You Were Great in Lawnmower Man (Ep. 199 - Neuromancer)

This Week’s Guest: Adam Koebel

This week's guest is an imaginary creature -- or at least, that's primarily how the public knows him, though character and places he invents. Every day, Adam Koebel runs role-playing games where players invent new personas, work together to solve problems, and tell stories that exist in their collective imaginations. He's also the co-creator of Dungeon World, a game that's driven by the relationships between characters. As a result, a lot of Adam's time is spent inhabiting roles and expressing fantastic identities -- but in all of them, there's a little germ of who he truly is -- the strange outcast who left a corporate job to spend every day playing games.

And we're just a few days away from our weeklong livestream of games, a fundraiser for Seattle Children's Hospital! Starting on October 28, I'll be hosting a big gay game of Dungeons & Dragons featuring Comedian Bryan Safi, Culture Critic Carlos Maza, Writer Anthony Oliveira, and Scholar Bryan Wuest. Then I'll be streaming games every day from October 29 to November 3. And on Sunday, November 4th, join us for another game of D&D featuring the drag queen cast of Queens of Adventure in full drag! We'll be serving looks, interacting with viewers, and encouraging everyone to donate to Seattle Children's Hospital -- 100% of everything you give goes straight to the hospital. Get the details and watch us live at See you starting October 28.

BTW, I hope you'll also join us for the next Sewers of Paris live chat, with special guest Seattle drag superstar Arson Nicki. It’s Saturday October 27 at 2pm pacific. There's a link at the top of the Sewers of Paris twitter feed.

Huge thanks to everyone who makes The Sewers of Paris possible with a pledge of a dollar or more a month on Patreon. There's rewards for folks who back the show -- just click "Support the Show on Patreon." Or you can support The Sewers of Paris for free by leaving a review on your podcast platform of choice -- that really helps people find the show. 

Head over to to see clips of the stuff we talk about on each episode of the show. And for more queer podcasting, check out Queens Of Adventure to hear drag queens on an epic Dungeons & Dragons quest. That’s at

This Week’s Recommendation: Once More into the Dungeon… World

Thanks again to Adam for joining me. We talked a bit about how Adam runs he games, makes room for people to express themselves, and encourages folks to explore their connections with each other. And my recommendation this week is to watch that first hand -- you can follow Adam on Twitch, or check Twitter to see when he'll be going live. But a particularly fun game that I recommend happened a few months ago at GenCon, and so I suggest you check out his session Once More into the Dungeon... World. There's a link to the video at

One of the things that stands out to me in the session is how kindly Adam presses the players to open up about their characters. It's not easy to share something creative that you made, especially after you whipped it up right there on the spot in front of an audience of strangers. So Adam takes it step by step, throwing out a few questions to each player at the start and then sitting back while they talk, occasionally signaling when they're on a particularly fun track.

Why does it matter if people have help playing games? Well, because games -- particularly role-playing games -- are really stories we tell about ourselves, even when it looks like they're about monsters and halflings. When we put on disguises, try out new accents, give ourselves a new name or a new species, that doesn't just come from nowhere, it comes from someplace deeply personal within each of us. And often it's a place we've been reluctant to reveal before a game came along to give us a safe place to show it off.

It's a strange tension that games offer -- one one hand an expression of the imaginary, but on the other sometimes more personal and revealing than we are in our normal lives. That's the beauty of play, and why games have the power to connect us to each other. And it's why it's such a pleasure to watch Adam at work.

Stuff We Talked About

By William Gibson
Dungeon World
By Sage LaTorra, Adam Koebel