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

November 13, 2018  
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Our Ten Commandments series returns with a discussion of the Sixth Commandment: "You shall not murder." First, though, Jenny's got a lot of Overlight to talk about! We got to sit down and play it, and it was quite fun. Grant's also got an Eberron game in the works, and Peter's trying NaNoWriMo this month as well. We also address a question from Patreon supporter "gfactor", who asks "What tabletop RPGs would you recommend for playing with younger kids (elementary age) and how would you transition them to more complex games as they got older?" (Our answers: No Thank You, Evil!; Happy Birthday, Robot!; Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple; and Savage Worlds.) We've got something a bit unusual after our Scripture reading as well—a quick explanation of an Aramaic term, "Raca",  that's untranslated in Matthew 5:22.

After all that, we have a heavy topic to address: Murder. Why 'murder' and not 'kill' in most translations? What's the difference, and what causes it? How does Christ reframe this question in the Sermon on the Mount? And how do we square this against a hobby where violence, and often outright murder, is found in many of the games we play?

Scripture: Exodus 20:13Leviticus 19:18Matthew 5:21-26Romans 13:9

October 30, 2018  
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It's a special Halloween episode, this time on undeath! Well, okay, it's at least a Halloween episode, and that counts for something. We start things off with a quick update on our Twitch stream schedule (Peter's streaming Pathfinder: Kingmaker on Wednesdays for a while, leaving Jenny and Grant to stream on Fridays.) Jenny also has a special thank-you for Renegade Studios for being helpful in getting her copy of Overlight shipped correctly; and Grant plugs for his friend Patrick's appearance on The Gauntlet Podcast, which is really a well-deserved plug for the entire Gauntlet community as a haven of indie gaming and game design. We also handle a question from Patreon supporter Zach over at Back Burner Games, who asks us what roleplaying game we'd make if we had absolutely no obstacles.

Then, after our very apt Scripture readings, we start talking about undeath! We obviously can't cover the entirety of the topic in half an hour, but we do talk about what 'undeath' means, and briefly touch on some sample historical and cultural beliefs about the undead. We also discuss what Scripture has to say about the undead; why the undead in their various incarnations are scary; and how to use the undead in interesting ways as both a player and as a gamemaster. Enjoy!

Scripture: 1 Samuel 28:13-17, 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, Matthew 14:25-28, Luke 24:36-39

October 16, 2018  
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Krissi Woodward joins us again this episode to help Grant and Jenny speak a little less, since they're both pretty sick in this episode, and to talk about character backstories with everyone! Krissi's been on a few previous episodes can be found on Twitter as @d20mom.

We catch up a bit and talk about our upcoming streaming schedule over on Twitch, and then answer a question about fictional characters we'd want to GM for from Patreon supporter Richard Lorenz. Then after our Scripture readings, we dive into character backstories: What makes a good background, common pitfalls, some general advice, and the methods we each use for coming up with backstories for our characters.

Scripture: Genesis 37: 19-26Isaiah 43: 18-19Acts 9:1-62 Corinthians 5:16-17

October 2, 2018  
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Jenny's off exploring France this week, so Peter and Grant sat down together for another bonus episode in our Biblical Figures series! This time, we're talking about Matthew—apostle, Gospel author, and reformed tax collector. We provide some Fun Facts about Matthew Levi before Grant gives an overview of the peculiar system of Roman taxation. Then we talk about Matthew's major appearance in Scripture, as well as his role as one of the four traditional authors of the Gospels and the different martyrdoms traditionally ascribed to Matthew. Finally, we wrap up by exploring ways to use elements of Matthew's story in our own games. Enjoy!

Mentioned in this episode: Alfred Edersheim's Sketches of Jewish Social Life and Fausset's Bible Dictionary.

Scripture: Matthew 9:9-13Luke 18:9-14Luke 19:1-10Revelation 4:5-8

September 18, 2018  
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After more than a year, we're finally back to our series on the Ten Commandments! We're picking up where we left off with the Fifth Commandment, which tells us to "honor thy father and mother"—and a good bit more. We've also got a question from Patreon backer Kevin VonFeldt, who asks us about our favorite Kickstarters we've backed. We've also got some news about a growing gaming group and Jenny's new cat!

After our Scripture readings, we talk in-depth about the Fifth Commandment: Its text, its meanings (both in Scripture and in cultural usage), and its implications. We also spend some time on the questions which naturally arise when it's very hard to honor one or both parents. Then we talk about some common story and gaming uses of this topic, and how to put this commandment into practice in the world. Finally, we wrap up with a few special shout-outs to our podcasting and geeky-faith elders whom we've learned from: Folks like Derek White, M.J. Young of the Christian Gamers Guild, Dan Repperger, Chad Wattler, and more.

Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:16, Proverbs 6:20-22, 1 Timothy 5:1-4

September 4, 2018  
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Zach Lorton of Back Burner Games joins us this episode to talk about playing music at the gaming table! Zach's a DJ, game designer, and friend of the show, so he's basically the perfect person to talk to about playing music and sound effects as part of the tabletop gaming experience. He's also got a lot to say, as you'll hear in this episode! Before that, though, we let Zach talk about Back Burner Games (Patreon, Instagram, Facebook) and very briefly talk about what we're playing and what's going on behind the scenes at STG.

After that, pastor and Patreon supporter Douglas Underhill gives us a somewhat controversial question to tackle, asking what our second choice of religion or life philosophy would be if somehow Christianity were off the table. Then we're into our Scripture readings for this episode and diving right into the main topic! We cover Jenny's musical talents and everyone else's lack thereof; background music; sound effects and ambient music; foreground music (including a story Grant's been wanting to tell for ages); how to use all of these at the table; and where to get music or sound effects.

Mentioned in this episode: Ribbon Drive RPG; the Pieces board game café in St. Louis, MO; myNoise; Tabletop Audio; MeloDice; and OverClocked ReMix.

Scripture: 1 Samuel 16:17-23Psalm 96:1-2Proverbs 25:201 Corinthians 14:15-19

August 21, 2018  
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Gaming podcaster extraordinaire Kris Newton returns to discuss handling destiny in our games! Kris hosts two of our favorite podcasts: The Gameable Saturday Morning Podcast (neé Gameable Disney and Gameable Pixar) and the much-more-NSFW MegaDumbCast. He's been on several times before, just as we've all been on various episodes of Gameable, and we're delighted to have him back again. After catching up for a bit and hearing what Kris has been playing lately, we answer a spot-on Patreon question from Shawn Stauffer, who asks us to put together an adventuring party consisting entirely of Disney characters.

That done, and our Scripture for this episode read, we go deep into the idea of "destiny" in traditional storytelling and in tabletop gaming. What are some different approaches for including it in our games? How can we maintain player autonomy and input while getting full value from this powerful and familiar story element? What purpose does a destiny serve in our stories or as a metagame tool? And how do we mechanically define a destiny, if we do so at all?

Also mentioned in this episode: Steve Jackson Games's In Nomine RPG; the Machine of Death anthology; the Protean City Comics podcast; and Magpie Games's Masks RPG.

Scripture: Deuteronomy 31:19-22Isaiah 46:10Jeremiah 1:4-51 Corinthians 2:9-10

August 7, 2018  
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Continuing our previous episode, Allen Mowers, Ashley Mowers, and Kyle Stainbrook from the Min/Max Podcast join us to finish our discussion on  moral accountability for our in-character choices. Just how much accountability do we have for the things our characters do in our games? How do we handle bleed, and how do we handle it when our own characters engage matters we aren’t fully comfortable with?

If you missed Part One of this conversation, you can find it here. Enjoy!

Relevant links: STG 111, “Larp and the Psychology of Play (with Dr. Sarah Lynne-Bowman)”; Dr. Sarah Lynne-Bowman’s articles on bleed and playing nasty characters; and STG 17, “Lines and Veils”.

Scripture: Psalm 7:14-16Matthew 5:21Matthew 13:13Mark 7:14-23

July 24, 2018  
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We reach maximum hosting with not one, not two, but three guests this week! Allen Mowers, Ashley Mowers, and Kyle Stainbrook from the much-loved Min/Max Podcast join us to discuss moral accountability for our in-character choices. After we manage to get through an introduction, we all briefly talk about what we've been playing. Grant plugs our new "oh my gosh what if story" t-shirt, Peter and Jenny plug appearances on City on a Hill Gaming and Bard and Bible, and then we all answer a question from Patreon supporter Richard Lorenz about which fictional character we'd each want to run a game for us.

After reading Scripture, we then dive into this complex issue together: Just how much accountability do we have for the things our characters do in our games? How do we handle bleed, and how do we handle it when our own characters engage matters we aren't fully comfortable with?

We'll wrap up this conversation in Part Two next time, so stay tuned!

Relevant links: STG 111, "Larp and the Psychology of Play (with Dr. Sarah Lynne-Bowman)"; Dr. Sarah Lynne-Bowman's articles on bleed and playing nasty characters; and STG 17, "Lines and Veils".

Scripture: Psalm 7:14-16Matthew 5:21Matthew 13:13Mark 7:14-23

July 10, 2018  
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We're back with another con report! Jenny, Peter, and friend of the show Tyler "Churcher" Denningjoin us to recap Fear the Con 2018, held June 22-23 in Brentwood, MO.

Game rundown:

  • Slot 1 (Jenny as GM; Peter; Tyler) - "SIGN: A GAME ABOUT BEING UNDERSTOOD"
  • Slot 2 (Jenny) - "THE HORRIBLE THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO CHILDREN: MY COUSIN'S WEDDING"
  • Slot 2 (Peter; Tyler) - "DUSK CITY OUTLAWS"
  • Slot 3 (Peter) - "BEYOND THE MOUNTAIN WALL: BEYOND THE WALL SYSTEM"
  • Slot 3 (Tyler as GM; Jenny) - "CHURCHERS KICKSTARTER TRAVELLER GAME!" (The Twitch VOD can be found here. Note that it is very NSFW!)
  • Slot 4 (Tyler) - "[FATE] CAMELOT TRIGGER"
  • Slot 5 (Tyler; Jenny) - "THE SMALL TOWN OF CATTLE SKULL"
  • Slot 5 (Peter) - "LEVERAGE"
  • Slot 6 (Jenny as GM; Peter; Tyler) - "THE DECK OF MANY THINGS"

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