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Local residents celebrate 5 years hosting “Dungeons & Dragons” podcast

A long time player of the fantasy tabletop role-playing game “Dungeons and Dragons (D&D),” Gettysburg resident Tristan Gibbon said he had gone one step further five years ago when he joined up with four friends to create “Botched: A D&D Podcast.”

The podcast, which now includes hundreds of episodes is hosted by a group of friends that get together to play D&D, “armed with loose morals and a questionable understanding of the rules.”

“The podcast is NSFW” said Gibbon.

Gibbon’s partners are “Dungeon Master” Dennis Robinson, Jenna Garret, Philip Keating, and Stephen Hardy. The five work together to create varied and interesting campaigns, full of storytelling, world-building, and dice rolling.

The story started at Gettysburg Area Middle School when Gibbon and Robinson began playing together. “Dennis and I have known each other forever.” said Gibbon, and the two friends have been playing on-and-off for years.

Gibbon met Keating while working together at Reid’s Cider House, and the three later met Garret and Hardy through podcast networking.

“We were already taking the time playing D&D, so it made sense to turn it into a podcast,” said Gibbon. “Some of us were already in or interested in the audio-recording world,” and the podcast became a great way for the members to explore their creativity and expand their skills.

There are now six seasons of the show, each with different time periods and plots. Gibbon’s favorite setting so far is the fourth season, which took place in 1930s New York City. Other seasons have been set in space, in the future, up and down the east coast, and in mystical lands.

The show rides on the team’s wry, self-mocking humor as they extensively discuss critical game decisions. In a recent episode for season six, “How Bazaar, How Bazaar” the characters spend the episode shopping for supplies, each using their own unique bartering methods.

While the setting and campaign change for each season, “we stay within the science-fiction genre,” said Gibbon. “We also work together to create the story and setting. The collaborative effort makes each episode feel real for listeners and players alike.” Gibbon said the possibilities are endless and there is a season for everyone to enjoy.

Gibbon said aspiring podcasters should become familiar with the process before buying anything and record their first episode on their computer to get comfortable. “Do your research before starting a podcast,” he advised. He also noted how important regular recording and upload schedules are for a successful podcast.

He said the group used a standard Yeti microphone to record their first episodes and then purchased other professional recording equipment.

Uploading their games online has allowed the group to create a following, some of whom have visited them at Dragon Con, a pop-culture convention. “Dragon Con originally gave us a smaller room, but now we have been moved to a larger one,” said Gibbon. Some fans support the podcast through an online membership program. And the show offers fan merchandise.

When one learns about D&D, one can easily become overwhelmed. There are many editions of the game, seemingly hundreds of rules, insane dice sets, and stories to keep track of. However, Gibbon says “it’s more like long-form improv.” He believes says there is a certain accessibility to the imagination that D&D opens up. “It lets people be themselves and have fun.”

For people interested in exploring the game, Gibbon recommends visiting a comic or gaming store where you can find a group and get any supplies you night need. For the role-playing aspect of the game, Gibbon recommends coming up with the voices and characters and practicing alone ahead of time to get used to it. These tips seem to work, as the group often has guests on the show who have never played.

“Botched: A D&D Podcast” releases a new episode every Monday, and can be accessed from their website, Spotify, iTunes, or Twitch. The group will also be At Dragon Con in Atlanta on Sept. 3.

Tune in to explore D&D along with crazy science-fiction and comedy.

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Sophia is a rising junior at Gettysburg College and is originally from New York City. She is an English and Business double major and in her free time enjoys writing and going to museums.

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