RPG Feed This page collects the Podcasts I listen to, tracking their rise and fall.

2015-06-22 On Background Music

When I started listening to podcasts, I felt that there was a world of fan made audio content out there, and it was new and exciting, news for the people, by the people, on the topics I cared about. Mostly: gaming.

But then I started noticing that these people were rambling. Editing was poor. People just do not like to cut material, I guess. I felt like I was reading long and rambling blog posts. And I was. How refreshing to have professional radio programs that are live. The need to end at the exact second. And the skill these people have! Thinking Allowed. In Our Time. British progammes by the BBC. I was unhappy. Why was Switzerland not doing something similar? Why did I know more about the Royal Society than about whatever we are doing here in Switzerland?

Later I started to notice the longer podcasts by the American National Public Radio, and the Public Radio Exchange, via podcasts such as This American Life and 99% Invisible. These programs are longer. They are scripted, cut, edited; there are pauses for emphasis; and the emptiness between the words is filled by music. A background music that elevates the mere spoken words to something else. They add poetry. They push the emotional buttons. They add another layer to the stories told. I love those low hums, drones, those electronic blips and bloops. A pause. A zone. A sound.


Comments on 2015-06-22 On Background Music

Thinking Allowed – what a name! But the problem I am having with podcasts is that I cannot concentrate on anything if something interesting is happening in the background. That is, any background noise does not allow me to think about my stuff. So, to me podcasts are not “Background Music“, more like main activity…

How do you handle that? Do you have some secondary brain that you are hiding?

AlexDaniel 2015-06-23 22:09 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Haha, no indeed. I can only listen to podcasts while walking. Walking requires very little brain. I walk to work and back. Each leg takes a bit more than half an hour. I can listen to podcasts while doing household chores, but only when doing repetitive stuff. :)

– Alex Schroeder 2015-06-24 09:47 UTC

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2015-05-14 Podcasts

The selection of podcasts I listen to has not changed much since last time. History and philosophy podcasts for the win! :)

My favorites:

In Our Time and Thinking Allowed are from BBC4 and one thing I love about them in particular is that they are live and they are short. It’s wonderful to see the moderators care about timing.

These are also good:

The music on Swiss radio sucks except for the two hours on weekday evenings, so I just download their podcast:

Podcasts I just don’t have the time for:

Podcasts that I recommend, even though they’re no longer adding new episodes:

Tags: RSS

Comments on 2015-05-14 Podcasts

endlich mal wieder deine liste! Habe sie mir kopiert, hehe… Hast du mal was über biografien gefunden? Hatte mal eine radiosendung, dann das handy formatiert, war doggcatcher wieder auf null :-((

– mum 2015-06-07 21:19 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Was ich im Moment sonst noch so höre:

Ansonsten haben mich Biographien nie so sehr interessiert… Der Macher vom WW2 Podcast hat noch einen Podcast über Caesar und einen über Alexander den Grossen, die ich mir noch nicht angehört habe; ich habe mir ein paar Episoden vom Bonaparte Podcast angehört. Das Problem beim Bonaparte Podcasts ist die ausufernde Länge und die fehlende Disziplin. Das Resultat ist mir etwas zu langweilig. Generell bin ich sowieso nicht der Fan von Große Männer machen Geschichte. :)

– Alex Schroeder 2015-06-08 07:18 UTC

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2014-07-28 Podcasts

I have occasionally linked the podcasts I listen to both as an effort to remember and as an attempt at recommendation. It has been more than a year since my last update. These days, I mainly listen to history and philosophy podcasts, and I download a bit of music via podcasts. No more RPG podcasts.

Podcasts I just don’t have the time for:

Podcasts that I recommend, even though they’re no longer adding new episodes:

Tags: RSS

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2014-07-11 Reform

Recently, Jürgen Hubert shared a link to a Foreign Policy post and said on Google+ that while the German system wasn’t perfect, at least it worked.

Some people commented and said they agreed. I wrote that from what I heared Germans in Switzerland say, many like it here as well. I love the Swiss system. And the weird thing is: the Swiss Federal Constitution of 1848 “was influenced by the ideas of the constitution of the United States of America and the French Revolution.” (Emphasis mine.)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wholly support efforts by Lawrence Lessig: Rootstrikes.

I just finished listening to the latest bunch of episodes about the American Revolution and the drafting of the United States Constitution, and the List of amendments to the United States Constitution, at the Revolutions Podcast. Excellent material if you’re into podcasts at all.

When I read the FP article, I felt disappointed because of its shallow analysis. What about Exportweltmeister and the price the Germans paid, stagnating wages? What about the discussions of the 5% hurdle after recent elections? What about the historic justifications for the Senate in order to convince smaller entities to join the federation? These can be an important issue in heterogeneous federation like Switzerland (there was a time when each canton had its own currency)—and possibly also of interest for nations after a civil war (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lebanon, Syria) or countries where so many regions strive for more autonomy and the state is always in fear of breaking apart (Spain, Italy). So yes, the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is great. But the US has its United States Bill of Rights, and a Constitutional Court, and that’s great. In contrast, Switzerland allows its citizens to easily amend the constitution, but there is no constitutional court, so sometimes issues linger for years before appropriate laws get passed! So it would seem to me that the US has all the tools it needs. I suspect it has mostly a broken process. Something needs reform, but I’m not sure that the German system is a good place to start looking.


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2013-05-30 Podcast Update

Trajan’s Column by Juan
Francisco Adame Lorite
(CC-BY 3.0)

I have occasionally linked the podcasts I listen to both as an effort to remember and as an attempt at recommendation. It has been more than a year since my last update.

I listen to podcasts while walking. I find walking to be ideally suited to listening because it is neither too strenuous to require much attention nor is it too light to let the mind wander.

Looking at iCatcher! on my phone, I see the following podcasts:

  • Fear the Boot. The last RPG podcast I still listen to; it’s what I go to when I need some light entertainment; Dan is long-winded, I also don’t think there’s anything really new to say on the topic. I still laugh along with their jokes.
  • History of Philosophy “without any gaps”. I’ve listened to all the episodes up to Aristotle and I think I’ll continue listening! :star:
  • In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg. This continues to be the most awesome mix of science, philosophy and history. :star:
  • Musik der Welt. World music on the Swiss radio.
  • Sounds!. Independent music on the Swiss radio.
  • Thinking Allowed. Social science. :star:
  • This American Life. People stories. :star:

Any podcasts you are listening to you’d like to recommend?

Once you have listened to this overview, perhaps you’ll be ready for The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire— there’s an old recording on archive.org, or various readers on librivox.org.

Update: If you’re a podcaster, check out this EFF effort: Help Save Podcasting!

Tags: RSS

Comments on 2013-05-30 Podcast Update

Andreas Gohr
I enjoy Raumzeit by Tim Pritlove and TankRiot a lot.

Andreas Gohr 2013-05-30 08:52 UTC

Thank you for the recommendation.

I just saw that the author of the History of Philospohy podcast wrote a blog post linking to other history podcasts.

AlexSchroeder 2013-05-30 11:29 UTC

I’ve listened to two podcast series of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History show, the five episodes on the Mongols, “Wrath of the Khans”, and the five episodes on the fall of the Roman Republic, “Death Throws of the Republic”. I enjoyed these so much, I donated $10.

AlexSchroeder 2013-07-16 06:40 UTC

I just donated another $10 to the World War II Podcast.

AlexSchroeder 2013-08-31 21:30 UTC

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2012-04-25 Podcast Appearance


A while ago I read a comment by Wilhelm on my blog. A bit later I saw a comment by Wilhelm on Google+. A few weeks ago I saw a call for gamers from across the globe on his blog. I left a comment and soon enough I made an appearance on one of his English podcast episodes.

“We discuss the Swiss gaming scene, old school gaming, indie games and building gaming communities.” – Avsnitt 14 / Episode 6 – Alex from Switzerland

Check it out if you want to hear my German accent. ;)

Some links for stuff we mentioned:

Games mentioned: Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, M20, Solar System RPG, Western City, FATE, Spirit of the Century, Der Geist Mesopotamiens, Mountain Witch, Kagematsu, Montsegur 1244, Poison’d, Fiasco, Burning Wheel, Zombie Cinema.

OerliCon is the local RPG convention. Spielerzentrale is the old site to find new players. Rollenspiel in Zürich is the Facebook page I created.

What I did not mention is the One Page Dungeon Contest. Gaah! :)


Comments on 2012-04-25 Podcast Appearance

I’ve just listened to the podcast. First of all: I think your accent is negligible.

There were several moments in the interview I really wanted to jump in with an alternative view. For example on “Pirates”, where it was interesting for me as a GM to see that you players were desperately looking for “XP”. And you chose to find that in the “I have sinned” list which led you to do ever new horrible things… That was weird.

Sometimes I feel like there is so much more we could be discussing after play. Even though I try to take my time for that, it never feels enough. sigh.

lior 2012-04-26 07:47 UTC

Feel free to leave comments here or on Wilhelm’s blog and we can continue the conversation. :)

AlexSchroeder 2012-04-26 07:57 UTC

Great to hear your thoughts. I’m not an indie gamer but like to think I’m open to cool innovations wherever they come from. I’ve been surprised how old school D&D, often mocked for its simplicity, actually incorporates lots of different types of play and keeps things interesting. So, while I’m happy these indie designers are creating new things, I’m more likely to want to port their cool ideas back to D&D than play their games themselves.

Telecanter 2012-04-27 01:56 UTC

I just listened to Canon Puncture 127: Jadeclaw GM Tips which was full of interesting ideas that one of the hosts had lifted from indie games and applied to his current, traditional game.

AlexSchroeder 2012-04-27 23:12 UTC

Excellent podcast, Alex and Wilhelm, and thanks for the mention.

Alex, I hope this is the first of many podcasts you will taken part in. You have a natural talent for it :)

greywulf 2012-04-29 16:07 UTC

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2012-03-16 Podcast Update

It has been a year since my last podcast list. I still walk to work and back, each trip taking maybe half an hour. I enjoy listening to podcasts while I walk.



  • The History of Rome – I haven’t listened to the podcast in a long time. There are 61 episodes queued up. :(
  • In Our Time – This continues to be the most awesome mix of science, philosophy and history. star
  • Norman Centuries – I love these, even though episodes are rare and short. star
  • Thinking Allowed – Social science. star


  • Sounds! – Eclectic music, Swiss radio. Win. star star star
  • Musik der Welt – World music, Swiss radio. Win. star star
  • Parlando – Classical music, Swiss radio. Win. star

Any podcasts you are listening to you’d like to recommend?

I’d also like to promote the One Page Dungeon Contest 2011 via podcasts. Should I just mail a host for each of the RPG shows I enjoy and ask them?


Comments on 2012-03-16 Podcast Update

Excellent- thanks for the list. I just started trying to listen to some of these.

Anonymous 2012-03-16 15:19 UTC

http://www.dw.de/dw/0,,5929,00.html bücherwelt.de podcast

früher auch mal waren einige artikel der zeit gratis, aber nun muss man sie zahlen und bis dezember http://www.franceinter.fr/podcasts/liste-des-emissions… aber seit die eine neu app gemacht haben, geht nix mehr :-(

hab mich mal bei bbc eingeklinkt… danke für den tipp:-)

– mom 2012-03-18 21:27 UTC

ooops warum diese komischen buchstaben… schreiben euf ne mac tastatur… ist das der grund?

– mom 2012-03-18 21:27 UTC

Nein, ist wohl ein Bug in der Software! :(

Wenn man die Seite nachbearbeitet, kann man das flicken, was ich nun getan habe. :)

AlexSchroeder 2012-03-18 21:48 UTC

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2012-03-05 The Bane of Character Builds


I want to like Pathfinder. It’s large, it has adventure paths with long stories, it has more traditional modules, it has background material, colorful art – and yet the products are often awfully long. I used to appreciate that, but these days I often think that the material takes me longer to read than to think up myself. I’m still subscribed to their adventure path line, however, and I still listen to 3.5 Private Sanctuary.

In Known Direction 31 they discussed “interesting” encounters and Ryan says: “Basically if every player feels like they have something they can do on their turn, and not just something they can do but something that they’ve put into their character, some part of their character build that they can use, then they’re going to feel better about it.”

I feel torn. On the one hand, I absolutely understand it. On the other hand, this leads to “my precious encounter design” and railroads and quantum ogres (otherwise players will miss on these carefully designed encounters). I prefer games where as a player I have more freedom, where builds are not that important, where encounters can be incluenced by player ingenuity at the table and don’t server to reward choices made during character creation.


Comments on 2012-03-05 The Bane of Character Builds

Not to bother you, but I think you might be talking about a quantum ogre, not a phantom one. http://hackslashmaster.blogspot.com/search/label/series%20%28Quantum%20Ogre%29

-C 2012-03-06 05:06 UTC

You’re right. I’ll add that link.

AlexSchroeder 2012-03-06 08:00 UTC

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2011-03-05 Podcast Update

It has been seven month since my last podcast list. I still walk to work and back, each trip taking maybe half an hour. I enjoy listening to podcasts while I walk.

  • The Canon Puncture Show – I still like the show. The Game Advocates episodes have inspired me to push for certain games in our all systems considered biweekly group. heart
  • Chronicles – I’m still listening to this Pathfinder discussion, review and interviews show. Episodes are around 4h long, which is terrifying. Once I start listening to an episode, that’s not a problem. I just continue listening where I left off. But I must confess that it scares me off when I haven’t listened to them in a while. The spoilerific section is always elicits mixed feelings: Should I skip it and hope that GM James runs it for us? Or should I keep listening? I also happen to think that podcast hosts should use their real names and not some forum nicknames. :)
  • Fear the Boot – I’m still not sure what attracts me to the podcast. I keep listening anyway. heart
  • The History of Rome – I haven’t listened to the podcast in a long time. There are 26 episodes queued up. :(
  • In Our Time – This continues to be the most awesome mix of science, philosophy and history. star
  • Material World – I’m not too happy with it, but not unhappy enough to stop listening. :(
  • Norman Centuries – I love these, even though episodes are rare and short. star
  • Roll For Initiative – I’m starting to loose interest in old school D&D podcasts. I can’t really say why. It’s just not as captivating. Not funny enough? Not informative enough? Not short enough? I’d try producing shorter episodes, maybe. :-/
  • RPG Circus – Still an interesting mix of topics. I guess the inherent tension of having old school, 4E, and Rifts on the podcast keeps me interested. :)
  • Save or Die – Similar to the RFI podcast, I find that my interest is waning. I’d love to provide some advice, but I don’t have any. Perhaps explore new territory: This is what happened in our last game, this is how we resolved it, use these examples of play as starting points for a discussion of rules, monsters, and magic items? That would provide some insight into the various modes of play for old school play. :-/
  • Sounds! – Eclectic music, Swiss radio. Win. star
  • Thinking Allowed – Social science good. But I haven’t listened to it in a while. :-/
  • 2d6 Feet in a Random Direction – I like their discussion of products, their retail perspective, and the tension between old and new school. :)
  • 3.5 Private Sanctuary – D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder RPG win. (Currently on hiatus!) star

Any podcasts you are listening to you’d like to recommend?

I’d also like to promote the One Page Dungeon Contest 2011 via podcasts. Should I just mail a host for each of the RPG shows I enjoy and ask them?


Comments on 2011-03-05 Podcast Update

Glad you’re still enjoying the show. :) Hopefully, the frequency of episodes is a little better lately.

Brian 2011-03-06 18:52 UTC

Besides the mentioned 2D6feet, Canon Puncture and Fear the Boot I listen to the following RPG podcasts: http://sharkbonegames.com/sharkbonecast/ http://www.happyjacks.org/ http://pftdcast.com/

– Florian 2011-03-10 14:14 UTC

Our episodes obviously don’t come out as often as many other podcast’s do. Mind you, the vast moajority of other podcasts don’t go through the same production length and post-production process as Chronicles:PFPC does, either. Still, if you have five lines to write about the show as compared to the others? We must be doing something right :P

I am a long-time regular on the ENWorld forums under that nickname. Same with the Paizo Messageboards and, going back in time, within the NWN community, too. It’s how people know me online in the gaming community and are able to “recognize” me, so it seemed wiset to use that nick on the show. If you’ve listened to the podcast often enough, you’ll know that we also end up using our real names half the time anyway – and that tendency will probably continue as time marches on and the whole “forum identity” becomes less important in being able to reach out to people with some passing familiariy.


Steel_Wind 2011-03-29 20:01 UTC

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2010-08-10 Podcast Update

It has been about five months since my last podcast list, I guess I’m a month early. Some more things have changed. I’ve noticed that I’m shying away from podcasts with episodes reaching two hours. I remember that the Order 66 podcast had such long episodes. There’s really no rational argument for it, after all I don’t listen to podcasts for hours. I do it while shopping, walking, doing the laundry, doing the dishes, cooking, that kind of stuff. Therefore I never listen to entire episodes: I start in the middle of some episode, switch to other podcasts while I do my no-brainer stuff and stop it in in the middle of an episode if I have to do other stuff. And yet. It’s a bit harder for me to press play on a two hour episode. And therefore these episodes just start accumulating until I unsubscribe.

With that out of the way, here’s what I’m listening to, and a one liner.

  • The Canon Puncture Show – I still like the show and listening to the show inspired me to two blog posts: 2010-07-21 Canon Puncture Game Advocate for OD&D, 2010-06-29 Indie Campaigns. heart
  • ChroniclesNew! A Podcast about Pathfinder RPG products; I often wonder how you can you call co-hosts by their Internet nicknames: Azmyth, Steel_Wind, are you sure? I’m interested in reviews of Pathfinder modules since I’m a subscriber but never read them hoping that somebody else will run them for me eventually. This podcast has a player and a gamemaster section. I listen to both because I can’t stop. At least now I have some spoilers and can pick one of the reviewed modules if I need any. green
  • Fear the Boot – I’m not sure what attracts me to the podcast; in terms of roleplaying advice, I don’t always agree, Dan is long-winded and likes to hear himself talk, but the mix of different people and opinions matters, I think. The banter is good, and thus I often listen to this podcast first. It’s good entertainment. ok
  • Green Ronin Publishing Podcast – When was the last time they published an episode? I want to know more about Dragon Age. What I had heard made it seem like a new old school product. I’m not into the setting itself. Anyway. Episodes, where are you. question
  • The History of Rome – I listen to a bunch of episodes at a time once every month or two. Pure history goodness! star
  • In Our Time – science, philosophy and history on BBC4; still the best! star
  • Material World – science on BBC4; not so sure about this one – episodes are a bit short on good background information, I think. Needs more meat! Do you know of alternatives? yellow
  • Norman Centuries – more history, yay! star
  • Roll For Initiative – I’m still listening to this AD&D 1st ed podcast; sound quality issues and the lengthy actual play segments introducing new monsters are tedious, but it’s good to get some perspective. How do they play, what modules do they play, what treasure do they hand out, what monsters do they use. I’m curious. green
  • RPG Circus – an interesting mix of topics; I feel that sound has improved but sometimes audio issues persist. I feel bad for not sending more audio comments since they love them so much. green
  • Save or DieNew! Another old school podcast sharing a host with the Roll For Initiative podcast. This one is about “classic” D&D and the subtitle mentions the old boxed sets. I like it so far! green
  • Sounds! – I keep the episodes around and change their media type from podcast to music. Now I can have good radio anytime I want. Ignore the Swiss German hosts if you don’t speak the language. The music’s good and eclectic, independent rock and electronica stuff, weird folk and other hard to classify stuff. star
  • Tales of an Old School GamerNew! I just subscribed to this one. More old school D&D! The increasing number of dedicated podcasts makes me think that the OSR is alive and kicking. Then again, Wizards of the Coast might be embracing an edition agnostic approach that emphasizes the brand instead of the product. Think D&D Essentials vs. Mentzer Red Box D&D. In terms of brand, it’s all good. Anyway, old school stuff. I’m interested.
  • Thinking Allowed – social science on BBC4 green
  • The Voice of the Revolution – news about indie games that I don’t play ;) green
  • 2d6 Feet in a Random Direction – still love them; episodes come out rarely star
  • 3.5 Private Sanctuary – I thought they had disappeared but realized a few weeks ago that they had silently dropped the feed I was subscribed to; now that everything is fixed again, I’m listening! It’s D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder RPG, game master and rules advice; look at Chronicles: Pathfinder Podcast if you need more Pathfinder goodness. star

This time of the year is when This Just In…From Gen Con! goes on air again. I remain subscribed during the year so I won’t miss it next year. :)


Comments on 2010-08-10 Podcast Update

Alex, thank you for the list. I haven’t been listening to many podcasts, but plan to download a few of the ones you’ve mentioned.

Tim Shorts 2010-08-10 16:19 UTC

Excellent. What helped me get into podcast listening was learning which activities were simple enough for me to understand people talking at the same time. There’s always the temptation to start reading as i listen when I have nothing else to do, but that never works. I need to be doing something simple and physical while listening.

AlexSchroeder 2010-08-10 18:05 UTC

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