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E35| Books | Role Playing Game Masters

Have you ever wondered how you could live out the epic scene you just experienced in your novel or show? Well you're in luck, just grab some pens and paper and you are halfway(ish) along your way to do so in a role playing game! In this episode we talk through the best ways we have used our fantasy readings to become a better game master or player in our games such as Pathfinder or Dungeons and Dragons! Before that we get to talk about a few drinks on our flight and what has been going though our minds recently!


What's on our Flight (01:12)

  • Nelson is drinking: Space Station Middle Finger from 3 Floyd's Brewing, first featured in Episode 7, this IPA returns here to boast 4 cheers!

  • Dalton is drinking: Boondocks American Whiskey. A very interesting pour, 11 year aging in used Bourbon barrels. High corn mash and soft barrel aging makes for a sweet, simple, toasted marshmallow flavor profile. 2 cheers for me, but definitely worth the try!


What's On Our Minds (09:53)

Nelson: Ready Player Two and Cosmere Novellas

Despite being warned against it, Nelson picked up Ready Player Two. Warnings from friends and the community tempered his expectations, and overall he felt himself being similarly disappointed. The plot seemed forced and the 90's culture references felt academic instead of entertained. This book is not recommended except for the ultra-fan of Ready Player One, and even then it should be approached with reservation.

Note: One redeeming quality is a very surprising twist late in the story!

Nelson also picked up two of the Cosmere novellas from Brandon Sanderson - Mistborn: Secret History and Dawnshard: from the Stormlight Archive. Both are excellent installments, with Secret History adding depth in connection between the two series and Dawnshard serving as an enjoyable side story. If you are a fan of either series, both are worth checking out, though Secret History requires having read the first Mistborn trilogy.

Dalton: Children of Ruin

Continuing the theme of disappointing sequels, I am nearing the end of Children of Ruin, the follow up to Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The concepts and worldbuilding are extremely engaging, but it again felt like the author is trying to forcefully recreate elements of the first story that made it so successful at the expense of a realistic plot. Additionally, the solution presented at the end of the first book (which we laud as inventive and unexpected) would seemingly resolve the conflicts of Ruin, yet are not presented or discussed. A surprising element of horror enters the tone of the book, making it overall much less enjoyable than the first.


Discussion starts at 29:24 in the episode

A bit of a crossover topic tonight as we discuss applying concepts learned through reading to Game Mastering (GM) - the leadership role in role playing games (RPGs). Nelson started us off with a discussion around non-player characters (NPCs). It can be difficult as a GM to role play NPCs other than how the GM would personally react to a situation. One trick Nelson uses to combat this habit is to assign the NPC a personality from a character he knows well from his reading. We brought up Vin, Kelsier, Ender, Ron Weasley, Hermoine Granger, and Ceasar (Hunger Games) as example personalities to emulate.

Our best advice on the topic is to practice taking the elements that make a story special and think about how to apply them to an RPG world. For example, one thing that makes Harry Potter interesting is that magic is hidden from everyday life. How would an RPG campaign look different if all of the magic users needed to hide their powers? Or consider Wool or Demon Cycle, both of which we have been discussing recently. How would a campaign change if players were isolated to a specific area, such as a single town, mountain, building, etc.? All of our favorite stories are full of interesting concepts that make them unique and engaging. Applying these ideas to RPGs can make for truly incredible plots and setting experiences.

We hope this episode inspires a great RPG experience for you. As always, connect with us via Instagram or Discord using the links in the top right. We look forward to engaging with you!


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