Archive for November, 2010

The Tomb of Arnulf the Bloody


Back when Dungeons and Dragons* was my main fantasy roleplaying game, I grew bored with one of the staples of the genre, the big or “mega-” dungeon. Too many questions arose that hindered my willing suspension of disbelief. And so my game tastes wandered off in other directions, many toward the political and conspiratorial, and away from exploring the “dark below.” Dungeons, when used, became smaller and more believable: a short series of rooms under a castle, the tomb ofย  a forgotten king, or the crude lair of some goblins carved out of a hillside, for example.

But, while reading James’ posts at Grognardia has rekindled my interests in megadungeons a bit, my preference is still for the smaller “lair” types. Thus it was, to my delight, that James recently posted a link to a fascinating site, the Nottingham Caves Survey, which is systematically mapping the sandstone tunnels and caves, both natural and worked by Man, under that British city. Here’s a sample video of one, “Mortimer’s Hole:”

It has an interesting history, too, for fans of English kings, playing a crucial role in the life of Edward III.

Neat stuff! This site is a gold mine of resources for gamemasters looking for a bit of inspiration for smaller dungeons.

*(Can you believe, in all the years I ran that game, over two long campaigns, I never –never!– threw a dragon at the characters? D’oh!)

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the map above was created by the very handy Random Dungeon Generator.

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I hope everyone has a fine day today. And just to show that Turkey Day is a holiday for everyone, even the big cats of Big Cat Rescue get their helping of bird:

Somehow, I don’t think there will be many leftovers tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚

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A planet from another galaxy has been discovered in the Milky Way, orbiting a dying star:

Astronomers claim to have discovered the first planet originating from outside our galaxy.

The Jupiter-like planet, they say, is part of a solar system which once belonged to a dwarf galaxy.

This dwarf galaxy was in turn devoured by our own galaxy, the Milky Way, according to a team writing in the academic journal Science.

The star, called HIP 13044, is nearing the end of its life and is 2000 light years from Earth.


HIP 13044 is nearing its end. Having consumed all the hydrogen fuel in its core, it expanded massively into a “red giant” and might have eaten up smaller rocky planets like our own Earth in the process, before contracting.

The new Jupiter-like planet discovered appears to have survived the fireball, for the moment.

We’ve watched enough late-night science fiction movies to know what this means, don’t we, folks? They need our world!!

Fortunately, children in the UK are being prepared for alien search and destroy operations:

UK Schools Hold UFO Crash Drills

When Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sang “Teach Your Children,” do you think they meant to instruct students on how to properly investigate UFO crashes?

Well, that seems to be a trend in some U.K. schools where UFO drills have been periodically staged over the past two years, according to Dateline Zero.

In a typical drill, a UFO crash incident is created, and police arrive to show 8- to 10-year-old pupils how to handle such a scenario, which includes gathering “wreckage,” and the students are encouraged to share and write about the experience.

Sure, this may seem like a harmless exercise to engage the imaginations of the kiddies and encourage them to practice their writing skills, but we know it’s not just a game.

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Either this is going to be one of the most fun movies, ever, or it is going to be really, really bad. And I can’t decide which.

You try:

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At least at the secondary school level:

Hah! I bet the opposing coach was just steaming. ๐Ÿ™‚

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There’s an app for that. Seriously.

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