Abraham Lincoln

Episode 60: Problems With Sabertooth Tigers

October 11th, 2013 | Robin

With the smoke from our burning village billowing behind us, we take momentary refuge in the Gaming Hut to discuss great migration campaign frames.

Under the war-room glare of the Geopolitics Hut we look at the averted strike on Syria and the limits of military intervention.

Ask Ken and Robin features a Tim Daly question about the relative virtues of designing a game engine from the ground up, as opposed to adapting an existing house system.

Finally the Consulting Occultist goes back to basics to study the surprisingly young history of the Tarot.

Our anchor sponsor this episode is Engine Publishing and their system-neutral GM resource, Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management. Get $5 off in the Engine Publishing store using code KARTAS20, good through November 2013!

17 Responses to “Episode 60: Problems With Sabertooth Tigers”

  1. David says:

    What would it take to create a Gumshoe edition of Unknown Armies, and how would Gumshoizing Unknown Armies change the essential qualities of play?

    • Robin says:

      The GUMSHOE SRD will be out very shortly, so all you have to do is convince John Nephew that it would represent a good return on investment.

  2. Fredrik Carlén says:

    Greetings, grands maîtres! I am still only at ep. 38 of your eminent podcast, so excuse me if I suggest a subject already penetrated in some installment of the show, but wouldn’t it be a good idea to talk a bit about Léo Taxil, or Gabriel Jogand-Pagès?

    I have recently read “The Prague Cemetery”, and found it excellent.

  3. Baard Enoksen says:

    As Cineasts and fans of asian cinema, you might be interested to know that the believed lost 1927″ Cave of the Silken Web” has been found in the norwegian national archives, and lovingly restored.

    Just saw the first screening, and its delightfully stuffed with martial arts and humor and myazaki-ish parade of spirits and monsters.
    Absolutely worth being on the lookout for!

  4. Cambias says:

    Has any enterprising modern-day occultist come up with a set of mystical interpretations of Mexican loteria images?

  5. Tim Daly says:

    I must say that the quality of questions in this episode was top notch!

    Thanks for using my question, of course. Great episode.

    I would like to submit for Ken that if the American Politial Right’s taste for blowing things up in other countries doesn’t return to previous levels after Obama leaves office, I’ll surely eat my hat.

  6. Jake Boone says:

    As far as the geopolitical hut is concerned, if any GMs want a way to have the PCs play what we now think of as the jihadi side of a conflict while avoiding the thornier attendant issues, you could do a lot worse than to file the serial numbers off of 1983’s “V” miniseries (or the 2009 remake).

    To the general public (at least early in the invasion), the PCs are a bunch of horrible terrorists, attacking perfectly lovely beings from another world for no reason beyond their fanatical ideology/belief system. But the PCs know they know better; they know what’s really going on behind the scenes.

    I suppose a particularly evil GM might set up something that looks like V, but in which the PCs are (no doubt unwittingly) being misled by a charismatic leader into attacking peaceful-seeming aliens who turn out to be actually peaceful. I’m not sure how one would handle the big reveal at the end without being summarily strung up by your players, but that’s not my problem. 🙂

    • Tim Daly says:

      Good take. Even looking at Night’s Black Agents, if the public doesn’t know about the existance of Vampires, then the PC’s might indeed look like terrorists as well.

  7. Tom says:

    The Aeneid would be a good model for a Great Migration game.

    Compelling reason to leave – check. The Greeks have burnt your city to the ground and want to kill you all.

    And then there’s all sorts of episodes along the way – from the fake-out (“This place will be our new homeland! Wait, why are the trees bleeding?”) to distractions from the True Path (Dido, etc.).
    And then when you finally get there… [spoiler alert for a work published in 19BC] there’s already a whole bunch of people living there.

    • RogerBW says:

      As a variant, Anabasis is not so much a migration as a journey — the end is more or less known, it’s just a matter of having lots of hostile country to cross before one gets there.

  8. John Willson says:

    “Abominable Snowman’s real identity suggested by new DNA test”

    I didn’t know that evidence of yeti consisted of anything more than blurry photographs and folktales, but apparently there are a number of people with hair and bone samples of remains identified as yeti.

    Scientists posit a genetic relative of the modern polar bear, with perhaps a greater facility for walking upright. Fascinating.

  9. James says:

    Dear Ken and Robin: I’m REALLY tired of hearing about my personal president and congress…is there any way to tempt Robin into distract me from U.S. politics with a bulletin on his personal mayor? Misery loves company, after all…

  10. LJS says:

    65 cases of rare Kentucky Bourbon stolen — looks like a mystery for Ken to solve!

    Or is Ken busy using his time machine on the side to create 20 yo whiskey?

  11. darren t. says:

    Just really enjoyed the episode as the migration idea is a fun way of just sending a group of players out in the wild thanks to a volcano, army, or whatnot and you both brought up some interesting ideas on what all to do with it.

    Did want to point out my own use of the Tarot which you & the readers on the site might find useful. I’d either use it (with the booklet that came with it*) when generating RPG characters when I want 2-4 random things that happened to them in their background & with the tarot being a general catch-all of what could happen just to spice things up a little as well as not spending forever trying to pick something. The other use is similar to this & it was used when getting hit with writer’s block in writing fiction assignments for classes but could work great for a writer/GM coming up with an adventure for the players where you just try 2 random things (picking 1 or combining them together) to just see if either of those two ideas would work better than what I thought of originally or something to tie things back to some side plot.

    Example on the 2nd one would be a dead end mystery chapter where I’m stuck on where to send the character next, getting the Lovers card & the Wheel of Fortune could be something to try where it’s bringing in someone the character only heard the name of & have them turn into a rich love interest. If that idea doesn’t work, try something else or just think of some other possibilities (ie. ex-girlfriend striking it rich & getting revenge on the main character now that she has some money to burn).

    Keep up the great work guys & looking forward to hearing more!

    *I tend to use the Halloween Tarot as it’s got some whimsical spooky art to it and not too obscure to have me trying to guess on the meaning with those times I can’t find the booklet.

  12. Jeromy French says:


    Chaucer – Canterbury Tales
    Ronald Decker and Michael Dummett – History of the Occult Tarot
    T.S. Elliot – The Wasteland
    Tim Powers – Last Call
    Unknown – The Bible – the book of Exodus to be specific.
    Vyasa – Mahabharata
    Charles Williams – The Greater Trumps

    TV Shows
    Battlestar Galactica
    Hell On Wheels
    Star Trek: Voyager

    Casablanca by Michael Curtiz
    Live and Let Die by Guy Hamilton

  13. The topic of Tarot in gaming always makes me think of TAROT, the SPECTRE stand-in from Victory Games’s James Bond 007 RPG.

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