Fear the Boot, RPG Podcast

Fear the Boot, RPG Podcast Podcast

An irreverent look at tabletop roleplaying games and a little bit more.

Bonus Episode 88 – the opera of Gen Con
* (0:18) Gen Con was cancelled after this episode was recorded but before it was released. * (1:14) Fear the Con Online, coming up on June 19th – 20th. The promo video can be found here and the signup site can be found here. * (2:35) Brodeur got some inside info regarding Gen Con. The article he wrote […]...

Episode 545 – henchmen
* (0:29) Fear the Con Online, coming up on June 19th – 20th. The promo video can be found here and the signup site can be found here. * (7:41) Fear the Con 2021 has been locked in for June 25th – 26th, 2021. * (9:39) A question about henchmen, courtesy of Jesse Sierke. Setting […]...

Episode 544 – GM insecurity
* (1:05) A message from Matt about some issues with a GM. * (2:21) Player creativity can spook the GM into responding in frustrating ways. * (13:35) Reasons why GMs find themselves in this situation. * (21:47) The role of player empathy in fixing the problem. * (30:10) Buying time to rethink instead of immediately […]...


Bonus Episode 87 – three bits of context
* (0:36) Adapting the show to current realities. * (1:52) The history of West Marches and the context of the advice we gave. Ben’s blog on his game. Another contribution of his to the hobby: Microscope. * (11:17) More information on the Skies of Glass play-test document, slated for release on Patreon on April 21st. […]...

Bonus Episode 87 – three bits of context
* (0:36) Adapting the show to current realities. * (1:52) The history of West Marches and the context of the advice we gave. Ben’s blog on his game. Another contribution of his to the hobby: Microscope. * (11:17) More information on the Skies of Glass play-test document, slated for release on Patreon on April 21st. […]...

Episode 543 – West Marches
* (0:46) Repeating the announcement regarding Fear the Con 2020. * (2:14) New content and general improvements for our Patreon. * (7:10) Explaining what a West Marches style game is. The West Marches game through GamersTable can be found on their Discord in the Star Trek Adventures area. * (17:08) The nature of character relationships […]...


Episode 542 – off the script
* (0:41) Some unfortunate news about Fear the Con 2020. A blog post with some more information is coming soon. * (4:14) Brodeur’s new endeavor can be found here (as of this episode, the site is still very heavily under construction). * (7:55) Dan and Brodeur go to GAMA Expo! The usual relationship between tabletop […]...

Episode 542 – off the script
* (0:41) Some unfortunate news about Fear the Con 2020. A blog post with some more information is coming soon. * (4:14) Brodeur’s new endeavor can be found here (as of this episode, the site is still very heavily under construction). * (7:55) Dan and Brodeur go to GAMA Expo! The usual relationship between tabletop […]...

Episode 541 – to splat or not, part 4
* (0:24) Betrayal to the keys to power. * (4:40) Why Wayne abuses utility powers. * (6:19) Chad passes judgment. It might be easier to say, “no,” upfront than to have the fight later. * (13:02) Fear of the unknown. Wayne’s confessional mini-show, now available on Patreon. * (16:53) Getting Dale’s perspective as a publisher […]...


Episode 540 – to splat or not, part 3
* (0:24) Putting Dale in the hotseat as a Game Master. * (10:01) Pitching the same idea to Chad and Wayne as theoretical players. * (17:13) Judging the regularity of and motivation for playing unusual characters. * (23:52) Kicking the pitch back to Dale again. * (32:46) The unique problems of playing from splat you […]...

Episode 539 – to splat or not, part 2
* (0:24) Why Chad doesn’t have a strong opinion on splat. Getting to the player’s real reason for the request. Allowing unusual requests as a form of collaborative world-building. * (4:20) Why Chad’s games more easily accommodate weird ideas. * (7:22) Re-skinning existing content instead of creating new content. Abusing splat. * (8:17) Not trusting […]...

Episode 538 – to splat or not, part 1
* (0:28) Our history with podcasts and…iPods…? * (4:44) Fear the Con player and GM signup is ready to go. Fear the Boot new Patreon levels. Getting some old hosts back and relocating the recording studio. * (12:42) A disagreement over splat books creates a show. * (19:41) Around the table, asking who thinks what […]...


Interview 42 – Decuma
* (0:25) Introducing Kimi from Happy Jacks, The Mary Sues, and Golden Lasso Girl (Twitter, Instagram). * (7:07) The Decuma Kickstarter, which can be found here. * (11:03) What Decuma is meant to do, and how it plays. * (16:20) Establishing characters and a setting so we can do a live demo. * (20:41) Playing […]...

Episode 537 – can’t run, can’t play
* (0:29) Laura in Chad’s shoes. Dogs in the hood. * (8:18) Fear the Con’s planning site is available and ready for your games! * (12:10) Wayne is in the process of improving our Patreon. * (17:01) Why there are certain games we won’t run or won’t play. * (18:06) Why Wayne won’t run Battletech, […]...

Bonus Episode 86 – twenty-twenty
* (0:22) A very important number. * (8:45) Lura, Chad, Stacy, Cathy, and Karen. * (15:38) Why Lura isn’t allowed on Fear the Boot anymore. * (22:25) Why Julia is still allowed on Fear the Boot. * (31:58) Fear the Con’s shifting demographics. You can sign-up to attend Fear the Con 2020 here. * (36:42) […]...


Episode 536 – character research
* (0:28) The joys of having a host rotation again. * (3:10) Errata in tabletop games, and why we’re grateful when companies release them. * (9:34) How publishers can do errata wrong. * (17:39) Chad’s Dresden character makes him realize things he ought to know to accurately portray his character’s life experiences. The Trench Monkeys […]...

Episode 535 – game pitch report
* (0:28) Dan goes bye-bye! * (0:49) Fear the Boot is now on Pandora. * (2:18) Wayne and Old Man Hussey play Savage Worlds with Gage. You can find the audio of that game here. * (6:00) Wayne reports on his game pitches. You can find his sample templates here: Dresden sample, D&D sample, blank […]...

Bonus Episode 85 – soup and loot
* (0:25) Holiday postmortem of our games. Wayne wastes money on nasty food. * (2:49) The case for and against soup, and the dark gluttony of Palladium books. * (9:21) Chad’s preferred cookbook for soups and stews. * (17:13) The Fallout cookbook and old-time cooking. * (20:24) Reporting on a bit of holiday loot. * […]...


Episode 534 – where you game
* (0:29) The holidays came in like a wrecking ball! * (2:01) Wayne’s Family Feud survey is still up for answers! * (3:24) Gnarl is here to save your Christmas! Available on Amazon and Audible. * (5:54) Chad’s opinions save the show! * (7:26) No one likes distractions. * (10:10) Why Chad doesn’t like basements. * […]...

Bonus Episode 84 – what D&D represents
* (0:23) Wayne’s Family Feud survey. * (3:09) Love for D&D and its sister games. * (5:24) A conversation with Chris Hussey about the strata of podcasts. * (10:46) What D&D has come to represent within the hobby. Gamers Table’s weekly Big 20 show (previous episodes here). * (19:31) Gaming as an aspect of a person’s identity. […]...

Episode 533 – handling a bully character
* (0:29) The Audacity that can end the show! * (1:30) A topic from Jesse, with two parameters from Dan. * (5:42) Watch out for any real-world impact between the players. * (18:28) Managing your own reaction to the bully character. * (19:25) The attitude behind, “That’s what my character would do.” * (21:57) The […]...


Episode 532 – reasoning out the random
* (0:28) A big THANK YOU to everyone that backed Fear the Con! * (2:43) Gamers Table’s weekly Big 20 show (previous episodes here). * (5:22) Blades in the Dark gives way to a Traveller game. Working through Traveller’s character creation system. * (16:10) Finding the patterns—and inventing the story—created by the random rolls. * […]...

Episode 531 – first-time GM report
* (0:29) Introducing Laura. The episode where we first setup this topic. * (1:24) Fear the Con has funded! Start getting your games listed! * (2:18) Chris Hussey’s Savage Worlds setting book, The Wolverines Take the Highway to the Danger Zone. * (9:21) Why Laura GMed, and how she felt about the prospect of running […]...

Episode 531 – first-time GM report
* (0:29) Introducing Laura. The episode where we first setup this topic. * (1:24) Fear the Con has funded! Start getting your games listed! * (2:18) Chris Hussey’s Savage Worlds setting book, The Wolverines Take the Highway to the Danger Zone. * (9:21) Why Laura GMed, and how she felt about the prospect of running […]...


Episode 530 – a fast read of a character
* (0:31) Fear the Con’s Kickstarter and Con Planner site. * (1:45) We’d appreciate it if you gave us a review on whatever site or app you use to consume the show! * (4:13) Wayne brings some sample characters for us to interpret on the fly, inspired by his experience with pre-generated characters in a […]...

Episode 529 – hijacking a system, part 2
* (0:24) Knowing why you’re changing the game, and by extension, whether it’s worth doing. * (6:50) Describing damage. Hit points versus wounds versus shock. * (15:57) Remaking characters in another system, mid-game. * (31:23) Finding an existing system that fits what you’re looking for. * (34:55) RPGs as a spectator sport. Or not. * […]...

Episode 529 – hijacking a system, part 2
* (0:24) Knowing why you’re changing the game, and by extension, whether it’s worth doing. * (6:50) Describing damage. Hit points versus wounds versus shock. * (15:57) Remaking characters in another system, mid-game. * (31:23) Finding an existing system that fits what you’re looking for. * (34:55) RPGs as a spectator sport. Or not. * […]...


Episode 528 – hijacking a system, part 1
* (0:28) Fear the Con 2020’s Kickstarter, with added rewards for people that can’t attend. * (3:38) Wayne does something cool, tells Dan about it, gives Dan a poster from it, and then forgets all of it. * (9:38) Hijacking versus homebrewing. “Have to” versus “want to.” * (12:21) Deciding what attributes are important to a […]...

Episode 528 – hijacking a system, part 1
* (0:28) Fear the Con 2020’s Kickstarter, with added rewards for people that can’t attend. * (3:38) Wayne does something cool, tells Dan about it, gives Dan a poster from it, and then forgets all of it. * (9:38) Hijacking versus homebrewing. “Have to” versus “want to.” * (12:21) Deciding what attributes are important to a […]...

Episode 527 – side plots
* (0:29) Fear the Con’s Kickstarter! * (6:12) An encounter in the Actual Play that felt inorganic to the flow of the main plot. * (14:25) Being aware of what knits your campaign together. * (19:42) Making a side plot compelling from the outset, even if it doesn’t seem relevant at first. * (29:29) Noting […]...


Episode 526 – a split party
* (0:29) Fear the Con 2020’s Kickstarter is live! * (4:50) When the party is split, it can make it easier to talk to an NPC. * (8:21) A split party creating a game of telephone. * (13:02) Giving characters their own chance to shine. * (21:55) Team-building and RP in the party’s reunion. * […]...

Episode 526 – a split party
* (0:29) Fear the Con 2020’s Kickstarter is live! * (4:50) When the party is split, it can make it easier to talk to an NPC. * (8:21) A split party creating a game of telephone. * (13:02) Giving characters their own chance to shine. * (21:55) Team-building and RP in the party’s reunion. * […]...

Episode 525 – setting as a home for plot
* (0:32) The Kickstarter for Gamers Table’s Season of the Glitch. * (1:16) Fear the Con 2020 on June 18th – 20th, with the Kickstarter coming very soon. You can follow our progress in the Facebook group. The episode where we talked about Pat killing us all. * (5:35) Merging two questions from Facebook to talk about […]...


Episode 524 – new GM for veteran players
* (0:33) Fear the Con 2020 on June 18th – 20th! The Kickstarter is coming very soon. In the meantime, you can follow our progress in the Facebook group. * (2:09) Explaining who Brad is. * (2:59) The Kickstarter for Gamers Table’s Season of the Glitch. * (6:05) Laura decides to run a Halloween game […]...

Episode 523 – pacing information
* (0:54) All that matters is the d-o-g. * (3:18) Answering part of Dustin’s question, and why it’s not getting a full answer just yet. * (5:13) Illustrations from No Man’s Sky, Baldur’s Gate, Mass Effect, and Freelancer. * (13:24) Slowing things down in the game versus the meta-game. * (19:04) Getting what you’ve earned. […]...

Bonus Episode 83 – entertainment club
* (0:23) Chad talks a whole lot about not talking. Also, cattywampus. * (4:32) Wayne is playing Dragon Quest Builders 2. * (7:39) Chad is playing Assassin’s Creed Origins. * (16:31) Dale is playing Medieval II: Total War. * (23:39) Dan is playing No Man’s Sky. * (30:14) Dan is reading War Before Civilization. * […]...


Episode 522 – the onus of recovery
* (0:28) Jonathan Belina asks about rules for dice. * (4:45) Cocked dice. Not rolling off the floor. * (8:31) Dice must be legible and visible. * (9:36) Don’t “play” with the dice. * (12:42) Dice bowling. * (18:48) Testing your rolls. * (20:41) Tenser’s Floating Disk at work…? * (28:18) An unexpected break in […]...

Episode 521 – grinding gears
* (0:28) Dan’s voice. A look back at older episodes. * (2:54) The double-standard of how social skills are handled versus any other check. * (8:00) When players cheat around their dump stats. * (12:47) The plausibility of counterfactuals. * (32:04) Having no awareness of the game you’re in. * (37:42) Holding me responsible for […]...

Episode 520 – licensing crunch
* (0:30) Introducing Dale of Jon Brazer Enterprises. * (7:11) The story of Jon Brazer, the character. * (9:07) How the degree of crunch changes your options for creating material. The OGL and similar licenses. * (24:26) Half of your money?! * (33:09) Revisiting the relationship between crunch (or the lack thereof) and what that […]...


Episode 519 – game pitch template
* (0:32) Dan is having throat issues. * (1:01) A huge “thank you” to Zylo for doing so much for Fear the Con-Line! * (2:18) Wayne created a template to help with game pitches. You can find a blank version here. * (5:26) A sample for D&D 5th Edition. * (8:24) Every game starts somewhere. […]...

Episode 518 – swan song
* (0:28) This studio is hot. * (2:55) The conundrum of character suicide. How Frankenstein’s monster was actually made. * (16:10) Not being a victim of your own creations. * (31:28) Explaining the idea of a swan song and how it manifests in an RPG. * (39:17) Deconstructing a swan song that occurred in one […]...

Episode 517 – pressuring the PCs
Excuse the intro. I’ve lost my voice, so that was the best I could do. * (0:28) We are living in the future. We’re at the threshold of hell. * (12:39) An after-action report on bringing in a pair of new players. Planning versus problem-solving. * (32:52) Constant pressure squeezing out roleplaying. * (37:02) Failing […]...


Episode 516 – integrating old and new
* (0:28) Charlie goes on a rampage. A tangent on Cluster-B personality disorders. * (6:51) Incorporating new people into the social context of your group. * (11:16) Revising our advice on how to meet someone. * (13:36) Using the pregame questionnaire as a loose guide. Dale’s publishing website. * (19:28) Observing and adjusting during session zero. […]...

Episode 515 – introducing the new
* (0:28) Play and life skills in higher animals. * (3:25) Vote for Reading Radio in the Columbus Podcast Awards. They’re listed in both the art category and podcast of the year. * (6:28) Introducing new concepts to established roleplayers. * (9:43) Limited material for character creation and game play. * (21:32) Making characters together. […]...

Episode 514 – from one to many
* (0:42) Dan’s phone betrays him. Spoilers and thpoilerth. * (14:10) Chopin makes you a superior person. * (14:52) Premises that are meant for one character but invite storytelling for many characters. * (18:17) Wayne tries one-to-many, and it doesn’t quite work out. * (22:15) Distilling a premise down to what really matters. * (27:03) […]...


Bonus Episode 82 – self-insert
* (1:07) The glory and horror of self-insert. * (3:37) Dan does Shadowrun. * (16:45) Wayne does D&D. * (26:43) Chad does Star Wars. Sort of. * (40:31) Julia does Narnia. * (48:17) Dan does Battletech. * (56:42) A bit of gaming advice. Hosts: Chad, Dan, Julia, Wayne...

Episode 513 – B-plots
* (0:31) Brodeur and the broken finger. * (2:57) Fear the Conline is set for June 21st and 22nd. You can sign up for games here and ask questions on Discord here. * (6:55) Explaining what B-plots are. * (10:00) How B-plots spread the spotlight, build investment, and strengthen the game. * (15:00) Building the […]...

Episode 512 – NPCs lie
* (0:30) The distinction between GM exposition and NPC voice. * (7:12) Confusion borne from seeing the same person say everything. * (11:14) Distinguishing the source and type of information. * (12:51) All parties being flexible. * (15:57) The nuance of truthful—but misleading—communication. * (25:20) When the player disbelieves. * (33:07) Earning the right to […]...


Episode 511 – keeping NPCs on task
* (0:28) Dan’s chewing monster. * (0:51) Making a lot of money on motion sickness medications. * (11:11) Creating a world where order remains in spite of the players being agents of chaos. Dan’s magic trick. * (20:01) An example of competing freedoms. * (27:33) Counterfactuals as a tool in RPGs. * (35:22) Soft concepts […]...

Episode 510 – player Christmas
* (0:28) A possible online convention in place of this year’s Fear the Con. You can place your vote and find out more on Discord. * (1:04) Cell phone jammers. * (4:13) Accept creative solutions. * (12:36) Control the table. * (20:53) Don’t confuse delay with plot. * (23:02) Don’t always make the players roll. […]...

Episode 509 – orphaned NPCs
* (0:54) A possible online convention in place of this year’s Fear the Con. You can place your vote and find out more on Discord. * (5:07) An episode of Gamers Table inspires a topic (special thanks to Gaming with Gage). * (15:17) Whether to keep an NPC or remove them. * (20:35) Keeping the […]...


Episode 508 – GM Christmas
* (0:28) Secretary Chad brings a glorious gift. * (3:50) Give a backstory the GM can use. * (5:47) Be open to the GM’s input on your character. * (12:06) Learn something about the rules. * (17:18) Bring something to the table. * (22:30) Put away your electronics and don’t make me repeat myself. * […]...

Episode 507 – Carpenter Yeller Gere
* (0:29) Wayne learns object permanence. * (2:14) A player gets voted off the island. * (9:12) Not invested in the game or not invested in the group? * (12:16) Picking the kicker. * (22:40) Evaluating how the person responds to getting kicked. * (35:29) Along came an X-card. * (58:07) Final judgment. Hosts: Brodeur, […]...

Episode 506 – social contract
* (0:28) The Itty Bitty Writing Space Kickstarter. * (3:47) A topic from Wendell on our Discord server. * (4:49) Playing to genre, themes, and moods. * (12:59) Hijacking the experience everyone signed up for. * (18:54) The distinction between assenting to a social contract and losing agency. The Richard Pryor game. * (23:26) Why […]...


Bonus Episode 81 – epilogue of an epilogue
* (0:22) Catching up with how Chad’s campaign ended. * (1:43) The steps taken to set the mood. * (11:08) Pacing of the game. * (15:36) Resolving the prophecies. * (19:37) How the players helped the Game Master. * (24:32) The things that went wrong. What Dan called “anticlimax” is more accurately “dénouement.” * (31:33) […]...

Episode 505 – recovering the ending
* (0:28) Let’s hear it for Devastator! * (1:23) An update on Fear the Con. * (3:30) Game scheduling falls apart one session before the finale. * (12:35) Recovering the game by bringing immediate intensity. * (17:12) Shaping the real-world environment to set a mood. * (22:46) Playing side content. * (36:43) Controlling the recap. […]...

Episode 504 – PCs like NPCs like PCs
* (0:28) Finally all the way home! * (0:48) The Actual Play actor’s studio. * (3:33) Dan’s PCs are becoming more like NPCs. * (11:34) Not giving up your own enjoyment. Misreading the situation. * (17:27) Being a codependent player. * (21:09) Strategies for helping the GM with your PC. Reading the GM. * (30:39) […]...


Episode 503 – hating well
* (0:28) Right place, wrong room. * (1:23) Playing the hatred between two player-characters. * (6:18) You aren’t a victim of your character. * (10:04) Enemy Mine and Hell in the Pacific. * (14:34) Programming a path to peace. * (20:01) Giving the conflict boundaries without erasing its relevance. * (31:36) Not all wounds have […]...

Episode 502 – the importance of a character
* (0:28) Recording at Julia’s. * (1:36) Fear the Boot and Gamers Table Destiny 2 clan. * (2:58) A fond farewell to Don Dehm of Pulp Gamer. * (4:23) Wemic shoes, doo doo doo doo doo doo. * (11:02) Dividing the hobby in an implausible way. * (13:18) The value to the Game Master of […]...

Episode 501 – gaming anyway
* (0:33) A bottle of bourbon and a letter from the Hellhounds. * (8:11) Brodeur wants to blossom, plus something about Jenna von Oÿ. * (9:13) Discord and the things we won’t do for you. A big shout-out to David for joining the hobby. starting a group, and then starting his own podcast, Next Generation Game Masters. * […]...


Episode 500 – this is Fear the Boot
* (0:28) Reaching a milestone episode. A topic picked by our Patreon backers. * (2:59) How the podcast started. Its first hosts and logo. The deep well of storytelling topics. * (14:57) The show’s first major crisis. How the ebb and flow of our lives affects the quality of the show. A history of its […]...

Episode 499 – intent
* (0:29) A topic inspired by a game of Bang. What it will take to make Dan stab someone in the back in a board game. The distinction between factions and a traitor mechanic. * (10:29) Hiding your intentions as a Game Master. * (15:54) The Simpsons, Family Guy, mailing pancakes, Russian manti, grilled cheese, Raddish Kids, […]...

Episode 498 – player response to GM error
* (0:28) Fear the boot is now on iHeartRadio. You can get the regular show here and the actual play here. * (3:02) A player’s response to an unintentional Game Master error. An example with a dragon. * (10:50) Some quick advice to Game Masters: consider a ret-con and be prepared to own your mistake.  […]...


Bonus Episode 80 – nostalgia
* (0:22) The trailer for Bumblebee. * (4:09) The two extremes of product placement. * (8:21) Resizing a robot. Or not. * (12:07) The evolution of an idea when someone can tell you, “No.” * (17:34) Nostalgia in the hands of the wrong person. * (22:17) Nostalgia versus new creations. * (26:07) The sliding window […]...

Episode 497 – game explainers
* (0:28) Dan was a guest on Gaming with Gage. You can find the episode here. * (1:22) Explaining game explainers. An example from a Dresden game. * (10:24) Describing options and risks without dictating an action. Helping the player achieve what they want. * (14:09) Teaching concepts. Don’t play the character for them or […]...

Episode 496 – mind of a machine
* (1:00) Playing robots in a game, focusing on RP, not the stats. * (4:44) Who built you, why, and with what philosophical presuppositions? * (9:05) Some thought exercises to unpack a robot’s mind. The Theory of Mind. * (14:27) Separating emotion, physiology, and mind. Emergent properties. * (20:44) Anthropopathism and assuming mind where it doesn’t […]...


Bonus Episode 79 – cuirass
* (0:23) Finding Caleb. Finding gaming. * (17:18) The historical inevitability of RPGs. * (22:15) The unusual mechanics of certain weapons. Khopesh. * (32:12) Distinguishing armor. * (36:12) Knowing the crunch. Counting references per action. * (40:26) The brand new player. Hosts: Caleb, Chad, Dan, Wayne...

Episode 495 – benched characters
* (0:28) Fear the Boot is everywhere! The actual play site, Discord, Facebook, our forums, Patreon, and a whole lot of podcast aggregators. * (3:30) Handling player-characters that are being kept out of the action. * (7:56) Let some time pass. * (10:05) Play a different character. * (18:32) Hand-wave whatever is benching the character. […]...

Episode 494 – Genesis
* (0:28) Creating life from lifelessness. Rapidly replacing a player-character that’s died. * (10:35) Making a character that’s already tied to the party. * (13:05) An introduction that helps the moment. * (14:28) Accepting the unanswered questions. * (18:48) Helping nurture the character concept into the game. * (21:19) Adjusting the plot to make the […]...


Episode 493 – recycling campaigns
* (0:47) Derek Knutsen’s Kickstarter for Flower of Heaven. * (0:57) The Kickstarter for GamersTable, Season 2. * (1:25) Explaining what we mean and don’t mean by “recycling.” * (5:51) Reasons not to recycle. * (9:17) How the What’s Really Going On document helps. Separating the game from the experience. * (15:13) Embracing the passage […]...

Episode 492 – challenge and response NPCs
* (0:41) Derek Knutsen’s Kickstarter for Flower of Heaven. * (1:27) The Kickstarter for GamersTable, Season 2. * (2:51) Defining C.A.R. NPCs with a few examples. * (11:42) Why GMs accept unacceptable behavior. * (21:34) Minding how an NPC is setup and used. * (27:35) Advice for players. * (35:24) Advice for GMs. * (45:39) […]...

Episode 491 – scared away
* (0:27) Never old news! A club eats a mammoth. Or not. * (3:13) Unintentionally scaring your players out of a course of action. * (8:50) Players scaring themselves. * (20:23) The distinction between railroading and GM expectations. * (22:33) Determining why the players are reticent and addressing that. * (36:13) Motivation to overcome fear. […]...


Episode 490 – not the real game
* (0:28) The wonderful, illusory door. * (5:21) A warning to stop here. Hijacking Lasers and Feelings. * (10:50) Dark improv on a minimal pitch. * (15:20) The role of the alternates. * (18:39) The start of the game. * (25:02) Hijacking the party and hijacking the game. * (39:06) An NPC becomes the real […]...

Episode 489 – Fear the Con 11 round-up
* (0:17) Thanking the people that made the convention happen. * (3:35) Mikey Mason’s performance can be picked up here. * (4:37) Our thanks to St. Charles Nissan. * (5:29) Heather Phillips does an awesome job on a Masakari for Dan (pic 1, pic 2, pic 3). You can find her portfolio and contact info […]...

Episode 488 – fair-play NPCs
* (0:30) Setting a boundary on the topic. * (2:16) Keeping an NPC fair. * (6:07) Tactical vs compassionate vs in-character. * (14:01) Enemy fear and greed. * (33:30) When the enemy’s reality changes. The shock of success. * (40:24) Playing favorites. Hosts: Aisha, Chad, Dan, Wayne...


Episode 487 – building relationships
* (0:29) Fear the Boot’s Patreon site. * (2:05) Dan’s dream comes true! * (4:49) Relationships between characters. Some examples to set it up. * (10:07) The difficulty of engineering relationships. * (17:51) Build common ground. Remember what really matters. Accept reality. * (23:59) Experiencing the backgrounds—not just writing them. * (26:05) The relevance of […]...

Episode 486 – playing yourself
* (0:28) Welcoming Stu and Kimi from Happy Jack’s family of podcasts. * (0:49) Fear the Boot tries to pick out a sponsor. * (3:03) Playing yourself in a roleplaying game. Stu did it in college. * (8:22) The “show me” test and its relationship to the dice. * (16:01) Creating the character stats. Overestimating […]...

Bonus Episode 78 – a love letter
* (0:23) A love letter to an under-served demographic. * (1:43) Surviving without a gaming group. * (11:59) What if podcasting had existed earlier? * (16:39) Wayne and his apes. Monkeys in outer space. * (22:33) Things we never needed to know about Star Trek. * (29:19) Back to the love letter. Sorta. Nope, we’re […]...


Episode 485 – pets, pets, pets
* (0:28) Fear the Con and its Con Planner site. * (1:08) A D&D game gets us talking about pets. * (3:45) How animals affect storytelling and group dynamics. * (9:02) Pets as PCs versus NPCs. Picking two thematic traits. * (21:19) Passing the pet to the right. * (31:19) Adding a third trait. * (36:10) The animal […]...

Episode 484 – non-sequiturs
* (0:28) Fear the Con and its Con Planner site. The mixer is on June 21st, with the con itself on June 22nd and 23rd. * (1:12) Chad is running a D&D 5th Edition game. The shorthand version of spell components. * (6:46) Introducing a new player to RPGs. * (13:39) The group template (and its longer form) versus […]...

Episode 483 – outsourcing NPCs on the fly
* (0:52) Google searches on some podcasts, and a prank with Brandi that didn’t happen. * (3:26) Letting players develop parts of the setting mid-game, including the NPCs. * (8:04) Fat Tony and Lovin’. * (16:59) How players can decide when it’s appropriate to mess with something. * (24:30) Letting player investment drive truth. Tommy […]...


Episode 482 – prologue games
* (0:52) Wayne visits Brodeur at Miniature Market (their Facebook page). * (5:21) Prologue games. Taking them seriously while recognizing their disposability. * (15:20) A shared history that’s played instead of just written. * (18:57) How a prologue identifies issues, and what to do when one is found. * (24:46) The value of the missing […]...

Episode 481 – trap card
* (0:29) There and Back Again Kickstarter. * (0:51) Simplification of Fear the Boot’s Patreon. * (5:17) How can a wonderful dream become a nightmare? * (9:57) What We Do in the Shadows. * (12:49) Players that pad a a situation. * (16:41) Allowing for deliberation. Power-gaming through roleplay. * (25:14) Strategies for discouraging trap […]...

Episode 480 – there and back again
* (0:29) Welcoming Jason Brick to the show. Baby Shoes, Flash, Sojourn 1, and Sojourn 2. * (3:04) Setting up today’s topic. Jason’s Kickstarter for There and Back Again. * (5:41) Harkening back to The Gamer Traveler. Daniel Perez’ current website. * (8:36) How real experiences affect your roleplaying games. Some examples from security work […]...


Episode 479 – not that bad of a GM
* (0:41) Welcoming Eric from GamersTable. Almost crashing Brodeur’s place of work. * (1:23) GM Impostor Syndrome. The Dunning-Kruger Effect. * (6:35) Some help with that feeling of intimidation. * (10:02) How we suck. Failing fast. * (21:57) Effectively communicating criticism. * (32:53) To thine own self be true. * (44:52) Nobody’s perfect. Hosts: Chad, […]...

Bonus Episode 77 – coming in 2018
* (0:27) What we’re looking forward to in 2018. * (1:02) Roleplaying games and related material. * (8:08) Video games. We somehow failed to mention the upcoming Battletech game. * (29:36) Upcoming movies. Hosts: Chad, Dan, Wayne...

Episode 478 – taking away agency
* (0:50) Wayne takes his entire party prisoner in a Necessary Evil game. * (2:03) Setting some boundaries on the discussion. Giving the concept of “agency” a clear definition. * (8:19) Keeping it fair and purposeful. * (14:16) Understanding the subconscious, social transaction. * (24:02) The relationship between failure, agency, and story. * (35:31) Gnarl […]...


Episode 477 – PC-centered design
This was a short episode I cut a while back when life got in the way of our regularly-scheduled recordings. I’ve got a full-length one we did a bit later, which I’ll be releasing immediately after this one—meaning, in a matter of minutes or hours. * (1:06) Backing off my own ideas to let truths […]...

Episode 476 – the B-game
* (0:28) 1d4Con on April 13th – 15th, 2018. * (2:16) Brodeur GTFO. * (4:42) Some comments on Salt in Wounds. Fear the Boot’s Discord server. * (9:43) Keeping a game fresh during someone’s hiatus, without moving the game forward or leaving it on pause. * (18:02) Converging story-lines. * (20:03) Exploring the same story […]...

Episode 475 – all the ugly things
* (0:49) Fear the Con and its Con Planner site. All our love to Fred. * (2:47) The Salt in Wounds game setting, and why it intrigues Brodeur. * (14:40) Unpacking the human psychology of why we like dark things, starting with some examples from Dan’s life. Resident Evil VII and Alien Isolation. Revenge stories. * […]...


Episode 474 – for whose benefit
* (0:41) A look back at the Big Board. * (3:37) Lesson prep for a church and how it demonstrates a social concept that applies to gaming. * (7:17) Performance by one versus content by all. * (15:14) Recognizing what’s important to another person. * (25:01) Whose benefit is the game for? Setting the right […]...

Episode 473 – not to expectations
* (0:28) Fear the Con’s site is ready. * (1:13) Our emails have been fixed, including the confirmation for forum signup. * (8:56) The planned ending for a session of the Actual Play goes awry. * (14:59) Being fair to your players. The song that inspired the intended scene. * (21:23) Reinventing the end. * […]...

Episode 472 – guiding NPCs
* (0:37) Non-player characters that can be used to guide the party. * (2:04) Tying the NPC to the group while avoiding them becoming a GMPC. * (8:14) Needing them all the time is a sign something has gone wrong. Keeping them within their own character limits. * (15:36) The ways to avoid overshadowing the […]...


Episode 471 – a new store
* (1:16) Thanks to Sgt. Dan and Mumswear for the shirts. * (2:33) Thanks to Mark Larson for the Crown Royal bags. * (5:19) A shout-out to Andrew Martin. * (7:33) Brodeur’s two episodes on running a game store can be found here and here. Miniature Market’s website. * (12:49) A non-gamer opens a game […]...

Episode 470 – changing times
* (0:29) Brodeur thanks John Wells, Mark Lawson, and Sgt. Dan for help with Crown Royal bags. * (2:33) Dan gets a copy of Battletech’s Alpha Strike rules. * (4:25) A shift—or new fad—in tabletop roleplaying games: consuming play instead of participating in it. * (12:32) New technologies allowing a new market, misinterpreted as a […]...

R.I.P. Pat Roper
Caring Bridge Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Annie’s Hope direct GoFundMe donations...


Bonus Episode 76 – mementos
* (0:18) The Caring Bridge site for Pat. * (1:50) An update on Pat. (As of the episode release, the information is a bit outdated. Pat is now home on hospice care.) * (2:47) Whether to continue a game when a player passes. * (7:31) Keeping mementos from those we’ve lost. * (13:10) Moving on […]...

Episode 469 – looks good on paper
* (0:28) The father-daughter podcast, Reading Radio. * (1:57) Brodeur beats the negative association with reading. * (8:35) Wayne doesn’t have access to a computer and decides to go retro. * (12:31) The lingering value of the old way of doing things. * (22:11) The flexibility of a three-ring binder. * (24:18) Plot powerful. * […]...

Episode 468 – not in a tavern
* (0:28) Event signup for Fear the Con 11 is now open. Additional shots at the stretch goals will be coming up in the next few months. * (2:13) Brodeur’s love for minis. The Toy Soldiers video game. Jim McClure’s Satanic Panic. The Army Painter Quickshade dip. * (10:21) Drawing inspiration from visual sources, tropes, […]...


Episode 467 – serendipity in story
* (0:36) Chad’s patience. * (1:33) This show will reference episode 13 of the Skies of Glass Actual Play. * (2:41) Characters finding hope in hopelessness. * (6:34)  The mixed morality of a group of player-characters. * (15:14) Joe’s innocence and the loss of it. * (29:19) The moment it all changed, and the unexpected […]...

Episode 466 – gamify your life
* (0:29) Dan was a guest on The Greatest Show. You can see the video here or grab an audio version here. * (0:53) Dan was also a guest on the Connections radio show, talking about RPG culture. You can find that episode here. We hope you’ll listen to the whole thing, but if you just want to hear Dan’s […]...

Episode 465 – agency at the end
* (0:29) Brodeur turns a negative episode into a regular one. * (4:52) An end to a long-running D&D campaign. * (6:34) An unexpected finish. Microscope. * (10:20) Balancing player agency against story coherence. * (17:04) Confinement forcing creativity. * (21:30) The signs it was a successful ending. * (25:59) How Brodeur will end the […]...


Bonus Episode 75 – Fear the Con 2018
* (0:23) Introducing Beth and Adam. * (1:27) Dan will be on the Connections radio show on Wednesday, November 8th, from 10:30pm – 11:00pm Eastern time. You can find how to tune-in here. * (4:00) Whatever this con is called, it’s occurring on June 22nd and 23rd, 2018. If the Wing Night funds, that will […]...

Interview 41 – Charles Wellington
* (0:28) Charles has too little British for Brodeur and too little beef for Wayne. * (3:34) The flash fiction anthology, FLASH!, which you can grab from Amazon. * (4:54) The Lairdbalor. * (6:22) More properly introducing Charles. * (9:38) Corsana: The Phalanx Syndicate. * (12:43) Using an RPG to play-test a story. * (16:47) […]...

Episode 464 – politics
* (1:02) FLASH!, an anthology that includes Dan and several booters. You can get a copy on Amazon. * (2:20) Dan was a guest on The Greatest Show. You can see the video here or grab an audio version here. * (3:32) Playing characters that suck at their jobs. * (16:20) Portraying inter-factional politics in […]...


Episode 463 – winning the consensus
* (0:32) Making up reasons for why Wayne couldn’t make it. * (1:45) Brodeur and the Marilith: A Dramatic Reading, coming soon. * (3:29) Trying to win over the group when you have a different plan. Just charge in! * (8:32) Playing the social dynamics around the table. * (19:24) Handling the issue character-to-character, whether […]...

Episode 462 – the story of a city
* (0:29) Wayne goes to Washington D.C. * (1:48) Monotonal cities. The public service of preempting nerd rage. * (4:59) The setting has its own story. The Delmar Divide. * (16:47) Whether a city was planned, and how. Heavy zoning versus integrated spaces. * (24:30) The role of geography, trade, and time. * (39:11) Brodeur […]...

Episode 461 – back to the gold box
* (0:49) Life problems interfering with our recording schedule. * (1:47) Chad’s latest garage sale find, and why Brodeur is banned from garage sales. * (4:57) The first D&D video game Chad bought, Shadow Sorcerer. * (9:12) A quick history of the relationship between tabletop roleplaying games and video games. The second D&D video game […]...


Episode 460 – for the moment
* (0:35) Hiccups in the release schedule. * (1:14) Enigma, Transcendentalism, and living in the moment. Or having sex in High School. Finding social and psychological freedom in a roleplaying game. * (7:37) Progression that has only limited impact on game mechanics. * (18:47) An illustration from Left 4 Dead 2. * (23:11) Finding the […]...

Episode 459 – sacrifice
* (0:30) Brodeur’s psychiatrist. Unfiltered Brodeur at the negative level. * (4:04) Sacrifice in a roleplaying game. Giving up something you want to make the game better. The D&D Actual Play. * (12:16) What constitutes sacrifice. * (18:00) Sacrifice versus beneficial trade-off. The story of Wesley Autrey. * (34:59) The confusingly mixed bag of altruism. […]...