Saving the Game A Christian podcast about tabletop roleplaying games, collaborative storytelling in RPGs, and other interesting topics

November 12, 2019  

#Every33!
Mike Perna of Innroads Ministries, Game Store Prophets, and Bard and Bible joins us as he does every 33 episodes to talk about something he's been itching to talk on the mics about for ages - unlikely heroes with a strong emphasis on Mike Mignola's Hellboy.

We also give a shout-out to The Dungeon Pastors, a new project from two other friends of the show, Derek "The Geekpreacher" White and Stephen Taylor of Games for All. That's immediately followed by one of the strangest questions's we've had from a Patreon backer in a long time when John and Ginny Swann ask us " What is your favorite sandwich and how would you play it as a character?" The episode is almost worth it for that conversation alone, folks.

Once we wrap that surprisingly thoughtful and in-depth section up, name a favorite sandwich of Jenny's "The Goblin Warlock" and read our scripture, we move into our main topic: unlikely heroes and why Hellboy is such a compelling example of one, and how you can use him and other characters like him in your games. As is always the case, having Mike on gives us a lot of both quality and quantity.

Scripture: Exodus 4: 10-12, 1 Samuel 16:1-12, Matthew 9:9

October 29, 2019  

After several episodes with either more or less than the three main hosts, Grant, Peter, and Jenny finally get to sit down together and talk about monsters just in time for Halloween! First, though, there's a bit of catching up to do, and a delightful question from Patreon supporter Richard Lorenz who asks a simple, seasonally-appropriate question: "Favorite holiday?"

Once our Scripture's read, we dive into monsters, and specifically monsters as representations of the monstrous and of the diseased. We touch on what few monsters appear in Scripture, and then run through a number of classic monsters and terrific archetypes to discuss them. We also talk a bit about monsters as representations of the 'other.' Enjoy!

Also mentioned in this episode: "Action Oriented Monsters" by Matthew Colville; E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series; and Kei-Con.

Scripture: Job 41:1-10, 1 Samuel 28:8-13, 1 Corinthians 10:17-22

October 15, 2019  

With Grant out again for chaotic work-related reasons, Jenny and Peter are collaborating again—this time on setting material for Peter's new D&D game! First, though, we answer a Patreon question from Douglas Underhill, who asks us "If you statted yourself as a 5E character, how would you allocate the default starting array of ability scores?"

Then, after our Scripture readings as usual, Peter takes a moment to describe his game and overall setting ideas. Then it's time to brainstorm and create as Jenny and Peter work together to create points of interest, natural features, and dangerously exciting locations. Enjoy!

October 1, 2019  

 

Professor, researcher, leading thinker in the psychology of RPGS both tabletop and LARP, and contributor to the first college textbook on RPGs Dr. Sarah Lynne Bowman joins us for a second time (we first spoke to Sarah back in episode 111) to discuss more of the psychology around RPGs.

The episode starts with a quick discussion of the new game Peter is going to be starting up in October with some StG listeners, and an excellent and thoughtful question about playing characters of the opposite sex from John and Ginny Swann.

From there, we move into our scripture and a discussion of the player archetypes that Sarah codified in her book The Functions of Role-Playing Games. These are a useful tool descriptive tool to discuss who we are in games on a more psychological level and complement more traditional player types (like tactician and actor) nicely. With that groundwork laid, the conversation turns to a discussion of the phenomenon of bleed (psychological transference from player to character or vice versa) in gaming and how that's tied up with safety techniques. As you'd expect, we touched on the free (and excellent) Consent in Gaming document recently published by Monte Cook games, but also used an experience of Peter's from a few years back to illustrate why safety techniques are a good idea. We also spent a bit of time talking about how gaming can go past mere safety and into growth, another topic that Dr. Bowman is passionate about.

 

Scripture: Proverbs 4:5-6 , Galatians 6:2, Philippians 2:1-4, 3 John 1-6

 

September 17, 2019  

Creative professional and storyteller Daniel Kwan joins us on this episode to talk about gaming in historical settings! Daniel is a former museum historian, a game designer at Dundas West Games, and co-host of the Asians Represent podcast. He works to support Level Up Gaming, a Toronto-based organization that "provides individuals on the autism spectrum and with other disabilities the opportunity to develop and explore their real-world social skills through goal-directed gaming experiences." And he's got a game Kickstarting on October 4th called Ross Rifles, about Canada's involvement in the First World War and the life of soldiers in the trenches! He's a fascinating person and an amazing guest, and the perfect person to talk to about setting your games in real historical situations, with systems appropriate to a focus on the historical experience. Follow Daniel Kwan and Asians Represent on Twitter, and keep an eye out for that Kickstarter announcement come October!

Our Patreon question this week comes to us from Aaron Arnold, who asks "To what extent does your backstory need to inform your build?"

After our Scripture reading, we dig deep into this topic with Daniel. How does one go about making a system that fits a real, historical moment and accurately represents it—while encouraging a desired experience at the table? How do you research a game like this? How do you handle the stereotypes of a particular era or moment that players (and gamemasters) may have in their heads? And what's the line between historical accuracy and paralysis through detail?

Scripture: Job 8:8-10, Psalm 78:1-4, Romans 15:4

September 3, 2019  

 

Our Ten Commandments series finally wraps up this episode, and we end it on a high note! (Yes, even despite the episode going up a day late.) We've got a bit of a preview of an upcoming discussion to start with, as Grant's kicking off a game of Offworlders. Our Patreon question this week comes from David Hastings, who asks "What game do you love personally even though you know that objectively, it's not that great?"

 

Our topic this week is, of course, the Tenth Commandment—"Thou shalt not covet." Of course, "covetousness" is a word often conflated with "envy", "jealousy", and even "desire", so we take a moment to talk about the word itself. We also take care to differentiate it from a righteous anger at injustice and want—especially since many use that false distinction to their own advantage. We then talk about how the Tenth Commandment is somewhat unique in that it forbids a particular sort of thought rather than a particular sort of action, and the implications of that distinction.

 

Naturally, we have a lot to say about covetousness in a gaming context—rogues, corporate malfeasance, dragons, and more! But we have just as much to say when talking about real concerns of covetousness in the gaming hobby, whether it be a shelf of RPG books, that ridiculously-expensive custom gaming table, or even production values and knowledge.

 

Scripture: Exodus 20:7, 1 Kings 21:1-7, Luke 12:15, Hebrews 13:5, 1 Timothy 6:6-10

 

August 20, 2019  

Grant's out on vacation in lovely Myrtle Beach, SC this week, so Jenny and Peter tackle a special project—working together to create a unique setting centerpiece for a game Jenny will be running at her library! First, we answer a question from Patreon supporter Tom Stephens, who asks, "What is your favorite item that you've created for use in a game?"

With that handled and our Scripture read, we move on to creating a city from scratch. Jenny starts us off with a few basic ideas and restrictions, and everything builds from there—pun intended, of course. What's the economy based on? Why do people come to this city? What makes it unique, geographically and politically? Who lives there, and who is in power? How is it governed? What sort of crime flourishes within its walls? What opportunities are available to player characters who start their careers in this city? And what, exactly, is a forcefield goat?

Ideas Jenny had after recording:

  • It’s in a crater, but the crater isn’t even because the meteor came in at an angle. The Shepherding district is on a gentle slope up and out of the crater, and the Glassworking district is basically a straight wall.
  • Might switch Factotum and Shepherding districts so that the mining and stoneworking can be done on a wall, maybe even under an overhang.
  • At least one magic metal node per district is preserved. Always the biggest node.
  • Civic district is Full Of Lawyers to help out the people seeking sanctuary.

Scripture: Exodus 31:1-11, Joshua 21:41-45, Hebrews 10:24-25

August 6, 2019  

Guest—and possible honorary host—Krissi Woodward joins us this episode to break down her first time running a tabletop roleplaying game! Krissi ran a very successful arc of World of Darkness: Innocents for our gaming group and was willing to discuss that experience with us. First, a little bit about shiny new library cards and dirty library patrons, as well as an interesting Patreon question from Douglas Underhill, who asks about under-served genres of tabletop roleplaying games.

After our Scripture reading, Krissi gives us a ton of excellent advice and analysis from her first GMing experience. She talks about the game she ran and why she chose this system and story; her pre-game concerns and prep (including overpreparing); how she tackled issues that arose during the game, especially issues with player triggers; and plenty of clever GMing decisions that made the game a smooth and exciting experience for players and GM alike. Enjoy!

Also mentioned in this episode: How We Came to Live Here.

Scripture: Proverbs 9:9, Matthew 23:11-12, Romans 12:3

July 23, 2019  

We're nearing the end of our Ten Commandments series! This episode tackles lying—or as the Ten Commandments are commonly translated, "bearing false witness." First, though, Peter talks a bit about his entry in the World Anvil worldbuilding contest; we discuss Krissi's Innocents game and how it wrapped up, as well as Vampire and the various other games we have in the works; Grant's attempt to stream game design; and the extremely lovely GRIS.

Aaron Arnold asks an extremely difficult Patreon question this week: What was the hardest lesson to learn as a Christian? So you also get to hear us puzzle through that!

After our Scripture, we discuss the Ninth Commandment, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." Unlike many of these other commandments episodes, in this one we had a very easy time talking about the theology of speaking truths rather than lies, but a much harder time getting into the detailed uses of lies in roleplaying games—simply because it's such a big topic. We touch on the differences between lies and creativity; lies of malice and cowardice (and we get to use a different C. S. Lewis quote in this one!); several forms false witness takes that are harder to recognize than outright lies; prooftexting; logical fallacies; and much more. Enjoy!

Mentioned in this episode: J. Ellsworth Kalas's The Ten Commandments from the Back Side; Wondermark #1062, "The Terrible Sea Lion"; YourLogicalFallacyIs.com

Scripture: Exodus 20:16, Genesis 3:1-5, Matthew 7:1-5, Colossians 3:8-10

July 9, 2019  

This week's topic is a sort of follow-up to our latest episode in our Ten Commandments series, except it's also entirely City On A Hill Gaming's fault, we promise! We're talking about how to make treasure and wealth in your games exciting and unique without surrendering the player characters' moral high ground as they acquire it. We also talk briefly about Krissi's Innocents game (and the excellent job she's doing as she takes the GM seat for the first time.)

Our Patreon question this week comes from Paige Lowe, who asks: "What media has been your biggest gaming inspiration?" We actually struggled with this question a bit, so—good question!

After our Scripture reading, we dive headlong into this massive topic. After a couple quick rules, we talk about actually having people pay the player characters a good wage for their work (and how to make that work into good adventures); finders fees and Peter's moment of moral panic upon finding a treasure; natural or naturally-created sources of wealth; locations and lost items; "finders-keepers"; fines and the privileges of power (and some morally-grey issues that naturally arise); mythic gifts and artifacts; customizing your treasure and changing its appearance; favors; and collaborating with your players. Oh, and Jenny's secret elliptonic library that's a perfect example of everything we talk about in this episode.

Mentioned in this episode: Fungi that draw gold from their surroundings; Bad King John's lost treasure; a cache of wallets from the 1940s; and the very silly 5/5/2000: Ice - The Ultimate Disaster.

Scripture: 2 Kings 13:20-21, Proverbs 22:16, Matthew 6:19-21, Matthew 20:1-16

- Older Posts »