Abraham Lincoln

Episode 100: Special Anniversary All Lightning Edition

August 1st, 2014 | Robin

Let the bells ring out and the banners fly. It’s the landmark 100th episode of our humble podcast!

To celebrate, we’ve collected from listeners across the social media landscape a cornucopia of lightning round questions, which we dispatch with varying degrees of efficiency.

Also in a celebratory mood are our ever-reliable anchor sponsors and fine friends at Atlas Games. With a twinkle of fairy dust they pop the champagne cork and give you another shot at their 2nd Edition Once Upon a Time clearance sale.

21 Responses to “Episode 100: Special Anniversary All Lightning Edition”

  1. John F Rauchert says:

    The Ulrich von Bek family is my go to for Moorcock Roleplaying.

    They function as Eternal Champions and/or Companions, they are involved in Grail Lore, and have a relationship with Satan.

    Plus, The War Hound and the World’s Pain is one of my favourites.

  2. Jeff R. says:

    So, when people hire Ken to dramaturge, do they always remember to specify that they want a high-level script research and editorial suggestions rather than a universe-reshaping work of ritual magic through theatre?

  3. […] got a special 100th episode of Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff, an all lightning-round […]

  4. Brett Evill says:

    Thank you for your attention to the correct pronunciation of my name.

  5. darren t. says:

    Great show to Ken, Robin & all the rest that put the show together. While I missed the chance to get in on this lightning round where the lightning is free to go in all kinds of fun directions.

    Here’s a quick one for you both though it might be more directed to Ken, now that the Strain tv series is starting up & the failings of the new Dracula series (if either of you have had a chance to see it), do you think this series will suffer the same fate or does it have a bit more life in it with Guillermo del Toro directing it?

  6. Bret Kramer says:

    I’m shocked that Ken and Robin never supplied the appropriate beverage for Call of Cthulhu. Bootlegged rum with a cyanide chaser? Squid ink and Everclear? Broken glass and Byakhee ichor?

  7. Phil Masters says:

    A couple of possibilities for Ken’s temporal missions:

    1. (a) Would ken care to go back to Lützen in 1632 and save Gustavus Adolphus from his early death? And that is an honest question; for all I know, the answer is “No”, because Ken doesn’t want an Even Greater Sweden. Of course, jumping into the Thirty Years War is never going to be a popular mission around Time Incorporated.

    (b) Assuming that assignment proves infeasible or unacceptable, would Ken prefer assignments to 1633, to sabotage the development of the Swedish Empire completely, or 1709, to prevent its collapse?

    2. Perhaps a more amusing and personal assignment; I think that Time Incorporated would like to send Ken back to London, first in 1671, to find out how trying to steal the Crown Jewels can earn someone a royal pension, and then to 1680, to find out why the authorities exhumed the individual in question and what they discovered. I mean, he was called “Colonel Blood”; that must be a distraction…

  8. Bob Hanks says:

    Firstly , Hello Ken and Robin , thank you for giving us all a podcast which requires multiple listens due to the knowledgeble information in each episode .
    Secondly I had a question to ask for the podcast .
    The question is related to the ‘years of lead ‘ in Italy in the 1960’s and 1970’s .
    ” There were many especially on the Left , who spoke of a ‘ strategy of tension ‘, according to this theory Occult and foreign forces were involved in creating an atmosphere of fear in order to mantain social order .”
    I was wondering if you could answer this please .
    Thank you very much and Take care .

    • hüth says:

      ” There were many especially on the Left , who spoke of a ‘ strategy of tension ‘, according to this theory Occult and foreign forces were involved in creating an atmosphere of fear in order to mantain social order .”

      This the first I’ve heard of Gladio being linked to anything spooky…

  9. hüth says:

    Re: Dunsany, was that “a continuity” or “acontinuity?”

  10. Congratulations on your 100th episode from one 100th-episode podcast to another. You are now ready for syndication. 🙂

    Thank you for providing me the highlight of my week.

    May you have 100×100 more episodes!

  11. Tom Vallejos says:

    Great podcast!
    I never heard of John Logan and I liked “Penny Dreadful”. Where did I go wrong?

    • KenH says:

      From your description, apparently somewhere around “and.”

      • Tedero says:

        Man, that’s a harsh response. Seriously though, I watched Penny Dreadful and it took more than Robin’s 3 episode limit for me to really get into it but I did quite enjoy it. Probably because I’m an insufferable WoD fan and I enjoyed a lot of the nuances of the show. Really, Eva Green alone kept me coming back from more but I also enjoyed the performance of the other actors. I can only assume that your disdain for the show is from your experience of so many better examples of this type of genre/show.

        But all that aside (including my own probably wrong conclusions), the name John Logan didn’t even register to me and it wasn’t until you guys bashed his name that I looked him up. Hugo and Skyfall were great! His other works are okay but nothing that stood out as the abominations that your comments made them to be.

        Why do you guys dislike him so? Am I missing something? I feel incredibly underread and undereducated when I listen to you guys which I think is why I get so much out of your podcasts. I’d simply like to know the story behind your animosity so that I can understand how you came to this conclusion.

        Thanks again you guys and keep up the awesome work! You’re an inspiration and a joy to listen to.

  12. Laroshe says:

    First of all, thank you for the exquisite experience that is your podcast episode in and episode out. I’ve been listening from the very beginning and I’m a huge fan of your work.

    Now if I may ask a question.

    You’ve mentioned Elric as a basis for a campaign and that got me thinking. There’s obviously a lot of stories where the hero is a leader of a small group of sidekicks whom he|she outmatches – both in power level and in story functions. There’s Batman (with his “family”, not when he’s with the Justice League), for example. A lot of Conan team-ups are of this nature. And so on.
    Yes, single-hero stories are not easily translatable into a group experience normal for RPGs. And yes, not all groups would be comfortable with having a “hero character” among them. But, getting past both these issues, what do you think would be the best techniques to run such a game?
    There’s always Ars Magica, sure. But maybe there are other systems or just plain tricks to run a game with a hero and sidekicks.

    I’d be glad to get any answer, even if it’s just a comment-reply.

    • Brian Rogers says:

      Give the Buffy the Vampire Slayer game by Eden Studios a look – that game balances Hero level characters with more dependable raw powers with White Hat characters who have more game-event modifying hero points and generally have skills in areas that the Heroes (generally slayer-types in BtVS) don’t. There’s also the understood construction that the Heroes get emotional spotlight time by being angsty and conflicted while the White Hats get emotional spotlight time by being more stable and helping the hero overcome their conflicted angst.

      In practice it strikes a nice balance, making sure everyone has an appropriate amount of spotlight time at the table even if in raw power one player outstrips the others.

  13. Keith Chanley says:

    Tom Waits – Whats he building in there?

  14. Alexander Newcombe says:

    Great show. Thanks so much for your various interesting takes on how to make an RPG of just about anything.

    For a future question period: Many (me included) look at China Mieville’s books and see ripe RPG settings. Have you read any of his stuff, does it appeal to you, and what would be a cool campaign based on one of his worlds? Bonus points if you stay away from the more straight up Steampunk fantasy of the Bas-Lag trilogy

  15. Scott Schmitt says:


    Any opinion on whether the 1995 or the 2002 edition of The Reckoning is better? And by “better” I mean more fun!


  16. For other great lights of game design, I’ll mention:

    Frank Chadwick, whose designs are very strong in miniatures rules, military boardgames, and definitely role-playing games.

    Reiner Knizia, perhaps the best designer of interesting board game mechanics in history. (The layered on flavor in his designs is sometimes pretty uninteresting, but the underlying game is typically excellent.)

    Steve Long, who has kept Hero System alive nearly solo, and who handles both genre and mechanics brilliantly.

    Jim Dunnigan, one of the most prolific boardgame designers ever. His ability to manage the game factory that was SPI in its heyday was unequaled. On the innovation side, his technical writing was brilliant and remains an example to be followed by other designers and his management of SPI’s playtest process was remarkable.

    As to writers, I fairly strongly prefer John Julius Norwich and Barbara Tuchman to Gibbon. They also have the sorts of stories to tell that evoke ideas for gaming, and I very much like their prose styles. I’ll also mention George MacDonald Fraser (I don’t much like the Flashman series*, but his other work is brilliant) and Byron Farwell.

    * Heresy, I know, but I prefer the history to the fictionalization, largely because I find the fictionalization too predictable.

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