Sept. 24, 2021


This episode I'm joined by Adam from Snyder's Return to debate the pros and cons of narrative focused TTRPG systems. Such an interesting topic overflowing with meaning, subjectivity, and design intent; this episode covers it all! Firstly, Adam and I set the scope of the show by defining the terms and systems, setting the foundation for next 55 minutes. We then go on to dissect how the relatively crunchy, mechanics-heavy D&D system inevitably impacts the narrative, and the steps you can take to either mitigate, or engage this direction. For example, having a character sheet full of numbers can suggest that bigger numbers are better, and therefore the pursuit of those bigger numbers should be the driving focus of your character. To quote, it's a form of mechanical coercion, where the systems encourage maths, rather than meaning. To round out the episode, Adam explains how the mindset of a GM needs to shift, be almost transient, when dealing with different systems and games. Although the mental overhead is the same between say, D&D and PbtA, the feeling and direction can be quite radically different.

  • 02:17 - Different Flavours of Campaigns
  • 07:44 - How System Impacts Narrative
  • 21:11 - Considerations of a Narrative-Driven Campaign
  • 34:39 - The GM Overhead of Running a Game
  • 56:00 - What Makes Great Narrative

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Intro Music: 'Local Forecast' by Kevin MacLeod
Intermission Music: 'Chill' by Kevin MacLeod
Outro Music: 'Local Forecast - Elevator' by Kevin MacLeod

Adam Powell (Snyder's Return) Profile Photo

Adam Powell (Snyder's Return)

DM / GM / Interviewer / Editor / Father

I'm a late 38's Englishman that started playing D&D after a friend at work mentioned it and pointed us towards Critical Role season one finale.
After they had DM'd I took the opportunity to try it myself and enjoyed the experience. After a relatively short time and inspired by podcasts like the Demonplague and Dungeon Drunks I pitched it to the group to do our own podcast.
They agreed and we began recording a few sessions but I already knew that I couldn't edit them in time for a consistent release so I started the Interviews.
We've had massive support from people in the TTRPG Community and it's been a pleasure to get to know people I'd have only dreamed of chatting with.