Probably Bad Podcast – Arson, Hatsune Lovecraft and the Overton Window

Nick

When the world was void and without form, three patrons decided there should be a probably bad podcast. They are Hedwig and Mario. Today they are joined by Nick, Alex and Anna. Thank you for your service.

Opening theme.

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… Play in real time. My immediate thought is murder mysteries.

MOD PENCIL

I guess LARP is ultimately in real time.

PAPER

True. I feel like we spend a long time unfairly dunking on LARP on this show.

MOD PENCIL

That wasn’t a dunk. It is playing in real time, but you’re larping but you’re sitting down is the idea behind this. So I love all of you LARPers, not personally cause that would be weird but in an abstract sense.

PAPER

It would be fun to have some larpers to have a LARP special. But yeah playing in real time is actually a good way to add some drama – OK this thing is going to happen in half an hour it needs to not happen.

MOD PENCIL

Yeah a survival horror thing where the terrible thing is going to break into the base before too long you need to escape the base before then. A friend of mine did the players were under a curse that made them age in real time, superhumanly fast. Every half an hour they aged a decade and that worked very well.

PAPER

I like that as a sort of here is your time frame – I do feel like a lot of the time in RPGs when there’s something that’s time sensitive in game it’s hard to get that across because you theoretically have infinity to keep talking about things.

MOD PENCIL

I definitely think there’s something in if you talk about what you do with the big bad for too long the big bad’s gone.

PAPER

I’m sure in the second Community D&D episode that happens – they spend so long talking about how to fight the necromancer he sneaks out the back door.

MOD PENCIL

I’ve never seen a community D&D episode and I’m going to say no I came up with that entirely by accident.

PAPER

Parallel evolution of probably bad RPG ideas.

MOD PENCIL

Other people can’t prove me wrong.

PAPER

And that’s all that matters in the end.

MOD PENCIL

Yeah like definitely think with horror it works very well in the sense of that’s how long you’ve got before you’re consumed by the cause or the thing’s broken in what have you what have you.

PAPER

What it reminds me of is ten candles?

MOD PENCIL

For those of you who don’t know it’s a horror game – you have ten candles when they all go out you die. It’s about what you do before then.

PAPER

Probably bad ten candles idea use ten advent candles.

MOD PENCIL

I had one which was you can’t reignite candles but you can set the table on fire.

PAPER

What is a fire but a large candle. Candles are basically controlled grease fires. Can you make an uncontrolled grease fire and wait until that burns out?

MOD PENCIL

You have until your house burns to the ground. But moving away from set your house on fire.

PAPER

Coward.

MOD PENCIL

I think there’s it’s a good idea for RPGs to have this is how long you have to plan things once the action starts, after that the bad guys will start doing things and you’re just sitting there discussing what to do.

PAPER

I do also like the idea of like you have to rescue someone – we’ve all been in the game where some important NPC is going to be executed and you’ve got to rescue them – doing that in real time would feel very heisty.

MOD PENCIL

Yeah I like that you have 3 hours before friendly wizard man I s executed get him out before then.

PAPER

Why not? World of darkness real time heist that I would play so hard.

MOD PENCIL

Supernatural monsters team up to rob a bank – they have four hours to do that.

PAPER

Tell me you wouldn’t play that.

MOD PENCIL

I actually like the vampires who are trying to rob the bank they only have so long until the sun comes up.

PAPER

That is high stakes.

MOD PENCIL

Yeah cause vampire games do have that inherent refrain of you only have so many hours before the planet is engulfed in fire.

PAPER

Start at actual sunset, end at actual sunrise.

MOD PENCIL

Combine the two – you have until the GM has finished your house on fire. Just splashing gasoline around you hurry up figure out what powers you’re going to use.

PAPER

But mine would be a better sleepover.

MOD PENCIL

I like the idea of D&D sleepovers.

PAPER

When this is all over we should do a D&D sleepover.

MOD PENCIL

I’ve never actually been in a sleepover. I’m assuming it involves D&D and vampires.

PAPER

It does if you do it right.

MOD PENCIL

Everything involves D&D and vampires if you do it right. Obviously playing a whole campaign in real time might get a bit much.

PAPER

Especially with travelling sections.

MOD PENCIL

I feel like yeah things like heists or attacks or other high stakes situations it would add very well to the tension.

PAPER

Oh no it was a good idea all this time.

MOD PENCIL

We did burn the house down to provide tension. I like the one with werewolves – you have until nightfall to play your werewolf game because then you turn wild, then at night you play vampires who have to stop werewolves that are going feral.

PAPER

You just alternate between those two games and never do anything else.

MOD PENCIL

If it’s daytime you’re doing the werewolf game if it’s night you’re being vampires. That’s your life from now on.

PAPER

Sounds good to me. Shall we move on to questions?

MOD PENCIL

Yes.

Question music. Bread and Thread plug.

MOD PENCIL

Our first question comes from derpravener how do you feel about using RPGs off-type – D&D is a combat based system, but what about using it for intrigue? Do you use it or look around for other systems?

PAPER

Yeah the good answer which is straightforward is look around there’s a lot of intrigue RPG systems that are going to be what you’re looking for.

MOD PENCIL

The bad answer is use ten candles for all of them, so whatever game you’re doing if the candles go out your character dies.

PAPER

Use call of cthulhu for a game about toddlers going to the zoo.

MOD PENCIL

I like the idea of CoC as a game about toddlers because it shows the world through the eyes of a toddler – like the big old one has done something evil like not letting you have a whole tub of ice cream. CoC but your parents are cthulhu. I think intrigue in D&D is clunky best look for other systems.

PAPER

I’ve definitely used D&D for intrigue but at a certain point the game wants you o fight.

MOD PENCIL

A lot of powers that deal with – charm person is essentially get round this social interaction spell, a lot of the social spells are similar – divination spells are get around this investigation. Anyway bad ideas – do it not in an RPG system at all. Instead of D&D use dominoes.

PAPER

Dominoes could be good for dice rolls.

MOD PENCIL

Could.

PAPER

I think the problem is I say problem a lot of RPG systems are made with the idea you can do quite different things with them. I mean look at Fate. Fate is basically here’s some vague mechanics to hang whatever you fancy around. I feel like you’ve got to go for quite niche to do something really off type. You couldn’t really do political intrigue with Happiest Apocalypse on Earth. Which is basically… How do you describe it? Disneyland is sentient and evil?

MOD PENCIL

Yeah and you’re the employees.

PAPER

I’m sure someone out there could do a great intrigue thing with death and destruction at Disneyland. But it’s not us.

MOD PENCIL

I think the sort of thing is you can theoretically play any game in any system just sometimes the system will.,l be working against you. Intrigue in D&D is the system working against you – you can do it but It’s not what the system is design for. I can’t think of any intrigue games off the top of my head but will definitely look around.

PAPER

This question is from hedwighood one of our lovely patrons. Is there an RPG you haven’t tried yet that you’d really want to have a go at?

MOD PENCIL

Given that it came up I genuinely want to try ten candles, once we’re able to get together, it won’t work well remotely.

PAPER

That’s what we play on our RPG sleepover.

MOD PENCIL

It’s really neat you’ve got an inbuilt timer, and the monsters in the game are react to light so as it gets darker monsters get stronger. Its scene establishing thing is a ritualistic chant, around candles in a dark room so that’s very good.

PAPER

I do like a good chant.

MOD PENCIL

The other game I’d like to play is Unknown Arby’s, which is a game in which is a game where you are assorted miscreants who are aware of the supernatural world. It has a combat system that starts with a long discussion on how to avoid combat cause combat is bad and you shouldn’t do it unless you have to, and it has the only sanity system that I’ve seen that isn’t terrible.

PAPER

I do want to try Call of Cthulhu cause I’m into the cosmic horror aesthetic, though I’ve heard bad things about how it handles sanity, and obviously the creator, HP Lovecraft.

NICK

Hatsune P Lovecraft.

PAPER

I’ve been informed by our producer it’s Hatsune P Lovecraft.

MOD PENCIL

Only true things on our podcast.

PAPER

The other game I want to play is one that one of the followers of the blog made called Shotguns and Socialites, which from what I’ve seen seems steampunk adjacent? And seems pretty critical of the gig economy. And if you think about the early levels in tabletop games you are in the gig economy.

MOD PENCIL

I hope you enjoyed that straightforward answer to your question – sorry about that.

PAPER

Ask a straightforward question….

MOD PENCIL

Our final question comes from Emma, what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever allowed in game?

PAPER

I’m’ struggling to remember anything other than the by now famous gaseous form story?

MOD PENCIL

I’m running a superhero game at the moment one of my characters in the game made a deal with the devil got out of that, then asked a supervillain to cybernetically enhance them to get more powers, got out of that, got injected with a parasite for more powers, got out of that. Just spent all this time seeking out dark forces and making more deals with them for powers. Got through several character sheets not including level ups. I should step in at some point but it’s doing really well they’re constantly overpowered but overpowered in a way that means if they do too much whatever they sold their soul to that week would turn up demanding payment.

PAPER

That is pretty wild.

MOD PENCIL

Things that aren’t me exploding someone. In that campaign two thirds of the party were at some point enslaved to different villains – one made a soul bargain one was an evil clone, one was transforming into an alien invader, all independently of each other. Superhero campaign’s going well.

PAPER

I don’t know if it reflects on me or my players I haven’t had anything that wild I think; at one point we had three characters gradually golluming over magical items but that was more me trying to stop them using the mcguffins rather than something I was just allowing.

MOD PENCIL

I think the issue is a lot of the games we ran haven’t been wacky enough, that allowing isn’t really quite the right word.

PAPER

I think my games have a base level, but a lot of the stuff isn’t that weird.

MOD PENCIL

To be fair I do remember playing the happiest apocalypse on earth you did allow your players to see the vampires then let them eat the park which I feel is a bit of – allowing isn’t the right word…

PAPER

But that was another one you were running. I don’t get wacky enough.

MOD PENCIL

Next time I[‘m in one of your campaigns I’ll tie gophers to myself.

PAPER

I’m very disappointed in myself but also I’m very much a rule of cool DM it’s not my fault it’s you guys.

MOD PENCIL

To be fair I feel a lot of things we’ve done would count as weird if I allowed a player to get away with it in other campaigns.

PAPER

But they don’t feel weird cause of the base level. The Overton window for weirdness is in another place to where we thought it would be.

MOD PENCIL

At some point our characters are going to quickly and sensibly resolve the issue and that’ll be the weirdest thing about the campaign.

PAPER

There was the time when someone tried to distract the city guards by putting on a play about missed bin collections called the council is rubbish, they were dressed as a bee for some reason.

MOD PENCIL

Yes that was when my sound wasn’t working so I just got snippets about rehearsals.

PAPER

I have been told by one person who was in that campaign not pencil it was the best campaign they’d been in not meaning to brag. Never had a chance to brag to 100 people before.

MOD PENCIL

Let’s see if any of your flexes get to 100 people. Patreon goal maybe.

PAPER

Patreon goal if we get to 20 patrons we just flex.

MOD PENCIL

20 patrons and it’s just a list of our achievements.

PAPER

Speaking of patreon if you want to support us, get access to bonus episodes, discord server and homebrew content, I’m very excited about the latest homebrew – sin eaters that don’t suck – you can subscribe at patreon.com/probablybadpodcast or email us with questions or RPG ideas at probablybadpodcast@gmail.com, or on tumblr at probablybadrpgideas.tumblr.com and remember to have a probably bad day.

MOD PENCIL

Remember to have a probably bad day.

Closing music.

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