Modifier sits down with designers of all stripes and looks at what it takes to make a great game! With a focus on homebrewing and otherwise modifying existing games to meet your storytelling needs, these interviews dig deep into how changing the rules enables better storytelling. Hosted by Meghan Dornbrock.

76. Quietus with Oli Jeffery
Jun 13 • 43 min
Quietus is a melancholy horror RPG that uses the Blades in the Dark system to tell heart-wrenching narratives in a one-shot. Game designer Oli Jeffery shares how he utilized the system to take full advantage of the genre.
75. Afterlife: Wandering Souls with Liz Chaipraditkul
May 25 • 43 min
In Afterlife: Wandering Souls you play as a Wanderer collecting memories of your life and discovering who you were when you were alive. Liz Chaipraditkul talks about discovering your character over the course of the game and how the mechanics evolved to…
74. The Orpheus Protocol with Rob Stith
May 17 • 67 min
The Orpheus Protocol is an RPG as well as an actual-play podcast. Creator Rob Stith takes us through the evolution of the game and how running an AP as a living playtest has affected his process.
73. CAPERS Noir with Craig Campbell
Apr 6 • 52 min
Craig Campbell of NerdBurger Games is here to talk about CAPERS and CAPERS Noir - a superpowered gangster game and its mysterious supplement - that utilize playing cards to enhance the play experience.
72. Going on a Zine Quest with Aaron King
Feb 21 • 38 min
Aaron King chats about what a zine is and what RPG zines offer to the gamespace. We talk about format, function, and selling out with Kickstarter’s Zine Quest.
71. Doug Geisler Will Help You Beat the Boss
Feb 21 • 49 min
Long-time union organizer Doug Geisler was trained to help people using role-playing, and now his new role-playing game will train you to organize a labor union so you can Beat the Boss! We talk about learning through narrative and failure.
70. More Kittens with Cheyenne and Stentor
Feb 7 • 50 min
The Glittercats are BACK with More Kittens! Cheyenne and Stentor take us through all the new new new to be found in this supplement to Laser Kittens - new cards, new playsets, and new kitten games! So much modifying, where do we start?
69. Worldbuilding Through Character Creation with Aaron and Jeff
Jan 10 • 63 min
Hosts Aaron Catano-Saez and Jeff Stormer of All My Fantasy Children are here to celebrate their addition to the network and to have a real NICE chat about how they build the world of Fantasy one character at a time.
68. Design and Redesign with Jason Morningstar
Dec 28, 2018 • 53 min
Jason Morningstar is here to talk about Fiasco In A Box, among many many other things. We chat about redesigning your own work versus redesigning that of someone else, as well as how to know when it might be time to pass the reigns. We talk about game…
67. Aviv & Eran’s Crystal Heart (A Savage Worlds Setting)
Dec 7, 2018 • 50 min
Aviv & Eran, the team behind webcomic Up to Four Players, are here to talk about their original Savage Worlds setting: Crystal Heart. We talk about their creative process, with game writing and comic drawing acting as supports and influences for the…
66. The Games Collection at SVA Library West
Nov 30, 2018 • 54 min
This week we’re on location at SVA’S Library West where Instruction & Periodicals Librarian David Pemberton and Circulation Manager Christopher Bussmann share with us what goes into building and maintaining a library’s game collection and how games…
65. Turn with Brie Sheldon
Nov 16, 2018 • 59 min
Brie Sheldon returns to talk about Turn, their game about shapeshifters in a small town. We look at destructive & deconstructive approaches to PbtA, as well as why the small-town setting is so integral to the play experience.
64. Dana & Hamish Cameron are Dinosaur Princesses
Nov 13, 2018 • 55 min
Dana & Hamish are here to discuss making Dinosaur Princesses an approachable and fun game for players and GMs of all ages and skill levels. From its core of cooperative play to fun coloring-book elements, Dinosaur Princesses is about all kinds of friends…
63. Mission: Accomplished! with Jeff Stormer
Oct 18, 2018 • 52 min
Jeff is back to talk about his own game this time, Mission: Accomplished! It’s about super spies, office meetings, and really coming face to face with the arcane horror that is your day job. We talk about comedy in games, designing around secret…
62. Taylor LaBresh and the 13 Demon Princes
Oct 6, 2018 • 46 min
To get us started in this, the spookiest month, how about a game FULL OF DEMONS? Taylor is here to chat about his Singularity hack, 13 Demon Princes, a hellish dating game full of contestants with unforgettable names and lots of demon blood. Cute!
61. Something Is Wrong Here with Kira Magrann
Sep 27, 2018 • 39 min
Something Is Wrong Here is a game built to evoke the unsettling experience of watching the works of David Lynch. Kira is here to discuss what building from the inspiration of a specific artist is like, how she mechanizes bleed, and her approach to…
60. How Games Changed Tim & Kristen Devine
Sep 20, 2018 • 57 min
Tim & Kristen, longtime friends of the show, are here to talk all about their games, game hacks, and how designing together affected their relationship. We talk a lot about how they change games, but also how games changed them.
59. Roll20’s Charactermancer with Nolan T Jones
Sep 6, 2018 • 55 min
Nolan drops in again with another exciting development at Roll20 - the Charactermancer! We talk about how this tool changes gameplay for new and old players alike, how licensing comes into play, and what we can expect to see in the future. We also chat…
58. Behind the Masc with Brie Sheldon and Tracy Barnett
Jul 26, 2018 • 57 min
Behind the Masc in a game zine looking to re-envision masculinity through the eyes of non-cisgender masculine creators. Brie Sheldon, the project lead, and Tracy Barnett, one of the contributors, join me to talk about what’s in the zine and why it’s so…
57. Rebuilding Legacy with Jay Iles
Jul 12, 2018 • 55 min
James Iles joins us this week to talk about Legacy, a Powered by the Apocalypse game that examines all the ways one might create a legacy as their family rebuilds itself in a strange new world. We chat about his LARP inspired design choices as well as the…
56. The New Velvet Generation
Jun 14, 2018 • 62 min
Rich Ranallo and Scott Leaton are here to talk about the evolution of their game Velvet Generation, an RPG about the rock & roll revolution. We discuss how it’s changed over the years and why, and what this revolution looks like in our new modern age.
55. Learning from Your Own Games with Aleks Samoylov
May 3, 2018 • 55 min
The Spiral is an original genre-less game system, built to simplify the RPG experience for any story you might want to tell. Parable of the Pit is a Powered by the Apocalypse game without playbooks that puts the ordinary players in a terrifying dungeon…
54. Earworm with Aaron J Amendola
Apr 5, 2018 • 48 min
Are you ready to party? That’s nice, how about this podcast instead. Aaron J Amendola is here to chat about his party game Earworm, which is all about vocalizing your favorite jams for that karaoke bar experience in the comfort of your own home. We talk…
53. Hack the Planet with Fraser Simons
Mar 27, 2018 • 64 min
Fraser is back with another cyberpunk adventure, this time a climate-fiction inspired take on Blades in the Dark. We talk about the vastly different ways players can interact with the lore and how this cli-fi blend looks at old cyberpunk tropes in a new…
52. The Backstory of Tension with Alex Roberts
Feb 22, 2018 • 60 min
Alex Roberts joins me for maximum pod-feed confusion, but mainly to talk about her first game, codenamed Tension. Inspired by Dread and romance games like Kagematsu and Hot Guys Making Out, this is a game about the emotional tension in a tricky…
51. Pasion de las Pasiones with Brandon Leon-Gambetta
Jan 25, 2018 • 66 min
Roughly translated as “the sexiest RPG on your shelf”, Pasion de las Pasiones is the telenovela RPG from Brandon Leon-Gambetta. We talk about: Latinx representation in games, telenovela tropes, statless playbooks, Hugh Jackman, and Pippin the Corgi.…
50. Going on an Expedition with Todd Medema
Jan 11, 2018 • 43 min
Expedition is an RPG system that combines cards and a mobile app (all free, all open-source) to streamline the RPG experience, allowing you to play the way you want to. Built to be modded, Todd shares the strengths and challenges of playing the Expedition…
49. #280rpg
Dec 14, 2017 • 43 min
John Harness got 280 characters on twitter before it was the norm, and decided to turn it into a game design challenge. Paul Czege answered the call. We talk about the challenge, what we can learn from small games, and take a look at the amazing…
48. The Many Forms of Iron Edda with Tracy Barnett
Nov 30, 2017 • 54 min
Iron Edda is a game that exists across several systems and has a second edition in the works, and Tracy Barnett joins us to talk about how it got that way. We discuss what makes something an Iron Edda game, what different systems bring to the fiction, and…
47. Exploring New Settings with James Mendez Hodes
Nov 2, 2017 • 41 min
What goes into bringing an existing game into a brand new setting? How should you approach writing settings that are unfamiliar to you? James Mendez Hodes talks about all that and a bunch of other cool stuff!
46. 7th Sea: Khitai with John Wick
Oct 19, 2017 • 52 min
7th Sea is a game about being an awesome hero, but there’s more than one way to be a hero. John talks about the Western and Eastern hero archetypes, and how they’ve been working on modifying the existing 7th Sea system to tell new kinds of hero stories.
45. Get Acquainted with the Unfamiliar Heroes – Part 2
Oct 7, 2017 • 76 min
Fay Onyx, the mastermind behind the Unfamiliar Heroes podcast project, and two of its GMs, Anna Murray and Jordan Green, chat about what it’s like to run an actual play with diverse players and characters at the core. This second part of our conversation…
44. Numenera 2 with Monte Cook
Sep 21, 2017 • 52 min
Monte Cook of Monte Cook Games is here to dig into what Numenera 2: Discovery & Destiny is all about. We look at how Numenera & Cypher System’s unique structure allows this new edition to work seamlessly with the one on your shelf right now, and the cool…
43. Get Acquainted with the Unfamiliar Heroes - Part 1
Sep 9, 2017 • 61 min
Fay Onyx, the mastermind behind the Unfamiliar Heroes podcast project, and two of its GMs, Anna Murray and Jordan Green, chat about what it’s like to run an actual play with diverse players and characters at the core. This first part of our conversation…
42. How To Catch Them All with Jonathan Barron’s MajiMonsters
Aug 24, 2017 • 69 min
Jonathan Barron joins me to discuss the difficulties of converting the monster-catching genre of video games and TV into a tabletop experience. His game MajiMonsters relies on an original system that tracks a player character as well as multiple unique…
41. Enter The Dungeon Dome with James D’Amato!!!
Jul 27, 2017 • 58 min
The Dungeon Dome is part Dungeons and Dragons, part professional wrestling franchise, all streamed live online for your viewing pleasure. James is here to talk about how he’s building this new type of games entertainment, the stories he’s hoping to tell,…
40. The Spire with Grant Howitt & Chris Taylor
Jul 13, 2017 • 63 min
We talk about Grant & Chris’ upcoming game The Spire, which is definitely about a Drow resistance but is also about a bunch of other cool, weird, complex things that I won’t even be able to do justice here. It’s a really fun chat and also: blood witches.
39. It’s Hannah Shaffer Day!
Jun 29, 2017 • 41 min
Break out your baggiest jeans and your tiniest backpack as Hannah Shaffer takes us back to the 90s with her heartwarming one-shot storytelling game about a music store on the brink of disaster - Damn the Man, Save the Music! We talk about the continuing…
38. A Youth Misspent with Robert Bohl & Kimberley Lam
Jun 15, 2017 • 60 min
Misspent Youth, an RPG about punks and friendship, is getting a reprint as well as several new settings and hacks! Author Robert Bohl and hacker Kimberly Lam are here together to talk about what it’s like to tackle a game from both of those angles. Bonus…
37. Pandas Talking Hacks
Jun 1, 2017 • 54 min
Senda Linaugh & Phil Vecchione, the eponymous Pandas, are here to chat about hacking the 1-page RPG Lasers & Feelings. We talk about the challenges and opportunities that come with hacking such a small ruleset, as Senda and Phil turn this sci-fi story…
36. The Cascade & Fraser Simons’ Cyberpunk Book Club
May 18, 2017 • 67 min
Fraser Simons is here to break down cyberpunk, roleplay with feeling, and tell us all about his upcoming supplement to The Veil, The Cascade. Get a pen ready, you’re going to want to read everything on his list.
35. The White Box: A Game Design Workshop In A Box
May 7, 2017 • 41 min
Jeremy Holcomb and Jeff Tidball are all about helping you make great games, and now they’re developing a kit to help you do it! We talk about what The White Box has in it, what you can do with it, and what’s in store for the future.
34. The Imposters and 7 Games About Conspiracy
Apr 20, 2017 • 58 min
I’ve crammed three people into the show this week because it’s harder for Them to get you when you’re in a group, right? Right. Josh T Jordan, Banana Chan and Todd Crapper are all here to talk about The Imposters, an anthology of games about conspiracies,…
33. Axon Punk with Colin & Cameron Kyle
Apr 6, 2017 • 63 min
Real-life punks (no, that’s a lie, they’re actually very polite boys) Colin and Cameron Kyle are here to discuss their cyberpunk hip-hop game Axon Punk! We talk about things like when do you know it’s time to stop hacking and start building, how to reach…
32. 5 Across Erika Chappell’s Heart
Mar 23, 2017 • 70 min
It finally happened! Erika and I finally got to talk magical girls and record it as an episode!! Her game Five Across the Heart is both a rad game about punk mahous and an excellent study of the evolution of an RPG. Come hang out with us in this episode…
31. Noir World with John Adamus
Mar 9, 2017 • 63 min
This is one of those episodes where we talk about a game and a Kickstarter, yes, but more than that we talk about the process of creation itself. John Adamus, known in part for his tweetstorms of encouragement to creators, gets really deep with how Noir…
30. Companion’s Tale with Laura Simpson
Feb 23, 2017 • 46 min
Or, The One Where We Go Full Dragon Age Fancast. Listen, it’s a transformation that’s been happening slowly for a while now, I feel like. Maybe it’s a new segment? Anyway, COMPANION’S TALE IS KICKSTARTING! Laura and I chat about her excellent new…
29. RPGs & Kids with the Walls Family
Feb 9, 2017 • 59 min
Carrie and Evie Walls are here to talk shop about running and playing all sorts of RPGs as (and for) younger players. We get into how to choose games, deal with problem players, and tell an engaging story. Also, their dad James is here.
28. Myth, Mystery & Crime in Alas for the Awful Sea
Jan 26, 2017 • 36 min
Storybrewers Hayley and Veronica are here to tell us all about their new game Alas for the Awful Sea and what drives them to tell grey stories about desperation, hate, fear and folklore in the 19th century UK sailing villages. (Okay I know how that…
27. RPGs for Kids with John Harness
Jan 12, 2017 • 56 min
John Harness, veteran middle-grade game-runner and force behind the Facebook page “RPGs for Kids” joins us to talk about…running games for kids! We talk about games as education as well as fun, and how to approach running for the younger players in your…
26. Modding 13th Age with J Michael Bestul
Dec 29, 2016 • 65 min
Heroes, it has been a HECK of a year, and we’re going out with a bang. J Michael Bestul gives us some hot tips on how to get the most out of modding 13th Age, which is a pretty rad system to begin with. Plus, a little waxing nostalgic in the intro and not…
25. Building A Better Deck-builder With Dan Enders
Dec 15, 2016 • 69 min
We’re taking a look at hacking deck-builder card games this week, specifically Crptozoic’s Cerberus Engine system, with card-game aficionado / hostage Dan Enders. Dan also wrote micro RPG card game The Bite, so this one is just ALL about cards and feeling…
24. Supporting Setting with Mechanics in Jason Pitre’s Sig
Dec 1, 2016 • 47 min
Sig is a multiplanar fantasy setting for Jason Pitre’s game Spark, and is a fantastic example of mechanics supporting and reinforcing setting. But, how do you do that thing? Luckily Jason has some experience crafting mechanics that evoke experience and…
23. Join the Secret Society with Keith Baker’s Illimat
Nov 19, 2016 • 38 min
Am I allowed to just issue an open invitation like that? Am I going to get kicked out now? Shoot. Don’t tell anyone I told you, okay? Oh good. Since we’re cool now, Keith Baker is here to tell us all about Illimat, and what it was like to create a game…
22. Culture Modding with Quinn Wilson
Nov 3, 2016 • 60 min
This week we get deep, discussing the role of culture in games and how to approach modifying that part of the fiction. Quinn Wilson, GM of Swallows of the South and noted Guy Fieri enthusiast, leads the way.
21. Scaling Games Part 2: GO …HOME?
Oct 20, 2016 • 46 min
Technically you don’t HAVE to go home. In fact, stay here for a little while! Jeff Stormer from Party of One, the podcast all about two-player RPGs, is here to talk about playing SMALL games. How do you play or modify games for just two people? Or even…
20. Scaling Games Part 1: GO BIG
Oct 8, 2016 • 62 min
Multi-DM games. Multi-table games. The Specials. There are many names for these massive convention games, but luckily for us we’ve got several guests here to help break them down. Geoffrey Peart, Troy Pichelman, and Darcy Ross are all experienced in ways…
19. (More) Accessibility With Aser & Megan Tolentino
Sep 21, 2016 • 48 min
It’s another episode all about accessibility in gaming, this time with blind gamer Aser Tolentino and his wife Megan. Both are extremely talented players and GMs (who you might recognize from The Redacted Files or the Firefly Podcast) and they have a…
18. A Bguiling Homebrew: Converting 3.5e’s Beguiler to Pathfinder
Sep 8, 2016 • 52 min
For our first proper homebrew Chris takes us through his process of converting D&D 3.5’s Beguiler class over to Pathfinder. We talk about how to approach a conversion, how to get feedback, and what makes a homebrew appealing to players outside your group.
17. Let’s Visit Mark Richardson’s Headspace
Aug 25, 2016 • 89 min
This one goes long heroes, but that’s because Mark has just as much to say about his shared-conciousness RPG “Headspace” as I have to ask, and he’s too polite (Canadian) to tell me to wrap it up already. Jack in, this one goes places!
16. Reflections with Jim and Paulomi
Aug 11, 2016 • 58 min
I did this to myself. I made jokes. I let guests talk about L5R. Now he’s here, in my podcast. Jim McClure and Paulomi Pratap from Third Act Publishing are here to talk about “Reflections”, a two-player storytelling RPG about dueling samurai, and the…
15. The (Open) Legend of Brian Feister
Jul 28, 2016 • 69 min
Open Legend is an “open source RPG” created by Brian Feister with the intent that the system can be used to tell any epic story of your choice. We take a look at how the system is broken down into components and how those can be manipulated to suit your…
14. Hacking Apocalypse World with Andrew Medeiros
Jul 14, 2016 • 50 min
Urban Shadows. The Watch. Andrew Medeiros knows how to hack Apocalypse World, and more importantly, he knows what happened to Janet! Come listen to us chat about why it’s so fun to be Powered by the Apocalypse.
13. Playing By Post on the GamersPlane
Jun 30, 2016 • 56 min
This week, Rohit of GamersPlane shares his experience crafting a dedicated play-by-post space online, and how these games are different and often advantageous to their in-person counterparts. PbP games are a unique experience, and we take a look at how…
12. Beautiful Senshi Hearts, Make UP!
Jun 16, 2016 • 79 min
This week we’re basically a Sailor Moon fan podcast, thanks to the creative team behind Beautiful Senshi Hearts, a magical girl spin on Monster Hearts. Josh Kronegold, Anne Ratchat, and James (JC) Holder talk about their game and the magical girl genre.…
11. The Dark Eye with Tim Brown
Jun 2, 2016 • 39 min
Studio Manager for Ulisses North America and RPG veteran Tim Brown gives us a look at what it takes to bring The Dark Eye (Das Schwarze Auge), one of the most popular German-language RPGs with a 30+ year history, to English audiences. How are German games…
10. Glenn Given’s Blazing Heart
May 19, 2016 • 56 min
Hearts Blazing is a story-telling card game of melodramatic sci-fi adventure by Games by Play Date. One of the creators, Glenn Given, stopped by to chat about games, storytelling, and smashing the barriers we erect between them. We also talk about the…
9. Noirlandia
May 5, 2016 • 53 min
Hannah Shaffer and Evan Rowland have hacked their own game! We talk about how Questlandia lead to Noirlandia, what constitutes a noir, and the perils of the banana industry. Warning: there’s a lot of giggling in this one.
8. Modding the Meta with Anna Kreider
Apr 21, 2016 • 44 min
Mods! Magical girls! Misandry! This episode has it all. Anna Kreider shares her experiences pitching very different games about women to con-goers and what she’s learned in the process. We discuss her games The Starlit Kingdom, Autonomy, and The Watch.
7. Modifier Gets A Lawyer!
Apr 7, 2016 • 62 min
We’ve been threatening it for weeks, but we finally did it. Friend of the network and actual lawyer Priyanko “Pranks” Paul breaks down WotC’s OGL and answers your legal questions about using the license. Turns out, it’s way less scary than it looks!
#6: The Cypher System with Bruce Cordell
Mar 24, 2016 • 58 min
Monte Cook Games, fine purveyors of Numenera and The Strange, is in the middle of a Kickstarter to launch three new settings for their Cypher System. Senior designer and veteran game writer Bruce Cordell breaks down both the system and the Kickstarter,…
PK Sullivan’s “Heroes Fall”
Mar 10, 2016 • 70 min
What’s the plural of “apocalypse”? Well, we didn’t figure that out. Sorry. Instead, PK tells us all about the game he’s crafting and the process so far as he aims to break our hearts with a pre-apocalyptic saga from which almost nothing can survive. Also,…
Laser Kittens with Cheyenne Wall-Grimes
Feb 25, 2016 • 42 min
What’s the difference between a Laser Kitten and a Glitter Cat? Where does a kitten learn to cat? Why do their eyes glow, and what sorts of laser powers do cats even have? Cheyenne Wall-Grimes helps solve those mysteries and more through her new RPG in…
Mass Effect on the Edge of the Empire
Feb 11, 2016 • 56 min
(genuine enthusiasm) Homebrewer Richard shares his journey in creating and playtesting an Edge of the Empire conversion to the Mass Effect universe. (further informational statement) Along with Cat, his wife and a member of the guinea pig game group,…
Roll20 & The Word From The Wizards
Jan 28, 2016 • 45 min
Nolan T. Jones and Suzanne Wallace from Roll20 help Meghan parse out the latest news from Wizards of the Coast, and what it means for homebrewing heroes everywhere. We discuss what’s new for Roll20, the differences between your new marketplace options,…
Accessibility with Elsa S Henry
Jan 14, 2016 • 63 min
Meghan and Elsa chat about gaming with a disability, and the many ways games can be made more accessible and inclusive for all players. We also discuss Elsa’s forthcoming RPG Dead Scare, our mutual love for Hamilton, and a totally unbiased analysis of…