Molten Sulfur Podcast

Molten Sulfur Podcast

By Tristan Zimmerman
Weekly content for your RPG campaigns, drawn from history and folklore! Every Tuesday, a new episode spotlights an awesome piece of real-world content and explains how it can inspire amazing adventures at your gaming table. From the ENnie-nominated talent behind the Molten Sulfur Blog!
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Teddy Roosevelt's Crime-Fighting Guinea Pigs
In honor of April Fool’s Day, let’s look at President Theodore Roosevelt’s most colorful pets, and turn them into a gang of silly NPCs! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur Check me out on Facebook and Twitter!
05:54
March 31, 2020
Baiae
The vices, luxury, and unusual geography of this classic Roman resort town make it a great site for adventure! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur Check me out on Facebook and Twitter!
04:43
March 24, 2020
The Hoard of Sigurd Fafnir's-Bane
The Völsunga saga from late 13th-century Iceland is an amazing story of love, heartbreak, adventure, violence, and betrayal. It tells the story of a Germanic warrior named Sigurd, the treasure he wins, the politics he gets caught up in, and the bloody aftermath of it all. It’s incredibly gameable! Let’s look at the relevant parts of the saga and see how they lead to a moment that’s perfect for your PCs to show up, get involved, and probably change the course of this amazing story. Plus, it works in just about any setting, and can be easily inserted into an ongoing campaign. A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur Check me out on Facebook and Twitter!
11:16
March 17, 2020
The Agate House
In the remote desert of Arizona, in Petrified Forest National Park, there sits an odd structure. It looks like a Native American pueblo. But instead of being made of adobe or stone, its walls are made from chunks of quartz the size of your head. This is the Agate House. It’s an archaeological marvel, and when placed in the fictional setting of your RPG campaign, it’s an adventure site that is its own plot hook! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur Check me out on Facebook and Twitter!
05:07
March 10, 2020
The Wokou Raiders
In the 16th century, Ming China was beset by coastal raiders from Japan. The Chinese army, defanged by two centuries of systematic degradation, was powerless to stop these ‘pirates’. It’s a perfect place for PCs to step in! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur Check me out on Facebook and Twitter!
06:00
March 3, 2020
Caddo Lake
Caddo Lake, Texas, is a meandering swamp full of bayous and alligators. It has a nefarious history full of bandits, pirates, and warring vigilantes. A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur Check me out on Facebook and Twitter!
04:25
February 25, 2020
The Wonders of Sir John Mandeville: Asia
Part two of a two-part series on gameable, mythic details from the Medieval travelogue of Sir John Mandeville! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur Check me out on Facebook and Twitter!
08:28
February 18, 2020
Folkloric Villains
Folklore is full of villains and antagonists. By a striking coincidence, so are RPG campaigns! Here are four villains drawn from folklore: a Russian singer-sorcerer, a Roma witch-queen, a Persian hero-villain, and an Irish kidnapper-princess. A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur Check me out on Facebook and Twitter!
09:04
February 11, 2020
The Turu Lion-Men
The mbojo lion-men of the Turu people of Tanzania are an interesting take on lycanthropes that have some cool baked-in plot hooks! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur Check me out on Facebook and Twitter! Check out the Never Going Home campaign dossiers – now in their last week on Kickstarter!
05:09
February 4, 2020
Bob Bartlett
‘Ice captain’ Bob Bartlett was a fearless navigator and explorer – and makes a terrific NPC! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur Check me out on Facebook and Twitter!
05:47
January 28, 2020
The Wonders of Sir John Mandeville: the Mediterranean
Part one of a two-part series on gameable, mythic details from the Medieval travelogue of Sir John Mandeville! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur Check me out on Facebook and Twitter!
09:18
January 21, 2020
Legal Dramas and the Black Hills
Legal dramas are an enormously popular genre, but they effectively don’t exist in the RPG space. Let's create a template for how to do a legal drama as an RPG adventure by looking at a fascinating and high-stakes case: the argument by the Lakota nation that the U.S. government’s seizure of their land was illegal. A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur Check me out on Facebook and Twitter!
13:16
January 14, 2020
PCs on the Battlefield: Caesar's Wars (Part Four)
This is part 4 of a 4-part series about the wars of Julius Caesar. The focus is on moments where individual people impacted the outcomes of battles and entire campaigns. They’re perfect to drop into your game in place of playing out entire battles! In this episode, we conclude our story with Caesar's African and Spanish wars. A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur Check me out on Facebook and Twitter!
10:13
January 7, 2020
1936 Olympics in Berlin
In 1931, the International Olympic Committee awarded Berlin the privilege of hosting the 1936 Summer Olympics. Two years later, Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany. The 1936 Olympic Games had intense geopolitical, propagandistic, and ethical components, and are terrific gaming fodder! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur
06:14
December 31, 2019
Speleothems
Let’s talk about cave formations, more properly called ‘speleothems’, and how we can use them to make underground adventures awesome. We’ll focus on examples that are easy to describe (so they don’t slow down play), good combat terrain, evocative of something cool, or otherwise immediately gameable! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur
11:55
December 24, 2019
Shipwrecked Sailors: Armed and Desperate
The 1808 shipwreck of the Russian schooner Nikolai on the shores of the Quileute nation (in what is today Washington state) is remarkable primarily for its aftermath: the collective efforts of the Quileute, Hoh, and Makah nations to deal with 22 armed and desperate shipwrecked Russian sailors. A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur
07:27
December 17, 2019
Extraordinary Folkloric NPCs
European folklore is full of odd characters that are neither truly hero nor villain. These characters can make wonderful supporting NPCs for an ongoing fantasy campaign. We’ll look at five: a wizard who weighs virtue, an assassin with poisonous skin, a doctor who can rewrite personalities, a magician with a dangerous sense of humor, and a ragged hanger-on who’s much more than he appears. A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur
09:49
December 10, 2019
PCs on the Battlefield: Caesar's Wars (Part Three)
This is part 3 of a 4-part series about the wars of Julius Caesar. The focus is on moments where individual people impacted the outcomes of battles and entire campaigns. They’re perfect to drop into your game in place of playing out entire battles! In this episode, we wrap up Caesar’s Civil War against his former ally Pompey. A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur
09:09
December 3, 2019
Akodessewa Fetish Market
The Akodessewa Fetish Market, in Lomé, Togo, is a place to buy talismans, pieces of animals, and other objects important to the practice of Vodoun. It's colorful, memorable, and very gameable! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur
03:48
November 26, 2019
Tall Tales of the West African Gold Trade
From the 8th century to the late Middle Ages, the West African savanna was a gold-producing region for the distant Mediterranean. Vast sums of metal flowed along sinuous trade routes into the Islamic world and Europe. As the gold traveled, the merchants carrying it knew less and less about the source of this wealth. By the time it arrived in trade hubs like Cairo or Venice, the tales told of the source of the gold were tall indeed! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com Become a patron of the Molten Sulfur Podcast at Patreon.com/MoltenSulfur
05:43
November 19, 2019
Justice for Lula Viers
The ballad ‘Lulie Vars’, based on the 1916 murder of Lula Viers by her lover, is a jarring case. It’s got a particularly heinous killing, a unique getaway, a folk ballad, and a truly unusual way to seek justice for the crime. A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com
06:43
November 11, 2019
PCs on the Battlefield: Caesar's Wars (Part Two)
This is part 2 of a 4-part series about the wars of Julius Caesar. The focus is on moments where individual people impacted the outcomes of battles and entire campaigns. They’re perfect to drop into your game in place of playing out entire battles! In this episode, we wrap up Caesar’s conquest of Gaul and segue into his Civil War against Pompey. A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com
10:26
November 5, 2019
Balochistan
Balochistan is Pakistan’s westernmost province, and its largest and most sparsely inhabited region. It is a land of stony desert and sharp mountains. A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com
04:21
October 29, 2019
Egyptian Iconoclasm and Stone Golems
In most fantasy RPGs, stone golems make no sense. It’s a giant hunk of animate stone, and you fight it with… swords? And fire spells? What exactly is your battleaxe supposed to do to this rock? But there’s a better way! And it comes from the amazing world of ancient Egyptian iconoclasm. A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com
07:32
October 22, 2019
Resolving Disputes the Tiwi Way!
The Tiwi, an aboriginal group from northern Australia, have/had a unique way to resolve thorny disputes. This method – which involves old men throwing spears badly – is surprisingly gameable. If you introduce it in your campaign world, you can use it to resolve a whole bunch of loose plot threads quickly in a novel and memorable way. Plus, it has the added benefit of probably creating whole new set of plot hooks to keep the story moving! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com
07:38
October 15, 2019
The Secret Basque Fishing Grounds
In the high Middle Ages, the Basques – an insular people of western Europe – quietly experienced an economic miracle. In one month, I’ll be starting a Patreon for the Molten Sulfur Podcast. What sorts of rewards might you want to see from a Molten Sulfur Patreon? Please let me know using the contact link, the Facebook page, or Twitter! I hope to hear from you, and – as ever – thank you for listening!
05:08
October 8, 2019
PCs on the Battlefield: Caesar's Wars (Part One)
This is part 1 of a 4-part series about the wars of Julius Caesar. The focus will be on moments where individual people impacted the outcomes of battles and entire campaigns. They’re perfect to drop into your game in place of playing out entire battles! We begin with Caesar’s conquest of Gaul. A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com
12:24
October 1, 2019
Antelope Canyon
Water and time have carved deep into the sandstone on Navajo land near Page, Arizona, forming a slot canyon with smooth, flowing walls. It’s a great adventure site! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com
04:27
September 24, 2019
The The Wreck of the Ma'adin Ijafen
Caravans are the ships of the desert, and they can wreck just as surely as an ocean liner. Not every camel train that went into the Sahara came back out. The discovery of a caravan wreck is a great jumping-off point for an adventure! Let’s piece together some cool bits of history to flesh out this hook! A full transcript of this episode is available at MoltenSulfur.com
05:02
September 17, 2019