Abraham Lincoln

Episode 141: Larger and Larger Cups

May 22nd, 2015 | Robin

In Ask Ken and Robin your intrepid hosts field an Eion Dornan question about helping players take on the role of real historical figures.

The story of a Nigerian juju practitioner handed a lengthy sentence for magical services performed for Texas-based Gulf cartel drug traffickers calls for the debut of a new segment we can only call Nerdtrope Cards in the News.

How to Create Good examines the secrets of successful collaboration.

And Ken’s Time Machine, answering a request from Christoph Sapinsky, reveals why our resident time traveler assisted the booze-related demise of Ogedei Khan in 1241.

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.



If you’re in Dublin over the June bank holiday, check out the convivial proceedings of Hobocon, May 30th to June 1st, at the Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square West.

18 Responses to “Episode 141: Larger and Larger Cups”

  1. Hi Robin,

    We met at FanExpo last year, you were on the same speaking panel with my husband Andrew Valkauskas. I’m just doing a little promoting of his latest Kickstarter, the Illuminated Edda
    It’s a system-agnostic Viking setting lore book. It may interest any Viking gamers. If you’d like to setup a podcast interview (or email interview) with Andrew, let me know.


  2. Eoin Dornan says:

    Wahey, my question and my convention rolled in together in the same episode. Such serendipitousness!

  3. Steven D Warble says:

    Dumb question, but is there a procedure in place to submit a question to “Ask Ken and Robin”? I have a question I’ld like to throw into the pile. Thanks!

    • Robin says:

      Just what you did here–as a comment on any post here on the blog.

      • Steven D Warble says:

        OK, so here is my question for Ken and Robin. Both of you have done wonderful work in the area of genre+historical gaming, and Ken always says “Use Earth” or words to that affect. How do you deal with modern sensitivity towards cultural appropriation, and aversion to even a whiff of historically accurate sexism, racism, classism and other unpleasant facts of historical life? Slavery, genocide, disease and myriad other horrors were rampant in the past, and – in my opinion – you can only ignore so much of it without just declaring you are gaming in a Disney land version of the past… which I don’t want to do. And I realize that this is something that is easier done at the level of your own players, but when dealing with published work it seems almost insurmountable in the modern gaming cultural environment.


  4. John Rauchert says:

    It would be interesting to see how this drug JuJu and the Santa Muerte cult to which the Mexican Drug dealers belong would interact in a Mythos way.

    “The Santa Muerte cult is often associated with violence, criminality, and the illegal drug trade. She is a popular deity in prisons, both among inmates and staff, and
    shrines dedicated to her can be found in many cells.”

    Holy Heroin, Man Bat!

  5. darren t. says:

    Great collaboration tips guys & thanks.

    Ones I’d add as a creative person going through tons of graphic design work for daily job stuff: if you’re fighting over an idea you like & lose the idea going into the project, throw it in a filing cabinet & see what you can salvage from it to something else.

    Plus if you don’t like a particular type of project finish it to add it to what you can learn from but don’t keep doing projects like that if you don’t enjoy it, the last thing you probably want is to be typecast as that gal/guy for this project type (you secretly hate working on). Learn things from what you are doing & try all things out but stick with what you like doing.

    Also thought Ken was taking people down in time with scotch or rum but hey whatever Ken likes, Ken can pick from to drink :).

  6. hüth says:

    IIRC Skarka’s contribution to Star Trek was actually ‘Mount Tar’hana’ on Vulcan.

  7. Hank Harwell says:

    Still lobbying for s commercial version of the nerd trope cards….

  8. Christoph says:

    Awe, I miss playing testing with you too Robin. Lisa and I have to figure out a way to visit soon.

    Ken, what was so bad about the unified Europe that Ogodei Khan’s conquest lead to? Did they take longer to getting around to discovering America? Or conquer in such force that independence never happened and instead we ended up with a continent wide Canada?

    • Craig says:

      Well, I’m not Ken, but if the Mongols take over Europe, you don’t end up with a “unified Europe” — you end up with no Western civilization and “Europe” not meaning the same thing.

      When I start running down the list of the unique products of Western civilization that get deleted, I usually start with the scientific revolution, constitutional democracy, and the idea of human rights.

      • Christoph says:

        Perhaps, but it is unlikely that the mongols would have held Europe and all of Asia too long. Even the Romans with their excellent road system couldn’t hold it. Rather, it is more likely the Mongolian Empire would have weakened much like it did in our reality and fragmented into its component parts. Especially with all the other forces pulling it apart, so many including Vikings, Moors, and internal issues like communications, weak Khans, and revolutions, it is almost a guarantee.

        The question is: would that have lead to Europeans embracing the idea of a unified Europe, like the Chinese embraced their unification? Like the Chinese, the Mongolian unification would be yet another period as a unified empire. Europe was united at least as an idea in the minds of it rulers and more learned people by both Rome and Holy Rome before Mongolian Europe.

        As for the list of great achievements of western civilization, the seeds of these ideas would be there still. Greek influence of democracy was there before the Khans along with Moorish maths and sciences. All ready for ready for innovation. Still this may interfere with the Renaissance of the 12 century, which is built on Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire. All of this, seems to rely upon how the Mongols would treat European scholars, they put the Chinese ones to work building technologies. I doubt it would be different for the Europeans.

        In the end, it comes down to was the Mongol invasion a raid or a conquest. The debate amongst scholars on that one rages on.

  9. Le_Squide says:

    It’s low hanging fruit, but is there any chance you guys will talk about the new Mad Max movie?

  10. Adam says:

    A question for the Time Traveler:

    Charles VI of France was driven temporarily insane by an incident in 1388, involving an unknown assailant. According to Froissart, this man appeared out of nowhere in front of the King and a large number of his retainers while they were marching through the forest of Le Mans. He grabbed the King’s horse, stopped him in his tracks, and said ‘Ride no further, turn back, you are betrayed.’ Despite all manner of armed people standing around, the madman – if madman he was – got away unmolested. Shortly afterward the King went berzerk, tried to kill his entire retinue in a one-against-all swordfight, and after being subdued spent the next few months in a daze, being nursed slowly back to health.

    Sounds like time travel intervention to me, but who was it, and what was the goal?

  11. Tom Vallejos says:

    Hi. I have a question for “Ask Ken and Robin”: What do you do with a player who knows about the setting of your a game better than you? For example, you are running a game set during the roaring 20s and a player knows where he can buy Tommy guns because he has a 1920s ad that says on sale at the local gun store. What do you do?

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    Episode 141: Larger and Larger Cups « Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff

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