What’s the OnlineDM up to in May 2012?

Here are a few notes on what I’ve been up to lately.


I’ve now appeared on quite a few episodes of The Tome Show, including the recent review of Lords of Waterdeep and, before that, the review of Heroes of the Elemental Chaos. I’m currently reading Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook in preparation for recording a new episode with Jeff Greiner and Tracy Hurley next week.


I backed the recently completed Roll20 Kickstarter, and I’m a backer for the currently active Prismatic Art Collection and Sentinels of the Multiverse. Check them out – they’re OnlineDM approved!


I also just received my Dice Candies in the mail from last year’s Kickstarter, and I plan to ask my friendly local game store to carry them. And hey, they’re made in Boulder, not too far from my home in the southern suburbs of Denver!

I’m also excited about my participation in the recent Admiral of the High Seas Kickstarter, in which I subscribed at a level that allows me to have a person or place named after me in an upcoming ZEITGEIST adventure. Look for the cursed island of Odiem (ODM – Online Dungeon Master) in a future adventure.

D&D Encounters

I’m happy to share that I’m once again DMing for D&D Encounters. I don’t have my usual Wednesday night bowling league in the summer time, so I get to run some D&D. This week is the character creation session, and the adventure begins in earnest next week. Woo hoo!

May of the Dead

I’m participating in the May of the Dead blog carnival, with my post coming out on May 29. I’ll be sharing an adventure that I had originally created a year and a half ago to help hook my brother in law and his wife on D&D: Spooks Under Silverymoon. Ooooh!

Other fun stuff

I’ve been playing in a recreational volleyball league on Thursday nights, which has conflicted with Living Forgotten Realms games lately, but I’ve enjoyed the exercise (even though I’m lousy at volleyball). I’m also starting a regular tennis game.  Yes, OnlineDM is getting in shape.

I’ve done a lot of work on my MapTool framework for D&D 4th Edition, setting up pretty character sheets. The problem I have right now is that it’s slow to update for PCs with lots of powers (as is the case for the 20th-level party in my Friday night game). I think I know how to speed things up, but it’s going to take some time to program, which I don’t have at the moment. Someday, though, I shall have awesomeness to share.

– Michael the OnlineDM

OnlineDM1 on Twitter

Quick Hits: January 2012

After taking a brief, inadvertent break from blogging recently, I thought I’d jump back in with some quick-hit thoughts on D&D Next, my own D&D campaigns, some non-RPG games I’ve played, the Order of the Stick Kickstarter, and the upcoming Genghis Con.

D&D Next

I’m liking most of what I’m hearing out of DDXP. Simplicity if you want it, complexity if you want it, and a real effort to reach out to players of all editions. The Dice Monkey Radio bonus episode featured yours truly discussing the game with some other folks in the D&D community. I can’t wait to get my 1e books! Yay for potential unity!

My D&D Campaigns

I’ve had some real life stuff interfering with my gaming for the past couple of months, and my Friday night MapTool game is currently on hiatus. Fortunately, it looks like the real life stuff has cleared up, and I should be able to resume that game soon. Yay!

My Madness at Gardmore Abbey and ZEITGEIST campaigns have been similarly delayed, though less explicitly so. I’m hopinh to run a session of Gardmore this weekend. I was thrilled to discover that Tracy Hurley, Sarah Darkmagic herself, included a link to my write-ups of my Gardmore Abbey sessions in her article over on the Wizards of the Coast D&D page. Woo hoo!  Thanks again, Tracy!

I’m also working on a new adventure in response to a reader question. I received a request for some basic “DM 101” tips. I provided a few in an email (this came during the real-life-interfering time, so I didn’t write much), but I definitely want to make this into a blog post. And I think an important DM 101 thing to provide is a good intro adventure. I did a lot of brainstorming on planes last week and am hoping to build the adventure itself and run it in the next couple of weeks.

Non-RPG games

I got a copy of Innovation for Christmas and have played it several times. Cool little game, and it travels well! I was in Florida and Pennsylvania last week, and a friend in Florida and family members in Pennsylvania all enjoyed it. 

When I was in my FLGS recently, I saw a copy of Kittens in a Blender. In real life I’m a cat lover, even fostering kittens for the local animal shelter. Still, I couldn’t resist – in part because the game makers apparently donate part of the proceeds to a no-kill shelter.

I finally tried the game with my wife Monday night, and it’s about what I expected – rather goofy! I think it would play much better with more than two players, of course. I find that there’s an interesting tension in the game when your “best” move is to go ahead and hit the Blend button in order to save your kittens who have gotten away, but when you have a kitten or two who will face death in the machine. The illustrations are adorable, and they make it hard to consign the fluffies to die. And that’s a good thing!

Genghis Con

The local convention is a couple of weeks away, and I’m excited! I’ll be running my Staff of Suha trilogy, and I have players signed up for all three slots. I was disappointed to learn that the Hero System game based on Dr. Horrible that I was registered for was canceled, but I’m still looking forward to trying some Dresden Files and Ashes of Athas.

Order of the Stick books

I’m guessing most people who read my blog probably know about Order of the Stick, Rich Burlew’s awesome web comic about a stick figure band of D&D adventurers. I own all of the books except War and XPs, and was therefore very excited when Rich announced a Kickstarter project to get that book back in print.

He needed to raise almost $60,000 in order to get the book in print. He blew through that in about a day. As of this writing the Kickstarter has been up for a little over a week, and he’s raised nearly $300 grand and counting. This pretty much means that all of the OotS books will be in print. Yay!

My only frustration: The comic is so popular that all of the special rewards (such as those involving signed copies of the books) are snatched up before I have a chance to sign up for them! Oh well; good for Rich!

If you love OotS, I recommend supporting this Kickstarter.

Looking ahead

Now that real life seems to have gotten out of the way, I’m looking forward to more gaming goodness. My new web site should be going live soon, and I’m excited about the improved look and feel. Fun things are afoot!

-Michael the Online Dungeon Master

OnlineDM1 on Twitter

The RPG podcasts I enjoy (and participate in)

I’m guessing that lots of folks who read RPG blogs like Online Dungeon Master probably also listen to some RPG podcasts, and I wanted to take some time to discuss the podcasts I listen to. I’ve also been lucky enough to be a guest on two podcasts recently, so the topic is on my mind for that reason, too. Go check out the latest episode of The Tome Show to hear my dulcet tones!

Dungeon Masters Roundtable / 4 Geeks 4e

These used to be two separate podcasts, but I understand that they’ve since merged into one. I believe this might have been the first D&D podcast I discovered. Basically, you get Thadeous Cooper, Tracy “Sarah Darkmagic” Hurley, Randall Walker and Samuel Dillon chatting about whatever D&D 4e stuff comes to mind, usually for an hour and a half to two hours.

Sometimes they grab other folks on Skype and bring them into the call (Mike Shea has been a regular recently). They run new podcasts irregularly, but I think a lot of podcasts are like that.

As of this writing, their last episode is over two months old, but they’ll have periods where a new podcast comes out every couple of weeks. It’s not a well-oiled machine or anything like that, but it’s entertaining. I like listening to the contributors. I even attended their live taping at GenCon. Clearly, something is wrong with me.

The Tome Show

Jeff “JEFF GREINER” Greiner has been running this podcast for 186 episodes (as of this writing in mid December 2011), focusing on “news, reviews and interviews” mainly about 4e. He brought on Tracy Hurley as co-host about a year ago when he found out his wife would be having a baby and he would have less time to devote to the details of the podcast.

Typically, episodes of The Tome revolve around a particular guest, new product, or hot topic (generally guests and products; The Tome tends to avoid rumors and drama). They’ve been doing a series of Book Club episodes recently, where the hosts and guests will all read the same RPG-related novel and then discuss it on the air. Since I don’t read RPG-related novels, I’ve been skipping those episodes, but I’m sure they’re well done.

Unlike 4 Geeks 4e, The Tome Show is a more well-oiled machine. They have nice production for their intro out and outro, and they have regular sponsors. They even have a script for certain parts of the show, and an actual agenda of topics with something of a timeline to them.

I’m rather giddy to say that I was a guest on a recent episode of The Tome Show in which we reviewed Heroes of the Feywild. It was a cool experience.


Haste is the official Obsidian Portal podcast. I enjoy it even though I don’t personally use Obsidian Portal (mainly because I tend to run published campaigns, not because there’s anything wrong with Obsidian Portal). It’s hosted by Jerry “DreadGazeebo” LeNeave and Micah Wedemeyer.

The name “Haste” is a reference to the fact that it aims to be a short podcast. I believe they were originally shooting for 20 minutes or so per episode, but they tend to be more like 30 most of the time. Doesn’t bother me!

Like The Tome Show, Haste usually has an agenda of topics. 4e issues are covered frequently, but not exclusively. Haste has also seen a recent trend of having guests on the show, whereas the earlier episodes were generally just Jerry and Micah. They don’t shy away from controversial RPG topics, either. They covered the kerfuffle that resulted from my posts about the online RPG community this summer, for instance.

Haste is a newer podcast and one of the most regularly updated as well. They aim for once a week, and they hit it more often than not.

Enchanted Grounds / Goblin Gurus

I’m guessing nobody but me in the RPG community listens to these, but they’re worth publicizing. These podcasts were started by the folks at my friendly local game store, Enchanted Grounds. Wes and Bill have been talking about comics and games on the Enchanted Grounds podcast for about two years, and they’ve recently spun off into an RPG-specific podcast called Goblin Gurus. I tend to skip the comics section of the main Enchanted Grounds podcast, but the non-RPG gaming parts of the show still interest me since I do like board games as well as RPGs. Give these guys a try!

Dice Monkey Radio

This is a newer podcast started by Mark Meredith of DiceMonkey.net. It’s hosted on The Tome Show’s feed, so if you subscribe to the Tome Show, you’ll get Dice Monkey Radio as well.

Only two episodes have been released so far, and I was the guest on episode two, so I’m biased! But I think it has a lot of promise. Mark is aiming for one podcast a month, and I understand that episode three has already been recorded and will soon be released.

Dungeon Master Guys

Hosted by Enrique “NewbieDM“, Dave “The Game” Chalker and Philippe “ChattyDM” Menard, the Dungeon Master Guys is an entertaining little podcast that ran pretty regularly in 2010 and not so much in 2011. I know that Enrique drifted away from 4e for a while and has recently drifted back, so perhaps we’ll get more episodes in the future.

The format of this podcast has been for each host to create a segment of their own, and they combine these segments with some group discussion as they lead into and out of the segments. They cover more than just 4e, and I find the podcast to be well done. It would be a shame if they shuttered the thing, but the archives are still worth listening to.

NewbieDM minicast

This was a relatively short-lived podcast (though I believe there was talk of reviving it) from Enrique “NewbieDM“. The format was pretty cool; less than 10 minutes, with a rotating cast of co-hosts, and a question from a caller. Bite-sized podcasting – yum!

RPG Circus

A  long-running, regularly-updated podcast hosted by Jeff “bonemaster” Uurtamo with a semi-regular cast of co-hosts, RPG Circus covers some recent RPG news but also has plenty of talk about older games. I keep listening to this podcast, although I’m not quite sure why. I can’t  say that I like it exactly, but I still find it worth listening to. Jeff is not a 4e player, so the 4e conversation on the podcast tends to be minimal and usually comes up in the news section, but still, I think it’s useful to hear from a podcaster who has experience with non-D&D games.

That’s How We Roll

I only recently discovered this podcast, hosted by Fred Hicks and Chris Hanrahan. Apparently Fred is one of the the main people behind Evil Hat Productions, producers of the Dresden Files RPG (which I’m looking forward to trying at Genghis Con in a couple of months). They talk about the RPG industry from an insider perspective (publishing and retail), which I find fascinating.

This Just In From GenCon

Exactly what it says on the tin. These guys talk about what’s going on at GenCon, with a pretty broad brush. Great for folks who aren’t able to make it to Indianapolis but wish they could. Obviously only relevant in the summer.

Critical Hits Podcast

I haven’t listened to all of the back episodes of this one, but recent episodes have featured Mike “SlyFlourish” Shea interviewing someone in the D&D world about their particular area of expertise. I think Mike is a particularly good podcast host and does a great job of putting together interesting talks.


So, that’s my current RPG podcast list. Are there others I ought to be listening to? I’m always looking for more RPG talk radio, apparently!

-Michael the OnlineDM

OnlineDM1 on Twitter