Abraham Lincoln

Episode 144: Chaotic Prolix

June 12th, 2015 | Robin

Abandon your neutrality as we enter the Gaming Hut to talk about alignment in D&D.

Find out if we’ve been digging what you’ve been digging about the recent crop of shows in the Television Hut.

Then the Consulting Occultist gives us the lowdown on alchemist, mystic and eponymous library founder Elias Ashmole.

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.

9 Responses to “Episode 144: Chaotic Prolix”

  1. Adam Baulderstone says:

    The problem with iZombie is the lack of meaningful connection between the mysteries and the ongoing plot. In Veronica Mars, you had the more defined settings of her school and Neptune. Most mysteries served to further flesh out that setting and Veronica’s place in it. The people Veronica butts head with in solving mysteries are often ongoing characters. The mysteries give more importance to the ongoing plot and vice-versa.

    In iZombie, the setting is _______. I don’t know where it is. I don’t know what Liv thinks about the place or the people in it. The suspects in each week’s case have no lasting connection to Liv, and we will never see them again. They do nothing to support the ongoing plot, and the ongoing plot does nothing to support the individual mysteries.

    I suppose the idea was that her connection to the victim through eating their brains was supposed to make up for this, but it really doesn’t. The memories fade at the end of the episode, meaning it has no lasting weight either.

  2. Tom Allman says:

    Hey Ken and Robin,
    Just finished Gustav Meyrink’s “the Golem”. I think his body of Weirdness warrants a closer look by the Consulting Occultist. Or, perhaps Time Inc. could go back and convince the Kabalists to use Golems to keep the Nazis at bay.

  3. John Stewart says:

    Of course, alignments don’t really work as well as other, better defined moral systems, but in D&D, they are traditional and have been heavily integrated into the modern cosmology. Also, they’re kind of fun in the same way that astrological signs are.

    I’d also like to point out that 5th Edition has largely solved the problem of detect evil. Now, there’s just a spell called Detect Good and Evil. It only senses beings that qualify as celestial, fiend, aberration, and undead. That makes it still useful for what I am sure is the writers’ original purpose, but it keeps it from being used for shortcutting plot.

    • Benj says:

      I much prefer them on a cosmic, elemental sort of level, where only beings that have to be (Paladins, Clerics, the undead, demons and divinities, etc) are Aligned, with everyone else is just neutral.

  4. John Stewart says:

    Also, you guys shouldn’t continue to be so down on Agents of SHIELD. It’s a very good show at this point. It figured itself out and has produced some great stuff in the second season. There are a few fight scenes that give Daredevil a run for its money. The show became fascinatingly unpredictable and full of great surprises, and I hope that they use some of the revelations of the season finale to set up some stuff for the movies– we could even have the seeds of Kamala Khan’s origin story set up in the finale.

    • Benj says:

      It’s certainly pretty consistently improving, and I feel like by now it’s a pretty good show, but I still wouldn’t call it a very good show.

  5. Scott Neumann says:

    Tradecraft Hut: Nosenko or Golytsin? Roleplaying applications?

  6. Michael says:

    A recently digitized scrapbook by Samuel Tugentman spanning the years 1917-1936 includes pamphlets on the “Modern Woodsmen of America”. Sam Tucker, born in Russia, lived mainly in New York City working as a private detective for the J. J. Kron Detective Bureau, actor, vaudeville manager, assistant to gold mining speculator. The scrapbook contains approx. 50 pages with attached clippings related to self-help and improvement, crime and detection, motorcycles, accidents etc. Laid in are several telegrams, his vaudeville manager business card, Detective business card, and the “Modern Woodsmen” brochures. This is a great resource to mine for historical, investigative, or horror gaming. Sam would make a great historical pc for a many games too. The scrapbook is freely available for all uses, including commercial. Available at:

  7. […] I think, as game developers Kenneth Hite and Robin D. Laws have argued, that Alignment is also a solution to the problem of both motivation and consequence in RPGs that […]

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