Episode 194 – The Module Tale

Ben and Rissa discuss running a module and some of the pitfalls that can emerge from trying to follow too close to the text as written. Continue reading “Episode 194 – The Module Tale”

Episode 193 – The Steam Setting Tale

We created a steampunk setting in Genesys and look to different ideas that could come from the location we’ve created in Firemouth Outpost.

Continue reading “Episode 193 – The Steam Setting Tale”

Episode 192 – The Genesys Vehicle Tale

Ben Rissa and David talk about vehicles in Genesys and how they’re different from Star Wars while trying to remember all the rules for both systems. Continue reading “Episode 192 – The Genesys Vehicle Tale”

Episode 191 – The Rissa Tale

No, we haven’t gone full Star Trek. We’re bringing on a new host and we’re interviewing her in this episode to give our listeners an idea of her style and some of the things she’s bringing to the table Continue reading “Episode 191 – The Rissa Tale”

Episode 190 – The Starting Player Tale

Ben and Marcus talk about some of the mechanics involved with starting characters and why somethings are more important than others at low XP amounts.

Continue reading “Episode 190 – The Starting Player Tale”

Episode 189 – The Tale Vs Darkside

Ben has Marcus on to talk about his Force and Destiny podcast he creates with his kids and the lessons that can be learned from there. So much of the advice can be well used for bringing in any new player. Continue reading “Episode 189 – The Tale Vs Darkside”

Episode 188 – The Tools Tale

Ben and David talk about preparation tools for GMs and players as well as communication and character creation. Continue reading “Episode 188 – The Tools Tale”

Episode 187 – Map Tales

Ben has guest Leslie on to talk about ways to use maps and things to consider when using maps in person and online for your players. Continue reading “Episode 187 – Map Tales”

Episode 186 – The Surprised GM Tale

Kristine and Ben talk about what they do when the players surprise them and leave them wondering what to do next. Continue reading “Episode 186 – The Surprised GM Tale”

Episode 185 – The Backgrounder Tale

We talk about some of the ideas and issues of starting a player character and how much background is too much, as well as how much is not near enough. Continue reading “Episode 185 – The Backgrounder Tale”

Episode 184 – The Villainous Tale

Ben and David talk about villains and how to present them to your players as fallible beings who can be defeated. Continue reading “Episode 184 – The Villainous Tale”

Episode 183 – The Absent Player Tale

We’ve all had players missing a game or having to leave the game, Kristine and Ben talk about how to make the blow softer and strategies to make it more fun for you and your group. Continue reading “Episode 183 – The Absent Player Tale”

Episode 182 – The Genesys Tale

Ben and Kristine discuss with David what we’ve taken away from the Genesys core book and some of the interesting tidbits we are looking forward to for the system. Continue reading “Episode 182 – The Genesys Tale”

Episode 181 – The Deep Force Tale

Ben has Chris Ing from Silhouette Zero and Heroes on to talk about the force and some of the deeper things you can look at when using the force in your games. From what is light and dark, to the different force traditions we have ideas on how to make the force deeper in your games. Continue reading “Episode 181 – The Deep Force Tale”

Episode 178 – The Fail Tale

We talk about failure in your game and how to make it feel like that isn’t the end of the action or the story. We show how there is always effects after an action even if they aren’t the desired ones.

Things we talked about in this episode:

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Episode 176 – The Last Jedi Tale

We talk about themes in The Last Jedi and several of the things we ponder about the story, from using bombers to why using force face time would be useful in an RPG setting. Continue reading “Episode 176 – The Last Jedi Tale”

Episode 170 – Finding the Destroyer Tale

This is Kristine and Ben talking about the ‘hunt the Bismark’ campaign Ben did and ways to bring out the things that Ben had in his head for it at the table. We also talk of how to take ideas and see how big the idea really is. Continue reading “Episode 170 – Finding the Destroyer Tale”

Episode 169 – The Moral Beginner Tale

We get talking about the morality mechanic and a few things we’ve been having a hard time with lately when looking at what the morality system can become and how to make it grow into bigger character beats than simple good or bad. Continue reading “Episode 169 – The Moral Beginner Tale”

Episode 168 – The Bounty Board Tale

We talk about Bounty Boards and how they can tell a story, even just in how they are accessed, and how they can propel your story forward to make amazingly complex worlds. Continue reading “Episode 168 – The Bounty Board Tale”

Episode 144 – The Motivation Tale

David and Ben were able to talk about motivating your players out of their bases of operations in ways that aren’t only a sledge of their obligations showing up on their door. This was asked by a Patreon supporter Andrew Fullard.
Continue reading “Episode 144 – The Motivation Tale”

Episode 143 – The Espionage Tale

David liked the idea of talking about espionage and then talked about Jack Bauer and Jason Borne. We talk about far ranging ideas from infiltration missions to your party and crew being infiltrated.  Continue reading “Episode 143 – The Espionage Tale”

Interview with the People on Heroes

Ben interviews the rest of the cast of Heroes of the Hydian Way. The dependable editor Kristine, the personable Chris, the deep Brent, and the energetic Leslie all share bits of themselves with you in this episode. Continue reading “Interview with the People on Heroes”

Episode 137 – The Active Set Tale

We talk about the wonders you can find in the background of a scene. From the rolling conveyor belts of a factory to the people in a bar the extras you bring to the scene in description will be paid back in fun for your whole table. Continue reading “Episode 137 – The Active Set Tale”

Confessions of a Newb GM: A Plan Comes Together

Most adventuring parties only see an innkeeper as the provider of ale and food with the possibility of lodging and rumors if things go well, but the innkeeper can become the gateway to the whole town when the players look deeper. In a quick pass through town, or as a single adventure without a twist that the innkeeper is involved in, nefarious things are all that’s needed, but, when it won’t be just a single adventure, it becomes more important to know why the innkeeper is doing things. Having the innkeeper be knowledgeable about the shady things in town is a common trope and makes sense if they’re the classic bartender like Shotglass, but it can take on a sinister tone if the information they feed the party leads to cleaning out a potential competitor or if they use the party as the heavy hand of the thieves’ guild. The innkeeper in a small town is a huge source of wealth that wouldn’t normally be available and this wealth filters down to the artisans of the town such as the inn’s chef, the town brewer, tailor, farrier, miller, and surrounding farmers; allowing the innkeeper to behave as town leader as far as the party is concerned. How the innkeeper, or other NPCs, are connected to the world, matters.

When you come across a  GM character once, most people pay them no mind, but when they start to become part of the world, it brings a much better connection to the narrative. One of the tricks is to find  points of connection you as a GM already have that the characters can fill. The junk dealer that the party uses as a fence turns into an agent for the local governor to keep tabs on the underworld. The captain of the guard that gives the party quests is underpaying the party and pocketing the extra money that would pay for the squads of soldiers that the party is replacing.

On to the Council

The Lepskin Rebel Council presents an interesting challenge; it’s easy to see the council as a separate section, but it overlaps with the sector in general. They have jobs and motivations, creating simple characters, which continue on beyond what the players will see. This is one of the ways that Obsidian Portal shows its worth as a framing device. I find it easy to deal with the council as a single entity of people and the sector as a single entity of planets, the two together is much hazier. These two seemingly separate sets have common points and should allow for ideas to grow as different aspects are worked on. Working on The Council gets me thinking about the planets these people are associated with and then how that shapes them.

My best example of this is a five link chain that is linked through a set of coincidental ideas. The links go from Catiwhinn, an up and coming maintenance yard on the fringe is the seat of The Council, to Icor Brimarch, a member of The Council and the vice president of business expansion for Bantha Express Transportation, and finally to Axel the headquarters for Bantha Express.

Normally my thought process would connect two of these things, because it’s in Icor Brimarch’s character description that he is part of the Bantha Express, but not the rest of them. Thanks to the linking of the rebel council to Catiwhinn and Icor Brimarch’s position on that council I now have another link for the character, and a reason for him and his company to be so far from their home system.

I find that these unexpected links are what make a setting seem more real. Having them in mind, or at least easily available, is great for when players want to do things that you’d never normally think of. The ways this knowledge can impact and be used for plot purposes is delightful but even moreso if the players link these things themselves without huge glowing signs saying “Shreb is tied to Rooksense” or something similar.

A wonderful part of Obsidian portal is that some of this linking can be visible to only to the GM and select others which allows for the rabbit hole to go much deeper than in a single sheet that the players have unfettered access to. Creating these links ahead of time allows for less work when a player tries to do something almost unthought of. It can be looked up while having a quick planning break.

Thin Skin of Reality

This can be a level deeper than most players want to go, but it can be rewarded with making difficulties just a little bit easier if the players are looking for how it’s interconnected and want to play off of it.

This depth of thinking about a relatively throw away concept I find useful. It brings me deeper into knowing what I’m helping to create and helps me to think beyond swinging the group from trope to trope. I know if I start to put in a few not so hidden gems for characters I can allow the players to start seeking it out on their own. A rescued tech in one adventure gets hired onto a repair shop at the end of another and finally takes it over at the end of the next campaign. Growing the world around the players allows for a reality to form, instead of just being able to cause relentless devastation while being an evil raiding party.

Confessions of a Newb GM: The Council is Sitting

Last time I talked about the Lepskin Sector and some of the places that players can go. Today I am talking about the Lepskin Rebel Council and what they bring to the table and a few things that I can do with them.

A Little History

The reason I’m using a council set up has a bit of history to it that could help with understanding why I’m hoping to use it. I was fortunate enough to play in a test of the Quinoth system and the council idea worked well for me, it was a Fiasco style game with a few great players and @Fiddleback doing the job of the rest of the council. This experience was quite fun, with the reversals and a few of the more charismatic people getting their way. After the council we had to create a communication going from the council member to our operative in the strike force (played by a different person) detailing what happened and our intents. The full narrative use of a separate council came from having muddled communication between “The Council” and the main play group(s).

Since playing in Quinoth I have found out about and have played Executive Decision and think it fits this style just a little better than Fiasco. The big difference between a Fiasco style and an Executive Decision style of game play is in Fiasco having all players being equal based on their role play ability, where Executive Decision is much more directed with the players are trying to convince the GM (The Executive) to follow a particular track. This style seems better in a council setting and the one that I’ll use.

Character creation is a difficult beast, most of the time you want something that provides something unique to the player themselves but also doing some form of Cast Calculus (careful, TV Tropes link). Until reading and starting to understand the Edge of the Empire system I didn’t consider the story of a character to be a driving factor and only looked to characters with the view of them being a token on the board.

I have become excited since I started to learn about how these attributes can bring story to the front and thought of the interweaving it can bring if the participants let it. This brought to me an idea of how to create simple characters with short back stories that don’t overshadow what will be coming. Taking the obligations, or duties, for reference then adding their species, motivations, and the career together to create a base character has become a small game to figure out what sort of characters these attributes dictate.

The council starts as a body to be trusted and obeyed but as the players see what is going on at ground level, and not all of the council members do, this should cause fractures and a more interesting meta-narrative for the players and I. The council is limited to having an idea of what’s going on but not having direct control, trusting the players to run the actual missions. The single line of communication between the players and The Council allows for the concept to be completely cut out if there isn’t an interest in it and for an unreliable set of communications if the GM wants to include such a plot device.

 

 Now On To The Cast:

Amenta Olies: A human historian grieving for Alderaan and wanting to strike out at those who hurt her. Amenta brings her deep knowledge of history to apply against the trials of the present.

Ayyn’torthal: A twi’lek financier that thinks his fortune and safety is in the deep Lepskin Void. Feeling he is destined to become the one to free Ayyn’torthal, he seems reckless in the plans he puts forth.

Char’bana: An amazingly cunning ex-dancer, this twi’lek is looking to raise the downtrodden and help free the oppressed.

Coden Tazi: A haunted duros sniper who lost himself when his family was killed and hasn’t found himself again by raining vengeance on those who did it.

Dun Sund: A brilliant fleet captain who values his subordinates and knows how to use them well, he looks to bring to justice the admiral of the Lepskin fleet.

Icor Brimarch: The wealthy son of Bantha Express owners, the corporation has fallen under direct imperial scrutiny due to Alderaanian ties. Icor heads the transportation operations of the council.

Pashnia Niathal: A freed Mon Calamari, Pashnia is a genius with keeping everything going and brings her dedication to the organization that freed her.

Scara Harend: A know-it-all pilot, Scara has been transferred to lead the sectors nascent star fighter corps. Few realize how determined she is to do right by her people and see each one of them return home.

Tamar Dangr: A fallen Lepskin Sector senator, Tamar was in line to be the sector Moff but his own local connections bit him politically and now he seeks to free the good people from the far away rule of the Empire.

Yattitcu: Young for a wookiee, Yatticu is a master slicer that knows how to get information from the deepest nets. She’s become invaluable, both for her ability to collate data as well as her burgeoning network of spies.