Grant Woodward


Episode 98 – The Second Commandment (Ten Commandments, Part 2)


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Grant and Peter continue our ongoing Ten Commandments series with a look at the Second Commandment! First, though, Grant has a fair bit to say about InSpectres and Pugmire, and some lessons he’s learned from those games lately. Then we tackle a question from an anonymous Patreon backer, about transitioning into the game master role, and briefly discuss potential Patreon changes and our upcoming holiday charity drive. We also reiterate our call for your stories of harassment and ‘othering’ in the gaming hobby and industry. After all that, we finally get down to the Second Commandment (as well as a bit about how different Christian and Jewish traditions actually arrange and enumerate these ten commandments.)

Scripture: Exodus 20:4-6, Isaiah 55:8, Hosea 3:1, Revelation 9:20-21


Episode 97 – Religious Villains


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We’re back to talk about religious villains in your game! First, Grant discusses a successful Pugmire one-shot and his upcoming InSpectres game. Then, Grant and Peter put out a call for your stories of ‘othering’ in the hobby (which you can submit by email or through our contact page.) We spend a fair bit of time answering a very interesting question from Patreon backer Jim about rewarding good player behavior. And finally, we get to our main topic: Religious villains. We discuss creating religious, and even specifically Christian villains, as well as what makes those villains powerful and effective in our stories.

Mentioned in this episode: Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Ep. 48, “Prophets of Doom”; and—

Scripture: Isaiah 29:13-16, Matthew 7:21-23, Matthew 23:13-15


Episode 96 – The First Commandment (The Ten Commandments, Part 1)


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Grant and Peter kick off a new, more theologically-oriented series this week! We’ll be looking at each of the Ten Commandments, and so of course we’re starting with the First Commandment. First, though, we answer a question from Patreon backer Richard Lorenz about other podcasts in the “geeky faith” genre (and specifically faith and roleplaying games—see the show notes for a full list of everything we mentioned!) We also spend a little time talking about Game to Grow. For our main topic, we talk about the importance and theological implications of the First Commandment, as well as some of its gaming implications.

Mentioned in this episode:

Scripture: Exodus 3:15, Exodus 20:1-3Matthew 22:37-38Matthew 6:24


Campaign Report 4: Into The Witch’s House

Hey, folks. Grant again, and … what’s this? A bonus play report? Delicious! My recap from a few days ago was pretty negative—and rightly so, because I screwed up hard. In these last two sessions, though, I think we collectively made up for that. Character development, problem solving without violence, some great roleplaying, and a couple of nasty combats. Oh, and the rogue set a needle blight on fire and robbed a witch. Good times.

(A personal note: This blog post was supposed to go up last Friday. However, between a nasty head cold and some other issues, that didn’t happen. I apologize for not getting this out in a timely manner.)

Session 6

I’m going to try something a little different for this post. Since these two sessions were pretty action-packed, I’m going to recap each session and then immediately talk about it from a GM’s perspective, rather than packing all the GM notes at the bottom.

Recap

Kenku WitchI left the party on a cliffhanger: Rishi (the wacky old kenku loremaster) was juuuuust about to tell the party something they could do to earn the trust of Kondou (head of the kenku village) and the other kenku. (I’m going to talk about that cliffhanger in the “GM’s Notes” section below.) Well, Rishi’s task was simple, on the face of it. He wanted them to retrieve a stone tablet, about 8″x12″x1″, with a kenku carved into it. It had “gone missing”, he said, and he’d just learned where it went: It was in Auntie Bloat’s house.

“Auntie Bloat”, it turned out, was an ancient kenku witch—much older even than Rishi—who lurked in a bog at the far western end of the island, living in a fish’s skull. She and Rishi apparently were in a bit of a standoff, and the PCs offered the opportunity to shake things up. So the next morning—after waking up to the sound of Rishi shouting a story off his balcony to passing kenku—the party set off to find Auntie Bloat.

The kenku village was just a bit uphill of the small lake the party had spotted the day before, and the witch’s swamp was (naturally) at the end of the small river flowing out of that lake. Finding her was therefore just a matter of traveling down-river. This occasioned an interesting debate, however: Aster (the scrappy, urban rogue with a … limited … grasp of the concept of personal property) was strongly in favor of taking a fishing boat, even if there wasn’t anyone around to ask about that. (Her player—my wife—invoked her “It’s not stealing if I need it more” flaw, and earned an Inspiration point for doing so.) The party argued this for a bit, and eventually nixed the idea on both moral and practical grounds, but it was a good (and 100% player-created) moment. (more…)


Campaign Report 3: Exploration & Narrative Railroading

Hey, folks! It’s been about a month since our last campaign update, and I’ve got four sessions to recap as a result. That’s a lot to cover, so I’m going to break this up into two posts. Expect a follow-up later this week. A lot has happened for the PCs, and as a GM I’ve done some good and some bad things, all worth talking about. I don’t want to skimp on too many details!

Anyways, let’s talk about exploration—and bad GMing.

Recap

For those keeping track at home, I’ve written about three sessions so far. Here’s a recap of the next two.

Session 4

Ball's Pyramid (North)So after exploring the ancient monastery and clearing it out, the various colonists moved in (somewhat) and started settling down in earnest. After a day or two of helping with various chores, the PCs decided to explore and try to find an easy way to the top of the cliffs they had settled in front of. They went south, following the coastline, and found a sizable bay there that might one day be a good harbor, though the current colony location is a bit far away to use it themselves. In the distance, well to the south-south-east, they also spotted a sharp, solitary spire of rock jutting out of the ocean. (The picture I sent them to illustrate this was of Bell’s Pyramid, a pretty amazing natural wonder in the ocean between Australia and New Zealand.)

After about half a day of travel, they eventually found a place where they could get up the cliff face. They found a sub-tropical forest at the top, along with a few high places they could get a better view of the inland terrain from. That gave them a glimpse of a bit more geography—a tall, volcanic mountain in the distance, a plateau sloping away from them … and a thin, barely-visible plume of smoke rising in the distance to the west of them, suggesting that someone might live there.

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Episode 94 – Epic Monsters 1


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Grant and Peter are back with a whole host of things to talk about! We start with a bit about the Pugmire campaign Grant just started playing in. Then we answer a surprisingly tricky question from Patreon backer Jim Nanban, who asks us for our “elevator pitch” for RPGs as a hobby. We remind everyone that Save Against Fear 2016 is coming up very quickly (and that you should go if at all possible!) And finally, we reach our main topic: Epic monsters. What do we mean by an “epic monster”? What role can and should they play in your campaign? Why do they sometimes fall flat? And what little tricks and additional details can you add in to really make them stand out to your players? And most importantly, what’s the best story about an epic monster from your own gaming career?

Mentioned in this episode:

Scripture: Job 3:8, Revelation 13:1


Campaign Report 2: The Ancient Monastery 1

It’s been a couple of weeks since I updated everyone on the status of our Dungeons & Dragons game. Not to worry, though—there’s been plenty of action to generate both blog posts and episode content. Plus, we’re trying something new by not missing sessions, and I’m pleased to report that this seems to be working surprisingly well!

But seriously: Last week, the party wrapped up the first dungeon crawl of the campaign. This was kind of a major milestone for our gaming group, on both sides of the virtual GM’s screen. My wife had never actually explored a proper ‘dungeon’ before, since she’s relatively new to gaming. I’d put maps together for the Savage Shadowrun we played a while back, but those were mostly floor plans I’d filed the serial numbers off and turned into heist scenarios; this was a properly-gridded dungeon, which the players had no foreknowledge of, and that was a first for our group. And for myself, this was a bit of a personal milestone: My previous D&D game was a terrible Eberron game, where I’d focused so heavily on making pretty maps that I completely neglected to put together a coherent plot. So just by virtue of entering a dungeon at all, we were off to a good start.

Good thing, too.

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Episode 92 – Generalists and Specialists


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Grant’s back from Electric City Comic-Con 2016, and it was fantastic! We recap the show, including some specific people and organizations Grant wanted to specifically call out (check the full notes below for links.) Then Grant and Peter answer a Patreon backer question from Jim, who asks about demonstrating the difficulty of doing the right thing in game without being obvious or annoying about it. Finally, we cover our main topic: A discussion of generalist and specialist characters, with a focus on an issue that came up in the pre-game prep for our current D&D campaign.

Scripture: Exodus 31:1-6, Colossians 3:23-24

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Episode 91 – Creating a Moral Universe, Part 2 (with Kris & Katrina Ehrnman-Newton) 2


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(Part Two.) Kris and Katrina Ehrnman-Newton, hosts of the inimitable Gameable Saturday Morning Podcast (and its previous Gameable Pixar and Disney iterations), join us for an episode so monstrously huge we had to make it a two-parter! This time, we’re talking about design considerations for a “moral universe”—the assumptions built into a fictional setting about the consequences and decisions that affect characters’ moral efforts. We start with our Patreon backer question, this time about potential real dangers of gaming. Then across two episodes, we cover the design aspects of a moral universe in great detail, and wrap up talking about the challenges and opportunities these present at the gaming table. Thanks again, Kris and Katrina—we’re looking forward to joining you to talk about Saturday morning cartoons soon!

If you missed the first half of Episode 91, click here to listen to part one.

Katrina previously joined us for Episode 58, “Prophecy”, and Kris joined the three of us for Episode 67, “Breaking Canon”. Grant and Peter have also appeared on the Gameable Saturday Morning Podcast for a bonus episode on The Prince of Egypt.

We hit on a wide and strange variety of other things this episode, including but not limited to: Depression Quest; Genesis 18; Batman; Longmire; The Crow; Mouse Guard; Jessica Jones; fighting hummingbirds; The Care Bears Movie; Sailor Moon; L.A. Confidential; Dogs in the Vineyard; Pillar of Fire; and a May 2016 blog post from Peter, “You Must Be This Treacherous To Ride The Story“. Phew!

Scripture: Genesis 3:22-24, Amos 2:6-7, Matthew 5:44-45


Episode 91 – Creating a Moral Universe, Part 1 (with Kris & Katrina Ehrnman-Newton)


Download this episode (right click and save)

(Part One.) Kris and Katrina Ehrnman-Newton, hosts of the inimitable Gameable Saturday Morning Podcast (and its previous Gameable Pixar and Disney iterations), join us for an episode so monstrously huge we had to make it a two-parter! This time, we’re talking about design considerations for a “moral universe”—the assumptions built into a fictional setting about the consequences and decisions that affect characters’ moral efforts. We start with our Patreon backer question, this time about potential real dangers of gaming. Then across two episodes, we cover the design aspects of a moral universe in great detail, and wrap up talking about the challenges and opportunities these present at the gaming table. Thanks again, Kris and Katrina—we’re looking forward to joining you to talk about Saturday morning cartoons soon!

Once you’re done with this half of Episode 91, click here to listen to part two.

Katrina previously joined us for Episode 58, “Prophecy”, and Kris joined the three of us for Episode 67, “Breaking Canon”. Grant and Peter have also appeared on the Gameable Saturday Morning Podcast for a bonus episode on The Prince of Egypt.

We hit on a wide and strange variety of other things this episode, including but not limited to: Depression Quest; Genesis 18; Batman; Longmire; The Crow; Mouse Guard; Jessica Jones; fighting hummingbirds; The Care Bears Movie; Sailor Moon; L.A. Confidential; Dogs in the Vineyard; Pillar of Fire; and a May 2016 blog post from Peter, “You Must Be This Treacherous To Ride The Story“. Phew!

Scripture: Genesis 3:22-24, Amos 2:6-7, Matthew 5:44-45