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Episode 29: Because, Hey, Benzedrine

March 8th, 2013 | Robin

We start by venturing into the Genre Hut to limn the fraught boundaries of the Fake Nerd crisis.

Our examination of the Chelyabinsk meteor takes us into the Eliptony Hut, where we trace its impact on, and incorporation into, a cluster of competing conspiracy theories.

In Ask Ken and Robin we tackle the role of laws and law-breaking in roleplaying games. Is it an American thing, or does it arise from an impulse that defies national boundaries?

Finally we rev up Ken’s Time Machine, where Ken reveals several four-color strategies for preventing the adoption of the Comics Code Authority.

11 Responses to “Episode 29: Because, Hey, Benzedrine”

  1. Conrad Kinch says:

    A worthy addition to your back catalogue gentlemen.

    I found your observations on geek culture interesting – while the term is useful as a shorthand, the monolith contains dozens of sub-cultures. The historical miniature gamers are different to the fantasy guys, both of which are very different to the LARPers.

    I was intrigued by your comments on the presence or absence of women. I regularly run roleplaying games for my wife and her friends, but I would consider one of them trying to get in on my Napoleonic wargames a gross intrusion into a male realm. HG Wells might have wargamed with “…a few rare and gifted women”, but I can do without “…trampling skirt swishers…” at least when I’m facing the Grenadiers of the Old Guard.

    On that note, I would like to ask Ken & Robin.

    “Gender is often a non-issue in rpgs. One simply rolls up a character, decides gender and heads off to the dungeon sword in hand.

    Pendragon was a notable exception in that it explicitly gendered it’s play and had a different stat line for female PCs (size and strength were lower, appearance and constitution were higher, I’m quoting from memory I could be wrong).

    Are there any rpgs that haven’t gone the gender neutral route and that you think have handled issues of gender well?”

    • LJS says:

      Early DnD had explicit gender limits on stats and levels. The old DMG had the wandering prostitute table for city encounters. And there was the art … modern DnD still has a fair amount of cheesecake, but it has gotten much, much better.

      I’m not sure it is possible to have a game with explicit gender discrimination and do it well. Think, for a moment, of how well it would go over to have a game in a quasi-historical setting with stat and level limits based on real-world races.

  2. GB Steve says:

    My next favourite Chelyabinsk conspiracy is that European windfarms caused the meteor to fall in Russia rather than further round the globe. Regarding the matrix theory, there is also ‘t Hooft’s holographic theory which propounds that universe is a projection of a kind I don’t understand.

    And we can tick of Terpsichore.

  3. Cambias says:

    Conspiracy theories nowadays have a kind of depressing by-the-numbers quality. A meteor blows up over Chelyabinsk and immediately the usual suspects sit down and start working it into their pre-existing delusional structures. It must seem like an awful chore to them — you’re planning to go fishing or play Diplomacy, but some damned thing happens in Siberia and you have to drop everything in order to spend several hours writing blog posts and Tweets about how the Reptoids are responsible.

  4. Tim Daly says:

    @Robin: you forgot your own Mutant City Blues when discussion law-abiding games.

  5. Jeff Kahrs says:

    Question for Ask Ken and Robin (Just Robin I guess)or maybe the Industry hut. Given the time you spent working the kickstarter for Drama System as well developing the product and making a good guess at future income streams was the kickstarter campaign: more lucrative, less lucrative or about as lucrative as traditional game development. I do not expect dollar figures but was just wondering in ter,s of return on time spent. Thanks

  6. Lisa Padol says:

    I often hear about how men do the Heavy Math Crunchy Numbers gaming and women do the Emotional Story Gaming, but I’m dubious about how firm the divide is. I know at least one woman who is very much into Heavy Math Crunchy Numbers and, as I do tend to go in for Emotional Story Gaming, most of the folks I play with, of any and all genders, tend to go in for it as well.

  7. rogue says:

    Hey Ken, how much are you betting on Adorno’s Marxism pre-dating Lenin’s? I’ll happily take that cash off your hands! You’re right that Adorno’s brand of Marxism isn’t particularly influenced by Lenin, though – I’m not an expert on that area of Marxism but I would guess Adorno was most influenced by people like Lukacs.

  8. Nina says:

    The links to ep 29 and 30 seem to be broken … 🙁
    Needless to say I would love to listen to them. Any chance you can put the files up again?

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