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Games

Each season of the podcast features arcs of different Tabletop Roleplaying Game systems. As our players explored these adventures we dissected what kinds of storytelling each system favors. Here are all the games we've played on past seasons:

Dungeons & Dragons (Season 1)

by Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford | 5th Edition | published by Wizards of the Coast,  2014


Dungeons & Dragons, originally created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974, is the first game that comes to mind for many people when people think about tabletop roleplaying games. The game popularized the widespread d20 system for TTRPGs, in which uncertain events are resolved by rolling a 20-sided die (a d20) and adding a modifier to represent a character’s skill or training for the task. Now in its 5th edition, Dungeons & Dragons is the most widely played TTRPG in the world, and thousands of players’ first experience of tabletop roleplaying.

Of Mice and Monsters, written by Matthew Minnicino and GMed by Percy Hornak, was our first adventure in Season 1 of Dungeons + Drama Nerds. The adventure starts in the quiet village of Secomber where our heroes Chadrick Bosely (Christopher Diercksen), Sriracha (Kevin R. Free), Nokuzola (René Goddess), and Gavin the Glorious (Nicholas Orvis) are tasked with investigating the disappearance of a local scientist, Bart, as well as the stunning lack of creatures in the forest. But what they find in Bart's lab baffles the mind!

Apocalypse World (Season 1)

by D. Vincent Baker and Meguey Baker | 2nd Edition | published by lumpley games, 2016


Apocalypse World is a post-apocalyptic roleplaying game set in a world that strongly emphasizes storytelling created by the GM and players. The game was immediately popular - and began winning awards - when its first edition was published in 2010, and is particularly noted for developing the “Powered by the Apocalypse” (PbtA) game engine that has become a staple of roleplaying game structures. PbtA games do not use a d20 to resolve conflict, instead giving each player a distinct set of “moves” based on their character’s class and rolling 2d6 to determine outcomes. Apocalypse World itself centers on themes of survival, scarcity, and relationships.

Irremediably Home, by Master of Ceremonies JonJon Johnson, is our second adventure in Season 1 of Dungeons + Drama Nerds. Beginning long after the apocalypse in the husk of D.C. trouble is afoot as four survivors (Vance Holliday [Percy Hornak], Vector [T.P. Huth], AZ Honey [Leo Mock], and Sydney Thorpe [Dex Phan]) find to get what you need... you've got to crack a few eggs.

Paranoia (Season 1)

by James Wallis, Grant Howitt, Paul Dean | Red Clearance Edition| published by Mongoose, 2017


Paranoia is a darkly humorous game set in a technologized future, in which the players take on the role of “Troubleshooters” working for the mighty Computer that rules a city known as Alpha Complex. The game is unusual among TTRPGs in that it’s competitive; players are encouraged to double-cross and attack each other as the game develops. The game has had a consistent, if cult, appeal among tabletop gamers who enjoy a more cutthroat, humorous experience - while Dungeons + Drama Nerds is featuring the 2nd Edition of the game, there have been numerous new editions in the 30 years since its first release.

Saving 73 Jpegs I Desperately Need, by GM and Friend Computer Ben Ferber, is our third and final adventure in Season 1 of Dungeons and Drama Nerds. The year is 214 and Friend Computer has a special mission for four newbie troubleshooters (Squick-R-BDE-002 [Todd Brian Backus], A111iiE111Eee-R-V1olence-3 [Kory Flores], QWERTY-R-ABC-3 [Mieko Gavia], and Edward-R-NRV-02 [Romana Isabella]). It should be an easy job, so long as there are no traitors in their midst... and they don't die first. Too many times, that is.

Blades in the Dark (Season 2)

by John Harper| published by Evil Hat Productions in association with One Seven Design, 2017

 

Blades in the Dark is one of the most influential of the games that are Powered by the Apocalypse: inspired by or derived from Vincent and Meguey Baker’s Apocalypse World, which you can listen to in Season One. In Blades, the players take on the roles of daring scoundrels pulling off heists and battling foes in the fantasy-industrial city of Duskvol. The game features innovative ways to model both the quiet time between heists and thrilling flashbacks or plot twists within the heists themselves. Just four years after its publication, Blades in the Dark has led to an entire movement of “Forged in the Dark'' games that follow its guiding principles or borrow its core mechanics.

Philomela and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day! A band of rogues agree to procure a heart from outside of the city, but when they also steal a body things go from bad to worse, and poor Philomela has to bear the brunt of it. The crew, who made their name selling illegal ghost-infused alcohol (BOOze™), is comprised of the Lurk, Princess Mirena Alonda Gracielle Valerio of the Grayfire Line (Tess Huth); the Leech, Wick (Whitney Lehn Meltz); the Spider, Milos Jeduin (Nick Orvis); the Cutter, Gabe (Dex Phan); and the Slide, Ellery Crow (Ran Xia). Watch as they pull off daring heists and elaborate plans under GM Elliot Peterson in a surprisingly light-hearted, freewheeling version of Blades in the Dark’s iconic Duskwall!

Bluebeard's Bride (Season 2)

by Whitney “Strix” Beltrán, Marissa Kelly, and Sarah Richardson | published by Magpie Games, 2018

 

Bluebeard’s Bride is an award-winning game of supernatural horror and investigation based on the fairy tale Bluebeard. Also Powered by the Apocalypse, Bluebeard’s Bride is remarkable for portraying a single character: the Bride, Bluebeard’s latest wife/victim. The players portray different parts of the Bride’s psyche as she tries to learn the truth about what’s hidden in her husband’s house, but she risks shattering and worse if she uncovers too much.

Our game of Bluebeard’s Bride features the Animus (Haleh Roshan), the Virgin (Gina Femia), the Mother (Romana Isabella), the Witch (Kory Flores), and Groundskeeper C. Meaker. A group of Sisters, fragments of Bluebeard’s new Bride’s psyche, explore their new home and attempt to figure out the true nature of the man they’ve married. She enters room after room in search of clues that point her towards loyalty or mistrust - will the Bride be faithful to her new husband, Bluebeard, or will she flee?

 

Warning: Bluebeard’s Bride contains themes of gendered violence and images that can be disturbing. Please check the show notes for content warnings on individual episodes.

Kids On Bikes  (Season 2)

Oh, Dang! Bigfoot Stole My Car With My Friend’s
Birthday Present Inside  (Season 2)

 by Paul Matijevic | published 2019

Oh Dang! Bigfoot… is a hack of John Harper’s Lasers & Feelings that is also an objectively perfect birthday gift. In the game (available for free here), the players take on the role of a group going to a birthday party that are sidetracked when Bigfoot steals their car - with the birthday present(s) inside! The players must embark on a road trip to track Bigfoot down, get that car back, and maybe learn something along the way.

After a routine stop at the gas station Hank McGruff (Chris Diercksen), Chet Daystar (Mieko Gavia), Helma Shrinkley (Susan W. Rodgers), and Geraldine “Gerrie” Winters (Shannon Wade) realize their car has been stolen by none other than Bigfoot (Jon Jon Johnson), and worse yet, their birthday presents for Percy were inside!! On their way to reclaim it they’ll have to overcome Wookie LARPers, tranquilizer darts, three-way makeouts, and Preppy Brian.

Lancer (Season 2)

by Miguel Lopez and Tom Parkinson Morgan | published by Massif Press, 2019

Lancer is a far-future TTRPG about huge fighting mechs and the people who pilot them. The setting of Lancer features a post-Anthropocene world in which humanity has spread to the stars, and mech pilots known as Lancers do battle with both human foes and unknowable entities. Lancer features a streamlined set of social rules, engaging tactical combat, and extraordinarily customizable options for mechs.

Our Lancer Campaign, Every Lancer Gets A Girlfriend features the audacious Derrick McDuck (Todd Brian Backus), the inconspicuous Hatuey (Jovane Caamaño), the murderous 18,000 (Ben Ferber), the just-wants-their-paycheck-dude Decency B. Damme (Tristan B. Willis), and Game Master, Julia Doolittle.  A daring(?) squad of Lancers from UNIO heads from their home planet of Baleena to Hagar. Scientists responsible for genetically engineering the hive-mind of cats that is 18,000 have requested aid in response to a downed satellite, but things are not what they seem. Unfortunately the craft landed in enemy territory and it’s up to our lancers to go and reclaim it. As our pilots square up against the Warriors of the Agate Cross, strange, inhuman limbs emerge from the spacecraft…

Thirsty Sword Lesbians (Season 3)

by April Kit Walsh | published by Evil Hat Productions and Gay Spaceship Games,  2021

Thirsty Sword Lesbians, is a setting-agnostic, action-packed game about relationships, romance, and daring by April Kit Walsh, published by Evil Hat Productions and Gay Spaceship Games. In Season 3, we dove into this delightfully queer and highly flexible game with Tess Huth as GM (Gay Master), train conductor and Spooky Witch Adelaide (Percival Hornak), the Devoted Rugosa (Leo Mock), the Infamous Malta Regina (Mieko Gavia), the Scoundrel Coney Shiversville (Gina Femia), and Seeker Nymeria Wu (Jon Jon Johnson).

 

This crew of lesbians lives in the Untamed, a place of tall grasses and communal living and megafauna. In our Thirsty Sword Lesbians campaign, romance blossoms as this group of disaster lesbians defends their village against stampeding monsters spooked by a nearby factory run by evil corporation Kell Enterprises. 

Brindlewood Bay (Season 3)

by Jason Cordova |  2020

 

In Brindlewood Bay, by Jason Cordova, our players take on the role of Murder Mavens: quiet, unassuming elderly women in a small town who have a habit of solving mysteries - and are starting to uncover something even darker and more intriguing as they do!

Our Brindlewood Bay campaign features C. "Meaks" Meaker as the Keeper, along with Murder Mavens Eddie Rue Dubois (Christopher Diercksen),  Lane Walther (Ben Ferber), Bebe Garcia (Kory Flores), and Doris Mackowiak (Shannon Wade). The Mavens investigated the dark workings of the Midwives of the Fragrant Void by piecing together clues from other murders in the cozy town of Brindlewood Bay.

ARC (Season 3)

by Momatoes | published in partnership with Exalted Funeral Press, 2021

The fantastical and pulse-pounding ARC: A Doom RPG by momatoes, published in partnership with Exalted Funeral games. In this game heroes face off against an apocalypse - whether that's a changing climate, a warlord with an army of undead, or something even more dire. Players, not just PCs, have to race against the ticking clock, because in ARC, time itself is a core mechanic!

Our game of ARC featured Todd Brian Backus as the Guide, and a group of civic-minded heroes in the quiet town of Startide Hollow: ethnographer Silt (Jovane Camaaño), spirited mousefolk Lemon Sprinkle (Dex Phan), blobfish princess Gormlaith (Romana Isabella), swim coach Deniz (Anthony Sertel Dean), and martial artist Twili (Nicholas Orvis). 

by Jonathan Gilmour and Doug Levandowski | published by Hunters Entertainment with Renegade Game Studios

and Infectious Play Publishing, 2018

Kids on Bikes is a game about ordinary people facing the extraordinary, the supernatural, and the just-plain-creepy. Set in the recent past, the game evokes stories from Scooby-Doo to Stranger Things as the players attempt to uncover mysterious goings-on in their small town. Kids on Bikes features collaborative character building, a resolution system that puts a twist on the traditional set of polyhedral dice, and the chance to play a communally controlled character with supernatural powers.

Our Kids on Bikes game features Fred Hudson (Emma Covert), George Privanathan (Esther Yumi Ko), Kodi Thompson-Lee-Garcia-Smith (Leo Mock), Hank Boswell (Percival Hornak), and GM CJ Linton. A group of middle schoolers take a field trip to the BromCom silicon chip manufacturing facility in their hometown of Bromwell, Pennsylvania and stumble upon a strange monster after sneaking away from their tour group. In their attempt to discern the true nature of the monster, the kids reunite with an old classmate, harass a 32 year old BromCom employee named Benny, and try to figure out what secrets lay hidden in the mines beneath the old Town Hall and what they have to do with BromCom’s slow takeover of Bromwell.

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