Gemstone Shards
Episode 053 - “Has It Been a Year Already?”

Episode 053 - “Has It Been a Year Already?”

December 7, 2020

Hard as it is for us to believe, Gemstone Shards has been online for a year now, so thank you for listening! On today's episode, we briefly review what we've discussed in this season's episodes, what we enjoyed the most about recording the show, and pat ourselves on the back for hitting this important milestone! 

Episode 052 - “World Building with Sean K. Reynolds, Part Two”

Episode 052 - “World Building with Sean K. Reynolds, Part Two”

November 30, 2020

On today’s episode, Gregory and Mike continue their interview with game designer and developer Sean K Reynolds! If you haven’t already listened to Episode 051, “World Building with Sean K Reynolds, Part One”, you’ll definitely want to go back and do so before streaming today’s episode, as our conversation resumes midstream. 

Episode 051 - “World Building with Sean K. Reynolds”

Episode 051 - “World Building with Sean K. Reynolds”

November 24, 2020

We wanted to write something clever to introduce today's special guest, game developer and designer Sean K Reynolds, but we honestly couldn't come up with anything more intriguing than his entry on the "Team" page at Monte Cook Games, his current employer, so here it is verbatim:

Sean K Reynolds grew up in southern California. After finishing his chemistry degree he took a radical left turn and started working in the game industry. He’s been a webmaster, game designer, developer, freelancer-wrangler, and many other jobs that can’t be described in one or two words. He’s worked on a couple hundred books for a half a dozen RPGs (including Numenera and three editions of D&D), designed videogames, taught classes on game design, written plays and musicals, run online game conventions, judged international talent-search contests, and had bit parts in geeky movies like Gamers: Dorkness Rising and Attacking the Darkness. He draws, paints, and sings with moderate skill, and is passionate about helping people and introducing others to the wonders of gaming. He lives in a haunted building in Seattle, Washington with his cats.

We're excited to welcome Sean to the show, and hope you enjoy our conversation!

Episode 050 - “Once More, With Feeling!”

Episode 050 - “Once More, With Feeling!”

November 16, 2020

As we approach our fifty-second weekly episode, we thought we'd take this opportunity to look back on five important themes that have emerged during our first year on-air! Join Gregory and Mike as they discuss where story comes from, letting your players help build your world, the ripple effect, and more!

Episode 049 - “A Chat with Bruce Cordell, Part Two”

Episode 049 - “A Chat with Bruce Cordell, Part Two”

November 9, 2020

On today's episode, join Gregory and Mike as they continue their conversation with game designer and novelist Bruce Cordell! If you haven't already listened to Episode 048, "A Chat with Bruce Cordell, Part One", you're going to want to go back and do so before streaming today's episode, as our conversation resumes midstream.

Episode 048 - “A Chat with Bruce Cordell, Part One”

Episode 048 - “A Chat with Bruce Cordell, Part One”

November 2, 2020

Ever dreamed of building worlds for a living? On today's episode of Gemstone Shards, Gregory and Mike yield the floor to someone who's been doing that full-time since 1995, novelist and game designer Bruce Cordell!

In eighteen years at TSR and Wizards of the Coast, Bruce wrote adventures and supplements for four editions of Dungeons & Dragons, including classics such as Gates of Firestorm Peak, The Sunless Citadel, and the Origins Award winning Return to the Tomb of Horrors. Since 2013, he's been a Senior Designer at Monte Cook Games, where he’s designed and written for game systems including Numenara, The Strange, Gods of the Fall, and more. He's also written ten published novels, most recently Myth of the Maker, a novel of The Strange.

Episode 047 - “So, Where are the Bathrooms? Part Three”

Episode 047 - “So, Where are the Bathrooms? Part Three”

October 27, 2020

Now that we've given our fantasy city a reason to exist and decided who lives there, it's time to delve a little bit deeper. What do all those people eat? What do they drink? How do they earn a living? Oh, and what happens to the biological and household waste they generate? On today's episode, Gregory and Mike continue their look at what goes into creating believable urban environments for your fantasy world!

Episode 046 - “So, Where are the Bathrooms? Part Two”

Episode 046 - “So, Where are the Bathrooms? Part Two”

October 20, 2020

On our previous episode we talked about building dungeons that feel like real places, even if they contain fantastic features. Now it's time to look at your towns and cities! While urban areas and dungeons might not seem to have a lot in common, you actually need to ask many of the same questions when you're developing them: What is their reason for existing? Why are they at that particular location? Who lives there? Join Gregory and Mike as they discuss the elements you'll need to build believable urban environments, places that feel so real your player characters will want to buy a house and settle down there!

Episode 045 - “So, Where are the Bathrooms? Part One”

Episode 045 - “So, Where are the Bathrooms? Part One”

October 12, 2020

Okay, we probably should have called this episode "Building Believable Dungeons", but the title actually asks an important question. What does a dungeon, be it a cave complex, ruined temple, or pirate stronghold, need to feel realistic? As a world builder, you want your dungeons to challenge your players' in-game skills, not their ability to suspend disbelief! Join Gregory and Mike as they discuss things to consider before you send your party on their next dungeon crawl!

Episode 044 - “Building an Unbreakable World, Part Two”

Episode 044 - “Building an Unbreakable World, Part Two”

October 5, 2020

Running a high-level game can be challenging, especially if you haven't had a lot of experience doing it. While you can't predict when a powerful player character will do something that stretches your abilities as a game master, you can build your setting in a way that prepares you to handle their actions in an effective and believable way. Join Gregory and Mike as they continue their discussion on how to create a world that scales to meet the needs of your game, regardless of your adventuring party's level!

This episode is a continuation of Episode 043, "Building an Unbreakable World, Part One", so you'll want to listen to that one first, if you haven't already.

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