Abraham Lincoln

Episode 87: The Whacking Shovel

May 2nd, 2014 | Robin

Ken’s return from Portland’s HP Lovecraft Film Festival and its sister event Conthulhu prompts the issuance of an especially eldritch Travel Advisory.

Listener Greg Gray gets an unprecedented answer when he poses an Ask Ken and Robin question about the paucity of info in roleplaying rules books for spanking new players.

How to Write Good serializes its commas and regularizes its colons when we tackle the hot topic of punctuation gray areas.

Finally the Consulting Occultist pulls a long con and at least half of a badger game as we consider the grifting career of Cagliostro, alchemist and influential Freemason.

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.


31 Responses to “Episode 87: The Whacking Shovel”

  1. Shaine says:

    Ken, I got pretty decent iPhone recordings of the keynote and Race panel if you’d like them. Also, Brooke at the Lovecraft bar does make an Absinthe cocktail called The Elder Gods which has made me see Colours out of Space on more than one occasion.

    • Kenneth Hite says:

      I’d love to get copies of those recordings, Shaine! Many thanks! And I obviously have to get back to Portland some time when Brooke is on duty.

      • Shaine says:

        I sent them to the mind spring email associated with you LJ. Let me know if there’s a preferred contact. For some reason if you open them in iTunes it automatically adds artwork associated with Pathfinder. Technology is mysterious.

  2. John F Rauchert says:

    According to Wikipedia:
    There are two competing explanations for the origin of the term badger game. One explanation is that the term originated in the practice of badger baiting. Another says that it derives its name from the state of Wisconsin (the Badger State), where the con allegedly either originated or was popularized.

    • Jeff R. says:

      Is the term not demonstrably older than Wisconsin? The practice surely is (blackmail with photographs being a refinement added when the option to demand a duel to the death on the spot fell out of fashion…)

  3. Cambias says:

    Regarding badger games: there is also a long, long tradition of metaphorical association between small furry animals and female genitalia.

  4. Carrie says:

    So what can Ken’s Time Machine do about the Comics Code?

  5. winterhaven says:

    About Robin’s new Roleplaying 101 game aid to update the learning process for RPGs to the 21st century: is prose the right medium for this? It seems that the RPG-curious would rather “see the movie” than “read the book”, ala Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop.

    Why not write a “screenplay” (or an adaptable screenplay template) for others to use in creating a 5-10 minute online video that illustrates how RPGs are played? This could be adapted into a series of standalone infomercials to illustrate how different publisher’s RPGs are played—and how much fun they are of course.

    • Christoph says:

      Hey Robin have you listened to Fear the Boots Episode 115 series on Introducing RPGs?

    • Robin says:

      I can put the reader inside the experience much more effectively in prose than in video.

      Video is much more expensive to produce to an acceptable standard of quality.

      I think we way overestimate its value as a medium for conveying information.

      • greg gray says:

        Prose (vs video) has benefits of being able to use longer, more developed sentences, being able to be read at different speeds, being able to flip back and forth between sections, and being able to be read in “the voice” of your choosing (not the personality of the person in front of the camera).

  6. Jeff R. says:

    Is there enough there there regarding Gef the Talking Mongoose to warrant a cryptozoology hut? Possibly mixing in Crowley’s mongoose joke and any other occult and/or esoteric mongeese that might be out there…

  7. Daniel says:

    “Die Farbe” is a great movie! Have you seen the new project “the Dreamlands”? Its looks great too and I hope they fund it:

  8. […] rulebooks emphasise Character Creation over the techniques of roleplaying. Here’s the episode link. He’s now begun writing an introduction to roleplaying for the rpg publisher Pelgraine Press. […]

  9. I think you got the director of Die Farbe mixed up, that was Huan Vu, who’s doing the Dreamlands Project next (see comment by Daniel).

  10. […] “asked-Ken-and-Robin” and, in episode 87 of the “Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff” podcast, they answered. Here’s my […]

  11. […] episode 87 of the “Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff” podcast, Ken and Robin answered a question of […]

  12. Michael Cule says:

    Catching up with these after a while not following you: stopped getting the weekly notice and assumed you’d stopped doing them which was silly of me.

    1) While I would deprecate the Oxford comma (and as an Oxonian English graduate who better?) I’m with Robin all the way on capitals after colons. I had not previously noticed such a phenomenon but you have made me (once again) disappointed in my fellow human beings.

    2) The Table Top RPGs 101 is a worthy project though I’m not sure where the profit in it would be. An adapted edition wrapped with something like GURPS Lite and an intro adventure would work but I’m not sure that, once done, it wouldn’t be an idea other people would rather imitate than licence from you. The idea has also inspired me to go and look at the dozens of ‘How to RPG’ videos there must be on You Tube.

  13. Jeromy French says:


    Ackermonster Chronicles by Jason V Brock
    The Affair of the Necklace by Charles Shyer
    Curse of the Crimson Altar by Vernon Sewell
    Dead Shadows by David Cholewa
    Die Farbe (The Colour Out of Space) by Huan Vu
    Equinox by Jack Woods, Mark Thomas McGee, Dennis Muren
    Feed the Light by Henrik Möller
    The Forbidden Shadow (La Sombre Prohibida) by José Luis Alemán
    The Golden Voyage of Sinbad by Gordon Hessler
    Hellraiser by Clive Barker
    Kairo (Pulse) by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
    Lord of Tears by Lawrie Brewster
    Moonsong by Edward Martin III
    The Sunderland Experiment by Adam Petke, Sean Blau

    Masters of Horror: Dreams in the Witch House by Stuart Gordon

    Carr, John Dickson (1946) – He Who Whispers
    Murray, Margaret (1921) – The Witch-Cult in Western Europe
    Shea, Robert and Robert Anton Wilson (1984) – The Illuminatus! Trilogy

  14. Jeromy French says:

    Personally I love to see a RPG 101 as a stand alone PDF/book, etc. As a long time gamer, it does feel like the intro to games is a space that could be better served. On the other hand, there are new gamers coming to the hobby, especially young teenagers and adults, and also significantly more women, and something to help them along this journey would be very valuable.

    Plus Robin’s insights into gaming have been amazingly good over the years, and as he turns into an elder statesmen, I think his voice would be perfect for this book.

    And now that I’m back on to bibliographies, Ken’s 33 books at Powell’s causes me to shake in terror. On the other hand, when I go there in a month, it will be cool to see his author autograph on the wall.

    • Robin says:

      We have a list of the Powell’s haul, which I let slip down the task list. So don’t tax yourself on that one.

      • Jeromy French says:

        Sounds good – Just got the one done for Ep 88 and I’m now almost an expert in horror films in the last decade, minus the fact that I’ve only actually watched one of the movies on the entire list.

  15. Gwen Callahan says:

    Correction to this – Die Farbe, the German adaptation of The Colour out of Space was directed by Huan Vu. Henrik did have a film at the 2013 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival called “Demonen” (Inviting the demon).

  16. Gwen Callahan says:

    OOH! and The Sunderland Experiment is now available on DVD under the title “EXILE”. Apparently their distributor wanted to give it a title that would push it closer to the front of the alphabet. You can pick it up from Arkham Bazaar online.

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