So you heard about an actual-play RPG podcast from a friend, and you want to try it out. You download it from iTunes or on RSS. Now… how do you get started?
tl;dr A piece of garbage. Players who are grown men who should know better get slurring drunk and play D&D. Their characters torture and sexually assault a defenseless prisoner. They then abandon their quest and head off into the world, abandoning one member of their party.
tl;dr Long and theatrical first episode with a massive number of party members and way too many world-building details to keep track of. The PCs are interesting and well-played, maybe a little heavy on the tieflings, but the colour seems to depend more on improv chops than collaborative world-building skills. GMing this show seems exhausting.
tl;dr Rules-lawyering about advances and taking new moves in Urban Shadows takes up almost a quarter of the show. We catch up with Rob’s and Stephen’s characters, which saves this interstitial episode, but party dynamics are becoming really unstable.
tl;dr The finale for the Amnesty arc holds few surprises but cinematic storytelling and great characterization raise this episode above the average. It all feels like a lot of work for the end of a mini-arc, though.
tl;dr An original and surprising murder mystery with interesting characters and engrossing clues, rendered almost incomprehensible because of the flurry of names, places, and concepts, making it a rough way to enter this series
tl;dr Compelling story in a fascinating noir setting, pushed forward by all the players who bring their best to the game, bogged down occasionally by player and GM confusion about Noirlandia’s weirdo rules and resolution mechanics
Making actual-play RPG podcasts is hard — really hard. So it’s kind of incredible that GMs and players keep putting the same bad habits between themselves and success. Here’s a list of some of the most glaring mistakes that AP podcasts make, and some suggestions for how to fix them.
tl;dr A high-action session featuring PvP combat and daring attacks, marred by many minutes of rules lawyering.