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Episode 436: Needs to Have a Lith

March 12th, 2021 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut we parse the differences between crunch and simulation, as we examine the yen for complexity and the various related but separate impulses behind it.

At the behest of beloved Patreon backers Will Ferguson and Felicity Pyatt, the Crime Blotter heads to 1827 Suffolk to open the case files of the notorious Red Barn Murder.

The 80s keep on coming as our Cinema Hut Horror Essentials series gets burned in a furnace room and goes on a dreamscape rampage of wisecracking vengeance.

Finally, at the behest of estimable Patreon backers Tennant Reed, plus Tim Maness and Jean Bauer, and frankly everyone else too, the Eliptony Hut finally tackles the 2020 monolith outbreak.

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.


Return to your favored doomed manor for Gloomier: A Night at Hemlock Hall, now Kickstarting from your mordant pals at Atlas Games. More Guests! More Stories! Compatible with all Gloom games. Stir yourself from your fainting couch and grab it today!

The second edition of Mutant City Blues, by Robin D. Laws, and now with added Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, is now in print from Pelgrane Press. Grab your Quade Diagrams and solve the crimes of a near future where one per cent of the population wields super powers. Use the voucher code DIAGRAM2020 to get 15% off at the Pelgrane Store.

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!

Fear Is a Fractal …and your world is a lie. A horror freed from an antique book reverberates through reality. But don’t despair. There is hope. A King waits for us. And Impossible Landscapes, the  first campaign for Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game waits for you. In PDF now, hardback in May. Hailed as “one of the best RPG campaigns ever made” and “a masterpiece of surreal horror!”

One Response to “Episode 436: Needs to Have a Lith”

  1. Phil Masters says:

    I’m never sure how precise RPG terminology is yet. “Simulation” worries me, just to start with, because you can either simulate reality or you can simulate a genre; for example, Champions is flawed as a simulation of reality because of details that make it a good simulation of a certain type of ’70s Silver Age comics. (Being knocked back by punches doesn’t generally work like that, and nor does unconsciousness caused by concussion.) Most people take “simulationism” to mean “simulation of reality”, I guess, but even that leaves questions about how well the typical gamer understands reality.

    So a lot of “narrative” games are actually simulating narrative conventions. In reality, a detective isn’t guaranteed to discover the clues that will help solve a crime; mistakes happen. But in a mystery game, if that’s what the GM’s intentions demand, you may want the Gumshoe rule that guarantees success.

    And even “complexity” has more than one form. The podcast implied that GURPS was quite complex, which is somewhat justified, but it tries for clean complexity; there are rules for many things; most tests boil down to “roll 3d6” and often add “hope to roll below a target number”. Compare this with the first couple of editions of AD&D, which probably had rules for few different things than the GURPS Basic Set — but every time the writers added a new rule for a new thing, they’d invent a new dice mechanic for it, so the books ended up as a crawling heap of arbitrary rules, which were impossible for a casual player to learn. D&D 3rd edition looked radical because the authors clearly saw the problem, and revised the system to a much more GURPS style of clean complexity. If D&D3 was “the most complex edition”, it was at least learnably complex.

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