Wild Talents: The Heroes of New Arcadia Episode 15

Not technically related to the campaign, but this is art from the upcoming Base Raiders RPG. Enjoy!Check out the Base Raiders website to preview the next major RPPR project!

The Heroes of New Arcadia have righted many wrongs and saved many lives but no good deed goes unpunished forever. Their enemies launch a raid on their unprotected base, resulting in a major fight that pushes the group to their limits. After the battle, they decide to strike back but first they have to determine which of their many enemies attacked them and how they can best get revenge. Find out who their mystery foe is in this episode!

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  1. not to be one of those downers flavored by Debbie! but how did we get two ASYNCHRONOUS “Tom obviously cheats” episodes in a row, one of them confirming that he “used to” cheat (which I hadn’t known)? =(

  2. sweet action, I’ve been waiting for the next New Arcadia episode. From the description I take it they don’t go to heaven yet?

  3. Craw…I love ya buddy, but please lay off Tom.

    First off, I don’t think Tom cheats. He sits right next to the GM. ALWAYS. Observant Muslims spend less time on a prayer mat than Tom spends in that chair. It is HIS chair, and his rolls are in easy view of the GM all the time. There are many times in the Know Evil recordings where I can be heard cursing before the roll is announced. In those instances, I saw the crit success that bastard pulled out of his ass before he even did.

    All PvP opposed rolls are done out in the open, so there is nothing shady going on there either. So I really don’t think he cheats. If he does, it is only on a few random skill checks. Even if that’s the case, who gives a shit? Certainly not me.

    Cheating in an RPG is not offensive; munchkining is offensive. If rolls were flubbed when player conflict was in question, that would be an issue. It would directly affect other players and their enjoyment of the game. If a player really wants to talk that NPC waitress into giving him an extra lemon in his water, I have no fucks to give about whether or not the dice said it was okay.

    So even if Tom cheats (which he doesn’t), so long as he isn’t derailing the game or being unduly competitive, I don’t see why anyone would care. I know RPG’s have mechanics and are technically “games,” but playing one like a game of MW3 drains all the fun out of it — all for the sake of some abstract notion of fairness which in no way applies because the game cannot be won. There is no real measurement of skill occurring, so a standardized base is irrelevant. The dice are merely another player at the table, and, if we are being honest, their input is ignored just as often as other player suggestions. To me, playing is all about telling a story, and realizing that means better players and better scenarios. If my friend has fun and doesn’t stop me from doing so myself, the means are not my concern.

  4. it’s the mental health side of things that bothers me. what does it mean when you’re a nerd who hates losing (see all the times Tom has mysteriously failed things that aren’t listen checks on this podcast: the “I’m leaving the room when my D&D character goes down” Dark Sun bit stands out in my memory) who, given a free template, constantly decides to portray the violent murderer who hates fags and knows all about all the guns and for some reason is German (???), and then have statistically impossible success for years at a stretch–I don’t know. I’m obviously way too invested in the integrity of internet strangers. but if there’s one thing RPPR has driven home in me, it’s that useless characters portrayed by people with no real need to imaginary-succeed are great, and it creeps me out when week after week I’m hearing someone who seems to either be the dice whisperer or whose sense of self-worth seems to be tied up in having his imaginary faghating gunstroking German-speaking murderers’ murders always come up roses/push up daisies.

    bleh. ignore me. I’m just being disappoint.

  5. Well, if it’s a character type thing that’s something to bring up with Tom. Regarding the German proclivity, I think that is merely Tom’s need to know the backstory of his character; Tom knows more about WWII than some history professors I’ve had, so I think it just lies in his comfort zone for that to be his ethnic heritage in a game.

    I can’t recall any homophobic moments in my games with him, but perhaps it was before my time. I do know he is not homophobic IRL. Of the handful of homosexuals I’ve had the pleasure to meet in our closeted little corner of the world, Tom has personally introduced me to two of them. I know my comfort level with prejudice is irrelevant considering the context, but I’ve never been offended by him, for whatever it is worth.

    I will say that, personally, the culture of where we live is hard to shake sometimes. I remember using the word “fag” in a game once as an NPC and instantly feeling a little ashamed about it. Granted, I was playing a bio conservative asshole being a bigot about uplift/human relations in EP, but it still felt a little bit Tourette’s-like on my part. I could’ve have been more tactful if I’d of thought about it.

    I mean, I spend the majority of my time every week in a high school; I’ll preach tolerance until I’m out of breath, but homophobia still clogs the air in the hallways when I’m done. Missouri is not exactly progressive. It will get there, but not yet. So I still have to actively think about not using gay as a synonym for stupid, not because I ever believed that to be the case, but because I hear it used that way 600 times a day.

    None of this is to justify any behavior past or present that may have been offensive, but zeitgeist of the Midwest is still that of school segregation in some places, for crying out loud; sometimes you get turned into a culture’s ventriloquist dummy if you aren’t paying attention. I assure you nothing was ill intentioned, and I’ll personally apologize if I ever say something hurtful.

    I mean, come on Craw! You know we love you, man πŸ™‚

  6. I am a bit confused by some of this. Not all, of course. Yes, I used to fudge rolls in the past. But then again, what young kid in an RPG hasn’t done that? I don’t fudge rolls. Haven’t done so in a very long time. And Caleb is right. I sit right next to the GM every game. No exception.

    As to the German, homophobic stuff? That came as a surprise to me. Yeah, I have played a few characters that have come across as homophobic before. My centurion in the CoC Invictus game comes to mind. Yeah, my character disliked Thad’s Hedonism Senator. But that’s because I was playing a double Y-chromosome male warrior. Of course he would dislike poofters. (yeah, using that word instead of the other one). And yeah, I often play German guys. Again, Caleb is right. I love World War 1 and 2 history. Also, German is one of the few accents I feel comfortable doing.

    And homophobic? As I believe I have said many times, I am a furry. It would be kind of strange to put homosexuals down, being in to what I am in to.

    Take from that what you will. Not yelling or berating. Just explaining and questioning.

  7. so missing the point. I am a big gay: I mentioned the fact that Tom’s characters hate on queers constantly because it’s something I’ve noticed and it’s part of his alpha male trip. it really wasn’t meant to be taken as the point. none of it offends me. believe me that I’m meaner to queers than you could ever be. I have cause to be. I have to fucking deal with them to get laid. that’s not the point. the point is the combination of “being an aggressive person who hates losing,” “playing characters who fiercely resemble bullies constantly” and “magically not losing ever and whining when you do.”

    it’s strange the things you remember. whose idea was it to point guns at Aaron for the Gencon kickstarter video? you know, that thing you’re never supposed to do ever? it all feeds into the same impression of violence fetishism and bizarre acts of self-image.

    seriously though it was an idle and mildly drunken comment why are you dignifying it with responses

  8. Author

    I do see where Crawkill is coming from.

    Many players do have preferred archetypes they like to play – Aaron frequently plays paladin/idealist types with high levels of technical/engineering/hacking skills.

    Tom likes playing a German Frank Castle or werewolf/monster. He really likes playing as monsters. He’s asked about playing a ghoul in the Laundry RPG and the main reason we haven’t played Cthulhutech is that he really wants to be a tager but I’m not running a game unless the PCs are in giant robots fighting the mythos and I don’t see a way to blend the two concepts in a scenario.

    Part of being a monster is being scary/intimidating, hence the alpha male role playing.

    I think all players tend to fall back to their preferred archetypes when they’re on uncertain ground or if they’re tired/distracted/etc.

    Hell, I know I’ve lied about dice rolls in the Eclipse Phase campaign – especially if it’s a vital clue we need and the dice are being bullshit. For me, it’s because I’m so used to being a GM who can ignore the dice when it’s not convenient for me.

    As for the gun video thing – those were Airsoft replicas with the orange tips painted black – I would never let a real gun be used in that way.

  9. Caleb is right about how pervasive the word “gay” or “fag” used in an offensive manner can be heard constantly in school. I know I’ve used it during the games on more than one occasion. Heck, I even foolishly tried to defend my use of “gay” as stupid to a lesbian friend of mine years ago by citing that it originally mean happy. I tried to explain that it was just further evolution of our language. Of course I fully admit I was wrong. It is offensive to equate someone’s identity with the notion of something or someone being lame or stupid. It’s completely demeaning to a whole group of people.

    That being said, Ross makes a good point. We all default to playing characters we feel most comfortable with. Aaron is the techy. Tom shifts back and forth between being the Punisher, some kind of monster, or a German character of some sort. I try to vary my characters as much as Caleb and Ross, but there are frequent similarities with the majority of my characters…specifically revolving around spirituality/religion, politics, or moral/ethical concerns. I like characters who struggle with these elements. Moreover, these are things which interest me.

    Sure we may seem like we are targeting Aaron at times, possibly bullying him. But I’ve admired how much he has come out of his shell with some of his characters. He still plays the paladin/true blue guy, but on occasion his characters have more of an edge than they used to. And he almost always drives the plot forward with his play style!

  10. To be honest, Tom experienced a long season when he couldn’t roll successes at all during the New World campaign days. I remember always feeling bad for Tom since he could never hit anything, he always missed skill-checks and always got hit by everything.

  11. never listened to New World, couldn’t say. and thank fuck re: not real guns, that’d been a tiny weight on my mind for a long time.

    I just feel like faking rolls isn’t necessary and steals the drama of adversity. it’s not like Caleb would’ve let Know Evil end because Bartleby didn’t turn up the clue he needed. he would’ve found some other way to deliver the information to you, or you would’ve proceeded sans intelligence. imagine the Know Evil bank job without Thad bleeding out all over the interior of his truck thanks to a couple critical failures. imagine the Penny Arcade podcast without Jerry rolling two ones in a row in the critical do-or-die moment of combat (jesus fuck I listen to too many podcasts too many times). the whole reason we have dice in roleplaying games–it’s not like we need them there, we could just improv with no system and it’d be fine, for the most part–is so that we can fail when we were planning to succeed. and that can put new stresses on you creatively and require you to adapt to a situation you weren’t anticipating. which is the whole point, isn’t it? coming up with new shit, things not going according to plan?

    cheating in an RPG isn’t bad because “omg challenge” or whatever. it’s not like anyone has any real grasp of the statistics of dicerolling or what they really mean anyway (lol Wild Talents probability-per-pool size table you’re so well-meaning). it’s bad because it steals the kind of madcapping you get in desperate situations because someone’s overinvested in their avatar doing well.

    what were we talking about? I clearly care way too much, getting a beer.

  12. (peaks head out) After listening to the podcast I really dug it. I’m loving Heroes of New Arcadia in general as well. Also, Ross if that’s your idea of heaven then…dude, how do we possibly win?

  13. Author

    Yeah, it’s a weakness. I’ve never done it very much, as you can tell from the podcast, since Bartleby does miss quite a few rolls, but I can remember doing it a few times.

    I will say this though: Tom is currently playing an amnesiac woman in a horror scenario and he’s doing an awesome job with her. I should be posting it soon.

    @Joe: Heaven is different for mortals on a quest to redeem themselves than it is for dead people that have led a moral life. Also, God is a Gygax-old school grognard.

  14. I mean obviously I love you dudes Tom very much included it just makes me itch sometimes I should cultivate being a less bitchy drunk on the internet

  15. Hiyo. Long time listener, first time commenter. Big fan of all your stuff obviously, but this campaign is probably my favourite so I fistpumped when I saw this.

    Imagined seeing comments about Base Raiders, but instead there was a debate about whether Tom cheats or not. Obviously when someone is on a hot streak with successes one does get suspicious (my friend went two straight sessions without failing rolls, and I tried my damndest to kill his character’s ass) but in Tom’s case, I very much doubt that he cheats. Even more so when I hear he sits next to the GM always. I remember him failing rolls all over the place in the New World campaign, so maybe it’s dice karma? πŸ˜€ I’ll admit to lying about some rolls in my time.

    I think you’re spot on regarding players using familiar archetypes, Ross, especially when trying out new RPGs (I love playing smug playboy badasses with hearts of gold). I think it’s important if you want to improve your roleplaying that you try playing characters outside your comfort zone (have had players refusing to play women, gay dudes or religious people for example), and you’ll probably find yourself having fun doing it, which is what it’s all about really.

    One thing I did with my group is that I let them all create characters they themselves would normally play, and then randomly deal out the character sheets so that you get something else. It was really fun and ended up a good learning experience.

    Oh well, off to listen to the new episode and screw up my sleep shedule. Have a good one, peeps.

  16. Oh my GOD! I literally brook down into tears of laughter after hearing lines from and between Tom and Caleb, god bless you guys, god bless you all!

    Four words… ITS ON THE WING!

  17. Author

    @Review Cultist: When is that line? I want to rehear it.

  18. @Ross, I don’t think god was in the old school Gygax mode, there wasn’t one single Save or Die event in Heven.

    Also, I love how Aaron tries so hard to be so good, until he says fuck it. “Try, try, try… fuck it, go get lost in the desert.”

    Also, I want the Steel Centurion to descend into alcoholism, it would make me happy.

  19. @Ross: I just spent a good long while and actually couldntlocate that scene (Seriously, an hour of sifting through the on site player and nothing? sad face)

    found some other moments that made me laugh:

    Caleb turns into Cody?

    Caleb Praises Aarons niavity!

    Caleb Rants of Old Testament on the village!

  20. It’s towards the end when they’re at the airport and Tom suggests flying next to a plane to check for MC Hammer.

  21. I scowered the airport section and just could not find that scene, probably have n easier time if i was doing it through itunes.

  22. I HAZ A BUCKET!!!

  23. Well, I believe Solomon would advocate we “chill the fuck out duders this is internet strangers playing elfgames”. Sage advice indeed, we should heed it.
    Also Crawlkill you’re doing yourself a disservice if you haven’t listened to The New World, especially if you enjoyed the PA podcasts. You can start with Episode 2 buried somewhere on the regular podcast site – it’s, well, it’s goddamned delightful. Cody’s enthusiasm alone is a great reason to listen.

  24. Nice little reference to MP Life of Brian in the end.

  25. I may be a day late and a few dollars short here, but I’d like to say that any subtext you may see in Tom is an example of reading too much into things.

    To clarify, fudged rolls may have happened some time in the LONG distant past, over a decade ago, but Tom does not fudge die rolls now because he does not need to. The man is blessed with luck on every roll, and I’ve literally seen him roll a crit (with someone else’s dice) in full view of every player repeatedly throughout a session. His name has been cursed, his dice carefully inspected for weights, and in one case a new set provided at every game so that he didn’t “do something superstitious to them” before play.

    He is just lucky. Nothing more, nothing less.

    I would also like to say, on record, that I have known him for over twenty years now. He is the best friend I have ever had, the best friend I could ever have; he’s also the first person I came out to. I believe his reaction was “Okay… so what are you thinking for lunch? Hardee’s?” If you see anything homophobic in the characters, it’s just that- in the characters. Get to know him outside of the characters and you’ll see the truth of this.

    That’s just my two cents, friends. Should y’all be in my neck of the woods, I’ll give you the same penny-thoughts face to face as I do over the internet and I’ll do it with a smile.

  26. I am disappointed Caleb didn’t go to heaven. I was anticipating ranting and wanted to see it directed it at heavenly beings.

    Hooray for Tom being able to pull his punches now.

  27. I’ve always thought that Tom (and the rest of RPPR) seemed like a really nice guy, and his thing for playing german alpha male gunslinger monsters seems more like “fuck yeah let’s do cool action movie shit!” than wanting to hurt anyone.
    There’s been one or two things in the shows I’ve winced at a bit (I am pretty sensitive about rape jokes) but you seem like good guys and you spend about ten times more time making fun of bigots then saying potentially offensive stuff.

    Also heaven was not what I was expecting at all.

  28. It’s worth noting that Tom’s character Preston in Know Evil is a pretty far cry from the stereotypical Tom character, and so core to my enjoyment of that campaign. (Though, really, everyone’s bringing their A game to Know Evil. What a fantastic campaign.)

  29. I’ve only been with the company for a couple of weeks, but I gotta tell you: these things are real. Since I joined these men, I have seen shit that’ll turn you white.

    Wait, no. That’s “Ghostbusters” again.

    I really wish I had something substantive to add to the conversation, but plenty has been said already.
    That said, I love a good excuse to pontificate. Also, there’s nobody online to talk to at this hour and I DON’T WANT TO WRITE LESSON PLANS!

    I think, like with any form of human interaction, the relationship between the players on the podcast and the listeners out there in The Wilds is an exercise in assumptions.

    Each of us (excluding myself) is a fully formed human being, who is out there thinking and existing all the time. Each with their individual experiences and struggles informing their identity. But all you get of us are the hours where we’re around the table and whatever posts we put here or in the forums. And all we get of you are those selfsame posts. So everything that happens in those moments is a much larger percentage of how we see each other than is reflected in our day-to-day lives.

    So, if a player does something to offend a listener, even if it’s only for a few seconds (or minutes, or hell… even hours) out of a three hour game, it is greatly magnified from the viewers perspective. Those hours are most of their relationship with us, so what may be smaller habits or quirks or idiosyncrasies among friends become huge parts of a personality from the listener point of view.

    So while I definitely pile on with the, “Tom is an awesome dude” crowd–because he is, the whole crew is… and while I have only known the group for a comparatively short time, I am honored that they count me as a friend; rad dudes, all–I can certainly understand how these sorts of misunderstanding crop up. It’s a quirk of all human interaction, multiplied by digital media.

    Humans be crazy. QED.

  30. @Thaddeus: Nothing to do? Did you guys run out of Japanese factories already?

  31. Hard to say. Nobody invites the tall skinny white guy to angry nationalist protests.

  32. Give the right answers to some political questions and they will. Until then just build little forts out of moon cakes.

  33. I also noticed that it’s true, a lot of Tom’s characters have been less than partial to people they perceive as effeminate or homosexual. Of course, Preston don’t care, and apparently Tom doesn’t either from what you guys are saying. I think it’s more a willingness to “go there” in-character, which can make some people uncomfortable around the table (or in their earbuds), but it can also be seen as really getting in-character. Personally I think you can and should try to separate what your character says and does from what you would say and do, unless you’re playing yourself. You should be able to play a character who’s racist or homophobic or whatever, as long as it fits in the game… and as long as you keep in mind, there’s some chance Cthulhu’s going to eat you first.

  34. ps: we keep calling him Preston, but I imagine he’s changed his name to “light blue” or something along those lines by now…

  35. @Capitalocracy

    I think he decided his Octopus name would be “Challenger Deep”.

  36. Yeah. But that was only in the most recent posted session, so it’s gonna take some time to adjust. >.>

  37. I love New Arcadia so much. Since we got two Know Evils (of the campaings) in a row, will we be getting another New Arcadia before the next Know Evil. I like Know Evil, but I love super heroics.

    I know my opinion matters little so late but having never met the man, and only knowing of him through the AP’s and the regular podcast, the only thing that he’s done that has ever bothered me as a listner is his seemingly constant in character abuse towards any character Aaron plays. I’m sure they are great friends, but man at times it can come off as more than that. His character in the recently posted Don’t Rest your Head is a prime example, or Bryson Springs.

    @Jason “Tom shifts back and forth between being the Punisher, some kind of monster” I agree, but they are basically the same thing. Tom loves playing monsters, as he has admitted, so whenever he’s playing a human, that human always seems to me, to be a psycho killer to be, which is basically a monster.

    The man sure knows his stuff about firearms though.

    And I think one of the few times I can recall where he didn’t play his typical gung ho Alpha dude, was in my fave Delta green game, when he played the tech dude, but if I recall wasn’t that specifically so Aaron couldn’t play the tech guy?

    I doubt he cheats, but at odd times i find myself listening hoping he fails at his rolls, the Washington Generals are due for the win.

  38. @joe

    Seriously, if you want to hear a lot of failure? Listen to the New World 4E campaign. I’ve been listening to some of the old episodes recently, and nobody seems to have any decent run of luck. Tom and Jason seem to have it the worst.

    Not that I want to beat a dead horse, but I’ve listened to enough of the RPPR APs to know that all the RPPR crew has some serious roleplaying depth, but I’ve also heard and done enough games to know that every player has there little player things. Some (Like Tom, Aaron, that one guy from my own group who always plays an assassin with three+ aliases) are more pronounced than others. People are like that, we form habits.

  39. Oh yea i remember his failing back then well, those sessions are what got me into RPPR.

    Maybe it’s just d20’s that hate Tom?

  40. There’s one session of New World where I can’t make a DC 15 or 20 Athletics check for like 5 rounds in Paragon tier. The kicker was I was a Strength based character! Then you get the Iron Heroes game last week where I roll 5 natural 20s. Of course I’ve got the science dice now. All hail the sharp-edged dice!

    Oh and side note, I think this is now the number one commented actual play on RPPR!

  41. I blame myseeelf

  42. Author

    Before this comment, this was tied with ADW: The Dangers of Fraternization at 41 comments. Of course, the reason why both episodes had so many comments was in part due to a discussion of a player’s flaws (Aaron’s verbal tic in ADW, tom’s dice rolling and monster-philia in this one)



  43. Is that the one where i suggested the Aaron drinking game?

  44. I tryed to derail this with my I HAZA BUCKET!

  45. It’s been obvious that Tom cheats for a long time. Anyone who thinks otherwise is likely in denial about it. As far as his motivation for cheating goes: Tom is a furry and therefore very likely takes imaginary bullshit way too seriously. For example, off the top of my head, I can recall that in Dark Sun: Rime of the Ancient Artifact (or something like that) one of the few times Tom’s character is actually in danger he gets really upset and actually raises his voice. It’s like wtf, man. Your character is in dire straits one time and you act like a child. In any case, the kind of mentality such things bespeak is not a pretty one. Add on the fact that Tom is pretty much the only one who consistently says fag in and out of character during the podcasts and plays characters who regularly bully Aaron (as crawlkill noted) and this gets even more weird.

    Just my two cents.

  46. I love the way this game has gone, with a lot of good RP intense moments of late. Everyone has done a great job here. One word of note, I think it’s Aaron (not to pick on ya) who keeps saying “its like, its like, its like” I know its a verbal stutter, and hard to do anything about but it was driving me nuts XD.

    Keep up the great gaming, you guys fill most of my work day and make it fun.

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