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

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

June 25, 2019  

Bryan and Mike from the Geek at Arms podcast join us this week to talk about the unwritten rules at our gaming tables (and elsewhere in our lives!) Geek at Arms is an excellent, thoughtful podcast in the geeky faith space and we're delighted to have two of its three hosts on this episode. Both shows' members have also been appearing on other podcasts as well: Peter was on a delightfully fun bonus episode of City on a Hill, featuring Feng Shui 2 and drink tables TO THE FACE. Meanwhile, Bryan was on an episode of the Retro Rewind Podcast talking about Cowboy Bebop! Make sure to subscribe to their show (and follow them on Twitter.) And if you're looking for a good cause to donate to, check out Hope Fostered as well, per their request!

Our Patreon question this week comes to us from Shawn Stauffer, who asks a simple question: "What did you have for lunch?" This turns out to be a more delicious answer than anticipated.

After our Scripture readings we break down the unwritten rules everyone has at the table—assumptions, inherited rules, group mores, and all the rest. If you've always assumed rules like "no PvP," "don't split the party," or "put your tax money on Free Parking," then this is the episode for you! Plus, we get a good rundown of Bryan's and Mike's GMing rules, and a quick aside from Grant about bad rules at the table.

Mentioned in this episode: Peter's "Going on Tilt" blog post; Mike's "The Rules" blog post.

Scripture: Jeremiah 31:33, Psalm 119:15-16, Matthew 23:1-12

June 11, 2019  

Oh, hey, guess who's back! That's right—Grant rejoins Peter and Jenny back on the mics. (And thank you, seriously, for everyone who reached out or who prayed for me. It's really appreciated. – G.) We pick up our Ten Commandments series with the Eight Commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," and since our hobby kicked off with a thief class, you might guess we have a lot to talk about! First, though, we've got a bit of podcast business, and then a surprisingly in-depth conversation about hot dogs and hamburgers thanks to Patreon supporter Richard Lorenz. Oh, and also Peter got to try Minecraft for the first time on our stream, so look forward to more of that on Friday nights!

After our Scripture reading, we start in on the surprising complexity of what is in English a simple four-word commandment. We discuss theft as a sin of commission and as a sin on omission; theft as a primary component of the classic gaming experience going all the way back to its sword-and-sorcery roots; and the curious lack of stigma thieves sometimes carry in our tabletop games. Finally, we wrap up with the positive side of the Eighth Commandment: Chrestotes and "becoming a larger person."

Mentioned in this episode: Dusk City Outlaws, and the relevant XKCD, because there's always a relevant XKCD comic for any topic.

Scripture: Exodus 20:15, Malachi 3:8-10, Leviticus 6:1-7, Romans 2:4, Romans 13:7-10

May 28, 2019  

Jenny and Peter welcome Kyle Rudge of Geekdom House and Mythos & Ink back onto the mics, this time to talk about publishing! We've a bit of news first—Grant's out for a bit due to some health issues, and that's also shaken up our gaming schedule, which means there might be an Innocents game in the works. Also, Feng Shui 2!

Our Patreon question comes from Kenning, who asks "If you got superpowers (say, basic superstrength and flight), what would you do with them?"

After our Scripture reading, we dive into the publishing business with Kyle. What's the writing process look like from the publisher's perspective? What do fair contracts look like, and what's predatory? What are some common pitfalls? What's self-publishing and crowd-funding done to the publishing industry? And what's it like trying to be a publisher appealing to geeky Christians?

For more information about Mythos & Ink, visit their website and follow them on Twitter!

Scripture: Genesis 1:1, Job 19:23-25, Proverbs 27:9, Nehemiah 8:1-3, James 3:17

May 14, 2019  

Peter and Jenny have the mics to themselves this episode, and they're talking about one of the funniest and most imaginative books of the Bible: Jonah! First, though, we take a moment to mention the unfortunate and early passing of Rachel Held Evans, a Christian writer and thinker we're all quite fond of taken from us too soon. We also have to put a call out for more questions from our Patreon supporters! And speaking of Patreon, our Patreon question this week comes from Shawn Stauffer, who asks "If you had to spend a year as any one of the characters you've made for an RPG, in their world, which would you choose and why?"

That answered and our Scripture read (including the entirety of Jonah 4, which might be the first time we've ever read an entire chapter of Scripture on this podcast) we dive into Jonah—pun intended. It's a work unlike any other in the Bible: A parodic work featuring a prophet doing his best to disobey God and being frustrated when God succeeds! It's also a work enjoining mercy and compassion over reveling in the punishment of others. Plus it's got a prophet people actually listen to; and ... did you know there's a big fish in this one?

Scripture: Jonah 1:1-3; Jonah 4:1-11; Titus 3:3-8

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