024 Railroading and Sandboxes in Role-playing Games

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Railroading and Sandboxes in role-playing games, Brett and Sean broach the often-discussed topic. Many commentary rpg podcasts typically talk about this, here is our take.

Episode 24 Show Agenda

Random Encounter

A couple of recent emails and posts.

Shane writes in response to episode 22 RPG Wikis and Dissemination of Info:

Thanks again for the talk on Wikis and Digital campaign design.  Ultimately I decided to go with something I know and like and that would let me create the pages as I wanted the to look.  

I have for sometime tried to keep ahead of my players by creating twisted campaign settings that are expandable enough to accommodate anything my players want to do and are system neutral enough that we can hybridize anything we like from game or edition to fuse into our OSRIC like gaming madness.  

This time I am creating something that will surprise me as much as the players.  I created a world in which creation itself is constantly in flux.  In which noble acts literally give rise to the land while dark corruption shocks create chasms into the landscape.  I created a short series of random tables that describes the basics of life: plant, animal, insectoid, aberrant.  Then I created separate tables for society politics and physical hierarchy. (is the location deep in a corruptive chasm or high in a lofty spire)

Once the basics of location and beings were established I went to pinterest and search through images for the players to relate to.  The realm is set up as an every changing and every expanding domain in which we can trade DM’s or entire systems.

Chris Hussey writes in response to episode 023 – What Have RPGs Done For You?:

I actually do make mention of RPGs on my resume/LinkedIn profile (I think it’s still there). I do this because it is an excellent conversation piece in an interview (though granted, I haven’t had many – hmmmm), and it is a chance to talk about the strengths RPGs give you in the real world

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Topics of Discussion (30-40 min) – Girth of the show, links, blurb, references, etc.

  1. Railroads – Are they ok if the view is good?
    1. What’s a railroad adventure?
    2. Can they be fun?
    3. Faster play time, getting “into it” quicker?
    4. Favorite railroad adventure?
  2. Sandbox – Where’s the plastic dinosaur?
    1. What’s a sandbox really? (Kobold Guide to Game Design has some interesting info on sandbox design – http://www.koboldpress.com/kqstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&products_id=157)
    2. Slower play time, taking longer to “get somewhere?”
    3. A favorite Sandbox adventure?
  3. Which option is best or does it depend on what the group is into?
    1. regular group vs every-so-often group
    2. con games

Die Roll – 2-5 misc points we want to bring up at end of cast. Should be short and sweet, could be a plug, something to check out, etc. Limited time to spout off.


  1. Red Hand of Doom Ale! – http://buy.rogue.com/rogue-hellboy-right-hand-of-doom-red-ale/
  2. D&D stuff still on sale at DriveThruRPG – http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/featured.php?promotion_id=DnDC2YearAnni
  3. Open Call for Adventure Designers in the D&D Adventurers League has 8 days left – http://dndadventurersleague.org/2015/02/open-call-for-adventure-designers-2/


  1. Whacky style 5e sheet found on reddit http://www.reddit.com/user/hphammacher / https://imgur.com/NDbYLlA
  2. Roll, a mobile rpg app http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/139836-Role-App-Delivers-Simplified-RPG-to-iOSs-App-Store
  3. Props for Esoterrorist RPG http://gothridgemanor.blogspot.com/2015/02/esoterrorist-game-props.html


023 What Have RPGs Done For You?

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We touch on the benefits of roleplaying games in our professional lives. Then we get off the beaten path…. Die roll is still included and Sean goes on rant over bad experience registering for events for GaryCon.

Episode 23 Show Agenda

Intro – Sponsored by Dark Theatre, home of the character folio!


Topic of Discussion

What about your life can you attribute to your involvement in the RPG hobby?


  • Reading / Appreciation for stories
  • Leadership – I run meetings like I run games – got a good idea of what’s supposed to happen and improv the rest
  • Public speaking


  • Creativity
  • Vocabulary

Die Roll – 2-4 misc points we want to bring up at end of cast. Should be short and sweet, could be a plug, something to check out, etc. Limited time to spout off.


  1. Gaming with Frank Mentzer at the Gamehole – Thanks to Alex!
  2. Gaming Tools and & Magazine – http://wizardawn.and-mag.com/tool_world.php
  3. “The War” KS finally came through


  1. Drivethru rpg has D&D products on sale. Rule Cyclopedia is $4.99 http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/featured.php?promotion_id=DnDC2YearAnni
  2. Letterforms dry erase notebook http://www.letterforms.org/store.html
  3. Podcast Awards, previously mentioned, lets get an rpg/tabletop show nominated! http://podcastawards.com/
  4. 100 Finalists have been chosen for one-way trip to Mars http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2015/02/16/100-finalists-have-been-chosen-for-a-one-way-trip-to-mars/

Sean vents about his experience registering for events at GaryCon


022 RPG Wikis and Dissemination of Info

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We start out talking about how Brett organizes his campaign info using a wiki and then slide into disseminating campaign information using social media. How do you manage getting information to your players?

Episode 22 Show Agenda

Intro including music – DarkTheatre.net Home of the Character Folio


Gamehole NewsThe Rodneys!The what? Yes, The Rodneys. This is the name for our just launched Gamehole Con game design award. If you look at any of our annual logos, you will see an armored fellow squaring off against some foe. At Gamehole Con command central, we have always called that guy, Sir Rodney. So, that will be the name of our game design awards.As this will be our first year offering this award, it will be limited to two categories – RPG Adventure and Board Game. We are partnering with our friends at The Game Crafter to run this contest. The long and the short of it is that the winner in each category will receive a $100 cash prize among other prizes and will receive an award created for us by our friends at Albion Swords. This is pretty cool people! For all of the details, please click here.

Random Encounter

Brett’s thoughts to responses to episode 21 on gender:

All good stuff and I really like the approaches that our listeners told us about.  And I like that everyone kept the discussion reasonable and above name calling (except for Chad – I’ll kill his next 5 characters in petty vengeance).

Topics of Discussion

What are you using to organize your gaming?

Tools for the GM

  • Brett’s use of a Wiki
    • Our own wiki site
    • Also used Obsidian Portal
  • G+ Communities
    • One for the group
    • One for each campaign
    • FB could also be used – a buddy of Brett’s uses FB

Die Roll – 2-4 misc points we want to bring up at end of cast. Should be short and sweet, could be a plug, something to check out, etc. Limited time to spout off.


  1. Piercer attack!


  1. Wanted PT Game Master, Roll20.net http://blog.roll20.net/post/110188978920/were-hiring ,