing out their flesh.  Their eyes are sunken in and black ichor is leaking from their mouths.

38-39 Tribe of 2d5 stone giants.  They may be peaceful, or not

41-45 A small band of the Black Queens Black Guard and 2 murder machines in search of slaves who escaped with a haul of ore

46-47 Orc warband riding on the backs of mammoth abominations.

48 Earth elemental with large calcified protrusions that jut out like serrated blades.  Seems to be protecting a small wooden box

49-52 1d4 Rabid Ravens wish to bestow the characters with prophecy… if their minds can withstand the assault

53-54 Patches of barbed grass lying in wait for fresh meat

55-57 1d3 mature brain grubs

58 Large egg sack filled with squirming larva.  A successful Int check reveals they are immature brain grubs

59 A demon performing a ritual at the alter of the Heathen Below.  Around the base of the alter are 2d10 chained and naked women.

60-62 A fire beetle hive

63 The Black Queen’s Skeletal Gun Runners on route to deliver a shipment of wheellock weaponry

64-66 Whithered Eye Clan goblins riding on the back of a stone giant.  The giant is gaunt, with hooks on his eyes and mouth, forcing them open.

67-70 A shimmering cloud.  Walking through it causes one of the character’s worst nightmares to manifest in the material plane

71 Bizarre mound of flesh with one thousand eyes, mouths, arms, and legs

72-73 Small sentient rockmen that are proud keepers of the Resonance Key

74-76 The remains of an ancient drake.  It will animate and attack any who get too close

77-80 Orc wizard with 2d10 abomination Withered Eye clan goblins

81-82 Swarm of flying purple locusts blot out the sky.

83 Miners from Fairweather are trying to establish a small outpost, while fighting off interlopers from the Floating Island of Terror

84 Polymorph magical trap.  If characters trigger it use spell description in DCC

85-86 Klind, orc, and Eisenbar troops are engaged in a three-way battle

87 A Demon Lord is forcing slaves to build him a grand keep in the wastes

88-91 A herd of 3d10 animals and 2d6 miners that have been mutated into terrible beastmen by Blood Madness caused by the Mountain That Bleeds

92-93 Swarm of small stinging insects that cause a person to swell up and leak orange fluid when bitten

94 Chameleon ooze lurking near party

95 Village of small lizard-beings.  Their needle teeth drip with saliva and their red eyes seem to glow, even at night

96 Community of 3d3 friendly stone giants

98 A tattered and torn camp.  There are several skeletons.  The skeletal structure and clothing matches that of the characters

99 Caravan of traders heading from Klind to the civilized territores

00 A manifestation of the Heathen Below lumbers across the land, non-believers will be smote

The Prophecy of the Rabid Raven

If a player desires to put their psyche to the test and survives the chaotic garbled gibbering of a Rabid Raven with their mind intact, they will hear a prophecy spoken.  A player must make a Will save DC 14 or suffer madness (players get to add/subtract their luck modifier to this roll as well).  Failure means that the listener(s) suffer a permanent loss of 1d3 Personality and -2 to all rolls for 2d4 days.  If a critical failure is rolled then the target suffers double the Personality drain and -2 to all rolls for 2d8 days.  Success means that they are able to hear the prophecy.  Some prophecies will directly affect the character, while others may be on a whole other scale.

The Prophecy of the Rabid Raven

Roll Results
1 If you kill any creature in the next eight days the moon will turn red for one month and bolster the strength of the creatures of darkness.
2 Insulting a merchant will lead to riches raining down on you (literally).
3 You are a shining beacon in the darkness.  All Personality tests are now made one step higher on the die ladder for 3d10 months.
4 Sleeping in a bed of silken sheets will attract the eye of a prince(ss) to you.
5 Your rudeness will cause your ruin.  All Personality tests are now made one step lower on the die ladder for 3d10 months.
6 On the night of the full moon someone will fall in love with you.
7 If you ever look in the mirror when the sun is high you will become corrupted (roll a minor wizard corruption or Hubris mutation).
8 Prove your devotion to your god and you shall be rewarded.
9 Talking to an old man will result in his death… and it will have consequences.
10 Sitting on the throne of a dead king will make you the monarch.
11 The spirit of one you have killed now follows you and seeks to injure you (the characters luck is reduced by 1d6+1 until the spirit has been banished.  This represents the spirit attempting to interfere with the character’s life).
12 When you rush into the burning building to save the young, you will be blessed by The Stillborn Unwanted Child (+1 luck- chaotic align; +2 luck- neutral and lawful align; +3 luck to worshippers of the Stillborn Unwanted Child).
13 Your touch will ruin an important food source of a village.
14 You will soon be greeted by death.  He will greet you as a friend should you do him a service of great importance.  Refusal of Death’s request will result in insult and injury.

Locations

 

Bleeding Mountain That Pierced the Sky- A massive and foreboding mountain; it is the tallest in all of Hubris.  The sky around the peak is always black, pitch void, with swirling clouds around the boarder.  Green lightning and shattering thunder rock the area constantly, while red rain falls onto the rock below.  Those who stay too long in this terrible rain begin to suffer Blood Madness, eventually becoming a warped, bestial creature.  Explorers have made reports in their journals of weird, alien creatures that fall out of the Wound in the Sky.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) The lone survivor from an expedition team from Eisenbar raved about large tentacles-like appendages coming through the Wound in the Sky.

2) A book discovered in the ruins of Vladral Castle gives the location of the ancient crypt of Zagryl the Worst, a terrible Sorcerer-king from ancient times.  The book tells of hidden treasures, secrets, and dangers unimagined.

3) A horde of twisted humans and alien creatures are marching towards Eisenbar.  They have reached Gypsy Lake and left devastation in their wake.

 

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Bloodmire- This oddly constructed tower was built by a long forgotten cult, The Blighted Brethren, in order to worship and summon their master from the depths of the Nine Hells.  After accumulating a vast amount of rare ingredients and knowledge to bring their master forth, they attempted the ceremony.  During the summoning, the ritual went awry and the master was trapped in a physical and inferior form.  In his wrath he slew all his followers, but now remains trapped in the tower.

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) The sorcerer Bellis Nox has been having disturbed dreams of a beautiful woman sitting on throne of needles and being bled for a horrible creature wrapped in shadows.  The woman screams for help and that she is trapped in a terrible tower.

2) The pirates of BloodPirateBay have long kept watch on the ominous tower to their north, and attempted to avoid it at all costs.  This all changed when Billy the Grub (now a loyal thrall of the demon) appeared in town with a large amount of riches, claiming they came from the tower.  Now people are gearing up to venture to the tower and claim riches for themselves.

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Ever-Shifting Prismatic Summoning Stones- These flat 40’ tall stones float 10’ off the ground, spinning lazily in a non-existent breeze.  Whether through ancient enchantments, terrible rituals, or complex construction each of these stones shifts through an ever changing state of color.

When one stands in the center of these stones, it is said that they catch a glimpse of the infinite planes of Hubris.  The character(s) can attempt to open a rift in reality and go to a different plane of existence.  Use Planes of Hubris Die Generator.

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) A withered, ancient man is caught in a pulsing blue maelstrom in the center of the stones, screaming.  Clutched in his hands is a thick black book, blood dripping from its pages.

2) The remnants of a camp are found near the giant stones.  There are signs of a struggle and death.  Tracks on the ground show that bodies were dragged into the center of the stone, where they mysteriously end.

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Floating Island of Terror-

Floating Island of Terror

Five years ago the earth shook as a large mass of land ripped itself away from Hubris and drifted into the air.  Huge metallic buildings, tubes, pipes, and vents burst from the rock to form a large industrial city.  The Floating Island of Terror now hovers high above Land of Perpetual Stone and Mire, belching out soot, pollution, and smoke as it produces wheellock firearms, gunpowder, and other strange devices.  The Black Queen, a powerful sorcereress, sits high on her throne of bones and steam in her floating metal city, satiating her hunger on the nightmares of her subjects.  The Black Queen governs and commands all who enter here; with the help of The Black Guard of Abhorrent Action, a group of devote followers of the Black Queen, it isn’t difficult.

The Black Queen

The Floating Island of Terror is responsible for the invention and distribution for most of the firearms throughout the Hubris region.  The Black Queen’s Skeletal Gun Runners are devoted enough and crazy enough to run caravans all over Hubris.

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) The Black Queen believes that there is ancient lore and knowledge that will further her plans locked away in Metallic Fortress of End Times at the edge of the Unsettled Expanse.

2) The Black Queen herself, and several of her Black Guard and Murder Machines appear in the city square.  The Black Queen wishes to hire brave souls to investigate a strange smoking metallic “thing” that seems to have fallen from the sky and landed in the northern part of the Weeping Forest of Forgotten Memories.

3) The Black Guard is rigorously searching for something.  They smash through people’s homes, through businesses, and in alleyways.  People mutter about a sentient murder machine that went rogue and escaped.

4) The Ancient Librarian has gone missing.  His cavernous library has been roughly searched and blood splatters mark the floor and wall.  Several of his assistants have been found gutted throughout the building.

5) Nightmares and night terrors are commonplace in the Floating Island of Terror, but lately they have grown to such a pitch that people are afraid to sleep, and many have been found dead in their bed, expressions of utmost terror on their faces.  No one has seen the Black Queen or her dreaded Black Guard since this has started.

6) It is whispered that the metalphage was engineered by the Black Queen to destabilize the kingdom of Fairweather, so she could conquer the territory.

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Kelisk

Kelisk is a small village, trade outpost, and fort stocked by Fairweather.  Small bands of Paladin’s from Eisenbar, delegates from Shadowfall, the generals from Fairweather, and negotiators from the Floating Island of Terror all meet here to discuss trade, disputes, and other business of their nations when it is less than ideal to be allowed into another nation.

Kelisk was constructed to be heavily fortified and prepared for long sieges due to dangers of orc raids and other horrors of this grim and desolate land.

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) A gigantic spiraling cloud has formed over the small outpost.  Lightning crashes down, blasting the landscape, destroying various structures.  A gravely deep laugh is heard through the maelstrom.

2) A giant abhorrent tunnler bursts through the ground inside the fort.  Emerging from the creature’s giant pus sacks are several armored orcs.

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Mad Plorvin’s Tower

The name Plorvin has been lost to the annuals of history, as has the many atrocities he committed in the name of magical research.  Exiled from the civilized nations he strode into the wastes and was never heard of again.

This tower of obsidian has been constructed at odd angles that tend to give a sense of foreboding and cause any to get near it to become ill at-ease.  The few brave people that venture this far out into the Land of Perpetual Stone and Mire have largely avoided the tower.  The few that have been foolish to venture in through its wrought-iron doors have never been seen again.

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) In the academy library in the Ruins of Mallanthory a book whispers a character’s name.  The dusty book contains many stories about Mad Plorvin’s atrocities and mentions rumors of a horrible tower that Plorvin constructed for himself at the edge of the Land of Perpetual Stone and Mire.

2) Objects of various sizes and weights have been flying through the air from the towns and cities of Hubris and heading towards Plorvin’s Tower.  The collected objects are swirling around the tower, growing faster and faster.  Eventually these objects form together to create rubbish golem.

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Scydar

The Klind outpost of Scydar is their only fortified territory outside of the Blighted Sands.  The small port serves as a staging point for Klind incursions into the Land of Perpetual Stone and Mire and for marches into the civilized regions of Hubris.

This town sits right on top of a focal point of magic which makes the Klind sorcerers and shapers even more terrible.

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) The Klind shapers have created a giant serpent monstrosity that was crafted from the flesh of slaves.  The beast is over 40’ long and able to carry troops on its muscular back.  The Klind seem to be arming for an invasion into the civilized territories.

2) Drums, horns, and screams are heard from miles around Scydar.  All creatures are giving the outpost a wide berth.  After several days earthquakes rock the area as a giant emerald green crystalline structure emerges from the ground.

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Slathering Maw of the Heathen Below

 

Many scholars believe that this wound in the earth is a direct link to the realm of the Heathen Below.  The area around the slathering maw is twisted, corrupted, and full of insidious demons.  The air shimmers with a green miasma, while trees wail and moan.  Magic does not function correctly here and the clerics of Hubris (save for those who follow the way of the Heathen Below) have stated they feel cut off from the divine while in the area.

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) The Slathering Maw is growing longer, stretching towards the Strange Portal of Inconceivable Probability.  As it edges ever closer sparks, magical explosions, and holes in reality begin to form in random areas all around Hubris.

2) The Dread Demon Lord, Eater of Pain, emerges from the Slathering Maw after having been trapped in the pits of hell for millennia.

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Strange Portal of Inconceivable Probability

 

The air shimmers between the two immense stone and metal columns that create the arch of the portal.  Bizarre things have occurred to those who have gotten to close to the portal, or remained in its proximity for too long.  Mirror images of a person have come out, like a dark shadow of their deepest depraved desires.  Long dead friends and family have greeted those who are near it, just on the other side of the portal, beseeching them to come over and stay with them.  Altered versions of the person have emerged out of the portal claming to be from the future, here to stop a terrible calamity.  Even bizarre creatures or technology never before encountered have been discovered near the portal.

No one knows who built the portal or how long ago.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) The shimmering air in-between the portal clears and becomes still, showing gorgeous vistas and lush fields.  A beautiful singing can be heard echoing in the hills.  The pull to cross through the portal grows.

2) Emerging out of the portal is a beaten and badly injured version of a character.  They see another of the party, scream in horror at them, “No!  It can’t be!  We killed you!  How?!”  They clutch their chest and die.

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Whispering Mountains

 

Monstrous wyverns, mad ogres, and savage cannibals call this large expanse of black mountains home.  The mountains were given its name because of the constant wind that whips through the crags, causing a faint and eerie whispering sound.

Recently the Black Queen has established a mining boom town at the base.  The people live life on the fringe here, expected to meet a quota of mined materials each day.  Those that are unable to satisfy the quota suffer the displeasure of the Black Overseer.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) A great wyvern has descended from the mountain peak and has begun hunting and attacking the boom town.  It attacks constantly.  Several people and livestock have been taken and consumed by the creature.

2) The miners have unearthed a large door that was buried within the mountain.  Foolishly the miners attempted to open it and something best left forgotten has emerged.

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Ziggurat of the Shrieking Princess

 

Long ago the princess Iszabell fell in love with the spirit of the demon Gharl, and became obsessed with bringing him back into the world.  She began sacrificing young virgin girls to her dark lover.  As the princess became more powerful and deranged the death toll mounted.  Eventually the Eisenbar paladins stopped the princess and locked her way in a giant ziggurat with all her followers.  The most powerful paladin of the kingdom beseeched Drallic the Flayer to punish her eternally.  For over 300 years she has been locked in a room and suspended by jagged rusty hooks that slowly tear her flesh part.  On the moment of death she is fully healed, to relive it all in an existence of constant agony.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) The massive ziggurat is believed to house treasures and relics that Eisenbar declared dangersou, blasphemous, or evil.  Surly this is an exaggeration and they will be worth a pretty penny to collectors and historians…

2) Princess Izabell has been reaching out through the void and is begging for help.  If only some brave souls would rescue her from her torment and captivity, the rewards would be beyond imagination.


30 Sep 10:00

The Eye of Azathoth

by Propnomicon
The prolific Jason McKittrick brings us The Eye of Azathoth, a Mythos-themed ouija board.  It's a limited run piece that will only be available for a week.


30 Sep 14:11

Five More Wonders: Another assortment of Locations for a fantasy RPG

by Mike

rpg blog carnival logo

Last Thursday I delivered six locations for GMs to insert into their campaigns that celebrated the fantastic. You could argue that at least one Wonder Of The game-World should reflect what is unique about that particular campaign, and that by leaving a slot free, I achieved the mythical seven; but that presupposes that each of the Wonders that I proposed is suitable for every campaign. They won’t be.

And it would be incredibly dull if every campaign out there used the same six wonders. So this time I’m going to offer some more, that I simply didn’t get time to write up for the previous article. Choice is good. Choice implies permutations and variations. The assumption should be that each GM will populate his game world with as many Wonders Of The Known World as he can think of, focusing especially on those aspects of the world that are unique to his campaign, and drawing apon outside sources only to top up the list.

So, without further ado…

1. The Pyramid Of Reason

A squat four-sided pyramid lost in the desert heat-haze until you are almost on top of it, which appears through the vagarities of natural illusion to appear from the tip down as you approach. The top is three-fifths the length of the base, accurate to the tenth of a millimeter. There are two towering obelisks alongside the entrance which tower to exactly nine-sevenths of the length of the base – or would, if the top of one had not broken off somehow. Eleven different types of stone form the multicolored, multi-textured entrance, accessible after climbing thirteen stairs. Within the pyramid are seventeen chambers protected by 19 doorways, the path illuminated by 23 window-slits hidden within the walls. To reach them, there are 29 different changes of elevation. The base of the entrance side of the pyramid is constructed of 31×31=961 stone blocks of perfectly equal size (not counting the eleven that line the entranceway); the side to the clockwise (when viewed from above) consists of 37×37=1369 stone blocks; the side opposite the entrance, 41×41=1681 stone blocks; and the base on the fourth side, 43×43=1849 blocks. In total, on all four sides, the number of stone blocks that are visible is a multiple of 47×53=2491. It has been calculated that in its total construction, 59x61x67=241,133 stone blocks were used. Within the pyramid, those 29 changes of elevation involve a total of 71 steps. The first chamber is tiled in a complex pattern employing exactly 73 tiles; the second, exactly 79; the third, 83; and so on, through to 157 tiles in the 17th chamber. Detail after detail reflects an obsession with incorporating – somehow – the next prime number into the construction. One section of corridor is covered in 163 red tiles and 173 gray tiles (167 is used elsewhere).

And no-one knows why it was built, when it was built, or who built it.

But legend has it that strange things happen inside…

GM’s notes

It’s the excessive, even obsessive, attention to detail that makes this place special. Throw in as many other mathematical concepts and universal constants as you can think of (the value of Pi, for example), going as overboard as you possibly can. Stretch a point if necessary (exactly 25-thirds of the value of pi?).

Now, here’s the fun part: Are the legends true, and if so, what are the strange things?

Option one:
Everything you’ve ever read about pyramid power, or that you can think up, is true in this place. It does preserve the dead – in one chamber. It does preserve fruit – in another. It sharpens blades – in a third. Purifies water, sharpens the intellect, purifies the spirit, heals the sick… If it weren’t out in the middle of nowhere in some almost-impenetrable desert or other, wars would be fought over it.

With such obvious powers, the question becomes more about “why put it here” than “why build it this way” – the answer to the latter is completely obvious.

Option two:
If the pyramid has no obvious powers, then the GM has more room to be subtle and sneaky. You can throw as many purported functions at the pyramid as “pet theories” as you like, and let all of them be true – or none. A doorway between worlds – sometimes, or between times. A prison for an extra-planar greebly. A pan-planar survey marker. A lost civilization showing off its mathematical and engineering capacity. Maybe the entire culture that built it is folded in space within, ready to emerge when the desert blooms again. Perhaps its true purpose is simply to serve as a source of inspiration!

Size has been left vague, but if it has 17 internal chambers linked by corridors, it’s going to be monumental. Map the interior and use that to establish the length of the base in whatever units you find convenient – whoever built it probably won’t have used those units, so it doesn’t matter how big the place actually is.

Location has also been left for the GM to decide, but it’s deep within a desert; half the exploring parties that set out for it should fail to arrive, it’s that hard to reach. The more difficult it is to reach, the greater the mystery that surrounds it, because it represents a greater effort on the part of the constructing civilization.

Plot Potential is difficult to pin down, and depends on what the place actually is, and what it is believed to be. If you choose to go with option two, you have lots of choice, and perhaps the greatest plot potential is as a means of engaging your players’ paranoia about what its significance might be.

Above all, though, strive not to have the real purpose seem anticlimactic if the PCs ever discover it. An alien horde of jackal-headed warriors from the past – that works. Cthulhu’s prison cell? That works. A periodic gateway between worlds, planes, or times? That works. The only fixed point in the multi-planar cosmos, used as a reference during the construction of the universe? That works, too.

2. The Caves Of Rockbeard

(You may want to rename this wonder to reflect Dwarven naming conventions in your world).
Named for the discoverer, an eccentric Dwarven miner and prospector with a penchant for striking out alone in pursuit of some theory of his own about where new mineral deposits could be found; although he got lucky in a small way from time to time, these remain his most notable discovery. A system of vast caverns with smoothly regular dimension, uniform in size, illuminated by vast spires of floor-to-ceiling quartz-like material that seem to trap light from somewhere and release it slowly, also perfectly formed and cut, each a meter across with eight-sided cross-section, and linked by hundreds of leagues of perfectly-carved tunnels, also of uniform size. Since their discovery, hundreds of expeditions have attempted to map the tunnels, without success, because they never seem to lead to the same cavern twice. Every attempt at being clever – trailing lines of string, or keeping a second party in line-of-sight with the first – has failed. It’s rumored that Rockbeard himself is lost somewhere in the tunnels that bear his name.

Time seems to pass differently within the tunnels and caves. In places it crawls, and in places it speeds. Expeditions are constantly turning up to discover that they have traversed hundreds of miles in impossibly-short times (as counted by the surface world) – or that they have spent decades underground which seemed to them like only a few days. The only constant is that their personal calendars cannot be reconciled with the passage of time as measured by anyone else.

Attempts to mark passages by means of writing or carving on the walls suggest that there is only one tunnel of finite length that loops and curves back apon itself, reaching a destination only when the tunnels “feel like it”. A troop of explorers may carve a marker on a tunnel wall, walk for a week, discover the same marker, and shortly thereafter emerge into a cavern located hundreds or thousands of miles from where they set out. Others report walking in a straight line for a day without deviation from that straight line – only to find themselves reemerging into the same cavern from which they departed by a completely different entrance on a completely different alignment.

If the tunnels were in perfect condition, this would be a curiosity and nothing more. They aren’t; in places, the walls have collapsed, and all manner of underground-dwelling creatures have found their way into the tunnels through these breaches. These pose a constant threat to travelers, but more significantly, sometimes find their way to the surface to emerge near a populated location. Similarly, surface creatures sometimes emerge many miles from their natural terrain – mountain creatures near desert oases or isolated farmsteads, desert creatures in swampy marshes, and so on. It is rumored that occasionally creatures can enter caverns in another plane of existence entirely and emerge on the prime material plane, or vice-versa.

Most of the caverns contain great Dwarvish enclaves, though some have been claimed by Drow or other underground races. New caverns are being discovered – and being lost again – all the time. There are indications that the caverns themselves migrate, relative to the surface world, from time to time. A Dwarven community can spend a hundred years as neighbors of a particular surface settlement, establishing trade links and relations – and discover, one day, that the passage to the surface now leads to a completely different community hundreds of miles removed from where it had been.

GM’s Notes

Most D&D campaigns I’ve played in have the concept of a central ‘civilized’ core and a wilderness outside it, with various layers of transition between the two. This takes that concept and throws it away completely. A safe community can have a Drow-occupied tunnel turn up a week from now, without warning. Or a wandering Djinn from the City Of Brass. Anything can be Anywhere, it’s just a question of how improbable it is. All settlements would need to be fortified, and adventure would be anywhere.

This would have a profound impact on military tactics – it does no good holding all the mountain passes if your enemy can turn up behind your lines. Of course, the odds of that happening are low, but terrain no longer offers the same security that it did.

The great temptation that must be guarded against with this Wonder is overuse. Strategic situations are stable, most of the time – but every now and then, the strategic situation changes without warning.

Systems Of Control
Most GMs will tend to want to establish patterns to the shifts, even if these are not understood by the inhabitants of their game world. Most players, on encountering the caverns and associated phenomena, will want to identify “triggering conditions” that lead to the topological rearrangements. The GM should resist establishing patterns for his own use, and resist even more strongly any attempts to make sense of the Caverns by PCs. As soon as any such are established, the caverns start losing their Mystery. The Cavern shifts and tunnel system should remain a perpetual unknown. Unless you build an entire campaign around finding the cause and shutting them down to restore order to the world, of course.

Philosophic Impact
The presence of this wonder makes the game world a less orderly, more anarchic and unpredictable place. Certainty would be regularly undermined by the unpredictable. The notion of ‘Destiny’ would be less believable to the populace, and a more fatalistic attitude would take its place – ‘What happens, happens’. Self-reliance would be emphasized; you couldn’t rely on good relations with the neighbors, because next week there might be Orcish Death Squads roaming through the hills between here and there. This is a world in which adventure comes to you eventually, whoever and wherever you are.

Origins
Nothing has been said in the description about who made the tunnels and caverns, but they are clearly artificial in nature. If the GM intends to build a major adventure or campaign around this wonder, deciding who, why, and how will be essential.

In a more prosaic interpretation of the subject tag-line, it might be helpful to know where the idea came from. The initial concept was essentially a set of subway tunnels connecting subway stations – but the tunnels were a rabbit warren, a maze. I stripped out anything that gave away what the source concept of the tunnels – the rails, etc – and supersized the concept to cover an entire continent. Then I wondered what it would be like if it were just one, or a limited number, of topologically strange tunnels – which threw in the spatial distortions and inspired me to supersize the whole thing again, extending it to other planes of existence.

And that might have been the original purpose – to connect all the planes of existence and permit easy passage from one to another. But the engineering, when whoever it was actually constructed the place, could not cope with the multi-planar stains and stresses, and as a result the darned thing has never worked right. Just a theory :)

Plot Use
The Caverns Of Rockbeard are a homogenizer. No place is removed from the frontier when the frontier comes to you. It’s unlikely, but every now and then seemingly-impossible encounters can take place. I’ve you’ve ever wanted a half-Orc half-Elemental hybrid, this is your excuse for doing it. The Caverns give the GM the capacity to completely reinvent the game world whenever he feels like it – within limits.

Background Insertion
The big problem with this wonder is two-fold: either it’s new, in which case it loses that aura and mystery and Wonder and becomes a problem with a solution out there somewhere – or it will cast its shadow throughout the campaign background. That’s fine if you’re creating a new campaign, but this just doesn’t work as well in an established campaign.

3. The Rainbow Of Eternity

There is a mountain with a mesa-like flattened top. Long ago, something tore a huge hole through it from West to East. On both sides, there are lakes. There is a river that flows down a taller peak to the north to the top of the mountain, then cascades in a huge waterfall thousands of feet down the eastern face, into the lake below. Each day, as the sun sets, it shines through a notch in the mountains, reflects off the lake, through the hole in the mountain, and through the waterfall, creating the world’s largest and most stable rainbow, whose position varies precisely and predictably with the seasons. It’s the improbability that makes the place so awe-inspiring; in a million years, you could never construct such a thing by accident.

GM’s notes

If the Caves Of Rockbeard are a wonder that increases the anarchy within a campaign, this is a wonder that is reflective order. In essence, it’s a cross between Stonehenge, a sundial, and a rainbow. If the seasons are regular, predictable calendar events, this is a natural Wonder that would become a holy place to someone. If they aren’t orderly and predictable in the same way that they are in our world, then a natural phenomenon that announces midwinter and midsummer each year is a WONDER in big brass letters. Envoys would travel from Kingdoms all over the continent to be present at the key moments, and the place is likely to become the Switzerland of the game world.

There are some very deep concepts embedded within this Wonder. Principles of physics and predictability, of the scientific foundations that undermine how the game world works. If the seasons are not predictable in length, if you can’t forecast the date of an equinox but only measure it when it happens, then orbital mechanics aren’t the cause of the seasons – which means that something supernatural is the cause, and this Wonder measures the effect of that something on the world.

Players might not figure all this out when they first hear about the Wonder, but enough of them will know enough about Stonehenge and like objects and history to eventually put the pieces together. It’s fun watching the eyes glaze over and the jaw drop when that happens :)

Location
Location has been left deliberately vague, but it’s going to be in some Alp-height mountains somewhere in order to accommodate the very specific geographic requirements. A location that’s more-or-less central to the “civilized world” emphasizes the diplomatic function in a supernatural campaign.

Plot Usage
The best plots centered around this wonder occur in a supernatural world. There are obvious diplomacy-inspired plots that result in hostile forces coming together in a neutral location. This wonder can also be the starting point for the PCs to explore the supernaturalism – “Midwinter is late in coming, and we desperately need to know why. We’re running out of food, and we know that Korzagg’s army will March when the weather breaks. Will summer ever return – and when?”

Then, you could have an adventure that looks into who and what carved out that hole in the mountain. Forbidden weapons? Forbidden magics? Something crashing to earth through the mountain and carving out a crater that filled with water, forming the other lake (the one the waterfall doesn’t flow into)?

But this wonder generally works better as simply a unique, breathtaking, location, somewhere that just is.

4. The Desert Of Gold

This desert region appears to be dune after rolling dune of solid gold, polished and buffed to a mirror finish.

It actually consists of fine-grained dusky yellow sand, only a few inches thick, atop a layer of rock; the “dunes” are actually the shapes of this rock, wrinkled and crumpled. At night, the water table rises, and the surface becomes waterlogged and then freezes at the surface, giving the mirror-like sheen to the terrain. When the sun rises, the region becomes a golden mirror, which reflects much of the heat back from the surface; the golden finish lasts for hours before the thin layer of frozen ice melts and streams from the tops of the dunes into the shallows, where it drains back into the water table.

Subsurface grass-like plants feed on the water and the nutrients carried from the sand, poor though they are (in agricultural terms), sustaining a natural matting that holds the sand to the dune “surface” and preventing it from accumulating in the shallows. Occasionally, a blight afflicts a dune, releasing the sand, exposing the rocky underside of the dunes and creating a dangerous sand-drift in the hollow to windward. These are the only “flat ground” in the region, and travelers soon learn that if they aren’t climbing up or down a slope, they are in trouble. When the water drains through such drifts, it packs the surface to an unknown depth like a frozen pond, while maintaining looseness in the subsurface; how strong this surface is remains an unknown until you put your weight on it. Will you fall in and sink? Only one way to find out…

GM’s notes

Most Wonders are even more awesome close up. This was deliberately devised to be a Wonder that was more spectacular at a distance. Some of the geological/climactic details probably don’t make real-world sense – who cares? But make due allowances, which can break the suspension of disbelief (and the awe & wonder) if a player challenges the mechanics.

The environment poses a particular challenge to adventurers seeking to cross it. Making camp is difficult; it’s hard to drive tent-pegs into rock, and rock is never far from the surface. Tents and sleeping mats will become waterlogged and then frozen. Frostbite is not out of the question. Fires will go out. Breaking camp will be a whole new challenge. And, during the mornings, the thermal extremes suffered by those seeking to traverse the region are extreme. In effect, you receive two or three times as much heat as you would in the desert alone without the reflective effect. That means that the temperature climb is precipitous, you can be roasting even while the soles of feet are freezing, and employing sources of shade is a waste of time. And, of course, the light (especially early in the morning) can be blinding – think of being snow-blind.

The rapid increase in air temperature means that by the time the reflective effect fades, the temperature is already 100°F and still climbing. The Desert Of Gold is easily the hottest desert in existence with peak temperatures in excess of 130°F – enough to kill unprotected humans and animals. This prevents wildlife from disturbing the delicate ecology of the effect.

Size
How big a region should this be? Too large to cross in a day, and big enough to stretch from horizon to horizon. But not too much bigger. About 100 x 100 miles sounds about right to me – especially remembering that there are no camels and that horses won’t survive for very long. Certainly, no more than twice that. And don’t forget to allow for reduced movement rates across sand when considering the question.

Plot Use
There are several possible plots, but many of them are mutually exclusive. If it is felt that the desert is impassable, you could have someone figure out a way to stage an invasion through the undefended flank. You could stick something interesting in the middle of it, and contrive some reason for the PCs needing to cross it – and having to work out how. Or simply have someone with more wealth than good sense employ the PCs to work out a way to cross it (with secret plans to invade a neighbor that way once the PCs have opened the way) – something that might be a rude surprise to them. But mostly, it’s just there to look spectacular.

If you get challenged on the particulars of the geology/climate, postulate that under those rocky ridges are naturally-occurring unstable passageways to one or more elemental planes, and see if that can’t answer the challenge. Or perhaps they aren’t natural, but are the results of some colossal spell going wrong, or an arcane cataclysm of some sort.

5. The Emerald Falls

For hours you hack your way through the jungle toward the sound of water. As you chop away one final wall of greenery, you see a clearing in the trees containing a pool of deep green water at the foot of a cliff. Colorful birds flit from tree to tree and protest the intrusion as you can do nothing but gape at a waterfall of solid emerald, frozen in place. Awestruck, you advance to examine the phenomenon more closely as chattering monkeys peer between the broad-leafed vegetation.

GM’s notes

This obviously belongs in a jungle setting, and a somewhat mountainous one at that. It should be geographically isolated; getting to it should be an effort. It’s also clearly a natural wonder.

What you’re looking at:
The cliff is undercut slightly beneath the lip of the waterfall and covered with a combination of moss and climbing plants that form a vertical carpet. Vines, naturally twisted and knotted, descend from the lip to the surface of the pool, where they are lost from view beneath the giant floating pads. The water is laced with dissolved mineral salts, which contribute to the color of the pool; over time, when the wind blows through the vines, and it’s late in summer when the water flow is at it’s least, some of the minerals have been deposited on the surface of the vines. Year after year, this green crystal has accumulated, until the vines were completely encased in a solid crystal shape running the length of the waterfall. From time to time, a portion of the crystal becomes so heavy that it will no support itself and breaks off to fall into the pool, where it will vanish from sight and slowly dissolve.

Plot Use
Aside from being a gorgeous location in and of itself, there are a couple of potential plotlines for this location.

  • Being isolated, it’s a great place to hide out – or to hide something in the pool (suitably protected, of course).
  • Where does the water come from? ‘Dissolved minerals’ suggests underground – which in turn suggests that there might be a hidden location in the mountain.
  • Similarly, there could be a cave hidden behind that “green carpet” behind the waterfall and you’d never know it.
  • Finally, the geography matches the sort of place where you might really find emeralds! Perhaps carried to the surface by the water source? And perhaps, on very rare occasions, one really good gemstone emerges? “Romancing The Stone”, anyone?

Technically, the Blog Carnival ends today – but I have one more article to go, offering some Wondrous Locations for a Sci-Fi Campaign, which I’m going to sneak over the line on Thursday. Next Monday, I’ll wrap up the September Blog Carnival :)

28 Sep 17:11

Short documentary on 2 cool teen metalheads, 'Unlocking the Truth'

by Xeni Jardin

I'm loving this short film about two sixth-grade metalheads from Flatbush, Brooklyn.

There is a particular moment right before fame strikes a young musician – between the full flowering of talent and believing in a dream so pure and strong as to feel bulletproof – which at the same time is almost imperceptible as it is happening. This metaphysical friction is in full effect in a certain Flatbush, Brooklyn family basement. Unlocking the Truth, a metal band composed of twelve year old Malcolm Brickhouse and eleven year old Jarad Dawkins, is playfully arguing about which member can play a faster and more forceful rendition of their self-composed instrumental blast “Physical Therapy.”

While Jarad is technically the drummer (he mastered the instrument by the age of two), he is convincingly demonstrating his guitar chops. Being the precoucious, and yet consummate, professionals that they are, the band wants to make sure that in a worst case scenario – say, a member fainting onstage – each could play the other’s instrument flawlessly. It is not atypical for Unlocking the Truth to practice for up to ten hours on weekends.

They are so immersed in their music that they barely notice anything going on around them, including their parents, who usually have to force them to stop practicing when it’s bedtime. While their classmates mostly listen to radio pop or rap, Malcolm and Jarad’s enthusiasm for metal was nurtured while watching generous amounts of WWE professional wrestling. But this is no passing phase for the two boys. The band has already written two albums, Madness and Paranoid, respectively, and recently auditioned for America’s Got Talent.

Amazingly, they manage to keep up good grades in school. So watch out, America – two smart, young metalheads from Flatbush are coming to a town near you in the near future.

You can check out the band's website here.

[The Avant-Garde Diaries, thanks Brenda]