275 episodes

Friends at the Table is an actual play podcast about critical worldbuilding, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends. Find us (and a listener guide) @Friends_Table on Twitter.

Friends at the Table friendsatthetable

    • Fiction

Friends at the Table is an actual play podcast about critical worldbuilding, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends. Find us (and a listener guide) @Friends_Table on Twitter.

    PARTIZAN 08: Under the Boughs of the Court

    PARTIZAN 08: Under the Boughs of the Court

    After their initial gambit found success, the members of SBBR have put Columnar’s too-curious 301st Appraisal Unit off balance. Now, they seek to finish the deal--but to do so in such a way that will not draw more attention and ire towards the Sable Court, who has hired them. And if they can succeed, they may yet find that while the Great Stels of the Principality pay well, covens hidden in the woods offer more than simple currency in reward for loyalty.
    This week on PARTIZAN: Under the Boughs of the Court

    ///Operation Dossier\\\
    //Organizations\\
    The Nobel: The people and culture from which Valence originates. They live beyond Partizan, in the Scutum-Centaurus arm of the Milky Way, which a past Princept declared was not to be colonized or even explored. But years ago they suffered an attack from someone from the Divine Principality. Valence seeks to answer how, who, and why.
    //People\\
    Eiden Teak (he/him): Soldier and commander in the Sable Court. Wears the wounds of past fights on him with a distinct sort of pride, inherited from his time fighting as an Apostolosian soldier: He’s missing right leg under the knee, and a number of his antlers have been snapped and broken. Wears loose olive drab fatigues, marked the occult insignia and wards of the Court. 
    The Loess (she/her): The leader of the Sable Court stands with a the large, muscular body of a moose more than a deer, and her antlers are no different: wide and domineering, twinkling with not only the normal precious metal inlay used by members of the court, but also with shining, multi-colored gems--memoria--making them look almost more like brightly jeweled butterfly wings than antlers. Her base of operations is, on the outside, hidden by what you can only imagine is incredible advanced technology. You pass through some bushes and above you, a star chart flickers above you. Her voice, heavy, simple, but smart, welcomes you to the heart of the coven.
    //Things\\
    The Strand: A technology once used by the ancient Hyphan people to travel, without Portcullis technology, from system to system. 
    Clarified Memoria: The Sable Court has developed a process by which they “reveal” the truth of Memoria gems, which allows the already potent material to conjure and confer the miraculous.
    Zenith-A Kathēkon: Often affectionately called “Cathies” by Apostolosian pilots, these medium sized, humanoid mechs were originally designed to be the Zenith Fund’s answer to the Troop. Specially built for Apostolosian needs (including night, underwater, and orbital combat), the Kathekon is a flexible fighting platform with fully articulating hands, advanced imaging, and jumpjets designed to allow low, fast horizontal hops. While the Troop still makes up the bulk of the Apostolosian hollow forces, you’ll often find Cathies deployed on special ops missions or by unit commanders. Their dark green color, bulbous armor, and large orange “eyes” give them an amphibious look--which is (part of) the reason behind Kesh soldiers referring to their Apostolosian foes as “frogs.”
    //Additional Notes\\
    SBBR’s Mission Objectives: Drive the 301st away from the the path towards the Sable Court. Secondary objective: Capture their equipment. 
    Rules of Engagement: Do not trigger any of the Sable Wards which have been placed. 

    • 2 hrs 24 min
    PARTIZAN 07: Ambush in the Sand

    PARTIZAN 07: Ambush in the Sand

    Before Cymbidium died, he asked the labor machine Thisbe, whose deerlike design drew from the form of his own people’s, for a favor: Deliver a final message to Mourningbride, initiate of the occult group the Sable Court and former Elect. On hearing about this goal, Thisbe’s squad members Broun and Valence encourage her to pursue it, and travel with her deep into Columnar territory to meet with the Hyphan witches of the forest. But when they arrive, they find a less welcoming host than expected...
    This week on PARTIZAN: Ambush in the Sand
    ///Operation Dossier\\\
    //Organizations\\
    Stel Columnar: A fence-sitting democracy, made up largely of synthetics on the cutting edge of technology, art, politics, and war. They are tied to the Future. Innovation, style, cowardice.
    The Sable Court: Some say that on dark nights, they have seen these Ashen witches on the eastern edge of Lake Timea, horns and antlers glittering in the light of Girandole. Some even say that a former elect walks among them. Heresy, all of it. 
    301st Appraisal Unit:  Before the Columnar commits the resources necessary to take something for their own, this small reconnaissance unit comprised of soldiers, engineers, and academics needs to find it
    21st Voluntary Composite Division: Unlike most other Stels, Columnar doesn’t segregate Hallow and Hollow units, and instead assigns Hallow pilots to officer roles in combined arms divisions like this one.
    Strand Semaphore: Using ancient Hyphan technology, this messenger service is able to send text-based communications to anywhere on-moon, so long as they’ve built an outpost there.
    //People\\
    Mourningbride (she/her): An initiate in the Sable Court, and a former Elect. 
    Cymbidium (he/him): The deceased Elect of the Divine Past. Gave Thisbe a message to deliver to Mourningbride.
    Kenzington “Kenzi” Be (she/her): Commanding Officer of the Columnar 301st Appraisal Unit. Has legs that can fold down into tank treds--in some ways, she looks like the humanoid version of Broun’s mech, the Three Cheers! Has a long oval torso and a totally spherical head with dozens of cameras on it that sort of extends from her torso.
    Cobra Junction (he/him): Humanoid pilot in a flashy, vinyl bomber jacket with gold stripes and is often “smoking” synthetic cigars. This facade reflects an insecurity, as Cobra’s initial assignment was due to his geological expertise, not his aptitude as a pilot.
    Dina Dash (they/them): Wheeled synthetic who carries a clipboard and has magnification lenses that can independently move lower in front of their optics.
    //Places\\
    The Memoria Teardrop: A range of mountains and high plains, dense with mineral resources. Named for “memoria,” a rare precious material with a high, natural storage capacity. 
    Vigil City: The capital city of of Columnar on Partizan. Sits on the southern end of the “Teardrop" on a high plateau. The densest city on Partizan, Vigil City is also the most automated city on the moon.
    Lake Timea: A small lake to the north of the Memoria Teardrop, surrounded on the north side by a dense forest. Home to the Sable Court.
    Red Soil: A small beach on the northern side of Lake Timea
    //Things\\
    The Perennial Wave: Invisible to the naked eye, the Perennial Wave is made up of a seemingly endless amount of nanomachines which flow out from the center of the galaxy and which deactivate or destroy complex machines and electronics. At any moment, the Wave can be at various degrees of density, which are colloquially referred to as “high tide” and “low tide.”
    Bing 32: Broun’s floating, cat sized drone able to use a variety of tools.
    Sable Wards: Through a combination of Memoria and control over the Perennial Wave, the Sable Court is able to create simple, seemingly-invisible wards that alert them of intruders.
    Zenith-A Kathēkon: Often affectionately called “

    • 2 hrs 25 min
    PARTIZAN 06: A Palace During a Wake

    PARTIZAN 06: A Palace During a Wake

    After a successful mission retrieving key remnants of the Divine Past and the body of the Elect Cymbidium, the Rapid Evening has returned to Cruciat, Kesh’s capital on Partizan. While the city mourns the loss of an Elect, the crew’s members are busy resupplying, repairing their vehicles, and pursuing their own ends. While Clementine Kesh deals with the emotional aftershock of her first command, Sovereign Immunity, Exeter Leap, and Ver’Million Blue test the constraints of their imprisonment and take next steps towards their goals. 
    And then there is the matter of the funeral….
    This week on PARTIZAN: A Palace During a Wake
    ///Operation Dossier\\\
    //Organizations\\
    The Curtain: Though Kesh is technically governed through an elaborate parliamentary democracy, the truth is that The Curtain, a secretive organization inside of the Stel, serves as the actual power behind the throne. Knowledge of the Curtain is carefully guarded, and its membership is even further protected.
    //Places\\
    Cruciat: The jewel of Kesh’s holdings on Partizan (and the home of the Stel’s Winter Palace) is this city on a cross shaped island in the northernmost reaches of the Prophet’s Sea. Its cruciform shape made the city easily divisible into districts. The long southern arm is given to government, first to miles of civil bureaucracy and then to noble homes along the waterside, and finally to the famous, icelike Winter Palace. To the east, and across some of the nearby islands that dot the coast, the large proletariat cram into homes. On the west, Kesh’s military marches in formation and launches naval vessels to probe at Apostolos’ borders. The north is industrial, situated so that it can more quickly intake both incoming supplies and outgoing shipments directly from the continent. Finally, the center is a bustling downtown, filled with music, food, shopping, and pleasure of all kinds.
    It’s never quite night time in Cruciat, partly because of its place north on the moon, and partly because the gas lamps saturate the northern fog with white-blue light. It’s a color matched by the stonework buildings, whose light grey facades grow darker as you move north, towards the factories. Horses carry nobles whose homes are worth a thousand thousand times the laborers they pass. And the smell of warm stew is in the air.
    The Winter Palace: Owned and managed by House Kesh, but eternal “home” to the Princept, whether they choose to visit or not. Beyond the throne room, there are countless spaces for receiving and entertaining, a lovely and vast garden, and a number of ballrooms for major events. Built for privacy and access, featuring both its own port and trainyard.
    //Things\\
    Robotic Utilities and Navigation Tool (RUNT): A floating, coffin-shaped, well-programed hunter-killer robot. Obeys Milli’s commands, anticipates her actions, carries her sniper rifle, and wields its own smaller weapons. 
    //Additional Notes\\
    Mission Reward Math:
    4 Supply from 3d6 supply roll (Target’s Tier = 3, Employer Faction Status = 0 ), +1 extra personnel and +1trust (from Kesh’s government type, Oligarchy/Crytpocracy), +1 materiel from Leap’s scavenging
    Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
    Featuring Sylvia Clare (@captaintrash), Art Martinez-Tebbel (@atebbel), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), and Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry)
    Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

    Music by Jack de Quidt (available on bandcamp)
    Text by Austin Walker

    Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)
     

    • 2 hrs 44 min
    PARTIZAN 05: Profit and Loss

    PARTIZAN 05: Profit and Loss

    The events in Obelle were disastrous for many, yet for the Society of Banners and Bright Returns, the nighttime raid on the seaside town went down in the book as a win. Now, they return to their home in the heavily stratified metropolis of Oxbridge in the heart of Stel Orion territory. After getting paid and tending to an unforeseen entanglement, the crew spends some time following leads, satiating their curiosity, and shoring up their reputation around town.
    This is the first session featuring what Forged in the Dark games call “downtime,” a phase of the game that is focused on what the characters do between missions. Because it’s the first downtime of the season, we spend a little more time than usual going over the rules of play so that everyone can follow along. In the future, we’ll summarize as much of the bookkeeping as possible so that we can stay focused on the drama and decision making that makes these sessions sing!
    This Week on PARTIZAN: Profit and Loss
    ///Operation Dossier\\\
    //Organizations\\
    House Bittenbach: “Before all others.” Technically, this is Bittenbach’s motto because  they were the very first noble house in Stel Orion, formed after their founder orchestrated a grand betrayal on behalf of the Principality. Today, though, it is quoted as evidence of the house’s legendary hunger for wealth (and their willingness to break norms to satiate it.) The house’s holdings on Partizan are operated by Burden Bittenbach. They were originally assigned to operate the Obelle mission in SBBR’s place.
    Carrion Collections: A low ranking scavengers squad with a handful of hollows that operates out of Stel Orion. Called shameless, even (especially) by those who employ them. Has a tense with SBBR due to a dispute over workshop materials.
    The Isles of Logos: An independent nation built by the original followers of the prophet Logos Kantel’s around their very first church, though it has since become a secular and independent state—something largely unheard of inside of Principality space. Though only a small handful of islands in the Prophet’s Sea, the Isles keep a standing defense force that rivals any individual squad the Major Stels could throw at them. 
    The Church of the Resin Heart: Among all the sects under the wide umbrella of Progressive Asterism, one group—the Disciples of Logos—is dedicated to the teachings of the movement’s supposed founder, the Prophet Logos Kantel. Though there are a handful of Logos-aligned houses faith across the reaches of the Principality, none is as well organized or important as the Church of the Resin Heart, named for the uncanny, 3-foot tall heart that was recovered from the prophet’s sea many years ago. The Church, also named the Friends of Gur Sevraq in honor of their enigmatic and charismatic leader, are gaining followers as quickly as their leader can perform miracles. They claim the True God is coming, and seek to spread the word as far as they possibly can.
    The Sable Court: Some say that on dark nights, they have seen Ashen witches on the eastern edge of Lake Timea, horns and antlers glittering in the light of Girandole. Some even say that a former elect walks among them, though whether she is the one they call the Loess, no one knows. It does not matter. Heresy, all of it.
    //People\\
    Midnite Matinee (she/her): The Leporine leader of Carrion Collections knows she’s destined for more. She and her trusty Pack-model light AutoHollow Popcorn (she/her) are going to take what they can get, even if it means stepping on people to get it.
    Gur Sevraq (he/they): The enigmatic leader of the Church of the Resin Heart. “Liberated” the divine Future from Stel Columnar. Has performed a number of seemingly-verified miracles in recent months. 
    Mourningbride (she/her): An Ashen born to a high ranking family, Mourningbride was once an elect, but lef

    • 2 hrs 11 min
    PARTIZAN 04: SHORESIDE RECOVERY - BLACKGLOVES

    PARTIZAN 04: SHORESIDE RECOVERY - BLACKGLOVES

    Northwest of the seaside town of Obelle, there is a crater. Inside of that crater are the remains of the Divine Past, and those who wish to claim them: On one side, there are the members of the nascent special operations group the Rapid Evening. On the other, GLORY, a special Apostolosian unit which seeks to resurrect the culture’s greatest heroes as supersoldiers. But as everyone on the holy moon of Partizan knows, there are always more than two sides.
    This week on PARTIZAN: SHORESIDE RECOVERY - BLACKGLOVES
    ///Operation Dossier\\\
    //Organizations\\
    GLORY: With the help of advanced Columnar cloning science, the Glory Project (or simply GLORY), claims to have resurrected (and made immortal) heroes of the nation’s past called Eidolons. On Partizan, they field Kleos, Cassander, Vervain, and the squad’s leader: Apothesa, original Eidolon of construction, military action, and history. Interested in Past’s records chiefly because it might allow them to “better recreate Apostolosian eidolons.”
    The Zenith Fund: A public institution of Stel Columnar that incubates, defends, and offers testing for teams pursuing cutting edge projects in a wide range of fields including medicine, environmental science, infrastructure, culture, and emerging military hardware. Aids with major projects across every other Stel, including Apostolos’ Glory Project.
    Horizon: In the popular consciousness, Horizon is a radical, anti-Principality terrorist organization. In actuality, they are a radical-reformist group, which seeks to drive out what it perceives as corruption in an empire that ought be pursuing noble (instead of selfish) ends. Rumored to be funded by Stel Kesh’s House Brightline.
    //People\\
    Dr. Cardiff Reach (he/him): Columnar researcher from the Zenith Fund who has been assigned to Apostolos’ GLORY project. Quad legged, with four spindly metal legs. Wears a lab coat, independently-moving telescoping eyes, etc.
    “Saint Dawn” (she/her): Commander of Horizon’s forces on all of Partizan. The pseudonym of Gucci Garantine, who hides her identity with metallic, golden face paint forming a “major sector” geometrical pattern on her face, covering her eyes, forehead, and cheeks.
    Figure A (they/them): A synthetic being that once worked inside of the Divine Past, working to make the data the Divine had available to it more understandable by other people. 
    Kleos (they/them): Soldier of GLORY. Genetic clone of the Apostolosian hero and eidolon of the same name. Skin is an iridescent maroon color. Wears a bright red cloak wrapped around their neck and hanging back like a cape, totally topless otherwise, revealing firm, muscular torso. Khaki fatigue-capris. A spear slung over their back, and a heavy sidearm at their waist. 
    //Places\\
    Barranca: To the north of Obelle lies the Apostolosian province of Barranca, where mediterranian subtropical shores give way to a vast latticework of ravines and crags. There, military bases and civilian settlements sit in the crooks and alcoves, shaded by high canyon walls. Rising above it all is the famed Barranca Loop, a massive suspended cable system that runs up above the atmosphere like a giant bridge, and which allows Apostolos to launch ships and cargo into space. Heavily patrolled and under complete control of Stel Apostolos.
    //Things\\
    Transgress Oblige: The hollow of Gucci Garantine, and a chief symbol of the terrorist organization Horizon. Whitesmoke color body, with the torso, shoulders, and upper arms covered in a sort of secondary armor layer that is blue with gold flourishes. Carries a bazooka and a pair of beam partizan (with a golden beam blade) which can retract into a beam saber. Below the blue armor layer is a secondary core, made of some sort of rare crystal: When revealed, those that see it are struck by the power and magnificence of humanity itself. 
    Panther: Cle

    • 2 hrs 23 min
    PARTIZAN 03: SHORESIDE RECOVERY - DINNERDATE

    PARTIZAN 03: SHORESIDE RECOVERY - DINNERDATE

    The destruction of a Divine, the killing of an Elect, and war on a new front: Any one of these could shift the balance of power on a moon like Partizan. So when all three occurred in Obelle, the great Stels began to analyze, strategize, and maneuver immediately. Squadrons were re-deployed, diplomats recalled, artists commissioned, and clergy and commentariat both called to weigh in. 
    But for Stel Kesh, one matter was more important than any other: The safe and honorable recovery of the body of their lost Elect and the retrieval of enough of their ruined Divine so that they may begin the arduous process of revitalization, a task which required a great deal of knowledge, even more salvaged material, and the gumption to put the two together.
    To this end, the newly minted—and still clandestine—Rapid Evening are deployed across the sea, under the orders of erstwhile heiress and novice commander Clementine Kesh (Jack de Quidt). Can Clementine, along with former pirate Exeter Leap (Ketih J. Carberry), religious advisor Sovereign Immunity (Art Tebbel), and AWOL super soldier Ver’Million Blue (Andi Clare), secure acceptable terms with one of her Stel’s most ardent foes? Or will negotiations break down under the weight of old enmity and new blood? 
    This week on PARTIZAN: SHORESIDE RECOVERY - DINNERDATE
    ///Operation Dossier\\\
    //Organizations\\
    The Rapid Evening: A small, covert ops squad loyal to Stel Kesh and named for a now ancient unit of spies, saboteurs, and secret agents.
    The Curtain: Allegedly, the Curtain is the cryptocratic organization that pulls the levers of power in Stel Kesh. In reality ████████████.
    Silversky Salvage and Repair: Salvagers are a dime a dozen, but with chief engineer Sombre Sky in the pit, no one on Partizan is better at putting a machine back together. Dispatched to Obelle along with the Rapid Evening to ensure that the most important parts of Past are retrieved.
    //People\\
    Clementine Kesh (she/her): Formerly sixth in line to the throne of Stel Kesh and the Principality writ large. Was assigned to “religious leave” in order to remove her from the line of succession and place her in comparative safety on the moon of Partizan. Now leads the Rapid Evening out of ambition and boredom. Dreams of ruling Stel Kesh.
    Sovereign Immunity (he/him): Member of the Shepherd’s Crook, a sect of Received Asterism famous for placing high ranking members in advisory roles across many Stels (despite the sect’s loyalty to Stel Nideo). Imprisoned for the crime of kidnapping of Dahlia years before they would declare themself the Glorious Princept, then reassigned to the Rapid Evening. He is also known as the Farmer and Byron. Dreams of being assigned to Clementine as her official Sovereign Immunity.
    Exeter Leap (he/him): A space pirate and one of the few remaining members of the Equiaxed culture in Stel Columnar space. Imprisoned for the aforementioned piracy before being assigned to the Rapid Evening. Dreams of escaping imprisonment.
    Ver’Million Blue (she/her): Created as part of an Apostolosian super soldier program, Million is an excellent sharpshooter who went AWOL (violently) and was eventually picked up as a POW by Stel Kesh. Recently deployed to Partizan as part of the Rapid Evening. Dreams of real freedom.
    Crysanth Kesh (she/her): Clementine Kesh’s mother. Third in line to the throne of Kesh. Would likely be a ranking member of The Curtain, if such an organization existed.
    Audacious Opportunity (A.O.) Rooke (he/him): Was a young freelance mercenary operating under Stel Orion charter before being captured by Stel Kesh on an assignment deep behind enemy lines. Now deployed to the Rapid Evening.
    Gucci Garantine (she/her): Vassal and political attache to House Brightline of Stel Kesh. She and House Brightline reportedly have ties to the “reformist” (read: terr

    • 1 hr 59 min

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