Improvised Radio Theatre - With Dice

Improvised Radio Theatre - With Dice! is a podcast by Roger Bell_West and Michael Cule, in which we pontificate on role-playing games.

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Merely an Engsvanyáli Garderobe 01 January 2019


This month, Mike and Roger search for secret doors, are intimidated by some but not all "large" campaign settings, and consider how to do cultural appropriation with respect.

We mentioned:

Warhammer FRP at the Bundle of Holding (alas, it doesn't include the Sorcery book, but all of The Enemy Within is there), Doctor Who at the Bundle of Holding, The Queer Feet, Glorantha, Tékumel, Malaclypse the Younger, King of Dragon Pass, Uresia: Grave of Heaven, Harnmaster, Traveller, the Esoteric Order of Roleplayers and two separate runs of Bluebeard's Bride, the X-Card, the Elven Politics thread and the discussion of Vampire society.

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Please use the discussion forum rather than commenting here; it should be a more pleasant experience.

Music by Kevin MacLeod at

  1. Posted by Jason Bradley Thompson at 12:15am on 11 January 2019

    I too own Bluebeard's Bride but haven't had the chance to try it out yet. While it's definitely a kind of game that calls for some kind of "safe word" rules, I have to say I'm generally uncomfortable with the idea of X cards or other "safety mechanisms" in RPGs in general. Perhaps it's just my "it's good to endure gross and scary things to prove how tough you are" traditional male upbringing, but when I'm playing a RPG, particularly a horror RPG, I want to "test myself" against whatever horrible and scary stuff the DM and the other players come up with. At the same time, clearly players and DMs can be real jerks and really make games uncomfortable for other players, particularly the all-too-common case of men harassing women, whether subtly or overtly. Essentially I guess (1) I feel the DM needs to be attentive to the individual players' limits and needs and to respect them but also (2) as both a player and a DM, I prefer a traditional "the DM is ultimately in charge of everything" approach and I don't like it when the DM's ability to shock and surprise and declare fiat is replaced with more collaborative roleplaying systems.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 11:16pm on 13 January 2019

    I think the virtue is that it allows a player who might otherwise be unwilling to play to give it a go, because they know they have a safety valve.

    In the UK I think many players don't like to give negative feedback (until they get annoyed enough to leave the group). I've certainly done that to one player by accident; that wasn't unwelcome subject matter, it was the character arc that was happening more or less spontaneously, but I'd have been happy to do something about it if I'd thought it was a problem.

    The problem with a "only use the card if you are seriously squicked by something" approach is that then it's a Big Deal to use it - you may get other players saying "man, we were enjoying that, then you ruined it". So I can see why it's intended to be used often.

    I dunno. I haven't actually done this; my regular games are with groups who know me, but I might try it next time I run at a convention. And then amp up the horror because I know it can be cut off if it's upsetting people.

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