Enhance Your Story With Other Fields: Biology

Exchange of Realities has an interesting article on enhancing story with other fields, with the focus on biology. This is something we all practice by our nature, often unconsciously.

One of the best things about writing and gaming is that they take skill synergy like almost nothing else in
the world does. No matter what you do or learn, odds are that some part of it can apply to the writing desk
or the game table. Sometimes it’s direct, sometimes it’s obvious when you’re willing to think twisty, and
sometimes it’s entirely unexpected.

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Medieval Population Density

This informative article about population density of medieval based worlds and number of cities, towns, and villages and numbers of a give occupation relative to population.

There are links to websites to run the formula and build a kingdom quickly. One can also use Excel to build the formula into a spreadsheet, of which there are links to some examples .

I recommend saving it as a PDF so that it is available for off line use.

[Edit] Corrected link to website to use current URL. 09 February 2014.

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Genealogy Programs To Generate Family Trees

One of my non-RPG interests is genealogy. There are several free genealogy programs that can save off various styles of family trees to PDF. This could be used to generate a family tree for characters, or kings and other rulers.

Many of these can export to RTF or other formats, so that a background could be used if the PDF is only to be used online. Otherwise, get some parchment paper, and give it the rough treatment, if it is to be an ancient document. For example, tear off or burn a piece that the players will need to know for some reason.

For Windows PCs, Legacy Family Tree has a free version able to meet these needs. It also works on other OSes with Wine. For Linux, there is a GUI based program called GRAMPS, that can also run on other OSes. For those not afraid of the command line and an ncurses text interface, there is LifeLines. It was originally developed for Unix, but has been ported to Linux, Mac, Windows and others.

What programs and utilities do you use outside of your gaming life that could be used to add flavor?

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Who Killed the Men of England?

Harvard Magazine has an interesting article that investigates the transition of Britain from Romans & Celts to Anglo-Saxons in a 400 year period.

The article is about scientific disciplines helping fill in the gaps in the written record of historical times. The findings of science are informing revised interpretations of evidence.

One example is the black earth where the towns of France were thought to have been abandoned after the fall of the Roman Empire, but actually show a change in building materials from stone to organic materials such as wood and thatched roofs.

They also tie the DNA study into examples from the descendants of the former slaves in the US, and the population of Medellin, Columbia. This can add flavor to the history and sway of one’s campaign.

The article can also be saved as a PDF that has illustrations to help visualize the point. Save off the PDF in case the link goes dead in the future.

It is amazing how little things we do not expect can inform us and help add spice to a campaign.

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Ramblings of an Old Gamer