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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Podcast Roundup: Cyberpunk'd, Skill Challenges, PHB2, Dungeon-A-Day

by Ken Newquist / May 31, 2009

Three weeks of rainy days put a major crimp in my podcast-listening schedule in May as I was forcd to drive (rather than walk) to work. It's the difference between a 2 minute commute and a 15 minute one ... as well as no podcasts or three podcasts a week.

With the sun finally shining again and eastern Pennsylvania drying out, I've fired up my iPod and returned to some old favorites. After catching up on the Cato Daily Podcast (which provides me with regular audio injection of libertarian commentary) I turned to the Accidental Survivors.

Accidental Survivors

Episode 043 - Cyberpunk'd is all about the cyberpunk genre, looking at games like Shadowrun, Cyberpunk 2020, and the anime-cyberpunk seting Kazei 5. I haven't played a cyberpunk game in years, but Shadowrun was a staple of my gaming diet in college, and it was great to delve back into the genre with this episode.

I also checked out some of their new short-hit "Collateral" podcasts. Each show is about 15-20 minutes long, which make them just about perfect for my walk into work, and focus on a particular topic or issue. Of particular interest was "Collateral 07 - True20 Review" -- host Fraser takes a second look at the system, which was reviewed on a full episode of Accidental Survivors a few months ago.

He talks about his experiences with the game during his Viking True20 campaign, and they sound like they jive fairly well with our own Mutants & Masterminds campaign (which shares many of the same mechanics).
It has me wondering if I couldn't run a "prelude" playtest of True20 before launching into Pathfinder. It's three core classes (warrior, expert, adept) would fit in well with our new sword-and-sorcery, Conan-esque "Ur Flan" campaign. I could easily see playing True20 to third level or so, then switching over to Pathfinder for the rest of the campaign.

D&D Podcast

The D&D Podcast has finally returned to recording advice shows after their recent "actual play" run featuring the Wil Wheaton, Scott Kurtz and the guys from Penny Arcade. The April 2009 episode discusses a subject near and dear to my heart: Skill Challenges. I love Skill Challenges, and have successfully ported them from 4E to Star Wars, so I was earger to hear what they had to say on the subject. They talk about how to reign in abuses of "Aid Another" actions, setting DCs for taks, and how to run a challenge without it feeling overly mechanical.

Atomic Array

The Atomic Array rounded out my latest round of podcast listening with Episode #20: Dungeon-A-Day. The podcast features an interview with Monte Cook about his new "Dungeon a Day" RPG project which is a subscription web site that offers visitors access to an ever-expanding, rules-light megadungeon. Because we're running Star Wars right now, I don't have a lot of need for a megadungeons, but I was curious about Monte's thoughts on building one.

There wasn't anything earthshattering in this podcast, but it was cool to hear about Monte's approach to the project, its roots in the online community that sprung up around Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, and the future Pathfinder tie-ins.
I've also been listening to Episode #18, which features an interview with Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawfor, two of the designers of Player's Handbook 2 for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. While 4E isnt necessarily my cup of tea, it was interesting to hear the designers talk about how they used the new book to showcase the new primal power source, and it makes me wander what the psionic one will look like.