The Adventure Zone: Amnesty — Episode 28
May 31, 2019 7:31 PM - Subscribe

The shadow of war looms over Kepler, West Virginia. A troubled Pine Guard must race to thwart a hundred insidious plans, all of which appear to be reaching toward a single, horrific conclusion. Duck opens the way. Aubrey takes a deadly risk. Ned writes his confession.

"What are you?"
"I'm bisexual."
posted by snerson (20 comments total)
What is it about guys named Ned and abrupt endings?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:30 PM on May 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ned... Ned had luck, right? He could have used his luck to get a better role. Was there no out of character strategizing to try to help Ned survive? Not even an attempt?
posted by meese at 9:35 PM on May 31, 2019

sometimes the player sees where the story is going and decides they’re happy with that direction. clint could have used luck but didn’t. these episodes are tightly edited, i’m sure there was some table discussion about that.
posted by JimBennett at 4:02 AM on June 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

I shrieked aloud at “I’m bisexual.” I’m so happy to learn about my superpowers.

I suspect that Clint and Ned both felt that was the only way he could redeem himself. He was so certain that he’d fucked up. I bet they all talked about it and Clint insisted. I figured he might be doing it when they started the letter flashback, but the second we heard his real name I was absolutely sure he was going to die.

Aubrey’s tried to raise the dead before, I think she’ll try to do it again. Maybe Sylvain could help?
posted by a hat out of hell at 11:58 AM on June 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

I found that really moving. I sat there quiet, just listening.

I think they may feel that they cheated character death too hard in Balance and owe one. It occurs to me that Ned might become a ghost, like Dewey, but I don’t think there would have been such a death scene if they were open to pursue that possibility.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:39 PM on June 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I was surprisingly moved by Ned’s death and how it was handled with the flashback. I know Griffin keeps saying they’re almost done with this arc, but still, it’s kind of shocking to have a major player character die for what feel like incredibly justifiable story reasons.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:10 AM on June 2, 2019

What.. is happening? I was so shaken my Ned's death that I really couldn't grasp the whole situation that unfolded with Aubrey and Duck. Where do we stand mythos-wise after this episode? How does Minerva tie in to Sylvain and the abominations? Does she? Was this thing an abomination or something else? Are all the abominations not from Sylvain after all? I'm confused and I feel like I'm missing something.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:59 AM on June 3, 2019

Aubrey did try to save Ned and failed. She was pretty torn up about it.

The thing about Ned's death is that he didn't even have a roll to fail. My understanding is that just "a shot rang out" and Ned died. It was just something Griffin decided to do for the story.
I wonder if Griffin wrote the letters or Clint. But they definitely didn't sound improvised. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by bleep at 7:33 PM on June 3, 2019

Ned did have a roll to fail -- he got a mixed success and his hard choice was whether the bullet hit him or Danni. The TAZ subreddit is filled with variations on

Everybody: These guys are so soft, there are no stakes on TAZ
Griffin: Insta-kills his dad on a mixed success

I'm going to have to read a summary or listen to a bunch back to back; I'm also barely holding on to the plot. 100% forgot who Danni was, don't remember any hypothetical breadcrumbs connecting Minerva and her world and its antagonist to Sylvain and its. I suspect that this will all make more sense on a binge re-listen so there's not a month between episodes.
posted by range at 5:53 AM on June 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

The thing about Ned's death is that he didn't even have a roll to fail. My understanding is that just "a shot rang out" and Ned died. It was just something Griffin decided to do for the story.

In a way, I do think it was something Griffin (and Clint) had probably decided to do. It's not all that uncommon, in my RPG experience, to have a "Seems like the end is coming for this character, what do you think about that?" conversation at the table. "Who does the bullet hit?" is a great "hard choice" on that mixed success, but I think without some preliminary discussions between Griffin and Clint, most GMs in that situation make that bullet at least possibly survivable. I personally think it would have been great to have Audrey come back from Sylvain to a mortally wounded Ned, slowly bleeding out in front of her. Does she really save the person that (she thinks) killed her mother?

I re-listened to the end, and I think the deal is that the Bom Boms are creations of this "third world" that somehow acts as a hub for many many sets of paired worlds. For some reason, this hub world (intentionally or unintentionally) sets the paired worlds against each other. I think this is what happened to Minerva's world and the insect world she exterminated, She somehow learned about the hub world and was able to use that hub to connect to the Earth/Sylvain pairing through Duck
posted by Rock Steady at 7:52 AM on June 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

I wonder if Griffin wrote the letters or Clint. But they definitely didn't sound improvised. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

griffin doesn't write things for his players (though it's certainly possible he asked clint to write something up and they recorded that bit later). justin's "who?" in balance didn't sound improvised either but it was. that's the magic of editing.

She somehow learned about the hub world and was able to use that hub to connect to the Earth/Sylvain pairing through Duck

i'm pretty sure she jumped to earth via the black hole in duck's brain, which was why he was in such immense pain in the moments before it happened as she literally (magically or scientifically?) moved a tiny black hole from inside his brain to the outside of his body through his eye socket.
posted by JimBennett at 1:31 PM on June 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I think the only bit of writing Griffin has done for any of the players was "Junebug" and fake-Ned's speech on Public Access a couple episodes back.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:51 PM on June 4, 2019

The magic of editing is that things aren't edited. Ok.
posted by bleep at 3:05 PM on June 4, 2019

The magic of editing is that things aren't edited. Ok.

that's not what i said? the magic of editing is that you don't hear the conversation at the table where they discuss this stuff, where griffin might say "okay dad we're gonna have you write two goodbye letters to aubrey and duck". their sessions last way longer than the two hour episodes they produce, that's part of what makes the show so labor intensive.
posted by JimBennett at 7:16 PM on June 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I also found myself in an odd mixture of moved (Kelly!) and confused at the end of the ep, and immediately started relistening from the beginning. I’m not very far in, but in the set-up episode they talk about how easy it is to die in this game, and how there are mechanics for coming back and rolling a new character (or in this case, maybe making some light mods on Jake Coolice or Pigeon to give Clint someone to play.) I think they have been pretty ready for major deaths from the beginning, and the alternative to Ned dying was him literally running away living a life under a new name in another state. Thematically, it didn’t feel sudden or surprising at all to me.
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:17 PM on June 5, 2019

wait wait wait WAIT

can Clint play as Minerva now?????
posted by nonasuch at 6:29 PM on June 6, 2019 [5 favorites]

So I just listened through this entire arc again today. Jesus.

I'm still not certain about everything that happened in this episode. I think Duck killed the Shapeshifter? Or at least watched it die? It's tough to know.

But I know that Ned's death made narrative sense and was handled beautifully.

Ned is probably my favorite character in any TAZ campaign. Clint has always been game but Merle was definitely a backseat to Taako and Magnus, and Ned is where he got super into everything, knowing all the lore, with a crazy-lived-in character who could both plausibly be a part of the world of Kepler and also a chaotic force within it, and Clint played him always as a balance between his gregariousness and self-hatred.

The fact that he rushed to the gate rather than skip town, that he tried to get the crowd to the telescope, that he tried to tackle Danni, and then that he took the shot for her, and of course that he's named for Ned Kelly... Clint built up a character whose low moral fiber and cowardice is who he is, then built up his reasons to atone while still playing to his baser instincts, and then played the hell out of what I'm not sure Clint or Griffin knew would be his curtain call until it happened.

My friend was angry, feeling like Ned was fridged for Aubrey's sake. I don't think that's what happened, though Aubrey is and will be the person most effected. Ned died as an object lesson in not following what Fake!Ned said on Public Access, and in doing so halted the War.

I really hope we get a TTAZZ this week, and then that we check in with Pigeon, who as much as anyone in this story will both need and deserve some, well, amnesty.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:30 PM on June 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

I re-listened to Amnesty episode 1 the other day, where Pigeon nervously shoots at Duck through the door of her camper, and Duck makes a joke about her having too many guns. It’s kind of narratively satisfying that if someone is going to accidentally shoot a main character this late in the campaign, that it’s Pigeon.
posted by beandip at 7:42 AM on June 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

Not just that: Pigeon's squirrelly and trigger-happy because she was the first one to encounter the first Monster our heroes tangle with. Then during the fight with the Water, she trie to join the Pine Guard. Following up on that literally would have prevented Pigeon from firing when Danni turned, and would have saved Ned (presuming nobody else fired at that moment, of course.)
posted by Navelgazer at 5:40 PM on June 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh man, and relistening to the last TTAZZ, there's a bit about fans asking about Pigeon and what more will happen with her and Griffen not knowing what to do there...
posted by Navelgazer at 7:37 PM on June 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

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