Happy New Year, everyone! As I write this, WLPP-LP is running a marathon of our 2015 pilot episodes. We spent 2015 finding our sound. We create our story on the fly, using story games such as Microscope and DramaSystem, and how best to translate that for the radio was the main question we wanted to answer with our pilot. I think we did that.
Episodes 001 through 003 were mostly non-diegetic world-building, and they didn’t really work. It’s interesting and useful to have them around, for the benefit of folks who are curious about how we produce the show, but they were fundamentally shows about creating drama, rather than dramatic shows themselves. The work we did in them set up the resulting story very well, and we’ve used the same system for creating our upcoming season, but we’re not going to air three hours of world building on the radio this year.
Episodes 004 through 008 were the meat of our pilot. I’m very pleased with how tight we were able to get the story on the first try. We tried to strike a balance between being a role-playing game show along the lines of Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana and being a full-fledged audio drama. It mostly worked, but DramaSystem isn’t quite crunchy enough for its game details to be interesting to hardcore gamers, and while it’s simple enough for a radio audience to learn and follow, non-gamers’ eyes glazed over a little at all the meta-discussion involving drama tokens and procedural scenes and dramatic poles.
In episode 009, our Tunnels & Trolls special, we turned the dial all the way to being a straight-up RPG live play show. As such, it worked, and was entertaining enough, but for a much more limited audience. We may do more live play specials in future seasons, but it isn’t really what the show is about.
In episode 010, we turned the dial all the way in the other direction, and produced a straight-up audio drama. Under the hood, we were playing DramaSystem (modified for play in a single evening), just like in the pilot, but we hid all the details behind sound effects and narration. And that worked much better. So that’s the sound we’ll be going for in the coming year.
Season 1 premieres on Monday. As we did for the pilot, we started with a blank sheet of paper, wrote one sentence on it, and then elaborated on that using first Microscope and then DramaSystem. This year, that one sentence was this: “Fae spirits inhabit the Catskills, and influence the lives of generations of inhabitants.”
We’ve recorded five episodes so far, which we’ll be releasing on this site in ten weekly installments. Over the course of the year, we’ll air 26 hour-long episodes on WLPP-LP, rerunning each of them once. We’ll release half an episode each week on this site, so there will be half an hour of new audio drama available here every Monday, and no hiatus when the show goes into reruns. The first three installments are in the can, and they sound even better than the holiday special: we’ve deleted the (seasonally-appropriate) narrator in favour of a tighter focus on dialogue, music, and sound effects, and the results are promising.
So join us here every Monday evening from now on, as we share with you the story of the worlds we create here, on Worlds of Adventure.