Hi there, I’m Matthew Jackson. I’m the Archnerd in charge of Fate & Fables - the host, Dungeon Master, editor and producer. Picture a filthy little goblin boy running around behind the scenes, that’s me, and this is a blog post introducing you to Fate & Fables.
Let’s be clear - I’m making a dungeons and dragons podcast for three reasons; the money, the power, and the women. Jokes aside, I actually just really bloody love running these games, and setting up microphones and scheduling recordings has only made it better.
When I was nineteen at university, I was running a game of around six people, and I was a couple of years into being a Dungeon Master. I was obsessed; I spent far more time working on the weekly nerd gatherings than on my actual uni-course. Binders, notepads and boxes full of fantasy letters, maps, and character bios started to amount up. My grandmother once observed me drawing out a detailed map of the city that would be the players sandbox over the next couple months, “are you ever going to make any money off of this?” She asked, “No… I just love this.”
I remained feverishly writing, drawing and practicing character voices solidly for another four years. I even started getting Improv classes and hitting the open-mic’s to become a better dungeon master. It was all to run the best experience possible. Improv classes eventually led to a gig in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival last April, and it was the most amazing experience of my comedy career. Learning to perform in front of a live audience definitely helped me in immersing a table of nerds in a fantasy universe.
This year, however, I’ve felt like I’ve had less and less time to commit to regular games, and the spice of running a game has naturally lessened since I started six years ago.
Hence starting this podcast - Fate & Fables. Suddenly, it’s like a whole new game again.
It has been so much fun working out how to fit this game into a podcast, taking on board what a lot of other people are doing and working on what I can do differently. I was a little apprehensive about becoming part of the ocean of D&d podcasts out there. In the end though, this might not be such a bad thing. There are a million different ways that you can run a game of dungeons and dragons, each DM bringing their own style and technique. What might enthral and excite one group of players will bore and repel the next. There’s no one way to do this, and that’s the beauty of the game.
Rather than record a single ongoing game like many D&D podcasts, Fate & Fables will be distinct in it’s use of a rotating cast. There’s new characters and actors playing for each new fable that starts. However, all the fables are set in the same world. The ramifications of what happens in one fable may well spill into the next, and characters that have appeared in an earlier fable may well return in later ones. The idea of a bunch of previously introduced characters coming back to face a great evil is also a fun concept I look forward to exploring.
The cast are going to be made up of people that have spent years working on skills in performance. I spent several months after university teaching people how to play at a game shop in London, quickly learning that how difficult it was to breakdown people’s inhibitions to role-play characters, to get them silly or invested in the world. Having actors play is so much fun because they are usually so much quicker to commit to the world.
All those I’ve asked to perform in Fate & Fables are genuinely amazing performers and are an absolute pleasure to DM for. The project has motivated me to wrangle these amazing players and that alone is a blast.
Fate & Fables is the most exciting thing I’ve had on my plate since I first cracked the spine of a 3.5 Dungeon Masters guide. I really can’t wait to share it. Three episodes of the first fable release in fourteen days, watch this space for more updates!