The Twitching Curtain Episode Zero: The gender binary pan-galactic bug eyed wall crawling monster.

Welcome to the first of our new podcast, the Twitching Curtain. Over the next few months we plan to tell you all you need to know about the exciting world of story games, roleplaying and freeform.

Length: 56 minutes.

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 Participants in this episode


American Freeform: live action roleplaying games, influenced by both Nordic larp and US indie tabletop RPGs. See Lizzie Stark’s introduction to American freeforms.

Bleed: a common phenomenon in both tabletop roleplaying and larps where the thoughts and emotions of a character “bleed” into the real life of a player, or vice versa. There is a big debate about how best to mitigate this, support players who experience it and/or embrace it.

Indie RPGs: literally, a roleplaying game published by an individual or small company (although most roleplaying game companies are small!). It has come to refer to more experimental and avant garde roleplaying games with a focus on narrative.

Lines and Veils: a technique coined by game designer Ron Edwards to deal with problematic content and emotional bleed in roleplaying games. If players are uncomfortable with any content in a game, they are encouraged to either request that a “veil” is drawn over the content (i.e. it happens in the story but is not described in any detail and is brushed over), or draw a “line” in which that content is not introduced at all in the game (this is similar to another technique known as the “X card” where players use a card in the centre of the room to request that something not be introduced).

MC: Master of Ceremonies. A term used in the game Apocalypse World, Monsterhearts and other games based on the system to describe player whose role is to facilitate the game and set the challenges for the other players. Similar to the more common term Game Master (or Dungeon Master, Storyteller, Keeper, etc) used in traditional tabletop RPGs.

Nordic Larp: A type of live action roleplaying which has developed in Nordic countries, with a greater emphasis on immersion, collaboration and artistic vision.

Story game: typically used to describe a tabletop based roleplaying game with a greater emphasis on narrative and simplified mechanics compared to traditional roleplaying games. Often focus on a much wider range of genres and dispense with or significantly alter common techniques such as having a single player take on the role of Game Master. Of course, this is a big topic and precisely what our podcast is about exploring!

Trad: Traditional tabletop roleplaying games. Simply put, tabletop RPGs that are not story games. The most iconic “trad” game is Dungeons and Dragons. Such games tend to have detailed rules systems with a focus on combat and allow players apart from the Game Master very limited narrative control beyond deciding on their own character’s actions.

Games Mentioned

F Free

P Pay What You Want

Many of these games can be purchased from the publishers themselves and/or the following places:

Conventions and Events

(last known date included – these are all annual events unless otherwise stated)

 Groups and Businesses

Other Links

6 thoughts on “The Twitching Curtain Episode Zero: The gender binary pan-galactic bug eyed wall crawling monster.”

  1. I’m very much enjoying this. A lot of what was being talked about, in particular towards the beginning of the episode, reminded me of the way the Surrealists went about things in the 20s, albeit in a much more inclusive way.

  2. Excellent first episode. Heard about you from Story Games Weekly e-mail. Loved hearing about the story games scene in the UK. I’ll be fascinated to hear how the nascent UK freeform develops.

    James has a great voice. Everyone else has a very nice voice, but James’ is deep and resonant in a way I rarely hear on a gaming podcast (ok, never).

    Sound quality overall was good.

    One bit of constructive criticism. The retailer person (Sean?) his voice was really soft compared to others. He may need to get closer to the mic?

    Your podcast really drove home how the Storygame community has embraced the transgendered community. I wonder if that’s because in ApoWo every character has an option to be “transgressive”.

    Keep it up please.

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