Character Creation Cast

Series 40.3 - Phoenix Dawn Command with Neal Powell (Discussion)

Episode Summary

Welcome to the final episode of series 40, everyone! This series we welcome Neal Powell, co-host from DMNastics, Dungeon Master’s Block and Whelmed: The Young Justice Files, to talk about Phoenix Dawn Command, a card based, fantasy TTRPG by Keith Baker that is all about coming back from death stronger than before. This episode, we discuss the process and give our thoughts about the game and how it compares to other games! Then, stick around after the show for the outtakes.

Episode Notes

Welcome to the final episode of series 40, everyone! This series we welcome Neal Powell, co-host from DMNastics, Dungeon Master’s Block and Whelmed: The Young Justice Files, to talk about Phoenix Dawn Command, a card based, fantasy TTRPG by Keith Baker that is all about coming back from death stronger than before. This episode, we discuss the process and give our thoughts about the game and how it compares to other games! Then, stick around after the show for the outtakes.


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Guests and Projects:

Neal Powell @joatmoniac

Games discussed this episode:

Phoenix Dawn Command by Keith Baker of Two-gether Studios




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Episode Transcription

Transcripts Automatically Generated - Not 100% Accurate

Ryan Boelter  0:02  

Welcome to the final episode of our Phoenix dog command series everyone. We had a lot of fun with this game. And we get into some really great discussion this episode, as well as some fantastic fanfic. So to get you there sooner, let's just dive into our announcements. Just a couple quick announcements. Actually, it looks like first time, you can still get a copy of the latest version of K merna. Over on the edge page at play k Mira dot games, this game has always been an unforgettable experience every time I've tried it out. And it just keeps getting better. Creating a world together. And one that can be as weird as you want it to be, is just such a joy, and then seeing what unique characters and stories you can come up with as a group. It's a remarkable experience. So check it out at play camera dot games, and check out one of the two actual play era games or keeping blade camera deck games to see how it plays. A new version is right around the corner, so it's a great time to hop on board and be ready for when that drops. The other announcement I have is that the latest losers A Love Story dropped on Saturday on the horror Borealis podcast feed. It was the penultimate episode, which means there's only one more episode left in this miniseries retelling of Stephen King's it through plain monster of the week supplement back to dairy by Christine prevous. We've all put a lot into the show and I am really happy to be able to present to everyone. Content warnings galore, though, it is not a show for minors for the faint of heart. As it gets a bit creepy. You will be in a horror story. after all. I don't think there's anything else to announce right now. So let's sit back, relax and listen to this discussion episode with guest Neil Pohl. Enjoy.


Ryan Boelter  2:37  

Welcome back to our discussion episode. Last time we created our characters for Phoenix dawn command. This episode we will be discussing the character creation process. We are very thrilled to welcome back Neil Powell, co host of DMS Tex and welcome to the unjustice files. Neil, do you want to go ahead and reintroduce yourself again for everyone at home? And tell us a little bit about the character you made in our last episode?


Neal Powell  3:04  

Certainly, it's still me it's still Neil and like it was mentioned, if you head over to your pod catcher of choice, which we've established as a real person out there with the pods and bringing them back to my phone. You can find me on dm mastics wellmed or dungeon Master's blog and for everything else, I'm on Twitter, at joke maniac jack of all trades, master of none. And last week, I created calenus a bitter Phoenix who basically was a young boy and died to death they didn't want because their life was cut short, it made them bitter it made them angry. And after hundreds of years of battling in the crucible to finally step forth recently into this wing, which we have named no second chances which I have no idea how that would come out and play. But I took traits such as reckless basically if someone attacks me I will attack them and then not be able to defend it barbarian feral thrill seeker and infamous and infamous is my favorite because basically I present as still as a young boy but that young boy that was the troublemaker and everyone that sees me kind of sees that when they look at me until they see the giant axe that is taller that I am so that will probably make them second guess or just be really scared one of the two but that is that is keenness. I think that about that about covered it. Yeah.


Amelia Antrim  4:38  

Ryan, do you want to tell us about your completely surprising totally unlike you at all?


Ryan Boelter  4:45  

I don't know you're talking about. So I created a devoted that's my Phoenix school named a Dora which goes along with the character who is very self sacrificing and inspiring. Dora used to be a noble shaman for a village. And at the time he had sacrificed himself in order to save the rest of his village. And since then she has come back as a devoted protector of everyone. I've got traits such as noble shaman, inspiring seen this before and Savior and I think it'd be, it would be really interesting cuz they are trying to save the world and find their spouse who they had direct the village to safety while they stayed back to parish to give them time. Fun stuff. Amelia, what about your character?


Amelia Antrim  6:03  

I picked the shrouded school. My character's name is Louis, she was someone with some kind of power. I don't think we really establish what, who actually knew that the dread was pretty bad and maybe didn't tell anybody. And now has to deal with that. But definitely doesn't want anybody to know that she could have stopped this or could have at least mitigated some of it. She is let's see, what did I take care of for some of these talents? I took hidden secrets. And I have a psychometry mysterious, brilliant deduction, grim determination and my personal favorite disturbing insights, where I get to make people around me just revealed disturbing secrets.


Ryan Boelter  7:04  

So good. So


Amelia Antrim  7:06  

good. It's so good. Yeah, I, I, I'm so excited about this group of characters.


Ryan Boelter  7:16  

It's a it's a nice motley crew of characters. I'd love it.


Amelia Antrim  7:20  

Yeah. excited to see how no second chances deal with somebody. Well, let's go ahead and dive right into our discussion segments that we call the 24 year thoughts, the 24 year thoughts. So in this segment, we talked to our guests about their thoughts on character creation in this game and games in general, how it relates to the system and their their overall process. But our first question about you as a designer or person who likes to hack games, where do you feel like your best ideas come from? How do they present themselves to you? I think


Neal Powell  8:07  

that's a great question. I've already read it. So I don't know why I'm


Amelia Antrim  8:10  

so surprised. A new one for us that we've only been asking recently. And I really like it. Yeah, I love hearing from people about like, where ideas come from? Because I certainly don't have any.


Neal Powell  8:24  

Yeah, so I think I think, Wow, it ties it ties deep. But there's too many connections, I guess. But one of the biggest things is like, my dad was always a car guy, like the the penultimate car guy. So there was always a tool for the job. And it was always one of those things where you see those tool, those garages those workshops, where you're like, there's no way that any one human would require any of these but that's the thing is eventually there's the right tool for the job. And so then it's also that go into the like jack of all trades, master of none, mentality. My thing is always like, I just should always just be learning and just putting more tools in and so then if I never use any of it, that I'll probably still be fine because I had it and I know why I didn't use it. So that's usually where a lot of my things come from, like the thing I posted on Twitter yesterday was just like a smattering of what my last 24 hours looked like. And I mean, thankfully with the power of the internet Yeah, so within the past 24 hours this is this is what I posted yesterday, I watched the new Mortal Kombat I finished birds of prey I started the Joker I played some Diablo three seasonal hardcore. I bought and opened a pack of vivid voltage Pokemon cards with kid two button read the new My Little Pony comic with kid one and did more. So that's really my personal approach is that there's something to gain from everything. So just put it all in there and see what comes out the other side.


Ryan Boelter  10:01  

I remember a couple years ago you were doing from LP to RP, as well, which was really interesting.


Neal Powell  10:09  

Yep. So then yeah, taking album covers and making fifth edition content out of those because like this, I mean, if arts worth 1000, if a piece of art is worth 1000 words, those 1000 words could certainly be RPG stuff.


Amelia Antrim  10:23  

I really liked that point, though, of like, even if I don't use it, I know why I didn't use it. And I appreciate the idea that like, none of that is wasted, right that like, even the time that you spent reading my little pony comic is like worth something. And I think that is something that I personally would like to grow to appreciate more, that those time spent on things that are, you know, suppler fluids, or, you know, whatever our capitalist society wants to call them, that they do have value and even if we don't go on to, like, put them into something, we still, you know, at least learned what we don't want or whatever, that they still have some kind of value.


Neal Powell  11:11  

Well even like having a person at your table where it's like their, their jet, like, I don't know, their gym damn is totally My Little Pony, right? But then you even just having like that individual comic as a reference point of even just being able to better connect with that other person. Then there was that's what it was for. I mean, maybe that ever comes up, but maybe it does that in doctrine or not in doctrine, but like connecting with that person more than you would have ever been able to without it.


Amelia Antrim  11:42  

See, you're telling me that knowing that much about unicorns and Pokemon, and Mario, and


Neal Powell  11:52  

are you in my house?


Amelia Antrim  11:56  

I hear another word about let's go easy. I'm gonna scream.


Neal Powell  12:03  

We're doing sword and shield and then we eventually jump to Mario Kart.


Amelia Antrim  12:08  

Oh, yeah, my son has been obsessed with Mario since he was like five. He is 10 now my daughter is reading all of the Phoebe and her unicorn books, which there are 13 of them. So far. She's really nice. Really? A lot.


Ryan Boelter  12:28  

My son has mastered Kirby dreamland three.


Amelia Antrim  12:31  

Oh, yeah, there's audio somewhere of you explaining it as you were playing it while you're trying to record.


Ryan Boelter  12:37  

He can he can 100% that game was secret and all from start to finish by himself now.


Amelia Antrim  12:46  



Ryan Boelter  12:47  

He's five and a half. It's, it's wild.


Amelia Antrim  12:49  

I want to have some of that kind of like devotion that kids have, to the things that they love. Like I have things that I love. But I will never love anything. As much as my son loves Super Mario like, I won't I don't have that kind of ability to be that passionate. Like, there aren't enough hours in the day or enough energy. I long for that.


Ryan Boelter  13:17  

We just have to get rid of capitalism first.


Ryan Boelter  13:27  

So another question that's fairly new. What do you look for in a system as far as character creation goes, like what pieces need to be there for a great character creation experience for you?


Neal Powell  13:44  

I think this one does well of helping that process along. I mean, it just had a section in the book that's straight up same character creation process. Sometimes it's not that I mean, d&d thought that straightforward. No. It can be if you're using a tool outside of a player's handbook. But if you're just cracking up in the player's Handbook, that's it's a rough go. Because you you kind of get it but you kind of don't. And so it's almost the bits just enough you need but then there's more if you need to look at it. Whereas is like if it's too little, or it's too much. I think it really hurts character creation when that happens. And then adding narrative elements directly into that character creation process with the right questions is helpful too, because I could walk away from a d&d character and have nothing but a character. Yeah. If that makes sense.


Ryan Boelter  14:38  

No, absolutely. Makes sense. Because with d&d, a there's such thing as creating a bad mechanically character, if you don't know what you're doing. And and also, the really the only thing you have is that what personality bonds and and Whatever that that last for things that you can roll on tables for, because of your background to determine who this person really is, aside from what they can do, right?


Neal Powell  15:12  

bonds, traits, ideals and flaws, but nobody uses them. So yeah, right.


Ryan Boelter  15:19  

Yeah, it's really interesting. Yeah, having that guide to guide you like this, do this first. And then that goes right into this next step. And then this next step, you just follow this list, and you've got your character done. And you also know about this person that you just created, is absolutely fantastic to have. And again, I agree.


Amelia Antrim  15:44  

How do we feel like character creation in this game stacks up against other games that we've played?


Neal Powell  15:51  

First? I think it's super funny to say stack that we've built a deck of cards. But I think it does. I think it does. Well, because the other thing I also look for as kind of the permanent GM, the marshal whatever term is end up being used is, does it give me easy threads to pull? I mean, this obviously did question like, all three of us commented on that in the last episode of like, oh, Don. So I think that that's another thing where it does really well. And then, yeah, it's fun, because it's different. Like, I have my character in my hand, in this stack of cards, and I can, I can kind of always see who they are, to a degree and then figuring out more of that as play goes on. So I think it does really well. And there are a lot of elements that can be pulled out, like those are all like 10 questions at the end, like taking some essence of those questions, and asking them at the end of any character creation process would be good.


Amelia Antrim  16:56  

Yeah, I think it makes it easy. For people who haven't really done a lot of character creation before, because you are just pulling cards out of a stack, you can hand somebody and say, pick one or two of these, you know, find the ones with these symbols on them. And they can put a character together. But I think even as a seasoned role player, and certainly a very seasoned character creator, there was still plenty in here to keep me interested. And it was still really easy to build a character that I wanted to play, even with those, like limited number of choices. Because it's not, it's not as wide open that way when you only have so many cards to choose from. But even doing that Ryan and I were still able to make exactly our very much personal types of characters.


Neal Powell  17:52  

Yeah, and the thing is, I see it going both ways, but like I see it as an advantage. And that, you know, that's kind of what we're mentioning here is that the finite nature of the choices is really interesting, because you're guaranteed to in some way, or in one way certainly create a unique character at the table. But then, in theory, if you looked at the bigger umbrella of Phoenix dawn command campaigns or wings, like your wing will inevitably be very unique. Because I can't I can't again, we certainly can't because we all have we all have our own set of cards. But if we were at a table, I can't choose the same traits you did. Right? Not possible. You took the card off the table and put it into your your deck. Which which I think is great because even even figuring out what the card itself means of like barbarian Okay, so that was just the absolute litany of ideas that that could be or even Ryan the noble card like is it noble at heart is that noble by stack like station like, what does it mean? Yeah, so yes,


Ryan Boelter  19:00  

I really liked that I had no idea what sort of character even you could create going into this. And even halfway through the process, I I didn't really know who this character was. I was like just picking stuff that sounded good to the utility of the character. And then once all the pieces were there, it just kind of all clicked into place. Like now I'm looking at these descriptions I'm looking at the flavor text and these questions are being asked of me through this process and now it's all Oh, now I have a vision of who this person was in life and who they are coming back as in this their first rebirth, which is just interesting. Because Because most other games I usually would either go in with a concept, like okay, I want to create this type of character. With this sort of backstory. How do I do that? In this game, or, like, I want to create like, going to Dungeons and Dragons, I'm gonna click Create a cleric. And then I'm going to build the backstory that fits, because I can create the cleric however I want. And it would have no impact on whatever backstory I come up with. Right. Right. Whereas in this game, literally the choices you make are part of your backstory.


Amelia Antrim  20:26  

Well, and once we get into advancement, it gets even more like that.


Ryan Boelter  20:30  

Yeah. So how does the process of character creation then reinforce the feel of Phoenix dawn command while setting expectations for play?


Neal Powell  20:43  

Yeah, I think every element of Yeah, like you're kind of like what you said, from the very beginning of like, I've chosen bitter, here are the core things do you as a bitter can do, then your very first step is choosing a write a permanent rank one thing that you can do? Now you're adding your rank one trait from Britta bitter, but it's also been like, Okay, wait, because the exact question you asked like, okay, but why does this say one? Grace at the top of my card, it's like, oh, well, because everything is going to be about pulling cards and making spreads. And so even those very first choices you're making, are setting the tone of like, what you're going to be doing in play, even the mechanical aspects of the trades you sub subsequently choose, because, again, each of those are one grace or one strength for me. But then from there, you know, is everything is I feel like guiding you towards play in those choices you're making as, as part of character creation.


Amelia Antrim  21:39  

Yeah, I would agree with that. Because I think like a lot of the cards to like, as we're picking them, you know, I'm looking at it going, Okay, you know, this card counts as like an attack spread counts as five or, you know, like that kind of stuff. And it's like, I'm already picking strategically, what I'm going to do with this particular card that I've chosen in a game.


Ryan Boelter  22:00  

Yeah, is interesting, because it, you, you could pick everything based on what what it's called, right? Like, I want to be inspiring, I don't care what it does. So I picked the inspiring part, right? Where as I went through and picked based on what it does, and then figured out what it said afterwards. But a lot of these are, like, use it in the moment. And what about this moment tells you about your character, which is just super interesting to me, like, not even thinking about your characters past in certain ways, until the moment presents itself to use one of these cards in it.


Amelia Antrim  22:49  

Yeah. And like that flavor test text asks that question of like, why, you know, where do you was that the one of yours that it's like, where do you know this from?


Ryan Boelter  23:00  

before? Like, where have you seen it before? You know, did you first encounter it in your first life? Did you study it in the crucible, that sort of stuff. And, and asking those questions in the middle of a combat or in the middle of a mystery, or in the middle of, you know, something epic? Is is a really interesting, kind of like, pause and character introspection, that it sounds like, that's going to be a big part of kind of play is building upon your character. I like it.


Amelia Antrim  23:39  

So next question that we had on here was entirely about character sheets.


Ryan Boelter  23:43  

This game doesn't really have character sheets doesn't know.


Amelia Antrim  23:45  

They're like, there are no character sheets, which is just in your hand. It is your hand, right?


Ryan Boelter  23:51  



Amelia Antrim  23:52  

Yeah, obviously. I mean, you can't mess them up. So that's nice.


Ryan Boelter  23:56  

Right. But I mean, it's interesting, because almost, quite literally half of my hand is stuff that I'll hold on to for the entire game. Right. And the other half is stuff that I'll be playing. Like, yeah, as if I were playing a card game or Magic the Gathering or whatever. So then, so then the only other thing that we would add to the deck at that at this point, if


Neal Powell  24:21  

we were going to start play would be two twos, two threes, two fours, of each of your grace, and for both of you intellect, that you would incorporate in there. So they're just raw value cards. Not not related to anything else. But other than that, yeah, everything. Exactly like you said, these are the ones that then you would just basically sit out. So like for me, I have these, the four core and the rank one and I would just basically have those set out to observe and then the bitter acts kind of as your token for play, but the rest would be Yeah, literally in and out of your hand as you play them during the game.


Ryan Boelter  24:57  

That's really interesting. And when when work Talking about tax each person has their own personal deck, right? Yep. Yeah. Which is effectively an extension of your character sheet. so to speak, in, in this metaphor, metaphorical sort of sense. Which is really interesting, because then it, it really does turn into this, like pseudo deck building. sort of game. Yeah. Yep. Which is,


Amelia Antrim  25:27  

is a lot of fun in practice.


Ryan Boelter  25:29  

Yeah, I can imagine.


Amelia Antrim  25:31  

And especially because some of those cards have, you know, the, what are they called? Not talents. But trait traits? Yeah. Because some of them have the traits on them. It's like, do I want to put that in a spread? Or do I want to save it for later? Or do I want to, you know, yeah, like how you put down those cards that you have in your hand to becomes really interesting.


Ryan Boelter  25:54  

Very cool. So what do you what do we think then, is one of the biggest flaws of character creation into this system? And what do we think is one of the best parts?


Neal Powell  26:06  

So I think, the I think my answer is for both, because I think that finite nature is a plus and a minus, it does create this unique thing. But you could also certainly get into some conflict of like, Why? Because I could make a better that is fundamentally completely different from the bitter that either of you would make. But as you go, we're not good at both play betters at the same table. The other thing is that those choices do get really nebulous, and I can see that being tough for some people to process through of just what does barbarian mean, because leaving the bottom of mine says GAVI Raider, grim Wald warrior, or simply trained in the wilds of your crucible. So sometimes I think that those, there is the finite nature coupled with the limitless nature of what your character can be. And I think that both is the best part for me. But I could also see that being really frustrating for some other people.


Ryan Boelter  27:04  

That makes sense. One of the parts that I liked the most about this was the the trait names and flavor text, defining who you were, by either before death or, or in the crucible. I really enjoy how it all just clicked together once I had a good selection of those cards. But yeah, I think I think the thing that I was a little on the fence about was that, that there's only so many of these, right? It did kind of feel like if you had a bunch of tables in a book, and you're like you can you can pick from these. And that's it. You can't make up your own stuff sorted. It would be nice if there was a way to, like create your own talents, or whatever, and then utilize those. But in a game about cards, that's hard to that's hard to do without more cards, right? Yeah.


Amelia Antrim  28:14  

tight enough there, though, that it didn't feel too much like that. I mean, maybe after you've played it like a ton and ton and ton. But, you know, there's so many there's still even so many different combinations of them that it would take a long time before you really got there. Yeah, absolutely. It's our favorite section of the show. Now. It's our fanfiction section. What's our story? What's the what is the story of no second chances?


Ryan Boelter  28:42  

I I think it's a story of heartbreak.


Amelia Antrim  28:47  

I mean, it certainly sounds that way, doesn't it? We didn't make nice stories.


Ryan Boelter  28:52  

No, we didn't. I mean, it sounds like I'll be constantly trying to chase a chance with my spouse. And we've got these secrets of yours. Emilia. And, and we've got this childhood, narrow dwell.


Neal Powell  29:20  

DNS, I'm really sorry. But I think it's that like just I fit because I think that even the idea of the no second chances, I think all three of us are going to get us into deeper trouble for the goals that we have. Interesting that I'm not necessarily the only one that would do it. Like I think we're all going to strive to go and take that next step. Is it to find the answers is it to fight through the answers isn't defined. Your spouse like all three of us are we're gonna die. Definitely, at this point, but I think all three of us are gonna push Group further, like there's no there's not going to be a hesitancy and again that goes back to the idea that of the wing being called no second chance.


Ryan Boelter  30:08  

So what this is probably the the best portion to define this, what is the dread? In our game?


Neal Powell  30:18  

Yeah, what what took us all out? Because we all talked about it? Yeah.


Amelia Antrim  30:22  

Yeah, I mean, is it you know environmental Is it a enemy in some sort


Neal Powell  30:29  

and it can certainly be different aspects for for the different characters because part of it is also like the more I think about it, the more I think of like, the skin changer thing like the literally I'm literally The Boy Who Cried, used to cry wolf. And then there were actual werewolves. Right. And no one no one believes me. And then the entire town was wiped out. Does that look like do I eventually lean that way or lean further away from it? When I start to take on more ranks? Do I eventually become I think more of like the worgen in World of Warcraft like it's, it is a werewolf person but they look dapper as all get out because they have these amazing and they're eloquent and they have society and that so so for for I think for mine, it's definitely the skin like the skin changer. Appearing more as a werewolf. Oh,


Ryan Boelter  31:24  

that makes sense. It, it would be interesting if it was something that preyed on the fears of the communities that it attacked. Oh, so like maybe maybe your community was, you know, wolves are the the biggest issue. You know, you don't call it after dark in the woods, because there's there's packs of wolves out there that are hungry. And so I live in LA go on. Yeah.


Neal Powell  31:54  

That's the thing. There are actual packs of wolves in LA. If you ever go down there and you hang out for any amount of time to actually hear them. Oh, interesting. You got Yeah, like small animals. Do not leave them outside.


Ryan Boelter  32:04  

Yeah. Oh, that's wild.


Amelia Antrim  32:06  

Can you help them?


Neal Powell  32:08  

I don't know why you could. I don't think anyone would stop you.


Amelia Antrim  32:11  

I mean, because here you can get a license to hot wolf. You can only do so many. But you can you can hunt Wolf's in Wisconsin for population control on one night. Yeah.


Neal Powell  32:21  

Yeah. Idaho just is trying to pass killing 90% of the ones they have. I just saw Oh, wow.


Amelia Antrim  32:26  

Yeah, I mean, that's a constant back and forth. I think here is how many is okay to kill. But you can't hunt wolves here.


Neal Powell  32:35  

So that goes to the idea. That was like the biggest fear. So then, like, what did the dread look like? For your character? Yeah.


Ryan Boelter  32:43  

Hi, my, I want to say mine was probably the undead, fearing death itself, in a way. Cuz, throughout this whole, like, exercise, I'm just thinking of like, these hordes of undead minions that are kind of piling through, right. So I wonder if, if my community had a reverence for the dead and it was kind of a sacred thing. And, you know, people were buried in a very specific fashion. And people coming back to life in a unnatural sort of way, is kind of very frightening. Yeah. would then adds another dagger for the marshal to use for when I finally get to see people from my village again, having died already.


Amelia Antrim  33:55  

I think for me, it would be famine. Because I think that like, come from a part of society where like, the biggest fear is like any kind of austerity and having to like, give up our lifestyle in any way. And so having to be faced with like, nothing would be confounding and terrifying.


Ryan Boelter  34:17  

Mm hmm. Oh, that's an interesting combo.


Amelia Antrim  34:22  

Yeah. undead, hungry wolf.


Ryan Boelter  34:28  



Neal Powell  34:31  

literal skin and bone.


Ryan Boelter  34:34  

I don't like that. But I love it.


Amelia Antrim  34:38  

It's great, but I hate it.


Ryan Boelter  34:43  

Oh, that's frightening. So I guess what is our mission then? Is it to just fight back the dread is it to save people is it what what what are we what are we doing? What is this campaign goal, I


Neal Powell  34:59  

guess? I think I mean, initially fighting back sounds right. But I think it would certainly develop into getting more answers and giving those answers away. I think the collective, the collective group feels like that that can be a really big goal was figuring out why it happened. And so like for my character, so other people aren't cut short for yours, so that they're not separated. And like just just figuring it out, maybe just trying to help people not experience the same dread that we do


Ryan Boelter  35:34  

that makes sense. So we're giving other people second chances, but not ourselves. And what's one, like, because this game, from what I understand, can have some of the most epic fights because you're jumping into death, effectively, what's what's one, absolutely epic encounter that our group will encounter in this campaign? Like something big, right?


Neal Powell  36:10  

I mean, we certainly we certainly have. So in the intro, there is the one that I mean. It's funny that though, the way we're describing it, like the intro, plays into it really, really well. So there's the harvester, who basically takes the fears of others, like mental health manifest them like, so I talked about like my bitter dying, because he jumped off the banister, because part of it is also you're coming down this banister, and it's like this obsidian tower that's built in there. And you basically see these images in this smoke is on the ground, and like, you literally face your fears as you're coming down the stairwell. And so like, and then it's the manifestation of those things. So I think, I think that's that epic battle is that like, there, man, they're fully manifested. And then we're all basically re experiencing part of our first deaths. Oh, dang,


Ryan Boelter  37:02  

that sounds pretty cool. Yeah. This is this is a pretty sweet group.


Amelia Antrim  37:10  

Yep. It really is.


Neal Powell  37:12  

And it's only gonna get sweet. Oh, level advancement is the best.


Amelia Antrim  37:18  



Ryan Boelter  37:20  

Well, that sounds like a good segue. Should we? Should we get into our advancement discussion then? And and take it up a level?


Neal Powell  37:28  

I think we should. I'm so excited. Awesome.


Ryan Boelter  37:31  

Take it up a level, level level.


Amelia Antrim  37:35  

So in this segment, we cover character advancement and character growth. How does the character level up in Phoenix command? What changes mechanically, when that happens? They die. Yeah.


Neal Powell  37:52  

Yeah. So it's not you're not gaining resources that you spend, you're not gaining experience as you go? You're not? I mean, in a lot of ways, if you want to use the term milestone leveling, it's certainly that. And then one of the most interesting things that I know a alluded to previously is that the advancement is related to the death you die. And the way you feel about those, those deaths, because when we describe the schools, those are the same questions you end up asking when you have that death. Did like so even going through the idea of like, we could all certainly die in that moment, too, as the other thing is, we could go on admission and all of us die. And then we fail, but we still come back. And so what if we all failed the two, those the two something similar to what our first death was so well, I would likely walk away, still very bitter. And so then I would have a bitter death and take it take that rank to in bitter. Now that said, I could also have found myself in a scenario where I, for some reason, decide to try and hold back this tide. While the two of you get away, do I then take a devoted debt? Oh, and then my advancement is related to devoted rather than bitter, completely consumed by magical fire and I decided to take a rank in elemental I do. So just everything about what's happening in play, be at my choice or circumstance is going to define what a character advancement is in, then you're going to take a rate to trade or rank to lessen. So it's a permanent thing that's happening as well as you as advancements Go on, you'll take certain rank traits as well. So then you're adding those into your deck and the other advancement pieces that sometimes you'll be able to replace cards. So basically, there's fives as well. So we've talked about twos, threes, fours, and there are fives. So basically, you could swap a two for a five, permanently making your deck strong.


Ryan Boelter  39:59  

Oh, Interesting. So, because I wasn't thinking about that before, like you, you level up into other schools as well. So then you're effectively multi classing, possibly.


Neal Powell  40:11  

But your first death is always the one that defines you the most, because you have those three core data cards, that can't be changed, but then you could certainly take lessons. And that's kind of why they're described that way. from other schools. Oh,


Ryan Boelter  40:25  

that's wild. I like that. So So it sounds like the advancement is doesn't have an effect on the narrative. The narrative affects the advancement completely.


Neal Powell  40:38  

Yeah. A little a little bit of both, though, because remember, what you also then do have to talk through is what your crucible experience is like in the crucible is then what is your What is your mentor doing? What are you learning? How long was it? What do you look like when you're coming back out of the crucible after this death? Do I have that devoted death and now I come out, and I'm a teenager, I'm no longer present as a child in my more armored because I chose devoted or Durant, I felt like I wasn't strong enough. There's a different direction I could go. So then an armored teenager comes out. But of obviously, intrinsically, we're all attached as a wing, you would know. without a shadow of a doubt that it's me x did get bigger. It's still taller than me, because of course it is. But yeah, so it plays back and forth. The narrative dictates that mechanical advancement as well as that advancement would then dictate narratively, what's happening in the crucible and who you are and how you present.


Ryan Boelter  41:32  

Wow, that just blew my mind.


Amelia Antrim  41:37  

It's such a good game. Like, I want to play more of it.


Ryan Boelter  41:42  

Yeah, no, it sounds really fun. It's, it's, it's wild. Because it's like, the advancement feels like it's the the crux of play, right? It feels like that's what you're kind of ultimately working towards, in not like a Oh, I leveled up and mom level 15 in dungeons and dragons now get some sweet stuff, right? This is like a, you're working towards both success and death at the same time. Yeah. Yep. Which is just


Amelia Antrim  42:16  

amazing. But it rewards death in the cool way that not very many games do that, like there's not that same fear of player death.


Ryan Boelter  42:27  

Yeah. And and you said, you can only die seven times, or you can only get after your death.


Neal Powell  42:37  

Yeah, so basically, rank seven is the highest rank. So you start out as rank one, because you have died. One, you could die seven times total, making you rank seven. And if you were to die in eighth time, your character would just go away. Interesting. And then you'd certainly come back as another character, that could even be like a different person attached to that flame that is basically igniting you as a Phoenix. And you can certainly just have a rank one character in the party. I mean, there's still effective, it's just and they would be much more willing to die than your rank seven character. That's true.


Ryan Boelter  43:11  

It feels like an interesting curve of like, just playing to the pedal, pedal to the metal right? At first, and then once you get to rank six or so you're, you're probably going to be a lot more cautious.


Neal Powell  43:30  

Yeah. And so some of the highest ranked Phoenix's are stay there at pyre and never go anywhere, is there? So their level of power is so valuable, and then figuring out like, they can do stuff, but then yeah, like you said, they're much more conservative because they don't want to die. And then now all that power they hold is gone.


Ryan Boelter  43:48  

Exactly. Oh, that's interesting. Well, is there anything else that we can say about this game? Then before we wrap things up? We it seems like we covered everything already.


Neal Powell  43:59  

Yeah, keep an eye out. If they have if they have a swing and deal. Definitely by Phoenix dawn coming.


Ryan Boelter  44:05  



Neal Powell  44:06  

It's it's worth it.


Ryan Boelter  44:08  

Yeah, I know. I know. I got mine. White Black Friday, last year.


Amelia Antrim  44:12  

Yeah, a great deal on


Ryan Boelter  44:14  

black Fridays. And yeah, it was it was fantastic. It took a while because the website was having issues. But I tried later that evening, and it worked for myself. So I kind of lucked out there. And I think they even extended the deal because of all the website issues for a little bit. So stay stay tuned for that. We'll probably we'll definitely have a link to where you can buy this from. If you if you don't want to wait, but it's this sounds pretty fantastic. Well, Neil, thank you so much for joining us to talk about Phoenix and Tom command. This was awesome.


Neal Powell  44:53  

What No, thank you. I mean, it was no it was no trolling. It was definitely


Amelia Antrim  45:00  

Something very serious. You meant it


Neal Powell  45:02  

serious I totally mundane. But it was, of course something they've done logistics. the logistics of it are a bit much. Yeah, I would also think like, even to try and do like, there's a deep desire in my soul to do an actual play of Phoenix, but the idea and the reality of that is tough unless everyone was physically at the same table. Yeah, absolutely done. But it would be a lot of work for sure.


Ryan Boelter  45:24  

Yeah. I'm just really happy that after, what, three years or so, we were finally able to to take care of this, this system and learn it and, and I can't be more thrilled, this was really fun.


Amelia Antrim  45:39  

It was absolutely.


Ryan Boelter  45:41  

Can you go ahead and remind everyone where they can find you online and the sorts of things that you're working on? Of course, you


Neal Powell  45:47  

can always find me at joke maniac on Twitter, jack of all trades, master of none, IAC. And of course, yeah, if you do want to check out the sub fifth edition supplement to die for the ultimate guide to hair, you can head over to drive thru RPG and check it out there. Awesome.


Amelia Antrim  46:03  

Well, thank you for sitting down with us. And thank you to everyone for listening.


Ryan Boelter  46:10  

called to. Yeah, like that. And that wraps up our Phoenix dog command series. We are really glad you could come along with us for this journey. It was a fantastic game, and made a lot of fun learning about it. Before we pack up this series and get to those outtakes, we just have a few reminders. First up, you can pick up your own copy of K mirror the game I've been working on with the very talented Mr. Mrs. Just head on over to play Chi Mirada games and check that out. It is a really fun time. And I'd love to see more folks packed up so we can make the game even better before we get to the Kickstarter. Links to that as well as the to actual place streams are in the show notes. Also check out losers and lovestory on the ahora barrios podcast feed right here on the one shot network. It is such a good story with some amazing themes going on. But it's also scary as heck. So pay attention to those content warnings. If you like what we're doing here or over or over at HB, or what the rest of the network is doing, you can help us out by contributing to our network Patreon. Head to slash one shot podcast to sign up, which helps keep this podcast and many others going strong. As a $5 an uplevel you'll get access to the sacred art track archive too, which is going to be getting much more enticing soon now that most of the burnout from the last year or so is starting to simmer down a bit it feels so absolutely check that out. Finally, another great thing you can do to help us out is leaving a rating and review anywhere you are able to do so every single one helps and every one of the five star reviews we will read right here. Amelia and I are able to record these together. For now, we're going to be picking things up to get you off to the credits, the show blurbs and of course the outtakes thanks for sticking with us everyone. Take care, stay safe, and keep making those amazing people. We'll see you next time.


Ryan Boelter  48:48  

Character Creation Cast is a production of the one shot Podcast Network and can be found online at www dot Character Creation head to the website to get more information on our hosts this show and even our press kit. Character Creation Cast can also be found on Twitter at Creation Cast or on our Discord server at discord Character Creation is one of your hosts Ryan Boelter and I can be found on twitter at learning Neptune or online at Lord Neptune calm. Our other hosts Amelia Antrim can be found on twitter at ginger reckoning. Music for this episode is used with a Creative Commons license, or with permission from the podcast they originated from. Further information can be found within the show notes. Our main theme music is hero remix by Steve combs and it's used with a creative commons places. This podcast is owned by us under Creative Commons. This episode was edited by Ryan Boelter. Further information for the game systems used and today's guests can be found in the show notes. If you'd like to leave us a rating or review. We have links to various preview platforms out there including our podcasts in our show notes. Also check the show notes for links to our other projects. Thanks for joining us. I remember we find that the best part of any role playing games is character creation. So go out there and create some amazing people. We will see you next time.


Amelia Antrim  50:34  

Now we got a ransom show blurbs show blurbs


Ryan Boelter  50:37  

show show,


Amelia Antrim  50:39  

show blurbs.


Ryan Boelter  50:42  

Character Creation Cast is hosted by the one shot Podcast Network. If you enjoyed our show, visit one shot podcast comm where you will find other great shows like modifier


Amelia Antrim  50:53  

modifier is an interview show hosted by Meghan Dorn Brock, all about why and how people change games. From hobbyist to the professional from house rules to publication. We all have in mind a better way to play. What's yours? Of course my air conditioning kicks off. I'm just gonna be quiet. A little bit of maybe, dog.


Neal Powell  51:28  

We also still have no idea. But we're just trying this out instead. Cuz that's how I


Amelia Antrim  51:38  

like that you are just like so confident and that like no, it was actually been like to later, like series seven.


Ryan Boelter  51:46  

No, seriously was the headspace series with Cindy and Phil? Clearly, because send us the one that taught us that.


Amelia Antrim  51:53  

Oh, okay.


Ryan Boelter  51:54  

Yeah, it makes sense. Because, you know, I always hear them do a clicky in their outtakes and for pandas talking games. And then we're like, oh, you just click Record whenever you want. And we'll line it up and send it was like No, no, please. No.


Amelia Antrim  52:14  

I found it incredibly stressful.


Ryan Boelter  52:15  

But let let me teach you something. And then we did it that way and it was phenomenal. And ever since


Amelia Antrim  52:23  

almost like people sync their audio somehow for some reason because we weren't doing anything. No. The thing is like some people like clapper they do the like 123 Ryan didn't do anything he was just like everybody clicked and I'll figure it out later.


Ryan Boelter  52:37  

I lined it up with the waveforms of the backup audio. I've done


Neal Powell  52:41  

I've done that before when you have enough tracks the other one I don't do much anymore because usually a lot of the guests will be on Zoom Zoom will auto sync their own tracks and then I just grabbed mine or whoever else is I so you may hit this may be cyclical I'm just throwing it out there you may get to a point on the other edge where you're like does this is it worth it? Just do whatever you want. That's just where I am


Amelia Antrim  53:04  

so I think it depends on how many people you have to like I know when when just dude and I record I don't do anything because it's like I can figure out like when he's quiet and I'm not like these should be opposite but otherwise I have to do something


Ryan Boelter  53:23  

yeah I'm just tearing my book apart right now because it's


Amelia Antrim  53:29  

Yeah, I was just flipping My mind is not like mine's Good Good. Good page turning. Look at that.


Ryan Boelter  53:37  

Did you get yours A while ago or was yours part of that sale? No black


Amelia Antrim  53:41  

brass for that Black Friday.


Ryan Boelter  53:42  

Oh yeah, mine too. I just all the tops of the pages like halfway through the book are just all gnarly and stuff. Yeah,


Neal Powell  53:51  

I had that on one of mine as well.


Ryan Boelter  53:53  

Small printing staff we were okay.


Amelia Antrim  53:57  

I keep getting tagged in things on discord and it's really put it on Do Not Disturb over here.


Ryan Boelter  54:05  

I'm permanently on Do Not Disturb in discord because of all the bleeding.


Amelia Antrim  54:11  

It would be fine. I'm the sounds like crows Discord. And Caleb left for the weekend and announced that he was leaving which means that Cameron decided to he was in charge and has started the Cameron games and right now it's like this elaborate game of mafia and then like there's also a witch and some people are high value targets and you just tag people and then vote whether you want to murder them it's I don't really understand what's happening but I think I just got murdered while we were recording. Perfect. Don't leave other people in charge of your discord servers if you go on vacation. He like broke everyone up into teams like it was. It's very intense. You might


Ryan Boelter  54:57  

you might get murdered virtually Yeah. Okay,


Amelia Antrim  55:03  

which means my team lost several points because I got a text this morning that I was a high value target. Not at lunch, which was a bummer.


Ryan Boelter  55:16  

It's fine.


Neal Powell  55:19  

Okay, I we're going to take a brief interlude of a story that I have to tell because I feel like I've told it to you before,


Ryan Boelter  55:24  

it's very possible.


Neal Powell  55:26  

But if not, I need to say it again. So when I was quick story when I was a young child, somehow I I started watching Beast Wars, transformers. And it was on UPN. And I was only UPN. Yeah, I was waking up before 6am. Yeah, before school to watch it. And then the series ended. But I was so used to waking up at that time that I just kept watching it. And because of that, I watched the entirety of the Sailor Moon series. Yes. The only thing on that was that that I'm very kindred spirit. And every time you bring it up, it's just like, unlocks this weird piece of my brain that is like, Oh, yeah. Do you watch all of that? And I'm like, Oh, yeah, Mirror mirror? Yeah, of course it is. I'm just like, why is that? I always forget why it's in there. Yeah. Like, it just stays in this special little Sailor Moon place in my brain where I'm like, Oh, yeah, I watched that entire series. Like as it was coming out, you're not as it was coming out. But on air.


Amelia Antrim  56:24  

Yeah, I was trying to explain this concept to my children recently of like, Saturday morning cartoons, of like, you got up on a Saturday, because your show was on in the morning. And that's the only time that it was you know, and you had to like watch that particular channel on that particular time. They were just like,


Ryan Boelter  56:44  



Amelia Antrim  56:45  

didn't understand. Like, you can't just watch whatever you want, whenever


Ryan Boelter  56:50  

you want and layers and streaming killed Saturday morning cartoons. There. I said it. Yeah,


Amelia Antrim  56:56  

yeah, but here's the thing. Now they can be Saturday afternoon cartoons. And I said, that's, like I'm jealous. Honestly, I didn't have to be getting up at 7am on a Saturday.


Ryan Boelter  57:07  

5am on a weekday, right.


Neal Powell  57:11  

When when DVR replaced a VCR. That was the death because you theoretically you could tape it through. If you had a friend I guess. And


Amelia Antrim  57:22  

if you're willing to program your VCR and it was hooked up to the TV Yeah.


Ryan Boelter  57:27  

Garcia I am currently now halfway through the 200 episodes of the original Sailor Moon series redubbed by visit media instead of dick media. And through Hulu and it is beyond better than I remember.


Neal Powell  57:44  

Okay, I got so I changed you they got uncomfortable with so that's intense. Like I felt it in my my heart. It was like redub it could go either way. Ryan Tell me more.


Ryan Boelter  57:56  

It's so much better. Original translation. So like all the stuff that they centered in the deck version is now just like direct translated from the Japanese version. So like,


Neal Powell  58:09  

now Ryan's gonna make me rewatch it.


Ryan Boelter  58:11  

Okay, it's good. It's on Hulu. Yep, check it out. Okay,


Neal Powell  58:16  

so I will jump us back in because that was entirely my fault.


Amelia Antrim  58:24  

I am recording.


Ryan Boelter  58:26  

My recording is also happening.


Amelia Antrim  58:28  



Ryan Boelter  58:29  

Welcome to the future. Or the past. I don't know. Whoever's listening to this.


Amelia Antrim  58:35  

Well, it'll be the past by the time people listen to it right now which present it is currently happening. But by the time people listen to it, it is technically for each of us. It's also the past


Ryan Boelter  58:45  

it is because it has to go over the internet


Amelia Antrim  58:47  

a little bit true true true. Oh my brain hurts time is meaningless


Ryan Boelter  58:51  

payment meaningless. Come on.


Amelia Antrim  58:53  

There's anything we've learned in the last year.


Ryan Boelter  58:55  

Special Relativity.


Amelia Antrim  58:58  

cursor science.


Ryan Boelter  59:03  

This is probably the the most amount of silence we've had in character creation as as we read all of these charts zones, because yeah, this is literally the first time I've seen any of these cards. Yes, I have no idea what's in here.


Neal Powell  59:22  

Oh, hello. Let me down so I can cause chaos.


Amelia Antrim  59:25  

Yeah, pretty much. No. No feedback, let you out because you sounded sad. You're gonna make me regret it. I'm going to spend the whole time saying no. You're going to act like it's my fault because now you have this ridiculous haircut and a ridiculous dress on. Just like fair enough. You have a right to cause chaos. When people do that to you.


Ryan Boelter  59:53  

It's a puppy. It is a puppy. Is that a different puppy? No, it's the same one. What happened? What happened?


Amelia Antrim  1:00:05  

She was supposed to. She was supposed to go to the groomer back in January when my groomer broke her leg, and then we had to move. And, you know, then I've had my carpal tunnel and all that kind of stuff. So she finally went yesterday. Hey. But because of that, she was super matted. Because she's poodle mix. So they had to like cut her hair way, way down.


Ryan Boelter  1:00:34  

She's so much less fluffy


Amelia Antrim  1:00:36  

and poor baby is like bolt now. But her first Not in front of her eyes. The other day when I tried to play fetch with her she couldn't find the box. She couldn't see it. I felt really bad.


Ryan Boelter  1:00:49  

Yeah, poor thing.


Amelia Antrim  1:00:51  

I'm gonna go away real quick, though. I thought maybe she would behave but I don't think she's gonna. I don't know why I thought that a nine month old puppy would be able to do anything but her back.


Ryan Boelter  1:01:10  

Looks like a completely different dog now. I almost thought it was like Greyhound at first was that I will start to look like a greyhound. A little bit.


Amelia Antrim  1:01:23  

Trying to face the microphone while I talk. It's a new and exciting thing. I'm sorry, there's a train. I thought it was gone. But I came back. Alright, maybe it's a different train. I don't know. Okay.


Unknown Speaker  1:01:43  



Ryan Boelter  1:01:46  

and we can go ahead and stop this recording for this episode. He


Amelia Antrim  1:01:55  

I am recording.


Ryan Boelter  1:01:56  

My recording is also recording.


Amelia Antrim  1:01:58  



Ryan Boelter  1:02:01  

Multiple recording. Simultaneous podcasting. All right. Microphone. Everybody can hear it. Oh picky.


Ryan Boelter  1:02:21  

Alright, I'll give us a five count of hopefully silence.


Amelia Antrim  1:02:25  

Hey, no.


Ryan Boelter  1:02:29  

And we'll get going. Okay.


Amelia Antrim  1:02:34  

Of course my air conditioning kicks on right then. I'm just gonna be quiet for a second. So you can have a little bit of that too. Maybe. Oh, my God dog.


Ryan Boelter  1:02:54  

Some quiet squeaks a little background noise.


Amelia Antrim  1:03:00  

My kids aren't you at home. Okay. It looks like all of the Kickstarters that we have been talking about are now over and fully funded with lots of amazing stretch goals unlocked for all of them.


Amelia Antrim  1:03:20  

Go on, go on. Come here so I can get used to the Oba quiet.


Ryan Boelter  1:03:32  

It's fine. It's a few clicks here and there. It's fine.


Amelia Antrim  1:03:34  

She's got like 10 of them. So if I take it away, she's gonna find another one. Come here. Come here.


Amelia Antrim  1:04:01  

I thought you could behave. You were asleep until we started recording. My dog scrolled on my thing. This is just a mess.


Unknown Speaker  1:04:14  

Scrolling down.


Ryan Boelter  1:04:18  



Amelia Antrim  1:04:19  

did it. Me too. Whoo. Yeah, that's good news is it's not my mousing hand.


Ryan Boelter  1:04:24  

That's good. You've had to conform to the right the right radio propaganda.


Amelia Antrim  1:04:31  

I have. Have. I've learned to right handed a mouse. Yeah. It's just my everything else hand.


Ryan Boelter  1:04:44  

coded. Oh, okay. outline. Oh, I'm on the run out line. That would help. I mean, I was on the line for next week's episode.


Amelia Antrim  1:04:55  

Oh, yeah. I got to look up for that and see if there's stuff I want to add. It'd be all prepared for this one and reread the rules and do all kinds of stuff. I did


Ryan Boelter  1:05:05  

not, that's understandable. There's a few other things going on. Oh my god,


Amelia Antrim  1:05:13  

I scared the crap out of my children. Because I want to take the dog out, and then came back with like, blood everywhere. I went to drop them off with Dan's parents today and his mom goes, Oh, you really did hurt yourself. And I was like, bleeding. I called you to come pick up my kids so I could take them to the emergency room. You saw me right after it happened. When there was still blood on my face. Like what did you think? Yes, Yes, I did. What? Like my finger was pointing the wrong way in a way that fingers don't bend.


Ryan Boelter  1:06:02  

No, we don't like that.


Amelia Antrim  1:06:03  

I know. I did not either. Let me tell you, the head to like, gives you shots with like the numbing stuff. And my dad was the one that took me to the emergency room and he doesn't do well with needles. And like I got put, they also decided to give me a tetanus shot too. Which means I got poked five different times and the whole time he was like, oh, like whoa, broke their fingers here and not you fell down. Seriously.


Ryan Boelter  1:06:28  

Anyway, anyway. Alright, so I am on on starting duty. Yeah, that's what you that's what you put. That's why I didn't intend to. I think I intended to swap it. Because usually we do. Too late now. Why? What do you mean is too late? Now?


Amelia Antrim  1:06:47  

What cuz then you have me talking. Brian. Ryan. Just leave it the way it is. Let's go.


Ryan Boelter  1:06:54  

Alright, well, we'll we'll do it. Let's go. Okay. All right. Okay. We'll do a five count of silence again. And then we will, we'll get started.


Amelia Antrim  1:07:05  

All right, here come the fingers. Okay.


Ryan Boelter  1:07:09  

All right. We can go ahead and stop that one is there


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