Abraham Lincoln

Episode 9: Riesling and Dirigibles

October 5th, 2012 | Robin

With a tip of the hat to sponsors Profantasy Software, we fling open the inaugural doors of the Cartography Hut to contemplate maps we have known and loved.

In a frenzy of construction, we then throw caution to the wind and cut the ribbon on Politics Hut, in which we look at the current US Presidential election from the Republican and Canadian points of view.

Ask Ken and Robin prompts us to consider: can comedy and Lovecraft coexist? (Thanks for the question, Monica Valentinelli.)

Finally, Ken faces his most daunting Ken’s Time Machine yet as Time Incorporated asks him to prevent Prohibition.

9 Responses to “Episode 9: Riesling and Dirigibles”

  1. Simon Rogers says:

    We do offer drawing tools for those Old School style maps:

    As well as 1930s style floorplans:

    And vast collections of real world maps:

    Historical Style Maps: (Medieval strip maps)

    Interestingly, Mike Riddle, who writes our core CAD engine wrote the first version of AutoCAD

  2. John F Rauchert says:

    Cartography Hut
    I fondly remember the fun of mis-labeled map reference in Judges Guild (City State of the World Emperor, I believe) which placed rocks with Sirens luring passerbys their doom in the middle of a Grasslands hex.

    Ken’s Time Machine
    Possibly decoupling the Temperance Movement from the Suffrage Movement would have an effect. “Every drink is a vote for Women.”

  3. Brett Evill says:


    Concerning the prevention of Prohibition:

    1. Given that, as far as I know, the US got into WWI in 1917, it was not entirely clear to me how the scrawniness and pallor of young men called up to Wilson’s War in 1917 caused people to vote for Temperance platforms in 1916. Perhaps that needed more explanation.

    2. But accepting that the connection is there, perhaps if Ken were to go back to, say, the 1870s and steer some promising scientists into studying the dietary causes of pellagra and rickets, that would demolish one pillar of support for Prohibition forty years later. While he was there, it would do no harm to discover the microbial cause of tertiary syphilis.

    3. On the topic of long-term plans to liquefy the intellectual foundations of the Temperance movement in the USA, one approach that immediately springs to my devious and unscrupulous mind is to set up some other country as a ghastly object lesson. If you were to encourage some country to prohibit alcohol, and preferrably to declare War on Rum, in about 1900, then by 1916 many of the dangers might be apparent. Ideally this country ought to be reasonably conspicuous to the American view, and not possessed of such qualities as despotism, poverty etc. as might make it seem a poor analogy to the USA. I suggest the United Kingdom of Sweden and Norway, or perhaps New Zealand.

    4. Combining the scientific bent of point 2 with the callousness of point 3, I further suggest a counter-irritant. A little judicious leaking of anachronistic information over drinks in the purlieus of various universities in the early 1880s ought to bring forward the discovery and recreational use of cocaine, morphine, and particularly amphetamines, heroin, and LSD, to about 1910. That would give the wowsers something to worry about that might distract them from alcohol.

    No-one said yet that Time Inc. had to achieve its contract goals by making the world a better place.


    Brett Evill

  4. Jonathan Moriarity says:

    If this assignment seems more ridiculous than most, my only excuse is that my poor brain is addled by my trembling anticipation for the new X-COM game.

    Disaster is imminent, and Time Incorporated has assigned its best agent, Kenneth Hite, to the task of saving the world.

    Aliens will invade Earth on January 1st, 1000AD. These are not subtle invaders like the Body Snatchers, but more like the destructive little five year-olds from Mars Attacks. Sadly, they have no weakness to horrible music or even the common cold.

    Stopping them will require the combined efforts of the entire world’s population, using technology and tactics many centuries in advance of the era. And although this will completely bork the timeline, the alternative is annihilation and/or enslavement at the hands our new alien overlords.

    Here is the bad news.
    1) Some kind of interference is preventing us from sending anyone farther back than 1AD.
    2) We can only send you to five separate locations in spacetime before our equipment fails.
    3) You cannot remain in any of these locations for more than two years before proceeding to the next.
    4) You cannot bring any objects of advanced technology with you.

    Here’s the good news.
    1) We can boost your immune system, rendering you invulnerable to all illness during your mission.
    2) We can upload certain key information directly to your brain to assist with your mission. This includes:
    2a) fluency in any terrestrial languages you may require for your mission, and
    2b) basic scientific and technological know-how for all known science up to about 1950AD (for science beyond 1950 you will need to rely on what you already know).
    3) We can arrange for your arrival in each spacetime location to be sufficiently spectacular that no one who is present at that moment will doubt that you come on a true and urgent mission to save the world.

    The fate of the world is in your hands, agent Hite. Good luck.


    The aliens are coming in 1700 AD, and we can’t send you farther back than 1600 AD.
    Otherwise, same deal.

    Or, y’know, pick a timeframe that’s interesting and fun. I’m sure the aliens won’t mind waiting.

  5. Kenneth Hite says:

    Brett: The 1916 elections demonstrate my point that the Temperance movement is a broader-based phenomenon than Time, Inc. normally budgets for.

    The Volstead Act passed in 1918, based in no small part on war-propaganda (including the scrawniness of recruits and the “waste” of grain as alcohol) demonstrating my point that it’s Wilson’s War’s fault.

    Cake, had and eaten.

  6. Conrad Kinch says:


    “You’ve mentioned several times that Robin is a Canadian and that Ken is a Republican and that you differ in matters of politics, cordially though, in a Chestertonian-Shavian manner.

    I’ll leave the fight over who gets to be Shaw and who gets to be Chesterton to you two.

    Do you think that the authors political or religious beliefs impact on the games that they write? Can you tell a game written by a Democrat from that written by a Republican? Do you think Sandy Peterson’s Mormonism impacted on Call of Cthulhu?

    Geek fiction is littered with examples of the author tract, where the science fiction is a thinly veiled excuse to talk about those damn commies/fascists/christians/capitalists/etc. Are there examples of that sort of thing in gaming? Is their presence/absence a bad thing?”

  7. Cambias says:

    Best game map, and most useful by far: the 3-d star map in SPI’s game Universe. In those bygone pre-internet days, that was the ONLY graphical representation of the stars within 30 light-years of Earth, period.

    It was also the only reason to buy that game, which was pretty much completely unplayable.

  8. nickpheas says:

    I fear Ken rather over estimates the villainy of Woodrow Wilson if he thinks that preventing his election could save German wine’s popularity in the British Empire.
    World War One happens. America stays out, but either Germany wins, and no gentleman would by from the crowing Huns, or victory is finally gained in 1919, with the allies even more wrecked by the longer war, and they can no longer afford it.

  9. mks says:

    aboot comedy & Lovecraft: i notice a difference between British (and Canadians) and USAers and their horror gaming — USAers take their horror literally and a tad too seriously whereas British & Canadians laugh…

    it might be a cultural thing — why do so many American RPGs have to do with breaking the law, ferinstance?

    Might be something else to talk aboot in a future podcast of yours :3

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