The Thursday Blog: Guest-Starring… Me! Edition

Today we’re doing something slightly different, as instead of a blog I’m posting episode five of The Grue Cafe, guest-starring yours truly. Grue Cafe is a general purpose gaming podcast on, and I was invited partly because of HOLE, and partly because I am the DM of one of the show’s regular members, Rox of Spazhouse.

In any case, enjoy, and have a terrific Christmas or whatever it is you celebrate!

The Grue Cafe: #5

19 Responses to The Thursday Blog: Guest-Starring… Me! Edition

  1. This is interesting. I’m really liking the topic of conversation, but it’s interesting to hear your voice Kevin. You don’t sound anything like I would have imagined, but at the same time your voice fits the picture I’ve formed of you in my head perfectly. It’s odd. This is cool though, I hardly listen to podcasts, but it’s interesting to do so.

    • Yeah, it’s always fun to try something different once in a while, even if it’s just for the sake of having tried it. I’ll admit that this isn’t one of my regular podcasts, but I do enjoy listening to them when I’m doing illustration work. There are several Slate and NPR podcasts I listen too all the time.

  2. Questions and comments about your podcast:

    -Are none of you masters of the art of reading three novels, meditating with your appropriate poison and a stack of bar napkins* for a while** the and then running a “brand new” game world? I’ve done this informally for years and even formally for a while with a collections box for books that people wanted me to try and use. As part of the formalized ritual I would criticize or appreciate the literary merits of the works people contributed, including three times when I read out my formalized statement of disgust, “I made it a dozen pages in and I have to say that whoever presented this book deserves to be punched. Please point out who, make a specific body location request, and if necessary any pleas for mercy.”

    -Lands of Lore? *dies of obsolescence*

    Gameloft hasn’t been sued into a smoking crater yet if you can recommend them, despite what they apparently are doing to the IP of Vivendi. Considering that they’re both apparently French-based multinationals it shouldn’t be that hard for them to find them and try to sue for reputation damage and lost earnings or make a particularly hostile takeover bid. Do you know anything about the story there (is it some detail of the French legal system making that unlikely) or make a recommendation on where to read up on this bit of business trivia?

    -(Satire mode on, making fun of hipster): Shame on all of you for not being indie-er than thou in the games you recommend. What’s the point of being a self-appointed authority/snob on anything if you aren’t talking about things ordinary slobs are scared of even breathing around? If you need help I can try and find some roguelikes or open source projects you can talk about to intimidate all your listeners with how much of a bunch of total geeks you are.

    -(Satire mode on, making fun of both hobbyist podcasts and the greedy corporate media): Who writes your cue cards? You could get the script writer to tighten those monologues and that dialogue a little bit, and then you’d save more air time for advertising dollars.

    *One may use more purpose-intended writing and drawing media but this can damage the compelling flavour of this method.

    **This should not exceed three hours or else you’re probably overthinking it.

      • I wouldn’t go that far. I generally hate podcasts because I can read and understand a lot faster than even well-rehearsed speakers can explain things: I want transcripts Spaghetti damn it! This isn’t making me make an exception–not even Lawrence Lessig or Noam Chomsky (for those who can’t be bothered to Google those are two people who do public speaking and recorded speeches VERY professionally on a regular basis) manages that though so don’t feel insulted.

        With that said, if I’m going to spend an hour and a half listening to something I’ll tend to ask questions and make comments about the parts that seem worth it. Things like wondering if you really have no experience with building a fresh fictional world once a week: I used to do this every week back when I was a teenager and I thought that was most of the fun of running a RPG.

          • It took me a moment, you think I’m dickwaving.
            Cool people do not make up fantasies to live in because they get more out of the real world than those of us who make believe for fun do. I’m just saying that a new world and new characters every week is a different way to game than five year D&D campaigns. I like it better.

            • Well, the question at hand was actually about how the first-time DM with little or no experience at world-building might go about it, and get over his jitters. It really had little to do with people who were well-versed in creating worlds and characters and were confident in their abilities. But your dick is very nice.

              • ….
                Okay, then the answer a first time DM needs is, “If you don’t know that you can do it, fake it.”
                Either get a pre-packaged adventure to run or borrow some world you do know like Middle Earth or maybe something else you have read and know better than that. Whether you take that advice or not the following list of preparations for running your world is useful:
                -Have a map for anyplace your players can go.
                -Have a character sheet for all your important NPCs and at least a few generic ones you can use for bartenders, random travelers, guards, random encounter opponents and such.
                -Have at least one dungeon like thing and a plan for leading your players there that they probably will go along with.
                -Do not lead your players into an epic plot with many active NPCs because with all else equal your players would prefer you spend your attention on them instead of on NPCs they don’t know. Keep things simple with NPCs that aren’t really triple agents and no prophecies of doom or anything that can get really complicated with NPC actions hidden from the players like that.
                -One of the best ways to increase your familiarity with your world and the game system you are using at the same time is to keep making more NPCs for it, and to set up things like caravan raids for the players to stumble on. Test how some of those roll out to make sure you’ve got the difficulty right so that players stumbling into the system can make a difference.

                If you’ve done all that you’re actually a lot better prepared than most people who are experienced at running shit will be, You don’t actually need to do all that because most of it is stuff that you can make up on the spot once you know what you’re doing, but doing all of this a couple times teaches you the skills you need to do it if it doesn’t come naturally.

                With that, it seems I’ve overstayed my welcome so I’ll leave your site alone Kevin. Apologies for unintentionally being a jerk.

  3. TL;DL

    I closed out about half-way through – somewhere around the time the topic switched to video games I think.

  4. My son closed it down for me about a little over half-way. I had to pause it to help my wife in the garage and he claimed the computer for his own. That kid… I enjoyed what I heard though.

    • I dunno how your parenting works but generally if you want to have your kid not use other people’s electronics you have to make sure they have something of their own because otherwise telling them to get away from X will lead directly into complaint about not having Y.
      The right solution is to not have toys your kid will want to borrow from you, but sadly this option is completely unavailable to nerd parents.

    • Thanks Tim. Although that’s the only one I’m in, there are 4 more Grue Cafes. (I think that’s about where the video gaming stuff started anyway.)