What Comes Next

As many of you know, I have been involved with an Actual-Play podcast – in one form or another – for several years. Beginning with when my brother Beoulus talked me into game-mastering and managing “Knights of the Tabletop” with our longtime gaming group back in 2019, which then lead into my doing a solo Actual-Play podcast (“Ronin Roleplaying”, which recently transformed into “The Worst Actual-Play Podcast Ever!”) from 2020 to present.

That’s a lot of roleplay podcasting! But it gets worse still…

You see, I’m a little bit ahead of the game, when it comes to the solo Actual-Play podcast. Not only am I done through all of 2023, but I am also done with the show through November 2024, with plans to finish December 2024 this coming weekend.

Yeah, that’s a lot of solo tabletop roleplaying!

Anyway, I’m planning to slow down on the solo roleplaying for a bit, as we move into the warmer months (it is supposed to be in the 90’s this weekend, and it is only mid-May!). But I am sure that by the time 2023 is over, I will have completed all of the shows for “The Worst Actual-Play Podcast Ever!” through 2025, putting me a full two years ahead of schedule!

That’s when I’m planning to quit the show.

I figure that a full five years of solo tabletop roleplaying, on top of well over a year of running a rather… frenetic… group actual-play podcast, I should probably take a break. The problem is, I don’t want to, not really.

You see, I enjoy doing actual-play podcasting, which is rather funny, considering I was reluctant to do it originally, when Beoulus first broached the subject back in mid-2019. It gives me an outlet for my creativity, while scratching that itch to roleplay at the same time!

But I don’t want to just keep on tearing through my library of tabletop roleplaying games, month after month, even though I still have enough games to stock up another ten years of “The Worst Actual-Play Podcast Ever!”. Seriously, I have a lot of games on my shelves, and when the final season of WAPPE is through (2025), I’ll only have gone through less than a third of my TTRPG collection.

So, what exactly is it I want to do, then?

I would like to restart “Knights of the Tabletop”, although with significant changes. The name may not remain, for one thing, as it may cause folks within my old gaming group to be unhappy if it is being used for something else. Furthermore, I am not even sure if this would be a group project at all. I wouldn’t mind working with a small group online, should everyone involved commit themselves to the project, and have reasonable equipment and internet to make it work. More likely, I’d work with one or two others at most, and we’d do a lot of preliminary work to make sure everyone is prepared for what a professional podcast requires. But if that wouldn’t work, I’d just go back to solo roleplaying.

What’s most important is that the format would change quite a bit. Right now, I change from one TTRPG to another every month, which works out really well. I am getting to try out a huge amount of games, find out which ones I really like, and that has in turn steered me towards buying more games with similar systems. This is why my collection of games made with Modiphius’ 2D20 system, those built as clones of the “Mörk Borg” game but with different settings, or developed under the “Powered by the Apocalypse” philosophy have skyrocketed over the last few years!

Well, my plan with this new show is to play a single game throughout each year-long season, at a minimum. If we’re really enjoying a particular game, maybe we collectively decide to continue it through the next season, but that depends on a lot of different factors. I also would like to run this game in a GM-Less format, which is to say, we’d use Oracles and other tools meant primarily for solo play, to allow the group to play without a gamemaster at all! I’m also thinking of playing in a modified “West Marches” style of game, allowing us to do a lot of episodic adventures.

This would allow us to just jump in with no preparation, and everyone would work together to steer the story however the group wants. For those of you who play PbtA-style games, I think you can see where I’m going with this…

Anyway, at this point, I’m thinking that a “Powered by the Apocalypse” game, or something using a related system like “Forged in the Dark”, “Ironsworn”, or “Becoming Outside of Becoming/No Dice No Masters”, would work best. I am extremely reticent to GameMaster another actual-play podcast, but as I am quite used to doing solo roleplaying, and PbtA (and related systems) are very well suited to “GM-Less” play, using solo roleplaying tools, so I think this is the best way to go.

But this leaves me with a dilemma: Which game to start this new podcast off with? PbtA games tend to be a bit obscure, and games using related systems are doubly so, which leaves me with only one real option to play, at least to start off with:

Dungeon World.

Yes, you heard that right. The game that I have railed against, time and again, due to the inappropriate actions of one of its developers (Adam Koebel), and had vowed never to play on a podcast… Yeah, that game.

The problem I’m left with is two-fold:

  1. Sage LaTorra, the other developer of “Dungeon World”, shouldn’t be harmed by the actions of Koebel.
  2. It is a really good game, that would do well on such a podcast as I am envisioning.

So, yeah, I’m thinking of breaking out DW for this new podcast, once WAPPE has concluded. We (or just I) would play a year-long campaign, and just see where the game took us. As they say with PbtA games, we’d “Play to find out” what happens, and just roll with it.

I also mentioned previously that I’d like to have these games be conducted in a “West Marches” style, which is to say we’d play for a session (which would be enough for one month worth of shows), then start the next session back at our starting home base, to begin another adventure. This would allow us time to rather fully explore a map (likely built with a randomized map program) over 12 sessions, and really develop our characters in that time. We might even be able to play with multiple characters throughout this campaign, depending upon how things go.

Now then, what are my preferences for this actual-play podcast?

First of all, I would like this to be a small-group project, maybe three or four players maximum. That said, as a “West Marches” style game, if some or all of the other players couldn’t make it, we could still soldier on with a session, even if it meant playing one solo. I would not want guest players, or having more than the core players, as that just leads to chaos, in the end.

I would of course want to play on a consistent schedule, with folks who have good equipment (microphone, headphones, a quality computer and internet connection, etc) and are passionate about making the best podcast that we can. No snacks, keep in character and focused on playing the game, and so on. There is only so much I can do to clean things up in post, and I want people who are willing to understand that they have to work to make the show succeed – Not just show up and screw around.

Would it help if people are familiar with the game(s) we’d be playing? Sure, but we can learn the games as we go along, too. Would it be very helpful if they at least had an idea of what PbtA games are like in general, and are willing to play in a Narrative-focused, Player-driven type of game? Absolutely.

Now then, I would also like to bring in players who are really willing to roleplay their characters, as well as take turns roleplaying non-player characters and monsters we might encounter along the way. This is meant to be a communal experience, with no GameMaster, which means we would all have to step up and play the NPCs/monsters. I’d really love to have people who were willing to develop voices for their characters, and really dig into their backstory and flesh out their character over time.

I think it goes without saying that Edgelords need not apply. Just saying.

Okay, so when might this new project start up, and when might we start to see it show up on the website (as well as fine podcasting services across the Internets)? Well, that’s still up in the air, really. My first point of focus is to finish WAPPE out, so that will take a few months, minimum. It is entirely possible that I won’t have the current show wrapped up until the end of the year, actually, although I’m hoping I can get it done sooner than that. Once I start to wind things down on WAPPE, I will turn my baleful gaze upon this new project, and see where it goes. I’d rather not get a cast rounded up, do all the pre-production steps, only to tell them all to stand by, because I have to knock out the last season of my current show. That would just be rude, really!

That all said, it is entirely possible that you could see this new show launch before WAPPE ends (I almost guarantee it, actually), perhaps as soon as the start of 2024! Yes, that may seem like quite a bit away still, but in terms of pre-production, and what I still have to get done before then, that’s cutting it pretty close. For example, I pulled off getting “Ronin Roleplaying” launched as “Knights of the Tabletop” ended only because I had a couple of months where I was stuck at home, recovering from heart surgery, followed by work every weekend up until launch!… and that was just a pathetic little solo actual-play podcast, where I didn’t have to coordinate with anyone else on the team!

So, yeah, that’s what I’m thinking about doing. Maybe it turns out to be another solo actual-play podcast, or basically just a continuation of WAPPE with a different format, or maybe we do something truly different and interesting, with a cast of characters, or just a couple of new voices. However it turns out, I am excited for the future, and really looking forward to however this project works out.

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