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Episode 11: When Angels Tell You To Wife-Swap

October 18th, 2012 | Robin

This week’s installment of Ask Ken and Robin prompts us to wax autobiographical and reveal our similar yet opposite secret origins.

Then we descend into the Paris catacombs, escaping from what we find there only through the maps snatched from the high cabinets of the Cartography Hut.

[From Temples, Tombs and Catacombs, part of Profantasy Software’s Source Maps series.]

The Business of Gaming prompts mulling of the history and choices of open game licensing, now that Robin has to figure out the best license for DramaSystem.

We close with the ever-popular Consulting Occult as Ken gives us the 101 on Elizabethan magician, mathematician and cartographer (sense a theme here?) John Dee.

8 Responses to “Episode 11: When Angels Tell You To Wife-Swap”

  1. Loris says:

    Hello,
    as a french cataphile, I’d liek to point out one big error at 23′
    The catacombs where originally sandstone quarries underneath Paris (whose underground has been exploited since roman times). This stone was used above ground to construct buildings. Then, the exploitation became forbidden, but from time to time houses used to go underground due to cave-ins.
    In 1777 the king asked for a report about this quarries. They were in such a badly shape that he ordered the creation of an administration dedicated to consolidate everything to stop cave ins (and that very day, a cave in happened). Charles Axel Guillaumot and his replacements did consolidate, leaving only a network of underground tunnels to be able to visit and repair, consolidate, etc. With a few rooms, accesses and other things like fountains to help the workers.
    It is only in 1785 that an emptying of all cemeteries of Paris was decided because they were a real health problem. Parisians would get buried in three outside (at the time) graveyards : North (Montmartre), East (Père Lachaise), South (Montparnasse). The tombs of inner graveyards were emptied and the bones were sent to the catacombs (the Official Ossuary).

    There is NO lead underground. Only sandstone. No tombs. Only two ossuaries. One is the official one. The other is under Montparnasse, but this second one comes from the removal of forgotten tombs from Montparnasse and the bones sent into wells at quarries level.

    However, there are :
    - rooms (even huge ones)
    - shafts (mostly closed), stairwells (mostly closed).
    - passive defense bombing shelters (from world wars)
    - wells and fountains
    - there was a cinema (an illegal, modern one with a 4m screen)
    - fallout shelters (from the 70s)
    - parties (yup)
    - work of arts

    Also, the quarries only cover part of the city. And it forms several networks. The north quarries are _totally_ destroyed.

    You might also like the fact that there are others networks with surprises : the electricity tunnel contains several passive war shelters. Some for only one person (near an important electricity switch), some for a whole neighborhood…

    If you ever want more information, do not hesitate to contact me…

  2. John F Rauchert says:

    Robin’s dad sounds like mine. My dad carved a two-handed sword and built a working crossbow from scrap material when I was a kid (note: the bolts were less dangerous than the lawn darts set we had).

    My mom got me on to SF and Fantasy and I came across a description of a RPG in one of the essays in the back of a Science Fiction magazine, which I thought was cool. So when someone introduced me to an actual RPG at college in 1979(Metamorphosis Alpha), I was already primed.

  3. andyl says:

    Hey Ken,

    Did you know that Peter Ackroyd is no stranger to HP Lovecraft?

    See http://rozk.livejournal.com/311987.html where Roz Kaveney relates a story about scoring a point against a snooty lit-crit type at a dinner party.

  4. Tim Gray says:

    I found myself a bit jealous of Robin’s childhood play equipment!

    Also noticing the Monas Hieroglyphica looks rather like this year’s Olympic mascots. What can this mean?

  5. GB Steve says:

    I love the Ackroyd – Lovecraft axis and await with great interest his forthcoming Arkham.

    My grandparents were the ones who built stuff for us (my dad was a builder so too busy working on other people’s houses) we had a teepee and the full panoply of Injun garb. But my parents were also mummers and their interest in interactive drama lead my mum to running a larp for us in the early 70s.

    Here’s a photo of me with a monas hieroglyphica cupcake in the Mortlake church where John Dee is buried.

  6. Dave says:

    Angel wife-swap does not seem an isolated incident.

    It became a running joke in some parts of the Chaos Magick community in the lat 1990′s that people on discussion boards where trying to ‘out-Bi’ each other. A straight Chaos Magician was hard to find, a monogamous one almost impossible.

    The whole scene descended in to farce, whereby certain self appointed guardians of the sacred chaos lore told other folks that you HAD to be bisexual and polyamorous in order to be fully uninhibited and thus BE chaos.

    I seem to recall various Christian sects whose members ran around naked, practiced free love, and did other scandalous (for the time) things. Can you discuss this in a future episode please.

  7. I’m a bit surprised that Ken didn’t mention John Crowley’s magnum opus AEgypt, throughout which Dee and Kelley are major characters, to the point that Crowley used Dee’s Monad as the main cover illustration for the ebook version of the novel back in the early part of this century.

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