Pocket-Sized Play

Pocket-Sized Play is an RPG actual play podcast. The recordings are taken directly from the games we run over Gauntlet Hangouts and edited down into short episodes of roughly 30 minutes each. The purpose of of Pocket-Sized Play is to not only entertain you, but to demonstrate good gameplay techniques at the table.
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Pocket-Sized Play



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Now displaying: 2017
Jun 11, 2017


Big Man (00:09)

The fae realm (02:18)

It’s just like being in a locker room (05:25)

You are a lie! (08:25)

Poppies (10:33)
This scene shows one of my favorite GM techniques. I call it “painting the scene.” Essentially, it involves telling the players the themes or motifs I want to highlight in the scene and then asking them to tell me what their characters see in the scene that reinforces those ideas. It’s an extremely powerful technique for enriching the “visual” of the scene and getting player buy-in.

Welcome home, sister (13:30)
I am totally luxuriating in this scene (and the moonlit prince scene that follows). Every now and then I like to just take the narrative wheel and let the power flow through me, haha. I am particularly proud of the fact that I was doing this completely off-the-cuff. I knew I wanted this scene to be really special, and so I just kind of got into a zen place, pictured everything in my mind, and then relayed what I saw to the players. You can’t see the players’ faces in this format, but trust: they were entranced. I consider scenes like this a little reward for the players, like a particularly flashy cutscene in a video game.

Twenty miles of hard road (16:17)

The moonlit prince (19:55)

Jun 2, 2017

Mobile home (00:25)

Here’s a PbtA 101 note for folks who are new to running these games. In this scene, I use Margot’s missed roll to advance my Threat involving Big Man. I don’t actually say out loud that is what I’m doing, but rather just weave it into the fiction. My countdown clock said “Big Man is looking for one of the player characters.” I translate that into a scene where Margot’s father informs her that someone fitting Big Man’s description stopped by and asked about her.

Everyone loves Ben (05:26)

Feeding (10:34)
Normally you’d pick your options from the move that fires off and then make the fiction conform to those choices. In this case, we talk about what is going on in the fiction and have that inform the choices Yoshi makes on his Feeding move. Both approaches can work.

Norma (14:36)
This is one of my favorite techniques. Just straight up show the players something that is happening in another part of the world, as if they were the viewers of a TV show. I like to describe such moments in very cinematic terms. I wouldn’t suggest doing this all the time, but every now and then, it can be quite powerful.

And your little dog, too (16:25)
”How does that feel?” Always ask that question, particularly when the characters are engaged in something new and intense.

Mr. Thompson (20:15)
Sometimes people get hung up on how to remove Conditions in MH. It’s not like D&D, where you can just go to the inn for a few days to heal up. There is a good example of how to do it in this scene.

Crime scene (24:04)

May 28, 2017

In this bonus episode, Will and Jason play a session of Wind on the Path, a samurai dueling game that can be found in the Iron issue of the Codex fanzine! 

May 26, 2017


Hot Rod (01:02)

ShadowMaster55 (06:01)


Don’t trust her (10:52)

Makeup tutorial (13:30)



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May 20, 2017


Chad (00:57)
I demonstrate one of my favorite techniques here. I call it “painting the scene.” The way it normally works is I introduce a theme or set of ideas about a place, and then ask the other players to describe things we see in that place that help reinforce those ideas. It’s a really effective way of keeping the table engaged and getting them to buy into what is going on.

Also: notice how I twist it for Margo. From that character I want to know what she sees that makes Chad sympathetic. It’s a small thing, but it goes a long way toward 1) making Chad seem like less of a caricature and 2) getting Margo to have conflicted feelings about him, which should help propel the drama.

Ben (06.22)

Jonah’s bedroom (10:23)

Promises, promises (11:33)

Margo fucks Chad (14:26)

Jonah gazes into the abyss (17:57)

May 12, 2017


Weed (00:52)

“What’s your favorite type of milkshake?” (07:12)

There were a few moments in this scene when I wanted to cut away, or simply ask Fraser and Yoshi to get to the point of the scene a little faster. Instead, I hung back and let the scene breathe a little bit. I think that was the right move, because the scene ended up being pretty cute, and we got a glimpse into the personalities of Lilith and Serina that I don’t think we would have gotten otherwise.

Margo & Alan (12:36)

Jonah at home (16:35)

The Double Q Diner (20:41)

Big Man (25:49)

May 5, 2017


Homeroom (01:07)

Cafeteria (09:55)

In this scene, I show a really good pacing technique, which is to cut away from a scene after a roll has taken place. If a scene has been going for a few minutes and you have other players waiting for their scene, a die roll is great excuse to jump away. In addition to letting you move the spotlight around, it also gives the session a slightly more cinematic feel.

Margo confronts Chad (14:20)

Serena makes a move (16:18)

Showdown in the boys’ bathroom (19:19)

Apr 28, 2017

Character introductions (01:00)
Backstory (08:32)
Homeroom seating chart (14:36)
Austin & Margot (29:14)

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