RPPR Episode 14: The Top Ten Books You Never Knew You Needed

Music: Can’t Judge a Book by Robin Sylar
Promos: Bearswarm Podcast, Nuketown Radio and the Game Traveler

Hosted by Ross Payton and Tom Church

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Gamers should broaden their horizons on occasion. To that end, we each picked five books or types of printed media that can do just that and we discuss how to implement each title’s content. These apply to both player and GM, as a clever player can get great character concept ideas or tactics for the game while GMs get a treasure trove of game material. ‘

Tom has updated the classic poem “Casey at Bat” with the Palladium RPG, Rifts, in mind. Plus, shout outs and an anecdote. Find out the conclusion of an 8 month WW2 GURPS campaign where I was a player for once!

My Top Five

  1. Storyteller by Kate Wilhelm
  2. Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker
  3. Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales
  4. Mythologies by Roland Barthes
  5. How to Make War by James Dunnigan / Howdunit by Lee Lofland / Bulfinch’s Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch

Tom’s Top Five

  1. Newspapers
  2. Punisher Comics – current MAX run by Garth Ennis
  3. City Tour Guides
  4. Zoology Books
  5. Janes Military Guides

Shout Outs
Mount & Blade: An excellent indie PC game of medieval combat and adventure. Players create an adventurer, raise an army of soldiers and rampage across the country side, battling whatever foes stand in your way. Virtually no plot, minimal RPG character development, but great action and it’s tremendously fun to run down dozens of peasants with a heavily armed knight on horseback.

Wrongside: A comic of politics, intrigue, genocide, and fashion right out of the Final Fantasy school of design. Also, furries.

Dwarf Fortress: An ASCII graphic strategy/simulation game that puts you in control of seven dwarves and a wagon in a randomly generated world. The object being of course, to build a fortress. Of course, dwarves are strange little creatures and subject to strange whims and bad luck. That and Dwarf Fortress is a staggeringly complex game that keeps track of every dwarf’s emotional state, fluid mechanics and erosion, among other things. It is in fact, INSANE. Play it…if you dare.

BOATMURDERED: The saga of a Dwarf Fortress run by a succession of emperors. Marvel at the cleverness of Project DOOM (it involves channeling magma), tremble at the exploits of murderous legendary elephants and weep at the sad fate that befalls the inhabitants of BOATMURDERED. BOATMURDERED is, was and ever shall be the most brutal of all fortresses in all of fantasy.

F-117 Flight Simulator: A DOS era flight simulator. Tom really really really hates Saddam era Iraq and likes to blow it up. So, uh, there you go.

Oh and Iron Man. The movie. I’m not going to link it. Fuck that noise. It’s a fun movie but come on. It’s got like a 50 million dollar advertising budget.

Read below the fold for Tom’s entire Casey at Bat

It looked extremely rocky for the Darkened Basement Five

The Splugorth Slaver had left only three of the group still alive

And after Dave the Dragon failed to get in his licks

The survivors moaned and said “We’re in a dreadful fix.”

Steve the Headhunter, who was one of the two who died

Looked at Bob the Dog Boy and both groaned and sighed

They held a last hope, an optimistic dream

That Casey the Glitter Boy could save the stricken team

But the rolling of initiative had not been kind

The Slaver went first, as did the Warrior Women who were blind

Lewis the Psi Stalker’s shot had gone far and wide

And Eric the City Rat used his 98% Prowl to run and hide

But the Slaver did not roll all that well

The feared attack had completely failed to sell

And when the Warrior Women let loose their deadly fire

Not one other character was added to the pyre

And from the Darkened Basement there rose a mighty cheer

It rattled the cardtable and scattered pretzels and beer

A feeling of excitement buzzed like an electric hum

For Casey the Glitter Boy’s initiative had finally come

There was ease in his manner as Casey reached for the dice

The faded black Metallica shirt he wore still looked quite nice

The Slaver had already used up each and every attack

So Casey had three uninterrupted melees back to back to back

All eyes were upon him, the tension mounted and grew

Casey blew on the dice, a technique tested and true

A hint of a smile lit up Casey’s normally somber face

As he announced his suit’s stabilizer pylons had locked into place

And now the twenty-sided plastic piece sailed through the air

As his suit’s mighty boom gun laid the targets bare

No high number was needed, as all the players knew

But when the die landed, the number came up 2.

From the gathered players, there rose an angry shout

It rattled the stereo and shook the anime wall scrolls throughout

“Fag!  Fagball Dice!” Steve shouted, his rage growing hot

And it’s likely to have escalated, had Casey not said “Fag dice, these are not.”

His words calmed the group, his charisma quite plain

He reminded them all that two attacks were yet to remain

Casey picked up the die, and it clattered to the table graceful as could be

And when the number came up, it showed a 3

“Fuck!” cried the maddened group.  “Fuck, fuckity Dorkballs!”

The angry cry echoed across the basement and rattled the walls

Casey glared at the die as if it had committed a crime

His cold stare said “You have failed me for the last time.”

The smile gone from his face, Casey screws a Marlboro between his teeth

He blew a smoke ring that hung like a ghostly wreath

He grabbed the die a final time, the air as cold as his soul

And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s roll.

Oh, somewhere out there in the land, GM’s weave tales of excitement and wonder

Game groups are following graph paper maps, and swords swing and sunder

And somewhere heroes are receiving rewards that such deeds are bound to have entailed

But there is no joy in the Darkened Basement, for Casey the Glitter Boy has critically failed.

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1 Comment

  1. The WWF is fake? Nooooooo! Well, somehow… I knew a world wildlife fund organization was too good to be true.

    (It’s called WWE now, Tom. Great show anyway).

    Ehhhh…. I would love to see more time spent on anecdotes.

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