Not feeling well and not being able to get to the internet robbed us of Jenny this week. However, despite that lack, this was a great episode because we had an awesome guest host! Paranoia writer WJ MacGuffin joined us to talk about incorporating real-world faiths into our gaming.
We started off the episode with a quick general check-in and let WJ introduce himself and his work, talking a bit about what we've been reading in the process. From there, we fielded out Patreon question, which came to us via John and Ginny Swann, who asked "Your recent series on D&D alignments got me to thinking. I know you aren't huge fans of the Palladium system but what are your thoughts on their alignment system?" Fortunately, while we did have a bit to say about Palladium's alignment system, the presence of a guest kept us from creating a new multi-part series. From there, we read our scripture and dove into our rather meaty main topic.
The main topic was just what it said on the tin - and there's a lot to think about with regards to incorporating a real-world faith into one's game - whether that's as a writer, a player, or a GM. Sensitivity, accuracy, and still keeping it gameable are all very real concerns.
Mentioned in this Episode: Project Infinite Hole on Kickstarter, the Paranoia RPG, Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, Dennis E. Taylor's Bobiverse novels, Letter From a Birmingham Jail, Holey Moley, The Innocence Files, and Jelle's Marble Runs
Scripture: Exodus 20: 1-3, John 13: 34-35, James 1:26-27
Well folks, this is it - the last of the 3x3 grid of alignments, and arguably the worst of the worst.
Note: Spoilers for the City on a Hill, Season 2 Finale from 9:12-11:35
We start off with an announcement that mirrors our recent blog post. TL;DR: we're going to be a little freer talking about politics. That does not mean partisanship or campaigning, but we're going to touch some issues from time to time.
The Patreon question this week comes from Douglas Underhill, who asks "What's your biggest pet peeve for players? GMs/DMs?" As you can imagine, we have a bit of fun with that, and then it's time to read our scripture and dig into the awful and talk about chaotic evil. As with the previous evil alignments, we break down what the alignment means in practical terms and also hit some specific villainous archetypes to help GMs get the most out of this particular villainous mindset.
Scripture: 1 Kings 18:25-29, Isaiah 13: 17-18, Hebrews 11: 36-38
A quick note: our two-week lead time can sometimes mean that a lot happens between when we record an episode and when we release it. On may 25th, four officers of the Minneapolis, MN police department killed George Floyd, an unarmed black man. On May 28th, we recorded this episode as Mr. Floyd's death was just entering the zeitgeist. Since then, the US, and to a lesser extent, the entire world, has erupted in protests over the outrage of that killing and countless others like it. We took advantage of the off-week schedule of the blog to put up a statement, but while there are some promising early signs of systemic change occurring, the struggle for equality and justice for POC in the United States is far from over.
In this episode, we're joined by Krissi Woodward - Grant's wife and a core member of our Saturday night gaming group. We start off with our usual banter and then move relatively quickly into our Patreon question from David Hastings who asks "What book on your shelf have you been telling yourself you'll get around to reading for *years* now?"
As you can imagine, that turns into a bit of a thing (see our list of shame below in the "mentioned in this episode" list) but we do eventually get around to our main topic: the Chaotic Neutral alignment. Krissi plays a fair number of CN characters and has a lot of solid advice about how to do so in an enjoyable and non-disruptive manner.
Mentioned in this episode: Peter's Multiclass Feats article for En5ider, Numberphile, The Cuckoo's Egg, Plagues and Peoples, Role-Playing Game Studies, Jonathan Strand & Mr. Norrell, Secret Agents Four
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 9:11, Zephaniah 1:8-12, Matthew 6:19-21
This week we have more unstructured, conversational episode for you. Grant and Peter realized back in episode 173 that we'd like to talk about when players know what the GM is planning, but as we talked about the upcoming episode, we all realized that what we had was more of a discussion and a collection of observations than a collection of structured advice.
We start with the usual check-in, which has Peter and Grant both craving classic genre fiction and Jenny the Goblin Queen a bit under the weather. We then move into our Patreon question this week , which comes from Tom Stephens, who asks " (as someone who just got a MLS degree recently myself - finished in 2016, this one's for Jenny with a generalized version for the others): What was your most and least favorite class from your library degree program. For the others, what was the most and least favorite class from any training you've had recently or even going back to college? "
From there, we launch into a loose collection of advice and observations that comprise the central topic. More than usual, we can see multiple sides of this and talk about when it's useful for the players to know more, when it's not, why you might or might not want to hand out more information in your games, the considerations of various genres, and so on.
Mentioned in this episode: Star Power
Scripture: Psalm 33:10-11, Proverbs 16:3, Matthew 6:25-34
Grant, Peter and Jenny are joined by Jason Brick, veteran freelance writer in the TTRPG industry (and several others besides!). We kick off with a little chatter and swiftly move into our Patreon question from Joseph Linardon who asks " What would be your dream job?"
Answering that takes significantly less time than you'd expect, and after some quick scripture we're on to our main topic, which is basically taking advantage of Jason generous spirit and wide expertise about freelancing by getting him to do a brain dump. Among his many writing hats, Jason is one of the authors of Random Encounters, which is a resource that Peter has really enjoyed having on his shelf, as well as numerous other projects. Lots of good, practical advice in this one.
Mentioned in this episode: For Exposure on Twitter, Socks for Supper on Goodreads, Saving The Game's Page on Podchaser
Scripture: Proverbs 14:23, Matthew 5:9, Matthew 20:1-7, James 4:13-16
We're back to our usual release schedule and episode progression this week for True Neutral.
The discussion kicks off with the obligatory nod to COVID-19 (wash your hands!) and a nod back to our "emergency bonus" episode and blog post about remote gaming. There's a bit of discussion about how that's proceeding and then we get to our Patreon question where Brian Ray asks " What improvised weapon would you most likely use to thrash a slaver?"
That's a question with a story that goes with it, but once that's told, we move into our scripture and into our main topic: True Neutral. As it turns out, there not a ton to say about an alignment that's defined by what it is not, but we do get some good discussion in around balance keepers, film noir protagonists, and the problematic way that horseshoe theory sometimes gets applied to good and evil in fantasy.
Scripture: Proverbs 15:19, 1 John 3: 17-18, Revelation 3: 15-18
With Jenny out due to travel, Grant and Peter return temporarily to the days when it was just the two of them on the podcast and do something they haven't done on air before, or at least for quite a while: brainstorm about one specific game, namely the campaign Peter is running on Sundays.
We kick off with a surprising amount of news. Kittens are getting fixed, an important friend of Peter's who got him involved with the local food pantry has recently passed, and both Grant and Peter have been reading a lot of Robert E. Howard lately (link goes to public domain works of Howard at Project Gutenberg). That conversation lasts longer than usual and leads into the Patreon question where Joseph Linardon asks "With a Pathfinder/D&D setting in mind, what kind of hero would you want to be? Alignment, class, goals, however y'all would want to answer, I'm sure it would be interesting however you each decide to come up with an answer ."
The main topic discussion is a fruitful and lengthy one and illustrates beautifully why GMs should bounce ideas off of one another probably significantly more than they do. Grant and Peter have both enjoyed playing in the other's games, but they have different styles, priorities, and perspectives as GMs, and that takes the conversation to some fascinating places. Note to Peter's players: feel free to listen. This is more "setting book" stuff.
Scripture: Genesis 11:1-9, Titus 2:11
With Grant and Jenny back from their respective ordeals, it's time to continue our alignment series!
We start off with a quick catch-up session (thanks again Ashley and Derek for filling in!) but there's not a lot of note in our lives since the last episode we were on together (or at least, not that's relevant to the podcast).
The Patreon question this episode comes to us from Paige Lowe who asks " In an alternate reality where you found something else *instead* of RPGs, what is your creative outlet?"
That leads to some heavy thinking - and the general conclusion that we're glad to be in this timeline, hobby-wise.
From there we move into our scripture and our main topic of the Neutral Good alignment. This is the point where, in our opinion, the 2e alignment summaries really start to jump the tracks a bit. It is, however, generally pleasant to talk about good people doing good things for good reasons, which is at the core of the NG alignment. Along the way we rope in Spider-Man, the Hippocratic Oath, and the Belmont Report.
Scripture: Leviticus 9:17-18, Isaiah 1: 16-18, 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7, Galatians 5: 22-26
In this episode, we welcome back Kimi from Golden Lasso Games to talk about pre-game tools. We last spoke to Kimi in our mammoth two-parter on fitness back in episode 103 part 1 and part 2, and this time she's here alone rather than part of what was (at the time) the single largest number of people on one of our episodes.
We start off with the usual check-in and move from there to our Patreon question where David Hastings asks " What is your favorite thing to cook?" We narrowly escape a second trip down the rabbit hole that is talking about chili and move from there to our scripture and into our main discussion about pre-game tools. One of the first things that comes up is that such tools are rare, and are usually repurposed full games in their own right. The concept of using games such as Microscope to build a world collaboratively before playing in it has been out there for a while, but Kimi's new project Decuma is designed to be used in that role from the ground up.
Also Referenced in this episode: Decuma Actual Play Recording, A History of the Tarot Deck, and a really extensive use of pre-game tools.
Scripture: Genesis 1:1-2, Proverbs 15:22, Philippians 2:1-4
With the holidays over, we're back to our normal episode format, and in this one we wrap up the first batch of 3 from our alignment series with Lawful Evil.
We start off with a brief holiday check-in and run down some interesting gifts we received and gave. (Guess which one of us unironically gave someone a rock for Christmas!)
The Patreon question this episode comes from Chris Bissel who asks a three-part food-related question: "What do you like to put on hot dogs? What is the weirdest thing you've had on a hot dog? Where is the best hot dog you've ever tasted?"
After answering that and also digressing mightily as is our custom, we settle into our main topic: lawful evil. Lawful Evil is one of the most useful and versatile alignments for villains, and we talk about a lot of them, including Deathsronke, Bane and Lex Luthor from DC, and Thanos, Dr. Doom, and Magneto from Marvel. We didn't have a lot of disagreement this time, but it's a veritable flood of information.
Scripture: Judges 6:1-6, Matthew 27:1-8, 1 John 4:13-18