PCs on the Battlefield: the Rock Island Keelboats

In 1814, a band of the Sauk Indian nation led an attack on three U.S. Army keelboats on the Mississippi River. The resulting Battle of Rock Island Rapids is an excellent template for a combat encounter at your table. It’s got an interesting geopolitical context (the three-way tug-of-war between America, Britain, and the Sauk), interesting […]

Madame Chouteau’s Clever Frontier Inheritance

Marie-Thérèse Chouteau was one of the founders of the city of St. Louis, Missouri. She was a powerful and unusual woman, existing both inside the Franco-Spanish colonial system and outside it, depending on what suited her needs. The way she obtained her inheritance from her not-husband screams to be turned into an adventure, and she […]

The Puzzling Genesis of the Piasa Bird

Rocky bluffs line the Mississippi River near Alton, Illinois. Painted on one is a terrible dragon with golden scales, red wings, antlers, and the face of a fanged man. It’s just a replica. The original painting wore away centuries ago – if it ever existed it all! This creature, the Piasa Bird, is a contentious piece […]

The Confucian Village of Misfortune

The village of Dachuan – in Yongjing county, Gansu province, China – endured great suffering between 1948 and 1991. It also saw just a little bit of redemption. 85% of households in Dachuan claim male-line descent from Confucious, China’s foundational moral philosopher. This quirk of ancestry hurt the villagers under Mao, failed to save them from […]

Hoskinini’s Fugitives

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 Djenné

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The Hungarian Crown Heist

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Three Unusual British Castles

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The Wonders of Sir John Mandeville (Asia)

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The Wonders of Sir John Mandeville (the Mediterranean)

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A River Crossing With a Tiger

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