* (3:05) Charity fundraiser for Tim Meehan. You can donate online, or join the D&D trivia night and silent auction at the St. Charles Fantasy Shop, on August 22nd at 6:00pm. Tables are up to 8 people, costing $20 per person.
Fair warning: There are a lot of strange things going on in this episode. It was recorded during a thunderstorm. I was losing my voice (and completely lost it thereafter, so Karla had to do the intro). And some of the jokes get rather off-color.
* (0:29) Dan’s Enterovirus, Brodeur’s Herpes, and…yeah…this doesn’t end up anywhere good.
* (0:40) If you’re playing Pathfinder Online and looking for a guild, Fear the Boot has aligned itself with Kabal. We also have an upcoming event with Goblinworks that will take place in-game. Keep your eye on the show for details, including how you can grab an alpha code to join us.
* (3:37) Steve’s resume as a gamer and industry professional.
* (5:43) Why tabletop gaming is important to the staff of a video-game-focused site. The relationship between TTGs and video games. (The game Dan referred to as The Legend of Quicksilver was actually The Legend of Blacksilver.)
* (12:51) Storytelling not keeping pace with other advances in video gaming. The graphic Dan referred to demonstrating diminishing returns in polygon count,
* (23:45) Whether tabletop roleplaying games are shifting their focus as well. The role of indie shops in both video games and roleplaying games.
* (33:18) How the video game and RPG industry still inform each other’s development.
* (48:55) Tips for people wanting to get into video game blogging and new media.
* (10:53) When a character’s description falls well below the power level described on the sheet. For example, a party of 1st level characters where one person insists they’re a seasoned veteran. What happens when three master fencers take on 50 opponents at once.
* (21:55) Social or “soft” imbalances that aren’t necessarily reflected in a character’s stats. Enforcing the consequences agreed upon for those perks.
* (27:52) Brodeur Break!
* (31:07) “Reset” characters that have been reduced in power by a major life event.
With a repaired internet connection, we try again at getting John on an episode! After talking about the social difficulties of constraining group size (or removing problem players), we dig into making characters during the course of a game. Since many people are either burnt out on character creation or just don’t understand their character until they’ve played him/her, there can be an advantage to starting out with very little and building both the personality and stats during play.
* (1:20) The Fear the Boot Blood Bowl leagues are forming! You can find all of the information you need on both the beginner and advanced leagues on the forums.
* (3:34) The video game, Smite, gets us thinking about the culture surrounding various video games, board games, and roleplaying games. How that culture flavors your entire experience with a game. Twoarticles on the professionals brought in to clean up League of Legends’ community.
* (17:35) Ways for controlling the type of community you play with.
* (25:22) Creating community in games that require little or no social interaction.
* (1:05) If you have any extra money this Christmas, please consider a contribution to Operation Underground Railroad, which is working to free children from sex trafficking. (I realize O.U.R. has gotten verbal and financial support from Glenn Beck, but to the best of my understanding, this is not his charity. It operates under the broader charity, Child Rescue Association of North America — whose reports can you can find here. I hope this charity will be judged on its merits, not the opinion you may have of controversial individuals that have supported its work.)
* (0:28) Fear the Con 7 will be on June 12th – 14th, 2014. The website will be live this Friday, November 8th.
* (4:04) Almost introducing the topic.
* (4:48) Everyone gets confused by the new mic guards.
* (6:20) Actually introducing the topic: playing a BAUS (beautiful and unique snowflake), meaning a character that stands apart from the rest of the party and feels special to the player running him or her.
* (9:12) Playing a BAUS by only tinkering with background and personality.
* (11:10) The importance of having a unique role to play.
* (22:37) Playing a BAUS without overshadowing someone else’s BAUS.
* (1:53) Designing pre-generated characters for a con game or a longer campaign. The importance of keeping it simple and open to interpretation, while still giving enough to latch onto. The value of leading questions. The usefulness of pictures.
* (12:26) Designing the right finale for your campaign. Understanding what the campaign was about, which may or may not be the same as its plot. Identifying what the players and Game Master each want from the conclusion.
* (39:39) Our favorite endings to campaigns we’ve played in.
* (43:06) Creating an epilogue to wrap-up any unfinished business after the finale is done.
* (0:30) When combat works out a little too well. A variety of suggestions for tweaking fights on the fly to get the results you want.
* (27:28) The advantages and disadvantages of varying campaign lengths. One-shots, chapters, epics, and genuinely unending stories. A defense of playing really long campaigns, even knowing they’re likely to fail.
* (10:29) How is crowdfunding impacting the roleplaying hobby? The usefulness of sites like Kickstarter, not only as a funding tool, but also as a marketing tool.
* (15:03) The distinction between the major crowdfunding sites.
* (19:43) The value of crowdfunding in proving an idea has traction with consumers. Continuing to sell rewards after the original drive has ended, and the value of keeping certain rewards exclusive.
* (27:36) The crappy fulfillment surveys offered by Kickstarter.
* (28:55) Some stats on Kickstarter and what they say about crowdfunding. Why most projects will either fail early or make it all the way to success, while only a small number die in the middle. The bimodality of funds coming in. How successfully funding can cause cash to flow even faster.
* (37:02) How crowdfunding is bringing back a patronage model by allowing people to pay what a product is worth to them, as opposed to what it costs to make. Mikey Mason’s Impotent Nerd Rage.
* (45:57) Whether Matt’s campaigns looked any different, since they were more than just one-time events.
* (51:53) Kickstarter fatigue.
* (56:12) Projects that deliver extremely late or don’t deliver at all. You can find the CNN article here. How success — and stretch goals in particular — can actually sabotage a project’s delivery.
* (4:59) Introducing Mike Brodeur from The Fantasy Shop chain of game and comic stores.
* (11:29) Finding the “friendly” in “friendly local game store”. Why it’s missing far too often and how The Fantasy Shop addressed the issue. Chad and Mike have a bromance. Dan drops history about the defeat of the Spartans, though he confuses the Thracians with the Thebans.
* (21:31) Winning over the person that would rather shop on Amazon…or not winning them over at all.
* (30:45) Selling a product you don’t know.
* (34:50) “This is not a library!” Distinguishing between browsers and freeloaders.
* (39:44) The relationship between bricks-and-mortar stores and digital products, such as PDFs. Bits and Mortar.
* (45:11) The finite resource of space. How decisions are made about what to stock and where. Why We Buy by Paco Underhill. Carrying a diversity of products and selling them to a diverse audience.
* (6:43) The gamification of an RPG. What the term means in business or learning, and how it can be applied to the meta-game of an RPG. The language site we mentioned was DuoLingo.
* (11:51) The potential pitfalls of gamification, including too much focus on the meta-game, overburdening players, or growing disparities in power.
* (14:09) A defense of the idea. How it’s already a part of RPGs, even if not acknowledged or codified.
* (20:29) Additional examples of where these systems already exist in RPGs. Whether the very act of naming and describing the system can make gamification problematic. The psychological value of being able to choose the type of carrot and stick a Game Master wants to use.
* (3:42) Chris resurrects a dead campaign. How meta-game techniques can give players a sense of freedom about how well (or poorly) they remember the game. Helping everyone recall concepts and get back into the flow after being gone for so long.
* (24:35) Re-purposing old campaign ideas. The portability of ideas between genre, system, and setting.
* (4:20) Fear the Con 7 will most likely be June 12th – 14th of 2014.
* (8:17) Our biggest faults as Game Masters and how we overcame (or are working to overcome) them.
* (22:00) The nature of crunch within a roleplaying game. How rules, setting, and even language can create additional processes you might need to understand to play a game. The relationship between crunch and the length of a campaign.
* (2:28) Chris meets a person and is impressed by the event.
* (8:38) Telling a story at varying levels of epic-ness. What it means for a story to be epic. The importance of the small stories, even when told in the context of larger events. Keeping the players connected to the characters and not just the plot arc. You can find the Dark Dungeons tract here. And, finally, the Crest Kids versus the Cavity Creeps.
* (0:30) Fear the Con 6! Sign up for the games you want to run or play. Also, be sure to get your ticket ordered so we can give you a badge on Wing Night and skip the lines on Friday morning.
* (2:03) A discussion about why Tex and Dan used to hate Chris leads into some insight on the work Chris did for FASA and the rejection letter he got for a Shadowrun adventure about Mars. Yes, you read that right.
* (13:11) The distinction between writing a module and writing an adventure.
* (0:57) Issues of responsibility. Within a roleplaying group, who buys the books? How do you fairly divide materials and labor? Whether hosting the event or running the game should count toward those social obligations.
* (36:48) Handling mass combat in a game while still making the players feel like their characters are an important part of it. Allowing them the most important tasks or a higher level of power. Giving military context or emotional value to the smaller objectives of war. Chad gave me twopictures from the D&D city battle we did.
* (0:28) I don’t even know how to describe this. Even Wayne was at a loss for words.
* (9:14) A shout-out to the guys who have put out a Matrix RPG.
* (10:40) Sign-up for our own convention, Fear the Con, is still running.
* (10:49) If you’re interested in a convention on the east coast, be sure to check out 1d4Con in Winchester, Virginia, Friday, April 26th to Sunday, April 28th.
* (11:51) And it goes back there again. The Ryan versus Chad sock puppet pony conversation can be found here.
* (13:19) If you’re interested in writing, stop by Fear the Boot’s own writers’ guild. Their next online meetup is on Saturday, March 16th. Check the forum area or send a PM to Sion for more information.
* (15:37) Why Dan can’t do his own game session reviews.
* (17:13) An object lesson on “forced success”, drawing from our most recent game.
* (21:16) Giving success to your characters as a way of keeping the game intact and the plot moving forward. Balancing the value of internal consistency versus player enjoyment.
* (4:17) Fear the Con is coming up. If you’re arriving early for the tourism, please send an email to Dan with your contact information, arrival time, and method of travel, so we can keep you in the loop. Failing that, we’ll also be updating our Twitter feed with event information as we migrate about the area.
* (7:57) Playing a character with a disability. The motivations for playing such a character. Handling it with dignity and sensitivity. When it’s probably best to avoid the topic completely.
* (1:08) Some breaking news on the Pathfinder MMO: Mark tells us about the upcoming “Guild Land Rush”.
* (5:26) Introducing Mark Kalmes. City of Heroes (and Villains), the Mastermind, and the game’s shutdown. Asheron’s Call and Meridian.
* (11:49) Mark’s work in robotics.
* (14:12) The relationship between Goblinworks and Paizo.
* (15:58) How close will the MMO stick to the Pathfinder tabletop rules? The nature of a class-less, skill-based system. How characters advance, how they’re capped, and how new players can enter a world alongside well-established ones.
* (32:51) Player-versus-player combat in Pathfinder Online. The reasoning behind the lack of PVE (or purely consensual PVP) options. The role of NPC hirelings. A player-based economy and the importance of inter-player relationships.
* (46:37) Breaking into an established world. Finding a role for your character and a piece of land for your house.
* (51:09) The consequences of character death.
* (53:36) The relationship between the in-game and real-world economies. We also talk about active subscriptions versus playing on a lapsed subscription. The story of Second Life and the IRS.
* (58:41) The number and structure of servers, and the number of accounts per server. Hurdles put in place to keep one guild from dominating the game world.
* (1:02:17) How the casual and solo players fit into the order of things.
* (2:27) Voting on the postcard grand prize winner will begin soon! I’m just waiting on one more show to get me their winning card.
* (3:28) Derpy Hooves, Bruticus, Orson Welles and the green peaness, the Pros and Cons podcast, the Dinosaurs boardgame, disgusting sodas, and a canoe.
* (22:12) Getting and maintaining a group’s focus in a game. Allowing for reasonable outbursts of humor and socialization, without letting it disrupt play. I couldn’t find a video for “the clown is down”, but I at least found the longer quote it’s from.
* (2:32) The existence or absence of critical miss rules in various systems, and whether they’re needed to add parity to critical hits.
* (20:18) Why GMs should not make obfuscation and frustration their go-to method of building a plot. Times we’ve encountered this in the past. Whether improv GMs are more prone to this particular mistake and some suggestions on a better way to structure even a “single-objective” plot.
If you need an extra dose of Fear the Boot this week, Dan was a guest on two other podcasts. First, he appeared on Saving the Game to talk about the moral dimension of folklore and re-imagining tabletop fantasy in a monotheistic paradigm. Second, he appeared on Pros & Cons to talk about the nitty gritty of hosting a convention.
As a side note, while Pros & Cons has a similar “no politics, no religion” policy to our own, Saving the Game is a Christian podcast. It’s not aggressive toward other worldviews, but consider this fair warning that it does carry an overtly religious perspective.
* (0:05) Chris demands the bonus episode disclaimer. Johann delivers!
* (1:19) The premise (and ditched titled) for the episode.
* (1:33) The problem with Chris.
* (4:10) Back to the prior topic! What Dan wants gone: the “traitor” mechanic.
* (7:33) What Johann wants gone: cursed items.
* (15:53) What Chris wants gone: a lack of time and rules lawyers.
* (26:29) What John wants gone: not being a kid, anymore.
* (29:03) Playing across the gender aisle.
* (32:58) Real-life versus your gaming life.
* (34:25) The one piece of equipment your characters always have. Plus encumbrance, belladonna, and garlic.
* (0:24) Maintaining and expressing individuality while in a command structure. The story of Roy Benavidez.
* (3:17) The details of military rank structure and the protocol for addressing other soldiers. The importance of how you got your rank, and the subcultures that creates. A survey of military ranks, histories, etymologies, etc, can be found here (there’s a show/hide link next to it — just click “show”).
* (21:36) The reasons people join the military.
* (35:21) The dehumanization of the enemy, and how it makes combat both easier and more difficult. You can read up on the Christmas Truce here.
* (40:39) The conversations that occur between moments of action. When and where people have their most honest moments, and the form they take.
* (47:51) The camaraderie shared by military veterans as a result of their shared experiences. The similar (albeit less significant) camaraderie that forms among roleplayers for similar reasons.
* (0:35) Whether women can accurately predict who men will find attractive.
* (8:13) Rearranging the hosts’ paychecks. Also, hair dye and care tips.
* (14:59) When a group template can backfire, creating a fence that makes it harder to integrate new characters. How the group can work together to integrate a new character and make sure they have a meaningful place in the setting and plot.
* (0:36) Postcards! Postcards! Send in your postcards and win free stuff!
* (1:08) Shock websites and the other horrors of the internet Chad intentionally seeks out.
* (12:44) Real-life shame (or the lack thereof) and how that impacts the way we approach roleplaying games. The “Cerebus rant” can be found here. FAIR WARNING: The material contained within will likely be offensive to the vast majority of people.
* (32:21) What happened to the campaign pitches our listeners sent it.
* (0:53) Chris gives a shout-out for a rather unusual gift.
* (4:45) What we each feel is missing in our current gaming groups or would like to see in a new player.
* (21:07) The art of selling a game idea to your players. Reading into their questions. Digging until you find the real objection. Reshaping the game idea or “sales pitch” to fit your audience. Making the pitch as immersive as the game.
* (4:57) Batman, Superman, Iron Man, a dinosaur, and Toy War 2. You can see the fight that started it all here.
* (18:45) Getting a new Game Master started in the art of running RPGs. The experiences of Adam, Beth, and Wayne as they each ran their first games. The lessons they wish they’d known going into it. What they have to say to anyone ready to take the plunge.
* (1:03) The origin and cogency of evil within real people, and why that makes it hard for some of us to play dark characters. Why it’s easier to play a dark NPC than PC. The Joker’s boner (link is SFW despite the name).
* (17:34) Picking “acceptable evils” to help you find a dark character you’d be willing to play.
* (30:37) Dark characters we’ve played in the past and how we made them work.
* (16:28) As a Game Master, knowing what you truly want out of a game. Trying to get what you want while still taking into account the players’ wants and needs. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Around 34:50, Pat makes a comment about being able to do what you want, just like Spider-Man. That’s an inside joke referring to this video. FYI, it contains strong language.)
* (39:00) Identifying what you want as a player and getting that from a game without being uncompromising.
* (0:28) Introducing James. How little we used to know about the names associated with the games we played.
* (2:50) Johann must ask the hard-hitting questions.
* (6:02) The degree of freedom RPG fiction writers have in shaping their own work. The distinction between good prose and good game writing.
* (10:50) Writing shared world fiction. The joy of working in collaboration with other people, while suffering a loss of ownership and control.
* (14:29) Zeb Cook’s robots.
* (16:04) Creator rights in roleplaying games.
* (27:03) Is gaming fiction typically worse than other forms of fiction? And if so, why?
* (35:54) The book Jim just finished editing, Beyond the Wall, and how it illustrates his view of an editor’s role.
* (41:15) What Jim has coming up, including some script work on the Hack/Slash comic book. You can also follow his work via his website. While not mentioned during the episode, Jim was a puppeteer for the comedy musical, Misfit Heights.
* (42:48) Comparing San Diego Comic-Con to Gen Con, in terms of size, scope, purpose, and culture.
* (2:01) The origin of Eberron and how its publication impacted Keith’s career.
* (9:49) Traveling around the world, staying with other gamers, and running the same game 54 times. What he would like to run and play within his own group.
* (19:54) Maintaining mystery in a game setting. The relationship between the game and its supporting fiction, particularly when trying to show deference to the way Game Masters have developed the setting for their own group.
* (28:19) The surprisingly delightful card game, Gloom, in which you attempt to destroy your own family. Why Dan wants to see an expansion for the Lemp family. Finding an emergent story in otherwise story-less games.
* (40:12) Cthulhu Fluxx and how it both captures the feel of a Lovecraft story and stands apart from the other Fluxx games.
* (0:50) Tips and techniques for running a fully improvised game. We start by setting the boundaries for the discussion.
* (5:16) Why improv at all?
* (6:50) Asking the right questions to get things started. In the broadest sense, what sort of game experience do the players want to have? Setting boundaries and building initial, internal consistency.
* (13:15) Using character-based questions to narrow everything down and draw out ideas for the game.
* (20:58) How far ahead of the players you need to be. Sources of inspiration for setting the scene. The power of, “Yes, but…”
* (31:03) Employing all of these ideas in a practice exercise.
* (39:54) John’s approach to running improv games. How introducing a formalized rules system impacts the process.
* (0:35) Handling interrogation in a roleplaying game. Allowing the PCs (or NPCs) to get the information they want without degrading into senselessly graphic scenes. Passing off misinformation or allowing the target of interrogation to manipulate the situation.
* (23:17) Characters that don’t quite fit in. While this could come from clashes of personality or power level, we focus on those that don’t fit because of the accompanying mythos or setting presumptions needed for them to exist.
* (1:08) This year we’ll be attending San Diego Comic Con instead of Gen Con. However, there may still be some FtB community-sponsored events at Gen Con. Expect details on the activities at both conventions soon!
* (1:46) John is a bad, bad man. Adding romance to a game while also dealing with its consequences.
* (16:18) Stepping back when you’re too busy to GM. Our temporary switch from Battletech to Dresden. Non-consensual changes to character — crossing the “golden box”.
* (30:40) Questions to contemplate prior to the game. Making sure there’s a common understanding about certain elements such as lethality, plot direction, and the usefulness of various archetypes.
* (6:13) Free RPG Day coming up on this Saturday, June 16th.
* (8:53) The lessons learned from a nearly-dead online game. Setup time, scheduling, and social awkwardness.
* (24:30) Some shout-outs from Fear the Con V.
* (27:55) Allowing your PCs — or the enemies — to quit the field during a roleplaying game, whether through retreat, surrender, capture, or truce. Why it so rarely happens. How to make it feel like an option, and the depth it can add to a game when handled properly.
FAIR WARNING: The first part of this episode is a bit crass. If you’re offended by that sort of thing, just skip forward to the 18 minute mark and begin listening there.
* (0:30) Welcoming guest hosts, Chris Mais and Julia. Julia’s struggles as a gaming girl. Chris Mais proves he can out…whatever…Chris Hussey. A discussion about cosplay, including the costumes Julia has done and the one Dan wants to do.
* (17:53) Gaming with a very large group of players. The largest group we’ve each been in and how they were formed.
* (22:28) The problems large groups can create for the Game Master, including a large audience to entertain, numerous interactions to work out, and the amount of data to track.
* (28:01) The problems players have to contend with. Too many leaders, cliques, character overlap, and simple boredom. The diminishing role of NPCs.
* (43:40) Possible solutions to make an unwieldy gaming group work.
* (0:00) Don’t worry. We’ll stick with podcasting.
* (2:07) May 5th? Wow, I’m behind on getting these episodes out. But for those of you that didn’t make it, welcome to Fear the Con V! We start by introducing the podcasts represented on this episode.
* (2:55) The winner of the Power 16 III!
* (4:39) The art of storytelling in an RPG, as inspired by an article about running games for a blind gamer (which can be found here). Adding vivid appeal in a small number of words. The importance of all five senses in the description of setting, dialog, and action. Holding the other people at your table accountable for contributing to the scene.
* (41:33) Stopping just shy of entrapment, Chris Ings gives Johann something a Juggalo would surely love. We also get a gift from Japan, which went entirely to Chad.
It is indeed the long awaited, much anticipated, frequently masturbated, and now antiquated Episode 200. Promised well over a year ago, this episode is doing everything it is able to do to not live up to the hype that has been created around its existence or non-existence. Enjoy.
Either way, leave Chris alone about it. He’s suffered enough… okay, who am I kidding. He was made to suffer. It’s his lot in life.
* (2:00) Stuart’s participation in the one-page dungeon design competition. The mental exercise of paring content down to just what’s really needed. The virtue of succinctness in the face of bloated games.
* (15:45) Capturing a character in just ten traits, taking up an area smaller than a standard playing card.
* (19:38) The choice to exclude a detailed setting and an explanation of what an RPG is. The increasing exposure people have to the concepts of RPGs. The use of implied setting to make the game bigger than the text itself.
* (35:13) What Stuart’s playing apart from the games he’s written.
* (41:41) A micro-RPG in the hands of a brand new player or GM.
* (43:31) What the phrase “old school” means to Stuart and why he feels it applies to his game. The G.I. Joe old school PSA parody (fair warning: there’s some strong language). Discussion about the usefulness of vernacular labels.
If people want to write their own letter, please address it to “Dear Soldier” and place it in an unsealed blank envelope. I have to request an address at the time of sending the letters, so I have no idea who it will go to right now. People can also use the website to send packages as well.
(From much hunt and peck) – simplified instructions:
4. Once you find someone who you wish to donate to, click the link on the main side of the page to request the address.
5. Use the info from steps 1 and 2 to put together a package of requested items or send a letter.
They have suggestions about where to find things the soldiers want on this page (http://anysoldier.com/WhatToSend.cfm), however the person putting together the package really needs to read the requests first. One request I read said basically – no more jerky please!
* (1:54) Much love for Anime Eggroll! If you’re in the St. Louis area and looking for a good anime shop, we give them our highest recommendation.
* (2:29) An upcoming crossover show and what it doesn’t mean.
* (3:16) The frightening disease known as Chris’ Revenge.
* (5:51) The results of the Power 16 III semi-finals. The last round has now commenced. Results will be read during our Fear the Con recording, so get your votes in now!
* (11:42) Offering a new player the right amount of help to get them into a roleplaying game without overwhelming, intimidating, or annoying them. Allowing changes along the way. How long to hold back before you let them suffer the same consequences as an experienced character.
* (0:28) Fear the Con V‘s tourism events will begin the evening of Sunday, April 29th. If you’d like to join the communication hub, please send your name, cell phone number, and arrival time (if applicable) to TOFtBCH@feartheboot.com.
* (18:48) Movie ratings. Why so many movies end up PG-13 and our wish it wasn’t so.
* (27:33) A call to get your gas on at Chris’ expense!
* (34:05) Adapting an existing intellectual property (video game, TV show, movie, novel, etc) into a roleplaying game. Discerning what the game would be about, without trying to act out the story the IP already told. When the players don’t know the IP. Building or adapting a rules system. The episode of Dr. Who Dan refers to is Snakedance.
* (4:30) Second round results from the Power 16 III. You can vote on the third round here. Third round voting ends at 6:00pm Central time on Tuesday, April 17th.
* (7:37) The People of Fear the Boot vs Johann. Let the record show the defendant stands accused of the class A felony of being a Juggalo. Defendant appeared in person to enter a plea of “not guilty”. A pre-trial hearing was conducted by the court, after which the defendant was assigned legal counsel and held over for trial at a later date.
* (12:38) Impressions among the hosts from the character creation session for the Stone Keep campaign. The differences between our approaches to starting a campaign and how we each make them work.
* (23:14) How dead-end games can jade players on character creation. Whether character creation itself is an enjoyable task.
* (29:48) Why we no longer trust casinos that operate outside of state oversight.
* (31:46) Setting bloat. Elements that are useless to building your own story. When too much detail is provided, leaving no room for creativity. Organizing setting material. Facing down an intimidating stack of setting and history books that have piled up over the long life of an RPG.
* (0:05) Caribbean or Caribbean? Dan’s dream of killing a legallyprotected cryptid.
* (3:45) We try to start talking about video games that horribly disappointed us, but somehow end up talking about Juggalos. How do they work?
* (12:25) Video games that went horribly off the ranch via plot, character development, or setting. While it gets cut-off in this video, the “urine rocket” begins around 8:45. The speed run of Morrowind can be seen here.
* (30:04) TV shows with crappy endings. Our hatred of the “cycle of apocalypse and rebirth” theme, particularly in sci-fi.
* (33:13) Games we didn’t or couldn’t finish.
* (38:59) The ending that disappointed Wayne the most. The beauty of emulators and save states. As a slight correction, it was not the final fight against Sephiroth Dan couldn’t beat but rather one of Sephiroth’s previous end-game boss forms (“safer”, I believe).
* (0:29) First round results from the Power 16 III. You can vote on the second round here. Second round voting ends at 6:00pm Central time on Tuesday, April 3rd.
* (6:32) A (hopefully unnecessary) disclaimer.
* (7:06) Dan’s impeccable moral clarity regarding urban fantasy. I’ll let you guess who writes these show notes!
* (20:51) Faith in a roleplaying game. The importance of creating expectations about what it can do, how it works, and how it will be measured. The advantages of using mechanics or pure RP. The role of the GM in interpreting a character’s faith. Separating faith from sacrament. Dealing with religious views that exclude competing truth-claims, particularly when held by a player at the table.
* (1:04:17) Faith in games that don’t overtly deal with the supernatural.
* (1:40) The Power 16 III is now up and running! You can vote here. Round one will end at 6:00pm Central time on March 20th.
* (3:54) We’re proud to announce the release of the Narratavius app — written by Michael Ham and horribly mispronounced by Dan — featuring a Skies of Glass story by Chris.
* (7:02) Documentaries, comedies, and other entertainment that focuses on RPGs. The distinction between those that look at the hobby versus using RPG intellectual properties. What effect (if any) they have on non-gamers. What we’d like to see from such efforts.
* (30:39) Recovering a game after a long hiatus. The importance of desire, energy, and initiative. Getting people back into the flow. Why the players likely need to contribute more than the GM.
* (0:24) Managing different player styles as a Game Master through such approaches as simultaneous solutions, varying your approach to the game, and setting forth expectations about how the game will go. Check yo self before ya wreck yo self, by understanding your character’s likely impact on the group.
* (40:29) When the GM walks away. The differences between managing rules disputes in RPGs and board games. What to do if the Game Master quits the game over a point of contention.
Hosts: Chad, Chris, Dan, Pat, Wayne
For those of you interested in following our “grand experiment” campaign, you can find the forum areas here.
* (8:22) Announcing the contestants for the Power 16 III! Voting will start in a few weeks.
* (14:05) Introducing an online game the hosts will be playing using Pathfinder rules and the Forgotten Realms setting. We’ll be using this to help us understand each other’s game styles and (more importantly) try to apply our own ideas to build and maintain a game. Whether this succeeds or fails, we hope it will serve as a great object lesson.
* (18:26) To start things off, Johann asks some questions about the intended level curve of the game, which leads Dan to ask why that’s important to his character.
* (34:28) Bringing together the cultures of different gaming groups and merging them into a new, mutually enjoyable culture.
* (37:10) An invitation to the audience to not only observe but also participate in our little experiment.
* (38:46) Lacking the time to develop our next topic, we spin down the episode. However, we kept recording, so Chad’s question gets a thorough exploration in the episode coming next week!
* (0:48) Fear the Boot + Pat – (Dan + Dan’s job) = episode 256
* (1:36) Wayne will be posting his first game for Fear the Con V this Friday. If you’re interested in passing out flyers or hanging them up in your local game store, you can download them here.
* (6:21) Our Old Republic guild, House Nachash, is still going strong. You can find details on our forum.
* (7:33) Poop sock?
* (10:11) Pat and his peach cider.
* (12:28) Resuming an RPG campaign after a long break. Using the break as an opportunity for taking stock of what’s working, revising where needed. Easing back in. Keeping the game alive through outside conversation, or at least keeping the group in contact through a filler game. The pitfalls when coming back, including social distractions and forgetting what was going on.
* (36:09) How to get the most out of different GMing styles. Appreciating the distinctions and adapting your play-style to get the most from your Game Master. Evaluating your GM style. How to get the most honest feedback from your players.
* (1:17) Introducing our new game, Naughty or Nice to Chris. We setup the background topic, explain the rules, and have an tangent on “sentient” versus “sapient”.
* (7:42) Chris restarts the episode. I’m not sure why, but he’s in control.
* (9:12) We discuss player contribution to the game. To what extent should players be allowed to add things to the game — even if they seem out of place — for the sake of their own enjoyment? We start by jumping back to the contributions that break immersion for each of us. The show goes completely off the ranch from there, and I don’t think we ever answered the original question.
* (4:44) Handling the logistics of a PC death. We don’t debate whether characters ought to die but instead how to keep that person involved, manage the mood around the table, and minimize story disruption.
* (22:14) Taking advantage of the unexpected moments of great story and RP that happen during a game, without trying to squeeze them for too much.
* (28:45) Chad and modules. Nature takes its course.
* (39:30) Managing player morale during the ebb and flow of a game.
* (45:34) The greatest game you’ve never played: Hot Lead!
I apologize in advance for this episode. It was a bonus show recorded on New Years Eve, and nature pretty much just took its course. I have another (regular) episode in the hopper, which I will release later this week to make up for missing last week completely and then off-loading this on you today.
Once we get coherent (16:33), the topic is things we’ve not been able to do yet in our gaming career but really want to someday.
Hosts: Beth, Chad, Dan, John, Pat
FAIR WARNING: This episodes is quite a bit more crass and directionless than our normal episodes.
* (1:52) Wayne tries to one-up John by rolling a method 0.25 character.
* (3:52) Dan offers Chris some unsolicited PR advice.
* (5:10) Following a suggestion from forum user, Concise Locket, we discuss going outside of the game-provided mechanics to resolve actions within a game. How other metaphors can enhance or distract from the game, and some tips for making them blend.
* (21:57) Giving life and meaning to social events — such as parties or banquets — in an RPG. Revealing scene, making memorable NPCs, and progressing plot through the event. The difference between social events triggered by player action versus GM decree.
Hosts: Chad, Chris, Dan, John, Pat, Wayne
(Wayne’s future sorcerer: STR 16, DEX 10, CON 13, INT 11, WIS 13, CHA 15)
* (2:18) Method 0.5 character creation meets John’s bard.
* (4:02) Pat goes for Husband of the Year with his (properly placed) priorities regarding Star Wars: The Old Republic. Also featuring the car story and fish story!
* (15:37) Gaming with significant others. How bringing that special someone into a game can greatly benefit or drag down the experience. We also present some strategies for getting the most out of it while preparing for potential pitfalls. This leads into the romance and drama of Battletech.
Hosts: Beth, Dan, John, Karla
(John’s future bard: STR 11, DEX 10, CON 15, INT 13, WIS 10, CHA 9)
* (6:05) Pat goes for Father of the Year by taking a break from World of Warcraft to devastate his kid in a family game.
* (9:43) Giving games the right degree of substance and meaning, without making them overly poignant.
* (18:42) The role of the GM, specifically as it’s been taught (albeit unintentionally) by the legacy of D&D. First-person versus third-person roleplayers. On a side note, this episode was recorded when Penny Arcade’s series, The Conflux, was only a few strips in.
* (29:53) The “second Renaissance” of roleplaying games. Also the relationship and perception driven model preferred by many newer games.
* (41:34) The seven types of gamers.
* (51:32) The important synergy between designers and marketers that’s often missing from game development.
* (0:30) Dan’s first two games for Fear the Con V have been posted. Be sure to create or sign up for anything that interests you!
* (1:39) Chad and Pat’s horrifying idea for episode 300.
* (7:04) Yet again, a “minor” topic unexpectedly dominates the show! Wayne’s opportunity to defend his bard against the insults made in last episode turns into…
* (13:57) …a discussion on knowledge skills that reveal hidden or plot-important information. We kick around whether to include them at all, how to let them be useful without breaking the game, and the open communication the GM and player ought to have during character creation.
* (38:43) The happy accidents of gaming, when unexpected actions of the player or rolls of the dice make the game better than the GM planned. How to create room for such events and capitalize on them when they occur.
* (4:37) We give Pat a chance to prep for Beth coming onto Fear the Boot.
* (6:23) John gives an update on Bloodmoon Goblins. This leads to a discussion about collaborating with other people during system or setting design, and how that can apply even to Game Masters running a well-established game.
* (13:47) Handling shopping in an RPG. Various approaches to handling it without interrupting the flow of the game. How to handle shopkeeper inventory, character inventory, and item availability. Information on the Booter calls Chad mentioned can be found here.
* (45:52) Why Chad feels his character won’t work in the absurd game we’re contemplating.
* (0:47) The website for Fear the Con 5 is up and ready for you to start creating and joining games! If you’re looking to split a ride or room, be sure to check the thread on our forums where people are working out those arrangements.
* (2:51) How to approach bridge games, meaning the games that fall between major plot points or heavy action, in which character advancement, bookkeeping, or roleplaying dominate the session. Some approaches for tuning them to your group’s taste and recognizing the opportunities they present.
* (18:43) Handling large scale games. Determining what’s important to deal with in detail versus abstracting out, how to keep track of resources, divvy up paperwork, and make major NPCs memorable.
* (0:59) An extremely deep, philosophical, scholarly debate over the hottest chick on Star Trek.
* (13:07) Using Wheel of Time and Lord of the Rings as a jumping off point for a discussion on “upward” versus “downward” fantasy and which trope more accurately describes the average fantasy campaign. Side topics include high and low fantasy, the role of equipment, and the absurdity of most settings’ economies.
* (26:12) A reflection on the ridiculousness of ‘Mechs as viable combat machines juxtaposed against how just plain awesome they are to use in a game.
* (30:32) Dealing with “caster supremacy”. Specifically, the idea that certain types of casters are significantly more powerful than non-casting classes in D&D 3.0, D&D 3.5, and Pathfinder. Suggestions for keeping them in balance through gentleman’s rules, power reductions to casters, or power increases to non-casters.
* (59:36) The website for Fear the Con 5 is up and ready for you to create and join games! If you’re looking to split a ride or room, be sure to check the thread on our forums where people are working out those arrangements.
* (2:09) The website for Fear the Con 5 is up and ready for you to start creating and joining games! If you’re looking to split a ride or room, be sure to check the thread on our forums where people are working out those arrangements.
* (7:44) Zingers. What more can be said? They also talk about Halloween candy, costumes, and trick-or-treating.
* (23:04) Advice for GMs that need to run rude, hateful, or bigoted NPCs. How to keep such characters believable without crossing any lines your group can’t stomach.
* (38:47) Adding detail to the smaller parts of the game which often get ignored as the group focuses on the big picture. In case you’re not familiar with it, here’s an explanation of Chekhov’s Gun.
* (5:28) Custom fangs have become too cheap for Wayne’s taste.
* (7:09) The loss of a dropship in our Battletech game serves as the catalyst for a discussion on defeat in a roleplaying game. We talk about its capacity for adding drama, realism, and emotion to the game, while conversely being able to discourage or drain the players.
* (20:00) Wayne commenting on some old gaming notes leads into Dan describing the collection of documents he typically uses when running a game. With our usual disclaimer for potentially offensive content, here is a link to the pimp’s prayer.
* (26:20) Getting a brand new player up to speed on the hobby of roleplaying, their first setting, and a system — without overwhelming them in the process.
* (52:16) The video game giveaway will be ending on October 23rd with the winners drawn on October 24th, so this is your last chance to get entered.
* (0:35) Wayne tries to hijack the show to talk about Superman. You know what that means: we talk about Batman instead! The blog post on the hosting arrangement can be found here.
* (3:07) Alex (aka Lizard Farmer) is creating transcripts of the show. Check the show notes a few days after each episode releases for a link to the transcript. An explanation of his idea can be found on our forums.
* (5:39) Our next March of Dimes charity auction has kicked off! Prizes for this auction are being provided by the Gnome Stew website. As with the previous auctions, 100% of the funds raised will go to the March of Dimes.
* (12:02) The importance of maps for creating scale, consistency, fairness, and depth.
* (26:34) How to build and fill in a map when you’re starting with nothing. The title Joe mentions is Dawn of Worlds.
* (35:10) Filling in the details when you have a map with major locations already set but nothing in mind to occupy the gaps between.
* (40:06) A quick survey of climatology and how different climate zones form on a planet. The factors that figure into such estimations and just how important they ought to be when designing your game world.
* (52:48) Understanding scale when designing an area, particularly when you’re contemplating volume as opposed to surface area.
* (57:20) The projects Joe and Keith are working on right now. Joe’s work — including things not already linked in the show notes — can generally be found on Inkwell Ideas.
* (1:03:27) The video game giveaway is still on, so be sure to get entered if you haven’t already!
* (2:21) Wayne presents Dan with a gift from Brian. A big “Thank you!” from Dan for taking the time to send us the note and chainmail dicebag!
* (3:42) We kick off the interview by asking Ken about his rather unusual education and how it affects his work in the game industry.
* (6:51) Ken gives us his observations on the state of RPGs. He also answers some questions about the rise of story-driven games.
* (15:19) A question about how Ken got started in GURPS leads to a discussion of professionalism (or more accurately, the lack thereof) in the RPG industry.
* (23:05) Ken begins settling long-running FtB marital disputes. Chris kicks this one off with the GM screen, and then Dan asks about social mechanics. Fortunately, Chris gives this some genuine purpose by questioning whether the way a person runs games affects how they write them.
* (30:54) Dan asks Ken for some tips on running horror games.
* (41:43) Following the suggestion of Ryan Dancey, we begin The Ken Hite Three Word Game!
* (5:00) Why every roleplaying game should come with a pronunciation guide for all of its proper nouns.
* (10:42) Getting people in your gaming group to step up and take leadership roles in the party, particularly when they’re not naturally dominating. The distinction between explicit and implicit leaders and how to work with both.
* (24:49) Chris reflects on his rant from the last episode and goes on to tell us a story about his childhood.
* (26:47) Rewarding players for doing extra prep or post-game work.
* (37:06) Helping someone create a character for a setting they’ve never played in.
* (10:28) Revisiting invasion stories to pick up some discussion threads we either missed or didn’t explore sufficiently in the prior show. We start off with invaders that lack depth because they’re more like a force of nature than a hostile culture.
* (14:34) When the invasion is a backdrop as opposed to the central plot. The relationship between setting and story, and the inevitable bleed between the two.
* (17:09) Playing as the invader instead of the invaded. Determining whether the characters agree with the invasion or oppose it, and keeping the game going either way.
* (33:27) Narrating the invasion event. Working out the pacing in a way that makes sense for your campaign. Educating your players about the two sides, particularly when the game is not based on a well-known setting or historical event.
* (0:36) John’s Bloodmoon Goblins Kickstarter is still up and running. John has also expressed his willingness to stay up and run games for people in timezones different than our own.
* (1:55) Introducing (or reintroducing) Ryan Dancey.
* (7:16) Ryan has been writing a series of columns for EN World. The links are provided at the end of the show notes.
* (7:44) Some information on the MMO he’s currently helping develop, including an explanation of what he means by a “sandbox game”, when used in the context of online play.
* (14:57) Chris harkens back to a promo item he received at the D&D Third Edition release party. This leads into some questions about the overwhelming success of the OGL, even in the face of newer editions of D&D.
* (24:50) Revisiting Ryan’s previous list of predictions. We also get a list of new predictions.
* (31:14) Some theories about the shifting demographics of gamers and their interests, using Gen Con 2011 as an anecdotal jumping-off point.
* (49:21) The lack of a WotC announcement at Gen Con raises some questions and also serves as a reminder of just how small the industry is.
* (7:28) If you’re playing Champions Online, consider joining the Fear the Boot guild, Awkward Confessors. You can find out more on the forums. My essay on MMOs can be found here.
* (11:17) Dan delivers a rant entitled, “Dammit, put that game down!”
* (16:57) Be sure to visit John’s Bloodmoon Goblins site, watch the promo video, and consider making a donation toward the effort.
* (17:51) Running a game where invasion is the primary plot line or setting feature. Creating stories that are believable, yet still offer compelling opportunities for player success. Starting the invasion, defining the invaders, and setting goals for the protagonists. Drawing from real world history for inspiration. Handling the pacing issues that can be caused by a resistance that builds momentum over a long period of time.
DISCLAIMER: While profanities were censored from this episode, the subject matter is still a bit more crass than what Fear the Boot normally covers. Personal discretion is advised.
* (0:47) Why we’re doing a bonus episode, and Pat’s favorite (non-existent) Care Bears.
* (1:34) Introducing Bloodmoon Goblins, a Pathfinder supplement John is creating. He needs our help funding it, so you can find the donation site, promo video, and reward options on his Kickstarter site!
* (7:58) Pat and Dan trade gifts (though Dan’s ends up with John). This leads into a variety of stories that were probably best left untold.
* (0:44) Some details on the progress and release schedule for Mikey Mason’s new album, Impotent Nerd Rage.
* (4:48) Integrating a comedic character in a serious campaign, without that character disrupting the flow and feel of the game. The actual play Wayne’s involved in is Knights of Reignsborough.
* (17:59) Kyle sends in a question related to the series we did on dungeon design (here’s part 1 and part 2, for those of you that missed them), asking how to take a dungeon you’ve already designed and bring it to life. How do you make the place feel exciting and interesting as you describe the trek through countless rooms and corridors?
* (58:29) Be sure to keep up with This Just In…From Gen Con! for convention coverage and at least one episode that will feature Fear the Boot.
* (3:03) Do geeks have an unusual habit of raging against the things they love the most, simply out of perfectionist zeal?
* (14:11) Being involved in multiple campaigns at once. How to keep your characters and plots separate. How similarities between the two campaigns can both help and hurt.
* (40:52) Some updates on Fear the Con 5. It will occur in early May instead of March. We’ll be moving to more conveniently located facilities. And we’re also happy to welcome Danger Brewery as our new beer providers!
* (1:26) Congratulating Atomic Array and Kicked in the Dicebags on their ENnie nominations. This leads into a question about the role awards play in consumer decision-making versus content producers simply enjoying the recognition.
* (11:43) The guests pay more attention to the outline than the regular hosts do.
* (12:53) Art, layout, and page design. How they help sell your product. Some legal considerations you need to work out with an artist so it’s clear who owns what. The best ways to compensate your artists, particularly when you’re on a tight budget.
* (24:45) Funding the project. Using your own money, the patronage model, or websites such as Kickstarter. How to get other people involved in supporting your work and rewarding them for their investment. Building a budget for your product.
* (35:22) Marketing your game. How to build it into the product right from the get-go. Building and utilizing a fan base to help evangelize. Keeping people excited and rewarding them for their effort.
* (53:34) Options for getting published, whether electronically or in print.
* (9:26) With Gen Con coming up soon, don’t forget to subscribe to This Just In…From Gen Con! for some great media coverage. And if you’ll be in attendance, be sure to get signed up for the TOFTBCH network and join us throughout the con for meals and pick-up games.
* (10:15) The writing process. Translating your ideas and notes into a usable, well-organized document that’s fit for publication. Finding good editors — including those that have experience in the RPG industry — and building a community of people that can help you.
* (28:00) The importance of playtesting to shake out the problems in your game. Also, the importance of getting playtesters outside of your usual circle of friends, and ways to find strangers that will test the game.
* (34:11) Getting proper licensing to use established systems or settings.
* (38:33) Additional legal concerns, including forming a company, figuring out your taxes, and protecting your work by copyright. The government website I recommended can be found here.
* (49:48) Some final words of warning and encouragement before we close out part 1 of this series.
* (0:31) Welcoming our guest host, Michael, to Fear the Boot!
* (1:06) Fear the Boot will be sponsoring This Just In…From Gen Con! during the 2011 convention. Be sure to catch that show for some excellent convention coverage.
* (1:30) The Con Planner site is now ready to go for our activities at Gen Con. Be sure to sign up if you want to be kept in the loop on the games and social activities we’ll be doing during the con. All you need to do is visit this link, go to the Ticketing area to create an attendee, and make sure your profile includes a cell phone number for texting purposes. If you have any questions, write to the email address listed on the site.
* (2:00) Fear the Boot is now a proud member of the Stitcher audio network. Be sure to stop by their site, see if their app is something that interests you, and give us a positive review so others can find us!
* (3:52) Some background on Michael and the tabletop gaming scene in Japan.
* (6:36) The double-edged sword of D&D as the most recognizable title in our hobby. Many of us play it and enjoy it, but it can also conjure up negative stereotypes among non-gamers, leading us to distance ourselves from the game.
* (22:03) Collaborative design of a roleplaying game’s antagonists. Letting the players work together to build the villains, trading off some level of control for added buy-in. How to keep the plot exciting despite the meta-game, player knowledge of the group’s enemies.
* (0:30) Pointless trivia about Wayne’s introduction on each episode and Chris’ struggles with Left for Dead 2.
* (5:27) Fear the Boot will be at Gen Con 2011 with more events organized through our illustrious TOFTBCH network. Expect details to follow in the next episode! We’re also sponsoring This Just In…From Gen Con! which will be providing onsite coverage throughout the con.
* (9:07) Dan versus restaurant birthday celebrations.
* (20:07) Taking over a roleplaying game when the original Game Master steps down or leaves the group. Some techniques for making the transition work, and the adjusted expectations players need to have when someone else is running a pre-existing game.
* (0:28) Straightening out our seating arrangement.
* (3:00) The upcoming reset and renumbering of DC comics. Why we individually think it’s a good idea, bad idea, or mixed bag.
* (14:10) Rewarding the player characters in your RPG. We start by exploring the various ways of rewarding them such as roleplaying opportunities, personal goals, micro perks, gear, and stat advancement.
* (32:46) An intermission where we ponder why GMs don’t get rewards.
* (39:56) The best practices for handing out PC rewards, keeping them fair, and keeping them from later coming back to bite you in the butt.
* (2:49) Dan’s first awkward confession, plus Unicron, Arcee, and a seven-inch Voltron.
* (6:51) Pat rages against 3D movies, and the rest of us pretty much agree.
* (12:51) After a brilliant segue, Pat gives his take on the movie incarnations of Mystique.
* (16:47) Gaming as your family expands. Not gaming with children (as we discussed in episode 207), but rather gaming when children or spouses are around, require regular attention, and so forth. We look at how we’ve managed to make gaming work as our lives mature by tweaking our expectations and game execution.
* (8:08) Themes we’d like to see more often — or never again — in roleplaying games. Topics discussed include romance, evil, mercenaries, redemption, addiction, friendship, moral complexity, tragic endings, ambiguous endings, discovery, world context, and the single-dimension quest.
* (0:30) The first auction is over! The second auction will be for a collection of Dresden File books, signed by Fred Hicks, Rob Donoghue, and the FtB cast. It will start when episode 234 drops next week.
* (5:10) Free RPG Day is coming up on June 18th. Chris offers a bring-a-friend idea to help use this day to get new people into the hobby instead of just spreading products around people that already play RPGs.
* (11:26) A stage play within a game got us thinking a little more about narrative combat.
* (25:46) Willingly declaring failure during the course of narration, whether as the GM or a player. The concern about negatively impacting the rest of the party.
* (33:37) A quick look at organized play. What you can expect to get from it, and some tips on getting started.
* (0:37) Bubba mows his lawn in the middle of the night. We won’t call him, but we contemplate calling the D&D help hotline. In case you’ve never heard of it, here are some highlights from the Butterball turkey hotline.
* (4:18) Kicking off the March of Dimes charity auction with a chance to set the topic, request an interview, and guest on an episode of Fear the Boot. You can find the auction here! If you’d like to make a direct donation instead of participating in the auction, you can do so here.
* (5:55) The next Gamer Adventure cruise is coming up on March 24, 2012. We’d love to have some of you join us! You can find more information here. And if you think you can’t afford this trip, please contact Kim and see if she can use her travel agent prowess to help you out.
* (8:29) Chad takes us back to the D&D hotline.
* (10:04) Why won’t our campaign roll over and die like every other campaign we play? Using our current game as a case study on why campaigns tend to fall apart and the various factors that can keep them together.
* (32:31) We pick up our conversation on lying again. This time we focus on player-to-player lying, including whether social skills should be usable on fellow players.
A mix of gaming stories, best characters, and worst characters, drawn from the collective history of the hosts in attendance. FAIR WARNING: While all of the outright profanities are bleeped out, some of the content in this episode is a bit more coarse than our usual fare.
* (1:10) Chris asks what we each want from the grocery store, which turns into an illustration on roleplaying styles.
* (5:50) When a game, movie, novel, or TV show is taking a long time to get good, how long do you stick with it before giving up?
* (22:24) Deception at the gaming table. We setup the topic, offer three categories of lying we’ll cover, and put a few boundaries on the discussion.
* (23:56) Game Masters lying to their players. The complication caused by the many roles the Game Master fills. The responsibility players have to not ask certain questions to avoid spoiling their own game experience. The relationship between social deception done via roleplaying versus die mechanics.
* (45:50) The player lying to the Game Master as the Game Master, as opposed to a PC lying to an NPC simply played by the Game Master.
* (50:09) Last call for the charity auction! Post your ideas on the blog or forum thread.
* (0:57) Welcoming Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings. Discussion about his history with Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and MMOs. You can find his own band, Tripping Icarus, on their Facebook page.
* (13:34) Chris’ experience with roleplaying games. Power-gaming and over-planning characters. How tabletop gaming is affected by his career in professional sports.
* (20:10) Gamer shame and bullying (or the lack thereof) while being a successful athlete through high school, college, and professional athletics.
* (29:07) Wayne asks whether Chris has leveraged his position to meet famous people. The possibility of a future career in the tabletop or video gaming industries, and also discussion of a combination board and card game he’s working on.
* (32:23) How Chris got into wargaming. His experiences with Warhammer and Warmachine, including how he did in his first tournament. Discussion about what makes a game store successful and the sort of shop he’d like to help open someday.
* (42:44) How often a punter appears in front of the media. Chris’ checkered history with Twitter. And if you’re interested in seeing his Twitter account, you can find it here.
* (0:30) Chad and Dan finish off a bottle of Pannepot donated by Danger Brewery.
* (1:19) A coupon code good for 15% off any Arc Dream product purchased through their online store. This code is good until May 1st. Simply enter “feartheboot” (without any quotes) to get your discount!
* (3:08) Wayne encounters the irresistible urge to create characters.
* (20:07) Chad admits he was wrong and Wayne makes a sensible confession. May wonders never cease.
* (25:18) Homebrewing games. Not how to design your own games, but what motivates people to do it in an age when so many games are readily available. The various approaches to homebrewing and the strengths and weaknesses of each. When to homebrew versus heavily modifying an existing game.
* (0:30) A big thanks to Chris Ings for the Fear the Boot themed ‘Mechs!
* (2:41) Some love for the many podcasts that came out to support Fear the Con through promotion, attendance, and on-site coverage! Be sure to check their feeds for actual play recordings and other goodies.
* (4:33) The number of first time con-goers and first time gamers we met at Fear the Con 4.
* (6:32) The rediscovery of a long-lost fixture of the recording studio. Pat promptly takes them from Chad to show him how it’s done.
* (7:28) Chad wrote and released rules for a game inspired by the movie, Inception, and the RPG, Dread. You can find the rules on our blog. We talk about how the game plays and how it incorporates leading questionnaires in character creation. Those same questionnaires are also used to build the game’s plot.
* (16:06) Using leading questionnaires in a role playing game. How they can help build characters or steer the game in directions the GM would like it to go. Why such exercises are easier for some players than others, simply based on whether they plan or “feel out” their characters.
UPDATE: Shane has provided our listeners with a discount code good for 15% off anything at the www.arcdream.com online store until May 1. The coupon code is “feartheboot” (without the quotes). So if you’re interested in trying out any of their products, here’s your chance to get them a bit cheaper!
* (0:30) The St. Charles Fantasy Shop will be having a game day on April 9th from 12:00pm – 11:00pm. You can find more details on the event calendar of their website.
* (1:41) Welcoming Shane Ivey of Arc Dream Publishing, the source of games such as Wild Talents, Delta Green, Godlike, and Monsters and Other Childish Things.
* (4:08) The difficulty of selling games where the play experience is difficult to describe in a cover blurb or elevator pitch. Techniques for getting those titles out there, and the opportunities created by that struggle.
* (16:30) The relationship among independent publishers, specifically whether it’s more helpful or competitive.
* (19:09) The effectiveness of using samples, teasers, and other freebies to market a game. The problems Free RPG Day present for a small publisher.
* (23:47) The innovative Bits and Mortar initiative which helps local gaming stores give you electronic copies of games along with the physical book, thus using digital publishing to help their sales instead of being competition. The site also has a store locator to help you find participating shops.
* (31:41) Shane’s own tastes in gaming outside of Arc Dream titles. We talk about historical gaming and some alternate methods of scene resolution.
* (44:14) How the games Shane plays impact the games he writes.
* (52:08) The new products Arc Dream currently has in development or has recently released.
* (3:58) Introducing Bob Arens, our expert on artificial intelligence. An AI he created was responsible for writing or helping write games for at least three people. Bob explains the basics of how the AI works and how it helps in scene design.
* (11:23) Open discussion with the attendees about the morality and usefulness of artificial intelligence, where the technology is right now, where it’s headed in the future, and what it can (or can’t) contribute to the creative arts. We also discuss how one defines true personhood.
* (41:27) Arlie and Tricia — with the help of many other attendees — present Dan with a map of Fear the Con 4.
* (47:41) We close out with a few more comments on artificial intelligence, focusing on their lack of a shared human experience. A few remarks are made about Fear the Boot itself, and finally we find out what the AI itself has to say about becoming our overlord.
Hosts: Chad, Chris, Dan, John, Pat, Wayne, and a whole lot of booters
NOTE: There were other podcasts on premises, some of which were recording episodes at the same time as ours. Once I have all of that info in, I’ll be giving links to their FtC4 related coverage, actual play recordings, etc, for your entertainment. Expect that with episode 227.
Wayne recorded his thoughts on Fear the Con 4 while driving there. After getting home, he got a few comments from his wife on the Wing Night. This is only a few minutes long and a regular episode is still coming out tomorrow. Also, if you took any pics or video at the con, please be sure to get them posted to Fear the Con’s Facebook group!
* (0:33) Wayne thanks Lunar for his get-well gift. We also think back to the monstrosity Chris got as a dice bag at Fear the Con 3.
* (3:28) Chad clarifies his views on character death. This was recorded before the previous episode dropped, so this clarification is only in light of what he said on the show, not any discussion that occurred thereafter.
* (9:11) We discuss the pros and cons of non-linear games — specifically games that don’t follow a simple, chronological progression. Instead such games might skip around in time, going backward and forward at varying speeds, or cover different epochs within the same continuity.
* (1:27) Fear the Con 4 shirts are now available for order. A big thanks to Ruben for the design and many other people for getting the project moving again! Trying to figure out who created an alternate store leads into a discussion about Wayne’s health and medical malpractice.
* (8:48) A listener email announces the birth of a daughter, conceived and born to our show, and we just go further off the ranch from there.
* (14:10) Character death. We try to bring together our past views, current views, and comments made by forum users as we explore the subject. We debate when it’s right, whether it’s needed at all, and what a game might suffer if it’s missing.
* (0:34) Pat comes up with a good idea for dinner.
* (3:06) A minor change to the forum rules. Starting soon, any account that has never made a single post and also not logged in within the past 60 days will be pruned. If you do at least one of those two things, your account won’t be touched.
* (4:10) Wayne expresses his displeasure regarding the absurdities surrounding the Fantastic Four death. We also take a quick poll on which character we would have killed.
* (10:30) We ask Wayne why he thinks the comic book industry is in decline. We also inquire about what’s good right now and what’s on his pull list. The new Wonder Woman actress. And finally, the move by some comic companies to make their catalog available electronically.
* (17:24) The pure genius of Time Cube. And apparently it has an RPG or two to go with it now.
* (20:23) Mary Sue characters. We start with an explanation of what the phrase means and where it comes from. Johann questions whether they’re genuinely a problem or not, after which we offer some advice on how to identify them, prevent them from occurring, and deal with them once they’re there.
* (0:33) We welcome back Jeff while Chad welcomes Cee Lo Green. Be sure to check out Jeff’s podcast, Gaming Asylum via their website or iTunes page. This leads into anecdotes about picking domain names.
* (6:49) Raina’s Wings charity auction. Post your ideas here or on the forums.
* (11:01) We begin talking about board games, starting with the divergence of RPG and board game culture.
* (24:22) Some advice to people trying a board game for the first time, and also some advice to the experienced players introducing newbies to a game.
* (27:10) Picking the right product to buy. Finding out what game titles are available, understanding the nomenclature used to describe them, and using a variety of resources to help in your decision-making process.
* (47:52) We suggest a few of our favorite games, and Jeff tries to match at least one title to each of our tastes.
Hosts: Chad, Dan, Jeff, Pat, Wayne
NOTE: You can find the list of resources and game titles we mentioned in this blog post.
* (0:31) Chad makes his first guest appearance on another podcast, sitting in with the rebooted (excuse the pun) Kicked in the Dicebags.
* (1:45) Chris wishes a happy birthday to…St. Louis…? And Wayne celebrates with a surprise gift for Dan.
* (3:25) Dan gets shutdown by being recognized too quickly.
* (4:56) Realizing we do a show, we stop to introduce our guest host, Jeff. He’ll be joining us for two episodes. If you enjoy hearing him on Fear the Boot, he’s also a host of his own podcast, Gaming Asylum, which you can find on iTunes or at their site.
* (6:18) Fear the Con 4 attendance is going wonderfully, which means we could use more GMs! Also, there are folks looking to split the cost of attendance by carpooling and room-sharing.
* (7:56) Following up on how advice provided by the community helped us resolve the “tainted character” situation brought up in episode 217. A big thanks to everyone that gave us such great insight!
* (13:33) What starts as a quick recap on our attempts to bring players-as-NPCs into our weekly game grows into a larger debate with new thoughts. Topics include why Chris wouldn’t generally want it done in his games, “making” versus “taking” NPCs, letting players control enemies, and the joys of character growth.
* (3:07) RPG tropes we individually find annoying or overused. Plus counterpoints on why each one may not be so bad.
* (27:59) Jumping into an NPC as a way of staying involved and adding color to a scene. We focus on the implicit player-GM contract, when it’s appropriate (or not), what it can add to the game, and how much plot leverage you should grant yourself while doing it.
Hosts: Chad, Dan, Johann, Pat, Wayne
NOTE: If you hear some clicking during a couple minutes in the middle of the show, that was an issue with our audio setup. Nothing is wrong with your download or MP3 player, and it ends a few minutes after it starts.
* (8:14) Pre-con tourism and social events will begin the afternoon of Sunday, March 13th, 2011. You can keep up with our location by PMing your cell phone number to ZeikeCopperEyes on the forums or following our Twitter feed.
* (10:48) Video game nostalgia. Do old games still hold up, or was it just a matter of the playground being bigger when you’re young? Whether it’s even possible to compare new and old games. Also, the changing social dynamic brought about by newer match-making systems.
* (40:09) Changing roles from Game Master to player. Using your GM skills to be the best player you can be while resisting the urge to take control or nitpick someone else’s GMing technique.
* (0:27) Chad questions Dan’s dice hoodoo and is proven wrong. Pat also brings even more ice to the table.
* (2:26) The early numbers for Fear the Con 4 are shaping up quite nicely. Dan is still trying to decide what he’ll run for his fourth game. We still look forward to seeing all of you there! Our forums contain threads for room sharing and ride sharing.
* (6:17) The movies, video games, TV shows, comics, and other geek things we’re looking forward to in 2011.
* (30:46) One-shot games within your regular gaming group (i.e. not run as a convention game). Examining the opportunities, pitfalls, and some advice on picking the system and setting.
* (0:30) Chris makes introductions hard for Pat. Meanwhile, the podcast is doing better than our games! We also learn that Chad and Johann are not mutually exclusive realities.
* (2:59) Introducing Boots, the Pegasus I got from my Secret Santa on our forums.
* (5:43) Several Fear the Boot hosts have been guests on the new, improved, and re-imagined Kicked in the Dicebags. It’s too many episodes for me to link individually, but you can find them all on their show feed.
* (9:27) Resolving conflict in an RPG without resorting to combat. Tricks for avoiding combat when it doesn’t fit your character or the outcome you want. When GMs seem to force combat as the only solution to a problem.
* (37:29) Deciding what to do with a character that has been reshaped by situations beyond your control. Whether to keep, modify, or ditch a character that no longer feels like the one you created and wanted to play.
After years of poking fun at the subculture, we figured it was time to let a furry come on the show and have his say! We talk about what it means to be a furry, how people pursue the hobby, and the sort of social derision they receive.
Hosts: Chris, Dan, Johann, John, Pat, Wayne
NOTE: This is the last of our holiday break bonus episodes. If I have sufficient time to edit, I may release a regular episode later this week. If not, expect things to be back to normal next week!
* (5:16) Responding to Matt’s question about player interference. How do you let players help each other when it’s appropriate without having them unfairly influence a situation or lock-up a new player with advice-overload?
* (17:04) When a player takes on the role of multiple characters. Some thoughts on keeping the characters distinct, handling their interactions, and managing the paperwork. The great opportunities it offers and the problems it can present.
* (5:51) Expounding on some useful ideas brought up by Hal in response to episode 211’s discussion on building dramatic tension.
* (18:51) Creating a real sense of temptation in a game. Providing your players with choices that are difficult for purely personal reasons through moral quandaries, game mechanics, and occasionally breaking the fourth wall.
* (1:09) Chris puts out a request for short audio and video clips for use in episode 200. Please send submissions to email@example.com by December 10th.
* (3:48) RPG Toolkit for the iPhone has just received a significant series of improvements and upgrades. If you’re interested in checking that out, visit the app’s site for more information on the trial and paid versions.
* (6:05) Keeping movies, etc, accurate to their source material. A discussion on when it’s appropriate and whether it’s necessary to telling the story right.
* (42:01) Rethinking our approach to interviewing new players. Some new ideas on how to find out if someone is a good fit for your gaming group.
* (0:34) Welcoming back Tracy Hickman. Also, Dan asks about an urban legend that apparently only he has heard.
* (5:18) Tracy makes an announcement about an unexpected work-in-progress. I won’t spoil it for you, but it has nothing to do with dragons. If you’re interested in Pat’s tangential comment, you can find a relevant article here.
* (16:48) Following up with Tracy on his foray into new media. Seeing what portents his situation may have for the broader prose and RPG publishing industries. Getting noticed — even as a well established author — in a saturated marketplace. If you’re interested in the Dragon’s Bard holiday special, apply the discount code (feartheelf) when ordering at the holiday URL.
Looks like we do have something to release this week! Chad and Wayne just sent me another Fear en Route, which is a sort of blog they do during the car ride to the weekly recordings. This one they did with audio only, so I can release it on our normal podcast feed. If you haven’t seen the previous episodes (which were video) you can find them here, here, and here.
Topics for this recording (which was unintentionally thick with irony) include:
* (0:49) Don’t forget to sign up for Fear the Con 4, on March 18th and 19th, 2011 (Wing Night will be on March 17th)!
* (2:11) A decent chance Chris will be returning to the show in the near future.
* (2:57) Chris Mais is looking for new hosts to help with a rebirthing of Kicked in the Dicebags. If you’re interested in trying your hand at podcasting and shaping the future of that show, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, thanks to Okeefe for the shirt!
* (5:27) Wayne wishes everyone doing NaNoWriMo well! If you’re trying this out: stick with it and believe in what you’re doing.
* (6:55) Creating dramatic tension in a roleplaying game. We present some ideas for building a visceral experience without overdoing it.
FAIR WARNING: This episode was recorded just prior to Halloween, so those sorts of subjects were on our mind. However, even for a bonus episode, this show wanders into some strange places we don’t normally go. I struggled for a few days on whether to even release it or not, but in the end I decided to do so. I hope you’ll take the show for what it’s meant to be, in all of its nuance and whimsy.
* (0:55) The unpleasantness of audio editing.
* (3:40) If you could relocate yourself to a fictional setting, which one would it be?
* (2:22) Separating a character from the player. Why it’s natural — and sometimes correct — to draw your impressions about a person from the characters they play.
* (21:57) Playing in an established setting. The balance of enjoying what’s already there versus making it your own. How to deal with existing canon, particularly when it comes into conflict with the story or characters you want to use.
* (0:55) Journey Quest, a web series from Matt Vancil and the other creators of The Gamers.
* (1:45) Wayne has passed the 20,000 word mark on his serial fiction over on the Skies of Glass site.
* (3:05) Providing examples of Dan’s GMing notes. Check the Resources page for samples of the What’s Really Going On document, NPC reference, and two session outlines.
* (10:56) The issue of pacing within a game, as inspired by our own foibles. For the sake of discussion, we break pacing down into two types: the immediate engagement of the player as opposed to the overall arc of storytelling. We start by describing the first kind and offering some ideas for players and GMs to keep everyone engaged and deal with the moments when people have to get drawn away from the table.
* (28:49) The pacing of storytelling within a game. Deciding how long a specific plot within the campaign should last, and the importance of the breaks that occur between those plots. We outline some options available to Game Masters and thoughts on picking the right one.
* (4:04) Building legacy for a character. Just as characters have background leading up to a story, we consider leaving the game with a sense that the character’s life goes on in the context of the world.
* (18:41) Building player misdirection into your plot. Ways to keep them guessing about what’s really going on without utterly confusing them or taking cheap shots as a GM.
* (0:30) Why Chris is becoming our new monthly visitor.
* (2:39) Using game mechanics as the basis for a plot, encounter, or player character. How rules can serve as a great inspiration for many aspects of your game.
* (19:51) Gaming with kids. We start by setting some boundaries on the conversation regarding the type of game and age group we’re talking about. We also discuss why this topic is important even to people that don’t have kids of their own.
* (26:22) The problems and opportunities presented by limited literacy and math skills. Ways of simplifying the concepts and teaching kids new skills as you go.
* (38:29) How gender can affect the game. Is it helpful to setup a plot for boys a little differently than girls?
* (48:40) Dealing with controversial subject matter in a game with kids. Determining what’s appropriate, particularly when not all of the children present are your own. Is it appropriate to use games to educate children on moral themes?
* (58:15) How a lack of life experience can make conveying setting or theme more difficult when dealing with younger players.
* (0:28) Fear the Con 4 will be on March 18th and 19th of 2011. Wing Night will be the night before on March 17th. Tourism and social events will be held the Sunday through Wednesday beforehand. The website and ticketing information will be released soon.
* (2:42) New roleplayers and their lack of baggage. How they can offer wonderful surprises and GMing difficulty all at once.
* (16:10) Have we over-complicated gaming for ourselves? Why it’s sometimes tempting to look back at simpler days, and whether it’s possible to actually go back.
* (25:20) The common reasons people leave the hobby. Separating the good reasons from the bad ones, and offering some encouragement to people that want to keep roleplaying but are struggling to make it work in their life. The Penny Arcade comic on adult gamers can be found here. Anyone dealing with moral objections to RPGs may want to check out the Christian Gamers Guild’s FAQ.
* (0:24) Game titles that are popular in Ireland, Israel, and Sweden. The consumption of local games versus those produced in America.
* (5:46) The ubiquity of English in entertainment and how that affects RPGs. Whether language can serve as a barrier to getting into the hobby. Titles published in other languages that English speakers may be missing out on.
* (14:02) How national culture impacts the types of games that people consume. The ways various nations are represented in roleplaying games that provide a speculative world based on the real one.
* (22:39) The nature of social and religious prejudice regarding tabletop roleplaying games. The presence or absence of gamer shame.
* (33:28) America as the default setting for roleplaying games. How other countries are portrayed in games and whether portraying them in better detail would help them gain traction abroad.
* (47:15) Drawing together our similarities as gamers, regardless of where we live.
* (0:59) Introducing the panel: Itamar from Israel, Jenny from Sweden, and Shane from Ireland.
* (4:24) A discussion about LARPing in Europe quickly shifts into a conversation about gaming organizations, governmental support for hobbies, and the diverse levels of trust regarding such things. You can find pictures of the Russian Fallout LARP here. You can find out more about Sverok here.
* (16:29) Differing cultural views on alcohol, conventions, cosplayers, and the party aspect of some segments of gaming. Also how our views of authority and government affect our gaming culture.
* (19:38) Back to the original topic of LARPing! Shane did some recordings on their airsoft LARP in Sweden which you can find on their show’s feed. Social organization in game organizations proves itself inextricable once again.
* (27:27) The gaming scene in our respective countries. How people learn about games, find community, and stay tapped into news or events. What gamer shame looks like (or if it exists at all) across the pond. Included is a brief discussion of the story from a few years ago about the Israeli army allegedly discriminating against roleplayers and the effect compulsory military service has on the gaming populace.
* (39:34) Is the gaming hobby in decline? Or is it just the industry? How new gamers are being brought into the hobby and old ones being retained. You can find out more about Read an RPG Book in Public Week on The Escapist.
Hosts: Chad, Dan, Itamar, Jenny, Shane
In part two, we talk about the impact of local religion on gaming, the titles that are popular in various countries, English as a barrier to gaming, and more! We hope you’ll join us then.
In closing, I’d like to provide some additional information on our guests:
* (0:29) September 15th is the deadline for Tracy Hickman’s Dragon’s Bard offer. If you want to join in, be sure to get the discount code here and enter it here. As mentioned in the show, alternate pricing options can be found here. We also talk a bit about why the interview took us all a little by surprise.
* (4:37) Our community has started an Alliance guild on the Argent Dawn server of World of Warcraft. Details can be found on the forum.
* (5:39) Pondering RP in an MMO. Maybe it’s a bad idea, or maybe we just don’t know how to approach it.
* (11:25) Homebrews and house rules. Why we love making homebrews, the role of house rules, and finding the line between the two. A challenge to write your own homebrew if you never have before. And yes, the Midna group is real.
* (30:05) Using group collaboration to design character, setting, and even a rules system. We discuss the pros and cons, offer some approaches for trying this out, and debate whether this is a good idea for various styles of GMing. Just how hard should someone be willing to work to improve a hobby?
* (0:57) Fear the Con 4 dates have been set! The convention will be on March 18th and 19th of 2011. Wing Night will be the night before on March 17th. Both will be held at the same location as last year: Memorial Hall for the con and Syberg’s for the Wing Night.
* (0:19) The role of online communities in finding, building, and sustaining an audience. If you’re interested in Dragonlance, be sure to check out the Dragonlance Nexus.
* (3:44) The value of art, entertainment, and ideas on the internet. Why free may not always be the best price. Tracy’s plan for nurturing new authors in this environment. As a side note, Wayne’s serial fiction is being released weekly on the Skies of Glass website.
* (14:34) Tracy’s experience of co-authoring with his wife. The importance of a continual feedback loop in the creative process. The struggles of writing and the joys of having written.
* (19:43) The Dragonlance movie. Watching other people take over your creative properties, and the “original bad deal” that gets you published.
* (25:17) Whether Tracy ever plans to do anything more that’s directly in the RPG market. His new book series, starting with Song of the Dragon.
* (29:20) What’s up with the dragons? That question leads into a discussion on the monomyth, cognitive dissonance, and the human penchant for narrative.
* (0:30) Johann gets a new, rating-friendly nickname, and Chris learns about numbers.
* (1:48) Gen Con coverage is available on our blog. Quite a few videos are already out, and more are still being prepped for release over the coming days.
* (2:29) Dealing with unexpected player actions that aren’t covered by the rules. Designing a meaningful outcome that’s fair to the player without breaking the game.
* (18:00) Handling travel in a roleplaying game. Taking advantage of time and distance to keep the game interesting without bogging down the pace. Whether to use random encounter charts, and if so, how to get the most out of them. We’d like to thank Josheva for sending this one in!
* (0:44) The TOFTBCH network is still accepting sign-ups. Be sure to join us for all the social and gaming events we’ll be setting up during Gen Con. They’ve also gotten reservations for a pre-con wing night, 8:00pm on Wednesday at Scotty’s Brewhouse.
* (1:53) Canadian police cracking down on G20 protesters bust an Amtgard LARPer and give us a new idea for a weapon. You can read the article on The Globe and Mail.
* (9:02) Chris has the opportunity to do a news story on gaming and finds out he just might be a LARPophobe. You can watch the bit he did for D&D’s 30th anniversary here.
* (18:56) Playing characters that are socially excluded from the game’s setting due to race, species, religion, legal status, etc. How to use them to make a game feel more believable without letting them completely gum up the narrative.
* (51:22) What we have in mind for episode 200 and why it may take a while to produce.
While the recording quality is better than the show from Fear the Con 2, it’s still not perfect. Also, there was a hardware glitch that got fixed right around the 10 minute mark. All of that aside, it was an incredible experience that we wanted to share with anyone that couldn’t make it to the con. I hope you enjoy it, and we’ll be back Wednesday with one of our regular episodes!
I want to thank Dave Dankel from Iron Agenda for taking my seat on the show this week and letting the guys record with his setup. I desperately needed the time to work on Fear the Con stuff, and the free night helped out quite a bit. If you’re at all interested in WarMachine, be sure to check out his show!
I was hoping to run a regular episode this week, but Christmas happened. Since I couldn’t get enough hosts, I dug into the archive of unreleased stuff and pulled out a bonus episode we did with Mikey Mason.
* The top 10 reasons we miss having Chris on Fear the Boot.
* Chad makes a special presentation. You can find the RPG swap thread on our forum. Be sure to check out Atomic Robo! The story of Steve Jackson getting in trouble with the government can be read here.
* Running a roleplaying game system or setting for the first time,
Wednesday was the day Chad, John and I arrived in Indianapolis for Gen Con. They beat me there, and headed over to a different hotel for a hastily assembled “Pot Luck & Beer Tasting” event. By the time I showed, there were about a dozen Booters present.
We dined on chili concocted by Martian Bob himself, and tasted a variety of micro brews scrounged up (and some brewed by) Killercheesewedge. Plenty of gamer talk abounded, as ‘Return of the Jedi’ played on Spike TV in the background. Of course, we paused to listen to Admiral Ackbar shout, “It’s a trap!”
Photos below, as well as a brief audio commentary by Chad & John on their journey up (Dan will be uploading this).
Tomorrow the coverage begins in earnest, so keep checking back for more updates daily.
Some photos of the gathering here. Expect more tomorrow.
* Star Trek Bridge Commander and other Star Trek video games.
* The Power 16 2 begins today! The first round of competition within the Shadowrun League will run for a week or two. Get your votes in here! Remember that we’re giving away Catalyst gift cards, so if you want to enter for those, be sure to leave your name and email address at the end of the poll.
* If you register for the forums and don’t get your confirmation email, send a message to the General Mailbox with your forum user name. Don’t expect a confirmation email from us, since that will probably be blocked as well! Just keep checking back over the next day or two.
In this episode, we have a very candid discussion about violent crime and morality in roleplaying games. We felt it was important to cover this topic, but some of the content may be unsettling to some listeners. If you are sensitive to such issues, or listen to the show around people that are, please use discretion.
We promise episode 131 will be full of ponies and rainbows.
* Fear the Con’s hotel block is now ready for reservations. You can find details on the con’s website. If you’re looking to share rooms or rides, you can find classifieds on our forum. We’re also pleased to welcome comedian Mikey Mason as an addition to this year’s offerings.
* Julie (that’s Mrs. Hussey) comes on to talk about the Battletech love letters.
* Embarrass Chris and feed a village! You just can’t lose with this charity. We’re collecting money to purchase livestock for struggling communities around the world. Each animal purchased will not only provide much needed labor, wool, or sustenance to these people, but it will also ransom out one of Chris’ Battletech love letters for reading on the air. If you’ve got a little extra cash this season, I hope you’ll consider giving to a worthy cause.
* Keep on emailing your game-breaking tips to Dan. Next episode, we’ll read off the schemes everyone has for screwing with various systems.
* Fear the Con 2 registration is now up! Be sure to get a ticket, and if you’re interested in running a game, send an email to Chad. It’s two days of gaming you don’t want to miss.
* The Fear the Con site is now up for registration. If you want to run a game, sign up first and then contact Chad, telling him about the game you’re running (title, description, system, desired timeframe, and number of player slots).
* Introducicng our guest hosts, Andy and Arthur. If you can’t remember their forum titles, here’s a little mnemonic: Andy sounds like “sandy,” and he’s SandPunk. Arthur is the name of a king, and he’s Noble Bear.
* A preview of the forum card game, made entirely by listeners and forum users. If you want to learn more or offer your own contributions, be sure to visit the forum thread! If you can help these guys get this printed as a playing card game, please send a PM on the forum to SandPunk and NobleBear, or send an email to Dan.
* The start of our new endeavor: Help Your Fellow Players Screw the Game! Keep the tips short, tell us the game it’s for, and tell me how to pronounce your name. In case you’re curious, the monster we couldn’t remember is the Bodak.
* Keeping your players immersed in the game, even when they catch you off guard. If you’ve never heard the gazebo story, you can find the anecdote of Eric & the Dread Gazebo reprinted online.
* Tom Bombadil and other things regarding Lord of the Rings.
* Chris gets a gaming date.
* Playing music while you game.
* Player-characters as adversaries. You can learn about the etymology of MacGuffin here and here. Searching around more, I learned the original term for this sort of plot device: weenie. I’m not sure I want an RPG plot about chasing the bad guy’s weenie.
* Strange things we’ve seen kill games.
* Coming soon to Fear the Boot: WIN CHRIS’ BATTLETECH ROMANCE LETTER!!!
We put out the call for listener-submitted GM profiles, and we got some excellent entries! Check out the show and then head over to the forum to vote for the profiles you thought were the best. A big thanks to Brian, Chris, Geoff, John, Keith, Nicholas, and Sam for their entries!
* This is the last week for the GM profiles! Be sure to get yours in!
* Why is self-destruction a constant in all of John’s characters?
* Fear the Con 2 is set to go! It’s on for March 6th and 7th. Same location. Expect the sign-up site and other details in the near future. If you want to volunteer or just sound-off on the con planning, visit the forums here.
* Why we create characters the way we do.
* How the visual element of a movie can affect your experience of a book. I managed to track down the Harry Potter audio spoof John was talking about. WARNING!!! This is extremely not safe for work!!! Click here at your own risk. The Harry Potter 6 trailer, however, is perfectly safe.
* The episode 115 tutorials are NOT available on CD. We’re having problems getting CafePress to process the sound files properly. However, if you want to create your own CD, we’ve compiled the MP3 files in a CD-ready format (intro music removed, etc) in a zip file that you can download here.
* World Wide Wing Night 5 on Saturday, November 8th is coming up soon. You can find details here.
* Our Warhammer Online guild is doing unexpectedly well! Join us on the Order side of the Thorgrim server. More information can be found here.
* What percentage of roleplaying books you own have you actually read?
* Should players be familiar with the games they’re playing or expected to do any work outside of the game?
* Getting out of your character ruts and separating your own traits from those of your character.
* The episode 115 tutorials are NOT available on CD. We’re having problems getting CafePress to process the sound files properly. However, if you want to create your own CD, we’ve compiled the MP3 files in a CD-ready format (intro music removed, etc) in a zip file that you can download here.
* World Wide Wing Night 5 on Saturday, November 8th (not 18th) is coming up soon. You can find details here.
* We’ve started a Warhammer Online guild, Order side, on the Thorgrim server. You can find details on our forums.
* Chris pulls out Pulp Dungeons from the gamer closet.
* A shout-out to Halbert for giving Dan a code for an item in Age of Conan!
* How our review show won’t be a review show. If you want to start getting ready for that show, the first two topics we’ll be discussing are Frank Miller’s graphic novel, Dark Knight Returns, and the RPG, Justifiers. (Our forum user, JamsTheHobbit, provided us with a link to a Savage Worlds conversion you can find here.)
* Running a roleplaying game with young children present. The foam dice Dan describes are item #10966 in this catalog.
* Episode 100 is coming up next. If you have any questions for that show, please send them quickly to Dan or Luke. Also, there may be only a bonus episode since, since 100 will take two weeks to prepare.
* Don’t forget Diecon, particularly if you’re into Warmachine.
* The end of Living Greyhawk and start of Living Forgotten Realms.
* Playing a robot in a roleplaying game.
* Comparing point-buy and random rolling for RPG character creation.
* For episode 100, we’ll be taking your questions about our views, hosts, or anything else you want to talk about. So please send your questions to Luke or Dan!
* If you’re in the St. Louis area or interested in Warmachine, don’t miss Diecon at the end of May!
* This past week, Dan was a guest host on two shows. The first is the Gamer Traveler episode in which Dan discusses his cruise. The second is Kore News with Walt Snider. If you’d like to discuss the topics on Walt’s show, be sure to visit his forum!
* Karla talks about how many chairs have been destroyed in this house, and Luke recants.
* Drawing your players into the start of a roleplaying game campaign.
* Designing races for your RPG. And don’t miss this segment’s objection!
Hosts: Dan, John, Karla (briefly), Luke, Matt, Tex
* Yet another game derailed by a failure of the group template. We also offer some advice on meshing subplots with your main plot.
* Converting settings across or into rules systems. If you want to see the picture of Chad we mention, the original (potentially not safe for work) is here. The modified picture (safe for work) is here.
WARNING: The content of this episode is a little more coarse than usual.
* Contrary to what Luke thinks, Furreals are not sexual.
* Fear the Boot PSA #2. Here is the relevant link.
* Join us for Fear the Con on March 8th! Don’t forget to donate to Tony Mast’s Fear the Froot. And we hope you’ll join us for World Wide Wing Night the Friday night before the con and the eye exams at Meyer Eye Care the Sunday after the con.
* The Warhammer 40,000 RPG.
* Joseph Campbell’s “hero’s journey” and its relevance to running a roleplaying game. Since Tex did so much research, we’ll provide a short bibliography of his sources…
* If you want a Fear the Boot hoodie, you can find them here. Be sure to type “feartheboot” (without the quotes) in the coupon field. This offer may be for a limited time only, so if you want it, get it fast!
* Luke’s Chromehounds group, Iron Tyrants. Friends lists for PS3, Xbox Live, and Wii.
* Dealing with “that one player” in your roleplaying game.
* Dan’s bad gaming story…finally.
* Fear the Boot on Fanboy Smackdown doing an episode about Top Gun. FAIR WARNING! This episode was done at Gencon before we made our promise to lay off certain kinds of language and insulting certain people groups.
Like all Fear the Boot bonus episodes, this show is neither edited nor on our usual subject. So if this is your first time here, we recommend checking out a regular episode first. Also, excuse the jingling in the background. Two of my dogs were wrestling throughout the entire episode.
As for the episode, the title says it all! This show is about the pitfalls and success stories of internet dating!
* The Beatles version of Lord of the Rings?! Also, here’s the song with Leonard Nimoy singing about Bilbo.
* Power 16 update. You can see the bracket here. And be sure to vote on the next round here.
* Fictional religions in a roleplaying game.
* Real religions in a roleplaying game.
* Religion versus RPG culture. Here is a link to the Chick tract we keep talking about. And here’s a link to the profile of the guy that hosts the Gamers of Faith forum. Send him a PM if you want to get more info on joining it.
Though we’ve gotten out of the habit, we want to do something different every 10th episode. Since episode 50 falls pretty close to our one-year anniversary, we spend this show looking back on the first year of the show.
I assure you this is not a highlight reel of clips from previous shows, nor do we rehash old topics. Instead we talk about the things that have happened off mic, the phases the show has gone through, and how it’s changed us as people.
If you’re interested in the gaming talk, but not the show itself, this is probably not an episode for you. Skip over it and catch up with us again on episode 51. Otherwise, stick around for a look at what it’s like to make Fear the Boot.
* Though it will have minimal impact on the show, we’ve changed our recording date from Saturday to Monday. Release will still be on Wednesdays.
* We’re accepting donations to prepare gaming kits that will be sent down to Ziggurat Con, a gaming convention for soldiers in Iraq. You can donate using the “Make a Donation” button at the top of our site. If you prefer to send a check or other donation via postal mail, please send an email to Dan. All donations must be in by noon Central time on Saturday, May 12th. Our forum discussion on the effort can be found here. If you’d like to play a promo on your own show for the fund drive, you can find a 60-second MP3 here.
* Planning has begun for World Wide Wing Night 2. It will be on Friday, May 18th. Details can be found here.
* The single favorite RPG of each individual host and why we picked those games.
* A discussion on which actor made the best Batman.
* Tips for running a roleplaying game in the Western genre.
* Chris Engler is joining a charity bowling contest that will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters. If RPG podcast listeners will pledge enough money, several companies (including Highmoon Media and Sword’s Edge) have pledged to give away a ton of RPG-related prizes. You can find the details on his website or in our forums.
* A Bloodbowl League is forming, using a Java client so you can play online for free. You can find information in our forums and on the league’s page.
* Congratulations to Zanian0 for winning our Chad: The Travesty contest. You can find his entry here.
* A discussion on Command & Conquer 3 leads into a longer discussion on strategy video games.
* Dealing with cliches when running a genre-based RPG. The Inspector Gadget joke John makes is in reference to this Robot Chicken clip.
In the second interview episode, we talk with Mike West from Lionhead Studios. Mike contributed to script development for Fable and is currently the lead script developer for Fable 2. Our conversation focuses on storytelling in video games, but also includes discussion of the relationship between video games and tabletop games, the future of the video game market, and the chances of small shops succeeding in the industry.
Since starting this podcast, Fear the Boot has made contact with quite a few professionals in the gaming market. Rather than let these opportunities go to waste, we decided to start a new interview series. For our kick-off show, we chat with Ryan Dancey about his experience working for Wizards of the Coast, the data he’s seen on the gaming population, and the future of the hobby.
If you’d like to hear more from Ryan, be sure to check out his blog!
During the show, we make a few jokes about an “oooooh” noise. During the show I said I would link the video that comes from, so here it is. Please be aware it includes foul language.
* Katie, I can’t understand the email address in your voicemail.
* A writer’s critique group is running on our forum. To join, send a private message (on the forum) to Tony, who both heads up the critique group and is a host of the Fanboy Smackdown, movie review podcast.
* The new FTB banner page can be found here or under the “Banners” link at the top of the page.
* The FTB store can be found here or under the “Store” link at the top of the page. It features FTB 9000 Compliant, Baron von Badass, and show logo gear.
* Why do gamers all enter the hobby with the same preconceptions?
* Is it possible to bring what we enjoy from tabletop gaming into video games?
* Designing the economy and itemization for your new roleplaying game.
Like all Fear the Boot bonus episodes, this show is neither edited nor on our usual subject. So if this is your first time here, we recommend checking out a regular episode first.
This particular episode is primarily about “gamer shame”, meaning the embarrassment most gamers feel about their chosen hobby. However, before we get into that, we spend a few minutes talking about turn-based strategy games and waning attention spans.
This episode was intended to be a warm-up for Mike, a new host we’re bringing on at FTB to help out with several new efforts we’re preparing to launch. However, true to form, we spend most of the show chasing tangents, the largest of which is a discussion on pipes and cigars.
Mike was a bit nervous behind the mic, but that’s alright. Off the mic he’s just as belligerent as the rest of us, so I know he’ll be a great addition once he’s more at ease.
Before I get to the show notes, a listener asked us to mention an upcoming gaming con. I didn’t get the note in time for the recording, so I’ll mention it here instead. The con is Chattacon in Chattanooga, Tennessee, January 26 – 28. You can find more information at Chattacon.org.
With that done, on to the show…
* The future of the gaming industry. The Ryan Dancey article we mention can be found here.
* Art for your new roleplaying game.
* Skies of Glass Q&A. The Gamer Traveler show we mention can be found here.
WARNING: This episode of Fear the Boot deals with handling sensitive subjects in your role-playing game. While it maintains the usual rating of a Fear the Boot episode, it includes candid discussions of social issues such as race, religion, politics, and violence. If you are bothered by such discussions or playing this show in the presence of anyone this content would be inappropriate for, please exercise proper discretion.
* World Wide Wing Night
* TV shows we miss.
* Too much versus too little micro-setting in a roleplaying game.
* Handling sensitive subjects when designing a new RPG.
To follow-up on our open letter in the previous episode, we’re happy to announce the show is back on track and doing well! However, based on the suggestion of several listeners, FTB will now be released on Wednesdays instead of Mondays.
Continuing our game design series, we spend most of this episode talking about the role player-characters will assume in your game. We also talk about Christmas parties and our current contests, as well as giving a Skies of Glass Q&A.
One of our forum users, Crafterofcode, sent us a box of Australian candies. We spend this bonus episode sampling the candy and discussing international food.
We also bring Tex back via Skype, since he spent several years living in Europe. This was a great opportunity for us to test recording with Skype, which is something we may use for interviews in the future.
Before the bonus episode itself, I take a few minutes to address the listeners with an open letter we posted on our forums. It explains why the design series has been running behind and what we’re doing to address the problem.
Our Xbox Live contest continues for another week. Don’t forget to enter again, using the “Contest Entry Form” link at the top of our site. Also, we forgot to mention it during the episode, but we’ve made a slight change to the rules. We realize Christmas time is drawing near, so if you don’t have a Gamer Tag, but you intend to give this game as a gift to someone that will actually use it, you can still enter and win any of the prizes. We just want your word that this is going (for free) to someone that will play it.
During the episode, we mention a document share we’re using on Google. If you want to set up one for your own project, you can find it here: docs.google.com.
Our first major topic of advice relates to forming a solid team to develop your roleplaying game. We then move on to talk about the importance of feel, which will guide your development of setting and rules.
We recorded this episode immediately after watching the two Dungeons & Dragons movies. We spend the first half of the episode reviewing those two films before we broaden the topic to talk about RPG movies in general. We toss out some games we’d like to see made into movies and theorize about why there haven’t been more.
We were joined this episode by Tony from Fanboy Smackdown. If you’re interested in hearing his all-movie podcast, you can find it at http://www.fanboysmackdown.com.
We start this episode with a bad player habit that we missed in our previous two shows. After that, we take on a series of topics related to character creation: unlisted perks and penalties, restricting races and classes, obscure supplements that can wreck games, and player illustrations.
This is normally a pretty light-hearted show, however, not everything in life is a joke.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the developed world, and we at FTB want to do our part to help. We would like to release the following PSA that has a simple — yet important — test you can use to determine your risk of heart disease.
This bonus episode is a round-up of unrelated stories from the hosts. As with all bonus episodes, this is both unedited and off topic. If this is your first time here, we suggest checking out a regular episode first!
Before digging into the episode, we mention two art-related things. First, there’s an art contest for drawing Baron von Badass. If you want to enter, you can find the relevant information here: http://feartheboot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1004. Second, I mention that I’m looking for artists for character portrait commissions. It’s something I’m doing over the longterm due to cost, but if you’re interested in doing it, you can post something on the forums or just send me an email.
With that out of the way, we wrap up our list of bad player habits. Obviously this is part 2 of 2, with the list started in the previous episode.
We kick off the episode with a story about our trip to a hibachi restaurant. When it’s time to discuss roleplaying games, we begin with a look at what sort of person wants to be a GM. We then work through a list of common GMing mistakes and how to avoid them.
We recorded this episode live in the gaming area of the Archon sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming convention. If this is your first time listening, this episode is not recorded or presented in the way we normally do a show. You may want to check out a normal recording (like episode 21) first.
We devoted this episode to talking about the con and offering some advice on how to run or play in a successful roleplaying game while at a convention.
If you want to hear more of the coverage we did at Archon or see any of the pictures we took, check out the feed at http://archonstl.libsyn.com. We’re still working on that page, so many audio files and pictures are not yet present. Please keep checking back, as we intend to have the whole thing done by the end of the week.
We’d like to remind everyone FTB will be at Archon this Thursday – Sunday, so if you’re going to be near the St. Louis area, please stop by and say, “hi!” In addition to our panels and guest interviews, our FTB ladies will be running a HAFU event to protest the Zombie Squad’s treatment of the undead.
Episode 21 starts off with the winner of our “Regular Joe” character contest. We’d like to congratulate wmcduff for his entry, and we’ll be contacting him with his GeekLabel prize code shortly.
The advice topics for this show are the use of foreshadowing and dreams in your roleplaying game, as well as how to handle party in-fighting.
You should quickly realize this episode isn’t quite right. This is part of a promotion that’s being done between a dozen gaming podcasts. One week in September, each show will be run by the hosts of a different show. The strangers you’re hearing on Fear the Boot are Mick and Rae from Misfit Brew. In this show, Mick and Rae talk about RPGs, focusing on Rae’s impressions of the hobby as a non-gamer.
If you want to hear your “home team” FTB hosts, you can find us over at the Roundtable. For a direct link to the show we did for them, click right here.
A big thanks to Mick for hosting this show and letting us host one of his! And let me wrap this up by giving you the relevant links for Mick and Rae…
Before every show, we go through a dysfunctional routine which we describe at the start of this episode. We also talk about the market penetration of podcasts in the gaming community and one of the few fixtures of gaming life we haven’t yet discussed: junk food!
Our main topic is evil characters and evil parties, though we didn’t realize just how big the subject was until we started talking about it. This is one we might revisit in more detail at some point in the future.
At the end of the show, we announce our next contest. This one is the exact opposite of our “freak show” contest. To enter, head to our forums and look for the “contests” topic area. In 500 words or less, give us a deep and interesting character whose race/class is as boring as possible. We want to demonstrate that interesting characters have nothing to do with concept, so blow us away with your secretaries, garbage collectors, farmers, and the like! The prize is a $30 gift code for GeekLabel.com.
Just as I promised on the forums, here’s a bonus episode to go hand-in-hand with episode 18!
We intended to make this bonus episode about our take on where Battletech went wrong. However, we ended up on so many tangents that the show is really more about where creative endeavors in general go wrong.
As you probably know by now, these bonus episodes are neither edited nor quality controlled. So if this is your first time here, please check out a regular episode to find out what our show is really like.
In this show we cover some fond memories of FASA product catalogs, name the winner of our “freak show” character contest, offer our thoughts on card games, kick around some settings we wish had their own roleplaying games, and offer our thoughts on the use of electronic devices to aid your games.
I want to remind everyone of the contest we’re running right now. You can find details in this episode, the show notes for episode 16, or our forums.
Continuing a topic we started in bonus episode 7, we spend some time talking about spaceship combat in roleplaying games. Then we offer some insight and advice about running your game in an established setting with a single, pervasive storyline.
We’re probably just as opinionated about video games as we are roleplaying games, but the former just isn’t what this podcast is about. However, for this bonus episode, we decided to talk only about video games.
You guys know the drill. These bonus episodes are not edited or formatted, so the quality of our normal shows isn’t really there. We just make these things for fun.
At the start of this episode, we mention a WoW guild Fear the Boot listeners and hosts have started. If you’re interested in joining, you can find details at: http://www.feartheboot.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=18
After that, we give our follow-up on Gencon, some response to the discussions our “freak show” commentary in episode 13 started, and offer advice for dealing with absentee players in your roleplaying game.
This episode was supposed to be our farewell to John, who’s leaving for Rome soon. However, it quickly degrades into tangents about travel, foreign beer, and international family.
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! This show is far edgier than anything we have ever done before. We poke fun at some very serious issues, but please keep in mind we’re just joking. If you’re easily offended, this is probably not the episode for you.
As always, please keep in mind that these bonus episodes are not on the same topics or of the same quality as our normal work. We do not script, edit, or quality control these extra shows.
Episode 13 indeed!We found ourselves down a host and had several other problems getting this show ready. But we made it through nonetheless.In this episode, we talk about how our roleplaying games have changed as we got older, RPG novels, and the art and science of playing non-humanoids.
Hosts: Chad, Dan, Dawn
UPDATE: True to form, unlucky episode 13 got uploaded wrong. If you picked up this episode and it had a length right around one hour, please download again. The correct version should be 54 minutes. I apologize to anyone that picked up our unedited mess.
This episode is all about the roleplaying environment, both inside and outside of the game.We talk about the best sort of room to game in, eating while gaming, using mood music, and we offer advice to Game Masters on creating a good setting.
It’s also worth mentioning that within the first minute or two, Chad derailed this show with the most memorable tangent I’m guessing we’ll ever have.
This is quite possibly the most pointless and meandering show we have ever recorded. So why are we releasing it? Because these bonus episodes never come with a quality guarantee! This show is primarily our follow-up to the ladies podcast (episode 10), but we also talk about our ideas for future “special” episodes.
Since several people have asked about the cons we’ll be attending, we start episode 11 with our convention schedule.We then pause to talk about our first two episodes which seem to have offended a few first-time listeners.While we won’t take them down, we do suggest you start listening at later episodes instead.
Chris sent us an email about judging morality by periods in history, which we discuss.We also respond to an email from Harping Mick who requested our detailed views on LARPing.Finally, we offer some advice on surviving a campaign’s dreaded first game and then close out by listing a few of our favorite “game killers”.
The third bonus episode — and the final one on this topic, at least for now — is a discussion of the internet-related tasks that go into making a podcast. We talk about posting the show online, getting listed in podcast directories, and so on. This episode was recorded several weeks ago, but I was a bit slow getting it posted, so expect some “dated” comments.
After listening to all three bonus episodes in this series, I think I’d like to re-record these at some point, making them more complete and more serious. We’ve learned quite a bit even in the short time since these were recorded. We made these episodes because people asked us how we made our show, not because we considered ourselves particular experts on the subject.
Also, a reminder to everyone that we do not edit these episodes for quality, so expect a lot of background noise and other screw-ups that don’t normally appear in our shows.
Episode 10 is an anomaly for our show.For this one episode, we turn over the mics to our wives.They give us a woman’s perspective on gaming and what it’s like to be a non-gamer married to a gaming dork.
If this is your first time with Fear the Boot, please be aware that this is not the normal format for our show.If you’re looking to see what this show is typically like, we recommend you go back and listen to episode 9 first.
We were down a host for this episode, and a bit more serious than normal, but we still covered a lot of good information.
The episode starts with a discussion of the overuse of setting in some campaigns, followed by our musings about D&D alignment, character behavior, and real-life violence around the gaming table.We struggle with the age-old question of “tail or wings” and then finally (having promised this for many episodes) bash out our opinion of the d20 system.
We conclude with an email from a listener and some advice for unusually large or small roleplaying groups — including the possible use of multiple GMs to co-manage a game.
We start this show by discussing various character- and player-related problems that can occur during a roleplaying game. Topics include Adam’s difficulty naming his characters, deciding between 1st and 3rd person RP, ridiculous inventories, and dealing with “setting lawyers”. The last half of the show is spent discussing the design and exceution of combat encounters, as well as handling the positive and negative consequences that follow.
* FYI, the “two sets of keys” comment was just a figure of speech. None of the hosts actually does anything like that.
Episode 7 begins with us trying to figure out how to pronounce Aram’s name.He regales us with his single, tragic experience with D&D, the details of which get us thinking about how roleplayers tend to insert RPG elements into other areas of their lives.
We take some time to thank the other podcasts that have been uniquely supportive of Fear the Boot.This includes HarpingMick of HarpingMonkey.com, JJ from Fist Full of Comics, and Chuck and Lonnie of Dragon’s Landing Inn.
Since we had the entries in hand, we select a winner for the “origin of Fear the Boot” contest and tell you the real story behind our name.Adam had a Rifts book handy, so we also pause to discuss the ups and downs of the Palladium games and generic rules systems in general.
Our advice portion focuses on dealing with players that break your plot, straying places you never expected them to go.We offer quite a few tips for getting them back on track and keeping them there without resorting to heavy-handed tactics.
Our second bonus episode covers the hardware (mics, mixer, etc) we use to make the podcast. I want to remind everyone the bonus episodes — unlike our regular shows — are completely unedited. There’s no intro music and our mistakes are all left in.
Episode 6 begins with a discussion on using the Monstrous Manual as a campaign setting and plotline! Please don’t ever do that. We then pause to remind everyone about the ways you can get in touch with us, such as Odeo, email, and our new forums.
Since several people have been asking where the name “Fear the Boot” came from, we decided to turn it into a contest. All you have to do is come up with a good story about how you think “Fear the Boot” originated. Please keep it to about one paragraph in length, with no obscenity, and post your entry on our forum. The winner will have their entry read on the next podcast and get a custom forum-user title.
Next, we read an email from Scott, answering his question about how to find a replacement gamer for his group. That transitions into a conversation about playing characters that lend themselves to shallow stereotypes (a thought I don’t think we sufficiently developed). Finally, after asking ourselves why we talk about Shadowrun so much, we roll into the advice portion with tips on creating a good plot. Since we can’t resist tangents, we also give some tips on how to quickly name the NPCs your players come across in your game.
This is the first in a series of bonus episodes we want to release. These shows are 10 – 20 minutes long and cover topics that don’t fit in the scope of our normal podcasts. They’re completely unedited, so there’s no intro music and our flubs have been left in. We won’t have a bonus show every week, but when we do, we’ll be releasing them on Wednesday night.
The first three bonus episodes talk about the creative, hardware, and marketing aspects of making this podcast. We made them in response to a listener that asked how we put the show together. If this topic doesn’t particularly interest you, or you don’t like the prospect of a rather raw recording, you won’t miss too much by skipping over it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).