We did not intend to start an actualplay podcast, or indeed any podcast. Way back in the depths of mid 2016, some folk from a small World of Warcraft guild called “Penance” decided they should run “some form of RPG” over the guilds teamspeak server. That was to keep us sane during the many, many months of running the same raid content. This originally was going to be a ready-made engine such as Dungeons & Dragons, but to significantly reduce the need to buy any books for creating characters, spells, etc. Nikoli decided to rebuild his previously stripped down cyberpunk RPG engine into a fantasy RPG setting. This uses minimal rules for creation and needs minimal prior knowledge to join. This was a much easier way to bring in everyone who was interested in at low (or no) cost.
How We Record
We did look at using roll20 and similar online map websites to help play the game. Nikoli experimented with software and decided it would be better as a “theatre of the mind” style RPG. The Teamspeak server allowed recording directly and a dice rolling add-on let everyone roll in the chat box.
So we started recording in July 2016, originally to be something to amuse the others in the guild. However, around 20 episodes into recording something seemed to click. Ellie, the music student, wondered if she could edit the original episodes, add some backing music that she had written, and release them properly as a podcast, to see how the interest outside the guild went… and that’s how we came to be on Soundcloud…quickly moving to Libsyn and becoming active on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and recently Instagram. Additionally, we now record via Discord which allows us to make servers for each cast.
Our motto of “Stay ambitious, even if you think you are rubbish” comes from that WoW guild’s motto of “Ambitious but Rubbish but Lucky”. We created this in reference to our social-focused approach to end-game content rather than pushing for speed or completion. It also works well for the anarchic feel that drives an enjoyable actualplay listening experience.