links for 2010-08-18

  • Die-hard "Star Wars" fans have visited the imaginary worlds of Hoth and Tatooine countless times in the sci-fi films, and now they want NASA's help to do some real intergalactic exploring.

    George Lucas thrills fans, explains R2D2 difficulties
    Star Wars speed dating: Looking for love in Alderaan places?
    National Star Wars Day: Our top 10 Star Wars quotes
    At the Star Wars Celebration V convention in Florida over the weekend, "Star Wars" filmmakers and fans asked NASA representatives to develop a hyperdrive that can transport astronauts through space at light speed. And to make it snappy.

    After all, in the "Star Wars" universe, the technology was developed a long time ago, in a galaxy far away.

    IN PICTURES: Star Wars Droids

    "The idea of spending six months traveling to Mars doesn't seem very exciting," said Gary Kurtz, producer of the original "Star Wars" in 1977 and its first sequel, "The Empire Strikes Back."

  • imgs.xkcd.com/verizon_billing.mp3
  • Life in Athas is a harrowing experience. The land abounds with perilous hazards and deadly monsters. In spartan gladitorial arenas, contenders battle armored braxats and hardened muls that are intent on eviscerating them for the crowd’s pleasure. In the merciless wastes, belgoi draw adventurers to their doom with the alluring jingle of bells, or savage humanoid tribes of gith or halflings hunt travelers for pleasure, loot, and even food. And, in the Sea of Silt, giants guard their borders against any trespassers who manage to survive the constricting tentacles of the silt horrors.
    The Dark Sun Campaign Setting provides exciting character options for D&D players, including new races, new character themes and class builds, new paragon paths and epic destinies, and new equipment. It also provides everything Dungeon Masters need to run 4th Edition Dark Sun campaigns or include Dark Sun elements in their homebrew campaigns. It has rules and advice for handling survival challenges, arena
  • The Dark Sun Campaign Setting introduces the concept of character themes. With this new mechanic, players can add an extra layer of depth to their characters and have that reflected in the powers their characters use. Slaves have always been a part of Athasian society. Their lives are hard, often short, and for most, deprived of dignity. A small minority—those who are sufficiently brace, desperate, or lucky—escape to better things, but they can never lower their guard against the threat of discovery.

    An escaped slave’s only hope is to see freedom as a rebirth. Old haunts, one-time friends, even family—all need to be avoided for fear of being recognized and turned in. Hide the brand, disguise the tattoo, cover up the scars, explain the calluses away—successful escaped slaves do all this and more. Escaped slaves must take up a new name, a new history, and if one can manage it, a new appearance. The strong will and

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