Weekend Reading – Revolution Number Nine

Our Weekend Reading series (brought to you by our Patreon backers) continues with a curated selection of fascinating articles—and a few other things—from around the Internet.

 

Jenny

This week has been a little stressful for me due to some family obligations, but this little joke article from The Daily Bonnet gave me a bit of a chuckle.

Reverend Jim, eager to increase his baptism numbers for the year, baptized more than five hundred people without their knowledge, during a church event at the local waterpark.

“They zipped pass me and I prayed,” explained Jim. “I was able to do about four or five a minute.”

Similarly, this webcomic, Elf & Warrior, definitely seems right up my alley. I’m really looking forward to catching up on it.

Elf & Warrior follows the adventures of a young, optimistic Elf named Basri and his Uncle Hector, a reformed (sort of) criminal in a unique fantasy setting full of strange monsters and magic.

And finally, I have been very much into crafty things recently. Specifically, crafty things to do with woodworking and resin. I’ve found a YouTube channel where this guy named Peter Brown makes cool things, generally resin, and then does lathe work. I find it all super relaxing to watch, and I think this video where he makes a “Secret Wood Bowl” is one of my favourites.

Grant

I’ve been in and out this week, so some of this is catching up on backlog. Still interesting, though!

First, this really interesting article from Christ & Pop Culture: “How Seventh-Day Adventists Convinced You to Eat Breakfast Cereal” by Luke Harrington. It’s about millennials; and cold, unappetizing, not-at-all nutritious breakfast cereals; and the brothers Kellogg.

Most of their efforts, however, were devoted to finding new ways to cram bland grains into people’s various orifices—highly dubious “health food” was a burgeoning industry, and they were determined to ride that gravyless train all the way to the bank. One of their early ideas was to bake giant chunks of whole wheat so rock-hard that you had to soak them in milk overnight to avoid breaking your teeth, which they called “Granula.” This proved to be a problem, though—not the tooth-breaking thing (obviously), but the name, which had already been trademarked by a different crazy fundamentalist running a different highly dubious sanitarium. To avoid a lawsuit, they changed one letter and called it “Granola.”

I’ve run Shanna Germain’s excellent No Thank You, Evil! for my four-year-old daughter and her friends a couple of times now, and she’s really taken to it wonderfully. A new expansion, Uh-Oh, Monsters!, is in preorder right now, and ‘Senda’ over at Gnome Stew reviewed it very positively.

Uh Oh! Monsters! is essentially the Storia version of a monster manual, but this book reads as the adorable monster museum run by Bill Zubbub and his dragon friend. Don’t pet the critters without asking first! There’s also the museum gift shop, filled with cool monster related magical items (the Froggle Goggles are my favorite).

Each monster comes with the appropriate No Thank You, Evil! stats and information as you would expect from a book of monsters: Health, Damage, Skills, Quirk, and Stuff. It’s well laid out and quick to sift through, making it a perfect GMing companion even if that GM is your ten year old.

Finally, another fascinating article from Hyperallergic, this time about Gus Wagner. “The Swashbuckling Origins of One of America’s Greatest Tattooers” describes an exhibit on the man at the South Street Seaport Museum, displaying items related to the life and work of a man who popularized and greatly refined the art in the early 1900s. The article isn’t completely positive about the exhibition itself, but there’s plenty here (and in the linked galleries) for people looking for characters and concepts for any turn-of-the-century game.

Seeing for himself the way that cultures around the globe approached tattooing by hand affected the way that Wagner’s own tattooing style developed, and he eventually brought back this knowledge to the US. As curator Martina Caruso said to me, “He learned hand tattooing from natives and artists in Borneo, Java, Australia, Japan, and Europe.”

Upon his reentry into the US, Wagner was eager to show off what he had learned, and set up shop as a tattooer. During this time Wagner also worked as a professional tattooed man within the circus and sideshow circuit referring to himself as “the most artistically marked up man in America.” Wagner was indeed heavily tattooed himself, and is reported in the exhibition materials to have had “264 tattoos by 1901 and over 800 by 1908.” The number of his tattoos only added to his legitimacy as a professional tattoo artist.

Peter

GameChurch has an really solid piece on the cycle of violence in games, particularly Ghost Recon: Wildlands. It makes a nice companion piece to our episode on the Myth of Redemptive Violence with Derek White.

“For Wildlands’ Ghosts, the cartel members die, but the threat is never gone.”

I wandered off my beaten media paths this week and found an interesting article on shaking up the traditional adventuring party model in D&D.

Simply put, D&D characters all fall into a single über-archetype that spreads over all the various combinations of class and race that you can come up with. They are (in the tradition of Cypher‘s character sentences) eclectic mercenaries who search for adventure. This is an awesome basis for games and it extends beyond D&D (unsurprisingly) to a diverse span of games including NumeneraShadows of Esteren, 7th Sea, and Degenesis but it doesn’t have to be that way every time. In this post, I’m going to discuss each of these elements in turn to give you examples of how you can turn this assumption on its head without changing a thing about the settings or systems you and your players love.

Finally, hot on the heels of a Patreon backer question about the Psalms is more goodness from Richard Beck’s Experimental Theology blog, specifically about an adversary figure in the Psalms.

You can’t read the Psalms without reading about the enemy over and over. Enemies taunt, kill, jeer, rob, betray and oppress all through the Psalms.

 

 

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