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Episode 441 – too little killing
by Dan Repperger

* (0:29) Why Brodeur is scared of Aisha.

* (2:49) Some new information on Fear the Con X. Derek’s charity game (low level, mid level, and high level tiers). Booters and Shooters. Email Adam Gottfried if you’re interested in pre-con tourism.

* (10:17) Chad’s anger.

* (13:00) Games with too much RP and not enough combat.

* (15:52) Combat that makes sense within the context of the game.

* (20:37) Reasons combat can be important to the catharsis of an RPG.

* (26:18) The tyranny of choice by which players opt out of combat they ostensibly want. The tyranny of moral complexity by which Game Masters strip combat of its catharsis.

* (33:48) Zombie stories as an example of moral simplicity.

* (38:38) Ma Carver as a counter-example.

* (45:56) Why Brodeur’s players opt not to fight. The limiting factor of time. The three round limit.

Hosts: Brodeur, Chad, Dan, Wayne

Episode 440 – battered group syndrome
by Dan Repperger

* (1:43) Introducing our topic from Lars-Hendrik: Groups that have been abused by their GM.

* (4:10) Knowing about the problems prior to the first game versus finding out when the game is in progress.

* (8:00) Mending trust through transparency, patience, and consistency.

* (12:22) Intentionally making mistakes. Rolling above the board.

* (16:12) The bad behaviors we learn when coping with negative people.

* (22:57) Eric’s road to recovery. Realigning your view of the game. Cheating for the players and making deals.

* (35:04) Picking the right game for a battered group.

* (38:23) Handing off the GM seat.

Hosts: Brodeur, Chad, Dan, Eric

Episode 439 – Brodeur goes to school
by Dan Repperger

* (0:28) Welcoming Zach.

* (0:47) Brodeur gets on Facebook and buys a cell phone.

* (17:55) Brodeur talks to the kids in a class about game design. After an introduction, they break up into small groups to play some RPGs.

* (20:47) How far society has come in its acceptance of roleplaying games.

* (26:54) Kids running games for other kids and adults.

* (30:45) The variety of games the students had been exposed to. Aisha’s Emerald City Comic Con coverage.

* (44:47) Tearable by Third Act, Ten Candles by Cavalry Games, and other RPGs being played at the school.

Hosts: Brodeur, Dan, Zach

Episode 438 – performance gaming
by Dan Repperger

* (0:29) Welcoming Eric. What attracted Karla to Dan.

* (3:28) Tabletop roleplaying games as a spectator sport. The showmanship of the Game Master.

* (10:59) The most interesting games as a distraction.

* (13:00) The attributes of a good GM that also make for a good public performance.

* (19:20) Turning a spectator into a part of the game.

* (21:40) Actual Play recordings and the two extreme editing models.

* (29:36) How running an AP affected Eric’s regular gaming. The self-awareness created by self-editing.

* (34:21) A regular gamer recording their own games.

* (46:32) Feedback from an Actual Play, walk-on music, and essay writing classes.

Hosts: Brodeur, Dan, Eric, Karla

ECCC Coverage, Final: Interview with Matt Mcelroy
by Aisha Black

Hi, everyone! This is the last of my ECCC coverage, the part I was most excited about, a talk with Matt Mcelroy, of Onyx Path Publishing.
We’re planning to rope him into a show interview later, so for now I’ll just post up my notes from the interview:

  • CWOD Ghost Hunters is his baby. He pitched it a year and a half ago, when he realized that Onyx hadn’t published any non-gameline-specific expansions for White Wolf.
  • Ghost Hunters make really good contacts and adversaries and annoyances for vampires, and mages…
  • Hunters doesn’t mean hunters as in Bloodborne or Van Helsing, it’s more like investigators.
  • We’re in the second draft, where writers have turned everything in and Matt’s tweaking a lot of things, getting the voice right throughout the book, before sending it all off for editing.
  • A lot of inspiration from X-files and Ghost Hunters, the TV shows like that.
  • Matt tried hard to make it an international ghost book, with writers around the world exploring what ghosts and investigators look like in other cultures.

I know some people will be interested in how the whole thing of getting a book out there works. So I asked a little bit about it.
The process: (as explained to me)

1. Matt gathers up a basic project concept and pitches it to Rich.
2. Rich pitches it to White Wolf and handles that department of things.
3. Once the go-ahead is given, Matt picked up a bunch of writers and freelancers with experience, including actual ghost hunters
4. Matt hammers out an outline. None of the ghost hunters mysteriously vanished right after telling secrets, so I assume they didn’t tell us anything that could end the world.

  • Pre-publishing, Matt plans to send the book around to a few more ghost hunters and see what they think
  • New character types and how they’ll interact is featured, including corporate entities focused on investigations
  • He’s avoiding covering the same material other books have already covered.
  • Look forward to some spooky stories within the book – I won’t reveal the one I was told, but it’s really really good.
  •  Everyone needs to ask Matt for more,  so he makes blog posts about the things that didn’t make it into the book.

Next I asked him a few questions I know people wanted.

  • “How did you, say, break into the industry?” “I was really annoying.” I couldn’t suppress a laugh.

  • “Follow Submission Guidelines. Not enough people do… That would be my #1 piece of advice.”

  • “The first two projects I was hired on for never came out. But it taught me a lot.”

  • “What’s your favorite setting?” “What’s my favorite setting? My answer will probably change tomorrow, but right now, Orpheus.”


He went on to talk about the skills he’d developed, even on projects that didn’t see the light of day.

Matt has two regular gaming groups, one in person and one on roll20. He games a lot at conventions, a little bit of everything, a lot of playtesting.


Episode 437 – consequence and continuity
by Dan Repperger

* (0:36) A second take, and why Brodeur’s wife just might be OK with bigamy. Star wipe.

* (4:07) Pat’s new refrigerator. Dan’s plan to conquer Narnia and install Beth as queen.

* (8:23) Today’s Topic: Terrible segues. Brodeur’s seat just might be up for the taking.

* (10:29) Controlling your players via consequences. The concern that the logical consequence may derail the game or distress the player.

* (13:27) Games that specifically accommodate consequences, whether through setting or rules.

* (16:31) Strategy 1: Managing expectations before the game starts or as a particular action is being declared.

* (19:51) Strategy 2: Backing off to calm down when emotional investment has gotten too high.

* (23:38) Strategy 3: Preparing a mechanism for when it all goes wrong.

* (28:08) Strategy 4: Let’s make a deal.

* (30:54) Strategy 5: Handle it at the plot level, apart from the players.

* (38:58) Strategy 6: Roleplaying the consequence in a way that involves all of the players.

* (43:45) Fear the Con X signup rolls on! You can PM Adam here and Derek here.

Hosts: Brodeur, Chad, Dan, Wayne

Episode 436 – reluctant gamers
by Dan Repperger

* (0:27) Just Dan and Karla! Well, and the pets.

* (1:04) Big Bang Theory. The clip Dan mentioned (WARNING: Yelling and NSFW language.)

* (4:57) Celebrity gossip. The names Dan was looking for are Paul Blackthorne (Quentin Lance), Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen / Green Arrow), and John Barrowman (Malcolm Merlyn).

* (8:50) The increased representation of women in the gaming demographic, but the enduring presence of the reluctant gamers we’d like to bring into the hobby.

* (14:20) Karla’s first impression of gaming, and what got her to try it. Roleplaying as a spectator sport. Finite choices to avoid overwhelming someone with choice.

* (21:08) The difference between knowing what to do and how to do it. The value of familiarity with the source material. Assistance with character creation.

* (31:32) Recognizing personality traits that may make the potential gamer reluctant.

Hosts: Dan, Karla

Interview 40 – James McClure
by Dan Repperger

* (0:35) Introducing James McClure of the Talking Tabletop podcast. You can find his two-part interview with Dan here and here, and his episodes with Chris here and here.

* (5:16) The Satanic Panic Kickstarter. The Dark Dungeons tract. A quick look at the game’s mechanic and the intended danger of being too successful.

* (11:10) The “four spoke” mechanic.

* (16:03) Why Jim chose to make a game about this particular topic. Steve Jackson Games got raided by the Secret Service and then got taken to court.

* (24:27) What’s in this book?

* (28:15) What Jim would like to contribute to the roleplaying hobby.

* (35:31) The Satanic Panic actual play recordings.

* (37:47) Why the book doesn’t include any real history of these events.

Hosts: Brodeur, Dan, Chris, Wayne

Guests: James McClure

Emerald City Comic Con, Part 3
by Aisha Black

Last time I touched on the total coverage that gaming had of an entire floor (the second floor) at ECCC, so today I’m going to touch on what I did, both there and elsewhere, and some interesting people I met and want to thank:

Ben Robbins, who talked a lot about worldgen via story game (his own game, Microscope, as well as others like Downfall seem like a way to gamify making a game). He also introduced me to…

– Caroline Hobbs of Less Than Three Games, who, along with Marc Hobbs, made Downfall, Eden, as well as a few other short games.

–  Tom Parkinson-Morgan, of Kill Six Billion Demons, a very strange and wonderful webcomic, who was only too happy to be a sounding board for a couple of ideas relating to campaign structure and the definition of “normal” in terms of physiology (Why do we play games where having 2 hands is normal?)

Matt McElroy, who I sat down and had a nice interview and then an even nicer chat, who probably thought my face looked a little funny with my makeup all messed up (I’ll post his interview next time)

– Wednesday Sophia, who was my guide to the con and helped me out the whole time I was there

– Ryan Juckett, who put out Inversus, which consumed at least a full hour of my life before I knew what happened

Without these people my ECCC experience would have been woefully incomplete, and I want to stress the importance of the lesson it taught me: The con itself, all of the booths and flashing lights and everything don’t hold a candle to the people you meet, you interview, have lunch with. Take pictures and don’t forget them, because they won’t forget you!

Next time I’ll be talking about my brief interview with Matt McElroy and his upcoming book from Onyx Path Publishing, Ghost Hunters.

Emerald City Comic Con, Part 2
by Aisha Black

One of the things that is pretty mandatory at a con is cosplay. And boy, did we have it.

I saw some really great costumes up close, and I could tell some of them had a lot of work going into them: Others had less.

But there were two that really stuck with me: One, a mom dressed as Toriel from Undertale, and the second: A man in a magikarp helmet, red underwear and shoes.

That’s all. Just a hat and his skivvies, wandering the con. What a champ.

Anyway, the real thing I want to talk about is tabletop gaming, and boy, did we have that, too. I was expecting a few dedicated rooms, a containment area… Nah. Nah, son. I got there and I noticed that gaming wasn’t isolated to a room, it was an entire floor of the convention center. Pinball had a room, with easily a dozen and a half machines, possibly more. There was lending library so you could play anything you wanted while you were there. Old games, new games, you name it. Sign-up tables for extended sessions, story gaming had its own designated space, there were four or five Pathfinder games a night, dozens of games of Follow and Fiasco and other story games every day, just one after another, with professional facilitators to move games along and help them flourish.
We own an entire floor. No one else owns an entire floor quite this well. Even the show floor was about 35% gaming, Artist’s Alley was seeded with gaming drawings. Catalyst had a booth, even, where I got to try a nice dice-based game called Shadowrun Encounters. The whole place was pretty loaded, but I managed to restrain myself from buying a dice ring.

I signed up for a game of Fiasco on my second day and learned what all the fuss was about. I threw down against Team Skull Grunts in the indie gaming room and showed them who was boss. I ran into a little six year old in a Guzma outfit with adult-sized Guzma goggles.
It was great. All of my hesitation about Comic Con being too much comic and not enough gaming vanished on the first day and only went into negatives from there.

More to follow, everyone. Stay tuned.

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