47 episodes

A discussion show with different guests each episode. We take a single concept or idea and discuss what that means within the D&D framework to help you get the most out your sessions, whatever side of the screen you sit on. Consider it an NPR-style, variety bucket of thought-provoking analysis and humorous anecdotes!

All music by Kevin MacLeod.

Art by Béi: https://www.beiworkshop.com/

Thinking Critically: A D&D Discussion Danilo Vujevic

    • Leisure
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

A discussion show with different guests each episode. We take a single concept or idea and discuss what that means within the D&D framework to help you get the most out your sessions, whatever side of the screen you sit on. Consider it an NPR-style, variety bucket of thought-provoking analysis and humorous anecdotes!

All music by Kevin MacLeod.

Art by Béi: https://www.beiworkshop.com/

    Streaming

    Streaming

    CW: A fictional anecdote containing references to NPC children dying and descriptions of gore & bodily harm to children, all within a Dungeons & Dragons context.

    This episode Robert Hartley, the DM for Viva La Dirt League, joins me to discuss his streaming experience and why he finds it so addictive. We go through the considerations of running a streamed actual play, compared to just a game at home with friends. Typically, this comes in the form of concessions; inevitably the streamer is distracted from the game. But, as with most things in life, an appreciation of the format is required when planning. The theme or vibe are you trying to achieve with your stream impacts how you approach the content creation process, and with a medium as inherently flexible as D&D, this has a large impact! One of Robert's big draws to streaming though, is interacting with the audience. It's a unique element of the medium, and as such should be leveraged as much of possible. Of course you can see how competes with giving any given D&D game your full attention! Rounding out the episode, when debate the importance of consistency and the parallels between starting D&D, podcasting, and streaming.


    04:52 - Transitioning from Home to Streamed Games
    16:49 - Streaming an Actual-Play
    27:34 - Alternative D&D Content
    34:05 - Scratching that twItch
    37:34 - Consistency is Key
    56:12 - Giving Back

    Find Robert on:


    Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/roberthartleygm
    Viva La Dirt League D&D: https://www.youtube.com/vivaladirtleaguednd
    'D&D Logic' Web Series - Episode 1: https://youtu.be/QoO2eI9IioE
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertHartleyGM

    Find me on:


    Website: https://www.thinkingcritically.co.uk
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThinkCritDnD
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thinking_critically_dnd/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThinkingCriticallyDnD

    References:


    Viva La Dirt League
    Dead Aussie Gamer
    DreadedGM

    Intro Music: 'Local Forecast' by Kevin MacLeod
    Intermission Music: 'Chill' by Kevin MacLeod
    Outro Music: 'Local Forecast - Elevator' by Kevin MacLeod

    • 1 hr
    Content

    Content

    This week I'm joined by Quinn the GM to talk about content creation! Quinn is a serial producer, having released 15 products on Dungeon Masters Guild and showing no signs of slowing down, and he takes us through a BTS of his content creation process. We talk about the difficulties of balancing homebrew, and how the concerns shift based on whether it's for your personal game or for public consumption. As a sign of fellowship, Quinn and I share stories of our own self doubt and battles with imposter syndrome, and more importantly, how to overcome them, the answer to which is delightfully simple. Closing the episode, we discuss how the homebrew 5e market has become saturated, and the ways and means to stand out from the crowd.


    02:09 - Content Considerations
    05:53 - Such a Thing as a "Fair Advantage" when Designing Homebrew?
    14:17 - Overcoming Self-Doubt Through Constructive Criticism
    18:05 - Getting Noticed and Finding Internal Value
    33:22 - Balancing Spells
    39:14 - Inverting Tropes & Subverting Expectations
    49:00 - Surfacing in a Saturated Market

    Find Quinn on:


    Twitter: https://twitter.com/quinnthegm
    DMs Guild: https://www.dmsguild.com/browse.php?author=Quinn%20The%20GM

    Find me on:


    Website: https://www.thinkingcritically.co.uk
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThinkCritDnD
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thinking_critically_dnd/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThinkingCriticallyDnD

    References:


    Inkcarnate map creator

    Intro Music: 'Local Forecast' by Kevin MacLeod
    Intermission Music: 'Chill' by Kevin MacLeod
    Outro Music: 'Local Forecast - Elevator' by Kevin MacLeod

    • 55 min
    Editions

    Editions

    This episode, Fabio Vollono of Morgue Miniatures takes us on a trip through time and all the varied & fantastical incarnations of Dungeons & Dragons. Edition by edition, we discuss how the game has changed over the last 30+ years, such as the concept of "boxes" versus our current reality of books. We briefly touch upon some hot topics such as gender stereotypes and the class-agnostic subclasses from Strixhaven through a lens of learning from past mistakes. The history of D&D can be storied and romantic, and in some ways has changed very little; there are still starter sets which fulfil the same purpose as they always have, and the pursuit of profit will always subtlety but substantially affect the design. We round out the episode looking to the future and debate what a potential "6e" might look like. What do you think WOTC will do next?


    01:45 - Boxes & Books - The Journey from First to Fifth
    21:05 - Reactionary Editions
    30:10 - The Genesis of D&D - When Fifth Edition isn't Fifth Edition
    39:42 - How the Starter Sets have changed
    48:40 - Looking Forward - Will we see a 6e?

    Find Fabio on:


    Twitter: https://twitter.com/fabiovollono1
    Morgue Miniatures Twitter: https://twitter.com/MorgueMiniature
    Morgue Miniatures Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MorgueMiniatures

    Find me on:


    Website: https://www.thinkingcritically.co.uk
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThinkCritDnD
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thinking_critically_dnd/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThinkingCriticallyDnD

    References:


    Swords & Wizardry
    Necrotic Gnome - Old School Essentials
    'Experience' episode of Thinking Critically
    Leisure Games London
    Goodman Games

    Intro Music: 'Local Forecast' by Kevin MacLeod
    Intermission Music: 'Chill' by Kevin MacLeod
    Outro Music: 'Local Forecast - Elevator' by Kevin MacLeod

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Failure

    Failure

    I'm joined by one of the hosts of the Double DM podcast, Emil Auerbach, to talk all about failure: how it comes about, how to mitigate it, and most importantly, how to learn from it. Failure is an intrinsic part of Dungeons & Dragons because as soon as you roll a dice, you run the chance of failing. Emil and I discuss several methods to mitigate this as players controlling characters who everyone at the table wants to succeed. From pandering to NPC desires to taking realistic notes, there are always ways to tip the balance in your favour! We then go on to talk about how, as a DM, you can work with your players to overcome challenges and reframe failure as a positive occurrence. Another tricky thing as Dungeon Master is deciding where the line is between introducing realistic consequences for failure versus trying to keep the story progressing and seeing character arcs to fruition. And finally, to make you all feel better, Emil and I take you through a couple of personal examples of where we've failed, so if you ever feel you've made a mistake, know full well you're not alone.


    01:20 - Avoiding a single point of failure
    10:24 - Ways to reducing failing PCs
    16:46 - Working together to mitigate knowledge gaps
    22:42 - Failing to prepare != preparing to fail
    43:12 - You're not alone - our personal anecdotes
    52:55 - Balancing cost of failure versus story progression

    Find Emil (@DoubleDMpod) on:


    Twitter: https://twitter.com/DoubleDMpod
    Double DM Podcast: https://linktr.ee/DoubleDM
    Hope for TTRPGs Discord: https://discord.com/invite/sYpH7vKvJh?ltclid=4427d97d-72d2-49c4-9b9c-4f2b002ec462

    Find me on:


    Website: https://www.thinkingcritically.co.uk
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThinkCritDnD
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thinking_critically_dnd/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThinkingCriticallyDnD

    Intro Music: 'Local Forecast' by Kevin MacLeod
    Intermission Music: 'Chill' by Kevin MacLeod
    Outro Music: 'Local Forecast - Elevator' by Kevin MacLeod

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Puzzles

    Puzzles

    Puzzles, the marmite of Dungeons & Dragons! I'm joined by Michael Wu, a.k.a. DM Micycle, to discuss the nuances of designing puzzles for TTRPGs. Certain considerations have to made during the design process, as puzzles are a unique gameplay element in that they are challenges for the players, rather than their characters. Not only do we have to deal with regular awkward rolls (Wizard rolls low on INT, Barbarian rolls natural 20 to solve the puzzle, etc.), but also how to bridge the various gaps between players and their characters. This is a two-way problem, in that not only do characters have vast and innate understanding of the world that players do not (history, magic, science, creatures), but players are also often stronger than their characters (arithmetic, logic, reasoning). Accounting for both these is a critical component in designing challenging but fun puzzles.

    Michael explains the differences between what he calls "escape room" and "interactive" puzzles. The former you're likely to find in official material as they are easier to produce and slot into campaigns, however they have several substantial drawbacks. Interactive puzzles on the other hand, although having a larger upfront overhead, are much more flexible, expandable, and engaging for both players and their characters. Ultimately it comes down to understanding; the rules are arbitrary and contrived. Bespoke interactive puzzles, however, have transparent constraints upfront meaning the players and their characters have everything they need to be able to solve it.


    03:20 - "Required metagaming" - bridging the player/PC knowledge chasm
    12:54 - The escape rooms of Tasha's Cauldron
    21:10 - Designing robust puzzles
    34:26 - Examples of in-universe applications
    46:29 - Puzzles without an answer
    52:16 - Handholding - bridging the player/PC strength ravine
    55:14 - Incorporating real-world physical props

    Find Michael on:


    Twitter: https://twitter.com/DMmicycle
    Game Master's Toolkit 5e iOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1528248704
    Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/dmmicycle
    Website: https://dmmicycle.company.site/

    Find me on:


    Website: https://www.thinkingcritically.co.uk
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Danilo_DnD
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thinking_critically_dnd/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThinkingCriticallyDnD

    Intro Music: 'Local Forecast' by Kevin MacLeod
    Intermission Music: 'Chill' by Kevin MacLeod
    Outro Music: 'Local Forecast - Elevator' by Kevin MacLeod

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Magic

    Magic

    "Perpetuating the success of fireball."

    Cat McDonald of Peach Garden Games brings her perspective of being an indie TTRPG designer and knowledge of the occult to this talk about magic in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. She takes us through the design processes used when working on Heroic Chord and her other TTRPGs. Unsurprisingly, we discuss at length her freeform magic system where players must homebrew spells on the fly through bargaining with the GM. When you compare this method with the one found in D&D, it's clear to see that 5e encourages power gaming through bread & butter magic items such as a +1 weapons. We world build settings and hooks to how to mitigate this potential lacklustre pitfall, such as a high-magic world which suddenly loses all magic! This brings us to how magic saturation affects a setting, with Cat asking the critical question of "are there bread baking robots in Eberron?"

    This episode, for the first time, you can hear my cheeky dog barking in the background at a few points. Apologies!


    03:07 - Designing magic systems for TTRPGs
    12:03 - Escaping the logistics of spell slots: free form magic
    16:37 - Inventive homebrew solutions to 'spell fatigue'
    23:15 - How magic rarity impacts a setting
    40:03 - Eberron or Eberroff? (Have I made that pun before?)
    44:51 - Managing magical minutiae
    53:48 - The "magic" of TTRPGs

    Find Cat (@CatlingGun) on:


    Twitter: https://twitter.com/peachgardenrpgs
    Website: https://www.peachgardengames.com/
    itch.io: https://peachgardengames.itch.io/
    Heroic Chord: https://www.peachgardengames.com/heroic-chord
    Sword of Symphonies: https://www.peachgardengames.com/about

    Find me on:


    Website: https://www.thinkingcritically.co.uk
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Danilo_DnD
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thinking_critically_dnd/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThinkingCriticallyDnD

    References:


    Inspirisles

    Intro Music: 'Local Forecast' by Kevin MacLeod
    Intermission Music: 'Chill' by Kevin MacLeod
    Outro Music: 'Local Forecast - Elevator' by Kevin MacLeod

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
1 Rating

1 Rating

THSKrigs ,

Great discussion and great quality!

Entertaining and insightful. The titles make it easier to find a topic you'd like to hear about, but they're vague enough that the conversation doesn't get dull over its hour runtime. Having a different guest each episode keeps the opinions fresh as well.

I'm also quite impressed with the quality. A lot of smaller and startup podcasts skimp on audio quality, but not this one. It sounds and feels as professional as any podcast I've heard.

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