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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Just Look at All the Flashing Lights 01 November 2014


This month, Mike and Roger consider how much weirdness is too much, discuss how to steal material, contemplate pre-written adventures and look back on a gaming classic.

We mentioned Empire of the Petal Throne, Numenera, What Makes This Book So Great, Talislanta (and one of the original advertisements for it), Steven Brust's Dragaeran series, TV Tropes, Save the Cat! and Roger's review of it, Hillfolk, House), Torg, The 1960s psionic campaign, The Laundry Files RPG, Dark Heresy), Cyberpunk 2020, More than Human, Progenitor, Robin's Laws of Good Game Mastering, So What's the NPC Like, Anyway?, The Zalozhniy Quartet, The Armitage Files, and Monster of the Week.

Music by Kevin MacLeod at

  1. Posted by Chris Green at 05:40pm on 10 November 2014

    I play with three groups, the majority of whom are casual gamers. They are people in their 30s,40s who put work and family first so they prefer to play boardgames these days as it is easier to play and this is a golden age of boardgames.

    As part of an evening with friends boardgames are easier to play, particularly co-op games, than a rpg campaign.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 05:49pm on 10 November 2014

    Chris, that would certainly account for why I don't see a lot of casual role-players these days. A boardgame like Arkham Horror, Mansions of Madness or Eldritch Horror can give you a lot of the "role-playing experience" you'd get with Call of Cthulhu, but with minimal character generation and a very lightweight rules system. (Just like an indie RPG, but with pretty components.)

  3. Posted by Owen Smith at 10:21pm on 22 November 2014

    I asked why you are running published scenarios for the TORG campaign specifically because in the previous podcast you said you didn't like running published scenarios, which isn't the spin you put on my question in this podcast.

    With regard to two sides of A4, I agree that to sell players on a campaign that's the maximum if they've got to read through several to pick one. However, once a decision has been made I find two sides of A4 completely inadequate to inspire me for a character. I freely admit I appear to have a lot more trouble with this than my fellow players (I'm a lot less well read), but that does nothing to help me generate a character.

    For example, for the TORG campaign I already had the boxset but this wasn't inspiring me. I ended up buying the original supplements for the six initial invading cosms and having read maybe a couple of dozen pages of at least three of them I started to get an idea.

    The fact that my characters often bear little resemblance to what inspired them after a few sessions of play (as they find their own voice) is not relevant. I still need an initial idea to get going, even if the character develops a long way from that idea.

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 10:35pm on 22 November 2014

    Well, usually I don't like pre-written adventures, but in this case I decided to make an exception, and what I was talking about here was why I had. My biggest problem normally is that they don't fit into an established campaign, and that's not a concern when they're written specifically for it.

    While you, and indeed that group, are happy to read through more material than a basic handout, you're close to unique among game groups I've played with. (Which is one reason why I'm still driving a hundred and forty miles each week.)

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