Episode 15: Jahmal runs role-playing games for money

July 6, 2020 @ 9:09 pm

Note: Our audio is clippy as all get-out. Don't hate us. Or, rather, hate me. Jahmal is getting better at this, and I brought his quality down. Take me. Take me as tribute. I cut so much good stuff outta here. I’m a damn shame. Y’know why? Because I did a podcast of someone else’s a couple week ago, and my audio was too loud, and I bet she went back in time to change the sound levels on this. That’s definitely more likely than I just didn’t pay any attention when I recorded it. 

I talked to a guy online who said he knew some people. I showed up at a guy’s apartment, and there were a bunch of guys there. One of those guys, if I remember correctly, was Jahmal. Now I don’t even talk to that first guy online anymore, but Jahmal, well, I still talk to him. 

Jahmal is one of the best role-playing game DMs, game masters, judges, referees, storytellers, whatever, around. He has a unique, damn near patent-pending (or should be) way of letting each game session evolve with the interests, problems, goals, pains and pleasures of the players who show up to pretend to be other people and roll some dice (usually) to decide conflicts. 

There’s a special high the right game with the right people can deliver, he says, as stories go directions and characters take actions and players think up things no one thought possible: “There are moments in games where folks are doing their thing … and this synergy happens, I hate that word, but this synergy happens, and we’re all in this new space, and we’re all there … and the light bulbs come on for everybody. And no one saw it comin' sittin' down that night. 

“My high is only capped by the table’s high.” 

In this one, we explore what role-playing games are, why rules in games are important, and the difference between drama and shenanigans. It gets deep into the details, but stick around …  



> You need Jahmal’s Patreon page like a flower needs water. He shares play sessions with his son and others, has in-depth discussions with other game makers, and he shares his thoughts regularly on games and things that touch on them. Check out his Transformers post. 

> Want to find a friendly game store in your neighborhood? Try this website. 

> What’s a dice pool? Roll dem bones! 

> There are a lot of games out there. Here are a few mentioned:  

>>> Apocalypse World (“Rated ‘R,’” says Jahmal, for adults) and other games “Powered by the Apocalypse,” such as Urban Shadows, Monster of the Week and Monster Hearts

>>> Ars Magica 

>>> Burning Wheel, which Jahmal loooooves 

>>> Dungeons & Dragons 

>>> Gamma World 

>>> Mutant Year Zero 

>>> Pathfinder 

>>> Star Wars   

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