Battle with Space pirates in the airlock
IN this episode the party fights of other space pirates who attack the ship they are on (yes they are also space pirates its a dog eat dog world)
We get to learn a little about the combat system. We also get to know more about the Uber Skrup nasty. As well as what T'lee has for dinner. The party debates what to do with the pirate ship and Gerry tries out a signature move "The Lizard Lounge"
More about us
We are an Australian RPG podcast located just outside of Sydney. We are a diverse group of awesome geeks who find time to drink and have a blast around the table rolling dice. As a group, we have a mix of experience with roleplaying games. Some of the players have never played a roleplaying game until they joined the cast of this show.
Star-Fall is an RPG world that I have been running in many systems. Gurps, D6, Masterbook, and Cypher system. For the purpose of this show, we are going to be using the D6 system.
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After working on the blog post on Skrup.I have decided that I needed to also create a blog post on all the other words we use in the podcast. In this list, I have included words that have been used but edited out of the show for one reason or another.
Star-Fall Actual Play Podcast Glossary
Skrup: See The Word Skrup
Warzodian: Someone from the Planet War-Zod.
Zap-Nap: A stun pistol
Uber-Skrup-Nasty: Slag given to a heavy pistol that fires barbed needles. This weapon has been banned in all nations
Star-Fall: The energy that is released from entering or exiting FTL . Also used as the Act of entering or exiting FTL
Street Preacher: Church of the Illumination special units used to help convert citizens before an invasion. These preachers are dangerous not only because of their extensive training but the fact they are often true believers. This occasionally Backfires when the goals of the Church and the core beliefs of the church are at odds.
Paladins: The Powered armoured troops used by the order of the Ancient Light. Their armour is far more advanced than anything the confederation has.
Elome: Sentient Lizard species
Fractal: A visual image used by G'Dar to expand their mind into a psychic Virtual reality
Ko-Har-Din: The skill used by the G'dar for psychic abilities similar to how humans use martial arts. Not religious in nature but often mistaken for one due to the amount of ritual and chanting.
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World building notes for the Star-Fall Actual Play Podcast
Any writer will tell you that world building is very important to a book, movie, TV Show or podcast. Star-Fall is no different. I have been running this game for over 20 years so I have tons of notes. As far as the Podcast is concerned we have made a special page that holds all the notes that are mentioned in the show. Check this page often because as the show goes we will have more updates
The Star-Fall Wiki is better
For those who are patreon backers at the $20 level .. you get access to the Star-Fall wiki that has even more information including Stats.
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So you want to start an RPG actual play podcast?
Great idea!! Rpg podcasts are really hot right now. just think of the story your party can tell about evil wizards and warrior maidens !!! Podcast and RPGs are a lot of fun to make!! So what are you waiting for? This article will point out some things you can expect from this process. At the bottom of this article, I have a list of tips on being an RPG Podcast producer
Have a great concept for your podcast
Just like running a game of Dungeons and Dragons, A podcast takes a little bit of prep. Some Gamemasters plan out every single detail. Some fly by the seat of their pants. Or if you are like me its a little of both. Podcasting is very similar. I know more than one podcast where every word is scripted like a play or a movie. Others will be recorded chaos. whatever you decide to do you are going to need a great concept.
You are going to hear me say this a few times "Content is King" The stronger your content the more listeners you will keep. (Getting the listeners in a different story) Make sure your idea stands out. having the DM Run another Dungeon Crawl from that module from the 80s will only go so far (That and there may be copyright issues) Have a Unique idea that is all yours.
By the way, the whole "Getting Drunk and playing D&D has been done a lot so if you are going to go that route bring something more to the show than vodka
Hosting your RPG Actual Play Podcast
There are all kinds of hosting companies. You could code your own RSS feed but I found that paying a hosting company who specialises in podcasts works best. I am a fan of Libsyn. They are easy to use hand do a lot with your RSS feed that would take me forever to code myself. Oh and their customer service Rocks (They do not pay me I am just a happy customer)
It takes time to edit the show
Some people think we just hit record then publish. There is a ton of editing to do. I figure that my podcast takes 5 hours production for every hour of published content.(You can reduce that ratio by practice or good planning ) I highly recommend that you set aside some time to work a little bit every week. Personally, I'm up at 5 AM every day before work, doing something for the show.
How long should an RPG Actual Play Podcast Be?
it's easy to have a game session take four to six hours in one session. However, your listener is not going to stay listening to that long. I have already done the research for you. My listeners want between 30 Min to an hour per episode. This means that a single game night we an get anywhere from two to three episodes. (We remove a lot of content)
But do not take my word for it .. .ask your listeners to do a poll on twitter.
You don't need an expensive microphone or software.
I know I know, you need to kit out your game studio like a 7th Level Palidin on a shopping spree. But don't fall for that.
I have been podcasting for a very long time. I know more than one podcaster that is all about the whiz-bang microphone and top end studio software, And yet their show is not any fun. It is better to have great content and crappy equipment than to have spent all the money so your crappy show is a very good sounding pile of shit.
Say it with me "Content is King/Queen"
The first season of Star-Fall was recorded on my phone. Yah that is right my phone. The sound quality is not horrible and its portable. Get your show going then work on upgrading.
Here is some Free/Cheap software to help with the editing
Garageband (OSX comes on every mac)
Audacity (Free and Cross-platform)
Ardour (Cross-Platform Pay what you want)
Pro-tip : Youtube has video lessions on all the software above.
Rpg Podcast is not an overnight success
Unless you have a HUGE budget to advertise before you even publish forget about the concept of being an overnight success. Podcasting is not a sprint. Or a Jog or even a hike. it's more of a long journey where you are not sure where the castle is located. It's about the random encounters along the way and having fun. It's far too common for a podcaster to start up something and notice they only have 10 downloads for their first episode and give up. It takes time. As long as your notice your downloads slowly growing you are doing fine.
Copyright is not your friend unless you are the creator
So by now, you should know that you should not be playing your favourite music in the background when recording a game. There are a few other IP issues you should be aware of before you hit record. Such as much as your rules lawyer player wants to read the spellcasting rules for Shadowrun 4th Edition out loud to prove a point. Unless you want to talk to real lawyers with a real lawsuit DONT!! Edit that out!! The text in the rules are copyrighted and you should avoid it like a first level cleric avoids a Black Dragon.
As an artist, I get Real angry if someone uses my artwork without a pre-arranged contract or permission. This is not better to ask for forgiveness scenario. If you need artwork for your game look up public domain images and try your hand at photoshop or contact an artist to do it for you (Hint Hint)
Putting the famous logo of your favourite game on your website has some serious potential for lawsuits. It implies they are endorsing you when they are not. A company MUST defend their trademark like a dragon guards a hoard. They have no choice but to contact their lawyers to deliver the legal smackdown on you. They are not being evil its just the rules
Public Domain music
RPG Clip Art
Hire an artist
How to get paid for your RPG podcast
How do you like the idea of being paid to be a gamemaster? Being a gamemaster or running a podcast is hard work. Why should we not get paid? There are a few ways to get paid my Favorite is Patreon. This service allows your listeners to subscribe to your show. This has been very good for us as it keeps our show up and running, At the time of writing this we make double what it costs to make the show. The rest go for Pizza and beer for the cast (And computer upgrades)
RPG Podcasting Tips you are not going to find in any book.
have a backup recorder. RPGs are very impromptu if your mic dies for some reason you are never going to be able to have that moment again. Use your phone recorder as a backup recording device.
Get involved with the RPG podcasting community. Other podcasts are NOT your competition they are your allies. A show that does the same kind of show as you have listeners that would love your show. Reach out say Hi.. most are willing to help. That said ... help other podcasters!
Contribute don't Distribute.
If you are on twitter do more than post links to your show .. talk about RPGs as a whole. Get into conversations with other podcasters and RPG lovers about their games. if you must have a formula for this a good ratio is 10 RPG tweets for every one link to your show.
Record 5-10 Episodes before publishing
It's really hard to keep up with the publishing schedule. If you get behind you are going to lose listeners. We did not do this and I'm busting my ass even with an assistant editor (Who ROCKS BY THE WAY )to not fall behind. It's not uncommon to have an entire season ready to go before publishing.
You may have quiet fans
Just the other day I was thinking that nobody cared about my show when someone random at work told me they loved the show. So fans may not reach out to you.
Figure out if you are going to be Clean or Explicit and stick with it. Explicit has a limited range vs Clean. But clean is more work because you have to edit out the cursing or get everyone really good at not cursing in the first place.
The GM should not be the one controlling the recording equipment. This took me a while to get. WOW does it make a big difference to the game as a whole to let someone else control the microphone
. Now I can focus on being a good gamemaster and not a sound tech.
Fun anymore Rule If you re making no money whatsoever. but you are having fun!!! Then keep going. The moment this becomes a job stop. Your listeners can tell.
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Finding old NPCs
So one of the nice things about going through old hard drives is that you get to find some of your old artwork from way back when! I was digging around looking for images and I came across this one.
I had originally created Star-Fall as a one-shot adventure where Humans first discovered Aliens. The game was such a success I continued the game as campaign. One of the characters was Nova. He was a science robot assigned to the crew that first discovered aliens. At the time Nova was a hero. He was also more of at non-combat type of character. Godlike intelligence but was not interested in combat at all.
What happens if this robot went insane?
So this is where I started to apply the "Fall" to the character. We would have a character that would have priceless information and could rebuild an entire civilization with that knowledge. If I left the character alone he would do just that after all, he is a hero. (more like a sidekick) But now thinking ... ok he is now insane. Maybe his non-combat protocols were removed. Maybe his love for humans was also removed. Now his intelligence would help him be free. except ... he is property. He must serve a human. Smart enough to want to change that but unable to do so. He would have to manipulate the humans around him to get what he wants. without disobeying orders
So now let's say the Church as him (The church of the illumination see robots as evil demons). Both members of the church and Nova are power hungry. They would both try to use each other.
So now we have NOVA. He is Smart and ruthless. However, he has to serve the church ..... for now
I wanted to take some time and upgrade Nova's artwork. As you can see the original art was drawn on graph paper. I am still working on the design but I think the rest of the artwork will have to wait until I am done recording Season two of Star-Fall
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Still aboard space pirate ship "Sandman" the party tries to make do with the situation as well as try to find space suits when things go bad.
Dave tries to make friends, Turbo causes trouble with a sewing machine. Premtel and Terry are still not getting along.
Who is this new villain and why is he heading to the planet Helios?
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Actual play podcasts are a hot thing right now.
It seems that anyone with a microphone is and a set of dice with more than six sides is recording a podcast. Now I have been spending time on this topic doing research yah research ....that is it research. I have gathered a list of some of the best to cross my earbuds. Some of these have poor audio quality and some have full production value and a budget. I ask you to ignore that and listen to the content. Most shows will start off small and when they start to get backers on pateron will upgrade their podcasting equipment to something a little more professional. I happen to know one podcast that recorded their entire first season on the gamemasters Samsung phone. (Star-Fall cough cough)
I would like to note that any comments by me will be in Blue
Why should you listen to an independent RPG Podcast?
Independent podcasters are the lifeblood of the Podcasting world. These creative people are doing what they love and inviting you to the table as a spectator. These Gamemasters and players come up with the most creative adventures. Some are true to the rules and some throw the rules out the window. Listening to these podcasts you will learn all kinds of great GM/Player skills. Most of all these podcasts are just fun. I highly recommend that you listen to at least five episodes as it takes a little while for everyone to really get into character. by then it will be too late as you will be addicted to the podcast :
Great way to learn new games you have not purchased yet. Think of it as a free sample.
Why should you support an RPG Podcast?
Podcasting is not free. it's Cheap, not free. Many of these gamemasters are spending their own money to produce their podcast. Many will have products, Patreon pages and or Ads in order to keep the show going. If it was not for our backers we would not be able to publish our show at all. Become A Patreon backer even if its just $1 a month. It adds up trust me.
Other ways to support the show are free and perhaps more important. Tell someone about their show. Getting the word out is such a difficult task that there are entire forums and Facebook groups dedicated to this problem. Simply telling someone about the show or posting an episode on Facebook or Twitter is a huge help.
Contact the Podcaster!! Trust me they will love it. There have been a few times where I was thinking that nobody cared about the show and I received an email from a listener. It does wonders to inspire the cast.
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I must admit a lot of the time my art comes before the story. There will be times where I'm just doodling and something starts to look cool. While I am drawing this story starts to form in my head and from there worlds and from worlds and RPG. However, in this case, the story came first I have been Running Star-Fall for over twenty years. So in my mind, I have a very clear idea of what things look like. Now that I have this RPG podcast I have been working overtime to make these images.
The Star-Fall RPG Characters
Everyone loves to have a sketch of their characters. I think its one of the cool things about Roleplaying games is to see a sketch that is obviously not you but it is (Maybe in another reality). When I started this podcast I gave the players a choice if they wanted to have their characters look just like them (Except the Aliens). Lucky for me our cast is very good looking. The technique that I'm using is a combination of photography and digital painting techniques. As much as I like to use filters on Instagram and Snapchat I do not like using them here. Even the really nice filters always seem to be missing the organic feel that I'm going for. So I use a Wacom tablet and hand paint over the image using techniques I would use as if I was painting on canvas.
Arkady though she sometimes has a hard time running is a tough cookie. I have worked with Brodie (the model and the voice of Arkady) before in my other job as a body painter. We wanted to have a tough look and yet capture her softer side. The image here shows her holding a gun and with "Turbo" her pet cyborg weasel. Both of those were added post edit. We used a nerf gun to hold her hands in the right place for when it was time to edit the gun.
Atrium was a little more difficult to draw. Unlike Arkady I did not have a model to work with. All the images that I could find of "Grey Aliens' did not have the look or the feel that I wanted. They were too short and their heads were too big. G'dar also have very unique looking eyes. This drawing was done by hand using a tablet. I also wanted to have some sort of marking on their forehead that gives away their political leanings
|This image was a collaborative work between my daughter and myself. The model (Also the voice of Dave in the podcast) is actually younger than me. We used theatrical makeup to make him look older then used the same technique we used on Arkady.
Gerry is another example of my Drawing skills. I spent a lot of time trying to think about what an Elome would look like. I wanted to have a creature that had an almost dinosaur look with lizard features. This was also drawn by hand then added to the computer via a scanner. I found the independent focusing eyes like a chameleon to be rather difficult. Even more so in the animated Scifi comedy Norkek and Hedda
|This is Reza. It's really a composite image of 6 different other images of octopus. I wanted to make sure this was a whole new image. I also had a hard time finding images that had the feel or tentacle layout that I wanted. So I took three or four public domain images and made a new one being careful to make sure that the colors and the textures matched.
This image was not a challenge at all. By the time I got to this image, I was getting really good at the overpainting technique. The actual photoshoot was easy as well as Gav (The model and voice to Terry) is very photogenic. I just had to add some special effects to give him that cheesy look
Science Fiction Animations
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The party gets a glimpse of what it is to be a space pirate. We also have two new members of the cast. Though you do not hear much about their characters this episode you do get to hear their introductions Turbo comes out of hiding to talk about why he is so excited. Primtel and Terry are having issues and they spend a good portion of the new two episodes trying to work things out.
- Two new cast members added
- Why is Turbo so happy
- Who is T'lee
- Why is Primtel so angry and Terry and can Terry make amends
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So if you are looking at this page you most likely did a search for Zapperburger. Thinking WHY are people talking about Zappperburger when it's not a real food joint?
Zapperburger is the fictional fast food restaurant in the RPG Star-Fall. It serves as the setting for Norkek and Hedda two aliens who talk about human mating habits (Social commentary with a funny twist).
Why Spend so much time working on a fast food joint in an RPG?
One of the many things I have learned I the SCA (sca.org) is that the peasants, not the nobles determine the food of a culture. WHAT? Well, think about it. A Peasant needs to eat whatever they can. And will spice up using whatever they can afford or what they can grow.. The wealthy can eat whatever they want, whenever they want from wherever they want. So most of the time that is going to be ANYTHING that the peasants are not able to have. The Nobles like to think they control culture but not when it comes to food.
In my case, its all about Sci-Fi but the same could be said in your D&D game. What kind of Grog would they have? Is there anything other than stew to eat? What strange food is available here? What would someone pay for "Dragon Stake"? Or is Dragon Stake Forbidden?
The same goes for modern/future society
Where the rich are going about their business the people need to eat. Fast food is the cornerstone of that. So thinking of what kind of items an intergalactic fast food chain might have.
- What would the menu be like?
- What would the target audience be?
- Would they have a Drive through?
- Do Robots serve the food?
- Do the health standards in fast food improve after 500 years?
- Can you find a store in a space station?
- Are the drink cups usable in Zero-G?
These are all questions I have asked myself. and those questions helped me fill out the world of Star-Fall. Norkek and Hedda are not human and they are always eating there. So with their non-human diets. What would be on the menu? Elome (Norkek) are like big iguana people. So they would mostly eat fruit but would have a taste for rodents and other live food if it just happens to be easy to access. from what I understand Iguana see cockroaches and other bugs like candy and will have health issues if they have too much. So an Elome would be the same way. Life food would be very healthy for them in balance with the fruit. Whereas a Glippan (Hedda) are omnivores like a human would eat about the same kind of stuff that I might order .. Big Zapper with no mayo
This also makes me think that a company like that might want to market to all of the various sentient species all at the same time. Maybe the company would try to find a way where an Elome could eat live food in front of his friends without grossing them out.
So from here, we have figured out
- Elome like live food
- Glipans have similar diets to like humans
- Society tends to have mixed groups of species
And All I did was think about the menu.
A safe place to Roleplay
Not every place the party meets has to be a bar. One of my favorite things to do in Star-Fall Actual Play Podcast is to plop the player characters down in a place o eat or drink and tell hem to interact. They go nuts!! I can already see Reza complain that there is nothing alcoholic to drink. Gerry is going to order a big zapper and some Rats. Arkady will most likely order an order of Pinky Poppers then get grossed out they are life food. Gerry, of course, will want to eat that for her.
One of the mistakes I made as a GM was assuming that the players would always need some kind of battle. Having a place where they can interact and know that its safe to do so opens up all kinds of role play opportunities. One of the things that I do to help this is to tell the players a few rules before they start.
- Tell the thief too many cameras to get into trouble
- No NPCs they know and it's rude to bother someone while eating
- Tell the players to think of topics beforehand (few days before game night)
- Tell the players they do not need to be on their guard so they can focus on the conversation.
- Make it about the player's interaction, not the NPCs
- Try to avoid mission talk
Having this kind of scene in a fast food restaurant has the possibilities to have this kind of interaction anywhere.
Making a Menu
Those of you who have seen me gamemaster know that I love to use Keynote/Powerpoint displays that run in the background. This time around I created a ZapperBurger Menu. The slideshow would run the entire time the characters were in the restaurant. We even had Gerry use a Role Vs Roll card and pick an argument with the person behind the counter because the Rats were not "Fresh" . This sort of thing is Character Development GOLD
It adds to the feel
I always try to add to the feel of my Roleplaying games. my podcasts are no different. One of the things I love about some of the TV shows I watch is that they will often have a restaurant in the bar that the characters will often visit. it almost becomes its own character. Having something like this makes the world feel lived in. Makes the characters seem more alive. The idea that Arkady does have carrots on her big zapper burger makes her feel more real.
So in your Roleplaying game .. think of how food or a restaurant might help flesh out your world for the players.
My only regret is that did not add Vegimite to the menu. We are an Austrilian Scifi podcast after all .
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