Season 1 Episode 9 - No School like the Old School

Welcome to Season 1 Episode 9 of RPG Circus

Episode Topics
  • Interview with James Edward Raggi IV
  • What rights do you get when you purchase a game?
  • Shut up and Role-play

Show Links
Judd's picture

Role-playing with anything

Thanks, guys, your show filled up some time while I tidied up the apartment.

Yeah, we can role-play with anything but I like my games to help me along a touch. If role-playing is swimming, I want the game's mechanics to be like current in a river, helping the table move along in the direction we want.

"If we all played the same way, I think I'd be sad."

Rock on.

Jeff's picture

@Judd - Glad you liked the

@Judd - Glad you liked the show.

Alex Schroeder's picture


Hi – I noticed that iTunes no longer downloaded RPG Circus. Episode 9 just never arrived. I had to subscribe using a slightly different URL. The old feed was or something like that. Now it's – weird.

Jeff's picture


Well we switched the backend of the site, which is why the URL changed. The only troubling bit is the fact that we have everything linked to a FeedBurner URL It seems Feed Burner doesn't change the LINK tag at all. Sorry for the trouble.

Darthmike's picture

Really liked this Ep.


I'd really like to hear more from the folks in the old school/retro scene.
If you can swing it please have Jim Raggi on again.

Also a question, does anyone use music to set the mood of their RPG sessions?


Jeff's picture


@Darthmike - I think Jim would love to be on again. I'll see what we can do. BTW, that's a great topic, I'll see what we can do to cover that.

Jeff's last blog post... How Long is Your Session?

Lumin's picture

RP and Rules

I think the real argument coming from those who dislike 4E is not about no "Role-Playing" rules, but that there are no "non-combat" rules. But for the sake of the argument, I'll associate them together since most good RP takes place outside of combat.

I understand that you don't need rules to role-play, but rules certainly can make facilitate it better. Otherwise, why purchase and play a table-top P&P game at all? Why not go into your backyard with your buddies and play "cops and robbers"?

This is the problem with 4th Edition. If I'm buying a book for it's rules, I'm going to follow those rules in my game. If there are no incentives, fluff or otherwise, to do anything other than adjudicate combat, then the game's design focus is not on role-playing.

I think P&P RPG games comes with a "feel" or "attitude" that the authors have explicitly injected into that game. 4E is not pushing it's players to expand their game beyond combat, period. Check out the amount of rules for non-combat encounters in Crafty Games' new game, "FantasyCraft" then tell me they are not facilitating role-play better than 4E.

The argument that rules are not required for role-playing falls apart when you apply it to a clearer example. It's similar to saying that you can role-play in "Monopoly" or a video game like "Super Mario Bros" even though there are no rules for role-playing. Of course you "can", but who really does?

It's not a question of "can" or "can't" role-play, because it's not impossible, but I think we get ourselves into slippery ground when we defend the idea that rules don't matter for it. Good rules that support role-playing can set up the scaffolding, if you will, for great role-playing experiences.

Jeff's picture


@Lumin - I agree good rules can help role-playing but I don't think they doom a game. Honestly, I think this is where were people with experience with RPG need to mentor those with less experience. But that's just my opinion on the matter. I'd like to thank you for sharing yours with us and we hope that you listen to our next episode.

BarrenPaladin's picture


It depends if Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Dio music is your vein as it does present a lot of feel for at least for a beginning of an session and such...

What music do people prefer?

BarrenPaladin's picture

Good Sight Jeff!

Well Jeff not bad of a sight.... Keep up the good work!!!!

I'm still gaming like is 1979 or is that 1989!

Darthmike's picture

Hmm...let's see Kill the

Hmm...let's see Kill the King, Into the Void, Man on the Silver Mountain, yeah I like the old stuff. Hell, I'm thinking about a dungeon module called Rat Salad with a monstrous Rat King at it's lowest level instead of a Dragon or Cave Octopus.

But I'm not the first to do this, the most recent example of metal music cross pollinating with D&D I can think of is Death Frost Doom by Jim Raggi.
Tell me that doesn't sound like a lost Bathory or Immortal album title.

Then again I can see a use for more of a soundtrack like music to inspire play maybe Midnight Syndicate or Nox Arcana.

But what I really want to know is does anyone play by Black Light? ;P

Darthmike's last blog post... Beast Book Preview

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