Session Zero

Session Zero is a discussion podcast that seeks to explore the psychology of role-playing. Each episode will feature a new aspect of the experience of role-playing, viewed through the lens of psychology by clinical psychologist Porter Green and industrial-organizational psychologist Steve Discont, They’re doing the thinking, and you get to do the listening.

Porter Green is a clinical psychologist living in Chicago with zer spouse and their three cats. Ze is a long time RPG enthusiast both of the tabletop and digital varieties. Porter loves to learn about people and share their stories, and often writes zer own as well. Currently ze is working on adding more queer shapeshifter novels to the world. “

Steve Discont loves live-action role-playing and tabletop gaming a lot. Like… a lot. He is an industrial-organizational psychology Ph.D candidate, living in Chicago with his wonderful husband who helps to produce this show. When he isn’t gaming, he can be found having strong opinions about hip hop dance styles, fandom communities, and queer issues.

Episode 17: Colonialism in Gaming, Part 1

This week the Session Zero duo have a Special Guest!  Join us while we speak with James Mendez Hodes about colonialism in gaming and its impacts on the worlds we build. In this first part of a two-part Mendez special, we learn broadly about colonialism, as well as its place within the sciences.

Full Show Notes

Episode 16: Rituals at the Table

The Session Zero duo delve into what the field of psychology thinks rituals are, what purpose they can serve at the table, and explore some of their own tried and true rituals together. 

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Episode 15: Personal Growth & Development

Our characters have taught us all sorts of interesting and useful life skills, like public speaking and picking locks!  Come join Porter and Steve while they discuss personal growth through gaming and explore the ways that we support and scaffold each other towards our developmental goals and values.

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Episode 14: Escapism

Escape from your day to day with the the Session Zero duo as we explore the concept of escapism.  Learn about how our imaginary journeys can serve in managing psychological distress and emotional wellbeing as well as being a really good time.

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Episode 13: Representations of Mental Illness in Gaming

The Session Zero duo delve into mental illness and its function in game worlds. Join us in thinking a little deeper about the tropes and traditions of our hobby and how they sometimes mimic  people’s lived experience of pain.

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Episode 12: Personal Stigma and Gaming

The Session Zero duo explore those awkward feelings of concern and fear of judgment that some tabletop and live action roleplaying gamers feel when interacting with non-gamers. We will dive into the concept of stigma and explore what it’s like to experience the stigma of being a gamer.

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Episode 11: Privilege

Porter and Steve discuss privilege and how it can play out in our imaginary worlds as well as the real one. What role does oppression play in our imaginations? Join us in examining the impact of the statuses we hold on the worlds we build and the characters we make.

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Episode 10: Metaphors and Internal Worlds

Porter and Steve explore what types of meaning we can make in our shared, internal, imaginary worlds through the use of symbolic metaphors and analogies. Join us to find out  why gaming can be philosophically true even if it isn’t real.

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Episode 9: Bleed, Part 2

Porter & Steve are joined by game developer and conservationist Emily Care Boss in the second half of a two-part interview where they come together to discuss whether bleed is a good or a bad thing, strategies for addressing and mitigating bleed safety, and some positive takeaways they have experienced from their own experiences of...

Full Show Notes

Episode 8: Bleed, Part 1

Porter & Steve are joined by game developer and conservationist Emily Care Boss in the first of a two-part interview where they come together to discuss the idea of bleed, the different types, how it can manifest, what might be causes of it, and how to go about making characters while taking bleed into consideration.

Full Show Notes
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