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Ludonarrative Dissidents

Ludonarrative Dissidents

By Ross Payton
Back Season 2 of Ludonarrative Dissidents today! Ludonarrative Dissidents is a podcast from Greg Stolze, James Wallis, and Ross Payton to explore and analyze tabletop RPGs. What does each game do, how does it work, and why do people play it?
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Card Mechanics in RPGs: Season 2 Episode 0
Many RPGs use cards in their mechanics, from playing cards to Tarot to custom decks of cards. We discuss some of these games, the types of mechanics we've seen and the history of card-based games.  If you enjoy this episode, back our Kickstarter for Season 2 of Ludonarrative Dissidents. This podcast is only possible with the help of backers and this time we'll have a private RSS feed for early access to all episodes, plus other great rewards!  Some of the games mentioned in this episode Everway The Mystery Creature of Claytonsville Whimsy cards Aces and Eights Savage Worlds Lace and Steel Upwind Best Friends The Beast Conspiracy X Zener cards The Mind 
July 18, 2022
Season 1 Finale: Dueling Fops of Vindamere Actual Play
Greg Stolze's procedurally generated game puts  you in the corrupt,  dissolute city-state of Vindamere, but don't  worry. You play the best people there, spoiled children of privilege  with nothing better to do  than pursue swordplay, flirt outrageously,  and snack on delicious  vol-au-vents. A single game session covers the  social year from Ye  Midwinter Balle through the prestigious Alle-Valley  Fencinge  Championeshippe. Your louche elite blade-swanks fall in love,  brawl,  sneer and engage in truly petty social rivalries.  Learn more about Dueling Fops of Vindamere. We'll have an episode zero of Season 2 on this podcast when we launch the Kickstarter. We'll be previewing a new type of episode where discuss a common type of game mechanic found in many RPGs. Which mechanic? You'll have to stay subscribed to find out. See you at the Kickstarter! 
June 29, 2022
Episode 12: Base Raiders
Base Raiders is a Fate powered superhero RPG about dungeon crawling in  abandoned villain and hero bases.  Characters find super power sources  in bases or buy them from the black market. It was written by Ross  Payton and published in 2014. Buy Base Raiders here. Our season 1 finale, an actual play of Dueling Fops of VIndamere, is coming next week. After that, our Kickstarter for Season 2! Stay tuned! 
June 22, 2022
Episode 11: The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen
The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen by James Wallis is a  humorous and competitive storytelling  game of telling tall tales.  During the game, each player must tell a story,  while the other players  attempt to interject and stage interruptions or  distractions. The  player with the best story at the end of the game is  the winner. Our next episode will look at Base Raiders, a Fate powered superhero  game about dungeon crawling in abandoned bases. After that, our final  episode for season 1 will be an actual play of Dueling Fops of  Vindamere. We hope to launch a crowdfunding campaign for season 2 this  year, so stay tuned!
June 14, 2022
Episode 10: Unknown Armies
Unknown Armies is a modern horror RPG  that presents magick as it might exist in a  world informed by crime  fiction and secret histories, as twisting  wrinkles in reality created  by greater and greater risk, sacrifice, and  obsession. It was created  by Greg Stolze and John Tynes.
June 08, 2022
Episode 9: 13th Age
13th Age is a d20 fantasy role playing game designed for "experienced  Gamemasters and players of all experience levels." It features several  new mechanics and character class designs unique to it, like the Icon  system and One Unique Thing. It was written by D&D designers Rob  Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet.
May 03, 2022
Episode 8: Thousand Year Old Vampire
In Thousand Year Old Vampire by Tim Hutchings you chronicle the many  centuries of a vampire’s existence, beginning with the loss of mortality  and ending with inevitable destruction. Prompt-driven play and simple  resource tracking provide easy rules for exploring your character’s  human failings, villainous acts, and surprising victories.
March 28, 2022
Episode 7: The Quiet Year
The Quiet Year is a storytelling game from Avery Alder about map-making  and building a community after the apocalypse. "You define the struggles  of a community  living after the collapse of civilization, and attempt  to build  something good within their quiet year. Every decision and  every action is set against a backdrop of dwindling time and rising  concern."
February 09, 2022
Episode 6: Ars Magica
Ars Magica is a "role playing game aboutsorcerers and their allies in  Mythic Europe." Play focuses around the covenant, a community of magi,  companions, and servants and guards (known as grogs). Players take up  multiple roles in the game, playing as all three types of characters  throughout a campaign.  A highly influential game that launched the  careers of many well-known designers, we focus primarily on the current  edition, fifth, but also talk about earlier ones.
January 12, 2022
Episode 5: Bluebeard's Bride
Content warning: Bluebeard's Bride is a  "game about the terrible realities of women's lives." It discusses  sexual assault, body horror, torture, murder, suicide, and other  horrific topics. Our conversation about the game touch on these topics  as well. Thank you for your understanding. Bluebeard's Bride is "an investigatory horror tabletop roleplaying  game based on the Bluebeard fairy tale." Players take on personality  aspects of the young bride as she explores Bluebeard's mansion, looking  for clues on Bluebeard's nature. No aspect fully controls the bride's  actions, as players take turns guiding her through the horrors of the  mansion. Will the bride be faithful or disloyal to her new husband? Only  the players decide through the course of this game.
December 12, 2021
Backer Curated Episode: Continuum
Continuum is a role playing game about time travel. Published in 1999,  it boasts that its setting has a society of time travelers and a history  of the past and future of earth. It also has rules for 'time combat'.  Time travelers can try to kill each other by introducing paradoxes into  the timelines of their foes. Do the rules work? Greg, James, and I  discuss this infamous RPG.
November 17, 2021
Delta Green - Episode 4
Delta Green is a horror RPG based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Agents  of the secretive agency, Delta Green (which may or may not be an  illegal conspiracy inside the US government) investigate and neutralize  cosmic horror threats. Rules focus on the dangers and costs of facing  the unnatural, physically, mentally, and socially. Agents can perish in  an instant or watch their friends and families drift away as they spiral  deeper into the darkness.
October 25, 2021
Night's Black Agents - Episode 3
Night's Black Agents is a Gumshoe system espionage vampire thriller RPG  by Ken Hite. It expands on the Gumshoe system so GMs can run  espionage-themed games ranging from cinematic action-packed adventures  to paranoid tales of intrigue.
September 30, 2021
Lancer - Episode 2
Lancer is a sci-fi RPG focusing on tactical mecha combat in the distant  future. Featuring dozens of unique mechs with incredible powers and  weapons, Lancer is a must-play for groups who love d20 combat, teamwork,  and giant robots.
September 18, 2021
Outlaws of the Water Margin - Curated Episode
Outlaws of the Water Margin is a self-published RPG by Paul Mason based  on the Chinese historical epic novel of the same name. Set in 12th  century China, the player characters are heroic outlaws fighting a  corrupt government bureaucracy. Outlaws was never formally published but  it did cultivate a player base in the 80s and 90s. James was one of  these players and knows the author, so he provides some background  context for the game. Special thanks to Christian Biklee, the backer who chose this game for us to review! This episode is dedicated to Nathanael, Paul, Ben, and Jordan,  friends of Christian who played Outlaws of the Water Margin with him.
August 20, 2021
Apocalypse World - Episode 0
In each episode, we plan to focus on a  particular RPG, looking at its mechanics, setting, and everything else  to see what makes this game tick. In this preview episode, we look at  Apocalypse World, the RPG that launched a revolution in the indie RPG  scene. We try to answer the following questions: 1) What the game does. 2) How it does it. 3) How people play it. 4) Why people play it that way.
August 09, 2021
Blades in the Dark - Episode 1
Blades in the Dark is a game about heists, a city of eternal night, and  more importantly, managing your stress at work. Greg dispenses some  words of wisdom about the future conditional tense.
August 09, 2021