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Episode 4: Purely Medicinal

August 30th, 2012 | Robin

Stuff talked about on this week’s episode include:

The debut of our segment That Thing I Always Say, in which we catch you up on Ken and Robin fundaments. We start with Ken’s contention that no invented setting is as interesting as the real world.

Ask Ken and Robin invites us to contemplate the mental plutonium of a tag-team follow-up to Robin’s The Armitage Files. While we can’t quite whip that rabbit out of our hats, we do talk about an eerily similar project, the still-percolating Dracula Dossier for Night’s Black Agents.

Because Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, Ken’s collaborator on that project,  just happened to be imprisoned in Ken’s library lair staying at Ken’s place as we recorded, we put him in the spotlight for our first segment of Ken or Robin Talk To Someone Else. We chat about his ENnie-nominated Ashen Stars scenario collection, Dead Rock Seven, and its Night’s Black Agents counterpart, The Zalozhniy Quartet. Find Armitage, Dead Rock, Night’s Black Agents, and Zalozhniy at the Pelgrane Press Store.

Then we withdraw to the Gaming Hut to talk about creating interesting, playable female characters for freeforms and convention tabletop sessions.

We wrap by taking another spin in Ken’s Time Machine, in which his efforts to retroactively fix the US health care system take him to a steamer on the Congo, to quaff a quinine-laden beverage with a bumptious ex-president.

7 Responses to “Episode 4: Purely Medicinal”

  1. Jeff Kahrs says:

    I really have to have more Woodrow Wilson goodness (or badness) but you get my meaning. This Podcast has become the delight of my week and I learn new things about roleplaying, creativity and history every time. Thank you for doing this. Keep up the good work.

  2. GB Steve says:

    Here’s a question for you both, or perhaps one for the time machine, if Britain had managed her colonies better and there have been no revolutionary war, how might America and Canada have turned out?

  3. luagha says:

    On the topic of the real world being better than any invented setting, yet another example that proves this rule is Gary Gygax’s World Of Greyhawk. Looking at it from the outside, you can see how for each new nation he took two real-world cultures and mixed some of their traits, clothing, and styles together to make the new one. And because he had a degree in history, he could create more world on the hurry each week before his players came by to knock down more of it.

  4. qbauer says:

    Loved the episode. Good breakdown on Wilson. I’d be curious to hear your take on Hegel, since most of Wilson’s belief about the role of government came from his early study of Hegellian philosophy. Our Chestertonian reading group have a joke that every bad idea somehow originated in Germany.

  5. Lisa Padol says:

    Why do you assume women will want to play female PCs every time?

    And, I’ve seen a lot of men play women and girls, and play them well. I have seen this so consistently that, a couple of years ago, I decided that it is no longer appropriate for me to be surprised that a man do a superb job of playing a woman.

    I don’t want to be forced to play a woman simply because I am one. I don’t want to be forced to play a Caucasian or a Jew or a 45-year-old simply because I am one.

    I don’t want interesting female PCs. I want interesting PCs.

    The advice you have is good, but I think it applies to all characters, regardless of gender. All of the PCs offered for a convention scenario should be interesting and not a tired cliche. Some years back at Origins, I played in a Nobilis game run by Jessica Hammer and Chris Hall. There were six PCs. One of them was a dragon. In any other game, folks would have all reached for the dragon and had to sort out who got it (probably by dicing off). Here, there was no such rush, because ALL of the PCs were as cool as that dragon. This is what I want.

    Make all of the characters interesting. Make them all more than their gender, their race, their profession. Make them all as cool as that dragon.

  6. Chaggart says:

    It’s interesting that you both talked about the pros and cons of ‘believable worlds” without mentioning Lovecraft. His characters are consistently confronted with monsters and architecture for which they have no frame of reference.

    It’s one explanation for the fact that he reused so many adjectives (see “eldtritch”) and had such a an overwrought writing style at times. That was part of the horror, that the characters mind could not comprehend what it was experiencing, and language was woefully inadequate to the task of communicating it. That’s the good stuff.

    You guys should talk about how a good GM can present the unpresentable in interesting ways.

  7. Gene Ha says:

    It scares me that Red hearted Ken Hite is starting to convince true Blue stater Gene Ha that killing Woodrow Wilson, or at least sabotaging his run for the presidency, might have made for a better world. This lends credence to the idea that Ken could talk anyone sharing hard liquor with him to change the course of history. If Ken ever gets me to a whiskey bar I’m terrified what historical trendline he’ll convince me to alter.

    I don’t know if Lisa Padol will see this comment, but I’ve seen enough women who prefer playing women, and have post traumatic stress about how men play female characters, to think that having females versions of every con character is a good idea. I’m glad the guys you play with don’t jump play their female PCs as saucy idiots.

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