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Back To the Geniza

This is the sort of thing which happens when you write gaming material based on real-world sources. Back in Pyramid #38, I had an adventure the goal of which was a geniza full of scattered but useful information. This was based on the Cairo geniza, essentially a massive waste paper basket which has turned out to be one of the most important source we've got on life and Jewish history in Medieval Egypt.

And while it's already been immensely valuable to modern scholars, it's still incompletely investigated. It contains many scraps of documents which haven't even been categorized by language, let alone translated. But now there's a project on zooniverse where you can get involved in research. They're crowdsourcing the identification of fragments of texts based on some fairly simple criteria. This is pointing to a phase two where stuff actually gets translated. There's absolutely no telling what will come out of this (lost chapters of important commentaries? Grocery lists?), but you'll be helping do science. And perhaps getting a feel for what that Research roll to use the geniza in the adventure represents.

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I started playing with a 3d-printed implementation of it a while back, forgot, was reminded of it, and finally got around to finishing.


It's not a perfect implementation. It lacks the pine cones of the original (not included in the picture above), nor the little bells, nor the dolphins, but those can be added easily. It isn't hinged like the original (Lightweight PLA hinges? Nah.). And the steps appear to go up a bit higher in the original. Still, it gets the job done and looks reasonably Roman.


And for anyone interested in making their own, I've put the files on Thingiverse.