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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You can also listen on iTunes.

Please email us your comments and suggestions, to "podcast" at the domain "", or comment on individual episodes. Most discussion is now happening on the forum.

Unity of Purpose, Comrade 01 November 2017


This month, Mike and Roger wonder how you know when you're a good GM, consider their exploits as players, and consider the ideal composition of a player group.

We mentioned

The One Ring, recent Full Frontal Nerdity, Whartson Hall playing The Pirates of Drinax, Critical Role GM Tips, Wives and Sweethearts, GrindadrĂ¡p, Gamemastering, by Brian Jamison, Robin's Laws of Good Game Mastering, The Glass Bead Game, and recruiting the Prime Minister of Ruritania,

Music by Kevin MacLeod at

  1. Posted by Brett Evill at 08:09pm on 01 November 2017

    I'm not certain that it ought to be just yet, but this episode is not apparent on the iTunes store.

  2. Posted by Jon Hancock at 09:44am on 02 November 2017

    Is there an issue with the RSS feed for this episode? I can download it directly from here, but there's no sign of it in my podcast player otherwise.

  3. Posted by RogerBW at 12:09pm on 02 November 2017

    The RSS entry looks just like all the other RSS entries to me, showed up in my feed normally yesterday, and (apart from the W3C validator not understand https - in 2017!) validates.

    Jon, are you reading the RSS feed directly or via iTunes?

  4. Posted by Jon Hancock at 05:09pm on 02 November 2017

    Directly I guess. I download via the Beyondpod app on my Android 'phone.

  5. Posted by Brett Evill at 12:17am on 06 November 2017

    A twofer? Splendid! My plan to annexe your podcast gathers pace!

  6. Posted by Brett Evill at 02:36am on 06 November 2017


    You asked (1) "how do you become a good gamemaster?", and (2) "how do you know when you are?". I answer:

    (1) There may be qualifications, such that if you don't have them you won't become a good gamemaster. But if you do have it in you to be a good gamemaster, the way you realise that potential is by practice. I started DMing in 1981, swithced to GMing in 1982, and stuck at it though I was bad. In 1987 I got to be good. I suppose that I had 750 hours of bad GMing in me, and just had to get them out.

    In this as in most such things 500 hours repeating bad technique won't suffice. Practice only works if it involves working at an appropriate level of challenge, always striving to get something right that you never got quite right before, to do something a little bit harder or a little bit better, trying things you haven't tried before, noting your mistakes and doing it right next time, analysing your successes and refining what worked, rehearsing your art until its best practice is your second nature. Do, do again, do more, do better.

    Besides that, the secret ingredient of good gamemastering is to have good players. My heyday was 1987—1994; its special excellence was due to four of my regular players.

    (2) You can tell that you are good by three indications: (a) that when your adventure is working, you understand why; (b) that when your adventure is going wrong you can tell that it is and recognise why at the time it's happening (rather than working out why you had a trainwreck by analysing the wreckage afterwards); and (c) that you routinely try ambitious plans and things that you have not done before, and they work.

  7. Posted by RogerBW at 03:11pm on 26 November 2017

    There was a point about 1993 when I suddenly realised that I had no idea how I did what I did as a GM, and it didn't work any more. So I had to reinvent it, but this time I put up a framework so that I could try to analyse what I was doing.

    I still don't understand the process as well as I'd like to.

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