Category Archive: Cypher Speak

Cypher Speak: Artifacts, Cyphers, and Podities with Darcy and Troy. A discussion podcast about Monte Cook Games.

Nov 20 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 23: We got skills, they’re multiplying

Troy & Darcy talk about how to bring Star Wars to the Cypher System.

Highlights

What are your hottest tips? Tweet at us or comment!


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Nov 06 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 22: A long time ago, in a podcast far far away…

Troy & Darcy talk about how to bring Star Wars to the Cypher System.

Highlights

What are your hottest tips? Tweet at us or comment!


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Oct 23 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 21: Dinosaurs are a Girl’s Best Friend

Troy & Darcy talk about the amazing new companion rules in Predation.

Highlights

What are your hottest tips? Tweet at us or comment!


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Oct 09 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 20: Dinosaurs and Lore of Future-Past

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Troy & Darcy talk about the lore and science and people (and dinosaurs!) of Predation! There is so much setting material to love.

(PS: If you get an episode that is mysterious and only 3 minutes long, please re-download 🙂

Highlights

  • Predation‘s timeline

  • Time anomalies
  • Dinosaur diversity
  • Grevakc history
  • Organizations: Butterflies & SATI
  • Extinction Risk: 100% (Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event)
  • Peculiar Books products via the Cypher System Creator Program by Megan & Aser Tolentino of the Redacted Files Podcast
  • Troy – CypherCaster Magazine. CypherCasters is looking for new contributors. Contact Dani Neary (@ImperialScum) or send an email to: Submissions@Cyphercast.net
  • Darcy – Ellomyr Fiction in the Numenera 2 Kickstarter Comments, Cypher Live

What are your hottest tips? Tweet at us or comment!


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Oct 06 2017

Cypher Speak Numenera 2 – Ellomyr Interlude – Return to the Valley of Sins

Hello Everyone!

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Part 3 of my Fiction – Return to the Valley of Sins

 

Troy here, and I did some short audio fiction for the Ellomyr fiction that is

happening as part of the Numenera 2 kickstarter.

I might do a couple of these throughout the campaign, and I will clearly label them.

This is not a regular episode, just some fiction I wanted to do.

As always feedback is appreciated, feel free to let me know on my personal twitter:

@TroyP23

Troy

 

Music: http://www.purple-planet.com

Sep 30 2017

Cypher Speak Numenera 2 – Ellomyr Interlude – The Battle for Ellomyr

Hello Everyone!

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Part 2 of my Fiction – The Battle for Ellomyr

 

Troy here, and I did some short audio fiction for the Ellomyr fiction that is

happening as part of the Numenera 2 kickstarter.

I might do a couple of these throughout the campaign, and I will clearly label them.

This is not a regular episode, just some fiction I wanted to do.

As always feedback is appreciated, feel free to let me know on my personal twitter:

@TroyP23

Troy

 

Music: http://www.purple-planet.com

 

Sep 27 2017

Cypher Speak Numenera 2 – Ellomyr Interlude – Valley of the Sins

Hello Everyone!

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Troy here, and I did some short audio fiction for the Ellomyr fiction that is

 

happening as part of the Numenera 2 kickstarter.

I might do a couple of these throughout the campaign, and I will clearly label them.

This is not a regular episode, just some fiction I wanted to do.

As always feedback is appreciated, feel free to let me know on my personal twitter:

@TroyP23

Troy

 

Music: http://www.purple-planet.com

 

Sep 25 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 19: Numenera me baby, one more time!

Troy & Darcy discuss the ongoing MCG Kickstarter for Numenera 2!

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Highlights/Shoutouts:

What are your hottest tips? Tweet at us or comment!


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Sep 11 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 18: C’mon, Fight me!

Troy & Darcy plot how to run epic boss fights in the Cypher System!

(PS: If you get an episode that is mysterious and only 3 minutes long, please re-download 🙂

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Highlights/Shoutouts:

What are your hottest tips? Tweet at us or comment!


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Aug 28 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 17: Cypher Friends at Gen Con

Warning: this is rambly, and there is a minor SPOILER for the Predation adventure Cawdor Complex at 15:44-16:00.

Troy & Darcy just returned from Gen Con and break down their experiences (Cypher & otherwise) while still slightly beset by the tail end of bronchitis, con crud, and eclipse madness.

The major reveal was Numenera 2: Discovery and Destiny! It’s not quite a new edition, but a shine-up and expansion of the core game experience into two corebooks. Numenera Discovery will serve much the same purpose as the existing corebook, but Numenera Destiny will bring tools to your table to facilitate community building, crafting, and not just looking back on the wonders of the past, but creating a world worthy of the “Ninth World” title. Also, everything is forwards compatible! We’re really excited. More to come!

Torment: Tides of Numenera – the Explorer’s Guide went home with the silver ENnie award for Best Cover Art – it’s an amazing piece by  Chang Yuan.

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Shoutouts:

Did you go to Gen Con? Play any Cypher System games? Will you be coming next year?


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Aug 07 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 16: Monte Cook Invisible Sun Asset Interview #2

It’s been 366 days since Invisible Sun was announced.  As the release of Invisible Sun nears, we get back together with Monte, and talk about Invisible Sun Characters.  We focus on the character driven story aspects of Invisible Sun and how a game of Invisible Sun will work.

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Links:

 

 


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Jul 24 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 15: No Thank You, Evil!

It’s time to talk Kids Games!  This week we cover Monte Cook Games RPG for Kids, No Thank You, Evil! by Shanna Germain.  Gaming with kids is really great, and if you are looking for a good introduction to play an RPG with kids, look no further than No Thank You, Evil!

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Links:

 

 

 


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Jul 12 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 14: Rewind, Let’s do it again, Numenera Revisted

We love Numenera! We’ll always love Numenera, but maybe you’re looking for a way to enhance your Numenera game and bring it up to a new level.

We discuss how to upgrade your Numenera game with some of the new narrative options from newer Numenera Books, and how to include some newer Cypher System tech.

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Troy Covers how to upgrade your Numenera Game using new Numenera source material, including:

  • Character Options 2
  • The Into Numenera Series of books
  • Numenera Bestiary 2
  • Torment: Tides of Numenera

Darcy Covers how to use new Cypher Tech in your game:

  • Horror Mode from the Cypher System Rule Book
  • Super Heroes in Numenera
  • Post Apocolyptic rules
  • Descriptors / Foci / Cyphers / Artifacts

What did we miss? What have you added from other Cypher Sources into your game?

Links:

 


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Jun 27 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 13: New Centropolis was once just Centropolis, Why they changed it I can’t say, People just liked it better that way

Darcy & Troy fly into the recursion of New Centropolis.  They talk about some cool ways to use New Centropolis in your Strange game, then they dive right into bringing you some of your favorite super hero references, and how you could use them in this recursion.

Links

Poddities

What Superhero Influences do you use in your game?


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Jun 26 2017

Cypher Speak: Asset Interview Darcy Ross – Special Announcment

This is just a quick episode for Darcy to share some special news.

We recorded in a hurry absent our usual setups so please forgive any audio peculiarities.

Contessa Kick Starter

MCG Announcement

Jun 12 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 12: Shanna Germain Asset Interview

Today Darcy and Troy interview Shanna Germain of Monte Cook Games.

We travel back into the past of Predation, and learn some of its secrets.CS-blank-250x250-web

 

Links:

Monte Cook Games

Museum of the Earth

Shanna Germain:


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

May 29 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 11: Level Up Your XP

CS-blank-250x250-webThe most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious

-Albert Einstein.

Darcy & Troy discuss the many uses of XP in the Cypher System, from the usual things like re-rolls & tiering up to things like adding narrative flavor, modifying Numenera, establishing NPC contacts or houses, and more.

Short-term Benefits:

  • The Cypher System Rulebook lists the following ideas for short-term benefits:
    • 1 XP: Re-roll any die roll, Decline a GM Intrusion
    • 2 XP: Gain training in a very focused skill, Gain short term use of an item or ability
  • Our other ideas:
    • 1 XP: Narrative flavor for a single scene
      • The shopkeeper has a tell that allows you to negotiate a better price.
      • You just happen to have a crowbar in your bag for opening this chest.
      • Modify the way a cypher works, staying with the original use of the device, but stretching it a little bit.
      • There is particular lighting in this warehouse fight that makes your character look really cool
    • 2 XP: Narrative flavor that lasts a bit longer
      • Characters are able to modify or add a new ability to an artifact, perhaps with a drawback kor additional depletion effects.
      • Recruit a friendly NPC that will help out the group for a short period of time, or is an expert in a specific field.
      • A temporary safe house.

Long-term Benefits:

  • The Cypher System Rulebook lists the following ideas for long-term benefits:
    • Familiarity: +1 to the die roll of a given task
    • Contact: Someone helpful to the party that can assist them over a period of time.
    • Home: A residence to call home.
    • Title: A title
    • Wealth: Characters come into some money
    • Artifact: Create an artifact
  • Some of our ideas:
    • Long-term benefits should have a long and impactful effect on your campaign.
      • Allow players to bring in someone from their backstory as a contact.
      • Modify an existing artifact to have additional properties. Sort of a legacy weapon feel, so you have an item that grows with you.
      • That creature you formed a bond with permanently becomes your companion animal.
      • Your tinkering with that device/piece of Numenera allows you to permanently have a Google Glass-like HUD that tells you some extra information of things you look like (Horizon Zero Dawn’s scan ability, for instance)
    • Refunds. If players invest in a long-term benefit and for some reason it’s not applicable anymore, you should consider refunding the XP they invested, or some portion of it.
      • Maybe the contact did work out. Maybe the Title became hollow, Maybe the GM burned your home to the ground. If for whatever reason something you invested 3 XP in no longer has value, or is taken away, think about softening the blow with additional XP. These types of things should be GM Intrusions at least, and Troy would consider giving a bonus XP to the affected player.

Poddities

How do you use your XP in a Cypher System Game?  Let us know your thoughts!


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

May 15 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 10: Flavors Galore

CS-blank-250x250-webTaste the rainbow. Darcy & Troy deliciously discuss the character option mechanic “flavors,” introduced in the Cypher System Rulebook; how to use them, how to make new ones, and some of the coolest new ones we can think of.

Flavors:

  • Schtick: Packages of abilities you can select from instead of your Type abilities so that you flavor that Type a little differently.
  • In the Cypher System Rulebook (CSR) are four base Types: Warrior, Adept, Explorer, and Speaker, and five flavors with which to modify them:
    • Stealth, Tech, Magic, Combat, and Skills and Knowledge

Using Flavors:

  • Gamemaster makes custom types for the campaign, selecting type & flavor combinations for the players to choose from. There is a Campaign Design Sheet in the CSR that lets you write out your custom types and delineate suggested Foci and Descriptors that make sense for your setting, which is helpful to communicate to the players what kinds of stories you’re intending to help tell.
    • Cypher Harry Potter: Perhaps give all the Types a magic Flavor so everyone can use magic, but perhaps also some basic abilities like Onslaught – making some kind of magic shoot out of your want to hit things.
  • For players, anytime you get a Type ability (as an Advancement or as you Tier up), you can opt to choose off your Flavor list instead of your Type list. It’s never forced, but it’s an option!
  • Commitment Issues. It seems natural to be able to add a flavor later on if you’re starting from a “vanilla” or base Type. If you see your character turning more stealthy, this is a great way to easily support the character that emerges. Good for people who have trouble with commitment *cough* Darcy.

Creating Your Own Flavors:

  • Easiest way: Steal abilities from other Types of the same Tier, to easily keep the rough balance in line.
    • Lots to choose from, outside of the four base Types in the CSR!
      • 3 in the Numenera Corebook: glaive, nano, and jack
      • 2 additional Numenera Types in Character Options 2: glint and seeker
      • 3 Types in the Strange Corebook: vector, paradox, and spinner
      • 4 Types in the Gods of the Fall setting: champion, shaper, destroyer, and savior. These are all flavored Types from the CSR, so there are not really new abilities from which to steal. They are good examples of creative ways to remix Types, however!
      • More Types coming from the other Cypher System Worlds: Predation (releasing soon!) and Unmasked.
  • Second easiest way: Reskin abilities to fit your flavor. Turn Onslaught from a force blast into shooting a fire arrow. Where a Glint convinces someone to do something with the Complete Lunacy ability, but if you steal that ability for a Warrior, perhaps it is done via Intimidation, and perhaps is powered by points from the Might pool.
  • Beyond that, feel absolutely free to craft your own packages of abilities and skills to make the flavor you want. The above options are just the shortcuts 🙂

Our Ideas for Flavors:

  • Small: built for small creatures like Hobbitses! Perhaps bonuses to stealth, bonuses to hitting a bigger creature. Jeremy Land also wrote an excellent essay in CypherCaster Issue 4 talking about this exactly! Go buy it here, the whole issue is fabulous.
  • Mundane: This flavor removes everything that smacks of having a power, and replaces it with things we use in our everyday lives as everyday people. Perfect for sitcom storytelling. Onslaught became skinned as an ability where someone used jargon so overwhelmingly that the target gave in to the demands of the assailant.

Shout-outs:

  • FLAVORTOWN: “Flavortown is a game about community, competition, and American Myth.” Check out this amazing, quick micro RPG by Quinn Wilson called Flavortown, inspired by shows that involve a lone folk hero visiting diners and other establishments, accepting the dishes crafted by nervous artisans hoping to impress the fiery folk hero.
  • Conan the Salaryman: an inspiring mashup.
  • Jeremy Land’s wonderful essay, Races in a Cypher System Game, in the magazine CypherCaster Issue 4, tells you exactly how to use flavors to represent your species instead of taking the place of your adjective, so you can still be a Feisty Argonian Maid [Type] who Blushes Madly, or you can be a Bashful Lizard-person Warrior who Never Says Die.

Poddities

  • Troy: Honing his storytelling craft through the Misdirected Mark episode 249 – Lay Down the Beat… Structure, which draws on the book Hamlet’s Hit Points by Robin D. Laws that ports screenwriting beat analysis techniques to roleplaying games.
  • Darcy: Cypher System’s supplement Expanded Worlds is out now! It doesn’t have new flavors, but it does give you some recipes for custom Type/Flavor combos you may want to try out for playing in the different genres the book lays out: Post-apocalyptic, Mythological, Fairy Tale, Childhood Adventure, Historical, Crime & Espionage, and Hard Science Fiction. A bunch of the Foci from this book are amaaaazing too – highly recommended. I immediately swapped out my Gods of the Fall Focus to “is Hunted by Moths” from this book!

Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

May 01 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 9: Numenera’s Marine Factions – The Beach Episode

CS-blank-250x250-webUnder the sea. Darcy & Troy discuss two of Numenera’s delightful aquatic organizations, the piratical Red Fleet and the underwater city guardian-scientists, the Conflux. Both organizations inspire countless adventure hooks and can be pitted against the party or in cahoots with the party with equal pleasure.

The Red Fleet:

  • Schtick: Pirate/explorers who eschew man-made/Numenera artifacts and seek out natural wonders of the sea with their mystiously-grown “submergines”
  • Described in the Numenera Core Book

The Conflux:

  • Schtick: Respected guardians and caretakers of underwater cities that hold breathable air, they seek Numenera to help them in this important duty.
  • Described in Character Options 2, and references the oceia (underwater cities) and races detailed in Into the Deep and the glimmer Octopi of the Ninth World.
  • Question to the listeners: What’s extra weird about the Brine Hierarch?! Is she a lich?

Shout-outs:

  • “There is no peace, there is only FASHION.” A take-off on the Sith Code, this sentiment echo’s Darcy’s strong assertion that the most important aspect of a faction is their fashion. The Mandalorians of Star Wars have cute-fancy armor, the Aeon Priests of Numenera have their silly orange robes, and bisexuals have their magical invisibility cloaks. It Is Known. This is a favored saying of Maddie Ray‘s, who is an amazing audio editor when she’s not literally being Rey from The Force Awakens or being a professional photographer or being generally amazing in every way. It is also a fabulous occasional segment on Never Tell Me The Pods, the best Star Wars podcast on the HoloNet and supportable on Patreon!
  • The Protector of Concord Dawn (Star Wars Rebels Season 2 Episode 13) is about trying to secure a hyperspace route for the Rebellion that is currently held by Mandalorians… via diplomacy! 😀 Darcy gets a ton of inspiration for Numenera through the Clone Wars and Rebels animated Star Wars series.

Poddities

  • Troy: Blue Planet by Jeff Barber. Inspiring RPG worth reading even if just to steal for your Into the Deep Numenera games! It is also highly recommended by the subject of Darcy’s poddity….
  • Darcy: Rich Howard is my go-to expert in the RPG world on aquatic gaming, and frankly my go-to marine biology expert more generally!
    • Rich & Darcy chat about Aquatic Gaming on James Intracoso’s Tabletop Babble. Into the Deep gets rave reviews!
      • Related to this chat, Rich ran an AMAZING D&D 5e Aquatic Adventure for Tabletop Babble’s Youtube Channel. See his advice in action!
    • Rich writes a column for Tribality called From the Depths, which gives GM advice, mechanical builds of aquatic races and creatures for D&D, and much more! He has also written loads of award-winning material available on DriveThruRPG.
      • If you want to support these endeavors and get cool pdfs and writing, support his personal Patreon!
    • Rich also founded and co-hosts the amazing podcast Whelmed: The Young Justice Files about Young Justice, the DC Comics animated series about the “sidekicks” of superheroes, such as Batman’s Robin and Martian Manhunter’s Miss Martian. This show has broken my heart over and over again, and makes Aqualad one of the COOLEST CHARACTERS EVER and painfully Numenera. Watch it, and listen to Rich on Whelmed because he translates the byzantine world of DC comics and continuity and delivers impassioned, fascinating storytelling to flesh out the already great shot. They’ve also got amazing guests by voice actors and other creators related to the show! I can’t recommend it enough.
      • If you love Whelmed (and you will!), support its production on Patreon!
      • Keep an eye out for an Actual Play here with maybe me in it! As maybe one of my favorite characters!

Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Apr 17 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 8: High-Powered Games

CS-blank-250x250-webTurn it up to 11. Darcy & Troy discuss high-powered play, both through leveling up to higher tiers and through power shifts, which enable play with superheroes and gods.

Shout-outs:

  • Inspiration for supers games: Whelmed: The Young Justice Files – A brilliant, moving, funny, accessible podcast that elaborates on the fantastic animated TV show Young Justice, which is streaming on Netflix and recently had a 3rd season announced! Hosts Caleb (of The RPG Academy) & Rich (of Tribality) are fabulous humans who bring to life the DC Universe and the excellent storytelling of YJ, even for people who had never touched that universe of media (like Darcy). They also have the support of many of the YJ creators, artists, voice actors and so on, and have really high profile guests with excellent conversations (except for Darcy’s). Support their Patreon if you like it!
  • #HackWeekGang: Troy & Darcy play at hacking, but these podcasts are where to go for real discussions of hacking games! Some of the best hosts in the land, as well!

Poddities

  • Troy: Brandon Sanderson’s superhero book series, The Reckoners (and many other excellent books!). The Reckoners is about superpowered people who experience a darkness the more they use their powers, turning them further into villains. The Reckoners are non-powered people trying to take down these supervillains. Great inspiration for playing with the “high power at a cost” trope!
  • Darcy: ConTessa is an organization that promotes and supports leaders in gaming who identify with historically marginalized or edged-out groups (such as women, LGBTQA+, people of color, people with disabilities, and more). Our events are run by people who identify as “other” in some way, but we welcome EVERYONE to participate in our events and play in our games!

Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Apr 03 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 7: Gods of the Fall – Shifting Into Divine Gear

CS-blank-250x250-webThe Gods Are Dead – Now It’s Your Turn. Darcy & Troy explore the Cypher System setting Gods of the Fall, the first of the worlds funded by the Worlds of the Cypher System Kickstarter. There is a lot to love about the Afterworld, the post-apocalyptic setting of Gods of the Fall, which is still reeling after heaven literally fell out of the sky and all the gods died. Players play characters discovering their divine sparks and potential to become fully fledged gods.

Gods of the Fall has some amazing mechanics and setting goodness that you won’t want to miss, check it out!

Safety in Gaming Resources: The X Card by the amazing John Stavropoulos & Panda’s Talking Games on its use, and Misdirect Mark’s episodes on safety and having a safety fail at the table even when you think you’re prepared.

Poddities


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show!

Thanks for all the support so far! You’re all divine in our eyes <3

Mar 20 2017

Cypher Speak: Rules Primer

We wanted to give a quick Rules Primer of the Cypher System.  For experienced players there will not be much new here, but if you are a new player, and want to understand the jargon in some of our episodes this primer’s for you.

 


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Mar 20 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 6: Comparative Cypher Studies

This week we compare the Cypher System to several other game systems.  If you are unfamiliar with the Cypher System, this will help you draw comparisons to games you may know.  If you are familiar with the Cypher System, this may give you a few ideas for new games to try.

 

Games We Compare To:

Savage Worlds

Fate

Star Wars – Edge of the Empire

Powered By the Apocalypse

Fiasco

The End of the World

Dungeons & Dragons

Nights Black Agents (Gumshoe)

 

Poddities:

Cypher Caster #6

????

 

 


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Mar 06 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 5: The Great Estate

Hello Dear Listeners, we’re back!

The Estate is one of the major earth organizations in The Strange. Darcy & Troy discuss the possibilities of what this organization can do for you players, and some of the nefarious ways it can cause headaches for them.

 

Links:

The CypherCast Podcast

The Strange Box Kickstarter

Torment: Tides of Numenera

 


Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show!

Thanks for all the support so far!

 

Jan 17 2017

Individual Feed OPML File

Hey folks. Here’s the OPML file for podcasters to get every individual feed for the MMP network. To get it follow these steps:

  1. Click on the link
  2. Download the file to your podcatcher
  3. Upload the OMLP file. Most podcatchers have an option to upload an OPML as a way to subscribe to podcasts.

OPML File

Thank you Mycroft for putting this together for the listeners. I appreciate it.

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