Bros and Dragons Episode 1: Amnesia?!?
Let's get the normal questions out of the way. The players were made up of mostly people that I had played Dungeons and Dragons with mainly Tom, Mike, and Jon. Daniel is a super nerd, and a very good friend, his wife is the original digital artist who turned the "Stoney" (the dragon trademark we use) from Skylar' original drawing into the "clean" version we use today. Looking back, I wish Dan was not as good at his job because his presence was awesome on the show, but he is top of his industry and is sought after to make things right. Three out of four of the players did live near me, and we did have normal tabletop nights besides the podcast, but we did use Google Hangouts and Roll20 to do the recordings. Each person had (and has) a different set up, but most at episode 1 were just gaming headsets, and I just used Garageband to record everything and edit it. Each episode takes about 20 hours of editing to produce, back during these recordings it was only 5-10 hours. Make sure if you are going to pursue this that you have the time to be consistent.
Everyone is in prison with Amnesia on a ship, though they don't know it. I hate the "You are in a tavern and." starts to podcasts. I wanted to be unique when I started writing this out. I love the small-town festival start, and as a DM I am comfortable with everyone having separate stories for a while until they come together but that was not going to work with the podcast. I love the sailing aspects of D&D as well, so this felt like a perfect start. I made the wisdom DC a 15 thinking it was low enough to get but high enough that everyone would not remember at the same time. DM tip #1: Don't plan too much, whatever you plan has a high probability to not happen. It is fun and slightly embarrassing to listen back on these recordings. It is interesting to see how far we have come, but I still feel we could have done better, sorry I digress.
I knew the character sheets but the actual players did not, which was a weird mechanic, but I thought it was unique and though the players really wanted to roll their own characters, which I let them do for Season 2, I wanted to try something that no one had seen before, at least in my group. For the most part it went the way I wanted it to, and I suggest if you are going to try this, make sure that you talk with your players, mine were split about liking it and not liking it.
Having Dan's character talk to the kobold in a language he knew but forgot he knew (I love Amnesia) was me trying to set the pace to have the players ask for rolls to see if they know something, which you hear me tell Jon later. I also made the choice to play in Tom Bensen's Homebrewed world of Odura as well. I wanted to introduce everyone that would listen to the new world we had created seeing as he and I both put a lot of time into this.
As I listen back, I wish I was not as nervous about this endeavor, I hear missed opportunities and the "right here" descriptions which did not help the listener at all. I did find it hard to watch the recording, stay with the story as well as paying attention to the players. I would say, make sure that everyone has a different job at the "table" if you are going to do this so that the DM can just pay attention to the game. If you are a good DM you try to say yes to your players as much as possible. If you are going to make a podcast out of your game, make sure that you talk with them, you need to explain that for the story you may have to say no to some things. Tell them this is not against them at all, and to try and not be discouraged, it will be for the story. Also, I learned later and did this much later, ask them for permission to "railroad" their characters and the story. I do not do this often, but I have done it. My players are nice enough people and agreed to let me do this from time to time. In turn, I do not abuse this either, I try and only use it to framework my story after I ask each of them what their characters would do.
When I started recording this, I did forget how loot crazy the players can be, and they like to just go for the joke. Also, I should have cut out some of the side talk and the non-descriptive moving of the Roll20 map. The sound effects were added in later, and I plan on doing them all soon once we get all the recordings where we need them.
I need to remember to tell people that we would love to test out their homebrew things on the show again. All in all even after a year, after the addition of the sound effects, I am semi-proud of what we started doing. I am glad we got better, but mostly I feel that I should have been better prepared. The guys did good but it took some time for us to go from tabletop play to a podcast format play.
So we have a few things going on we can call quests, I will number them at the end of each of these blogs and let's see what everyone accomplishes.
As always, keep it nerdy and live your dreams. -Doc
1) Learn who they each are and figure out what is going on.