Norkek and Hedda

Now and then I get a performance for Starfall that is just too good not to share. This is a new segment of Starfall Actual Play Podcast and I think we are going to make more of them. These two are just too much fun to write. 

Norkek and Hedda are two Aliens (Elome and Glippan) who are talking about a human who took Hedda to a strip club. Hedda is obviously confused being that Glippan does not have genders.  Norkek who is an Elome Reptile looks at breeding in a totally different way but has a basic understanding of how humans function and a slightly different perspective of human strip clubs.  

Written By Kevin C Mason 

Performed by Jordan King-Lacroix

 

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Starfall Star Map

So I have been getting a lot of questions about where are all the planets? So here is a basic Map. Through Episode One and Episode Two the party is located on the planet War-Zod. 

Starfall systems Map
Note about the black hole in the middle. This black hole prevents faster than light travel between the Church of the Illumination and the Jhoddian confederation. The only points where ships can cross is between King and K-Run (How K-run got its name). 
In the future, we will have more information about the planets as the podcast addresses them or we publish the RPG 

 

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Starfall Episode Two

The Players must escape prison while Space pirates discover they have unwelcome guests. 

 

  • Introduction 
  • Thanking Josh for being a Patreon Backer
  • Working to make our Goal of $20 a month to cover the costs of the show 
  • Captian Price of the Sandman discovers they have unwanted guests in the system 
  • The Players may fall to their doom 
  • Drunken Roleplaying 

 

Direct Download Here 

iTunes

 

 

www.jackmonkeygames.com 

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How to be a Volunteer Voice Actor for Starfall RPG

At the time of writing this Starfall actual Play Podcast has no budget whatsoever. So this means that many of you have volunteered your voice to make this podcast awesome! Some of you have never attempted to do any voice acting before and have questions. 

 

Technical Tips 

*Find a quiet room. Walk-in closets are the best (lots of soft surfaces to keep the sound from bouncing around) 

*Most Phones have a decent microphone and a voice recorder 

*Save files as . WAV, MP3, Aif , M4a 

*You can send the files to me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

*Larger files can be sent over dropbox.

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Chicken Soup : Short Story

Chicken Soup

By Kevin C Mason

 

I stood at the console, bracing myself for another impact.  Desperate to outsmart the godlike intelligence residing within the very ship that held our lives. This duel had already lasted two full Jhood cycles and I was at my witts end.   I didn’t know how long I could keep going. I was exhausted. A Church vessel had caught us running guns to War-Zod and we were taking heavy damage.

 

Here - let me give you some context

 

About 500 years ago there was a great empire that stretched across a thousand systems, or at least that is how the story goes. Their tech was so far beyond ours it would make our faster than light travel seem like just a toy.   Artificial intelligence - or AI - was in everything from timekeepers to galactic cruisers and humans barely had to do anything for themselves.  Then, according to the Jhoodian knowledge Keepers, at a single point in time across all the systems, all the AI went simultaneously insane.

 

Nobody knows why.  All the records were kept by, you guessed it,  AI.

 

The machines attacked people at random.  Maybe they learned to hate. Maybe they felt their humans were in danger but couldn’t distinguish the humans from their delusions. Maybe they thought the battle simulation that was running in the background was real.   But their motivation wasn’t a priority at the time.  Humanity was instantly in danger of extinction.  The Jhoodian Knowledge Keepers immediately began gathering archaic materials from their archeology exhibits - paper and linen, metal and magnetic tape - and started to scribe and record events, scientific knowledge, technological schematics, anything they could remember or knew.  If not for their quick thinking, the dark ages would have lasted 5,000 not 500 years.

 

Even so, The FALL was devastating.  Battleships destroyed entire planets before turning on each other. And the Knowledge Keepers could only piece together so much.  AI tech was either lost or deliberately destroyed in fear.

 

These days, the few bits of AI that is still around is considered illegal contraband and extremely dangerous to use.... AI tech like our ship.

 

We got it as a reward for a job. The owner of the ship did not even know what it was. He just said we could have the contents of the warehouse and all the junk in it. Well, to our surprise,  not all of it was junk.

 

We call it the Can Opener.

 

Back in the day it was a flying weapons platform. The entire ship is actually built around the main gun. A total waste of space if you ask me, but then again I didn’t build the thing. It was meant to work with other ships of its type to team up against larger craft. For such a tiny ship it's extremely powerful.  We figure it's about 10 times more powerful than any weapon its size. A huge death cannon and deflector shields - what else could a merc want?

 

Just one problem ... or perhaps a blessing. The targeting system is insane.

 

Like most devices of its time, the Can Opener is totally automated.  At the time of The FALL,  the gunner on the ship must have known what was going on and programmed a fail-safe into the targeting computer, to think that the only viable target is "Chicken Soup”.   So a ship that is totally insane is always looking to open fire on Chicken Soup … whatever a chicken is.

 

Basically, our ship is a rabid dog that wants to kill everything in sight but is held back by a very short chain.  My job is to strategically unchain the dog but be sure to capture and lock it up again before it starts killing allies or turns on us. The problem is,  I have only seen pictures of chickens in history books and have never heard of a can of it.  Apparently, a chicken is a small flightless bird that went extinct sometime shortly after The FALL. From what I have read, they were great house pets as many references refer to every man had a cock - which is a male chicken. They must have been a status symbol because the only images and paintings I have ever seen that depict such a bird were with people who could afford a lot of land, or food Barron's. Also from my understanding, the size of a chicken was also very important. Many ancient dialogs referred to the size of a man's cock as a metaphor for his social standing. In any case, chickens didn’t last much past The FALL because they were all eaten when the robots stopped making the food.  Which brings me back to my story.  See, the Can Opener refused to do anything about the church ship that was slowly kicking our ass because it was not Chicken Soup….

 

"It's …  A chicken ..  in a Can!" I said hoping to convince the AI that the church ship was an actual target.

 

"No its not. I fell for that one before. The ship does not meet the requirements to be chicken soup," the disembodied voice replied with a touch of disdain. "You will not fool me again."

 

In the past we managed to get the captain of another ship to say "Chicken Soup” by painting that phrase on the outside of our ship. Making the opposing captain use the phrase when hailing us. That trick only worked once.

 

"But it’s going to destroy us!" I yelled, hoping reason might convince an irrational AI to save our asses.

 

“That is not my problem,” replied Can Opener  “I have backups. Perhaps you should just surrender” it smugly mocked.

 

“Is the missile ready?" I Asked my crewmate, Arnold, crossing my fingers.

 

"It's almost ready ..We need to attach the adhesive to the front ... I hope this works" Cried Arnold while applying some sticky substance to the missile. I put on my Vac suit.

 

Normally exiting a ship in the middle of battle is suicide, but in this case, I was betting it could save our lives. After I was sure the suit was secure, I loaded the missile on to the expansion module over my right shoulder. As I exited the airlock to face almost certain death, the launcher showed up on my helmet’s HUD.

 

In space, the only sound you can hear is your own breathing and the echo of your pulse in the helm.  Exiting out into the silence is always unnerving. In the middle of a battle, it's even more so.

 

"Magnetic boots active" reported my suit, making me jump at the sudden noise.  I stepped out onto exterior hull of the ship.

 

I looked up and could see the church ship passing from port to starboard before I could get the missile system to lock its target.

"Fuck!! I need to get to the other side" I knew I should have attached the auxiliary sensors to the other shoulder.

 

The problem with magnetic boots is it's impossible to run. The magnetics take a second to disengage. Most of the time this makes me feel safer,  but on that day it might have meant our death.

 

I prepped to hop, the boots disengaged and I thrust myself forward in a very shallow arc.  I put my feet in front me and shot out my magna-line to the Starboard hull.  It reeled me in just as the magna boots went live and attached me back onto the Can Opener’s exoskeleton.   I let out the breath I did not know I was holding. My heart stopped when I got a good view of the church ship. For what the church lacks in technology it excels in construction.  The ship was massive. I was in total awe when I realised that it was opening fire on us. The energy cannons erupted in a white violet firestorm. I covered my helmet with my arms out of instinct and prepared to die.  I screamed - waiting for my body to be burnt to a crisp. The heat got very, very uncomfortable. The flash of the direct hit blinded me.  But death must have hit the snooze button.  I took me a few breaths to realize I was in fact, still breathing. My suit was damaged, most likely beyond repair, but it was still intact.

 

I forgot that one of the perks of having a 550 year old ship is that it comes equipped with deflector shields. Even the flagship of the confederate navy does not have deflector shields. The tech was lost long ago.

 

A garbled transmission came through my melted comm link - "Damit Jenifer ..kill that thing... That last hit blew all the fuses!! We can't take another hit" I could tell that Arnold was reaching his stress limit

 

So much for the advantage of advanced pre-crash technology. I fired up the targeting system. My HUD showed the church craft in my cross hairs. I let loose the missile. It was seconds before the missile hit the side of the ship ... Perhaps the longest 5 seconds of my life.  The missile did not explode on impact, but then it was never meant to. Instead, the device half attached half embedded itself in the hull of the ship.

 

"To the heretic craft .. Power down your ship. Your attempt to harm us has failed. Prepare to be boarded and confiscated"  Scolded the Church captain.

 

I heard the garbled threat come over my comlink as I began to make my way back to the access hatch.  Demag - lift foot - remag - other foot …...

 

"Actually you should stand down! That was not an explosive missile." I taunted in reply.

 

"Then what was it?" The churchee captain was not amused by my joke.  "It makes no difference.  Prepare  yourselves for conversion, you will make great additions to the faith."

 

"It's a transponder" I mocked just as I saw an umbilical gangplank begin emerging from the Church ship

 

"Arnold let’s open the can and call the puppy" I commanded.  “-.-. .... .. -.-. -.- . -. / ... --- ..- .--.” Transmitted the missile.

 

I waited and hoped the AI could figure out the puzzle I’d laid out for it.  Being direct and using confederate common did not work last time. I trusted the AI would either be aware of, or could easily decypher the code. We always have to make the Can Opener think that it made the discovery itself.   The Umbilical was within 150 meters of the airlock before Can Opener identified and translated the ancient script. Morse code for “Chicken Soup”.

 

"Target acquired!!" Reported Can Opener.  I was halfway back to the airlock.  I made sure both boots were magged, crouched down and magged my gloves to the hull as well.

 

We turned toward the church craft.  I could feel the cannon vibrate through my boots as it warmed up. The vibration took almost a 20 seconds to build up to a point where it almost shook my boots from the ship. It felt like hours.  The Umbilical was less than 100 meters away. Then a pause that seemed almost deliberate - poetic even -  about the length of 4 heartbeats.

 

The ship fired.  A blue hot energy blasted out the Bow and engulfed the entire church craft like a wave vs a sandcastle. The debris was spectacular.  The wave ran down the Umbilical like silver armbands on a Helios dancer.  I imagined I could hear the startled screams of the boarding crew.  I did not imagine the ash of their remains that floated close enough to touch.  For the first time, I was happy to be on the outside of the ship. Sensor readouts just would not have done this justice.

 

"Jen you OK ?" Arnold asked

"All good Arnold. I will be heading back in a moment. I am just taking in the view" I replied

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

And that’s how we survived the churchees.  Sadly, that trick will only fool the AI once.  So before we leave War-Zod - we gotta find a new way to make chicken soup.       

 

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Episode1 : The Arrival. Starfall Actual Play Podcast

This is the first installment of Starfall Actual Play Podcast. 

It took forever to get the editing done. The first night and we had a little too much to drink .. or maybe it was the right amount. You would never have guessed that three of the players have never played an RPG before. Can you guess who? Starfall Cast

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  • We meet the Players 
  • Chicken Soup: Short Story
  • Eric Keys is attacked by the Church of Illumination Fleet 
  • Targon Wells Commander of the Church fleet Talks with his advisor about invasion 
  • Meet the Players
  • Arkady Discovers why they are in jail 
  • Rocket Bob Used spaceships 
  • Steamrollers Adventure Podcast
  • The Escape. 

 

Help us reach our goal

 

 

 

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Starfall Actual Play Podcast

 

After a lot of work, it was time to publish our Podcast. Starfall Actual Play Podcast is a combination of Short stories, Audio Dramas and recorded RPG games all mixed together to tell one epic story. 

Starfall RPG is set 500 years after the collapse of a galactic empire. Two governments are fighting over control,  while independent systems are caught in the crossfire. The players in this campaign are from the planet War-Zod. An independent planet that was recently invaded by the Church of the illumination. a Theocracy determined to convert all sentient species to their religion by force if needed. 

Our Podcast is a Funny and sometimes dark exploration of what it would be like to have your home planet invaded. The characters have been deliberately been made to be totally unqualified to handle this situation. (Low power campaign with potential for greatness) 

You can support us by becoming a patron

 

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GM for Podcasts Vs Fun

So you may have heard noises about my new project Starfall Actual Play Podcast. It's been a really large project. I have noted a few differences of how I GM First, let me tell you about the show then I will tell you about how Game mastering for a show is different. 

So the show is a hybrid of Audio Dramas, Short stories, and Actual play recordings ... and they all interconnect at some point. And this is where things get complex. Our Voice acting cast is different from the players as I want the players to be kept in the dark. Players have not scripted however the voice actors ever word that is recorded is written by myself, Imp and our editor. With Voice actors all over the world (three countries and counting) it's tough to keep everything organized. Oh yes there is still the whole "Standard adventure planning" 

Railroading the players 

I am not a fan of railroading. In fact, I do prefer to have a more sandbox approach to being a gamemaster. However, in the first episode, I had to guide the players to a particular point where an event would happen. Without that the previous recordings and scripts would have been wasted. So what does the Gamemaster do? Railroad! This resulted in me saying "No" far more often than I would have liked. Though the players did not seem to mind. 

Warning Players of future events 

So I really like to keep players in the dark about what is going to happen. However, there is something to be said about giving the players time to think about how they would like to Roleplay their way out of a situation or perhaps practice their lines. Example. There is going to be a scene where the characters are sitting around a campfire. I'm going to deliberately give them time to rest, recover and most importantly interact with each other. I have warned the players that this is going to happen (They don't know the when or the why or how) to give them the chance to think of what kinds of conversations they might have. 

Expect Better Roleplay 

Yes, its a game... but its also for the entertainment of others beyond the people at the table. So I have been spending more time coaching the players on how to be a better roleplayer. Most of the time I would allow the players work at their own pace at this (allowing Years if that is what it takes) Being that this is a podcast I am talking to the players more about roleplaying and how to be better at it. 

Allow roleplay Do-overs 

To be clear .. this does not mean that they get a second roll of the dice. But let's say that one of the players is trying to talk their way out of a fight. The player said all the right things but stumbled over the sentence. I would allow them to say that a second time just to "Sound smooth". We are even going to have a bell that a player can ring (shows up visually during editing) To easly mark where the player would like me to edit. 

Editing for time 

The first episode I have edited TONS out of it. Conversations about rules. Conversations that were totally sidetracked. Even a comment about putting Boobs on a windshield. All of this does not need to be in the main podcast. (Bloopers episode for sure because its funny). With the average attention span of 45 min for a podcast .. I need to trim time where I can. 

Extra Coaching for players 

Now listening to the first episode you would not think that three of the players had never played an RPG until that night. So more coaching is needed. We also only have two people that know everything there is to know about the world. So I'm spending extra time talking to the players about how their character would act (being Elome, G'dar or Warmedian). The players don't seem to mind this extra attention.  

Running an RPG game Just for fun 

With all this editing, planning and writing. The Starfall Actual play podcast has become a lot of work (Fun but a lot of work) and though I would not mind getting paid to do this. Now and then I need to run a game just for fun. So I have not cancled my other game groups (Numenera and Shadowrun) but I'm not going to record those. No matter how awesome they are. 

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Fighter Week "How to Roleplay a fighter" Video

Wow, what a week! 

I have been working on this video for some time. It took me about a week to gather everything that I wanted to put into this video. It Does not matter if you are playing a D&D fighter, Pathfinder warrior, or a Numenera Glaive. This video is for you.

Fighters are almost always "Under Roleplayed" not because they are a boring class to play but because it's so easy to get caught up in the stats and forget that there is a personality behind the numbers. So this video talks about 

  • Is your fighter a legend? 
  • Does your warrior have a code of honor? 
  • Are you playing the fighter correctly because you did not take a powerful feat 
  • How to make your Fighter's fights more exciting
  • Comments from the Twittersphere

No as always if you are playing your fighter like an accountant crunching stats to make sure that every swing of the sword has the optimum chance to do damage there is nothing wrong with that. However, numbers are easily forgotten. This video talks more about finding reasons for your character to fight. 

 

 

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RPG Fighter Week

So what is "Fighter Week"? 

It's a whole week where we talk about playing a fighter in RPGs. Yep, that is right. The simplest of all character classes get an entire week of Role playing tips  

  • All my twitter posts are on the topic of Fighters #rvrFighters 
  • My Pinterest activity all week has been about fighters 
  • This week's Youtube video is going to be about how to Role-play a fighter. 

If you have some tips on how to Roleplay a fighter Please send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  I'm looking for Video Tips, Twitter Posts, Blog Posts etc! 

 

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