Sunday, May 6, 2018

Authentic RPG Podcast, With Becky Hamilton

Sunday night and I am due for a podcast.

I haven't spent as much time flogging these as I ought to have done.  They've been a challenge throughout this year, but I am making headway and I think this does represent a unique experience; today I've tried to do something really different.  I've put up a podcast about role-playing games with someone who has had a minimal amount of experience.  As Becky Hamilton said to me, off mic, she's heard of these things but she hasn't had any personal association with them.

Through the podcast, I try to explain role-playing to Becky, rolling with the answers she gives and striving to present game situations as they might occur.  Becky is quick-witted, clever and a fast learner, enabling us to cover a lot of ground in just one short podcast.

Give her some support, all.  And for anyone living in Toronto, Becky and her partner are looking for a D&D game to join, as noobs.  Help her out if you can.

I am pretty sad about the numbers on these podcasts.  I guess I'll never been as amazing as Matthew Colville.


Zilifant said...

This was really fun to listen to; thank you Becky for putting yourself out there! It brought memories back of the first time the game was explained to me (many years ago) and the wonderment I felt with the newness of it all. I hope you find an amazing group in your area to game with!

Alexis Smolensk said...

Please share it as much as you can, Zilifant.

Ozymandias said...

Thank you, Becky. That was enjoyable. I hope you find a group willing to further your introduction to the game.

William said...

Alexis, I've listened to several of your podcasts (not this particular one) and I want to offer you some words of encouragement regarding Matt Colville.

Promotion is hard. Even though your content is TREMENDOUS (speaking as a blog reader, an owner of your dungeon advice book, How to Run, and as a patreon supporter), it's a miracle I ever found you: by accident, a new RSS reader I was setting up recommended Delta's D&D Hot Spot, and he linked to one of your blogs.

What is Colville doing that you're not?
* Talking about 5th edition (which all the kids are talking about)
* Interacting on Twitter, YouTube and Reddit frequently (I don't know how he has time)
* Producing actual video content, even though it's can be listened to as audio only, seeing a person's face makes you feel more connected.

The stuff you cover on this blog is unique and deeply fascinating, but not remotely mainstream. The people I've recommended you to see your blogs talking about economic statistics and tune out immediately, missing all of the juicy, innovative stuff that I wanted them to see. It makes ME feel like the weird one for enjoying it so much.

The bottom line is that your visibility online is practically non-existent outside D&D blogosphere.

But you already knew this.

You don't seem like the kind of man who will ever use Twitter or have the time and energy to promote yourself. But please don't stop making your podcasts or writing about world statistics, because I love everything you do.

Lance Duncan said...

I agree with William mostly. Matt Colville didn't have a huge following to start with, though his channel did grow at an unusual rate once he started his how to dm series. I started following him before he was really popular because he did some videos about creating a fighter in different editions. If I wasn't already aware of his channel I would never have watched his more recent videos; I don't normally watch videos on youtube about D&D. They are either recordings of a game session, I don't understand how anyone can stand those, or someone sitting in front of a computer and just talking, which can get really boring even if they have something interesting to say. Matt Colville is pretty much the only D&D youtuber I can stand to watch more than 5 minutes because of his presence/voice and how he edits his videos.

Having said that, your podcast is the only one about rpgs that is remotely interesting. I only started listening to podcasts regularly in the last few months and have not been able to find any decent podcast about rpgs or D&D. they are all superficial and dull, about the same quality as anything found on youtube. So don't be discouraged, what you are doing is the best that is out there. The most difficult part of trying to share your content is the people I know who might be interested don't read blogs or listen to podcasts.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Thank you William, Lance. Trust me, it was a joke. I'm not discouraged. The key for getting a podcast off the ground is doing it weekly, for years. I don't plan to work too hard at it; this first series is going to be 8 podcasts and then I will get a second series started in the fall.

Colville's numbers bounced when he started to cozy up to other vloggers, particularly the WOTC's crowd. My numbers would bounce if I started sucking up to that crowd, too. I don't think any of us want that.

Fuzzy Skinner said...

I've thought for a while about the best way to introduce the game to completely new players, and just today I re-read some advice from the (2nd Edition) Player's Handbook: "One of the amazing things about a role-playing game is that the concept is difficult to explain, but marvelously simple to demonstrate."

You definitely proved that maxim true here. I especially like how you responded to Becky's non-traditional choice of character (likely borne out of experience with a lot of non-D&D-influenced media - something I actually wish more gamers would seek out) by enumerating the challenges it would pose, and the back-and-forth between the both of you was excellent. Plenty of D&D advice stresses "Say yes!" but this was an example that actually showed how that can lead to some creative problem-solving, rather than just power-gaming.

And don't worry about the decrease in numbers; even with book series, book 5 is usually not as popular as book 1. (Perversely, this is why the later-numbered Star Trek and Star Wars books are more plentiful at my local used bookstore.) Rest assured, my interest - and that of the other commenters - is still present.

Sterling Blake said...

This was a fascinating listen for me. It's been decades since I've been in the position of explaining the game to someone.

Becky was a great sport to go into this and I really appreciate being able to hear her perspective on the game.

Alexis, I was a little surprised by what sounded like you warning her about being on guard for sexism near the end of the interview. I hope that Becky has good luck forming or getting into a gaming group and is not plagued by any such difficulties.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Deleted my first reply. Perhaps I should just ask, why surprised?

Sterling Blake said...

I'm surprised because it's unexpected and outside my personal, admittedly, on record, insular, experience. I've experienced nothing outside the game consistent with your warning which would suggest a parallel inside the game. Perhaps I've led a sheltered life. Part of that sheltered life does include working in Toronto for about 5 years though, so I hope that luck is with Becky there too.

Alexis Smolensk said...


An argument a lot of men like to make is that "they've never seen any sexism" or that "all the women in their game are treated fairly." I can make the second claim myself, and find support to prove it.

However ... every women that I play with has played in other campaigns, and they ALL have stories they can tell. I can also say that I've seen all sorts of abuse personally: from one woman stepping into a campaign only to suddenly become the butt of every sexist joke (not my game, and the girl and I both left together), to situations where nerds saw the appearance of girls in their campaign as their opportunity to date them ... for no other reason that these nerds now had access to real, actual girls willing to talk to them.

Sterling, you ought to make it INSIDE your personal experience ~ by asking women you meet who have experience with playing in public, non-private games, and then BELIEVING those women if they trust you enough to tell you what they've seen.

I don't mean to disparage you. Gender politics is so tense, it is impossible to write about them, or speak about them, without triggering someone. I questioned whether to cut that speech out of podcast or leave it in; I decided to leave it because I felt that Becky was goofing on me right at the end there. As a cosplayer, I can't help but think she was playing dumb to punish me for mansplaining about the whole thing.

I gave the blog link to Becky, and asked her to write something here if she was up to it; she might show up and correct me. I still think it was right to leave the exchange in.

Jomo Rising said...

I am never surprised by how much sexual commentary I receive from my male gamer companions. I am not sure why that is. The purposeful mis-characterization of my sexual preference and derogatory comments size of my penis are uncommon, but present. Maybe it's a culture thing.