Listening to actual play podcasts can be purely entertaining, and that is exactly what they are 90% of the time I’m tuned in to one of the half dozen or so I regularly download. But that other 10% is comprised of time spent learning.
As you listen to these casts do their thing, there is lots you can learn about your role regardless of which side of the DM screen you find yourself on. Here are four lessons I’ve learned specifically from the Glass Cannon Podcast over the three year anniversary of the start of the pod.
Cast Your Characters
This is a beneficial practice for a host of reasons and for everyone at the table. Give your tablemates a visual reference for your PC or NPC and possibly even add to their uniqueness by stealing quirks and/or voices from their inspiration. This could be a celebrity or a fictional character.
In fact, take a few minutes and tune in to Skid’s character introduction for Androids and Aliens to see this in action! If you want to skip ahead to the relevant-to-this-point section, it begins at 4:13 and ends at 7:52.
Read on the full benefits of casting your RPG character here.
Take Advantage of Rests/Downtime
Troy is exceptional at using rests–which can be nothing more than mechanical resets for PCs–for something so much more. He’ll check in on the PCs, he’ll check in on the players themselves, and he’ll give them opportunities to do more than nap (like have PC interactions).
This is particularly valuable time if you’re DMing a group of players who aren’t just itching to fight all the time. It gives them a chance to further develop their characters beyond their established backstories and outside of combat.
Read my take on this practice here!
Honor Dead PCs
Death happens in our favorite tabletop RPGs. I highly value the fact that the GCP doesn’t neglect this truth. In fact, they do more than acknowledge it. They role-play it.
I’m not saying that when a PC takes his or her last breath your ears are flooded with blood curdling screams from their death throes. What they do instead is they take an appropriate amount of time to honor the fallen.
Too often we just whip out our backup character sheet and move right along, hardly missing a beat. But the story beat of a burial/funeral can be a powerful one, so don’t write it off!
Read all about how to handle not just the death of a PC but also disfigurement or other incapacitations in the post When Bad Things Happen to Good PCs.
Pathfinder is Amazing
No word of a lie: The Glass Cannon Podcast was my first introduction to Pathfinder. Our EIC, Clave, knew I was digging a couple 5e actual play podcasts and he name dropped the GCP in their early days to me.
The rest is history. In addition to filling my ear holes with their Pathfinder (and now Starfinder!) goodness, I’ve acquired several of the system’s core books and supplements and play as often as I can.
The longevity of the system has resulted in a mind-boggling amount of official products that let you be and do anything you can imagine. While I don’t quite have the comfort of a feeling of expertise or significant grasp on the rules with Pathfinder like I do 5e, Pathfinder is increasingly becoming my preferred system to read and play.
And all this just in time for Pathfinder 2.0 which I’ve already committed to DM for some local gaming buddies as soon as the system launches.
The Glass Cannon Podcast is unquestionably a significant part of my nerdy lineage. Ranging from preferred entertainment to gaming influence, the network, its constituents, and its varied offerings are an almost daily part of my life.
To quote Buddy the Elf, “I’m in love! I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!”
Only I do care who knows it ’cause I want everyone to know about the GCP.