Saturday, May 29, 2021

The Podcast has achieved Level 3

Normally I don't talk numbers much, but this blog is the one place where it feels appropriate.

Thank you all for listening!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

It's Raining Gyrios's, Hallelujah!

 This beautiful piece is by Justin Pfeil.  Some of you will already know Justin from his comic series (find it right here:

Turns out that Justin and I have been doing very similar things - telling classic DnD stories, using dice to predict outcomes, and then narrating it all as an emergent fiction.  The medium is different, but the concept is the same.

Thanks Justin for the wonderful contribution!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

'Gyrios' by Simon Williams

 Another amazing drawing.  The attention to detail is spot on; just look at the image on the shield.  It is perfect.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Updated Character Sheets (INV and STATS)


S   15

I    11

W  13

D   7

C   10

Ch  14

L   8

Plate mail, battleaxe, belt pouch (14gp, 36sp, 88cp), elven waterskin. A whetstone. A leather sack. Iron rations


S   8

I    17

W  9

D   9

C   14

Ch 7

L   10

Leather boots, layered tunic and leggings, goblin belt pouch (empty) waterskin, silver dagger, shoulderbag (quill, inkpot, hooded lantern, tinderbox, 3 flasks oil, ‘angel’ recipe notes, 2 doses of Raphinfel’s serum, “A Treatise on Theoretical Extra Planar Realities.”, Dermund’s spellbook, her spellbook, Silver necklace with sapphire worth 500gp. A spool of strong thread with both a needle and a fish hook. Owl of Thressendia. Mithridaticum Elixir (1 vial/1dose). Ring of prot +1 (now AC=8) Iron rations.


S   12

I    12

W  14

D   14

C   15

Ch 8

L   14

Chainmail, flail, backpack, Kagan’s old half-helm, waterskin, good quality beltpouch(2 flasks of oil), good traveling boots, 1 gold holy-symbol-coin, silver shield with engraving, backpack (16 candles, A leather sack, a flint & steel, whetstone, flask of cheap whiskey),  boots, belt pouch Iron rations.


S   12

I    9

W  11

D   14

C   9

Ch 16

L   15

Prison frock, waterskin, short sword, dagger, short bow and quiver, thieves tools, goblin belt pouch (empty), 50’ rope, Bracers of Defense AC 6. (74 gp, 363sp and 195 cp). 6 expertly made, white-fletched arrows. 20 arrows and a leather quiver. Iron rations.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Shownotes for Episode 38

Theme Evan King - Enchiridion

Welcome 148 Barovian Castle

Previously On Scott Buckley - Legionnaire

Part 1 Fabian Marmet –Norudya Tavern Song

Some  FX:

Please check out Fabian Marmet using these links: or on Instagram

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Chekhov's Bursting Armory


Even though I studied English Lit in university and have taught it at the high school level for years, I really hadn't heard of (I am ashamed to admit) Chekhov's Gun until I started listening to podcasts - specifically, the Story Break and Dungeons & Daddies podcasts (largely the same people involved).  Not knowing what these folks were talking about eventually stuck in my craw enough that I looked it up.

Chekhov's gun is a dramatic principle that states that every element in a story must be necessary, and irrelevant elements should be removed. Elements should not appear to make "false promises" by never coming into play.  If there's a gun hanging on the wall in act 1, someone should fire the gun in act 2.

Huh.  How did I not know this term already?  It's kind of right in my wheelhouse.  Well, it got me thinking about how badly I abuse this rule of writing.  I leave these open plot devices everywhere in TOTM, on purpose.  I'm breaking the rule multiple times in every episode so that I will have plot opportunities present down the line, depending on how things play out.  In doing so, I leave masses of Chekhov's Guns in my wake.  Most recently (spoiler ahead) the party saves themselves from dying of thirst by drinking the holy water from the convent.  Symbolically, they were consuming 'hope'.  Well it worked out great for the story, but when Umura first found the holy water and filled a couple of vials, I had no idea if they would ever come into play.  I certainly didn't think the party would drink them.

In a way, I like that I am violating this rule again and again - it reminds me that I am not writing a novel, that the game element is a major factor & that, ultimately, chaos rules.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Techno Babble

 As a belated 1 year podcastiversary present to me, from me, I bought a little tech gizmo to help address a weird audio problem I have wrestled with over the past year.

Seemingly at random, vocal takes (narration) would get somehow corrupted and distorted... well not exactly distorted, but degraded.  No amount of messing with settings in my VSTS or elsewhere helped.  It was a real head scratcher and honestly I still don't know what causes it.

In the past,  I've had to rerecord big sections of audio, losing hours (I know it doesn't seem like it should take hours to record a vocal, but with all the editing, it takes a minimum of 30 minutes to record 10.  Usually significantly more).

I noticed that the problem didn't start until about episode 16 or 17.  Could it be that, using a template for consistency has also introduced some kind of settings-clutter? I'm not sure. In 20 years of amateur engineering I have never seen this before.  To be safe, I am starting a brand new 'session' and so you might hear an audio change (hopefully for the better) in episode 44, which I am currently recording vocals for.

I also bought this gizmo.  It's an in-line FET booster.  The Shure SM7B mic is the absolute best podcasting mic, and I love it, but it is a very low sensitivity mic and you really need to crank the preamp to get a good volume. This 'Dynamite Stick' thing I bought should provide a big 'clean' boost at the pre-preamp stage, allowing me to dial in much less gain and hopefully to absolutely kill problems with hiss and distortion.  It is cleverly designed and even runs off phantom power, which is a nice feature.

If anyone reading this is an audio engineer and has experience with 'instantaneous' corruption/degradation of voice takes, please get in touch and teach me the secret to keep this from happening again! 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

This Blew my Mind

 I posted up a couple of portraits recently from Simon Williams that I just love.  What's truly amazing about them is how closely they cleave to my original vision.  When I started the show last year, I selected some 'models' for most of the characters so that I could describe them consistently and with a bit of nuance/realism.  I never shared these with anyone, but look how uncannily similar Simon's interpretations are to these models that he never saw!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Shownotes for Episode 37

Theme                                     Evan King - Enchiridion

Welcome                                 148 Barovian Castle

Previously On                         Scott Buckley - Legionnaire

Part 1                                       Kyellan – Carved in Stone

Part 2 (2nd half)                      Fabian Marmet – Entering the Kingdom and Norudya Tavern Song                                                                                             

Some  FX:                     

Please check out these great contributors at or on Twitter ( or on Instagram

Monday, May 10, 2021

Listener Submitted Art... Again!!

 Another gorgeous piece by Simon JH Williams.  It's incredible how closely this matches my own image of her.

Friday, May 7, 2021

 This is coming a little late, but I wanted to mention that the poem used in ep 33 was written by none other than Emily Dickinson.  I chose it because it's beautiful (and it doesn't hurt that it is also in the public domain).  I should have posted this with the shownotes - my apologies for that.  Here's the full poem:

Hope is the thing with feathers (254)

by Emily Dickinson - 1830 - 1886

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

Shownotes for Ep 35 & 36

 Ep 35

Theme                                     Evan King - Enchiridion

Welcome                                  148 Barovian Castle

Previously On                          Scott Buckley - Legionnaire

Some  FX:                      



Ep 36

Theme                                     Evan King - Enchiridion

Welcome                                  148 Barovian Castle

Previously On                          Scott Buckley - Legionnaire

Dramatis                                  RPG SOUNDS “Realization”

Part 1                                       Odin

Part 2                                       Kevin MacLeod “Unnatural Situation” -

                                                And ‘Labyrinth of Lost Dreams’ by Darren Curtis

Some  FX:                      

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Process Update

 I haven't written about 'process' for a while and I find myself in a new and different mode of creation right now, so I thought I might talk a bit about what's up in my life and in TOTM.

I'm a high school teacher and, since everything went virtual/hybrid virtual, teachers' working lives have been put through a bunch of changes - like so many other industries.  Basically, for me, things have been arranged so there's too little or too much work at one time. 

For the last 2 months, there has been too little and so I filled my time by working on the show and I got 'ahead' of release dates by a lot.  When chapter 30 was released, I had already finished playing and producing chapter 40.  As I write this, I am playing/writing chapter 44 and just released 36 a few days ago.  It's good to have a buffer, but I don't like it too big because I lose touch with the show as it gets published, if that makes sense.

Right now, work is bananas busy and I am burning through my buffer. A good thing, actually. I'm taking more time between writing/playing sessions and producing content much more slowly.  This should continue for the next 2 months or so until the end of the school year.

The interesting part is how it affects the production elements of the show.  Working in little bits, less frequently makes it possible to add complexity, simply because I have more time to think things through.  

I'm looking forward to the summer, when I can put as much time into TOTM as I want.