Join 3,557 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff
September 30, 2012 3:04 PM   Subscribe

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff, a podcast in which writer and game designer Robin D. Laws (Hamlet's Hitpoints, The GUMSHOE system) and game designer and writer Kenneth Hite (Tour De Lovecraft, GURPS Horror) (previously) talk about stuff. Stuffs include: Why vampires are assholes and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, stopping WWI and Beasts of the Southern Wild, Margaret Atwood and the difference between a mystic and an occultist, why no invented setting is as interesting as the real world and Woodrow Wilson, Gencon and sundry RPGs, Neil Armstrong, HP Blavatsky and theosophy, the ebook prcing settlement, what big publishing could learn from RPG publishers, and the many crazy fictional possibilities of Charles Lindbergh and his UFO investigating chums, and Dungeons and Dragons edition wars and Aliester Crowley.
posted by Artw (30 comments total) 67 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why on earth didn't I hear about this before? Just goes to show what you can miss. Still, doesn't look like I'm too late to the party. Cheers!
posted by howfar at 3:06 PM on September 30, 2012


It's a good podcast. There is plenty to agree and disagree with!

I am unconvinced by Hite's claims that National Health Care has been impossible in the US since WWII, for example, and his contention that the real world is more interesting than fictional worlds is simply not true (it makes more sense to say that it is really hard to create a realistic fictional world). On the other hand, his stuff on the Golden Dawn and Crowley is hilarious, and Laws makes me sad I don't go to the Toronto International Film Festival, so there is that. Pretty much a half hour of fun a week.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:24 PM on September 30, 2012


Someone who actually wanted to game all this stuff might do worse than Spirit of the Century.
posted by Egg Shen at 4:27 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ken Hite on Lovecraft and Everything
posted by Artw at 4:32 PM on September 30, 2012


Wow, two of my all-time favorite designers! Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention. I'm subscribed and enjoying them already. Robin Laws is so great-- loved him since his Robin's Laws of Gamemastering book. And I really want to play any of his Gumshoe system games, particularly the science-fiction iteration, Ashen Stars. If anything, I like Ken Hite even more, athough I wish sometimes he would do less Cthulu-like stuff. (I realize this is the equivalent of wishing that barbeque had less meat in it, but yeah, I can wish whatever I want.)
posted by seasparrow at 4:45 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


His GURPS horror is great - you could cut out all the RPG stuff and still have a fantastic essay on what makes horror settings work.
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on September 30, 2012


(and as for alternate histories, secret histories, conspiracies and the like, see the previously about for a great FPP)
posted by Artw at 4:48 PM on September 30, 2012


I haven't had the chance to read the link yet, but Robin D. Laws is one of my favorite game designers, if only just for creating the game "Nexus" and working a bit on "On the Edge."
posted by drezdn at 4:53 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh my god. *hyperventilates*
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:01 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there no iTunes link? Or at least an RSS feed?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:39 PM on September 30, 2012


It's not in the nav or anything? Here you go.
posted by Artw at 6:41 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


That link works for iTunes, but not for other podcast clients. When using Doggcatcher on Android, however, it seems you can use their blog's Entries RSS link. Maybe that will work in other clients too?
posted by JHarris at 7:58 PM on September 30, 2012


I picked up the [REDACTED] edition of Pelgrane's Night's Black Agents (which is just one of the greatest gaming books ever imo) as soon as I heard about it and have been listening to the podcast from the very beginning - in other Hite-related RPG news, Ken has also handed in the first draft of the GURPS Horror: The Madness Dossier (Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash" meets Tim Power's "Declare" via Grant Morrisson's "Doom Patrol"). It had a brief treatment in GURPS 3e Horror but now gets a 256 page supplement all to itself. Yay!

I am an admitted fanboy for mssrs. Hite and Laws and would heartily recommend reading their livejournals, twitter posts and any other stuff you can get your hands on. Hite's Suppressed Transmission columns from Pyramid magazine are a goldmine of weird and have provided myself and friends with many hours of roleplaying awesomeness.
posted by longbaugh at 1:52 AM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


it seems you can use their blog's Entries RSS link. Maybe that will work in other clients too?

It does. At least in iCatcher on iOS.
posted by howfar at 2:18 AM on October 1, 2012


Heh. I'm feeling like we should be biggingup Robin more, for balance. Hamlet's Hitpoints really is an excellent read, not just for people into RPGs but for anyone interested in narrative structures in general.
posted by Artw at 3:25 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Robin has written some additional stuff along those lines in the Pelgrane Press magazine "Page XX." The First 24 issues are available in .pdf from the Pelgrane Press shop for just $3.95. No more shilling now. Cub's honour.

Except once again to say that if you like RPGs you should totally buy Night's Black Agents. It really is utterly brilliant. Some of the variant vampire types that people have come up with are just incredible. I've learned a huge amount of Romanian and Russian folklore and mythology for my set up but that's why I love Ken so much. He's is directly responsible for about 75% of the books I buy.
posted by longbaugh at 4:06 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


People seem to like to drop Hite's name in RPG crowd-funding stretch goals. tremulus, a Lovecraftian RPG (like Dungeon World, which is free and Creative Commons licensed, it's based on the Apocalypse World rules) will offer an Innsmouth playset co-authored by Hite if they can make another $4320 in the next 14 hours. That's such a long shot, I'd normally rule it out, but Lovecraftian RPG fans are a nutty enough lot that I think it has a chance.
posted by Zed at 7:34 AM on October 1, 2012


If you like crazy RPG talk that veers off into other crazy stuff then you'd probably like the Unspeakable Oath podcast. What's that on episode 6? Oh it's Ken Hite talking about his work on the new standalone Delta Green at gencon.
posted by Artw at 12:50 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lately it seems like every time I see something about the Golden Dawn it turns out to be about these guys, so this is refreshing.
posted by homunculus at 1:08 PM on October 1, 2012


They do get a mention... the number of steps before you get a connection to fascism being one of the core statistics when appraising any occult society or figure. Crowley is one of the few that gets a clear on that, though either accident or design, plus has a number of wacky WWII stories.
posted by Artw at 1:15 PM on October 1, 2012


Wacky Crowley secret agent stories
posted by Zed at 1:33 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Crowley was supposedly a (completely ineffectual) spy for Germany during WWI and there was some suggestion that he may have been of use against the Germans during WWII due to his contacts with the O.T.O., although by that time however Crowley had pretty much burned his bridges with his European brethren. There have been a lot of recent attempts to paint him as some sort of secret agent but I doubt this was the case in reality as Crowley was such a collossal fuck-up that he would never have been trusted with secrets of any kind by the British government.

Certainly Crowley was discussed as part of the plan to manipulate Rudolf Hess with "made-up" horoscopes* but to me the most interesting links are between Crowley and the British Fascist movement via Sir Maxwell Knight, a rather fascinating character. Knight was originally an SIS (MI6) agent but later became head of MI5's B5(b) section in charge of infiltrating subversise groups (mostly Communists) and held some quite terrible opinions (although some forward thinking ideas about female agents) but he also spent a fair amount of time with, and later became a student of Crowley along with the author Dennis Wheatley. Knight's wife also met Crowley and amongst the more enthusiastic theorists commited suicide after a relationship with him.

The aforementioned plan to encourage Hess to defect was a plan of Knight's along with Ian Fleming (who were also good friends). If you're a fan of Ken Hite's "Bisociation" theory you can create a whole hell of a lot of fantastic stories and theories with this lot alone, further research down the rabbit hole reveals even more ties between the fascist movement, Britain's secret services and magick that add a fantasic spin to a whole period of British history.


*more than usual that is.
posted by longbaugh at 1:04 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, Bisociation theory is Ken Hite, by way of Arthur Koestler. Ken was my introduction to the concept however.
posted by longbaugh at 1:15 AM on October 2, 2012


Crowley-style occultism, with its focus on the will of the individualism, makes for very comfortable bedfellows with authoritarian politics.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:42 AM on October 2, 2012


Really you want Fuller in there - invented blitzkrieg tank warfare (though the germans really got to use it first)! Bit of a fascist! Occult nut and mates with all of the above!
posted by Artw at 6:49 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


And speaking of Robin Laws and Ken Hite, Robin just launched a kickstarter for Hillfolks, the DramaSystem game he's been blogging about for a while, which he's described as "if Hamlet's Hit Points [his book on narrative beat analysis] is the theory, DramaSystem is the practice." To no great surprise, one of the stretch goals, already reached, is a setting by Hite.
posted by Zed at 3:24 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pledged!
posted by Artw at 3:36 PM on October 4, 2012


Mad Speculation and Absolute Inhumanism: Lovecraft, Ligotti and the Weirding of Philosophy
posted by homunculus at 6:20 PM on October 4, 2012


Just listened to the first of these and the breakdown of what makes a Thriller is one of the best I've ever heard.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:51 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Beasts of the Southern Wild: America's new magical realism
posted by homunculus at 9:46 AM on October 16, 2012


« Older Go Pro Grain Farming...  |  Romance novel covers are a fre... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments