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
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
This is the corrected version of 167. The first version ran the main episode audio into the outro due to an editing mistake on my part. My apologies. -Peter
We're back with episode 2 of our alignments series, this time talking about Lawful Neutral.
We start off with the story of some adorable kittens in Grant's home, check in about Thanksgiving, and then get into some gaming chat. Peter's game is going well and starting to get active on a big picture level, Grant's vampire game has made the move to Powered by the Dark, and the "hosts and friends" gaming group will be doing a published adventure for the first time ever! Grant has picked up Princes of the Apocalypse and will be running it for us.
Our Patreon question comes from Aaron Arnold (who is one of Peter's players, despite his uncertainty about last names in the episode!) who asks " Have you roleplayed in a game that wasn't D&D? I ask because I played a cyberpunk noir game and I enjoyed the RP I got to create in it." We had a lot to say by way of answering that question; all of us have been regular game convention attendees at various points in our lives and it prompted some reminiscence and few recommendations.
With that discussion concluded, we move into scripture and then onto our main topic: Lawful Neutral, or, as Grant so aptly put it: the obstacle alignment. We're a bit less ranty than last time, but it's still a productive discussion.
Scripture: Deuteronomy 4:5-8, Mark 2: 23-28, John 8: 1-11
We've been promising it for a while and here it is, the first episode in our series on alignment. We last talked about alignments as a topic waaaaaayyyy back in episode 2 of the podcast (if you listen, we're so sorry about the audio quality), and we figured it was high time we updated things and also let Jenny weigh in!
We start of with a shoutout to a couple of podcasts we've been enjoying; Grant has been listening to Pontifacts and Peter has been listening to Stats Will Roll. Our friends over at MegaDumbCast have also recently released an episode on autism representation in games (and how not to do it) that is worth a listen. In gaming news, Grant is porting his Vampire game over to a PbtA variant called Powered by Dark and his Sharn game has started up again. Peter's new D&D game continues to go strong, and he mentions a great thing one of his players is doing that he loves. We also briefly mention some behind-the-scenes change we're making. Our Patreon question this episode comes from Joseph Linardon who asks us " If you could make a 1 page RPG, what would it be? What would be the main dice you use (if not a D20)?"
From there, we get into our main topic and argue about alignment like proper nerds for the rest of the episode, complete with fictional examples (some of which may actually be Neutral Good) and a lengthy amount of discussions about what Lawful Good is not. It gets a little heated in points, but we had fun and it was a good (and somewhat cathartic) discussion.
Also mentioned in this episode: https://www.amykathleenryan.com/books.php
Scripture: Psalm 119:12-16, Proverbs 24:30-32, Matthew 22:34-40
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
After several episodes with either more or less than the three main hosts, Grant, Peter, and Jenny finally get to sit down together and talk about monsters just in time for Halloween! First, though, there's a bit of catching up to do, and a delightful question from Patreon supporter Richard Lorenz who asks a simple, seasonally-appropriate question: "Favorite holiday?"
Once our Scripture's read, we dive into monsters, and specifically monsters as representations of the monstrous and of the diseased. We touch on what few monsters appear in Scripture, and then run through a number of classic monsters and terrific archetypes to discuss them. We also talk a bit about monsters as representations of the 'other.' Enjoy!
Also mentioned in this episode: "Action Oriented Monsters" by Matthew Colville; E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series; and Kei-Con.
Scripture: Job 41:1-10, 1 Samuel 28:8-13, 1 Corinthians 10:17-22
With Grant out again for chaotic work-related reasons, Jenny and Peter are collaborating again—this time on setting material for Peter's new D&D game! First, though, we answer a Patreon question from Douglas Underhill, who asks us "If you statted yourself as a 5E character, how would you allocate the default starting array of ability scores?"
Then, after our Scripture readings as usual, Peter takes a moment to describe his game and overall setting ideas. Then it's time to brainstorm and create as Jenny and Peter work together to create points of interest, natural features, and dangerously exciting locations. Enjoy!
Professor, researcher, leading thinker in the psychology of RPGS both tabletop and LARP, and contributor to the first college textbook on RPGs Dr. Sarah Lynne Bowman joins us for a second time (we first spoke to Sarah back in episode 111) to discuss more of the psychology around RPGs.
The episode starts with a quick discussion of the new game Peter is going to be starting up in October with some StG listeners, and an excellent and thoughtful question about playing characters of the opposite sex from John and Ginny Swann.
From there, we move into our scripture and a discussion of the player archetypes that Sarah codified in her book The Functions of Role-Playing Games. These are a useful tool descriptive tool to discuss who we are in games on a more psychological level and complement more traditional player types (like tactician and actor) nicely. With that groundwork laid, the conversation turns to a discussion of the phenomenon of bleed (psychological transference from player to character or vice versa) in gaming and how that's tied up with safety techniques. As you'd expect, we touched on the free (and excellent) Consent in Gaming document recently published by Monte Cook games, but also used an experience of Peter's from a few years back to illustrate why safety techniques are a good idea. We also spent a bit of time talking about how gaming can go past mere safety and into growth, another topic that Dr. Bowman is passionate about.
Scripture: Proverbs 4:5-6 , Galatians 6:2, Philippians 2:1-4, 3 John 1-6
Creative professional and storyteller Daniel Kwan joins us on this episode to talk about gaming in historical settings! Daniel is a former museum historian, a game designer at Dundas West Games, and co-host of the Asians Represent podcast. He works to support Level Up Gaming, a Toronto-based organization that "provides individuals on the autism spectrum and with other disabilities the opportunity to develop and explore their real-world social skills through goal-directed gaming experiences." And he's got a game Kickstarting on October 4th called Ross Rifles, about Canada's involvement in the First World War and the life of soldiers in the trenches! He's a fascinating person and an amazing guest, and the perfect person to talk to about setting your games in real historical situations, with systems appropriate to a focus on the historical experience. Follow Daniel Kwan and Asians Represent on Twitter, and keep an eye out for that Kickstarter announcement come October!
Our Patreon question this week comes to us from Aaron Arnold, who asks "To what extent does your backstory need to inform your build?"
After our Scripture reading, we dig deep into this topic with Daniel. How does one go about making a system that fits a real, historical moment and accurately represents it—while encouraging a desired experience at the table? How do you research a game like this? How do you handle the stereotypes of a particular era or moment that players (and gamemasters) may have in their heads? And what's the line between historical accuracy and paralysis through detail?
Scripture: Job 8:8-10, Psalm 78:1-4, Romans 15:4