The Adventure Zone: Amnesty - Episode 16
October 9, 2018 6:33 AM - Subscribe

With another accidental catastrophe averted, The Pine Guard catch their breath and split up to take care of some mid-Hunt business. Aubrey takes some magic lessons. Ned reflects on his larcenous past. Duck makes use of the In-fur-mary.
posted by Tevin (10 comments total)
It felt strange to me, to have individual scenes for the characters in the middle of an arc.
posted by meese at 7:50 AM on October 9, 2018

I wonder if individual scenes will continue more often because of this game system and its greater focus on character. There doesn't seem to be any disincentive to "splitting up the party" as there is in d&d.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 7:58 AM on October 9, 2018

I appreciated Ned's fumbling attempt to betray the secret of Amnesty and its total failure. I feel like he's a wild card and may make awful choices out of weakness, which opens up a lot of great storytelling possibilities.

I also loved Duck standing up to Minerva. I was genuinely surprised that she was as cold as she was, which might explain a lot about why Duck is not super stoked about being Chosen by her.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:07 AM on October 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

There doesn't seem to be any disincentive to "splitting up the party" as there is in d&d.

I was curious enough about the structure of Monster of the Week to take a look at the publicly available PDFs for the game, and the instructions for the Keeper specifically suggest splitting up the party in the list of story moves. It's part of the overall "TV procedural monster show" archetype that the game goes for.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:36 AM on October 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

I find the individual scenes a bit of a drag. I like them, sure, but I think what I like about this show is emergent story telling as a group, plus just the broad sense of humour and camaradarie of the group. But when we get to those one on one scenes it becomes much more of an exercise in improvisational story telling which just feels less vital to me. I'm not sure having a backstory for the characters is that interesting, mainly because I've always felt roleplaying is about finding your character through play. Both Tako and Merle became who they were through discovery and experimentation, and that's great, all my favourite characters when roleplaying have started quite different from where they've ended up.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:55 PM on October 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

I do agree that from the outset of the new season they've been trying to force the magic they captured in the Balance arc, to mixed success, but I also feel like a significant portion of their audience has come to expect it and wouldn't enjoy them returning to the more meandering and uneven pace of the early Adventure Zone.

Personally I'm enjoying the seeds they're sowing, the revelation that Minerva is from another world destroyed by what the Pine Guard are fighting, Aubrey's weird experience with the crystal, Ned's.... Neddyness. I've tried other Actual Play podcasts and none of them have been as compelling as The Adventure Zone, probably because the nuts and bolts of traditional roleplaying has never been as interesting to me as the telling of a good story.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:18 AM on October 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I realized listening yesterday that so many of my expectations were set by being able to binge the first 3 arcs of Balance after coming in at possibly the best possible time (my first episode was the Groundhog Day reveal ep, which I still think is one of the best moments in the entire arc).

Getting to know the characters is just inherently more satisfying, I think, when you can listen to an episode every day or two -- the connections and continuity are just so much clearer. In hindsight it's amazing they were able to make something so coherent happen on such a slow, punctuated timeline. I find myself cutting them a lot more slack after realizing that.
posted by range at 7:04 AM on October 10, 2018 [6 favorites]

I actually just went back and listened from the beginning of Amnesty over several days - after missing the two most recent eps I decided to go back and binge it. And I have to say, I'm much more into it now than I was before!

One thing I noticed was that the guys are slowly but surely becoming more comfortable with telling stories within the mechanics of the new game system, which works very differently than D&D. MotW isn't a game where you can just say "I do that" and have a fun scene result from it, because you have about 1% of the mechanical options you have in D&D - the game as designed is much more of a collaborative storytelling game than a traditional RPG. Over the past few episodes, it seems like everyone who isn't Griffin is getting used to this new format, which has resulted in them spending more time building out the narrative themselves - both in individual scenes and in the overall story arc.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:39 AM on October 10, 2018

Also, upon re-listening I am 90% sure that Minerva (or her species) is meant to be the origin of the grey alien cryptid.

This first occurred to me when Griffin had an NPC go off on a long rambling story about being abducted by aliens, including the classic trope of seeing a bright light when it happened. I can’t remember if this scene happened before or after the flashback to when Minerva first came to Duck – but that flashback is still a big unresolved question mark. Duck saves his sister from a burning house, but then he sees everything around him seemingly getting sucked into a brilliantly bright light, and then he wakes up and the fire never happened and Minerva is there in front of him. Vision, dream, alternate reality, who knows, but to me it definitely seemed like some sort of test of Duck’s bravery or powers or both.

If Duck isn’t the first potential champion to be tested – well. A bald alien who appears to people in the night accompanied by blinding light and (seemingly) puts them through trials and tests? That’s a classic X-Files-y grey for sure.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:59 AM on October 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

I should really go back and relisten to it all from the beginning too. I know I've skipped a few episodes, especially during the water monster arc.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:33 PM on October 10, 2018

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