Abraham Lincoln

Episode 99: Methane Planet of the Rakshasas

July 25th, 2014 | Robin

We are honored and delighted to say that Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff has been nominated for a 2o14 ENnie Award for Best Podcast. If you are seeing this before Aug 1st, and want us bounding up to that podium on Friday night at Gen Con, please do us a huge solid and go to the ENnies voting booth and pull the virtual lever.

Watch out for wandering monsters as the Gaming Hut looks at random tables.

In the Mythology Hut we answer the call of listener Genus Unknown to examine the roots of the Faust legend.

The Cartography Hut encourages you to map your imaginary city’s zones of safety and danger.

Then the Consulting Occultist goes psychedelic with a look at the Source Family and its karate-chopping, bank robbing New Age guru, Father Yod.

From the magical land of sponsors comes Atlas Games, who with a twinkle of fairy dust revive their 2nd Edition Once Upon a Time clearance sale.


8 Responses to “Episode 99: Methane Planet of the Rakshasas”

  1. Carrie says:

    I’m kind of amazed that your discussion of modern Faust stories left out the crossroads devil–I know Ken knows about Robert Johnson, there was a Suppressed Transmission about him!

    Unless there’s some reason that doesn’t count as Faustian, but it seems pretty clear; it’s got the essential elements of making a deal for earthly things and a time limit.

  2. Jason Mical says:

    I love this morning’s podcast (it makes driving to work on Fridays much more tolerable). I thought of one really good example of a recent Faust(ian) story: the Sam Raimi flick Drag Me to Hell. It’s a nice inversion because the character starts as the nonbeliever and compromises her own morals, and in so doing damns herself to a very real devil / hell.

    It’s also an interesting metaphor for eating disorders, which are their own kind of Faustian bargain I suppose?

  3. Michael Cule says:

    You might want to mention vis a vis the origins of the Faust myth the story of the 10th century Pope Sylvester II who got accused (on the grounds of knowing stuff about mathematics and astronomy) of having sold his soul to gain the pontifical throne.

    And the classic modern retelling of the Faust myth is surely James Blish’s BLACK EASTER OR FAUST ALEPH-NULL.

  4. pauldaniel says:

    It sounds like the source family would make a great fiasco play set!

  5. PaulB says:

    The segment on randomness brought up multiple thoughts for me:
    -Player-facing randomness in 1st ed. AD&D also included explicitly random magic items like the wand of wonder and the deck of many things which I still have a lot of fondness for, and created many memorable situations in my groups (mainly of things going horribly wrong).
    -My memory is that one of the reasons for the potion miscibility table was to provide a disincentive to players trying to stack too many different potion effects–if you drank more than one potion in a fixed amount of time, you risked being poisoned or worse (I think the bad results were a lot more likely than the good results).
    -One additional function for random encounters can be to represent the passage of time which is often difficult in a game. If the players are deciding between sailing to a city that is 1 day away compared to a city that is 7 days away, it is hard to give the players the experience of just sitting around doing mostly nothing for an extra 6 days (at least in an entertaining way). However, the difference between marking off provisions and rolling and fighting random encounters once compared to seven times can serve to distinguish between the two experiences.

  6. Tom Vallejos says:

    First, about random tables. I rarely, if ever used them. I have been on the receiving end of bad stuff happening. Maybe that’s why I had stayed away from them. I might give them another after hearing this segment.

    Second, about the Source family band. Sorry name escapes me at the moment Despite what was said on the podcast, my wife claims she has heared them on local jazz stations.

  7. […] is your bag, how about albums released by a full-blown cult? The Source Family – as discussed by Ken and Robin recently – produced all kinds of wacked out music before Father Yod went for his first and […]

  8. Single-use neighborhoods require either physically small neighborhoods or efficient transportation infrastructure. If foot travel is the assumed mode of transport, your workers will typically be housed within about a mile (at most) of their workplaces, and all the necessities of life will need to be obtainable within that same radius.

    In a large city in an early setting, I would expect a cobbler’s street (with the cobblers living above their shops), a street of dyers, and the like, but not whole sections of the city devoted to each of those. And everywhere there would be places to get food, drink, and clothing (possibly street vendors rather than shops, of course).

    Once you have broadly available streetcars, buses, bicycles, or (particularly) individually owned motor transport, these constraints largely disappear.

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