Interview with Jason Massey (Dungeons and Randomness) about The Adventurer’s Guide To Theria: Ellara

What happens when a popular Dungeons & Dragons actual play podcast decides to Kickstart their campaign setting into a book for the fans? To get a sense of what that would be like, I ask Jason Massey of the Dungeons and Randomness podcast about their upcoming setting book for for Theria, The Adventurer’s Guide To Theria Volume One: Ellara, as well as their annual 12-hour live stream, “TheriaThon”, and where you can catch them live in 2019.


EGG EMBRY (EGG): Jason, thanks for taking time away from your work to talk about your projects. Let’s start out with who you are and what Dungeons and Randomness is. Can you tell me about the origins of D&R?
JASON MASSEY (JM): First of all, thanks so much for having me. It means a lot. I always liked the idea of playing D&D when I was a kid but never had a chance, so when I was thirty-two, I gave it a shot with a group of friends from another podcast I was on. We recorded it, that was my very first game of Dungeons and Dragons, and that’s what ended up getting posted seven years ago.

EGG: Can you share some of D&R’s awards, and moments you’re proud of?
JM: It's funny you mention that because we were just this past month voted #4 in the “Top 20 Best RPG Podcasts” on Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News site, which was really exciting. It was a popular vote system so that meant a lot to us. Laughing Squid did a write-up on us in 2015. In September this last year we were mentioned on ET online. I would say some of our biggest accomplishments have been playing live at DragonCon, which is one of the largest geek conventions in the US. We have been presenters/guests for four years and are about to attend our fifth this August. Last year was our biggest year yet because we played live and streamed it. (Full video here). We were also interviewed at last year’s DragonCon leading up to the live show for DragonCon TV. A friend and fellow cast member of ours had also crafted a gorgeous documentary on us back in 2016, though it is slightly dated now. As for proud moments, I’d say we’ve had a bunch of those on the show. Honestly, every time we’ve had a milestone episode, we’ve all pulled out the big guns and roleplayed our butts off- 100 and 200 were both incredibly epic. And, of course, every “TheriaThon” has been something I’m proud of, especially the one that had us meet the goal for our first Kickstarter back in 2014.

EGG: If someone’s never listened to D&R, what’s the episode you’d recommend to get a feel for the podcast?
JM: That’s a tough one. Personally, I’d say Arc 2, Episode 1. We pretty much designed that for new listeners to hop on. If they are curious about older events, they can either listen to the recap episode (which condenses 200 episodes into about two hours), or listen to Arc 1 while waiting for new episodes, but they don’t need to do that to enjoy the current show.

EGG: How did you get to running 20 players in 3 groups on a podcast? [That deserves comic lettering: How did you get to running 20 players in 3 groups on a podcast, True Believer?!]
JM: Uhm… I’m really stupid? Seriously, I guess it mostly comes from greed. I wanted to play more, and at the time the first group just wasn’t playing that often- maybe once a month if we were lucky? And I wanted to explore the world and get a chance to play more often.

EGG: This is your seventh anniversary. What edition did Theria originate in? What edition did D&R start with?
JM: We started with 4th edition, which was the most recent edition at the time. Everything started pretty easy but if you are familiar with 4e you know that things ramp up quickly and status effects and things like that eventually get unwieldy. Near the end of the first arc we were having four- to six-hour fights. For Arc 2, we switched over to 5e and spent a month and a half changing things to fit our world.
EGG: What is “TheriaThon”? How many years have you been doing “TheriaThon”?
JM: “TheriaThon” is a twelve-hour marathon celebration where we try to get every group on the show to play one after the other. This will be our fifth year, we had to skip one when we were switching to 5e. It’s a lot of fun and we do our best to put on a great show. Mostly, it’s a thank you to the listeners for supporting us.

EGG: You’re there for all 12 hours. Do you have a pre-marathon ritual? If so, can you share it?
JM: Honestly? Mostly panicking. Double, triple-checking everything. Notes and the stream. I pace a lot leading up to it. I pace normally, but more so when I know I’m about to be sitting for twelve hours DMing mostly non-stop.

EGG: This year’s “TheriaThon” was special. Can you tell us about the Kickstarter you launched during it?
JM: As you can probably tell, the world of Theria has a lot of thought and creativity pooled into it. All of the hard work I put into it, and then also what the cast makes of it while they play in it. We’ve had tons of listeners ask us for a way to play in the world, and we finally feel like we are able to do that. The first volume of The Adventurer’s Guide to Theria is a comprehensive guide to Ellara, which is the continent most prominent on our show. We hope to publish more books on the other continents in the future, but we suppose that depends on how well this Kickstarter does and how the first book is received.

EGG: For fans, Theria’s uniqueness is obvious. For the uninitiated, how would you pitch your world?
JM: I think the biggest thing is our focus on actions having consequences, and the cast being able to shape things. It’s a somewhat low-magic world where death is usually permanent, and things are always evolving and changing shape.

EGG: What stretch goal are you most eager to unlock?
JM: We have an entire set of modules we are unlocking one at a time, and there isn’t a single one I’m not excited for. I hope we hit most, if not all, of those.

EGG: The art you included is outstanding. Who is it by?
JM: That would be Adam Kovar. He's been a great guy to work with. Those are just a few pieces, but we haven't really revealed a lot of our stuff yet. We'll be doing that on the 20th.

EGG: Any parting thoughts?
JM: I feel like win, lose or draw with the Kickstarter, we’ve done everything we can on our end to make it a success. I also think “TheriaThon” is going to be a blast regardless. I think we picked an attainable goal and do think we’ll hit it, but I know that we’ve done everything in our power to give it the best shot- including having a pdf of one of the regions included in the book along with a snapshot of other chapters available to download in the Kickstarter.

EGG: For fans interested in your work, where can they find you and your Kickstarter?
JM: Well I’m glad you asked! They can find us on any podcast platform, including Spotify, under the name “Dungeons and Randomness”. They can also visit our website at www.dandrpodcast.com, and our Kickstarter (here). Again, thank you so much for having me.

If you like what we do here at EN World (the Forums, Columns, News, ENnies, etc) and would like to help support us to bring you MORE please consider supporting our Patreon. Even a single dollar helps! This article was contributed by Egg Embry as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. Please note that Egg is a participant in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to DriveThruRPG.
 
Egg Embry

Comments

SMHWorlds

Explorer
Very cool. I am a big fan of setting material and the unique looks that it gives to a system like D&D.
 

Ruf67

Visitor
This was a great read!. Been a big fan of D&R for just over a year now and very excited for their Kickstarer to wind up!
 

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