Podcast, Podcast! Hear All About It!

A few links that I’d like to share today. Both of them are podcasts, and both of them discuss this site to a certain extent.

The first is a recent interview conducted by Flagons & Dragons. You may recall my interview with Carl Bussler of Flagons & Dragons a few months ago; well, he turned the tables on me and asked many great questions over the course of an hour. If you’re curious about how I developed the blog, the artist who created my mascot, Iddy the Lich, or would like to know more about my approach to DMing or writing, then please check it out. He inquired about several of my prior blog posts, including my response to errata, analysis of combat speed, and research to determine if I had an evil d20. Thank you again to Carl for taking the time to conduct the interview!

The second podcast I wanted to acknowledge was The Exemplary DM Podcast. I’ve spent the past few weeks catching up on their first and second seasons of the show, and it’s a goldmine for specific ideas, characters and “fixes” for DMs looking to improve their campaign. While listening to Season 2, Episode 2 (posted on 6/2/11), I was surprised to hear the name of The Id DM mentioned by the hosts. I had sent them a long email about the troubles I was having with extended rests and the flow of combat throughout the story of my campaign. The email to them was so long I turned it into a blog post on solving the extended rest riddle. The hosts read my email during the podcast – with some embellishments here and there – and respond to the ideas I offered. You should be listening to The Exemplary DM Podcast already, but here is another great reason to check it out if you’re not on board yet.

Before I close, if you know of another podcast where my site is mentioned, then please contact me so I can check it out. This way I don’t almost drive off the road when I’m listening to a pod because suddenly they are reading something I wrote!

Hey, that’s me!? *screeching tires*

Ego Check: Carl Bussler, Host of Flagons & Dragons

It is my pleasure to bring you the second installment of Ego Check. Over the last few weeks, I was able to interview Carl Bussler, host and producer of the Flagons & Dragons podcast series. He was kind enough to answer a wide variety of questions about his gaming background and creative process. Below, we discuss some of the challenges inherent to designing and creating adventures for our campaign. Carl describes his enjoyment of Gamma World and how it allows him to design an “anything-goes” setting for his players. Finally, we discuss the genesis of the Flagons & Dragons podcast in addition to unique aspects of connecting with other gamers through podcasts.

Thank you for agreeing to speak with me about your gaming influences and motivations. Can you please start off by introducing yourself, and talk a bit how and when you stepped into the world of roleplaying games?

My pleasure, I’m one of the hosts and the producer of Flagons and Dragons, a podcast in which we talk about tabletop games… and beer!

My introduction to roleplaying games was gradual, and until 7th grade, the Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks and the Lone Wolf gamebooks were the closest thing I’d seen to a roleplaying game. I grew-up in rural Pennsylvania and we didn’t have much in the way of comic shops or malls, but we did have a library and a book store. I loved the fantasy genre, and I’d read Tolkien, Fritz Leiber, Robert E. Howard, and any other author who could offer me a temporary escape from reality.

Carl Bussler, Host of Flagons & Dragons

It was around the time I’d started reading the Dragonlance Chronicles that I discovered Dragon magazine and learned about Dungeons & Dragons. The idea of a roleplaying game was an easy sell, but I couldn’t actually find it, let alone find anybody willing to play it. After a year or so, fate stepped in. A friend’s older brother was going off to college and wanted to unload his old 1st edition D&D books. I happily paid the $20 for all three books, which I still have to this day.

I didn’t actually get to play much until college, but I made up for lost time during those wonderful 4 years.

Excellent, those Choose Your Own Adventure books were one of my first exposures to the fantasy genre as well. I loved those books, but I always made the wrong decision and ended up eaten by monsters! It sounds like you had quite a few years between first getting your hands on the D&D books and actually getting to play regularly. How did you cultivate your interest in roleplaying games in the meantime?

On the few occasions in high school when I was able to pull a group together, I was the Dungeon Master. But between those rare and wonderful moments, I found myself writing adventures, developing NPC’s, drawing maps of dungeons and continents, and even sketching magic items.

I think in the beginning it was denial, or perhaps hope that I’d find some willing players. But in the end it didn’t matter, since I was having fun. I found that creating the places, the people, and the stories that tied them together, was just as enjoyable as experiencing those worlds as a player.

And, rather than exploring Middle Earth or Hyperborea, I was exploring places that were the product of my own imagination. This was, and still is, incredibly rewarding for me. I relish being the creative force behind a memorable game.

Continue reading “Ego Check: Carl Bussler, Host of Flagons & Dragons”