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Preview: Master Plan

Master Plan

Published: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 05:52:42 +0000

Last Build Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2018 13:24:30 +0000

Copyright: (c) Ryan Macklin, 2006-2012

Master Plan #69: Sean Nittner on Convention Games

Thu, 18 Jun 2015 05:52:42 +0000

Ryan is joined by Sean Nittner—owner of Big Bad Con, project manager for Evil Hat Productions, and all around excellent human. (Or human-wolf hybrid.) The conversation revolves around thinking about convention games as part of the design process, but our journey takes a few twists and turns.

About Big Bad Con: A fantastic tabletop RPG and LARP convention in Oakland, California on October 16–18, 2015. Check out the Kickstarter (ends July 2nd)!

We also talk about:

  • Organizing conventions
  • Being a publisher
  • Katanas & Trenchcoats
  • Useless speculation about Apocalypse World 2
  • All games will be made into convention games
  • “It doesn’t matter if you have a square or round peg, we will shove it into a con slot.”
  • The amount of work it takes to set up a game
  • The first scene problem in GM-less games
  • Love letters, as seen in Apocalypse World
  • In medias res adventure games
  • Supernatural season 10
  • Drama game set-ups, notable with Smallville RPG
  • “Shut the fuck up” as a technique

Follow Sean at @SeanNitter.

1:22:04 / 41 MB

- Ryan

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Master Plan #68: Kit La Touche, Design Chat

Tue, 02 Jun 2015 05:30:11 +0000

Ryan tries out a new format for the show, and brings on indie game designer Kit La Touche to chat about various game design and game publishing topics.

  • Designing the GM side of games
  • Citizen reviewers
  • Walter Ong’s writing on oral cultures
  • The nature of fans
  • "A failed dream"
  • Games that shift over editing or editions
  • Having a regular playtest group
  • How your form of playtesting shapes your game
  • Fantastical elements in games, and how they make a game more marketable
  • Playtest budgets
  • Being afraid of a game
  • Getting to be a fan
  • Little projects
  • The desire of jamming together as a creative group

Check out Kit at: and @wlonk

1:25:04 / 41.5 MB

- Ryan

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Master Plan #67: Mark Richardson on Cartography in RPGs

Wed, 11 Feb 2015 17:03:13 +0000

Ryan talks with Mark Richardson, who is by night a freelance tabletop games cartographer and indie publisher, and by day a badass Canadian geographical information survey machine. (That means he makes huge maps using very detailed software.) Mark's got a fresh perspective on cartography, coming from a technical, GIS background rather than a purely illustrative one. We sit down to talk about the art and business of making maps for games.

If you like the cut of his jib (and you should), check him out at @slavetothehat, his Green Hat Designs, and his upcoming Headspace Kickstarter!

Projects Mark has Made Maps For Include

Open GIS Data Resources

Other Links

51:29 / 25.3M

View on YouTube:

- Ryan

Media Files:

Master Plan #66: Robin D. Laws on RPG Setting Design

Wed, 21 Jan 2015 17:00:00 +0000

Ryan kicks on one of his planned 2015 interview series—this one on setting design in roleplaying games—by talking with luminary and setting veteran Robin D. Laws. Robin's well known for his work in Feng Shui (and the recently Kickstarted second edition), the Dying Earth RPG, and various games using his GUMSHOE and DramaSystem engines.

Works that we brought up that you can check out now:

If you want more Robin goodness, check out Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff.

– Ryan

59:35 /29.2M

View on YouTube:

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Master Plan #65: Gen Con Prep with Adam Jury, Derek Guder & Jessica Price

Mon, 11 Aug 2014 19:00:00 +0000

Ryan interviews three fantastic folks about prepping for large conventions like Gen Con: Adam Jury, co-founder of Posthuman Studios Derek Guder, Event Programming Manager at Gen Con Jessica Price, project manager at Paizo We did a mixed focus: while we focused on useful tips for event runners and exhibitors, it turns out that many tips we shared work for general attendees. We talked a lot about food, a little about alcohol, about packing and shipping, domestic and international travel advice, and so on. For old hats, this won't be revolutionary advice, but it might help some people out who aren't as veteran at Gen Con. This was originally broadcast live as a Google+ Hangout on the Air on Saturday, August 8th, 2014, and has more audio issues than I'm used to dealing with. I tried to fix what I could, but there's only so much you can do with bad audio. Notes from the Episode You can often find Adam at the Posthuman Studios booth -- booth #559, near the art show area.Ryan and Jessica will frequently be at the Paizo booth -- #203 -- when not doing events like panels.If you need to find Derek, you can email him at, call the events line at 857-559-2420, or go to the GM HQ or an event HQ booth and ask for him. Outside-of-US people, check out Nelly's Nerdy Adventures for more on dealing with flying into/out of the US. Thanks to everyone who contributed questions and advice! Gen Con advice posts from the past: My post on alcohol at conventions, including a video of packing alcohol for safety and weight concerns Adam Jury's series of posts: before the show, at the show, looking for work Gen Con links: Premier Events (click on the link on the page for the Excel file) Gamemasters Forum Things you should totally check out: visit this blog post for info on Games on Demand, First Exposure, and more stuff I think you should check out! We had two winners of the Gen Con badge giveaway: Mike & Amber! (Though, if one doesn't claim in time, I might give the badge to a runner-up.) ...and that's it! See some of you at Gen Con! - Ryan 55:49 /27.4M View on YouTube:[...]

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Master Plan #64: Freelance Editing with Amanda Valentine, John Adamus & Lynne Hardy

Mon, 04 Aug 2014 05:56:36 +0000

Ryan talks with Amanda Valentine, John Adamus, and Lynne Hardy about what it is to be a freelance editor, answer questions from freelance editors and prospective editors, and possibly give some tips to writers who are hiring freelance editors for the first time.

Amanda Valentine: @ayvalentine
John Adamus: | @awesome_john
Lynne Hardy: | @cogsandcakes

The PaizoCon panels mentioned in the intro:

1:05:31 / 32.1 MB

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Master Plan #63: Brian Clevinger on Being an RPG Licensor and the Atomic Robo RPG

Tue, 01 Jul 2014 02:00:00 +0000

Brian Clevinger—co-creator of the fantastic comic series Atomic Robo—talks with Ryan Macklin about licensed roleplaying games from a side of the fence not often talked about: the licensor's point of view. They talk about what Brian expected before getting involved with Evil Hat Productions to create the Atomic Robo Roleplaying Game, how that matched with what happened, his involvement in the process, and more!

The comic:
The game:
Follow Brian on Twitter: @bclevinger

Other RPG books mentioned:

Originally as a Master Plan Live episode:

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Master Plan #62: Stephen Hood & Will Hindmarch on Storium

Mon, 05 May 2014 16:21:19 +0000

Ryan sits down with Stephen Hood and Will Hindmarch or Protagonist Labs to talk about the new online roleplaying experience known as Storium. On this live episode, they talk about Storium's origins and design, issues that came up in playtesting, the differences between developing for an upgradable platform versus a static book, and more. If you aren't a part of the beta yet and would like to be, check out Storium's Kickstarter campaign.

Ryan also mentions that he'll be shifting toward more live format shows than pre-recorded, as an experiment and to speed up production.


You can also check out this episode on YouTube.

52:28 / 25.8M

- Ryan

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Master Plan #61: Vincent Baker on Evolution of Games and a Game Designer

Tue, 26 Nov 2013 17:00:00 +0000

Ryan sits down with Vincent Baker to ask him what ends up being some big questions: Where did Murderous Ghosts come from? What does "Powered by the Apocalypse" mean? What are his thoughts on his own design evolution? We go all over the place in this lengthy interview -- talking about the old days at the Forge, the nature of various playtesting, a love of RoboRally, what being "innovative" actually means, on freelancing and what that sacrifices, selling games to non-gamers, silly unpublished games, and so much more. This is one of my favorite interviews to date, and a fitting way to both close out 2013 and be (functionally) my 7th anniversary episode. Thank you to Plate Mail Games for the use of the audio loop -- an experiment I'm trying in this episode. Check out their Kickstarter! Good stuff.   Vincent's (published) games mentioned: Dogs in the Vineyard Apocalypse World Otherkind Otherkind Dice (and here) Poison'd Murderous Ghosts The Sundered Land Other games mentioned: Psi*Run by Meguey Baker Bliss Stage by Ben Lehman Annalise by Nathan D. Paoletta RoboRally by Richard Garfield Lost Worlds Dungeon World by Adam Koebel and Saga LaTorra Sorcerer by Ron Edwards Steal Away Jordan by JuliaB. Ellingboe Dread by Epidiah Ravachol 53:01 / 26.1M - Ryan[...]

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Master Plan #60/Live #1: Daniel Solis on Card Game Design and Rapid Prototyping

Tue, 10 Sep 2013 07:13:00 +0000

On this first live episode of Master Plan, I talk with Daniel Solis about a host of subjects: card game design, rapid prototyping, remote playtesting, design philosophy, DriveThruCards, and so on. Naturally, we talk about Belle of the Ball (currently on Kickstarter) and Koi Pond (on DriveThruCards). You can watch the video on YouTube (via this link or the embed below), or download the audio-only version from this feed & post. Show notes Daniel's Blog and Twitter feed. Daniel's Games Belle of the Ball Koi Pond Happy Birthday, Robot! Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple (full disclaimer: I was one of the editors on Do) And many others, finished and not, on his site Daniel's online video course at on card design in InDesign. Apps Mentioned for Remote Testing CardWarden (for iPad) Roll20 (browser-based) Other Games Mentioned Guillotine by Paul Peterson Deadwood Studios by James Ernest/Cheapass Games Audio thanks to, which Daniel turned me on to. If you use it, be warned: there are like a million ads on the site, though none in the audio once you get to downloading it. 1:27:07 / 42.4M - Ryan[...]

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Master Plan #59: Jason Morningstar & Steve Segedy on Building Fiasco Playsets

Tue, 13 Aug 2013 06:38:00 +0000

Ryan sits down with Jason Morningstar and Steve Segedy of Bully Pulpit Games to talk shop about creating Fiasco playsets. They give the lowdown on what to think about when creating playsets, how they tackle different problems that come up, and a the inside scoop on how their process was and is today. They have the occasional aside about tips for better playing Fiasco as well, if that's your bag. (If not, they still talk about it.) They also throw down the gauntlet, and make me commit to...well, listen to find out. It's heavily suggested that the Fiasco Companion is required reading if you want to get more out of this process (and out of the interview). Also check out Fiasco: American Disasters, the first in their series of trilogies, and also includes the Trainwreck mode, which allows you to string multiple sessions together. Playsets mentioned (linked ones are free to download): All the Damn Time Flight 1180 Gangster London Hocus Focus, the Dresden Files playset Living Dead, the add-on Lucky Strike Mission to Mercury, Companion pages 125-134 The Quest for the Golden Panda, the stunt dice originator; stunt dice can also be found in the Companion, pages 81-82 Rainbow Mountain, in American Disasters Regina's Wedding, Companion pages 105-114 Touring Rock Band Vegas, Companion pages 115-124 White Line Fever, in an upcoming trilogy Other notes: Carolina Death Crawl is totally awesome! (And the rules are free online) Find Games on Demand at and @Games_on_Demand You can check out Sascha Illyvich's work (the mentioned romance author/editor) at Not mentioned in the interview, but sadly a few months back, the tobacconist I mentioned closed down. Here's to you, Grant's. If you'll be at Gen Con 2013, come see me! You can find out my schedule from this blog post. 45:40 / 22.5M - Ryan[...]

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Master Plan #58: Amanda Valentine, Editing and Language Choice

Mon, 06 May 2013 17:00:00 +0000

On this episode, I talk with the ever-talented Amanda Valentine, freelance editor who has worked on a number of award-winning RPGs. We decided to have a conversation about editing from the perspective of language: why to choose different words, what that means, how does that impact understanding, etc. And then she becomes the Scarlet Owlbear.


43:52 / 21.5M

Thanks again to Jason Pitre for his help with post-production.

- Ryan

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Master Plan #57: Editing and Indie Games from Gen Con 2012

Tue, 12 Feb 2013 06:09:00 +0000

At Gen Con 2012, I was on an Industry Insider Guest of Honor panel with Michelle Lyons-McFarland called “Editing and Indie Games.” The description from last year:

Have a game that needs an editor’s touch but don’t know what to ask? Learn what makes a book user-friendly, how organization affects use, & what the unforgivable sins are BEFORE your book is in print.

Michelle and I talk about various aspects of editing and producing a functional text, focused on the small, underfunded shops. We have different takes and different opinions, talk about the differences in various scopes of editing, a bit about working with editors, and so on.

You can find out about Michelle’s company, Play Attention Games, at

50:18 / 23.6MB

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Master Plan #56: Keith Baker on Designing Eberron

Wed, 01 Aug 2012 00:25:00 +0000

The second & final basement tape episodes comes from September 2009: Ryan sat down with Keith Baker, creator of Eberron, to talk about setting design. They discuss various principles, ways to diverge from classic fantasy setups, working in lore, and so on. In particular, it’s interesting because of a setting design constraint: using monster and dungeon lore from Dungeons & Dragons as a core requirement of the setting, while still bringing something new to that subject. Links: Eberron (Wizards of the Coast site) Eberron (Wikipedia page) Keith Baker’s blog Keith Baker on Twitter (@HellcowKeith) Shout-out: Jason Pitre, Genesis of Legend (Twitter) — for the bulk of the interview’s audio production - Ryan 31:11 / 14.4M[...]

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Master Plan #55: Luke Crane on Mouse Guard

Thu, 05 Jul 2012 19:33:00 +0000

The first of the basement tape episodes! Ryan recorded a fantastic interview with Luke Crane back in Gen Con 2009, talking about the GM's & Players' Turns in Mouse Guard. It turned into a discussion about text design, reader assumptions about RPGs,  media touchstones and their pitfalls, and of course the evolution of Mouse Guard's turn structure.

When this was recorded, Ryan assumed it would be a two-part episode, so you'll hear stuff to that effect. But Luke's a charismatic interviewee, so we left all that in!


Thank yous:

- Ryan

32:47 / 15.7M

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Master Plan #54: Kenneth Hite, Setting Creation & Day After Ragnarok

Mon, 02 Aug 2010 17:26:00 +0000

After 10 months of podfading, Ryan Macklin is back with a new episode of Master Plan! This is the first of his "basement tapes" episodes -- interviews recorded back in 2009 that until now were out of the can. He talked with Kenneth Hite back in early September 2009 after setting creation and Day After Ragnarok. In honor of Day After Ragnarok's ENnie nomination for Best Setting, Ryan's kicking off his basement tapes episodes with this interview.

Naturally, Ken has many, many good things to say on setting creation. You can read more in a post of his from a few months back that compliments what he said in the interview.

Correction: The IPR booth this year is at 2339, not 2334 or 2335. Clearly I should have hit pause and found out like a civilized person.

Running time: 28:50 / File size: 19.9M

[Note: at the moment my forums are down]

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Master Plan #53: Monica Valentinelli,, Dos & Don'ts of Horror Design

Fri, 23 Oct 2009 19:22:00 +0000

This month being the month of all things horror, Ryan gets together with Monica Valentielli of Flames Rising to talk about some basic things to consider when designing a horror game. The folks at Flames Rising really know their horror, so it's no surprise that Monica's full of great insight about mood, theme, player involvement, and pacing. Towards the end of the conversation, they discuss a little bit of the differences between more traditional horror game set-ups and some of the newer, indie/character-focused ones.

After the interview, Ryan reminds you he exists by continuing to talk, this time about the recent The Thing's The Game episode and Jess Hartley's new book, Conventions for the Aspiring Game Professional.

Monica Valentinelli & Flames Rising: Other Mentions: Running time: 32:18 / File size: 22.1M

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Master Plan #52: Reincorporation

Wed, 12 Aug 2009 03:25:00 +0000

Ryan talks about reincorporation from a design perspective. And he's going to write proper show notes later, when he's not packing for GenCon.

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Master Plan #51: Pacing Mechanics part 2, Campaign Level

Wed, 22 Jul 2009 01:42:00 +0000

Continuing the series on pacing mechanics, Ryan talks about campaign-level pacing systems. He revisits D&D, as having a loose sense of pacing based on the setting material linked to various character levels. Afterward, he talks at length about Polaris, as a prime example of an individual character-focused pacing mechanic -- with what it means to achieve and how it achieves it. Then he brings up a setting book for Polaris, Thou Art But A Warrior, that introduces a group-focused (or world-focused) pacing alongside the character-focused one. Finally, he talks about Burning Empires as a competitive, GM vs. PCs system. He closes out by bringing up some pitfalls to watch out for in any pacing mechanic you do.

He also shamelessly asks you for you consideration in voting for The Voice of the Revolution at the ENnie Awards.

Games Mentioned: Other Mentions: This episode is sponsored by

Running time: 31:59 / File size: 21.9M

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Master Plan #50: Paul Tevis on Text Presentation, A Penny For My Thoughts

Wed, 01 Jul 2009 02:28:00 +0000

On this fiftieth episode of Master Plan, Ryan talks with Paul Tevis about text production and his new book, A Penny For My Thoughts. Given that Ryan worked with Paul on the game by developing and editing it, it’s not a standard interview -- they talk about it as insiders sharing a bit about creating the project with fans, especially over some of the pitfalls and issues they ran into together. After the interview, a few people wish Ryan well on achieving his fiftieth episode, and he shares his thoughts on the future of the show.

A Penny For My Thoughts: This episode is sponsored by

Running time: 32:04 / File size: 22.0M

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Master Plan #49: Pacing Mechanics part 1, Refresh Scale

Fri, 19 Jun 2009 20:42:00 +0000

Ryan sits down for another episode, this one kicking off a series about pacing mechanics. To start off, he talked about there being some broad, different types of pacing mechanics, and focuses on one in particular: the "refresh scale" mechanics -- those that happen then resources are expended in order to regain them. This idea traces back to old school D&D, but people have done interesting things with it since -- including the recent edition of D&D and Dirty Secrets. To end, he talks a touch about a pitfall with designing these mechanics that he ran into when working on Mythender and urges others to consider avoiding.

Games Mentioned: Other Mentions: This episode is sponsored by

Running time: 25:45 / File size: 17.7M

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Master Plan #48: Chad Underkoffler on Setting Design, Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies

Fri, 05 Jun 2009 01:23:00 +0000

On this episode, Ryan sits down with Chad Underkoffler about designing setting (and, in some respects, writing in general) with his latest release, Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies. They touch on how the setting for this setting-rich book was conceived, fleshed out, and trimmed down to aim the right information at the play group. Afterward, Ryan tells you to check out Paul Tevis' A Penny For My Thoughts, because he's frankly damned proud of the work and thinks it makes for a great case study for one school of thought in design.

Chad Underkoffler: Other Mentions: This episode is sponsored by

Running time: 29:59 / File size: 20.6M

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Master Plan #47: Tangibility in Mechanics

Wed, 13 May 2009 01:09:00 +0000

After an unintended hiatus, Ryan's back with an episode about something near and dear to his heart -- thinking about the tangible qualities that mechanics have. He talks about how people should be looking at what their mechanics are causing players to do with their hands, because it's in that space where some people are better able to connect with the game. After giving an overview of the idea, he discusses four games and how they use this idea in their mechanical design.

Games Mentioned: This episode is sponsored by

Running time: 26:40 / File size: 18.4M

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Master Plan #46: Designing Epic-Scale Games with Josh Roby Part 2, and Power of Names

Thu, 26 Mar 2009 03:15:00 +0000

On this episode, we continue the discussion with Josh Roby about making epic-scale games, with the third of three points: respect, from the point of view of a game respecting its own epic conceit and NPCs respecting epic-scale PCs. Josh also gives an interesting answer to Ryan asking about how his previous master plan is coming along. Afterward, Ryan talks about "the power of names" -- exploring an idea that the names we give terms in our games have a dramatic impact to how well they're understood, illustrated by two counter-examples he's recently come across in other games and one in Mythender.

Josh Roby: Other mentions: This episode is sponsored by

Running time: 21:44 / File size: 15.0M

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Master Plan #45: Designing Epic-Scale Games with Josh Roby, Part 1

Fri, 13 Mar 2009 22:30:00 +0000

This week, Ryan talks with Josh Roby about designing games that support & address epic-scale play -- that is, games that have a grand, dramatic scope as a main part of their premise. The interview ran long, as they covered three points they felt were core by contrasting Josh's new game in playtest, Agora: how shall we live?, with Ryan’s current project, Mythender. In this half, they talk about the scope & pacing of the game, and how their two very different games support their own sense of "epic" with those tools. Afterward, Ryan talks about Daniel Solis's cover creation videos and War Pig Radio. Josh Roby: Other mentions: This episode is sponsored by Running time: 23:44 / File size: 16.4M Discuss this episode on the forums

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Master Plan #44: Ryan's Rules of Playtesting

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 04:49:00 +0000

Still in the post-Dreamation afterglow, Ryan responds to a question asked by friend of the show Remi Treuer, where he asks to hear more about Ryan's playtest process in light of seeing it in action at Dreamation. What he comes up with is something he calls his "Rules of Playtesting" -- things he calls "Rules" because he has to constantly, consciously remember to apply them rather than things that come easy.

The five rules he mentions: The Rule of Consideration, The Rule of Conceit, The Rule of Frontloading, The Rule of the Drawing Board, and The Rule of Keeping My Mouth Shut.

Afterward, Ryan gives you some Sponsor Quote action, with an anectode that will at most amuse five people. Good times.

Remi Treuer: This episode is sponsored by

Running time: 24:21 / File size: 16.8M

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Master Plan #43: Interview with Crafty Games, Part 2

Thu, 12 Feb 2009 00:55:00 +0000

Right before heading off on a bi-coastal convention adventure, Ryan serves up the second half of the interview with Crafty Games. In this half, they talk about collaborating as a team and their main hurdles in revisiting their system & making Fantasy Craft & Mastercraft -- along with, naturally, their own personal master plans. Afterward, Ryan tells you that he'll be at OrcCon and Dreamation this month, and gives a shameless plea to donate to the show.

Crafty Games:
Running time: 21:29 / File size: 14.8M

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Master Plan #42: Interview with Crafty Games, Part 1

Tue, 20 Jan 2009 04:48:00 +0000

Ryan starts 2009 off with the first of a two-part interview with Alex Flagg, Scott Gearin & Patrick Kapera from Crafty Games. They talk about their upcoming product, Fantasy Craft, and how they retooled their award-nominated Spycraft system both for streamlining the rules (for their new Mastercraft base system) and for working with a different genre. After the first part concludes, Ryan talks about a game & a content that has hit his radar, and figures it's worth other people knowing about.

Crafty Games:
Other mentions:
This episode of Master Plan is sponsored by

Running time: 25:19 / File size: 17.4M

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Master Plan #41: Further Thoughts on Advancement

Thu, 25 Dec 2008 17:18:00 +0000

To truly close out 2008, Ryan records one last show on Christmas Day. Inspired by a post from Rob Bohl (of the Independent Insurgency podcast), Ryan talks about more thoughts on advancement: as a way to flesh out a character post-creation, as a world-changing element rather than a character-changing one, as a ritual for marking points in time, and as a way to keep the game feeling fresh from a tactile perspective. They're short thoughts on this solo episode, but ones worth noting. Afterwards, he talks about some podcasts he's been on recently, the fact that he's now a part of the Dresden Files RPG team, and the game design book he's working on. Finally, you're treated to a unique sponsor quote. Happy holidays, Masterminds.

Links: Running time: 21:04 / File size: 14.5M

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Master Plan #40: Luke Crane on Advancement, Failure & Reward Cycles

Wed, 10 Dec 2008 04:07:00 +0000

On this year-end episode of Master Plan, Ryan publishes an interview he did with Luke Crane back at GenCon. They talk (or as much as one can talk when it's 8am & ones voice is completely shot) about thoughts on building advancements systems in games. Luke shares his thoughts on the subject with his building of Burning Wheel, and they drift to related topics like Failure & Reward Cycles. Luke, frankly, has a lot of interesting stuff to say, provided you don't mind the profanity & poor audio quality.

Also, it's the second anniversary of Master Plan. It's been two good years. Here's to a third.

Luke Crane:
Running time: 27:25 / File size: 18.9M

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Master Plan #39: Interview with Seth Ben-Ezra part 2, on A Flower For Mara

Thu, 06 Nov 2008 15:13:00 +0000

On this episode, Ryan & Seth finish up their interview on A Flower for Mara and designing an "American Jeepform" game. Due to necessity, Ryan's forced to be brief & only quickly mentions the Endgame 7th Anniversary party he'll be at and quickly congratulates Shaun & Kristin from This Modern Death.

Seth Ben-Ezra:
Other Games::
Other Mentions::
Running time: 18:05 / File size: 12.5M

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Master Plan #38: Interview with Seth Ben-Ezra part 1, on A Flower For Mara

Thu, 23 Oct 2008 03:47:00 +0000

Ryan talks with Seth Ben-Ezra on his latest game, A Flower For Mara. It's one of a new trend in the independent RPG scene, of taking ideas from the Nordic tradition of Jeepform and merging that with a Forge style. It's the first of a two-part interview, this half focusing on what Jeepform is and how this game came to be. Afterward, Jonathan Walton tells us a little bit about Bleeding Play, and Ryan talks a bit about submitting ideas for future episodes, October's Sponsor Quote, and an article on Kobold Quarterly.

Seth Ben-Ezra:
Other Jeepform:
Other Mentions:
Running time: 24:25 / File size: 16.8M

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Master Plan #37: Have Master, Will Plan 2 with Ken Hite

Fri, 10 Oct 2008 00:15:00 +0000

On a very late, very tired Sunday evening of GenCon, Paul Tevis & Ryan Macklin sit down with the ever-present Ken Hite to talk about the hobby, culture, GenCon, and all that good stuff. [02:24] The banter has just begun [04:29] Ken gives a brief on the vibe coming into & at GenCon 2008 [07:30] Talking about the Forge Diaspora, retailer numbers & casual gamer acceptance [09:40] Throwing yourself into GenCon [12:09] Ken's pinnacle moments, the ENnies & Where the Deep One's Are [13:40] Ryan's pinnacle moments, playtesting [15:45] Welcoming Ken to the extended IPR family [16:03] Paul's pinnacle moments, Star Wars PTA [16:50] Seeing people at GenCon & being inspired [18:29] Paul is back in his wheelhouse [20:02] Paul asks Ken the traditional "What'd you see?" [20:23] Ken comments on the Mongoose Traveller [21:04] ...and on It's Complicated [22:37] Gamers and the Olympics [25:15] Ken comments on Hot War [26:12] ...and Sweet Agatha [26:47] Tobias Wrigstad, Jeepform & American Jeepform: Under My Skin & A Flower For Mara [27:44] Vincent Baker's In a Wicked Age... and Poison'd [28:33] Ken on Don't Lose Your Mind [28:50] Ryan on meeting Benjamin Baugh [29:20] Ken on Qin [30:18] The Atlantean Age for HERO [30:51] Beating Sturgeon's Law [31:30] Catalyst, Shadowrun & Classic Battletech [32:50] Ryan on How to Host a Dungeon [35:05] Ryan & Paul on This Just In...From GenCon!,Ken on the podcasting medium [36:35] Ryan on The Continuum [37:18] Ken further on podcasting as a medium, and on what to look for in RPGs, and the values of books that we might not play [38:36] Hi, Jerry. [40:20] Your gracious hosts ask the guest about his recent Tour de Lovecraft [42:15] The trend of non-fiction gaming books [47:21] Now, we're done Links: GenCon This Just In...From GenCon! The Forge Indie Press Revolution Play Collective Ashcan Front Design Matters ENnies Trail of Cthulhu Where the Deep One's Are Out of the Box Primetime Adventures Mongoose's Traveller It's Complicated Hunter: The Vigil Changeling: The Lost Baron Munchausen Hot War Cold City Sweet Agatha Jeepform Pelgrane Press Under My Skin A Flower For Mara In a Wicked Age... Poison'd Don't Lose Your Mind Don't Rest Your Head Qin: The Warring States The Atlantean Age for HERO Shadowrun Classic Battletech How to Host a Dungeon Mutant City Blues The Continuum Scion Tour de Lovecraft Atomic Overmind Hobby Games: The 100 Best Things We Think About Games Knutepunkt (Wikipedia) Q Workshop First Person Second Person Gaming as Culture Push: Vol 1 GURPS HERO Running time: 48:02 / File size: 33.8M Discuss this episode on the forums:[...]

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Master Plan #36: Understanding Play Styles

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 03:31:00 +0000

On this solo episode, Ryan talks about this thing he calls "Play Style" -- with respect to design, that's how people are interacting together in a particular medium. This idea comes primarily from a conversation he's had with Daniel Solis regarding his game in development, Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. Ryan talks about the different things people get out of a game that's akin to rehearsing a play versus one that is more akin to telling stories around a campfire. He also shares a pet theory (which means it's probably wrong) about why more roleplaying games take the former approach even though the latter is an older method of storytelling. Finally, Jerry "J-Nasty" Grayson provides us with yet another sponsor quote, forming what might be the first sponsor quote narrative on Master Plan.

Games Mentioned: Other Mentions: Running time: 22:17 / File size: 15.4 MB

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Master Plan #35: The Situation Problem

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 03:02:00 +0000

In this last episode before GenCon 2008, Ryan talks about a problem he's recently encountered in his own and other people's projects -- that we spend too much time on mechanics and not enough on situation. He talks about why we likely run into this problem, what "situation" is (opposed to mechanics or setting), and an exercise he did in order to get his head out of mechanics and into situation.

Jared Sorensen's blog post on Game Elements.

Running time: 26:07 / File size: 18.0 MB

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Master Plan #34: Working with Intellectual Property, Chris Birch on Starblazer Adventures & Doctor Who RPG

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 03:11:00 +0000

This week, Ryan talks with Chris Birch of Cubicle 7 Entertainment about two licensed properties they're working with: Starblazer Adventures & the Doctor Who RPG. The two licenses are radically different, and Chris has a background in working with the intellectual property of others due to his clothing company, Joystick Junkies. They talk about some of the issues around and advice with licensing, as well as touch on why he chose to also license a game system as well for Starblazer Adventures. Afterwards, Ryan gushes about how much of a nice guy Chris is, and Jerry "J-Nasty" Grayson provides us with July's Sponsor Quote.

Chris Birch & Cubicle 7 Entertainment: Jerry Grayson of Khepera Publishing

Running time: 28:51 / File size: 19.8 MB

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Master Plan #33: Unpacking Mechanics 1, Points of Tension

Thu, 17 Jul 2008 02:07:00 +0000

On this episode (which is my longest yet), Fred Hicks and I kick off the long-awaited series on mechanics with a discussion about "points of tension," relating both to Don't Rest Your Head's Exhaustion mechanic and Mythender's Mortality mechanic. Fred starts with a wacky assertion -- that conflict is underutilized in RPGs -- and goes from there. Afterwards, Ryan brings up three things: the now-in-preorder Don't Lose your Mind (which he's proud to be the editor of), Levi Kornelsen & Amagi Games, and a new podcasting project with Paul Tevis called This Just In From GenCon. This time, he remembers the Design Watch bump.

Specific Mentions: Games & Other Mentions: Running time: 35:47 / File size: 24.6 MB

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Master Plan #32: Designing from Other Games 4, Clint Krause on Roanoke

Wed, 02 Jul 2008 14:09:00 +0000

On this episode, Ryan talks with Clint Krause of KNRPG Productions about his early game, Roanoke, for the Designing from Other Games series. Clint released this game some time ago, derived from the Wushu system. They talk about issues Clint had to deal with, which given how light the base system is, meant more dealing with establishing tone & genre conventions that systemic hacking. They also talk briefly about thoughts on historical-based games and endgame mechanics. Afterwards, Ryan brings back the Design Watch segment to talk about some things Brennan Taylor has mentioned in the last few days.

Clint Krause, KNRPG Productions: Brennan Taylor, Galileo Games: Other Games: Running time: 26:27 / File size: 18.2 MB

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Master Plan #31: Designing from Other Games 3, Robin Laws on Mutant City Blues

Fri, 13 Jun 2008 20:56:00 +0000

Ryan talks with gaming luminary Robin Laws about his upcoming game, Mutant City Blues. Mutant City Blues is the latest GUMSHOE game, this one not focused on the horror genre but on police procedurals & super-powers. They talk about designing this game from the original GUMSHOE framework, what was changed to make the game focused on the new premise, and overall the experiences of making this game. Throughout the show, Robin also talks a bit about moments in GUMSHOE's design in general.

Robin Laws & GUMSHOE: Other mentions: Running time: 30:34 / File size: 21.1 MB

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Master Plan #30: Lessons I've Learned 1, On Mythender

Thu, 29 May 2008 03:40:00 +0000

On this episode, Ryan takes a moment from is current interview track to make a dreaded solo episode about some of the lessons he's learned lately as a designer. Specifically, he talks about some things he's been dealing with regarding one of his current projects, Mythender. He talks about some of the inspiration elements and how he re-evaluates them periodically to make sure they're still relevant, about looking closely at the player role in a game as well as the GM role, about having to defend his ideas from critical friends & not letting your friends' desires cause you to make the game you don't want. Then he finishes up with this month's sponsor quote from Fred Hicks.

Running time: 26:04 / File size: 18.0 MB

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Master Plan #29: Designing from Other Games 2, John Wick

Thu, 08 May 2008 23:01:00 +0000

After the beach sabbatical that was Have Master, Will Plan #1, Ryan goes back to his series of designers talking about their experiences working with other games. This week, he talks with John Wick about his now-in-preorder game, Houses of the Blooded. Along with talking about where various parts of the game were inspired, John drops a bit of insight into some other games and shares some stories where he's collaborated with and contributed to other designers. Then Ryan talks briefly about the part he really thinks is cool, which is what John's doing with the Limited Edition of Houses of the Blooded, particularly the Graphics Pack.

John Wick & Houses of the Blooded: Running time: 29:29 / File size: 20.3 MB

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Master Plan #28: Have Master, Will Plan 1, part 2

Fri, 25 Apr 2008 17:02:00 +0000

Have Master, Will Plan #1 with Paul Tevis, part 2

  • 0:34 This episode is the second part of a conversation between Ryan Macklin and Paul Tevis at the second Nerdly Beach Party. Pick up the first half over on Have Games, Will Travel.
  • 1:19 If you like this show, check out
  • 1:28 Ryan and Paul talk about Project Cowbell, their attempt to recapture their convention gaming roots, and how that play style differs from what they've been doing recently.
  • 8:10 - Sprigboarding off the idea of making clear what parts of a design are important, Paul and Ryan talk about how they address the issue of modular design in A Penny For My Thoughts.
  • 17:08 - Finally coming around to the original premise for this episode, Paul and Ryan talk about how publication is not the end-point, what they mean by development, and their collaboration style.
  • 29:31 - And that's it from the Nerdly Beach Party 2. A big thanks to Albert, Nancy, and Josh for organizing it!
Running time: 30:50 / File size: 21.2 MB

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Master Plan #27: Designing from Other Games 1, Willow Palecek

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 00:44:00 +0000

Master Plan #27: Designing from Other Games 1, Willow Palecek Ryan kicks off this new series on designers discussing their experiences designing from other games by talking to new publisher Willow Palecek. She's recently published Awesome Adventures, her derivative of Evil Hat's FATE system. They talk for a bit about why she started with FATE, the reasons behind some of her design choices, and what sort of issues she's faces in playtesting those choices. After that, Ryan mentions a couple other podcasts where you can hear him talk and April's Sponsor Quote.

Willow Palecek & Awesome Adventures: Places where Ryan won't shut up: Other mentions: Running time: 27:00 / File size: 18.6 MB

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Master Plan #26: Jennifer Rodgers on Working With Artists

Fri, 28 Mar 2008 02:05:00 +0000

Ryan talks with Jennifer Rodgers, artist & colorist, about what a game designer should expect to know and should expect to find out in talking with an artist such as herself. They get a bit in-depth about her specific process, and she talks about some of the things she's learned over her time working with clients. Afterward, Ryan mentions, follows up on some comments made about episode 25, and thanks his awesome listeners for supporting him, criticizing him and in general being there to listen.

Jennifer Rodgers: Other mentions: Running time: 29:25 / File size: 20.2 MB

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Master Plan #25: Good Games, Poor Texts

Mon, 10 Mar 2008 02:53:00 +0000

Ryan takes another solo episode to talk about the part of game books we rarely talk about -- the text of the book separated from the game. He talked about the purposes of a game text, how a game text starts and ends a conversation with the reader, and some examples of games that do and don't do this effectively (even though as they're they aren't poor). Along with the issues, he tries to bring it home with some potential, if broad, solutions. Then Ryan talks about the show's first sponsor.

Mentions: Running time: 24:26 / File size: 16.8 MB

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Master Plan #24: Emily Care Boss on Romantic RPGs

Fri, 15 Feb 2008 04:29:00 +0000

Being Valentine's Day, Ryan sits down with designer Emily Care Boss to talk about her romantic role-playing games Breaking the Ice, Shooting the Moon and the upcoming Under My Skin. While the topic begins with the typical "trials and tribulations" question, this one about designing romantic RPGs, they cover quite a few other insightful topics: discovering what your game is really about through playing it and seeing others play it, being unexpectedly pigeonholed, and her experience with another role-playing culture.

Emily Care Boss: Other Mentions: Running time: 28:43 / File size: 19.8 MB

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Master Plan #23: Daniel Solis, Part 2 on "A Cover is a Promise"

Wed, 06 Feb 2008 03:38:00 +0000

Following up on the the last show, Ryan finishes up his interview with Daniel Solis. They talk about something Daniel has said in the past, "A Cover is a Promise." Daniel discusses what that means, what some of the covers he has done seeks to promise to the browser and his method for designing those covers and communicating those promises. Afterwards, Ryan mentions a few RPGs that might be timely to play, given that Valentine's Day is around the corner, and ends the show by talking about the upcoming Los Angeles convention, OrcCon.

Daniel Solis' website

Covers Daniel has worked on: Other covered mentioned: Romantic RPG mentions: OrcCon website
Games I'm running at OrcCon Running time: 25:28 / File size: 17.6 MB

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Master Plan #22A: Interview with Daniel Solis, Part 1A on Soft Question Anecdotes

Wed, 23 Jan 2008 07:25:00 +0000

Hours before leaving home for Dreamation, Ryan puts together a short episode of Master Plan. Daniel Perez from The Gamer Traveler and The Digital Front podcasts mentioned on the Master Plan forum that he wished I had published the anecdotes that Daniel Solis told me. Ask and ye shall receive!

Note: this podcast has been quickly edited and posted up, so it will sound different from most other podcasts.

Running time: 5:50 / File size: 4.1 MB

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Master Plan #22: Daniel Solis, Part 1 on Layout Questions

Fri, 18 Jan 2008 03:28:00 +0000

For his first podcast of 2008, Ryan talks with Daniel Solis, layout designers for such games as Lacuna, Reign, Wilderness of Mirrors and the upcoming Houses of the Blooded. As part one of their interview, they talk about questions a designer should be able to answer or keep in mind when talking to someone about doing layout for their game. Daniel goes into his list of Hard, Firm and Soft Questions, and goes into detail as to how the answers to those questions helps help layout a project.

Daniel Solis' website

Projects Daniel has worked on: Other mentions: Running time: 28:35 / File size: 19.6 MB

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Master Plan #21: First Drafts

Sun, 30 Dec 2007 02:05:00 +0000

After making his brief comment about first drafts on Master Plan #19, Ryan decides to unpack his thoughts on the subject by talking about what he has to deal with. He touches on forms of procrastination that feel like work, dealing with judging himself against the finished works of others, "sexy" and "unsexy" writing, some things other writers have said that help him when he's struggling, and embracing intentionally-bad writing.

Mentions: Running time: 23:24 / File size: 16.2 MB

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Master Plan #20: Scene Framing and Pacing Mechanics with Luke Crane

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:58:00 +0000

On this anniversary episode of Master Plan, Ryan puts out an interview with Luke Crane he did at GenCon earlier in the year. They talk about the scene framing and pacing mechanics (or Disposition mechanics) in Burning Empires, partly sparked because Ryan didn't completely understand them when he and his group played it. Luke goes into detail about how he came up with various design goals and elements in that part of Burning Empires and also gives some insight in how to play the game.

Warning: There's a lot of profanity in this episode, and due to technical problems the interview has some severe audio degradations from 21:16 to 28:48.

Luke Crane:
Other Mentions:
Running time: 30:09 / File size: 20.7MB

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Master Plan #19: Busting GM Assumptions with Ben Lehman

Fri, 30 Nov 2007 03:22:00 +0000

As the first episode in a series about busting assumptions in game design, Ryan talks with Ben Lehman about assumptions regarding game masters (or GMs). Ben has written three games that each deal with GM distribution differently: Polaris, which has no GM; Bliss Stage, which has a typical GM; and The Drifter's Escape, which has many GMs and one PC. Bringing these various experiences to the table, they unpack various assumptions and various design pitfalls. Afterwards, Ryan shares some random bits of advice he's found himself telling people lately.

Ben's Games:
Other Games Mentioned:
Other Mentions:
Running time: 28:14 / File size: 19.3 MB

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Master Plan #18: Emergent Play

Sat, 10 Nov 2007 09:40:00 +0000

Ryan returns from nearly a month off to talk about a topic he's very passionate about: Emergent Play (or Emergent Behavior in Play). That is play that emerges from the people engaging and interactive with the text, but isn't a direct result of the instructions of the text. He goes into some examples to illustrate the idea from different vantage points: the board game Diplomacy, Call of Cthulhu, Paul Tevis' A Penny For My Thoughts, his own Know Thyself, and Beast Hunters. While he only scratched the surface, he looks forward to returning to this topic again.

Running time: 24:58 / File size: 17.1 MB

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Master Plan #17: Joshua BishopRoby on Playtesting

Thu, 11 Oct 2007 03:12:00 +0000

Ryan talks with Joshua BishopRoby of Kallisti Press about beta playtesting -- getting the game your working on playtested by people outside of your table. They talk about his current project that's in beta playtest, Sons of Liberty. Speaking both generally and using Sons of Liberty as an example, Joshua discusses what a "beta playtest" is, the issues in getting people to playtest, what he's looking for in feedback, and other playtesting topics. Ryan then talks about what he sees as the benefits, as a game designer, of playtesting someone else's game.

Sons of Liberty -- Beta Playtest until October 31st, 2007
Contact Ryan about ordering an ashcan copy of Know Thyself:

Other Mentions:
Running time: 23:56 / File size: 16.4 MB

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Master Plan #16: Personal Experiences with Card Production on Know Thyself

Thu, 27 Sep 2007 16:18:00 +0000

Ryan talks about doing the physical card production for his recent ashcan game, Know Thyself. As he ended up doing most of the production himself, he has a lot to say about the various steps in the process. He talks about the process after designing the cards: physically printing the cards, having the cards cut, collating the decks, etc., sharing with everyone the little problems and little successes he had in the process. After discussing that, Joshua BishopRoby pops on briefly to call upon all good patriots to playtest Sons of Liberty.

Know Thyself:
Sons of Liberty:
Other mentions:
Running time: 28:29 / File size: 20.0 MB

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Master Plan #15: Leonard Balsera on the FATE Fractal

Fri, 14 Sep 2007 19:05:00 +0000

Ryan sits down with Leonard Balsera of Evil Hat Productions and talks about a design concept central to the FATE -- the system used by Spirit of the Century and the upcoming Dresden Files RPG -- called the Fractal. They talk about this concept that treats elements larger and smaller than characters, like planets & possessions, the same way as characters are treated mechanically. Leonard also gives us a bit of an update on the Dresden Files RPG. FATE & The Fractal: FATE: Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment Spirit of the Century Dresden Files RPG Fred's post on RPGnet & his blog entry on the Fractal. FATE Yahoo Group, where you can get Rob's macro-level rules for FATE 2.0 Wikipedia entry on fractals Jason Morningstar's Sight & Sound Game Design Challenge: Main contest page My entry, "Only the Guilty Run" (requires a Story Games login, which is totally free) Jared Sorensen's entry, "1000 Words" (requires a Story Games login) Other Games Mentioned: Birthright, the classic AD&D setting Burning Empires by Luke Crane Dogs in the Vineyard by Lumpley Games GURPS by Steve Jackson Games Over the Edge by Atlas Games PDQ by Atomic Sock Monkey Press The Storytelling System by White Wolf My blog entry where I ask for any questions about the card production for Know Thyself: Running time: 27:48 / File size: 19.7 MB Discuss this episode on the forums:[...]

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Master Plan #14: Cool Revisited

Tue, 04 Sep 2007 19:48:00 +0000

While editing another episode, Ryan gets an audio comment from Paul Tevis about the last episode, The Siren Song of Cool, along with some questions. He takes a stab at addressing those comments and answering those questions, after thanking some of the folks he got to meet at GenCon.


Running time: 23:27 / File size: 16.5 MB

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Master Plan #13: The Siren Call of Cool

Wed, 15 Aug 2007 03:59:00 +0000

Ryan tries his new format out with an episode talking about the Siren Call of Cool. He talks about how he's had to deal with problems around cool ideas he's had and thought he had with Know Thyself, and how the sort of problems you might have to deal with when it comes the confidence in your design and dealing with playtesters and people you talk with about your game. He apologizes for the roughness in the editing, but he had to push this out before leaving for GenCon. Know Thyself Master Mines posts Card Deck Ashcan Front Game Chef Some notes for my next idea, "Flood: Apocryphal Roleplaying" Games Mentioned Spirit of the Century PDQ Core Rules Truth & Justice Zorcerer of Zo Dead Inside Questers of the Middle Realms Ninja Burger RPG 2nd ed. Beast Hunters Hero's Banner Agon Polaris Full Light, Full Steam Other Mentions Finis Battlestar Galactica (wikipedia) Go Play Northwest Endgame Minicon Nerdly Beach Party Have Games, Will Travel Sons of Kryos Theory from the Closet Running time: 27:48 / File size: 20.3 MB Discuss this episode on the forums:[...]

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Master Plan #12: Interview with Bully Pulpit Games

Tue, 31 Jul 2007 06:01:00 +0000

Ryan talks with Jason Morningstar & Steve Segedy of Bully Pulpit Games, about The Shab-al-Hiri Roach and the design & production issues with making a role-playing game that involves a custom deck of cards. Ryan also talks about changes he's planning on making with the format of Master Plan, brings back his Design Watch segment for a brief moment and talks about how to find two things: him at GenCon and other podcasts on the Internet. Bully Pulpit Games Interview Bully Pulpit Games The Shab-al-Hiri Roach Grey Ranks The Roach Returns Mad Irishman Productions Alphagraphics Lulu All these games should be available at GenCon at The Forge Booth/Indie Press Revolution (booth #1739). Design Watch Daniel Solis' single-blog-post summary of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple All of his blog posts tags as "Do" Stargate SG-1 (Wikipedia) Dogs in the Vineyard Buddhism (Wikipedia) Dear Abby (Wikipedia) Avatar: The Last Airbender (Wikipedia) Other Mentions -- A directory of audio and video shows about role-playing games and other games, all freely available on the Internet. Forum post about finding me at GenCon, which includes some of the podcaster panels, the Ashcan Front, and the Gaming Podcasting Party on Saturday night. Goblin: The Gaming Broadcast Network Have Games, Will Travel The Voice of the Revolution Running time: 29:37 / File size: 20.3 MB Discuss this episode on the forums:[...]

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Master Plan #11: Master Mines round table #1

Fri, 13 Jul 2007 04:40:00 +0000

Mike Sugarbaker & Paul Tevis sit down with Ryan at Go Play Northwest on Saturday evening and talk about the design collective they've put together. Paul & Ryan talk about playtesting at the convention, and all three talk about how they've set up the collective and what they've been getting out of it. Master Mines The website The mission statement & rules A Penny for my Thoughts by Paul Tevis Know Thyself by Ryan Macklin Outside Men by Mike Sugarbaker Kingdom of Nothing by Jeff Himmelman Master Mines members podcasts: Mike Sugarbaker: OgreCave Audio Report Paul Tevis: (ENnie Award nominated) Have Games, Will Travel & The Voice of the Revolution Daniel M. Perez: The Gamer Traveler Jeff Himmelman: Gamer: The Podcasting Chris Perrin/commondialog: Canon Puncture and, of course, my own Master Plan Other design collectives (all on WordPress): Secret Wars HQ Unicron Splitting the Party Other mentions: Finis: A Book of Endings to Give People New Beginnings Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill (wikipedia) Ashcan Front Wordpress Go Play Northwest Endgame Minicon Game Chef Skype The Butcher Block The Durham 3 Running time: 29 minutes, 02 seconds / File size: 27.2 MB Discuss this episode on the forums:[...]

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Master Plan #10: Interview with Ken Hite, Playtesting at Go Play NW

Fri, 29 Jun 2007 03:31:00 +0000

This week, Ryan gets gaming luminary Kenneth Hite on the show. They start by talking about Ken's upcoming book, Adventures Into Darkness, and then go into talking about designers notes, pulling from other games and the continuing evolution of game design. Afterwards, Ryan talks about his experiences playtesting at Go Play NW, helping out with A Penny For My Thoughts & Sea Dracula as well as testing his own game, Know Thyself. Games mentioned: Adventures Into Darkness available soon at Ronin Arts Ken Hite's Dubious Shards Ken Hite's Tarot of Cthulhu: Major Arcana d20 by Wizards of the Coast Dogs in the Vineyard by Lumpley Games Dungeons & Dragons by Wizards of the Coast FASERIP Ghostbusters by West End Games (Wikipedia entry) GUMSHOE by Robin Laws Monte Cook Presents: Iron Heroes The Mountain Witch by Timfire Publishing Mutants & Masterminds by Green Ronin Publishing Sorcerer by Adept Press Spycraft 2.0 by Crafty Games Star Trek Roleplaying Gameby Dechiper Thirty by Wicked Dead Brewing Company Truth & Justice by Atomic Sock Monkey Press Vampire: The Requiem by White Wolf Publishing Requiem Chronicler's Guide by White Wolf Publishing Wild Talents by Arc Dream Publishing World of Darkness by White Wolf Publishing Unknown Armies by Atlas Games Other mentions: Ronin Arts The Forge GNS Theory (WikiPedia article) Story Games for Everybody Master Plan Playtesting at Go Play NW: Go Play NW A Penny For My Thoughts by Paul Tevis @ Master Mines Know Thyself by Ryan Macklin @ Master Mines Sea Dracula by Jake Richmond & Nick Smith (link to PDF) Talk about Sea Dracula Go Play NW aftermath including Sea Dracula talk Photos of us playing Sea Dracula (I'm the guy in the gray sweatshirt) Plugs & Bumps: Finis: A Book of Endings to Give People New Beginnings GOBLIN: Gaming Broadcast Network Canon Puncture Atomic Sock Monkey Press The Ashcan Front Running time: 30 minutes, 16 seconds / File size: 21.2 MB Discuss this episode on the forums:[...]

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Master Plan #9: Interview with Ashcan Front

Tue, 19 Jun 2007 02:50:00 +0000

Ryan interviews Matt Snyder and Paul Czege from The Ashcan Front. They talk about what an ashcan is when it comes to a game development, how to better achieve design goals with ashcans, and about what they're trying to accomplish with The Ashcan Front. Afterwards, Ryan talks briefly about his book now available for pre-order, Finis: A Book of Endings to Give People New Beginnings.

The Ashcan Front:
Other Mentions:
Running time: 29 minutes, 24 seconds / File size: 11.7 MB

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Master Plan #8: Game Chef and Game Design Duel

Tue, 29 May 2007 15:15:00 +0000

Ryan comes back from an impromptu hiatus to talk about what he got out of Game Chef and why he thinks others should do such contests. Then he interviews two Game Design Duelists, Adam Rappold and Justin D. Jacobson, about why they decided to duel, how badly the other person will lose, and their response to using musical scale as a mechanic ingredient. Afterwards, he talks about other podcasts talking about game design, theory & publishing.

Game Chef: Game Design Duel: Design Watch: Other Podcasts Mentioned: Running time: 32 minutes, 00 seconds / File size: 21.9 MB

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Master Plan #7: Interview with Evil Hat Productions, Shield Bracelet Woes

Fri, 20 Apr 2007 03:55:00 +0000

Rob Donoghue and Fred Hicks come on the show to talk about an issue they're dealing with while working on the Dresden Files RPG -- working with the shield bracelet and how to mesh mechanical modeling and the feel from the fiction. They get pretty into it about what they're dealing with. Then Ryan talks about Chad Underkoffler's latest project, Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, and talks about some listener email and his upcoming book. Evil Hat Productions: Evil Hat Productions Dresden Files RPG (In production) Spirit of the Century Don't Rest Your Head FATE: Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment (Incidentally, I really like Evil Hat's new website look. Kudos, from one web developer to another.) Design Watch: Chad Underkoffler's Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies entries Email me about thoughts or ideas regarding the pulp minis game for Nils Blantant Plugs: My blog entries about Finis: A Book of Endings to Give People New Beginnings A sample of Finis that shows off Fred's nigh-divine talents. Other Mentions: Gaming Podcast Network Game Chef The Butcher Block -- Fred's podcast about all things Jim Butcher The episode where Fred and Rob mention briefly the shield bracelet and the RPG Paul Tevis's podcast, Have Games, Will Travel The episode where Paul talks about his miniatures gaming experiences Running time: 23 minutes, 41 seconds / File size: 21.6 MB Comment on the episode[...]

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Master Plan #6: Interview with Christian Griffen

Wed, 21 Mar 2007 03:42:00 +0000

Ryan interviews Christian Griffen of Berengad Games about his new book, Beast Hunters. They talk about why the game was created, touch on how the game works, then go a bit into how Christian and his wife created it together and some elements that evolved from the original draft. Later, Ryan talk obsessively about Game Chef.

Beast Hunters

Beast Hunters is currently offering a pre-order deal until March 25th, 2007. For more information on the offer, go to:

You can find more information about Beast Hunters, including links to reviews, at:

Game Chef

To find out more about Game Chef, you can go to:

Or for some specific links:
The rules of Game Chef:
Information on the ingredients:
Group Epsilon/Barnstormers:
You can find my various posts for "Enlightenment" there.

Check it out!

Running time: 22 minutes, 59 seconds / File size: 21.0 MB

- Ryan

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Master Plan #5: Interview with Chad Underkoffler -- Wacky Damage in PDQ

Tue, 13 Mar 2007 15:48:00 +0000

Ryan brings the first of many guests on the show. This week, he talks with Chad Underkoffler of Atomic Sock Monkey Press about his Prose Descriptive Qualities (PDQ) system, specifically about the strange way damage is handled and what he went through to create and revise it. Chad Underkoffler's Games: Atomic Sock Money Press PDQ Core Rules -- Free Download Dead Inside Monkey Ninja Pirate Robot Deluxe Monkey Ninja Pirate Robot the RPG Truth & Justice The Zorcerer of Zo Games Mentioned During Interview: Ars Magica, Fifth Edition by Atlas Games (Later edition than referenced on the show) Castle Falkenstein by R.Talsorian Games FUDGE by Grey Ghost Press Go Fish (Wikipedia entry) GURPS by Steve Jackson Games Marvel Super Heroes by TSR (Wikipedia entry) Over the Edge by Atlas Games Poker (Wikipedia entry) Risus: The Anything RPG by S. John Ross Unknown Armies by Atlas Games Other Mentions During Interview: Spider-Man (Wikipedia entry) World's Finest -- Batman & Superman animated story (Wikipedia entry) Design Watch: The BibliOdyssey RPG Design Challenge Grey Ranks by Bully Pulpit Games The Voice of the Revolution -- Brennan Taylor's bits on game design Confession: Interconnected game notes Prisoner's Dilemma (Wikipedia entry) Master Plan Web Column Other Games Mentioned: carry. a game about war. by Hamsterprophet Productions Mortal Coil by Galileo Games The Shab-al-Hiri Roach by Bully Pulpit Games Upcoming Conventions: Endgame Minicon -- April 7th, 2007 / Oakland, California Conquest Sacramento -- April 13th-15th, 2007 / Sacramento, California Podcasts Mentioned: The Butcher Block Geek Fu Action Grip Have Games, Will Travel I Should Be Writing The Voice of the Revolution Miscellaneous Mentions: iPod by Apple Running time: 24 minutes, 39 seconds / File size: 22.5 MB Comment on the episode - Ryan[...]

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Master Plan #4: Questioning Mechanics

Mon, 19 Feb 2007 18:33:00 +0000

Ryan talks about the questions he's come up with to help guide him when designing game mechanics.  He talked about the current problem he's having with his game and offers an idea to folks still trying to get their mechanics ideas off the ground.

Games mentioned:
Design Watch: Other mentions: Running time: 11 minutes, 24 seconds

- Ryan

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Master Plan Audio #3: Designer's Block

Tue, 09 Jan 2007 16:46:00 +0000

While both struggling with problems lately writing and designing and helping a friend who is going through the same thing, Ryan decides to talk about writer's block & designer's block.  He goes into what being blocked has been for him and the various ways he's dealt with it.


Running time: 19 minutes, 21 seconds

- Ryan

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Master Plan Audio #2: Playtesting

Sat, 23 Dec 2006 23:16:00 +0000

Inspired by some of the comments he received about the first show, Ryan talks about playtesting. He goes into some embarassing moments where he failed as a designer in dealing with playtesters, and talks about a couple general ways of going about playtesting.

Games & Companies mentioned: Other mentions:
  • The Butcher Block -- a podcast about all things Jim Butcher
Remember, only three days left before the pre-order for The Zorcerer of Zo closes, and with that, the free PDF offer!

- Ryan

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Master Plan Audio #1: Podcast Intro

Sun, 10 Dec 2006 22:57:00 +0000

Ryan introduces himself and the podcast, then moves on to getting peeks into various designers' heads. Design articles mentioned: Burning Empires From Inception to Finished Product by Thor Olavsrud Designing Dresden by Rob Donoghue & Fred Hicks My own Master Plan web column Games mentioned: Burning Empires by Luke Crane Dogs in the Vineyard by Lumpley Games The Dresden Files RPG by Evil Hat Productions FATE: Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment by Evil Hat Productions Legend of the Five Rings Collectible Card Game by Alderac Entertainment Group Magic: the Gathering by Wizard of the Coast Memoir '44 by Days of Wonder Ninja Burger RPG 2nd Edition by aetheral Forge Questers of the Middle Realms by Silver Branch Games Spirit of the Century by Evil Hat Productions Truth & Justice by Atomic Sock Monkey Press The Zorceror of Zo by Atomic Sock Monkey Press Other mentions: Eric Burns' review of The Zorcerer of Zo Jim Butcher's Dresden Files novel series Pyramid Magazine Paul Tevis' Have Games, Will Travel I encourage everyone to take a look at The Zorceror of Zo. I mention it on my blog at: Ryan[...]

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