This latest episode isn’t quite what it was meant to be. We started out believing that each of us would talk for a while about our favourite non-Lovecraftian horror RPG, but then Scott went on for so long that he took up an entire episode.

fire

He has been dealt with appropriately

The upshot is that this is an entire episode about Hot War, the post-apocalyptic SF/horror RPG from Contested Ground Studios. As you’ll hear in more detail in the episode, Hot War is set in an alternate 1963 where the Cuban missile crisis went horribly wrong. Everything centres on a London that is facing the horrors of deprivation, widespread destruction, monsters that were once human and the rising spectre of fascism. You could also use 1980s Dundee as the setting with very few tweaks.

bridge

Are you sure that’s not the Tay Bridge?

We recorded a second episode, discussing Matt’s choice, but that’s going to have to wait for a fortnight. In the meantime, you could always download the demonstration pack (which, in the interests of full disclosure, was written by Scott) and preview of Hot War if you want to see what we’ve been rambling on about.

This latest discussion is all about skills in roleplaying games, ranging from Library Use to Firearms to the ability to put out a podcast on a regular schedule. We’ve put some more points into this last one, honest.

Panic

“What do you mean it’s Tuesday already?”

We ramble on about what role skills play in a game, how they came about, what the alternatives to skill systems are and the ways in which and reasons why the skill system in the latest edition of Call of Cthulhu is slightly simpler. We almost certainly get a lot of stuff wrong, but this is deliberate, as it’s the only way to improve in some systems.

Hindenburg_disaster,_1937

“So I get another 5% in Pilot Zeppelin, right?”

As ever, there is digression, disagreement and diverse and dreadful profanity. Being British, we get a racial bonus in pointless swearing.

This latest episode sees us heading back to Gen Con. Well, we don’t actually go there, as it’s around five months away and it would be silly and expensive of us to do so at the moment, especially as we have a nice comfortable garden shed to work from.

gen-con-logo

We’re there in spirit, though.

This is the follow-up we promised way back in Episode 9, where we help you navigate the complexities and pitfalls of attending the USA’s largest gaming convention, as well as offering advice on how to make the best of your time and navigate the non-Euclidian corners of the online booking system.

Escher-Big

Artist’s representation of booking system

The discussion takes the form of Scott asking Paul and Matt lots of questions, as it looks like he may actually make it this year. With any luck he asked the questions you would have, especially if these included “Why? Why? Oh dear God, why?” followed by despairing sobs. This discussion also revealed that the peak time for booking accommodation has passed and that this episode really should have gone out a couple of months ago. The details may still be of use, especially if you’re more organised that we are, or if you have the presence of mind to tuck the MP3 somewhere warm until January 2015.

The episode now departing from platform 4 is the delayed discussion of Horror on the Orient Express, calling at recaps, anecdotes, spoilers and updated content. First class material will be found throughout this episode. The journey time will be approximately two hours.

All aboard!

All aboard!

The discussion is a round-table between various members of the Milton Keynes Roleplaying Club, who have been playing Horror on the Orient Express since before Scott got his first grey hair. The campaign was a playtest of both new material developed for the Kickstarter-funded revamp and the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition rules themselves, so you will hear lots of insights into both. You will also hear more spoilers for the campaign than you thought possible. Seriously, if you haven’t played Horror on the Orient Express and ever plan to, this is not the episode for you. Go back and listen to more wholesome discussions, such as our exploration of the love that can only exist between man and gorilla.

thundercrack_newsite

Any excuse to use this picture again!

The passengers on the train were Amy, Arthur, Dominic, Jef (absent), Matt S, Paul F and Paul W (also absent), and the conductor was Matt Nott. Scott wasn’t involved in the game, so he got to ask all the questions. We recorded the discussion at York House, where the game took place, which has somewhat more echo than Paul’s shed. There was also a spirited Pathfinder game taking place in the next room, the squeals from which sometimes permeated the connecting door. Despite all this, you should still be able to follow the discussion at least as well as Scott did.

We’re back with a new episode, and this one is all about how we write scenarios. Us being us, we come to nothing resembling a consensus. This is probably a good thing, as it offers three different perspectives. More importantly, you can hear us bicker, which is what the show is really about.

No! You research it all before writing the plot!

No! You research before writing the plot!

The discussion wends around finding inspiration, research, preparing notes, different types of scenarios and writing up your work for publication, should you want to enter the highly lucrative world of RPG writing.

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RPG writer praying for royalty cheque

Oh, and when you hear the reference to Paul’s flamethrower, this is what we’re talking about.

No, we didn't make this up

The fiery agent of our inevitable destruction