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

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.

January 8, 2019  

With Jenny traveling for the holidays, we're back to Grant and Peter on the mics for an episode! We cover our Christmas stories and Grant's Christmas stream of the Link to the Past Holiday Randomizer, and remind our listeners about the very exciting upcoming Actual Play series we're doing courtesy of City on a Hill Gaming.

Our Patreon question this week comes from Kevin VonFeldt, who asks us about the Kickstarters we wish we'd backed, but didn't. This is also a good excuse to prompt our ever-generous Patreon supporters to send in questions like these!

Our main topic this episode is how to hack published adventure material into your game. For what was supposed to be a quick-and-easy Christmas topic, we had a ton to say about this! We briefly cover the pros and cons of adventures themselves, then start tearing down pieces of modules to explain why you might want to borrow those pieces, and how to adjust them for your own game. From maps to encounters to entire plot lines, we tackle everything you can think of—and wrap up with an idea about running entire modules in your own campaign in ways that don't detract from your own homebrew settings.

Scripture: Proverbs 22:29, Colossians 3:23-24

December 19, 2018  

Author and game designer Greg Stolze joins us once again, this time to talk about systematically creating good gaming sessions! We had Greg on once before, talking about personal horror and Unknown Armies on STG 83, and it's great to have him back to give some excellent game-mastering advice. Greg's also got a Kickstarter for Termination Shock just wrapping up, and will be Kickstarting a second edition of Grim War in early 2019, so definitely check those out!

We end up spending a lot of time answering our Patreon question from Tom Stephens this episode, since he asked about how much time we spend researching, recording, and editing for an average episode of Saving the Game. Greg recorded some podcast episodes to promote Termination Shock, and so he's got plenty to add to that discussion as well!

After our Scripture readings, we go deep into the hard, practical steps gamemasters can take to build individual sessions and plan their game arcs built into both Termination Shock and Grim War. These are two rather different methods, but both are aimed squarely at new GMs, and designed to teach GMs how to keep players engaged and tell good stories without years of literary theory classes! Both the "playbook" approach of Termination Shock and the "lit-crit" approach of Grim War are worth testing in your own games, so give them a try (and consider picking up these games for more details!)

Scripture: Leviticus 19:34, Proverbs 4:6-7, Proverbs 15:22, Luke 6:39-40

December 11, 2018  

Jenny and Peter oversee the promotion of our ongoing series on gamifying Biblical figures with one of the most difficult yet: Samson! Though his story is found in the Book of Judges, Samson is a notorious and often actively awful outlier among Biblical figures. He's a drunken, womanizing barbarian who only occasionally interacts with God, and often seems more like Heracles or other mythic figures. What, then, can we learn from Samson and his story? And what can we take back to the gaming table?

Scripture: Judges 13:2-5, Judges 16:28-30

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 30, 2018  

It's a special Halloween episode, this time on undeath! Well, okay, it's at least a Halloween episode, and that counts for something. We start things off with a quick update on our Twitch stream schedule (Peter's streaming Pathfinder: Kingmaker on Wednesdays for a while, leaving Jenny and Grant to stream on Fridays.) Jenny also has a special thank-you for Renegade Studios for being helpful in getting her copy of Overlight shipped correctly; and Grant plugs for his friend Patrick's appearance on The Gauntlet Podcast, which is really a well-deserved plug for the entire Gauntlet community as a haven of indie gaming and game design. We also handle a question from Patreon supporter Zach over at Back Burner Games, who asks us what roleplaying game we'd make if we had absolutely no obstacles.

Then, after our very apt Scripture readings, we start talking about undeath! We obviously can't cover the entirety of the topic in half an hour, but we do talk about what 'undeath' means, and briefly touch on some sample historical and cultural beliefs about the undead. We also discuss what Scripture has to say about the undead; why the undead in their various incarnations are scary; and how to use the undead in interesting ways as both a player and as a gamemaster. Enjoy!

Scripture: 1 Samuel 28:13-17, 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, Matthew 14:25-28, Luke 24:36-39

October 16, 2018  

Krissi Woodward joins us again this episode to help Grant and Jenny speak a little less, since they're both pretty sick in this episode, and to talk about character backstories with everyone! Krissi's been on a few previous episodes can be found on Twitter as @d20mom.

We catch up a bit and talk about our upcoming streaming schedule over on Twitch, and then answer a question about fictional characters we'd want to GM for from Patreon supporter Richard Lorenz. Then after our Scripture readings, we dive into character backstories: What makes a good background, common pitfalls, some general advice, and the methods we each use for coming up with backstories for our characters.

Scripture: Genesis 37: 19-26Isaiah 43: 18-19Acts 9:1-62 Corinthians 5:16-17

October 2, 2018  

Jenny's off exploring France this week, so Peter and Grant sat down together for another bonus episode in our Biblical Figures series! This time, we're talking about Matthew—apostle, Gospel author, and reformed tax collector. We provide some Fun Facts about Matthew Levi before Grant gives an overview of the peculiar system of Roman taxation. Then we talk about Matthew's major appearance in Scripture, as well as his role as one of the four traditional authors of the Gospels and the different martyrdoms traditionally ascribed to Matthew. Finally, we wrap up by exploring ways to use elements of Matthew's story in our own games. Enjoy!

Mentioned in this episode: Alfred Edersheim's Sketches of Jewish Social Life and Fausset's Bible Dictionary.

Scripture: Matthew 9:9-13Luke 18:9-14Luke 19:1-10Revelation 4:5-8

September 18, 2018  

After more than a year, we're finally back to our series on the Ten Commandments! We're picking up where we left off with the Fifth Commandment, which tells us to "honor thy father and mother"—and a good bit more. We've also got a question from Patreon backer Kevin VonFeldt, who asks us about our favorite Kickstarters we've backed. We've also got some news about a growing gaming group and Jenny's new cat!

After our Scripture readings, we talk in-depth about the Fifth Commandment: Its text, its meanings (both in Scripture and in cultural usage), and its implications. We also spend some time on the questions which naturally arise when it's very hard to honor one or both parents. Then we talk about some common story and gaming uses of this topic, and how to put this commandment into practice in the world. Finally, we wrap up with a few special shout-outs to our podcasting and geeky-faith elders whom we've learned from: Folks like Derek White, M.J. Young of the Christian Gamers Guild, Dan Repperger, Chad Wattler, and more.

Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:16, Proverbs 6:20-22, 1 Timothy 5:1-4

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