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Topics - Jubal

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Someone's made a really nice implementation of the Royal Game of Ur including multiplayer and a fairly decent AI:

I really do like the Royal Game of Ur - it's got a very strong catchup mechanic in that the further ahead you are, the harder it is not to get chased down and captured by the larger number of enemy pieces on the board. It is pretty luck driven but there's a degree of skill and strategy too.

Discussion and Debate - The Philosopher's Plaza / US Politics 2021
« on: January 07, 2021, 06:27:27 PM »
Well, we start the new thread a few days into 2021 with the news that Democrats have gained control of the Senate by winning two seats in a state that's been red for decades, on the same day that a mob of fascist rioters broke into the Capitol building and forced both houses of Congress out of session as they were attempting to tabulate and confirm the election results. Just in case you thought that 2020 hadn't been busy enough from a political perspective!

He reminded me of what Penty said late in 2020...
TBH part of me would welcome some attempt at armed revolt by these "militia" groups, I imagine the reality of fighting against the world's most well funded military would probably cool their ardour rather swiftly. But I do hope these lunatics keep their tin foil hats on and stick to just playing soldiers.

Apparently he spoke too soon :(

Dear god yesterday was surreal. Not perhaps wholly surprising, but surreal. And I think it will be consequential if not in the way it was intended: it, along with the Georgia results, have totally upended any kind of Republican rhetorical strategy for disengaging from the Trump presidency and effect. A solid block of Republicans will now feel emboldedned in blaming Trump for the fact they're now out of office in all three branches of government, having held all of them in 2016. But the Trumpist block is still visibly there and hasn't gone away, and the total incompatibility of the viewpoints "we lost because dumbass conspiracist fascism isn't enough to win elections" and "we have to keep doubling down on the conspiracist fascism to stop the Trump base leaving the GOP" I think might really bite the party very hard in the next few years. (And honestly, devolving into factionalism couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of people).

The Georgia result was heartening though. It's been a really Republican state all my life pretty much (and at the deeply racist end of Democrat ones before that), and having it put a black pastor and a young Jewish guy in its two Senate seats is genuinely nice to see.

So, in images/popular versions at least, it seems that helmet crests were massively A Thing in the ancient world: we usually represent e.g. Hoplites, and Carthaginian and Spanish warriors, with crested helmets, some Roman legionary ranks had them, and so on.

What I want to know is:
  • How common actually were they? Would any rank and file hoplite or punic infantryman have actually had a crested helmet?
  • What were all those crests made out of? The way they're presented looks like maybe dyed horse hair, or sometimes feathers? Did it matter/was there any consistency?
  • Where did they all go? It just doesn't seem to be A Thing in the medieval period, occasional plumed helmets as a bit of a fancy later in the period but we do seem to go from helmet crests being semi-normal in antiquity to just Not A Thing in the period I study, and I don't really understand why this should be the case. Could just be fashion, but it seems odd for something to be a major style in the classical world and then just full-on fall out of fashion for a millennium.

Part of this is sheer curiosity, part of it is that I'm wondering how to do the look of Kesrata and Tabnire in Kavis, much of the theory of which is "Punic cultures but if they still had a couple of big city-states with continuous existence by like the 800s". Thoughts welcome!

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


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!'.


  • 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!


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.

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!


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"...


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!

Bigosaur / Son of a Witcher: The Geralt Skinpack
« on: December 26, 2020, 02:26:30 PM »
Son of a Witcher: The Geralt Skinpack

Sometimes you can just go ahead with your usual rag-tag bunch of adventurers and heroes. Sometimes, though, what you really need at the end of the day... is a professional. Presenting Son of a Witcher, the skinpack to make your knight into the famed monster-slayer Geralt of Rivia! He comes complete with eye-scar, witcher medallion, nifty haircut and beard, and some extra kit in the form of a knife and potion bottles attached on his chest belts.
Scroll to the bottom for install instructions.


Mastery of potions that would kill lesser beings can be vital to a witcher's success.

Sometimes, it takes someone with professional experience to fight monsters.

Install Instructions

1. Navigate to: Steam/steamapps/common/Son of A Witch/
2. MAKE A COPY of the "knight.png" file (call it something like knight_blue)
3. Paste the knight-geralt.png contained in the zip file (attached to this post, below) into the folder, and rename it to "knight.png".
4. If you want to switch back to the normal blue knight, just switch the filenames back round.

As with all modpacks this is an unofficial project, released for free and downloaded/used entirely at the user's own risk.

Bigosaur / The Capybara Skinpack
« on: December 26, 2020, 02:02:24 PM »
The Capybara Skinpack

The adorable boar mounts in Son of a Witch are great - but if you want to change things up a bit, the world's largest rodent is here to help and be your friend! This modpack changes your boars into capybaras, ready to munch their way through as much food as they can eat and carry you through grave dangers without ever looking so much as midly perturbed.
Scroll to the bottom for install instructions.


A knight being carried into battle by his faithful capybara is a mighty sight to behold.

I'm sure I left my mount in these bushes somewhere...

Install Instructions

1. Navigate to: Steam/steamapps/common/Son of A Witch/
2. MAKE A COPY of the "boar.png" file (call it something like boar_main)
3. Paste the capyboara.png contained in the zip file (attached to this post, below) into the folder, and rename it to "boar.png".
4. If you want to switch back to the normal boar, just switch the filenames back round.

As with all modpacks this is an unofficial project, released for free and downloaded/used entirely at the user's own risk.

General Chatter - The Boozer / Yuletide in the plague year
« on: December 26, 2020, 10:19:35 AM »
So, how were all your Christmasses, friends who celebrate? :)

« on: December 20, 2020, 02:52:45 PM »
Creative Competition: Aurora

It's time for another of our regular creative competitions, where we challenge members and friends to come up with the best creative response to a particular theme! This winter, the theme is that of the AURORA, the mysterious and beautiful Northern Lights. We look forward to seeing what you come up with!

UPDATE 09/01: It's been a hectic start to the year and we know folks are finding it tricky to sit down and get things done. As such, we're extending the deadline to January 30th to maximise how many entries we get in - looking forward to seeing more of them!

The rules are as follows:
1. Produce your entry. It can be a game, artwork, story, poem, recipe, sculpture, dance piece, music, whatever - any sort of creative response to the theme.
2. PM your entry (or a link thereto) to Jubal, and post in this thread to say you've put your entry in. Entries that don't have both the post and PM in will not be considered, and you must not post your entry publicly during the contest (so as to ensure judging is name-blind).
3. Each person is allowed up to two entries.
4. Entries must be in by 23:59, January 30.
5. The judges will score each work out of ten on two grounds: how good a response to the prompt it was, and how well executed the result was.
6. Winners will be announced by January 20. All entries will then be posted in a public showcase.


Main Prize:
1x Squire Access to TOURNEY, the upcoming game by Tusky Games - including the game with DLC, Beta Access, and Soundtrack downloads, and getting to name one of the noble visitors to the tournies! As per the equivalent Kickstarter reward for more details.
1x copy of SON OF A WITCH, the roguelike/beat-'em-up by Bigosaur.
1x original song on a topic of your choice to be written by Jubal

If you'd like to donate a prize and thereby sponsor the competition, please get in touch :)


Marie-Therese Sauer is an Austrian writer and poet who as founder of the University of Vienna's creative writing society has also been the driving force behind a number of literary anthology publications. As well as her work encouraging up-and-coming writers, she is known for her love of Scotland, good mysteries to solve, and the Dragon Age series.

Samuel Cook is a British geographer and quizzing nerd who once wrote so many pieces for a Tolkien journal/magazine that they had to publish a whole issue of his content just to get through the backlog. He and his formidable general knowledge have appeared on TV shows such as University Challenge and Only Connect, and he has written a three part article for Exilian on cartography in SFF world-building.

Announcements! The Town Crier! / Warcraft III: World of Infinitas Release!
« on: December 19, 2020, 12:57:15 PM »
BagaturKhan's Warcraft III World of Infinitas Mod/Maps Released!

In a new release on Exilian we have details on, and a new Warcraft III realization of, the sci-fi universe by Alexander Krokhmal (BagaturKhan). This feature a range of battle and skirmish maps, and the chance to fight with a variety of alien enemies in different planets. The main backdrop is the futuristic Achaeronian War, a terrible intergalactic conflict in the 2590s AD, but the huge long-term setting and mod also includes the situation in the galaxy 20000 years earlier.

There are three main maps included. The first is Kurosagi-Prime, a cold and unfriendly planet in the Kurosagi star system. This land is under control of the mighty Farruh Empire, and now you must help them against the Achaeron League. You can play against 2 other players in multiplayer or single player for this scenario. Second is the Folkirk-III campaign map pack, the mission pack about the situation in 2595 AD. This covers a dangerous period for the whole Coalition in 2595, when you need to defeat the Achaeron League with a range of methods in a variety of scenarios. You will take part in defensive and assault missions, as well as a special extraction mission - helping battle captain get out from a perilous situation and save the lives of his warriors. The Folkirk III pack has almost 10 quality and large-scale maps. Third and last but not least, there is Infinitas Elite Map pack. Here is the list of more skirmish maps, then missions, but its interesting too. You will see the cold plains of Zakromah, desolations of Achaeron-Prime, oceans of Nargon, green pastures of Zaberghan and also many other interesting things from the universe of A.Krokhmal.

Gameplay information
Neutral Enemies: Agressive
Artefacts: All types
Gameplay level and conditions: Hard

General Gaming - The Arcade / Jubal goes to Skyrim
« on: December 04, 2020, 02:01:30 PM »
A thread for updates on my adventures there.

So I've played a reasonable amount of the game now - I thought I'd give it a fair shot after the number of recommendations I've been given - and

Things I've done:
  • Main quest as far as meeting the greybeards.
  • I'm a thane in Whiterun and Hjaalmarch (I think that's the marsh area)
  • I have a small house in northern Hjaalmarch which I'm thinking of expanding. I'm kinda nervous in case I get dragon attacks there.
  • I became a bard, and have been set a bunch of quests relating to finding lost mythic instruments
  • I also went to wizard college and now have to go find the staff of Magnus
  • Like a bajillion other minor quests, this game does not mess about when it comes to sheer quantity of content.

I'm running a magician-based character (summoning, destruction, restoration) and trying to do some specialising in alchemy and speech/persuasion too: I'm using Lydia as my companion since she fights better than I do (literally I sometimes run fights where I just cast healing on her and let her hit the enemies with axes and stuff).

Geenral feeling so far is that the good about this game is mainly in sheer quantity of plot, which is very large indeed, and in the cinematics: dragon fights are really well handled and feel very good indeed, and that sort of fight I think I'd say is the core game selling point: feeling the three dimensionality of fighting a dragon isn't something often done well in games. I quite liked meeting Sheogorath, that was fun, and the range of enemies is quite reasonable though I'm starting to get deja vu on dungeon crawls and draugr. There's definitely a degree of investment in the setting that feels expected but is somewhat rewarded with time sunk into the thing, and it definitely effectively gives the impression that there is way more to this world than can reasonably be dealt with, which frustrates the completionist part of my brain but which I like from a world building angle.

My feelings on the downsides are mostly mechanical and in the depth of content. The inventory system is clunky, feels a bit too designed for consoles, and sometimes closes when I'm trying to click a menu option - and also has perverse incentives especially re weight limits where the ideal thing is for me to run multiple times around empty dungeons to pick up stacks of swords to sell, which I don't actually do much because who has time but then I end up constantly short of coin. Whilst the super clean UI is good for cinematics, I really want much easier weapon and spell switching available most of the time. I'd happily have traded in having far less total content in favour of having more depth on the characters, especially companions. Like, Lydia has been carted around half of Skyrim, fought multiple dragons with me, and it feels weird that in that context I know basically nowt about her and our interactions are limited to orders, her explaining the title I now have two of, and me getting her to carry all the dragonbone that I'm too weedy to lug around? Also I've had characters still talk about people as if they were alive when it's literally their husband whose corpse is sitting five metres out of their door after a dragon mauled him, which is also odd. I dunno, maybe I care about companion dialogues too much, but I'd like the game to feel like there was a bit more heart/emotion in there, and I think that means more dialogue depth (I guess there's probably a billion mods for this but haven't looked into that side of it yet).

General Chatter - The Boozer / Christmas Pubmoot?
« on: December 04, 2020, 01:54:05 PM »
Would there be enough interest for one? I found last time pretty tiring because there were relatively few people and I was having to nudge conversation a long a bit, but if people want one at Christmas it might be nice - maybe either the 22nd, 23rd, 27th or 28th, i.e. missing the Big Days but being near enough to count as properly Christmassy.

Food Discussion - The Jolly Boar Kitchen / Uzbek flatbreads
« on: November 30, 2020, 09:17:03 PM »
Thought I'd bring your attention to this article about Uzbekistani flatbread and the culture around it which I found really cool:

Respect for non is respect for country — Uzbek proverb

The sort of reverence culture around bread it describes and the centrality of it to customs like marriage and war really interests me.

I also have a personal history here, since one of my very on-brand high school stories was being told in Home Economics to go and find a bread recipe we'd like to make and then adapt for a project, and our teacher's *total* exasperation when I came back with an Uzbek recipe I'd found on the internet that I wanted to make because it looked cool. What I produced was emphatically not Uzbek-style bread (though my adapted mini flatbreads with salt and goat cheese roundels baked into the middle were genuinely quite good) but the episode did introduce me to how cool Uzbek bread looks :)

Exilian Folk Club / Nancy Kerr Chords
« on: November 22, 2020, 12:04:20 AM »

You can see me anytime you need me
C                        F                 C
Warm beyond a reason
F                       G  C
Night is on the wing
Am                 C
And you could linger like a grind of ginger
C                            F                    C
Making love a season
F                    G   C
Heating up the skin
Am                C

We are not our gravest deeds
C                       Am
You are not your grieving
F                       G     C
For the bravest flower seeds
C                     Am
As the birds are leaving
F                       G     C
As the thin glow of summer's death
Will turn the leaves to red
Am                            G
May the wind blow like a lover's breath
             Am                   G         C
Still warm as gingerbread
      F             G       C

You can see me anytime you need me
Warm beyond a reason
Night is on the wing
And you could linger like a grind of ginger
Making love a season
Heating up the skin

You could water me with tears of hunger
Like the wheat in winter
Pressed into a bed
Like a handprint, flour upon a black dress
White against the darkness
Leavened into bread

Ch: We are not our gravest deeds
You are not your grieving
For the bravest flower seeds
As the birds are leaving
As the thin glow of summer's death
Will turn the leaves to red
May the wind blow like a lover's breath
Still warm as gingerbread

Dreams are kneaded into walls and windows
Sheltering our sorrows
Dusted and adorned
With the sweetness of some kind tomorrows
Sugar's incompleteness
Wrested into form


While the black sky spreads its myth of thunder
That we labour under
Reckoned by the dead
These are crude thanks, charity and food banks
For our harvest splendour
Pepper for our bread


Announcements! The Town Crier! / Tourney: Kickstarter Now Live!
« on: November 21, 2020, 05:21:14 PM »
Tourney: The Medieval Tournament Simulator
Now on Kickstarter!

Tourney is the ultimate game of fantasy-medieval tournaments: build your tournament ground, select your heroes, and fight your opponents in melee, archery, and jousting! Featuring a range of levels, armours, vendors, friends, and foes, the game will offer both a story mode where you can play through a narrative campaign and lots of scope for freeplay levels where you can build your tournaments as you like.

Unlike other simulator games, you have a vested interest not only in the success of the event but also the outcome of the fights: by using your abilities as tournament holder carefully and ensuring that your knights are well equipped and trained, you can win not only the adoring cheers of the local peasantry and nobles but also the honour of tournament victories for your own bold chevaliers and paladins.

Created by our very own Tusky and his own hand-picked Camelot of freelancers, Tourney now needs YOU to help get the game funded and finished! The kickstarter has a range of great rewards including not only copies of the game itself but also bonus merchandise and the chance to appear in game as one of the final knights!

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