Haste! WoD MMO Cancelled, Ryan Dancey talks OGL, and Physical Props.

Episode 110 |


Don’t forget that the d20 Monkey contest is going on and that you’ve still got a little bit of time left to submit to our April’s fool contest! Also, be sure to check out part 2 of our interview with Rob Schwalb.

Also – we’re hiring a Background Image Designer!

Lastly, check out adventureaweek.com, of which our good friend Justin Mason is a part of. A continual source of adventures for your D&D 3.5 or Pathfinder game. $10/mo to subscribe to ongoing content creation. Really cool stuff!



World of Darkness MMO Cancelled

It bums us out to have to bring you this news but, the upcoming World of Darkness MMO has been cancelled per some big changes and layoffs at CCP games. Aside from the game itself, we ponder what this means for White Wolf?

Ryan Dancey Discusses the OGL, DnD, Pathfinder

A recent post over at The RPG Site has brought our attention toward some thoughts Ryan Dancey of Paizo/Goblinworks has left regarding the success of D&D, Pathfinder, and more. It’s a good read, and we’d like your thoughts on it too.

Player handouts – Bang for Your Buck

Recently while stalking Reddit we came across a post regarding material props in your game. We were wondering which ones get you the most bang for your buck, which are the ones that will wow your players and be memorable as opposed to passed over and forgotten. Tell u s your thoughts after you listen to the segment, we want to hear stories!


You can reply by email to your forum posts! Many people don’t realize this, but if you just click reply and type your response at the top, it will post in the forum and be emailed out to everyone else. It’s a very quick and easy way to keep the thread moving.


@GmsMagazine asks: In Fantasy, should game religion be based on real-life religion with all of its tenants and morals, biblical or otherwise?

Tune in to find out! 

Music Credits | Intro: “Prelude” | Outro: “Stand Alone” | by LukHash |

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  1. “Our Birthday contest is over, check back during the next episode for our winners!”
    So, where is the winners list?

  2. Speaking as a D&D player, not a DM, best prop I thought I ever saw to a game was planned by the DM for a group that I was actually later asked to leave. So, no real bias here. I know other folks have done similarly, but during one of the in-game tavern scenes, he’d asked his wife to enter the room, in character as a surly serving wench, and serve us hot Otik’s spiced potatoes. I think the brilliance of it is not what the prop was or even the great effort put into it, although both were wildly appreciated, but the presentation overall. Both from a gaming perspective and a metagaming perspective, it so worked. There was the element of surprise as it was not a major turning point in the plot. There was the content-matching specificity of it. Everybody at table loves snacks, of course. Yet, perhaps foremost was the DM’s wife playing along. While completely game for the cameo, and a perfectly lovely person overall, not only was his wife kind of known for not having a gaming bone in her body, but it was also sort of humorous as it was obvious that a “serving wench” role would in any other circumstance be about 200 stages of self-respect beneath who she actually was. My take-away from that memory in the context of today’s podcast is that the effort put into a prop may not be appreciated for the effort itself, but that even the trickiest of props to get appreciated can get a huge boost by making them a surprise and/or by incorporating a role play wild card. It makes the moment different to bring in non-players to cameo an NPC, memorable, surprising, and fun. What about the guy who had to leave the group to have a baby, but is available for one night only? What about somebody’s Mom getting into the act for a few minutes before she watches “Murder She Wrote” reruns? How about a dog dressed like Boba Fett or a the annoying neighbor who always calls during the weekly game stopping by as a town crier or poor red shirt-like Star Trek sap who gets killed at the beginning of the scene like the group has been imagining all along? It seems like non-player roleplay cameos and in-game props should be different ideas used on different nights to keep a game fresh, interesting, or involved. But, to acknowledge how well each can boost the appreciation of the other is to really play the odds on having that work recognized, remembered, and congratulated.

  3. I DM a modern superheroes game, Icons, and my best props have been puzzles and items from the Dollar Store that have tactical significance in the play.

    For example, 3 superhero players were straining to hold off a demon from another dimension while the party’s occult specialist rushed to repair a magic seal to block the dimension’s gate again. Is it fun for the occultist to roll a dice and for me to say, “you do it”? No. What works really great for that? Any jigsaw puzzle for kids they have at the dollar store, that have only 20 pieces in it and folks can usually figure out in less than a minute. She rolls her dice, I throw her two bags of pieces and say, “You have until we get back to your turn to finish the seal or the demon gets another turn to escape.”. That’s tension!

    If she had done worse than total success on her dice roll (Icons uses a sliding scale of success) she would have only gotten half the pieces to put together, giving the very over powered demon another turn to push past the three supes doing everything to hold him back.

    As it was, it played out perfectly: the main team yelling at the non-combat person “Haven’t you finished the damn spell yet? He’s almost there!” while each took their turn. She got it done just when they needed it, and the team made a dramatic dive through the gate as she put in the last piece.

    Why did it work? The puzzle was cheap, and simulated putting together a magic occult seal pretty well. Her dice rolls mattered. If she had failed, she got no pieces. Better rolls means more pieces to start. But the puzzle challenged the player, not just the character.

    Another example: for my Valentines day game, someone was catfishing one of the heros, putting his profile up on date-a-super sites and encouraging women to come see him. I stuck a sticker of a different Disney Princess onto each sheet of paper for a “photo” made up a fake “dating”profile for each girl and hid a dollar store decoder ring message from the cocky villian into each “web page”. Took about 1 hr.

    But the look on the player’s faces when they said “I do a computer knowledge search to see if it turns up anything. Does it?” and I tossed those dating profiles/web chat histories at them was awesome. And then they realized there was a hidden message, they were decoding that thing during a chase scene AND a fight scene, tossing the sheets back and forth like a real team would, to keep the data from the enemy.

    It made the world more real, but it had tactical value, not just decoration. Got more examples if you want them one involving Taco Bell sauce packets as props.

  4. Best props I’ve seen were for Living Greyhawk organized play Battle Interactives. Things like 3-D terrain showing the layout of the land, things like menhir stones and hills with towers, so we could think through where to go to accomplish various objectives. The absolute best was the use of a huge cloth map with movable troop unit markers (with velcro). Each table was a unit and could choose how quickly to move and in which direction to move (and toward which goals and enemy units). When two units of one side flanked a unit of the enemy, a bonus took place (more or fewer bad guys). It allowed for great strategy and real-time tactics. For example, our group went deep into enemy territory, drawing leaders onto us. We then progressed no further, locking up all those enemies while the other friendly units kicked all sorts of butt elsewhere. It was a great example of using props to really signify how awesome a one-time event was, and it worked beautifully.

    In home campaigns, a lot of what I see and like is small props that get high utility. For example, a overland hex map where only a tiny bit (the PCs’ village) is filled in, and the rest is to be discovered and drawn in as they progress. That prop sees high use session after session and is a big reference. Same with puzzle pieces where a puzzle will be unraveled over time. Those are my favorites.

  5. On the Dancey topic, he has great knowledge. But, he also has a clear bias and seems to overstate things. In that article he talks about the biggest worry at the time being fragmentation of D&D, due to players on 1st and 2nd edition that don’t want to convert. What did the OGL do? It built Paizo. Great for Dancey, since it employed him (now through a shell company), but it has created the greatest fragmentation ever for D&D, making it highly challenging for D&D to be a cohesive brand and for the company owning it to be able to create new editions. Further, the d20 glut was great in some ways (training a ton of freelancers who play vital roles today) but terrible in others (terrible quality that helped throw gaming stores into a tailspin). While the intent was to ‘save D&D’, it is far from clear that this was neccessary. 3E was a huge hit from the beginning, before the OGL really had made a mark. We can look to 4E, where initial sales were higher than 3E, despite not having an OGL. The only thing hurting the D&D line is really the high expectations WotC has for it, because any other RPG company would love to have 3E’s and 4E’s sales. It is interesting to see that proponents of the OGL, such as Monte Cook (who benefited through the OGL) have chosen to create their own versions that differ from such an open non-revenue-sharing approach. The Numenera license is markedly different in its approach, placing limits on what a third party can do and a trigger point that involves revenue sharing. Those changes exist to address the glaring problems of the OGL (no revenue from any of the millions of sales Paizo has, despite the game being dependent on the OGL).

    His claim that Paizo hasn’t hurt D&D is ludicrous. Tons of us went from 1E to 2E for a simple reason: it was the only way to get new material. Pathfinder offered a D&D alternative, without them having to create an actual different RPG. This allowed players to stay on 3E and still get new material. Take a look at any other RPG that has had a bright moment sales-wise. It has never competed long term with the D&D rules. But a Pathfinder edition of D&D with continual support? Absolutely.