Episode 38: Engineer Cantrips and Other Lost Tales

Matt and Rob answer your letters!

Helping new players learn to role-play...hacking other systems into 5e DnD...balancing player goals...ditching random encounters...Chekhov's magic sword on the mantle...inclusivity in Pathfinder 2nd edition...Eurocentric humans in the Player's Handbook...the Broken Earth trilogy by N. K. Jemisin...getting "a head" with the Speak with Dead spell...Hellboy 1 is the best dungeon crawl...using science and the Move Earth cantrip to break the game...when is it okay to ask your DM to stop arguing about the rules...using the humanities to own your friends and make them sad...John McCain didn't like D&D.

Roll the Dice by Pac Div
Riddles in the Dark by Chris Thile
I Feel the Earth Move by Carole King

Episode 37: Mazes and Monsters!

We have done a crazy thing. Rob and Matt sat down and watched 1982's made-for-TV movie, Mazes and Monsters. 

We are now the Maze Controllers and have absolute authority! So grab your maps and get ready for a strange journey of 80s DnD panic, Tom Hanks, bad parenting, dungeon love, 9/11, and WASP angst. Your intrepid hosts deduce the rules-as-written of the Mazes and Monsters RPG, determine which character has the worst parents, and lust after the muggers with the coolest leather jackets in all of NYC.

Please, whatever you do don't watch this movie.

Episode 35 - Critical Role & Numenera w/ Natasha

Matt and Rob are joined by special guest Natasha, an amazing DM and co-host of the Metamashina Podcast, a show about genre fiction from the feminine perspective.  



Your DMs discuss how to handle character death, the problems of custom class mechanics, and fan reaction to the episode.  [Discussion ends 40:10]

Matt, Rob and Natasha are briefly distracted by Hasbro's bizarre announcement about D&D becoming an e-sport. [40:15]

Natasha shares her experience running games in Numenera, Monte Cook's far-future rpg centered around exploration and discovery.  [45:50] If you plan on running any type of post-technology adventure or if you just want to improve your ability to create ancient mysteries for your players to solve, give Numenera a try.  It's a great system and setting for growing as a Dungeon Master!

You can check out the Metamashina Podcast (and we recommend that you do) by following this link: https://metamashina.com

Episode 34: Ravnica and Eberron - New 5e Campaign Settings!

Matt and Rob discuss WotC's surprise announcement of a Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons crossover: The Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica. While we are mostly disappointed and unenthused about this mixing of games, your hosts try to salvage some useful silver linings in the upcoming Ravnica release.  Then, Matt gets way into MtG's "Color Wheel" for a few minutes.

On to what we really love: Eberron! For $20, Matt and Rob wholeheartedly recommend the Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron.  It's perfect for introducing your players to the campaign setting and for creating Eberron-specific characters in 5th edition DnD.  The book has a great new set of rules for Changelings, Kalashtar, Shifters, Warforged, and Dragonmarked characters! Unfortunately, if you are DM, you will still need the 3rd edition Eberron Campaign Setting as well. Listen for our complete review of our precious first 5e Eberron book! 

Episode 33: Clan Brujah-ha & Unwanted Advice

Matt and Rob recap the controversy over the new 5th edition of Vampire: The Masquerade. [07:20] This is a chilling reminder that the  alt-right and actual Nazis are using our hobby—specifically fake controversies like Gamer Gate and DnD Gate—to recruit people to their reactionary and racist ideology.

On to Unwanted Advice, the segment where we answer the questions you didn't ask about RPGs:

  • How do you deal with flying characters at low-levels?  [22:30]
  • What is the best level to start your campaign? [30:00]
  • Help! My DM is stealing from Critical Role. What do I do? [34:00]
  • What is the best way to continue Curse of Strahd? (Minor spoilers for CoS) [42:20]
  • Can I give my Warlock (5e D&D) a Shield at-will ability? [47:00]
  • Should rolling a "natural 1" have additional negative consequences? [50:05]

If you have questions about RPGs, DMing, or anything else, send us them to us at dmofnone@gmail.com!

Episode 32: TFW No Goth GF (Curse of Strahd Review)

DMs Matt and Rob bite into the 5th edition campaign: the Curse of Strahd! We just finished the whole thing and would like to en-frighten you with our experience. If you are considering running this campaign, then this is a must listen episode for any would be horror Dungeon Masters. Even if Strahd isn't your cup of blood, you'll find tons of great tips for running horror games and lessons for structuring your own narratives.

Save World History!

A cool history and gaming conference in Michigan (call for papers)

The Original "Ravenloft" Module (1e)

The Ravenloft Campaign Setting (2e)

The Curse of Strahd (5e)

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.