I have a hard time describing Fear the Boot. This podcast just doesn’t stick out in any way. It’s not flashy, the production value is pretty basic, and yet I always listen. The booters are just so solid and consistent. They’d have to be since they’ve put out over 250 regular episodes, 43 bonus ones, conducted 21 interviews, and have a smattering of other content including an excellent series on introducing non-gamer’s to RPG’s.
Dan is the defacto leader of this bunch but it’s more of a quorum than a dictatorship with Chad and Pat backing him up. Chris Hussy gets in on the action over the internet while John and Wayne bicker about how cool bards are and Johann shows up about once a month to give his two cents about the topic at hand.
Fear the Boot has a nice simple format. The show bills itself as a round table discussion about RPG’s and a little bit more. They begin with news, if they have any, before moving into a banter topic. After about ten to fifteen minutes of banter they transition into the main topic for twenty to thirty minutes and then end the show. Like I said, simple but in the simplicity is an effective show. These guys are excellent at sharing the issues they’ve discovered over their RPG careers and give sound advice on ways to solve any problems you might run into. In earlier shows they tried to give generic systemless advice but in their later episodes they’ve started to use in game examples to show how their theories work in practice.
Another nice thing about the show is the hosts have very different styles of gaming and they rotate GM’s. This means the hosts have experienced different styles of gaming and have all GMed games at one point or another. Because of this dynamic in their gaming groups you can see each of the hosts as a caricature of a player type at your gaming table. Chad is a Thesbian who doesn’t care about the rules as much as the story. Dan wishes to find the balance between rules and story, Chris doesn’t trust his players but he’s working on it, Pat likes rules, he feels safe and comfy with them around, Wayne is that ADD gamer just wanting to absorb everything because it’s all new and shiny to him, John is a power gamer, and so is Johann. They’ll twink out characters to annialate the opposition but they both still seem to enjoy a good story. The only thing they don’t have is a watcher but I suppose Pat could fill that role since he’s very quiet during many of the episodes.
I like Fear the Boot. It’s not my favorite podcast but it’s up there. The sound quality is very good, the content is very good, and the diversity of view points is probably its strongest aspect. It’s a clean podcast so you can actually listen to it while your kids are around and each episode only runs from about fourty minutes to an hour. I don’t rate podcast’s on a scale or anything but if you’re looking for a general RPG advice podcast Fear the Boot is one of the staples of the genre and it’s a good listen. You can check them out here.
Chris “The Light” Sniezak