Wednesday, October 16, 2019

105 The Play's the Thing

Week 3 of Arneson Appreciation Month, The Play's the Thing – in honor of Dave's clear joy in play at the table over publication and self-promotion.

  • In praise of players who like to build characters 
  • A description of Microscope by Ben Robbins
  • Thinking about playing Microscope solo.
  • The Gygax 75 Challenge
  • Bad Science!
Plundergrounds theme by Logan Howard
Arneson by TJ Drennon

Monday, October 14, 2019

104 The Gygax 75 Challenge Week 1

Listen to episode 104

This is the blog where I discovered the challenge. I think I mistakenly called it Dragons are Real, which is the name of a cool podcast (link of the right).

Beyond the Gates of Cygnus (JJ's blog)

Viridian Scroll (Ray's blog)

Where you can pick up the Gygax 75 Challenge "workzine."

Thursday, October 10, 2019

103 Rulings and Rules

Che Webster of the Roleplay Rescue podcast asks the question, what's the difference? If you make a consistent ruling, isn't it then a rule?


  • In my opinion, No. A ruling is a practice at the table. A rule is a prescribed process in the book.
  • Rules are made 'in a vacuum,' they are less flexible, and if there are too many of them, they are hard to remember. OTOH, rules are impartial and transparent. Rules should ideally (my opinion) address only the most common situations.
  • Rulings come from rules, but should never (or at least rarely) become rules. Rulings are made at the table, require buy-in from the group (and therefore generate investment), and are flexible. They can evolve over time like language. OTOH, rulings can flex so much that they feel inconsistent or even unfair. 

That's the basics of what I say in the cast. :) Now you don't really need to listen, though I try to illustrate with examples. 

102 Light Rules not Rules Light

Listen now: https://anchor.fm/plundergrounds/episodes/102-Light-Rules-not-Rules-Light-e634n8

In this one I try to explain what a light rules (some would say "rules lite") game is. And I talk about why labels can be harmful. I also talk about how Dave Arneson kept a lot of rules in his head.

101 Arneson, Instigator & Innovator

Listen now: https://anchor.fm/plundergrounds/episodes/101-Arneson--Instigator--Innovator-e5qb7r

I talk about how Dave Arneson worked as a disruptive player to be a catalyst in transforming wargames into role playing games. I also talk about challenging players and players who challenge us to change, including players that represent diverse opinions and experiences.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

100 Plundergrounds Season 1 Retrospective

A celebration of the first season.

Call-ins from:

Numbers from season 1:
  • 19,597 plays
  • 148 listeners

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

099 The Long-Overdue Call-In Marathon

  • John Alan Large of Red Dice Diaries - John Blanche
  • Jason of the RPG Variety Podcast – Perilous Encounters
  • John Alan Large – Obscure
  • Lieren of Updates from the Middle of Nowhere – Favorite snack?
  • John Alan Large and Lieren – The Minies
  • Lieren – Palettes and Images
  • Ivy the Happy Whisk – GRANDMA STORIES
    • Two stories about my Grandma Mabel
  • Cody M – Emergent Character Creation
    • Yes, it's hard to internalize back stories away from table!
    • Focus questions by level
  • Darren Green – Character creation in game
    • Good ways to plan ahead: exploring the system, trying out character ideas
    • Becoming a better player of characters
    • Builds vs. concepts
    • Guillaume Jentey's rat man (man rat?) concept
    • Knowing your character's rules
  • Lieren – Much Applause! (Emergent Character Creation)
    • Closed vs Collaborative Pregens
    • Leaving players some room to grow - the character
  • Colin Green – Emergent Gems
  • Colin Green
    • The Doc Is In

Sunday, September 29, 2019

098 Delving Deeper: Nonhuman Races

Part I: on my podcast
Part II: on Cody's No Save for You podcast

Part I
  • Dwarfs (Dwarves is a Tolkienism says Simon Bull(
    • Features: Fighter 6 level limit, low light vision, saves as Fighter +4 levels, can use the +3 warhammer, takes 1/2 damage from giant humanoids, understands stone work, identify sounds (5+), extra languages: gnome, goblin, kobold
  • Halflings
    • Fighter 4 level limit, +3 hurled missles, saves as Fighter +4 levels, identify sounds (5+), nearly invisible and almost silent
  • Elves
    • Fighter 4/Magic-User 8 level limit, dual classed by nature, move and fire, +1 damage w/magic weapons, nearly invisible and almost silent in Elven cloak, identify sounds (5+), finds secret doors on 3+ (active) or 5+ (passive), immune to paralyzing touch of ghouls and thulls, extra languages: gnoll, hobgob, orc
  • Dual / Multi-classing
  • Elves and iron allergies
  • More on levels and dual classing
  • Ok to mess with the species in Delving Deeper?
  • Example new species: centaur
  • Popularity of species
  • Fallacy of niche protection

Part II
  • Barrowmaze talk
  • Any itches to change the system?
  • Breaking fantasy tropes
  • Bolt on skill system
  • Monsters
  • System matters?
  • Gaming minimalism
  • Eyes up gaming
  • Recruiting players
  • Playing early in the morning
  • Wrap up and praise for Simon Bull    

Monday, September 23, 2019

097 Return to Audiobooks

Monday, September 16, 2019

096 Recent Calls

Addressing some recent call-ins, rambling is gratuitous.
Arbunk the Bearded One

TJ Drennon's Original "Module" :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

095 Treasure, Ducks, The Crash


  • I suck at treasure
    • Characters/players motivated by money
    • Let players roll treasure?
    • What about magic items?
    • Making treasure part of the story!
  • Half races are dumb
    • Essential races
    • Hobbits and Ducks
    • Duck sex is gross
    • All skeleton party?
  • The Rush and the Crash
    • In the wake of a gaming or creative high
    • Happens to all of us
    • Be aware and hang on!