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Episode 130: Regional Resentments of Canadian Mollusks

March 6th, 2015 | Robin

Yohann Delalande kicks us off with an Ask Ken and Robin question about portraying current real-world horrors in RPGs without lapsing into insensitivity.

We fulfill this podcast’s Canadian content requirements in the Tradecraft Hut with a look at iconic hooded defector Igor Gouzenko.

Patron hero of surveyors Nain Singh Rawat inspires a duck into the Cartography Hut to consider exploration-based campaign frames.

Blond Venusians await in the Eliptony Hut for a profile of prolific contactee, mystic, archaeologist and fascist George Hunt Williamson.


Attention, class! Anchor sponsor Atlas Games wants to enroll you in Mad Scientist University, the card game of evil genius, insane assignments, and unstable elements. Act now, Ken and Robin listeners, and they’ll throw in the Spring Break expansion set for free. Shipping within the US is also free.

Roll yourself a critical hit by ordering from a freshly discovered special trove of The Bones, the book on dice from our pals at Gameplaywright. Notables including Wil Wheaton, John Kovalic and our own Kenneth Hite wax both cubic and polyhedral, now at a crazy low price.

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14 Responses to “Episode 130: Regional Resentments of Canadian Mollusks”

  1. darren t. says:

    Very interesting show guys. I have a few ideas now for a game with the dive into the cartography hut so thanks! Another more modern spin on the cartography story mission for people reading this looking for ideas is the fun one of giving the players some device test it’s mapping technology out in the world, find some consistent error that allows the mapping & exploration of a shadow/phantom world overlaying ours through different gateways. Now it’s up to the players to see how the worlds connect & who else is after them now with this knowledge (plus finding their tasty maps & seeing how they connect to the player’s map).

    I never realized just how much George Hunt Williamson fits in just about every card in the Steve Jackson Illuminati card game with your little historical dive into his life. Going to be hard now to find where to put him specifically in some games with all that crazy diversity.

  2. Cykragnostic says:

    I love hearing about the intertwining of reactionary and fascist politics with esoterism. It makes me want to do a study of the politics and social class of Hellenistic and Roman era gnostics, though of course that term is problem-laden (Ken, have you read _What is Gnosticism?_, Karen King, Harvard Press 2003? Her thesis is that capital-G Gnosticism as-enemy-religion-of-Christianity is mostly a creation of 19th century history of religion scholars with an axe to grind, usually against Catholicism; that the universal polemical habit of lumping all your enemies together as servants of all that is wicked was interpreted by said scholars in a naive fashion as actually referring to a unified Satanic front; that Gnosticism was a convenient rubric for religious groups that were “too Greek” as opposed to “too Jewish”; that there is no meaningful unifying set of beliefs or characteristics among the various Christian or para-Christian sects that emphasized “knowledge” of the divine; and the pudding of proof of this is the Nag Hammadi collection, which, besides being a bunch of texts of non-Orthodox Christianities, show as great a variety of cosmologies, mythologies, and pantheons of Archons and Demiurgic Projections and whatnot as you could find across the whole of human religions. There’s no there, there. That is all not to say that there was not a small-g gnostic flavor or religious type, and the whole point of the category is really to distinguish the emerging Orthodox Christian tradition from OTHER groups valorizing gnosis of God; but certainly broad statements about “Gnostics believed this” or “did that” are much more about a political-theoretical bugaboo in the modernist academic world than anything applicable to the Roman Empire. Taking Valentinianism as Gnosis per se is just the start of the problem. Anyway it’s a fascinating read. Oh btw despite my handle I am not a Gnostic, good grief; I define Cykragnosis as the cosmic mysticism of my adopted planet Cykranosh, a contemplative practice that has remarkable similarities to the more monistic strains of Sufism 😉

    MY ACTUAL QUESTION is, Mr Hite, sir, can you do a Consulting Occultist segment on the Pennsylvania Dutch “pow-wow” or “Braucherei” school of magic? And can you do another one on southern Hoodoo?

  3. Charles Picard says:

    Another solid episode…

    I’m wondering if the Antikythera Device/Mechanism has been covered by the Consulting Occultist. It seems like the sort of thing that esoteric dreams are made on.

    Also, my two year old son calls KARTAS the Cat & Mouse Show… because he heard Robin say the phrase cat and mouse in an early episode. Sometimes I muse on which of you is the Cat… and which the Mouse.

  4. Isaac Priestley says:

    I’d like to ask Ken And Robin:

    Any advice for presenting the layout of an action scene before it takes place?

    In the greatest action movies (Die Hard, Hard-Boiled, The Killer) there are almost always long camera pans through the setting of a big action sequence to establish the layout. Often it’s done before we even know there’ll be a fight there.

    In movies this can be done with the camera, and the PCs don’t even need to be there. But in RPGs we tend to stay with the heroes until it’s time for the fight scene.

    Is this even a thing that needs to be done in an RPG fight? Thinking specifically of Feng Shui 2. Thanks!

  5. Isaac Priestley says:

    I have another Feng Shui 2-related Ask:

    Any advice for introducing bad guys before it’s time to fight?

    I run a lot of improv Feng Shui 2-games where I’m developing the scenario as we go. I find I often have a challenge coming up with reasons why the heroes would be in the same place as the enemies without a fight going on, but at the same time I’d often like to have those Bond-style social interactions or connections where the heroes KNOW the bad guys and LATER they end up fighting.

    Thanks!

  6. Charles Picard says:

    A couple of Hut suggestions…

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on the unsuppressed transmissions emanating from the world’s Numbers Stations. I supposed this could end up in the Tradecraft Hut or the Eliptony Hut depending on Ken’s druthers.

    Also, looking into the crazy ferment that was the Burned-over District I stumbled across a little known episode in US/British/Canadian relations called the Patriot War… fomented by a secret society called the Hunter’s Lodge. Quasi-Masonic chicanery with cross-border implications… can our favorite American-Canadian Duo resist? Dare they?!?

  7. GB Steve says:

    We had some ice cider recently and it was very appreciated. Could you do a cookery hut about local specialities? What Maple Syrup should I be using and when? What’s a fiddlehead? How do you make a Chicago style hot-dog? What the hell is a jibarito? How come nothing fished out the lake seems to feature in Chicago cuisine?

  8. Tom Vallejos says:

    The biopic on Igor Gouzenko has aired several times on TCM. As my wife says, “If it’s on TCM, it will be on again.” No DVD as far as I know.

  9. amorc says:

    Hi, I’m just digging around here and thought you might be able to answer. Are you willing to answer a few questions? I’m Sam, ( a total occult freak ) and I’m looking for people who can share more about the path 🙂

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