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 You Learn Something New Every Day!

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The House of Ainsley
Keeper of the Dark Mirror

Male Number of posts : 2164
Age : 46
Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: You Learn Something New Every Day!   Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:55 am

The title says it all.  Smile

Granted, that adage may not apply to everyone; if you've been living in isolation on a remote tropical island for a few years, then you probably haven't learned much recently.  And some of the things that you learn aren't really noteworthy; "Colored chalk comes in Watermelon Pink" probably isn't worth writing home about.  But then, there are those genuinely interesting little tidbits that you learn (sometimes even on a more-or-less daily basis).


Those hidden messages that you get by picking out the first letter in every word, sentence or paragraph have a name.
Have you ever caught on to one?
Everyone has to come across such hidden messages sometime.
You may have composed one yourself.

Arnold Schwarzenegger sent one to Tom Ammiano in a veto letter.
Read all about his stealthed "F-bomb" on Google, and
Enjoy a laugh at the California Assemblyman's expense.

Christianity's fish symbol stemmed from one of these,
A way for Christians to identify each other amid Roman persecution.
Lewis Carroll's poem, "A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky" furtively identifies his inspiration:
Little Alice Pleasance Liddell.
Edgar Allan Poe wrote one as a shout-out to his cousin Elizabeth;
Did he intend for it to be published posthumously?

Always keep an eye out for these hidden messages.
Carefully reading everything can reveal some pleasant (or unpleasant) surprises.
Read the Snopes site about PETA's brick at PETCO Park,
Or about John Laird McCaffery's tombstone, courtesy of his ex-wife and his mistress.
Sometimes, even video games hide valuable clues in such a fashion:
The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion has a clue hidden in the "Commentaries on the Mysterium Xarxes";
I collected all four volumes two days ago and found Mehrunes Dagon's shrine, by myself, without help!
Can't you see how good I am at finding these hidden messages?
Sucks to be you, Mankar Camoran!   Twisted Evil

2)  So I learned that one yesterday.  All these years of picking out those hidden messages, and I just now learned that they have an actual name.  What else did I learn yesterday?  That the first crossword puzzle was published in 1913, and that the first horizontal word in that puzzle was "fun".  Thanks, today's Google Doodle!  Smile

(I completed the puzzle, of course.  Wink )

3)  The day before that, I learned something new about Iraq's favorite genocidal dictator, Saddam Hussein: the Blood Quran.  Over the course of two years, he had a copy of the Quran written in his own blood...something about symbolizing all of his hardships and sacrifices while he was running (and ruining) Iraq.  He was a tyrant, so who really cares about his narcissistic symbolism, right?  So anyway, what our pal Saddam apparently failed to realize is that Islam considers spilled blood to be unclean; therefore, the Blood Quran's very existence is blasphemous.  But the Muslim clerics can't destroy it (and thereby eliminate the blasphemy) because destroying a copy of the Quran--any copy--is also considered blasphemous.  So now the Blood Quran is just sitting in a storage somewhere, and nobody has any idea what they should do with it.

Way to go, Saddam, you magnificent bastard.  Razz

So what nifty tidbits of insight and lore have you learned lately?  Smile
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The House of Ainsley
Keeper of the Dark Mirror

Male Number of posts : 2164
Age : 46
Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: Re: You Learn Something New Every Day!   Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:26 pm

More stuff that I learned today:

1)  The White Wolf wiki's front page has a "Today in History" section featuring historical (well, historical in the game settings, at least) events from White Wolf's various universes.  For example, today's January 4th.  On January 4th of 1940, the New World Order (courtesy of Mage: The Ascension) sent a formal letter to the other Technocratic Conventions expressing admiration for Adolf Hitler's successful efforts at mending Germany's economy and hope that Hitler might succeed in uniting the entire world under a single global Government.  On January 4th of 2114 (in the Trinity universe), a damaged holotape is recovered and salvaged to reveal a clandestine barter between a Sudamérican and a Nihonjin, arranging a trade of deep-city blueprints for archived mirror-data.  And so on.

2)  I'm still putting together the groundwork for both of my tabletop campaign ideas (while still being unsure of which one I should run with).  While I was digging through some of the wiki's Wraith: The Oblivion articles, I happened across the article on Spectres.  Doomslayers: Into the Labyrinth is one of the few Wraith books that I never picked up, which is a shame, because it apparently has the nitty-gritty on several Castes of spectres who are merely mentioned in various other books.  And given the campaign climax that I have in mind (in which the player-characters--and whatever NPCs initially came with them after they all happened to die on the same day--settle their debt with a Ferryman by keeping several waves of spectres (called forth by the Ferryman's Pasipha) from getting their hands on the Ferryman's now-elderly, dying widow), I'm thinking that the Pasipha might expend the last of his power in a last-ditch effort by throwing open an unusually large nihil and calling forth a Hekatonkhire, briefly bargaining with it (telepathically, through the spectres' hive-mind, as Pasiphae always do) before sending it to fetch the widow's enfant and crush anyone who gets in its way.  Normally, Malfeans send entire mobs of Hekatonkhires to batter down the walls of necropoli--just like how they pretty much overran Stygia itself during the First Great Maelstrom--so a sufficiently powerful Pasipha summoning a single Hekatonkhire shouldn't be too unreasonable, particularly since the last thing that this particular Pasipha wants is to get within arm's reach of the characters themselves; potent though he is, he's a manipulator and a schemer, not a fighter.  (Getting close enough to prod the characters into Catharsis through judicious use of Contaminate may not be out of the question, however.)

And a Hekatonkhire is pretty well capable of taking on a typical Legionnaire platoon by itself, so it might make for an ideal "boss monster" in this instance (particularly if the PCs have any Pardoners, Masquers, Spooks or Usurers among them).  Now if I could only come up with the stats for the damned thing, I might be in business.  I wonder if I can fetch a copy of Doomslayers on eBay....

3)  I had seen that word (in all its variant spellings) before, but I never figured out how to pronounce it.  So I looked it up.  It's pronounced "hek-ah-TUN-kih-ree".

The Underworld of Wraith: The Oblivion borrows quite a bit from ancient Greek mythology, in which the original Hekatonkheires were three monstrous, hundred-armed giants born betwixt Uranus and Gaia; each of the Hekatonkheires was vastly stronger and more ferocious than any Titan, and the Hekatonkheires ended up killing off the Titans by throwing mountains at them.  Though Wraith's Hekatonkhires may not be as powerful as the ones from Greek legend, these spectral monsters have similar appearances, each one a mish-mash of who-knows-how-many arms, heads, legs, torsos and whatever other body parts.  It's like a Malfean grabbed a buttload of spectres and smooshed them all together into one giant freak, like how a Tzimisce elder makes a Vozhd.  Maybe I should go with the Wraith campaign, if only so I have an excuse to run down to a suitable arts and crafts store, buy a couple pounds of clay (along with some ceramic paint and some glaze) and sculpt the mini for one of these gigantic freaks.  bounce

Also, God of War: Ascension apparently has some Hekatonkheires in it.  I assume that Kratos has to kill at least one Hekatonkheire at some point.  Sure he'll have no problem with that.  Razz
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Weaver of Tales

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Location : Usually right where I'm needed most...

PostSubject: Re: You Learn Something New Every Day!   Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:01 pm

I learned a bit about 'Acrostics' today. Smile

"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
Keeper of the Dark Mirror

Male Number of posts : 2164
Age : 46
Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: Re: You Learn Something New Every Day!   Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:03 pm

From me or from something else? Wink
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