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Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

Episode 192: Emulating a Genre That Doesn’t Exist

May 27th, 2016 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut we ponder a meta-terminology games designers might use to describe the purpose and function of the various sub-systems they build into roleplaying rules sets.

Now that Donald Trump has sewn up the Republican nomination, we head into  the Politics Hut to ask Ken what happened to his party, and whether he thinks he’ll get it back after the election.

Installment Two of Tell Me More highlights three Ken and Robin Consume Media items our Patreon backers wanted to hear more about: Batman v. Superman, Ambrose Bierce, and The Burglar’s Guide to the City.

Finally the Consulting Occultist satisfies Patreon backer Allen Wilkins’ desire to hear about writer Alan Moore’s occult thought.

Support the KARTAS Patreon!


It’s yo ho ho and a pocketful of doubloons as Atlas Games surveys the seven seas from the crow’s nest that is our coveted anchor sponsor slot. Parrot on its shoulder, it orders up another special deal for Ken and Robin listeners, this time in the form of their innovative game of piratical nautical warfare, Pieces of Eight.

Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted.

You say that’s still not enough Ken for you? Very well, my friend. His brilliant pieces on parasitic gaming, alternate Newtons, Dacian werewolves and more now lurk among the sparkling bounty of The Best of FENIX Volumes 1-3, from returning sponsors Askfageln. Yes, it’s Sweden’s favorite RPG magazine, now beautifully collected. Warning: not in Swedish.

Attention, operatives of Delta Green, the ultra-covert agency charged with battling the contemporary forces of the Cthulhu Mythos! Now everything you need to know to play Delta Green: The Roleplaying Game, perhaps extending your valiantly short field life, can be found in the Delta Green Agent’s Handbook.

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Ghost Transit, Noir Identities and a Murderous Jigsaw Puzzle

May 24th, 2016 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.

Recommended

Les Cousins (Film, France, Claude Chabrol, 1959) Earnest student arrives in Paris to stay with his cousin, the theatrically overbearing center of a whirlwind party set, only to see him shack up with the young woman he’s fallen for. Like La Dolce Vita or Dazed and Confused, acutely portrays the rites and rhythms of an exuberant but fragile social scene.—RDL

The Ghost Network (Fiction, Catie Disabato, 2014) A Situationist pop icon vanishes in Chicago; her obsessed fan vanishes searching for her; the key seems to lie in the “ghost network” of lost or never-built Chicago subway and L lines. Disabato writes as the “editor” of another (imaginary) author’s non-fiction true crime book — so it’s a Situationist In Cold Blood metafiction about secret Chicago mass transit, so yes it’s written entirely for me. It could stand some punching up of character motivations, and two or three historical facts get badly mangled, but it’s still a heck of a first novel.–KH

H.H. Holmes Murder Castle Jigsaw Puzzle (Puzzle, Holly Carden, 2016) This 513-piece jigsaw puzzle depicts a cutaway of the legendary H.H. Holmes “Murder Castle” hotel in 1893 Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. Only moderately challenging as a jigsaw but ultimately quite absorbing as an art experience, especially one in which you have to keep asking “now, which expiring victim goes here”? –KH

Zero Focus (Film, Japan, Yoshitaro Nomura, 1962) Woman’s husband disappears one week into their marriage, sending her on an investigative journey to the bleak, snow-swept town where he was supposedly wrapping up some business affairs. Moody, noirish mystery knitted together by flashbacks, some of the Rashomon variety.–RDL

Good

Crooked (Fiction, Austin Grossman, 2015) The true and secret magical history of the Cold War, as told by Richard Nixon, our last sorcerer-president. The notes of near-Mythos occultism are excellent, as is the secret history by and large, but the temptation to caricature overwhelms Grossman to the detriment of character. For those into this kind of thing, the absurdist Hunter-Thompson-meets-HPL novel The Damned Highway  by Brian Keene and Nick Mamatas did all of it better.—KH

The Crooked Way (Film, US, Robert Florey, 1949) Amnesiac war hero returning to L.A. in search of his identity discovers that he used to be a gangster and that his former accomplices are none too happy to have him back. Gives up on its existential themes in favor of standard procedural obstacles, but worth a look for great noir photography from John Alton and its use of Los Angeles locations.—RDL

The Doctor and the Devils (Film, US, Freddie Francis, 1985) Spurred by the needs of an arrogant pioneering anatomist (Timothy Dalton), a pair of vicious new entrants into the cadaver supply business (Jonathan Pryce, Stephen Rea) murder their way past the competition. Upscale fictionalization of the Burke and Hare from Hammer alum Francis revels in grotty Victoriansploitation, In the highly theatrical acting style that pervaded prestige dramas for in the late 70s and early 80s. Adapted by Ronald Harwood from a Dylan Thomas screenplay written in the 40s. —RDL

Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 (TV, CW, 2016) Renegade time agent recruits a ragtag band of superheroes and villains to stop an evil immortal from conquering history. Engaging characterizations and performances do much heavy lifting, compensating for wobbly structures, copious idiot plotting, and a miscast big bad who projects all the menace of a mumbling hamster.—RDL

Episode 191: In Case I Trip Over a Sand Dune

May 20th, 2016 | Robin

Patreon supporter Tim Brandis kicks us off with an Ask Ken and Robin question about which of our core design beliefs might have evolved over time.

In the Tradecraft Hut we reach way back to that most classic of espionage scandals, the Dreyfus Affair.

The Cinema Hut finds us in Stetsons and spurs for an introductory course on the Western.

Finally, backer Chris McNeil requests that Ken’s Time Machine be put to use making the medieval peasant revolt of Ken’s choice successful.

Support the KARTAS Patreon!


It’s yo ho ho and a pocketful of doubloons as Atlas Games surveys the seven seas from the crow’s nest that is our coveted anchor sponsor slot. Parrot on its shoulder, it orders up another special deal for Ken and Robin listeners, this time in the form of their innovative game of piratical nautical warfare, Pieces of Eight. Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted. You say that’s still not enough Ken for you? Very well, my friend. His brilliant pieces on parasitic gaming, alternate Newtons, Dacian werewolves and more now lurk among the sparkling bounty of The Best of FENIX Volumes 1-3, from returning sponsors Askfageln. Yes, it’s Sweden’s favorite RPG magazine, now beautifully collected. Warning: not in Swedish.

Attention, operatives of Delta Green, the ultra-covert agency charged with battling the contemporary forces of the Cthulhu Mythos! Now everything you need to know to play Delta Green: The Roleplaying Game, perhaps extending your valiantly short field life, can be found in the Delta Green Agent’s Handbook.

Episode 190: Boy Meets Manifestation

May 13th, 2016 | Robin

Patreon backer Graham Wills starts us off in the Gaming Hut by asking how to balance conspiratorial genres, like the spy thriller, with group trust.

Among My Many Hats finds Ken laying down some wisdom—some Starry Wisdom, that is.

In the Horror Hut, Patreon supporter Cardboard Sandwich asks us how to adapt the ghostly works of M. R. James to the roleplaying form.

Finally we slink into the Eliptony Hut to satisfy backer Ross Ireland’s desire for non-standard UFO conspiracies.

Support the KARTAS Patreon!


From the magical land of sponsors comes Atlas Games, who with a twinkle of fairy dust revive their 2nd Edition Once Upon a Time clearance sale. Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted. You say that’s still not enough Ken for you? Very well, my friend. His brilliant pieces on parasitic gaming, alternate Newtons, Dacian werewolves and more now lurk among the sparkling bounty of The Best of FENIX Volumes 1-3, from returning sponsors Askfageln. Yes, it’s Sweden’s favorite RPG magazine, now beautifully collected. Warning: not in Swedish.

Attention, operatives of Delta Green, the ultra-covert agency charged with battling the contemporary forces of the Cthulhu Mythos! Now everything you need to know to play Delta Green: The Roleplaying Game, perhaps extending your valiantly short field life, can be found in the Delta Green Agent’s Handbook.

Episode 189: It Won’t Fix Me But It Will Fix That

May 6th, 2016 | Robin

Patreon backer Kevin J. Maroney gets us started with an Ask Ken and Robin question about other designers’ mechanics we consider to be under-stolen.

The Tradecraft Hut takes on a recent story claiming that infamous Nazi military officer Otto Skorzeny ended his career as a Mossad assassin.

In the Food Hut we heroically accede to a request from Patreon backer Ethan Cordray to sip some liqueurs. No, wait, talk about liqueurs.

Finally backer Joshua Hillerup climbs the creaky stairs that lead to the Consulting Occultist to learn about the occult symbolism of flowers.

Support the KARTAS Patreon!


From the magical land of sponsors comes Atlas Games, who with a twinkle of fairy dust revive their 2nd Edition Once Upon a Time clearance sale.

Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted.

You say that’s still not enough Ken for you? Very well, my friend. His brilliant pieces on parasitic gaming, alternate Newtons, Dacian werewolves and more now lurk among the sparkling bounty of The Best of FENIX Volumes 1-3, from returning sponsors Askfageln. Yes, it’s Sweden’s favorite RPG magazine, now beautifully collected. Warning: not in Swedish.

When you assemble your bug-out kit, make sure it includes a copy of Delta Green: Need to Know, the everything-you-need quickstart kick for the classic game of covert agents against the Cthulhu mythos, from our fine friends at Arc Dream Publishing.

Episode 188: He Drinks Tables Under the Table

April 29th, 2016 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut, Patreon backer Bill Sundwall wants Ken to mash up two of his projects, The Madness Dossier and Night’s Black Agents, into one.

The Business of Gaming looks for the best ways to combat harassment within our community.

The Book Hut responds to backer Frank King’s request for a look at the work of Umberto Eco.

And finally we wonder what Ken’s Time Machine had to do with the 1825 collapse of the Fonthill Abbey tower.

Support the KARTAS Patreon!


Bend reality to your will, but be ready to pay the price, as Atlas Games’ Unknown Armies bubbles up from the supernatural underground for a weird and majestic new Kickstarter campaign. Now in its final hours!
Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted. You say that’s still not enough Ken for you? Very well, my friend. His brilliant pieces on parasitic gaming, alternate Newtons, Dacian werewolves and more now lurk among the sparkling bounty of The Best of FENIX Volumes 1-3, from returning sponsors Askfageln. Yes, it’s Sweden’s favorite RPG magazine, now beautifully collected. Warning: not in Swedish.

When you assemble your bug-out kit, make sure it includes a copy of Delta Green: Need to Know, the everything-you-need quickstart kick for the classic game of covert agents against the Cthulhu mythos, from our fine friends at Arc Dream Publishing.

Episode 187: Honest and Dishonest Graft

April 22nd, 2016 | Robin

The Gaming Hut gets organized as we answer Patreon backer Samwise Crider’s question about tracking clues in GUMSHOE and other investigative games.

Backer Adam McDonald enters the Politics Hut for the 101 on machine politics—particularly that of Ken’s beloved Chicago.

Backer and colleague Hal Mangold grabs his popcorn in the Cinema Hut with his request for a getting started in Asian action movies segment.

Hey, it turns out to be another all-backer request episode, as Tennant Reed lurks in the Conspiracy Corner with his question about Italy’s P2 “Black Lodge” and its many associated tentacular crimes and mysteries.

Support the KARTAS Patreon!


Bend reality to your will, but be ready to pay the price, as Atlas Games’ Unknown Armies bubbles up from the supernatural underground for a weird and majestic new Kickstarter campaign.
Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted. You say that’s still not enough Ken for you? Very well, my friend. His brilliant pieces on parasitic gaming, alternate Newtons, Dacian werewolves and more now lurk among the sparkling bounty of The Best of FENIX Volumes 1-3, from returning sponsors Askfageln. Yes, it’s Sweden’s favorite RPG magazine, now beautifully collected. Warning: not in Swedish.

When you assemble your bug-out kit, make sure it includes a copy of Delta Green: Need to Know, the everything-you-need quickstart kick for the classic game of covert agents against the Cthulhu mythos, from our fine friends at Arc Dream Publishing.

Episode 186: You Need Canapes To Have a Secret Society

April 15th, 2016 | Robin

Ask Ken and Robin gets especially educational as Patreon supporter Brent Brown asks us for tips for using RPGs to teach history, home school style.

Tradecraft Hut peers into the espionage scene in Brussels.

How To Write Good looks at influences and how to incorporate them well.

Finally the Consulting Occultist slakes the hankering of Patreon backer Stewart Robertson for info on the Black Dragon Society.

Support the KARTAS Patreon!


Bend reality to your will, but be ready to pay the price, as Atlas Games’ Unknown Armies bubbles up from the supernatural underground for a weird and majestic new Kickstarter campaign.
Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted. If you’re like every roleplayer we know, you strive to outshine others in showing your love of dice. Well, now you can arouse the envy of friends and foes alike with Askfageln’s dazzling coffee table photo art book dedicated to all things pipped and many-sided, Dice: Rendezvous with Randomness. Luxuriate in the photo artistry of Mans Danneman. Grab the book or gorgeous prints through their Kickstarter!

When you assemble your bug-out kit, make sure it includes a copy of Delta Green: Need to Know, the everything-you-need quickstart kick for the classic game of covert agents against the Cthulhu mythos, from our fine friends at Arc Dream Publishing.

Episode 185: I Don’t Think I Prefer That At All

April 8th, 2016 | Robin

Among My Many Hats is an Egyptian headdress with a distinctly feline aspect, as Ken talks about his installment of Ken Writes About Stuff devoted to Bast.

The Gaming Hut looks at ways to write scenarios to present the information about Game Master Characters GMs need to run their games.

Thanks to Patreon Patron Jeff Kahrs, the Tradecraft Hut finally gets around to that segment on Kim Philby it’s had on the to-do list since forever.

And finally, Ask Ken and Robin fulfills the desire of Kolbe and other Patreon patrons in bringing back the stars of our existential mystery, Brian Harker and Eric, the talking lava lamp he has grudgingly sworn to protect. Well, maybe sworn is a strong choice of words…

Support the KARTAS Patreon!


Bend reality to your will, but be ready to pay the price, as Atlas Games’ Unknown Armies bubbles up from the supernatural underground for a weird and majestic new Kickstarter campaign.
Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted. If you’re like every roleplayer we know, you strive to outshine others in showing your love of dice. Well, now you can arouse the envy of friends and foes alike with Askfageln’s dazzling coffee table photo art book dedicated to all things pipped and many-sided, Dice: Rendezvous with Randomness. Luxuriate in the photo artistry of Mans Danneman. Grab the book or gorgeous prints through their Kickstarter! In a move that surely violates someone’s security clearance, this episode is also brought to you by our friends at Arc Dream Publishing. The Kickstarter for Delta Green: the Roleplaying Game has come to an end, but don’t let that stop you from indulging your fever for this classic game, or that pinnacle of the Cthulhu game zine world, The Unspeakable Oath.

Episode 184: Snorting the Hand of Vecna

April 1st, 2016 | Robin

We start with Ask Ken and Robin, as Patreon supporter Ross Ireland asks us to tell our best crazy game stories.

Then it’s off to the History Hut to consider the troubled Presidency of a guy who really couldn’t get a Supreme Court nominee approved, John Tyler.

In our inaugural edition of Tell Me More, three items from Ken and Robin Consume Media, as approved by our patrons over on the Patreon, get expanded treatment: The Secret History of Wonder Woman, the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, and Deadpool.

Finally current events have again conspired to provide us with one of those fabled Nerdtropes in the News. What strangeness links the International Order of St Hubertus with the Marfa Lights?


Bend reality to your will, but be ready to pay the price, as Atlas Games’ Unknown Armies bubbles up from the supernatural underground for a weird and majestic new Kickstarter campaign.

 

Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted. If you’re like every roleplayer we know, you strive to outshine others in showing your love of dice. Well, now you can arouse the envy of friends and foes alike with Askfageln’s dazzling coffee table photo art book dedicated to all things pipped and many-sided, Dice: Rendezvous with Randomness. Luxuriate in the photo artistry of Mans Danneman. Grab the book or gorgeous prints through their Kickstarter! In a move that surely violates someone’s security clearance, this episode is also brought to you by our friends at Arc Dream Publishing. The Kickstarter for Delta Green: the Roleplaying Game has come to an end, but don’t let that stop you from indulging your fever for this classic game, or that pinnacle of the Cthulhu game zine world, The Unspeakable Oath.

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Flying Clock
Robin
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