Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Audience Suggested Topics: How We've Done So Far

Back in 2009, we received a lot of audience suggestions for show topics, and have been slowly working our way through the list. I thought it might be a good idea to post what episodes have covered which suggested topics. We haven't saved who sent us specific suggestions over the years, so we do apologize for that!

1) Will the box set ever come back? Successful box sets over the years.

We haven't done a specific show about this, but we have mentioned in the past couple of years that box sets are definitely returning to the market (as evidenced by recent releases from WotC and Pathfinder).

2) I would love to get a "Carol-sized" review of early editions of D&D. I know this might be more into Ben's part, but for those of us that started in the hobby in the later '80s and have none of the books, it would be fun to get a better understanding of where we came from.

Carol didn't do it, but the RPG Buffet recently devoted 2010 to a solid year of Dungeons and Dragons, starting with Mark's copy of the old Red Box and finishing up with 4th edition. Mark posted all of the episodes at For a look at D&D from the beginning, check out the episode Mags and RPG Buffet Steve did on early editions.

3) I still want to hear about the rest of the myths.

We talked about myths surrounding dice in one of our episodes--I forget which one, now. We haven't heard a whole lot of myths, so if you know of some we haven't covered, send them in!

4) someone who is returning to RPGs after twenty years, I would like a show about the state of the hobby as it is now. What are the major divisions with the hobby (the most recent episode that I listened to was all about retro-clones, for example), who are the major players, what are the major cons, what are the best systems for people who like space opera? or basic fantasy role play? What online or software support is there for players and GMs in the various systems? Hints and tips to people who are returning to the hobby after being away for a long time--websites to check out.

This suggestion actually had about three show topics in one request: review of the hobby in general, best systems suggestions for newbie/returning players, and electronic support. We did do a State of the Hobby episode that actually helped get us nominated for an ENnie. We've also done AGC #129 - There's and App For That and AGCExtra #37 - The EBook Roundtable. We continue to follow up on these topics!

5) Playtesting. How to playtest a game you're developing. How to be an effective playtest group. Stories about playtesting.

We have some pretty limited playtest experience, but that doesn't mean we can't get some game publishers in here to talk about playtesting. We'll look into it!

6) Healthy snack ideas for the game table.

We'll put this one to the RPG Buffet, since they're the ones who do all the cooking. Mags does have a RPG-themed cookbook review that Mark needs to post....

7) Good pick-up games for when your scheduled game falls through.

There's a lot of options, so we will explore this!

8) Experimental GMing: non-traditional ideas and concepts on h ow to run a game. I've seen a lot of creative GMing techniques and some might work for some groups and not others. Some examples might be letting players play NPCs, starting in media res, not letting players keep track of hit points, etc.

We do talk about a lot of "non-traditional" ways that GMs can interact with their players, but we've never devoted a full episode to it. We should change that!

9) Being a better player: A lot of RPG advice revolved around the GM but the players are just as important to the game. Give ideas on how players can incorporate themselves further into the game.

You want AGC #124 - Hate the Player, Not the Game, where we discuss what it takes to be a good player (and not just in the "brings snacks for the GM" sense).

10) Deep mechanics - taking a mechanic from a game that you analyze. Examples would be rollover, roll-under, aspects (from FATE), dicepools, percentile. What are the benefits and flaws of each system. What games can we find them in and where to they really shine or fail?

...and from another listener:

One thing I would like to hear more about is a break down of basic systems. Rather than individual games using various systems, I would like to hear more about FATE, D6, d20, etc. from a more generic standpoint. I would love to hear about systems that I'm unfamiliar with from a strictly mechanic standpoint and not a plot or thematic standpoint.

This is another topic we may need to go outside #1 AGC Plaza to explore--get a game designer or two in to discuss why they chose certain mechanics, what they like about them, etc.

11) Paulo Freire developed a method of instruction he labeled "critical pedagogy". One of the key points of this pedagogical approach is to have students develop critical literacy, also called "critical consciousness", to be able to critically understand their worl. Can RPGs be used as a tool for developing critical literacy, and would anyone want to play such a game? Socially-aware dark future games like Underground and Cyberpunk are obvious choices for a critical RPG, but games from White Wolf could probably hold their own in this capacity as well.

Carol and Carrin Seabolt talked about this topic at some length in AGC #121 - Happy New Year V.

12) A show where you each extol the virtues of your favorite games: Mags for Mage, Carol for Changeling, and Mark for ?

You know, this is probably a topic we won't so, for the simple reason that we tend to go on about our favorite games in every episode anyway!

13) A show where you each explain why a certain system should NOT be played.

We take the position that (barring statistical outliers such as the F.A.T.A.L. RPG) every system has its fans, and who are we to tell them that they can't enjoy their favorite game? So we probably won't do this one.

14) A show where you trace the history of a particular game (like you did with the D&D retro-clones).

This is a good suggestion--we just have to get organized about it! :)

15) A show where you take control and talk about what is near and dear to you, whether it's gaming or something else.

But...but...but gaming is near and dear to us! That's why we do the podcast!

16) A show where you go into some of the gamer jargon that's around nowadays - like 'metagaming', 'GNS gaming", etc.

I could have sworn that we recorded a show about this very topic in the last year or so. Perhaps it's in the hopper? Will check with Mark!

17) Review virtual tabletop softwar for playing RPGs with your friends that are scattered across the country (or ocean!). Such VTT as Fantasy Grounds, iTabletop, Battlegrounds, d20Pro, etc. and use of Skype or other voice0based programs to communicate with. Throw in some tips for how to record your sessions as well.


Running a Skype game (what to use, what's needed, scheduling tips)

We will get on Carol (AGC's Official Librarian and Electronic Guru) to research some of these.

18) Gaming with family

I think we've touched on this in a few episodes (Carol's a stepmom) and her show The Secret Life of Girl Gamers explored this topic in depth in episode #9, but we've never focused a show on it. We'll see if we can't get some gaming parents into the studio to discuss it!

19) Pirates!

We've talked about doing a pirate episode...we just did a spy one...just have to get organized!

20) Planning for a long game

We're not sure we understand this suggestion. Is this planning for a campaign, or planning for a particularly long single gaming session?

21) You could do a show on games that have a regional connotation that do not take place in California or NYC. For example, the Morrow Project has a large section with the Kentucky Free State.

We're not quite sure, other than listing the RPGs, what we would say about such a topic....

22) Hard-core gamers versus hard-core gamers who are also collectors; people who collect games because they don't get enough time to play; collection references (eBay history, Heroic Worlds by Lawrence Schick, etc.)

We do plan an episode on collection in general, and will be addressing these points.

23) Review of the most popular RPG forums, their benefits and detractions

Mags is a moderator over at RPG.Net, so she may have to bow out of this topic. We can research it!

24) We're all gamers, but we are also split between our various game systems--how to come together. Getting one-system players to try other game systems.

We've touched on this before in various episodes, and Mags has extolled the virtues of one-shot as a possible solution to this problem.

25) Pitching a game to your group. "Nah, I'm not interested in that": How to get the group interested in your game pitch.

This topic may be part of the ongoing Mags The Axe School of Gamemastering series.

26) Gaming controversies

You want AGC #98 - Parental Discretion Is Advised where we cover controversies in gaming. And see also AGC #4 - Gaming Advocacy for a discussion of some controversies and efforts to address them.

27) Geek Social Fallacies

We've talked about these as part of other topics, but in general, the Five Geek Social Fallacies aren't a gaming-specific topic, so we won't be devoting a whole show to them.

28) Getting a game group together; maintain a current game group; adding new members to a current game group.

In AGC #52 - Starting A Gaming Group and Other Things, Mark and Chris Number One discuss starting up a group. In AGC Presents The Mags The Axe School of Gamemastering #3 - Finding Players, we devoted time to round up people to play. Future episodes will address the care and feeding of a gaming group.

29) Hidden gems in the gamer blogosphere

This will probably be addressed when we get together an online resources episode.

30) Giants in the industry (profiling the giants in the game industry: what they've done, where they've worked, future projects)

The thing about giants in the industry? They aren't always available for interviews. :) But we can try!

31) Is the $100 game becoming the standard (FFG Warhammer Fantasy 3rd ed box set) / cost of gaming books over the years (compare the past prices with the present prices, equivalent money over time, etc.).

Game prices affect all of us who love this hobby, and this is a topic that deserves some attention. Will have to research!

32) Introducing people to RPGs

I'm going back through the archives, and I don't see where we've done this as a topic. Let me check with Mark.

33) (from the same listener) Or...Need More GMs - Teaching Player How to GM Games. Growing the base, top ten things every GM should practice.

This is the raison d'etre of the Mags The Axe School of Gamemastering!

In AGC #104 - Crush Your Enemies! Dean Mags presented a lecture on making the jump from player to GM.

In AGC ##109 - Keeping Your Head Above Water, Mags and the gang discussed the fine art of GM improvisation.

In Mags The Axe School of Gamemastering #1 - Organizing Your Notes For A Game, Mags talked about what you might need to have behind the gamemaster screen.

And the three part series about convention gaming (which contains much advice useful for the starting GM) that Mags did in 2009 can be found in these episodes

AGC #99 - Conventions and Bounty Head BeBop
AGC #102 - A Little Spring Cleaning
AGC #103 - 4 Years and Over The Edge

34) The character sheet as a love letter to the GM

We're choosing to interpret this as "how you can use your character sheet to give the GM stories to work with". We'll look at doing this topic.

35) Social Contracts

You want AGC #142 - Taking A Contract Out On Your Players

36) Top Ten Worst and Best Moments in Gaming (industry or play)

We might start doing this as a Year in Review sort of thing.

37) RPG Makeover Segment - pick a game and "fix" it.

Another podcast does the "Pimp My Character" thing, and we didn't want to seem like we were doing anything too close to that...

38) It's Our Story: Collaborative storytelling/storyplaying games/sharing narrative control/shared world and character creation, from around the camp fire to the dinner table.

This is an excellent suggestion, and one we will research!

39) "Failing forward" - John Wick. Discussing player influence over when they fail, and avoiding the Whiff Factor (roling a failure when your character should have succeeded). Plus: in S7S (Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies) earning Training Points for failing. Ways to keep the momentum of a game going forward while complications keep events interesting. Examples: you pick the lock but break a tool, you free the prince but the ogre hears you, you defeat the duke but his niece comes after you in the next campaign.

This is an excellent suggestion, and one we will research!

40) Cookies! Reward systems in RPGs: drama dice, FATE points, and other incentives to do risky, daring, stupid things to obtain goals, advance and entertain your friends.

We just (like, last night) recorded a show about player rewards! Watch for it on the feed!

41) Hey, It's That Guy! Players and NPCs. Generating NPCs. Fleshing them out. Making them matter in games. Who runs or owns them. NPCs as conflict and satisfaction in games.

You want AGC #123 - Non-Playing, with Character.

42) Writing and submitting content (art/story/adventure) to a gaming company.

Mark's the one with experience with this, so we will defer to him

43) Staying Alive: tips for running a long-term campaign.

I think we've done this, but I'm not seeing it in the archives. Let me check with Mark and Carol.

44) Pro and Cons of hacking game systems

We can look at this.

45) Then and Now: what was your first game and what are you playing now?

We can do this, if the listeners don't mind us waxing nostalgic for a bit.

46) (from the same listener) Or, where are they now segment: choose an old game and see where it, the company, and/or the fan base is with the game currently, such as WEG d6 Stars Wars or TORG, TSR Amazing Engine lines, etc.

We can certainly explore researching it!

We appreciate everyone who made suggestions, and we encourage our listeners to keep sending them in. Send any and all feedback to


Anonymous said...

"23) Review of the most popular RPG forums, their benefits and detractions

Mags is a moderator over at RPG.Net, so she may have to bow out of this topic. We can research it!"

Well then, why is she a moderator there and not Story Games, the Forge, EN World, etc. What does she find appealing (or vexing) about the RPG.NET community?

AGC Mags said...

As previously stated, I'll be bowing out of any discussion about comparing forums. Mark is an occasional participant at RPG.Net and other online forums, and can share his perspective on each.