I’ve been thinking about PCs relying too much on NPCs. In a couple games I’ve been running/playing in, it seems like almost every time a question gets asked or a decision has to be made, the PCs say, “What does the NPC think? Does the NPC know the solution?”

Basically, the PCs want to follow around the NPC. In a game I’m in, the GM had been requiring PCs to spend a Fortune Point for relying on the NPCs. How do you all handle it?

The above is from Gabe D. on our forums. Thanks Gabe for the topic!!

Random Encounter

Voicemail from Chris Schorb

PATRON Harrigan writes in

Sean and Brett,



Er, I mean, GAMING AND BS!

Congrats, fellas. Serious milestone.

I’ve really enjoyed the last few episodes. Lots of overlapping themes, kind of culminating in the “GM Style” episode, #299. Fun listens.

I have gobs of thoughts on the subject, but I’ll be brief. I promise.

POINT ONE: A final thought on both resource management and tension.

In addition to rolling the Die of Fate to see if Bad Things Happen, you can also drop specific entries into random tables. Encounters, weather tables, random events, wandering monsters, whatever you’re rolling on, include entries for:

-Running short on food if the party is exploring the wilderness

-Running short on air if the party is exploring a derelict space ship

-Running short on torches and ten foot poles if the party is delving into a dungeon.

-Advancing the big bad’s armies if the party is wasting time at any activity you don’t like. (This one is for tension… advance that doomsday clock)

Little Custom-built tables are awesome for this sort of thing, and they are easy to make. And remember, if it’s random, it’s not your fault!


I’m 100% with Brett. The way I describe my own preference is that I need to be able to ‘internalize’ a game. I -hate- HATE hate looking things up at the table. Breaking the flow, pausing the action — yuck.

This is why these days I prefer lighter games — they are easier to internalize. It’s also one of the reasons I’ve come to appreciate roll-under or standard test-for-success systems… the GM isn’t setting a difficulty most of the time, so it’s even more streamlined. Can’t say enough good things about The Black Hack, Tiny Dungeon, and Shadow of the Demon Lord for this kind of speedy play.

Where I differ with you two is that I enjoy both games where the story emerges from and is centered on the PCs, and games where the characters need to ‘plug into’ a setting — where they are just part of a wider world that cares little about their pathetic lives. Both have advantages, and you don’t need to play one vs. the other exclusively.

That’s all I’ve got. I’ll crack a beer for you tonight. Again, nice work running a podcast of this quality for this long. All us BSers will listen along happily until Sean puts himself in the hospital on his one wheel, and Brett finally admits he’s a card-carrying story gamer and disappears into that scene.



PATRON OldSchoolDM comments on spell components email from ep 299

Here’s the obligatory RTFM post. You knew it was coming.

In response to a listener comment on episode 299, about D&D 3.5 spell component pouches. Again, Brett and Sean don’t know the 5.0 current rules, and it bothers them not a whit. :slight_smile: :rofl:

For the record, the D&D rules for component pouches is dirt simple:

A component pouch is a small, watertight leather belt pouch that has compartments to hold all the material components and other special items you need to cast your spells, except for those components that have a specific cost (as indicated in a spell’s description).

The vast majority (by count) of lower level spells do not have component requirements or have component requirements without a cost. Here’s a list of those that have costs. 

With the exception of Gentile Repose (narratively requires one copper for each eye), all components listed below are 10gp or higher – so the 5e pouch is functionally identical with the 3.5 version – so “YES Brett, 5e works basically the same way.”

Every single spell my players have used regularly either have no material component, or would be covered by the pouch or an arcane focus. So – no fuss, no muss. No special accounting for normal stuff. The few things they use once-in-awhile (Identify) do not consume the component.

Honestly, it seems that the costs below are all about keeping some sense of checks and balances into the game. As a DM I’d don’t think I’d ever wave the costs listed.

It ain’t broken, and it doesn’t need fixed.


Email from Abomb 

Brett and Sean,

     I am a long time listener first time caller.  I want to congratulate both of you on making it to 300 episodes.  Not many podcasts can say that.  I have been following you guys since episode 50 (no I did not go back and listen to 1 through 49).  I have been wanting to write to both of you for a long time now.  I thought your 300th is the best time.

     Over the past 250 episodes I have gone through a lot of life changes: moves, kids (now 1 and 3), lost of jobs (Outsourced), and personal growth.  One thing that has been a constant is your podcast.  Thank you for being there not just for me but for the community also.

     On to the main topic, hehehe.  I would like to say that your podcast has my creativity flowing.  I have only ran 1 game for about 3 sessions then it went off the rails so I never did it again.  Your advice has given me new ideas and I am thinking of doing a 1 shot to see how it goes.

     Brett, I know this is late, well really late, but congratulations on your kickstarter.  When it first started I backed just the PDF version.  But after I heard the Actual Play (AP) of your setting I got the printed version.  Because of life in general, aka a 1 and 3 year old, I have not gotten my copy yet.  I am looking forward to getting it and reading it.

     Sean, as a producer of the podcast all I can say masterful job.  The quality, editing, and now streaming is top notch.  Thank you for your hard work to keep the show going.  Also thank you for staying alive :-p.  You should buy a train, they look safer to drive.

     There are many more comments, gratitude, and banter I would like to add but I am trying to keep this reasonable.  Also I have a short break to finally write this.  Thank you again guy keep up the great work here is to the first 300 and here is the next 300 episodes!!!

May all your rolls end up natural 20s

Aaron “Abomb”

Die Roll

All the BS’ers and patrons of the show over the years! Without some $ and interaction…our show would be a lot worse.

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About the Author
The 'S' of Gaming and BS podcast. Besides producing and hosting the show, Sean enjoys long walks on the beach, running rpg's, and killing player...characters.