Haste! Learn Tabletop RPGs, MTG Movie, D&D’s Birthday, and More!

Episode 102 |


Winter Fantasy is coming, Haste episode from the show this year, will be covering who is there and what is going on. LFR, PF Society, D&DNext, lots more.


Learn Tabletop RPGs

In lieu of all of our talking about the fictional or semi-fictional people who are seeking out RPG knowledge, this week we bring to you Learn Tabletop RPGS and I argue with Micah that these people do exist!

D&D’s Exact Birthday Still A Mystery

There’s a good article up over at Playing At The World about the exact date of D&D’s release some 40 years ago, it’s a shame the jury is still out on when that day was. As it stands, it looks like we’ve collectively declared it to be the last Sunday in January. The origin story of D&D is…like many other gaming stories…kind of boring, so we’ve got a contest for you! Listen to the show for the details!

Mini-Contest Details: In the comments below, tell us in about a paragraph or less what you’d like the real origin story of D&D to have been. Go nuts! We’ll recite your story during a future podcast and also toss you some free Ascendant time and an Obsidian Portal T-shirt!

M:TG Movie In The Works

Yes, a Magic: The Gathering film is being created. First learned here and later confirmed by WotC we now know the very first trickles of info regarding the movie. Micah and I discuss gaming related films and he puts me on the spot and demands my opinion/predictions on the film along with what I would need it to be “Magic: The Gathering” on screen.


@Forbestay asks: being a gamer I’m a bit over weight. How can I incorporate health lifestyle choice with my gaming activities?

Tune in to find out! 

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

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  1. Role-playing was invented approximately one million years ago by Homo Habilis, the first tool-using hominids. They were the first role-playing hominids as well. Lacking photocopiers, they scrawled their character info on pieces of animal hide using charred sticks from the communal fire-pit. Lacking dice, they used a resolution system involving handfuls of small rocks. The rules were simple by today’s standards, and passed down verbally from each clan’s Cave Master (CM) to their apprentice. Many early gamers recorded their sessions on the walls of the caves where they played. Even today, small rocks can be found at nearly every archaeological site of early man – proof that our earliest ancestors were nothing but a bunch of geeks. http://www.prismnet.com/unigames/cm/cavemaster.html

  2. There was work to be done. Gary stood in the sky, above the boiling sea. Great clouds of superheated gas erupted, sending fountains of steam high into the stratosphere to condense into what would be the world’s first acidic rains. The world shivered, the sky shivered with it, and the first peaks of what would come to be called the Abbor-Alz. Exactly as he’d imagined. Within seeming hours, the continent had pushed its way out of the waters and was greening over nicely. “Dave”, he said to the only other sentient being on the entire plane, “I think we may be on to something here.” Dave, who had been studiously writing these things into being, agreed.

  3. Sorry, new baby. “… and the first peaks of what would come to be called the Abbor-Alz slowly rose out of the sea. Exactly as he’d imagined.”

  4. The origin of D&D is shrouded in mystery. Some believe it was the chroniclings of the middle ages that gave the idea. Others say it was sent back in time from 3982 as a grisly vision into the world’s future. Me? I believe it is still happening today. If you loom close enough it is the history of us. Magic & dragons are all around us & I believe the ooening scenes of the 80’s movie Flight of Dragons is the best representation of why so few can see the truth.

  5. Now this is the story all about how
    D&D got started, how it began,
    And I’d like to take a minute, just listen through,
    I’ll tell you how it’s all the work of not one man,
    But two.

    Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, there they played,
    At a table, was where they spent most of their days.
    Rollin’ dice, fightin’, smitin’ some fools
    And all shootin’ some Nazis, accordin’ to the

    When these couple of guys, who were all Neutral Good,
    Started makin’ games up in the neighborhood.
    They played out thousands o’ fights, tons of villains they slew,
    They said, “We’re startin’ up this game,
    RPG style, brand new.”

    They whipped out some paper, pencils, and stuff.
    The minis were the same and the dice, not too tough.
    If anything, this game didn’t look all that new,
    But they said, “Hey, don’t sweat it, maybe it’s not for you.”

    But Dave rolled up an Elf, strength seven or eight,
    And he yelled out to Gary, “Hit points, now or later?”
    They looked at the table, and it was all true,
    D&D had just started, good times would ensue.

  6. In the beginning was the d20, and it was good. Its first child, the d12, was mighty. The d8 was clever; the d6, fertile, and d4, stable. But there was a dark child, the d10, which knew not its place, and in its shame hid away in the Top Secret box. The wizard Gygax gathered them all, and gave them purpose – to determine the fates of men and women, as they hopped across the game board of life. Thus D&D was born.

  7. I actually was alive in the 1970s and in college when D&D first came along. There actually were three people who created and started TSR and D&D. The third person is never mentioned because he decided to leave the company for unknown reasons. (Sort of like the drummer who left the Beatles. No one remembers him – everyone remember Ringo Star.) The original Nancon in Houston, Texas which started the second year after D&D was first introduced (At Nan’s Toy Shop in the Galleria at the time) only had about ten or so people show up. Frank Joins (the manager of Nan’s Toy Shop) had gotten on the phone with Nan who lived (I believe) in Chicago, Ill. and had asked her to contact TSR to see if they would send someone down to help get Nancon off the ground. That was where I met Dave Arneson, E. Gary Gygax, and this third person. I even got his signature on one of the books from the three book set. (I just haven’t gotten them out to re-read the guy’s name. Oh! And Gary refused to autograph my book. So no signature from him. Just Dave Arneson and this other guy.) Anyway, there actually were three people who created D&D. It has been so long since I met all three of them that I forget what part the guy said he had played in the creation of the game. But – this is one of those obscure little things that only if you were there you would know.

    You know what the biggest difference would be if D&D were invented now? The fact that mobile phones would be used to document almost every minute of the phenomenon and I also think things would have gone a bit differently than they did for TSR. Not to throw cold water on this whole “Let’s re-write D&D’s beginnings” thing – but TSR was not a nice company until Hasbro bought them. People may have forgotten but M.A. Barker was messed around by TSR (Empire of the Petal Throne creator), and even Wizards of the Coast was messed around by them (WotC originally had a different company name and had created an extension to D&D with maps, new spells, and the like and TSR sued them out of existence. That’s when they decided to try making Magic:the Gathering which eventually led to them buying TSR only to find out that the lady who (by then had kicked Gary out) owned TSR had cooked the books and TSR was actually bankrupt. This led to more lawsuits, profits plummeted at WotC and Hasbro finally bought WotC. Now they are a pretty nice company! But there was a lot of bad karma being directed at them for a very long time because of how they acted and what they did to people. I personally know a lot of the people who went through these things. Believe me – it was like watching a really bad soap opera where everyone got shafted who dealt with TSR.)

  8. A long time ago, more ages than man has count of, everything existed on one plane and it was quiet messy as one would imagine. Technology ran into magic and everyday life had many choices, TV or crystal ball, xPhone, AnRobot, or Vision Brick. In all the confusion two wizards sat down to try to make sense of it all. At first the task was a fun one with joy and enthusiasm, but as time passed the task became more arduous. Little did the two realize that their very thoughts were shaping reality, their ideas coalescing into the reality we know today. As pen made way on paper, the words of these wizards forever divided the planes and all existence into their current state. For we exist only in this plane as men, but as gods to those which call D&D their Master System. From that day forth, man has existed here watching, tinkering, imagining, and exploring the worlds of D&D.

  9. D&D – was not so much created as – copied. In the very early days, a man, wise and studious beyond his years was a Writer. He did not know it right away, but what he wrote came not from his own mind, but from dream visions of a place far away, forgotten by all. As time marched slowly onward, these voices that he penned into stories began to leak out from just his own mind, and gain traction with a few others, equally smart and learned, as well as fanciful and imaginative. For if they spoke to someone Unimaginative, they would be locked away as insane. As fate had it, these voices spoke to two men, whom you all know by name now, and inserted the seeds of fantasy and fancy. Slowly the “game” emerged. But in all the time it took to come about, the two men were unaware of the slow, subtle insertions of these “ideas” into their own dreams and subconscious minds. And this was D&D “created” by the known two, as well as someone who as an imaginative author allowed the earliest Modern access to our world, from this other world.

    “A little down!”

  10. Pingback: Exploded Clown : Life, of a Sort

  11. Gary set the quill down eagerly, stretching his raw fingers and checking the folds of his skin for burn marks. When he was satisfied of their absence, he scanned back through the parchment that littered his heavy oak desk, perusing the sigils that opened each chapter, the formulae that called forth the contained drama, the wards that kept the monsters in their proper section. He smiled as he recalled his friend the Fighting man, and mourned that the writeup for the Cleric did not do justice to the wonder of his remembrances. But they had life, of a sort. He had given them that much. They had sacrificed their lives to fold the world upon them, and as he escaped he had promised to tell their tale, to let their exploits be never forgotten, to let the dungeons and dragons carry their world on forever, in the imaginations of so many. Life, of a sort.

    Full post over on my blog: http://explodedclown.trainedchimpanzeeband.com/314-life-of-a-sort/

  12. Zeus gasped and mopped his brow. He wanted to summon more lightning, but he was so tired, so terribly weak. “Heimdall, Shiva, we are running out of time. So few people worship us anymore, that the power we derive from the human imagination is waning severely. Soon it will dry up completely, and our millennia of struggle against the monsters, the dark phantasms of the human psyche, will be for naught. I say ye now, we must implement Athena’s plan to introduce a new tradition, a tradition where we are commemorated in games played with dice and papers and tiny religious icons upon household tabletops.”

    Quetzalcoatl managed to wrap a fold of his body around the mouth of a gibbering demon, earning a momentary silence to be heard by the others. “You realize, All-Father Zeus, that we no longer possess the power to control the human imagination and limit it to our own traditions. Those young punks who start playing this ‘Role-Playing Game’ may well focus the power of their imaginations upon other gods, other pantheons, completely new invented gods – and upon the devils and monsters, our opponents.”

    “Those are risks we’ll have to take. If we don’t, the demons of Id will slip into the earthlings’ minds unopposed, stealthily, without any fight. But if this gaming tradition is catches on, perhaps it will be perpetuated in new forms – in this thing, this weird, this ‘technology’ that the humans are developing. I understand they have developed ways for images to move upon screens, and every household will soon have its own gaming device which interacts with them. It may be a poor survival, but if this gaming tradition can make the leap into ‘technology’, it will bring us along with it. Perhaps one day even you, Apollo, will set your sun temple upon some new planet, orbiting a completely different star.”

  13. A world built of magic and fantasy was dying. The greatest wizards and sorcerers were called together to find the source of the destruction. It was discovered that the ‘glue’ that held their reality together was a previously unknown force called imaginarium. It was also found that imaginarium had to be produced from outside their reality and then seep into their world to have the desired effect of coalition of reality. Their plan was drastic and an admitted longshot, create a game based on their world and send it through the aether to another reality so that the imaginarium could be generated elsewhere and focused onto their reality with the hopeful desired effect. We here have no idea if it worked, but it sure is fun. I’m a 3X. Thanks.

  14. Whoops, dang-it, typed “Shiva” when I meant “Isis”. Brain-fart. “Shiva” is, of course, still worshipped by hundreds of millions of Hindus in the present day, so Shiva wouldn’t be complaining about loss of worshippers. If I should be lucky enough for a mention on the podcast, I’d appreciate it if you’d replace “Shiva” with “Isis”. It was an off-the-cuff, extemporaneous story.

  15. Hearing of the success of the epic Lord of The Rings, over twenty years after it’s publication, the people at Paramount Pictures bought it’s rights and a team of producers quickly wrote a script about a kingdom of elves and a kingdom of dwarves being manipulated into going to war against each other which the wizard Gandalf was desperately trying to prevent. Charles Bronson was noted as being the first choice in the leading role. Unfortunately creative differences between Paramount and production designer Richard Sylbert, who insisted on a complete rewrite by “people who had actually read the freaking book”, led it to lingering in movie hell for years and ultimately being rewritten as the Indiana Jones series. Fortunately fantasy lover Dave Arneson got a hold of the original script and immediately made a miniature wargame version which eventually evolved into the setting Blackmoor. And the rest is history.

  16. I was “The Man”, so to speak. New CEO of a Fortune 500 company, I had it all. And yet, I wasn’t satisfied. Hitting the grind of the gig early Monday morning and 70 hour work weeks ending on mid Sunday afternoon didn’t make up for the oodles of mulla, the cars, disco suits with black ribbed polyester, and the women – so many bunny’s I had to invent new names all the Foxy Mamas. I needed to chill. My life was slipping away. My only escape from the Bogarts that surrounded me was telling stories to my old friends. I’d make ’em roll, I’d make cry, sweat, and cheer. One Sunday Morning in January I decided to blow this taco stand and leave it all behind. I was going to create a groovy system whereby everyone could tell stories and the endings were determined by participants – not The Man! I threw it all away, sold everything and gave it to my ex. I sat in a room and wrote night and day amercing myself in the best story techniques and the greatest genres. Slam Dunk! DnD was born. I showed it to my friends since they didn’t have anything better to do and it was an instant hit. In your face corporate world! I was going to ignore the world at large and role-play for the rest of my life. — Gary Gygax

  17. when mordenkainen was running his unfantasy earth rpg campaign, the player characters got bored of the mundane nature of the unfantasy world and invented a fantasy rpg for their charcters to play within the unfantasy campaign world.

  18. And low, there came into the valley two camps upon each side of the great bay of discord. These camps were camps founded upon the makings of war, one Napoleonic, the other made of Chain and mail. Within these camps were the sages Arneson and Gygax, respectively. From the west, Arneson forged the region of Blackmoor. In the east, Gygax forged the realm of Dungeons and Dragons. After a meeting near the Megarry Ferry, in the land of the Dungeon, the first seeds of Greyhawk were sewn. The grand city humbly served as a town for the weary adventurers of this virgin realm. Sadly, the trade post of Guidon had little interest in such fantasy, preferring the spoils of Avalon’s war. Thus, Gygax gathered his faithful, and the guild of TSR was made. From it’s hallowed halls, came the first publication of the tome of Dungeons & Dragons. From that time of winter and New Years came the world that you know of today…

  19. Not to derail the origin stories, but I wanted to chime in on the question of how to have healthier gaming activities.

    If you’re getting together with friends, the advice for preparing some better food and cutting out sugar drinks is fantastic. Vegetables are top notch, and the protein and fat in nuts helps to fill you up. Get the unsalted versions, if you can. Water is the best choice of drink; try to cut out soda and chemically flavored waters.
    Podcasts and soundtracks are good choices for gym workouts, as are audiobooks. If you’re going on a run, I recommend an app called “Zombies, Run!” that incorporates your playlists into an audio story. It keeps track of your progress via GPS, and can start zombie chases to mimic High Intensity Interval Training. It also includes a town fortification mini-game, where you use supplies that you pick up at random while running. It’s set aside the loathing I have for exercise and gotten me out there 🙂
    I just came across a website today, in fact, called NerdFitness.com and, while I haven’t looked at it extensively yet, the author seems to use some ideas and lingo of our people. I just hope it isn’t completely put on and forced like so many other nerd themed offerings these days.

    Cheers, and good gaming!

  20. As Gary Gygax sat in his bomb shelter in the 70’s waiting for the nuclear exchange between the USA and USSR, he devised a way to keep up moral and prepare people for life in post-apocalyptic America. He created a game based in a fantasy version of the Middle Ages. The game would help everybody improve their combat tactics, problem solving, and survival skills in the agrarian society that would have to rebuild after the war. The fantasy elements were included to take everyone’s mind off of the destruction outside the shelter. Jim Ward would later use Gygax’s original notes on radiation and mutation to create Metamorphosis Alpha and Gamma World.

  21. The bourgeois nerd surplus of the ’70s was created when war gaming became as unpopular as the ongoing incessant wars of opportunity practiced by imperialist governments and their running dogs. Gary Gygax, a member of the intelligentsia, saw an opportunity to capitalize on this surplus nerdism by creating a new paradigm of warfare based upon individual combat in fantasy situations rather than a real world simulacrum. The surplus value of the nerds labor created a new market which transformed the flagging gaming industry into a colossal waste of time, money and resources. Sustaining a phenomenal growth rate, this “nerd explosion” peaked in the ’80s as the surplus was exploited and over mined by greedy gaming developers, who have seen the market collapse to the near record lows of the early seventies as predicted by Marx.

  22. It is generally agreed to that Torg was the spark of it all one uneventful night while drinking with his retired adventures at The Minor Fleshwound. Like most nights that particular evening Torg was happily seated in his normal stool at his normal fireside table drinking his own label of ale from a tankard. Most of his former companions happened to be in attendance that evening, and after several tales of the Glory Days Revisited had ebbed and flowed, the mood became one of quiet reflection.

    During the pause Joycelin, who was sitting across from him, considered her now empty wine cup and said to no one in particular “that’s about it for me boys. I need to get home to tend to my grandson.” A couple others mumbled agreement and thoughts turned to what was quickly becoming just as important as the camaraderie of these particular adventures on these long winter nights: the rearing and well being of sons, daughters and more importantly now their children.

    Torg thought of his two grand daughters Thyme and Solicea, and how quickly they were growing up. The world was a lot safer now that Torg and his party had rid the lands of the evil orcs. Life in a generation had changed from one of survival to one of peace and prosperity. But the little ones from this generation longed to hear the stories; not the ones told in great detail in the Minor Fleshwound, but rather polished and cleaned up a bit as Torg was well known for doing during the season festivities.

    “The children are growing a bit tired of our tales, lads. They are no longer interested in just hearing them. Why just last week both Thyme and Solicea found the key to my war chest and I caught them haphazardly wielding that pig sticker I found in the Wolden Wood!”

    “Do tell!” Nabar chimed in. “Junior located my lock picks and went to work on his sister’s hope chest! We need to provide a new outlet constructively.” Nabar drained his mead and scratched at his eye piece. “My eye ain’t what it used to be, and I’d like for the boy to get a better sense of the excitement felt when picking a lock of some dank dour dungeon door.”

    A nod from Torg and “we need to come up with a way they can learn what we did, and make a game of it. My two have learned their reading and ciphering skills, but what really drives them is imagination.”

    “By the Gods!” Haplo laughed. “Taslo, my second’s oldest was bossing those two around the other day, dictating that their play of catacomb delving was good in tis regard and that then low and behold a Rust Monster snuck up on them and now what will they do!” The room laughed at that.

    “That is what you said yourself Haplo, all those years ago. What did you do?” Torg asked.

    “Marbuk is always playing games of chance; whether with bones, cards or lots. And he likes to tell stories about how you can increase the odds by factoring this or that.” Joycelin added. She waved to Haplo and pointed to her cup. “Another Haplo, it seems we have important things to talk about after-all.”

    Torg replied. “Maybe we’re on to something. Who wants to get out a sheaf of parchment and take notes?…