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Episode 397: Terrifying Gauziness

May 29th, 2020 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut beloved Patreon backer wants to know about arc-sized endgames for player characters. Your Call of Cthulhu characters may have wound up in a sanatorium, but did your D&D heroes ever become feudal lords?

The Cinema Hut is even more of a hut than usual as we conduct a folk horror 101.

The Culture Hut resumes our Yellow King themed biographical segments with a look at Symbolist artist Odilon Redon, a ley influence on weird illustration.

Finally our beloved chrononaut dodges hellhounds in Ken’s Time Machine as he saves Delta blues legend Robert Johnson from a fatal dose of poisoned whiskey.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


If you believe that games should have dwarves, that dwarves should roll dice, and that true camaraderie is hollering “Cheers!” and sharing a beer, then Dice Miner is for you. Avoid dragons and cave-ins as you roll custom dice down a 3D mountain. Kickstarting as of May 26, from Atlas Games.

You’ve heard him talk about it. Now you can get it at retail or in the Pelgrane Press store: The Yellow King Roleplaying Game. Shatter your world with this eerie, physically imposing GUMSHOE game of decadent art and multiple existences. For a limited time only, enter the voucher code YELLOW at the Pelgrane shop to get 15% off all Yellow King items when you combine the core set with Absinthe in Carcosa and/or The Missing and the Lost.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Arc Dream Publishing’s Shane Ivey brings you Swords and Sorceries, fifth edition adventure in a sea-swept world inspired by ancient myth. Seek your fortunes, or find gruesome death in the tombs of forgotten gods and evils best left buried. Seize all three adventures, Sea Demon’s Gold, Song of the Sun Queens, and Tomb of Fire, today!

4 Responses to “Episode 397: Terrifying Gauziness”

  1. Nickpheas says:

    Rather than becoming feudal lords, I was always a bit more interested in setting up really spectacular death scenes. Sadly the last Pendragon game collapsed just about three sessions before, but I was planning my knight to get himself killed at Badon, shot full of arrows like a hedgehog, staggering up the hill up the hill to present Arthur Excalibur, which for some reason was buried under the alter of his family chapel, before breathing his last.

  2. Phil Masters says:

    Just for the interest – Paul J McAuley has a novelette about time travel and Robert Johnson. The original title was “Crossroads”; he later rewrote it as “Crossroads Blues”. In that case, in the original timeline, Johnson somehow managed to kickstart the Civil Rights Movement ten or twenty years early.

  3. Doug Sundseth says:

    Several thoughts on feudal lordship at the ends of campaigns:

    1) We absolutely did build fiefs when we were powerful enough (this was in OD&D). Essentially all of the people I gamed with at the time started out as wargamers, so the obvious next step after retail slaughter was wholesale slaughter (and running armies was not a stretch, really.) And there are certainly plenty of stories to be told about solving (one hopes) problems on the much larger stage implicated by castles and thousands of armed men.

    2) The step from adventurer to landholder/political force certainly features in many of the early genre books that inspired early roleplayers. See LotR for several obvious examples.

    3) Robin strongly implies (or states?) that this was obviously ahistorical, but it clearly was not. See, for example, Rollo, Duke of Normandy, Japan during the Sengoku period, many of the followers of Chuck the Big in the HRE, the Normans in Sicily, the Kievan Rus, many of the followers of William in England, …. (To be fair, “Norman” is pretty strongly implicated in many of these. 😎 ) There were absolutely times and places where demonstrating military prowess resulted in awards of land and accrual of political power.

    Feel free to avoid this kind of game. Like Call of Cthulhu, it’s not for everyone. But there is definitely a lot of fun to be had for the right group.

  4. Thank you so much for answering my question!! I guess, like one of the other commenters here, I’d throw out “Pendragon” as an alternate not-D&D example of a game where the rules assume that things will progress towards a particular ‘endgame’.

    Basically, I’ve just been thinking, D&D (like most RPGs) doesn’t *really* have a ‘satisfying ending’ built into the rules itself. Sure, there’s the possibility of a TPK, an unhappy ending. But (aside from the funky strongholds-and-castles rules) there’s no ‘apotheosis’ built into the rules itself, unless everyone dies or gets bored you just get so high-level that the game bogs down into too much math and everyone stops playing. The job of ‘ending the campaign in a dramatically satisfying fashion which doesn’t involve a TPK’ is left to the creativity of the individual DM. But, maybe it’s possible to imagine a game (like Pendragon) which provides more built-in guidance for this?

    Of course you’ve already answered the question, but I am just continuing my ramble on the topic — it isn’t *just* about building castles! XD

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