The Adventure Zone: The The Adventure Zone Zone: MaxFunDrive 2019 Special
March 29, 2019 7:10 AM - Subscribe

We're back with everyone's favorite podcast-within-a-podcast-about-the-original-podcast, as hosted by the people in said podcast! We're answering your questions about Amnesty, Live Shows and all the other pies we've stuck our fingers in over the years.
posted by Tevin (7 comments total)
this was really enlightening to me. i thought this whole time the narrative of Amnesty was very pre-written by Griffin in the way that the second half of Balance was, it's really cool to know that it's actually a lot more improvisational and collaborative than it appears from the outside. a lot of that must be because Griffin has grown so much as a storyteller that he can adjust on the fly from week to week and still have it feel like everything happening was pre-considered. really cool. i wish they would do these episodes more than once or twice a year.
posted by JimBennett at 10:57 AM on March 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

So Scraps has an idea he's excited about, and Juice finally wants to run one for real. I'm intrigued, to say the least...

For my part, the only time I've really recognized anyone other than Griffin as the GM has been Commitment. By which I mean that whether he's playing the game or running it, I'm trained to hear his voice as The Voice, and he'll often describe what's happening in games that aren't his own in ways which then confuse me (mind you, he's just playing these games the way they're designed, but I still get confused.)

With Commitment, I think, he was 1.) trying to step back with some degree of intention, 2.) Clint was running it, and there's a dynamic in place when Dad is running the show, and 3.) Nadia and Karmalla were both such big characters that Remy didn't get as much room to squeeze in there. I'm not saying this made for a better arc - Griffin is an absolute natural at this stuff, and also gave us the best scene in Dust with the collaborative bit about the bell - but it does feel like even when handing over the reins he has trouble not pulling on them a bit.

Any MaxFun donors really need to check out TAZ: Fur and the new TAZ: Elementary, by the way, the latter of which solves the (fictional) murder of a notable Mefi Member.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:03 PM on March 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

I really appreciate the care they put in to everything they do, that we get to hear about in these episodes. It's a quality that seems so rare. And also the degree of honesty when they're like hey, we're making this up as we go along. That is also pretty rare!

I thought it was interesting when Justin was talking about how D&D seemed to provide more/better opportunities for characters to bond and Monster of the Week didn't, and then Griffin said that it was more the genre than the game. I feel like Justin is 100% correct and it doesn't really have to do with genre at all. Their conversation was also a little confusing because I couldn't tell when they were talking about Monster of the Week as like a genre of shitty cheapo TV that Travis loves so much and Monster of the Week as the name of the set of game rules they were playing. But like I do feel like the characters in Amnesty barely get a chance to talk to each other; like do they even know each other that well? I feel like it's because they're always being pulled in different directions in a way that didn't happen that often before.

I would love to hear them do more of the one-shot games; they are so good at it.
posted by bleep at 9:21 PM on March 30, 2019

I've been running/playing in a MotW game for a while now, inspired by TAZ:Amnesty, and part of the thing with MotW is that it encourages characters to run off on their own scenes, or to at least split off. Basically, I think it's a better game for a group of five or six people than three, because with only three players, bleep is right - they don't get as much time to spend together.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:22 AM on March 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think also it feels like in Balance Griffin also *created* opportunities for the characters to hang out with each other and for us to hang out with the characters which they haven't done in awhile.

Another thing I agreed with was when they were saying how the Balance characters grew a lot more organically and maybe they'll try to go back to that. I too way more enjoy the in media res style of meeting someone rather than just getting a big laundry list of their traits. I actually fast forwarded through all of that stuff in the experimental arcs cause I just don't like hearing it.
posted by bleep at 1:24 PM on March 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think it will be hard to duplicate what Balance pulled off in having what felt like a one-off (and thus with Clint and Justin putting together their characters as a completely tossed-off joke while Travis went way-too-deep into his own before they started) and then forcing those characters to continue until there was meaning behind the silliness.

As they've said, TAZ was a car that learned how to fly. You really can't pull that trick twice. And they're also right that Balance found its conclusion and that the live shows (which have actually been at their best recently) are still coming up on "cover band" nostalgia-mining.

Also, Amnesty (and I fucking LOVE Amnesty) is set in one location which the boys know really well but which doesn't lend itself to the variety that Balance did.

I'm not sure what I would do if I were them, but I might attempt a sort of "Time Bandits" or "Doctor Who" type of thing which could bring them to many different places, settings, genres, and with a system that makes them roll out their characters and play them from the start without any forethought.

Just my 2ยข.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:52 PM on March 31, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I very strongly think their needs to be some element of randomness to their characters in the next arc. I've always enjoyed rolling up a set of D&D attributes, a random background and then figuring out a character to fit those numbers.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:58 AM on April 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

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