Abraham Lincoln

Episode 189: It Won’t Fix Me But It Will Fix That

May 6th, 2016 | Robin

Patreon backer Kevin J. Maroney gets us started with an Ask Ken and Robin question about other designers’ mechanics we consider to be under-stolen.

The Tradecraft Hut takes on a recent story claiming that infamous Nazi military officer Otto Skorzeny ended his career as a Mossad assassin.

In the Food Hut we heroically accede to a request from Patreon backer Ethan Cordray to sip some liqueurs. No, wait, talk about liqueurs.

Finally backer Joshua Hillerup climbs the creaky stairs that lead to the Consulting Occultist to learn about the occult symbolism of flowers.

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From the magical land of sponsors comes Atlas Games, who with a twinkle of fairy dust revive their 2nd Edition Once Upon a Time clearance sale.

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.

When you assemble your bug-out kit, make sure it includes a copy of Delta Green: Need to Know, the everything-you-need quickstart kick for the classic game of covert agents against the Cthulhu mythos, from our fine friends at Arc Dream Publishing.

12 Responses to “Episode 189: It Won’t Fix Me But It Will Fix That”

  1. mrm1138 says:

    One of the elements I’m surprised we haven’t seen show up more often is the playsets from Jason Morningstar’s Fiasco, but what led me to think about this wasn’t Fiasco itself. Instead, it was Flatland Games’ Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures, which uses character playbooks and scenario packs for low-to-no-prep gaming. The creators, John Cocking and Peter S. Williams, have gone on record to confirm that Fiasco—rather than Dungeon World, as many asserted—was the source of their inspiration. Given the number of adults who like to play RPGs but don’t necessarily have the same amount of time to prep adventures they did before adult responsibilities began to take over, it seems logical this sort of mechanic would become more commonplace.

  2. Regarding affecting and changing the setting as a form of character advancement, I believe that Wild Talents had something along those lines in its Progenitor campaign setting.

  3. Ethan C. says:

    Thanks for the liqueur lowdown! I have to slightly disagree about Italian herbal liqueurs — they certainly are undrinkable by themselves, but they can make excellent flavoring agents in certain drinks. I have no opinion on the Negroni — which I have never had but strongly suspect that I would hate — but I heartily recommend the Aperol Spritz, consisting of 3 parts Prosecco, a splash of soda, and 1 part Aperol, which is Campari’s sweeter and lower-proof cousin.

    But if there’s one big takeaway from this segment, it’s that I’ll have to try gin and tea. Should I try it hot or cold?

  4. LJS says:

    I am envious of Evil Hat’s Dresden RPG’s face/location concept for plot elements, themes, city elements, etc. Ditto the basic Fate idea of high concept and trouble aspects — I use these as thumbnails for characters in multiple systems.

  5. Darren T. says:

    Now I’m wondering on two things, what Gumshoe uses would Ken & Robin find for the Strahd deck of cards & also what would cause Ken to pull the podcast to the curb & end it with his time machine or other creative ideas?

    Hooked on trying out some of the systems in the first segment, thanks Ken & Robin!

  6. Tom Clare says:

    I’d like to Ask Ken and Robin:

    How do you blatantly deceive others using GUMSHOE? I’m thinking more of long and short cons, or convincing the police you had nothing to do with the fire, rather than simply lying about your identity to the old lady on the corner.

    I want to run a ‘Bookhounds of London’ game, with plenty of grifting and fast-talking. It looks like lying to others simply uses the appropriate Interpersonal ability — perhaps with a spend — which seems a little under-dramatic. It also seems to mean that you cannot fail to fool someone, unless they are not susceptible to that particular Interpersonal ability; in which case you have no chance.

    I was thinking of adding a ‘Deception’ general ability and a ‘Shrewdness’ modifier for GMCs, but I don’t want to make Interpersonal abilities redundant.

  7. Doug Sundseth says:

    On underused mechanics: I quite like the 7th Sea disadvantage rules, where you have to pay to get disadvantages but get points back when the disadvantage is used against you (the break-even point is about 3.5 uses of a single disad). The result is that players have a strong incentive to choose disadvantages that will inspire a GM and a strong disincentive to choose boring stuff. Outsourcing creativity is useful.

  8. This is the first I’ve heard mention of Yukon Jack since EPIC ILLUSTRATED ceased publication in the mid-1980s. Archie Goodwin used say of EPIC, “Big boobs on the front, Yukon Jack on the back.”

    Thanks again for a great segment.

  9. Phil Masters says:

    No love for Cointreau? I find it’s one liqueur I can drink straight, use in mixed drinks (it adds citrusy sweetness to strong mixes), and pour over good vanilla icecream…

  10. Tim says:

    At the risk of mansplaing I would like to defend the honor of Campari and also all of the herbal digestifs.

    In my experience most of the people who dislike this class of spirts are reacting negatively to the bitter components found in them. Many of them have quite a lot going on so it is possible in any particular dram there is something else that is offending you but mostly it seems to be the bitter medicinal character.

    I personal any not very sensitive to bitter compounds, in fact I think overall my ability to taste bitterness is less than the average for the population as a whole because I find I enjoy bitterness in many things. If you are particularly sensitive to bitterness then I suspect you will never like this class of spirts no matter how man applications or different ones you try. If you are averagely sensitive to bitterness you likely would not enjoy your initial exposure but could grow to enjoy them. Mind you your mileage may vary as if you personally find it worth acquiring. If you are like me then you might find something that becomes a normal core of your drinking.

    I personally look forward to a small pour of a difestif after a heavy meal, similar to how people might savor port although I tend to find many ports to sweet for me (although maybe I have not had very good port) and enjoy them in cocktails. I have argued that the Negroni is one of the few perfect cocktails like a Daiquiri or Last Word.

    One side note there does seem to be a distinction between those spirts that are almost always used in a mixed drink, even if it just a spritzer (Campari, Aperol, and Cynar are examples) and those that are mostly drunk in small volumes neat (Fernet, Nardina, Nonio are examples). More and more people are mixing with the second type of spirts but it can be hard to make a balanced drink with them as they back a lot of firepower so a little goes a long way. There are actually tons of different styles out there so plenty of interesting ones to try.

    If you are interested I would not suggest Fernet as it sort of falls into that dare category and many people instantly hate and get put off the whole catagory. I would look instead to Avera or Nardini or Nonino.

    One recommendation for a liqueur that did not come up in the podcast would be St Germain. A bit pricey but quite tasty and the bottle is pretty so it will class up the home back bar.

    • Christopher Hatty says:

      I ‘d second trying Averna if you one wants to TRY an herbal liqueur. If Italy is off the table, try Benedictine or B&B. The balance of sweet and bitter is to my taste, at least, and I do find them to be excellent digestifs. I need to try St. Germain myself. If only for the name.

  11. Shaine says:

    I first had Fernet in Uruguay, served with Coke. When I got back to the states I found that many friends in the restaurant industry drank it, and Fernet served neat is now one of my favorite drinks.

    I describe it as “Jäegermeister for Adults”, which most people seem to agree with, so that’s probably a good indicator of if you’ll hate it or not. It’s quite strong, but I rarely have more than two so I’m able to enjoy an evening without waking up hung over.

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