My blog crossed the 10-year mark earlier this year to no fanfare. I knew about the milestone (and even tweeted about it) though the moment lacks any sort of significance other than a reminder of how much time has passed since I was eager to share my thoughts with the world about combat speed in 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. At that time, my motivation for writing was to fill a perceived gap in the flourishing online discourse about D&D; I felt my background as a mental health provider and researcher could be unique, and that first article was enjoyable to write!
The community enjoyed the article, which provided me with reinforcement to write about other topics. A pleasant feedback loop started as I was playing D&D regularly, which would spark ideas for articles, which would get me to write for the blog, which would result in others in the community discussing or sharing those articles, which would result in me being more interested in playing D&D and other games.
My enjoyment of tabletop roleplaying games such as D&D took on a bigger role in my life. I went from not playing at all to playing with a consistent group 3-4 times each month. And not only was I devoting time to LONG sessions each weekend (4e combat speed, am I right?!), I spent a good portion of other free time writing, editing, and promoting my blog on social media – primarily Twitter. Looking back, that time was such a luxury!
I am proud of the blog, which has accumulated the following stats in the past 10 years (and two months):
And while I am far from the only person to get interested in podcasting, I figured again that I had a unique perspective as my clinical skill set helps me interview and move discussions in specific directions. I created Ego Check with The Id DM in 2016 without really knowing what I was doing (I probably still don’t).
Grant Ellis joins me this week and talks about his efforts to create engaging tabletop roleplaying game live shows. He discusses his background in the creative arts and how that translates into designing and producing roleplaying game content. He details the variety of ways that tabletop games such as Dungeons & Dragons can be played and consumed, and specify addresses the differences between playing in a game versus watching a session of a game being played.
The impetus for Grant and I recording was our shared love of the 2001 film, A Knight’s Tale – a movie we both feel is sorely underrated! We lavish praise on A Knight’s Tale and explain why the movie resonated with us in the first place and why the movie persists in our minds. We talk about the loaded cast, which features actors that would later go on to be prominent players in major television and movie franchises such as Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Breaking Bad, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Oh, and a young man by the name of Heath Ledger is also in the movie and radiates star power and charm.
A Knight’s Tale is wonderful, and Grant and I are getting in early on the eventually 20th Anniversary celebration that will certainly commence in 2021! This was a fun episode to record!
Enjoy the 49th episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below:
Enrique “NewbieDM” Bertran joins Ego Check once again to talk about his new Patreon campaign. I wanted to talk with Enrique to discuss the success of Critical Role and how other intellectual properties might capitalize on that formula. We ponder how Star Wars and Fantasy Flight Games could produce a stellar stream of actual play to highlight their product. I prod Enrique to detail how he would run such a campaign, and his ideas are wonderful; I hope he lets me join as a player.
Enjoy the 43rd episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below:
James Haeck, Lead Writer for D&D Beyond and Coauthor of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and Critical Role’s Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting joins the pod to educate me about how Critical Role overlaps with elements of the RPG and D&D landscape – and how it also has carved its own niche. He discussed the evolution of Critical Role and how it only recently became an independent entity outside of Geek & Sundry and Legendary Digital Networks while also clarifying my prior misconceptions about Critical Role being “under” Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro. James and I ponder what Critical Role’s success may mean for tabletop RPGs and empathize with individuals that may question the money that is being raised.
I disclose my initial interest and envy from the success, and we both discuss the perils of focusing on the successes and failures of others while trying to create content. I thank James for delving into these questions, and we both acknowledge our lack of adequate solutions for these dilemmas. I shift gears with James to ask about how he got involved in Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, and prod him for suggestions on how to get the most out of the content provided in the book. I selfishly wanted this information as my group my find their way into an urban setting soon! This is a worthy conversation, and I hope you give it a listen!
Enjoy the 40th episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below:
Mike Shea joins the show once again to talk about the changing dynamics of tabletop roleplaying games. He explores how technology like streaming has advanced the hobby and spread its growth. We discuss the possible differences between what makes an excellent game to watch through streaming, and what makes an excellent game to play in with friends. He details his reasoning for launching his latest Kickstarter for Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master, and explains the purpose of its content. He emphasizes the importance of game masters focusing on the player characters in the game, and how that is now his first step during preparation for any gaming session. He offers advice for how to maintain a consistent, weekly gaming session while managing a rotating cast of players at the table.
Enjoy the 27th episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below:
Greg joins me this week to discuss his career path before joining Wizards of the Coast in 2015, and details his roles and responsibilities as Senior Communications Manager for Dungeons & Dragons. He talks about his love of tabletop roleplaying games, and provides a compelling answer to the question, “What is D&D?” Greg discusses how D&D is built by a lean staff of approximately 25 individuals, and how many of those individuals have long tenures on the product and with each other. He speaks about the growth of streaming and video delivery services, which has allowed the tabletop hobby to expand into newer audiences in recent years. He briefly reviews some internal data that shows the average fan of D&D is skewing younger and more diverse, and he explores how Wizards of the Coast can continue to increase outreach and representation to broaden the fanbase.
Enjoy the 23rd episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below:
I’m joined this week by Dr. Megan Connell, a licensed psychologist who is currently using Dungeons & Dragons in two therapy groups to teach children social skills and empowerment. She speaks about motivations for pursuing a career in psychology, including her decision to join the military after the events of 9/11. Dr. Connell provides her insights into how dungeon mastering is essentially people management, and how DMs can use specific skills to improve gameplay for all involved. She covers how important it is to talk with your players to establish ground rules and resolve potential conflicts. She details her use of a Session 0 for all new campaigns to accomplish these goals. We review how mental health symptoms can manifest for players at the table, and present some strategies on how to address these situations. She talks about her Psychology and D&D video series featured on YouTube and her stream, Clinical Roll, which features numerous mental health professionals playing Dungeons & Dragons.
Enjoy the 22nd episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below:
Jerry, known as The Dread Gazebo, talks about his views on the changing climate around tabletop and vidoegaming this decade. He speaks the lifespan of gaming blogs and the rise of streaming. He details his enjoyment of Shadow of the Demon Lord, and answers questions regarding gameplay. Jerry presents his thoughts on streaming culture, and how it often turns into a toxic environment. We explore the social contract of playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, and long for briefer gameplay experiences. We close the show by discussing the unique aspects of forming close bonds with others online because of gaming, and how those bonds can shift when we actually meet each other in person.
Enjoy the 21st episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below: