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Sunday, November 26, 2006 

Nerd Radio

Last month a friend of mine turned me on to the fact the the guys over at WotC were putting out a D&D podcast. It's hosted by David Noonan and Mike Mearls, a couple of the staff D&D designers. They make for great hosts and it's fun to get a look at the behind the scenes process that goes on in developing a pen-and-paper RPG. You also get the unmistakable impression that these guys love games. I've been impressed with where D&D has gone since WotC bought out TSR years ago, and listening to these guys, you start to understand why it's all clicking.

The D&D podcast looks like it's going to hit twice a month - and now that I'm hooked, that's just not enough, so I went out looking for more. I found a few things that I'm enjoying at the moment, and I'm going to share that list with you, along with any standout episodes. So, here we go...

Dragon's Landing Inn
This is probably the best produced PnP RPG podcasts I've come across. Hosted by Chuck Tinsley and Lonnie Ezell, the show stays game system agnostic, instead focusing on things like character development and how to put together different game types (high adventure, mystery, etc.) The hosts do a good job of putting the show together, and there is usually at least a few things I get out of every show that makes me think of ways I can improve my own game. I do have to warn you - they occasionally have a segment with a guest speaker who gives long and tedious histories of old cities. The first time you hit it, you'll wonder "what the hell is this?" Do yoursef a favor: Fast-forward through it and get back to the hosts. I don't have any standout favorites on this one.

Fell Calls
Fell Calls bills itself as the "Podcast for the Iron Kingdoms" and it covers the award-winning Privateer Press line of games. Primarily focused on Warmachine, the minitures war game, the show is kind of a roundtable format, with four (or more) hosts discussing various factions units, warcasters, and strategies. They also usually devote some slice of time to discussing some facet of the Iron Kingdoms RPG. If you play Warmachine, this is a must-hear podcast - these guys have put more thought into their respective faction armies than the sum-total of all the brain-power I exerted in college. Even if you don't play Warmachine, it's probably worth a listen at least once... These guys are overflowing with geekish enthusiasm, and it's just a lot of fun to listen to. Again, no single favorite here.

2d6 Feet in a Random Direction
This one wins the "Best-Name for a Podcast" award hands down. This is an relatively young podcast, so I guess we'll all have to wait to see if it has legs. So far, I've liked it. Some highlights so far: Definitely the interview with "Red-Vat" miniatures painter Finn Kisch in Episode 4, as well as his P3 paint line review in Episode 4.5. Both episodes made me think a lot about my painting and renewed some enthusiasm for it. Episode 8 also has a really interesting segment on how to do a kind of collaborative backstory, where the whole group gets some input into each characters backstory. It's a very cool concept and one that I'd like to try out.

GenCon (Almost) Live
Not so much a single podcast, but rather the collective effort of a bunch of different game podcasters covering GenCon. I haven't listened to all of it, but there is definatley some gems in here. Among them, an interview with Ed Greenwood (creator of the Forgotten Realms) and D&D luminary Monte Cook. Both of these guys are putting out new compaign settings and talk about each of them. It made me think about a lot of things in how worlds for RPG games are built, and while I'm tempted to dive into it, that is probably best saved as a topic for another post.

Neverwinter Nights Podcast
To be honest, I'm not sure how this concept can have any real long-term legs. A podcast based on a single video game seems just a bit too narrow. Even so, check out the first episode, which has an interview with Annie Carlson, the weapon and armor designer for NWN2. I enjoyed that one quite a bit, and she was great to listen to.

And that's about my list for now. If you've got other good gaming podcasts you can turn me onto, post a comment and let me know. Podcasts have now replaced XM radio as my drive-time entertainment, so I'm looking for all that I can find.

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Hey, thanks for your kind words on 2d6 feet! I am glad you enjoy, and we will keep doing our best not to suck :)

- Chris

Dude, thanks for mentioning our NWN Podcast. NWN1 and NWN2 has so many legs you cant believe it! Its not just a game man, its a whole community!

P.S. You mis-spelled podcast several times.

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