Total Pebble Knockdown
By Total Pebble Knockdown
In weekly discussions that result in absolutely no clear answers, Nathan and Alex delve into the endless choices that make up games. What can we learn from video games, storytelling, and the real world, and how can we apply that to tabletop games?
48. A Bardic Troupe of Chipmunks
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: So, a lot of discussion has been going on around player character death, so let’s discuss what you can do with characters once they die. Perhaps they can have a fun adventure in the afterlife, fight some demons, haunt the living, reincarnate, be a rat therapist… okay, we might go off the rails here. Cozy games are an ever-growing genre of video games, but it’s mostly been in the hands of indie developers. However, with Dreamlight Valley, Disney has entered the arena. Alex, Craeve and Nathan have all been playing it since it released in early access and has some thoughts on what worked and what did not. We’ll also discuss how it stacks up to some other similar games we’ve played recently. Have you ever heard of a Coffeelock? Legend has it that there is a spell caster with unlimited spell slots. But are the legends true? Okay, let’s discuss what this is and how the D&D mechanics allow for it. What limitations can be placed on this and how has it already been addressed in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything? A summary of the Coffeelock - Dungeons and Dragons: What is a Coffeelock? (geeknative.com) Animated Spellbook - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkpa1j1yYqQ
September 19, 2022
47. Astral Plane-ology
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: In Weekly Muse, is Matt Mercer a terrible DM? This is something we decided to discuss following comments on the most recent Critical Role episode. So, we're going to talk about how dangerous a world should be, what the consequences are for a player's actions and other ways to slam players when things go wrong. We will also answer that question. WARNING: Spoilers. Spoiler Report - Critical Role Shocks Fans With Its Most Intense Episode Yet (comicbook.com) Nathan recently played Death Stranding and came to a fascinating discovery that the landscape hates Norman Reedus. So how does the navigation of the landscape work as gameplay? Every rock, every stream, every inclined slope is now your enemy, far more intense a foe than the actual guys with guns that start shooting your bike. Was this a good design choice? We'll discuss. While looking at Reddit, a question caught our eye about a bag of holding tactical nuke and it piqued our interest. So, how does this work and should it? Are there ways to keep players from constantly using this tactic to destroy the game or unforeseen consequences for them? The Reddit comments of relevance - How to stop combat from revolving around a tactical nuke? : DMAcademy (reddit.com) Artificer Bag of Holding Bomb? : dndnext (reddit.com)
September 13, 2022
46. Sleep Debt Storage Amulet
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: Are you getting enough sleep? Not in real life, we already know the answer to that is "No". Instead, are you getting enough sleep in games? We're looking at sleep, resting, curfews and other annoyances that games will use to make you end your business day, even if you were doing something cool. Does this work? Should it be changed? Are there better ways to use the nature of sleep to engage players rather than distract them? Your players walk into a bar and set off on a grand adventure. But, why are they together? Seriously, why is the warlock, the paladin and the rogue even working together in the first place? How do we explain how an adventuring party of such different backgrounds come together to fell a power-hungry tree? Would the druid have a problem with that? Let's have a Crit Think about that. Although D&D is a TTRPG we are very familiar with, Nathan is seeking to expand his horizons. And to familiarize himself with some of those toehr systems, he recently tried Pathfinder: Kingmaker and Shadowrun: Honk Kong. Did they do a good job explaining the system? Did they make him much excite for the tabletop version? Did he get very, very confused? Only one way to find out...
September 06, 2022
45. Multiverses of Magic
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: Wizard Presents 2022 gave us many big announcements concerning Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. We are somewhat familiar with these things, so let's break down some of the big announcements, from Warhammer cards to the upcoming supplements to the huge One D&D reveal. Wizard Presents 2022 So, One D&D was a big announcement, but what can we expect from the updated rules? Luckily, Wizards released some draft material for character design and Nathan took a look at the material. Let's look at some of the more intriguing parts like backgrounds, feats, spell lists, languages and traits. How do they stack up to the current rules? While much of the One D&D draft material has promise, one particular rule was a sticking point for Nathan and he thought to pass it on to Alex, who now has a similar sticking point. And that would be: The DM doesn't crit. So, what are the design benefits to allowing the DM to crit? We discuss the nature of tension, lethality in combat and stabby goblins.
August 29, 2022
44. Three Segments You Didn't Think We'd Make
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: If you have ever watched a movie or TV show, played a game or read a book, you have probably noticed some typical character archetypes. At a certain point these become tropes that are easy to fall back on as writing devices. But does that mean you should play one in your games? We look at a list of 15 character tropes to see how these could work in your games and whether they should. Along the way, we find the worst character tropes that are being addressed today and talk about Shrek more than you might think. Our trope-down list - Character Tropes — 15 Common Character Types Explained (studiobinder.com) We have even more tropes. This time we look at 10 RPG tropes that are (apparently) not around anymore. We may take issue with that assertion. Is it just wishful thinking that high fantasy settings or impractical costumes are going by the wayside? We’ll break down this list while asking if we still see or want these in our games. The next trope-down list - 10 Classic RPG Tropes That Aren't Around Anymore (gamerant.com) Our video about leveling - How Fast Should You Level In RPGs? | Mechanically Speaking - YouTube And thus, even more tropes. This time, we look at 6 RPG tropes that are not actually fun. What tropes have gotten to a place that they are aggravating for players and why should we avoid them? Yes, it’s another trope list - Six Classic Roleplaying Tropes That Aren’t Actually Fun – Mythcreants
August 22, 2022
43. Chaotic Goodwill
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: While magic items may often be powerful, they can also prove to be rare and expensive. But what about secondhand magic items? You know, the “gently used” items pawned off to a traveling merchant for resale? What if your players got ahold of those? We ponder the possibilities of broken, worn and mysterious used items that have more intrigue than your standard fare and might not break the bank to acquire. Leveling can be an exciting and important mechanic in games, but how often are you supposed to do so? In this Mechanically Speaking, we talk about the frequency of leveling and how the pacing of it effects a player’s relationship to the game. And what should the average timeframe be between levels? It matters. Tanks spend much of their character development avoiding damage, but a GM might still want to provide dangerous situations for them. In this One More Thing though, we look at a Reddit post suggesting we should stop trying to hit the tanks and instead give them something else to worry about.
August 08, 2022
42. Don't Listen to This Part
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: It’s rare that we have good news to share regarding NFTs, but we’ve found some this week. Mojang announced that NFTs and blockchain will not be allowed in Minecraft. Yay! However, NFT Worlds plans on building their own Minecraft so they can make the crypto-paradise happen over there. Not yay! Let’s break some of this down in a Weekly Muse. We love our secret levels in video games. Take me back to Whimsyshire, please. But the question we have this week on Crit Think is: Could you have secret levels in tabletop RPGs? How would that work? How could you keep it from being obvious to the person running the game? Will cows be involved? It’s the little things that add up. When running a game, the small details can greatly affect the player experience. Most new DMs might not think about the word “miss” and how it is applied during combat. How can one little word mean so much? Oh, we will tell you. Don’t MISS it.
August 01, 2022
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: The trailer for a new D&D movie just dropped at San Diego ComicCon. So, I guess that's what we're talking about on Weekly Muse. We discuss some of the monsters, classes and spells showcased in the trailer and if it looks good. Alex also attempts to explain that older D&D movies existed, although you likely don't remember them. Nathan's character may have been affected by the curse of lycanthropy. But as many D&D players may know, lycanthropes are seriously broken. So, on this Mechanically Speaking, let's try to unbreak it. Let's see how we can change some of the rules to give the curse of lycanthropy a little more curse and a little less blessing. A user's guide to lycanthropes - Embracing Your Wild Side: Playing As a Lycanthrope in D&D - Posts - D&D Beyond (dndbeyond.com) An old Reddit post on some houserules - Lycanthrope mechanic redesign for 5e : DnD (reddit.com) The way werewolves are presented in World of Darkness - Werewolf (WOD) | White Wolf Wiki | Fandom If you've ever played video games, you probably played a fishing mini-game. However, you may have also noticed that those mini-games are not great. However, Call of the Wild: The Angler is coming out soon to be a dedicated fishing game and it makes us think there should be more than throwing out a rod. We'll discuss some of the examples of how it was handled in games we've played and how it could be far better if it's the main experience.
July 25, 2022
40. The Hum of Crabs
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: When exploring worlds of imagination, you want to make them feel alive. But if we are escaping from reality, the worlds themselves should reflect that. How can we set our fantasy, sci-fi, post-apocalypse, etc. apart from the here and now? How do we introduce those elements? Let's discuss that in a Delving Deeper. We play our fair share of RPGs. Before you can start, however, you need to have a character. Some games do a better job establishing that than others. In this Discord Discussion given to us by Dadam, we'll discuss how this was implemented in tabletop and video games, some of the stand-out examples and what elements of character creation appeal to us the most. Norse mythology is a big thing these days and one small survival game became a big hit using that thematic landscape. Nathan played Valheim, exploring its' landscape and smacking its' monstrous residents with an ax. Despite his love/hate relationship with survival games, this one was more enjoyable than annoying. How so? Listen to find out. The Let’s Game it Out video - I Turned Valheim Into a Physics-Defying Nightmare - YouTube
July 18, 2022
39. Deja You
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: During a recent D&D session, the party ran across some wererats. This forced the mostly martial party to get creative with dealing damage and that led to a completely unorthodox usage of Heat Metal. What is Heat Metal? How are you supposed to use it? How did we change it? The answers may surprise and annoy you. Heat Metal is an interesting spell Wererats don't care about your swords The numbers are in and it appears that Diablo Immortal, like many mobile games before it, has made a Scrooge McDuck money silo in profit. But in this Soapbox, Nathan discusses how mobile games may be lucrative, but that certainly does not make them good. Having played some of Diablo Immortal himself, this is one thing he can testify to knowing. While we're at it, we discuss some of the other Diablo-style games we've been playing that are, frankly, much better and will cost you far less. COD Mobile made a LOT of money Diablo Immortal made a LOT of money Let's play a new game! In the first ever Side Quest Storming, we look at a random adventure list and start rolling dice. Three quests are picked randomly for Snowball and Hephaestus to get a quick lesson on how they would approach each scenario. It's sort of like roleplaying... The lovely list we used from Mystic Waffle
July 11, 2022
38. 560/385 Squared: Remorse
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: June was a big month for gaming. We’ve already talked about the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase, but on this Weekly Muse we take a look at the Summer Games Fest, a repository of sequels and remakes. Also, a few original titles. Some of it is likely worth your time, but exactly how much has yet to be seen. We mentioned in passing the oddity of choosing a barbarian lifestyle in D&D. In this Delving Deeper, Alex tries to make sense of why barbarian is a class so that Nathan can sleep at night. It takes a village to make a rage-fueled monster slayer. The official barbarian rules - The Barbarian Class for Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) Fifth Edition (5e) - D&D Beyond (dndbeyond.com) A breakdown of barbarian subclasses - RPGBOT - DnD 5e - Barbarian Subclass Breakdown Are you not entertained? Battle arenas, towers and caves have been a staple of video gaming. They are so common that you might want to utilize them in your roleplaying game. The reasons why are really up to you, but the way they would be implemented needs more thought. On a Mechanically Speaking, we look at how you would make that tower work and creative ways players might deal with it when the encounter one.
July 04, 2022
37. Vin Diesel Riding a Dinosaur
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: The Xbox & Bethesda Showcase 2022 had many announcements, some of which were of particular interest to Nathan and Alex. So, let us discuss a new entry from Squanchy Games, a new cthulhu-vania title, Hideo Kojima, Hot Wheels, giant spiders and souls games for some reason. And, of course, we have an extended discussion of Starfield. One of the other titles we got at the Showcase was for Ark 2, featuring a very Vin Diesel-ly Vin Diesel. Funnily enough, Alex and Craeve had been playing the first Ark as it is now available for free on Steam. That did not go well and Alex wanted to get on his own Soapbox to discuss the problems with UI and game design it brings. If you got lost on the boot up choices in Ark, you might be experiencing choice paralysis. So, how could we mitigate choice paralysis in games from a design perspective? How can you avoid it in games you are running or playing? We delve deeper into the subject.
June 27, 2022
36. Audrey 2000
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: In a less than angry Soapbox, Nathan makes the completely reasonable argument that your in-game store informs everything about your world. Alex has some disagreements about that and makes those very known. Who’s hill will we die on? Perhaps each others… perhaps! Since Nathan now has a Level 5 Bard in the TPK D&D game, he took a 3rd Level spell called Plant Growth. After reading through the description, he started thinking of new and wild ways to utilize the spell, primarily the idea of building his own hedge maze. So, Alex goes over the rules as written and discusses how this might work mechanically in the game. While everyone is busy talking about Diablo Immortal, Nathan went a different way and played the original Diablo for the first time. It did not go well. There might be a reason Diablo 2 is where most people jumped into the series. So, let’s discuss if you can hit or see anything in this very old game.
June 13, 2022
35. Press E 3 Times
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: E3 2022 is dead. We killed it... with shrugs. But in it’s wake, a whole bunch of game company streams will be flooding our lives over the next couple weeks. What companies are not having conferences? Do we know about any games being announced? Could we ever hope for a new IP? Will E3 2023 be more for gamers then the industry executives? Sorry, I made myself laugh there… Also, was Frostpunk good or bad? E3 has ceased to be - E3 2022 - Digital and Physical - Has Officially Been Canceled - IGN PC Gaming Show - E3 is dead, but the 2022 PC Gaming Show lives on with some big reveals promised (msn.com) A list of streams to replace E3 - The Complete Schedule Guide For Every Not-E3 2022 Showcase (msn.com) What does the average PC on the street take as a class? Should your bartender be thinking about being a fighter, a rogue or maybe a monk (Way of Drunken Master obviously)? Alex goes over NPC classes from D&D 3.5E to show how this was handled in previous versions. Nathan looks at making Indiana Jones in D&D. And we discuss how this might work in other applications. There are some games that you go back to many times. The question becomes: Why? What qualities do games have to possess to draw us back into it’s world over and over again? We discuss the nature of repeat playability, the games we went back to and the ones that we will never revisit, regardless of how good they were.
June 06, 2022
34. A Trojan Unicorn
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * It appears that video games are the new go-to medium for film adaptation. What a wonderful time to explain that video games and movies are different things. Is Super Mario Brothers a movie masterpiece? Why would you want silent protagonists to suddenly recite dialogue? Why has Master Chief not gotten to the freakin' ring world the whole game series is named after!? Oh, and are they actually gonna try making a Fallout series? Why? * We grow very attached to our characters when playing RPGs. What aspects of their adventure can carry forward into the next campaign? Will you play an adversary or fellow student? Will you inherit their laboratory? Will you rebuild the town they set on fire? We go over our most memorable player characters and what their legacy might look like in this Crit Think. * While Nathan enjoys playing life sims, he had stayed away from Farming Simulator 2022... until now. So, how exactly did that go and can Alex explain why he is wrong?
May 30, 2022
33. T.T.R.P. Gary
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: Recently, Twitch was all ablaze with streamers playing an early build of Overwatch 2 and views were off the charts. Then, on Day 2, views were off the charts in a very different direction. So, why did enthusiasm for the game go away so quickly? We will look at a few possibilities and ask what Blizzard might be able to learn… from other Blizzard games.Overwatch 2 viewership drops - Overwatch 2 With Drastic Viewership Drop on Twitch | gamepressure.comSome concerns about the future - Why We're Seriously Worried About Overwatch 2 (looper.com) Nathan finally watched Spiderman: No Way Home, the film he has been looking forward to since the trailer. However, there was one thing he had to do first: Watch all the Spiderman movies that came before. And this led to a thought about building campaigns and RPGs. How can we avoid the pitfalls of making a game that’s just a giant series of references to previous works? Do we handwave storytelling and world-building by just saying “basically he’s Marty McFly”? What if your players have no idea what you are referencing? We delve deeper into this subject and the term “intertextuality”. A game preview popped up on GamePass and it looked vaguely like Stardew Valley. Of course, Nathan had to play it. This time on Games You Didn’t Think We’d Play, Nathan learned that Little Witch in the Woods was akin to watching grass grow. Faring slightly better, Alex played House Flipper to renovate your home while you weren’t looking. Find out why both these games feature cobweb cleaning mechanics.
May 23, 2022
32. Now I Have a Laser Crossbow
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: In news we thought had already happened, Wizards of the Coast has purchased D&D Beyond, bringing the online service under the umbrella of the D&D parent company. Will this change anything about the core offerings for the users? Will you need a WOTC account? Can we wish for integration between digital and physical books? Time to dig into this acquisition. For more details on the deal to buy D&D Beyond - D&D Beyond comes under the wing of Wizards of the Coast in $146 million deal | TechCrunch After playing Mages of Mystralia, Nathan started thinking about the mechanics behind modifying spells. What if you could modify your spells in RPGs? Could we add additional effects? Could we change how spells function? How would you balance such a customized system? We’ll attempt to figure that out on this week’s Mechanically Speaking. The entire crew at TPK has been playing No Man’s Sky, one of the most surprising redemption stories in all of video gaming history. With the dozen updates Hello Games has made since it’s initial broken launch, what is this game today? We discuss our experiences in depth for this Games You Didn’t Think We’d Play. For the story behind the game and it’s development, check out the Internet Historian video here - The Engoodening of No Man's Sky - YouTube
May 16, 2022
31. Can I Put It Under My Giant Ezio Coat?
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * So, Bethesda is letting it's game launcher go. Fly free little launcher! What happens to everyone's data, their save games, their libraries, their friends lists? And the question on everyone's mind: What about Fallout 76!? Also, a few old Bethesda games become available for free on Steam on the heels of this news. Coincidence? Maybe! Bethesda Launcher we hardly knew ye - https://www.pcgamer.com/bethesda-is-dropping-its-launcher-in-favor-of-a-return-to-steam/ Your burning Fallout 76 questions answered - https://fallout.bethesda.net/en/article/FfWIVEmUL8vXXpAtkYnCT/farewell-bethesda-net-launcher-fallout-76-faq Free games - https://www.pcgamer.com/uk/some-of-bethesdas-classic-elder-scrolls-rpgs-are-now-free-on-steam/ * Alex and Craeve went to PAX East in a somewhat unexpected fashion while they were in Boston over the weekend. Nathan is not at all familiar with PAX and asks some questions about what it is and why he should care. Were there games? Did they play any? What news do they bring? Did they just wander aimlessly with no real mission but to see what all the fuss is about? Find out! * Technology can be very useful to augment our tabletop experiences. One of the new ideas is holographic game tables. What is the best use for them? Will we ever be able to afford them? Do the logistics make it more trouble than it's worth? And, let's face it, will a new technology replace it before it becomes widely available to the general public? Let's discuss that. Holograms - https://vrscout.com/news/holographic-tabletop-games-on-the-way-from-catan-creators/
May 02, 2022
30. Literal Rock Music
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Launched on April 12, two TTRPG Kickstarters hit the $1 Million mark in mere days of release. So, on this Weekly Muse, we talk a bit about that. Should we make monsters more interesting in Flee, Mortals! from MCDM? Should we bow down and worship the Old Gods of Appalachia from Monte Cook Games? Why isn't there an RPG set in a mall? Why has Alex not gotten his '90s themed Scholastic Book Fair game? What's the real difference between zombies and mindflayers? So many questions that we fail to answer... "Flee, Mortals!" - The MCDM Monster Book for 5e by Matt Colville — Kickstarter Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game by Monte Cook Games — Kickstarter * Since we brought up Kickstarter, a problem seems to be arising regarding crowdfunding. Namely, how do small or independent projects going to fund when so much attention is getting placed on large projects like the ones above? In this week's Crit Think, we ask what the small developer can do to get exposure and funding for their projects in a landscape that is increasingly becoming built for established brands. Is there still a place for games that are not based on D&D 5E? Should we make a game based around D5s? What exactly is Pebblecore? So many more questions that we fail to answer... * So, Nathan was still playing Rage for reasons we don't understand and came across another interesting wrinkle. This time on Mechanically Speaking, we are discussing the card game inside the game and how it interacts with everything else. Does your ability to play cards with random strangers actually improve your experience with other characters or situations? How integral should it be? How much time should it take? And in terms of tabletop RPGs, should we actually be playing a card game during the session and collect cards as part of the game? We also discuss Gwent, Pazaak and Caravan, just to cover all the made-up card games in video gaming. And no, we are not good at them.
April 25, 2022
29. The Book is Terrifying
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * After hearing about the horror that is the false hydra, Nathan started thinking about rectifying player knowledge versus character knowledge. If you know how to combat a monster that is imperceivable by normal means as a player, should your character prepare to fight it accordingly? Should I pick Silence as a spell knowing what I know? How much of this becomes meta-gaming and does that affect the campaign? A whole lot of questions, which means we have to do a Crit Think. * On a merry jaunt through Rage (yes, the original game, not the recent sequel) Nathan came down with a fever and the only cure was a Soapbox. On this episode, we have a little rant about “Decorative Door Syndrome” where we as players are presented with what looks like interactive doors only to have our hopes dashed by the fact they are but facades placed there by developers. Why is this so frustrating and could we please address this in the future? * On a round-up of games we’ve played recently, Nathan has many thoughts about the recently released Weird West. Does it really earn the label of “immersive sim”? Is it even fun to play? How weird are we talking?
April 18, 2022
28. Nathan Broderick
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Well, we had a weird one on the last episode, which pretty much sets up the whole premise of this episode. To start things off, we're going to have a Crit Think asking if games can be so bad they are good? Some examples are given and personal experiences are relayed. Perhaps the whole thing is subjective. But also, Nathan played Kattastik, so... * Sometimes a bug, flaw, coding error or technical limitation has unexpected consequences. In some cases this leads to features that become iconic to game series and might even spawn a new series altogether. In this week's Delving Deeper (for real this time) we give some examples of games that took their mistakes and made them into features due to their popularity. From speedy aliens to aggro Ghandi to explosive pranksters, we discuss what glorious problems were actually wonderful new mechanics. 7 Glitches That Became Beloved Features - YouTube 15 Gameplay Glitches That Actually Became Features In Video Games - YouTube 10 Video Game Bugs That Became Features - YouTube * It is inevitable that games will have bugs, but to what level are we willing to overlook them? Can you work around them and should you? On this One More Thing we talk about the bugs that broke us, the ones that became unacceptable and the ones that we just kind of ignore.
April 11, 2022
27. Here’s Some Hot Quests in Your Area
On this episode of Delve: * Once upon a time we discussed the "good" party and the "bad" party, but we never discussed the "morally ambiguous" party. You know, the neutral party that really doesn't have a stake in affairs of the state or society, but just has a job to do and wants to get paid for their services. Basically witchers, but with less personal investment. What do you do when your party of personified shrugs enters a world full of intrigue to which they have no interest in getting involved? We walk the line of the gray jedi in this Delving Deep. * You've fought them. You've befriended them. You've asked them for more ale. But did you ever ask what they do in their free time? Fictitious worlds are chock full of non-playable characters lining their streets and countryside, but their lives rarely get fleshed out if they are not directly part of the players' story. However, after watching Free Guy, Nathan started wondering if it's worth getting more "NPC on the street" perspectives to the world around the players. Perhaps they are worth talking to, even if they do not have a quest? We explore this subject in this week's Delving Deeper. * Did the Monopoly man have a monocle? What color was C-3PO? Did Sinbad play a genie in the 90s? Question everything about your memory as we dive into the Mandela Effect, a collective misremembering of information. Alex has a quiz for you on this Delving Deepest. Then, we discuss how this attention to detail and altering of information could be utilized in your games as a fun layer of character design or world building. A list of prime Mandela Effect examples - What Is the Mandela Effect? 50 Examples That Will Blow Your Mind
April 04, 2022
26. It Comes With Packets Of Salt
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * In case you were not aware, basically every licensed property in existence has decided to dive into the tabletop market. On this Weekly Muse, Nathan slightly breaks Alex with news of a Power Rangers RPG, Disney theme park board games, a 5E compatible version of Runescape and a shocking list of super successful Kickstarters with recognizable brands. And since we're looking at all of those, let's also discuss possible games from intellectual properties we like. Power Rangers - Roll Roll Power Rangers In This New Tabletop Role Playing Game (forbes.com) Everything is Disney - Funko Games Reveals New Tabletop Games Inspired by Disney Characters and Attractions | SuperParent Runescape, sort of - Runescape is getting a tabletop RPG “fully compatible” with DnD 5e | PCGamesN Top 10 biggest tabletop Kickstarters of 2021 - The top 10 biggest board games and TTRPGs on Kickstarter in 2021 - Polygon * How can you use games as a learning experience? That's a question that came up after Nathan found some articles detailing two games from the Phillipines tackling real world issues of disaster management and martial law. But there are many basic skills that gaming can help us learn without even realizing it. On this Delving Deeper we discuss how games can help develop social skills, cooperation and understanding. Also, we ask if gamification could aid with learning jobs and if HR would have enjoyed orientation more by utilizing it. Serious topics from the Phillipines in game form - ‘Sakunwari’ tabletop game aims to gamify disaster management (philstarlife.com), https://philstarlife.com/geeky/777546-neverforget-educational-rpg-lipunan-tackles-martial-law?page=2 * So many board games have been published over the years, we were bound to have some bad ones. On this One More Thing, we are looking at games that actually got made, but probably should not have. From national disasters, repurposed party games, weird things to market to kids and general head-scratching, we take a look at some of the best worst ideas of board gaming history. The first list we reference - 30 Hilariously Bad Board Games — Best Life (bestlifeonline.com) The second list we reference - The 26 funniest, freakiest board games you can buy - CNET
March 28, 2022
25. Modern Day Collector's Plates
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Somewhere in Nebraska, video game enthusiasts uncovered a treasure trove of cartridges from the Genesis and SNES era and lost their collective minds. Early estimates suggest that it could be worth millions with most of the cartridges still factory sealed. Does this sound like an over-estimate? What other digital antiques could be worth money? What should we have kept around? Also, Ninja Turtles and Pokemon Cards. Local news shows plastic cartridges - https://www.klkntv.com/rare-video-game-collection-found-in-nebraska-could-be-worth-millions/ The full Gameroom video showing the collection - Video Game Store Closes mid 90s Inventory Found Years Later Factory Sealed SNES Sega Genesis Saturn * Yet another souls title, yet another time round of this discussion. So, Elden Ring has posed the question once more "Should Games Have an Easy Mode". Okay, so let's do a Soapbox about the problem with calling for easy modes and the "git gud" mentality. Yes, we are going to talk about this so we hopefully never have to do so again. * Nathan went back to the kingdoms of Amalur in Re-Reckoning on a mission to explore what has changed and if it still holds up. How hard is it to skip most of the side quests so you can get through the main quest line? This might apply to Skyrim and Fallout in this context as well. Also, what other dead game series would we like to discuss and could we see them return?
March 21, 2022
24. Boy, Look At All That Sand!
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * It might not be well-known, but Alex and Nathan have been playing... oh, what is it called... Dungeons & Dragons. Alex has been running a module and Nathan is playing a bard, so this is a new experience for both of us. We discuss what it's like running a module compared to making your own campaign and how you can still make it your own. We also think about what backstory will make Nathan's character more realistic, but in the terms of a fantasy roleplaying game. * The concept of ludonarrative dissonance may be a foreign one to many people, but we can explain. Basically, imagine if the story and the action in a game contradict each other. Now imagine how that makes some games very odd when you look at them closely. Think about your gallant hero on a quest to save the world and also killing hundreds of people along the way. Think about taking down a dictator while leaving villages in ruin. Welcome to the divide. We'll discuss it on this episode. The original article that spawned the term. https://clicknothing.typepad.com/click_nothing/2007/10/ludonarrative-d.html A more recent article discussing Uncharted I’m a Nice Guy, Just Ignore the Bodies | by Benji Tigg | SUPERJUMP (superjumpmagazine.com) * After traversing a linear road, you come upon a set of great doors that open up to reveal this world in all it's glory... WELCOME TO JURASSIC PARK! Yes, on this One More Thing, we are discussing that moment in games when you finally see the scope of it all and how games have done this for better or worse. Will your players be awed by the landscape in front of them or will they simply shrug and say "okay"?
March 14, 2022
23. Learn from the Library of Alexandria
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Nintendo came under some fire for shutting down their WiiU and 3DS game stores without offering another option to enjoy a ton of classic games once that happens. Besides spawning a clear response from academics and the Video Game History Foundation, this brings up a serious issue about the preservation of video games in the digital age. Also, why can't Nathan find Oni anymore and what are we supposed to do to avoid losing old games to the ether? Articles on the e-shop closures - https://kotaku.com/nintendo-wii-u-3ds-classic-games-mario-zelda-eshop-shop-1848544931 https://www.ign.com/articles/nintendo-3ds-wii-eshop-discontinued The VGHF response on Twitter - https://twitter.com/gamehistoryorg The difficulty of video game preservation - https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2022/01/12/video-game-preservation-emulation/ * Now that he's played Lost Ark for around 80 hours, Alex wanted to take the opportunity to explain what makes it different than other MMORPGs. Or rather, what makes it very similar. Is this the kind of game that would appeal to Nathan or does it involve other people? Do we ride a ladybug? Do we one of the million chosen ones? Let's discuss the new hotness that has hit American shores. * Whether you play survival games, RPGs, adventure games or even Dungeons and Dragons, you may have encountered a problem with carrying capacity. Recently, Nathan encountered one of the more egregious cases he has ever seen with Windbound, having to start engaging with inventory management before even building a boat. So, how do you factor weight and space into a game's mechanics without it overwhelming the game? And, do we even want to have inventory limits in the first place?
March 07, 2022
22. You Have Caught Tom Nook, You Owe Him No Bells
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * With Horizon Forbidden West and Elden Ring now released, media outlets have already begun the discussion about what shall be the Game of the Year. On this Soapbox, we make the simple statement: NO! And while it is far too early to be calling a contest such as this, we might as well discuss why GOTY is a thing and if we really need The Game Awards. Horizon Forbidden West review: Game of the year already? 'Elden Ring' Is the Game of the Year | WIRED * Alex has been playing Pokemon Legends: Arceus for many hours now. Being different from the main line of Pokemon games, this brought up many points on it's similarities and differences. A long conversation follows to discuss the structure of Arceus, the story and missions, the streamlining and mechanics, as well as things it does not do. Also, we float the potential Pokemon x Animal Crossing crossover event that you never knew you didn't want. There is much to cover in this Delving Deeper. * We may have discussed the original question about when to have encounters, but there was another Discord Discussion that came up along the way concerning laying out the structure of gameplay. Some RPGs are more structured than others. Can we explain the basic structure of D&D? Can we determine which kinds of games lend themselves to more regimented structure than others? Does our show even have a structure? We sort of answer these questions.
February 28, 2022
21. Golden Ghouls - ft. Chris Bissette
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * We welcome our first guest to the show, Chris Bissette, creator of Loot the Room, writer of The Wretched and Co-Writer/Publisher of The Unquiet Dark on Kickstarter right now. How quickly will this episode go off the rails? You probably know the answer. * Dark Souls has a tabletop game now, as does Devil May Cry and Darkest Dungeon apparently. Not really sure if this was a good idea, but Chris wanted to discuss it, possibly because he actually cannot get it shipped to his home country. Moreover, Chris happens to be working on a tabletop souls-like project called Dice Souls, with dice pools and everything. Do souls-likes lend themselves to tabletop RPGs, board games or anything else in the analog space? To prove we didn’t make tabletop Dark Souls up… The Dark Souls tabletop RPG will be based on 5th edition D&D - Polygon * The Unquiet Dark is a jazz age prequel campaign supplement for Brindlewood Bay. What is Brindlewood Bay? Imagine Murder She Wrote but with Lovecraftian horror elements. Yes, this is all new to us, but Chris explains it better in this segment. Created by Alicia Furness, the Unquiet Dark is set in 1922 and makes you think about bootlegging, speakeasys and blues clubs. Also, we come up with terrible puns because of course we did. You can find it on Kickstarter right now, but only for a few more days! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/afurness/the-unquiet-dark * Chris has finally left his job and is now working on games full-time. How was that transition. What were the benefit? How is time-management going now that he never has to set an alarm? We discuss creative process, time for decompression and the very prolific career of Michael Crichton. * Since we have a guest on the show, we get to try out a new question. Can Chris give us a personal Total Pebble Knockdown moment? Was it likely a moment from Delve? Was it fatal? We shall find out. You can find Loot the Room here https://loottheroom.uk/ and Chris's linktree here Loot The Room | Linktree and on Twitter at Chris B 🐻 🏳️🌈 (@pangalactic) / Twitter
February 21, 2022
20. It Actually Feels Like You're in a Junkyard
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * And so, Nathan arrives at 77 hours into Cyberpunk 2077 and Alex has also been playing quite heavily. So, now we get to discuss the game you didn't think we'd play... as much as we actually have. Why was this the game we keep playing? What did CD Projekt Red do right that often gets overshadowed by a disastrous launch and company response? Could this still be known as one of the great RPGs in the future? Should it be? We discuss some missions, story, mechanics and world design to answer those questions. * Something that was always perplexing to Nathan in D&D has been the relationship between character levels and challenge ratings. For the uninitiated, all of the things you fight in D&D will have a challenge rating (CR) to tell you how easily it will kill you. But how does that measure up against the level and size of your party? Would it just be easier to find an encounter builder online? Well, of course it would, but let's see if Alex can't shed a little light on what challenge ratings are in this Mechanically Speaking. * Have you ever started playing a game and realize you're spending a lot of time searching through drawers? Well, you are not alone. And this feels like a problem with grind and pacing that needs to be addressed. So, in this Delving Deeper, we look at the design decision to make 6 separate loot spots on a single vehicle (looking at you Generation Zero) and ways this could be mitigated to avoid bogging down a game with tedium.
February 14, 2022
19. An Aggressive Social Encounter
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * So, Activision Blizzard was acquired by Microsoft for a whole lot of money and now we have to discuss the biggest purchase in video gaming history. Mostly, we need to talk about whether this was a good idea. Will Microsoft be able to justify this price tag in the future and how would they plan on recuperating the cost? The good, the bad and the microtransactions on this Weekly Muse. To prove we didn’t just make this up - Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion - The Verge * This time on Discord Discussions, we are going to discuss how structured encounters like combat get triggered and what needs to occur for that to happen. We have had a long discussion regarding this in the forums to arrive at the question at hand and now Nathan and Alex can mangle it completely by discussing it on the show. But should we start rolling initiative the second a bar fight breaks out? And should we stop taking rounds when the goblins are fleeing the city? We sort of answer these questions. * Okay, so we have to talk about Bruno. Nathan watched Encanto and got many songs stuck in his head. The biggest earworm for society at large has been “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” and it is not the typical hit song from a Disney animated feature. But it did inspire the topic of designing systems that work together… like making all the vocal parts blend into one. This will make more sense when Nathan explains it, we think. Like you need a link… We Don't Talk About Bruno (From "Encanto") - YouTube
February 07, 2022
18. Thriving Beaver Empire
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Techland has a big game coming out shortly called Dying Light 2: Stay Human. To promote the release, they sent out a message saying the game would be 500 hours long and a lot of people did not take that news well. Techland had to clarify that 500 hours would be specifically to do everything in the game and the main game would be 20 hours. So, have we come to a time where players want shorter games and why would that be? We discuss that on Weekly Muse. It Turns Out Dying Light 2 is Not 500 Hours Long, Which is Obvious But Still a Weird Flex * In our first ever Mechanically Speaking, we look specifically at a game mechanic (hence the name). This time, it's the UI and plug-ins systems used to determine your characters abilities used in Nier Automata. Did you know you can remove elements of your UI to make room for damage increases? Or remove your operating system and get an instant game over? We discuss why this works so well in the game and how you might use a similar system to build characters in a tabletop RPG. * We never have enough games in our library, which is why we have wishlists. Alex and Nathan discuss 5 games on their Steam wishlists, taking us from the post-apocalypse to a different post-apocalypse. There's other stuff, but we talk more about that genre than you'd think. Which titles are on both our lists?
January 31, 2022
17. You’ve Got More Horses for Your Power
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Have you ever wanted to be a video game character in real life? Well a new place called Bam Kazam is building experiences that let you live out your digital dreams in the analog world. What world would we explore and which ones are we trying to avoid? Bam Kazam in Scottsdale turns you into a video game character, literally Bam Kazam Homepage * So Dark Alliance is back... well, kind of. What does this new take on the series tell us about companies, their IPs and what you should do if you want to change it? Because change is not always a bad thing, but a lazy rebuild of an acclaimed series warrants criticism, which we will give in a Soapbox while exploring how the game plays and the characters it decided to use. * You may skip over a tutorial or sigh upon realizing you are currently playing them. But tutorials can be invaluable to introduce mechanics to a new player when done right. What tutorials did we benefit from the most and which ones were notably bad?
January 24, 2022
16. Give Pac-Man a Mullet
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Really quick, imagine the most likely reality show star to get a video game adaptation. Now toss that idea out the window, because we're talking about the reality of playing a Dog the Bounty Hunter game. This is not a drill. The mullets are real. Let's discuss the fresh hell we are in. The article with a mullet - Dog the Bounty Hunter Is Getting His Own Series of Video Games * Well, it's come to this. NFTs are now everywhere and there are now entire games based around the idea. You can now buy virtual land in a game that hasn't released yet for nearly $1 million! Doesn't that sound... terrible? It's time to explain the problems with NFTs as they pervade games using a convenient list that has been made of the best(?) among them. Yes, there's even a top 5 list in this segment. Money is pointless now and here's the article that explains why - A new video game project pulled in over $55 million in less than 1 week entirely through NFT sales of virtual land 5 reasons the world is terrible now - the-5-best-nft-video-games * We have another Discord Discussion this week. This time we take a question about digital versus physical copies of game books. Who will rise victorious in this match up? You'll have to listen to find out.
January 17, 2022
15. Jason Todd Is Not The Real Spiderman
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * It was only a matter of time. Nathan finally played Snowball the Rainbow Unicorn Detective in a live stream. In addition to discussing what happened when he popped up on The Inspectres and got transported to the magical world of Kittensville, we look at how Snowball was built using the normal D&D creation tools. Yes, Nathan built Snowball as an actual D&D character. How did that go? * The kids these days seem pretty wild about Pop Its. What are they? Probably not important, but Nathan was forced to play the "Pop It Game" over the holidays anyway. Unfortunately, it was not interesting or fun. But, if we really think about it, could we make it fun? Time for a Crit Think! * Who is the REAL Spider-Man? That is up to interpretation, mostly by those on the ground. So, are your heroes the REAL heroes to the people on the street? Do you even want the notoriety and attention that it brings? Will someone come along and steal your glory? Let's discuss if there is such a thing as the REAL adventuring party.
January 10, 2022
14. Hello Little Frog
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * New Year, new opportunities to not follow through with resolutions. However, Alex and Nathan discuss the idea of "New Year's Themes" and what we would like to do in 2022. The idea of New Year's themes came from this CGP Grey video: Your Theme - YouTube * On this episode, Nathan does the most dangerous thing in the Internet age: He admits he was wrong about something. More specifically, he discusses how he was wrong about his first impressions of Remnant: From the Ashes. Turns out, it's not a terrible game you should burn with fire, but a surprisingly engaging, souls-inspired game that you can easily end up spending dozens of hours playing. So, what changed? Feel free to see Nathan ranking this toward the bottom of his 2019 Best to Worst list: Every Video Game I Played from 2019 Ranked Best to Worst - YouTube * A new year is an opportunity to reflect on the last year. It's also an excuse for us to play Save, Bury, Reboot with the games we played in 2021. What deserves to be preserved, what can we get rid of and what desperately needs a makeover? Listen to find out. You can listen to the original Save, Bury, Reboot from Delve in 2020 here: DelveCast Live - Save, Bury, Reboot (audio) - YouTube
January 03, 2022
13. Multi-Universe University
* Recently, D&D released their new Strixhaven setting, taking the famous TTRPG into a school setting straight out of Magic: The Gathering. Time to think about all the school pop culture properties we could stick into this and what Rodney Dangerfield would be as a D&D character. Also, there is now an owl you can play and why does everyone have night vision? Sources with more details on Strixhaven - Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos | Dungeons & Dragons (wizards.com), D&D: Your first look at the Strixhaven sourcebook – Owlin and mascots | Wargamer * In Discord Discussions this week, we'll be looking at tool and language proficiencies. How often do these get used? Should it be more often? And really, how many players or DMs keep track of these in practice? We continue this conversation from our forums on this episode. * Now at the end of the year, we have to bid a fond farewell to Delvecast as the site plans on powering down. We'll look back wistfully at the time we spent on Mad Adventurer's Society, through our own website and on to brighter horizons. A look into the archives at Mad Adventurer's Society - https://web.archive.org/web/20160205010403/http://www.madadventurers.com/#content
December 20, 2021
12. Roll For Charisma (To Save Your A**)
* It's time to reiterate a previous statement to game companies because it has not been fixed: Stop selling us your beta. Since Nathan made a video on the subject back in 2019, we continue to get half-finished games rushed to market but still sold as full games from developers hoping to capitalize on the goodwill they have garnered with fans. And then comes the micro-transactions, roadmaps of content and abandoned projects. So, yeah, let's yell about that. The old Vlogging Camp video - Dear Game Devs... | Vlogging Camp - YouTube * Okay, we got angry for a minute, but now we get to talk about early access games we played. True, there are a lot that are terrible, but we're going to discuss the ones that are interesting, enjoyable and addictive. Nathan and Alex each discuss three early access titles they have played and why they deserved to be highlighted. * What if you had a role-playing campaign that featured diplomacy as the main focus of action, combat and story? Can the pen truly be mightier than a sword? How pointy IS that pen? And how would that kind of game play out? How would even play it? Probably not Alex, but we'll discuss how you could make a diplomacy campaign on Crit Think.
December 13, 2021
11. Drag and Drop for Tabletop (DDTTRPG)
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Skyrim has released it’s Anniversary Edition to celebrate 10 years of re-releases. And thus, we need to wistfully look back at our first experiences with the epic RPG and how we still play it. * Of course, when we think about Skyrim, most people start wondering how many versions there have been and we kind of come up with a couple answers on how many there are, depending on how you prefer to count them. Needless to say, there’s a lot. The Gamer article ranking Skyrims - Every Skyrim Port Ever Released, Ranked From Worst To Best (thegamer.com) An old Reddit post - There is 11 versions of Skyrim. Remember that. * There are many ways to be a GM. One big difference comes from how much preparation you put in. On this week’s Discord Discussions, we discuss the how Nathan’s high-prep style and Alex’s low-prep style work in practice. So get ready to either get randomly killed by a boar or listen to the GM act out a conversation between 5 NPCs. Fun. * If you ever play a game on your PC, you might have encountered that moment when you wonder why there are so many different launchers and (surprisingly) platforms for games on the computer. Where you buy and where you launch games may vary wildly by player, game availability and features. Why do we have to have a console war on the computer and why do we use some more than others? We run down a list of some we haven’t even heard of as well, because the list is extensive. Best game launchers according to Slant - 11 Best game launchers for PC as of 2021 - Slant Best game launchers according to Make Use Of - The 7 Best Game Launchers to Launch and Organize PC Games (makeuseof.com) * While we’re discussing launchers, imagine if we could build one from scratch. What works for us on each of the apps we use and what could we do without? Come with us as we create the Frankenstein’s monster of game launchers, but like a friendly, approachable kind of monster who sends you cat pics.
December 06, 2021
10. Three Times the Sadness at One Convenient Price
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Rockstar was under some major fire after the release of GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition with many complaints about bugs, glitches, poor graphics rendering, missing songs, lazy re-skins, the removal of the old games from sale, typos that were not in the originals and (somehow) a return of "Hot Coffee". So... I guess we'll discuss all of that? GTA Trilogy worst bugs https://www.denofgeek.com/games/gta-trilogy-definitive-edition-problems-bugs-glitches-reactions/ GTA Trilogy Metacritic Score is Bad https://gamingbolt.com/grand-theft-auto-the-trilogy-the-definitive-edition-has-a-collective-metacritic-user-score-of-0-5 GTA classics removed Rockstar Will Remove Classic GTA Games From Sale | Screen Rant * NDAs, Subscription Services and Copyright Claims, oh my! Games Workshop has been making some questionable decisions lately when it comes to the community around Warhammer and Alex needed to make it clear how these things are not okay and harmful to the community GW should be trying to grow. Are they trying to move away from the Warhammer miniatures and moving towards digital media such as Warhammer+? And why is Warhammer+? * Instead of having the party work together, what about if we split them into two groups and have them work against each other? Yes, we're discussing dueling campaign and how that might work. Like, do we need two GMs? Do they need to fight? Are they undermining each other for fun and profit? That's a lot of questions... time for a Crit Think! Helicity's Twitter thread on a similar subject https://twitter.com/HelicityBoson/status/1461046800148742148?s=20
November 22, 2021
9. The Blanker Canvas
* There was Borderlands news this week and Nathan is legally obligated to discuss the series whenever applicable. This time it's about a stand-alone version of Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep, the DLC from Borderlands 2, revamped as a Wonderlands one-shot in preparation for next year's installment. Will this be the kind of game we play as a team or possibly as frenemies? Only time will tell... * Should the GM be in charge of the game world that the PCs inhabit or should the GM facilitate the world built by the PCs' actions? Chances are, you gravitate toward one of these more than the other. But what are the benefits of these models? Which ones have we been part of? How could we rethink our game to try the other thing? * Since we're on the subject, how about collaborative world building? Imagine if you collectively as GM and players could build out the world you were playing in. How would that work and what options might you have to try it out? We have a few ideas on that subject.
November 15, 2021
8. What About a Goat-Based Economy?
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Netflix is dipping their toes in the water of game streaming, but in very shallow water. We look at the initial offerings, which is quite limited, but beg so many fun questions. This shows a much broader trend of cloud gaming and streaming services, so we look at what those sorts of services are and why you might use them. * Keeping track of your money in RPGs can be tedious, but there are some ways you can have abstract wealth systems that provide work-arounds to the book-keeping. We discuss a couple of them as well as other ways you could accrue your cash in-game. * One of the things we rarely discuss with PC development is what kind of clothes you wear. The clothes make the PC, at least in the eyes of the other characters in the world you inhabit. So, do we really need a wardrobe in game? What are you wearing to the debutante ball? Can I sleep in my heavy armor? And should we roll for fashion sense?
November 08, 2021
7. The Bots Must Be Crazy
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Dark Souls is a difficult game and causes a fierce dislike in certain people, such as Nathan. However, we have learned that games based on the Dark Souls formula are far better than the game that spawned them in many ways. We get up on our soapbox and discuss Code Vein, Nioh, The Surge 2 and Jedi Fallen Order to see why some souls-like games succeed by changing the formula. * There are many new players picking up TTRPGs and some are going to be more reserved and some overly enthusiastic. From the perspective of a GM and player, how do we help introverts and extroverts get acclimated to playing the co-operative activity known as roleplaying? Time to delve deeper into this subject. * You should be careful not to go too far down the spam folder rabbit hole, or you may pick up a bunny costume. Meet Clara, an interesting character that only exists through spam e-mails we received on our last show. We have so many odd messages that have been sent, leading us to characters that only exist in digital paper. But, okay, let’s look at some of the odder ones.
November 01, 2021
6. Brown Bag Evil Guy
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * It’s that time of year and every news outlet wants to put out a version of the “Top Scary Games” lists and we discuss some of the most common entries on them. What did we play and were they actually scary? * Hallways with teeth, cannibals, long horse, siren head and all sorts of other odd things. Welcome to the very strange world of Roblox cults, which we had to watch far too much about because our Discord asked about it. If we had only known. Scariest Roblox Cults from Savantics - Top 5 SCARIEST ROBLOX CULTS - YouTube The Cult Family - The Cult Family | Myth Community Wiki | Fandom * Since our dive down Roblox cults featured way too much imagery from modern urban myths, creepypastas and spoopy memes, we lament the lack of scariness in modern horror tropes. From ancient myths and cryptids, what would we consider scarier. Also, why are woods so scary and what wants to eat us when we go to the log cabin. Lore – Into the Woods - Episode 7: In the Woods — Lore (lorepodcast.com) * A lot of games that are not horror games will still utilize scary elements to enhance tension. We discuss some examples as well as define the difference between horror games and games with horror elements. The article from GameInformer - How Horror Can Enhance Non-Horror Games For The Better - Game Informer * Although not frequent participants in horror games, there are some places we could see scary elements placed in games we are familiar with. Alex gives one example that would help even the odds against your stray wendigo.
October 25, 2021
5. Kobolds Really Love Thai Salad
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Shortly after we released an episode discussion the possibility of a new D&D edition, word came down that we will be getting a new edition of D&D in 2024. Thanks to the folks on our Discord server, we could have a deeper Discord Discussion on that topic. Is this D&D 6E or is it more like 5.5E? What kind of changes could we be looking at? Let's talk about that. If you want to see the D&D Celebration Live where they announced this, we have a link with the time code available right here - https://youtu.be/sxb8xiDU5Kw?t=29434 Check out the IGN article we sighted as well - "New Version" of D&D Coming in 2024 - IGN If you are interested in the changes made to the Ranger in Unearthed Arcana we mention, you can find some quick points on it here - dnd 5e - What are the biggest changes between UA Ranger and PHB Ranger? - Role-playing Games Stack Exchange and a more in-depth article here - Analyzing D&D 5E’s Unearthed Arcana Revised Ranger | Mundangerous * The last time we did a Crit Think, we asked how long we were spending in dungeons, but we did not get to discuss why shopkeepers would set up their businesses in those dungeons. Some of these scenarios might make sense, but others just don't. Perhaps there are actually good reasons to have your shops in a dungeon. Let's think a little bit more critically about that. * Okay, so does anyone else think it's weird that you can get slashed 15 times with a broadsword and just recover all your hit points by scarfing down a few meatball subs? Yeah, we're still confused about that too, so we're going to talk about that in One More Thing.
October 18, 2021
4. Lost in a Technicolor Hell Dimension
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Inspiration Points are one of those mechanics that can get overlooked while playing D&D. Similar systems exist in other games as well, but how do we get better engagement with those systems? A suggestion from our Discord server leads us to ask that very question. * While your party is battling hordes of goblins in a dungeon, do they ever lose track of time? What kind of effects can time have on your party from both a narrative and mechanics standpoint? Is there a way to keep track of time in game? And also, how would YOU build a time system into an RPG? We do a little critical thinking to explore this subject. * It's such a simple concept, but it conveys so much information. We examine the concept of "tapping" in card games, what it is, how it works and why it solves a problem that could have been MUCH more complicated.
October 11, 2021
3. Cultural Curators
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Myst got a full-on re-imagining recently. Alex and Nathan remember when they played the original game that came out... almost 30 years ago!? How old are we!? Myst • Cyan * Why do we see so many recreations of classic games? Is it related to us being old? * What is the difference between remasters, remakes and reboots? We give some explanations, examples and recommendations. * Recently Alex played the Beta for Diablo 2: Resurrected. What category does this fall in and what could they have done differently? * Tabletop RPG editions can be a tricky concept for the uninitiated. We go over what they are, investigate a timeline of D&D and Warhammer 40K and speculate about what they could do for a theoretical 6th Edition D&D.
October 04, 2021
2. Peasant Railgun in a Bag of Holding
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game recently finished a highly successful Kickstarter. Will this bring Avatar fans into tabletop gaming? Will the TTRPG crowd welcome it as their own? How much air can you realistically bend? Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game by Magpie Games — Kickstarter * We have occasionally backed some Kickstarters. How long does it usually take for those to fulfill and should we actually grab that alpha key? * The Angry GM had notes for RPG players and our forum was awash with comments. What makes sense for new players and what did we feel required pushback? The expert and the novice weigh in. Memo to the Players #1: Taking Action | The Angry GM * Psychonauts 2 came out and, for someone who uses the Twitter handle "Psitanium", that's a big deal. * What is the difference between streaming and playing games? Why might you decide to avoid certain games? What is the value of immersion? How much work does streaming truly require? Full Shows on Anchor: https://anchor.fm/total-pebble-knockdown Website: totalpebbleknockdown.com Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/totalpebbleknockdown E-Mail: TotalPebbleKnockdown@gmail.com Discord: https://discord.gg/9zfS6Bxz
September 27, 2021
1. The Bless of Ignorance
On this episode of Total Pebble Knockdown: * Something seems really sketchy about Roblox, by which we mean everything. A discussion jumping off from the Kotaku article by Luke Plunkett on the game's player economy. "It's Shocking Just How Shady Roblox Actually Is" * Can we imagine a terrible world with microtransactions in tabletop gaming? A mind experiment we probably should not have done. * Being competent is a real chore. A discussion on the curse that is being good at your job. Should be just be bad at things? * Yes, Nathan played Boyfriend Dungeon and got all the hearts. Oh, and a cat can turn into brass knuckles. SPOILER WARNING for the ending of the game. * What's the difference between rogue-likes and rogue-lites? We compare and contrast while discussing Hades and Curse of the Dead Gods. Full Shows on Anchor: https://anchor.fm/total-pebble-knockdown Website: totalpebbleknockdown.com Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/totalpebbleknockdown E-Mail: TotalPebbleKnockdown@gmail.com Discord: https://discord.gg/9zfS6Bxz
September 20, 2021