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Announcements! The Town Crier! / Newsletter Issue 42: Summer 2021
« on: June 04, 2021, 12:24:07 PM »
Issue 42: Summer 2021


EDITORIAL

We hope everyone is having a great beginning to their Summer, depending on where you are in the world!

With the weather getting better, what are your plans for the summer? Are you vacationing, staycation-ing, or just relived that you can start to be out and about again? We've got some great topics to keep you entertained this summer, with interesting articles to keep your summer!

We've had beer threads before, which is a notorious companion of the hotter weather. Cooking threads that you can cook on the barbecue and have some great games that you can play (but make sure you get some sunny weather too).

Let us know in the comments if there are any activities you enjoy in the summer!

'Enjoy your stay!' and why not let others know about Exilian too? We're a strong community with some really cool projects happening!


CONTENTS:

  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • The Exile Princes by Jubal
    • Skald: Against the Black Priory
    • Rbuxton's Development Diary
    • The Many Projects Of Irongutz(A.K.A NanoTeq_RPG)
  • Arts & Writing
    • Caradìlis' Poems
    • Nature yays
  • Miscellany
    • Some news: Exilian Elections
    • Podcasts
    • Funny Videos


GAME DEV



The Exile Princes by Jubal

FACTIONS

Do you like turn based strategy/RPG? This is for you! Brought to you by Jubal this experience lets you traverse the Exile realms alongside your warband/army searching for lost treasures, fighting enemies, monsters to protect the supremacy of your house!

With an end goal to make a name for yourself among the cities, where your reputation speaks for itself. You can do this by getting names the city's protector, winning control of the city, or capturing the city by force. This is a game you don't want to miss.

Key features:
- Medieval art :knight:
- Monsters
- Tilesets
- Obscure Exilian or pop culture references

Join today and let the games begin!




Skald: Against the Black Priory



Skald: Against the Black Priory’ combines an 8-bit look and feel with modern RPG and narrative design to create a classic fantasy-horror RPG experience not to be missed. In this dark fantasy world, you must come up against brutal violence and cosmic, lovecraftian horrors and monstrosities as you and your companions battle your way forward and search for the dread truth that lies at the heart of the island, and mystery, that you have set sail towards. With turn-based combat, a range of enemies and tactics, and vividly rendered companion characters including the forceful Driina and the grim mercenary Roland, there's a lot to discover... if you dare.

The Skald demo is now out and available, and the game will enter early access later this year on Steam and GOG. Why not check their thread out on Exilian and discover more?





Rbuxton's Development Diary


Master of Olympus. A board game journey featuring Test of Time, Diary #41 – Simple Pleasures
Used under CC license by, Richard Buxton
.

What do you think of that image? This is all part of the building work that goes into the game development process. It is an ongoing development, where creativity, precision and an improvement plan is set up to design the games we all know, can't forget, and want to then create. We all like getting involved in discussions, here at Exilian.

This thread gets you to think about what it is that you're actually doing with areas where you can take a look at how much more captivating your game can be. That image, is taken from rbuxton's website where you'll find even more content to help you start, pick up where you left off or, make your project or game get more impact.

The great thing about the Development Diary is that there is something for everyone. From being a developer, to being a gamer or even just to read. We hope you pick up some great ideas and let us know about your game developments as well, we'll see you there!





The Many Projects Of Irongutz(A.K.A NanoTeq_RPG)

Here are some great Role Playing Games by Exilian's NanoTeq_RPG.

1.   Flatline 2030: rules-lite tactical shooter cyberpunk RPG set in it’s own timeline. Inspired by Deus Ex and NeoTokyo and featuring a 2d4 rules system (in current production).

2.   Might Of Mourn: Ogre Kingdoms expansion to the WFRP 1e core rules!
Features:
-   Rules and careers for Ogres and Gnoblars as PCs for the very first time, and some artwork and campaign by NanoTeq_RPG!
This is completed and you can find this listed on NanoTeq_RPG’s Ko-Fi shop as a free gift to NanoTeq_RPG’s OG supporter.

3.   Heirs Of Ulthuan: A WFRP 1st Edition Eleven Compendium feauturing three kinds of elfs found in the Old World, feauturing unique careers, rules, equipment, and campaigns. A tome of three volumes, each featuring content centred around High Elves, Wood Elves and Dark Elves respectively (in concept stages).
 
You can find a lot more RPG updates in the thread below!




ARTS AND WRITING


Caradìlis' Poems

Sometimes, preparation for events later in the year can take place as early as now. Not quite there but Caradìlis has written a wolferful poem. That's actually quite good, for Halloween  :pumpkin:

Werewolf

Through the window shining bright,
Gleams the moon into the night.
And with torment, pain and ache,
An ancient curse keeps me awake.

Howling, cursing at the moon,
Wishing it was over soon,
Every full moon is the same,
On each one I curse my name.

That's a couple of verses from the poem, to find the full poem click the link below!






Nature yays


This thread is all about the yays of nature and we wanted to share one with you that really is cool. Jubal found a yay, here's a bit of the story!

The last time a Black-browed babbler was sighted was 180 years ago! But has been seen flying and doing well in Borneo :)

In the 1840s, a mystery bird was caught on an expedition to the East Indies. Charles Lucien Bonaparte, the nephew of Napoleon, described it to science and named it the black-browed babbler (Malacocincla perspicillata).

With its unique name, the Black-browed babbler has distinctive features and has surprised everyone that it is still thriving in the wild.

You can find out more by clicking the link, where Jubal talks about the history and links the article too!




MISCELLANY



Some news: Exilian Elections

A technical announcement for voting members & friends who care about the running of Exilian: as of May 30, we've reduced the number of elections per year from 2 to 1, so our volunteer staff will now be in post for year-long terms rather than six months. This was voted on by the voting members, as all changes of this type are on Exilian, and passed unanimously. As such, in future, we'll only be doing elections in December-January rather than also in June.

This change has been a long time coming: we've had six-monthly elections for many years. However, in recent years we've had fewer applicants for volunteer roles and a slower turnover of people in those roles, such that the time investment needed to run an additional half-year election didn't seem to be leading to additional member engagement or scrutiny. One year terms bring Exilian into line with most volunteer organisations around the world, and we hope that the reduced workload on elections will help all our volunteers work better on our members' behalf.

If you have any questions about this, or any other aspect of how Exilian is run, please do ask at any time in oue Questions & Suggestions forum!





Podcasts

At Exilian, we have suggestions for music, videos, and podcasts too. If you're out and about or just having a moment of relaxing during your day, it can be a good idea to listen to something that can interest you and get you to start thinking about something different.

Quote
Flamekebab - I don't know about you guys but one of my favourite things to listen to are podcasts. My listening habits tend to reflect my geeky nature but occasionally there's a bit of a wildcard.

- Flamekebab listens to: Press Play to Save (A rather friendly American show focused on video gaming), The Giant bombcast (having listened to the guys when they still worked for GameSpot as The Hotspot) and more...

- Othko97 likes: Hello Internet (A show which is basically just a conversation between educational videomakers CGP Grey and Brady Haran), Pragmatic (A show about the practical application of technology hosted by an electrical engineer, no longer in production) and more...

- Pentagathus recommends - Huberman labs podcast by Dr Andrew Huberman (It's pretty new, he's a neuroscientist who's research seems to be focused mainly on vision and the effects of light on circadian rhythm, sleep and mood etc but he's obviously well read in a load of other aspects of neuroscience.)

- Jubal says: James Holloway's Monster Man, about D&D monsters (and gods and suchlike) which comes out often enough that I can barely keep up with that. It continues to be very good though.

We have some great ideas from our Exilian community, what are yours?






Funny Videos

We'll leave this newsletter with a laugh!

Jubal: "Not sure why this is as funny as it is, but I found it very enjoyable indeed"






We'll be back with another edition of our Newsletter in Autumn, but until then enjoy your summer (holidays, relaxing, being out again or simply, just taking care) and we'll be right back with more interesting, fun, and creative content! We hope this issue has given you some encouragement, ideas and a bit of light reading that has made a positive difference. We'll see you back here soon!



2
Issue 41: Spring 2021

EDITORIAL

Spring has sprung!

Welcome to our latest newsletter, we would like to remind everyone, that there are new beginnings and new opportunities. We hope you embrace everything Spring has to offer.

What new ideas have you found recently? Though a second lockdown has been an unusual time and has introduced a lot of uncertainty. One thing's for sure, along with the uncertainty, are the new buds of Spring, people have discovered new creative ways to express themselves and make the most of the situation we're all in.

Exilian's wonderful commuity is continuing to expand, with every vistor bringing their own unique input that adds even more colour to the already brilliant work that everyone does. Hoepfully, we'll back to our usual activities, but for now, enjoy the sun, wildlife and we've got some lockdown ideas to keep you busy until then.

We've got lots to talk about in this issue, let's get straight to reading more about it  :)

Always, make sure you: 'Enjoy your stay!' and tell others about it too!

CONTENTS:

  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • Devlog:⚔️ RAIDBORN [Action-RPG] Skyrim meets Dungeon Crawler
    • Roadwarden [Fantasy/RPG Elements/Pixel Art][DEMO]
    • [Dev Log] Tourney: The medieval tournament sim
  • Arts & Writing
    • Dubsartur's crafts
    • BagaturKhan's Revenge of Tyrants
    • Jubal draws stuff!
  • Miscellany
    • Exilian's Birthday
    • Playlist
    • What to do in lockdown?
    • Funny Picture Thread


GAME DEV



Devlog:⚔️ RAIDBORN [Action-RPG] Skyrim meets Dungeon Crawler


Markus, is the developer of Raidborn and is the person behind Phodex Games. Games like The Elder Scrolls and Gothic inspired Markus, with their atmospheric fantastasy worlds, which helped Markus through some dark times.

Using this inspiration, a new game with personal interpretation of an atmospheric fantasty world has been made, adding well liked elements from other games like Dark Messiah Of Might And Magic, dungeon crawling and Ultima Underworld.

Markus finds game design a "true passion", maybe you'll find that this jouney interests you too?




Roadwarden [Fantasy/RPG Elements/Pixel Art] [DEMO]



Roadwarden is an interactive fiction, in which you explore and change a hostile, grim realm.

Would you risk a lonely journey into the wilderness? Roadwardens embrace this a struggle worth taking, delivering messages, assisting merchants, getting ris of beasts, highwayment and even more gruesome taks.

Dangerous work, respectable and it pays well. Why not check out what Roadwarden has to offer today?





[Dev Log] Tourney: The medieval tournament sim


Tourney is a tycoon style simlator, simulation PC game. You'll take control of a medieval noble house and then build a a tournament or "tourney" ground, where you'll watch champions viying for victory or diving in to get involved in combat!

Gamplay Tourney features:
* Build your tourney ground. Event areas for jousting, melee and archery; and buildings such as apothecaries, blacksmiths, stands, ale wagons, hog roasts and more
* Choose your champion. Build their skills. Buy them the best armour and weapons.
* Fight your way to the top and win the tournament
* 13 playable houses with unique heraldry, traits and heroes
* Keep the peasants and nobility happy to keep the gold rolling in
* Hire staff members such as jesters and troubadours
* Lots of parody and hidden references!

The game has great graphics as well, would be good to hear what you all think pre-release. Let us know in the comments below?

Estimated release date is Quarter 3 of 2021, we'll see you there!




ARTS AND WRITING


Dubsartur's crafts


Exilian member Dubsartur has recently finished making a medieval garment - a round embroidered mantle.  Mantles, an overgarment in a similar category to shawls or cloaks, were fashionable in western Europe from the 14th century into the 17th. They varied according to style and length, with slightly longer ones for men and later examples moving to more open fronts and fake-sleeve additions. Dubsartur's gorgeous example, as well as the intricate embroidered neck decoration shown close above, was done in deep blue with a white star pattern around it.

The next project on Dubsartur's list is a doublet, and the thread is replete with pictures of the craftwork and historical reference images, so if you fancy learning about some bits of historical costume and tailoring it's a good time to head over and take a look - perhaps even post your own attempts if you feel like getting involved!






BagaturKhan's Revenge of Tyrants


The year is 20,000 BC, and the galaxy faces a crisis. The vast Empire of Hyperborea stretches over thousands of star systems, but on the planet Zabergan Prime, events are unfolding that will be of huge significance to the stability of the whole Empire. The Lord Governor, Zholt Krazhinsky, has been trapped and overthrown by his Nicomedian military forces and former allies. Will the Empire manage to rescue him and stop the rebels before the galaxy is pitched into all-out bloodshed?

This epic science fiction tale by BagaturKhan has just started being posted and promises many more thrilling installments as Krazhinsky's perils and tale unfold for the reader. BagaturKhan has graciously reduced his fee for reading this story from 2 billion euros and a chocolate pie to it being absolutely free, as he says in the thread, so do take a look and let him know what you think!






Jubal draws stuff!


Jubal's been foraying outside his usual grounds of writing and music to try producing some character art for his World of Kavis RPG setting, an early medieval fantasy world of mysterious fey spirits, unpredictable magic, wandering holy men and clashing shield walls. In this thread, he goes into notes about his methods and asks for feedback. If you want to see the miscellany of characters and cultures portrayed from around Kavis (and there may be monsters coming later too if there's interest), or if you're an artist yourself and can make suggestions to improve, why not head over and check the thread out?



MISCELLANY


Recent Events and Exilian's Birthday!

Exilian has just had its 13th birthday! We're hoping this won't be an unlucky year though despite the numbering! We had a good time celebrating at our "virtual pub" meetup recently - for those who don't know about that, we've been doing regular meetups on a monthly basis via jitsi which have led to some really great conversations and will hopefully lead to some nice collaborations and neat new projects in the future. If you've not heard of those and would like to come, please let us know (in the comments below or via email at exilian@exilian.co.uk) and we'll get you added to the mailing list.

We also had our workshop, Coding Medieval Worlds, which brought together nearly thirty historians and game developers from across four different continents to discuss problems of how to use medieval ideas, concepts and images when creating the fantastical and historical worlds that are used in computer game settings. We were delighted to organise the event in collaboration with the University of Vienna's Digital Humanities unit, and with kind support especially from Vienna's Daniel Knox and from our fantastic speakers, and we hope to bring more of those workshops out in the coming years. Also, keep your eyes peeled in the next few weeks as we soon hope to be able to process the videos of our keynote talks and get those to you as well.




Playlist

It was difficult to pick which songs to add here, but we went with the last two on the thread, to make it random!

Jubal's recommendation's are:
"I've been enjoying Hades, and one thing I have to say among a number in its favour is that it has some absolutely cracking songs:"



"After having been bombarded with sub 60 second clips of this for months, having a full length version is somehow really really nice to give the song a sense of a closure!"






What to do in lockdown?

Pentagathusosaurus rex asks "What have you folks been doing to stay sane?"

Jubal's been TTRPG-ing more, looking at creative projects. tinkering with RPG notes, various online things, and game design. "You should come to the next Exilian virtual pubmoot" - Tusky has seconded this invite.

Tusky's similarly been getting involved in creative projects, and Tourney. It's been a great time to spend time using other things that Tusky would not usually have the time for day to day, like using the grpahics tab to draw things and playing more of the guitar. "Also finding a nice long game to enjoy is a good time sink."

dubsartur's has a blacklog of books to read, looking at articles to write, and is also getting involved in sewing projects. Another good thing dubsartur has been doing is talking to the Exilian community about how it is that they feel, you may find it in helpful to read through these posts and comment on as well? We'll be back to our usual activities soon, we're nearly there. Until then, we will keep ideas here for you all!


Quote
Books are good, books are always good. - Pentagathusosaurus rex




Funny Picture Thread

Here are some funny pictures to round up our newsletter, hopefully you'll smile and laugh!

Jubal: Meanwhile I am back at work this week and feeling very much like this cat. (Not that I have lied on any applications obviously, I just *feel* like an impostor)







That's all for this issue, folks - we'll be back in summer and look forward to seeing everything being a bit brighter with you then! See you next time...



3
Announcements! The Town Crier! / Updates from the Forge 40: Winter 2020-21
« on: December 31, 2020, 09:58:39 PM »
Issue 40: Winter 2020-21

EDITORIAL

Season greetings to you all, winter is now here! Are you ready for the colder weather? Log fires, hot beverages, gingerbread, comfy clothing and all those winter warmers?  Grab a hot drink and throw on something warm and cosy and we will get to all the topics we've got for you this edition.

We've had lots of great stuff happening on the site recently, including releases for BagaturKhan's mods based on his own sci-fi universe, the successful Tourney Kickstarter for which many congratulations should go to Tusky, and the announcement of our upcoming Coding Medieval Worlds virtual workshop which will see historians and game developers team up to discuss challenges in medieval and fantasy gaming. Our ongoing Winter Creative Competition is still ongoing, too, and has excellent prizes for you to win. Do go and get your entries in soon!

What will you do this winter? With many areas of the world still in lockdown, there might be not very many options. But, that will not matter when you see how much we have for you this edition you won't be sorry!

We have lots to get to, please read on!

Always, make sure you: 'Enjoy your stay!'.

CONTENTS:

  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • Devlog: Project Stormbringer - A Medieval Fantasy Action RPG
    • Son of a Witch - Succubi, Skinpacks, and more!
    • Epicinium - strategy wargame with environmental mechanics
    • Ahowl's Vanilla Extended, Version 19!
  • Arts & Writing
    • Jubal's Poems
    • Tusky's Drawings
    • Mountain Leopards Returns
  • Miscellany
    • Exilian Pub Quiz II!

GAME DEV

Devlog: Project Stormbringer - A Medieval Fantasy Action RPG



Inspired by Gothic I, II & The Witcher 3! Project Stormbringer are bringing to you a Medieval Fatasy Action RPG. Setting the scene, on an isolated island that is tomormented by monsters and magical horrors, a survivior from a shipwreck must quaell an ancient God who will rise again to wipe out the insland's inhabitants.

DEV VLOG
This is Project Stormbringer's first dev log, which introduces the project:

Project Stormbringer are looking forward to hearing what you think!





Son of a Witch - Succubi, Skinpacks, and more!


Son of a Witch has some very exciting news coming up with the announcement of the upcoming Hell level expansion, which will include a whole new range of enemies to fight and provide an alternative route through the game. The new version will also include a skeletal Bloodmage as a player hero, minotaur cultists with a labyrinth to explore, imps, succubi, ifrits, and more besides.

Meanwhile we also have new skinpacks by Jubal which you can download, including Son of a Witcher, which transforms your knight hero into the suitably scarred, grumpy figure of Geralt of Rivia - with all these monsters and demons to defeat, sometimes you need to be able to call in a real professional. If you want something a bit more light-hearted, there's also one that transforms your stubborn boar pet into a more docile friend with the capybara mount skinpack, allowing you to ride the world's largest rodent through your goblin-bashing adventures. All that and more on Bigosaur's Exilian forum below!





Epicinium - strategy wargame with environmental mechanics



Epicinium has been on the game dev horizon since the 19th October 2020! What makes the game totally epic? Your overall tact in preserving the environment is factored in as you quest throughout the game, making it of an even more challenging strategy game. With an environmental focus, the game encourages you to be mindful of destruction or planned destruction by preserving the surroundings of your citizens by keeping their forests intact for example. This game gets you think about if less destructive approaches are possible and if you can afford to proceed with them. !If you win by having your enemy's half of the map ravaged by firestorm, did you really win at all! as put by Sander, one of the development team members creating Epicinium.

Food for thought there! 

Why not download this today and try out the game or join the discussion page to let us know what you think!






Ahowl's Vanilla Extended, Version 19!


Nearly ten years after he started modding Rome: Total War, Ahowl11 is still hard at work, with the latest release of his Vanilla Extended mod coming this month. The latest version includes major map changes and rebalances, reducing many of the northern and western factions to more historical single-province tribal starting systems, merging Rome into a single faction and using the historical Chremonidean League as the basis for an adapted Greek Cities faction.

The new factions permitted by merging Rome will be Nabatea, the Bosporan Kingdom, and Illyria, each of which has an exciting new unit roster available. Nabatea, a small buffer state based around the trading hub of Petra, sits uneasily alongside the Seleucids and Ptolemies as its bigger neighbours: the Illyrians, between Macedon and Rome, are based off the historic Ardiaean Kingdom and provide some similar challenges as a historically smaller state between some of the famed powers of the ancient world. The Bosporan Kingdom, a somewhat under-recorded realm on the north shores of the Black Sea, meanwhile adds new interest to the steppes and potentially also the Caucasus by presenting a new Greek power in the north.

With all this and more, there's plenty to check out in the new version and we hope you do so!






ARTS AND WRITING


Jubal's Poems

Poetry is fitting for all seasons, but this one symbolises a distinct arrival and this gave Jubal his inspiration "I came up with the idea for this one after a friend of mine had a baby, to whom the song is dedicated. :) " Here are a few verses from the poem, fitting for the seasons of Autumn and Winter, please visit the link below to read the entire poem. You will be glad that you did!

Little Moorhen
Dedicated to Beatrice Catchpole-Simmons

And you shall find
That the world is wide
And full of flowers

See autumn fall,
Around you, nests of love and leaves
As you grow tall,
By those who helped your wings unfold,
And keep you when the world is cold

So that you can find,
That the world is wide
And full of flowers

Winters will come,
Garlanding the world in frost
A weary sun
Wilts, its petals fall but then
Your world turns and it blooms again

And you shall find,
That the world is wide
And full of flowers





Tusky's Drawings

What do you think of this excellent Christmassy themed drawing from Exilian's Tusky? His awesome artwork has been a regular feature in our Arts and Crafts section for many months now, but we've had some particularly cool new drawings lately.

Tusky's core work is as a game developer, in particular the mastermind behind games like Escape from Biostation and the upcoming medieval tournament simulator Tourney which was successfully kickstarted recently. His fantasy artwork, though, is a perfect reminder both that he is a man with many strings to his bow, and that creators and game designers so often have their work built not just on hyperfocused specialisation but a wide range of creative skills that allow them to realise their ideas in different ways.

Recent entries in the drawings thread include a stony-faced and yet somehow jolly dwarf sorceror, and discussions on how our different arty creatives do their graphical work. Talking to artists and creators is a great way to learn about their process and build your own skills, and thread's like Tusky's drawings are the perfect place to do that! Providing inspiration is equally a hugely important part of art, so even if you're not doing artwork yourself, maybe something for another poject will spring to mind - and of course, it's every bit as valid to just head over there, look at the cool artwork, and enjoy the show. Either way, this is one thread where it's very well worth taking a look.

Check out more at:





Mountain Leopards Returns


Just in time for this issue, we've had the first episoded of Jubal's webcomic Mountain Leopards out in many months! Mountain Leopards is a new take on the by now classic style of humorous fantasy adventuring webcomics, with a strong theme of Caucasus culture and mythology based on Jubal's background as a historian of the region throughout the comic. The story follows Botso K'akhaisdze, long-suffering cleric of the frustrating knowledge deity Otarid, on his travels through the mountain realm of Datvieti. On the way, he meets an eclectic range of characters and finds himself increasingly wrapped up in the machinations of foes he does not yet understand - whilst also having to contend with an annoying narrative voice with a mind of its own, unexpected porcupines, and night-time visits from Eurythmics and their pet cow.

Will Botso and his new allies work out what's going on and save the kingdom? The party seem to have reach new literal and metaphorical lows as they descend deeper into the caves in the latest episode, entitled "Into Darkness"...




MISCELLANY


Exilian Pub Quiz II!

Our own Tusky, besides his abovementioned skills as artist and game dev, has also taken it upon himself to be quizmaster for our new series of fiendish pub quizzes! Leaving some of Exilian's finest minds utterly baffled, the formidable range of knowledge needed for these questions, from medieval royalty to the princes of pop, ensures that everyone's knowledge is suitably put to the test. Florp's astounding victory on the latest one deserves much congratulation!

What's more, even if you missed the quiz, you can go back and play through it now - see the questions and answers at the links below to test your own skills and see how you'd have fared against the forum's finest. Good luck!





Seasons greetings to you all. However you spend your winter this year, please stay safe. It has been an action packed year at Exilian and we are hoping to bring you even more fun content next year. From all of us here, we know it has been a difficult year, there have been many challeges. Your Exilian community is always here and we send our thanks for your excellent support and hope that you stay safe. We will see you all next year, in the spring with more fun! Let us know what you thought of the newsletter in the comments below!



4
Arts, Crafts, Music & Drama - The Artisans' Guilds / Re: Tusky drew a thing
« on: November 21, 2020, 01:57:07 PM »
You're welcome Tusky!  :) They're super, and the original sketch is awesome too, fantastic drawings!

Looking forward to finding out what you will be designing next!

5
Arts, Crafts, Music & Drama - The Artisans' Guilds / Re: Tusky drew a thing
« on: November 21, 2020, 10:48:39 AM »
Tusky, these are fantastic  :) Really cool, how did you complete these drawings?

6
Exilian Articles / Seven More Things to do with Giants by Jubal
« on: October 24, 2020, 12:36:43 PM »
Seven More Things to do with Giants
By Jubal






Sinbad Plots Against The Giant by Maxfield Parrish
Used under CC license by, Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966)
.

Giants are a core part of many fantasy settings, and there are very good reasons why. Literally larger than life, giants are a core part of mythologies worldwide. They provide over-size mirrors for us to hold up to ourselves, with our passions and our best and, more often, worst sides oversized along with them. Whilst there's a fairly standard fairytale giant that commonly appears in fantasy settings - big, brutish, kicking houses down and getting outwitted by farm-lads - the possibilities of giants are actually much wider across world folklore and literature. In this article I explore a few more options and thoughts on how you can use giants narratively to best effect, whether for an RPG, a story, or anything else you might be working on.

Giants around the world

A few of the other items in this article draw upon folklore from parts of the world outside the Anglosphere and Western Europe more generally. Giants are often assumed to be the creatures of a standard jack and the beanstalk narrative, usually presented, but a huge range of world cultures have some sort of giant myths, and not necessarily ones in keeping with our standard understandings of giants as brutish antagonists.


In Somali folklore for example giants like Biriir ina-Barqo are heroic characters: it's perhaps a peculiarity of western myth that whilst super strength is seen as a good power - a sign of heroism - super size is generally seen as a negative. This need not be the case.

There's also no reason why giants can't travel, and arguably many reasons why they should in a fantasy setting. The prodigious size and appetites of a giant both give them the ability to travel and many reasons for leaving (one too many disappeared sheep) or heading for new places (how many lords would like to hire a literal giant for their army)? As such, it is perfectly explicable to have a giant who is from outside the mainstream culture sphere of your setting. One caution to perhaps give with that would be to avoid the "monstrous races" trap in which giants are solely coded as a foreign "other" to your default setting area: whilst this trope did exist in medieval writing, there's a fair point that uncomplicated use of this sort of portrayal has had a very dark historical pedigree, especially in the colonial era. Nonetheless, there's a lot to be said for portraying giants who come from a variety of different cultural backgrounds, and for upending the idea that it's necessarily the protagonists who travel to the giant rather than vice versa.



Giants as endurance hunters

If we're going with bad giants that eat people, how they hunt is worth considering regarding their threat to other characters around them. This is one place where I disagree with Dael Kingsmill's brilliant video on giants: her view is that giants, being big, should also be fast, able to catch up with horses. There's undoubtedly a good chase scene there, but I think that it somewhat clashes with our view of giants as lumbering, and that we can do scarier things as alternatives. Whilst the giant's long legs of course would give a giant a short speed advantage, big bipedal predators like Tyrannosaurus were probably ambush, not pursuit, predators: and besides, there's a far scarier thing we can do with giants as predators, which is to scale up the predation strategy of arguably the most successful apex-predator meat-eating species in earth's history: us.

Humans don't hunt by outrunning things, and we don't usually hunt by ambushing them: we are neither faster over long or short distances than a quadruped like a deer. What we're really good at, instead, is walking. And keeping walking. And keeping walking. A prey animal can run as fast as it likes - we'll catch up eventually. We don't need huge amounts of food and can keep going for days and eventually most things will get tired before we do. Endurance predation is the hominid strategy: and giants, being hominids scaled up, could very validly become scaled up endurance predators.


Dear reader, apply this to a giant hunting you and it's terrifying. Sure, you can saddle up on your horses and outride the giant: the giant doesn't care. He can still see you (an extra five or ten feet of height gives a good vantage), and possibly smell you too if we're going with giants having the blood-smelling fairytale characteristic. So he'll keep walking after you, quickly but never running - and also never stopping. Your horses can outpace him for hours: he can keep walking for days. You could try and hide, but how well can you mask your smell? You could hope the horses sate him, but do you want to negate the rest of your speed advantage? There are probably at most small settlements anywhere near, and you'll have to decide if you want to risk setting a hungry man-eating giant on innocent villagers for the slim chance offered by safety in numbers.

The endurance hunting giant presents a more tense, longer-term potential threat, and a difficult tactical and moral situation, and I personally tend to find those more narratively interesting than a rapid chase - your mileage may vary, but it's an option to have in mind.


Giants finding humans cute

Humans' inevitable reaction to tiny things is to find them cute. If confronted with an entire village full of waist-high or knee-high people, many people's first instinct would be to see them as children. Especially if you're not going for explicitly evil or man-eating giants, one could plausibly and amusingly have giants with exactly the same reaction to human beings around them. What if a giant just thought you were kind of adorable, and didn't really see you as a serious being?

Now, there are some narrative issues with this, the biggest one is that protagonists often really don't like being talked down to. Nonetheless, especially for a lower level group where they don't pose any threat to the giant, this does make for a narratively interesting problem: it may well be that the giant has something that you need, or can do something that you can't, on account of being a giant, but how do you persuade them to help you? What does a giant want, and how can you get the giant to take your request seriously? Perhaps indeed they never do take you or your request seriously, and you have to find some way to get them to treat it as playing along with your "little game".


Giants as resource denial

I feel that we're sometimes insufficiently imaginative in the threat that bad giants pose. The tendency is that the threat of the giant is direct and physical - the problem is that the giant wants to eat you. Sometimes there's also a power structure issue: the king is, or has, a giant and you need to defeat it, David and Goliath style.


David and Goliath by Carravagio
Used under CC license by, Caravaggio Wikimedia
.

But societal power and direct murder aren't the only ways that a giant's strength can allow them to be a threat. Think of the various things humans need for life - whether that's water, food, shelter, company - and it quickly becomes obvious that, especially for resources that are already stretched, the power of a giant can simply be in denying resources to other people. This could be either unintentionally, perhaps we can't hunt because the giant is eating all the wild oxen, or entirely intentionally, if say the giant has a hidden cave that only he has the strength to open the giant door of, and he keeps a key resource hidden in there and forces people to do things for some limited access to it.

This particularly struck me in the Somali myth of Xabbed ina-Kammas and Biriir ina-Barqo, where Xabbed, the evil giant, doesn't eat people, and he doesn't - he just uses his prodigal strength to put giant rocks over all the wells in the area and then extorts camels from people to eat, only allowing them access to their wells if they provide him with food. This is a really interesting way of playing the giant, one that recognises and emphasises his incredible strength, but without him being reduced to a symbol of brute force. We're more uncomfortably reminded in Xabbed's story about very human ways of using power and strength to extort, rather than simply as brute force, and that can very effectively set the giant as villain apart from other monsters and make their role more individual.


Giants as role embodiments

We accept the idea that giants are larger than life versions of things we do as humans, but often this is restricted to general traits - like appetite, or boastfulness - or to roles in kingship or war, where the giant's prodigal strength could be seen as a natural qualification. But we can also scale up other traditional roles and embody them in giant form. We could have a mother-giantess that looks after the women of a particular valley, or a smith-giant who teaches the craft to young artisans, or a woodcutter giant who lives out in the wilds and watches out to help those who venture into the woods alone. A particular inspiration for this is the Musgoso, a giant from northern Spain, who is a "shepherd of shepherds" and looks after the herdsmen on the mountain hillsides, being called upon when they are under threat.


We often give these sorts of hyper-embodiment roles to elderly characters - but giants, great in size where the elderly characters are great in age, can also work well for them. Much like an older character's age, a giant's size can set them in a somehow magnified position, and give them an easily visible hook that displays why they in particular have this role. Some roles don't work well for this - especially those that rely on nimbleness or dexterity, so a giantess as the embodiment of roguery and theft probably isn't on the cards. Nonetheless, if our characters are going to go and seek help or take an NPC to the master of their craft, having that character be a giant can be an interesting and less immediately common way of setting them apart and one that, because the scaling up of the giant's size somehow logically fits with the scaling up of their societal role, oddly does work on an intuitive level.

Giants as heroes


As noted above, giants' size is often portrayed negatively: we tend to like stories of the smaller, quicker witted hero defeating the bigger, lumbering villain. The idea of the giant as villain isn't universal though: we've met the giant heroes of Somali myth already in this piece, and the legendary ten foot tall Emperor Keikō of Japan also deserves a mention among other giant heroes worldwide. For these heroes, their giant nature allows them to fight otherwise impossible enemies, achieve tasks no other person could, and may be a sign of particular favour or being marked out for big things in some way (no pun intended!)

There are some interesting twists one could run on moving giants into a more protagonist role - Gullivers' Travels in Liliput, where Gulliver, there in the role of the giant, has a variety of demands made of him by his tiny hosts, and those sorts of situations can provide excellent opportunities for particular sorts of adventure. It's important that where the protagonist and hero is bigger than surrounding people, that we establish clearly the morality of the situation through other means, though: nobody wants a situation where the giant hero just splats tiny enemies with relative ease and there's no sense of threat or challenge. Rather, we have to focus on the giant's size enabling them to take on proportionally bigger challenges that ordinary people could not - and perhaps also we need to establish that size isn't everything, with potential drawbacks to being a giant whether that's the cost of food, the inability to fit into the same sized spaces as everyone else, or the jealousy or hatred of others.


Giants as landscape designers

One thing that giants are especially good for, compared to other kinds of monster, is having roles in shaping the landscape and world around them. This is because they combine the scale and strength needed to feel like potential landscape-shaping creatures with enough rationality and humanity to allow them to do so in a more thought out way than, say, a hydra or most dragons. The real world has plenty of examples of this, from the giants' causeway to the 'cyclopean walls' of Mycenean Greek cities made of stone blocks that seemed otherwise unmoveable.

All too often, the worlds of fantasy settings lack the powerful link between creatures and the land around them which is a massive part of most real-world mythologies, settling into being a generic backdrop of trees and hills. Linking stories and creatures like our giants back into that landscape, even when they're not visible, can be useful in a number of ways. First, it can be a trailer: you set up the sheer enormity of the giant when you see the huge lake that locals say he dug one day just so he could have a bath big enough to sit in, or the mountain ravine that she cleft out with her axe because she was angry that the mountain was bigger than she was. Second, it can show the giant as existing beyond, and potentially having utility beyond, its role as a combat encounter. Could the characters trick or bribe a giant into reshaping the landscape to their benefit in some way? Third, it can create a sense of spectacle and draw characters, players or readers back towards the physicality of the world they're moving through.


~

As a final point, it's worth me pointing you to a few other sources that sparked this thinking. Most notably, I mentioned Dael Kingsmill's ideas for giants video above, and friend of Exilian James Holloway's Monster Man podcast also has lots of episodes with giants (seriously). I hope you find these useful additions to your thinking.

So there you have it - some more ways and thoughts on how to use giants and why they can be such useful and versatile parts of a setting. Have you had particularly good uses of giants, or have you used one of the tropes discussed in this article? Do let me know in the discussion below!




7
Announcements! The Town Crier! / Updates from the Forge 39: Autumn 2020
« on: September 30, 2020, 07:29:46 PM »
Issue 39: Autumn 2020

EDITORIAL

Dear reader, hopefully everyone is well, healthy and making the most of the current situation we are all going through. There's lots of great reads for you this autumn, or as some may refer to it, fall.

Great game development, musical tracks, and Exilian exclusives too - that have been designed to share with you all! There are even a few light reading articles and did you know interesting reads as well. Phoenixguard09 has released an all exclusive, find the article here on Exilian two weeks - before it is posted anywhere else: Seven Stones and a Pale Shadow - A Norbayne Campaign Log. Do not forget to let us know what you think in the comments!

Tusky announced the winner of Exilian's pub quiz as: Clockwork! Congratulations to you - your award looks excellent! If you would like to take part in the next pub quiz, Tusky plans to set another one up in autumn. Feel free to participate, Exilian users and visitors, enjoyed the last quiz - we hope you will too.

We have lots to get to, please read on!

Always, make sure you: 'Enjoy your stay!'.

CONTENTS:

  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • Game Development
    • The Game Is ON
    • Balbor’s Tides of the Old World
    • Warcrafthero’s Iazyges mod
    • New updates on Tourney
    • KurdishNomad’s Prince Caspian units
  • Arts & Writing
    • Seven Stones and a Pale Shadow – A Norbayne Campaign Log
    • Sharing My Music and Sound Effects – Over 2000 Tracks by Eric Matyas
  • Miscellany
    • And Another Thing (Silly/Quirky News Thread)
    • Cool things on the Open Web


GAME DEV


The Game is ON


What English idiom might involve a warning sign, a gale, and a tall building? Or how about a set of four boats and a large pile of peaches? Can you work out what number to phone to get some rest at the end of a shift, or what order a set of night-time photos should go in? You can find the answers to all of these and more in the Game is ON!

In this new project from Bigosaur, creator of great games like Son of a Witch and Windmill Kings. In this new game, Boris, a confused southeastern European trying to learn English, needs your help to discover English idioms cunningly hidden through a range of quirky puzzle levels. As you play through the game you will also be able to find puzzle pieces cunningly hidden in each level, enough of which will unlock even more idiom puzzles for you to discover. Some puzzles also have tricks that allow you to complete them in more or fewer moves, which can unlock even more puzzle piece options. The Game is ON!





Balbor's Tides of the Old World


In this awesome new project, Balbor is working on a big new rules supplement and expansion for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying's Second Edition, to allow players a great deal more fun and adventure on the high seas! Rather than sea travel just being a route from point A to point B, there are a great number of perils out on the ocean from sea monsters to dark elf corsairs and Lucciniese pirate companies, and different characters and their vessels may have a wide range of ways to deal with them.

The eventual project is hoped to include naval rules for all the major factions in the Warhammer world, as well as the detailed rules for naval combat which are at the heart of the game and possible later expansions to allow aerial combat and dragons to interact with the ship combat rules. If you're a WFRP player, or if you want inspiration for how to do ship combat in any other RPG setting that you favour, this project will be well worth checking out.





Warcrafthero's Iazyges mod

Yet another new project in this issue, from the old Rome Total War mod forges. A number of planned factions were cut from the original plans for Rome Total War: Barbarian Invasion, notably the White Huns and the Moors - but there were also a few files left in for three additional factions: the Iazyges, Marcomanni and Quadi.


The Izayges, the easternmost of these, were a Sarmatian people with many mounted warriors who migrated west to the Danube, and fought with Rome in Trajan's wars against Dacia before a number of wars with Rome in the second and third centuries. The Marcomanni, who had a powerful kingdom in what is now Bohemia, fought against Rome in the time of Marcus Aurelius, making them the presumed enemy in the battle at the start of Gladiator: they Christianised in the fourth century but are little heard of thereafter. The Quadi, meanwhile, occupied an area somewhat southeast of the Marcomanni and were closely associated with them, and were likely among the many Germanic peopls who crossed the Danube and founded new kingdoms in the fifth century.

Warcrafthero has worked to add these factions back to the game, replacing the Burgundii, Langobards and Roxolani. They have full unit rosters and appropriate starting locations, and allow players to replay the later history of these fascinating and oft forgotten peoples. There are a number of other minor changes in this mod too including the ability for Alemanni, Celts and Saxons to become a horde and a new repurposed model for the Celtic Kerns. Click below to find out more!





New Updates from Tourney

Tourney, the indie jousting sim from Tusky, continues to grow and take shape! In this game, you get to design your tournament field, host competitions - perhaps with a finger on the scales here or there - and watch as knights prosper or fail, prove their worth or slink off in embarrassment. Along the way there will be apothecaries, roast hogs, cheering peasants, jesters, shrubberies, and everything else you'd expect from a proper contest of chivalry and honour.


Recent updates have included the lovely new stables shown above, as well as a new improved armour type for knights, and a new event management menu to help you keep track of the archery, melee, and jousting contests that you set off around your tournament ground. The environment design for new levels has also begun with a hilltop castle for the Avalon location which will be revealed in the coming months, so there's tons yet to look forward too. The devlog thread also contains numerous interesting side-pontifications from our resident medievalists so if you're interested in seeing how ideas about the medieval and games fit together, or just want to watch this brilliant and very funny game come into shape, it's very well worth a look!




KurdishNomad's Prince Caspian units


Jubal's Narnia: Total War is one of the most in-depth and complete fantasy mods for Rome Total War 1.5 - and now, new Exilian member KurdishNomad has stepped in to create a new Prince Caspian Units Patch for the game. He's working to produce a more filmic experience by providing alternative unit skins and models that match those in the Prince Caspian movie. This has included a number of beautiful new creations, including not only adapted centaurs and satyrs but also fauns and even a mighty gryphon to allow the Narnians to truly rule the skies.

These epic additions will make one of the most lovingly crafted mod additions to the Rome: Total War engine even mroe beautiful, and will allow players to experience the movie-style battles and experiences far better than in any previous versions. If you're a fan of fantasy and of Total War, this is definitely one patch not to miss.




ARTS AND WRITING


Exclusive - only at Exilian: Seven Stones and a Pale Shadow - A Norbayne Campaign Log

This is session three of this brilliant series. Set in a mystical and carefully described land, there are a group of people travelling. But where to? What for? The excellent authors behind this story did not envision the direction the storyline took but were really happy with the final story " I guess part of this may be down to how the character dynamic developed in an opposite fashion in this one. In the previous two sessions, the characters were separate and then met and came together. In this game however, all three were well known to each other, and then spent most of the session pursuing their own individual goals.". Each character is described in colour and really show their true qualities amongst their otherwise tough exteriors. The authors have even hinted an opinion "As an aside, I love _______. What an absolute nightmare of a character." - can you guess which character this is?

Check out the full story here....





Sharing My Music and Sound Effects - Over 2000 Tracks by Eric Matyas


There are so many different music media providers, with subscription fees and sample tracks - but Exilian's Eric Matyas will create his music and share it with you for free. From futuristic sounds to carefully pieced together clips which you can listen to and share with others. There are looped songs that you can listen to because we know you'll really enjoy these sounds. From Winter In An Alien City to Dreaming in Digital - there is absolutely something here for you. If you like the tracks, be sure to let us know in the comments below and on Eric's website!

On Eric's Fantasy 11 page:
THE LAND OF LOST HOPE – (Looping)
https://soundimage.org/fantasy-11/

On Eric's History page:
ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS – (Looping)
https://soundimage.org/ancient/

And Eric's my Sci-Fi 9 page:
WINTER IN AN ALIEN CITY – (Looping)
https://soundimage.org/sci-fi-9/





MISCELLANY


And Another Thing (Silly / Quirky News Thread)

Across the internet, there are so many unusual stories out there. Jubal recently posted one on our "And Another Thing" (Silly/Quirky News Thread). In the digital world, security is everything. So is access to confidential data, worth...absolutely priceless amounts. On September 15th 2020, Jubal found an article about the former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott - and how his passport number was found on the most unlikely places there are...
 
Did you know that a boarding pass is not only a door to your destination, but also contains data a hacker could use to identify the most sensitive data which belongs to you? Unknowingly, Tony Abbott posted his boarding pass with a caption, to Instagram for his followers. Finding data from the boarding pass, such as the booking reference: this was used to log in to manage flights etc. A hacker known as "Alex" is able to find out all of your booking details, just by accessing your boarding pass and logging into your account with the flight provider.

And please, when you are on Instagram or any other social media channel: be sure to protect your data. All it takes is one piece of information to intercept even a former Prime Minister!







Cool things on the Open Web

Gardening is a big hobby at the moment for many people! It is a great way to get involved with nature, make a better environment for you and all kinds of animals. Here is a fantastic blog about the different varieties of flowers, creative ways to grow produce using plastic bottles, and even recipes!

If you've never really been into gardening, now is the time to get growing! No matter what space you have available, there are so many things you can plant and grow - such as herbs, flowers, even watercress for your meals!

At times when you might not know what to do, visiting this blog could unlock several ideas for you. And do not forget, Exilian has its own gardening and food forums to visit! Happy gardening!








It is now Autumn, unbelievably so. We will see you soon, in Winter. We're looking forward to it, hopefully you've enjoyed the newsletter and we look forward to the next edition! Stay well!

8
Forum Games - The Beer Cellar! / Re: Word Association
« on: September 11, 2020, 07:34:23 PM »
marvellous

9
General Chatter - The Boozer / Re: Exlilian Forum Pub Quiz
« on: September 11, 2020, 08:22:47 AM »
You're welcome Clockwork! Super award too! :)

10
Forum Games - The Beer Cellar! / Re: Word Association
« on: September 11, 2020, 08:14:46 AM »
light

11
Forum Games - The Beer Cellar! / Re: Word Association
« on: September 09, 2020, 08:48:59 AM »
happy

12
General Chatter - The Boozer / Re: Exlilian Forum Pub Quiz
« on: September 09, 2020, 08:44:21 AM »
 :) Congratulations Clockwork! That was tricky, well done to you!

And once again, Tusky, cool quiz!  :) Thank you for putting this together!


13
Forum Games - The Beer Cellar! / Re: Word Association
« on: September 08, 2020, 04:58:28 PM »
similar

14
Forum Games - The Beer Cellar! / Re: Word Association
« on: September 08, 2020, 01:13:58 PM »
dearest

15
Forum Games - The Beer Cellar! / Re: Word Association
« on: September 08, 2020, 08:32:12 AM »
endearing

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