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Episode 169: If You Dibs an Entire Hemisphere

December 4th, 2015 | Robin

We start amid the familiar shag carpet of the Gaming Hut to look at the question of making the mechanics serve the story and not the other way around.

The History Hut delves into the best-named military conflict ever, the War of Jenkins’ Ear.

In the Horror Hut we avoid gazing into mirrors while discussing the Bloody Mary trope.

Finally, in Ask Ken and Robin, Rob Dean asks us to nerdtrope a real-life found artifact, these instructions to Mr. A.M. Brosius in 1911 concerning a dig in Baltimore.


Ken and Robin have oft been accused of being cards. Well, we can deny it no longer. We have become super-limited promo cards for Murder of Crows, Atlas Games’ fast-paced card game of murder and the macabre, for two to five players in the mood for something a little morbid. It’s Edward Gorey meets Caligari, by way of Edgar Allan Poe. Wait a minute, what does that graphic say? I’m not so sure about this…

Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted. You say that’s still not enough Ken for you? Very well, my friend. His brilliant pieces on parasitic gaming, alternate Newtons, Dacian werewolves and more now lurk among the sparkling bounty of The Best of FENIX Volumes 1-3, from returning sponsors Askfageln. Yes, it’s Sweden’s favorite RPG magazine, now beautifully collected. Warning: not in Swedish. In a move that surely violates someone’s security clearance, this episode is also brought to you by our friends at Arc Dream Publishing. The Kickstarter for Delta Green: the Roleplaying Game has come to an end, but don’t let that stop you from indulging your fever for this classic game, or that pinnacle of the Cthulhu game zine world, The Unspeakable Oath.

6 Responses to “Episode 169: If You Dibs an Entire Hemisphere”

  1. Rob Dean says:

    Thanks, gentlemen! Hope that was fun…

  2. The United Kingdom was actually an ally of Maria Theresa in the War of the Austrian Succession. Effectively every other major power in Europe supported Prussia (at least early in the war). Note that in the Seven Years’ War, nine years later, the UK and France switched sides, with the UK supporting Prussia and France supporting Austria.

    The attacks by these countries upon Austria-Hungary was as cynical a betrayal of signed treaties* as any in the history of Europe**, which, among a variety of other things, I find makes for really interesting story background/setting.

    I consider the broader war to be the second world war (the first being the War of the League of Augsburg), since significant battles were fought on nearly every continent and by every major military power in the world. Besides the fall of Louisbourg, the fall of Madras to the French nearly resulted in the ejection of the British from India, which would, of course, have had tremendous follow-on effects.

    For more on the war, I recommend Reed Browning’s very readable The War of the Austrian Succession.

    * Specifically, the Pragmatic Sanction, in which nearly everyone agreed to support the accession of Maria Theresa to the throne of Austria upon the death of Charles VI.

    ** Even worse than the British and French betrayal of Czechoslovakia in 1938, as bad as that was.

    ps. The name of the war should, of course, be the War of Jenkins’s Ear. (You have your style guide; I have mine. Mine is better. 😎 )

  3. Morgan Ellis says:

    Another twist on the Bloody Mary story from the early days of the internet. Blue Lady and Bloody Mary. http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/myths-over-miami-6393117

  4. Michael Cule says:

    What games systems should do is be (and feel) enabling rather than limiting. Opening up rather than closing down. And what feels restrictive to one person is limiting to another and vice versa. One reader will say “Wow! I don’t have to bother with all that stuff that doesn’t interest me AT ALL! How liberating!” And another will say “Well, that won’t even handle Fred’s thing. If I can’t use it to run the thing with Fred then there’s no point even trying.”

    What looks like an ‘edge case’ to one GM plus group is an everyday occurrence with another.

    But yes, we all handwave stuff we don’t care about. And if you can’t get a fringe rule into at most half a page you should probably let well enough alone.

    To me ‘Bloody Mary’ always means either Mary Stuart or a drink made of vodka and tomato juice. Seeing no occult significance in either liquid (Ken will now tell me I’m wrong), how about the spirit behind the mirror being the unhappy soul of the last Catholic Queen of England, seeking to return to the world or at least (poor envious creature) to lash out at young, healthy, happy women whose lives may bring them love (rather than an arranged political marriage) and children (rather than phantom pregnancies and miscarriages ending in the wreck of her religious and political project as well as her posterity).

    Don’t know how you put her to rest finally. Maybe pass laws to disestablish the Church of England. (Not something most people would want to roleplay.)

  5. GB Steve says:

    Jenkin’s Ear is good, but the Anglo-Zanzibar war gets the prize for me.

  6. “Maybe pass laws to disestablish the Church of England. (Not something most people would want to roleplay.)”

    Nah, just the antidisestablishmentarians.

    😎

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