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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

Thoughts from making episode 1
by Dan Repperger

With episode 1 now live, I’ve had some time to scrutinize our work and think about the things we’ve accomplished.

Before we started this show, we spent weeks reading books and browsing forums to learn everything we could about podcasting.  We were excited about the effort, but knew very little about the hardware and software involved.  We came a  long way, and considering this was our first attempt at podcasting, I’m very pleased with the quality of our first show.  I think we found a solid creative mix and discussion format, and the recording itself sounds good.

However, some things just come from experience.  We learned a lot about the compressor and sound editing software as we made this recording.  There are some rough edges in episode 1, particularly in regard to volume balance.  I may go back and fiddle with the recording at some point in the future, but for now I’ll let it be.  I don’t want to risk over-editing, damaging the show as I attempt to straighten out relatively minor flaws.

I think we also spent that episode just getting comfortable behind the mic and testing our interpersonal dynamic.  I want to shift the show to be a bit more informational in the future, though without losing our wit.

I’m very excited about recording episode 2 this weekend.  Armed with everything we learned from making the prior episode, I’m confident the next one will be just as entertaining, while having an even higher polish.

I hope to catch you all then!

Episode 1 – when player abilities eclipse character abilities
by Dan Repperger

After a conversation about why roleplaying game stories are so terrible to listen to, we move on to the types of gaming groups and a debate about resolving situations where players have a social wit their characters lack (and vice versa).

Hosts: Chad, Dan, Kevin

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