ACFM Microdose: Tabletop Role-Playing Games

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Episode notes

In a tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG), a group of people take a trip into an imaginary world, guided by an MC or ‘dungeon master’. Not limited to the Tolkien-esque themes of the famous Dungeons & Dragons, TTRPGs range from gritty sci-fi scenarios to steampunk heist fantasies, and from everyday life to magic, monsters and vampires.

In this Microdose, Nadia, Keir and Jeremy gather round the table to talk about how role-playing games have evolved over half a century and what different game-playing styles might say about other societal battles – from feminism and reactionary masculinism to the revenge of the nerds.

Discussing games like Call of the Cthulu and Vampire of the Masquerade, as well as TV shows like Game of Thrones and The Expanse, the gang look at the huge cultural impact of TTRPGs. How has the rise of Silicon Valley changed the reception of geek culture? How might a players’ politics turn up in their gameplay? How have women navigated these subcultural spaces so long dominated by men? Shake those polyhedral dice and find out.

Books and podcasts: The Elusive Shift: How Role-Playing Games Forged Their Identity – Jon Peterson / The Grognard Files / One Shot / Not DnD/ What Would the Smart Party Do? / What Am I Rolling?