Grant Woodward

Campaign Report 1: Playing Sharks and Daggers 5

Any time I blog instead of Peter, you know it’s gonna get weird. Today, I’m giving everyone a rundown of the first session of our D&D campaign! This game’s been rattling around in my head for years—a game heavily inspired by the Roleplaying Public Radio “New World Campaign”, but tweaked to fit our group and my own sensibilities. I’m also running this in D&D 5e, which is … well, significantly better so far (but I’ll get to that.) I’ll go over the events of the session, and follow that up with an analysis of key GMing moments.

I’m not going to give a rundown of the characters in this session, except a very basic race-and-class. I’ll save character writeups for another time, because they deserve a post all their own.


I started things off with a bit of narration to set the scene: A colony ship laden with people and goods, about fifteen weeks at sea. It’s en route to a distant archipelago believed to be rich in land, goods, and magic—the last being a rare thing indeed in the “old world”. Unfortunately, this vessel (which I still need to name!) has been separated from its sister ship, and has been driven before a hurricane for several days. It’s just run aground, and the morning light and clearing weather shows that its hull is badly damaged, and that the storm surge and winds have grounded the ship on a low barrier island.

After deliberation and a little scouting, the settlement’s governor and captain decide to unload the ship and, using her longboats and manpower, move to the “mainland” across the lagoon created by the barrier island. There’s a series of sandbars that protect the space between the barrier island and the larger landmass beyond—shallow enough that a man could walk across it in water up to his chest, and with several places only ankle-deep (at least, at low tide.)

I’m leaving out a lot of detail, of course, but that should be enough to set the scene. Enough talk—time for action!


Episode 88 – Dark Dungeons and Lingering Pain (with Rev. Chris Ode) 2

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Rev. Chris Ode joins Peter and Grant in a very personal episode this week! Chris is a Lutheran pastor, and an actor and religious consultant for Zombie Orpheus Entertainment. We cover a lot of ground in this discussion, including: Zombie Orpheus’s new project, “Attacking the Darkness” (Kickstarting now!); ZOE’s “Dark Dungeons” movie (an adaptation of the original anti-D&D Chick tract); the lingering effects of Dark Dungeons and other anti-RPG material on the Church, gamers, and gaming; scapegoating; and our own Patreon campaign. (We’re on Patreon now—check out the video for more information!)

Also mentioned in passing:

Scripture: Isaiah 44:22, 2 Corinthians 3:17, Ephesians 4:31-32

Starting a Podcast, Part 5: Consistency

Oh, hey, it’s Grant again! It’s been a while—new kid and all—but I’m picking up where I left off in our impromptu “Starting a Podcast” series. In this post and the one or two after this, I’ll talk about professionalism—that quality which promises reliability and responsibility. I want to cover several aspects of podcasting professionalism, but I’m going to start with the most common problem facing new podcasters: Consistency.

Deliver what you promise

That right there? That’s the most important piece of podcasting advice I’ll give you throughout this entire series.


Episode 85 – Designing Fantasy Pantheons (with James Wyatt) 1

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Former Methodist minister and current Wizards of the Coast writer James Wyatt joins us to talk about designing pantheons for fantasy settings! James is a long-time D&D writer with a multitude of major credits, and he’s currently writing for the Magic: the Gathering creative team. That experience shows in this conversation, which covers the qualities of well-designed pantheons, their essential natures, and a multitude of design details relevant to your campaign world. We also talk about Shadows Over Innistrad and “The Lunarch Inquisition“, James’s recent story set there; Plane Shift: Zendikar, which turns that Magic: the Gathering setting into a home for D&D 5th Edition adventures; the paradox of the Cross; our first “gaming curriculum” episode; and Thursten. We talk a lot about Thursten. Enjoy!

Scripture: Deuteronomy 10:17, Job 4:15-17, Acts 17:22-26

Episode 83 – Personal Horror (with Greg Stolze) 1

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Author and game designer Greg Stolze joins Grant and Peter to talk about Unknown Armies 3rd Edition, its Kickstarter, some of his other work, and personal-scale horror stories! We spend a lot of time talking about Unknown Armies—practically the whole episode, really—and Greg had plenty to say about personal horror and how Unknown Armies reflects that. In particular, we talk about how this sort of horror differs from the “cosmic horror” currently in vogue; how relationships can matter more in personal horror; stress and horror; and more. Enjoy!

Mentioned in this episode:

Scripture: Job 38:4-7John 15:13Colossians 3:23-25Romans 3:10

Episode 78 – Listener Mailbag 1 1

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Grant and Peter read and respond to listener emails this week! We got some very interesting emails: One from Brady, asking about Habitica, a series on bible stories, and our unfulfilled promises; and one from Gameable Pixar Podcast’s Kris commenting on Manichaeism, alignments and dualism, and housework. Plus, Grant teases some upcoming site changes (forums!) and we remind everyone that Peter writes blog posts for weeks without new STG episodes.

Scripture: Proverbs 11:14, Mark 4:21-24, James 1:22

Episode 77 – Surrender

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Grant and Peter tackle a pervasive problem afflicting gamers everywhere: A collective inability to handle surrendering PCs and NPCs properly. It’s a topic we’ve had on our to-do list since we started the podcast back in 2012 (Grant credits Fear the Boot #268 for inspiration), and it turns out to have important ramifications for how we play our games. Plus, Grant and Peter briefly discuss the Microscope RPG and issue a call to action: Listeners, fill our mailbag!

Scripture: Jeremiah 38:17-18Philippians 2:5-8

Starting a Podcast, Part 4: Standing Out in Crowded Spaces 2

Hey, folks—Grant here, making a rare blogging appearance! I wanted to follow up on Peter’s “Starting a Podcast” series with my own suggestions. This won’t be as formalized as Peter’s multi-step procedure; rather, I want to touch on a few specific points which need serious consideration. So, let’s start with the most difficult.

Standing out in crowded spaces

Here’s the bad news: Statistically speaking, when you start your podcast, it’s a good bet I won’t care about it.

I keep a close eye on /r/podcasts, and that particular subreddit is constantly barraged with “We just recorded our first episode, tell us what you think” requests. I’ve never found any of those podcasts interesting, and after thinking about it, the fundamental problem is that they don’t have a unique voice. I call this the “two guys talking about stuff” problem. So many podcasts are two people with no particular expertise and an unoriginal approach to their topic or topics, which appeals to basically nobody. Many don’t even have a particular subject to podcast about, instead talking about “whatever”—and I can hear the same irrelevant chatter waiting in line to place my lunch order, without cluttering up my phone.

Nailing down that unique voice requires you to think hard about two related components of your podcast’s identity: What are you talking about? And what differentiates you from other podcasts in your niche? (more…)

Bonus Episode 8 – 2016 New Year’s Resolutions

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Grant and Peter are back with a STG New Year’s tradition: A review of their resolutions for the upcoming year, broken down into “personal”, “gaming”, and “faith”. Plus, Grant drops some information about a Patreon campaign we’re working on, and we discuss the most interesting (and STG-relevant) Christmas gifts we received this year.

Mentioned in this episode: The Blue Devils in Italy: A History of the 88th Infantry DivisionA Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels; Habitica; Electric City Comic Con; Clearing the Backlog

Scripture: James 2:14-17, Revelation 3:15-18

Episode 76 – Manichaeism (Historical Heresies, Part 3)

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Grant and Peter are back at it with part three of our Historical Heresies series. This time, we introduce a major competitor to Christianity in the Western Roman Empire, and a particularly interesting (read: complex and imaginative) Gnostic tradition: Manichaeism! We also provide one last plug for this year’s fundraiser for The Bodhana Group, and remind everyone to rate and review us on iTunes, Stitcher, and anywhere else you listen to our podcast on.

Scripture: Psalm 119:25-27Matthew 28:19-20