WCC015: System Mastery (part 1)

WCC015: System Mastery (part 1)

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Jon and JefJef and Jon are the hosts of System Mastery, a podcast dedicated to exploring the silly and sordid history of roleplaying games through the ages. In each episode, they pick a new strange old RPG to read, discuss, and more often than not, make fun of. Over the four years they’ve been doing this, they’ve branched out into movies, skits, live action roleplay, and most recently, making fun of Star Wars.

Note: This is part 1 of a two part episode. Listen to part 2.


  • System Mastery started when Jef approached Jon with the idea of doing a game review podcast in August of 2013.
  • He was inspired by the movie review podcasts at the time.
  • Jon had been considering doing youtube videos at the time.
  • A lot of System Mastery’s format choices come from a mixture of podcasts and YouTube inspirations.
  • Both Jon and Jef consider themselves natural entertainers.
  • Jon had previously tried to make it as a stand up comic, but gave it up because he doesn’t like living in a van.
  • Jeff’s attributes his taking that step to become a podcaster to being entirely driven by whim.
  • Jon and Jeff have been friends for over a decade. They started talking about Nintendo, and the rest is history.
  • A lot of their comedic bits come from just friendly casual riffing between the two of them. One of them comes up with an idea, and the other is willing to roll with it.
  • 75% of what they come up with is too weird to put into their shows.
  • Jon and Jef don’t work from notes or plan their podcasts out, but Jef takes notes as he reads the material they’ll be discussing, to help him remember.
  • Expounded Universe is an exception; the material requires it.
  • Other than that they have a strong ‘no research’ policy.
  • They recommend not listening to the episode about your favorite game first. Listen to something you can be more objective about.
  • Once a year they get a listener who will form an intense vendetta against them for about a month.
  • The community and their fanbase are overwhelmingly podcasting.
  • There’s very little competition within their podcast sphere. It’s all very supportive.
  • Their fans send them a lot of old and obscure games.
  • They started their patreon to raise the $6/month to pay the show’s hosting fees. By the end of the first month they were bringing in $50-60.
  • They never expected System Mastery to take off the way it has, and find the experience humbling.
  • After a few months of releasing episodes they announced their podcast on the Something Awful forums, RPG net, reddit, and EN World.
  • System Mastery has joined with former guest James D’Amato’s One Shot Network.

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