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Description:

Game Master's Journey is a podcast all about tabletop roleplaying games from the perspective of the captain's chair.

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Podcast Episode's:
GMJ 229: Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
Lex gives an overview of the new D&D supplement, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes.
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GMJ 228: DMG Chapter 5: Adventure Environments - Dungeons
Lex returns to his exploration of the Dungeon Master's Guide to discuss one of his favorite adventure environments--dungeons.
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GMJ 227: Day & Night, Darkness & Light
Lex investigates the rules and (not-so) common sense of darkness & light in D&D.
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GMJ 226: Hinterlands of Elandria 13: The Unicorn, the Dryad and the Great Faerie Oak Tree
The PCs finally reach the magic tree and negotiate with Anna, the dryad, for a seedling to take back to Dianara’s Rest.
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GMJ 225: Hinterlands of Elandria 12: Faeries Wear Boots
The PCs enter the Faerie Forest and search for the magic tree. They get to know their new companion Dahlia, and they learn that not all denizens of Faerie are friendly.
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GMJ 224: Hinterlands of Elandria 11: Journey to the Faerie Forest
The PCs continue their journey to the Faerie Forest, and they meet a new companion along the way.
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GMJ 223: DMG Chapter 4: Creating Nonplayer Characters
Lex returns to his exploration of the DMG. He discusses Chapter 4: Creating Nonplayer Characters. This chapter has lots of useful advice and tables for fleshing out your NPCs.
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GMJ 222: Hinterlands of Elandria Vignette 10.1: Jaime as Marcos
In the latest installment of the Hinterlands of Elandria D&D actual play, Lex gets together with Jaime to flesh out the backstory of his character, Marcos the College of Lore Bard.
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GMJ 221: Does a New DM Need to Know the Rules to Run D&D?
How much of the rules should you know as a beginning GM? Lex gives a breakdown of where the basic rules of the game can be found and what to focus on. He also gives his thoughts on how to approach campaigns that make certain classes, subclasses, races, etc. undesirable to play as PCs.
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GMJ 220: Relics of Power, New Players, Organized Play, Feedback & More!
This episode's topics of discussion are guided by fantastic feedback from listener-GMs. Lex discusses his new Relics of Power supplement for D&D, some thoughts about organized play as a first experience with RPGs, and a blast from the past--some thoughts on the Tyranny of Dragons campaign.
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GMJ 219: Hinterlands of Elandria 10: Critical Weasel
This week the PCs continue their struggle against the horrors spewing from the rift to the far realms. They meet a new friend and have to save a friend from a fate worse than death.
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GMJ 218: Hinterlands of Elandria 09: Magic & Brawn
Things get real in this episode as the PCs endure the consequences of past actions. They also are reminded that the Breaking of the World and the Time of Rifts are still occurring in Primordia.
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GMJ 217: Hinterlands of Elandria Vignette 08.1: Fir in Elandria
This episode is a vignette featuring Fir, the fire genasi lore master wizard. Fir returns to Elandria to report back to Druinda on what the party has found in the village of Dianara’s Rest. While she’s there, she learns some new spells, goes shopping for Lerissa, and acquires a new member of the party...sort of.
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GMJ 216: Hinterlands of Elandria 08: Morsels for Petunia
The PCs leave Korcyryx’s lair to continue their journey to the Faerie Forest. They learn first-hand that the Wilds of Primordia are a very dangerous place.
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GMJ 215: Hinterlands of Elandria 07: Into the Misty Wood
This week our heroes leave the village of Dianara's Rest in search of a magic tree...
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GMJ 214: Hinterlands of Elandria Vignette 06.1: Wahl's Vision
Wahl has a vivid dream, perhaps sent by the goddess Elandra herself. 
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GMJ 213: Managing Disruptive Players, Handing Out Treasure & Upcoming Relics Supplement
Lex covers a variety of RPG and GMing topics. How do we deal with players who make rolls we haven’t called for, or expect to always “win” the game with little to no effort? How do we know what kind of magic items and treasure to hand out? Lex also discusses an upcoming supplement which will allow you to create relics in your game—magic items that grow with the PCs who wield them.
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GMJ 212: Hinterlands of Elandria 06: Fire by Night
The heroes defend the people of Dianara's Rest from a vicious attack.
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GMJ 211: Behind the Screen 07: Running Session 2: The Hinterlands
Lex discusses the ins and outs of running the second session in his latest D&D campaign, Hinterlands of Elandria.
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GMJ 210: Hinterlands of Elandria 05: Wining & Dining
This episode follows the PCs as they spend a week in Dianara’s Rest. Each character pursues their own and the party’s goals in their own way, and hilarity ensues.
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GMJ 209: Strongholds, Followers & More with Matthew Colville
Matthew Colville rejoins Lex on the show today to discuss his upcoming D&D 5th edition supplement, Strongholds & Followers. This long-awaited tome is just part of Matt’s Kickstarter campaign, Strongholds & Streaming. The campaign is also providing some awesome gemstone dragon miniatures as well as studio space so Matt can produce a high-quality actual play of his next campaign.


GMJ 208: Hinterlands of Elandria 04: Dianara's Rest
Hinterlands of Elandria is a new D&D campaign set in Lex's homebrew campaign world, Primordia. Five years after the beginning of the Breaking of the World, the Time of Rifts and the Retreat of Humanity, a new team of adventurers leave the safety of the city of Elandria to explore rumors of a lone village somehow surviving in the Hinterlands to the east. Very few cities survived the Breaking, and it's believe no smaller settlements did. If there is a village out there, how has it survived on its own? The answer to this question could decide the fate of the thousands of refugees packing the streets of Elandria. 
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GMJ 207: DMG Chapter 3: Random Encounters
Lex continues his exploration of the Dungeon Master's Guide with discussion of random encounters from chapter 3. He discusses how, why and when to use random encounters, and he explains how they don't really have to be random at all. A better term to describe how Lex, at least, uses these types of encounters is "flexible encounters". 
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GMJ 206: Hinterlands of Elandria 03: The Last Village
Hinterlands of Elandria is a new D&D campaign set in Lex's homebrew campaign world, Primordia. Five years after the beginning of the Breaking of the World, the Time of Rifts and the Retreat of Humanity, a new team of adventurers leave the safety of the city of Elandria to explore rumors of a lone village somehow surviving in the Hinterlands to the east. Very few cities survived the Breaking, and it's believe no smaller settlements did. If there is a village out there, how has it survived on its own? The answer to this question could decide the fate of the thousands of refugees packing the streets of Elandria. 
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GMJ 205: Hinterlands of Elandria 02: The Hinterlands
Hinterlands of Elandria is a new D&D campaign set in Lex's homebrew campaign world, Primordia. Five years after the beginning of the Breaking of the World, the Time of Rifts and the Retreat of Humanity, a new team of adventurers leave the safety of the city of Elandria to explore rumors of a lone village somehow surviving in the Hinterlands to the east. Very few cities survived the Breaking, and it's believe no smaller settlements did. If there is a village out there, how has it survived on its own? The answer to this question could decide the fate of the thousands of refugees packing the streets of Elandria. 
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GMJ 204: Hinterlands of Elandria 01: Into the Wilds
Hinterlands of Elandria is a new D&D campaign set in Lex's homebrew campaign world, Primordia. Five years after the beginning of the Breaking of the World, the Time of Rifts and the Retreat of Humanity, a new team of adventurers leave the safety of the city of Elandria to explore rumors of a lone village somehow surviving in the Hinterlands to the east. Very few cities survived the Breaking, and it's believe no smaller settlements did. If there is a village out there, how has it survived on its own? The answer to this question could decide the fate of the thousands of refugees packing the streets of Elandria.   
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GMJ 203: Hinterlands of Elandria Prelude 7: Manny as Lerissa
This is the seventh prelude in Lex's Hinterlands of Elandria D&D campaign. Lex talks with Manny about his character, Lerissa, the tiefling glamour bard.
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GMJ 202: DMG Chapter 3: Creating Encounters
Today Lex returns to his exploration of the DMG with a discussion on creating encounters.
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GMJ 201: Hinterlands of Elandria Prelude 6: Craig as Quincy
Hinterlands of Elandria is a new D&D campaign set in Lex's homebrew campaign world, Primordia. Five years after the beginning of the Breaking of the World, the Time of Rifts and the Retreat of Humanity, a new team of adventurers leave the safety of the city of Elandria to explore rumors of a lone village somehow surviving in the Hinterlands to the east. Very few cities survived the Breaking, and it's believe no smaller settlements did. If there is a village out there, how has it survived on its own? The answer to this question could decide the fate of the thousands of refugees packing the streets of Elandria. This is the sixth prelude in Lex's Hinterlands of Elandria D&D campaign. Lex talks with Craig about his character, Quincy, the human hunt cleric of Dianara.
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GMJ 200: DMG Chapter 3: Creating Adventures
Lex returns to his exploration of the Dungeon Master’s Guide with a discussion of the first part of chapter 3: Creating an Adventure. Lex covers the elements of a great adventure, running published adventures versus adventures of your own creation, location-based adventures, event-based adventures, mysteries, intrigues, framing events, moral quandaries, side quests and more!
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GMJ 199: Hinterlands of Elandria Prelude 5: Danielle as Gitfirhan
Hinterlands of Elandria is a new D&D campaign set in Lex's homebrew campaign world, Primordia. Five years after the beginning of the Breaking of the World, the Time of Rifts and the Retreat of Humanity, a new team of adventurers leave the safety of the city of Elandria to explore rumors of a lone village somehow surviving in the Hinterlands to the east. Very few cities survived the Breaking, and it's believe no smaller settlements did. If there is a village out there, how has it survived on its own? The answer to this question could decide the fate of the thousands of refugees packing the streets of Elandria. This is the fifth prelude in Lex's Hinterlands of Elandria D&D campaign. Lex talks with Danielle about her character, Fir, the fire genasi wizard.
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GMJ 198: Hinterlands of Elandria Prelude 4: Brett as Wahl Part 2
Hinterlands of Elandria is a new D&D campaign set in Lex's homebrew campaign world, Primordia. Five years after the beginning of the Breaking of the World, the Time of Rifts and the Retreat of Humanity, a new team of adventurers leave the safety of the city of Elandria to explore rumors of a lone village somehow surviving in the Hinterlands to the east. Very few cities survived the Breaking, and it's believe no smaller settlements did. If there is a village out there, how has it survived on its own? The answer to this question could decide the fate of the thousands of refugees packing the streets of Elandria. This is the fourth prelude in Lex's Hinterlands of Elandria D&D campaign. Lex talks with Brett about his character, Wahl, the aasimar paladin.
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GMJ 197: Hinterlands of Elandria Prelude 3: Steve as Maligar
Hinterlands of Elandria is a new D&D campaign set in Lex's homebrew campaign world, Primordia. Five years after the beginning of the Breaking of the World, the Time of Rifts and the Retreat of Humanity, a new team of adventurers leave the safety of the city of Elandria to explore rumors of a lone village somehow surviving in the Hinterlands to the east. Very few cities survived the Breaking, and it's believe no smaller settlements did. If there is a village out there, how has it survived on its own? The answer to this question could decide the fate of the thousands of refugees packing the streets of Elandria. This is the third prelude in Lex's Hinterlands of Elandria D&D campaign. Lex talks with Steve about his character, Maligar, the half-night-elf bard.
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GMJ 196: Hinterlands of Elandria Prelude 2: Phoebe as Bryn
Hinterlands of Elandria is a new D&D campaign set in Lex's homebrew campaign world, Primordia. Five years after the beginning of the Breaking of the World, the Time of Rifts and the Retreat of Humanity, a new team of adventurers leave the safety of the city of Elandria to explore rumors of a lone village somehow surviving in the Hinterlands to the east. Very few cities survived the Breaking, and it's believe no smaller settlements did. If there is a village out there, how has it survived on its own? The answer to this question could decide the fate of the thousands of refugees packing the streets of Elandria. In this episode, Lex gets together with Phoebe to discuss her character, Bryn, and her place in the world and adventure.
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GMJ 195: Hinterlands of Elandria Prelude 1: Brett as Wahl Part 1
Hinterlands of Elandria is a new D&D campaign set in Lex's homebrew campaign world, Primordia. Five years after the beginning of the Breaking of the World, the Time of Rifts and the Retreat of Humanity, a new team of adventurers leave the safety of the city of Elandria to explore rumors of a lone village somehow surviving in the Hinterlands to the east. Very few cities survived the Breaking, and it's believe no smaller settlements did. If there is a village out there, how has it survived on its own? The answer to this question could decide the fate of the thousands of refugees packing the streets of Elandria. In this episode, Lex gets together with Brett to discuss his character, Wahl, and his place in the world and adventure. This is the first prelude of the campaign.
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Game Master's Journey 194: Conversation with a New Game Master
Listener-GM Ali Buck joins Lex on the show to discuss her experiences as a new GM.
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Game Master's Journey 193: Enhance Your Worldbuilding with Anthropology
Martin Hébert, a professor of anthropology, joins Lex to talk about how anthropology can help us create more realistic and more interesting cultures and worlds for our RPGs. They discuss some of the most common mistakes made by worldbuilders, and they tell you how you can avoid making those mistakes yourself.
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Game Master's Journey 192: Xanathar's Guide to Everything: Dungeon Master's Tools
Lex continues his exploration of Xanathar's Guide to Everything, the latest rules supplement for Dungeons & Dragons. This week he digs into Chapter 2: Dungeon Master's Tools. Topics include basic rules & assumptions of the game as well as expanded rules for falling, sleeping, adamantine weapons, tying knots, identifying spells, random encounters, downtime activities and awarding magic items. 
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GMJ 191: Behind the Screen 06: Creating the Misty Wood Encounter Table
Lex discusses how he created the encounter table for the Misty Wood, the first area players will likely explore in the campaign.
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GMJ 190: Behind the Screen 05: Preparing for Session 2: The Hinterlands
Lex discusses how he prepared for the second session of his new D&D campaign, Hinterlands of Elandria.
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Game Master's Journey 189: Tool Proficiencies Expanded in Xanathar's Guide to Everything
Lex continues his exploration of Xanathar's Guide to Everything, the latest rules supplement for Dungeons & Dragons. This week he digs into the outstanding work done to improve the value of tool proficiencies in the game.
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Game Master's Journey 188: Tour of Xanathar's Guide to Everything
Lex begins a series of episodes discussing Xanathar's Guide to Everything, the new D&D rules supplement. Today he gives an overview of the book with a tour of its contents. Whether you're a player or a DM, Xanathar's Guide has something for everyone.
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GMJ 187: Behind the Screen 04: Running Session 01: Into the Wilds
Behind the Screen is a series of GM commentary companion episodes to Lex's new D&D campaign, Hinterlands of Elandria. This week Lex discusses running session 1, Into the Wilds.
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GMJ 186: Behind the Screen 03: Preparing Session 01: Into the Wilds
Behind the Screen is a series of GM commentary companion episodes to Lex's new D&D campaign, Hinterlands of Elandria. This week Lex discusses how he prepared for the first session, Into the Wilds.
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GMJ 185: Behind the Screen 02: Hinterlands of Elandria Campaign Preparation
Behind the Screen is a series of GM commentary companion episodes to Lex's new D&D campaign, Hinterlands of Elandria. This week Lex discusses his preparation for the campaign.
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GMJ 184: Behind the Screen 01: Introduction to Primordia
Behind the Screen is a series of GM commentary companion episodes to Lex's new D&D campaign, Hinterlands of Elandria. This week Lex gives an introduction to his homebrew D&D world, Primordia.
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GMJ 183: DMG Chapter 2: The Astral Plane
Lex returns to his discussion of the Dungeon Master’s Guide with an exploration of the astral plane. This is the first part of a two part discussion. We'll go over the basics of the astral plane. We’re not given a lot of details on this plane in the 5e DMG compared to previous editions, so in part two we’ll refer to the Manual of the Planes from 3rd edition to fill in the gaps. This week Lex also discuss some of the spells used to travel the planes--plane shift, gate and astral projection.
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Game Master's Journey 182: Livestream 006: Upcoming Campaign, Future of the Show & More!
In October's livestream episode, Lex discusses his upcoming D&D campaign, Hinterlands of Elandria, which he'll be livestreaming on YouTube. He also talks about the future of Game Master's Journey, adjusting encounters in a published adventure for PCs of a lower or higher level, Tomb of Annihilation and Xanathar's Guide to Everything.


Game Master's Journey 181: House Rules & Game Balance
Lex discusses why game balance is important. We often think of game balance when coming up with campaign-affecting house rules, but we should also keep it in mind when making rulings on-the-fly during play. These spontaneous house rules can have just as much impact on our games as the ones we spend time designing.
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Game Master's Journey 180: Hacks for DMs, Handing Out Powerful Magic Items & Is Worldbuilding a Waste of Time?
Lex covers a variety of RPG topics today including getting PCs back to town at the end of the session in West Marches campaigns, Limitless Adventures' Limitless NPCs, stepping on toes, Jeremy Crawford's DM hacks and handing out legendary and other powerful magic items. Finally Lex discusses the belief that worldbuilding is a waste of the GM's time because the players won't care about the setting anyway.
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GMJ 179: DMG Chapter 2: Creating a Multiverse
Lex shares what he learned from his latest D&D campaign. Then he begins a discussion of chapter 2 of the Dungeon Master's Guide: Creating a Multiverse. He covers the different types of planes and different ways you can fit them together into a cosmology. Finally he discusses some of the ways PCs can access and travel the planes.
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Game Master's Journey 178: GM Philosophies & Tips, Worldbuilding & More!
Brett joins the show again for a GM to GM discussion of some general GM philosophy and tips, and Lex goes into some detail on his upcoming campaign and his homebrew world of Primordia.
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Game Master's Journey 177: Livestream 005: Scaling Encounters on the Fly
Encounters seldom turn out in practice as they appear on paper. Today Lex discusses some ways to scale an encounter on the fly during play.
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Game Master's Journey 176: "Random" Encounters, Player Honesty, Theater of the Mind & GM Impartialness in West Marches Campaigns
Today Lex discusses feedback from Listener-GMs on recent topics. He discusses his opinions on Professional Game Masters. He also talks about "random" encounters, player honesty, competition, theater of the mind and the impartialness of the GM in West Marches style campaigns.
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GMJ 175: DMG Chapter 1: Flavors of Fantasy
Lex wraps up his exploration of chapter 1 of the Dungeon Master's Guide with a discussion of the flavors of fantasy.
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Game Master's Journey 174: Livestream 004: Preparing My Next Campaign
Today Lex talks about what he's done to prepare for his next campaign, The Hinterlands of Elandria. 
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GMJ 173: DMG Chapter 1: Play Style & Tiers of Play
Lex returns to the DMG to discuss play style and tiers of play. Not all D&D campaigns are the same, and this is the point in your campaign creation where you decide exactly what kind of an experience you’re going for. 
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Game Master's Journey 172: Livestream 003: Preparing a Primordia Campaign - East Marches of Elandria
Lex discusses preparation for his new campaign.


Game Master's Journey 171: Worldbuilding, Railroading & High Tier Play with Brett Nilsson
Today Lex moves to the other side of the GM screen to talk with his DM, Brett. Lex has been playing in Brett’s campaign quite a while now and having a lot of fun. Lex asks him about his GMing style and about his homebrew setting of Terindal. They also talk about how to avoid railroading the PCs, and Brett's experiences running D&D at the higher tiers of play.
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Game Master's Journey 170: West Marches Campaign Variants
Lex discusses some variations you can consider to tailor the West Marches formula to the needs of your own campaign. He describes the variations he's using for his own campaign, The Hinterlands of Elandria.
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Game Master's Journey 169: Livestream 002: Xanathar's Guide, Tomb of Annihilation, West Marches & More!
Lex discusses Wizards of the Coast's new product announcements: Xanathar's Guide to Everything and Tomb of Annihilation. He also discusses West Marches campaigns, Mearls' crazy initiative system, and more.
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Game Master's Journey 168: Livestream 001: Introductions
Welcome to the first episode of the Game Master's Journey Livestream. Lex introduces the show and explains what you can expect.
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Game Master's Journey 167: Preparing & Running a West Marches Campaign
In the second of a series of episodes on West Marches campaigns, Lex discusses how to prepare and run a West Marches-style campaign. 
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Game Master's Journey 166: West Marches Campaigns
Lex and Christopher discuss West Marches campaigns--a style of campaign that features wilderness exploration and player-directed action. Everything from scheduling, to party makeup, to game session objectives is up to the players!
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GMJ 165: DMG Chapter 1: Creating Campaign Events
Lex returns to the Dungeon Master's Guide to discuss creating campaign events. These events are the perfect way to begin or end a campaign, or to renew flagging interest in a campaign that's grown stagnant. Finally, Lex discusses ending a campaign.
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GMJ 164: DMG Chapter 1: Creating Campaigns
Lex returns to his exploration of the DMG and discusses creating a campaign. Whether you’re creating your first campaign, or you’ve created so many you’ve lost count, the DMG has some tools to help you.
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GMJ 163: DMG Chapter 1: Magic in Your World
Lex returns to his in-depth exploration of the DMG with a discussion of how you can use magic to flesh out your world. Whether magic is rare or common, low-powered or high-powered, reviled or respected, the consequences of your decisions will trickle down throughout your setting.
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Game Master's Journey 162: Art & Cartography in RPGs with Mike Schley
Mike Schley joins the show to discuss art, mapping and worldbuilding in RPGs. He discusses his new Schleyscapes Kickstarter and his setting of Fernweh.
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GMJ 161: DMG Chapter 1: Factions & Organizations
Factions and organizations are a great way to add richness to your world and increase your players' engagement and investment with your setting. Lex discusses how to create organizations, and he illustrates the process with his Honorable Guild of Adventurers Explorers and Scholars and the mystery cults of the gods of Primordia.
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Game Master's Journey 160: Improving a Published Adventure to Make It Your Own
Even the best published adventure can be improved by tailoring it to your players and their PCs. Lex discusses some issues with The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, and he details some of the changes he's made to the adventure to address these problems. Hopefully this example will help you put your own spin on the next published adventure you run, leading to an even more enjoyable experience for both you and your players.
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Game Master's Journey 159: Mass Combat, Absent Players & Real-World vs. In-Game Religions
In this special, Patron-sponsored bonus episode, Lex discusses whether or not we need mass combat rules in our tabletop RPGs. He also presents a listener-GM's fantastic strategy on how to turn player absence into an opportunity for the rest of the group. Finally he gives some thoughts on keeping real-world religious conflicts from ruining the game for everyone.
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GMJ 158: DMG Chapter 1: Creating Settlements for Your Campaigns
Lex continues his series on the Dungeon Master’s Guide with a discussion of creating settlements for your campaign.
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Game Master's Journey 157: Designing The Trickster's Labyrinth
Lex discusses designing The Trickster’s Labyrinth, his first published D&D adventure. He also talks about some of his experiences thus far running The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan.
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GMJ 156: DMG Chapter 1: Mapping Your Campaign
Lex continues his exploration of the DMG with a discussion of creating maps for your campaign and world. He discusses the bottom-up and top-down approaches to mapping, giving some pros and cons of each. He also considers what to do if you don't have any skills with mapping and provides some campaign map resources to help you with your campaign and world.
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GMJ 155: DMG Chapter 1: Developing Gods & Pantheons for Your World
Lex discusses developing gods and a pantheon for his homebrew world of Primordia. Lex first attempted to base Primordia's gods on the domains in D&D, but finally realized it wasn’t working. Lex shares what he's learned from this and what he thinks is a better approach to creating gods and pantheons for your homebrew world.
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GMJ 154: DMG Chapter 1: Gods of Your World
Lex continues his exploration of the DMG with a discussion of gods and deities in your world. Lex explores different types of pantheons and religious systems, and provides examples from his own homebrew world of Primordia.
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Game Master's Journey 153: Tales from the Yawning Portal Review
Today Lex discusses Tales from the Yawning Portal, an adventure supplement for Dungeons & Dragons. Lex gives a full review of the book overall and each of the seven included adventures.
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GMJ 152: DMG Chapter 1: A World of Your Own
Lex begins a discussion of the first chapter of the Dungeon Master's Guide with an exploration of the core assumptions of the published D&D settings and how you can alter them to create a world that’s truly unique. Lex accompanies this with an introduction to his own homebrew D&D world of Primordia and how he's approached these core assumptions. Finally, Lex talks a bit about his continuing journey in designing the god, pantheons, portfolios and domains of Primordia.
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GMJ 151: DMG Introduction: Knowing What Your Players Enjoy Most About the Game
This week Lex begins an in-depth exploration of the Dungeon Master’s Guide . He spends some time discussing the different aspects of a roleplaying game and how you can engage players who enjoy those different aspects.
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Game Master's Journey 150: Preparing for a D&D Session
Lex discusses how he prepared for an upcoming D&D session. He explains how he took a problem encounter and used it as an opportunity to reinforce the themes of the campaign and further the goals he has for this particular session and the campaign overall.
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Game Master's Journey 149: Writers as GMs, Running Improvisational Adventures & DM-PCs vs. NPCs
Listener-GM Stephen Rhodes joins Lex to discuss the craft and art of running RPGs. They discuss the similarities and differences between writing for video games and running RPG adventures, they have some thoughts on using improvisation more as a GM, and Stephen points out yet another way that theater of the mind play is an invaluable tool in the improvisational GM’s toolbox. They also talk about keeping a good balance in your games and making the most of those wonderful moments of “downtime” you have as a GM during a game session. They also discuss the difference between a DM-PC and an NPC that travels with the party, how to know which side of that line you’re on, and how killing off a beloved NPC can be exactly what your story needs. Finally, they discuss how a GM wanting to improve her craft can learn a lot from books on writing, and they give some recommendations.
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Game Master's Journey 148: Maybe You Should Add Game Master to your Resume
Stephen Rhodes joins Lex on the show today to talk about how being a Game Master helped him get where he is today as a writer for Ubisoft Games. They also discuss writing and publishing RPG adventures, the pros and cons of class-based games, and their thoughts on the ultimate RPG super-system. Finally, Stephen gives some insights on starting a new campaign, and they explore techniques for running RPGs for both new and veteran players.
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Game Master's Journey 147: D&D Beyond, Initiative Variants & Balancing House Rules
Lex discusses D&D Beyond, a new online tool for players and DMs. He also discusses how cutting words interacts with initiative rolls, a few initiative variants and using potions. He gives thoughts to consider when making house rules or rules variants—there’s more to it than what makes sense logically. Finally, he gives an update on his upcoming D&D adventure, The Trickster’s Labyrinth.
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GMJ 146: PHB Chapter 10 & Appendices: Spellcasting, Conditions & Exhaustion in D&D 5th Edition
This week Lex concludes his in-depth discussion of the D&D Player's Handbook with an exploration of the spellcasting, conditions and exhaustion rules.
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GMJ 145: PHB Chapter 9: D&D Combat Rules
Lex launches into an in-depth discussion of the combat rules of D&D. If you have any questions about the rules, or you'd just like a refresher, this is the episode for you.
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Game Master's Journey 144: Teaching New Players & Tips for New GMs
Today I continue my series on the Roles of the GM. In this episode we discuss the GM as a teacher. As GMs we often find ourselves teaching players a new game, or even teaching players who’ve never played an RPG before.  I give you strategies to set yourself up for success and ensure your players come back for more. I also give some tips specific to teaching 5th edition D&D to new players, and finally I give some tips for new GMs preparing to run D&D for the first time. 
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GMJ 143: PHB Chapter 8: Food & Water, Descriptive & Interactive Roleplaying, Resting & Downtime
I continue my discussion of chapter 8 of the PHB. We’ll talk about food & water, & interacting with objects. We’ll also discuss social interaction and the difference between descriptive and active roleplaying. I have some thoughts on how you can encourage more immersive active roleplaying from your players. Finally, we’ll go over resting and downtime activities.


GMJ 142: PHB Chapter 8: Travel, Movement, Falling, Suffocation, Vision & Light
I begin discussing chapter 8 of the Player’s Handbook, Adventuring, which includes travel pace, special types of movement, activities while traveling, falling, suffocating, vision and light. 
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Game Master's Journey 141: D&D Product Replacement & How RPGs are Good for Us
Today I’ll discuss an excellent Ted talk I saw about how playing RPGs like D&D is good for us. Before that, I’ll discuss Wizards of the Coast’s product replacement policy for D&D fifth edition. Their website is misleading, and the process is much easier than you may have been led to believe.
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GMJ 140: PHB Chapter 7: D&D Ability Scores & When to Call for a Check
I dig into chapter 7 of the Player’s Handbook and discuss ability checks. I tell you how you can determine which ability and skill to use for a check and how to assign the DC for a check. I also touch on helping, group checks, encumbrance, and hiding in combat. Finally, I provide some insight on how to know when to ask for a roll, and when not to.
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GMJ 139: PHB Chapter 6: Multiclassing & Feats in D&D
Today I discuss multiclassing & feats in D&D fifth edition. These are two optional rules that you can use (or not use) to tailor your game to get exactly the experience you’re looking for.
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GMJ 138: PHB Chapter 5: Using Tables, Variant Rules, Equipment & Living Expenses
Today I’ll discuss chapter 5 of the PHB—Equipment. You might be surprised how many gems are in this chapter, including some decisions you can make about how to customize your game. Before that, I have another update to episode 136's discussion of the alternate encounter rules in the Unearthed Arcana.
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GMJ 137: The GM as Rules Arbiter and PHB Introduction & Chapter 1: Using the Random Height & Weight Table
Today I’m starting two new series on the show! First, I begin my series on the roles of the GM. As game masters we wear many hats, and there are a lot of skillsets involved. Today I discuss the GM as rules arbiter. When it comes to the rules of an RPG, the buck stops at the GM. Most RPGs have a rule zero which gives the GM ultimate authority when it comes to the rules, not the books or developers of the game. Second, I will begin a series of segments in which I will dig into the PHB and DMG. If you’ve been asking for episodes on how to play and/or run RPGs, this is for you! Hopefully I’ll tease out some gems from these books you didn’t even know were there.
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Game Master's Journey 136: Building D&D Encounters using the Unearthed Arcana
Today I’ll discuss an alternative method for building encounters for D&D that Wizards has provided in the Unearthed Arcana. After some playtesting, I’ve found this method to be easier and work better than the method presented in the DMG. It’s also not nearly as confusing or involved as it may seem. I also discuss the dangers of getting too used to adjusting encounters on the fly instead of designing them correctly to begin with. Finally, I give some pointers on creating a legendary version of a non-legendary monster to throw at your PCs.
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Game Master's Journey 135: Volo's Guide to Monsters
Today I give a complete review of Volo's Guide to Monsters, the latest supplement for Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition.
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Game Master's Journey 134: Bringing NPCs to Life & House Rules
In this episode I’ll discuss a trick I use to help me bring my NPCs to life or even create an NPC on the fly during play. I’ll also share with you a house rule I’ve been deliberating for D&D. It’s turned out to be a great example of some of the perils of making house rules.
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Game Master's Journey 133: Bringing Strongholds & Followers from 1st Edition to 5th
This week I discuss Limitless Adventure's 5th edition products and Kickstarter. I also discuss strongholds and followers from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition and share some of my thoughts on how I will bring these rules into 5th edition for use in my homebrew world, Primordia.
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Game Master's Journey 132: Bringing PC Backstories into the Adventure
Today I’m discussing PC backstories and how to bring them into the story of your campaign. I’ll give advice not only for GMs, but also for players on how to better give the GM what she needs in order to bring your backstory into the main narrative. Not only will using these character hooks enrich the story of your game, but it will also increase player buy-in and engagement. I also talk a bit about the new player options for D&D being released in the new Unearthed Arcana articles and how you can, and should, make your voice heard.
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Game Master's Journey 131: Keeping the Game Going Between Sessions Part 2
Today I return to the topic of gaming between sessions. How do we keep the story going, and keep players engaged, in between our gaming sessions? I’ve got some great ideas from listeners that I’ll share with you.
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Game Master's Journey 130: Primordia 2.0 - Improving Your World Through Revision
Today I’ll discuss some revisions I’m considering for Primordia as I begin preparations for my first campaign in the setting. I’ll also answer a few remaining listener questions about the setting. This is a great example of how worldbuilding is a process that never truly ends. Never be afraid to make necessary revisions to your setting, even when you already have campaigns up and running.
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