It started with listening. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, CritJuice, Finding Richard Simmons. It morphed into this massive array of shows I would dabble in and try out, always looking for something more. I caught on to Dragon Talk from Wizards of the Coast and they were interviewing all of these fledgling Actual Play podcasts that in 2016 no one had heard about, but suddenly had massive demographics after an interview on Dragon Talk.
I’d been doing improv and community theatre for years. I’d been running ttrpgs for even longer. I listened to these podcasts after they were interviewed by Greg and Shelly and I wanted that experience. Then Tales from the Yawning Portal came out. I’d never been the type of DM to run dungeons. That wasn’t how I ran games. I created long and exhaustive setting campaigns, probably more to my detriment than anything else. But Tales appealed to me. With this campaign module I could run shorter length directed adventures and people wouldn’t have to continue to play a boring, or more likely difficult, character for too long. The threat of death was high and it would build a new player’s confidence in gaming with each successive dungeon.
With Tales I finally had the sort of campaign that appealed to me. All I needed was a bunch of players to come and play with me.
I started to podcast because I said to myself “one day I want to be interviewed by Greg Tito and Shelly Mazzanoble.” And then I was podcasting to appeal to a broad audience and roll the dice for internet fame and success. About 5 months into podcasting I realized something. Those were horrible goals. Those were goals I couldn’t do anything productive about. I could spend money, shout from the rooftops and catechize my friends for not listening to the holy words I was dropping every Wednesday, but that wasn’t going to suddenly make more people listen to the podcast. I was depressed when numbers didn’t shoot through the roof and started to doubt my material. In February it got even worse and I had to stop, take a moment, and really think about why I was doing it.
I’d pledged that I was going to podcast come hell or high water for two years. I was going to dedicate my time and energies to this activity and then after two years sit down and revisit my goals, successes, losses and costs. We’re nowhere near that yet, but I’ve finally fine-tuned why I podcast. I create, and continue to create, Tavern Tales and Tavern Tales Junior because I’m creating entertainment that I, myself, enjoy listening to. I love the ever green nature of the podcast. I love sitting down and playing games with my friends and to have a polished version of that experience to encapsulate those moments in audial electronic amber for all time feels momentous, even in the tiniest of .mp3s.
I podcast because I have found a vast group of audacious editors chopping silence in Audacity; those who share in similar experiences, who cheer at my successes and pick me up and help dust me off from my losses. And it ends with listening.