The Adventure Zone: Amnesty - Episode 3
January 25, 2018 1:45 PM - Subscribe

Fate draws our heroes towards the same spot in the Monongahela National Forest, where, at long last, their destinies entwine. Ned has a remarkable dream. Duck travels to a strange land. Aubrey starts a fire.
posted by Tevin (15 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I am really loving this arc and the new characters, but I think the finest part of the mini-season is the new theme song. It's such a perfect mood setter for this story. Oh, and I loved Justin's Duck accent rubbing off on Griffin's Vincent accent.
posted by gladly at 7:14 PM on January 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

"I'm just a humble kingdom lawyers," made me laugh a lot.
posted by Tevin at 5:07 AM on January 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

In a lot of ways this is a super biased comparison (between the many arc concepts) because Griffin got so much experience creating an overall vibe with sound design. That's a lot harder when you're producing someone else's arc that's at least in theory supposed to be surprising to you as a player. Him composing all the music was a huge piece of how awesome the first arc became.

But the reason I actually came here was to say: if Griffin uses this podcast to resurrect his best, now-lost ideas from CoolGamesInc, that would be extremely satisfying. It was for excellent reasons, and it's only a minor loss in the context of what they were trying to navigate, but it was a shame to lose so much great creative work from Griffin when they shut down that podcast. The jolt of recognition an episode or two back when I realized the Griffin had in reality made a game about a cryptid lodge was fabulous.
posted by range at 5:16 AM on January 26, 2018 [8 favorites]

posted by DoctorFedora at 9:05 PM on January 26, 2018

Huh I never watched Cool Games Inc so I googled it and found the description of the cryptid lodge game, which says it was about a year ago. Griffin says in this episode he picked out the name Sylvain a year ago. Which means he must have known right away he wanted to do this with Adventure Zone. Wow.
posted by bleep at 10:35 PM on January 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

As a Relocated West Virginian myself, I've noticed that my carefully-retrained WV accent will creep back out when I'm tired, sick, or around anyone else who's speaking with it. In other words, expect Duck's accent to slip into many characters. montani semper liberi, ya'll.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 5:35 PM on January 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I feel like one interesting thing with this mini-arc is how much easier Clint finds it to play a "real world" character. Looking back to Balance, it feels like many of the times when he made what felt like weird character choices were a product of his attempt to honestly play his character in a way he was comfortable with, rather than in a fantastic mode that he couldn't quite grok.

It also feels like Justin is, in this show and elsewhere, starting to enjoy letting out his "middle aged man" persona (which, given that he's only a couple of months older than me, give me pause for thought). Duck feels like a really comfortable character for him in that way. It's also nice to see the McElroys' love of their home come out in TAZ. They've previously used their "good Appalachian boys" persona in various ways (including, laudably, to try to do their bit to help alleviate some of the effects of regional poverty), but it feels like they're finding new ways, in this arc, to explore their own identity.

I also agree that the new theme is great. The use of that fiddle loop to tie the whole thing together, with its echoes of Andrew Bird, is particularly satisfying.
posted by howfar at 5:37 PM on January 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Griffin's comfort as a DM, along with his narrative daring (starting with three separate storylines and trusting they will converge naturally), has been a pleasure. Clint didn't have it, and I will be interested in seeing if the other brothers can come close to the skill that Griffin developed over the three whatever years of the original arc.
posted by maxsparber at 8:21 AM on January 29, 2018

They don't converge naturally though? Griffin just said the words that they all wound up in the same place. This is still more like a short story to me; I hope it starts to feel more like a game now that they're all linked up. One thing I noticed listening a second or third time (because my mind was wandering so much I was having a hard time following) was that Aubrey could see the gate thingy when Mama didn't expect her to; is that something that was planned? Did Travis just decide to do that?
posted by bleep at 9:12 AM on January 29, 2018

>Did Travis just decide to do that?

I had the same question. It felt like a clumsier version of Taako's "Who?"
posted by tchemgrrl at 9:16 AM on January 29, 2018

Yeah, there is a strong hand with Griffin, that's a good point. I guess I'm allowing for the possibility that the other players will just decide to do something unexpected, which they have a history of doing.
posted by maxsparber at 9:19 AM on January 29, 2018

Did Travis just decide to do that?

I don't think so. Griffin said "There is a stone archway standing before you in the centre of the clearing", and gave a fairly detailed description of it to Travis (including saying it was "eye-catching", before Mama started explaining that Aubrey couldn't see it. There doesn’t seem, to me, to be a basis for thinking that Aubrey was meant to be unable to see the gate.
posted by howfar at 11:38 AM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh I see, that makes sense.
posted by bleep at 11:47 AM on January 29, 2018

I really enjoy Griffin's writing and storytelling, and he's a fun DM. But he is, and he was in Balance, a very particular DM who you really have to lean in to a lot. I have a certain amount of sympathy with needing to coalese all the players together; that's why I normally during creation tell the players that they should all have a reason to do x (work for a mysterious company, find the lost treature of zog, kill monsters, whatever it might be) rather than hoping that the players will happen to make a character who does. Note that that final monologue form Griffin basically relied on the characters deciding to fight; an absolutely legitimate response from the players would have been to run away. Maybe he would have rolled with it, sure, but I dunno.

I mean, he gets away with it because everyone is used to yes anding... it makes for better story telling. I guess as a roleplayer I really like my character to have a really good reason to do something beyond the dm needing me to do so. There will always be a little bit of that because no gm can really handle literally anything, but I like that kind of agreement to be as invisible as possible
posted by Cannon Fodder at 4:49 AM on January 30, 2018

Yeah, there's a feeling often times Griffin puts the story on rails, or at least will intervene with long segments of NPC-only activity, to move things along for the benefit of audience entertainment. Clint was starting to latch on to this in the final chapter of the Commitment arc, and I suspect that we'll have to put up with the other boys figuring out how to do this in their own ways if they run their own campaigns too.
posted by ardgedee at 8:23 AM on January 31, 2018

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