Talking TSR is a live show streamed on the Official Goodman Games Twitch TV channel. We typically live stream every third Sunday night at 8:00 pm (EST). You can also find all of our videos posted on YouTube a few days later.
The hosts of Talking TSR are Chris Doyle and Rick Maffei, two old school gamers that first delved into the world of tabletop RPGs back in the early 80’s. We both hail from the Garden State, have been active contributors to the hobby for decades, and are die-hard fans of everything TSR-related.
How About a Top 10 List of Our Favorite Episodes?
With over 20 episodes to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming. So, to help you out, here are the hosts’ Top 10 Favorite (and Essential) Episodes. It’s just like a Top List from one of our episodes!
And as an Honorable Mention, we suggest you check out Episode 1: Our Introduction to Talking TSR.
Top 10 Essential Episodes of Talking TSR
Here is a bit more about each of the hosts:
Chris has been freelancing in the tabletop RPG industry for 30 years, and has been an old school gamer for 40+ years. He cut his teeth on the Moldvay boxed set, before working up to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. He has been published in Dungeon Magazine (three times), and has written for West End Games Star Wars product line (d6 system) back before the prequels came out. In 2004, he began to freelance for Goodman Games, penning 3.0/3.5 edition Dungeon Crawl Classics modules (#0, #7, #11, #13, #15, and #51), as well as contributing to several other products. Chris has written several Fifth Edition Fantasy titles (#2, #3, #5, #6, #8 and #14), and was the lead designer on four of the six Original Adventures Reincarnated books, 5E conversions of classic modules from the late 70’s and early 80’s. In 2020, Chris joined Goodman Games full time as the Director of 5E Development and Design.
Rick has also been published in Dungeon Magazine. In 2005, he began working with Goodman Games as a freelance proofreader and writer. He penned, DCC #26 The Scaly God, and contributed to several other product lines, including the Age of Cthulhu and 4E edition DCC product lines. For 5E, he wrote FEF #17 Secrets of Mistcutter Island, and was co-designer on OAR #6, The Temple of Elemental Evil.
Talking TSR can be best described as a conversation between two long-time friends at a hotel bar in downtown Indianapolis, following 16 hours of GenCon! We reminisce about all things related to old school gaming, specifically classic TSR books. Our show could be described as a book club, doing a deep dive on these classics 40+ years after they were published. But we bring it full circle to the modern (5E) gamer, discussing why today’s gamer should read or own these timeless classics. In addition, we conduct interviews with industry contributors, other content creators, and most episodes, we provide a Top 5 or 10 List on our subject in question. At the end of the show, Rick and Chris share their Pearl of Wisdom, named after the classic magic item of the same name. This is a nugget of wisdom from the current episode, based off our collective knowledge of old school gaming, but for the modern gamer. Although this enchanted pearl is not in the official 5E core rulebook, we designed a version of it for inclusion in OAR #6, The Temple of Elemental Evil.
Talking TSR Episode Guide
With 20+ episodes of Talking TSR in the archives, it can be difficult to decide where to start. Here is an episode guide to act as your old-school ranger (the one with 2d8 hit points at first level) to our show.
Episode 1: Introduction to Talking TSR
Chris and Rick introduce the concept of our show, discuss planned show segments, and interview each other. At the end, we reveal the pearl of wisdom artwork and 5E statistics!
Episode 2: Classic Modules B1 and B2
Chris and Rick discuss the original Basic D&D adventures B1 In Search of the Unknown and B2 The Keep on the Borderlands. We also discuss OAR #1 Into the Borderlands, the Goodman Games 5E conversion of these two classics.
Episode 3: X1 The Isle of Dread
Chris and Rick interview Tim Wadzinski, 5E editor for Goodman Games and discuss the classic module X1: The Isle of Dread. We also discuss OAR #2 The Isle of Dread, the Goodman Games 5E conversion of this classic module.
Episode 4: GenCon Special
Chris and Rick stroll down memory lane, discussing all things GenCon, including their favorite GenCon events and recollections of years past.
Episode 5: S3: Expedition of the Barrier Peaks
Chris and Rick do a deep dive on the classic module S3 The Expedition to the Barrier Peaks along with special guest Michael Curtis. Michael discusses some of the challenges converting this classic to 5E for OAR #3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.
Episode 6: Let’s Talk About the Monster Manual
Chris and Rick discuss the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. And we present out Top 10 favorite monsters from this definitive monster book.
Episode 7: Encounter Design
Chris and Rick discuss what makes a great encounter, no matter what edition of the game you are playing. We also present our Top 5 Encounters from classic TSR modules.
Episode 8: All About Playtests
Chris and Rick are at Bride of Cyclops Con, discussing importance of playtesting an adventure module for publication.
Episode 9: Let’s Talk About the Fiend Folio
Chris and Rick discuss the Fiend Folio and present their Top 10 monsters from this tome worth consideration in your modern game.
Episode 10: Temple of Elemental Evil Part 1: The Village of Hommlet
The first of a multi-part series on the Temple of Elemental Evil, Chris and Rick discuss The Village of Hommlet. This is a deep dive into the classic version, plus the updated 5E conversion included in OAR #6. We also present our Top 5 classic Encounters from the Village and the Moathouse Dungeon.
Episode 11: Let’s Talk About the Monster Manual II
Chris and Rick do a deep dive into the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual II. We also present our Top 10 Under-utilized Monsters from often underappreciated manual.
Episode 12: Interview with Professor Dungeon Master
In this episode, a third person joins us at the hypothetical GenCon hotel bar to discuss all things old school gaming. Chris and Rick interview YouTube Old School Gaming Content Creator Professor Dungeon Master!
Episode 13: Temple of Elemental Evil Part 2: The Wilderness, Nulb and Temple Level 1
Part 2 in our series on the classic super-module The Temple of Elemental Evil, Chris and Rick discuss the wilderness surrounding the villages and the temple, the vile village of Nulb, and the first level of the Temple Dungeon.
Episode 14: S1 Tomb of Horrors (and other deathtrap dungeons)
Chris and Rick are at Spawn of Cyclops Con, discussing deathtrap dungeons and the granddaddy of them all: S1 The Tomb of Horrors. We also present our Top 5 Favorite Encounters from Acererak’s tomb.
Episode 15: Temple of Elemental Evil Part 3: Temple Levels 2, 3 and 4
Part 3 in our series on the classic super-module The Temple of Elemental Evil, Chris and Rick discuss the three lower levels of the Temple Dungeon. We also present our Top 5 Favorite Encounters from those levels.
Episode 16: I1: Dwellers of the Forbidden City
Chris and Rick discuss the ultimate TSR sandbox adventure: I1 The Dwellers of the Forbidden City. Plus, we present our Top 5 Facets of this classic.
Episode 17: S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth
Chris and Rick discuss the classic TSR module S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, including an in-depth discussion on the iconic final encounter. We also present our Top 5 Favorite Encounters from this cavern classic.
Episode 18: The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide
Chris and Rick discuss the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide, a dubiously organized trove of inspiration, tables, and classic old school goodness. We discuss our favorite parts, hidden gems, and what can still be used by the modern gamer today!
Episode 19: N1: Against the Cult of the Reptile God
Chris and Rick discuss the classic TSR module N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God by Doug Niles. In addition to presenting our Top 5 Encounters from the Village of Orlane and the nearby dungeon, we also discuss Doug Niles position among the great RPG Designers of his day.
Episode 20: L1 The Secret of Bone Hill
Chris and Rick discuss the L1 The Secret of Bone Hill is not so much a contained adventure, but instead an amazing sandbox of old school treasures. Plus, a castle! We also present our Top 5 Encounters from this classic TSR module.
Episode 21: L2 The Assassins Knot
Chris and Rick discuss the first murder mystery module published by TSR in 1983, The Assassin’s Knot, part 2 of the Lendore Isle Series. We also present a “walking tour” through the nefarious village of Garrotten, and discuss why this village can be dropped into a campaign today!