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 26: Gaming with Kids

The Session Zero Duo sit down with special guest Shareef Jackson from Rivals of Waterdeep to talk about gaming with generation Z. Tune in to learn more about what games have to offer kids and what cool things kids can bring to your table.

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Episode 25: Gaming at a Social Distance

The Session Zero duo discuss social distancing during COVID 19 and the impacts of social isolation on emotional well-being. Join us and explore ways to keep connected and supported when we can’t sit around the table.

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Episode 24: GMing with Anxiety

The Session Zero duo is joined by Porter’s wife Shelby to talk about the experience of GMing with anxiety, the challenges it poses, and some ways to tackle it.

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Episode 23: Therapy with Characters: Hee-nod of the Carral Clan

Session Zero brings back out our pretend therapy couch again. Porter is joined by Hee-nod of Carral, a bloodthirsty, clever (and soft!) Flind/Gnoll of the Carral Clan, who would like some help with “being a better gnoll” and with making friends with humans.

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Episode 22: Anxiety & Shyness at the Table

The Session Zero duo explore the causes of shyness and social anxiety for roleplayers, and ways that they can not only assist themselves, but their fellow players as well, in easing and conquering it.

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Episode 21: Research on Roleplaying

The Session Zero duo are joined by Ben Aldred, Assistant Professor and Liaison and Reference Librarian from The University of Illinois at Chicago, to discuss why it can be so difficult to find research on roleplaying and roleplayers in the field of psychology.

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Episode 20: Therapy with Characters: Spit, from the Uhuru

Today, Session Zero will be doing something a little different by pulling out our pretend therapy couch. Porter is joined by Spit, seasoned sky pirate from the good ship Uhuru, after Spit has been sent to mandatory therapy by order of his ship’s HR.

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Episode 19: Running Games with ADHD

Another episode, another special guest! This week, The One Shot Network’s James D’Amato joins the Session Zero duo to talk about the strengths and challenges of being a gamemaster with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. The three of us jump right in and discuss strategies for success, workarounds for common struggles, and  how to be kind to...

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Episode 18: Colonialism in Gaming, Part 2

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 second part of a two-part Mendez special, we explore what colonialism looks like in traditional fantasy and cyberpunk, and investigate what games...

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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.

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