Category Archives: Podcasts

Epimas 2016 – Epidiah Ravachol

Epimas 2016 – A conversation with Epidiah Ravachol (16 mins) Download
Ric & Rob talk with Epidiah Ravachol about Epimas 2016.

See the Epimas bundles on the Worlds without Master website. Bundles can be bought and gifted until 23 December 2016.

0046 Read Epidiah’s interview with Brie Sheldon about the history of Epimas.
0053 Why he does Epimas
0245 How Epimas has changed
0633 Playing favourites in The Romance trilogy
0822 Playing favourites in this year’s Epimas
1255 Epimas games he wishes he’d designed
1320 Hidden gems in the Epimas bundles
1515 The bundle to get for the friend with whom you have a difficult relationship

Games mentioned
The Holly & The Ivy (Playing Nature’s Year)
The Romance trilogy (in the Love bundle)
Beast Hunters
By Crom (in the Mirth bundle)
The Bloody-Handed Name of Bronze (in the Comfort bundle)
Our Radios Are Dying (in the Love bundle)
Wizards of Three Moons (in the Mirth bundle)
Apocalypse World 2e (in the Good Will bundle)
Flavortown (in the Warmth bundle)
#Feminism (in the Love bundle)
The Good Will bundle
The Joie bundle

Episode Eight – Lady Blackbird

Episode Eight – Lady Blackbird (47 mins) Download
Lady Blackbird is a tabletop roleplaying game designed by John Harper.
Don’t like background music? Find the music-free recording at the bottom of the page.

0034 Why are we talking about this game?
0127 A scenario with its own rule system
0317 The premise of the scenario
0654 Where did it come from?
0939 What are the mechanics? The obstacle, the dice pool, xp and refreshment scenes
1250 Are they effective? General pool management and spotlighting
1416 Success and failure
1751 What’s best for team vs character and “speedrunning”
1901 Character specialisation and reiterating challenges and controlling the spotlight
2349 “Antisocial” keys and character status
2528 The role of gm
2751 The structure of the story beyond escaping the Hand of Sorrow
2939 The importance of the relationships
3448 Beyond the initial character keys
3614 What should designers take from this game?
4225 Is it part of our canon?
4602 Other games to look at Magister Lor (2015) and Inspectres (2002)

Games mentioned
Magister Lor (2015)
Witch: the Road to Lindisfarne (2012)
Psi*Run (2007)
Blades in the Dark (2017?)
The Shadow of Yesterday (2004)
The Pool (2000)
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying (Cortex) (2012)
Vast & Starlit (2013)

Other things mentioned
The best one shots in the world (Fastaval history)
Star Wars
Harry Potter

Music is Paste the Sky by Paul Ressel and used under licence from Audio Network.

Music-free version Download

What’s Hot in Story Games 2016

What’s Hot in Story Games 2016? – Dragonmeet 2016 seminar (48 mins) Download
An annual lookback at 2016 and some of the games and trends in story games and narrative rpgs.

Ric moderated this seminar at Dragonmeet on 3rd December 2016. The panel was Rob, Grant Howitt, Joanna Piancastelli and Lloyd Gyan. (Read the hand-outs, including popular con games, biggest kickstarters and top patreons and a list of games released in 2016)

0007 Rob Carnel on Soap Bubble by Joshua Fox and Annex by John Keyworth

0408 Grant Howitt on Cryptomancer by Chad Walker and Ten Candles by Stephen Dewey

0656 Joanna Piancastelli on Bluebeard’s Bride by Whitney “Strix” Beltrán, Marissa Kelly, and Sarah Richardson and the Warbirds anthology

1140 Lloyd Gyan on Masks: A New Generation by Brendan Conway and Monkey: A Second Incarnation by Newt Newport

1627 Rob Carnel on smaller games and game competitions
200 word rpg challenge
Golden Cobra Challenge
Game Chef
7th Sea 2e kickstarter
John Harper’s Patreon (Breakers)
Grant Howitt’s Patreon (The Witch is Dead, Golden Sea)
Blades in the Dark
Lady Blackbird

2518 Grant Howitt on the absence of technology
Spaceteam
Ticket to Atlantis (the Russian larp mentioned)
Viewscream 2e
XCOM: the Board Game

3148 Joanna Piancastelli on the impact of blockbuster larps
Convention of Thorns
College of Wizardry
Fairweather Manor
Ghost Court
The Line
Inheritance
Fall of Magic
Invisible Sun

3740 Lloyd Gyan on online gaming and meeting new people
Tabletop RPG One Shot facebook group

Q&A:
4124 Do high production values reduce accessibility?
4307 Views on second editions of indie games?
Apocalypse World 2e
Monsterhearts 2e

4449 Upcoming games we’re excited about?
Monkey: A Second Incarnation
Atlas Reckoning
The Spire
Follow

4608 Playing rpgs in public?

Rob Carnel is a game critic, zine editor and one of the most prolific game-runners at London Indiemeet.

Grant Howitt is a freelance writer and the game designer behind Goblin Quest, Drunken Bear Fighter and Doctor Magnethands. This year he ran the very successful kickstarter for his new game Unbound.

Joanna Piancastelli is a globe-trotting game designer, just returned from the Metatopia game design convention in America and Convention of Thorns, the newest Polish castle larp. Her game Before the Storm is published in the Seven Wonders anthology from Pelgrane Press, and she’s currently working on a play-by-video larp design.

Lloyd Gyan is a lover of indie and story games and also a GMing phenomenon.

Episode Seven – Dog Eat Dog

Episode Seven – Dog Eat Dog (47 mins) Download
Dog Eat Dog is a tabletop roleplaying game designed by Liam Liwanag Burke.
Don’t like background music? Find the music-free recording at the bottom of the page.

Ric & Rob talk about Dog Eat Dog (2012), a game of occupation, resistance and assimilation.

0038 Why are we talking about this game?
0115 What was the designer’s goal?
0301 What are the mechanics?
1233 Are they effective?
1818 The token economy
2151 An uncomfortable game
2417 Why not have the natives write the rules?
2643 You can’t predict how you’ll play
2930 Where did it come from?
3412 What should designers take from this game?
4243 Is it part of our canon?
4500 Other games to look at Mars Colony (2010) and My Life With Master (2003)

Games mentioned
Dungeons & Dragons (1974-2014)
Blue moon city (2006)
Chronicles of Skin (2011-12)
#Feminism (2016)

Music is Long White Cloud by Marshall Smith and used under licence from Audio Network.

Music-free version Download

Episode Six – Witch: the Road to Lindisfarne

Episode Six – Witch: the Road to Lindisfarne (48 mins) Download
Witch: the Road to Lindisfarne is a tabletop roleplaying game designed by Kevin Barthaud & Richard Lacy.
Don’t like background music? Find the music-free recording at the bottom of the page.

Ric & Rob talk about Witch: the Road to Lindisfarne (2012), a game of a single journey, of guilt, faith and absolution.

0044 Why are we talking about this game?
0139 Where did it come from?
0355 What’s the premise of the game?
0448 The mechanic
0557 Short time to table
0638 Elouise’s guilt, scene structure, tight constraints
0826 Characters, faith, justice, duty
1118 Absolution
1258 Where did it come from?
1421 What was the designer’s goal?
1640 Play, foreshadowing, confessions, the purpose of scenes
2205 Relationships
2311 Bringing your own basket
2333 Narrative freedom and a character sandbox
2540 Elouise
2917 Set characters but a variety of portrayals
3152 Complicity and the reveal, a game about the experience
3413 What should designers take from this game?
4153 Is it part of our canon?
4632 Read more about playing Witch in Ric’s The Witch & The Rosary (pdf on drivethrurpg) (kindle on amazon)
4639 Other games to look at Montsegur 1244 (2009) and Kagematsu (2009)

Games mentioned
Montsegur 1244 (2009)
Archipelago (2007-12)
Love in the Time of Seið (2010)
Lady Blackbird (2009)
Dogs in the Vineyard (2004)
Forsooth! (2012)
Microscope (2011)
The Final Voyage of the Selene (2011)

Media mentioned
Season of the Witch
Live action Witch at Camp Nerdly

Music is Ruins by Patrick Hawes and used under licence from Audio Network.

Music-free version Download

Episode Five – Archipelago

Episode Five – Archipelago (39 mins) Download
Archipelago is a tabletop roleplaying game designed by Matthijs Holter.
Don’t like background music? Find the music-free recording at the bottom of the page.

Ric & Rob talk about Archipelago (2007-12), a game of interweaving tales, of journeys and destiny, of rituals and the sea.

0032 Why are we talking about this game?
0204 Where did it come from?
0400 What was the designer’s goal?
0717 Mechanics – destiny points, scene framing, ritual phrases, fate cards, resolution cards, aspects
1436 Is it effective? Player empowerment
1708 A slow game
1925 Lack of preparedness for a scene
2257 Fate cards
2425 The type of story
2545 What should designers take from this game?
3250 Is it part of our canon?
3826 Other games to look at Questlandia (2014) and Love in the Time of Seið (2010)

Games mentioned
Love in the Time of Seið (2010)
Itras By (2008/12)
Intrepid (2013)
Witch: the Road to Lindisfarne (2012)
Questlandia (2014)
Fiasco (2009)
Prime Time Adventures (2004-15)
Whimsy cards (2012)
Forsooth! (2012)
A Penny For My Thoughts (2009)
The Mountain Witch (2005)
Monsterhearts (2012)

Media mentioned
A Wizard of Earthsea
Norwegian style blog
American freeform

Disclosures
The designer allowed Ric usage of the Love in the Time of Seið mechanics in Anarktica.

Music is Magnetar by Terry Devine-King and used under licence from Audio Network.

Music-free version Download

Episode Four – Psi*Run

Episode Four – Psi*Run (36 mins) Download
Psi*Run is a tabletop roleplaying game designed by Meguey Baker.
Don’t like background music? Find the music-free recording at the bottom of the page.

Ric & Rob talk about Psi*Run (2007), a game of chase, capture, escape and memory.

0047 Why are we talking about this game?
0133 The designer
0215 Role of the GM
0348 The premise, basic structure and mechanics
0658 Where did it come from?
0837 What was the designer’s goal?
0904 Is it effective?
0916 How the game encourages players to engage with it
1126 How the game empowers its players
1656 The two core mechanics
1716 Does it hold together?
1844 Common play structure and the role of chasers
1942 Prepping the cold start and character dynamic
2135 Ending the game and the crossroads
2303 Why play this game?
2805 What should designers take from this game?
3321 Is it part of our canon?
3434 Other games to look at Carolina Death Crawl (2013) and Hell 4 Leather (2010)

Games mentioned
1001 Nights (2006)
Playing Nature’s Year (2015)
Valiant Girls (2013)
Vast & Starlit (2013)
Otherkind dice (2005)
A Penny For My Thoughts (2009)
Dungeon World (2012)
Microscope (2011)
The Adventures of Indiana Jones RPG (1984)
Always/Never/Now (2013)

Media mentioned
The Fugitive
X-Men

Music is A Better Place 2 by Alexis Smith, Joe Henson and Dot Allison and used under licence from Audio Network.

Music-free version Download

Episode Three – Intrepid

Episode Three – Intrepid (35 mins) Download
Intrepid is a tabletop roleplaying game designed by John Keyworth.
Don’t like background music? Find the music-free recording at the bottom of the page.

Ric & Rob talk about Intrepid (2013), a storytelling game of epic stories of characters braving quests filled with glory and adventure.

0030 Why are we talking about this game?
0113 What was the designer’s goal?
0210 How do you play? Quests and scenes
0407 Characters, themes, connections
0715 Where did it come from?
0910 Character pool, holding characters and changing the world
1137 Coherence: phrases, director role, quest progression
1915 Effectiveness: flexible player role, a game that gets out of the way of its players
2327 Efficiency and the narrative structure of a quest, leading questions
2556 Why play this game? A rules light way of having a campaign experience in a few hours
2932 How you can use this game
3118 What should designers take from this game?
3345 Is it part of our canon?
3425 Other games to look at In A Wicked Age (2007) and Remember Tomorrow (2010)

Games mentioned
Swords Without Master (2014)
Microscope (2011)
Archipelago (2007-12)
Smallville
Remember Tomorrow (2010)
On Mighty Thews (2009)
Kingdom (2013)
The Quiet Year (2013)
Puerto Rico (2002)
Chronicles of Skin (2011-12)
GxB (2011)
A Penny For My Thoughts (2009)
Prime Time Adventures (2004-15)
Mist-Robed Gate (2008)

Disclosures
Ric, Rob and the designer are all members and regular attendees of London Indiemeet.

Music is Bounty Hunter by Dan Skinner and Adam Skinner and used under licence from Audio Network.

Music-free version Download

Episode Two – Fiasco

Episode Two – Fiasco (34 mins) Download
Fiasco is a tabletop roleplaying game designed by Jason Morningstar.
Don’t like background music? Find the music-free recording at the bottom of the page.

Ric & Rob talk about Fiasco (2009), a game of ordinary people, powerful ambition and poor impulse control.

00:24 Why are we talking about this game?
01:02 How do you play?
02:35 Where did it come from?
06:35 Structured vs unstructured relationship setup and dependency on playsets
08:35 The resolution mechanic
10:50 What was the designer’s goal?
12:45 Does it work?
23:25 What should designers take from this game?
30:05 Is it part of our canon?*
32:50 Other games to look at Polaris (2005) and Protocol (2013)

*We meant Intolerable Cruelty

Games mentioned
Grey Ranks (2007)
In A Wicked Age (2007)
The Shab-Al-Hiri Roach (2006)
Polaris: Chivalric Tragedy At Utmost North (2005)
Prime Time Adventures (2004-15)
A Penny For My Thoughts (2009)
Microscope (2011)
Durance (2012)
Dungeons & Dragons (1974-2014)
Apocalypse World (2010)
Dungeon World (2012)
Monsterhearts (2012)

Media mentioned
Fiasco Tabletop episode
Diana Jones award to Grey Ranks
Interview with Jason Morningstar on origins of Fiasco
Coen Brothers
Detour
Jeepform
Fargo

Disclosures
The designer has won several London Indie Darling awards (which were organised by Ric). Separately, the designer also allowed Ric usage of the Love in the Time of Seið mechanics in Anarktica.

Music is Showdown in Sonora by Tim Devine and Ned Milton and used under licence from Audio Network.

Music-free version Download

Episode One – Swords Without Master

Episode One – Swords Without Master (44 mins) Download
Swords Without Master is a tabletop roleplaying game designed by Epidiah Ravachol.
Don’t like background music? Find the music-free recording at the bottom of the page.

Ric & Rob talk about Swords Without Master (2014), a game of strange sorceries, brutal violence and astounding wonder.

00:27 Why are we talking about this game?
02:44 Where did it come from?
06:12 What was the designer’s goal?
07:28 What are the mechanics?
11:46 Does it work?
21:37 Motifs and excitement
23:45 The Overplayer: its role and playing it
30:57 What is it a game about?
36:08 Why play this game?
38:10 What should designers take from this game?
40:35 Is it part of our canon?
42:07 Other games to look at S/Lay w/Me (2009) and Breaking the Ice (2005)

Games mentioned
A City of Fire & Coin (2012)
Itras By (2008/12)
Monkey Dome (2009)
Bliss Stage (2011)
Burning Wheel (2002)
Fiasco (2009)
Dungeons & Dragons (1974-2014)
Psi*Run (2007)
Time & Temp (2009)
Kingdom (2013)
Apocalypse World (2010)
Monsterhearts (2012)
Archipelago (2007-12)
Protocol (2013)
Durance (2012)

Media mentioned
Worlds Without Master
Mad Max
Elric
Conan
Guardian article

Disclosures
Rob is a patron of the designer’s Patreon. The designer won a London Indie Darling award in 2015 (which were organised by Ric).

Music is Dark Ritual by David O’Brien and used under licence from Audio Network.

Music-free version Download