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Engineered Adventures RPG Talk Podcast
37 minutes | Feb 28, 2021
014 - Constraints Level Up Creativity
014 - Everyone wants more creativity in their Dungeons and Dragons Games. Cultivate more creativity through constraints. Constraints breed innovation and creativity. If necessity is the mother of invention, then constraints are the authors of creativity. https://engineeredadventures.com/constraintscreativity/It may seem counterintuitive at first, but some of the most powerful works came from the innovations and creativities that came from constraints. You see, constraints limit your options, they make it possible to explore paths less traveled. Along those paths you discover new and innovative. Think about how when nearing a deadline how your work seems to flow. Consider the times when you’re about to hit budget and suddenly new options make things even better than the expensive alternatives. By leveraging smart constraints, you shape the box that lets your creative endeavors flourish. These are the 3 steps I have found to best utilize constraints to improve creativity in my Dungeons and Dragons games. Define your GoalDefine the constraints that focus your efforts toward the goalDefine the functional unit that will drive you to your goal
36 minutes | Jan 23, 2021
013 - Short Campaign Tips
013 - Short campaigns are like other DND campaigns, but they have a hard deadline. This gives shape to your adventure. Their unique size gives opportunities to explore new styles, genres, and approaches, without locking yourself into a years-long spanning campaign. For Game Masters, they’re great for developing specific skills and techniques. As players, they give you a chance to explore interesting character concepts, with just enough to develop the character, without tying yourself down to a character long term. I love short campaigns. Show Notes Here: https://engineeredadventures.com/shortcampaigns/You need to finish on time. To help with that, I give you these 3 skills that help me run effective Short Campaigns: Outline your Adventure Combine multiple motivations Mange Pacing through CluesLet me know what you think. Also, I just started a Patreon! If you want to support me, get in on shaping the dialog, and even join in on some adventures, check it out here!https://www.patreon.com/EngineeredAdventures
63 minutes | Jan 7, 2021
012 - Christian Borchert - My Sound Delve
EP 012 - Equipped with an arsenal of compelling music, an enviable collection of historic miniatures, and an ecosystem of handcrafted terrain, Christian Borchert knows how to make his games a truly epic experience. He’s also the creator of the Soundboard/Dice Rolling App “My Sound Delve” . You can check out the app here: https://mysounddelve.com/And here’s the Show Notes:https://engineeredadventures.com/christianborchert/Christian and I had the chance to talk all things RPGs. He understands how to expertly use props, sounds, and other sensory experiences to create magic at the table. We talked all things RPGs, from his time playing DND in the woods as a youth, to designing epic cabin getaway sessions with his friends. He’s got a feel for combining the right things to make truly epic adventures. He also showed off his app, and it’s awesome! He’s combined professional voice talent with innovative sounds to create hundreds of sounds for your games. Each sound is expertly crafted and bursting with creativity to give you everything you need to take your games to the next level. Want to cast fireball? There’s a sound for that. Need something to bring your blue dragon to life? There’s a sound for that too. He’s combined unique languages, realistic casting sounds, catchy phrases, and actual sounds of success to create hundreds of unique sounds. There’s a full roster of sounds, catch phrases, and monsters to illustrate each attack, success, spell, and failure in your games. It really brings the table to life. With integrated dice rolling, a customized scenario builder, and the chance to create your own sounds, My Sound Delve has everything you need to bring your sessions to life with vibrant, fantastical sounds. Please enjoy this lively conversation with the creative genius, Christian Borchert.
27 minutes | Dec 24, 2020
011 - Dream One Shots
EP 011 - You can’t always have everyone at your games when you want. Sometimes life happens and people need to reschedule. What if you don’t want to play without them, but you don’t want to pull out an entire oneshot for the day? Compromise with the Dream One Shot. Link to Show Notes: https://engineeredadventures.com/dreamoneshots/I love these one shots. They let me explore different perspectives within the story. I can flesh out all the cool worldbuilding bits that lived behind the scenes. It gives my players the chance to take ownership of the fabric of the story, leaving their mark through the internal conflicts they confront throughout the session. Plus, since the adventure pulls on the things you’re already familiar with, it’s often much quicker to prepare for them than a random one shot. Try them out in your game and let me know how it goes.
32 minutes | Dec 10, 2020
010 - You're Not as Good as You Want to Be
You’re not as good at Dungeons and Dragons as you want to be. That’s okay. Don’t let that stop you. Don’t let perfection stop you from enjoying the imperfections along the way. Show Notes: https://engineeredadventures.com/notasgood/It’s not easy to start the path to get better. But you love this craft. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t love the process, if you didn’t love the game. I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned. Maybe it’ll help you too.
56 minutes | Nov 6, 2020
009 - My First Dungeon Master - Hamish Sharik
EP 009 - My first session of Dungeons and Dragons started in my cousin’s living room. Riddled with eraser marks, and more than slightly crinkled, I pulled out my character sheet, slightly nervous, kinda excited, waiting to start the game. I played role playing games before, but it was always on a computer. This was different. This was real life. Show Notes: https://engineeredadventures.com/ep009dungeonmasterhamish/When my cousin sat down and started the game, the nerves fell away, and I was transported. There was acting, magic, creativity, freedom, expression, laughs, and food. I loved the game. I never stopped playing. That moment sent me on the path to where I am today. This game helped me develop confidence, creativity, flexibility, and group management. As I played over the years, I’ve told really fun stories with friends, colleagues, and family. I started a TTRPG blog, created a podcast, and started running games professionally. There’s nothing quite like tabletop roleplaying games, and I may have never started if it weren’t for my first Dungeon Master, and cousin, Hamish Sharik. As a long time Game Master, Hamish knows his stuff when it comes to Dungeons and Dragons. He incorporates his years of problem solving in the tech sector with his vast Dungeon Mastering experience to bring a professional level of immersion, awareness, and adaptability at the table. We had the chance to chat about how he cultivates those moments at the table. He shares his tips to creating deep immersion, finding inspiration, and fostering roleplay, both as a player and game master. I’m excited to share his insights in Episode 9 of the Engineered Adventures RPG Talk Podcast.
26 minutes | Oct 21, 2020
008 - How I do Session Prep
EP 008 - As Game Master, you are the keeper of the records. You hold the bulk of the story in your hands. Through intentional session notes, you can leverage this responsibility to tell complex stories. You can find my session Note Template in the show notes here. There are 3 core components to effective session notes: What choices did the characters make and how did they affect the world? How was my performance? What did the players like? What didn’t they like?What specific actions did each character make and how did it develop their story? Focusing my session notes on these three points dramatically improved my Dungeons & Dragons Games. They help me keep the world dynamic and responsive. My craft gets better each week. I also hold onto critical details and actions for each character, helping me weave their story with the overarching narrative. Take note of the major choices they make and use it to shape the world into a responsive, living story. Keep track of the subliminal feedback your players give you each session. Maximize what they love, minimize what they don’t, and practice the things that didn’t go as expected. As you collect your characters’ choices you’ll be able to weave their unique story threads into a richly woven narrative.
33 minutes | Oct 14, 2020
007 - Creativity & Conflict with RiLee
EP 007 - Everyone wants to have fun playing Dungeons & Dragons.We want thrilling moments, exciting adventures, and emotional swells that stay with you for years to come. My good friend RiLee White is a master at creating these moments. Whether it’s her engaging accents, her hilariously subtle humor, or her emotionally driven epic moments, she’s always making the story memorable. Check out her Instagram Here!Show Notes Here: https://engineeredadventures.com/ep007creativityrilee/During this interview, we talk about finding creativity through character creation and play. We explore some of her characters and where they came from. We deep dive into Phony, her Lawful Good Tiefling Paladin who serves righteously, while being unable to hold the holy artifacts of her god. If you’re looking to flex your creativity and craft more fun at the table, make sure you check out this interview with RiLee. “It’s always fun seeing how people interact with what you’ve made.” It can be nerve-wracking to try to jump in and do fun stuff like jokes and accents and wacky stories. “What’s the worst that can happen?” Just be fun. Be silly. Be you. “DND can make you more confident in life. You can test out things you would do in situations in a safe place to get a feel for what it looks like in real life.”
37 minutes | Oct 6, 2020
006 - My DND Session Prep Template
006 - A few years ago, I was running 2 full time, long running campaigns, and I would spend evenings just pulling together pages of notes for each session. I was spending so much time. And you know what’s worse? It wasn’t really helping my games at the table. I had tons of notes, but they only got in the way during play. I knew I had notes on where the players were at, I just couldn’t find it in the huge stack I brought with me to the table. I needed to get better at prep. https://engineeredadventures.com/ep006dndsessionprep/I liked the one page template. It needed to be less restrictive though. I liked the easy access to sensory and character details, but I needed it to fill up less space. I wanted to chart out the scenes the characters would see during the next session. I didn’t want to over prep, but I also wanted to be sure I was ready for the crazy twists and turns the players would explore. As my sheet went through many playtests, these are the 5 components I found critical to effective prep. Use your Campaign Length to your advantage Prep to fit the session lengthPrep fluid scenarios in a “Mind Map” Make details easy to use at the tableBalance structure and freedom to create complex roleplayThis template worked so well. My games got better, engagement was up, and there were more amazing moments at the table. This template really set us up for success at the table. I was excited to prep again. I loved playing even more. Plus, the template helped me discover key principles that make a better game. Those 5 points above, not only make an amazing prep template, they also create really epic games.
64 minutes | Sep 30, 2020
005 - The DND Hobbyverse with Ethan
Dungeons and Dragons is more popular than ever before!Millions of people are finding the joy of sitting down each week to tell stories at the table with friends. Groups stream online through podcasts, live streams, and videos. We have celebrities talking about DND, sharing stories, and building full production shows around the games they play.Here's the link to the show notes btw: https://engineeredadventures.com/ep005-ethandndhobbyverse/This exciting hobbyverse feels like a crazy mash up of storytelling, arts and crafts, world building, and self expression. In this episode, I had the chance to sit down with my good friend Ethan and what he loves to do when he's not rolling dice at the table. Ethan's one of the craftiest people I know. He's been combining his talents with paints with his unique perspectives to create works of art through miniatures. I love talking with Ethan. We had the chance to sit down and talk about his equipment of choice when it comes to bringing the game to life with his paints, miniatures, and dice. We also got to talk about some of the great teams and groups creating exciting stories and content in the world of DND. Be sure you listen in, because there's something here for you. Also, he provides a wealth of useful resources you're going to love. Check out the links in the show notes above.
30 minutes | Sep 22, 2020
004 - Using the Spotlight to Create Stories that Flow
EP 003 - I found 2 problems that I wanted to fix in the Dungeons and Dragons games I run. Show Notes Here: https://engineeredadventures.com/ep004perspectivequestions/One, Sometimes the spotlight doesn’t move the ways I want. It can get stuck, or it can get lost. I wanted a way to take greater control, to make sure the spotlight meaningfully reaches everyone. Two, I wanted to try exploring what characters were thinking. Could I facilitate that without being weird? I realized people at the table are both actors and narrators. Could we find a way to leverage that? In fact, players in Table Top Roleplaying Games take on many narrative perspectives. Maybe we could use that. I found the solution through an in game staple, applied to a meta-physical problem.That’s right, we’re using random tables to improve our storytelling.Plus, you'll improve the moments in game your players will remember for years to come. As a Game Master, this hack has been so useful in improving engagement. I've noticed richer stories too. The tables also give me more reasons to roll my dice.
51 minutes | Sep 2, 2020
003 - D&D Character Concepting made Easy with Brandon
#003 - Creating characters for DND is one of the most rewarding aspects of the game. You build an avatar to explore the world with your friends at the table. With the freedom TTRPGs offer, it can be intimidating to create a character. Brandon is a master of creating interesting player characters. We had the chance to talk about how to create engaging characters that are fun to play. I had a blast with Brandon and learned so much on how to create memorable character. You can find the full show notes here: https://engineeredadventures.com/ep003brandonseeds/He uses the idea of Character Shards to serve as the character’s core. They can be shards of your personality, a single idea, or a focused concept. They can be popular individuals in media. Wherever it comes from, the shard serves as a seed for a character to grow and develop through play. Your character doesn’t have to be perfect at first, in fact it shouldn’t be. Keep it simple, focused around your shard. At the table, give them a chance to grow and develop through the choices you make. Brandon explains this idea through his wood elf Cleric, Anderon. When he made the character, he wanted to explore the idea of protection and honor. He also wanted to be a Storm Cleric, a subclass that typically doesn’t worship Helm, the God of Protection. Instead of figuring it all out at first, he left the details vague so he could explore during play. Each week, the character grew organically, and he became a rich and engaging character.Fun and engaging characters come from actual play, so don’t sweat it. Focus on your shard and it’ll guide your play, as you watch your character flourish.Here are some tips we talk about during the interview. Try them out during your next session. Take a shard of your personality and explore a character based on that trait. Take contrasting ideas and explore how they both shape your character. DND is a game, so when you build your character, make sure you build your character to be effective in multiple aspects of play. You want them to be both interesting and awesome.You can build something great from any idea. Your character gives you the opportunity to see the world with a new perspective. Start with a shard, then enjoy the journey of exploring their growth and development at the table. I’m excited to see the stories you’ll tell.
32 minutes | Sep 2, 2020
002 - The Functional Rhythm of D&D
#002 - A tabletop role playing game, like 5e Dungeons and Dragons, is like a Jazz Combo. It’s freeform, creative, and fun. It also has an underlying structure that keeps everyone improvising together. This provides the scaffolding necessary to create fun songs in the moment with people you care about. It’s a lot like riding a bike. It’s a little tough to get the feel for it at first, but in the end the simple, rhythmic cadence gets you anywhere you want to go. You can find the Full Show Notes Here: https://engineeredadventures.com/ep-002-functional-rhythm-of-dnd/I like to call this rhythm theFunctional Unit of DND. Why are these rules so important? Because they make choices matter. Without consistent rules, players’ decisions don’t matter. When you can’t reasonably predict an outcome to your choice, then there is no true agency. It doesn’t matter what you do. Choices don’t matter if the outcome is random. If everything is random, then the story isn’t theirs. This cycle is where the magic happens. Stories come from the rhythm of the game. When you and your table master this functional unit, the structure falls away and epic stories flourish. Here’s a recap of the functional unitThe Game Master and Players know the rules of the game, the characters, and the world. The Game Master sets the scene and invites the players to actThe players view the world and act, with a specific approach, to reach a specific goalThe Game Master uses the rules to resolve the action and changes the rulesThe Game Master resets the scene and invites the players to act againI’ve got a cheat sheet you can use at your next game. Find it here:
23 minutes | Sep 2, 2020
001 - First Episode! D&D Roleplay Tips & My First Character
#001 - I’m your host, Chris Zegarra. I’ll be chatting on this podcast weekly to deliver the tools, skills, and strategies to help you engineer your adventure and level up your story both at the table and in real life. For full links and Show Notes, check out the website here: https://engineeredadventures.com/ep001firstroleplay/Table top Role Playing games hold a special place in my heart. I started my journey with Dungeons and Dragons, sitting with my cousin, brother, and friends at the table with my freshly designed character, Marcato Vivace.Confident and bold, this half elf bard sported a charming goatee and a burning desire to help others. He was a maestro on the battlefield, directing his team through tense combats and overwhelming odds. He was a patron of the arts, supporting aspiring musicians everywhere he went. Those nights at the table instilled a lifelong love for roleplaying games that I carry with me to this day. There’s nothing like RPGs. I truly believe everyone’s lives would be better if they played more RPGs. That’s why I’m here.With over a decade of experience as a player, game master, and professional storyteller, I have tools to help. That’s why I donned the mic. I’m here to provide the legendary tools, practical skills, and pro strategies to help you engineer your ideal table top adventure with confidence. Now, more than ever, is a great time to start. Whether your a player, a fan, or a game master, there’s space in this game for you. Let’s work together to level up your story, both at the table, and in real life. I’ve got a quick roleplay tip for you: It’s all about perspective. I use these questions to jump into my character each time I get to the table. Try them out and I’m sure it’ll help you feel more confident in your roleplay. 1.What does your character notice most? 2.What does your character think and/or feel about what they notice? 3.What does you character choose to do, and how do they do it? Thanks for joining me on this journey. We’ve got so much great in store and I’m excited to share. Be sure to subscribe so we can continue on this journey together. If you have any suggestions, ideas, or feedback, let me know. See you soon!-Chris
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