Mortality Radio Offers Dungeons & Dragons Fans Hack’n’Slash Radio

Mortality Radio is a net-based radio station dedicated to the pen-and-paper role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons and the d20 universe it spawned.

Hosted by, and run by two of its moderators (Adlon and Smaug), the radio show is broadcast via the net every two weeks or so. Its broadcasts are accompanied by online chats attended by listeners, and there is a brisk back and forth between listeners and the hosts through that medium. Those who miss the live broadcast can still listen to the archives, where the shows reside as MP3 files.

The organizers are able to recruit a surprising array of guests, including representatives from just about every d20 publisher out there. The interviews — most of which are conducted via phone — can be a little heard to hear depending on the connection quality, but they make for fascinating listening. The majority of interviews involve fantasy-related d20 products, but they do occasionally branch out into other genres.

Listening to Jim Butler of Bastion Press lament the current doldrums is both heartening and depressing, while their interviews with the folks at Expeditious Retreat Press provided numerous insights into the thinking that goes into their products. Other recent interviews include Chad Justice, of Mythic Dreams Studios, Hunter Gordon, of Traveller T20, Ed Greenwood, of Forgotten Realms fame, and Matt Forbeck, of Human Head Studios.

They also do a regular rundown of new RPG products during their “Reviews” segment. It’s a good segment — I’ve learned about more than a few products through it — but I wish their reviews were more in-depth. They only touch on most of the products, offering descriptions and a few comments, but very little meat. Granted, you can find full-blown reviews on the site, but I’d rather see longer ones incorporated into the show.

“Behind the Screen” is a relatively new segment where they where they offer advice for DMs on a subjects submitted by listeners. It’s a good segment — the hosts get to do some free-form ranting/rambling, and it gives listeners an opportunity to call in and voice their opinions. There’s also a new “Plug My Cause” segment, which allows companies and individuals to plug products and events. It’s a great idea and it goes a long way to toward addressing something I’d like to see more of on the show: ads. Yeah, I’m one of those weirdos who thinks that advertising (when done right) is a valuable form of content, especially when it’s promoting a product I haven’t heard of before.

Quality-wise, the show’s about what you’d expect from an amateur production. The sound quality of anyone speaking in the studio is usually very good, even over MP3, but there are little production flaws that crop up during production — occasionally (and infuriatingly) a host will start typing on a keyboard, either to post something to the site, talk with folks in the chat room, or even do some remote server repairs. It’s a distracting habit, but one that’s improved over the last few months.

There are also occasional outbreaks of “dead air”, points where the hosts or their guests just stop talking, leaving a void of uncomfortable silence. I can’t fault them too much on dead air — I did a radio show in college, so I’m aware of how difficult it can be to avoid — but is an area that could see some improvement. There’s also the aforementioned variable quality of the phone-in guests, but that’s usually a function of the caller’s phone than the studio’s equipment. All these flaws are minor however, and have rarely hampered my enjoyment of the show.

Final Analysis

I religiously listen to Mortality Radio on my iPod during my commute. If you’re looking for an audio geek fix with an interest in D&D, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Product Details

  • Mortality Radio
  • Show Home Page (Internet Archive)
  • Air Dates: Every other Friday (see site for details)
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