Time's 50 Best Inventions of 2010
yes, I know it's not exactly timely. But seriously the underwater kites for generating electric power are pretty cool. Especially now the fishing industry's done.
Most transhumanist entry: organ printing.
ALSO: it ain't easy being frondy.
Zak Smith had a pretty good idea over on google+: crowdbuilding hexcrawls. The first is called Hexenbracken because it's a creepy forest full of mean-spirited monkeys and witches. The second is a frozen waste with a preponderance of white elves, ice goblins and mammoths - it's called The Kraal (G+ link).
Here are 2 bonus drop-in encounters for either:
Asshole Forest: the trees in this hex have long, gnarled twigs and tendrils, which reach out surreptitiously and swipe the stuff right out of your packs and saddlebags. And they shake with rustling, creaky laughter the whole time. They're also really good at teaming up - tripping the cleric and pickpocketing the fighter while she's bending to catch him. No doubt all the ill-gotten gains wind up _somewhere_ deep in the hex. The trees are also pretty handy with a bucket chain and whipping roots if the players get the bright idea of setting them on fire.
Asshole moles everywhere. Some as big as a wolf. Timid except at night or if you fall in their burrows. 25% chance every hour you're in the hex that a pack animal will be lamed, 15% chance that a character will be, 5% chance of caving in a Mole Parliament and winding up in a maze of twisty tunnels, full of angry dirtgrubbers. Bring your terrier.
Also also, psycho kayakers provide handy advice for crossing hot lava: use a 10' pole.
A bunch of interesting things emerged through this crowdbuilding exercise, not least of which is that because the hexes got keyed in a particular order, people mostly respond to the hex immediately before theirs in the list (and making references to future hexes is risky to say the least). So almost all relationships were north-south, extending roughly 6 miles. Some things pointed west, almost nothing pointed east. Which indicates a curious sort of "nap" in the weave of reality.
Also, with multiple people bashing away on this, stuff got bumped left and right (actually down and right) - if you wanted to create an east-facing dependency you had to watch the line of comments that provided hex keys like an auction, waiting for your target hex to come up. I tried to do a couple of wide-spanning connections but when they didn't come together as planned I had to improvise around them. And thus, the sad story of the Mi-go of hex 1114: they wound up crashing into a wizard's tower at hex 1116. They were supposed to be mining True Mercury at 0914 or 1012 but they got bumped from there, and anyway their friends at 1007 had already been bumped by a bunch of pumas, so they were instead going to nestle in the hills at 1111, surrounded on 4 sides by mountains, until they could re-establish contact with their mothership. But there were already 3 entries for 1111 so they got displaced again, and wound up in a lifeboat at 1114, sheltering from the irate fire wizard whose home they'd wrecked during their wobbly crashlanding.
- underwater kites, GURPS high tech fodder AND crowdsourced hexcrawls