What we’re listening to, April 2018

I listen to a fair number of podcasts on my commute. Here’s a run down of what I’ve been listening to this month.

What Would The Smart Party Do?

episode 68: Roleplaying games of the 90s

What Witchcraft did was it tried to fulfil the need that the World of Darkness players had to do crossovers

Great year by year list of 90s games including Over the Edge, Nephilim, Castle Falkenstein, Amber (but not Everway — come on, chaps).

Fear of a Black Dragon

Operation Unfathomable

This is my favourite show among the Gauntlet’s broad offering of quality podcasts. Their main podcast and +1 Forward are good listens but FotBD raises the bar with its structure, focus on utility and insightful comments. The Operation Unfathomable episode is typical of this high standard. Also Tom uses my favourite word (liminal).

The Grognard Files

Paranoia (episode 19) and Golden Heroes pt. 1 (episode 20)

More gaming nostalgia! The Grognard Files goes from strength to strength. Golden Heroes is the most recent episode but I wanted to mention Paranoia too, for the comment about how that game never really settled on one coherent theme or presentation — I would have loved to run it as a grim Brazil-esque satire, but our games always devolved into backstabbing and grassing each other’s clones to the computer within minutes. Actually I always thought the 1st edition system had some genuine innovations like the damage columns and skill trees, it’s just these were totally out of place when the PCs were so ephemeral.

Also check out the Golden Heroes unboxing:

Welcome to Night Vale

A door ajar pt 3 (episode 126)

Twin Peaks, Pontypool, Al Amarja, Royston Vasey, Night Vale.

Come on down to the pancake house, check if any of your loved ones have been affected by this horrible disaster, and enjoy free hot cakes. One hot cake per missing loved one.

The Good Friends of Jackson Elias

Episode 128: Cats

And finally the perennial favourite returns with a discussion of cats. Which reminds me, I must re-read The Cats Of Seroster.

Xmas Episode 02: Our Picks

We pitch 7 books for future consideration.

Show Notes

Mo Holkar, Josh Fox, Elizabeth Lovegrove, Ralph Lovegrove

The books:

  • Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
  • No Good Men Among The Living by Anand Gopal
  • Factoring Humanity by Robert Sawyer
  • The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon
  • The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker

Mo’s bit (Vonnegut) 00:40 // Josh’s bit (Gopal, Sawyer) 08:10 // Liz’ bit (Chambers, Austen) 17:50 // Ralph’s bit (Stapledon, Barker) 25:30

Other Stuff

The Chaucer Twitter Feed

M. John Harrison’s essay on the Great Clomping Foot of Nerdism from Warren Ellis’ blog (original can be found via Wayback Machine)

Music credits

“I can’t imagine where I’d be without it” and “Another version of you” both from Thoughtless by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Xmas Episode 01: Lyonesse by Jack Vance

In this special holiday episode Dave, Tim and Ralph talk about Jack Vance’s exceptional fantasy trilogy Lyonesse.

Show Notes

The Lyonesse Trilogy by Jack Vance

Ralph Lovegrove with special guests Dave Morris and Tim Harford

Synopsis 00:45 // The RPG Bit 28:33 // Skulduggery and The Dying Earth 29:12 // Dragon Warriors 34:56 // Pendragon 56:53 // Whitehack 69:41

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 13pt2: The Prisoner of Zenda

The second part of our season finale looks at the fictional Ruritania of Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda, the Ruritanian Romance, and fictional or liminal countries such as Interzone and Annexia in Cronenburg’s The Naked Lunch and the Upside Down of Stranger Things.

(this recording was recorded in three bits which is why the later section sounds a bit different. That tinkling noise you can hear towards the end is the sound of gin being sipped over ice)

Show Notes

The Prizoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope

Elizabeth and Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:22 // Gender Swapped Prisoner of Zenda 03:27 // The Evidence for Ruritania 04:10 // Ruritanian Romance 04:42 // Naked Lunch 05:52 // RPG Bit starts: uncertain customs 08:47 // Lace and Steel 13:37 // Stranger Things 15:27 // Course of the Heart 18:02 // Mage the Ascension 18:27 // Inferno 24:37

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 13pt1: The Course of the Heart by M. John Harrison

We’ve split our “season finale” into two separate episodes, the first of which is a bit of an experiment — it’s quite short and a solo recording which I did a while ago. But, it’s thematically linked to the next episode, which will follow shortly.

Ralph muses over the liminal fantasy genre and M. John Harrison’s The Course Of The Heart.

“Liminal Fantasy” 00:35 // Synopsis 00:45 // RPG bit 04:05 // Changelings 04:50 // Tarot Tales and The Horse Of Iron 07:55

Music credits

“Cylinder Four“ from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 12: More Short Stories

It’s National World Short Story Novel Mustache Reading Writing Knitting Month, so we’re doing more short stories — this time from Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury and Cory Doctorow. Also, Rod Steiger, Charlie Brooker and the Sandman!

Show Notes

The Evening, The Morning and The Night by Octavia Butler, curated in the Sisters of the Revolution anthology by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer

When Sysadmins Ruled The Earth by Cory Doctorow

Fever Dream (from The Day It Rained Forever) and The Veldt (from The Illustrated Man) by Ray Bradbury

Elizabeth and Ralph Lovegrove, with Rowan on percussion

Octavia Butler 00:40 // Cory Doctorow 06:33 // Ray Bradbury 09:22 // Themes 10:55 // Games 17:27 // Microbes, HP Blavatsky, Nazis 18:49 // Modified Werewolf Game 26:12 // The Veldt 27:22 // Rod Steiger 29:17 // Charlie Brooker 31:27 // Framing Devices 31:57 // World’s End 32:12

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 10: The Dream Archipelago by Christopher Priest

This episode Mo and Ralph drift around Christopher Priest’s Dream Archipelago.

Show Notes

The Affirmation, The Dream Archipelago, The Islanders and The Adjacent are novels and short stories by Christopher Priest

Speaking: Mo Holkar and Ralph Lovegrove

The Affirmation 01:00 // The Dream Archipelago 03:00 // The Equatorial Moment 05:05 // The Islanders 05:40 // The Adjacent 11:50 // Comments 13:25 // Mo’s Game 18:05 // Fugue and Alas Vegas 22:20 // Ralph’s Game 26:30

Ralph’s Beyond the Waves for Beyond the Wall is a work in progress. You can find the download here, where you’ll also find a guide to the bits missing from Fugue.

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 08: Women of the Otherworld by Kelly Armstrong

This episode Liz and Becky discuss Kelly Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld and talk about pack mentality

Show Notes

The Women of the Otherworld (series) by Kelly Armstrong

Elizabeth Lovegrove and Becky Annison with Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis starts at 00:40, RPGs at 16:05

Games

Bite Me! by Becky Annison is a Powered by the Apocalypse Game debuting at the Revelation convention in Sheffield on 25th and 26th February 2017

Other games Ralph mentioned in a desperate attempt to be relevant to the conversation: Werewolf (White Wolf publishing) // Buffy and Angel (now OOP, Eden Studios) // Ghosts of Albion (Eden Studios)

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 06: Elric of Melnibone and The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock

This episode Josh and Ralph dip into Moorcock’s Multiverse!

Show Notes

Elric of Melnibone and The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock

Ralph Lovegrove and Josh Fox

Elric of Melnibone synopsis 00:50 // Eternal Champion synopsis 04:00 // Themes 10:10 // Stormbringer RPG and others 23:30 // Dungeon Crawl Classics 28:30 // Sorcerer 30:00 // Sorcerer and Sword 31:10 // Josh’s game 35:10 // Ralph’s game 41:30

Games

Stormbringer by Ken St Andre, Lynn Willis et al // Elric! by Lynn Willis, Richard Watts, Mark Morrison et al // Elric of Melnibone by Mongoose Publishing // Mournblade by Department des Sombres Projets // Dungeon Crawl Classics by Goodman Games // Sorcerer by Ron Edwards // Vast and Starlit by Epidiah Ravachol

Moves

When you sense social, political or metaphysical upheaval, roll +Ennui.

On a 10+, take +3 forward when confronting the change.

On a 7-9 take +1 forward but lose

  • An eye
  • A hand
  • Your childhood love
  • Your sanity

On a miss, lose two of the above

Other

You can read Ralph’s Mournblade review (with run down of other Moorcock RPGs) here

Also Ralph’s WIP on OSR demons: part one and part two

We mentioned Kill the Dead and Night’s Master by Tanith Lee

Music

“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 05: Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe

This episode Mo and Ralph leap into the very far future of Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun quartet.

Show Notes

The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe

Mo Holkar and Ralph Lovegrove

Book starts at 01:20, games around 12:15

Games

GURPS New Sun by Michael Andre-Driussi (Steve Jackson Games) // Chronicles of Future Earth by Sarah Newton

Other

Lexicon Urthus by Michael Andre-Driussi

Music

“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)