+1 Forward - Lessons Learned in 2019 and 2020 Gamer Resolutions

Rach and Rich talk about the lessons they learned playing and running PbtA games in 2019, and they make their Gamer Resolutions for 2020.

01:23 - Rich’s Lessons Learned in 2019
05:31 - Rach’s Lessons Learned in 2019
16:04 - Rich talks about reskinning PbtA games for Star Wars
33:33 - Rich gives some tips on how he reskins PbtA games for new settings
37:42 - Rach talks about adjusting Monster of the Week for different tones
45:46 - Rich and Rach’s 2020 Gamer Resolutions


Great episode, and a lot of good advice!

@RichRogers, I loved listening to your play of the Star Wars reskin of Night Witches but I had some of the same issues with it as you mention. It was still a lot of fun, but for me it was out past even the Rogue One interpretation of Star Wars and that makes it a fairly extreme outlier. It wasn’t not Star Wars, but it wasn’t quite there either.

I think there’s a couple of ways to do Night Witches in Star Wars that meshes better with the setting. (I think you will always have problems with tone since Star Wars is overall extremely optimistic and Night Witches, well, not so much.)

The first is to change the ex-Imperials to actual Imperials and make the alien pilots ones who have been pressed into service as part of a propaganda effort with the occasional starry-eyed volunteer. Not everyone sees the Empire for what it is (e.g., Luke), and the galaxy is large enough that somewhere there’s got to be an Imperial commander who’s willing to use non-human forces. Still, this may require some careful handling to allow the characters to be sympathetic without having them immediately rebel. Maybe they’re part of a garrison force keeping some truly vile criminal syndicate in check? Still, making anti-Nazi fighters into servants of the Space Nazis might be a bit much.

The second is to make the pilots droids instead of aliens, because the position women have been in historically, if not specifically in the WWII era Soviet Union, isn’t that far from where droids are in Star Wars. That allows you to lean into the discrimination even if they’re fighting for the Rebellion, and you can do it in a way that may help you better illustrate how pervasive sexism is in the real world (says the cis-het white dude).

I also very much enjoyed Rach’s discussion on weapons and violence in Monster of the Week. I think that part of the game is suffering a bit from being one of the relatively early PbtA games in that it took some parts of Apocalypse World as givens when it didn’t need to, though when it comes to weapons and violence that hardly makes it unique. In my opinion far too many games cling to harm and weapon tags when they don’t need them. (AW itself is more centered around violence, and especially interpersonal violence, in a way that makes those distinctions much more relevant.)

Personally, I think most games would be better served by having a move about doing violence that used the fiction of the characters’ equipment instead of relying on an external system for harm, like having options on a pick list like “If you’re using lethal force, the other person is mortally wounded”. Or maybe having two different moves, one for when you’re using lethal force and one for when you’re not. (This would also allow you to make the judgement for what counts as “lethal force” from the fiction - against a human both a .38 and an assault rifle are lethal but perhaps only the latter counts against a giant slug monster, and neither works against a werewolf without silver bullets - instead of having to dick around with armor and such.)

Some games, like Legacy, use harm boxes and weapon tags as world building and to say something about the characters, but most just have them the way practically all early roleplaying games had hit points and rolled damage whether they made sense or not.

I also share both your excitement for We Used to be Friends because Veronica Mars is my jam!

Thanks for another great episode!


Spot on @RichRogers about the gold in The Veil being the playbook moves. And then when the moves from one playbook trigger the another playbook’s moves it’s such beautiful chaos as the snowballing begins!

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