Wednesday, April 30, 2014

State of the Union: Water

Part of the United States Geological Survey's mission is to readily provide data to the public and professional users.  

And they do this in spades, with online maps, earthquake data, historical and real-time water and climate data.

Stream flow data is telemetried from thousands of gaging stations around the nation, giving a snapshot of water supply and stream flow, often on 15 - minute intervals.  Go ahead, take a look.  Is your state or local river flowing full ( blue or green) or are you in dry country (red and black)?

As the climate changes around us, the focus on these dots becomes more and more critical.  For many of those dots have been red or black for quite some time.  And they will not likely become flush with water any time soon, as the distribution and timing of precipitation continues to shift.

This means how and when we use water must change.  From my memories of growing up on the High Plains, water never seems to arrive at the right time, or in the right amounts.  I'm afraid that will become the norm more and more.  

Having access to data like the USGS provides is critical for the ongoing tracking of trends and technical and policy decisions.  But as importantly, having easy access to this data allows for a informed public, provided the public chooses to be curious.

Monday, April 28, 2014

One Page Dungeon Entry 2014

Sent off the One Page Dungeon entry last night.  And as with any submittal, I had to finally stop tweaking words, formatting, etc., say, "Enough!" and send it into the gloom.  It was either that, or toss it all and throw together my alternate, " A Bad Night At the Cheese Factory"...

Original Here

(Of course, as I woke up yesterday morning, an excellent OPD idea came to me...  next year... :) )

Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Creating Villages with Disembodied Brains"

Topic via Talysman's random generator, draft scribbled in a notebook while waiting for a contractor to load trucks:

Persons entering the village of Echsen are greeted by a horrific sight.  Brains and eyes float in viscous fluid within transparent jars, mounted on crab-like legs, scuttle about the village streets.  A traveler nervously fingers his sword.

Sketched by my lovely wife on the back of some scratch paper...
"Welcome to Echsen, guv'ner," squeaks a tinny voice, "This village and all who pass through are under the aegis of the mage Kedibo.  No harm will come to you here."

The visitor cautiously walks the streets, shying away from the skittering constructs passing by on their business.  The mercantile is open for trade, the town mill grinds away, the smell of roasting meat drifts from the tavern.

Curious, the visitor exchanges a few coppers for a new cloak and a few road provisions at the shop. Maybe he shares an ale and trencher of roast with the clattering and clacking patrons of the tavern. He notes that it is curious that they go through the motions of eating and drinking as they talk village gossip, but the food remains uneaten, the beverages not drunk.  Perhaps our traveler, noting the late hour, even dares to spend a night of fitful sleep at the simple inn.

In the morning he departs, with farewells from the same eerie music-box voices.  He rides away, waiting for the nervous itch in his spine to subside.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Editing the OPD

The One Page Dungeon entry undergoes some serious revision and late brainstorming.

Like many stories (and adventures), the characters apparently have minds and agendas of their own...

OK, off to bed.  I have an 0400 wakeup.

Happy St. George's Day!

And with it, a taxonomy of dragons, via the British Library.

Sir, you just killed my pet dragon, Cedric!
Now I have to find a new playmate for my goat, Winifred!
From their blog:

"Dragons are near-ubiquitous in medieval manuscripts.  They take pride of place in bestiaries and herbals, books of history and legend, and Apocalypse texts, to name a few.  They serve as symbols, heraldic devices, and even as ‘just’ decoration, and their physical characteristics can vary widely. Cinematic and literary depictions of dragons today are fairly consistent; they are almost always shown as reptilian, winged, fire-breathing creatures (in a word, Smaug).  But this was by no means a constant portrayal in the medieval period."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monster: The Savage Salix

I've looked, and haven't really seen any stats for one of modern literature's favorite belligerent plants from a lovely series of young-adult books and movies regarding the adventures of a young man of magical leanings and his friends and instructors at a certain academy...

(The other, of course, being Audrey.)


Saturday, April 19, 2014

"Looting Hoards beside(s) Vices"

Well, I just returned from Bishop, California, and I should have been sending projects...
(not me)

... but had evening downtime, so I fought with the Blogger app to cobble together an entry for this week's Topic Tuesday. (I'm probably the only person who does this, but it's an excellent freewriting exercise for me...)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Anfauglir, or Plains Elves

I'm hanging in the desert of Bishop, California, so here's more on the elven tribe who made their appearance in this narrative.


If an arboreal or "High" Elf is questioned about the Anfauglir, or the Plains Elves, a typical response will be a disgusted sniff, and an under-the-breath comment about "Rustics..." or "Barbarians...", as most High Elves consider them little more than a devolved group of primitives clinging to some distant cultural myth.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

This is what mud at 60 mph looks like

At least in an animated sense...

This is an animation of the recent Steelhead slide in Washington, based on USGS modelling.  60 mph is actually a 'normal' speed for a landslide or avalanche.  This slide was notable for the release of the volume of soil, as well as additional liquefaction as it hit the Stillaguamish River.

As always, a fascinating, tragic event.  

"Looting Villages from/of Jokes"

Topic Tuesday via...

"Looting Villages from/of Jokes"
I just picked one quickly so I didn't have to look at any more clown pictures. Source

It was high time.  They had scared the children.  They had buggered the sheep.  They had stolen the Sacred Pear.  It was time for the Painted Faces to go.

And we wanted our Pear back.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Random magic item: Seeing Eye Gem

Seeing Eye Gem: A magical gem or false eye used to replace a lost or injured eye.  Made of agate with a pupil and iris engraved upon the surface.

The gem will provide a random ability based on the below table:

1-10:  Normal vision
11-13: Darkvision (or improved darkvision, +25% range)
14:  Reduces surprise ("Eyes in the back of the head") - Reduced to 1 in 6 chance.
15: Detect evil/good, 1/day, as per spell. (1st level cleric or 2nd level magic user, depending on which box you're using.)
16: Protect from evil/good, 1/day, as per spell (1st level cleric or magic user - caster only)
17: Bullseye (+1 to hit for missiles)
18: Nazar (+1 save vs. spells)
19: +1 Protection (as Ring of Protection)
20:  Cross-eyed (-1 to-hits)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

"Tricking Followers Around Fire"

Talysman didn't roll a topic this week, so per the random topic generator:

Tricking Followers Around Fire
Faber the Fervid had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he preached against the avaricious.

"Only through fire or austerity may your sins be purged!!" he railed, "If not now - then in the Everlasting After!!"

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Found 'dungeons'

Crap, the group is coming tonight and my maps aren't ready...  Well, I can pull any number of pre-genned dungeons or blank maps created by those creative souls out there, or I can rely on GIS to round up a real-world setting that can be modded and molded for use.

I need a small fort, perhaps a villa, or a gladiator school?  Well, here's ... a gladiator school.  Complete with floor plan and oblique views.
"Gladiator School found in Roman Austria..."

Crap, those goblin hoards are coming out of a cave system in the hills.  Here's one that will confound anyone's mapping...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

One Page Dungeoning

Working on this year's paltry entry into the One Page Dungeon contest (which I will probably throw out on Apr. 28 and start over...).

The cat is not helping.