I’m a big history buff; those of you following my World Workshop will come to realize that pretty quickly as I love to integrate notions and ideas from real-world history into any setting I’m developing. Specifically, I like to look to earth’s history to constantly remind myself that the span of centuries is full of examples of idiots doing stupid shit, so I shouldn’t feel the need for things to make too much sense.
Want an example? Pertinax, the Roman Emperor who was put on the throne by the Praetorian Guard, stiffed the imperial bodyguards for the bribe (I believe the Praetorians referred to it as a donativum) he’d promised them. Do you really need to be a genius to realize that’s not going to end well? (It didn’t – Pertinax was unsurprisingly murdered by his own bodyguards after 86 days in power.)
Anyways, the point is that I love to study history. Not all of it – some of it is tedious, but there’s a lot of good stuff out there. So, that’s what I’m plugging. Specifically Mike Duncan’s The History of Rome podcast (also on iTunes) and The Cold War: A New History by John Lewis Gaddis. I’ve listened to every episode of the former, and am most of the way through an audiobook copy of the latter. Both the Punic Wars and the Cold War are providing lots of inspiration for the setting I’m working up in the World Workshop, I’m pleased to say.
Now for Penny Arcade. I know I plugged their Dark Sun podcast last week. They’ve finished, and even released a bonus episode that features them all discussing the Dark Sun setting (which the three players – Scott, Kris, and Mike) had never played in before. This episode is hilarious, if only for the chitin/chitinous/carapace conversation that kicks things off.
Tycho: There is a carapace in Dark Sun that has its own carapace.
Gabe: You can’t throw something chitinous without hitting a carapace.
Scott: You throw something its gonna hit six chitins before it touches the ground.
Gabe: Chitin isn’t a thing, is it?
Tycho: Chitin is the material that, um-
Gabe: Makes something chitinous?
Kris: Yeah, carapaces are chitinous.
Tycho: Apparently you can lose weight eating chitin.
Honestly, the bonus track is more ridiculous comedy than it is genuine commentary on Dark Sun. Still great though, I strongly recommend checking it out.