James and Kat dig into Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and imagine a world where every weapon has been devoured by walking castles that poop magic animals.

About the Author
James D’Amato, the world’s foremost Kobold advocate, moved to Chicago in 2010 to train at Second City and iO in the art of improvisational comedy. He now uses that education to introduce new people to role-playing, and teach die-hard Grognards new tricks.

7 comments on First Watch January 2016

  1. Jordi says:

    Triumphant return of First Watch!!! I had so much fun listening to you guys going back and forth on TFA!

    My younger brother, Will, and I are super close, but he’s been in Catalunya visiting family since December, so he missed out on seeing it as a cultural phenomenon. My coworkers and I are still talking about it half of the week. As much as I love the movie, I was pretty bummed afterward when I saw how popular it was and that he was missing out on all these juicy dis-crush-sions. After getting all in a tizzy again with this pod, I’mma send this episode his way.

    Thank you guys so much! Kat, you’re right about Han’s god-shot. James, I’m with ya, I can live with it and it was a spot of fun.

  2. sean7 says:

    As a Star Wars fan, I’ve learned to be apprehensive of discussions on the internet. (Some of my opinions are not widely shared, which is okay, but it’s difficult not to take it to heart after years.)

    Considering that, I really enjoyed your discussion of the new movie! It was even-handed, thought provoking and affecting – you brought up many points I didn’t hear from anyone else before.


  3. Joe Slucher says:

    I really loved hearing Kat’s emotional reaction to Rey. That’s the dream reaction to a character! It makes me want to go develop some kick ass female characters.

  4. Amy says:

    I just want to say thank you to Kat for putting into words the exact feelings I’ve had about Rey since I saw TFA. She’s exactly the sort of female hero character I’ve always wanted, but never quite found. And while I was quite crying during all her (many) moments of awesome it certainly filled me with a gut-level joy I’ve never quite experienced from Star Wars before. Maybe it was because I had a late exposure to the original trilogy, or because I ended up watching it in backwards order, but it was always that fandom I thought looked kind of cool but could never really get into. But I think TFA may have turned me into a true Star Wars fan. And it’s mostly thanks to Rey

  5. Shawn Wilson says:

    Given that you are a fan of Star Wars, you might be interested in the granddaddy of all space opera- the Lensman series by E. E. “Doc” Smith. This is what Lucas was riffing off of when he wrote the original. It has EVERYTHING that Star Wars has, and it had it first. Space Opera as a genre didn’t evolve, Doc Smith created it in its ultimate form in the first Lensman novel- Galactic Patrol in 1937. It’s influence cannot be overstated- Star Wars, Star Trek, Starship Troopers, Green Lantern, Honor Harrington and more all take strong influence from it. Pretty much every version of a large star faring society you have even seen is a straight rendition of Doc Smith.

    So, we have cosmic good versus evil, space battleships, soldiers in armor, larger than life heroes, larger than life conflicts and ‘magic’. There are even hand to hand weapons used in space battles (only its axes rather than swords, for in-universe justified reasons (force fields work very poorly against them). Star Wars has the telekinetic-esque Force. Doc Smith has the telepathic powers of the Lens. Star Wars had its thousands of Jedi Knights, Doc Smith has millions of Lensmen. Jedi are good, Lensmen are utterly incorruptible (the Arisians who create and hand out Lenses not only read minds, they see the future).

    You can buy copies if you want, they are periodically reprinted. But it would be cheaper (ie free) for you to take your Chicago Public Library (or other city) card to their web site and download either an e-book or e-audio version, which are both available on Overdrive.

    Some notes-

    The series order as you will see it is-

    First Lensman
    Galactic Patrol
    Gray Lensman
    Second Stage Lensman
    Children of the Lens

    SKIP the first two. Doc Smith conceived the series as the last four books only. They were popular enough that he wrote a prequel- First Lensman (read it after) and reworked some of his earlier (unrelated) stories into Triplanetary. And do not read any ‘what has come before’ introductions as they spoil the overarching plot. Best reading order has been discussed on rec.arts.sf.written, this isn’t just my opinion. But I came to them in the ‘wrong’ order and still liked them.

    An important note on feminism- in the Lensman universe women CANNOT be Lensmen. This is not because ‘oh, it was 1937 and…’. It’s a plot point. Even so, ultimately of the 9 2nd the 3rd stage Lensmen, 5 are women.

    That all said, it must be admitted that much of the dialogue is 30s slang that just grates. Doc Smith had his points, but he was not a great writer. And don’t expect emotional or social depth from his characters. But Kimball Kinnison isn’t any worse than James Bond in that regard.

  6. Sam Fuller says:

    The Sith book is the only one I don’t have yet; the Jedi book is fantastic, but the Bounty Hunter’s handbook is my favorite! Those books were done so well, too. I highly suggest people pick them up for their low listed price on Amazon!

  7. Danicus says:

    They MAKE 30-sided dice. I only know this because I bought one a zillion years ago. (1998?) I have never found a system that uses one, but dang it… I have one.

    So, they’re out there.

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