About the Show

Happy Jacks has been combining tabletop RPGs and humor to create high quality content since 2009. We’ve assembled a diverse cast of seasoned entertainers, tabletop RPG experts, and nerds to bring you some of the most engaging tabletop content out there. We have a top-rated weekly advice show and dozens of actual play shows in different systems available as podcasts or to watch on Youtube and Twitch.

Visit the Crew page to learn more about the amazing members of the Happy Jacks team!

FAQs:

YOU HAVE SO MUCH CONTENT! WHERE DO I START?

ANYWHERE YOU WANT! Check out our shows page to see everything listed in one place!

  • Our weekly tabletop RPG advice show is based on topics sent in from listeners around the world. Each episode is stand-alone although there may be jokes and references to previous episodes. You can listen to the most recent release immediately. We are proud of our many years of quality tabletop content, but the backlog is optional.
  • Our actual play podcasts are all easily viewed on our shows page! There are may great current and past campaigns, as well as a fantastic collection of one-shots.

I sent you an email, and you didn’t read it. Why didn’t you read it?!?

Depending on the time of year and email traffic, we sometimes get way more email than we could read in a weekly show. We used to try to read everything, but it became ridiculous. Shows were very long, and topics brought up in some emails were hastily dealt with to make room for more emails.

There are a few things than will increase the chances of having your email read on the show:

    • Relevance — Ask a question about tabletop RPGs: advice, an interesting dilemma, a valuable lesson learned, etc. While we used to read emails that were solely beer recommendations, we don’t any more.
    • Brevity — don’t say something with a paragraph when a sentence will do. This also helps us get to more listener emails. If you need to include a lot of background information for a complex question, the best way to do it is to include it after the main email as a sort of addendum. That way, we can reference it if we need it, but can skip it if we understand the question on first reading. Also, while it’s interesting to read gamer bona fides and personally fulfilling to read compliments, they really aren’t necessary.
    • First-time writer or new listener — We’ll always give priority to new contributors, so if this is the case, mention it.

We really like “themed” emails. If your email fits into one of the following categories, we always like them:

    • GMing Horror Story – Stories about terrible GMs or terrible players, and their bad behavior.
    • GMing Triumph – Stories about how a GM overcame adversity, recovered from a bad decision, or otherwise turned failure into success.
    • GM Confession – Stories (usually personal) about mistakes you’ve made as a GM and what you learned from them.
    • Imagine if You Will – A seed for a setting we can use to expand upon and discuss.

If your subject line briefly describes the topic involved, that helps out a lot. Emails that reference topics discussed years ago probably won’t get read — unless they bring up a new and interesting angle. (See Dead Horse Topics below)


Dead Horse Topics

The following topics have been beaten like dead horses. Unless emails about these topics contain significantly new perspective on the topic, they’ll probably be skipped.

The Great Crunch Debate – This argument started with Tappy making the assertion that he believed Fate to be a crunchy system. It devolved into an argument about the definition of crush, with Stu asserting that crunch had to do with math (ie., number crunching), while Tappy asserted it had to do with out frequently the game system imposed itself on the narrative.

Armor Class vs. Soak – Stu has long opined that the D20 Armor Class mechanic is unrealistic, obsolete and should be abandoned for something else. Over the years, several listeners have attempted to explain the merits of AC, but Stu will have none of it.

Social Combat – This discussion started with an email from Aron Head about a ruling by Ross Payton at a Fear the Con game. Aron was attempted to use his character’s persuasion skills to convince another PC to take a certain course of action. Payton ruled that he wouldn’t let a skill roll take away the other player’s agency. Since then, MANY hours of show time have been devoted to discussing social skills versus PC (and also how social skills are and can be used).


When can our game designer/publisher get interviewed on your show?

Happy Jacks, with a few rare exceptions, has never been an interview show. We do often have guest hosts on our shows, often from tabletop conventions, other tabletop RPG shows, or game companies. They will share about their current projects but also read emails and give advice with us. These guests usually appear on the show after receiving an invitation from us. Feel free to contact us if you think we’d like to have you on the show.

If you really want access to our audience, we suggest you buy advertising on the show.


What do the following phrases mean?!

GOOD NEWS! — Refers to CADave’s character in Stu’s first Legend of the Five Rings campaign. When things when particularly well, Dave’s character would enter the sake/tea house and announce, “Good News! I’ve negotiated better sake prices from our wholesaler!! (or whatever).”

TWO DAYS! — Refers to CADave’s character in Stu’s first Legend of the Five Rings campaign. In the first scenario, the party was to locate and stop some bandits robbing local farms. After the daimyo of the valley told them that he was unimpressed with their performance, and how it was shaming the family that sent them, Dave’s character interrupted and said, “Two days. We’ll solve this in two days,” thereby setting a time limit to solve a mystery that they, so far, had zero clues for.

STORK IT — Refer’s to Stork’s ability to roll really poorly. Now used when anyone rolls like Stork. Got a critical failure? You storked it.

WHY PROBLEM MAKE WHEN YOU NO PROBLEM HAVE YOU DON’T WANT TO MAKE? — This is a quote from the Polish Bear Hunter character (Robert Stoltenberg) in the film Troll Hunter (watch it on Netflix, it’s fantastic).

NO MERE HEDGE MAGE — Refers to a moment in Stu’s old D&D campaign. He made a bad ass wizard for the party to fight. The wizard mocked the party’s confidence saying “I am no mere hedge mage!” and then was promptly killed in one round by the party’s amazing rolls and some friendly rhinoceroses.


Where do the songs in the shows come from?

Happy Jacks’ original crew are folk musicians who talked about D&D so much between shows that they decided to use their studio to record a podcast. The music in the shows hints at that unique origin story.
The intro and game-themes songs are written and recorded by Stu. Some of them are on two 5-song compilations by the Angryfolk Band (or Angryfolkband). The first was “Let Me Tell You About My Character.” The second is “Once Upon a Tavern.” They are available from CDBaby, iTunes, etc.
The full songs that are played at the end of the weekly advice show come from the bands of the original members. The majority songs (if you’re hearing all-male voices in harmonies) come from the Poxy Boggards (www.poxyboggards.com) which Stu started and in which Stork, Tappy and many other hosts can be heard. If you’re hearing women’s voices in harmony, it’s probably the Merri Wives of Windsor (www.mwow.net) which has been home to Kimi, Claire, Jessie and Clara. Occasionally, we will invite friends from other bands onto the show and will share some of their music.

All of their music can be found on CDBaby.com, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music and other online music retailers. For what it’s worth, most bands will get the largest cut from your purchase from CDBaby.com, rather than iTunes or the other big sites.