Probably Bad Podcast 8: Slash Wizards, Crossroads, and Illegal Cogs

This podcast is supported by listeners on patreon. Thanks to Hedwig for being awful.
OPENING MUSIC
PENCIL
Welcome to the Probably Bad Podcast, a podcast which is definitely bad. I’m Mod Pencil.
NICKBLAKE
I’m Not Paper. Today’s Probably Bad RPG Idea is…
Dice rolls.
NICKBLAKE
One of the best parts about worldbuilding is creating unique takes on the classical mythological concepts. Revel in this feeling by creating 20 different takes on demons/elves/wizards/etc and rolling randomly at the start of each session to see which one is used this week. Now i like this because it’s introduced the concept of slash wizards.

PENCIL
Take number 14 is entirely slash fic every time a wizard is onscreen.
NICKBLAKE
So that’s one of them. Is that 20 different takes about each thing or 20 total takes?
PENCIL
I was thinking 20 takes for each thing but i do like the idea of like you end the session fighting vampires but you roll a dice and the next week it’s unicorns and no-one mentions anything different. 1984-style.
NICKBLAKE
That’s pretty good, but what i’m thinking of this session it’s twilight vampires but next time it’s vampires who have to count rice if you drop the rice.
PENCIL
One thing i was thinking of making an actually good idea instead of nonsensical unicorns is if you’re doing a horror or mystery style game you can make it less able to get used to what the monsters can do if there are like – vampires in particular everyone knows what vampires can do.
NICKBLAKE
I do find it interesting in horror films and all kind of horror media there’s one of the make or break things is getting the rules right, you have to establish pretty early on these are the fast zombies or these are the slow zombies or something like that and if you mess it up people are just not with you people aren’t going to follow you on that journey i think this rates as probably bad because if you’re messing with the mechanics in between it would be either fun or chaotic.
PENCIL
It would either go really well or players would bludgeon you with a rulebook. Probablybad takes no responsibility if you get bludgeoned to death by a rulebook.
NICKBLAKE
It’s like
(fails to speak properly)
Introducing midichlorians partway through a franchise. I liked it in Godfather Part III, when Al Pacino turns to idk Don… Pasquale and says
(terrible Al Pacino voice that sounds more like a drunk Christopher Lloyd)
Oh, your midichlorian count is so high.
PENCIL
This is probably a really bizarre episode for people who aren’t familiar with the series.
NICKBLAKE
It’s a very special “one of the regular hosts has the roni” so things are going to get weird. Anyhoo…
PENCIL
If you maybe go down from every session because things could get, well…
NICKBLAKE
I think it could work well with ghosts or demons, by definition that’s much more of a broad area.
PENCIL
Yeah different rules for things you summon with different summoning rituals and whatever.
NICKBLAKE
Those things are good, in a monster of the week thing, it’s good in an episode of something or session or something to be able to completely have a completely different dynamic, a different format, especially if you take it on a reboot Dr Who monster angle- you can only remember this creature if you can smell it. You’ve got to keep on taking a whiff or you’re just gonna blank on it.
PENCIL
I think i’ve seen that steven moffat creature.
NICKBLAKE
That’s a sense that’s not commonly utilised in a Tabletop setting. You’ve got eyes and ears, whether or not you’ve got darkvision, working out what your elf eyes see… maybe part of these new rules these new takes, you’ve got smell rules, interactive…smellovision.
PENCIL
That’s what we’re clamouring for in RPGs is new smell rules. I was thinking the other way of sort of if you had what werewolves are like normally and you have variants, so you have existing rules for what werewolves are like, and establish early on they’re different from regular werewolves, it could work like with demons a way to shake things up a bit especially if the campaign’s been going on long enough that people are used to what a werewolf does.
NICKBLAKE
They’ve adapted like the borg. They’re no longer vulnerable to silver but you can get them with cubic zirconia.
PENCIL
This werewolf just has a gun, it just transforms from a man to a man with a gun on the fullmoon.
NICKBLAKE
A were gun. Used to keep order around the waterways.
PENCIL
It’s already a terrifying concept.
NICKBLAKE
I am so sorry for that gag.
PENCIL
It’s alright i’ve already cancelled the podcast over paper’s puns. You’re fitting in already.
NICKBLAKE
Good, good. I think there is a way to make this work properly, especially if you make the creatures adapt, and there’s a good way to make it farcical. That’s my favourite kind of idea – you can take it in either direction.
PENCIL
Like vampires can shoot their heads at people.
NICKBLAKE
Yeah. we’ve had campaigns where paladins are like “I’m the leader, i’m the sober adult” regular hero type. And on the other hand i had a character who is a school inspector.
PENCIL
I had a character who was so bad at being evil became a paladin
NICKBLAKE
The definition of failing upwards.
PENCIL
I feel the two should team up not for any particular reason just the shitty paladin league.
NICKBLAKE
One thing you should definitely consider changing is often you get vampires who have a classic bela lugosi voice and you should switch that up.
PENCIL
So 20 aesthetics for vampires.
NICKBLAKE
Costume changes.
PENCIL
Yeah you get vampires dressed like people in their 40s trying to be cool in the 90s.
NICKBLAKE
Yes, definitely, I’m also fond of village people. just all of those that’s a couple of looks right there. Maybe not the ceremonial headdress, that’s a bit dicey.
PENCIL
I like the idea of Vampire the Requiem but each clan is a different clique, instead of aristocratic you get village people.
NICKBLAKE
So goths, jocks, preps… i would quite like preppy vamps.
PENCIL
The halfway twist in a My Immortal RPG.
NICKBLAKE
We should play a My Immortal RPG. Every character is a self insert mary sue. They get to make out with the hottest characters. It may be a problem like when you make yourself when playing the Sims and virtual you gets a job immediately and has the willpower to work out all the time and has a great attention span, does things for hours, and then you think “i’ve done this for 6 hours what the shit”. That’s the downfall of the My Immortal TTRPG.
PENCIL
The other downfall is it doesn’t exist.
NICKBLAKE
And as Anselm says a good thing is better if it exists.
PENCIL
Yeah. I feel i don’t know if we tecchnically speaking discussed the idea we brought up some ideas.
NICKBLAKE
We discussed some concepts that will stay with me for long after we’ve finished this.
PENCIL
So questions…
NICKBLAKE
Yes, questions. Before we move on to questions i ought to plug the patreon. It’s patreon.com/probablybadrpgideas you can subscribe in varying amounts from upwards of one single unit of your chosen currency to about… 20? And the lowest tier will get you access to the discord server while lower tiers mean you get homebrew at 10, bonus content starts at 5, and if you’re truly awful and send 20 a month you get mentioned every episode so the world knows what you’ve done. So questions.
PENCIL
Our first question comes from Justin. Man i like your content, it’s great – thanks i already love this question – what i want to know is how you come up with your possibly good ideas. Since mod paper is ill i guess i’ll have to explain how i come up with answers.
NICKBLAKE
And i’ll make something up.
PENCIL
How i come up with ideas
(worries about end of world)
It’s mostly from RPGs because most of the people i roleplay with have high chucklefuck energy so it’s easy to take things they do and exaggerate and make them into an idea. It’s hard to specifically say i’m going to sit down and come up with 20 RPG ideas. things just pop into my mind and ijust post them and people like them. That’s possibly unhelpful let’s see if not paper’s made up bullshit is any better.
NICKBLAKE
What i find helps is take a black goat, if you can’t find one take any goat and put it in a dark room, and take it to a crossroad and tickle its belly.
PENCIL
Does it then give our RPG ideas instead of laughing or…
NICKBLAKE
So the thing is Satan turns up, looks at you and says “what the hell are you doing” and you have a moment of unbroken eye contact, maybe 20 seconds, touching 30 and once that’s done you’ll be able to get some kind of boon in exchange for just… not being like that and one of those boons can be is getting probably bad rpg ideas straight into your noggin.
PENCIL
I’ll try that once social distancing is over and i can get closer than 2 meters to Satan.
NICKBLAKE
I’ve said this before and i’ll say it again…. You don’t need to be socially distant from a goat.
PENCIL
You’ve only been in one and already you’re helping the process a lot.
NICKBLAKE
I appreciate it. this is not my usual role i’m just reading out patrons and producing behind the scenes and now i’m producing in front of the scenes which is a whole different vibe. Sometimes i come up with terrible ideas i find the approach tends to be some things have ended up on the blog from time to time but… i’ll think “what’s the least high fantasy thing” but i ran a game where a character’s goal was to start a circus.
PENCIL
I remember a game Paper ran where- you were there- where everyone just decided they would set up a theatre troupe and ignore the plot.
NICKBLAKE
That was good we came up with in universe plays for that. We had the beautiful two hander My Dinner with Grognach… as thought provoking as it was boring. It was about a condemned man and his executioner the night before the execution. There’s some tensions in there, something you can do with that.
There was a production called the Council is Rubbish which we put on to take down this totalitarian society.
PENCIL
It sort of succeeded iirc.
NICKBLAKE
Yeah, but it takes swords to take down something like that. The distraction did let us sneak into the palace. so it was good for something. The kind of people we play with we run a mile from any kind of super serious high fantasy. The worlds we do stuff in tend to be relatively well fleshed out and put together. Mod paper’s got a new one which is really interesting – a lot of squirrel people and bug people alongside classic DND races and i think that’s something that really helps having that well fleshed out world where people are still people, where we can have characters that are like, well, a used wagon salesman, I want to do that now, have that after my current character who is a squirrel PI who sounds like Sean Connery.
PENCIL
Exciting.
NICKBLAKE
I think we’ve covered bad ideas, i’ve done my part on that.
PENCIL
Ok so next question is from Gina Linetti for President. Hi I’m GMing a Lady Blackbird session for the first time, any ideas or tips?
NICKBLAKE
Birdseed. Stock up or they will not respect you.
PENCIL
I’ve never played Lady Blackbird before which is a great start, but i know a friend who is very into it and has been trying to persuade me to play it for the past several years. It is different from other role playing games, it’s a lot more… because you have premade characters. It’s a lot more focused but also everyone is involved in worldbuilding as opposed to just the GM, most of it is, all RPGs to some extent are improv games, but this one is a lot more try and… go with the flow thing, because you don’t have your own characters, and because other people have more control than a lot of games, one of the ones that’s a lot more about the journey.
NICKBLAKE
Now as a professional i’ve done my research, i know what this system is, but for our listeners do you want to give a low down on it.
PENCIL
Ok lady blackbird for those who haven’t done the research is nominally a steampunk game, Lady Blackbird is a noble taking a trip through space and has been captured by malicious forces and you are her and her assorted retinue who are trying to form a story about it and yes the way it works is it is it’s got a fairly basic rule system you roll dice and things happen, that’s one page you roll dice and things happen, but each character can answer questions about the world and can decide things about the world, it’s a story thing where players have a lot more influence over the story than in say other games where the GM tells you things. Bear in mind i haven’t played this so if what i said is horribly wrong feel free to send horribly insulting emails.
NICKBLAKE
And if i get anything wrong don’t @ me i don’t care. only here for a week.
PENCIL
Feel free to send your angry email to Not Paper who will be vanishing soon.
NICKBLAKE
That does sound interesting, some element of freedom is sacrificed in character creation to have more freedom in another direction. I’m not big on steampunk stuff as a rule but i like the broader concepts to play with.
PENCIL
I think it’s sort of part of the reason you play a prechosen character is that you’re trying to tell a story rather than have your character win. It’s a very go with the flow thing where you don’t veto people’s decisions which is good advice generally in GMing.
NICKBLAKE
What if i was a player in this steampunk game and said cogs were illegal?
PENCIL
That could be a problem. I think it is the case that other players can not veto but like idk i guess you could be like you were smuggling cogs which the system needs because it is a steampunk system but it is illegal cause one of the characters is a smuggler.
NICKBLAKE
Ok what if i didn’t want it to be steampunk as much as i wanted it to be ska punk? Is there room for that?
PENCIL
Ok to clarify my existing advice, there is a point at which it is… if somebody says i’m Gandalf and this is just going to be LOTR word for word you need to veto a little bit.
NICKBLAKE
There we go it’s exemplifying how i approach tabletop gaming like i was saying before – how can i break it?
PENCIL
It’s one of the more experimental systems.
NICKBLAKE
My suggestions seem to be the point at which it’s ok to say “well, no”
PENCIL
Yeah basically if you’re saying something that Not Paper would say it’s better to veto. No offense. We only have two questions, possibly because everyone is trapped inside their houses.
NICKBLAKE
That’s about it for today. If you have a question you can send it to us on tumblr and let us know it’s for the podcast, or email probablybadpodcast@gmail.com Thank you to me for editing and equipment. If you want to support the show please head over to https://www.patreon.com/probablybadrpgideas where you can donate at 1, 5, 10, or 20 pounds a month tiers, You can also support us by leaving a review or rating on your podcatcher of choice, or follow us on twitter/tumblr/facebook
Don’t forget to have a probably bad day.

PENCIL
Don’t forget to have a probably bad day.
NICKBLAKE
It’s remember you say remember.

Closing music

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