Welcome to The Lair of Secrets podcast, the podcast about gaming and being a geek by two middle-aged geek dads. Yeah, we said middle-aged … because “forty-something” wasn’t quite accurate anymore.
This episode finds Ken Newquist caught in a maze of endless meetings, all alike, while David Moore finds that his week went somewhere … he’s just not sure where. Might have to check some of the caverns down here to see if we can find it.
- Traversing the Fauna Reality Disjunction
- The Newquist Clan returned to Animal Crossing in force this fall.
- The latest update includes a coffee shop, gyroids, new mysterious islands, and an upgrade to Harv’s island that actually makes you want to go there (you can buy new store fronts at the island’s co-op, so Lief the plant sales animal and Red the scheming art animal are always available if they’re not on your island.
- Not earth shattering changes, but it gave us a reason to go back, and in a world of meetings … it’s nice to chill on a deserted island.
- Twilight of World War 3
- Increased Radioactivity
- Ken posted a new episode of Radio Active over on Nuketown.
- Back to the top of the world
- Skyrim Anniversary edition came out and David has been having fun playing the DLC that he never got before and of course trying not to play a stealth archer and failing.
- The Evergrowing Library
- David is glad he’s still finding time to read.
- Six novels and novellas over the last two months. Spoiler: David still likes Lois McMaster Bujold as an author and he got a few books to inspire the Dyson Fall setting.
- Penric’s Fox (Penric and Desdemona, #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold
- Masquerade in Lodi (Penric and Desdemona, #9) by Lois McMaster Bujold
- A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) by Becky Chambers
- Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone
- The Last Crucible (Reclaimed Earth) by J.D. Moyer
- Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim, #1) by Richard Kadrey
Main Topic: Kicking off Season 2
- We want to focus on a particular game: Scum and Villainy.
- We’ve invited some friends to play the game with us.
- We’re going to talk about prepping for the game, and then in early 2022, we’re going to play the game. Why wait? Because the holidays either make for a great stretch of gaming or … the Long Dark Tea-Time of the Gaming Soul
- Plan on streaming on Twitch, both the preparatory episodes and live streaming sessions.
- As part of the run-up, we’re going to talk about learning the game and standing up the campaign.
- We’ll also have some traditional episodes where we just geek out about topics.
- Introducing Scum and Villainy
- What is the game? Based on Forged in the Dark, descended from Blades in the Dark
- Game mechanics we’re excited about:
- In Media Res – The job starts in the middle … because that’s when the plan falls apart (or goes awesome!) Why? That’s what rolls are for…
- Clock – Great way of tracking progress toward short and long term goals/challenges/threats. We could talk about clocks for a whole episode.
- Downtime – Lots of games have a concept of downtime (D&D introduced a whole bunch of downtime activities in Xanathar’s Guide) but in Forged in the Dark-style games, it’s baked into the DNA as a way to recover and improve resources. It compels and rewards downtime, which is exciting. Downtime, when it works well, it helps advance the plot. It shows what the characters do when they aren’t out adventuring/saving the world / scheming on a job.
- Crew/Ship Advancement – Sometimes you need to jump through hoops to figure out why a crew is together. Scum and Villainy answer that question from the word go with crew/ships. Interested to see how this plays out over time.
- Challenges to watch for:
- Time – How long will it take to run a session? Can we do one in 2.5 hours?
- Experience points – Players get XP for doing things related to their class, indulging their vice, and otherwise role-playing their character in mechanically relevant ways. This is easy to forget about; you need to be proactive as a player and think about how you can use those pieces of your background and ongoing story so you’re not retroactively seeing if you earned that XP.
- Brindlewood Bay did something similar, and it could be challenging to remember.
- Collaboration on Encounter Difficulties: How challenging a particular environment is – and how hard it will be to accomplish a particular task – is something as a collaborative effort. The examples show back and forth between the players and game master as they describe the scene and fine-tune the story. This could be challenging for folks not used to it.
- Remembering what you can do and when you can do it. For any given roll you can get three additional dice:
- +1 gambit (general luck from the ship/crew)
- +1 devil’s bargain (short term boost for longer term complication)
- +1 assist from another player.
- Remembering these options – and to leverage the devil’s bargain – will be important. Recalling these options and using them to help shape the risk you take is also important
- .Judgment calls – Like Fate, there’s a lot of fluidity around skills and what they can be used for. It’s often decided collaboratively at the table. That’s a player and GM mindset that needs to be fostered.
- Thinking about the future campaign?
- One game master or two? If we’re swapping people out, how do we make that narratively make sense?
- Ship first or characters first?
- Do we want to run the setting from Scum and Villainy or Star Wars?
Thanks for listening. If you have feedback, we love feedback. You can send it to us at email@example.com or via Twitter @lairofsecrets. You can also visit lairofsecrets.com and leave us some feedback, topic ideas, or your own thoughts on what we’ve talked about.
A shot of the Scum and Villainy and Twilight 2000 role-playing games. Credit: Ken Newquist