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Saturday, 14 June 2014

OSR Podcasts

Beloch Shrike over at Google+ asked:
Are there any good D&D podcasts with an OSR bent? I'm particularly interested in podcasts which aren't just a recording of somebody's games.
I've been listening to OSR-related podcasts since getting back into the hobby in 2010. This post addresses all the podcasts and OSR-related episodes that occur to me right now.

I'll be mentioning Youtube videos - e.g. On Air Hangout interviews - in addition to podcasts. Here's what I do with those:

  1. Rip them with Video DownloadHelper.
  2. Extract the audio to an mp3. Here's some methods... I use another similar one.
  3. (Y'know, if you wanted, you could author a podcast RSS feed XML file with those rips in it, and host it on an Apache server on your home machine, to get that particular inboxy/podcatchery experience. I've got an XML file format that works if you're interested... there's probably also software that does it.)
On with the list.

Purple text is to indicate that there's a lot of high-density OSR content to be found - I don't want it to be hidden behind a puny HTML hyperlink.

Full-blown D&D/OSR podcasts - the obvious candidates


If you're diving into them for the first time, maybe cherry pick an interesting-sounding interview episode, rather than a "this time we're covering the <whatever> class". Just find the episode lists and have a scroll.
  1. Roll for Initiative link - AD&D. The longest running. There was a stretch when episodes were a bit hit and miss for my tastes - a single product reviewed for too long with insufficient prep, say - but the latest bunch I've been listening to have been pretty good!
  2. Save or Die link - OD&D/"classic". I really like the current team here too, they work great together, and they make an effort to prep for product reviews and discussions. Some earlier episodes may be a bit of a grind but they've got a good dynamic and formula now. Mike Stewart/Sieg taking the helm pepped it up a bit -- the pressure to not screw it up I guess :-).
  3. THACO's Hammer link - AD&D 2e. In theory I'm not much drawn to 2e offerings but this show is always really good. I used to think it was my favourite of the set actually.
  4. Spellburn link - Dungeon Crawl Classics. Consistently strong and entertaining since it began. Still in its early days by comparison. They may hit a wall like RFI or SoD when they ran out of core book material to discuss. Goodman Games seems dynamic and prolific though so maybe they're lucky and that won't happen.
  5. Dead Games Society link - The DGS playing dead games. This podcast is still finding its feet but I have enjoyed listening to it nonetheless.
There are three other Wild Games Productions podcasts - Chant of Light (Dragon Age) and Critical Wits (generic D&D) which I haven't been really following, and Hivemind which seems to be brand-spanking-new, and it's the first I've seen of it.

OSR episodes in general RPG podcasts


  1. The Independent Insurgency, ep 32: Ron Edwards and James Raggi talk in Finland link
  2. The Role-Playing Hour, ep 288: AD&D (actually, a hilarious and bawdy radio play) link
  3. Penny Red ep 11 (Tim Brannan interview) link, ep 12 (James Maliszewski interview) link, ep 13 (Zak Smith interview) link
  4. Geeki & Genki OSR-tagged episodes link
  5. The Game's the Thing link to feed, see ep 61 for Matt Finch, ep 86 for Jim Raggi and Zak S, and ep 99 for Geof McKinney
  6. It looks like Happy Jacks have a couple of OSR-related episodes but I haven't heard them link
  7. RPG Circus interviewed Jim Raggi "No School Like the Old School" link
  8. Jennisodes: ep 165 (Jim Raggi, BTAM) link, ep 158 (Jennell Jacquays) link, ep 138 (Jayson Elliot, Gygax Magazine) link, special 25 (Jeff Rients/Broodmother) link, special 24 (James Desborough/LotFP campaign) link, special 23 (Michael Curtis/LotFP campaign) link, special 22 (Jukka Sarkijarvi/LotFP campaign) link, special 21 (Anna Kreider/LotFP campaign) link, special 20 (Mike Pohloja/LotFP campaign) link, special 19 (Kelvin Green/LotFP campaign) link, special 18 (Jeff Sparks/LotFP campaign) link, special 17 (Richard Pett/LotFP campaign) link, special 16 (Ville Vuorela/LotFP campaign) link, special 15 (Vincent Baker/LotFP campaign) link, special 14 (Johnathon Bingham/LotFP campaign) link, special 13 (Kevin Crawford/LotFP campaign) link, special 12 (Jim Raggi/LotFP campaign) link, ep 93 (Kirin Robinson/Old School Hack) link, ep 84 (Jim Raggi, LotFP) link, ep 83 (Joseph Bloch/Adventures Dark & Deep) link

OSR Youtube channels and videos


There's probably a ton of other OSR-related channels on Youtube. I know various game producers (e.g. Venger Satanis, Jim Raggi) have channels. I haven't listened much to those so I'll let you tell me what's good.
  1. Indie+: Why You Should Play FLAILSNAILS (this was great - a roundup and history of FLAILSNAILS gaming on G+) link
  2. Indie+: What Happens When You Take Story Gamers And Put Them In An OSR Dungeon? (a short AP) link
  3. Old and New School Sims and Diffs with Baker and Raggi link
  4. An interview with Tim Kask by Fear the Boot link
  5. Dorkland! Very good. A ton of interviews including many OSR folks. I might miss a few were I to list them here as I did above. link
  6. Geeky Voices Carry... to be honest, I haven't listened to this yet. It may be all-OSR-all-the-time, it might not. Anyone listened to it? Anyone on it? :-) link
  7. Grognard Games - includes some interviews with TSR old guard too - link
  8. AetherCon - Judge's Guild Roundtable link (added 15 Jun 2014)
  9. ConTessa - WTF is the OSR? link (added 15 Jun 2014)
That's it for now.


Friday, 26 July 2013

Answers for Random Wizard's "Top Ten Troll Questions"

Here are my answers for Random Wizard's Top Ten Troll Questions For Your Game.

1. Race (Elf, Dwarf, Halfling) as a class? Yes or no?

I run in three modes: AD&D 1e is my chief pick, OSRIC for "basic" play (it can be run by the book) or Labyrinth Lord for those who haven't yet sold their soul.

I love the idea of race-as-class and as a player often emulate it when I play AD&D e.g. the Elf Fighter/Magic-User, or the Melnibonéan (i.e. a half-elf Fighter/Magic-User/Cleric).

2. Do demi-humans have souls?

By the book. Elves don't. Others do.

3. Ascending or descending armor class?

Descending!

4. Demi-human level limits?

By the book.

5. Should thief be a class?

Absolutely. A fun class to play on par with the low-level Magic-User. The thinking man's class.

6. Do characters get non-weapon skills?

Nope. Upon my return to gaming I started a 2e campaign with the full kit and caboodle. The only non-weapon proficiency that people used was Appraisal.

7. Are magic-users more powerful than fighters (and, if yes, what level do they take the lead)?

Never thought about it in those terms but...

  • A successful party needs both.
  • Low-level MUs are the most fun class to play. You get to be smart and scared.
  • Fighters should love to have high-level MUs in the party. Play is tense and unrelenting until the time is right and then the MU pulls the pin.


8. Do you use alignment languages?

Not generally although I do include them on the character sheets. If alignment is a salient feature of the campaign world (e.g. Greyhawk) then absolutely yes.

9. XP for gold, or XP for objectives (thieves disarming traps, etc...)?

XP for gold, all the way. Maybe an objective bonus if I feel like throwing in a gratuity. Usually not.

10. Which is the best edition; ODD, Holmes, Moldvay, Mentzer, Rules Cyclopedia, 1E ADD, 2E ADD, 3E ADD, 4E ADD, Next ?

AD&D 1e...

  • It has that occult flavour introduced by Eldritch Wizardry.
  • It has a "fat" set of rules to improvise, interpret and apply while still actually being simple.
  • It's not as everything-turned-up-to-11 as the latest current edition.