Thursday, December 31, 2009

Episode 22: Resolution

Episode 22: Resolutions (10.9MB 23:30)

What are your resolutions for gaming in 2010?

Dirty Secrets
In a Wicked Age
Mountain Witch

(Music in this episode is Spook by Terence Janssen; and an a capella rendition of Auld Lang Syne by Oli's Mum (which, despite Narayan's conviction, is not a song about the Quentins, for All Mankind).)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Episode 21: Conflicts and Taboos

Episode 21: Conflicts and Taboos (31:30 14.6MB)

In this episode, we discuss the creation of inter-character conflicts as an aspect of storytelling. The distinction is made between player conflicts and character conflicts, and how one might lead to the other. Oli talks about how the mechanics of In a Wicked Age lend themselves to creating character conflict, and how voluntarily putting your character in a weaker position in conflict may be mechanically rewarded.

We chat about how taboos are used in games like Dogs in the Vineyard, and how the GM and players might use taboos in other games (like Spirit of the Century and Burning Wheel) to add interest to both the setting and to further the storyline. As well as Kender and My Life with Master.

Again, we call out to any listeners who might be interested in being interviewed for Natural 20.
To explain further: The interview will take maybe 5 minutes; there will be 3 questions (which will be emailed to you beforehand); you don't have to use your real name... You just have to have had some table-top roleplaying experience, and a copy of Skype.

Interested? Send an email to to send an email to

And don't forget to fan us on Facebook!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Episode 20: Responsibility for Creating the Story

Episode 20: Responsibility for Creating the Story (30min)

In this episode, Oli asks whether there is an alternative to having a person at the table taking on the responsibility for creating the story. Examples are taken from Indy game A Penny for My Thoughts* (about amnesiacs who rely on other players to narrate their actions and words) and more traditional games, to illustrate how even if it is not the same person for the whole game, there is usually still a person who has to take on responsibility for creating and shaping the story.
By way of contrast, Oli suggests that there are some games in which the mechanics take primary responsibility for creating the story, allowing the players to focus on advocating for their character's survival and achieving their goals. We chat about how The Mountain Witch does this - and we disagree about the ways in which In a Wicked Age accomplishes this.
Oli also introduces me to the idea of the Fruitful Void.

We also introduce an upcoming (and as yet unnamed) episode format. If you have skype, and you have five minutes in which to be interrogated, and you want to be a part of it, email us!

(I also suggested that if we get any actual fan maille - or emails with questions, comments, arguments in response to things that we (allegedly) 'got wrong' - then we might put those into a show, too.)

Finally, don't forget to become a fan of the show on our Facebook Page!


*All apologies -- in the audio, we get the name of this excellent game wrong! *sigh*

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Episode 19: Mike, Matt and Andrew's First Time

Episode 19: Mike, Matt and Andrew's First Time (36:00min)

After a lifetime of relative geekiness, Mike, Matt, and Andrew (a.k.a. Phisch) recently took the next step and started playing Dungeons and Dragons - and then came onto Natural 20 to reveal all about their first time (together.)

Here are some links:
Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition
Stink Child Comics
Squared Circle Comics
Previews of No Dice

Also News!
We now have a Facebook Page for Natural 20 Podcast - become a fan!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Episode 18: Leaving

Episode 18: Leaving the Game (48:00min)

Why do people leave?
How do they leave - how should they leave?

These questions and more are discussed by Liz, Oli and Emma in Episode 18.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Episode 17: Tom's First Time and Gaming with Kids

This *was* supposed to be Episode 18, but there was a problem with the previous episode, so I have had to do some shuffling. So!

Episode 17: Tom's First Time and Gaming with Kids (44:30)

There were a few hiccups as we tried our first Skype interview with Tom from Brisbane. We learned that sometimes when you use Skype on your iPhone, it will cut out every 3mins and 09seconds. A lot of the time we managed to pull it together, but there were a few times (you will notice, gentle listener) where we kind of trailed off and came back talking about something slightly different. Then there were the times that I didn't un-pause properly, and you missed out on some hilarious and insightful material.
Such as, how do you really pronouce China MiƩville's (author of UnLunDun, The Scar, Perdido Street Station, Iron Council and The City & The City) name correctly (and how does *he* pronounce it)?
Is Sky Cake better than Sky Pie? (¡language warning!)
What are the main problems with being thrown in the deep end of a Vampire LARP - or anything, for that matter?

But, there are still a bunch of exciting words that we recorded for you.

Some of these words include:

D&D 4th Edition
Cardboard Dungeon Tiles
AD&D Monster Manual, Fiend Folio, Dungeon Master's Gude
World of Darkness
Starwars Spoilers
Teaching your children how to kill Zombies
Building a Time Machine
And ANURPS Halloween Game Day

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Natural 20 Announcement

Just a brief announcement; we offer excuses as to why we have not recorded since the last episode. (But mostly we are testing out the new software that will hopefully let us record more often!)

Please let us know what you think in the comments or at our email address!

    Thanks to
  • Terence for the music
  • Mike for the technical consult
  • Gaving for the hosting
  • Tenzil Kem for the comments...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

watch this space

Dear lovelies,

We aten't dead.

There will be more.

We promise.

Would we lie to you?

Okay, stop laughing.

In the mean time, why don't you write to us and tell us what you think the next episode should be about?

Hell, why don't you write to us and tell us about your character? You will get bonus points if you send us a (G-rated) character sketch!

lots of love,
Emma and Liz

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Episode 16 - Oli's First Time

Episode 16 - Oli's First Time (59 minutes)

Games and Systems mentioned:
(Have a list. Links will come when I have more time.)
GOD - Games on Demand
Dirty Secrets
White Wolf
My Life with Master
Best Friends
In A Wicked Age
Burning Empires
Burning Wheel

RPG Meetup

Music this episode is from Ghosts I (Track 7), which was released by NIN on a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Attribution Share Alike license. Available from

Feedback, comments, love, etc., as always, welcome at

Saturday, March 21, 2009

On its way!

Liz and I recorded another 'First Time' episode on Thursday night.

Stay (i)Tuned!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Episode 15 - Moral Relativism and Alignment

Episode 15 - Moral Relativism and Alignment

In this Episode, I wax lyrical about 'Slumdog Millionaire', a movie which has impacted upon my preparation for the monthly Burning Wheel game.

WARNING: This episode contains spoilers for Slumdog Millionaire. If you haven't seen this movie, go and see it. Then listen to this episode. In that order. No, really: it's a good movie. You will like it. Probably.

Liz and I go on to chat about tropes in movies and books and comics which let you know the alignment of the protagonist and antagonist. We then discuss the impact of movies and said tropes on the style of games we choose to play. I realise I'm getting old when I confess that I sometimes like games where the bad guys are clearly bad, and there is no difficult decisions about delivering their comeuppance...

Honestly, after making this podcast I thought of a million other things I should have said on the way to work. Stuff about choices and humanity and evil and good. Hopefully you will be inspired to drop us a comment, or an email, or leave some feedback at iTunes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Episode 14 - Con Review

Episode 14 - Con Review
(To download: Right mouse-click and choose 'Save Linked File As')

Show notes will be up anon.