Abraham Lincoln

Episode 149: Contemptible People Tavern

July 17th, 2015 | Robin

Line up your polyhedrals in order of social preference as we enter the Gaming Hut to examine caste and class in worldbuilding.

The History Hut provides a footnote to a somber event with details on the 1822 trial of Denmark Vesey, a founder of Charleston SC’s Mother Emanuel Church, for conspiracy to revolt against slavery.

Tom Pleasant poses a challenging Ask Ken and Robin query, asking what we would do if we could use Ken’s Time Machine to alter roleplaying history.

Finally we bathe ourselves in light as the Consulting Occultist profiles the preeminent practitioner of nice magic, Dion Fortune.

Look out, Lieutenants of evil! The sinister mastermind you work for has taken some time to shake the post-conquest blues. But he’ll be back soon, and your survival depends on impressing him. Thankfully, our lead sponsor Atlas Games has just what you need: their delightful new card game of competitive minion-stacking, Three Cheers for Master.

10 Responses to “Episode 149: Contemptible People Tavern”

  1. Jeff R. says:

    If you delay the debut of Magic and the CCG medium, what happens to TSR? It may fail even earlier without Spellfire to keep it afloat during that* , and certainly won’t have Wizards ready to buy it out whenever it does go down. But who else, in or outside of the industry would be interested even at fire sale prices? I don’t see Hasbro going the IP without a functional game-producing company to go with it. I guess it could end up with GDW and thus back to Gygax, but I don’t see any path to anything like OTL’s 3rd edition.

    *I’m assuming Spellfire made TSR good money, which may be ahistorical but I do remember a whole lot of the cards being around and even getting played at the time.

    • Jeff R. says:

      (Which is not to say that 3E is the perfect system or essential in its specifics. But I don’t see Dungeons and Dragons retaining its overwhelming market dominance in these timelines but rather being at best first-among-equals and at worst an obscure out of print bit of history, and I don’t see any other system being able to carry the weight of keeping tabletop RPGS on the shelves and in the public eye when the CCG deluge does come around.)

  2. Matt Zander says:

    Query for Ken’s Time Machine:
    I’ve recetly read The Romanov Sisters: The List Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra by Helen Rappaport, and I was wondering what Time Inc. can do to spare the Romanov children from their gruesome deaths in 1918 and what potential effects that has on the timeline.

  3. Geoffrey Nelson says:

    Aks Ken and Robin:

    In the episode on Dion Fortune, Ken mentions a kind of oblivious “genteel” racism. To what extent have the words white and black been used to correlate race with good or evil in regard to occult traditions and practices? How (and why) do racism and occultism overlap?

  4. LJS says:

    Would Robin be willing to address “the poetic inscrutability of Canadian highway signs”. Could be tied more broadly into cultural assumptions in graphic design.

  5. Tom Vallejos says:

    For changing rpg history I suggest doing the changes for fourth edition GURPS in third edition in the late ’80s. Another is getting my friends NOT to use “C.B.R.” for combat reflexes.

  6. Andrew Miller says:

    Put me down as one who doubts there ever was a Denmark Vesey conspiracy. Back in 2002, my then-teacher Michael Johnson published a paper that acted like a bombshell in the cloistered world of 19th C. American historians, one which destroyed careers; he showed how several recent historians of Vesey had done sloppy work, and that the idea there was no revolt was much more historically plausible. It was written up in The Nation here:

    Ken is right that slaves and the dispossessed hated their oppression and always looked for ways to assert their own human dignity. But Johnson is right that acts of overt rebellion are rare because they’re so easily, and bloodily, squashed. (In our own time, think about how many black folk have been, and still are, subject to constant low-level oppression by local police, but how rare anti-police riots are.) Johnson is also right that we historians, looking back later, are hungry to find acts of overt resistance, because that makes a better narrative for people eager to find one in history; but precisely because that’s what we’re looking for, we should be that more suspicious of confused circumstances that seem to tell us what we want to hear.

    Seriously, read that piece I linked to. It makes a strong case.

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