Friday, June 20, 2014

DCC Podcasts: Spellburn & Iron Tavern

As I mentioned in my previous DCC post, I’ve (almost) completely burned through the DCC Spellburn podcast, and the DCC actual play podcast Iron Tavern. (A new episode of Spellburn was just released, and I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, and I’ve still got a couple of episodes of Iron Tavern to go yet.)

Spellburn is part of the Wild Games Productions/D20 Radio group, and follows the same basic format as it’s other shows, starting with what the podcasters have done in gaming, then hitting e-mail, and then getting into the meat of whatever topic they’re covering from the player’s perspective, then the DM’s perspective. As with the other D20 Radio shows, I think the breaks between the different sections takes just a little too long, and is a little too loud as compared to the rest of the show. This is a big deal for me, since I usually listen to podcasts using headphones. Having it suddenly get really loud just reminds me too much of those TV commercials that used to blast out at twice the volume of the show that it interrupted.

Aside from that relatively minor quibble, the content is really solid. The first set of episodes focuses on the core aspects of the DCC game, from basic rules to character classes (1 per episode!) to the spell system, to monsters. It’s basically DCC 101 over something like 12 hours as taught by two judges (DMs) and a player.
Spellburn starts out with a cast of 3 judges: +Jobe, +Jim, and +Jeffrey. Judge +Jen joined the band with episode 22. One of the nice aspects of this is that none of these guys are pros, and there are times they interpret rules differently, which leads to some really in-depth discussion including their at the table experiences.

In addition, their guests on the show have included notables in the DCC-verse as +Michael Curtis, +Harley Stroh, and +Daniel Bishop.

The Iron Tavern is the actual play podcast of one of the judges from Spellburn, Jeffrey Tadlock, and follows the adventures of his long running (since August 2012) DCC group. The podcast picks up with most of the group in the level 4-5 range, so drops you into the middle of the action without much background. Personally I kinda liked that. It was very Episode IV that way.

The players are nicely invested in both their characters and the game world in general, and shows very clearly how well DCC can work with long term campaigns. One of the things I didn’t expect was how the players seemed to really embrace the weird results. For example, in a later episode, the cleric continually failed to cast spells, and kept racking up disapproval from his god. In game, his character pointed out that his god didn’t approve of the groups course of action. This same player/character switched gods earlier in the game (pre-podcast) for what sounded like similar reasons.

If you’re at all interested in what DCC is all about, these two podcasts are a great place to start.

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