Probably Bad Podcast 9: Double-Blind D&D, Guest Cat, and Druids with Guns

MOD PENCIL
Hello and welcome to the probably bad podcast a podcast that is definitely bad. I’m pencil.
PAPER
I’m paper back from the void of coronavirus. Today’s probably bad RPG idea is… make everyone switch character sheets just before the first session. That was suggested by roundaboutnow on tumblr. I enjoy this because my first thought is the chaos.
MOD PENCIL
If you don’t think people have enough stress at the moment, this is a good idea.
PAPER
I like it because players tend to play the same characters like people tend to be like the grownup or the healer or the completely feral one, so just kind of making them suddenly switch characterisation suddenly could be quite interesting.
MOD PENCIL
I feel like it’s one of the ones where you have to know your grou0p but I like the idea of boom you’re a wizard so you don’t have any idea of what your spells are but you are now a powerful sorcerer. I also do like it with the idea of so you have X character who has a dark secret of some kind and then they’re being played by a different player who doesn’t know what the dark secret is and has to work it out by the characterisation so far. And it goes on so long that no-one remembers what the original dark secret was rather than the secret that each player has brought in.
PAPER
So you’re suggesting rather than at the beginning it’s each time. Rotating characters.
MOD PENCIL
Every session you play a different character that might work as a game.
PAPER
I feel like that must be a thing.
MOD PENCIL
It must be I can’t think fo a game like that. But like batman and superman are characters that work like that sometimes they’re dark and edgy and sometimes they’re baff pow…and saying puns and so forth. there’s a cat in the room with me.
PAPER
I can hear him.
CAT
Meow
MOD PENCIL
There’s different takes on a character like but just really quickly because there’s one session each.
PAPER
You could get really inconsistent characterisation exquisite corpse style…
MOD PENCIL
There’s probably a market for that. I keep getting distracted by the fact there’s ac at nearby., It’s adamant I not use my laptop for anything apart from cat sits. I apologise to our listeners who can’t see the cat.
PAPER
I was just thinking as well that a lot of people like to make D&D characters that don’t know something about their past, with switching sheets you could make a character where you know something about their past but the player doesn’t know., It’s like double blind D&D.
MOD PENCIL
The character doesn’t know and the player doesn’t know but one person glaring at them for getting it wrong knows. Yeah I think you could do it if you wanted an in universe explanation there’s a body swap episode every speculative fiction show has where everyone swaps bodies for an episode. You got hit with a body swap laser and now you’re playing Steve’s paladin. I don’t know why every paladin is Steve.
PAPER
It’s a very youth pastor name.
MOD PENCIL
He’s here to tell you the true natural 20 which is Jesus.
PAPER
I feel it would stick just because it would have to.
MOD PENCIL
Io like the idea of you’re all playing formless spirits just jumping into different bodies so everyone randomly shifts their character sheets around.
PAPER
That’s a fun premise. There’s a flash game I poloaye4d a lot as a kid where you’re a ghost and you have to go into different bodies to solve your own murder.
MOD PENCIL
That does sound like a neat concept. I like the idea of everyone designs a character for a session and then you randomly decide who has each body because you’re ghosts and you’re jumping into bodies. It’s almost like the veil of ignorance for RPGs you design a character but don’t know which character you’ll be playing. Because if there’s one thing that RPGs need it’s more Rawlsian philosophy.
PAPER
You say that like you the originator of one of the most popular RPG blogs don’t have a MA in Philosophy.
MOD PENCIL
I mean obviously I feel more RPGs need more Rawlsian philosophy but when I try to put it in people leave and throw things.
PAPER
That’s because they’re cowards.
I mean sci-fi and fantasy has always been quite philosophical. We’re just bringing it back to the origins of the genre look at Frankenstein.
MOD PENCIL
Especially with body swap stuff. There we go what you need to do is set your players a reading list of major philosophical works and if they can’t give a synopsis at the start of the session they get their character sheet swapped.
PAPER
What happens when a player dies?
MOD PENCIL
Hm. So it would have to be if it was… it would be either that soul dies and another person…
CAT
Insistent meows.
MOD PENCIL
Hello Garrus do you want to be on the podcast?
CAT
Questioning meow.
PAPER
I think that’s a yes.
MOD PENCIL
The cat’s suggestion is meow. I apologise to our listeners for the presence of a cat. I’m just going to remove him sorry.
CAT
Increasingly distant meowing.
PAPER
He is the gobbiest cat I’ve ever known.
MOD PENCIL
So back to this humans only probably bad podcast.
PAPER
Racist.
MOD PENCIL
What happens if you die? So option of you’re out of this session but are back the next is boring.
PAPER
There’s also the question of who makes your new body in that case.
MOD PENCIL
You might if you’re going to do this have some backup bodies lying around. What you could do if you’re dealing with ghosts you could have the character sheets of old characters who just happen to be here for some reason.
PAPER
Or you become a metaghost
MOD PENCIL
Or you become a metaghost. We’re building an elaborate shared universe of probably bad rpg ideas.
PAPER
Before we get self referential shall we move onto questions?
Question music
MOD PENCIL
Yes. Our first question comes from goat llama alpaca. So aside from your purposefully bad ideas you’re an amazing GM so how do you come up with good plot I always seem to get a good setting but miss the mark on plot.
PAPER
What I’m curious about is which one of us DMed for this person because I know they’re not in our shared group. Maybe they listened to bonus episodes.
MOD PENCIL
I assume it’s someone who is watching our RPG sessions through a series of hidden cameras. So thanks CIA.
PAPER
Be fair we’re British it could be GCHQ.
MOD PENCIL
True. But how I come up- with plots is generally I don’t if that makes sense. I have an idea of the main antagonist and what they’re doing and what things the players might stumble on but given that the players don’t follow will inevitably do something I don’t expect them to do that’s the nature of D&D or any RPG. Generally instead of coming up with a plot like you would with a book is here’s the villain here’s what they’re trying to do here’s what they’re react to various things with and try to wing it like that.
PAPER
See I think, this isn’t the answer you’re looking for but I go even further into the winging it category where I generally have an idea of where I want it to go when the players have levelled up a lot but for session to session I do character backstories and motivations ad give them different arcs based on most things and in each one drop in some stuff that will come back in the finale.
MOD PENCIL
So I’m sorry we didn’t answer your question if you want an actual plot my advice is just rip off as Shakespeare play I don’t know just do It’s All Ado About Nothing.
PAPER
The problem, is unless your players are just they’ll go along with your plot hooks making an elaborate plot or even using a prewritten plot isn’t going to go great honestly.
MOD PENCIL
Even if your players are doing their best to follow along the plot hooks they’re going to be doing something you won’t expect.
PAPER
Especially if you have a cool setting they want to explore which is a compliment to you as a DM. You’ve made this cool setting.
MOD PENCIL
Yeah. I think the way I’ve generally thought of it as think of D&D as more improv it’s not a case of here’s what’s going to happen but it’s a case of here’s what you’re thinking of happening and so forth. I saw a thing online about a GM who forced their players to act out the first campaign of Critical Role word for word and punished them if they deviated.
PAPER
That’s not playing that’s someone’s kink.
MOD PENCIL
They wanted to get into the real play podcast business and decided that given critical role was successful the best way was to literally do critical role. So don’t do that and you should. Be okay.
PAPER
That is a lot.
MOD PENCIL
It was on RPG horror stories and it’s the worst I’ve heard ever. Yeah so there you go if you ever feel you’re reaching the point where you’re forcing your players to read out a transcript of critical then yeah… don’t do that. But the best way to do a plot is to not to do a plot it’s not the answer you were expecting sorry.
PAPER
A tabletop plot is not a completed painting it’s a rough sketch. Or a general idea of I like sunflowers. Not literally that was a terrible attempt at explaining the metaphor.
Question music.
MOD PENCIL
I got it.
PAPER
Our next question is anonymous… they want to know how would someone translate Evangelion into a tabletop that it shouldn’t be translated into? So neither of us has seen evangelion.
MOD PENCIL
The extent of my knowledge of Evangelion is it’s post apocalyptic and it’s got angels and everyone is sad I think there’s mecha and that’s it.
PAPER
I know the guy who made it saw something cool and deep and took the imagery and hung it on some weird vaguely appropriative theology so by that logic you play a World of Darkness game but all of the monsters are from closed cultures.
MOD PENCIL
I think it was based on Christian theology mostly.
PAPER
Mostly but there is some Shinto and Jewish stuff in there as well ad n it’s all kind of mixed up in a big bowl with I don’t even know it sounds so bad.
MOD PENCIL
I don’t know anything about Eva- about NG
PAPER
Just say Evangelion.
MOD PENCIL
The one thing I know about Evangelion is big angels who destroy things you just take one of those slice of life a bunch of teenagers are having a good time it’s just monster hearts or something wh3ere it’s all sexy vampires and boom an angel destroys a school. You take golden sky stories where it’s a bunch of friendly animals helping people and boom an angel destroys a village. You take smaller stakes system and make an angel destroy everything. Sorry I just know the word angels is in it.
Question music.
PAPER
So ask Jolly roger wants to know ” play a druid but I have horrible luck when it comes to rolling anything to do with animals. How do I become more useful as a druid without rolling dice?”
MOD PENCIL
I’m assuming 5th ed.
PAPER
I think that’s a fair assumption.
MOD PENCIL
Shapeshift into a small animal get inside someone and shapeshift back. It worked for my sorcerer.
PAPER
My serious suggestion isn’t that far off. If you go for circle of the moon druid you can shapeshift all the time, so you don’t need to interact with the animals you are the animal.
MOD PENCIL
You can get a lot of useful things from being just various different animals.
PAPER
I had one druid character who rarely did anything useful in human form but would turn into a spider to spy on people or would turn into a cat to infiltrate an enemy camp.
MOD PENCIL
You could do a similar thing with naturey spells which don’t require any rolling. Now I’ve made some trees here, now I’ve made some shelter.
PAPER
Yeah stuff like tree stride.
MOD PENCIL
Alternately have a gun.
PAPER
Say again?
MOD PENCIL
Alternatively have a gun.
PAPER
That is indeed a suggestion.
MOD PENCIL
Your druid just owns a machine gun.
PAPER
Considering traditionally druid do not wear metal armour because it makes them less closer to nature…
MOD PENCIL
It’s a wooden machine gun.
PAPER
A wooden machine gun yes. Wouldn’t it catch fire because of the whole gunpowder explosion thing?.
MOD PENCIL
No it doesn’t.
PAPER
Because magic.
MOD PENCIL
Yep. Wooden tank, wooden machine gun. Make a character who is unreasonably good at crafting advanced technology they fly in in their wooden tie fighter and start shooting people.
PAPER
So maybe a multi class druid artificer.
MOD PENCIL
Yeah. There’s things…
PAPER
Have you considered you just have bad dice? If you’re rolling badly enough that it’s an issue
MOD PENCIL
Put your dice in the punishment cube until they agree to be better.
PAPER
Or on a metagame note put it into charisma… so for every roll… not charisma, wisdom, I’m getting my classes mixed up. So you get huge bonuses every time you roll.
MOD PENCIL
Or just if it is enough of a problem when you roll badly cry until the GM lets you succeed just this once. Just… you know, break down sobbing until people give you a natural 20.
PAPER
I can’t believe I didn’t think of that. I mean it worked when megabus fucked up. They left without telling us they were there, and I cried so much they gave us a free trip on another bus. Still got where we were going but we did not take megabus home. This episode sponsored by National Express.
MOD PENCIL
I feel that is all the questions we have.
PAPER
Yep so…
MOD PENCIL
I don’t know why I feel it IS all the questions we have.
PAPER
If you have a question you can send it to us on Tumblr at probablybadrpgideas.tumblr.com, or emailing probablybadpodcast@gmail.com, If you want to support the show you can go to patreon.com/probablybadrpgideas,, or leave us a rating or review, follow us on twitter or tumblr or facebook. And remember to have a probably bad day.
MOD PENCIL
And remember to have a probably bad day. I think that went well.
Closing music.

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