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

February 18, 2020  

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 turned out, was 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 you 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

January 21, 2020  

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

November 12, 2019  

#Every33!
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

March 19, 2019  

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

January 22, 2019  

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.

November 27, 2018  

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.

November 13, 2018  

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 4, 2016  

It's a relatively light episode for news, so Grant and Peter have more time for the Patreon question and the main topic. It turns out they need it. Hospitality is a big, old-school StG topic and the hosts look at it from a number of angles and discuss how it applies in games, in the world around us, and at our gaming tables.

Scripture: Leviticus 19:34, Luke 14:12-14, 1 Peter 4:8-10

Links:

Episode 5: Charity

Jean Veljean and the Bishop of Digne

Would You Hide a Jew From the Nazis?

Denver church planning to build tiny homes

April 7, 2015  

Grant and Peter are back to talk about making interesting conspiracies for your players to expose—or participate in! First, we plug the ongoing Fear the Con 8 Kickstarter—if you want to see us there, the con needs to hit its Kickstarter goal, so consider backing it if you haven't done so yet! Then we get down to business, talking about the elements of a good conspiracy as an entity in your game, and only briefly diverting to talk about conspiracy theories. Like these, which claim the moon isn't real.

Scripture: Psalm 41:5-9, Matthew 26:1-5

March 3, 2015  

One of the pieces of media that's been consistently pushed on my by friends (mostly my co-host Grant and his wife, but also some other people) is the show White Collar. For those unfamiliar with it, the show is built around the concept of a not-so-bad “bad guy” being teamed up with a good guy to do good things. In some shows this results in tensions and they find drama that way, but in White Collar, it tends to operate more on the friendly banter level. The dynamic is similar to that of a lawful good paladin and a very kind-hearted and decent chaotic good bard working together. The characters (mostly-reformed con man Neal and FBI agent Peter) don't always agree on how things should be done and operate under different rules, but they genuinely like and trust each other, even if neither one really wants to admit it. The show is delightful you should give it a try if you haven't.

In any case, while binge-watching the first season on Netflix over the weekend, I ran across something interesting in Season 1, Episode 9 that I feel is worth putting in the proverbial gamer tool box. [SPOILER WARNING: spoilers for S1E9 of White Collar begin here] In the episode, Peter goes to talk to a corrupt judge, who offers him a bribe. We know from eight prior episodes of character development that he's about as likely to be bribeable as Captain America, so when he plays along, the audience knows that he's doing so with an eye toward catching the corrupt judge in her corruption. The other characters in the show, particularly his boss, are less likely to have quite such absolute confidence in his virtue, so when the judge makes plans to give a tape she made of the interaction to a rival agent, we realize he could be in real trouble. He and Neal both begin to put plans into place to get him out of the jam, but neither consults the other first. Peter gets together a bunch of his subordinates who do trust him and starts building the case against the judge on an accelerated timetable. Neal gets together with another basically-good criminal buddy of his and they erase the tape in transit. The tape being blanked buys Peter more time to turn the tables on the corrupt judge and the dirty FBI agent he's up against by the end of the episode.[END SPOILERS]

The episode illustrates an interesting idea: People who work together don't always need to coordinate to help each other (in fact, a lot of workplaces rely on people not constantly needing to coordinate with the boss or each other to get stuff done). Neal and Peter never communicated what they planned to do to each other, and in fact, Peter was grateful for Neal's help but was as surprised by it as his rival was. They worked together while working apart.

This could be, I think, a really neat thing to do in a game, but in order for it to work properly, the PCs have to really trust each other. If they don't, you're more likely to get intrigue than serendipitous cooperation, which may also make for good play and/or good story depending on your group, but it's beyond the scope of this blog post. However, if you're a GM and your players have that kind of relationship, I think you probably can get away with giving multiple parts of a split party the same news they're going to want to react to without letting them talk to each other before they have to start moving on it, then let their actions help each other at appropriate times once the clock starts moving, and when the party finally reunites, enjoy the “that was you?” moments that will inevitably spring up. I think it's also important for their goals to be complimentary, but don't sweat it if they aren't identical. In the show, Peter wanted to catch a bad guy and Neal just wanted to spare his friend some possible career-imperiling grief.

It's not something you probably want to do all the time, but if your group will go for it, I think it could be a lot of fun to let your PCs work together without working in concert. I certainly intend to give it a try at the earliest opportunity.

—Peter

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