A well-executed attempt to give an alternative to the myriad half-baked polytheistic mythologies that are the norm in most fantasy RPG settings. As these settings often also use a pseudo-medieval cultural matrix, the numerous cults and religions can be an unpleasant dissonance. A monotheistic worldview is more consistent with the setting. Go to Comment
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York woman who posed in high-society circles as a Saudi princess pleaded guilty on Tuesday to grand larceny and insurance fraud and was ordered to a mental hospital.
Antoinette Millard, 42, used a special credit card to spend nearly $1 million during a three-month shopping spree. She also bilked an insurance company of more than a quarter of a million dollars.
As part of her plea deal, Millard will spend one year at an in-patient psychiatric facility where she will receive intensive psychiatric treatment.
At high-society events with celebrities and socialites, Millard introduced herself as "Princess Antoinette" and said she was also a former Victoria's Secret model.
In reality, Millard was a former vice president of the investment banking firm of Brown Brothers Harriman. She scammed Chubb Insurance Co. in 2003, claiming $262,000 worth of jewelry she was carrying was stolen when she was mugged on Madison Avenue in New York City. She also spent $950,000 using a no-limit "Centurion" card sent to her by American Express.
After her arrest, she blamed her predicament on traumatic events in her life including being sexually harassed at work, and witnessing "people jumping out of the Twin Towers" while on her way to work on Sept. 11, 2001.
so the fantasy version would go something like:
A woman presents herself as a princess from a far away country. She claims she has been robbed on her way here, but she expects the follow up procession with other family members to be here in the next few months. The people of the upper crust take the girl in. She is the toast of the town in the ball and affair circuit. She runs up incredible bills for dresses, jewels, and such.
Then someone finds out she is a total fake. The secret oozes out into the high society.
The problem is the rich people don't want to lose face for being duped by the woman. They have to find a way to remove her.
So somebody arranges to kidnap her (to sell her into slavery and recoup some of the loses). Someone else just wants her dead (because they we have an excuse for why she never paid her bills). Others want to quiety remove her from town, and then throw her into the gaol somewhere far away. A few others are trying to find a way to publically prove that she is not a princess, as to embarass their rivals. Of course nobody talks to anyone else about their plans, so imagine all of them going off at once. It could make for a circus of fun, especially if the characters, known to do "odd jobs", are hired to do one or moe of them. Go to Comment
News >> India Who needs to make up rumors, just read the news
Feline spirits force Orissa school to close
Dolagobind, Orissa | August 05, 2004 7:58:00 PM IST
In a bizarre incident, a girl's school here has been closed after its students started behaving abnormally.
Teachers claim that at least a dozen girls have taken ill under mysterious circumstances in the past two weeks, all fainting without a cause, only to wake up and start behaving like cats.
Dolagobind, a remote hamlet in Orissa, has since been affected by so many incidents that necromancers have been called in to remove these so called evil spirits.
According to the teachers, all the affected girls are aged between eight to twelve. They were seen clawing their own faces and shrieking like felines. Some even fainted, leaving the management with no option but to shut the school.
"First, three girls fell down when they came to school. We thought they hadn't had food so we gave them something to eat but after that also they were not normal and behaved strangely," said school headmistress Manjubala Pande.
"Next day again some six to seven girls started crying, fell down on the floor making sounds like that of a cat. We immediately informed others in the village but after the faintings and behaviour repeated, we were forced to shut the school," he added.
The children have been shifted to an ashram or hermitage run by a local sage where they are being made to recite Vedic mantras and fire rituals are being performed to drive the spirits away.
Parents say the girls have shown some improvement but are unable to recall exactly what went wrong with them. Go to Comment
Another example that the truth can be stranger than fiction.
This could make for an interesting game idea, all the girls in an all girl school actually start turning into felines, slowly. The PC's have find out who is behind it.
Evil spirits have cursed the school for a former headmasters cruelty to their sacred animal, the cat
The school is a religious school that was built on top of the ruins of a temple to Bast, the god of cats, and Bast isnt so keen having all these schoolgirls saying their prayers to their god on top of her holy ground. PCs have to intervene
A deranged wizard has been experimenting with a mass polymorphing spell, and has to be convinced to stop this experimentation. The wizard has a strangely large number of housecats in his tower/laboratory
A one spell wonder has either learned how to cast one spell, polymorph to cat, or has gained a minor magical item that has the same effect. The girl in the school has taken her new talent, or magic wand and has been 'zapping' all of the girls she doest like with it. I might post this as an item. Go to Comment
Why not take that news article, link it, and then turn it into a fantasy or sci-fi submission. That way it seems more suited for the Citadel. I will take up this challenge however and see what I can come up with myself. Go to Comment
Man sets himself ablaze over use of 'Christmas' Flag-draped protester opposed school district dropping 'Winter break' for holiday
A 31-year-old man is in critical condition after setting himself ablaze in an apparent protest over a school district's decision to call winter and spring break, Christmas and Easter break.
The protester, reportedly draped in a flag, ignited a decorated Christmas tree, an American flag and a revolutionary flag replica that read "Don't Tread on Me" before pouring a can of fuel on himself in front of the Kern County Court Building in Bakersfield, Calif., yesterday afternoon.
The man, whose name was not released, survived, thanks to the quick action of a sheriff's deputy and several court employees.
A man wraps himself in the flag of a certain country and sets himself on fire in front of a major public building, protesting recent governmental decisions. He survives with major burns thanks to the quick work of onlookers.
Optional addition: he faces arson/defamation of official property charges, due to the fire and the flag. Go to Comment
The town brewery has a horrible accident: one of the large storage vats as ruptured, releasing its contents in a massive flood. If the PCs are visiting the brewery or anyplace directly nearby, they'll have to run for their lives as they're chased by a giant wave of beer. The party fighter will never live it down. If they manage to avoid the flood, they're still likely to get recruited for the cleanup effort. Go to Comment
A bronze Greek device constructed in around 80BC could be the world's oldest computer, joint British-Greek research seems to suggest.
The "Antikythera Mechanism" - consisting more than 30 bronze dials and wheels - was recovered from the wreck of a cargo ship off the Greek island of Antikythera in 1900, the Scotsman reports. Its exact purpose was unknown, although a previous theory centred on it being used to calculate the movement of the planets then known to the Greeks: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
The researchers from the universities of Cardiff, Athens and Thessalonika now believe they are close to cracking the mystery, by bringing to bear very modern X-ray technology which has revealed a previously-hidden Greek inscriptions which may confirm the planetary hypothesis.
The imaging was done by the X-Tek Group using a "unique" and snappily-named "400kV microfocus Computed Tomography System". British team leader Mike Edmunds of Cardiff University enthused: "The outstanding results obtained from X-Tek's 3-D X-rays are allowing us to make a definitive investigation of the Mechanism. I do not believe it will ever be possible to do better."
The exact nature of the inscriptions is not reported, and while Athens university researcher Xenophon Moussas is reported as saying the "newly discovered text seems to confirm that the mechanism was used to track planetary bodies", Edmunds advised caution. Acknowledging there was one word identified which may give an indication of the device's purpose, he said lots of decipherment work remained. He told El Reg: "It's still up in the air, and there's plenty of work yet to be done."
If the Antikythera Mechanism is indeed what the investigators believe it is, then there are further suggestions that it may be based on a heliocentric view of the solar system - highly unusual at a time when most Greeks accepted Aristotle's view that the universe revolved around the Earth.
According to Michael Wright, the curator of mechanical engineering at the Science Museum in London - who in 2002 advanced the planetary calculator theory - the device may have been constructed in an academy "founded by the Stoic philosopher Poseidonios on the Greek island of Rhodes". Poseidonios's student Cicero later described a device with "similarities" to the Antikythera Mechanism.
Although the researchers seem close to discovering the device's purpose, one poser still remains, as Edmunds explained: "The real question is, 'What was the device actually for?' Was it a used to predict calendars? Was it simply a teaching tool? The new text we have discovered should help answer these questions".
According to Yanis Bitsakis of Athens University, the challenge is to "place this device into a scientific context, as it comes almost out of nowhere ... and flies in the face of established theory that considers the ancient Greeks were lacking in applied technical knowledge".
Edmunds agreed, saying: "I think it is a great testament to the sophistication of the Greeks and how far they advanced before the jackboot of the Romans came through." ® Go to Comment
Another most excellent post. Two paws up. If it had been fleshed out a bit more (additional details, some more explanation of the world and history (the whys and such), and so on), it would be a HoH contender. Go to Comment
The ochre sands stretch for miles around. Something kicks up the dust. It's a yak. A desert-yak. It ambles slowly, nuzzling the ground for the low-growing shrubs. The ranger freezes. "Stay very still," he warns. "Don't move at all."
"What is it?" you ask, breathlessly.
"It's the most dangerous creature in the whole Ocadian desert. And it's about to eat that yak..."