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Episode 177: You’ve Got Your Chainsaw Working

February 12th, 2016 | Robin

Can you make it through the terrors of Ask Ken and Robin, when Sean Maclean asks us how to run survival horror?

If so, the Tradecraft Hut awaits, where we deliver our promised full segment on legendary M15 counterintelligence honcho Maxwell Knight.

Go down to the basement and get made small as Horror Hut zooms in on scary dolls.

Finally, the Consulting Occultist fills us in on Paracelsus, a literal Renaissance man whose achievements in medicine, psychology and toxicology also included influential works of a Hermetic bent.


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.

3 Responses to “Episode 177: You’ve Got Your Chainsaw Working”

  1. Darren T. says:

    Another great thing with the idea of puppets that always stays with me is the themed horror album from King Diamond ‘Puppet Master’ (though his other albums + Mercyful Fate have a lot of great horror ideas + a few songs about the Cthulhu mythos with the Mad Arab).

    King Diamond on the story of the puppet master (CDs Abigail & Graveyard also great for a horror game idea)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHMV7AGSXwA

    Link goes to him telling the story about the album which is a bit of a reversal on the Full Moon Puppet series. Also on the slight tangent is the great Full Moon film (best seen as fresh as possible, skip all trailers/reviews of it) of Tourist Trap from the 1980s which uses the more life sized dolls, mannequins & Dr. Who with the autons or the Twilight Zone ‘After Hours’ are good too.

    Hard to go through department stores without that feeling of the mannequins moving/watching as you walk past thanks to those damn movies/shows.

    For any RPGs, what if the player discovered a horde of replicated versions of themselves either living or artificial? Time to play who is the real one unless the others corrupt or change the player character who is possibly the original. The great strength of Blade Runner is the characters & what if like other sci-fi stories, the created synthetic comes across the person they are based off of…now there is a fun scenario for Gumshoe or Feng Shui 2 of getting to outwit yourself.

    The dream sequence (where the player sees through the puppet’s eyes while being rather naughty) is a fun option too for both moving the story along while giving clues & advancing paranoia of the player who’s not sure if it’s them committing nefarious actions while asleep.

  2. Josh Kroger says:

    A question for another segment: stealth systems in RPGs. Most go by a roll-until-one-player-fails, then-all-players-fail. Gumshoe obviously has some mitigation mechanisms in the form of spends and Preparedness, but what does an RPG need to have an engaging stealth system besides a number of iterative skill checks?

    Incidentally, many GMs have a tendency to have stealth fail so they can get to combat, viewing a successful intrusion (one that goes undetected) as a let down. Any thoughts or advice on this phenomenon?

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