Special: Don’t Wake The Bear, Hare!

It’s one year since we released our first episode! We talk about the coming season 3, plus our son’s favourite book…

Show Notes

Liz and Ralph with some pre-Season 3 ramblings, plus Don’t Wake The Bear, Hare! by Steve Smallman and Caroline Pedler

Season 3 ideas 02:10 // Synopsis 07:50 // Themes 09:45 // Liz’s game 14:50 // Dread 18:05 // Ralph’s game 18:55 // Before the Storm 21:55

Music credits

“Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Summer Special: Beyond the Wall

In this seasonal special, Ralph interviews John Cocking and Peter Williams, authors of Beyond the Wall.

Show Notes

Ralph Lovegrove with John Cocking and Peter Williams of Flatland Games.

About Flatland Games 00:30 // Reading background 01:35 // Fantasy and D&D 04:40 // Swallows and Amazons 05:40 // Aiming for a roleplaying experience 07:05 // The lone wolf hero in fiction and RPGs 08:30 // The World of Darkness 10:45 // A shout out for Dragon Warriors 18:35 // How Beyond the Wall came to be 20:45 // What is the “D&D experience”? 24:30 // A four year-old’s perspective on system matching 25:55 // The lingua franca 29:30 // The playbooks and layers for other D&D 31:05 // BtW’s spells (and Ars Magica) 33:10 // Design — what came first? 36:25 // BtW and Appendix N 41:40 // Other fiction properties that should be RPGs 43:00 // Your favourite Eternal Champion (Ralph blathers a bit here…) 44:50 // Stormbringer RPG 48:30 // US-UK cross-cultural 49:20 // Flatland Games’ other offerings (Action Movie World, Wizard’s Museum Construction Kit) 52:20

Music credits

“Cylinder Eight“ and “Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 217: Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany

In our last episode of the season Ralph, Liz and Josh struggle to communicate over Samuel R. Delany’s Babel-17.

Show Notes

Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany

Elizabeth Lovegrove, Josh Fox and Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:45 // Jo Walton’s review 04:30 // Themes 05:10 // The Dead on tape 08:00 // Translation and Memory 12:40 // Hyperspace 14:25 // Non-binary life partners 15:45 // Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis 24:00 // Sleeper agents 28:35 // Gaming by hypnosis 30:25 // Faceless invaders 34:15 // RPG bit — Josh 37:55 // Liz (Grunting, Dialect RPGs) 39:00 // Ralph 44:40 // Last bits 52:20

Book References

Since we mentioned several titles in this episode, here’s our mini bibliography.

The Babel-17 wiki page lists other works that were influenced by this book including Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Ted Chiang’s Story Of Your Life (made into the film Arrival).

Finally, here’s Jo Walton’s review of Babel-17.

Game Notes

Five Conversational Hypnosis Tools For MCs by Pete Kautz.

Grunting is a free RPG by Jen Spencer.

Dialect is a game about how language dies. It’s post-Kickstarter (but I guess you can pre-order it).

We mentioned Night Witches (yes, AGAIN).

Ralph has started his Dramasystem/OSR mashup anyway (yeah, DEAL WITH IT JOSH). It’s called StormHack. Mini SRD here.

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 216: Second Variety by Philip K. Dick

Ralph, Liz and Josh give each other the side eye trying to work out which of the others are human… we read Philip K. Dick’s Second Variety.

Show Notes

Second Variety by Philip K. Dick

Elizabeth Lovegrove, Josh Fox and Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis and comments start 00:30 // BSG 05:00 // The 100 13:25 // RPG bit starts with Liz 15:05 // Josh’s Game 16:50 // Ralph’s Game 19:50

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 215: Le Transperceneige, Snowpiercer

Ralph and Josh board Le Transperceneige a.k.a. the Snowpiercer.

Show Notes

Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, made into the film Snowpiercer by Bong Joon-Ho

Josh Fox and Ralph Lovegrove

Film Synopsis 00:45 // Graphic Novels 03:35 // Themes 08:05 // Oldboy 11:55 // The Hope by James Lovegrove 24:20 // The RPG bit (it’s Apocalpse World, innit) 26:00 // Wool by Hugh Howey 30:20 // Rise and Fall 37:00 // Last words 39:00 // Hollowpoint 39:25 // Actually these are the last words 39:30 // No, really, these are the last words 40:20 // The Bed Sitting Room and the London Underground (and Neverwhere) 40:30

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 214: Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee

This episode Liz, Becky and Ralph hang around long after they should have moved on, chatting about Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee.

Show Notes

Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee

Elizabeth Lovegrove and Becky Annison with Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:30 // Comments 02:15 // Sabriel 19:15 // RPG bit starts 21:10 // Liz’s game 21:20 // (Ralph’s superhero WaRP) 23:00 // (Lights, Camera, Action!) 28:10 // Becky’s Game 34:40 // Witch: the Road to Lindisfarne 35:15 // The Mountain Witch 38:10 // Ralph’s Game 40:10 // Wraith 43:20 // (it takes two, baby) 46:35 // Did we like it? (plus other works: Elephantasm, Night’s Master, Don’t Bite The Sun) 47:50 // The Blake’s 7 connection 51:00

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 213: Kiteworld by Keith Roberts

(see our previous episode)

Keith Roberts wrote nine groups of short stories, four of which are linked novellas. Kiteworld was published nearly 20 years after Pavane and bears more than a passing resemblance to the earlier collection, despite it’s post-apocalyptic setting.

Music credits

“Cylinder Four“ from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 212: Pavane by Keith Roberts

This episode is a collaboration between Fictoplasm and the Tabletop Roleplayer’s Book Club. Ralph discusses their April book choice, Keith Roberts’ alternate history Pavane with guests Ray Otus and Paul Mitchener.

Show Notes

Pavane by Keith Roberts

Paul Mitchener and Ray Otus with Ralph Lovegrove

Introducing the Tabletop Roleplayer’s Book Club 00:50 // Synopsis 02:00 // Comments 05:10 // Fairies 06:15 // Darkness and the economics of light 10:45 // Caught up in events 17:40 // Isolation 20:15 // Independence 29:00 // The RPG bit — Paul’s Game 35:20 // Ray’s ideas 36:20 // Callisto and De Profundis 36:45 // Itras By 38:40 // Apocryphal Chris’s idea 39:50 // Ralph’s Game 41:35 // Rise and Fall 41:50 // Microscope and Kingdom 42:05 // The Village 44:50 // Binary games 46:50 // Last words 49:00

Extra

See this infinityplus review and the comments on the Coda.

Tim Harford’s 50 Things That Made The Modern Economy includes this episode on The Lightbulb.

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 211: Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Special guest Tom McGrenery joins Mo and Ralph to discuss Ruritanian Romance, fictional places and the fine art of bullshitting in Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire.

Show Notes

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Mo Holkar and special guest Tom McGrenery, with Ralph Lovegrove

The Ruritanian Romance 01:00 // Synopsis 02:10 // Linear vs Nonsequential reading, and other comments 08:10 // The RPG Bit — Mo 12:20 // Microscope, Kaliedoscope, Endoscope 13:00 // Tom’s Bit 18:15 // Historical RPGs (and the fear of getting them wrong) 19:30 // Ruritania in Delta Green 19:45 // Imaginary Places 20:30 // The Shab Al-Hiri Roach 23:40 // Ralph’s Bit 24:55 // When the Dark is Gone (trauma from imaginary places) 25:35 // Planetary 9: Planet Fiction 26:15 // It Follows 27:05 // Ralph’s spy game (Pale Assassins) 28:35 // Last words 31:00

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Runequest’s Appendix N

Following on from this post, a friend pointed out that Runequest also had its own Appendix N. I don’t know which edition (I don’t think it’s in my Games Workshop one) but the text has apparently been copied verbatim (with spelling errors) by peopletobe, including a commentary at the end. A slightly longer post on doug’s devices & desires takes this further with some comments on the content. These posts come from 2010 and 2011 and the latter is “in production”.

Since the web is a transient thing and sometimes posts vanish, I’ve reproduced the bibliography without further comment. Many thanks to the original poster.

APPENDIX N. Bibliography
Bibby, George. 4000 Years Ago – check your library for other titles as well; anything by Bibby is recommended.
Byfield, Barbarbara N. The Book of Weird (formerly The Glass Harmonica) – a delightfully-written and illustrated encyclopedia of things fantastical.
Coles, John. Archeology by Experiment – excellent description of the practical side of archeology, easily relatable to FRP games.
Conally, Peter. The Greek Armies, The Roman Army, and Enemies of Rome – three educational picture books of incredible detail and content.
Draeger, Donn F. and Smith, Robert W. Asian Fighting Arts – an excellent survey of what it really takes to master a weapon.
Foote, Peter(ed.) The Saga of Grettir the Strong – on version of the making of a hero, direct from the Age of Heroes of Iceland.
Funcken, Lillane and Fred. Arms and Uniforms: Ancient Egypt to the 18th Century – first-class illustrated book of historical costumes and weapons.
Howard, Robert E. Conan (and others) – the archetypical noble and savage barbarian written with muscle and guts; his notes have been finished with less gusto by other writers as well.
Keegan, John. The Face of Battle – the descriptions in this book are a must for anyone wanting to know some truth in grisly detail about ancient and medieval warfare.
Leiber, Fritz. Swords in the Mist (and others) – a basic source of modern fantasy; the stories about Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser are classics.
Magnusson, Magnus (ed.). Njal’s Saga – an excellent look at a Dark Ages culture, and some rousing fighting besides.
Malory, Thomas. Le Morte d’Arthur – more information on heroic actions, though of a limited cult. Useful too for inspiration on possible event for FRP.
Moorcock, Michael. Elric (and others) – a basic source of modern fantasy.
Smith, Clark Ashton. Hyperborea (and others) – more standards of fantasy fiction, which everyone should at least taste.
Stone, George Cameron. A Glossary of the Constuction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armor – heavy emphasis on Japanese fighting gear, but worth it anyway.
Sturlasson, Snorri. King Harald’s Saga – a superb epic tale by Iceland’s most famous saga writer, proving you do not need fantasy to create a legend.
Tolkien, J. R. R. Lord of the Rings – a modern fantasy classic. Tolkien is rightfully accorded as the Master of fantasy, and if you have not yet read LotR, please do yourself a favor. Of his other works, see also The Silmarilion – notes of the Master compiled posthumously by his son, Christopher. These are a chronicle of the earlier ages of Middle Earth.
OTHER FANTASY ROLEPLAYING GAMES
Chivalry & Sorcery; Bunnies & Burrows; Flash Gordon & the Warriors of Mongo; Starships & Spacemen – all from Fantasy Games Unlimited, PO Box 182, Roslyn NY 11576.
Empire of the Petal Throne; Knights of the Round Table; Space Patrol; Superhero 2044 – all from Gamescience (Lou Zocchi & Associates), 1956 Pass Rd., Gulfport MS 39501.
Advanced D&D; Dungeons & Dragons; Gamma World; Metamorphosis Alpha; Star Probe; Star Empires – all from TSR Hobbies, Inc., PO Box 756, Lake Geneva WI 53147.
Bushido; Space Quest – Tyr Gamemakers Ltd., PO Box 414, Arlington VA 22210.
The Fantasy Trip (included Wizard and Melee) – Metagaming, PO Box 15346, Austin TX 78761.
Tunnels & Trolls; Monsters! Monsters!; Starfaring – all from Flying Buffal, Inc., PO Box 1467, Scottsdale AZ 85252.
Traveller; En Garde! – Game Designers’ Workshop, 203 North St., Normal IL 61761.
Legacy – Legacy Press, 217 Harmon Rd., Camden MI 49232.
Arduin Grimoire; Welcome to Skull Tower; Runes of Doom – all from James E. Mathis, 2428 Ellsworth (102), Berkeley CA 94704.
Star Trek – Heritage Models, Inc., 9840 Monroe Dr. (Bldg. 106), Dallas TX 75220.
FOR LIVING IN THE PERIOD
The Society for Creative Anachronism. Write to Society of Creative Anachronism, Inc., Office of the Registry, PO Box 594, Concord, Calif. 94522
FOR MULTI-SIDED DICE
Write for prices to Lou Zocchi & Associates, 1956 Pass Rd. Gulfport MS 39501,or see you local hobby or game store.

For additional comment, googling turns up hits on Black Gate and Grognaridia.