You Can Hear Me Play Dark Planet on the Air

It was sometime after six o’clock in the evening, I’d just eaten my first meal of the day, and as I sat down at the mic to record a sample session of my new tabletop roleplaying game … I forgot everything I prepared.

This was Saturday night. I had just come from another demo that afternoon. I settled into a home studio to record a play session of my new game, Dark, for James D’Amato’s podcast, called One Shot (also available on iTunes) after he graciously invited me on the show. I offered James any of the game’s three settings to play in and he chose the grim and desperate retro-future setting called Dark Planet. You can hear how it went down on the show. (Please pardon my incessant “ah” and “uh” sounds.)

Perhaps obviously, I let the game drag here and there when I should’ve been ratcheting up the tension and keeping things lean and tense. We had a good time actually playing but I can do better when it comes to making an adventure for a listening audience. Too often, I think, I let the tension break. I wish I’d been more vivid, more detailed and tactile in my descriptions, too. So much of Dark is about the character’s movement through the environment and I could’ve dialed that up more.

You know what bit I really liked, though, was the bead of blood running down the cables. That connects the characters and the environment. I like those moments.

The players did a great job of finding their characters — and their own unique styles — really quickly. The clashes we felt between the characters struck me as natural and organically emerging from their own outlooks. And everyone engaged the game world in really exciting ways, which is fun to see.

I’d love to try something like this again when I’m operating at full capacity.

Have you heard the show? What did you think? I’d love to get your input or questions on it.



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comments ( 3 )

  • ReplyRob Abrazado 18 Feb 2014

    Half-given my kudos on Twitter already, but of course it’s not the medium for my normally rambling style. ;) I heard the show, of course, and I really enjoyed it; I’m certainly looking forward to seeing the finished product all the more now.

    For me, when I first heard the show announced, I was most anticipating seeing how the card-based system works out in actual play. This was at times hard to track over the podcast medium, not being able to see what was being played, but I think most of the time, people caught themselves and would describe what they were playing. But I remember times where someone would make play and there was a round of “ooh!”s, and I was left listening, thinking, “What! What!” :) But if that’s my only complaint, surely the show was a success. :)

    I’m also (again, personally) more interested in seeing how the fantasy version in action, but again, not a real complaint.

    I liked the adventure, and I liked listening to the story unfold. I, also, was quite taken with the bead-of-blood scene; I could picture it so vividly! It’s funny how much storytelling imagery these days is so much more naturally clear through cinematography. :)

    Anyway. See? Rambling. :) In summary, I’m quite glad you did the show, and I found the listening experience very satisfying. Worth carving out the block of time I needed to listen to the show. ;) Thanks for putting in the time and work to make it happen!

  • ReplyJames Orr 19 Feb 2014

    I left a comment on the kickstarter as I finished it and clicked refresh over and over again hoping an update would magically appear for a while, and even though I know that’s not how kickstarters work, and I’m sure you have better things to do than update it constantly.

    I thought that you did a pretty good job of making the descriptions tactile, and really tying the experience into a full immersive environment in the podcast.

    The piece about smells being memory evocative really resonates for me. That is one of my favorite DM tools, but you even played it straight with “Do you remember the last time you cleaned something in a poorly ventilated space?”

    That alone filled in a lot of the experience for me, and I wasn’t even playing at the time. It gives you the smell, and that pervasive taste, the light headed muzzy feel. It’s all there, and it’s coming from the alien-starfish-monster giving you a death hug. From it’s end, it’s talking to you like you talk to a housecat that’s just puked on the floor, like you don’t know any better than to be a stupid ape unplugging wires. It’s what you apes do.

    There’s something to be said for this not being your usual group of people to run for, and being more comfortable and knowing what buttons to push to keep things tense and on track. I certainly don’t think you should give too much thought to what could have happened at the time.

    Verbal hesitancies you can chalk up to being recorded and having to think on your feet. It’s your brain going “Okay. Hold up. What would be awesome.” which comes out as Uh.

  • ReplyWill 23 Feb 2014

    Thanks for listening! And thank for taking the time to write about it. I had a lot of fun with the show, even with my hesitancies and doubts. That’s just the way it goes for me.

    James D’Amato puts together a great program and the players’ enthusiasm really helped the experience come together.

    It’s always informative to hear one’s self tell a story, tell a joke, or facilitate a game and I’m glad (and relieved!) to hear it’s been fun and informational for you, too. Thanks agin.