Friday, December 29, 2017

A Bit of Culture (it grows on you)

"William", courtesy of The Met
This is a 3,800-year-old knick-knack from an Egyptian tomb. Over the last hundred years, it's become a mascot of sorts for The Met.  If you take a close look at the lotus markings, they're really just made out of triangles and dots.

Painting by Charles R. Knight
These things said "Hong Kong" when I was a kid.

Uintatheriums are a somewhat odd extinct mammal.  The tusks give them a certain resemblance to hippos (they're not meaningfully related to any modern mammal).  Uintatheriums started popping up in bags of chinasaurs around the time that Gary Gygax was playing with other cheap plastic critters in his basement, but never got turned into anything iconic, D&D-wise.

Reaper 77144: Mummy for scale.

This sort of thing is what happens when I play with cheap plastic critters in my man-cave.  Acrylic paint, an alcohol pen, and a paperclip used to wire him to the Magic-Sculpt base.  The biggest time consumption came from the cleanup stage - the molds have not aged well.  One big advantage over doing this in the '70s is that I can pull up a 3-d view of the original hippo's markings while I've got the pen in hand.  He's deliberately glossy because "William" was originally glazed with blue glass.  He seems to be perfectly serviceable as a statue, living construct, or magical critter.  I kind of picture him as an immobile oracle that speaks with a lisp due to the tusks.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Sky Whales

The real ones like belly rubs.
Number Appearing:  Seasonally dependent

Size: USS Macon

Armor:  Not really.

Resilience:  Not much for the size, but still take a lot of killing.

Intelligence:  Fairly high.

Communication:  Flatulent trumpeting.

Disposition: Bubbly.

Violence:  Would prefer not to.  Equivalent to being kicked by a freighter if convinced otherwise.

Enemies:  Cloud Kraken, whalers, The Knights of Thunder

Aims:  Muck about in the troposphere having a good time.

Peculiarities:  Flying cetacean isn't weird enough?

Treasure:   Flubber

The deadliest creature on the Sea of Grass isn't the hungry Steppe Tiger, or the stampeding Purple Buffalo, or even your cuddly friend the Death Worm.  It is the Mountain Locust.  Which is more or less exactly like a grasshopper, except that it has both the capability and preference for inviting several billion relatives over at dinner time.  This can effectively reduce the contents of the The High King's granaries to dust and echoes.  This makes The High King very interested in protecting creatures that can devour several tons of locusts at a sitting.  And his subjects in the area very interested in heavily reinforced roofs, because they are very literally lower than whale dung.

Like normal whales, Sky Whales represent a very large concentration of (often illegal) resources to those able and willing to take them, and a serious mess when they beach themselves.  Their feeding grounds are
above the Sea of Grass during summer, and they winter in their breeding grounds higher up and further towards the equator.

Format cheerfully swiped from They Stalk the Underworld