Ken & Robin Archive Crawl?
December 13, 2015 6:12 AM - Subscribe

Would anyone be interested in doing a listen of Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff going back to episode 1?

I've been kind of obsessed with Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff. For the uninitiated, it's a weekly podcast where writer and game designer Robin D. Laws and game designer and writer Kenneth Hite talk about different topics. Specifically, they have intelligent conversations about gaming (largely tabletop RPGs), writing, history, horror, occultism, literature, food, travel, conventions, and other topics in "Huts" that usually run 15-20 minutes. Each episode visits three or four different huts and Ken & Robin are very good about ending the topic once it's exhausted itself.

I'm thinking I'd like to do an archive crawl starting with the first episode, posting two episodes a week to FanFare. I'd like to catch up on the early material, review episodes I've heard before, and I think it'd be a great way for folks to get on board. Let me know if you're interested, it'd be great to have folks to talk with about eliptony and games and stuff.
posted by graymouser (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would be up for this, if only to make fun of some of "Ken's Time Machine" segments, but I can't promise to comment on every one.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:12 AM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm a fellow "KaRTAS" addict and would enjoy seeing a critical appreciation of their thoughts (especially Ken's, since he's the more dominant personality, although Robin's would be good for the nitty-gritty of ideas about how roleplaying functions and what design goals should be). I know that when the podcast was posted to Metafilter I took heart from (I think) GenjiandProust mentioning something along the lines of eye rolling at Ken's political/historical/cultural opinions. I greatly admire Ken's creativity and breadth of knowledge, but Robin is definitely a gentle interlocutor. And "making fun" doesn't have to be simply non-constructive mocking--it would actually be pretty fun to discuss whether the changes to the timestream would have anything like the results Ken envisions, whether causes and effects are missing, and whether the original question sees a weird hinge or hope in what they'd like to change, for example.
posted by Gnatcho at 1:20 PM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh, absolutely. I was being a little flip, but there are couple of "Ken's Time Machine" segments where his answer to "how could you make Revolution X go a little less badly?" was "suck it up and don't revolt." I mean, really, it's not like people revolt for fun en masse.... He's also sort of over-invested in seeing US hegemony maintained and relies a little too much on a "great men of history" idea, although that may just make for more entertaining segments. There's no point in trying to get an entire government drunk, for example.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:33 PM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yeah, obviously Ken's politics suck and that impacts the podcast, although he's pretty tolerable given that. There would also be points to be made regarding their weak points, like their relatively negative attitude toward "F20" games (fantasy/d20) that have a commanding market share.
posted by graymouser at 3:41 PM on December 13, 2015

I feel like "F20" is a product of their relationship to Pelgrane Press and their take on D&D, 13th Age (I mean, they, or Robin D. Laws, invented the term). Robin brings up "F20" pretty frequently in terms of thinking about how to apply a scenario idea, but I think he views it simply as a more "primitive" form of roleplaying and all his design ideas enable the GM to do more to pull the players along (pejoratively "railroading"), whether through metacurrency, automatic clues, or "plot-appropriate" difficulty levels. What would be great about a crawl through the archives would be the possibility of discussing this stuff in actual dialogue with each episode. Ken Hite's more distant attitude to "F20" is less theoretical, I think, and more formed out of his pride in spending his most formative gaming years GMing Call of Cthulhu and then never getting involved with working on D&D (or similar) projects until recently.

GenjiandProust: "over-invested in seeing US hegemony maintained " is definitely the one where I get the most "Wait, how does that follow?" feeling.

I'll get to commenting on the newest episode when I listen to it. Usually I have it queued to play sometime during the week, but if this goes ahead I'll try to listen episodes sooner.
posted by Gnatcho at 5:08 PM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

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