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
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
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
With the first batch of three from our ongoing alignments series concluded, we're back to normal topics for at least a few episodes. And this week, we have one that was selected - in a landslide - by our Patreon backers: Old Age and Retirement.
We start off with our usual check-in and discuss our ongoing games and Grant's newfound interest in knitting, and then move into our Patreon question where John and Ginny Swann ask us "Have you ever had to deal with any real blasphemy during a game?"
As you'd probably expect by this point, we take some time answering that, getting into some digressions along the way. While our answers basically come down to "no," there are some significant caveats to that answer. After our scripture, we launch into our main topic, discussing old age and retirement as they apply to PCs and NPCs, from the GM's side, and the player's. Along the way, we talk about our previous episode on resurrection magic, John Scalzi's Old Man's War, one of Peter's recent blog posts about injury, World Anvil, and one of Peter's favorite DM's Guild products that contains rules for heroes of different ages.
Scripture: Genesis 25:8, Proverbs 16: 31-32, Luke 2:36-38
Mike Perna of Innroads Ministries, Game Store Prophets, and Bard and Bible joins us as he does every 33 episodes to talk about something he's been itching to talk on the mics about for ages - unlikely heroes with a strong emphasis on Mike Mignola's Hellboy.
We also give a shout-out to The Dungeon Pastors, a new project from two other friends of the show, Derek "The Geekpreacher" White and Stephen Taylor of Games for All. That's immediately followed by one of the strangest questions's we've had from a Patreon backer in a long time when John and Ginny Swann ask us " What is your favorite sandwich and how would you play it as a character?" The episode is almost worth it for that conversation alone, folks.
Once we wrap that surprisingly thoughtful and in-depth section up, name a favorite sandwich of Jenny's "The Goblin Warlock" and read our scripture, we move into our main topic: unlikely heroes and why Hellboy is such a compelling example of one, and how you can use him and other characters like him in your games. As is always the case, having Mike on gives us a lot of both quality and quantity.
Scripture: Exodus 4: 10-12, 1 Samuel 16:1-12, Matthew 9:9
We're back with the second half of our unofficial two-parter on angels! (And yes, you can catch up with our first half here.) This time around, we're discussing how to make angels interesting in your games. First, though, we've got some business to catch up on, including GaryCon 2019 (which Peter had a great time at) and ConCarolinas 2019 (which Grant will be attending this year.) We've also got a topical Patreon question from Paige, who asks "What advice do you have for running a game at a con?"
After answering that, we read our Scripture and dive in (with a brief initial segue about Angels in the Outfield for ... reasons.) Angels as messengers, allies, and guardians! Angels as instruments of divine wrath or cosmic maintenance staff! How to portray angels in your game to make them interesting! And also, a little break to talk about the theology of guardian angels.
Mentioned in this episode: Exodus by Erika Shepherd and Party of One Podcast #168, "Exodus with Erika Shepherd"; Divinity by Erika Shepherd.
Scripture: Genesis 6:4, Numbers 13:33, Psalm 91:9-13, Matthew 2:13-15, Matthew 28:1-7, Colossians 2:18
We've got an unusual bonus episode this time around—one that in many ways recalls our old New Years' resolutions episodes! We're implementing an objectives and key results system behind-the-scenes here at Saving the Game, in order to grow the podcast and make sure we're doing everything we can to improve the quality of our show. Since Grant's also implementing it at work, it seemed like a good topic of conversation all on its own—a system any organization (from enterprises to families) can use to set measurable objectives.
As such, we go over the basics of the OKR system, then follow it up with a description of the objectives we've set and the key results measuring our progress on those objectives—everything from increasing listenership to improving our YouTube channel. We also talk about our appearance on the forthcoming episodes of City on a Hill Gaming, and "Session Zero" of Grant's private-investigators-in-Sharn Eberron D&D game. We hope you find this edifying. We certainly did!
The book mentioned in the episode is John Doerr's Measure What Matters.
Yep, it's a bonus episode all right—sillier and far less structured! In this episode: The end of Grant's colony game; Peter's continuing game; Grant's upcoming Eberron game and #EberronFacts (and handing out setting crunch in small doses); how Jenny and Peter came up with their character concepts; and anxiety around new characters.
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 20:13, Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 5:21-26, Romans 13:9