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

October 17, 2017  
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Peter and Jenny have two special guests this week: Jacob Toman and Michael Mendis from Gospel & Gaming! Gospel & Gaming is, in their own words, "a ministry dedicated to sharing the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ with gamers all over the world." Jacob and Michael did a great job representing them, explaining their mission in online gaming communities and tabletop gaming communities alike.

We also addressed a question from Patreon backer Jim Nanban, who asked us about the coolest piece of RPG paraphernalia we each own. (As promised, there's a picture of Peter's dice bag right here in the show notes.) We also briefly plug our Discord channel, which is continuing to grow as a community. Then everyone settles in to talk about evangelism and how Gospel & Gaming approaches it—even to the point where Michael and Jacob turn the interview around and start asking the hosts questions!

A couple of quick notes about this episode: First, Grant was very sick and missed out on a pair of awesome guests. (He's better now.) Second, Peter's audio sounds very bad this episode; there was a hardware problem writing his track to disk that wasn't apparent during the discussion. And third, as hard as Grant tried we simply could not edit Blarey the Podcast Train out of this episode. That means that this is Blarey's first official podcast appearance. Enjoy!

Also mentioned in this episode were three books Jacob highly recommended as primers for Gospel & Gaming's mission: Michael Green's Evangelism in the Early Church; Jerram Barr's The Heart of Evangelism; and Jane McGonigal's Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.

Scripture: Psalm 105:1-4Matthew 13:10-13Romans 10:11-15

September 19, 2017  
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Booter, con organizer, and friend Adam Gottfried joins us to talk about planning Fear the Con and other conventions! First, Adam has an announcement (the first piece of news ever broken on Saving the Game!)—Fear the Con 11 will be June 22-23, 2018. Also, there will be a Kickstarter for the con at some point, although those dates aren't exactly set in stone yet. (For more Fear the Con, see Episode 61 with Derek Knutsen and a host of others.)

Having made that announcement, we tackle Patreon backer Jim's question about obscure media we'd want to turn into a RPG. We also discuss an impending visit from the Bishop of Jerusalem, which naturally leads into a discussion of Jerusalem Syndrome. Jenny also plugs Scott Westerfeld's "Leviathan" series, and especially its map.

All that done, we move on to our Scripture for the episode, and the episode's main topic: Planning and running a convention like Fear the Con. Most of this discussion is very much focused on Fear the Con, for obvious reasons; but we do manage to address the main things you need to think of when running a con, and how to handle problems as they arise!

Also:follow him on Mixer Grant's started to livestream the audio editing process! If you want to hear the raw episode, and chat with Grant while he edits, keep an eye on our social media feeds (especially Twitter) for announcements of streaming times. You can also and get notifications there!

Scripture: Proverbs 11:5-6, Hebrews 10:24-25, Romans 12:10-16

September 5, 2017  
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We're delighted to welcome Jack Berkenstock Jr. of The Bodhana Group back onto the mics this week! Jack previously joined us on STG 25, when he introduced us to the idea of roleplaying games as an adjunct therapeutic tool for children who were victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse, among others. This time, he's here to talk more about RPGs in treatment for social skills, grief, loss, and more. After catching up with our old friend a bit, we let him plug Save Against Fear 2017 (Oct. 13-15 in Harrisburg, PA)—which we can confirm Jenny will attend this year, so catch up with her there too if you see her! We also plug the /r/ChristianDnD subreddit, especially for anyone looking to find other folks to game online with.

That done, we chat briefly about the 2017 total solar eclipse and answer (another) question from Patreon backer Fernando about Saturday morning cartoons we'd want to turn into games. Naturally, this gave us a chance to plug our podcasting friends over at the Gameable Saturday Morning Podcast, and Peter's episodes on Batman: The Animated Series there. Our other choices: E.X.O. Squad, Reboot, Star Blazers, and Toad Patrol! (And yes, please nominate your own cartoons to game in the comments.)

Finally, we settle in and let Jack talk about his introduction to gaming, how he found out he wanted to do therapy for kids who were hurting badly, and how he figured out that those two loves might work together. In particular, we discuss methodologies, what kind of metrics work and don't work in these sorts of situations, Olivia's House, and how the therapeutic sessions Bodhana runs differ from your average tabletop game.

Games mentioned this episode: Unknown Armies; Cartoon Action Hour; Blades in the Dark; No Thank You, Evil!; Pugmire; Retrostar. Also mentioned: Face Value Comics; The Anglican Church's "Prayer for Reconciliation".

Scripture: Psalm 16:7-10, Psalm 91:2-6, John 8:2-11, Galatians 6:1-2

August 22, 2017  
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Adam Davis and Adam Johns from Wheelhouse Workshop join us to discuss how and why they use Dungeons & Dragons in social skills therapy! Their Seattle-based organization has been doing this for a couple of years now, and they've got a lot to say. (We've also worked with Adam and Adam previously on some Game to Grow content.) We also tackle a question from Patreon supporter Francisco (of the Retro Rewind Podcast) about replacing our favorite RPGs with board games in a pinch, and Grant briefly describes his trip to Electric City Comic-Con 2017 and his terrible-but-awesome decision to help his daughter get into the Pokémon TCG.

Adam and Adam then discuss Wheelhouse Workshop's work: Why RPGs in general, and D&D in particular, are useful therapeutic tools; how a game session in their offices differs from your usual tabletop session; their house rules for their games; some success stories and interesting moments; and much more. Also, we mention in passing Monte Cook Games' The Strange and Microscope, both of which are excellent games.

For more information about Wheelhouse Workshop, visit their website or find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Scripture: Numbers 23:8, Mark 2:15-17, 1 Peter 5:6-10

August 8, 2017  
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We're joined this week by Matthew Surber, who's both the Program Director at the West River Center in Maryland and a game designer affiliated with Defy Danger Adventures. We actually found Matthew through the most unlikely of sources (Reddit comments, of all things) but he turned out to be a fantastic guest! After addressing Patreon backer Tom's question about broad and narrow skills in roleplaying games, and a quick diversion from Jenny about the dangers of Canada's nuclear wildlife, we buckled down with Matthew to discuss applying counseling principles to games. Matthew's got a Master's degree in counseling and a Dungeon World game he runs for his other camp counselors; naturally, he had a lot of excellent advice to give about trust, bonds, empathy, and saying 'yes' as a GM and player.

Games mentioned this episode: Dungeon World; Beyond The Wall; Pugmire; Honey Heist; The Skeletons; Ten Candles.

Other things mentioned this episode: MegaDumbCast (MDC); Defy Danger Adventures; STG 25 with Jack Berkenstock; The Bodhana Group; Wheelhouse Workshop; and that rad Honey Heist t-shirt.

Matthew can be found on Twitter at @TheRealSurberus.

Scripture: Jonah 2:2, Psalm 119:76, Mark 2:15-17

June 13, 2017  
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Psychology researcher, professor, and LARPer Dr. Sarah Lynne Bowman joins us for a fascinating discussion of LARP and the psychology of play and roleplaying! Sarah had an enormous amount of information to pass along to us about different styles of live-action roleplay, terminology and concepts in LARP and in the psychology of play, the seeming dichotomy between tabletop and live-action play, and so much more. It's a bit less organized than many of our episodes, simply because we let Sarah take charge of much of the conversation, but we definitely think it turned out better for that! (And check below for a long list of links Sarah provided for us.)

We also answer a question from Patreon supporter Paige, who wanted to know how much time we spend each week on tabletop gaming; briefly discuss Overwatch; and mention Bottlequest, a Golden Cobra two-page LARP game we used in our recent Fellowship game as a one-shot bottle episode mechanic. Plus, a bit more information about fake beards and Fear the Con X!

For more information about Sarah, check out her website and her book, The Function of Role-Playing Games: How Participants Create Community, Solve Problems, and Explore Identity. You can also check out the Game to Grow episode we hosted, where Sarah was a guest; she's been on and hosted a few other episodes as well.

Things mentioned in this episode, or passed on after recording by Sarah:

Special thanks to Peter for editing this one while Grant was on vacation—especially given how long the episode went!

Scripture: 1 Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 16:3, Luke 12:2

May 30, 2017  
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The Rev. Derek White, longtime friend of the show and known to the Internet as "The Geekpreacher", joins us once again to discuss spiritual warfare! After introducing Derek (and letting him plug GaryCon), we turn our attention to some important information about fake beards and Fear the Con. Peter and Jenny will be wearing fake beards (ridiculous, nonsensical fake beards, to be clear) to Fear the Con in support of Pat Roper (one of Fear the Boot's hosts) and his ongoing treatment for Stage 3 pancreatic cancer. We also pass on the news of a listener's new game, the KARMA RPG System, funding on IndieGoGo.

With that taken care of, we address a question from Patreon supporter Francisco (of the Retro Rewind Podcast) about our favorite psalms, and any we might have memorized. (Turns out at least half of us really like Psalm 40, either live in concert or from the original album.) Then we settle in on our main topic: Spiritual warfare, in its various forms and interpretations among Christian traditions as well as in our roleplaying games. Derek and Peter both draw heavily from the book Reviving Old Scratch: Demons and Devils for the Disenchanted by Richard Beck for this discussion; likewise, Grant pulls from the PCUSA's "What We Believe" series, specifically this article on the problem of evil.

Also mentioned in this episode: Gustav Davidson's A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels; Mayfair's Role Aids line of RPG supplements; and Daniel Solis's Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.

Scripture:Genesis 3:13-152 Kings 6:15-17, Luke 8:26-31, Ephesians 6:10-13.

May 16, 2017  
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We continue our discussion with Krissi Woodward about clothing and visual character descriptions! We pick back up with discussions of cultural and vocational costume, and move on to the effects of technology on what people wear and look like. We then spend a fair bit of time on modesty (and fair warning: While we don't get obscene, this section does get fairly frank about the human body, so if you're particularly sensitive keep that in mind.) Then after a few more notes (and mention of the Aghori, who are absolutely fascinating; Poche Posh and Soviet denim smugglers; and underground Korean tattoos), we quickly mention other aspects of appearance. We then spend some time on what clothing can and should mean for Christians, and how God sees past what we wear into our very hearts. Finally, we wrap up with some useful and recommended tools and means for getting artwork or minis done for your character!

Tools and sites mentioned: Heromachine; Hero Forge; DeviantArt; ArtStation; Emergency Commissions on Tumblr; and the /r/ArmoredWomen, /r/ReasonableFantasy, and /r/ImaginaryCharacters subreddits.

Scripture: Genesis 3:6-7, Exodus 28:15-21, Isaiah 53:2, James 2:1-4

May 2, 2017  
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Krissi Woodward—Grant's wife and costume designer—joins us once again to discuss visual character descriptions in our game, and especially clothing! We have a couple of announcements related to our Weekend Reading series and our Patreon question rewards. Then we tackle a question from Patreon backer gfactor, who asks about electronic apps or devices which might enhance the tabletop play experience.

With that handled, we begin breaking down the importance of describing character appearances in our games. Grant leads off with a potentially controversial statement about character portraits and minis, which leads us into why players are often hesitant to delve into this at all. Then we go deep into the rabbit hole with Krissi, talking about clothing (and other elements of our appearance) in a conversation that went so long, we had to split it into two parts!

Mentioned in this half of the episode: Inkarnate and Worldpainter.

Scripture: Genesis 3:6-7, Exodus 28:15-21, Isaiah 53:2, James 2:1-4

February 7, 2017  
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We’ve got THREE guests crowding around the mics this week to continue with part two of a special episode on personal fitness! Kimi (cosplayer, tabletop gaming podcaster, weightlifter, gym owner, and former personal trainer), Chris (media professional, tabletop gaming podcaster, filmmaker, and former personal trainer) and Krissi (gamer, stay-at-home mom, and licensed Zumba instructor) all join us to put personal fitness into a gamer-friendly context. They (along with Grant and Peter) discuss nutrition, sleep, stress reduction, willpower, and more!

Be sure to catch the first half of this episode if you missed it, where we talked about our own fitness journeys, why exercise and physical health matter, unfocused and focused exercise, and setting goals.

Special thanks to all our guests for joining us for a long recording session and providing so much helpful information. For more information about our guests and their projects, as well as where to find them online:

Scripture: Proverbs 16:3, Isaiah 40:31, Colossians 3:23, Philippians 2:1-4

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