Wednesday, May 13, 2020

My thoughts at the one month mark

It's hard to believe I've been doing this for a month. Originally, I had intended on releasing something in mid to late May, but with the whole COVID thing I was suddenly home - all the time - and there was no reason not to put work into the show every day. So I did and I quickly realized that I could move up my release by a whole month. I did some research, chose a host (Podbean), virtually attended some webinars and, BAM, I was out there in the wild.

To date I've had 321 downloads. That's not a lot by any stretch - popular actual play D&D shows get 1000 downloads a week and in some cases, more. Maybe much more. But I have to say I'm not disappointed. My 321 downloads is about 311 total strangers digging what I do - or at least giving it a try. (The other 11 DLs are me doing tests.) So... how cool is that? It's quite a rush when someone goes out of their way to say they like what you do.

I've learned a lot over the past month. Many of the lessons were about climbing the tech learning curve. My audio got a lot better, that's for sure. I've also learned a few tricks with the 'workflow' as it relates to making an episode (writing/playing & recording & adding sound/music).

Going forward, I want to come back to 7 'Rules' I've settled on to keep me pointed in the right direction, always.

1) Always let the dice rule. If I fudge once, I'll fudge twice. The whole integrity of the show hinges upon following the dice. This rule is a never-break.
2) Keep it simple. The fewer rules, the better. Keep charts small. I don't think B/X D&D is necessarily better than 5e, but I do think it's right for this medium.
3) Keep it classic. I want my podcast to feel like the games I played as a child - to have that sense of wonder. (Obviously, there's quite a bit of adult grit added to this, but the wonder should be there underneath).
4)Maintain willing suspension of disbelief: you imply a promise to the reader not to burst the bubble. TOTM will never contain anything like the farce D&D which rules the airwaves right now. That stuff is fine - I like some of it - but I don't make it.
5) Always remember the 3 pillars: Exploration, Combat and Interpersonal. This last one just comes down to character development and interaction. I try to balance the 3 pillars equally. Sometimes I get it right.
6) Keep upping the ante: out of the frying pan, into the fire. The characters should be under near constant pressure. Respite should be rare and short.
7) Don't be afraid to zoom in the camera. Some of the bits I've made that I am most proud of are actually the more vulnerable moments. We haven't had many yet in the published episode, but wait till you see what's coming...


  1. Interesting to read your rules; I really like the style and tone so far. One note: those AP podcasts getting a thousand downloads an episode probably didn't start with that size of audience (or, if they did, it was because of a celebrity on the podcast or being a spin-off from something else). Also, my impression is that podcasts with mostly just one person talking tend not to get as big audiences as ones with multiple hosts. I listen to a couple but I think it's a lot easier to produce content when you can just have a conversation. You're podcasting on hard mode, doing a (mostly) one person cast and avoiding comedy. I'd say over three hundred downloads an episode compares well to a thousand when you've only released five eps so far. Well done.

  2. Thanks very much for the comment - it's very encouraging. You know, if I was doing a comedy AP with a bunch of friends, I'd be worried that I'd get lost in the titanic mountain of them. Man, there's just an endless number. I think you're right: without a celeb or spin off, it'd be tough to be relevant. Some of them have really, really funny players - most most have ... just normally funny people. I'm gonna stick to hrad mode. Thanks so much for listening!

  3. Just found your podcast, excellent stuff.
    I prefer your style, personally I cannot listen to the comedy routine playcasts. I have never enjoyed those types of things at a real table either.
    Interested to see how it unfolds. I'm almost glad there are lots of episodes, because I spend a good deal of time driving, and this is great.

  4. Hey Plainsman,

    Delighted to hear you are enjoying it. Believe me, it gets much better over time as I figure it out.