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This issue, I've grabbed a few impressive resource sites of the net. Missing a useful reference on medieval weaponry? Unsure about the FBIs involvement in the Roswell incident? Can't convince your GM of the validity of the Vulcan Nerve Pinch? Never fear, for in the Great Link of information that is the internet, there is nothing that cannot be found...

  • Well, if Star Trek is your bent, then a good place to start is The Star Trek Archive. This is a pretty impressive collection of a variety of Star Trek stuff. It is by no means entirely authoritative or complete, but it does contain a lot of stuff that you might not be able to find elsewhere. There's a ridiculously long dissertation on relativity, technical specifications for all the ships, a complete rated episode guide for all four series, with a rate-it-yourself option, and much more. And it all looks fantastic, but without any real drop in speed. But if you're still looking for more, their links page can take you to some even bigger Star Trek sites, such as the enormous (but harder to handle) Star Trek WWW. More importantly for game fans, the official Star Trek RPG site is now up, and it is great: beautiful to look at, and everything that a player could want.

  • The above are impressive because they are big collections, but the best resource sites are more than that. Possibly one of the best reference sites on the internet - just in terms of the sheer amount of research gone into it - is Kate Monk's Onomastikon. That's a dictionary of names, or perhaps I should say THE dictionary of names. Because even if you searched through the largest and most prestigous libraries in the world, I doubt you would ever come across something of this calibre. It is just unbelievably well researched, and presented simply and effectively. Names are sorted into place and time of origin, and are listed with their meaning and variants. What use is this, you ask? Well, not only will you never again get stuck trying to think of a character name, but you can make sure said name is perfectly suited to whatever campaign you're using. A must-see, even if you don't think you'll use it.

  • Equally impressive in its veracity and academic qualifications is Old Sword Play. This is a online copy of Captain Alfred Hutton's book of the same name. Although written in the nineteenth century, this is an intelligent summary of the art of medieval swordplay. Hutton is on par with Sir Richard Burton in this field, but while Burton's stuff is still widely printed, this is a very rare publication being made available. So don't miss it if you want to perfect those combat rules. And if your games are set a little later, students of fencing should examine George Silver's Paradoxes of Defence.

  • Of course, correct combat isn't much use if you don't also evoke the correct setting for it to take place. And if you're thinking a realistic medieval campaign, you are going to need to know a fair bit about the presence of the church and religion. The authority here is The Ecole Initiative, a sinister sounding name for an online encyclopaedia of religion. And it is another example of the internet outdoing the best libraries - this is a fantastic reference guide that the average person would never be able to get their hands on otherwise. Plus all the information is easily referenced, and a lot easier to flick through than a telephone-book sized tome. Great stuff - the glossary alone is a brilliant place to get info and ideas for religious campaigns.

  • But not everyone plays medieval games. But our modern age is not short of villainous or oppresive regimes. Let's face it - conspiracies make great recurring bad guys, and the best way to make a conspiracy really frightening is to make it as realistic sounding as possible. But in this post X-Files era, how do you find out enough about what the US Government is doing to worry your die-hard players? Well, help is at hand, in the form of the Intelligence Resource Program. This is an independent, ongoing project to gather as much information on the activities of the many divisions of the US government. It's a little clunky and slow to maneuver through ,and not all the links work, but it's complete lack of sensationalism makes it a quite effective read. Again, just glancing through their list of agencies will fill a GM with inspiration. After all, why settle for the FBI as villains when you can chose from literally hundreds of equally shady groups from around the world?

  • Finally, if your adventures are taking you to sea, then you might find something of use at No Quarter Given, the ultimate piratical site. These people take the piratical ethos very seriously: not content just to ride The Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, they actually get together on hired boats and act out a whole host of picaresque adventures. As such, they make sure they know their stuff, and the site reflects this. A veritable who's who of the pirate world, real historical accounts, weapons, costumes, daily life, and so on. If you're thinking of running a piratical campaign (whether in sea or space) you should have a read of this. Particularly interesting is the story of Blackbeard's Skull, a true story of a treasure hunt as exciting as any fiction. Arrr, me hearties, this be the finest site I ever spied!

Found a hot new site on the net? Discovered the missing link? Let us know here.

We're also looking for someone to help us compose and maintain this page. If you are interested in giving up your free time to paw through piles of net garbage for that odd glimmer of genius, for no other reward then a sense of a job well done, talk to us here.

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