Author Topic: Game Fodder / Story Fodder  (Read 796332 times)

RadioactiveBeer

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D6xD6 - Chris

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Re: Game Fodder / Story Fodder
« Reply #811 on: September 07, 2015, 08:50:43 AM »
A new batch of tv infomercials:









« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 08:59:42 AM by PaulyMuttonchops »

pigsinspaces

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Re: Game Fodder / Story Fodder
« Reply #812 on: September 07, 2015, 05:21:37 PM »
Ship-swallowing GREEN BIO-STORM spotted FROM SPAAACE ...from The Register:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/09/07/shipswallowing_green_biostorm_spotted_from_spaaace/

Twisting H

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Re: Game Fodder / Story Fodder
« Reply #813 on: September 10, 2015, 06:35:07 AM »
New species of human discovered, Homo Naledi.   

Importantly, it is reported that there is evidence Homo naledi buried their dead. 

http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/10/africa/homo-naledi-human-relative-species/

Quote
Berger's team came up with the startling theory just days after reaching the place where the fossils -- consisting of infants, children, adults and elderly individuals -- were found, in a previously isolated chamber within the cave.

The team believes that the chamber, located 30 meters underground in the Cradle of Humanity world heritage site, was a burial ground -- and that Homo naledi could have used fire to light the way.

"There is no damage from predators, there is no sign of a catastrophe. We had to come to the inevitable conclusion that Homo naledi, a non-human species of hominid, was deliberately disposing of its dead in that dark chamber. Why, we don't know," Berger told CNN.

"Until the moment of discovery of 'naledi,' I would have probably said to you that it was our defining character. The idea of burial of the dead or ritualized body disposal is something utterly uniquely human."

Standing at the entrance to the cave this week, Berger said: "We have just encountered another species that perhaps thought about its own mortality, and went to great risk and effort to dispose of its dead in a deep, remote, chamber right behind us."

"It absolutely questions what makes us human. And I don't think we know anymore what does."

The first undisputed human burial dates to some 100,000 years ago, but because Berger's team hasn't yet been able to date naledi's fossils, they aren't clear how significant their theory is.

...

So far they've unearthed more than 1,500 fossil remains in total -- the largest single hominin find yet revealed on the continent of Africa, the cradle of human evolution.





----

http://www.timeslive.co.za/scitech/2015/09/10/Homo-naledi-a-new-species-of-human-relative-from-the-Cradle-of-Humankind


Quote
The mystery is how this hominid, ended up in the chamber, which has been named the Dinaledi Chamber, or “Chamber of Stars”.

...

Homo naledi is unique in that it has a mix of primate and human-like features. The shoulders are similar to apes while the feet are distinctly human-like.

“Surprisingly, Homo naledi has extremely curved fingers, more curved than almost any other species of early hominin, which clearly demonstrates climbing capabilities. This contrasts with the feet of H. naledi, which are “virtually indistinguishable from those of modern humans,” said Dr William Harcourt-Smith of Lehman College, City University of New York, and the American Museum of Natural History, who led the study of Homo naledi’s feet.

He believes the feet with the long legs might have also made Homo naledi suitable for long-distance walking.

But as yet scientists don't know where Homo naledi sits on man's evolutionary tree as they have been unable to date the species as yet.

Link to original scientific papers:

http://elifesciences.org/content/4/e09561

http://elifesciences.org/content/4/e10627

Other links:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150910-human-evolution-change/



So who's going to integrate this into the Delta Green Mythos?




Twisting H

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Re: Game Fodder / Story Fodder
« Reply #814 on: September 14, 2015, 08:18:22 PM »
Report in Nature about Underwater Archaeology off the Pacific coast of the Americas. 

Fodder for Delta Green/general CoC/supernatural investigation games.

Includes information on government agencies that are funding the work.

http://www.nature.com/news/fishing-for-the-first-americans-1.18334#/graphic

Quote
On 17 September, a catamaran will set off into the Pacific Ocean on a week-long cruise back to the Pleistocene. Laden with sonar instruments, the research vessel Shearwater will probe the ocean bottom to find places that were beaches and dry land more than 13,000 years ago, when the sea level was around 100 metres lower. The researchers are hunting for evidence that ancient people lived along this now-sunken coastline as they colonized the New World.

Meanwhile, other archaeologists are digging in the intertidal zone on a remote island off the shore of British Columbia in Canada, where the sea level has barely changed since the ice-age glaciers began to retreat. Since late last year, that team has found footprints and a tool that date back 13,200 years, making them some of the oldest human marks on the continent. Whoever left them had to have reached the island by boat.

Welcome to the newest wave of American archaeology: the idea that the first residents of the Americas came by sea, hugging the Pacific coast as they went south. This theory marks a sharp departure from the once-dominant hypothesis that Pleistocene hunters from Siberia migrated by foot across a land bridge to Alaska and then south into the heart of North America. This route opened up only when the vast sheets of ice covering the continent had melted enough to permit passage. It was thought that these first migrants made the distinctive stone spear tips called Clovis points, which began appearing at sites in the interior of North America around 13,000 years ago.

There has long been evidence that others reached the New World at least 1,000 years earlier. But only in the past decade have archaeologists accumulated enough evidence to abandon the Clovis-first model (see Nature 485, 30–32; 2012). Some of the earliest human sites in the Americas date to well before a corridor opened up between the ice sheets, which is forcing researchers to explore the idea that New World colonizers skirted the coastline. Travelling by boat, these early people could have hopscotched their way south of the ice sheets, subsisting on the rich marine resources of the ice-free strip along the shore.

The search for these sea-going settlers will not be easy. Much of the evidence that archaeologists seek is deep underwater — or was smashed long ago by the Pacific's legendary waves. But momentum is building to find those earliest settlers. “People are just more optimistic,” says Quentin Mackie, an archaeologist at the University of Victoria in Canada. Amanda Evans, a marine archaeologist at the ocean-survey company Tesla Offshore in Prairieville, Louisiana, says that prehistoric underwater archaeology in general is having a moment. “This year just seems to be the year that everybody was pushing the ball uphill and it finally crested.”

Tools of the trade

Loren Davis, an archaeologist at Oregon State University in Corvallis, is searching for the ancient seafarers in an unusual spot — at a site in Idaho called Cooper's Ferry, which is on a bank of the Salmon River, hundreds of kilometres away from the coast. At the dig site in August, Davis examines a piece of rock brought to him by one of his field crew. He turns it over to see whether it was shaped by human hands, perhaps by early toolmakers who littered the ground with flakes of rock as they worked.

Although Cooper's Ferry is far inland, Davis suggests that it is part of the coastal story. The Salmon is a tributary of the mighty Columbia River, which would have been the first large waterway encountered by people who made it south of the ice sheets during the last glacial epoch. At that time, valleys farther north would have been covered by glaciers. For a water-adapted culture, he says, “the first off-ramp south of the ice is the Columbia River”.

Having considered the stone, Davis hands it back to his colleague and says, “I think it is a flake.” His archaeological pits, which the crew has shaped into a series of neat holes, are full of flakes and finished 'western stemmed' points up to 13,200 years old1. Whereas the Clovis points are shaped like miniature surfboards, the western stemmed points from Cooper's Ferry are smaller and look like Christmas trees. Points resembling the western stemmed variety have been found throughout the western United States and in Siberia — a connection that suggests they were brought over to the New World by early hunters.

Davis's crew is quietly intent, and the air is filled with the gentle sound of trowels scraping earth, along with a rock wren's distinctive call. The peace is occasionally broken by shouts between diggers and data recorders: “Bone!”, “Fire-cracked rock!” or “Deb!” (short for debitage, or flakes). The position of each artefact is precisely recorded, then it is bagged up and stored in one of many boxes that are piling up in a nearby trailer. Precise dates will be assigned later, in the laboratory.

A sense of expectation hangs over the dig. If the team uncovers particularly old western stemmed points that definitively pre-date the Clovis era, that would strongly suggest that the first Americans carried these points there by sea and river. “You get a gambler's mentality,” Davis says. The hunt obsesses the crew, who spend weeks here, camped out and digging for hours each day. Sarah Skinner, an Oregon State student who supervises pit B, says that she wakes up clenching her fists around dream trowels. “When I close my eyes, I see artefacts,” she says.

Hinge-point hunt

Signs of early inhabitants are also starting to appear along the coast, particularly in spots where the swelling seas have not covered ancient shorelines since the end of the last glacial period. The western coast of Canada, for example, was pressed down by the Pleistocene ice and has been rebounding upwards since the glaciers melted. In some spots — hinge points — that post-glaciation rebound almost exactly cancels out the rising sea level2. One of those hinge points is Calvert Island, where a 13,200-year-old footprint was found late last year and another was discovered this summer. Daryl Fedje and Duncan McLaren, both archaeologists at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, plan to continue working the site to look for signs of the earliest Americans (see 'Welcome to America').

The Hakai Institute on Calvert Island, founded by Canadian entrepreneur Eric Peterson, is supporting that work. “As a fourth-generation British Columbian,” Peterson says, “I am intensely interested in the rich history of humans on our coastline, which we now realize goes way, way back. How far back? Thirteen thousand years? Fifteen thousand years? That's what we want to find out.”

Mackie thinks that Calvert Island and similar hinge points will produce results much faster than underwater work, which is technically challenging and expensive. “You might as well just stand on your boat and burn $100 bills,” he says.

But despite the enormous cost and technical challenges, he and others agree that underwater locations may hold tremendous potential and that the time has finally come for archaeologists of American prehistory to explore the Pacific Ocean. There have been a few projects over the years. In the late 1990s, Mackie and Fedje did some sea-floor mapping around Haida Gwaii, an island off the British Columbia coast3. They took samples of sea-floor sediment and hauled up a barnacle-encrusted flake tool that they suggest dates from 10,000 years ago, when the sea floor on which it was found was dry land. More recently, the duo used an autonomous underwater vehicle to explore and found what they suggest could be a fishing weir — a trap made from rocks — that dates back 13,800 years.

Archaeologist James Dixon of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque has done marine surveys of the now-submerged land that once connected Asia and North America. And Jon Erlandson, an archaeologist at the University of Oregon in Eugene, has worked for years on the Channel Islands off Southern California, piecing together evidence for his theory that people followed a 'kelp highway' down the coast. This route would have offered abundant food — fish, shellfish and marine mammals — supported by the kelp forest ecosystems.

But the offshore studies so far have been limited, and most of the discoveries have not been reliably dated. “There's very few of us, and we are spread over vast, vast areas,” says Dixon. There has been a hesitation to join — or fund — the chancy and expensive underwater search. “You can go out there and be totally skunked by the weather,” he says. “It is a tough thing.”

That has led many researchers to discount the coastal hypothesis in the past, notes Mackie. “People thought 'well, all the information is deep underwater and we'll never find it',” he says. And so far, nothing older than the Clovis era has been found along the Pacific Coast — either on the sea floor or on land.

Spark of interest

What snapped the field out of its funk was not a charismatic leader or a spectacular find — it was federal bureaucracy.

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was formed in 2010 to regulate energy development on the continental shelf. The bureau is bound by the National Historic Preservation Act, which requires it to make sure that valuable archaeological sites will not be destroyed by any development that requires a federal permit. As interest in offshore renewable-energy projects has increased in recent years, BOEM has scrambled to improve methods for identifying prehistoric sites.

In 2011, it commissioned a sweeping study of possible archaeological sites on the Pacific outer continental shelf. Davis and a colleague at Oregon State, archaeologist Alex Nyers, worked on the report, using existing ocean-depth data and estimates of sea-level rise to decipher where previous shorelines would have been4. They then modelled where prehistoric sites might be clustered: presumably on gentle, south-facing (and thus warmer) slopes and near lakes, rivers, bays and islands, all now submerged.

That report came out in 2013, and led directly to a US$600,000 grant from BOEM to seek out evidence for the predictions about prehistoric environments. On a series of cruises off California and Oregon over the next three years, researchers will use a variety of sonar instruments to survey the ocean floor and sediments below. If they identify a possible estuary, beach or other ancient shoreline feature, they will take core samples and carbon date biological material from the various layers of sediment to confirm the find.

Principal investigator Todd Braje, an anthropologist at San Diego State University in California, is trying to expand the project by encouraging the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other potential funders to add more cruises. But even at its current size, he says, “This is probably the biggest effort to identify submerged sites along the Pacific coast.”

The investment may be big, but Braje is trying to keep expectations modest. He insists that the goal is to learn how to identify environments in which humans might have camped or settled up to 20,000 years ago; the team is not expecting to find the remains of any settlements, and certainly not ones older than those of the Clovis settlers. “The idea that we are going to hit on a 15,000-year-old site that is underwater is probably unrealistic in the near future,” says Braje. “You get to those first migrants into the New World and the archaeological footprint they left is very small.”

The project will build on Davis's model of submerged environments, using coring and imaging to test whether his projections actually lead them to the right sorts of sites. Davis is a co-principal investigator and will join the Oregon cruises next year.

In the meantime, he is digging in Idaho. It is near the end of the field season, and he and his crew are working on their day off to finish as much as possible. He has bribed them with gourmet cheese, and he lays it out with no fewer than five cheese knives. Combined with the trowels, brushes, scrapers and spoons used by the crew, the site is bristling with tools.

Given all the difficulties of this work, those involved in investigating the ocean-migration hypothesis stress that expectations should remain modest for many years as researchers improve their search methods. If the theory is correct, the first definitive older-than-Clovis find along the coast — the green light for the theory that everyone seems to be hoping for — could still be far off. “It could happen this summer, next summer, it could be ten years,” says Erlandson.

Or it could happen right now in the sweltering pit at Cooper's Ferry, with the very next scrape of a trowel.




So this got me thinking.  Have there been any Call of Cthulhu games that feature underwater investigation with SCUBA rules published?   

What about a Delta Green scenario revolving around containment of artifacts from an underwater archaeological site. Similar to The Last Equation where players have to destroy evidence of the Numbers, perhaps DG investigators have to pose as archaeologist grad students (or helpers or whatever experts) and obscure/steal artifacts to be unearthed as well as plant evidence to convince the tenured archaeological faculty to generate a narrative for the site that makes it not a groundbreaking archaeological find but something that fits into the current "real" archaeological narrative.   

And of course there is the zealous postdoc/grad student who is certain of his hunches about a pre-human civilization and the party has to either eliminate the vector making it look like an accident or try to make the monomaniacal academic a friendly.

In addition to this perhaps the party has to also investigate the mysterious shell corporation that is funding this archaeological dig so that they can get clearance for building an offshore powerplant on the site.

We usually jump to Deep Ones or The Temple when thinking of underwater sites but there has to be some new Mythos threat that can be thrown at players.

Twisting H

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Re: Game Fodder / Story Fodder
« Reply #815 on: September 14, 2015, 08:38:58 PM »
Cross posting this so more people see it.

May be useful to someone think of a moon base or a eclipse phase game. 

In the 1960's the US Army drafted plans to build a military base on the moon. Code named "Project Horizon".

CNN:  http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/24/us/1960s-moon-military-base/

Quote

The U.S. Army brainchild "Project Horizon" was born.

Its proposal to leap beyond the Soviets opened with the line: "There is a requirement for a manned military outpost on the moon."

The paper argued that it was imperative for the United States to develop and protect its potential interest on the Earth's natural satellite -- and to do so quickly to protect the American way of life.

"To be second to the Soviet Union in establishing an outpost on the moon would be disastrous to our nation's prestige and in turn to our democratic philosophy," the paper surmised.

It should have the kind of priority and authority given to the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb, the Army said.

"Once established, the lunar base will be operated under the control of a unified space command." The space around the Earth and moon would be considered a military theater.

Lunar nuclear power plants

After a thorough justification of the scientific, political and military need for the base, the proposal -- two documents and more than 400 typewritten pages -- calculated out the details of what could be done on the outpost and what it would take to make it reality.

It offered graphs and mathematical formulas; considerations for low gravity and magnetic field, lack of water and air, and ballistic dynamics on the moon's surface; and design drawings of spacecraft, lunar bulldozers, modular moon cabins and special space suits.

It contained photos of the moon with desirable spots for a colony mapped out on them.

Project Horizon would start out with 10 to 20 crew members on a mission to build a somewhat self-sustaining colony capable of producing its own oxygen and water.

Supply ships would bring the rest. Page after page was dedicated to the future capabilities of the Saturn rockets that would boost the supplies there.

With expansion would come lunar nuclear power plants.

Construction of the basic outpost would start in 1964 and be completed five years later.

The visions were a bit ahead of schedule. Humans did not land on the moon for the first time until July 1969. And in the end, it wasn't the military, but NASA that sent them there.

Lunar nuclear detonation

The nuclear arms race was omnipresent in the '60s, and Project Horizon made room for its possible expansion to the moon. It pondered the pros and cons -- scientifically, militarily and psychologically -- of detonating a nuclear device on the moon or nearby.

And it reflected on the possibility of using nuclear weapons in space.

Technological advances accelerated the Cold War and the space race through the 1960s, and U.S. military and intelligence agencies expounded in further papers on how the moon could be used for military purposes or intelligence gathering.

George Washington University has collected the papers and published them on its National Security Archive website.

The U.S. agencies also documented their space rivalry with the Soviet Union, how U.S. intelligence picked up Soviet anti-ballistic missile radar images, when their signals reflected off the moon.

Intelligence officers feverishly studied Soviet space capabilities and intercepted pictures their spacecraft signaled back to Earth.

And in 1967 the CIA documented how operatives "borrowed" a Lunik space capsule, analyzed it and returned it to the Soviets.

The purpose of a nuclear detonation near or on the moon would be for show, a document said.

Its "foremost intent was to impress the world with the prowess of the United States."

The security archive said that Air Force leaders scrapped the idea after deciding that it was too risky.

In 1967, the U.N. adopted the Outer Space Treaty banning the use of nuclear weapons from space -- including from the moon.

Link to Declassified Moon Base pdfs: http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB479/#_edn2

UN Treaty on "Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies" : http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/introouterspacetreaty.html
[/quote]

Gorkamorka

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Re: Game Fodder / Story Fodder
« Reply #816 on: September 22, 2015, 05:32:16 PM »
Gorkamorka (Fridrik)

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Re: Game Fodder / Story Fodder
« Reply #817 on: September 23, 2015, 11:44:33 AM »
Anybody need house blueprints? Here's an awesome collection of them searchable and filterable by size, room number, etc. Includes exteriors too. And the images are easily saveable.

http://www.eplans.com/

Check out the Technical Difficulties Gaming Podcast!
http://www.technicaldifficultiespod.com/

Mckma

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Re: Game Fodder / Story Fodder
« Reply #818 on: September 28, 2015, 02:50:45 PM »
So with the most reason of Doctor Who now on Netflix, I've "caught up" so to speak.  Say what you will about the show as a whole, but there are pretty consistently bits and pieces that are great for monsters or big bads, especially in horror games (weeping angels, the silence and the most recent Christmas special spring to mind)....

Building up my pool of ideas to pull from for a Halloween game coming up....
« Last Edit: September 28, 2015, 02:53:31 PM by Mckma »

Full Metal Potato

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Re: Game Fodder / Story Fodder
« Reply #819 on: September 28, 2015, 03:55:57 PM »
An idea for some historical horror gaming: An Excerpt from the Russian Primary Chronicle -

"6600 (1092). An extraordinary event occurred at Polotsk. At night
there was heard a clatter and a groaning in the streets, and demons ran
about like men. If any citizen went forth from his house to look upon
them, he was wounded straightway by some invisible (215) demon,
and so many perished from such wounds that the people dared no
longer leave their houses. The demons later began to appear on horseback
during the day. They were not visible themselves, but the hoofs
of their horses could be seen. Thus they did injury to the people of
Polotsk and the vicinity, so that it was commonly said that ghosts were
killing the people of Polotsk."

TL;DR: according to one of the best primary source documents concerning Kiev Rus, a town was literally invaded by invisible demons once.

I definitely recommend anyone who's interested poke around at the RPC - it's full to the brim with this sort of wackyness. Also game of thrones-esque dynastic struggles and power-plays. It's a delight to read.

Cordyceps

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Re: Game Fodder / Story Fodder
« Reply #820 on: October 05, 2015, 09:44:47 PM »
 It might be fun to do a Cthulhu scenario based around people trapped in an alien zoo.

http://io9.com/10-animal-husbandry-techniques-that-alien-zoos-will-use-1702453774 

Twisting H

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Re: Game Fodder / Story Fodder
« Reply #821 on: October 10, 2015, 05:34:17 PM »
An idea for some historical horror gaming: An Excerpt from the Russian Primary Chronicle -

I had never heard of this before now. Great find!


For posterity, ancient India's stepwells



http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/06/architecture/victoria-lautman-wells/

Alethea

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Re: Game Fodder / Story Fodder
« Reply #822 on: October 11, 2015, 10:17:22 AM »
China being the first to implement a fairly comprehensive reputation scoring system:
https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-future/chinas-nightmarish-citizen-scores-are-warning-americans
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Tim

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Re: Game Fodder / Story Fodder
« Reply #823 on: October 18, 2015, 10:53:14 PM »
I posit that any GM who cannot use this story should just go ahead and hang up their GM spurs.

http://mashable.com/2015/10/18/colonial-church-reservoir-mexico/#izI6zzNLaPq3

Twisting H

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Re: Game Fodder / Story Fodder
« Reply #824 on: October 27, 2015, 10:07:35 PM »
I posit that any GM who cannot use this story should just go ahead and hang up their GM spurs.

http://mashable.com/2015/10/18/colonial-church-reservoir-mexico/#izI6zzNLaPq3

Awesome. My first thought was that looks like the inspiration for Dark Souls' drowned New Londo Ruins.





1,200-year-old Viking sword discovered by hiker in Norway.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/22/europe/viking-sword-norway/


3,500-year-old treasure trove unearthed from grave of Greek warrior-king

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/27/europe/greece-pylos-warrior-tomb/index.html