‘The Glass Cannon Podcast:’ Actual-Play Roleplaying at Its Best

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Glass Cannon Podcast Logo

I’m a little late to this game, but simply put, The Glass Cannon Podcast is superb, and you should listen to it. The Glass Cannon (GCP) is an actual-play podcast of Pathfinder’s Giant Slayer Adventure Path. The audio show is engaging and entertaining, and while I usually save my podcasts for long drives, or when I’m doing hours of monotonous, brainless work, I have found that I am seeking out times to listen to The Glass Cannon—happy to be faced with an eight-hour drive, listening to it instead of watching a show, and sometimes falling asleep to it.

While I’m sure all the actual-play shows that are available now entice many into roleplaying, I always wonder if some of these shows shut down some potential new players as they think, “I could never do voices like that,” or “that terrain they’re using is amazing, I’d never be able to do that.” I hope someone is there to make it clear to them that there’s so much fun to be had, without needing to do any of that. The Glass Cannon can be that someone.

The Glass Cannon is excellently produced. Audio is always good, they’re using Syrinscape for music and sound effects, Troy Lavallee is well prepared for each session, and the players, Skid, Joe, Matt, and Grant, all put the effort in to create interesting characters with backstories Troy can integrate into the game. This is gaming we can all aspire to and achieve.

Not only do they weave an interesting tale, but they also explain aspects of the game rules the first time they come up. This is sometimes to explain to everyone else at the table, but always useful for the new player, or a veteran being exposed to a new aspect of the game. They don’t always get it right either. When they blow a rule on the show, they’re often called-out by one of the many fans, and they may talk about it in their companion blog, We Are Stupid, or podcast, Cannon Fodder. What’s clear from this though is that you don’t have to have to get it right all the time to still have a great time!

They’re really just a group of guys that sat down to play Pathfinder, and they decided to record it. I don’t get the impression that they had any idea it would take off like it did, but in a recent tweet, they say they’ve had nearly a quarter-million downloads in one month. I didn’t think that many people knew what role-playing was! Quite an amazing feat, and a testament to how enjoyable The Glass Cannon is.

Another benefit of the GCP is that it’s audio only. I would like to follow some of the other actual-play shows that are popular, but without easy access to audio, for me via iTunes, it’s too much of a hassle to get ahold of them in the format I want. The Glass Cannon is on iTunes, making it easy for me to load up a bunch of episodes, and binge-away.

Best of all, the GCP is PathfinderPathfinder is my RPG of choice. I love it for the complexity and options in character creation. Certainly, excellent stories can be told with any system, but I love the tactics involved in a system with as many moving bits as Pathfinder. Again, the GCP, explains elements of the game as they come to them for the first time, and, serves as an excellent gateway for newcomers into the game. Not to scare anyone with the word “complex,” if you’re interested in the game but don’t know where to start, there is the award-winning Pathfinder Beginner Box, that is an excellent introduction to the game with simplified rules from levels 1-5, the Pathfinder RPG: Strategy Guide to help new-comers with the full RPG, and once you dive in to advanced-mode you can start with just the Core Rule Book, adding the many other books as you get comfortable. I think baby-steps into a much more robust game is better than being stuck forever in “beginner mode.”

The campaign, Giant Slayer is an excellent story thanks to Paizo’s solid work and the tweaks done by the cast. I don’t know how much of the story is modified by Troy, as I haven’t read the Adventure Path.

Each episode is around an hour, with some hitting around an hour and forty-five minutes. It appears as if the more recent episodes are hitting around the one and a half hour mark.

Check them out. Listen to a few episodes on their site, or iTunes. If you enjoy the show as much as I do, consider slipping them a little cash on Patreon. They currently have nearly 600 patrons, with over $6000 coming in per month. If they hit $10,000 they will start a second show running through another Paizo Adventure Path.

I’m on episode 54 and am pretty excited to have a couple of long drives and flights ahead of me, as well as a need to do some maintenance on two hundred laptops. I imagine I’ll get through the next 60-ish hours of Giant Slayer in the not too distant future. I hope by then the Patreon will have hit $10,000 so I can at least be enjoying two new episodes a week!

I’ve been meaning to recommend The Glass Cannon to the world for a while now, and it looks like I got to it just before they go big. While I was writing this post I dug up a pretty exciting bit of as-yet, unannounced news. It’s pretty exciting for GCP and Pathfinder fans… but, based off the tweet that sent me looking, all parties aren’t ready to release the information, so I’ll honor that, and leave it to you, the crafty-reader, to dig it up as well!

Troy Lavallee was at PaizoCon 2017, but we never crossed paths. I missed the GCP meet-and-greet because I was at the PaizoCon Preview Banquet. Maybe next year! Until then I have another fifty episodes to enjoy!

Fan art of the characters.
Excellent depiction of ‘The Glass Cannon Podcast’ crew by Vanessa Yotumoto of Brazil. You can check out her work on Deviant Art at http://raposavyk.deviantart.com or https://www.facebook.com/raposavyk/. She does commissions!

Note: The podcast carries a Parental Guidance Advisory tag on iTunes. This is five guys playing ‘Pathfinder;’ they really had no expectation at first that anyone was going to listen, so fair warning if innuendos bother you. The story also includes references to half-orcs being the offspring of rape, some child endangerment, and similar story aspects. I have greatly enjoyed the story, and do not feel any of these elements were gratuitous. 

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