Friday, 7 August 2015

Podcasts and the Nerds who Host Them

I listen to a lot of RPG podcasts, and I'm starting to detect some recurring themes.

The following is offered with the utmost affection to those who provide so much of my entertainment.

Dungeon World

Musical intro

GUY WHO SOUNDS LIKE HE DOES A LOT OF MC'ING AT PROBABLY POETRY SLAMS OR SOMETHING: Hi there, welcome to the Name Podcast! This is Callum LaSurname of IndieBandUserName on YouTube, or ArtsyName on Twitter. And here's a little quirky introduction or something because we're just that kind of podcast! So, our first guest tonight is the fabulous Erin California! Erin, say hi.

ERIN: I'm Erin California, ErinSaysThings on Twitter, ExperimentalTheatre on YouTube, SomethingIDidn'tCatch on, and I'm really excited to be here!

GUY: That's awesome, we are so glad you could be here tonight, it's going to be amazing. And over here we have Mr Potato Leg, better known as Josh of the Whimsycast!

JOSH: Hi, I'm Josh, from SomeComedyGroup on YouTube, and this is only my second ever session of RPGs, so I'm really looking forward to this.

CALLUM: Okay, so before we start, let's just hear a little bit more about each of your characters.

JOSH: Well, Caleb is kind of tall, not quite seven feet but maybe like six foot ten, with hair that's kind of mahogany-coloured with streaks of blue, and a little curly, mostly short but with some long parts that fall forward over his shoulders, and...

CALLUM: Hold up Josh, we already went through descriptions last week, right? When we finished character generation? So this time let's maybe talk about a time when Caleb learned something important about his place in the world.


CALLUM: Okay, so the ogre has hit you with its club, and what would Millisandra like to do next Erin?

ERIN: Well, so Millisandra will (insert detailed five-minute description of complex series of actions which would allow any ogre plenty of time for a tea break before getting back to business) and so the blade whistled through the air, and then curves back to slice right through the ogre's vertebrae and take its head off. And then she lands and turns around and picks up its club, and uses that to slide the artefact off the altar and into her pouch.

CALLUM: What did you roll?

ERIN: A two.

CALLUM: Okay, so what actually happens is Millisandra tries to do that, but actually she ducks straight into the ogre's club and takes a bunch of damage.

ERIN: So Millisandra just slams right in there, the club moves just at the wrong time, and she cracks her skull off it and the blow goes wide, and so she's just staggering around off-balance, and...

Call of Cthulhu

Spooky noises

BLOKE: Hi, and welcome to Cthulhu Puncast. This week we're playing Scenario Name from Book. I'm Bloke Dudeson and I'll be the Keeper today.

BEARDED GUY: I'm Bearded Army Veteran, and I'm playing Dr. Ivan Profiekov.

EURO: I'm European IT Technician, I'm playing Lady Eustacia.

PROFESSOR: I'm Retired British Professor, and I'm playing Burly Mobster with Array of Firearms.

BLOKE: Okay, so if you remember from a couple of weeks ago, you were searching through the burned-down house where those people were horribly killed last week.

EURO: Right, and there were creepy noises coming from upstairs, right? So I'll say "Guys, I hear creepy noises from upstairs. I'm going to check it out." I take out my camera and head upstairs.

PROFESSOR: Okay, shout if anything happens. I'll be in the kitchen, looking for anything hidden. I'm actually in the kitchen in real life too. I'm watching the grandkids today. Thank heavens for wireless headsets.

BEARD: Mr. Mobster, Lady Eustacia, let us be logical. Anything hidden here is surely in the basement.

PROFESSOR: Sure, check it out.

BLOKE: So... in the burned-out murder house with creepy noises, you're going to split up to cover more ground?

EVERYONE: Absolutely!

BLOKE: Professor, you find a wooden box, and inside is a book bound in human skin, with a hideous symbol carved into it. Looking at the symbol makes your eyes hurt.

BEARD: Does my extensive knowledge of the occult and heretical tell me anything about this book?

BLOKE: You're pretty sure this is the famous Liber Insanitarus Brutalus, a blasphemous set of essays by Bishop Fogel, who was burned at the stake for witchcraft in 1100 and allegedly returned from the dead to eat his enemies. It's said that the knowledge he gained by consulting demons was written in blood in a book so evil, no truly good man could even touch it.

EURO: I'm pretty sure Bishop Fogel actually died in 1103.

PROFESSOR: Well, it depends whether it's the Romanian or the Swedish one, but yes, definitely not 1100.

EURO: Next time we have a break, I'll check my Dead Bishops of the Middle Ages.

BEARD: Okay, I call everyone downstairs. Look, I found this tome of sinister lore hidden in the basement. Just as I predicted, I might add. It is said to be profoundly evil and full of the most hideous secrets. According to legends, reading even a page of this book is enough to drive a strong man mad.

EVERYONE: I read the book.

BLOKE: As you're reading, a police officer arrives and asks you to explain yourselves. You crossed a police line, if you remember. Also you used illegal whisky to bribe a hobo into luring the guard away by stripping naked and taunting him.

EURO: I explain that we've been asked to look around by the owner of the house, who is an old friend of mine.

BEARDED: I explain that we've been asked to investigate the murders by the police, and we're working on their behalf.

PROFESSOR: I explain that we were walking past and we heard a strange noise inside, and we thought we should come and investigate in case some kids were messing around or something. Also I'll quietly slip a hand into my pocket and grab my revolver, just in case.

BLOKE: Faced with three contradictory stories, he doesn't believe any of you. About that time, a gribbly thing with tentacles suddenly attacks him. Roll SAN.

EURO: Awesome, I roll 100!

BLOKE: Lose 20 SAN. You develop... rolls... a crippling fear of... legs.


D&D 4E

Sort of generic rock music

MATT: Hi, I'm Matt Everyfather, welcome to Episode 64 of Gamey Name, a Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition podcast. Dungeons and Dragons is a registered trademark of Wizards of the Coast. I'll be your Dungeon Master tonight.

MATT: In Episode 60, the party entered the lair of a ferocious blue dragon, and a fight erupted. The dragon and its elemental allies stoutly defended the ancient temple that is their lair. Last episode, the party finally destroyed one of the elementals, tipping the balance in their favour.

ASSORTED COLLEAGUES AND CHILDREN: I'm Name, and I'm playing Character, a Race Subclass Class.

MATT: So next in the initiative order is... Eric.

ERIC: Right, I'm going to start by activating my Aura of Complexity as a free action.

MATT: Remind me what that does?

ERIC: Basically it provides a bonus equal to my Intelligence modifier on Wisdom-based attacks with the Fire or Utensil keywords made against enemies marked by me by allies born under the same zodiac sign standing within 3 squares, until the end of my next turn.

LUKE: Oh, awesome. So on Scott's turn...

ERIC: Exactly.

MATT: Wait, didn't they errata that?

STEVE: Yeah, it used to technically have an infinite duration and stack with itself, but they changed that last week. That's why I switched it out for Unholy Breath, remember, I emailed you.

ERIC: So now for my move I want to use Furious Amble to saunder three squares over... no, the other left... up a bit... yeah, so I'm flanking with Luke. And as part of my move I get to make an attack of opportunity on anything that looked at me during my move. Then I'm going to use a minor action to let Steve swap places with any enemy adjacent to him and then slide it four squares.

MATT: Um, how?

ERIC: That's that Boss Around feat I took last level. And then for my major I'm going to bust out a Hyperbolic Strike on the dragon.

MATT: That's a melee attack, right? So that triggers his Retorting Breath as an interrupt that happens before you draw your sword.

LUKE: Wait, I use my Defensive Shout as an interrupt to prevent the interrupt.

STEVE: If you're using a warlord ability, I can regain 4hp because I'm within 5 squares of you.

...twenty minutes later...

MATT: Okay, so the elemental's attack hits Luke for 6 points of acid damage, which means you didn't get to use your Defensive Shout at all. So Steve de-regains the... how many hp was it? Anyway, you lose that again.

STEVE: Can I use Finnicky Knack? Because that triggers when I lose hit points.

MATT: I don't think so, because you're not actually losing any, we just worked out that you never got the opportunity to regain them. Bill, can you look that up?

BILL: Sure, dad.

MATT: Okay, but while we're waiting let's just finish resolving this. So the dragon does get to use its Retorting Breath, and Eric, you take 47 cold damage.

ERIC: Ouch. No, no, I'm fine. So I roll a 9, which gives me... wait, I get my weapon bonus, plus the bonus from Steve's power last turn, carry the two... does an 82 hit its AC?

MATT: You know it does.

ERIC: So, okay, can I borrow everyone's dice? ...that's 3290 damage, and the dragon is stunned, prone, deafened, confused, embarrassed, bald and peeved until it makes a saving throw.

EVERYONE: Awesome. Is it bloodied yet?

MATT: Not yet. It roars mightily, and staggers back on its scaly heels. And I think we'll leave things there for this episode. Join us again next time, drama fans, when Steve takes his turn!

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