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We’ve all got a little more time on our hands recently. For some, that means catching up on the shows and content you love. For others, it means picking up new projects and hobbies. For me, it meant starting a podcast with my brother and a close friend of ours.

Bros at the Board is an actual-play podcast, meaning it serializes a recording of a group playing a tabletop roleplaying game. In our case, my brother, Nick Manzari, and myself, Ray Manzari, act as the players, or “party,” while our childhood friend Mike Kane oversees the action as Game Keeper.

For this story, we’ve chosen to play the game Monster of the Week, Evil-Hat Production’s standalone action-horror RPG where players can hunt high school beasties a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer, travel the country to bring down unnatural creatures like the Winchester brothers of Supernatural, or head up the government investigation like Mulder and Scully.

We don’t want to give too much away about the story, but what we will say is, Mike has chosen to enlist our characters in a fictional, international, investigative conglomerate called the Oddities Research Bureau (ORB).

“We’ve always been huge fans of the genre,” said Nick, who plays Agent Rogers. “We grew up watching shows like Buffy, Mystery Science Theater, and Warehouse 13. So, the choice just felt true to us as players.”

Mike is inspired by the genre as well as some other actual play podcasts. Two of the game-runners he’s emulating the spirit of are podcasters Griffin McElroy from The Adventure Zone and Austin Walker from Friends at the Table. He plans to add as much diversity as he can while fleshing out the world.

“I’m pulling inspiration from a lot of places, but as far as NPC (non-playable characters) building goes, trying to have good representation is big for me. I want to avoid tropes like ‘bury your gays,’ for instance.” Mike tells me.

Having queer representation both in and out of character is something that sets us apart from other actual play podcasts. Being a queer, trans man myself, I feel lucky to have a voice in a creative project like this that isn’t relying on negative stereotypes. Check out our first installment, “Chronicles of ORB: Prelude”, below!