We Didn’t Start the Cryptids…

Sea monk, Dobhar-chú,
Globster, Loup Garou,
Goatman, Grassman,
Beast of Gévaudan,

Morag, Wampus Cat,
Nandi-Bear and Spring Heeled Jack,
Momo, Gambo,
Mantis-Headed Man,

Kongamato, Tatzelwurm,
Grootslang, Lambton Worm,
Mothman, Trunko,
Thylacine and Shōjō,

Hodag, Hoop snake,
Creatures in Tianchi Lake,
Lizard Man of Scape Ore Bog,
Jackalope and Loveland Frog,

Welcome to the Kastrup Fortet Museum

Now the Wyrmlog is up and running again I thought I’d post my contribution to last year’s Advent Calendar on the SSSS Fan Forum.

If you’re not familiar with Stand Still, Stay Silent it won’t make much sense, but on the plus side, you can go off now and read Stand Still, Stay Silent! I’ll see you when you get back…

Back? Good. Enjoy!

(Oh, and there are spoilers, naturally…)

Kastrup Fortet Museum Guide Page 1
Kastrup Fortet Museum Guide Page 2
Kastrup Fortet Museum Guide Page 3
Kastrup Fortet Museum Guide Page 4
Kastrup Fortet Museum Guide Page 5
Kastrup Fortet Museum Guide Page 6
Kastrup Fortet Museum Guide Page 7
Kastrup Fortet Museum Guide Page 8
Kastrup Fortet Museum Guide Page 9
Kastrup Fortet Museum Guide Page 10
Kastrup Fortet Museum Guide Page 11
Kastrup Fortet Museum Guide Page 12

If you found all that enjoyable you might like these printable Kitty Cutouts. Put them on your fridge! Confuse your friends and neighbours!

A few things to note…

  1. The Museum has a certain viewpoint about the expedition. Attempting to correct this would probably not go very well.
  2. Mikkel is almost certainly to blame for much of said viewpoint.
  3. Mikkel and Reynir’s accounts of the expedition differ on a number of important points, occasionally wildly…
  4. But since Mikkel’s version is the popular mass market one, and Reynir’s is the more academic and historical one very few people have read both and actually noticed.
  5. The museum director is Ida Södersrtöm. Why does that name seem familiar?
  6. Sigrun (now 68 years old) knows that the Museum is kinda inaccurate, but as long as they pay her she’s happy to come and tell stories about how awesome she is!
  7. Reynir did indeed name his (second) daughter after Tuuri.
  8. The author of the brochure definitely has a crush on Tuuri.
  9. That is not the Eiffel Tower.
  10. Bikupan Press eh? I wonder what that’s about?

If you want more of this kind of thing, check out my page on Archive of Our Own.

Oh, and the idea of a museum at the Kastrup fort with Kitty as a mascot and children’s guide had already been brewing in my head for a while before I stumbled over this in a museum in Italy. Sometimes life is just as strange as fiction…

Your museum guide is an orange kitten… hmmm….

With apologies to Messrs Gilbert and Sullivan…

On dense and rich worlds near the galaxy’s core,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

Dwelt short, bearded bikers forever at war,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

And though all these bikers were terribly small,
A tyranid hive fleet devoured them all,
So if you want some Squats, then you’ll get bugger all,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

The tale of the Bloodtide is one you should know,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

The brave Battle Sisters held out ‘gainst the foe,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

The Grey Knights raced up as fast as they could run,
But they wanted some blood, so they slaughtered the nuns,
And Khorne thought the whole thing was terribly fun,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

The Ultramarines you could never besiege,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

Their brave Chapter Master’s your spiritual liege,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

He’s Marneus Calgar, and he’ll never rest,
Of all Chapter Masters he’s clearly the best,
But why does the dude have a dinosaur desk?
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

Brichester and Parts Beyond

In early 1960’s Liverpool – a city still suffering the scars of the determined Luftwaffe bombardment of twenty years earlier – a teenage boy purchased a short story collection titled Cry Horror! from a sweet shop that also did a line in second hand books. The book was a re-titled print of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Lurking Fear and Other Stories, and the boy was a young Ramsey Campbell who would go on to become one of Britain’s greatest horror authors.

Totally infatuated with Lovecraft’s work, the young Campbell whipped off a series of pastiches set in H. P.’s fictional New England towns of Arkham, Kingsport and Dunwich. Then – in a remarkable act of self confidence – he sent them off to August Derleth, Lovecraft’s literary executor and publisher.

One would expect Derleth to have thrown these efforts straight into the bin, but apparently he saw something in them. He wrote back to Campbell telling him “in no uncertain terms” how to improve his writing, including advice to stop trying to imitate Lovecraft’s style, and to stop trying to set his tales in America. Campbell took this advice on board and shortly afterwards Derleth published one of his rewritten tales – with a revised title and some other editorial amendments – in a short story collection, and a few years later published an entire book of his stories – The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants.

Over the next few years Campbell continued writing Lovecraft inspired works, gradually developing his own voice and style. In the process he created his own version of Lovecraft’s New England, a fictionalised version of Gloucestershire’s Severn Valley sometimes referred to as ‘Campbell Country’.

The locales of Campbell Country and Lovecraft Country can be roughly matched. The university town of Brichester maps to Arkham. Temphill is Kingsport – despite the former’s inland location. Goatswood is an English version of Dunwich. Of course as Campbell continued his writing his versions moved further away from the originals.

So, why am I writing about all this? It comes down – as it usually does with me – to cartography.

The Inhabitant of the Lake contained a map of Campbell Country, as did the 1995 tribute anthology Made in Goatswood. But both of them were sketch maps at best. The problem of developing a more detailed map of the Severn Valley has vexed me ever since I discovered Campbell’s oeuvre in the 1990s, and a few years back I decided to finally do something about it.

Map from "The Inhabitant of the Lake and Other Less Welcome Tenants" 1964
Map from “The Inhabitant of the Lake and Other Less Welcome Tenants” 1964

 

Map From "Made in Goatswood" 1995
Map From “Made in Goatswood” 1995

 

The primary problem with Campbell country is that there’s actually no room for it! It lies between the lower Severn River and the Cotswold hills – an area about 15 kilometres across. Brichester – a city easily the size of Swindon – would take up most of that space, leaving nowhere for the various desolate plains and creepy, isolated villages of Campbell’s stories. The map from Made in Goatswood even tries to fit the whole region in between the river and the M5 motorway, an area 6 kilometres across at the very widest!

On top of this, the Vale of Berkeley (as the region is properly known, the term ‘Severn Valley’ usually applying to areas north of Gloucester) is full of villages and urban developments, leaving ever less room for ominous woods and alien monuments.

So, I made two decisions. Firstly I would ignore matters of scale, and secondly I would free up space by replace existing locations with Campbellian ones.

So I got to work. But then (as so often happens) I got distracted. But then a few months back I found the files and decided to get back onto it.

In my revised geography Purton becomes Severnford with Old Severnford on the opposite side of the river. Claypits become the decaying hamlet of Clotton – it’s in the right place and I couldn’t resist the alliteration. The real world town of Cam is shrunk down to provide room for Camside. Ulley is converted to the sinister Goatswood and its valley filled with forest. Nympsfield becomes Temphill. The area around Haresfield (appropriate!) is depopulated and Warrendown plumped in the middle. Brichester Lake (and its inhabitant), the Devil’s Steps and Castle Morley are placed appropriately, and finally the city of Brichester is placed on the intersection of the railway and the A38 (which looks like this in reality). A few roads are moved, a few rivers redirected, and we’re done!

So here is my map of Campbell Country. I’ve no doubt made some mistakes and some incorrect assumptions, but overall I’m pretty happy with it.

Iä Gla’aki! Iä Iä Y’golonac!

Brichester and the Severn Valley
Brichester and the Severn Valley

Vague Alternative History Ideas

Some vague ideas towards an alternate universe history (and map) of Australia…

1788: The First Fleet arrives at Botany Bay, establishing the the settlement of Port Botany and the Colony of New South Wales.
1825: The Colony of Van Diemen’s Land is separated from New South Wales.
1826: The settlement of Albany is established at King George Sound at the west of the continent.
1825: Founding of Brisbane.
1827: Fort Wellington founded at Raffles Bay on the north coast of the continent.
1829: The Swan River Colony is established.
1832: The Swan River Colony is abandoned.
1834: Albany is proclaimed the capital of the Colony of New Holland.
1835: John Batman founds Batmania on the Yarra river.
1836: The Colony of South Australia is proclaimed. Land east of the Murray River remains part of New South Wales. Settlement of Adelaide.
1840: Colony of New Zealand proclaimed.
1851: New South Wales south of the Murray River is proclaimed as the Colony of Victoria with the capital at Batmania.
1859: New South Wales north of the 29th parallel and east of 141 meridian east is proclaimed as the Colony of Queensland.
1861: The area of New South Wales west of South Australia is transferred to New Holland.
1863: The area of New South Wales north of South Australia is transferred to South Australia.
1901: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Van Diemen’s Land, Victoria and New Zealand form the Commonwealth of Australia. New Holland refuses, but the eastern goldfields declare independence and join the Commonwealth as the state of Auralia with the Capital at Kalgoorlie.
1911: After a decade of acrimonious debate Batmania is declared national capital. The northern portion of South Australia is separated into the Northern Territory with the capital of Raffles Bay.
1927: The Northern Territory is divided along the 20th parallel, creating the Territory of Central Australia, with the capital of Alice Springs.
1933: New Holland votes to join the Commonwealth in a referendum.
1961: Queensland north of the 22nd parallel is separated as the State of Capricornia with the capital of Townsville.

The Mystery Church of Garratt Road

As I am sure has escaped no one’s notice I am a bit of a nerd. A lot of a nerd to be honest. And given that two of the way ways said nerdery manifests are as a love of maps and a love of history, it should surprise no one that I know a bit more about both the geography and history of my suburb than the average punter staggering out of the Bayswater station Cellarbrations of a Friday night. As such I was quite intrigued of late to stumble over a strange and tantalising local history mystery…

In the run up to Christmas developed a most lamentable and lazy habit of getting the bus home from work rather than getting some exercise in by catching the train and walking from the station. There are several buses that I can catch, the 48 and 55 for instance will drop me right outside my door. The 950 will get me to Morley where I can swap to a 48 or 998, or I could even get the 998 directly from work if I’m happy to spend an extra hour looping around the far side of Herdsmans Lake. If I was feeling particularly insane I could even get the 999 and spend three hours taking in Fremantle and the desolate land of wind and ghosts (AKA south of the river) before returning home. But the bus relevant to this particular mystery is the 41.

The 41 bus behaves like a decent, ordinary 48 or 55 for most of its route before recklessly and without warning veering off into the wild lands between Guildford Road and the river at Maylands. It wanders back and forth through the tangle of suburban streets, emerges briefly back into the light of day at Garratt Road, then plunges back into the wilderness before finally coming to rest only a few blocks from my domicile. If the weather is behaving it’s quite a pleasant walk, taking in both historic Halliday House and the day care centre constructed on top of a PCB dump (if the crazed photocopy stuck up on the IGA noticeboard a few years back is to be believed).

It was at the turn off from Garratt Road a few weeks back that the mystery began. Looking up from my novel I spotted something extremely curious in the distance. It looked for all the world like a church!

Now, I know the local churches. There’s the Catholics at the top of the hill, the Romanian Baptists at the bottom of the hill, the Anglicans halfway down the hill on the other side, the – well I don’t know what it was originally but nowdays it’s the Sikh Gurudwara just a block along from the Anglicans, the Russian Orthodox by the railway line, the Buddhists near the McDonalds, the Ukrainian Orthodox just near the Buddhists and even the Happy Clappys up at the old council offices. But an ecclesiastical building between Guildford Road and the river?!  I’d never heard of such a thing!

So, it was time for research! By which I mean jumping onto Google Earth and zooming around the area looking for a suitably religious looking rooftop. It was hard going. I thought I had it briefly but it turned out my sense of scale was off and I was looking at someone’s garage. A good ten minutes of scrolling and jumping in and out of street view left me baffled. Where was this mystery church? Was it a mirage? Was it a hallucination? Was it an illusion created by Ozzy Osbourne? (He does that more than you’d think). I just could not find it!

So I went back to first principals. I dropped back into street view at the Garratt Road turn off and sighted along the line I remembered for the mysterious building. Then I jumped back into satellite view and traced the line forwards…

And it turned out I’d done goofed up.

I had assumed – as I so often do with street grids – that the street grid around Garratt Road was regular. It is not. The street I sited the punitive church down was not parallel to Guildford Road, but was angled to converge at it. To converge in fact dead on the Romanian Baptists. The mystery church that puzzled me so much was an already known church seen from an unexpected angle. Boy was my face red!

So, what is the moral of this lurid tale? I’m not sure there is one. I’m sure I could spin something together about being prepared for unexpected viewpoints and the destination being the starting point, but I’m a web developer, not a self help guru. Just take this as another pointless interlude in my pointless, carefree life.

Walk with Haste if you Choose to Stay…

Some time back my good friend Ryan introduced me to Hero Forge – a quite brilliant website that allows you to design customised gaming figurines and then have them 3D printed. I’ve been playing around with it and on a whim decided to try and make figures from the Third Wheel’s equally brilliant web series Thrilling Intent.

I present the results – of varying quality – below.

Markus VelafiFirst up I present our favourite Tiefling Sorcelock – the man who’s made of lies and smiles – Markus Velafi.

Not Markus VelafiThis of course is not Markus Velafi. This is merely an innocent bystander. Markus Velafi? Never heard of him.

Horatio ProtagonisteOf course big man on campus Horatio Protagoniste requires no introduction!

gregor2My second attempt at good guy with a glaive, Gregor Hartway. I’m pretty happy with this version.

AsheMy final take on Ashe. Now with bracers!

InienInien of course, who is better than you. Her costume is a bit off (although suitably stylish if not entirely overwrought), but the attitude is dead on.

kier2Version two of Human Number One (out of a sample size of one), Kier Fiore.

ThogThog, lead pipe in hand, ready to defend his money from the Tax Goat. I’m actually pretty happy with him, all he needs is a waistcoat (vest to you Americans).

Don'tDon’t! Baking pan in hand to make you some delicious pastry (or sacrifice you to her Queen…)

RatOur favourite giggling purveyor of EXTREMELY CURSED items, Rat!

Hronk!And here’s one of his awful babies. HRROOONNNK!!

HarlockAnd last but definitely not least Chellisandre Harleaux – AKA Harlock. I’m very happy with this depiction.

I’m probably not done with this. Colvin is likely coming up, and how can I resist Vern with his skeleton legs? But that’s it for today at least…

LATER…

verneI said I wouldn’t be able to resist making Verne. Here he is, shooting skeletons out of his sleeves and showing off his bony legs (he is a semi-litch after all!).

colvinA not terribly accurate version of Colvin. It’s frankly amazing that I was able to cover up his eye!

kylilA rather dramatic version of Kylil, complete with a lantern.

ballastHey Guuuuuuuuuurl! It’s Ballast McGee!

zalvettaAnd finally the abomination that is Zalvetta (I think that’s what the spirit folk called him, isn’t it?)

Right, I am done now.

Horrible Warhammer 40k Memes

Sometimes I just can’t help myself…

That's a Paddlin'
Oh, you better believe that’s a Paddlin’!

 

It's GellAr - With an 'A' you idiots!
It’s GellAr – With an ‘A’ you idiots!

 

Warmaster Horace
Warmaster Horace

 

The Primarch Leman Ross
The Primarch Leman Ross (Thanks to Ryan for inspiration)

 

Changuinius
Changuinius

 

Joeytai Khan
Joeytai Khan

Medieval Holy Land Pilgrimage Monopoly!

It is generally agreed that Monopoly is a terrible board game. It is incredibly long and incredibly dull while at the same time somehow being viciously predatory. It’s the kind of game where you spend hours shuffling bits of paper around while developing a deep and abiding hatred for all the other players, one of whom always wins because they’re so invested in the thing as to have studied the extremely simple yet extremely dull strategies required for a guaranteed win. Burn in boardgame hell Monopoly!

Despite this, my brain has wandered unstoppably down one of those strange little paths of busfuckery that plague me so, and designed a reskin of the game that’s bound to be far more popular than that “Millennial Edition” they’re currently hawking. I have invented Medieval Holy Land Pilgrimage Monopoly!

The streets are replaced with cities on the pilgrimage routes from northwest Europe to Jerusalem. Players collect gold by constructing Inns and Hospices. The railways are replaced with great medieval ports – let’s say London, Venice, Constantinople and Acre – while the utilities are holy relics – perhaps the Spear of Longinus and the True Cross. Players don’t go to Jail, they get captured for Ransom. “Community Chest” becomes “The Knights Hospitaller”, and “Chance” is retitled “Fate” for that true medieval flavour. The playing pieces are – of course – replicas of pilgrim badges.

It will be massive! I await my royalty check from Hasbro.