16.19: Intro to Roleplaying Games

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette Kowal, James L. Sutter, Dan Wells, Cassandra Khaw, and Howard Tayler

For the next eight episodes we’ll be talking about roleplaying games, and how that medium relates to writers, writing, career opportunities, and more. We’re led by James L. Sutter and Cassandra Khaw on this particular quest.

In this episode we lay some groundwork, define a few terms, and hopefully get you excited about looking at games in new and useful ways.

Credits: this episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson


Spend some time playing a roleplaying game, either video game or tabletop. Take note of what’s fun and what’s not.

7 thoughts on “16.19: Intro to Roleplaying Games”

  1. I teach an RPG Writing Workshop at Carnegie Mellon U in Pittsburgh and I’d love to talk to you. I’ve written for tabletop and video games.

  2. You guys must be psychic, this series is exactly what I needed. I’ve been planning a 1-shot tabletop rpg with some friends to test out some plot and story ideas for my book, and then presto, an entire series on rpgs.

    I think you all did an excellent job summarizing what rpgs are, as I often personally struggle doing just that. Many times I find potential players leaving with the wrong impression, rather than being excited to play the game.

    My pet peeve very easily would be back-seat DMs (or GMs for broader terminology.) When the players begin to fight me as the DM over the height of the trees, the way the terrain is portrayed, etc I’ve found it not only delays the game, but it pulls everyone out of the immersion, and brings back the “players-vs-dm” to a degree.

    Thank you all again for these podcasts. I’d never been able to write my first book if it wasn’t for them. I am greatly looking forward to future episodes on the topic of rpgs. (And any other topic for that matter!)

  3. No dice were rolled in this episode. However, the home team, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard, were joined by James and Cassandra as they began their journey into the land of roleplaying games, where both tabletop and video can be found. Lots of interesting ideas, and this is just the start of the intensive course on roleplaying games. Go read all about it in the transcript available now in the archives.

  4. Amazing! I’ve been listening to the podcast for over a year now anyhow but I’m actually a game design student so this series will be perfect Definitely looking forward to it!

  5. I made a Tabletop RPG using the world I built for a fantasy novel (with the help of my brother) and I found it helped me work out some minor worldbuilding details without having to into long backstories or prep documents that no one will ever read. It also helped me flesh out somethings that made my world feel more lived in.

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