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Ludonarrative Dissidents

Ludonarrative Dissidents

By Ross Payton

Ludonarrative Dissidents is a podcast from Greg Stolze, James Wallis, and Ross Payton to explore and analyze tabletop RPGs. What does each game do, how does it work, and why do people play it? We are currently in season 2, and we've expanded to include episodes on types of game mechanics like meta currencies and initiative systems. Visit our website at to get detailed show notes. Join our Discord at
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Currently playing episode

Thousand Year Old Vampire

Ludonarrative DissidentsMar 28, 2022

Hole in the Sky - Dungeon Crawl Classics Module #86 - Actual Play
Nov 28, 202303:06:30
Pendragon 6th Edition Starter Set
Nov 02, 202301:26:54
Traveller Core Rules Mongoose 2022
Sep 28, 202301:13:58
Experience Points
Sep 14, 202301:23:00
Aug 07, 202301:21:17
Diceless Role Playing Games
Jul 12, 202301:08:40
Tales from the Loop
Jun 19, 202301:12:58
May 26, 202301:04:18
Planet Mercenary
May 01, 202301:11:26
Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition
Apr 24, 202301:24:48
Initiative Systems

Initiative Systems

Initiative systems are an important but often overlooked element in role playing games. They determine who can act and when. They allocate spotlight time for players and influences the action economy of a game. We talk about different ways of determining initiative and if you even need them.

Apr 11, 202301:16:28
Eclipse Phase Second Edition
Mar 14, 202301:36:56
Feb 23, 202301:13:13
The Laundry RPG
Jan 27, 202301:21:43
Meta Currencies in RPGs
Jan 08, 202301:21:38
Red Markets
Dec 23, 202201:25:56
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition is a game set in the Old World of Warhammer Fantasy. Dating back to 1986, WFRP is a celebrated British RPG about living in a detailed setting loosely inspired by the decline of the Holy Roman Empire. Players take on the roles of common folk who have uncommon destined fates, investigating chaos cults, surviving deadly monsters, and trying to scrape by in a grim and dark world. The current edition adds new mechanics to the game while retaining much of its old system.

Nov 26, 202201:23:35
Coyote and Crow

Coyote and Crow

Coyote and Crow is a tabletop role playing game set in an alternate future of the Americas where colonization never occurred. Instead, advanced civilizations arose over hundreds of years after a massive climate disaster changed the history of the planet. You'll play as adventurers starting out in the city of Cahokia, a bustling, diverse metropolis along the Mississippi River. It's a world of science and spirituality where the future of technology and legends of the past will collide.

Nov 07, 202201:40:20
Card Mechanics in RPGs
Jul 18, 202201:25:24
Dueling Fops of Vindamere - An Actual Play
Jun 29, 202201:56:33
Base Raiders
Jun 22, 202201:09:32
The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen

The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen

The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen by James Wallis is a  humorous and competitive storytelling  game of telling tall tales.  During the game, each player must tell a story,  while the other players  attempt to interject and stage interruptions or  distractions. The  player with the best story at the end of the game is  the winner.

Our next episode will look at Base Raiders, a Fate powered superhero  game about dungeon crawling in abandoned bases. After that, our final  episode for season 1 will be an actual play of Dueling Fops of  Vindamere. We hope to launch a crowdfunding campaign for season 2 this  year, so stay tuned!

Jun 14, 202201:16:09
Unknown Armies

Unknown Armies

Unknown Armies is a modern horror RPG  that presents magick as it might exist in a  world informed by crime  fiction and secret histories, as twisting  wrinkles in reality created  by greater and greater risk, sacrifice, and  obsession. It was created  by Greg Stolze and John Tynes.

Jun 08, 202201:37:36
13th Age

13th Age

13th Age is a d20 fantasy role playing game designed for "experienced  Gamemasters and players of all experience levels." It features several  new mechanics and character class designs unique to it, like the Icon  system and One Unique Thing. It was written by D&D designers Rob  Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet.

May 03, 202201:14:10
Thousand Year Old Vampire

Thousand Year Old Vampire

In Thousand Year Old Vampire by Tim Hutchings you chronicle the many  centuries of a vampire’s existence, beginning with the loss of mortality  and ending with inevitable destruction. Prompt-driven play and simple  resource tracking provide easy rules for exploring your character’s  human failings, villainous acts, and surprising victories.

Mar 28, 202201:18:19
The Quiet Year

The Quiet Year

The Quiet Year is a storytelling game from Avery Alder about map-making  and building a community after the apocalypse. "You define the struggles  of a community  living after the collapse of civilization, and attempt  to build  something good within their quiet year. Every decision and  every action is set against a backdrop of dwindling time and rising  concern."

Feb 09, 202201:21:17
Ars Magica

Ars Magica

Ars Magica is a "role playing game aboutsorcerers and their allies in  Mythic Europe." Play focuses around the covenant, a community of magi,  companions, and servants and guards (known as grogs). Players take up  multiple roles in the game, playing as all three types of characters  throughout a campaign.  A highly influential game that launched the  careers of many well-known designers, we focus primarily on the current  edition, fifth, but also talk about earlier ones.

Jan 12, 202201:29:33
Bluebeard's Bride

Bluebeard's Bride

Content warning: Bluebeard's Bride is a  "game about the terrible realities of women's lives." It discusses  sexual assault, body horror, torture, murder, suicide, and other  horrific topics. Our conversation about the game touch on these topics  as well. Thank you for your understanding.

Bluebeard's Bride is "an investigatory horror tabletop roleplaying  game based on the Bluebeard fairy tale." Players take on personality  aspects of the young bride as she explores Bluebeard's mansion, looking  for clues on Bluebeard's nature. No aspect fully controls the bride's  actions, as players take turns guiding her through the horrors of the  mansion. Will the bride be faithful or disloyal to her new husband? Only  the players decide through the course of this game.

Dec 12, 202101:27:21


Continuum is a role playing game about time travel. Published in 1999,  it boasts that its setting has a society of time travelers and a history  of the past and future of earth. It also has rules for 'time combat'.  Time travelers can try to kill each other by introducing paradoxes into  the timelines of their foes. Do the rules work? Greg, James, and I  discuss this infamous RPG.

Nov 17, 202101:23:18
Delta Green

Delta Green

Delta Green is a horror RPG based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Agents  of the secretive agency, Delta Green (which may or may not be an  illegal conspiracy inside the US government) investigate and neutralize  cosmic horror threats. Rules focus on the dangers and costs of facing  the unnatural, physically, mentally, and socially. Agents can perish in  an instant or watch their friends and families drift away as they spiral  deeper into the darkness.

Oct 25, 202101:25:39
Night's Black Agents

Night's Black Agents

Night's Black Agents is a Gumshoe system espionage vampire thriller RPG  by Ken Hite. It expands on the Gumshoe system so GMs can run  espionage-themed games ranging from cinematic action-packed adventures  to paranoid tales of intrigue.

Sep 30, 202101:27:24


Lancer is a sci-fi RPG focusing on tactical mecha combat in the distant  future. Featuring dozens of unique mechs with incredible powers and  weapons, Lancer is a must-play for groups who love d20 combat, teamwork,  and giant robots.

Sep 18, 202101:11:54
Outlaws of the Water Margin

Outlaws of the Water Margin

Outlaws of the Water Margin is a self-published RPG by Paul Mason based  on the Chinese historical epic novel of the same name. Set in 12th  century China, the player characters are heroic outlaws fighting a  corrupt government bureaucracy. Outlaws was never formally published but  it did cultivate a player base in the 80s and 90s. James was one of  these players and knows the author, so he provides some background  context for the game.

Special thanks to Christian Biklee, the backer who chose this game for us to review!

This episode is dedicated to Nathanael, Paul, Ben, and Jordan,  friends of Christian who played Outlaws of the Water Margin with him.

Aug 20, 202101:15:36
Apocalypse World

Apocalypse World

In each episode, we plan to focus on a  particular RPG, looking at its mechanics, setting, and everything else  to see what makes this game tick. In this preview episode, we look at  Apocalypse World, the RPG that launched a revolution in the indie RPG  scene. We try to answer the following questions:

1) What the game does.

2) How it does it.

3) How people play it.

4) Why people play it that way.

Aug 09, 202101:20:04
Blades in the Dark

Blades in the Dark

Blades in the Dark is a game about heists, a city of eternal night, and  more importantly, managing your stress at work. Greg dispenses some  words of wisdom about the future conditional tense.

Aug 09, 202101:15:44