So, as you may know, I’ve been thinking about changing things up a tad, where it comes to this website, and the content presented herein. Specifically, once I finish recording the last season of “The Worst Actual-Play Podcast Ever!” (WAPPE) later this year (don’t worry, that turd will be running through 2025), I want to transition into something different. Maybe even start phasing out of the podcasting and blogging game, after 20-odd years?
Yeah, that isn’t happening, but I would like to change up the content around here… and so I shall!
Look, I really like doing Actual-Play roleplaying podcasts. I’ve been at it for several years, with both group play and solo play, and it is a lot of fun to make that content. But I feel like my time doing WAPPE has basically run its course. Changing up games every month is fun to some degree, and I have gotten to try out a bunch of games I might never have played, but the format is growing stale for me.
I want something different, something more stable and long-term than WAPPE offers. I have mentioned previously on this site that I might start up another Actual-Play podcast after WAPPE ends, but I wasn’t sure how that would look. Now, I think I have an idea where I’ll go with it.
First of all, I believe I have resolved to play “Dungeon World” (or some variant thereof) for the first, year-long season of this show. I will play it solo most of the time, but since it will be played in a modified “West Marches”-style campaign, where every session will be effectively a one-shot adventure released over a month of shows, players can jump in for a session, then leave without causing any continuity issues for the next one.
This also has the added benefit of allowing listeners to skip whole months of content, without getting lost in the story overall. The next chapter always starts back at the home base, with a fresh adventure. But unlike WAPPE, each new adventure will have the same game being played, only changing annually, so it should be easier to follow.
When I am able to play with others on this show, we will be running with oracles instead of a GameMaster (after a fashion). I will still check the Oracle, to get answers to our questions, and see provide inspiration for where we might go from scene to scene, but instead of just talking my interpretation of what the oracle provides, we will discuss it as a group, and determine how to proceed together.
I think this is not only fair, but will allow each of us, if there are multiplayer sessions here or there, to each influence the adventure as a team. Considering DW is a ‘Powered by the Apocalypse’ game, and player-focused narrative storytelling is what the game is all about, I feel this ought to work out quite well!
Now I am getting really excited about this plan, and can’t wait to get going with this new show… but, I need to get through WAPPE first. Yes, I could just move on right now, since the 4th season is completed and uploaded, ready to go all the way through 2024. But I feel that cuts the show a bit short. Five years seems like a more natural place to move on from WAPPE, so I should knock out Season 5 at the very least, before changing focus onto this new project. Also, I have 13 great games lined up to play on Season 5 of WAPPE, and it would be a shame to just set them aside, when I can instead knuckle down and knock them all out in effectively a few weeks.
Okay, more like a couple of months worth of weekends, but you get the idea!
Anyway, after thinking about this quite a bit over the last few weeks, I have decided that this new show will have a few rules, which the players must follow. This is aside from coming with a professional attitude, good podcasting equipment, and a solid internet connection, I mean.
- No cursing. I envision this new show as being a family-friendly affair, at least one where – aside from all the hack and slash action – Grandma can listen in with the kids, and enjoy a fun story. I have been told that we have fans of the current show who has tried to listen in with their little girl, but have difficulties doing so, because I can’t help but slap in the occasional curse word here or there. That needs to stop.
- Roleplay required. I try to provide voices for the characters on WAPPE, my own and the Non-Player Characters I encounter, and I will expect other players on this new show to do the same. I would like them to roleplay their character, provide a voice for them as best they can, and try to voice NPCs and monsters as needed, so I am not stuck doing that all the time )I’m not the GM, after all!).
- Know the game, at least enough to play. Look, I don’t expect everyone to be experts with “Dungeon World” or whatever game we might be playing in a given season, but I also won’t be teaching people how to play every time a new player wants to join in. Since I expect this will mostly be a solo actual-play, most of the time, I will showing how the game is played as we go along, as best I can. the least prospective players could do is pick up a copy of DW, read over the character-focused areas (the first four chapters, plus the chapter for their specific class), and have an idea of how the game works. I promise, it really isn’t all that difficult to learn, especially since it is a PbtA game.
I don’t expect this show to appear on the website anytime soon, possibly not until WAPPE ends, actually, but it is coming. But I don’t see it being a follow-up to WAPPE, on the same feed that my actual-play podcasts have been on since “Knights of the Tabletop” began, back in 2019. I’d like this show to be a ‘fresh start’, after a fashion, and not have the baggage of KOTT/RR/WAPPE potentially bringing it down in the eyes of new listeners.
Could the new show appear before WAPPE sunsets at the end of 2025? Sure, anything is possible, but we’ll have to see about that. It might be weird with two separate actual-play podcasts running on the website at the same time, both mostly solo in nature, while on separate feeds. It could confuse folks who check out the website, which is the main reason I did consider sunsetting WAPPE early (at the end of 2024), but ultimately decided against it.
Now, not everything is set in stone yet. I am still decided on the planned length of each episode (probably an hour each, but we’ll have to see about that). That didn’t work out so well the last time I tried it, as this means doing nearly 90 minutes at a time for each episode, and when playing solo, that is extremely taxing on the vocal chords. When you’re recording a month-worth of games each session (4-5, 90 minute blocks), that is a lot of talking for solo play. Hell, that’s a lot of talking when playing with a group!
Now when we used to do “Knights of the Tabletop” several years ago, we agree to 45-minute blocks of recording, then we’d take a short break. This started out okay, but ended up being unpopular with some of the group, as it ‘broke up the flow of the game’ and apparently ‘felt like being railroaded’.
This, my friends, is one of the big reasons I do a solo actual-play podcast now. I can do the reasonable 40-45 minute blocks of recording I need to do for each 30-minute episode (the extra time is to allow for editing out stuff, especially dead air), then rest my voice before picking up again. I’m not railroading myself, I’m preserving my ability to speak the next day!… but that’s neither here nor there.
So if we were to do hour-long episodes, that means taking breaks every 80-90 minutes, again to edit out dead air and the like. This is really heard on the voice, especially if we were to try knocking out an entire session in one day, which this format would require. For a month with five episodes, that would be asking the group to play for about eight hours in a day!… As much as I’d like to see nice, long sessions like that again (as we had in Season 2 of “Ronin Roleplaying”, for example), it is just asking too much of everyone, I think.
That said, could we hit the Pause button as needed, and just record for 3-3.5 hours, then I’d split and edit this block into workable chunks for each episode? Sure. It means a lot more work on my end, of course, which is why I prefer sticking to the “40-45 minute block, then a break”-method of recording. This would put our sessions at about fours hours each, which gives me a month of episodes to work with, and is plenty of time for a nice session of “Dungeon World”, ‘West Marches’-style!
Also, it’s kind of difficult to railroad the players, if there isn’t a GM, or a set direction for the adventure to go, outside of what the players decide to do! Just saying.
No, I’m not still bitter.
Anyway, my plan right now is to start recording Season 5 of WAPPE once My Lovely Bride™ and I are through this year’s RenFaire season, at least the Faires we will be able to attend. I am looking at recording it August through October of this year (extra time allowed for breaks and whatnot), then spending November and part of December getting the pre-production done for this new, as-yet-untitled podcast.
Could it show up at the beginning of 2024? Maybe…