The Adventure Zone: Commitment - Episode 1
October 19, 2017 4:40 PM - Subscribe

Our new heroes attend a corporate mixer for the Do-Good Fellowship that will change the course of their very lives. The first chapter in Clint's superhero story, taking place inside of the Fate system. Remy embarks on a slider quest. Nadiya threatens a co-worker. Irene solves a particularly difficult employee benefit issue.
posted by zeptoweasel (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Interesting to hear that Griffin backseat dm ing called out.
I agree that he needs to get used to being a player not a DM. But I hope that people weren't mean about it.

That was enjoyable and looking eagerly forward to the augmentation process. Also having them need to be within 100 yards for their powers to work is interesting and maybe too limiting?

I like Travis playing as standoffish Nadia.
"Is it mandatory" is a great catchphrase.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:13 PM on October 19, 2017

I went through the whole puzzle part thinking everyone in the room had to leave in the right order, so I couldn't get the unwillingness to work together. I didn't understand that it was a competition until the very end.

And, yeah, I'm pretty sure it's a cult.
posted by meese at 5:51 PM on October 19, 2017 [5 favorites]

It's got to be tough for Griffin, when he's so used to being the one keeping the narrative train from utterly derailing. Got to be tough for Clint, too, though, having your kids pre-empt you (even with good intentions). I'm hoping they can relax enough to let Dad tell his story, and that they all have fun.

Swag bag!
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 7:01 PM on October 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

meese: "And, yeah, I'm pretty sure it's a cult."


I liked it. It is seemingly easier for Clint to do many character voices than remembering having to do one. I wish the boys wouldn't have interrupted him as much (as Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer mentioned), although it got a lot better as the episode progressed. I like boys' new characters and to me they already felt distinct (enough) from the old crew.

Oh and I wished they would have introduced themselves as oldest, middlest and youngest son at the beginning of the episode. ;)

It's still nice to hear Griffin doing the break and he set up Clint's final sentence nicely.

In a complaint that is literally as old as The Adventure Zone itself, I just wish the episode output was more frequently (weekly, maybe) - especially for these "mini-arcs" (however long one of which will last).
posted by bigendian at 12:26 AM on October 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I did a relisten of all of TAZ just before Balance, starting with Stolen Century, to get a kind of fully chronological view, and listening to a bunch quickly is a very different experience than the one a fortnight way.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:39 AM on October 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

I know it's in good nature, but the constant harping on Clint makes me a little sad. They started off really hard on him but it got better as it went. I really want them to keep a tight lid on being critical and just let him do his thing for a bit, you know?

Aside from that, I like where this is going. I think there's good chemistry with the characters and I'm a little bummed they didn't take have an opportunity to bounce off each other a little more before things got rolling. The puzzle was nice, and gave the characters good chances to express themselves.

I don't know, I'm excited to hear what the others come up with for their DMs but I'll be sad to leave this one behind because I'm already getting attached.
posted by Tevin at 6:17 AM on October 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm not super into Nadiya as a character - Travis's whole internet-circa-2007 "SCIENCE!" thing is really grating on me. I mean, she walks into a mixer and immediately requests "She Blinded Me With Science" on the jukebox? Maybe I'm being nitpicky, but Travis trying to play a scientist is making me cringe.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 11:10 AM on October 20, 2017

I'm intrigued and definitely looking forward to getting into the meat of the game/story.

It seems a bit like Clint is still finding his footing -- it's clear he has really thought things through and he has great ideas, but the translation into storytelling/GMing feels a bit rough. I really appreciated Griffin's ability to describe characters and settings, and with this episode I struggled to picture the scene.

I have a feeling this might be related to the fact that Clint's experience in storytelling is primarily in comics and theater, where the visuals communicate a lot of information. With a podcast, if you say, "Martine stands up and introduces herself as Martine," I learn nothing but her name. What does she look like? How does she move? How does she carry herself? We did get that she smiled at Remy's comment and she seemed to have a sense of humor -- I'd like a bit more of that.

There's no doubt in my mind that Clint has a vivid mental image for everything, and I'm looking forward to him figuring out how to share that with the listeners and the boys in a more effective way.
posted by SugarAndSass at 2:41 PM on October 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

All the characters and the world feel a little tight yet; the boys have some particular traits (SCIENCE!; Super-Positive!; Diligent!) in mind for their characters and are holding them tight while they feel their way into this new world and system. That's ok - that's how games like this often start, and I expect they'll loosen up a bit (or maybe not, depending on how long the trial of this system/game is).

Clint is great; he needs to get a bit more descriptive, but I thought he rolled pretty well with the boys almost immediately starting with some goofs and shit; he didn't seem fixated to me on any particular solutions or actions being "correct", but looked to go with what they were doing to give information. Now, if the Do Good group isn't a cult, he's going to have to do some hard work on the fly to get away from that idea because it seemed pretty strong. I do wonder if the move to using Roll 20 - which is great for the group - isn't going to impact the podcast because it felt like there were times the group was responding to/dealing with stuff on screen without it being shared with the audience particularly well.
posted by nubs at 3:05 PM on October 20, 2017

This is good. I'm excited to hear more. Making a fresh set of characters become a team is always awkward, and Clint is a first time GM. 90% of the awkwardness in this episode is here.

I think Clint didn't intend for the Do Good Fellowship to be a cult but actually I kinda think he should roll with it, especially with how little time they have. "Cult-adjacent" is a nice aspect for your ostensibly "good" organization.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:23 PM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I haven't listened to this yet, but I'm really bummed to hear that Griffin had to be called out about his backseat DMing. I found the introductory episode almost unlistenable at times because of how often he jumped in and tried to steer things, and I usually really like him (as much as you can like someone you've never met but whose voice you've had in your ears for a few hours every week).

I hope these arcs get a chance to breathe, and I'm really looking forward to hearing what Clint puts on the table.
posted by minsies at 6:35 PM on October 21, 2017

The moment when I knew this was going to work was when Nadiya got dickish about the sliders and suggested that maybe Remy could eat one at a time and leave some for everyone else there and Remy just immediately and cheerfully promising that he was gonna go Wimpy on every one of the sliders present.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:31 PM on October 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Now that I've started listening to the episode, wow, I completely misunderstood how Griffin was put on blast. I thought one of the McElroys said something during the episode. Huh.
posted by minsies at 8:59 AM on October 22, 2017

I struggled with this episode for some aforementioned reasons, i.e. a) Clint's not as natural a podcast storyteller as Griffin (partially just because Griffin had the eventual benefit of much time/experience/anxiety) and b) the characters feel limited to a much narrower band of interaction and personality than THB.

I'm assuming a large part of that is just how much more contrived this narrative is than how TAZ: Balance began--which is to say, Balance started as basically MBMBaM + Dad goofing on D&D, which let them riff much more casually and only start molding into nuanced and specific characters over time, with the funny always there to prop things up. Here, the only person who feels like they're taking that tack is Griffin, who's in the basic position the others were at the start of the first arc, i.e. playing a variation of himself, which will probably become less Griffin and more specifically Remy as he feels out which goofs and trains of thought work best for the group dynamic.

Travis and Justin on the other hand feel like they're reading off scripts and being overly careful to hit particular character notes as established in the backstory/set-up episode. I'm sure that will improve over time, but because none of this is rising organically, the opening's way more stilted than Balance's rough beginnings.

Still going to keep listening to the arc, because even if it remains this awkward and stilted, it's a short-term experiment and also will still involve my favorite podcasting boys (and probably another fascinating installment of TTAZZ toward the end).
posted by Kybard at 10:00 AM on October 25, 2017

I'm definitely liking these characters and looking forward to seeing the thunder god side of Irene. The challenge was a little confusing for me in the moment, but the interactions inspired by it were worthwhile. My one big disappointment is that I was super excited to hear what the new character voices were going to be, and only Justin did one! I was pleased when he called out his brothers on that. I'm hopeful that as the characters develop more organically over time, the quirks of phrase and personality that Travis and Griffin are showing in character will develop into a kind of character voice, kind of like Griffin doing John during the Balance Arc.
posted by booksherpa at 6:52 PM on October 25, 2017

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