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Episode 440: All the Van Helsings

April 9th, 2021 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut the beloved Patreon backer known as Ed, Speaker in Digressions, asks us to envision a game that that arcs from a state of nature to civil society.

The Tradecraft Hut steams open the career of Alexandrine, Countess of Taxis, and Postmistress of the Holy Roman Empire.

The ongoing Cinema Hut Horror Essentials series reaches installment 15, and the mid-oughts.

Finally, estimable Patreon backers Bill Durfy and Gray St. Quintin fall for our sinister plan and ask for the full Eliptony Hut story on the Highgate Vampire.

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.


Human problems are out of hand, so thank goodness, and Atlas Games, for Magical Kitties Save the Day, a fresh, fun roleplaying game for players of all ages, and for GMs from age 6 and up!

A murderous mystery lies beneath the gladiatorial arenas in the majestic, dragon-patrolled city of Axis. Only your first level 13th Age characters can confront it, in Crown of Axis, by Wade Rockett, now available at the Pelgrane Press shop.

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!”

6 Responses to “Episode 440: All the Van Helsings”

  1. I will be cruel enough to remind you (if it ever crossed your consciousness) of ARIA: CANTICLE OF THE MONOMYTH which was the first and disastrous attempt to make an rpg on the Grand Scale Of Civilizations. The wonder of it is that it was ever published at all. As Andrew Rilstone’s review put it the problem was that you were playing Nations: “Soviet Union, what do you do?” “I suffer a series of internal struggles and metamorphose into numerous successor states.”

    I too thought of MIRCROSCOPE. The problem with it in my opinion is that it assumes (because it is a story generating machine) that you know where the ending is going to be from the start. Which cuts into player agency.

    Other particular games that should be mentioned include LEGACY which is the Powered By The Apocalypse variant of post-apocalypse society. This, like MICROSCOPE, zooms in and out in scale with two levels that of individual heroes and that of the cultures/factions they come from. And then there is REIGN which isn’t so useful in running games of social change on a huge scale but which I would choose to portray the moment of change, the moment at which a particular stage of society ends and a new one begins.

  2. malkav11 says:

    I actually am only familiar with Thurn und Taxis because there’s a classic Euro boardgame by that name.

  3. All the way through the first segment, I kept wanting to yell at my podcast app: “Caleb Stokes just did this whole exact thing! It’s called “Nagalisitu,” and it’s a setting for Greg Stolze’s game Reign 2nd ed.” So not I guess I’m yelling that in the form of a comment. 🙂

    The way it’s nerd-troped is that the PCs are basically time travelers, but only in the forward direction. They enter a primordial world through a portal, and start guiding a nascent tribe toward civilization. Then they leave and return, fast-forwarding to a point later in their pet civilization’s history, where their old deeds have faded into legend, and then make more changes on their civilization’s development path. Basically, like in Narnia, their “real-world” dimension moves through time much slower than their civilization’s pocket dimension. It’s a very cool concept!

  4. Michael David Jr says:

    I would love to hear Ken and Robin talk about Montague Summers, mentioned in the Highgate Vampire segment. This clergyman translated the Malleus Maleficarum into English in the 1920s and wrote seriously about vampires, werewolves, and witchcraft as real world evils. He knew Aleister Crowley. I think Ken mentioned him in his Supressed Transmission column from the online magazine Pyramid. How can we use his life and works in our games, including maybe a Dracula Dossier campaign or in a Yellow King game?

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