Waggish Writer Geeks Out: The Fandom Effect Episode 3 featuring DM Mark!
Hello and thank you for visiting Waggish Writer.
This post is third post in the new venture beneath the "Waggish Writer Geeks Out" series focusing on a podcast called "The Fandom Effect," hosted by The Bushido Geek, Mark Halberg.
The premise of the series is "to showcase how the fandoms we are part of can have a profound impact on our lives" (Halberg). Overall, the series promises to dive into the creations as well as the creators behind the shows and events that geeks worship in various degrees.
The blog post's structure will introduce the episode's topic and then proceed with my reactions to and questions about the podcast. Ideally, if I catch up to the episodes, I will dedicate a post focusing on "The Fandom Effect"'s creator, how he got started, and where he envisions taking his work in the future.
This podcast episode is near and dear to my heart because it is all about Dungeons and Dragons (D&D)! This time, the Bushido Geeks sits down with DM Mark to talk about Dungeons and Dragons. Better known as D&D, it is a role-playing game where a Dungeon Master (also known as the DM) guides the narrative for players (the individuals who create characters). The players interact with each other and the narrative. The DM sets the scene as well as aids or hinders the players as an ally or a villain. From the role-playing game world as their foundation, they take side quests in the podcast to talk about Knights of the Old Republic, their first attempts at YouTube channels, and donating to Child's Play.
MY REACTIONS & QUESTIONS
The podcast opens with Dungeon Master Mark defining the dungeon master as glue holding the game together. Also known as the "DM," they describe the scene and interact with the players as allies (Non-player characters/NPCs who aid the players/party of adventurers) or as villains (NPCS who hinder or try to destroy the party).
DM Mark approached the game as a dungeon master after a brief stint as a player. His switch was due to nobody having experience leading the game. The game would not have happened if he did not step forward. However, DM Mark credited his success with the group who were understanding it was his first time DM-ing, grateful to have someone lead the way in the adventure. At the time of the podcast, he was drawing to a close on his first campaign which was on its third year of running.
DM Mark's advice for DM beginners is to start with a module (basically a pre-designed adventure for the dungeon master to use). Depending on their style of play, DMs could either lead on with pre-created campaigns or jump feet first into home-brew (this is basically creating everything from imagination, great example is Critical Role and the amazing Matthew Mercer, DM extraordinaire).
DM Mark also advises flexibility. Players, he stresses, will either approach the problem in unexpected ways or go a different route. One story DM Mark shared as a player was how he tricked a gelatinous cube (a gelatin-like monster that is a cube and dissolves objects and people it slides over) that there was a wall with an illusion, avoiding a combat situation.
For classes to start the game, DM Mark says that it really depends on the player. His personal style is not combat heavy, relying heavily on persuasion and working around the problem. What spoke to him on his read through the different 5e classes (5th edition of the D&D rules) was the rogue. In the case of the Bushido Geek, ranger really spoke to him as Legolas was his favorite character from the Lord of the Rings. Reading through the options and seeing which option suits a person's style of play is the best option.
After sharing stories as both players and dungeon masters, their talks travel to the first side quest of "Knights of the Old Republic." DM Mark talked about how he went into the game, refitting his character when he discovered there was a scoundrel (basically the template for a Han Solo-like character). They've also talk about Baldur's Game being another option to play.
In their exploration of the world of D&D, they talk about Roll20 being an option for online campaigns. DM Mark highly recommended to try have a game in person (it has a different dynamic when it is in person, probably when we are able to be within each other's presence rather than being 6 feet apart due to COVID-19). With the game space so wide, players can chose different editions or explore other methods of game play if one method does not work for them.
An interesting piece of advice DM Mark suggested is looking up information on improv. Basically, a DM can plan as much as they want, but there will always be a player that will throw a curveball. The game is very much a collaborative story that the DM and players give and take, building on each other to create a wild adventure that can last years.
Their conversation then goes to a new side adventure of live streaming. They had a YouTube channel where they played video games for Child's Play, a charity event where individuals play 24 hours. The donations go to Saint Jude's Children's hospital to help them purchase games and activities for the patients. The trick is staying awake and entertaining for those who are watching the live streaming. A lot of planning is involved to make the live streaming successful
A thread they notice is there is a lot of work in preparing for a DND session, some people taking a week. For those who want to try their hand, their best advice is to find a group who want the same thing to play the game. Everything is worth at least a try. The worst thing is to find it is not for you, but it never hurts to try.
Hope you enjoyed this visit to the Fandom Effect! If you want to check out the podcast episode yourself, I visited it on Apple Podcast, but there are other avenues to visit it.
Want to keep up with "The Fandom Effect" to see where the podcast goes next? You can follow the adventures of the Bushido Geek and the podcast's guests on the following channels:
YouTube: click here to visit "The Fandom Effect" YouTube channel
Apple Podcast: click here to visit "The Fandom Effect" Apple Podcasts
Spodify: click here to visit "The Fandom Effect" Spodify channel
Google Play: requires an account to access "The Fandom Effect" on Google Play
iHeart Radio: click here to visit "The Fandom Effect" iHeart Radio channel
Curious about DM Mark? You can hit him up on his twitter for casual chatting about his D&D experience as both Dungeon Master and a player.
I will play catch up in listening to the episodes as when I was writing this, there are currently 26 episodes. What seemed so simply has now become a long marathon. Then again, I get a chance to geek out about things I do not often have a chance to share in a safe place.
If you take the time to listen to the podcast, share what you think in the comments! Let's have a discussion about Dungeons and Dragons! I can geek out and go down many rabbit holes! Simply be mindful that everyone has opinions.
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This is Waggish Writer signing off of this post. Stay tune for more from the "Waggish Writer Geeks Out" series!