Tl;dm - A D&d Dm Podcast



What happens when two Dungeons and Dragons DMs decide to share a world and play in each others' games? Well, apparently, they decide to podcast about their experiences.Equal parts campaign diary, game philosophy, DM tools, and long tangents, the tl;dm podcast is a place for some nerds to nerd out about their games and the unique experience of sharing a lore while still trying to keep secrets from each other.


  • Episode 37 - Horrorrrrr!

    Episode 37 - Horrorrrrr!

    18/02/2020 Duration: 38min

    Alan and Tyler discuss running a horror game, and how to do it, and other things.

  • Episode 36 - The Mercer Effect

    Episode 36 - The Mercer Effect

    11/02/2020 Duration: 54min

    We talk a fair bit about Critical Role, Matt Mercer, and the effect their fans have on the hobby.

  • Episode 35 - Eberron-ymous Bosch

    Episode 35 - Eberron-ymous Bosch

    25/12/2019 Duration: 50min

    Before excitedly cracking open the new campaign sourcebook to talk favorites and disparage dislikes, the boys talk playing and running Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. Chime in on Twitter and tell us what your party did with Trollskull Manor!

  • Episode 34 - Were back!

    Episode 34 - We're back!

    18/12/2019 Duration: 55min

    Alan and Tyler return from an extended hiatus to talk more about roleplaying and the new non-D&D game that Alan is running, Stars Without Number.

  • tldm - Episode 32 - The James DAmato Special!

    tl;dm - Episode 32 - The James D'Amato Special!

    23/07/2018 Duration: 57min

    FIRST THINGS FIRST - wow, Alan's microphone is picking up all of the plosive sounds. Sorry for that. BUT struggle through it if you can, because this episode is simply chock full of insights, exercises, and anecdotes from special guest and friend of the show James D'Amato! The TL;DMs sit down with James to talk about what it feels like to play in and run a published adventure as opposed to a homebrew one, and use that as a springboard to segue into their experience running a CR 23 head-to-head cage match against the legendary Acererak. James also talks about aspects of personal play and how they apply on both the player and DM side. Conveniently, the OneShot host and podcast aficionado has written an entire book of personal play prompts and avenues ("The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide" - check it out!). James gives us some teasers from the book and the trio talk about how personal play can add to the roleplaying experience at the table.

  • tldm - Episode 31 - Campaign Catchup

    tl;dm - Episode 31 - Campaign Catchup

    12/07/2018 Duration: 46min

    It's been a while between recordings, and the TL;DMs have some campaign recaps to get to. In particular, they talk about arc and session structure, and mechanical benefits of visual aids for table engagement. Then, Tyler posits some opportunities for NPC-themed story arcs since his table has several characters that they're deeply invested in. There are, OF COURSE, some tangents. The pair talk about their go-to DnD characters/classes and what they enjoy most about those archetypes. But the main focus of Episode 31 is creating powerful moments across all levels. Cinematic moments of play that become tense or heroic or "oh shit" moments at the table. The kinds that make memories that last and that have the players leaving the table want to retell those stories later on.

  • tldm - Episode 30 - Books and Options

    tl;dm - Episode 30 - Books and Options

    05/07/2018 Duration: 50min

    It's been a while (again)! The TL;DMs get some time to catch up and then do a brief breakdown on Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, the most recent release from the DnD 5e team. They talk about what makes for a good theoretical supplement for a homebrew campaign. They also spend a little time hating on the new wealth of options for Tieflings--give a listen for their reasoning and decide for yourself if it's justified! Then. The JUICE. Tyler and Alan ask each other questions to suss out what kind of content they think is missing from fifth edition. They talk Pokemon Masters, Alchemical Experts, and big ol' bareknuckle streetfighting Grapplers. What are the things we want to play that feel like they're unavailable (or too mechanically demanding) in Dungeons and Dragons? How can we best approximate them with the rules as we got 'em? Another topic of discussion is HIGH LEVEL FIGHTING. Big PCs with their capstones against campaign-ending devastation monsters. What does it look like? How does it feel to play against? How

  •  tldm - Episode 29 - Were Not Dead!

    tl;dm - Episode 29 - We're Not Dead!

    06/06/2018 Duration: 47min

    It has been some time since the tl;dm duo has had a chat, and they're back in all their rambling, opinionated... glory? They lead off with a discussion on how DnD fundamentally changes as a play experience as the party levels up, and what that means for different styles of play. From the DM standpoint it also impacts how encounters and combats are planned or balanced, which both Tyler and Alan share some strategies and weaknesses for. The TL;DMs also take a moment to talk about running real, honest-to-god, intelligent villains. There is a huge difference between intelligent high-CR (challenge rating) creatures and bigger, scarier monsters, and sometimes the stat blocks don't make clear that some bad guys are dangerous because of their MO rather than their stats-on-paper. Alan and Tyler break down how that can impact resource management, balance, and most importantly, FUN.

  • tldm - Episode 28 - STAKES!!

    tl;dm - Episode 28 - STAKES!!

    02/05/2018 Duration: 43min

    Alan had a campaign reboot and we talk about the whys and what's happeneds for that new direction.  After that, and so many, many meanderings, we get to the meat of our episode, story stakes-- what they are, how to make them, and when to use them.

  • tldm - Episode 27 - Roll to See What Happens

    tl;dm - Episode 27 - Roll to See What Happens

    19/04/2018 Duration: 42min

    Our dearest friend and favored player Jeff Murdoch returns to our 'cast to talk with us about recaps, session zeros, skill checks and so much more. In the session zero discussion, we talk about one of the most important uses of a session zero, which is checking in with your players to see what they enjoy doing in games. From there we discuss how to manage those delights and expectations. Then we get into the meat of the episode: skill checks. When should they happen, what should they determine, when should you skip them entirely. We. Discuss. It all.

  • tldm - Episode 26 - Characters of the Non-Player Persuasion

    tl;dm - Episode 26 - Characters of the Non-Player Persuasion

    13/04/2018 Duration: 01h01min

    The tl;DMs are back in the swing of things (even though this episode was recorded in February). They use the recaps to discuss some more... elevated roleplay that Tyler jumped into in their most recent session, and how to navigate a character's breaking point at the table. From there they dive headfirst into the creation and play of the most important people not at the table, NPCs.

  • tldm - Were Coming Back!

    tl;dm - We're Coming Back!

    05/04/2018 Duration: 02min

    A quick note to explain our absence and herald our return!

  • tldm - Episode 25 - Worldbuilding

    tl;dm - Episode 25 - Worldbuilding

    27/02/2018 Duration: 55min

    The TL;DMs finally get together to do something they haven't had to do in a while--do some worldbuilding. They talk about Flern, a town that Alan's character Srad has become the lord of as the result of campaign developments. As a result, Tyler and Alan decide to round out what exactly that entails and also what the makeup and logistics of the town currently are and could be in the future. They discuss some potential tools or tips for DMs to use in making civilized areas of a 5e homebrew world feel more real, and breaking down the statistics of comparable historical towns.

  • Episode 24 - Which Way to the Dungeons  Dragons Railroad?

    Episode 24 - Which Way to the Dungeons & Dragons Railroad?

    12/02/2018 Duration: 34min

    During catchup, the TL;DMs touch on the rule of cool and talk about a cool storytelling device that Tyler stumbled over called "Hollywood Adaptation." It's neat! At the meat of it, though, the lads discuss Tyler's frustration at how the playstyle of the Eastern Campaign's DnD party has affected the last session or two. As a result, the skillset of identifying the player's needs is discussed, and in particular how to balance sandboxy goof-aroundedness (or outright plot dodging) with linear narrative. Alan ran a session of in-character contract negotiations with a devil, and promised to share both his contract and the one he based it on, from an episode of Critical Role season one: TL;DM's Devil Contract Critical Role Devil Contract (by Matt Mercer)

  • tldm - Live Play 8

    tl;dm - Live Play 8

    29/01/2018 Duration: 56min

    Picking up right where Live Play 7 left off, the DnD Eastern Campaign gang continues into the depths below Flern to confront the Aboleth that mind controlled them mere days ago. Like Live Play 7, this episode features Tyler as DM and Alan, Erin, and Jeff as the PCs. The boss fight of revenge ensues, with monstrous feats of strength, seductive offers of power, and even some impressive volleyball squad maneuvers.

  • tldm - Live Play 7

    tl;dm - Live Play 7

    22/01/2018 Duration: 01h07min

    This live play episode directly follows up the DnD session that the TL;DMs broke down in Episode 23 of the podcast, in which the party wiped out against the mayor of Flern and his master--an Aboleth living in the misty caverns under the city. Tyler DMs as the party works through trying to turn their crushing defeat into a vengeful victory. Having recuperated and partially (if not properly) planned their rematch, the party members of the Western Campaign head back to Flern with a small army of mercenaries and a better understanding of what they're dealing with. The action will be concluded in the next episode, Live Play 8!

  • tldm - Episode 23 - Dissecting a Rough Session

    tl;dm - Episode 23 - Dissecting a Rough Session

    09/01/2018 Duration: 01h09min

    Oh boy. After the session recap of a particularly dire situation for the Western D&D Campaign, Alan turns into a petulant baby while the TL;DMs try to pin down exactly what it was that made the day's game feel bad. The majority of the episode is then spent as a sort of analysis from both sides about what makes certain choices on both side of the screen fun or not, and a bit of an examination into what it is exactly that made Alan so salty. They DO eventually figure it out. Unsurprisingly, the conversation turns towards effective ways to talk out table issues, and potential strategies for avoiding feelin' bad while roleplaying. But seriously. Drink some water because Alan's sodium levels in this episode are TOO DAMN HIGH

  • tldm - Episode 22 - Making and Using Backstories

    tl;dm - Episode 22 - Making and Using Backstories

    11/12/2017 Duration: 45min

    In this episode, the tl;dm lads spend some time talking about setting mood and creating creepy situations as a DM, and the importance of shaking things up in getting a reaction from players in a Dungeons & Dragons adventure arc. After a campaign diary update they move on to discuss character backstories. Whether overdone and lengthy to the point of near-uselessness or sparse enough to barely fill a paragraph, the lads discuss different approaches to creating flaws for characters and what makes flaws and backstory specifics so fun to discover and play with at the table. They go on to break down different ways to approach using characters backstories while running games (or not using them!) and what the ideal backstory looks like. They also go on a tangent, shocking no one, to level some choice words at DC comics. Tyler also struggles to come up with a closing D&D -ism, which is an actual shock and a first for the podcast.

  • tldm - Episode 21 - QA and Xanathars

    tl;dm - Episode 21 - Q&A and Xanathar's

    04/12/2017 Duration: 49min

    Tyler and Alan FINALLY give some feedback on Dungeons & Dragons latest official book, Xanathar's Guide to Everything. In addition to breaking down some fun potential in spells, and general review of the material, the lads talk about the new subclass options and the spaces they occupy in party composition. Spoiler alert: everyone is about to find out how Tyler feels about Pact of the Blade. From there, they move on to answering some questions from the @TLDMpodcast twitter, including some revisits of mechanics from previous episodes. Shoutout points are awarded! If you ever have questions for the tl;dm lads, or ideas for topics you want to see discussed, comment or tweet at us!

  • tldm - Episode 20 - Bonus Episode!

    tl;dm - Episode 20 - Bonus Episode!

    08/11/2017 Duration: 37min

    We just had so much fun gabbing that we needed to talk some more in this... BONUS EPISODE. Specifically we wanted to talk all about the player-DM relationship, and how to remember the nature of the game on either side of the screen.

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