Monday, October 6, 2014

Marco Polo Discovers Alaska

Quite a few of the posts I have done over the years involve world maps (See maps label for a list). Recently, it was reported that "Marco Polo Discovered America (allegedly)". Such a title grabs attention. The proof of the discovery comes from a map that was allegedly made by one of Marco Polo's daughters, and then passed down through the years until it ended up in a trunk of an Italian living in San Jose, California by the name of Marcian Rossi.

Such tales spur the imagination and lead to investigating obscure information.

One such tidbit is an old word the Chinese used; "Fusang" refers to several different entities in ancient Chinese literature, often either a mythological tree or a mysterious land to the East. (See Fusang on Wikipedia)

The documents that came with the map also make interesting descriptions of the lands and people across the sea. The area was known as the peninsula of seals. Marco Polo's alleged description of the people reads, "They wear only seal skin, eat only fish, and live in homes under the earth".

Of course, one could get into the definition of Discover. According to the map and notes, Marco Polo was just following information already known by (some?) of the local populous. And then you get back to Vikings landing in Newfoundland in 1000 AE, and then you get back to ancient Siberian people migrating to Alaska.

Still makes for some RPG ideas for a campaign setting.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A4 versus US Letter

For the 2014 One Page Dungeon Contest, one of the submission guidelines was the following

The submission must fit on one side of one page of paper (US Letter or A4).

For the 2015 One Page Dungeon Contest, the amended guideline is the following.

The submission must fit on one side of one page of paper. The preferred size for the contest submission is A4 (210mm x 297mm). The contest also accepts US Letter (8.5" x 11"). Read A4 versus US Letter for more details.

The most important thing to state is that there is no penalty for submitting an entry in the US Letter format. The submission will be sent to the judges just as it is received.

After the contest is over, the entries will remain in the gallery at exactly the size and format that they were originally submitted as and will continue to do so for as long as the website for the contest runs.

However, here are some of the reasons the A4 paper size preferred.

It has an interesting mathematically property, in that, if you cut a piece of A4 paper in half (the middle of the longer side). The resulting 2 pieces of paper are the exact same aspect ratio as the original piece.

If you look at the map of the world, most countries use A4. There are quite a few that use US Letter, but consider the following points.

Even though Mexico uses US Letter and that is about all you can find there, the government has adopted the ISO Standard with A4

And, similarly, in Canada, US Letter is prevalent, but again, the government has adopted the ISO Standard with A4

Monday, September 22, 2014

One Page Dungeon Compendium 2012

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It seems time has been in short supply of late. I also, have to admit, that blogging about games has been put on a lower priority compared to other undertakings lately.

But, I have still managed to put together another compendium of one page dungeons. I hope to make a complete set one day, even though it can be time consuming, and I am putting the proceeds from the sales back into the contest (the contest is a labour of love, not money).

This brings up an interesting dilema. There has never been a complete set of one page dungeons for sale (for the contest), and it might actually be a little unfair to take the entire amount for this year and give it to next's years (2015) contest.

I should mention that I use the term "profit" because I have put the compendiums up on and rpgnow takes a 30% cut. That is a bit high in my book, but when I consider making my own shopping cart, and setting up payment transactions, I just don't have that kind of time these days.

And rpgnow does bring a little bit of creditability to the effort. There is also the chance that word of the contest might spread further from being visible to a larger audience at rpgnow. So, for now, I am going to live with that 30% cut going over that way, but who knows, maybe I will find enough time some day to make a shopping cart and cut out the middle man.

But, going back to the contest prize fund. It might be a little unfair to put the whole thing for next years contest. Going into hypothetical land. Let us say that all the sales by April 30th of next year ends up making a prize fund of $1200. If I divy that out amongst the top 10 percent of the entries for the contest of 2015, that is fine and dandy.

But, what if, for the next year of 2016, all of the sales for that year equates to a prize fund that only ends up being $500. You see, because this is the first year all of the back compendiums are released (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), those sales might boost the prize fund for this year, higher than it will ever be in the future?

My thought is, maybe I should hold back a little bit, say %5 or so of the fund for the 2015, to act as a seed for the year after that. Or, perhaps, as I am prone to do, I am just over thinking the entire thing.