Abraham Lincoln

Episode 126: Rhode Island Jones

February 6th, 2015 | Robin

A pithy remark from LEGO Batman inspires our latest excursion into the Gaming Hut, as we ponder the question of narratively acceptable character demises.

In the Tradecraft Hut we look at bone music, 50s era contraband pop music recordings etched against the will of Soviet authorities onto old medical X-rays.

The Recommendation Engine spits out manly suggestions from Ken and unthemed suggestions from Robin.

Finally, in response to a Nick Eden request, the Consulting Occultist introduces us to that seeming contradiction in terms, the Soviet Occult.

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This episode is also brought to you by the Plot Points podcast. After you listen to us, listen to them analyze RPG adventures as literature.


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9 Responses to “Episode 126: Rhode Island Jones”

  1. Terry says:

    “200-year-old mummified monk is still alive, just meditating”:

    I have read similar cases of monks eating and drinking very little and meditating for long periods and using cords to hold themselves in the meditation position. The cords are in some way secured around the neck, so that when the monk falls unconscious he strangles himself to death. He is already dehydrated when this happens, so the body tends to become naturally mummified and not rot.

    The point of this is as a kind of ritual suicide as a magical act to relieve a famine or plague or etc.

    What would Ken and Robin do with this in a horror game?

  2. Joshua Hillerup says:

    I like how Nobilis 3rd edition handles PC death. You don’t really track how damaged the PC is at all. Instead you have essentially “player agency wound levels”, and when that’s all gone your character is no longer an NPC and is explicitly entirely in the hands of the GM. If your character dies before then it means the player has agreed to be dead, and can be a ghost or resurected or the like, whatever the player thinks makes the most sence for their character. And when your PC becomes in the hands of the GM the GM may decide that your PC isn’t dead, and is instead just an NPC (and may decide to let the player start playing the character again if they both agree).

  3. John Rauchert says:

    I once had a player whose character had an old wise woman pronounce a prophecy over him as a baby announcing his great destiny, etc.

    So, of course, in the first major battle he gets slaughtered and he says “Hey that’s not supposed to happen, what about my great destiny?”.

    I say, “She was wrong”.

  4. Cambias says:

    But what about Cosmism?

  5. Tony Kemp says:

    Speaking of music on body parts, Aphex Twin (Richard James) did the opposite – he hid a picture of his face in the spectrogram of his track “Equation” on the “Windowlicker” single.

  6. darren t. says:

    Agreed completely with early signs of death in a game, if you are in the early acts, instead of killing the PC, just go with something where they are alive but quite unfortunate happens instead where they wish they did die. The crafty GM can then tie this into some sidequests of restoring the PC or getting back lost special equipment so they can take on the big bad then die later in the game when more appropriate.

    Well this episode takes the song Rockin’ Bones by the Cramps to whole new directions. Another thing you can do for some fun occult going off to a world inspired by the shows Warehouse 13 or Friday the 13th the Series, is to give the players a list and an x-ray of some important person where they get some special camera that decodes the person (similar to DNA) but in some musical format. From here they need to follow the list to steal the body or photograph someone while alive (with whatever consequences come of it), to get the other pieces of the music. Then when the music is played all together it opens up some mystic doorway, drives some cosmic thing off or the clues point to some map used to find an artifact.

  7. RogerBW says:

    Here’s the Recommendation Engine list (let’s hope this gets through the spam filter). I’m using Wikipedia pages where possible since they have plenty of links to other places (e.g. to Jack London’s works at Project Gutenberg and the Open Lobrary).

    The Knick,
    Phantasm Japan for From the Nothing with Love,
    Dried Limes,
    We Are What We Are (and the remake),
    Jack London,
    Mica Levi’s soundtrack for Under the Skin,
    New York State Rieslings.

  8. Grawflemaul says:

    Hi, first time commenter, just got caught up on the whole podcast. Enjoyed it immensely and looking forward to this episode and more. Thanks for all of it.

    I did have one question that’s come to me in the last few weeks of listening to submit for the History Hut or maybe the Consulting Occultist. I’d read briefly before about the Black Dragon and Black Ocean Societies in pre-war Japan, and from my incredibly basic understanding of their role, they seemed to have been a similar kind of crazy nationalist group as the Ahnenerbe, except they seem to have been less mined for pulpy craziness than Occult Nazis have. In fact, they seem a whole lot less crazy, at least on the occult weirdness front.

    Are the Black Dragon and Black Ocean Societies really as mundane as all that? How would you make them live up to their cool, ominous names and use them in games?

  9. Sean says:

    I just started listening to your pod casts and I have to say I really enjoy them.

    All the crazy town stuff in the Consulting Occultist segment of this episode, especially the socialist, undead work party, seems like something ready made for RPG exploitation. But I’m having a hard time googling up the people and books mentioned in this section of the podcast. Perhaps you could post a link or two or the correct spelling of the names of the various people involved in the Russian occult.


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