This is Audio EXP for the 16th of October 2021, and the title of this episode is “RPG tips and techniques”
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #118]
Grim & Perilous Studios is in the spotlight this month, as voted for by Patreons.
Beyond the Fire: A Manual of Perilous Creatures from Across the Black Diaspora will be published by G&P this November for your Flames of Freedom RPG.
So, let me begin by asking a question. Do you talk during the movies while you’re out in a cinema? By talk, I don’t mean “pass me the popcorn”. I mean raising your choice to comment on a scene that the audience has just watched.
I don’t. Here in Scotland, I’m not used to it happening. I’m at the final and intense stage of an anime festival. There are about seven films I’ll watch this weekend, but people speaking up to remark on scenes that happened a few times tonight.
I don’t get it. Each time the narrator was alone. They weren’t making a comment to a friend sitting beside them. They addressed the room in general.
Do they think the rest of the audience cares about their immediate response to want the interruption?
Or am I being grumpy?
Now, because of this same anime festival, this week’s podcast is a slightly different format. I’ll quickly do some news and then introduce the genre police series.
Sadly, the big boss at Hasbro, Wizard of the Coast’s owners, has died. Brian Goldner stepped aside for medical leave just a few days ago, Hasbro announced who would be covering him. Then it was revealed he had passed away. He’d been battling cancer.
Hasbro has been doing okay, except for the movie arm eOne, which couldn’t really function during the lockdown. But now the shipping crisis is crunching, they still have to deal with core IP hitting plateaus and D&D heading into uncertain territories.
The new boss, for now, is Richard Stoddart, who has a marketing background.
But right now, I think everyone is deeply concerned for the Goldner family, friends and colleagues.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse 5th edition is delayed. They want to get it right. Paradox doesn’t want to make the mistakes that Vampire did. That’s hard because they want the World of Darkness to be dark but don’t want to be edgelords that make money off real-life hurt.
In the meantime, next year, we’ll get Hunter: The Reckoning instead.
Ironically, hunters that go out and kill monsters is a simpler and safer proposition.
There’s another new D&D book coming, and it’s not one of the campaign settings been announced previously. If that’s the correct phrase, it leaked in the usual way, with people spotting the Amazon listing first.
It’s a book done with Critical Role, and they get a high profile billing on the cover. It’s an adventure called Call of the Netherdeep and it is set in Exandria.
From a set of talented Italian studios, there’s an official Cowboy Bebop RPG on the way. It won’t go near the Netflix series, but you can play the anime characters.
I’m excited about it, but there’s no way I’d want to play a canon character.
Crunchyroll has a series coming next year called FreakAngels. It’s set in London after the British Isles are sealed off under a dome. The FreakAngels have powers and protect Whitechapel.
It looks good. Crunchyroll hasn’t mentioned this, not that I’ve seen, but it’s clearly based on the Warren Ellis series of the same name. That’ll be a red line for some people.
There are some good sales and bundles available right now. The OneBookShelf sites have Halloween sales, DriveThruRPG is doing daily freebies.
Pathfinder and Starfinder Infinite launched, but aren’t in the sale.
Unrelated to the site sale, Heroic Maps has a Halloween Mega Bundle in which you get over $400 worth of maps for a 90% saving. It’s a great deal, but it makes me wonder why I’d ever pay full price for cartography again.
On that note, you can get 900+ horror-themed battle maps from 0One Games and The Bundle of Holding for the next few weeks.
Another bundle to be aware of is one from Asmodee Digital, at Humble Bundle and raising money to fight breast cancer. There are digital versions of games like Smallworld and Pandemic going for less than a buck.
Better than cheap, is free, and Saturday is Free RPG Day. If you can, get to your Friendly Local Gaming Store. I’ll be at the anime festival, of course, because the universe works like that.
Now, for those RPG tips and techniques mentioned in the podcast’s headline. The index page in question can be found at www.geeknative.com/tips.
That’ll take you to a searchable table of Genre Police articles from Ben. Ben’s our local professional GM.
Right now, there are two types of articles; RPG genre advice and tips.
The series started with the genre. The idea was for Ben to write about the genre, sharing tips for GMs who wished to run better games in each genre.
I’m biased, of course, but I think it’s a great series.
Let’s cherry-pick from five. That should give more than enough to sample the series, and did I say you can quickstart your access to it by going to geeknative.com/tips, and save plenty for later.
In the column, It’s a Disaster we look at horror moves like Towering Inferno and what we can learn from them in RPGs.
Examples of RPGs that do are the Powered by the Apocalypse games Blackout and Our Best Hope. Tips from Ben, which you can find in more detail on the site, are;
- Don’t Give Them Time To Think
- Destroy On A Massive Scale… But Dial It Down To Them.
- Reward Community
- Deal With The Facelessness
- Don’t Flatten Everything
Then, in The Truth Is Out There… Somewhere we look at the Conspiracy Theory genre.
Example games are GURPs Illuminati, Delta Green, and Over the Edge.
The third genre for this whistle-stop tour is Cosmic Horror which you’ll find discussed in Crafted by Love.
I bet you know the sample games well; Call of Cthulhu, Trail of Cthulhu and Eclipse Phase.
- Short Tales Of Terror
- Pace the insanity
- No Explanations
- Invert the familiar
- Human Tragedy/People are nothing
There’s The Mother of all Punks! This, of course, is cyberpunk.
Sample RPGs are Shadowrun, Vurt and Cryptomancer.
Techniques and approaches to consider are;
- Fight For Individuality
- Flip side – Inevitable tragedy
- Information and access to it, is power
- No Way Out & Urban Tribalism
- Weapon Porn & Technological Price
Lastly for this podcast, there’s Drugs & Dystopias which is a look at the Young Adult style or genre.
Some games go here. Games like Monsterhearts, Misspent Youth and Masks.
RPG tips for YA include;
- Formative Ideology
- Approach, don’t preach.
- Respect The Teen Mindset
- The Art Of The Mary-Sue
On that note, let’s wrap there. Keep safe, enjoy the anime, and we’ll see you next week.
Your thoughts? Join the banter below or start us off with an insightful observation?