Seize the GM
Seize the GM
Episode 97: Actual Play vs. Home Game

Main Topic

So if you have spent any time looking at gaming podcasts and this one is no different you have seen that they have Actual Plays or AP’s. So what is an AP and how are they different from your home game or even convention games? Well there are a few different things to keep in mind. Actual Play podcasts exist as an idealized version of an RPG – they embody the best and most pure examples of whatever game they play so be ready for rethinking how to approach certain topics! 

  • Rules are Used and Consistent. When you are creating adventures and campaigns for your home game you can have all the strange and unique ideas you want in there.  You also can do things like mess up rules a lot in a home game. Also you don’t have to have the ultra special rule memorized. Those are all things you have to think about when you are running an actual play. Lean on your players to know their specialized rules and make sure you as the GM are consistent so that over time you build up a reputation of following those rules. 
  • Table Talk is Minimized. Also when you are running an Actual Play there are things you have to think about that don’t matter when you are playing at home. So a big one is inside jokes and humor in general. Humor is a tricky thing to get right in a game. Also you need to use the rules as they are commonly understood. No house rules is what that means. You also need to think about the players at the table you as the GM need to bring your A-game and the Players need to bring it as well. And the players will need to understand that they will need to do things that move the story even if they aren’t “what my character would do”.
  • Characters verge towards Caricatures. As a heightened reality, subtle characters don’t work well on APs by and large.  You have characters that will grab attention and project a specific hook that brings listeners along.  This isn’t to say characters in APs lack depth, but the most popular ones are easy to understand to a new listener and lean into an archetype directly or as a subversion.  

There is lots to think about when you are wanting to do an AP. I hope this helps to bring a few things you hadn’t thought of up and if you are doing an AP please let us know. We would love to get you on to talk about it and your ideas about them. 

Stat Blocks


Song of Silence

What was that? I am not sure you actually heard anything. What do you mean you can still hear something. If you can then what is the sound? It is a song? No that isn’t possible there isn’t any music. I don’t care if you can hear it, that is not a thing. Have you been doing some kind of illicit substance? No? Well good have you been taking your meds? Wait what is that? No there is no way.

You were not kidding about the wonder of this song. I know it is real. This is crazy how I was not able to hear this before. I am not even sure how I missed it. What did you say I am having a hard time hearing you over the song. Please speak up. I am not hearing you at all now. 

How to Use Song of Silence in Game:

This could be an Elder Gods thing or maybe a Virus that makes you think you are hearing it. Or what if it is an alien form of communication. 


Mottled Tree Dozing Vole

Fur mottled but shiny, and a long sinuous body combine for this friendly vole like creature you picked up on your last out of town outing.  It’s coos and warmth just make you think of home and maybe even a nap. 

You don’t expect to make new friends often, but this little critter wormed its way into your heart so easily you couldn’t resist! Dappled, Fluffy, and friendly, you could only smile as you got a sense of fulfillment out of taking care of him.  Or her.  Or neither.  

Now that you think of it, you are not sure exactly what this little ball of good luck and charm is.  You know it means you no harm.  You know that you’ve grown to love it, but that is it’s own little mystery.  

How to Use Mottled Tree Dozing Vole in Game:

The best use of the MTDV is as a red herring.  It seems like something nefarious but could well just be a cute rodent that got inside the hearts of your players.  Or a sneaky GM could use it as a clue to a bioengineered or magical breeding experiment. 


Bewray  verb be·​wray | \ bi-ˈrā  \

bewrayed; bewraying; bewrays

Definition of bewray

transitive verb


First Known Use of bewray

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bewray

Middle English, from be- + wreyen to accuse, from Old English wrēgan; akin to Old High German ruogen to accuse

Look-up Popularity

Bottom 30% of words

Closing remarks 

Zendead – Gangs of the Undercity This is ramping up to be a really cool game. Right now it is still in testing. The Kickstarter goes live very soon. And while it is getting close I wanted to say a bit beforehand we will be pumping an interview and hopefully a few other things from and about the game for you all soon. 

Guard-a-Manger – Battlestar Galactica – The Original.  BSG provides a great example of a classic show that would be a good Actual Play.  The premise is simple – last humans facing a robot uprising flee across the stars to find home.  The characters are iconic – Starback; Adama; Boomer; Balthar – these are part of our modern lexicon of characters.  A focused theme and understandable motivations give way to the unabashed fun you get from TV shows of its era.  We won’t talk about the sequel series on Earth, though.  

Music is courtesy of The Enigma TNG you can find his music on the following platforms



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And Thanks to Merriam-Webster  and Online Etymology Dictionary for our Lexicon segment

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