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Plot Points

Updated about 10 hours ago

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Plot Points is a monthly podcast which discusses table-top role-playing games and their supplements as literature. Our quirky panel discusses games old and new, spotlights innovations in the hobby, and links to literature.

Read more

Plot Points is a monthly podcast which discusses table-top role-playing games and their supplements as literature. Our quirky panel discusses games old and new, spotlights innovations in the hobby, and links to literature.

iTunes Ratings

38 Ratings
Average Ratings
32
2
4
0
0

One of the Best

By KarloffAG - May 15 2015
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A cheerful, witty, fun bunch. Recommended to RPG fans of all genres!

Love it!

By dailytravelshow - May 15 2014
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If it weren't for this show I'd have no idea what's going on

iTunes Ratings

38 Ratings
Average Ratings
32
2
4
0
0

One of the Best

By KarloffAG - May 15 2015
Read more
A cheerful, witty, fun bunch. Recommended to RPG fans of all genres!

Love it!

By dailytravelshow - May 15 2014
Read more
If it weren't for this show I'd have no idea what's going on
Cover image of Plot Points

Plot Points

Latest release on Feb 13, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail about 10 hours ago

Rank #1: How to Write Better Adventures Seminar Gen Con 2019

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How many great RPG sessions have you played in? How many have you run? Given how much we all want RPG sessions to be successful, how come they so often aren't? These questions and more led Plot Points' own Ben Riggs to create a theory of adventure design.

Like this episode? Ben wrote a whole book on the topic! Encounter Theory is on DriveThruRPG. Click here to pick up this essential volume!

Like Plot Points? Support it on Patreon at the $2 level, and you’ll get a sneak peek into Ben’s book about the sale of TSR to Wizards of the Coast! This chapter concerns TSR West, an effort by TSR to open an LA office devoted to producing comic books, an effort that failed rather impressively. It is the product of a dozen interviews with professionals from comics, gaming, and Hollywood, and as far as I can reckon, it is a tale entirely untold until now.  

Interested in Magical Draught of Happenstance? Click here to back it!

Theme music courtesy 50 Breaks.

As a note for Patrons, you will not be charged for this episode.  

Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast.

Sep 05 2019

52mins

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Rank #2: The Galaxy Is Your Sandbox: Stars Without Number 138

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Low-prep, sandbox games make life easy on the GM. But how do you do that while providing the grand sweep of galactic science fiction? Kevin Crawford circles that square in Stars Without Number, a sandbox game with the awesome scope of Star Wars and Star Trek. The Plot Points gang takes on the game, dissecting its pros, cons, and gets a word or two from Crawford himself. 

Back Plot Points on Patreon now! Back at the $2 level or higher and you’ll get a copy of the current draft of Ben’s book on RPG theory, Encounters! THIS WILL BE TAKEN DOWN ON MAY 1st, and put on DriveThruRPG, so if you want a copy of Ben’s book cheap, back Plot Points now!

Be aware that we are going to make Plot Points into a weekly podcast, hopefully for the rest of the year, so if you’re a Patreon backer, you may want to alter your pledge based on the fact that we are going to be putting out more material.

To let us know what you think about this episode, email us at plotpointsemail@gmail.com!

Find us on Twitter @PlotPointsPod!

Give us a review on iTunes to help the show grow!

Audio courtesy of 50 Breaks!

Image courtesy Sine Nomine Publishing.   

Apr 17 2019

1hr 20mins

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Rank #3: 98: Five Generations of D&D Design

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Ben recorded a seminar wherein six game designers who worked on Dungeons and Dragons (Skip Williams, Jon Pickens, Zeb Cook, Ed Stark, Steve Winter, and Mike Mearls) talk about game design. During the talk, current lead designer Mike Mearls may very well have let slip what the next classic D&D game world he will be reviving next! 

New to Plot Points? Check out our first episode which discussed the seminal AD&D module, Ravenloft. Listen to an interview with Tracy and Laura Hickman here, a discussion of Curse of Strahd here, and our look at Eberron here.

Thanks listeners for the success of our Patreon! We reached our goal of $75 per episode, and we'll put together an actual play episode of us playing Star Trek Adventures which we talked about in Ep. 96.

Find us at plotpointsemail@gmail.com or @PlotPointsPod on Twitter!

Thanks to 50 Breaks for the use of their music.

Feature image by Larry Elmore and courtesy Wizards of the Coast.

Mar 17 2018

2hr 1min

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Rank #4: Why TSR Failed 2019- Ep. 153

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Why did TSR, the company founded to publish Dungeons & Dragons, flounder and fail in the 1990's? Ben Riggs goes deep with this updated seminar on the end of the company that birthed the role-playing game hobby.

Ben's book on RPG adventure design, Encounter Theory, is 20% off on DriveThruRPG until Thursday! Click here for a coupon towards this essential volume. 

Like Plot Points? Support it on Patreon at the $2 level, and you’ll get a sneak peek into Ben’s book about the sale of TSR to Wizards of the Coast! This chapter concerns TSR West, an effort by TSR to open an LA office devoted to producing comic books, an effort that failed rather impressively. It is the product of a dozen interviews with professionals from comics, gaming, and Hollywood, and as far as I can reckon, it is a tale entirely untold until now.  

Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast. 

Theme music courtesy 50 Breaks.

"One Eyed Maestro" courtesy Kevin Macleod and used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Aug 05 2019

55mins

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Rank #5: Encounter Theory 101: Episode 113

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Encounter Theory argues that the encounter, where players interact with the world of the RPG, is the meat & bones of all RPGs. Is this true, & how can it be applied by GMs and designers?

This audio is from Gen Con 2018.

Interested in Plot Points? Back us on Patreon!

Let others know about Plot Points to help the ‘pod grow! Review us on iTunes to help others find us. 

To let us know what you think about this episode, email us at plotpointsemail@gmail.com!

Find us on Twitter @PlotPointsPod! Find us on Facebook!

Images courtesy Wizards of the Coast and White Wolf. 

Aug 18 2018

56mins

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Rank #6: Appendix N University "Ill Met in Lankhmar" by Fritz Leiber- Ep. 150

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A professor, an RPG designer, and a podcast host come together over Ill Met in Lankhmar, a seminal Appendix N text by Fritz Leiber. Game design, history, prose, and yes, even art, come together in this golden hour of audio.

We need YOU to vote for Plot Points at the ENnies! Click here to support the show!  

Ben’s book on RPG theory is finally available for purchase! Encounter Theory lays out Ben’s theory of adventure design. It also has 14 playplans to help you design better adventures, and an entire 5E adventure applying his ideas, along with commentary about why he wrote adventure the way he did. Check it out here

Like Plot Points? Support it on Patreon at the $2 level, and you’ll get a sneak peek into Ben’s book about the sale of TSR to Wizards of the Coast! This chapter concerns TSR West, an effort by TSR to open an LA office devoted to producing comic books, an effort that failed rather impressively. It is the product of a dozen interviews with professionals from comics, gaming, and Hollywood, and as far as I can reckon, it is a tale entirely untold until now.  

Buy Ill Met in Lankhmar for Kindle here!

To let us know what you think about this episode, email us at plotpointsemail@gmail.com!

Find us on Twitter @PlotPointsPod!

Give us a review on iTunes to help the show grow!

Audio courtesy of 50 Breaks!

Image courtesy Goodman Games.  

Jul 12 2019

1hr 17mins

Play

Rank #7: Evil PCs Play Basic D&D: Episode 127

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What happens when an assassin, a murderer, a dark cleric, and elf Hitler go into a dungeon? To find out, listen to this actual play podcast put out by Plot Points! The gang uses the rules as laid down in the Rules Cyclopedia, which compiled the D&D rules contained in the boxed sets everybody loved back in the 1980's!

Interested in Plot Points? Back us on Patreon! Support us at the $2 level, and you'll get Ben's book on gaming theory, Encounters!

Let others know about Plot Points to help the ‘pod grow! Review us on iTunes to help others find us.

Find us on Twitter @PlotPointsPod! Find us on Facebook

To let us know what you think about this episode, email us at plotpointsemail@gmail.com!

Image property Wizards of the Coast, by Jeff Easley.

Jan 20 2019

3hr 30mins

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Rank #8: The RPG Industry is Better Than Video Games and Other Controversies From Dennis Detwiller: Episode 137

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Is art harder than writing? Is the RPG industry superior to comic books and video games? These questions and more are asked and answered in Ben's interview with virtuoso writer and artist Dennis Detwiller, one of the fulgent minds behind Delta Green, the role-playing game of Cthulhu conspiracy which is ranked #1 & #2 on RPG.net's index of games. 

Back Plot Points on Patreon now! Back at the $2 level or higher and you'll get a copy of the current draft of Ben's book on RPG theory, Encounters! THIS WILL BE TAKEN DOWN ON MAY 1st, and put on DriveThruRPG, so if you want a copy of Ben's book cheap, back Plot Points now!

Back Dennis Detwiller's game of Cthulhu wrestling, WRESTLENOMINCON here!

Be aware that we are going to make Plot Points into a weekly podcast, hopefully for the rest of the year, so if you're a Patreon backer, you may want to alter your pledge based on the fact that we are going to be putting out more material.

To let us know what you think about this episode, email us at plotpointsemail@gmail.com!

Find us on Twitter @PlotPointsPod!

Audio courtesy of 50 Breaks

All image courtesy of Arc Dream Publishing.

Apr 11 2019

1hr 13mins

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Rank #9: 94: Encounter Theory

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Ben has been tormenting himself with the following question: Why aren't there better adventures out there? Even great games often only have mediocre adventures. This has led him to a theory of RPGs entitled "Encounter Theory." He discusses it in this trenchant episode. 

Plot Points now has a Patreon! Support the show, and you'll get more Plot Points!

You might also get NPR-style episodes, like this one!

Feb 19 2018

26mins

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Rank #10: Is This Book the Best Edition of D&D? Episode 128

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Rules Cyclopedia was a 1991 compendium of Basic Dungeon & Dragon rules. The rules are fast, light, and fun as hell. Hear Ben Riggs talk about why that's so, and the history of the Basic D&D line. 

Also, Ben talks about his research for his book, and learning something about Gen Con owner Peter Adkison he didn't know.

Check out Designers & Dragons, Shannon Appelcline's history of the RPG industry. 

Interested in Plot Points? Back us on Patreon! Support us at the $2 level, and you'll get Ben's book on gaming theory, Encounters!

Let others know about Plot Points to help the ‘pod grow! Review us on iTunes to help others find us.

Find us on Twitter @PlotPointsPod! Find us on Facebook

To let us know what you think about this episode, email us at plotpointsemail@gmail.com!

Image property Wizards of the Coast, by Jeff Easley.

Jan 30 2019

23mins

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Rank #11: Is it time to remove the Drow? Episode 111

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Are the Drow too weighted down by racist associations to be a part of D&D in the 21st century? That's the question we settle in on as Plot Points takes a deep look at Chapter Two of Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes

Interested in Ben’s book on RPG theory? Back us on Patreon at the $2 level to get the current draft, but act now! He’s sending the book out to publishers, and if he gets a hit, he’ll have to take it down!

Let others know about Plot Points to help the ‘pod grow! Review us on iTunes to help others find us. 

To let us know what you think about this episode, email us at plotpointsemail@gmail.com!

Find us on Twitter @PlotPointsPod! Find us on Facebook!

All images courtesy Wizards of the Coast. 

Jul 30 2018

58mins

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Rank #12: Demons & Devils & Dungeons & Dragons: A Brief History pt. 1

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Demons & devils are some of the fiercest foes in Dungeons & Dragons, but did you know there was a time when they were cut out of the game due to complaints? The Plot Points gang of Ben Riggs, Sarah Babe, and Brad Davies takes a deep delve into the history of demons and devils in the world's most popular role-playing game!

New to Plot Points? Check out a few similar narrative episodes. For example, this one on the Satanic panic, this one about how the open gaming license freed D&D, or this one about New York Times bestselling author, Patrick Rothfuss.

Let others know about Plot Points to help the 'pod grow! Review us on iTunes to help others find us. Not a Patreon supporter yet? See what goodness we have in store for you by backing the 'pod here!

To let us know what you think about this episode, email us at plotpointsemail@gmail.com!

Find us on Twitter @PlotPointsPod!

Audio courtesy of Incompotech and Kevin Macleod, David Hillowitz, ThrillShowX, and 50 Breaks

All images courtesy Wizards of the Coast.

Jun 18 2018

36mins

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Rank #13: A First Look at Descent into Avernus- Ep. 165

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The Plot Points gang does another chapter delve, reading chapter by chapter the latest D&D 5E release, Descent into Avernus. Ben also gives an update on the history of TSR. 

Ben’s book on RPG adventure design, Encounter Theory, is on DriveThruRPG. Click here to pick up this essential volume!

Like Plot Points? Support it on Patreon at the $2 level, and you’ll get a sneak peek into Ben’s book about the sale of TSR to Wizards of the Coast! This chapter concerns TSR West, an effort by TSR to open an LA office devoted to producing comic books, an effort that failed rather impressively. It is the product of a dozen interviews with professionals from comics, gaming, and Hollywood, and as far as I can reckon, it is a tale entirely untold until now.  

Image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.  

Theme music courtesy 50 Breaks.

Oct 25 2019

43mins

Play

Rank #14: How Not to Suck at Storytelling-Ep. 146

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Learn secrets to running better adventures from gaming professionals!

A galaxy of game greats pass on their collective wisdom to make your gaming sessions go gangbusters! Rick Heinz of Geek & Sundry, Jim Lowder of TSR and Chaosium, Pip System lead developer Crystal Mazur, game designer and writer Ray Jenkins, and Ben Riggs of Plot Points gathered before a soldout crowd at C2E2 to share their ideas about how to improve the experience of running a role-playing game. 

Ben’s book on RPG theory is finally available for purchase! Encounter Theory lays out Ben's theory of adventure design. It also has 14 playplans to help you design better adventures, and an entire 5E adventure applying his ideas, along with commentary about why he wrote adventure the way he did. Check it out here

Like Plot Points? Support it on Patreon at the $2 level, and you’ll get a sneak peek into Ben’s book about the sale of TSR to Wizards of the Coast! This chapter concerns TSR West, an effort by TSR to open an LA office devoted to producing comic books, an effort that failed rather impressively. It is the product of a dozen interviews with professionals from comics, gaming, and Hollywood, and as far as I can reckon, it is a tale entirely untold until now.  

To let us know what you think about this episode, email us at plotpointsemail@gmail.com!

Find us on Twitter @PlotPointsPod!

Give us a review on iTunes to help the show grow!

Audio courtesy of 50 Breaks!

Image is courtesy Wizards of the Coast.

Jun 14 2019

55mins

Play

Rank #15: RPG Historian Shannon Appelcline Told to Cease & Desist by TSR- Ep.166

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Shannon Appelcline, author of Designers & Dragons, received legal notice from TSR to stop posting D&D material online in the 1990's. Thing was, he wasn't posting about D&D! Listen to hear the story, and how Shannon came to write his comprehensive look at RPG history. 

Ben’s book on RPG adventure design, Encounter Theory, is on DriveThruRPG. Click here to pick up this essential volume!

Like Plot Points? Support it on Patreon at the $2 level, and you’ll get a sneak peek into Ben’s book about the sale of TSR to Wizards of the Coast! This chapter concerns TSR West, an effort by TSR to open an LA office devoted to producing comic books, an effort that failed rather impressively. It is the product of a dozen interviews with professionals from comics, gaming, and Hollywood, and as far as I can reckon, it is a tale entirely untold until now.  

Image courtesy of Evil Hat Productions.  

Theme music courtesy 50 Breaks.

Nov 01 2019

55mins

Play

Rank #16: 100: Star Trek Actual Play

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What happens when someone who has never seen an episode of Star Trek sits down to play a Star Trek role-playing game?

The Plot Points gang sets out to discover the answer, joined by friend of show Ryan Smith and celebrity gamer Elyse Hobson. While a bone-deep geek, and award-winning Pathfinder player, Elyse has managed to live her entire life never having seen an episode of Star Trek! But that doesn't stop her from taking on the role of Commander Riker in "Border Dispute", an adventure for Modiphius Entertainment's Star Trek Adventures role-playing game.

New to Plot Points? We're the podcast that looks at RPGs as literature, and if you like Star Trek, you should check out our prior episode on Modiphius's game here

Plot Points regulars! If you like this actual play, back the 'pod to get more! If we reach $110 per episode by May 31st, we'll do another actual play, patrons choice! Back the 'pod here!

To let us know what you think about this episode, email us at plotpointsemail@gmail.com!

Thanks to 50 Breaks for the use of their music.

Image courtesy Modiphius Entertainment.

Apr 15 2018

3hr 4mins

Play

Rank #17: D&D 5E Seminar from Gamehole Con 2019- Ep. 167

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An hour of power with the towering triumvirate of tabletop, Mike Mearls, Chris Perkins, and Chris Lindsay! Hear about the origins of such products as Tyranny of Dragons and D&D Essentials in this freewheeling and wide-ranging Q&A panel.

[Edit: Episode volume increased 11/8/2019

Also, check out Bundle of Holding's unbelievable Trail of Cthulhu deals here!

Ben’s book on RPG adventure design, Encounter Theory, is on DriveThruRPG. Click here to pick up this essential volume!

Like Plot Points? Support it on Patreon at the $2 level, and you’ll get a sneak peek into Ben’s book about the sale of TSR to Wizards of the Coast! This chapter concerns TSR West, an effort by TSR to open an LA office devoted to producing comic books, an effort that failed rather impressively. It is the product of a dozen interviews with professionals from comics, gaming, and Hollywood, and as far as I can reckon, it is a tale entirely untold until now.  

Image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.  

Theme music courtesy 50 Breaks.

Nov 08 2019

1hr 3mins

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Rank #18: The Greatest Campaign of all Time in a New Edition: A Step Forward or Backward?

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Chaosium has released a new version of Masks of Nyarlathotep, which many believe to be the greatest RPG campaign of all time. With hundreds of pages of new material, including an entirely new scenario, the Plot Points gang asks, how does this compare to the original edition from 1984, and takes a deep look at the first scenario in the campaign, New York.

Hear, fear, and tremble at Masks of Nyarlathotep!

Interested in Plot Points? Back us on Patreon!

Let others know about Plot Points to help the ‘pod grow! Review us on iTunes to help others find us. 

To let us know what you think about this episode, email us at plotpointsemail@gmail.com!

Find us on Twitter @PlotPointsPod! Find us on Facebook!

Images courtesy Chaosium. 

Nov 10 2018

1hr 15mins

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Rank #19: Why Is Pelgrane Press So Good? Ep. 149

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Pelgrane Press is a phenomenal company devoted solely to the production of role-playing games. The company's products are universally stunning, from 13th Age to The Dracula Dossier. How does Pelgrane manage to put out such consistently amazing material with only one full-time employee? An interview with co-owner Cat Tobin plumbs the depths of the Pelgrane paradox. 

Ben’s book on RPG theory is finally available for purchase! Encounter Theory lays out Ben’s theory of adventure design. It also has 14 playplans to help you design better adventures, and an entire 5E adventure applying his ideas, along with commentary about why he wrote adventure the way he did. Check it out here

Like Plot Points? Support it on Patreon at the $2 level, and you’ll get a sneak peek into Ben’s book about the sale of TSR to Wizards of the Coast! This chapter concerns TSR West, an effort by TSR to open an LA office devoted to producing comic books, an effort that failed rather impressively. It is the product of a dozen interviews with professionals from comics, gaming, and Hollywood, and as far as I can reckon, it is a tale entirely untold until now.  

Buy Ill Met in Lankhmar for Kindle here!

To let us know what you think about this episode, email us at plotpointsemail@gmail.com!

Find us on Twitter @PlotPointsPod!

Give us a review on iTunes to help the show grow!

Audio courtesy of 50 Breaks!

Image courtesy Pelgrane Press.

Jul 04 2019

1hr 5mins

Play

Rank #20: The Hope & Tragedy of TSR West Seminar Gen Con 2019- Ep. 155

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TSR West was an attempt by TSR to break into the comic book industry. How and why didn't it work out? A seminar from Gen Con 2019. 

Ben’s book on RPG adventure design, Encounter Theory, is on DriveThruRPG. Click here to pick up this essential volume!

Like Plot Points? Support it on Patreon at the $2 level, and you’ll get a sneak peek into Ben’s book about the sale of TSR to Wizards of the Coast! This chapter concerns TSR West, an effort by TSR to open an LA office devoted to producing comic books, an effort that failed rather impressively. It is the product of a dozen interviews with professionals from comics, gaming, and Hollywood, and as far as I can reckon, it is a tale entirely untold until now.  

Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast. 

Theme music courtesy 50 Breaks.

Aug 16 2019

50mins

Play