Wednesday, July 14, 2021

My Podcast Pitch

Here goes me, suppressing my inner introvert...

I want to run two podcasts for the short term starting sometime in the middle of Summer. Totally for laughs and good, grungy OSR fun. And I am looking for volunteers and feedback to help me with my project.

I'll start with big concepts, then go into specifics.

Chaos Crawls Over Candlekeep

Look, Candlekeep Mysteries, to my eyes, is a hot mess of touchy-feely goo. But it is goo that, if you don't play it too seriously, can probably deliver some great laughs and good fun. So I want to convert about half of the adventures in there to play in Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Then I want to get a crew of jaded, smoky grognards who have had enough of where D&D is going under the WotC banner to play it.

Here's my rationale:

  • It'll be funny to listen to Grumpy grognards verbally roll their eyes.
  • It'd be fun to watch them murderhobo their way across the setting with extreme prejudice. 
  • If we aren't total dicks, we can also show 5e players a familiar scenario played fast and loose using an OSR rule-set so that we can showcase the beauty of the Old-School systems and playstyle.

Die, Outworlder! Die! 

Venger Satanis' Cha'alt is a Fast-paced, over-the-top Gonzo Science Fantasy game that is loosely derived from Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, but is stripped down and accelerated to its absolute fastest and lightest. The modules written for it are weird and chaotic in a style that is very much a part of OSR culture. I intend to mix adventures up from Cha'alt, Cha'alt Fuscia Malaise, Saving Cha'alt and my home-brew material to create something fast and fun. 

Here's my Rationale:

  • The fast, lethal playstyle of Cha'alt, with its meat-grinder combat is a great way to show off the most 'Metal aesthetic of OSR games. 
  • The intensely random and weird "Gonzo" style is not something much seen in Mainstream podcasts of this nature. I think it could be inspiring. 
  • Cha'alt's engine is close enough to 5e to be familiar to players of new Editions. 

If you want to know more, read on...

When and Where?

Online on a Discord Server at 9:30pm EST until midnight on Tuesday Nights. On Alternating weeks. I will do Chaos Crawls Over Candlekeep one week and Die, Outworlder, Die! the next.  These will translate in podcasts on starting late in August. 

Tech Required

I want to do a book-ended recording of each session, so each player will need a decent mic, and to record in the free audio editing program Audacity. (Specifically we are using version 2.3.3 to avoid the malarkey currently going on with the Muse Group) Then I will need you all to share your files using Drop Box.  Aside from Discord, I will not require any other technology. No Roll20, X-share, etc.; we will be playing Theater of the Mind. You will roll real plastic dice on your table and I will trust you not to cheat; why bother playing if you do? We will share character sheets on Google Docs.

I will give tutorials on all tech required for the players who need it, and I will handle audio mastering.

The Books You Will Need

If you are playing in Chaos Crawls Over Candlekeep, you will need the Lamentations of the Flame Princess core rulebook, which you can get right here for free.

I will be using the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia and OSRIC to find equivalent OSR stat-blocks for monsters that existed in earlier Editions when doing my conversions. I will be using some material from the Dungeons & Dragons 5e Dungeon Master's Guide to help me convert newer monsters... But I know my B/X well enough that I will play it by ear for much of the conversion work. I will make my conversion notes available in a format that will be designed not to step on WotC's copyright after the game. Unless you want to check my work, you will need none of these. 

For Cha'alt, we will be using the expanded Crimson Dragon Slayer d20 rules included in Cha'alt: Fuscia Malaise. A free version of that rule set is available on DTRPG. 


Actual Play can be a little dull. I intend to cut and edit out a lot of the usual bits of boredom from the game and narrate a hand-wave with audio cues. The best action will be left in untouched.

I will not intentionally censor anything.

All that said, my intention is to keep this super-tight. Candlekeep Mysteries is meant to be played as one-shots, and Cha'alt is pretty fast and furious. I hope to keep all episodes under 90 minutes; 60, if possible, after editing. 

Occasionally, I would like to do short, recorded one-to-one calls to get feedback and thoughts to add as bonus material. This is there to model what a good DM does to keep his players engaged, keep the game hyped, and when dealing with uncomfortable content. 

What's in it for You?

Why would you want to join in as a player? I am not expecting to make much money off of this project (although I will create a tip jar.) If I can, I will wrangle you some swag. Mostly, though, if you have something you want to sell or promote: be it your own stuff, a charity, or just a favorite role-playing related thing, I will help you make an ad every episode to put in the middle. You will have the rights to these ads to use elsewhere.

If, by some infernal miracle, this thing finds some traction and I make more than my costs, I will happily share the proceeds on terms to be agreed on should that unlikely event loom on the horizon.

For me, this is about the passion for the hobby, and giving a boost to the OSR by having actual plays out there people can listen to so that they can hear what our games sound like is something we need. That will be my reward. I hope you will share in it.

What's In It For Me? 

Skill development and a living resume. I already produce audiobooks. I want to expand into podcasts as a freelancer. That means I need to take the skills that I already have to a new level. This is practice for me.  And it gives me a sample work I can point to. 

Rules of the House

Here is what I am going to set as my hard limits and initial house rules.

I will not deal with PVP at my table. Or PCs stealing from or bullying each other. Period. Your player agency ends where the other player character's integrity begins. Which, if you are as long in the tooth as I am, should be familiar terms.

I will happily be explicit about dark magic, sex, and gore to a point... but I have limits and a strong sense of good taste. If I start to get too embarrassed or uncomfortable to continue, I will fade to black, and I expect the players to respect it and not push for more when I do so.

No one gets to hog the spotlight indefinitely at my table. Extended scenes involving one character may get glossed over or cut short in the interest of everyone's fun. I will establish a signal for my players if they want to her a one-to-one scene continue or cut short using Discord Messenger.

We are all on the honor system about dice. And that includes me. I will not be fudging dice. What would be the point? That may make life nasty, brutish, and short: especially in Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

I will only give players two minutes between rounds to plan their next move. If you've got nothing, then your character will take evasive action until next round. I need this to pop.

Wizards of the Coast owns the content of Candlekeep Mysteries, Lamentations of the Flame Princess owns Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Kort'thalis Publishing owns Cha'alt and it's Sourcebooks. I own the podcast, but you own your characters. They are yours to take with you and use how you see fit... but as part of agreeing to participate the game, you agree to let me use them where they appear in the podcast in perpetuity.

While people who have in the past been open about their political affiliations are welcome at my table, from either wing of the goony-bird that is modern politics, I am not interested in playing real-world politics at the table, except insofar as they inform the modules that I am playing and/or lampooning.

If your character dies, roll a new one, and they will be dropped in ASAP. I do not pull punches. Characters will die.

PCs will never be subject, witness, or party to to non-consensual sex in my games.

I draw hard lines on violence against children and cruelty to animals in my games. I also have issues with Player Characters engaging in ethnic bigotry against human beings. As I do generally any abusive behavior to people based on unalterable characteristics. Bigotry, sociopathy, and naked sexism are for the bad guys.

Players have the right to choose to be anonymous to the listeners without qualification. Only I need to know who you are. 

What I Need in a Player

I need players who can commit to two Tuesdays a month barring illness or emergency. I intentionally kept these series finite. The Candlekeep Mysteries are designed to be one-shots. I can terminate the series at any time, but hope to cover roughly eight of the adventures. With Cha'alt I hope to do a mix of adventures from Cha'alt, Cha'alt Fuscia Malaise, and Saving Cha'alt, but will keep it all compressed. 

I also need players who are committed to self-ownership: they need to communicate well, advocate for themselves, know how to draw boundaries with me and the other players, and be able to hang with violent imagery and mild lewdness. Lamentations of the Flame Princess is prone to body horror elements and gore. Cha'alt can be similarly Grim and tends to add in some spicy moments of sexuality. If you are disturbed by anything in particular, I offer you the chance to talk to me about it ahead of time, either by communicating privately via Discord, or by letting you all know ahead of time if there is anything I feel could be emotionally dicey, or think you might. This also will be done in private.

It is hard to read the table voice only. If you find yourself being pushed beyond your own limits of comfort and good taste, I prefer that you communicate it quietly and privately. I will try my damnedest to give people a means of signaling this as we will be playing voice-only. If possible, I will redirect the energy and attention of the table. If I cannot do so. I ask that you excuse yourself privately, and talk to me after the session (no recording, obviously,) so that we can hash out what happened and I can prepare for next time.

I do expect my players to be responsible for their own mental health and wellbeing. If you do not believe that the content of Candlekeep Mysteries, Lamenations of the Flame Princess, or Cha'alt is something you can navigate comfortably, then I would rather you waited for future opportunities to join me.

I welcome players of any race, creed, or gender, but I do require you to be at least passingly familiar with the rules of a typical Old-School Rules game. If you understand Basic and Expert Dungeons & Dragons and have played a game or two derived from it, that would be ideal. 

And I would prefer that you wish to be an ambassador for the OSR branch of the TTRPG hobby.

I would love to have women at the table. I have played with more women than men over the years. An all-male table would be quite out of the ordinary for me. 

I DO NOT NEED YOU TO BE ACTORS. I want to record an authentic play experience, not someone pretending to play. I do voices, you don't have to. 

The Future

If I can pull this off, then I am interested in possibly running a second pair of podcasts based on modern classics of the OSR, such as Chris Kutaliak's Hill Canons quartet, or Hot Springs Island. I might even get the guts to run Alpha Blue

Are you Interested in Playing? 

If you are game for either of these, I welcome anyone to drop me a line. I will obviously prefer people I know, and who I have played with before, or Twitter mutuals I have spent a little time getting to know.  That said, I welcome readers of the blog, experienced gamers, and fellow grognards. There is room for 3-4 players in each campaign. 

Are You Interested in Listening?

I would love to hear from you. I am always interested in hearing feedback from my readers! 


  1. I would give this a listen. I am unfamiliar with much of the systems/books you mention (though I do know LotFP) but this sounds like something I would give a listen to. I have recently began digging into the multitude of actual play podcasts on Spotify and lordy, most are boring ass hell!

    My one advice I would have is that you keep the episodes short, around 20-30 mins, this provides people that do not ride the Metro for an hour each day the opportunity to get into the show without having to find a two hour block to dedicate to a single podcast, even if that means breaking up a single play session into multiple 'episodes' of the podcast. One recent example that seems to do this perfectly (at least in my mind) is Tale of the Manticore. The author will cover some 'game time' with additional notes like character backstory, rule details, and GM insights, etc into episodes that make it far more interesting a listen than a straight actual play.

    Anyway, looking forward to hearing this!

  2. I would love to hear actual play podcasts involving Cha'alt and Alpha Blue!

  3. I'd be in for the Candlekeep Game.

    1. I would be honored to have you! I will drop you an invite to the Discord via Twitter.

  4. is there a link to this podcast somewhere on this page? I can't seem to find it and would like to listen to it. Thank you.

    1. Right now the first episode is still being masters. Given how long podcasts can take, I probably won't be live for another month.