Wednesday, October 31, 2007

saidagive

On a lighter note, one of my favorite clips from Young Frankenstein… Enjoy!

Experiments in the Revival of Dead Organisms

Happy Halloween! This clip is by those crazy Soviets, who apparently thought that killing and reviving animals was a proper avenue of scientic study. This clip is long and disturbing, so if you are ill-at-ease with such things, please do not watch this particular video.

Lord Randall trailer

Trailer for the film LORD RANDALL, a microbudget Victorian Gothic movie by Scott Allan Stubbe adapted from the pre-industrial folk murder ballad of the same name. For more information see www.myspace.com/lordrandall

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My apparent “Celebrity Look-alikes”

Rob Zombie – Living Dead Girl

A tribute to the 1920 classic “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”, this 1998 remake is a enjoyable throwback, even if one is not a Rob Zombie fan.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Steampunk interior design



“Boy’s Room” by Miss Faryndreyn

Pleasantly discovered Miss Faryndreyn’s work via the Steampunk Home (from abouts of Tinkergirl) regarding steampunk interior design. Very well conceived conceptually – so if you wish to learn more or see of her work, please go to:

http://thesteampunkhome.blogspot.com/

and visit Miss Faryndreyn’s site:

http://faryndreyn.deviantart.com/

Saturday, October 27, 2007

In memory of Timely Sands



My encounter with Miss Timely Sands

(Antiquity Township) Back in the end of May, I was wandering around Victoria City, when I encountered an intriguing young lady, who approached me and struck up a conversation. We had a grand time, discussing blogging, writing (her specialty), Caledon, Gorian sims a wide spectrum of topics.

Just before she left (to attend to business in Gor), she offered friendship, and I accepted how could I not from such an erudite woman? She also provided me with copies of her works, which I read they were very well done, so much that I vowed the next time I was to see her, I would ask her for more of her work.


Agent Timely of Caledon

That was not to be. I logged on this morning to do some SL work, and received the following message (edited for this blog)

It is with great sadness that I must tell you that my RL friend and one time employee who was known as Timely Sands, has died. At the far too young age of 43, she suffered a massive stroke on week ago, two days after a day surgery to remove a benign tumor. She leaves a husband and two children. Her SL fantasy life was largely unknown to them so I regret there was no way to contact them in RL.

SL will miss her in all her roles:

Caledonian Intrepid Explorer and part-time spy during the Neualtenburg war.
FreeWoman scribe of Gorean Tafa
Mistress to Bryn, Dina, Taa
Friend to Margie, Marcia, and Margie Meng
As her friend I thank you for all the fun you brought to her life.

Lyndal Homewood


Miss Sands in Gorian garbs and veil

I had read about those who lose friend in SL/RL, but the sadness is something that one does not comprehend until it happens personally. Although I only met her once, she was (and will remain) one of the most memorable people I have had the pleasure of knowing in SL

Farewell Timely you will be missed.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Victorian Travelogue: Paris sims



New Paris’ Eiffel Tower

Continuing on my “Victorian Travelogue” of era sims, I’ve returned to the Continent, to La Belle France, and its jewel, Paris. Locating three sims that represent the City of Lights, I have tried to use my previous rating system to describe my impressions of them. (I have reposted them, as not to have a reader drudge through my old posts – lol)! The system is…

Representation
This will roughly measure the similarity between the sim and the locale that it is purported to represent. The higher the number, the better the comparison, and the closer the sim is to its original.

1 = Similar in name only
2 = Some major difference between the sim and its namesake/place it is supposed to represent
3 = A good translation with some differences
4 = A very good compliment with minor discrepancies
5 = Amazingly faithful reproduction of the sim to its original namesake/concept

Affinity to the Victorian Era
This reflects how “Victorian-esque” the sim is, or tangential it is to the era between 1800 – 1900. In other words, if one were to visit in Victorian/Steampunk attire, with proper manners, how well would one fit in
1 = No similarities at all (One would be completely out of place e.g. a space sim or a techno club).
2 = Vague similarities
3 = A fair approximation (Not necessarily a direct representation, but one would not be out of sorts)
4 = Good simulation
5 = Well done representation (a visitor would feel quite at ease in Victorian sensibilities)

Depth of Sim
Once you arrive, what is there to do?
1 = A couple of buildings or stores to see, nothing more
2 = See a few stores in conjunction with the theme of the sim, maybe a sight or two
3 = Visit a couple of merchants perhaps, maybe one or two things to do beyond that
4 = A worthwhile visit, with a good number of things to see and do
5 = Fantastically entertaining, a plethora of things to do and see

Now that the rating system is outlined, let us begin with the first sim.


The New Paris Champs Elysees

New Paris

This sim is a combination of residential and commercial space, but the main draw is its user-friendly Eiffel tower. Not as imposing at the Paris 1900s tower, but it is a bit more manageable, has less issues with lag (and associated sl problems), and is actually a quite romantic place (lol)!


The top of the New Paris Eiffel Tower

The tower has three levels, base, middle deck, and of course, the observation deck, complete with romantic poseballs and champagne on ice. It provides a magnificent view of the city, albeit a modern city.


Apparently Pasquale “accidentally” found the champagne…

There are quite a number of merchants, but aside from the Eiffel Tower, there really isnt much more to do.

A residential plaza in New Paris

Representation = 3 (New Paris is a good representation of a modern city with some French accents, although I fail to believe the RL Paris is this suburban)
Affinity = 4 (Nice visiting couples, but I failed to meet a single resident, so I would say it is a moot point for a Victorian visitor)
Depth = 2 (The only reason to visit is its Eiffel Tower – the rest are merchants and residential abodes)
Total = 9 (Visit the Eiffel Tower – the primary reason to go to New Paris)


Nice walkways, but modern to post-modern architecture

———- ———- ———- ———


The Paris 1900 Arc de Triomphe

Paris 1900

Actually a group of sims, Paris 1900 is an interesting build with a number of Paris landmarks under a turn-of-the-century veneer. I specifically use this term, because although many portions of the sim evoke a Moulin Rouge-esque atmosphere, it isnt uncommon to see modern (e.g. post 1970) items, such as autos, modern clothes, and objects. (One interesting note, this is a French sim, so English is not the primary language, and you will see much French chat, so having a Babbler is suggested if you wish to engage in conversation with the locals.)



Pasquale looking for his lost his token to ride the Metro

One arrives in the Metro, and after passing the chalk artist sketching a transitory work, you will receive a note card (in French & English) explaining the rules of Paris 1900. Upon you transiting up the stairs, youll arrive in a central plaza area with updates, which is directly in front of the Moulin Rouge.


The Central Plaza, with rides and a map of Paris 1900 to the left


Le Moulin Rouge – direcely as you come out of the Metro

The Moulin Rouge is an extremely large dance hall, a stage, and a seating area to relax (and dispense beverages). It is quite well done, with more than ample space to entertain groups and parties, but alas, I was unable to ascertain the schedule of events for the Moulin Rouge. (Additionally, in its entrance, there is a historical information site about Paris very enlightening).


A ginormous dance floor from the stage…


and a few from the entrance.

Pasquale at the bar… (I told him to stay away from alcohol, it rusts his gears!)

In the outdoor passage, there is a huge elephant that I originally passed by, but upon leaving the main dance floor, I noticed a stairwell on the side of the elephant. Curiosity getting the better of me, I followed it up, into the bowels of the giant pachyderm. Inside, a luxurious lounge awaited those needing a respite from the activities of the floor intriguing!


Mssr. L’Elephant from the outside….


and Pasquale lolly gagging inside the elephant!

To the east is a replica of the Arc de Triomphe, complete with a note-card explaining the background and history of the Arc. In addition to the architectural details, there is a ride attached to the monument. A sort of hanging slide is available for those wishing to indulge in it.
Further into the sim, the largest representation of the Eiffel Tower is resides here. It is comprised of four sims, each covering a quarter of the tower.


The base of the Paris 1900 Eiffel Tower


The tp to the tower cleverly disguised as an open elevator!


A tp at the base allows travel to a mid-observation deck, and then on to the top of the tower. A good view of the adjoining sim is available, along with a nicely done control room (a superb wall full of dials and gages for those steampunk photos), are contrasted with a “parachute jump” off the side of the build. Entertaining, but alas, a departure from the original.

A sunset on the middle floor….


… and the “control room” at the top

Back in the “Champs Elysee”, there are a number modern stores, but best is a small café to the left of the Moulin Rouge. A set of tables, chairs, and beverages (from inside the café), allows one to indulge in people watching, probably as in rl!


The Cafe to the side of the Moulin Rouge – perfect for avatar watching!


The inside of the Cafe (and Pasquale isn’t drinking – amazing!)

Representation = 4 (A very intriguing representation of Paris – a bit more of the charm of the RL City of Lights
Affinity = 3 (Not bad, but ensure you have a babbler if you wish to converse with the locals)
Depth = 4 (A good number of things to do and see, although I was unable to obtain a schedule of events for the Moulin Rouge – pity.)
Total = 11 (Worth a number of visits, perhaps a bit higher if I were to find out when the Moulin Rouge has its events)
———- ———- ———- ———-



Aretsia and I play a piece in Versailles

Chateau de Versailles

I first learned of Chateau de Versailles from Miss Tombolas blog, and felt I needed pay it a visit. Unfortunately, I sent my assistant, Pasquale, ahead to garner a feel for this unique locale.


The Viscount correcting Pasquale on courtly manners

My neer-do-well clockwork manservant explained that upon arriving, he encountered an individual in 17th century garb, who he was able to insult twice within a minute. Apparently he couldnt decipher whether he was speaking to a gentleman or lady (said he was confused by the gentlemans flowing white wig). This gentleman then tped away, but he was greeted by a local Viscount, who generously offered to escort him to the main chambers and meet the Grand Duchess of Versailles.


Grand Duchess Debevec and one of her handmaidens

After passing through a pair glass doors, he was escorted up a set of stairs, through an ornate waiting room, and was escorted into the main chambers, where the Grand Duchess and her ladies were holding court. After some initial inquires about his construction (as they had never seen a clockwork man, they wanted to know if he had blood, a heart… and then summoned the court physician to examine him). After which, he returned to the Harbor clock tower for some re-calibration.


Artesia playing the harp

I later returned with Artesia, to indulge in the atmosphere, and see if I could investigate a few more details regarding Versailles. First, the courtyard is quite large, with “painting” stands (instead of camping chairs) very appropriate and very beautiful. I attempted to locate any wandering resident, but unfortunately none were available at the time. We went upstairs to the golden room, where we proceeded to enjoy a duet, with Artesia playing the harp, and myself on the (piano).

Representation = 4 (A very nicely done build of Versaille – but only that from what I’ve seen)
Affinity = 4 (Although it is from an earlier time than the Victorian/Steampunk genres, there are enough similiarites for any Victorian visitor to feel at home with a bit more formality).
Depth = 5 (Possibly the best rp I’ve seen in SL – there isn’t much to the Versaille build-wise, but the quality and involvement of rp here more than makes up for it).
Total = 13 (Superlative locale)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Steampunk Notables: Nikola Tesla

Although there are a good number of Victorian scientists who fit the mold of a Steampunk inventor, Nikola Tesla could be considered the pattern from which the atypical scientist is derived…



Best Known portrait of Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla
Age 38, 62″, 140 lbs. A tall, slender man, with a neatly trimmed thin mustache, intense gray-blue eyes, and black hair, dressed in a stylish suit and derby hat. He speaks English precisely, with only a slight accent.

Advantages: Ambidexterity, Attractive, Cool (under pressure), Eidetic Memory, Filthy rich, Less sleep, Lightning Calculator, Mathematical Ability, Strong Will, Versatile
Disadvantages: Compulsive Generosity, Loner, Obsession (Control himself and nature) , Phobia (Germs), Proud

Quirks: Dislikes June bugs and pearls (believes they drain life); Fascinated by cut gemstones; Calculates the volume of his food; Likes Pigeons; Likes the number 3
The above is the not-too-legendary version of Nikola Tesla early in 1895.


Reading a book under a “Tesla Coil”
Biography
Nikola Tesla was born in the village of Smiljan, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, at midnight between July9 and 10, 1856. Though a sickly child, he grew into a vigorous and very intelligent young man. By the time he emigrated to the United States at 28, he was probably one of the worlds greatest inventors, but no one knew it yet. He had not published or patented the ideas that he carried in his head.



Composite imagery of Tesla and his inventions

Teslas first year in America was difficult. He was hired by Thomas Edison, but soon quit. (Edison was dedicated to DC power and did not want to hear about Teslas AC system; the last straw was a disagreement over a bonus that Tesla thought Edison had promised). He worked as an engineer in a start-up company, but was soon pushed out by its investors. From spring of 1886 until 1887, he was reduced to working as a manual laborer. His luck finally changed in 1887, when he was backed by new investors. Within six months, he patented AC power dynamos, transformers, distribution systems, and motors. Soon afterwards, the patents were sold to George Westinghouse for a million dollars, plus royalties that would have totaled over 12 million dollars, but to help win the “battle of the currents”, he later gave those up.
Colorized publicity photo supporting Alternating Current

For the next seven years, Tesla was the toast of New York and the world as he made one amazing invention after another. He lectured in America and Europe, giving demonstrations that mystified both the public and scientists. At times, he seemed more like a flamboyant stage magician than a scientist. Invitations to his lavish parties followed by demonstration of his research were much sought after.


Holding “balls of flame” in his hands


Disaster struck on March 13, 1895: a fire swept through his uninsured laboratory, where all the money from his patents had been invested. Afterwards, he had to work with a more limited budget, mostly from donations. Despite this, he continued to show off new inventions and advance ideas for grandiose projects. But all his efforts did not produce any patents that businessmen were interested in buying.


Wardenclyffe Tower (built for broadcast energy experiments)


From 1903 on, it became increasing difficult for him to get loans or investments in his brainchild, broadcast energy. Over the previous eight years, he had spent $400,000 on experiments and had virtually nothing to show for it. His reputation declined, eclipsed by other inventors and smeared by rivals. He became a recluse, ignored by society, all but forgotten when he died in 1943. His last success came after his death, when the Supreme Court ruled that he, not Marconi, was the inventor of radio.


David Bowie as Nikola Tesla

Encountered
Tesla was one of the most ingenious men who ever lived, but he could also seem quite insane. His obsession with control caused him to reject emotion and try to be a perfect rational scientist. Though he rejected companionship, he loved the worship of admirers, though he might be unflustered by lab accidents or weird events, he had a streak of drama. Appeals to his pride could induce him to show off his lab or talk to people, especially rich, famous, or obviously intelligent ones.

Image from the Nikola Tesla Museum


Telsa could be encountered anywhere, but he spend most of his time in his labs, first on South 5th Avenue just a few blocks away from Edisons New York headquarters, later on the Lower East Side of New York, near Colorado Springs, and on Long Island. He lived almost his whole adult life in hotels, starting out with the luxurious Waldorf-Asotria and declining to the New Yorker by the time of his death. For as long as he could afford it, he dined every night at Delmonicos Restaurant, but never with anyone unless he was throwing a party.
Infante, V. (1999) – Gurps Who’s Who I, pg. 110-111, SJG:Austin
[edited for removal of game specific content]

Further Reading
Cheney, Margret: Tesla: Man out of Time
ONeill, John J.: Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla
Peat, F. David: In Search of Nikola Tesla

An just in case you wish to try your hand at his inventions
http://amasci.com/tesla/tesla.html

Scandlous Victorians: Women and Sexuality

Yes, it is what you think it is.

During a previous SL visit, I engaged in a lively discussion about some of my previous entries, specifically the ones on Victorian Vices. I admitted that I omitted one piece, as I was concerned that it may be too questionable (although I wasn’t qute sure). Upon hearing this, I was “challenged” to post this missing entry practically a “double dog dare”. Well, I am not one to back down from a dare or challenge, and speaking from the sake of completeness, I shall post it
Scandlous Victorians: Women and Sexuality

Victorians held the stereotype that women were incapable of sexual pleasure and endured their husbands attentions out of affection and a desire for children. For many women, this was true. But Victorian medicine recognized that widows, women unsatisfactorily married, and young women ready for marriage might have unmet psychological needs. The long-established treatment was massage of the procreative organs to induce a convulsive state called “hysterical paroxysm”. This was not viewed as a sexual act (after all, sexual intercourse did not produce such states), though doctors such as Freuds teacher Charcot recognized some connection with sexuality.
Victorian ladies viewing a … specialized chair.

Originally, this treatment was performed manually. But this was time-consuming, an hour per patient or more. In the 1880s, doctors began inventing technological aids, vibratory massage equipment that could complete the same treatment in 10 minutes. The first designs were large, floor-mounted units, often powered hydraulically or by small steam engines; electricity made smaller models possible, and by the turn of the century they were widely marketed for home use through mail order catalogues as a way of restoring health and the glow of youth. Ironically, motion pictures drove the off the market, as early stag films showed their use in unmistakably sexual terms that made them an embarrassment.

Stoddard, W.H. (2000) – Gurps Steampunk, pg. 29, SJG:Austin
[edited for removal of game specific content]

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Steampunk Media: Promus-Kaa, Steampunk Artist



Steampunk Ceylon rendering

The talented Mr. Promus-Kaa has been hard at work, this time portraying a “Steampunk Ceylon” – supurb! Quite a fan of this gentleman (his “Steampunk Dr. Who was focused in this blog back on the July 19th entry), we look forward to seeing more of his work in the future – Kudos, sir! To indulge in further works of his, please visit:

http://promus-kaa.deviantart.com/

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Post Caledonian – Tony Sinclair

Lets see… a party in a tent, in the middle of the artic, an old military gentleman playing water music on martini glassesas a midget turns gears that causes the entire base of the table to rotate… sounds like another Caledonian party, hosted by Mr. Tony Sinclair, Post-Victorian party cad!

Post Caledonians – Tanqueray Gin

This is my personal favorite…”What, ice cubes that don’t melt?” (lol)!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Steampunk Science: RL Airship Travel



Zepplin at the 2004 Athens Olympics

An interesting article postulating the use of air ships for rl travel was in the BBC today. A bit fluffy, but still, it would be a great trip – no matter the destination!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7041946.stm

Friday, October 12, 2007

Victorian Culture: Fencing



Austrian Woman’s Fencing team
A while back, I had read Miss. Lavals entertaining entries on the Loch Avie Academy of Arms

I got to thinking about the background regarding fencing styles. Much is common knowledge about Japanese Samurai techniques and Chinese Wusha styles, I frankly knew little about European sword styles. So, during my continual efforts at unpacking, I fortunately located the source that I wished to use, therefore


Styles of European Fencing

“The Old School”
The old combat styles didnt instantly shrivel up and blow away before the rapier. For example, the manuals of old-style military combat published in Italy by Marozzo and DellAggochie at the end of the 16th century were in print nearly to the end of the 17th century. The combat they taught wasnt as de mode as the rapier, but their battlefield pragmatics earned them a place among men who lived by the sword. Contrary to the claims of Victorian antiquarians, this was a mobile style that relied heavily on active footwork, not just standing and bashing.

It tended to be a composite of techniques taught by older schools, as would be found across Europe to the end of the 16th century. By the end of the 17th century, this would be much rarer although nations on the “fringe” (of Europe) (e.g. Scotland, Russia, ect) might still prefer it.


Italian School
Unlike the English, who squabbled over whether or not the rapier belonged in their country (much less in the same school as older weapons), the Italians saw it as a natural outgrowth of older swordsmanship. Thus, the Italians often taught the rapier side-by-side with older weapons. The practice was carried across Europe by Italian masters and their students.

The Italian school is daring, emphasizing stresso tempo, counterattacks in “one time”, over dui tempi, or parry-riposte combinations. It also favored thrusts over cuts. This style was popular in Italy until the end of the 18th century, and could still be found up to the middle of the 19th century in some places. The Italians preserved the used of secondary weapons (dagger and cloak) for longer than any other European country.

La Destreza Verdadera
The Spanish were the first to recognize that civilian combat was a world unto itself, with features distinct from military conflicts. Combined with the Spanish sensitivity regarding personal honor, this led Spain to develop one of the earliest schools of rapier and refine their techniques specifically for civilian encounters. They called their art La Destrenza Verdadera “The True Skill.” Students were required to learn geometry and natural philosophy, deemed vital for understanding efficient timing and methods of attack and defense. They were also taught to read their opponents every cue, moving precisely at the best moment. Finally they were trained to maintain contact with their opponents blade, and were given access to defensive techniques purported to be effective even in the dark of night.

In combat, a Diestro (as practitioners called themselves), was to remain detached and project dignity and grace. Extreme movements were to be avoided, as was any “vulgarity” in form or technique. The Diestro held himself perfectly erect, his point always upon his enemy. Attack would occur only when he had obtained deviso: redirection of or possibly indifference to his opponents weapon.


Transitional French School
As the 17th century passed, rapiers grew lighter and shorter. Masters emphasized the use of the sword alone for offence and defense. Likewise, armor fell out of use by Europes major armies, removing the need for the lance and other heavy military weapons. The era between the long Italian rapier and the 18th century small sword is now known as the “Transitional Era”. At the time, it was simply seen as an improved way to use the rapier.

French Maites darms led the way in developing this style, which appeared around 1640. It emphasized defense over offence and was more academic than the Italian School. Elegance of execution was as important as technical effectiveness. Nevertheless, the earnest duel was still the object of study. In France, this school was completely replaced by the Smallsword style by 1720.

Smallsword
Nothing succeeds like success. Duellists of the Transitional school realized that a lighter weapon was easier to use in the new ripose-oriented style. The ultimate end of this arms race was the small sword, which appeared in the 18th century. It was a short, stiff sword, barely larger than a small knife. The style associated with ti emphasized elegance above all, although proponents insisted that its defensive technique could be applied to all forms of combat. The smallsword era was the heyday of academic fencing. Masters of the day were still expected to train cavalry in the use of the saber, and some also taught the use fo the cutlass. This style lasted unitl circa 1830.

Infante, V. (1999) – Gurps Swashbucklers, pg. 28-30, SJG:Austin
[edited for removal of game specific content]

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Silver Bells and Golden Spurs

If I’m not mistaken, this particular machima was made in the defunct western sim of Sigil. (Finally found it in Youtube.)

Victorian Oddities: The Human Marvels



Le Petomame (The Fartiste), in the “Human Marvels” (1887)
My apologies, a bit pressed for time today, but I do leave one with a list of the bizarre to explore…

The Human Marvels, explaing Victorian… human marvels

Madam Talbot, an extraodinary artists (with a motherload of links to view)

Quasi-modo (just a strange site)!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass – Official Trailer

A ty to Mr. Loki Eliot for posting the link in the New Babbage Steampunk Forum Board. The background for the movie are stunning – I loved the opening scene of the skyships above the city and the steam/sail ship. Impressive – please enjoy!

Victorian Notables: Sir Richard Burton



Classic photo of Sir Richard Burton relaxing in Sufi garb

Sir Richard Burton
Born 1821, Died 1890
Age 37; 6, 165 lbs. A darkly handsome Englishman, with facial scars, dressed and armed as circumstances require.
Advantages: Attractive, Cultural Adaptability, Language Talent, Military Rank; Reputation (Famous Explorer), Strong Will
Disadvantages: Addiction (Cannabis & opium), Bad Temper, Lecherousness, Secret (Despises many classes of people)
Quirks: Dislikes Beer; Very tolerant of Arabs and women (for his time); Fascinated by exotic erotica and old texts (which he then translates into pseudo-archaic English); Insists words be pronounced properly; Practicing Sufi (Muslim Mystic)



Sketch of Sir Richard in traveller’s clothes

This represents Burton c. 1857. Two features of his character are of utmost importance. First, his love of languages; he is generally considered one of the greatest linguists ever, speaking 29 languages and 15 dialects, though it is hard to ascertain exactly what they were. Second, his prejudices; he had negative views of a wide range of people, including blacks, Jews, many Orientals, and most lower-class Europeans. However, as a traveler and a sometime secret agent, he was expert at keeping these feelings hidden; hence, this rates as a secret rather than Intolerance. Burton was a man of strong opinions and equally strong will.

His wealth fluctuates around Comfortable (as one anecdote puts it, his grandfather died on the way to his lawyer to change his will to allow Burton to inherit). At certain times, he could have a negative reputation (as “Ruffian Dick”, a shady opinionated nuisance); in later years, one might add Diplomacy.

Biography
Sir Richard Burton is one of historys most dashing adventurers (so much so that many have cast doubts on his story). Born in 1821 to an English ex-soldiers family, Burton relocated frequently between France, Italy, and England as a child, leaving him with an intense wanderlust. There was a rumor that his family had Gypsy blood, as evidenced by his dark features and “Gypsy Stare”; coincidentally, he was the first to not the resemblance of the Romany to the Indian races.




Color painting in Arab garb

Attending Oxford at the age of 19, Burton worked overtime to get himself expelled by the end of his second year, finding academia dull. Shortly thereafter, he joind the East India Company as a soldier, rising quickly in the ranks. Its a sign of his abilities that the British continued to trust him with assignments despite his outspoken-ness over the treatment of the natives and of women at home. Burton was involved with the British invasion of Afghanistan and the aborted invasion of Iran.



Sepia tone of Sir Richard

Also during this period, Burton reportedly fell in love with a Persian woman. Whatever the nature of their affair, the woman was punished by her family murdered by poison. Burton became despondent, and intensified his belief in womens rights. His many opinions made him enemies, resulting in the failure of his military career.

In 1852, Burton traveled to the Middle East. He spent the better part of three years there, most often in disguise, and became one of the first westerners to enter the sacred city of Mecca, as well as the first to enter Harrar, in Ethiopia. In 1855, he was involved in the Crimean War, but in 1857 returned to Africa in an unsuccessful attempt to discover the source of the Nile. He did discover Lake Tanganyika.



Picture of Richard Burton en route the the Haj

In 1860, he set out for Salt Lake City to write a biography of Brigham Young. After visiting South America, he returned to England and married Isabel Arundell, who was strangely convinved he was Catholic. (His sister thought him Anglican; he himself had taken to Islam and embraced Sufism early on, although he wrestled frequently with atheism). He served as British Counsul in Fernando Po, off West Africa, from 1861-1864, then transferred to Santos, Brazil until 1868; Damascus, Syria until 1871, and Trieste, Italy until his death in 1890.



Sir Richard and Isabel

Burton in History
Aside from his adventuring, Burton was an author, translator, and pioneering anthropologist. He published 43 volumes about his travels, and 30 volumes of translations. While his reputation was immense, he sold very few books during his life and was widely scorned. Many of his problems came from challenges to traditional Victorian morals (he translated a fair amount of erotica); his eccentric approach to style and vocabulary in translations didnt help, neither did his critisims of his rivals. Oddly, there were remarkably few questions as to where his loyalties lay; despite everything, he remained a staunch supporter of British Imperialism.



Sir Richard Burton’s Arab tent mausoleum in Mortlake, London (Yes, the tent is made of stone)

Encounted
Burtons reaction to others would depend on circumstances. There are some who believe that he killed wantonly in the Middle East to protect his disguises, while other (including Burton himself) claim he never actually killed a man in his life. He is certainly determiend, tough, and charasmatic. No stranger to the unexpected, Butron will likely take almost any strangeness in his stride. Although he does not believe in the occult, he studies paranormal phenomena (he coined the phrase “ESP”) and would leap at any opportunity for an unusual adventure

Infante, V. (1999) – Gurps Who’s Who I, pg. 108-109, SJG:Austin
[edited for removal of game specific content]

Further Reading
Brodie, Fawn M.: The Devil Drives: A life of Sir Richard Burton
Burton, Isabel; The Life of Captain Sir Richard F. Burton, 2 vol.
Kipling, Rudyard; Kim (a novel based partly on Burtons career)
Rice, Edward: Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton
Stisted, Georgiana: The True Life of Capt. Sir Richard F. Burton

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Francis_Burton
http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/burton/
http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~garsonkw/burton.html
http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/b/burton/richard/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/burton_sir_richard_francis.shtml