This is how I would do it…


While I am not against this idea by any means with modern anti-ship missile guidance systems this technique would be far more effective if combined with anti tracking (sonar and radar) countermeasures which made it seem to sonar and radar as if the ship were either farther ahead of or farther behind it’s actual position than it truly was.

That is to say that few hostiles, if anyone (aside perhaps from Somali pirates), sights or fixes a ship’s position (or a tank’s position for that matter) relying solely upon visual evidence.

Therefore to make the system far more effective as a defense you would need to tie the moving visual pattern to anti or counter sonar and radar pulses or to an omni-directional pulse which either scattered or confused incoming tracking systems so as to…

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Logan, and the Man in Black


What I like best about what is implied in this book (hinted at but not much developed in the article) is the idea that you may have competing descriptions of various monsters. Which might very well mean that you have various (interpretive) versions of the same monster, which of course, in and of itself, implies that a monster might be this or might be that, or might even be neither or both in any given milieu or setting.

Which would be a very Game of Thrones, Martinesque version of a monster, sure enough, though if you’ve ever read the Silmarillion (or even just the Hobbit) you know that Tolkien really invented the technique of presenting competing and unclear/unreliable versions of history and myth, at least as far as modern fantasy is concerned. The larger idea, of course, stretches all the way back to the Greeks ( and beyond into prehistory and oral cultures) who had several very different and even competing versions of various prodigies and monsters depending upon the author, the source, the time period, the regional geography/telling, and the nature of the myth itself.

As a matter of fact this is something I have often done in my own game designs and in my own fictional writings going back to when I was a kid, but it is extremely gratifying to hear that the idea is possibly being explored in core material books of D&D and possibly for other RPGs as well.

Because what this means, if taken to its logical conclusion, is that even if players have access to the Monster Manual then that does not mean that they are in possession of concrete and reliable information regarding what any given monster’s true nature, behavior, or even physiology and capabilities might be.

Since I have designed and redesigned famous/standardized D&D monsters in this way since I first became a Dungeon Master back in my teens I know precisely how effective this technique can be (as well as how valuable it makes rumor and field investigation and intel-gathering as a capability of classes like Rangers, Rogues, Bards, and Wizards) in designing and developing a truly exciting game and a truly disturbing method of “encountering monsters.” (Potentially, in some ways at least, every single encounter of a monster can b a “first encounter,” even if you have already encountered the same species dozens of times before.)

When every encounter (or at least a large number of them) are built upon rumor, possibility, and analytical interpretation of conflicting reports rather than upon reliable information and hard, verifiable data then Monsters become far, far more dangerous than they ever were before.

So I am very glad to see Core-Designers possibly adopting the same position.

As a matter of fact I’ve written several essays on that very subject.

Such as these as just two examples:

Crawling Into Oblivion

The Blood of Uncanny Monsters



Dungeons & Dragons is changing how it makes books

“We live in a post Game of Thrones world.”

The venerable Dungeons & Dragons franchise, the granddaddy of the modern role-playing game, is now in its 5th edition. And, to hear publisher Wizards of the Coast tell it, the sourcebooks are selling like hot cakes. More people than ever before are discovering the magic of rolling dice and telling stories with their friends, and lapsed fans are returning in droves.

For lead designer Mike Mearls, that’s created a bit of a problem. How do you keep the source material fresh for a 42-year old franchise? And, when you’re in the business of selling books, how do you make the next one more interesting than the last?

Consider a pillar of the franchise, the sourcebook known as the Monster Manual. The first, titled simply Monster Manual, was published in 1977. Since then there have been 18 iterations, some for different editions of the game with different rulesets, others with slightly different snippets of lore. But, through the decades, it’s always been roughly the same thing: An alphabetical list of monsters.

“I have this kind of personal philosophy for managing the product line,” Mearls said last month in Renton, Washington. “I don’t want to duplicate any product that’s come before. I think that if people have seen it, then it’s not really new and it’s not really exciting.”

The first Monster Manual, circa 1977.

This time around, he and his team have decided to do something a little bit different. Their next take on the Monster Manual will be called Volo’s Guide to Monsters and, for the first time, it will have a lot more character to it.

“It’s risky,” Mearls said. “In the end, it’s still a giant book full of monsters. No one would argue with that. But I just think that if that’s all the Monster Manual is, then we’re selling ourselves short. So the idea was, the kind of genesis of it, was that want to do something that’s more story oriented.”

Volo’s Guide will have a narrator — two actually. One will be Volothamp Geddarm, an over-the-top, braggadocious explorer. The other will be Elminster, the wise Sage of Shadowdale. And the two will often be at odds with one another. Their differing accounts will be scattered throughout the book, and take the shape of comments scribbled in the margin.


Put simply, the goal is to create a book that high-level players and dungeon masters will enjoy reading. The goal, in the end, is to inspire new stories at the table, not simply reinforce the lore of the Forgotten Realms and ram storylines down player’s throats.

“I have this pet phrase I use,” Mearls said. “I like to say that we’re living in a post Game of Thrones world. Fantasy has changed.

“If you look at science fiction follows, I think an arc that fantasy is following now. In the 50’s, science fiction was very iconic, and at least in movies, very much templated. You had the flying saucer, or the rocket ship, you had either the aliens who were clearly monsters — like the guy in the deep sea diving helmet wearing the gorilla coming to eat people or whatever. Or they were people in funny outfits who were very inscrutable and so much more advanced that we were, and that was your pantheon.”

Later, as science fiction entered the ‘60s and the ‘70s, it began to be entrusted with more serious themes and dealt with issues of change in modern culture as a whole.

“So you have this new wave of science fiction coming through and science fiction grows up,” Mearls said. “It became Alien — a horror movie in outer space. It becomes Soylent Green, which is kind of like this social commentary on science fiction. It’s Rollerball, right? This entire thing about what’s it really mean to have free will, and can there really be freedom in a technological society? But it’s still science fiction.”


Mearls sees Game of Thrones as evidence of the same kind of evolution in the fantasy genre, and it’s his hope that Volo’s Guide can become a new kind of sourcebook to help bring about new kinds of stories.

So what’s inside? I’ve had an advanced digital copy for a few weeks now and I’m pretty impressed at what I’ve found.

The first third of the book is a series of deep dives on specific species of monsters. How specific? Mearls and his team lavish nearly 14 full two-column pages on beholders alone, exploring every aspect of their nature both in and out of combat.

Most of the information is great fodder for dungeon masters. How do you roleplay a beholder? How do you speak like a giant? What does their four-tier caste system contribute to goblin society? What does a gnoll chant to keep his spirits up while on the hunt? What is the lifecycle of a mind flayer?

Well, actually, I’ll let Volo himself handle that last one.

Ever wondered what a hag is most likely to drive off the used car lot, or fancied a careful examination of the kobold pantheon? It’s all in there, and something is going to light a fire in your mind and bring a richer, more memorable experience to the table.

The second third of the book might be my favorite. I’m not able to share much, but suffice it to say that with Volo’s Guide both dungeon masters and players will be able to bring new races to the table, both as player and non-player characters. That includes rules for goblins, orcs and even something called a “firbolg.”

The final third contains rules for 96 monsters that are new to fifth edition, including the Gauth and the Mindwitness.

All told, Wizards of the Coast sent over six pages to share with our readers. We’ll include the final three below.

The very last section of the book features a great add-on. It’s a nice little appendix that includes a handful of fully detailed stock NPCs. It makes the entire package a fantastic resource for dungeon masters, turning a pretty standard sourcebook into a self-contained toolkit capable of spawning dozens of different dungeons — or sparking entire campaigns — without very much prep work at all.

To create it, Mearls says his team has had to take a long hard look at Dungeons & Dragons’ oldest and most iconic creatures. Their goal was to explain them to a degree that’s never been canonically attempted before in one place.

“If you take a look at something like a mind flayer,” Mearls said, “it has that sort of ‘50s science fiction feel. It’s the creepy monster that lives under the bed and eats your brain by the end of story. But I think with a 21st century approach, you can say, ‘Well, who is the mind flayer.’ And it sounds funny, but then you start getting into it. What’s with this guy eating brains?

“Dungeons & Dragons was very much developed with this almost scientific mindset,” Mearls said. “What’s the biology of the mind flayer? But no one asked about its feelings. But when you think about, it the game tells me that mind flayer has an 18 intelligence. The highest intelligence a human can achieve, that’s their average. Literally, they walk in the room and they are the smartest being there. They are smarter than every human they’ve ever ate. So talking to us is like meeting dogs, for them. What’s that got to be like?”

Mearls says that, if the book is successful, he intends for his team to handle more of their upcoming sourcebooks in a similar way.

Volo’s Guide to Monsters will be available at your friendly local game store on Nov. 15. You can also find it on Amazon. It’s also the first Dungeons & Dragons product to have a collectible, alternate cover which you can see here Babykayak.



This article (the one below) gave me an idea (although I also partially patterned it after the Library and Museus of ancient Alexandria) for a new adventure/dungeon site or complex. It sits right outside of a major city and appears as an ancient museum to the civilian population and for all public intents and purposes this is all that is known of the complex. It contains numerous replicas (and, it is claimed, some very real examples) of ancient and powerful devices, items, inventions, artifacts, and even some holy relics.

Visitors may enter the Mystereum by day, and during special occasions (or public festivals) at night, to see these things on display, to read descriptions of what they were or of their supposed history and ownership, the known chains of evidence regarding their authenticity, and to be given guided tours and to hear lectures given by the archivists, historians, sages, and “illuminated craftsmen and laborers” who inhabit or work at the temple. For it is indeed considered not only a museum and lecture hall and library, but also a sort of Temple of the Past.

Unknown to all but a few, however, is the fact that the Mystereum is actually built over the ruins of a  much, much older sub-subterranean site and labyrinth (whose tunnels extend for miles in all directions) in the center of which sits the original (or is it?) site of a far more ancient Mystereum.

Not all of this (original?) and far older Mystereum has been excavated and cleared but in it is housed many of the true devices, artifacts, and relics of the above ground and public Mystereum. There are also many rumors that in the still to be excavated ruins of this older Mystereum are even more ancient and antique artifacts, items, and relics, some of supposed immense value and great power.

This underground Mystereum (called the Mega-Mystereum or the Magnaheiron) is slowly being excavated, maintained, restored, and worked by a small cadre of Cultists called the Lysterae, whose chiefs are called the Medikhee.

The Lysterae in general consider themselves the Guardians of what they consider to be a Holy Site of both Magic and Supernatural Mystery in the form of the Magnaheiron, but the Medikhee think of themselves as both the Oracles and Visionaries of this ancient site, as well as the explorers and employers of the fantastic items it houses and contains.

Because the Magnaheiron is so ancient and has only been recently rediscovered (and was lost to both history and memory) only the Lysterae and the Medikhee currently know of its locale. The only currently known point of entrance to the labyrinth lies underneath a closed off section of the above ground Mystereum below an abandoned display that leads into what is apparently an old well shaft. This well shaft led to the far north end of labyrinth which, if followed correctly, eventually led to the center of the maze which led to the long abandoned ruins of the Magnaheiron.

Who first discovered this well shaft, the labyrinth, and the Magnaheiron (if indeed it was the same individual or individuals) the Medikhee will not say, however soon after exploring the site and upon realizing just how large it was the Medikhee began to swear to secrecy certain loyal servants and companions to secrecy and thus formed the Lysterae.

The Lysterae were told by the Medikhee that eventually they wish to fully restore the Magnaheiron and open it and the many benefits it might possibly contain (if only in part) to the general public. However the Medikhee have aims and an agenda of their own which does not include making any of their discoveries widely known.

At the moment secrecy, armed Lysterae guardsmen, the large underground maze complex, lack of historical records, and some of the artifacts that the Medikhee have already discovered provide all of the security necessary to prevent any knowledge of the Magnaheiron from reaching the pubic.

Although a few bizarre rumors do circulate regarding something strange being associated with the Mystereum nothing really concrete is known and few if any suspect the underground Magnaheiron. Thus, so far, and as far as is known, it has never been infiltrated or penetrated by any except the Lysterae or the Medikhee.

Because I like this idea so much (turnign a Museum into an excavation/exploration site) I am thinking of making the Mystereum not only a stand alone adventure but also incorporating it into my Megadungeon Complex which I call Akaesia, or, The Perfect Dungeon.

As a matter of fact I like the idea so much that I might also turn it into a short story or simply integrate some of the ideas and a modified version of the complex/site straight into my mythological fantasy the Kithariune.

Well, I’ve either worked or traveled all day. Except for my morning training routines. Although I usually don’t watch TV during the week I’m tired enough to want to relax now. So I think I may go watch The Flash with the wife and daughter, and then do some more moon watching and star gazing tonight with my telescope.

Have a good evening folks…


Corpus Museum

The world’s first interactive human body museum also serves as a chair for a giant orange man.

In the outskirts of Leiden in the Netherlands, there rests a giant, 115-foot-tall man colored orange. Sitting on a two-story platform beside an eleven story glass building, this towering orange man welcomes you to the Corpus Museum, the world’s first museum to take visitors through the entire anatomy of the human body.

The giant orange body at the Corpus Museum is cut in its center by the glass walls of the building, making it appear to be a silhouette. In reality, the orange man is a full body resting half inside and half outside of the museum. The sculpture immediately catches the eye of cars passing down Leiden’s A44 Highway, beckoning them to the unusual museum.

The Corpus Museum’s hour-long tour begins with an escalator ride up the leg to the knee, where visitors will step inside an open wound. Next comes the genital area, where visitors will put on 3D glasses to witness a sperm cell fertilizing an egg. Further up the giant body come the intestines, where you can witness the digestion of a cheese sandwich before your eyes. After passing through the ventricles of the human heart, visitors reach the head. Here, adults can observe pulsing neurons in the brain, while children can jump atop a giant tongue as a burping sound erupts from a speaker system.

The museum’s upper floor features multiple interactive activities and a cafeteria. As visitors eat, they can look at the giant orange man jutting through the glass walls beside them.



October 17, 2016


Sean is 26 years old, and he runs a game of D&D for people in their 70’s – who just started playing. Read their story below.

(With a bonus interview with the players themselves at the end of the article.)

From left to right: Maureen the Human Fighter, Margiella the High Elf Wizard, Darrak the Dwarven Cleric, Kangaroo the Human Fighter, and Jeffro the Halfling Rogue

Tabletop Terrors: So Sean – your players seem to be a bit more “seasoned” than most—what’s the median age of your players not including you?

Sean: Well it’s a good thing I’m not included here because I would certainly bring down the age a bit, being 26. My grandma is 72, my grandpa is 71, and I’m not exactly sure how old their neighbors are (and I feel like I might lose a couple players if I ask!) but they are in their early-to-mid 60s. We also picked up my mom once she heard about the fun everyone else was having. She’s 51 so that puts our median age at about 63.

It seems like you’re having an absolute blast – what made you decide to try to get these wonderful folks to play D&D?

Honestly they were the ones that pushed for it. I was down at my grandparent’s shore house a few weeks ago relaxing and drawing some maps for another group’s campaign. My grandma asked about what I was doing, and I explained that it was for D&D. She said, “Oh we’d like to play, we love games!”

I actually tried to talk her out of it at first, thinking it would be a waste of time because there was no way that my grandparents would ever be interested in playing D&D. But they pushed the issue and invited me over for dinner, telling me to bring everything I would need for them to play.

I think if I was the one that pushed it on them rather than having them be the driving force behind playing, they never would have gotten into it.

What rules system are you using?

We’re playing Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition with a little homebrew here and there (mostly because when I don’t know a rule I just try to make something up that sounds fair and then stick with it rather than spend 10 minutes searching through the rulebook).

Are you running pre-made adventures, or making up your own stories? Similarly, are you using pre-generated characters, or did everyone roll their own up?

I’m running them through the 5e starter set campaign, Lost Mines of Phandelver. I may throw in some of my own sidequests here and there if I think of anything they may be interested, but for the most part we’ll probably just stick with LMoP. They’re using the pre-gen characters that come with the starter set, but only for the stats and abilities. I had them decide what their characters’ personalities were like, what drives them to go off and adventure, and what flaws their characters may have that could be problematic. I think they did a great job coming up with their backstories and I also think that by letting them decide on their backgrounds, it helped to get them more invested in the story.

Is everyone using your books and dice, or have any of the players made the leap into buying their own adventuring gear?

For now everyone is using my books and dice. I have enough dice for everyone to have their own set while we play, and I give them the starter set rulebook to use so they can look up their own spells or check on rules that they have questions about. Meanwhile I have the Player’s Handbook on my side of the screen. The plan is for us to play pretty consistently, at least for the next few months. I personally don’t mind them using my stuff for as long as they want, but I could see them wanting to get their own gear as they get more into it.

What has surprised you the most about this endeavor?

I would say I’m most surprised by my grandpa and how he has taken to the game. Out of everyone that’s playing, he is the one that I least expected to get really into his character. He’s a tough guy who has certainly done his share of manual labor, but he’s playing a sneaky, Halfling rogue named Jeffro. He’s really dived in headfirst and has even texted me to talk about his character’s backstory in between sessions.

What has been the most challenging thing that you’ve come up against while trying to play with this group? How did you overcome them?

I think at the end of the day, this group provides a lot of the same challenges that any group of first time players would provide. It’s a balance of simplifying the game in a way that they can learn the rules as they go while still not losing the depth that makes D&D so great.

Right now I think the biggest challenge I’m dealing with is just going to be getting them all on the same page. They are thinking of themselves as individuals – all of them are the heroes of their own story – and that’s not totally a bad thing because it’s helped them get into character. At some point though, they’re going to need to really work together to overcome some tougher challenges. I think they will, though. They’re all smart people, and part of learning the game is learning how your character can synergize with the rest of the group (in terms of decision-making and also in the use of abilities in combat).

The other challenge is going to be finding ways to motivate them in ways other than gold. So far their first question to NPCs asking for favors has been, “how much will you pay us?” Gold is a great motivator, especially for new players, but my hope is that the intrigue of the story starts to cause them to make decisions based off of a desire for information more than for coin. That’s not totally on them though; if I do a good job as DM, that change should happen naturally.

What has been the most rewarding thing?

The most rewarding thing for me as a DM is always just to see my players have fun. That’s true of any group, and even moreso with a group that I didn’t expect to really get into the game the way my grandparents did. I am fortunate to have a really good relationship with them, and being able to share something with them that brings me as much joy as D&D does is awesome.

In general, it’s just really cool being able to play D&D with them. Most people my age who spend time with their grandparents probably have to compromise a bit when it comes to activities. Mine have fortunately always been cooler than the stereotype of what people think of when it comes to older relatives, but this definitely makes Tuesday dinners at their house a lot more interesting.


Here’s the DM himself, Sean


We were able to ask a few of the players their thoughts on D&D. We posed the same three questions to all of them:

1.) What surprised you the most about playing D&D?

2.) What did you find the most challenging?

3.) What is your favorite thing about D&D?

Maureen the Human Fighter’s Answers

1. What surprised me most was even though the names are unusual, I found it easy to follow.

2. The most challenging thing was following my team when I wanted to take a different path.

3. My favorite thing is how everyone embraces their characters and fits into their roles.

Margiella the High Elf Wizard’s Answers

1. I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed the adventure. I was not sure when we first started but it challenges your thought process and makes your brain think of strategies to win.

2. The most challenging thing is deciding how to fight the enemy and what is the best weapon to use.

3. My most favorite thing about D & D is that you can play with others as a team and work together to make decisions. We played last night and had a lot of laughs on the adventure. It was obvious that some of our decisions went badly, but we all still laughed about it. This is a game that can bring together people of all ages to have a great time. My grandson is the host and in his twenties, so it is especially enjoyable for me to be able to have that time with him at this point in our lives. I can’t wait for our next game.

Jeffro the Halfling Rogue’s Answers

1. The biggest surprise to me was the intricacy of how the game plays out and how your

choices help to move the game along.

2.  The most challenging thing is as a new player it’s getting familiar with my character and what he is capable of doing.

3.  The thing I enjoy most the molding of my character to what I feel he is supposed to be like.

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The Dragon and the Thief

Do your PCs spend a lot of time in taverns drinking and gambling? Do you want to role-play the games perhaps as a change of pace or as a prelude to a cracking barroom brawl?


The dragon and the Thief is a perfect game for PCs to play when relaxing in their favourite tavern. They can play it among themselves or try to win coins from the locals. Unlike some gambling games, a single round of Dragon and the Thief can go on for some time, but large amounts of money are rarely won or lost as each player usually only puts down or picks up one coin at a time.

A game of Dragon and the Thief is a great way to introduce new NPCs – either normal locals, rival adventurers, thieves, rivals or even potential employers. A game of Dragon and the Thief is also the perfect backdrop for some impromptu information gathering.

How to Play

To play, Dragon and the Thief, each player needs two six‐sided dice and a game board. The game is best played with three or more players.

Game Board by Matt Morrow

Game Board by Matt Morrow

Start: Before play begins, the players must decide what denomination of coin (copper, silver, gold or platinum) to wager. All players start by placing a coin of the relevant value on the number 7.

Who Goes First: The players all roll their dice. The player with the lowest score goes first. Thereafter, play passes to the left.

Playing: Each player rolls his dice. The result determines the player’s action:

  • 2 (The Thief): The player takes all the coins except those on number seven (The Hoard).
  • 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 or 11: The player checks the number for a coin. If a coin is there, the player takes it. If there is no coin the player puts one down on that number.
  • 4: The player does nothing.
  • 7 (The Hoard): The player puts a new coin on that number.
  • 12 (The Dragon): The player takes all the coins on the board.

Play continues as long as the participants want to play; players can join or drop out at any time.

Get it Free

This is an extract from a Raging Swan Press product released as a special Christmas gift. It’s still available as a free download and contains several different printable game boards along with lists of players and in-game events designed to spice up the PCs’ gambling session. You can grab a copy at RPGNow or DriveThruRPG. Get your copy today!



What colour did the Vikings paint their houses?

October 16, 2016 – 06:25

Archaeologists in Denmark are busy building one of the largest experimental archaeology reconstruction projects. But what colours would the Vikings have used?

How did the Vikings decorate their houses? Archaeologists from across Denmark have been trying to find out. (Photo: Sagnlandet Lejre)

Did Vikings paint their houses white or red? Which colours were popular, and when?

These questions were the focus of a furious debate among researchers during a seminar entitled “Colourful Vikings” hosted by the Centre for Historical-Archaelogical Research and Communication in Denmark (as also known as Sagnlandet Lejre).

Archaeologists at Sagnlandet Lejre are currently reconstructing a full sized royal Viking hall.

When finished, it will measure 60 metres long, be slightly oval shaped, and built from planks of oak. But exactly what colours the original hall was painted with, remains a mystery.

Eighteenth century preservationist repainted Viking objects

Archaeologists have found a range of wooden Viking objects that have retained some colour, and preserve some evidence of the fashions of the day. But even so, we cannot be completely sure about the exact colours used, says Mads Christensen, a chemist from the National Museum of Denmark.

He refers to objects found in the tomb of Gorm the Old, one of Denmark’s earliest kings, in west Denmark.

“Various wooden objects found in Gorm the Old’s tomb in Jelling were probably painted with white, red, green, black, and yellow. They’re dated to around 960 CE,” says Christensen.

The colours of these 1,000-year-old pieces of timber are no longer visible, but Christensen was able to chemically extract traces of pigment from the wood. But he still cannot tell how intense the original colours might have been.

“We can determine that the colours were there, but we can’t tell how intense they were,” he says.

On top of this, the objects were likely repainted with a protective layer by a well-meaning conservationist in the eighteenth century, which somewhat muddles the results.

Read More: Fashionable Vikings loved colours, fur, and silk

Quicklime was probably a popular choice

Other archaeologists take another view: that Viking houses, or at least royal halls, were painted entirely white.

Should the Viking hall interior be painted white to meet Viking standards? (Photo: Sagnlandet Lejre)

“We found traces of clay with white chalk at the excavations of the Viking halls in Tissø and Lejre. So we think that the houses were covered with quicklime,” says Josefine Franck Bican, a research assistant at the National Museum of Denmark.

This would make a lot of sense, she says.

A white house would be visible from far away, making it a suitable status symbol and landmark. Using quicklime both in and outside the house would have provided effective insulation and a good indoor climate on top of providing light during the dark winter months.

During the Viking colour seminar, Bican ignited another lively discussion when she suggested that the royal hall most likely had windows.

Read More: New Viking graves discovered in Denmark

Glass beads suggest a change in fashion

In any event, it is likely that something exciting happened with colours during the Viking period, says Henriette Lyngstrøm, a Ph.D. student at the Saxo Institute at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

A comparison of coloured glass beads from before the Viking age, indicate that a shift in colour fashion took place, she says.

“When we compare glass beads dated to 600 and 700 CE, there is a clear difference in colour and pattern. Beads dated to 600 CE are predominantly red-brown and have a single colour, whereas beads from 700 CE are variegated with strong colours,” says Lyngstrøm.

The beads cannot tell us anything specific about the Viking period, which was between 800 and 1050 CE. But Lyngstrøm thinks that the early shift in colours might have influenced the Vikings later on.

Read More: Unique jewellery from the British Isles found in Danish Viking grave

“Did they perceive colours as we do?”

Many of the researchers questioned the whole premise of reconstructing colours in the Viking hall. How can we ever know whether we agree with the Vikings about what a colour is?

“There are, for example, many historical sources that suggest the Romans perceived colours differently than we do today,” says Amalie Skovmøller, a Ph.D. student at the Saxo Institute at the University of Copenhagen.


In 2009, archaeologists excavated the royal hall at Sagnlandet Lejre, near Copenhagen, Denmark.

It is one of the biggest buildings from the Viking period.

The Centre for Historical-Archaelogical Research and Communication (Sagnlandet Lejre) has begun a full size reconstruction of the hall.

Archaeologists are now discussing what colours best represent the original Viking hall.

Source: sagnlandet.dk (in Danish only)

Romans may have perceived colour more as an expression of different hues and nuances, than as an actual perception of red, yellow, or green.

“For example, the concept of purple is used in historical texts to both describe the surface of the sea and a glow in a woman’s eyes and not just the colour that we associate purple with today,” says Skovmøller.

The same could apply to the Vikings, she says.

Read More: Photo gallery: The six styles of Viking art

Can we ever create a truly authentic reconstruction?

But should the archaeologists really be so concerned with figuring out how such a hall may or may not have been painted? During the seminar, discussions often touched on the underlying premise of such an archaeological reconstruction.

“What does ‘authentic’ mean anyway?” says Tobias Jespersen from the Saxo Institute, referring to the ongoing discussion among archaeologists as to whether any reconstruction project can be considered truly authentic.

Jespersen has just written his master’s thesis on the subject.

“Regardless of which colour we choose, the reconstruction will always be inauthentic. Our task as academics is to give the best estimate of a previously impossible task–to recreate the past,” he says.

One suggestion would be to paint the hall in different colours to reflect different time periods.

Archaeologists behind the reconstruction will continue to investigate.


I really enjoyed the first one. My whole family did. Best in the entire series.

Jurassic World 2 Director Says Sequel Will Be Much Darker

Jurassic World Kids Jurassic World 2 Director Says Sequel Will Be Much Darker

In the aftermath of director Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World, the entire franchise began a process of rejuvenation. Not only was the film a tremendous blockbuster, but for the first time in years, a Jurassic Park film captivated audiences. The previous two sequels had failed to ignite the excitement and fascination that the original Steven Spielberg film had and to date, Jurassic World has been the closest that Hollywood has come to repeating that magic.

With the public now well aware of plans to make Jurassic World into a trilogy, the anticipation of those films is perhaps matched only by the curiosity of what sort of films they’ll be. For the upcoming Jurassic World 2, we know that Trevorrow has stepped back from directing in order to focus on scripting as well as producing duties. The sequel is in the hands of J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls) and his vision of the famed dinosaur park run amokwill include animatronic as well as CG effects.

Now we’re also learning that Bayona’s Jurassic World 2 will be a much darker film than its predecessor. Scified brings us the latest news on the film after Bayona spoke with the Spanish language media outlet Agencia EFE. Comparing Jurassic World 2’s darkness and depth to other legendary second steps in successful film franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek, Bayona had this to say:

“It will be darker and scarier then the previous film. Obviously when you have Chris Pratt it will also be very funny. But it will be darker. It is a second step in a trilogy, and the second step is always dark as in ‘The Empire Strikes back or the ‘Wrath of Khan’ which are the examples you always get. The film takes the story where it has never been before. To me it surprised me. We are going to places where the saga has never been before, and at the same time we are paying tribute to the franchise. We will take it a step further. There are things that will happen that people are not expecting and they really are shocking.”

Jurassic World Pratt Jurassic World 2 Director Says Sequel Will Be Much Darker

Most recently, Jurassic World 2 writer/producer Colin Trevorrow revealed that the sequel would deal with animal abuse by using the treatment of dinosaurs as a parable of the treatment that today’s animals often encounter. This sort of focus would certainly take the story where it has never been before and it’s easy to see how such a topic could indeed create a much darker Jurassic World film. Couple this darker take with Trevorrow’s previous assurances that the sequel would be scarier than its predecessor and the number of questions as to how all this could play out greatly increases.

Regardless of what either Trevorrow or Bayona might have to say about Jurassic World 2, the real test of how dark or scary the film is will come when audiences are able to decide for themselves. A film like The Empire Strikes Back didn’t require advance warning of its gloom and doom, it delivered these things while being highly entertaining. If Jurassic World 2 can perform in a similar fashion, then the dinosaur-mania that swept theaters with Jurassic World is sure to carry its monstrous momentum onward into the future.

Jurassic World 2 arrives in U.S. theaters on June 22, 2018.

Source: Scified


Not only does this first interest me as an amateur and industrial archaeologist (after all, looked at in one way this is one of the greatest and most extensive high industrial projects ever undertaken by man, especially given the limitations of the time) but this also interests me as a game and adventure designer and as a writer. I don’t think anyone has ever done an adventure or module series about the great pyramids themselves that encapsulates the true mystery and potential wonder of such a structure, and very few fiction writers have ever done the design real justice.



The ScanPyramids project continues to break new ground on the Great Pyramid at Giza whilst barely laying a finger on it. Their latest find shows that the 4,500-year-old monument has even more mysterious hidden cavities and corridors than their previous work showed.

Their first new discovery is a cavity about 105 meters (345 feet) up from the ground on the northeastern corner of the pyramid. This is followed by another “void” discovered on the north face of the structure, AFP reports.

The project, led by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities Authority, uses infrared thermography, “cosmic ray” muon detectors, aerial drone photography, and laser scanning to “look inside” the pyramids in a totally non-invasive way. The project is coming to the final weeks of its year-long mission, which started last October.

The bulk of their work has been conducted on the Great Pyramid, the largest and oldest of the three pyramids at the Giza site, which acts a monument and tomb to Pharoah Khufu. They have also conducted work on its neighbor Khafre in Giza, as well as the Bent pyramid and Red pyramids in the Dahshur necropolis.


The exact size and shape of these new rooms are not yet known by the engineers, however, they’re conducting further scans to get a clearer view. This will also hopefully shed some light onto the function or purpose of the cavities.

Following the controversial work of archaeologist Dr Nicholas Reeves, the prospect of hidden cavities is always set to get the imaginations of Egyptologists going. In 2015, Reeves suggested the long-lost tomb of Queen Nefertiti could be hidden behind the burial chamber of King Tutankhamun.

So, could this discovery be a secret corridor or even a hidden tomb?

It sounds like a plot fit for an Indiana Jones movie, but others are not being so romantic with their estimations, instead believing the cavities are simply just part of the pyramid’s structure.

“These people are scientists and do not have an archaeological background,” Zahi Hawass, former Egyptian Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs and Director of the Giza Pyramids Excavation, told Seeker. “The core of the pyramid was built using long stones and small stones. If you know that, you’ll find anomalies everywhere.”

“I think there are no secret rooms and these anomalies have to do with the way the pyramid was built,” he added.


Brett | October 14, 2016

A Man’s Life, On Manhood, Podcast

Podcast #243: Becoming a Barbarian

Seven years ago, my guest today published what has become an underground cult classic on masculinity. His name is Jack Donovan and that book was The Way of Men. I had him on the podcast a few years ago to discuss it — check it out if you haven’t listened to it. In The Way of Men, Donovan argued that for men to really live what he calls the “tactical virtues” of masculinity, they need to join an all-male honor group, or what he calls a gang or tribe. In his latest book, Becoming a Barbarian, Donovan lays out what creating these honor groups would look like.

On today’s show, Jack and I discuss why masculinity is often tragic, why today’s modern world makes it hard for men to form male honor groups, the difference between a club and a tribe, and what it means to start the world.

Show Highlights

  • The runaway success of The Way of Men
  • How Becoming a Barbarian is a continuation of The Way of Men
  • The difference between a tribe and club
  • Why masculinity is tragic and requires conflict
  • Anti-fragility and masculinity
  • Why men need other men to fully experience masculinity
  • Why the lone alpha male is a myth
  • Why belonging to a group can make you a more interesting person
  • Why modernity makes it hard to be part of a community
  • Why individualism can make us less free
  • What it means to be a barbarian
  • Why social media gives the illusion of action and influence
  • Can you have an online tribe?
  • Why technology is the opposite of manliness
  • How the Amish can serve as a template for living in a community
  • What do you build a tribe around?

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast


Donovan and I admittedly have different conceptions of manliness. To me, “primal” anthropological/biological manhood should always be coupled with the ancient conception of manliness as virtue. Donovan champions a stripped-down, raw masculinity over and above more lofty conceptions. But even if you disagree with some of his views, his sharp and compelling insights into the core of masculinity force you to re-think your assumptions about what it means to be a man and to live in a community; after all, you can’t build towards higher manhood unless you understand the foundation — you can’t become a Gentleman Barbarian and neglect the barbarian virtues. The ideas in his books are thus worth grappling with. You can pick up copies of The Way of Men and Becoming a Barbarian on Amazon.

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)



Sitting in the living room listening to a series of old radio plays from the 40s and 50s broadcast by a local radio station every Sunday evening. So far I’ve listened to The Third Man (I also recently recorded Welles Third Man film and I look forward to rewatching it),  The Adventures of Superman (he was breaking up a gang of real estate racketeers attempting to bomb the Daily Planet for bad publicity), and some old cereal commercials and old radio commercials for the Navy. Absolutely delightful.

Radio plays are to me a far better exercise for the mind and the imagination than television, for you have to reconstruct the action and scenery for yourself from rather shallow and quick narrative descriptions and scant dialogue. It’s a shame TV has killed all of that for the vast majority of people. Though I’m a throwback I guess because I still listen…

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“Oh, I understand you well enough. Lord and commander of the Basilegate. For you see I once was you. You believe that man must be ruled by other men. Strong men. Kings, emperors, imperators. Commanders given rank and title, tithe and sway. Men who give commands so that others may meekly acknowledge, bend the knee, and thus obey. This kind of life is well known to the world. It is the ancient and unquestioned way.

But it is not my way. Not, at least, any longer. For I know well enough now of men who will not bend to summons, who will not submit to commands, who seek no orders, obey no demands to speak and live as others will, no matter how strong the strong man be. For I have learned in countless, hidden toils that man should be strong…

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See ya.


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The Best Stories of Herodotus (And Why You’re Going to Read Them)


Have you ever read Herodotus? Let me guess: the answer is no. Are you ever going to read Herodotus? You bet.


Well, bits of it, at any rate.🙂 If I have anything to do with it.

Perhaps you think you have better things to do with your time and The Histories are too long and too boring. Well, of course, it’s too long. Nine books (some 700 pages) long; I’m not suggesting that you read it in one sitting. As for boring, Herodotus wrote 2500 years ago so you think he’s simply got to be boring: “Aw, he’ll go in for long descriptions!…” “His ideas are way behind the times.” “He’s tediously formal and never cracked a joke in his life…”

Well, I’ve got news for you. Herodotus is neither behind the times, nor boring (and even if he was, you’d be skipping the boring bits with me).

An episode from Book 1 of The Histories: Astyages sends Harpagus to kill baby Cyrus. Painting by Jean Charles Nicaise Perrin via Wikipedia (public domain) An episode from Book…

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Here are some of my Pinterest Boards that you might find useful:

Pinterest Account

They include boards on subject matter ranging from Archeology, Business, Gaming, and History, to Science, Mathematics, and Writing, Literature, and Poetry.

T(W)WT: The Other Faramir

Benita J. Prins

I got sick on Thanksgiving Monday, which really sucked, and so of course I missed TWT yesterday. I have to confess it literally never crossed my mind all day Tuesday, I was so tired. But I skipped last week too, so I’m making up for it today with a Tuesdays (Wednesdays) with Tolkien post.

I discovered the coolest thing last time I read Unfinished Tales. Turns out there was a prince of Gondor named Faramir, and while that doesn’t necessarily sound like anything much – Faramir son of Denethor was named after Faramir son of Ondoher, so what? – there is actually a very, very cool connection between him and the Faramir we know.

800px-stefano_baldo_-_wainriders “Wainriders” by Stefano Baldo

In short, his story is the same as Éowyn’s.

In his time, there was a law in Gondor that at least one of the King’s heirs had to stay in Minas…

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47 – Power vs Theme

Grey Company Podcast




In this episode, Derek, Dan, and Ian discuss the challenges and possibilities of balancing theme and power when building decks.

This episode brought to you by all of our Patrons! Thank you!


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World of Warships 0.5.13 Public Test — The Daily Bounce – WoT & WoWS: News, Leaks & More

Hello everyone, World of Warships 0.5.13 Public test will be available from October 12th to October 17th. Here’s what we can expect to come in 0.5.13. Containers Daily missions are going to be replaced with a more sophisticated and interactive system of Containers, which delivers more value to the players. Every player will now receive […]

via World of Warships 0.5.13 Public Test — The Daily Bounce – WoT & WoWS: News, Leaks & More

The Humanity of Manuscripts

just history posts

Following on from my previous blog post, where I discussed the idea that the use of historical pictures in social media could highlight to modern eyes the humanity of people who lived long ago, I thought I would delve deeper into this idea by looking at examples from medieval manuscripts. During my Masters, I was lucky enough to take palaeography classes at the Borthwick Institute for Archives where many interesting tid-bits from manuscripts were shown to me. Some of them made us laugh – for example, on one of the blank pages of a huge important medieval register from York, a child had scribbled a very faint drawing on the page – clearly it was bring-your-child-to-work-day and this child had to get hands on. Other humorous examples can be seen elsewhere – one such image that I have seen make the rounds on social media many times is from…

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DAY 1. Playing “Elude”, How to Model Depression via Game Metaphors to Foster Understanding?

I am big on TSS (Transferable Skill Simulations) in game design. TSS is a basic element of nearly all of my game designs. This article interested me for that reason.


[A Research Game for Understanding Depression, the Design Process] Elude is a game originated from the MIT GAMBIT Game Lab with a team of 9 students over the nine-week summer period of 2010.

Keywords: design process, metaphorical modeling, depression, serious game, empathy.

1. [WHAT] What main issue does this work address?

This short paper introduces the design procedure of turning virtual ideas into a concrete empathy game, Elude, and modeling the abstract concept of depression via metaphors to create expressive and experiential dimensions for players. Elude aims at helping people understand depression, especially the closed ones understanding depression. Although I will mostly focus on the game and its potential outcomes, this article concentrates more on articulating the significance of selecting and designing proper metaphors.

Figure 1 shows a screenshot of the style of the game.

elude0 Screenshot of Elude Starting Game Scene

Here is the link to their website if you…

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Owl Works - The Scribblings of M.T. Bass

Critics agree his writing style is perfect for license plates: no spelling, no grammar, no coherence — not to mention his lawless bent.

Bipolar Tapestry~Poetic Thoughts

~Poetry, Insight into Bipolar 1 Disorder, Blurbs of Thought, Personal Quotes, insight into romance, lost love, loss in general, and restoration~


The Window into DailyHistory.org


beauty can be found in the most unexpected places


Where health meets poetry and blogs...

The Inkwell

from inkdrop - pulling out a scribble a day

the grizzle grist mill

"All is grist for the mill." - A Proverb

The Moment Keepers - Travel and Photography Blog by Filipino Couple - Dubai UAE

Travel stories and photography inspirations by Filipino couple and Dubai expats - Joanna and Jeremiah Villanueva.

C. T. Suddeth

I am a writer of adult and children's fiction.

Moonlight Psychology

PSICOLOGÍA: Terapia, talleres y blog // PSYCHOLOGY: Therapy, workshops and blog

Brother Murf's Corner

Religion, Philosophy, & Spirituality


Useless and Useful Chatter

Yellow Goals

Yellow goes xyz. Create your own goal.


The before, during and after stories, poems and photos of a homeless child.

She's Fiercely Ambitious

Advice and motivation to grow your social media, rock your brand and create unstoppable success.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Award-winning, dream-protecting author

Sentient Christian

AV_1611 Bible Only. Exposing The Whore of Babylon. Revelation 17 KJV contact@sentientchristian.com


Just another WordPress.com site

Written Therapy

- saving my sanity one word at a time -

Le Blog BlookUp

Imprimez vos contenus digitaux en livre avec BlookUp !

Mrinalini Raj

STOP ! HAULT ! DON'T RUN. Go through my Words, live with them for a while.


Colours of different thoughts


"He's good with sports"

Embracing Authenticity

"Don't be ashamed of your story it will inspire others!"

Sky Bear Games

We play games. We make games.


Empowering people and Businesses with the requisite information and tools to thrive.


Hope in the goodness of Humanity.

Aui's Den

Read, Write and Heal

Saved and Blessed

Faith, Poetry, inspiration, everyday life, spiritual, Love, Christian, Bible


My hands talk better!

the lady confidential blog

Don't Be Ashamed of your Story, It will Inspire Other.

In Moscow's Shadows

Analysis and Assessment of Russian Crime and Security

millie schmidt writer

coffee, chocolate & writing

Logical Quotes

Logical and Inspirational quotes

Informatic Cool Stuff

Science and technology with Creative DIY!


Positivity from our little tribe

Benita J. Prins

Tolkien Geek and Christian Fantasy Author

We Write Worlds

Every story is a world...write one.

Undead Author Society

Resurrecting Dead Stories

Aces Flying High

An Aussie's travels to air shows, aviation museums and related events around the world, with a bit of aerospace history along the way!


Dry Thoughts on Damp Books

Memory of the Star

Remember that a star can help light the way

Ancient Worlds

Philip Boyes

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