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Thoughts from making episode 5
by Dan Repperger

If you’ve been following this podcast for any length of time, you’ve heard me talk about the significance of episode 5.  Just in case you’re new, I’ll review: traditional wisdom says it takes about five episodes to work out your creative voice and the show’s rhythm.  I don’t know if that estimate is correct for every show, but it was certainly true for us.  Episode 5 was very easy to record and edit.  In fact, I only noticed one production error: I forgot to introduce the hosts.  A bit embarrassing, but hardly a major problem.

Since recording episode 5 went so well, we had some time leftover at the end of our session.  We used that to record bonus episodes we’ll be releasing on Wednesday nights for the next couple of weeks.  These bonus shows are only about 10 – 15 minutes in length.  They’re very casual, meaning they are not edited in any way.  It’s just us chatting for a few minutes about topics that don’t fit within our normal episodes.

The first three shows discuss the creative, hardware, and internet aspects of making the podcast (in that order).  They’re primarily aimed at anyone who’s either looking to make their own show or just curious how we do it. After that, we’ve got several other items on tap, all of them a bit off topic from our normal shows.

Episode 5 – creating NPCs
by Dan Repperger

Before I get into the content of episode 5, I want to draw your attention to something.  At the time we recorded this episode, we had not yet gotten in touch with the folks at GOBLIN.  That has changed since the podcast was recorded, so we no longer need any help with that.

With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

We start the episode off with some updates on the networks we’ve been getting listed on.  Among them is Odeo, which you can use to send us voicemail.  You can find a link directly to our Odeo account in the “Links” section of our website.

Due to the amount of feedback it’s generated, we clarify our views on Shadowrun and Champions.  After that, we spend some time reminding everyone of the real gems of old and out-of-print games, and we think back to the “girlfriend games” that got our significant others into the hobby.

Our gaming advice portion of the show focuses on making good NPCs (non-player characters) for your roleplaying game.  As of this post, I don’t have our sample NPCs posted to the Resource section of our site, but that will be corrected by the end of Monday.

Hosts: Adam, Chad, Dan

On Shadowrun
by Dan Repperger

I have quite a few announcements I’ve been saving for episode 5. However, due to the amount of feedback we’ve gotten on one particular issue, I feel I should comment on it before then.

In episode 2, Chad and John made some negative comments about Shadowrun. I think those comments were not given sufficient context in the show, and even worse, I didn’t speak up to juxtapose what was being said. I want to save the meat of this topic for episode 5, but I’d like to deliver the punch-line now: I like Shadowrun. I enjoy running and playing the game, which is one of the reasons I chose it for our mock campaign. Kevin and Tim were not present for episode 2, but let me assure you they also enjoy Shadowrun.

Tune in to episode 5 if you want to hear us explain why we love the game or hear Chad explain why he doesn’t. We’ll also be talking about how you can leave us voicemail, our experience with the Champions system, a new 40k product, and some tips on designing NPCs for your campaign.

Thoughts from making episode 4
by Dan Repperger

First and most importantly, I wanted to let you guys know we’re having some problems with our domain email.  It looks like they’re getting blocked by some SPAM filters.  So if you wrote us but haven’t heard back, that’s probably why.  Until I can hammer out why that’s happening, I’ve created a Gmail account to respond from.

If you’ve already listened to episode 4, I’d like to explain the “dead space” thing.  When we make these episodes, we inevitably screw up.  We get distracted, lose our train of thought, and so on.  During editing, I typically delete these errors so you guys get clean audio.  However, for whatever reason, the other four hosts absolutely insisted I leave one in this episode.  So I hope you enjoy our mess-up, complete with a brief song of “Dead Space” to the tune of Ogden Edsl’s “Dead Puppies”.

That aside, I think the episode came out pretty good.  If was more informative and less comedic than the previous episodes, but that wasn’t anything we planned.  I’m sure our episodes will waffle quite a bit between information and comedy, and this one just so happened to be on the information side of the aisle.  I was also talking a bit fast, but that’s something I can easily address in the future.

I hope you guys enjoy the episode!  Write us back and let us know what you thought.

Episode 4 – campaign design
by Dan Repperger

Why exactly do we play roleplaying games?  Episode 4 starts with that question getting kicked around.  As we try to answer it, we also think back to a GURPs “trip to the lake” game we saw being played at a gaming con.

Tim brings in some material on the new realm, Ptolus, which we review.  Then we offer GMs some advice on designing the campaign that will tie your individual game sittings together.

Hosts: Adam, Chad, Dan, John, Tim

How do we make the podcast?
by Dan Repperger

Though we’re still fairly new to podcasting, we did a lot of research before we kicked this show off.  Even in the short time it’s been running, we’ve had several people ask us for advice on putting together podcasts of their own, getting the right equipment, and all of that.  We don’t want to interrupt our normal schedule of talking about RPGs, but we’re thinking about making a “bonus” episode in the near future that just talks about the technical and creative aspects of getting a podcast running.  Would you guys be interested in that?

Thoughts from making episode 3
by Dan Repperger

Sorry I didn’t get this post up sooner.  I wasn’t sure how many people even read these things until I started getting emails asking why this one wasn’t up.  I guess that answered my question.

Before I talk about episode 3, I’d like to say I’m glad to have the new site colors up.  If you’re not seeing those, hit the old “Refresh” button on your browser.  The original colors were based on a template provided by the host, and they were a bit…um…cheerful.  Yeah, that’s a safe word to describe it.  Looking good now though.  A big thanks to Tim for the logo drawing and revised colors!  Also a big thanks to Karla for helping me get a clean, user-friendly layout together when we kicked this site off a few weeks ago.

I know we keep saying this, but I want to extend another big “thanks” to the folks that post or email us about the show.  You guys rock, and you’re one of the big reasons we’re excited to hit the mics and do it again.

Now, on to the podcast review…

I felt episode 3 was a solid step up from episode 2, particularly in the advice portion of the show.  It didn’t have the sort of drastic improvement that episode 2 had from episode 1, but then again, I’m not sure we needed it.  Did we need tweaking?  Yes.  But another overhaul?  Probably not.

This episode was a bit longer than episode 2, but still within our goal.  We want our shows to be between 30 and 45 minutes.  This one was 44:34, so we’re still in that realm.  I’m not sure what length our audience prefers yet, so hopefully you guys don’t object to the longer format!

Walking away from 3, only one thing really concerned me:  I had mixed feelings about the presence of six hosts.  When we started this show, we invited seven people to work on it.  One declined, six accepted.  As hectic as our schedules are, I just assumed this would be a rotating cast!  I never thought everyone would show up at once.

As I listened to the show, I think the hosting still worked out ok.  We had some moments of crosstalk, but I think that’s something we can nail down as we build our chemistry and rhythm on the mics.  I don’t think we’ll consistently have all of the hosts present for every show anyway, but if we do, that’s just fine with me.  Though some of them talk less than others, these are all good guys with great stuff to say.  Everything else we can get down with experience.

Episode 3 – character creation
by Dan Repperger

We kick this show off with an explanation of how making a podcast is like running a roleplaying game.  The hosts are introduced, and then John and Chad tell us their tongue-in-cheek (?) vision of a roleplaying game with just one character stat.

The product we review this show is very close to home: our own podcast.  We go over the critiques our listeners have sent us and talk about the changes we’ve made over the past several episodes.

The advice portion covers the art and science of creating solid characters, with special emphasis on background and personality.  We also explain the virtues of intentionally writing in weaknesses.

Hosts: Adam, Chad, Dan, John, Kevin, Tim

Thoughts from making episode 2
by Dan Repperger

I wrote a review after episode 1, giving my take on what we did right and wrong. I’d like to do that again for episode 2.

I’m not sure if these posts will become a permanent tradition of mine, but I’d like to do them for at least the first five episodes. Why five? Almost every source I’ve read agrees it takes about five episodes to get the format and creative voice of a podcast straight. Sure, you need to improve all the time to stay on top of your game, but your first several episodes is when you have to work the hardest to get things right. You can research yourself silly, but some things just come best through trial and error.

Before I dive into my comments on episode 2, I’d like to thank everyone that’s been giving us feedback. Some of the things you guys said just confirmed what we already knew, while some was completely new information to us. Regardless, all of it was important since it’s hard to notice these things from our side of the mic. So please keep the compliments and concerns coming in!

On to the review…

I hoped episode 2 would be a big improvement over episode 1, and without a doubt I got that. We made a few improvements to the sound quality, implemented a new outline for the show, and covered some good material. There’s also broad agreement in our feedback that we have a great mix of personalities, making the show fun to listen to.

Despite these leaps forward, we still have things to fix for episode 3. I think we need to be a little more informational, especially during the review and advice portion of the show. I’d also like for us to balance our perspectives with more positive affirmations. Sure, like most gamers we’re pretty cynical, but let’s talk more about what we like and what works, not just the things that annoy us.

We’re going to kick off episode 3 with a discussion of the feedback we’ve been getting, followed by some tips on character creation. I have the show notes in front of me right now, and this is shaping up to be an awesome episode. I look forward to making it!

One last tidbit before I sign out. A few paragraphs up, I mentioned we have an outline for the show we started using in episode 2. It worked well, so we’ll likely stick to that for many episodes to come. In case you’re wondering, that outline is…

a. introduction of hosts and topics (1 – 2 minutes)

b. thoughts of the day (5 – 10 minutes)

c. product review (5 – 10 minutes)

d. gaming advice (15 – 30 minutes)

Episode 2 – creating a group template
by Dan Repperger

For the next several episodes, we’ll be using a mock Shadowrun game to walk you through the do’s and don’ts of roleplaying games.  In this podcast, we talk about the first step a group should take when starting a game: creating a group template.  We explain what group templates are, why to build one, and how to make them effective.

Before digging into that, we take a look back at our first gaming experiences, followed by a discussion about gaming in hobby shops and other public places.  There’s also a brief chat about the changing definition of what’s “dorky” and a review of Shadowrun’s previous editions.

Hosts: Adam, Chad, Dan, John

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