Three for Thursday: RPG-Adjacent Podcasts

1 minute read

Sometimes the most useful worldbuilding ideas don't come from standard RPG sources.

You can find hundreds of podcasts covering all manner of tabletop RPG subjects, from how to optimize a Pathfinder character to storygame actual plays. But some of my favorite RPG inspiration comes from what I call RPG-adjacent podcasts.

Some of them touch on RPGs directly from time to time, but mostly I enjoy them because they help me see the world a bit differently, which is always helpful for a game master. I also get some of my best GM ideas by piecing together bits and pieces from these shows.

99% Invisible — It’s not always obvious, but design surrounds us. Everything created by humans is designed in some fashion. 99 PI explores the hidden ways in which design shapes human experience. Most of the episodes don’t translate directly to gaming, but often provide lateral ideas that feed my world-building as a GM.

Hardcore History — Dan Carlin takes great pains to point out that he’s no historian. But he’s a skilled narrator who does a ton of research before tackling a subject. Carlin takes you inside the minds of people swept up in some of the most tumultuous events in human history, and inside these episodes lie countless ideas for inventive game masters.

Imaginary Worlds — We’re surrounded by imaginary worlds. They show up in books, movies, TV shows, and games of all sorts. Eric Molinsky explores these imaginary worlds and why we are so drawn to them. Tabletop RPGs figure in more than one episode, in sometimes surprising ways. Did you know, for example, that The Expanse originated from a tabletop campaign?