Ego Check with The Id DM is an interview podcast series hosted by a licensed psychologist, Michael Mallen, Ph.D. The podcast delves into a variety of game types (e.g., tabletop roleplaying games, boardgames, videogames) from a psychological perspective. Dr. Mallen has been interviewing members of the gaming community for articles on his blog, The Id DM, since 2011 and is now posting these interviews for others to enjoy.
Teos Abadia on Adventure Flowcharts & Visual Aids
Teos Abadia joins me to present his thoughts on visual aids in D&D adventures and how they may not accomplish their intended goals. He offers examples of graphics and flowcharts that do not seem to add helpful information to the DM as they attempt to run an adventure. We discuss player choice and the utility of the *illusion of player choice and how to incorporate both in a campaign. Teos address some common pitfalls in published D&D content and how that might be remedied in the future.
Katie Gordon, Ph.D. on The Suicidal Thoughts Workbook
Dr. Katie Gordon joins me to discuss The Suicidal Thoughts Workbook, a fantastic collection of practical tools to reduce suffering, find meaning and increase hope. She talks about her initial interest in suicide research and how that evolved into writing the workbook. She describes how the tone of the book became more conversational with the reader over time and how the text has resonated with clinicians and patients since its release.
Mark Meredith on Rediscovering 4th Edition D&D
We start out 2021 by going in the "sorta-way-back machine" to discuss 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons with Mark Meredith. He has been writing for Dice Monkey for over 10 years and recently started to rediscover 4e with his family. He talks about surprising aspects of the edition after years away from it. He speaks to the forward-facing design and energy from the tactile nature of combat. We highlight some of our memories of the edition and focus on positive elements of the 4e experience.
Ronen Givony on Not For You: Pearl Jam and the Present Tense
Ronen Givony joins me to talk about his latest book, Not For You: Pearl Jam and the Present Tense, which attempts to chronicle and place into context Pearl Jam's career. Ronen talks about his work his relationship to the music industry and how he developed the concept for Not For You. We share origin stories of our Pearl Jam fandom and then enter into a discussion about the structure of Not For You - and the various forces that shaped the band and our experience of them. We close with a discussion on why the band always seems to have memorable shows in Philly. This was a fun episode. Enjoy!
Matt Forbeck on Shotguns & Sorcery
Matt Forbeck joins me to discuss his career as a an author and game designer. He discusses his world of Dragon City, which has spawned numerous books and the recent tabletop roleplaying game, Shotguns & Sorcery. He speaks to his inspirations for the game and how he wanted to create a new iconic hero in Max Gibson. He details some of his successes as a freelancer over the years and describes why returning to Dragon City was important. Matt explores why racism very much exists in Dragon City and how that is fused into the game system. Matt talks about the reckoning that roleplaying games are having at this time with race and other issues that affect player safety. He offers a glimpse at what is next for Shotguns & Sorcery including a new monster book, a Pathfinder conversion, and other projects.
Kelly Carlin on Legacy, Purpose & Resilience
Kelly Carlin joins me to talk about her life as the daughter of famed comedian, George Carlin. She previously wrote a memoir, A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George, which was published in 2015. She has earned a bachelors degree from UCLA and a masters degree in Jungian Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Weaving in her psychological training, Kelly talks about her journey toward finding her own meaning while also managing the weight of her father's legacy. She speaks to basking in his glow as a child and later feel trapped in his shadow as an adult. She explores how we all go through confusion about our self-identity and how she pursued graduate education in psychology to further understand herself and the world around her. She talks about the powerful forces of "shame and greed" that hold us back and how we can overcome that to led meaningful lives.
The host is a thoughtful and insightful interviewer covering important topics!
These interviews are excellent
Lots of my favorite figures in the TTRPG are interviewed on this podcast, and the host’s perspective and style really leave me enjoying the shows. Thank you for your work!
Successful Insight Check!
Dr. Mallen is doing good work with the Ego Check podcast! Episodes have featured a really diverse set of guests and Dr. Mallen asks great questions to keep conversations flowing. I’ve appreciated listening to the discussions about gaming culture, mental health, and inclusivity at the table. Thanks for providing such an insightful perspective for the RPG community!