Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Writing GURPS Adventures

Someone over on the forum asked for advice on writing adventures for GURPS. Or more specifically, in context, writing GURPS adventures with an eye towards publication by SJ Games, which is a very different animal. Whatever method and structure you have for writing up adventures for your own use is, of course, the best and you should use it for your own purposes. But we're talking about commerce here, not just art, so this should be thought of as advice on how to do business with a particular publisher, not generally useful advice on how to write adventures.

I need to start by defining a term. SJ Games means something specific by "adventure." As the wish list uses the word, an adventure has a plot, or at least something plot-like in it. It presents a specific problem to solve through a progression of encounters. They are not sandboxes. Sandbox-style adventures, with their multiplicity of possible PC objectives, are, in the terminology of the wish list, locations. There ar…

Writing Historical RPGs, Doing Diversity

For a few years now, I've been seeing things like this and reading pieces elsewhere about apparent conflicts between historical accuracy in historical or pseudo-historical fantasy games and issues of deep interest to some parts (and some potential parts) of the modern gaming audience. I tend to write things which are both connected to history and are written to enable the fantasies of modern people, some of whom have a specific interest in not reproducing problematic parts of the past and present in their recreations, so it's something which touches on stuff that I do. And I think I tend to move and write in circles where this tends not to get much thought or attention even though I write for a game which makes accuracy a priority, so while none of this is new to people who grapple with these issues regularly, I'm thinking maybe I should say something about it to get it into spaces where I work.

So, how do I approach the demands of both accuracy and diversity in the stuff …

Selling Priceless Items

As part of something I'm working on, I've run into the question of "how much can you sell a priceless item for?" If you come across, say, Excalibur or the Ark of the Covenant in the course of an adventure and you want to sell it, the question becomes less how much people are willing to pay for it and more how much people are capable of paying for it. This is different from selling a large hoard of loot. If you come back to town with a wagon full of potions and magic swords and the like, merchants can split it all up into smaller lots broker multiple small transactions. Here, you have to find one person or entity with a large sum of money. So here's something I'm toying with for DF:

Any item designated as "priceless" has a base value of $1m for purposes of figuring resale value. All modifiers for the seller's Wealth and that sort of thing still apply. That's the maximum value one can get in a typical Town. If the seller chooses to do so, howe…