The Pretendium Compendium is a podcast in which co-hosts Randi and Nathaniel quest to find the best monsters, worst media tie-ins, and curliest ampersands that Dungeons & Dragons has to offer. Each week, these intrepid adventurers discuss monsters and media, exploring titles such as The Fiend Folio, the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, and those D&D films with bald tamale Bruce Payne. This series is steeped in the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, which spanned from 1977 until the arrival of the second edition in 1989. Coincidentally, both Randi and Nathaniel were born during this period, meaning these tramps were born to run…this podcast.
“Actual Play” podcasts are phenomenally popular right now–so instead of doing that, Randi and Nathaniel explore everything ELSE about AD&D, from history, to the controversy, to the flat-out worst ideas you’ll ever randomly encounter. Join the party!
Randi Bossie was born at the tail end of the Reagan Era, a circumstance that left her with an unfounded fear of Russians. As a young girl, Randi would spend much of her free time sitting in her grandparents’ musty, bootleg-VHS riddled living room and flipping through her father’s well-worn 1979 edition of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. As she longingly traced the illustrations for the beholder, she would ask herself “why don’t boys like me?” As she examined the various Gygaxian dinosaurs, she would wonder “why do my friends seem embarrassed when I bring this book to school?” And when she tried–and failed–to run a Sailor Moon role-playing during lunch one fateful day in sixth grade, she realized “oh, it’s because I’m the female equivalent of the nerds who try to run up walls.”
Despite the “bully me” sign she put on her back, Randi grew up more-or-less well-adjusted. She has not one, but TWO degrees in Reading Very Thoroughly, an education she puts to use reading about make-believe beasties. Happily married and with a clone of her own, Randi spends her free time crocheting, listening to podcasts, and remembering moments in her life where she said the wrong word or farted in front of someone important or something.
Unlike Randi, Nathaniel Long is cool and always has been. His earliest exposure to RPGs was his brother’s Monstrous Compendium collection, featuring binders full of women, I mean monsters. This may explain why he is far happier reading about role-playing games than he is doing the bit where you’re supposed to play a role in a game. This guy doesn’t know a THAC0 from a taco, which I know sounds funny but is actually really sad when you see it in practice. Nevertheinspiteofthis, Nathaniel was able to parlay his skills as a terrible role-player into a side career as an insufferable actor, starring in all the classics, from Shakespeare to other plays by Shakespeare, and putting the “the” back in “community theatre.”
Nathaniel (pictured, right) also got a pair of shiny English Degrees, replete with all the money and tail that this guarantees. Despite some blind spots (like an inability to spell “theater” properly), he loves the language, and has even turned his hand to fiction and genre writing, which, it turns out, isn’t quite as easy as it looks, now is it, smart guy? Despite these various artistic pursuits, Nathaniel realized that his talents were being wasted, and that as a thin-skinned honky with strong opinions about comic books and movies, he owed it to the world to co-host a podcast. On the very, very rare occasions that he is not talking, Nathaniel enjoys traveling at ruinous personal expense, drawing, staring blankly at crosswords, and enjoying things.
The Pretendium Compendium came to fruition because of the help of several people:
Anna Steinbauer (twitter / homepage / prints / patreon) painted the cover art used on iTunes, Facebook, Twitter, and this website. She also provided helpful advice and support throughout the development of the pod.
Irene Chan (homepage) composed the intro and outro, and was very patient with our vague requests.
Randy Robles edits our episodes and hosts our website.