Probably Bad Podcast 14

Opening music

MOD PENCIL

Hello and welcome to the probably bad podcast a podcast which is definitely bad I’m pencil.

PAPER

I’m paper, today’s probably bad RPG idea is… Give your players a disintegration gun. It actually sends people into the future in the final session all people they shot with it blink into existence at once.

MOD PENCIL

It was a very popular post when it was first posted… The world’s worst flex possible, but…

PAPER

Was this a submission one or one of yours?

MOD PENCIL

One of mine. I like it because to have what seems like a one hit kill weapon and they seem like they’re shooting their way through the plot, then you get a barrel full of dice to roll the enemy attacks.

PAPER

This would be a good bit of advice for the person a few episodes back who wanted advice on dealing with murder hobos. Just bring back everyone they killed at the end.

MOD PENCIL

Get rid of all the weapons that aren’t the disintegration gun. All they can do is send them further into the future.

PAPER

I like that there’s consequences further than social in the game for killing people. The standard way of dealing with that is people don’t like or trust you now. Some people like that, life on the lam.

MOD PENCIL

Could probably do a version if there’s a necromancer, the more you kill the more people they have to raise and things like that.

PAPER

It’s like Dragon Age if you leave the village of Redcliffe and don’t defend it you get to fight the whole village as zombies.

MOD PENCIL

They all have little names.

PAPER

They do it’s adorable.

MOD PENCIL

Little digital sad tears.

PAPER

I don’t think my graphics are good enough to see little tears.

MOD PENCIL

Definitely like the idea of the villain getting more powerful the more you kill.

PAPER

That’s basically what you’re talking about with the gun – the worse a person you are the harder it is to win later. It’s the ultimate escapism really it’s the opposite of reality.

MOD PENCIL

The escapism is negative actions have consequences. Like I said you can do it in lots of ways – have demons that feed on suffering and pain, the more suffering you inflict the more powerful they become over the course of the campaign. That kind of thing.

PAPER

I’m thinking what you said about the necromancer – it suggests he’s just been following you around collecting corpses.

MOD PENCIL

You combine it with the roll a hard perception check and when you succeed it turns out the big bad has been off-screen the whole time. Keep doing rolls and then you finally notice a nine foot tall stone clad monster who’s been reanimating people the whole time.

PAPER

Have you considered the character might not have been the big bad, they saw what you were doing and decided to take revenge and when you beat the big bad they bring them back along with everyone else.

MOD PENCIL

Just the first shopkeeper they meet who is so annoyed by them they just learn necromancy to bring people back

PAPER

From a narrative standpoint the villain you created is very powerful.

MOD PENCIL

Presumably it would be better to give some hints to the players, or you could just tell them at the end I guess.

PAPER

The sort of hints you could give are hints the players could easily miss – they look like someone from the last village, or the body is gone.

MOD PENCIL

Someone chanting necromancer words.

PAPER

Necromancer words?

MOD PENCIL

Yeah how you cast necromancer magic.

PAPER

Bones, bones, bones, bones.

MOD PENCIL

You joke, but if you entered this dark circle and there were people chanting bones bones bones you’d be freaked out.

PAPER

I’d find that more disconcerting than blood. Blood has its known uses, there’s vampires, offerings, but with bones it’s like what are you doing over there?

MOD PENCIL

If you kill a skeleton you just remind them they’re bones and they get back up.

PAPER

It’s easy to kill a skeleton just put them in boiling water make a nice soup.

MOD PENCIL

I like apparently it’s easy in a dungeon to make a pot of boiling water and get a skeleton in it.

PAPER

Find a hole, summon water, heat it up with some fire magic, and I mean, making broth from a living skeleton probably gives it some healing properties to the soup.

MOD PENCIL

Skeleton properties.

PAPER

Skeleton properties also, yes.

MOD PENCIL

Drink it and it animates your skeleton. Definitely answers the question.

PAPER

Be fair it wasn’t a question. Animated skeletons though, I was in a wonderful games that a mutual friend was running, and it was a magic school where a wizard had animated his skeleton and had to be strapped to a chair because the skeleton had different ideas.

MOD PENCIL

It’s either he wants to go on a rampage or disagrees with his ideas on quantum mechanics and every time he says something the skeleton animates and tries to refute his evidence.

PAPER

But disintegration guns….

MOD PENCIL

Yes uh so the lesson is if you get disintegration guns the shopkeeper will animate your skeleton.

PAPER

In terms of the actual idea though, it doesn’t move them a set amount of time in the future it sends them to a certain point. Cause if they do the campaign early do they get downtime or…

MOD PENCIL

If they finish early you finish the campaign then a month later Skype them all under false pretences and start the session where everyone reappears.

PAPER

So like a real time month.

MOD PENCIL

Yes, a month later Skype them and have them be attacked by creatures.

PAPER

And also in the game.

MOD PENCIL

You hire a bunch of aggressive LARPERS and get them to break into their houses.

PAPER

That’s the coward’s route you’ve got to go out and animate your own damn bodies.

MOD PENCIL

Inventing necromancy purely to flex on my players.

PAPER

I’m saying if something’s worth doing it’s worth doing right.

MOD PENCIL

I suppose I can stand over a body chanting bones bones bones.

PAPER

It’s frowned up but not illegal.

MOD PENCIL

Make sure not to say bones more than two or three times at a funeral or the skeleton reanimates.

PAPER

And on that note…

Question music. Question the arts. Question everything.

PAPER

We have a question from daydreamingfox. Any ideas for super cursed items? My players keep asking for magic items despite having quite a few and I’m fed up with it. Have you tried a disintegration gun?

MOD PENCIL

I guess we answered that question entirely independently. Go us! Rewind to the start of the podcast, listen to that.

PAPER

If you’ve got it downloaded to listen to, download it again. Generally though the best thing with cursed items is to tailor them to specific players. Like I had a paladin of a vengeance goddess so I gave him a cursed sword that compelled him to fight back if he got injured at all. It would be fun in general but because of the vengeance part it felt a lot more if you know what I mean? It took his whole thing and turned it against him.

MOD PENCIL

Alternately use one that are completely unrelated in anyway.

PAPER

Like deliberately unrelated?

MOD PENCIL

If you want actual magic items, a rod of fireball when you use it the GM gets to slap the player in the face IRL.

PAPER

Rod of fireball but every time you use it you take a shot.

MOD PENCIL

Rod of fireball but every time you sue it you talk faster. These are just ways to hurt your players.

PAPER

That’s half of our brand.

MOD PENCIL

Cursed item just throw hands.

PAPER

This person wants to hurt the player with their items, just take it to their logical conclusion

MOD PENCIL

Cursed item: gets you players arrested.

PAPER

Get a witch to put an actual curse on their dice. There, magic item, what more do you want from me?

MOD PENCIL

Throw a bag of enchanted items in their face at the end of the game.

PAPER

Do fire ants count as magic?

MOD PENCIL

They consider themselves magic.

PAPER

The magic of friendship.

MOD PENCIL

The magic of friendship and belief and being very very dead.

PAPER

Give your characters an annoying child who follows them around. The magic of parenthood.

MOD PENCIL

I like – give your players an annoying child just hand it over. The magic item is you’re raising my son now. I’m not sure we did answer this question.

PAPER

We made some words.

MOD PENCIL

We certainly made a series of noises, some of which might even have semantic value.

Question music. You didn’t question it enough the first time, and now it’s back. Oh no. Also, plugs for Bread and Thread and Pod 9 From Outer Space.

PAPER

I think this next question is suited to your background. How do I turn my D&D campaign into a philosophy or ethics problem?

MOD PENCIL

There’s a dragon heading towards five people you can pull the lever to redirect the dragon to one person, do you pull the lever? Trick question the dragon will eat them all anyway. It illustrates the impossibility of morality. There are obvious ways of actually implementing things – ways various races are treated, the inherently violent nature of adventurers. All of that’s boring. What you need to do is put like gratuitously contrived moral dilemmas as you can. Save this kitten or kill this orphanage.

PAPER

You’re saying as a logical extension of the trolley problem idea give them increasingly shitty choices.

MOD PENCIL

You stab this old man, stab this old man looking sad doing it. I feel the actual moral question of D&D is that violence is such an ingrained part of it. Levelling is based on sort of, almost every ability you get is based on… I like something that Undertale does it raises the question of how the rules of the game are immoral, they encourage to do bad things and what to do if they are. Which is also pretentiously meta-fictional as well.

PAPER

It is, isn’t it?

MOD PENCIL

You can definitely do a thing where D&D is the big bad of your D&D campaign. You have to beat up the wizards of the coast. Yeah, violence, probably shouldn’t murder a bunch of people.

PAPER

Yeah I don’t think I have anything to add to that, metaphysically torture your players for a while.

MOD PENCIL

Every time your players do something, lean back in your chair and ask “are you sure about that” – they buy apples and you go “are you sure about supporting capitalism”

PAPER

There is no ethical consumption under feudalism.

MOD PENCIL

There is no ethical consumption under the rule of the dark lich lord who raises all dissenters as zombies. I think I actually answered your question so I’m sorry for going on a rant there. We should probably move onto the next question rather than sit in silence.

PAPER

I was just contemplating.

MOD PENCIL

My philosophy degree is sometimes useful by useful I mean it helps me answer a question

PAPER

I’m guessing your undergrad more than your fanfic masters.

MOD PENCIL

I’ll have you know my fanfic masters is useful as I’m one of the few people who can pull rank on which character is gay. Isn’t that what we all get masters for?

PAPER

Personally I’m planning to use mine to do night at the museum but real.

MOD PENCIL

I can analyse which characters are gay. This is becoming in-jokes which only the two of us will get.

PAPER

Want to read the last question.

You thought the question music was gone, but now it’s back. Maybe if we stay still, it’ll leave.

MOD PENCIL

This is from… It doesn’t say who it’s from… Maybe anon.

PAPER

It will be if it doesn’t say, I think I forgot to write anon.

MOD PENCIL

This is anon: do you have any favourite resources for making home-brew monsters. I am about to run a game where every player has DMed a session and know every detail of every creature. I want o make it fun and surprising to them.

PAPER

What I do is there’s a podcast called the myths and legends podcast and they have a thing called creature of the week, so I take a random creature form there and use that it’s fun. If it doesn’t feature in the monster manual OR harry potter, most players won’t be aware of it unless they’re mythology noise. So I threw in a thing called a serra which is a ship sized peaceful and curious sea creature as kind of a I believe I was using it as a false enemy to distract them from other things that were happening, but because they didn’t know what it was that’s all they could think about.

MOD PENCIL

What I normally do instead of making a full creature is if you just reform an existing creature that can get around the sort of knowing what everything is and does. If you make a troll that’s kind of a skeletal alien creature that lives in sewers or something, you don’t have to change the mechanics in any way, but people will immediately go “aah we need to set this on fire”.

PAPER

Or make the skeleton weak to boiling water.

MOD PENCIL

If you make skeletons but they are all clowns if you make all undead clowns like an unnamed GM did in one of our campaigns. And you just change things up like minor things like instead of not regenerating with fire they don’t generate with coal or they don’t regenerate with attacks powered by love of whatever you’re going to bring in so minor tweaks to stat blocks and changing fluff is always a good idea.

PAPER

And if you’ve got a well known thing like a ghost or vampire you can use this tradition of it – my vampires are fine with sunlight but they count things, or they still regenerate when decapitated but if you put a stone between their jaws you[‘re good.

MOD PENCIL

Yeah obviously you need to give some clues in universe on this rather than in my setting vampires can only be affected by people called Steve.

PAPER

Oh yeah you’d have to have some sort of cause there’s probably going to be a moment where they try to kill it the normal way and it doesn’t work you can probably steer them towards a library or something. It’s more exciting than I know how to deal with this creature and I’ve known since I was five.

MOD PENCIL

Yea I always liked the idea of vampire myths being confusing and contradictory, but yes, buh, best to edit that bit of nonsense out, instead… Have you considered making all your monsters goblins?

PAPER

I[‘m pretty sure that’s a probably bad RPG idea. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this one.

MOD PENCIL

This has happened multiple times, but… Goblins don’t have any specific weaknesses or specific strengths. If you just only have goblins, or use normal star blocks but you describe it as a goblin. You’re attacked by a dragon but describe it as a goblin.

PAPER

In some cultures goblin is just generic for any mischievous creatures. So anything with a chaotic alignment could technically be a goblin.

MOD PENCIL

Yeah anything you can describe all lifeforms as goblin. Walk through a pile of tall leafy goblins, flying goblins flitting between them, behind you is a goblin walking a small goblin.

PAPER

Not enough goblins.

MOD PENCIL

a group of goblins flies towards you. You hear the goblins crying at the full moon… What animal was I describing there?

PAPER

A fantasy creature. Also goblin.

MOD PENCIL

The twist is there are no actual plants or animals in this setting there are just goblins.

PAPER

Goblins also make up all the non living things. You see a goblin in the distance. You draw your goblin and nock a goblin. Just saturate the setting with goblins. No-one will see it coming.

MOD PENCIL

Just chant goblin over and over as your players enter, then you animate their goblins.

PAPER

Give them a goblin and at the end of the campaign it turns out it was actually a goblin.

MOD PENCIL

I feel like this is devolving into just saying goblin.

PAPER

On that note shall we end the goblin? So if you have a goblin you can send it to us on tumblr or email probablybadpodcast@gmail.com which obviously is short for goblin mail. Or you can support us…

MOD PENCIL

Lockdown is hard on all of us.

PAPER

Or you can support us on patreon at /probablybadprpgideas, you can see us on facebook or twitter if you really want to, and remember to have a probably bad goblin.

Mod goblin

And remember to have a probably bad goblin.

Closing goblin.

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