I've recently been listening to a lot of podcasts where folks play through role-playing games live, often called "actual plays" or "live plays". A couple of them recently jumped out at me as too-good-not-to-share. They come from pretty far back in the catalogs of their respective podcasts, but they're new to me!
First up from the She's a Super Geek podcast is a three-part play through of a game based on the One Last Job system. One Last Job is a framework to tell the story of a team of past-their-prime experts, once part of a team on top of their game but who broke up due to the fallout of a botched gig, reluctantly coming together for one last job that will set them up for life. It has a lot of fun mechanics around players creating characters and backstory for each other, instead of for themselves.
The She's a Super Geek playthrough is pretty unique in that their One Last Job is set in a universe that is a pastiche of "Magical Girl Anime" tropes featuring washed-up former magical girls (and boy). It has everything you'd expect from the genre - cutesy animal sidekicks and enemies, ridiculous transformation sequences, enemies and power moves with terrible puns for names - but also touches on some beautifully dark notes such as the emotional scars that come with being magical child soldiers. The players really embraced the silliness of the setting, but also brought a ton of sincerity to their play. The climactic ending got me right in the heart strings.
You can find all of the magical girl One Last Job episodes here:
- She's a Super Geek #8 – One Last Job 1
- She's a Super Geek #9 – One Last Job 2
- She's a Super Geek #10 – One Last Job 3
Another one I really enjoyed comes from the One Shot Podcast playing through a game of Dread. Dread has players taking on the role as characters trying to survive a tension-building horror story. One of the most fun features is that any time a player wants to do something that would be difficult for their character they need to pull from the "Tower of Dread" a.k.a. a wooden block stacking game (a.k.a. Jenga™) - if they knock over the tower, the character dies.
The One Shot podcast playthrough featured three players who improvise together in real life playing improvisors who have been invited to audition for Saturday Night Live, only to find themselves trapped by a murderous creature with the power to warp space and time. The horror aspect seemed to really work on the players, but there were so many good comedic bits threaded throughout that I was laughing the whole time. I've been wanting to play a game of Dread ever since I saw the playthrough on TableTop, particularly with some of my improvisor friends, and this feels like a great example of how that would go.
You can find the One Shot playthrough of Dread here:
Wow, this turned out to be a really long post! Thanks for reading. I am trying to decide if I want to do more "what I'm listening to" posts like this. If you like it, let me know!