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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Gooshy Stuff 01 February 2019

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This month, Roger and Mike feel burned out, consider the fun of being evil, and try to work out how to get better at GMing.

We mentioned

Good Society, Monster of the Week, Primetime Adventures. Ars Magica, Blades in the Dark, Scum and Villainy, Leverage, Robert E. Howard, Dogs in the Vineyard, The Sopranos, Mission: Impossible, The Italian Job, Fiasco, "Try acting, dear boy", Reg Barclay, Anatomy of Criticism, Dream Park, the book about the history of the shipping container, Everway, and the image background removal web site,

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Please use the new discussion forum at discussion.tekeli.li rather than commenting below.

Music by Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com.


  1. Posted by Brian Parker at 04:44pm on 01 February 2019

    You really don’t sound yourself Roger. Whatever it is I hope you get past it and feel better soon.

    Michael, your inability to understand the appeal of playing evil characters does you credit in my not very humble opinion.

    Can I give you both a great big virtual hug.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 07:57pm on 01 February 2019

    I'm already feeling enthusiastic about starting new campaigns. But I'm taking several months off (during which I'm making notes, of course) before I actually do it.

  3. Posted by Phil Masters at 03:03pm on 03 February 2019

    “Nobody sane thinks of themselves as a villain...” Maybe not, but as you mentioned The Sopranos — the Mafiosi killers and thugs in that didn’t seem to think of themselves as heroes either. They mostly (and I suspect realistically) seemed to think of themselves as working stiffs doing a dirty job but hey, watchagonnado about it? The world is a dirty place, anyone who thinks they can get by without getting their hands dirty is a sucker, and at least they had some kind of (actually half-baked and inconsistent) code of honour.

    There’s perhaps a reason why organised crime goons like to call themselves “soldiers”. Not that they’re actually equivalent to professional soldiers, but they can always think of themselves that way. Which perhaps brings us back round to roleplaying and dungeon fantasy heroes. The ones who are frothing fanatics, deranged obsessives, or just nuts, might perhaps think of themselves as doing a dirty but sometimes necessary (and, okay, well-rewarded) job. Sure, they are in some senses professional killers, and the idea about goblins being irredeemable might not hold up to close inspection, but watchagonnado about it? Those dungeons don’t plunder themselves.

    Regarding Mission Impossible — I can never forget S.V. O’Jay’s drabble, “The First Impossible Mission”:

    “Good morning, Mr. Phelps. The man you are looking at is John F. Kennedy.”

    Regarding that romantic moment between slayer and a werewolf — Mike, I assume that was a B:tVS game. Is it possible that your players were able to handle such a scene, for once, because Buffy, with its habitual mix of monster-killing with teen melodrama, gave them implicit permission or otherwise prepared them for teen romance stuff? Kind of coming pre-mashed-up...

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 11:41am on 04 February 2019

    Phil – yes indeed. Everyone has a way of sleeping at night and of looking at themselves in the mirror (which implies that vampires can be self-conscious villains, and/or that they are insane).

    Also, if you have no dungeon-bashers, the orcs and goblins and things come and raid the villages and kill humans. The advantage of the frontier setting for this sort of play is that you don't get the central government establishing an actual army, or a defended border, or anything like that, because that sort of thing is too expensive, and it's all too far from the capital where the decisions are made, and pass me another catamite, cinnamon this time.

    Hmm, now I'm picturing the obvious racism of the enemies "breeding fast" as an evolutionary adaptation to adventurers. And of course Phil Foglio got there first, in the infamous "Sex and D&D" episode of What's New.

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