Ego Check with The Id DM – Episode 31 – Aaron Retka

Aaron Retka
Aaron Retka & Captain America

This week I’m joined by Aaron Retka, Managing Editor for Geeks Who Drink. For the uninitiated, Geeks Who Drink is “a homegrown Pub Trivia Quiz modeled after those in Ireland and the UK” that covers “everything from celebrities in trouble to wordplay to bad television.” The quizzes are held in bars and breweries across the country, and Aaron spoke with me about how much effort goes into crafting each and every question.

Aaron speaks about how he got started with Geeks Who Drink in 2006 as a freelancer, and how that evolved into his current role as Managing Editor. He discussed the elements that make a pub quiz good and relayed that the primary purpose of the quiz is to keep people entertained, “We want people to get the question right.” He shares some tales about his years of being a Quizmaster, including some stories about dealing with unruly patrons and dressing up as Dolores Umbridge for a Harry Potter Theme Quiz.

I inquired about the growing popularity of pub quizzes, and how it might intersect with the toxic side of fandoms. Aaron provides some frank commentary on gatekeeping in any given fandom, and how the motivation of Geeks Who Drink is to be inclusive to a wide variety of players and fans.

I should also note that Aaron is family; I married his cousin in 2004! He’s a wonderfully smart guy that is gainfully employed creating pub quizzes. I mean, how cool is that?

Enjoy the 31st episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below:

Listen here!

Please consider leaving a review on iTunes and help spread the word about the show.

New episodes are (typically) released the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month!

If you are interested in coming on the show for an interview, or would like to become a sponsor, contact me to make arrangements.

Bard On!

The Bard is a class that I never played before, so when I was invited to play in a new Tomb of Annihilation campaign earlier this year – I figured it was time to give it a try. I lived vicariously through the exploits of other players talking about Bards and celebrating them through social media. The concept of playing a Bard always seemed enjoyable to me; it’s a character with high charisma that can solve problems in unique ways and bolster the efforts of the rest of the party. When playing in a campaign, I typically like to be up-close and personal in melee range making attacks and eliminating monsters, so playing a character that does not exactly shine in one-on-one combat would be a stretch.

I took on the challenge!

Character Development

One thing I wanted to do with the Bard was come up with a relatively simple backstory that did not rely on the character going through significant traumatic experiences early in life. Perhaps influenced by recent fatherhood, I created a character that is a family man first, performer second, and adventurer third. He’s got a stable home, a spouse, several children, and he travels the Realm from time to time to perform his music and assist other adventurers.

During our first session, I even had him ask the first major NPC we encountered, Syndra Silvane, to send money to his family in the event that he did not survive the quest to locate the Soulmonger. It was interesting to roleplay a character that expressed hesitation about the perils of adventuring rather than being eager to run in the direction of the next big, bad evil thing.

When creating my Bard, I thought about his name for a long time.

A very long, long time.

I borrowed/stole a device from Saga and named him The Stone. For a few moments before my son was born, I thought about Stone as a possible name; my wife wasn’t as keen on the idea. Pearl Jam is my favorite band, and Stone Gossard is one of the members. Plus, I’ve been curling for the past 5-6 years, and the rocks in curling are often referred to as stones. My wife and I ultimately decided on the name, Hugo, for our son – mostly inspired from this lovable guy.

The Stone featuring Dirk

With the name locked in, The Stone, the next step was to find some art that inspired me. While creating the character, I noted that a Bard could specialize in a small variety of instruments. The instrument that jumped out to me was bagpipes. YES! My Bard is going to play the bagpipes, and that obnoxiously glorious noise will be a part of future gaming sessions. I thought about a band we saw at a Renaissance Festival many years ago, Tartanic, and how they were wildly entertaining with pipes and drums. The next step was to conduct an Image Search on Google for: bard bagpipes.

Yes, this guy is – without a doubt – The Stone.

Oh, he’s magnificent!

Swap out the jug for a hand crossbow and we are set! I sent a question to our Dungeon Master, and asked if The Stone could have a companion animal. I clarified that the only thing the dog would do is carry around a tip jar on his back for times when The Stone performs. She enjoyed the idea, and allowed it, which has provided for some hilarious situations as The Stone tends to his pet in the severe jungles of Chult!

Continue reading “Bard On!”

Ego Check with The Id DM – Episode 30 – Eric Roth

I am joined this episode by Eric Roth, a veteran tabletop player that was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. I first learned about Eric and his story of using games like Dungeons & Dragons for social connection through a brief video package that was picked up by a local news station in town.

I reached out to Eric, and he was kind enough to agree to an interview. In the episode, Eric talks about growing up with a physical disability and how that limited his activities and hobbies. He speaks about being introduced to Dungeons & Dragons 18 years ago, and how that has allowed him to develop social skills and confidence.

Eric Roth
Eric Roth

He discusses how other players and organizations can welcome players with disabilities into the hobby – such as allowing extra time and space for new players to be comfortable at the table. He also contemplates what it would be like for a character with a physical disability to be featured on the cover of a future D&D manual. He speaks about his eagerness for the upcoming Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica and how he thinks the setting from Magic: The Gathering will inspire great D&D games.

Enjoy the 30th episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below:

You can also listen to the show right here: Eric Roth on Tabletop Gaming with a Physical Disability

Please consider leaving a review on iTunes and help spread the word about the show.

New episodes are (typically) released the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month!

If you are interested in coming on the show for an interview, or would like to become a sponsor, contact me to make arrangements.