Abraham Lincoln

Episode 156: Crazily Pork-Bellied

September 4th, 2015 | Robin

In the dog days before Labor Day, Ask Ken and Robin happily accepts a softball from Cam Banks (a ringer name if ever we heard one.) “Why is “fantasy” supposedly a genre in RPGs but people mostly mean “F20 fantasy”? Why is there no equivalent in science fiction RPGs?”

Ken issues a Travel Advisory for Necronomicon 2015, with a detour to pork belly obsessed Providence, RI. Restaurants mentioned: Den Den Café, Kitchen, Ken’s Ramen, Red Stripe, Pizza Gourmet.

Ken and Robin Recycle Audio dips back into the Pelgrane Press panel from Gen Con, as we learn about Fearful Symmetries, Cat’s untitled story game anthology project, The Fall of Delta Green and the Trail of Cthulhu Starter Box.

Then either we or our clones open up the Eliptony Hut to consider the free love alien contactee doctrine of the Raelians.

It blew up Kickstarter.  It slid into Gen Con on a gurney with both guns blazing. And now Feng Shui 2: Action Movie Roleplaying is laying down the kung fu, the gun fu, and the cybernetic primate fu, and rocketing its way to a retail store near you. Join our friends at Atlas Games in celebrating the long-anticipated release of Robin’s classic game, accompanied by the GM Screen: Fistful of Fight Scenes  and Blowing Up the Movies.


Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter will want to sink their fangs into the pre-order for the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted.

10 Responses to “Episode 156: Crazily Pork-Bellied”

  1. Skaville says:

    Oi !
    Episode 155 is missing from the main list!
    Confusion might ensue !

  2. Scott Haley says:

    If you use a term like “F2o fantasy,” you should define it. Not everyone knows the jargon. What does it mean?

  3. Michael S. Schiffer says:

    Re authors the hippie movement embraced who were less in sync with them than Tolkien, I’ll suggest Robert A. Heinlein.

    (At least Tolkien– as far as I know– never had to deal with a bunch of unwashed longhairs showing up on his doorstep to “share water” with him.)

  4. Johan Broman says:

    A question for Ask Ken and Robin/Consulting Occultist:
    Real world historic occultist seem to have a hard time cooperating, but if you were to create a dream team of occultist, who would it consist of and what or who would they battle or serve?

  5. Alex says:

    I don’t think you got the timing right in the first discussion you had about fantasy books and their impact on RPGs. In particular I’m pretty sure that you got the Conan books wrong by a pretty fair margin, and there were quite a lot of relatively mainstream fantasy books in the UK before the shannara series. Certainly before d&d launched in 1974 I was reading Conan, various moorcock books (e.g. Hawkmoon), Le Guin’s Earthsea and many others. Unless it was very different in the UK (which seems unlikely) there was quite a lot of fantasy which you didn’t have to be a hardcore nerd to know about (ie readily available on bookshop shelves).

    On traveller, it was a bit of an odd fish when it arrived not so much because of the implied setting (which they only developed extensively later) but because of the odd technology choices – the weapons and interstellar travel were pretty idiosyncratic compared to pretty much any science fiction ever up to that point. Arguably if they had made a more generic technology base, or included a wider range of choices, then sci fi RPGs might have ended up looking a little different!

    I do agree with the main point though – fantasy makes it easier to have a grab bag of things mulched together, while sci fi tends to need things to be more closely tied to their over arching narrative.


  6. Phil Masters says:

    I agree about early 1970s fantasy; I’m pretty sure that my local library had noticeable amounts of Poul Anderson and Michael Moorcock on the paperback racks in that period (along with a bit of older stuff), long before I’d even heard of D&D. They weren’t books for hardcore nerds (not a common concept back then, I suspect) so much as for post-hippie weirdos who venerated Moorcock but sometimes wanted something easier than his more experimental stuff.

    And both those two were, I guess, big influences on the furniture of first generation D&D, if not on the atmosphere. Moorcock contributed law and chaos, of course, and Anderson created the D&D troll…

    As for Traveller – I think, looking back at the very early books, that was initially primarily about setting up formal situations for semi-wargamery set-piece scenarios, rather than much that we now look for in an atmospheric, well-developed RPG campaign setting. (Compare, oh, En Garde…) A smidgen of Asimov and a large dose of E.C. Tubb served the purpose in hand. The fact that both looked a bit dated even in 1975 was irrelevant.

    On another theme entirely – my favourite story about the Raëlians came from a journalist who got to interview Vorilhon and asked what the toilets were like on the alien planet. (“Pardon?” “Well, you were there for several days; you must have had to use the facilities.”) Vorilhon apparently looked nonplussed and then said “they were like at home” – which, this being France in the ’70s, means that the super-advanced Elohim use, umm, crouching arrangements with foot-pads to stand on.

  7. Sam Tyler says:

    Great discussion on the Raelians. The place where Aliens, Fairies and Angels meet makes a great cult. I will be using this heavily in my future Moondust Men campaign. I’m planning on running a ” first days in a conspiracy” campaign set in the late 40’s- early 50’s. The player’s decisions in the field and in the office will be reflected in the policy and organization of the future conspiracy.
    Do you have any advice for games where players are not fighting the conspiracy but building it?

  8. Aaron says:

    Did you see the new Takashi Miike (Yakuza Apocalypse?) movie at your film fest?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Film Cannister
Cartoon Rocket
Flying Clock
Film Cannister