In this episode we're joined by none other than Elizabeth Garn of Christ and Pop Culture. (Elizabeth has written some great articles about faith and gaming and she should be on your radar if she wasn't already!)
We start off the episode with the usual check-in, which includes this time that Grant is running his seven-year-old daughter through Lost Mines of Phandelver and she is apparently killing it. Our guest question this time comes from Douglas Underhill who asks "Who is your favorite post-biblical Christian figure and why? How about one ancient and one modern?"
Once we're done chewing on that, we wade into the topic of the day, Chaotic Good. Elizabeth provides an excellent conversational foil for the rest of us and a really fun, interesting, and productive discussion comes from it. Along the way, we talk about why Robin Hood might not be quite as textbook of an example of Chaotic Good as many might thing, referencing OSP's analysis of the legend along the way.
Scripture: Proverbs 14:31, Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 21:12-13, Luke 11: 46-53
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
The hosts are all here for this one, and we kick off with a discussion of our games, which are generally going quite well, and a bit about the homeschooling of Grant's kids during the pandemic lockdown.
The Patreon question this episode comes from Paige Lowe, who asks " How have your games changed as you've matured as a DM/player?" That produces about the amount of introspection and analysis as you've come to expect from us. We've actually grown quite a a lot, as it turns out.
From there we move into scripture and our main topic: neutral evil, the alignment of undiluted, undistracted, pure, banal evil. It took six episodes to get here, but we've finally found an alignment description in the 2e rules we can mostly agree with! The alignment itself isn't all that interesting, but that doesn't mean you can't use it as an effective tool for making villains with interesting narrative roles and story effects, and much like we did with Lawful Evil, we break those down into archetypes.
Scripture: Leviticus 20: 1-5, Job 21: 17-21, Luke 8: 26-31
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
As promised, this is our "emergency bonus episode" about remote gaming. It's edited much more roughly than normal but as we say in the episode, turnaround was our top priority for this one. In the episode, we referenced a blog post that I posted yesterday. That is here for easy cross-referencing.
Scripture: Numbers 6:24-26 , Isaiah 40:30-31 (ESV), Galatians 6:2
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
This week's episode is a little different in multiple ways. With Grant out with illness and Jenny out with bureaucracy, Peter is joined by Ashley Mowers from Min/Max and Derek White from The Dungeon Pastors (this is the first episode of drawing on a larger hosting pool like was mentioned back in November). We went through the usual check-in and random Patreon Question - this time was David Hastings asking "Which Disney princess would you want to GM a game for you? As a GM, which would you want to be one of your players?" From there, we read our scripture and launched into our main topic, which, as it turns out, is a doozy.
The topic for this episode is a question posed to us by longtime Patreon Backer Joseph Linardon as a custom reward. Thank you, Joseph, for your continued generous support and a really meaty episode topic: ”I've thought up a topic after reading Psalm 92. Is killing evil in tabletop gaming inherently bad or wrong? After reading, I feel as though that is not the case. I believe that God wants to vanquish evil; be that by converting, re-devoting, purging through death, or really whatever creative ways my small scope can't imagine.”
We tried something a little different this time and backed way off the outline. The result was a a less structured but very emotionally-honest and vulnerable episode. If you like our more theological episodes and/or a more conversational approach, this will probably be a favorite.
Scripture (in order of appearance in the episode): Genesis 6:5-6 , Genesis 19: 23-26, Psalm 92: 9-11, Proverbs 25:21-22, Matthew 5:43-48, Ezekiel 33:11, Matthew 13:24-29, Isaiah 2:4
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