Episode 30: D&D One Shot, One Kill(er Adventure)

Matt and Rob write a Dungeons and Dragons one-shot adventure on-the-fly in under an hour! 

Writing adventures is not hard or scary.  It's something that just takes practice.  We hope our brainstorming and adventure planning will help inspire and encourage you to get those plots prepped.  

The adventure will be available for free on our homebrew page about a week after release.  Feel free to download and playtest our one-shot!

Episode 29: Foam of Toes

Matt and Rob share their first impressions of the sixth rule book in the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition: Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes

There will be war.  There will be blood.  There will be a Blood War.  Your hosts talk about the upgrading the Tiefling with the new stuff in this book.  The new Githzerai and Githyanki are full of flavor and story-telling potential; the other section of races and sub-races for Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings not so much.  Reprints abound!  Wizards then makes us sad by putting Tortles and Giff into the book but not giving them racial stats for players. 

The monsters are great! We hit on our favorites (allips, chokers, and maruts).  Rob and Matt chat about what lessons DMs can learn on how to modify monsters from the sections on Ogres, Drow, and Trolls.

Link to the PF table of 100 tiefling traits.  

Link to Matt and Rob's Giff player species. 


Episode 28: Ready Planescape One

This week Matt and Rob talk mazes and monsters -- no, not the classic 1982 Tom Hanks movie about the dark side of gaming, we're talking Planescape, which is full of both! Your favorite DM duo talk about the theme and setting of the wackiest D&D setting out there, give some ideas on how to run a campaign, and generally geek out about what makes it cool.

Make sure to listen carefully for a rare instance of Rob being BTFO by Matt on a rules question.

Episode 27: How to Freedom

Lot going on here! Matt and Rob chat about the news of the week, talk elf phrenology, discuss the end of our recent campaign arcs, follow-up on a listener e-mail, and give some more unasked-for advice, addressing staying organized, homebrew content, and, of course, how to freedom.

RPG Round-up 2:20

How to end a campaign arc and deal with players leaving 10:00

Follow-up letter 29:30

How to Stay Organized? 32:30

DnDWiki Homebrew troubles 39:00

How to create freedom 49:00

Episode 26: System Talk

Sure, D&D is fun, but have you ever severed an orc street sam's head with a monofilament whip, or confronted the eldritch horrors of the universe with nothing but your service revolver and a flashlight?

Matt and Rob talk a little bit about the other systems that they've played and run, what makes them fun, and why you might want to branch out from D&D and 5e, and how to approach a different system and setting. Expand your horizons players, there's a whole world of RPGs out there!

Episode 25: PbtA, theme, and worldbuilding with special guest Michelle Nickolaisen

This week's episode takes us into uncharted territory, with a sweeping discussion of TTRPGs, crafting unique worlds, and exploring themes within your games, featuring our first guest, Michelle Nickolaisen, DM and host of Serendipity City.

Michelle talks to us about Powered by the Apocalypse and what you can draw from it, how to run a game that's going to be shared online, creating interesting and compelling worlds, and how to approach complicated themes in your games. We lost some audio, but soldiered on, and covered a ton of ground nonetheless.

Find Michelle and her many projects @_ChelleShock and her PbtA podcast at https://www.serendipitypod.com/.

Episode 23: BONUS - The Retroverse!

DMs Rob and Matt take a look at a preview of the brand new 5e D&D Kickstarter "Lasers and Liches: Tales from the Retroverse" by Chris Lock and Lluis Abadias! 

Do you wish your RPG campaign was more like a Saturday morning cartoon?  Then this is the "hack" for you!  Pull on your fingerless gloves, turn up the synthesizer, and jack into the wacky world of the Retroverse!  


Episode 22: Mail Bag of Holding

Matt and Rob get around to their month-log backlog of listener questions (sorry) and dispense some dubious, but explicitly wanted advice.

(3:03) Gordon writes in asking about how to find a D&D group to play with. Matt and Rob have some suggestions, some of which might even be useful!

(9:30) Adrian writes in about how to reduce prep time and for advice on being comfortable improvising. We wisely advise Adrian to stop doing so much work.

(18:15) Brian asks about dealing with a *Gob Bluth voice* huge mistake with his wide-reaching homebrew world.

(30:22) Sid's got a 3-part question (that's cheating Sid) that deals with metagaming, tuning the challenge of encounters, and learning when to let go.

(46:00) David wants to know how to make his human and humanoid NPCs more diverse. Matt and Rob try not to be racist!

Episode 20: Fixing the Mystic and Artificer

Let’s homebrew some classes!  Wizards has set their sights on two iconic classes: the Mystic (aka the Psion) and the Artificer.  These classes are essential for running games in Dark Sun or Eberron. However, the playtest classes for the Mystic and the Artificer are not quite there yet.  We dig into why these proposed classes fall short and how we would fix them.  Our “crunchiest” episode yet!


Rob’s Artificer homebrew.

Matt’s Psimple Psion (Mystic) homebrew.  

Episode 19: History Doesn't Work Like That — Authenticity and Gaming

Matt and Rob put on their dueling gloves and throw down with a couple of games that claim to be historically accurate — but are in fact, nothing of the sort (also, uh, "historically accurate" isn't really a thing, but we'll get to that).

Your fearless DMs get to the root of what people are REALLY talking about when they talk about authenticity and historical accuracy, and as you might imagine, it's not what they say it's about. Come for a frank discussion of Kingdom Come: Deliverance and its RPG counterpart, stay for the part where we both get unreasonably worked up about the misuse of history. 

Episode 18: Couatls Conquer Europe

In "Couatls Conquer Europe" Matt and Rob discuss the re-launch of the Dragons Conquer America Kickstarter.  Your DMs plunge headfirst into the jungle of, uh, problems that arose during the kickstarter's initial failed run.  After tackling the basics of "How to Train Your Dragon to Conquer America," the DMs get into successes, challenges, and opportunities of setting a fantasy game during the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs.  Come for a summary of the game's glaring historical omissions, stay for Matt and Rob's bewilderment at Burning Games' inability to make meaningful changes in response to some very reasonable suggestions from critics.  Matt and Rob then grapple with the complexities of writing an anti-colonial or post-colonial RPG. 

Bonus! If you are are game designer, this kickstarter is a masterclass in how NOT to respond to criticism.  

Link to Dia Lacina's article on Vice: https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/a37a34/it-takes-more-than-a-tolerance-mechanic-to-make-an-anti-colonial-rpg

Episode 17: The Forgettable Realms vs. Eberron

Matt talks about how to handle intra-party disputes by ending your sessions at the right time (00:30) and Rob shares tips on how to run games for a large number of players (05:00).  

Then, the duo discusses campaign settings.  Specifically, why D&D’s “default” setting in 5th edition, the Forgotten Realms, a.k.a. Faerun, is so frustrating and boring (14:00).  Matt and Rob break down the bad (and good) of Elminster's favorite reality. Then, stick around to hear why the Eberron campaign setting, another official WotC world, is great place to run and play D&D (33:00).  Fact: All good campaign settings ask an interesting question about the world and have a strong theme.  Fight us!

Finally, we close out with some thoughts about what we don’t like about Eberron and how to start porting it over to 5th edition. (54:15)

Episode 14: Unwanted Advice 3

We’re starting a side-project, “Now This is Podcasting!” to complain about Luke Skywalker’s new Jedi powers (this is totally not a joke).   Rob and Matt review the recent RPG kickstarter news (4:40).  Big daddy Matt Colville’s new book “Strongholds and Followers” has more than 1 million dollars pledged.  Check it out!  There are only 5 days left!  Then, we make ourselves sad by remembering the “epic bacon fail” of Pathfinder’s sad, sad MMO kickstarter.   Matt and Rob have a quick chat about “Into the Wild,” the new Unearthed Arcana from WotC. (15:00)

On to the main event: Unwanted Advice!  We save your game from yourself in D&D's only podcast advice column. 

  • “I’ve got dyscalculia (difficulty doing arithmetic) is it reasonable to ask for an accommodation at the table?” (21:25)

  • “I suspect my Dungeon Master of cheating.  Can I ask my DM to make all their rolls in the open?” (25:30)

  • “I love running in-person games, but I hate running online.  How can I make running online less exhausting and more fun?” (40:20)

  • And finally, our first “wanted” question from David!  “I played a lot of D&D back in the late 80s. I'm getting back into D&D to teach my nephews, who are 6 and 8.  Any tips on helping kids to learn and grow (as gamers and as people) via D&D?” (49:20)

Episode 13: A Quick and Dirty Guide to the Campaign Bible

If you want to sell your adventure, campaign, or home-brew world to your potential players, you need a “Campaign Bible.”  When TV writers and directors create a new series, they often have a “show bible” -- this document not only helps keep everyone on the same page, but serves as a sort of mission statement, establishing tone, theme, and the direction of the show, often serving as a selling point to producers and investors. This is also a good way to think about your game.  You can introduce your players to your campaign by writing a “campaign bible” and we’re here to help you do it well!

Master DM and WotC designer Chris Perkins shared one of his campaign bibles for a setting that never got off the ground, “Valoreign.”  We’ve decided to use his excellent campaign bible as an example and guide for how to create your own guide.  Link to Chris Perkins’ campaign bible for “Valoreign.”  A must-listen episode for DMs who want to start a new campaign!  

Matt and Rob’s “Guide to Making a Campaign Bible,” a guide and checklist for creating a document to introduce your players to a new setting or adventure!

Rob’s campaign bible for “Thunder on the Steppe,” an epic setting on horseback inspired by the history of the Mongol Empire.

Matt’s campaign bible for “Shattered Stars,” a swashbuckling age-of-sail setting inspired by Spelljammer!

Episode 12: Worldbuilding Jam Session

The Dynamic DM Duo chat about the new Matt Colville Kickstarter, “Strongholds and Followers” (2:23).  Then, on the main meat of the convo, how to start thinking about worldbuilding for an RPG (5:25).    Worldbuilding is hella important, even if you run a pre-written module or use a published campaign setting!

If you don’t want to go into the deep end of homebrewery, your options (at least in 5e D&D) are limited to Forgotten Realms (10:00).  Matt and Rob talk about why you might want to get beyond this campaign world and some of the other less obvious options that are available to you as a DM or player!

Then, Matt and Rob talk about how to get started on your own homebrew campaign setting for your players (16:10).  Your DMs of None are in the same place as you are!  Listen to Matt and Rob begin to flesh out their new worlds and worldbuild right alongside you.