About the Show

Happy Jacks has been combining beer, 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 plays in many different systems available as podcasts or watched 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 organized by tabletop RPG system on our shows page! There are many of them! Individual episodes are listed on each game’s page!

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)


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 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 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.

HIPPY GAME — A term used to describe RPGs that challenge the assumptions of standard games. These would include things like Fate and Fudge, which attempt to replace game mechanics with language; Apocalypse World for its narrative-driving mechanic; plus other games, including GM-less games.

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).


Where can I get the intro song(s)?

Most of the intro songs are on one of 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.


Why don’t you play all the old intro songs any more?

One reason. Youtube. Because the intro songs are registered with CDBaby, and CDBaby looks out for copyright violations — specifically on Youtube — even our own videos get tagged for copyright violations. Currently we’re using a section from MinMaxed, which the Youtube copyright system doesn’t seem to be able to catch.


Where do the songs at the end of the show come from?

The majority songs (if you’re hearing all-male voices in harmonies) come from the Poxy Boggards. www.poxyboggards.com
If you’re hearing women’s voices in harmony, it’s probably the Merri Wives of Windsor. www.mwow.net
When Kurt hosts, we usually play a Sportive Tricks song. www.sportivetricks.com
And on some occasions, we’ll play a Celtic Squall song (this band, now defunct, was made up of two Poxy Boggards and two Merry Wives.

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.


Who Is Rob, and Why Does He Hate Sketchers(tm)?

Rob (or Hosier Rob) is an angry little halfling-gnome who sometimes hosts on the show. While we do not know the details of his fury, he absolutely hates the Sketchers(tm) brand of shoes. He hates them with a disquieting, disturbing, and wholly inappropriate intensity. He claims to have some reason for this, which he tries to explain at parties in a very earnest, somewhat desperate manner. FYI, Rob also hates bikers, Vitalis and the number 12 with similar intensity.