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Topics - KenHR

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Media and Inspiration / HPL's Notes for At the Mountains of Madness
« on: August 28, 2013, 02:08:28 pm »

Media and Inspiration / Jack Vance Radio Interview from 1976
« on: April 30, 2013, 01:32:12 pm »

Stumbled on this researching some of Vance's creatures and such.  Thought some other folks might enjoy.

So not only is Eldritch Entertainment, the start-up proposed by Mentzer, Kask and Co. begging you for money (relevant portions here), now they're soliciting web design for free!

Yeah, sure, stunts like this will get you taken seriously.

Kellri was right about these guys years ago.

I guess I'm feeling cranky after the family get-together.

Why not just tell someone to flip a lightswitch?  It would be about as much fun, and just as much a "meaningful contribution" to a game session under such a setup.

Actually, I think flipping a lightswitch might involve more risk (the bulb might be burned out or the wiring might be faulty, giving you a shock).

The counterpoints to those who don't agree with the argument are amusing, at least.  (And horrors!  People have to wait for others to take their turn before they can roll the dice now...Jesus H Christ, now it's "no fun" to wait a minute or five for your turn?)


Just noticed this while browsing DriveThru:

I've got all the environment books, Lee's Guide, Drexilthar Subsector, Wanted: Adventurers and Startown Liberty.  Every one is a gold mine, and far better than most GDW supplements and modules.

Maybe this means that FarFuture will be able to release the FASA/GameLords Apocrypha CD-ROM soon?

Thought I had a thread on this, but guess not....

I have updated my Subsector Generator in Excel and placed it here for download:

Currently generates a subsector (using the MongTrav "Hard Science" and "Space Opera" mods), calculates trade between any two systems on the map, generates a full set of encounter tables for any mainworld, and generates solar systems using the Scouts rules.

Lots of little bugs still, but this is an ongoing project.  Let me know what you think!

Media and Inspiration / Anthropomorphic Animals with Guns
« on: March 26, 2009, 03:01:06 pm »

I need a copy of this.  It's like my favorite Gamma World picture come to life.

Back to work and away from YouTube....


That's some awesome stop-motion animation-type stuff, that is.

I've posted my old RM2 character record here:

It does a ton of calculating for you; using this in conjunction with the books, our group got character generation down to a 15 minute process.

The skill set, races, etc. reflect my last campaign.  I may add to this sometime down the line, but I haven't really tweaked it in years.

Media and Inspiration / Egypt's Killer Text Message...hoax?
« on: March 25, 2009, 04:05:14 pm »

CAIRO (AFP) – The Egyptian government has sought to dispel rumours that a mobile phone text message "from unknown foreign quarters" is spreading around the country and killing those who receive it.

The extraordinary move by Egypt's health and interior ministries follows press reports that an SMS containing a special combination of numbers killed a man in the town of Mallawi south of Cairo.

"He died vomiting blood,followed by stroke, shortly after he received a message from an unknownphone number," the Egyptian Gazette reported on Wednesday.

"The number begins with the symbol (+) and ends with (111)," it said.

An "official security source" was quoted by the official MENA news agency as denying that those who receive the SMS "get splitting headaches followed by brain haemorrhage that leads to death."

A statement from the health ministry quoted health officials in several regions as saying that they had "received no cases with such symptoms"

"These rumours contradict all scientific facts," the statement said.

Egypt's interior ministry has detained three workers at an oil company for allegedly starting the rumours "and they are now being interrogated," MENA said.


Too long to re-post in its entirety here, but here is the intro:

Roman engineers chipped an aqueduct through more than 100 kilometers of stone to connect water to cities in the ancient province of Syria. The monumental effort took more than a century, says the German researcher who discovered it.

When the Romans weren't busy conquering their enemies, they loved to waste massive quantities of water, which gurgled and bubbled throughout their cities. The engineers of the empire invented standardized lead pipes, aqueducts as high as fortresses, and water mains with 15 bars (217 pounds per square inch) of pressure.

In the capital alone there were thousands of fountains, drinking troughs and thermal baths. Rich senators refreshed themselves in private pools and decorated their gardens with cooling grottos. The result was a record daily consumption of over 500 liters of water per capita (Germans today use around 125 liters).

However, when the Roman legions marched into the barren region of Palestine, shortly before the birth of Christ, they had to forgo the usual splashing about, at least temporarily. It was simply too dry.

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / RuneQuest Empires
« on: March 10, 2009, 12:27:41 pm »
I saw this on DriveThruRPG this morning:

Has anyone seen this?  Any reviews anywhere?

I don't play or run RQ, though I've owned the 3rd edition set for years.  The concept for this book seems interesting, however.


NASA's planet-hunting Kepler telescope is poised for a late-night launch tonight to begin seeking out Earth-like planets circling distant stars.

The $600 million Kepler spacecraft is slated to blast off from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station tonight at 10:49 p.m. EST (0349 March 7 GMT) on a mission that could profoundly change how humans perceive their role in the universe.

"It very possibly could tell us that Earths are very, very common, that we have lots of neighbors out there," said Ed Weiler, NASA's associate administrator for science missions. "Or it could tell us that Earths are really, really rare, and we're all alone out there."

Named after Johannes Kepler, the 17th century German scientist who pioneered the laws of planetary motion, the Kepler the spacecraft is NASA's first mission dedicated seeking out planets like Earth orbiting stars at just the right distance to allow liquid water - a vital ingredient for life on our own world - to exist on the surface.

"Kepler is essentially a planet-sifter for Earths," said Patricia Boyd, NASA's Kepler program scientist, adding that the mission is expected to take a census of Earth-like planets to see how common they are in our Milky Way galaxy. "The answer to that question could fundamentally shift our picture of our place in the universe."

Astronomers have discovered nearly 340 extrasolar planets since 1995, but most of them are gas giants, like Jupiter, or larger.

"What we're really interested in are rocky planets like that of the Earth," said William Borucki, Kepler's principal investigator at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

The forecast for tonight's planned launch appears pristine, with a less than five percent chance of foul weather thwarting Kepler's liftoff, mission managers said. The mission has two launch opportunities; a three-minute window at its first launch time and another window that opens at 11:13 p.m. EST (0414 March 7 GMT).

NASA delayed Kepler's launch by one day last week to allow extra rocket checks on the spacecraft's Delta 2 booster to ensure it was fit to fly. The precaution, stemmed from the Feb. 24 failure of a different rocket carrying a NASA Earth-watching satellite, found Kepler's booster in fine shape for tonight's planned liftoff, mission managers said.

Strange New Earths

After launch, Kepler is designed to turn its unblinking camera eye at a patch of sky between 600 and 3,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellations Cygnus and Lyra. The target zone covers an area similar to what a human hand could cover when held at arm's length.

Kepler will stare at the region for at least 3 1/2 years, measuring the light from 100,000 stars every half hour with a 95 million-pixel camera to watch for the slight dip in a star's brightness that signals a planet moving across it as seen from Earth. It's the equivalent of trying to spot a flea crawl across a car headlight from miles away, NASA has said.

"We certainly won't find E.T.," Borucki said. "But we will find E.T.'s home by looking at all of these stars."

But spotting planets the size of Earth is hard work. Kepler will seek out planets that circle their parent stars in just the right orbit, a so-called habitable or "Goldilocks" zone that is neither too hot nor cold for liquid water to exist.

For example, last month European scientists using the COROT space telescope announced the discovery of COROT-Exo-7b, a small exoplanet with a mass that weighs in at just twice the size of the Earth.

But while the planet's status as the smallest exoplanet has caused some debate, researchers are sure the alien world orbits very close to its parent star, making the trip once every 20 hours. Surface temperatures on COROT-Exo-7b are estimated at 1,832 to 2,732 degrees Fahrenheit (1,000 to 1,500 degrees Celsius).

"If that planet has an ocean, it flows with molten lead," said Borucki, adding that a planet circling a star from too far out faces a different problem. "Too far out and they're too cold. They're probably frozen solid."

So Kepler will be hunting for planets that move across their stars, or transit, about once every Earth year. Prime candidates will be ones the space telescope spots three times during its initial mission, mission researchers said.

Kepler will scout for its Earth-like quarry from an orbit that trails behind the Earth and circles the sun once every 371 days. While the spacecraft is designed to last 3 1/2 years, it carries enough fuel for up to six years of planet hunting just in case its mission is extended.

"We're very proud of the vehicle we have built," said Jim Fanson, Kepler's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "This is a crowning achievement for NASA and a monumental step for our search for other Earths around other stars."

NASA will broadcast the Kepler's launch late Friday night live on NASA TV beginning at 8:30 p.m. EST (0130 March 7 GMT). Click here for's live launch webcast and countdown coverage.

I just finished up a B/X D&D treasure generator for Excel and have posted it here:

This uses the tables from the Cook Expert rules.  I'd like to have it eventually generate specific spells for scrolls, powers for intelligent swords, etc.  In addition, I'd like to include the RC jewelry, gem and objects d'art tables.  Finally, it could stand to be a little prettier.  Still, it saves you some time!

This is part of my project to finish up or make presentable a bunch of Excel generators and calculators I've had on my HD.  I also have a Classic Traveller subsector generator (also does individual star systems, encounter tables and basic cargo & passenger calculations) here:

Media and Inspiration / RIP Philip Jose Farmer
« on: February 25, 2009, 03:44:21 pm »,24338/

The prolific and widely influential science fiction writer Philip José Farmer has died at the age of 91. Farmer's career mixed acclaim, and daring that courted infamy. With stories like "The Lovers," which won him a Hugo for "most promising new writer in 1953, and novels such as Flesh, Farmer made great strides toward bringing sexual frankness into science fiction.
Farmer also found fertile grounds in the margins of other creators' works, revisiting and revising characters such as Doc Samson and Tarzan, both of whom became subjects of Farmer's fictional biographies. He also published a novel under the name of "Kilgore Trout," borrowing the name from Kurt Vonnegut's fictional writer, reportedly much to Vonnegut's chagrin. Farmer found his greatest following with a pair of ongoing series: The Riverworld and World Of Tiers cycles. Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, Farmer spent much of his life in Peoria, Illinois. He leaves behind family, a following of "Farmerphiles," and over 75 books.

Maaaan.... :(

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