Nerds on Earth
The best place on Earth for nerds.

Interview: The Glass Cannon Podcast Giantslayers, Part 1

When I think about folks who haven’t listened to the Glass Cannon podcast, I stare out the window regretfully…a single leaf falls…like a teardrop. YOU MUST LISTEN!

The Glass Cannon podcast is a play through podcast that uses the Pathfinder roleplaying game system, and the Giantslayer Adventure Path specifically.

The Pathfinder RPG system is fantastic, the podcast is hilarious, and the story is driven by a player group that brings nothing but A-game to the table. So I hogtied the entire gaming group (no easy task, as they’re squirrelly), then drug them back to Nerds on Earth HQ. They were questioned thoroughly, then released (mostly) unharmed.

Pathfinder RPG: The Glass Cannon Podcast

Clave: Hello, good sirs. It’s clear that you guys like playing together and have a strong rapport between you. What’s the origin story for your gaming group?

Skid: A few years back I was at the Mark Bar (a great local dive) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, with my girlfriend. I saw a group of people playing 4th Edition D&D at a corner table, but I was too shy to approach them.

Skid, who plays the human cleric Gelabrous Finn.
Skid, who plays the human cleric Gelabrous Finn.

Finally, she made me go over and actually speak to them. I was interested at starting a new Rise of the Runelords campaign at the time, and I asked the group’s DM if he would be interested in playing. He was, and the first session he brought his wife’s friend, Grant, with him to play the Barbarian, Odak.

We’ve been friends ever since, and when Joe, Troy, and I were planning the podcast we figured Grant would be a great addition.

Grant: All roads lead to Skid. Skid’s an amazing DM and amazing person who attracts the best of the best to play with him. Really, we’re just five guys who found each other looking for the perfect NYC Pathfinder group.

Skid: Well, it’s still not clear how anyone knows Matthew.

Matthew: I guess they decided they needed a noob to round out the party, or be someone to stand in for those listeners new to RPGs, or be someone that they could mock ruthlessly for not knowing how Spellcraft checks work. So they asked me to join.

But really, I never played tabletop RPGs before, and last winter Joe invited me to play in a few Pathfinder Society games that he and Skid were playing, and I had a blast. I was hooked.

Grant, who plays the dwarf gunslinger Barron Redheart.
Grant, who plays the dwarf gunslinger Barron Redheart.

Skid: I met Joe at a dinner with a mutual friend (Nick Lowe)[1]. We got to talking about PAX, and I invited him to join another campaign I was in at the time. It was a pretty sh!&ty campaign, but Joe and I moved on to another game where he brought in Troy. He can tell you how they met, it’s very nerdy.

Joe:  Yeah, I hadn’t played D&D since middle school when a good friend invited me out for dinner and asked if his old roommate could join us.  Turned out my buddy’s former roommate was Skid!  We hit it off immediately and the buddy that introduced us was quietly sitting to the side as Skid and I talked all through dinner.

At this point I had already met Troy, but never knew he had also played D&D during his middle school years, and I never mentioned it. When it eventually came up, he wanted in. I talked to the DM, and we moved some people out, and moved Troy in.

Matthew is my fiancee’s best friend’s husband.  I knew he was a nerd and a board gamer, but he never played RPGs before. I asked him if he wanted in, and to my surprise he actually said ‘yes.’

So the Glass Cannon Podcast is actually recording the first adventure this particular group has ever played together.

 

Clave: It sounds like the moral of that story is to straight up ask your buddies if they played D&D in jr. high, ’cause you just never know. It also sounds like you guys are active in your local gaming communities in order to spread the love of the Pathfinder RPG.

Matthew, who plays the human switch Gormlaith Kall.
Matthew, who plays the human witch Gormlaith Kall.

Grant: I try to be, and I love the Twenty Sided Store in Brooklyn and the Compleat Strategist in Manhattan. I could definitely do more and would love to join in board game nights. Please invite me!

Skid: I’m personally involved in three other campaigns at the moment, and I try to spread the love of Pathfinder through playing it! Also, a brand new game store just opened in our neighborhood and we are talking about approaching them with some sort of partnership concept. Other than that I really don’t have a good handle on the general gaming scene here, but Joe has a couple stories.

Joe: Yes, absolutely. I started a thing I called Metagame Theory Game Night in NYC in 2013. It’s roughly once every month or two and I rent out space in a bar in Manhattan, pack in about 15 board games, invite about 100 people and generally get anywhere from 20-50 to show up.

We play mostly lighter games and party games (Wits & Wagers, Smart Ass, The Resistance, Zombie Dice), but there are definitely people that will sit at a table and just play Power Grid, or Settlers of Catan, or Puerto Rico for the entire evening. It’s been really exciting meeting all the gamers that are out there in NYC.

Troy and I started up an unofficial Pathfinder Society [2] where we try to have a solid mix of people outside our normal groups that can get together in those down-times when our long-term campaign groups can’t get together.

I wish it was more active than it is, but these things take time. As of now, games only happen when either Troy, myself, or Skid are present to run them, but our goal is to have people like Matthew and Grant running their own short one-offs soon. Strange as it sounds, my goal is to find out that a Pathfinder Society came together over Facebook [3] on a night where Troy, Skid, and I can’t even make it!

Matthew: I’m still learning how to play, over here.

 

Joe, who plays the half-orc ranger Lorc Irontusk.
Joe, who plays the half-orc ranger Lorc Irontusk.

Clave: You guys have a fun adventuring party (cleric, ranger, witch, and gunslinger). I wonder if each of you could say one nice thing both about another class that you aren’t playing, as well as one nice thing about another player! Initiative order: Grant, Skid, Matthew, then Joe.

Grant: Ranger. I think Joe has done a lot to add flavor and backstory to his character, Lorc, and I’m thrilled to see his next character arc. I’d probably want to grab a beer with Lorc in real life. Joe is similarly a wonderful dude to spend time with, and I think he’ll develop Lorc well.

Likewise, it is a thrill to see meek, humble Gelabrous channel one second and then go melee with his mace the next. I think Skid has struck a wonderful balance between being a loving healer and a bada$$ on the battlefield. Skid picks his spots wisely.

Gormlaith is a conundrum. Total confusion. That’s the only way to describe my character’s (Barron’s) current mindset towards Gormlaith. While it’s wonderful to have an ally who can shut down a character’s attack, make him a cinch to hit, or totally ruin his rolls, it is TERRIFYING to have that advantage come from a cackling witch.

As characters, we kind of understand that Gormlaith used to live in Trunau and had to leave. However, we have no idea WHY she left to become a hermit in the wild of one of the most dangerous places in Golarion. Luckily, Matthew is a fabulous writer and will do something great with this mysterious character.

As for our Dungeon Master, Troy has a flair for the dramatic, which guides our campaign towards intrigue and drama. THIS IS WHY WE PLAY. As much as we all love mechanics, we love story even more. He’s not perfect, but he’s made bold decisions that have led our campaign more interestingly than if he followed as rigidly as Paizo initially wrote it! You’d be incredibly lucky to ever play with a DM like Troy.

Troy: [4] Just know these are Grant’s thoughts so they may not be true.

Skid: I tell you what man, I füç&ing love playing Barbarians. I’m playing one in our Jade Regent campaign, which is maybe the best campaign I’ve ever played in, and he’s loosely based on Mister Eko [5] from Lost.

Being a support character is a fun change of pace and I really like Gelabrous, but there’s something to be said for just wading into some jerk monster’s face and crushing it with a +2 greatclub.

Here are some nice things about the other players:

  • Joe is very organized. Likes football.
  • Troy is occasionally funny. Has a nice fiancé.
  • Grant is tall and would be useful in real life combat. Thinks outside the box. Owns a pug.
  • Matthew is quietly the funniest guy in the room. Mets fan.

Matthew: I love the mechanic of the gunslinger’s grit. I think that point system is such a fun addition to the gameplay. I think it’s also a fun way to kind of depict the character’s morale, courage or daring, and meld it into the game’s mathematical systems.

And now I feel like I have to say something nice about everyone:

PZO9091_500I love Joe’s constant commitment to embracing the rules of the game, finding ways in the storytelling to understand what the rules mean, without feeling like a traffic monitor. Also, his ability to name characters.

Skid’s character creation is awesome. (And I’ve seen Skid DM—it’s ridiculous.) He really gets inside his character’s heads and gives them some wonderful backstory. All with an encyclopedic knowledge of the game and its history.

Grant has a really terrific way of describing his character’s actions. It’s very cinematic, and vivid. For other players, it lets us understand what’s going on. And for listeners, I would imagine it’s insanely helpful. Also: one-liners.

Troy is evil. Just kidding. No, Troy loves story, and he’s a great storyteller. I know it stresses him out, but I think he’s at his best when he’s running a bunch of different things at once. It makes for some really compelling gameplay. And, hopefully, podcasts.

Joe: I’d have to go Gunslinger. While the damage output isn’t amazing at early levels (it’s hard to never get bonuses on damage die), I second that Grit is an example of a mechanic that every class should have.

Things like Grit and Panache (Swashbuckler) are just awesome mechanics that allow you to do really fun and interesting things with your character (both in and out of combat), but don’t necessarily make you feel like you have to save them up until the “boss fight”.

The very fact that you can possibly recoup them makes the game more fun in general. That’s why I love Grit so much more than say Ki Points for a Ninja or Monk. I could be wrong, but I don’t think they recharge. That one thing is enough to make me jealous of the Gunslinger over and over.

As for player, I’ve got to go with Skid. He just makes the game so fun to play. His characters are always 3 dimensional, his motives are always well thought out, and, as a result, he never has a problem stopping the action for a moment to explain, fully, why his character’s life experience has led him to decide this or that. It’s something I learned from him years ago and have tried to incorporate into the way I play Lorc on the podcast.

Not to mention that he’s one of the most insightful, funny, intelligent people I’ve ever met. In fact, Skid is going to be the celebrant at my wedding in just a couple weeks![6]


Because there were so many good things said in the interview, I didn’t have the heart to cut it out, so I made a part 2 to the interview. Part 2 deals with what happens when junk gets real while playing tabletop RPGs. Also, there is an interview with DM Troy that you won’t want to miss.

Interview Part 2
DM Interview

[1] This Nick Lowe, which further solidifies the Glass Cannon Podcast’s nerd credentials.
[2]
Find a place for Pathfinder Society or find a local D&D game through their store finder.
[3]
You can visit the podcast’s Facebook pagetheir Tumblr, or find them on the Twitters.
[4] Troy is the DM and he gets his very own interview.
[5] Egads, that gives Skid major nerd points with me.
[6]
Congratulations!