Abraham Lincoln

Episode 132: Underground Subterranean Fort

March 20th, 2015 | Robin

In Ask Ken and Robin, Jonas Beardsley points us to this Wired article about advances in astrophysics brought about by the computer effects used in the movie Interstellar. We then make good on his invitation to explore ways overly realistic CGI could go horribly wrong.

Safe under the covers of the Horror Hut, we talk about stories, movies and lists that scared us as kids.

The Eliptony Hut goes underground for a truth more interesting than the truth of Toronto’s mystery tunnel.

Finally Time Inc. once again has tree protection on its mind as it uses Ken’s Time Machine to rescue Irminsul from Charlemagne.

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.


Mapheads, rejoice. CAD maestro Jeff James is Kickstarting Scale Realms. This project will fund full color, high quality maps with 3D structures and landscaping, with a hex or square option.

Are you in the near to moderate orbit of Madison WI? If so, reserve the dates April 10th to the 12th to attend Odyssey Con 15 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. From spray can art demonstrations to a zombie prom to a four-track seminar panel, this relaxing, well-run weekend con will meet your geekly needs.

9 Responses to “Episode 132: Underground Subterranean Fort”

  1. Raphael Päbst says:

    The whole discussion of images reaching into our brains and triggering certain emotions and such made me think of Ian McDonald’s “Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone” which has a somewhat similar premise.

  2. David Kirby’s paper “The Future is Now: Diegetic Prototypes and the Role of Popular Films in Generating Real-world Technological Development” and subsequent book “Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists, and Cinema” may be of interest.

    It has formed a new field of study (Design Fiction):

  3. Paul Sexton says:

    Suggestion for a future segment: The Witches of Chiloé.

    Thanks to this article I now know where Alan Moore got his ideas for some of the very creepiest bits from “Swamp Thing”.

  4. darren t. says:

    Another fun idea of CGI gone horribly wrong in a game, using the black hole/wormhole data, now with all that mathematics, put it into a program that converts math into musical notes, throw into a mechanical device able to process the music. Now when the music is played, a wormhole to ?? opens up so when a bad nefarious group starts sending DVDs to someone to play & threatens some place destruction in a new undetectable way unless some ransom is paid, if no ransom, goon plays music to use the wormhole or whatever is on the other end to create chaos.

  5. Tim says:


    I hope this is the right place to do this, but I wanted to Ask Ken and Robin:

    I read about bissociation in Suppressed Transmission. I find it fascinating, but I don’t feel like I quite get how to use it for my game. Do I just lack the necessary Yeti-Lemurian germ plasm, or can you guys guide me to enlightenment?

    Thanks for putting together such a consistently great podcast.

  6. Tom Vallejos says:

    Charlemagne was succeeded by his son Louis The Pious in 814. Louis was succeeded by his three who divided the Holy Roman Empire between them.

  7. Stacy Forsythe says:

    It wasn’t particularly early, but one of my “really scary” things as a kid was from a book of supposedly true paranormal tales. Specifically there was a story of a guy who predicted his own death to the moment — and made sure to roll over and point to the clock right as he died on cue. There was a particularly creepy “dying guy” illustration that went with it, too.

    I’m not sure if I was 11ish or more of a young teen when I got hold of “The Colour Out of Space.” As with Ken, it was in an anthology, but mine was Peter Haining’s _The Ghouls_, collecting the stories on which various horror/monster movies were based. Besides “Colour,” I also read “The Fly,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Skull [of the Marquis de Sade],” “Dracula’s Guest,” and at least part of _The Phantom of the Opera_ from that book over time.

    I still do not believe the book’s claim that _Dracula’s Daughter_ was based on “Dracula’s Guest,” unless “lady vampire presumably somehow connected to Dracula” is all you need to count.

  8. Charles Picard says:

    Ask K&R…

    As game writers do you object to the term Fluff? If so, what do you propose as a more “respectful” alternative?

    [I loath that Fluff seems to have become the term of art in the hobby for anything that isn’t Crunch. As if you could play an RPG with a bunch of tables and dice without any thematic content to hold it together.]

  9. Ken refers to Tiw as a German Zeus. Tiw is a different transliteration of the god the Norse called Tyr. If anything, his closest Roman cognate would probably have been Mars.

    Also, I think you understate the importance of both Carolus Magnus* and the Carolingian Renaissance. After Charles stabilized effectively all of Western Europe, there were really no existential threats until the Mongols arrived about 400 years later. And that stabilization required quite exceptional military leadership, especially in the ability to manage the logistics of a tremendously wide-ranging multi-year war.

    Frankly**, the War of the Spanish Succession was a direct result of the division caused upon the death of Louis the Pious, as were most of the major wars in Europe before and since. Too bad the Franks didn’t do primogeniture.

    * Also known as Karl der Grosse, Charlemagne, and Big, Bad Chuck. (It’s possible that one of those is less common than the rest. 😎 )

    ** 8-/

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