Abraham Lincoln

Episode 6: The Mystic Power of Indexing

September 14th, 2012 | Robin

This week’s stuff-talking kicks off with another Among My Many Hats. Here Robin unravels the circuitous design history of  his Dying Earth Revivification Folio, as Ken orders his sandestin to provide him with perks and snails.

In Ask Ken and Robin, we ponder cases in which D&D fights are better off without a battle grid.

Then we journey to the History Hut to consider Neil Armstrong and the passing of the space age.

Finally we call upon Ken in his capacity as Consulting Occultist to introduce us to H. P. Blavatsky and the Theosophists.

12 Responses to “Episode 6: The Mystic Power of Indexing”

  1. RogerBW says:

    A possible future Ask Ken and Robin: When designing a setting, Ken’s said, his first recourse is often to find a bit of the real world (present or historical) that can be made to serve as a backdrop – because there’s lots more detail there than a single author could come up with. What are some reasons not to use the real world?

  2. Brett Evill says:

    I find your web page opaque, and can’t figure out how to send you an e-mail or even an original (thread-starting) comment.

    You mentioned that you are in want of questions to discuss. How about this?:

    Nothing buckles a swash like a Ruritanian kingdom in the middle of Europe, but in fact those have been pretty thin on the ground since 1866. Lichtenstein is just too small a postage stamp, and there is something inappropriate about its uniqueness and anomalousness. So, what can you do to history to get a plethora of Graustrakish states in middle Europe around 1890–1910 while retaining as recognisable a 19th Century as possible?

  3. taffy finger says:

    Wuld like to know about your families, Your upbringings. Influeences ya know? How do u think ya got to be so kewl. Luck, Fuck, or Duck?

  4. Another great episode. A few more questions to throw in there:

    1. In Episode 5, Ken mentioned he and Dennis Detwiller had very different sense of how to place the “fun” and access to that fun in a game. Could you talk more about that and how both Ken & Robin see the GM’s role in setting up fun for the players.

    2. A number of games, especially indie and story games have added in factors which essentially legislate morality within the game space. Humanity in Vampire, Honor in L5R, Clarity in Changeling the Lost. What’s your take on those kinds of mechanics and how can such systems- which subjectively evaluate player behaviors through the GM?

    3. Paralleling the revelation of Bubblegumshoe as an unexplored mystery genre in rpgs, are there sub-genres of horror which you think haven’t been explored in rpgs or explored only lightly?

    4. What are three books- gaming or otherwise- not written by either host, you would recommend as strong or essential reading for new rpgers or those wanting to deepen their skills?

  5. Got a question for you: With the possible exception of Deadlands, the Western genre seems to be a bit of a neglected step-child of the rpg scene. What are your ideas on why this is so? And what would you put into a game/campaign to make the genre work for a group of protagonists?

  6. Chris says:

    I have some questions for the History Hut

    Is there any pattern to the development of occult movements in world history?

    How would the world be different if the Protestants had won the French Wars of Religion?

    How are the various prophecies for 2012 shaping up?



  7. Thomas B says:

    First, please continue with this show as it has become one of the highlights of my week.

    Second, as requested, some questions for Ken and Robin….

    1: Who would win a spelling bee between Peter Parker and Clark Kent? I see this as quite a puzzling contest with Clark being an accomplished journalist and Peter being a genius (albeit with a science rather than English specialty).

    2: Who would win a one on one basketball match between Yoda and Gandalf? (to clarify the more spry version of Yoda in the gods awful prequel movies and Gandalf the white not grey).

    3: What is the genre (or sub genre) that you would most like to tackle in RPG design? Either one you feel has been underutilized or one that has been done before (perhaps even overdone) but not to your taste/satisfaction thus far.

    Keep up the stellar work.

  8. Thanks for answering my question this episode, guys.

    I figured on a “it depends” sort of answer and it was an excuse for you guys to talk about it in general. And you went in interesting directions!

    Elephant God Sorcerer. I’m totally stealing that, Ken.

    New question!

    How do you get the patina of plausibility into an alternate history set up? How do you balance plausibility and avoiding the railroad of successive logical events that real history (ours) simply isn’t.

  9. Leó Páll Hrafnsson says:

    Ask Ken and Robin: how would you describe an established setting to players who don’t know anything about it without boring them to tear and still giving them a good feel for the setting so they are comfortable creating characters and intersecting with the setting.

    for instance how would you describe Paranoia with all the communism
    or Kult where the setting twist is so cool
    or Glorantha i mean wear do you even start or when
    or Warhammer 40000…

    i find that the “elevator pitch” will often lead players astray or gives them the wrong idea of what the game is like and sometimes turns them off when they might love it if they give it a try.

    with gowning shelf’s full of amazing RPG books and players hesitant of trying new and different games i trow myself on my knees at your alter of wizdom and knowledge and ask for your guidance.

    P.S. thank you for a grate podcast and grate RPG stuff

  10. Hey guys,

    I am listening to all of your episodes back to back and enjoying them immensely. Keep talking about stuff.

    On the subject of Bubble Gumshoe: there actually is an RPG based on the teenage detective genre. It’s a free indie production written in German called “1W6 Freunde”, which means “1D6 Friends”. This alludes to the German title of Enid Blyton’s series Famous Five, the German translation which is “Five Friends” or “Fünf Freunde”. Granted, the system is very basic, and it’s a fan production, but hey, if for once I know something that Ken doesn’t, I had to share.

  11. Fredrik Carlén says:

    I suspect strongly that that’s not the case, but when you’re alluding to “the sort of Darwinian notion that everything is being evolved to ever and ever better selves”, it seems that you have severely misunderstood Darwinism, and Neodarwinism to an even greater extent. Your use of “sort of” sort of mitigates the damage somewhat, but gee, I really think this is the kind of wording that should very carefully be avoided in order not to spread the disease.

  12. Jason Middleton says:

    Okay – I have no idea if you guys will even see a comment on a 2-year-old podcast, but I have a question.

    Can Ken tell us about the specific printing of ‘The Secret Doctrine’ he has? It really is an extraordinarily opaque work. A heavily-indexed copy sounds very handy. Any chance for specific publication information? Maybe even an ISBN?

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