The Adventure Zone: Graduation Ep. 4 "Four Sidekicks Walk Into A Bar..."
December 19, 2019 5:11 AM - Subscribe

The fellas are out in the world and things get real. Real litigious that is! Also, everyone goes shopping and gets stronger!  Plus, Fitzroy scams a free drink! Roll to enjoy this episode... it's a CRITICAL HIT!
posted by Tevin (26 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I was wondering how Travis was going to work in a merchant named after a cartoon cat, and today I got my answer.
posted by nubs at 7:20 AM on December 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


As someone whose D&D party ended up consulting a lawyer and drawing up an in-game contract (with a signature page and exhibits), I approve of this plan.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:25 AM on December 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


I am really looking forward to the fantasy insurance adjuster NPC.
posted by ardgedee at 2:36 PM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Insurance companies: good people, in it to help, completely understanding,
posted by Navelgazer at 3:47 PM on December 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


I loved how Justin just casually brushed off discussing his level-up abilities. If you don't know the druid class there are some fun surprises coming up.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:01 PM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm wondering about how Travis repeatedly described their 200 gold as a "line of credit" from the school. He said the school got a contract to solve the dispute for 1500 gold, but I don't recall him saying the students got to keep the 200 gold if their quest is successful, right?

So far, it's been pretty clear the school doesn't just hand out freebies to its students, so if this is truly the case I'm expecting a scene where Argo gets to find out he either has to hand over his nifty new sword or go (further?) into debt.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:58 PM on December 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I was wondering that too. Travis's NPCs are gleefully dinging them with additional charges for every little thing and they're playing along by going on a spending spree the moment they land in town; I kind of hope they end up in the hole regardless of how the adventure turns out, less because I want bad things to happen and more because it sounds like the funnest outcome.
posted by ardgedee at 5:31 PM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


I love their plan. I just love it so much. It's everything I have always loved about TAZ.
posted by meese at 6:06 PM on December 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


Yeah, on the one hand, Travis described it as a 1,500G contract, with 300G profit after the line of credit, but it could easily end up screwing them all over like that (it would crack me up if Sir Fitzroy got to keep his new classy cloak on account of being an influencer, though.)

That said, this was also in effect a "lunar interlude" episode. We leveled, we got the new merchant with the new cartoon cat, and we set up the next arc. Travis is incorporating listener-submitted item suggestions for the Barns & Nobles, and it'd be uncharacteristically shitty to then turn around and teach the players to purchase those at their own risk (though purchasing items specifically for whatever quest is in front of them might help them remember to actually use their shiny new shit, so that could be an upside, I guess.)

I haven't found a definitive answer on this, but best as I can tell Griffin composed the theme music for Graduation, which is so crazy good that it gets better every time I hear it. He's always been good at these (with the recognition that the very good TAZ: Balance theme "Ataraxia" wasn't by him, later Balance themes and compositions, as well as the themes for Commitment, Dust, Amnesty, and the one-offs were)but this is easily his best musical work in my opinion. It just so beautifully creates the tone, incorporating fantasy and scholastic elements in such a light, breezy, earwormy way. So good.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:47 PM on December 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


Oh, and dinty_moore, I was in a D&D game a few years back where one of my friends played a Dwarf Cleric who was essentially a contract attorney (like that friend himself) and who wouldn't involve himself in anything with his personal interest in the matter first being made clear. It was brilliant and infuriating.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:25 PM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Doctor Mushrooms.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:38 AM on December 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


> best as I can tell Griffin composed the theme music for Graduation

He's said in one of the TTAZZ episodes that he assembles music from performance clips in Garage Band, except for when he uses Vocaloids. I don't know if he did Graduation's music but yes, it's surprisingly good.
posted by ardgedee at 6:04 AM on December 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think I've gathered from various mentions that Travis edits each episode then hands it to Griffin to score.

I liked this episode.
posted by Uncle at 12:31 PM on December 20, 2019


I'll also add I like how Griffin's playing Fitz as somebody who seriously believes that he's a hero and a good person but is actually pretty self-centered and kind of venal and more fundamentally a chronically bad (and unlucky) decision-maker, and it seems like the best-case scenario, at least in terms of comedic outcomes, is to always let him lead the party.
posted by ardgedee at 1:00 PM on December 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


For the record, the original TAZ: Balance theme is "Deja Vu" by the band Ataraxia
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:43 PM on December 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Fitz is an influencer - of course he should lead the party.

I'm actually really enjoying Griffin as a player; in past sessions where he hasn't been the GM, he's often seemed unable to sit back and had a tendency to jump in to try to explain things. Having Fitz as a self-involved but uninsightful character who would of course believe he was the leader is working really well for him, I think.

Looking forward to them serving the subpoena on the magmin and having it go up in smoke.
posted by nubs at 1:47 PM on December 20, 2019


Really enjoying the new season.
posted by drezdn at 9:40 AM on December 21, 2019


This episode really made me antsy.

1) Justin and Griffin obviously aren't too keen on the accounting / money managing mechanic here -- and while a key part of their audience, Geeks, are, it's no fun unless the performers are having fun.

2) I said I was keen on it but really it makes me nervous. A line of credit for 200 gold, for this job? Shouldn't that just be expenses incurred for this job, not equipment they'll use beyond the job? Where's Last Hope's secondhand store (staffed by Sylvester)? Couldn't they be using standard equipment on loan from the school?

I know this is a lunar interlude but the line of credit aspect lends some uncomfortable ambiguity. And as someone with student debt of their own, I really wish they wouldn't incur any! Or if they do, they find a way to make it funny. The detour to the lawyer's office was... all right, but not great. Maybe Rude Tales of Magic has spoiled me for hilarious 10-minute NPC interactions.
posted by snerson at 7:52 PM on December 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


I assumed "line of credit" just meant "this is your cut of what we'll get if/when you succeed, and we're giving it to you now because you could use it."
posted by meese at 8:34 PM on December 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think money isn't really a problem for Sir Fitzroy, but is a huge concern for Argo.
posted by drezdn at 9:08 AM on December 22, 2019


I've been wondering about that. Fitz puts on the airs of a well-heeled young lord but it seems entirely based on his belief that he's a knight of Goodcastle. I don't recall, absent Goodcastle, whether he already comes from nobility or not, and whether his family is wealthy or not. He might be financially in a hole but too oblivious to care.
posted by ardgedee at 5:58 PM on December 22, 2019


The Firbolg Druid (Doctor Mushrooms? Are we settled on that now?) having a Nature skill of +0 is hilarious.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:34 AM on December 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


I get serious The Sims vibe from the theme music for this TAZ. It's been bugging me and I finally figured it out.

I feel like it's a little NPC-heavy so far? There seems to be a lot of Travis talking to himself.
posted by curious nu at 1:57 PM on December 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


> I feel like it's a little NPC-heavy so far? There seems to be a lot of Travis talking to himself.

I decided to re-listen to the Graduation arc to date because I feel like I've been missing details. In the first episode, at least, yes; Travis did talk to himself a lot, to the extent of making it hard to keep up. (Also, there's nothing mentioned in Fitzroy's background to imply that he is a hereditary knight or in fact has any claim to nobility or wealth at all beyond his stake in the existence of Goodcastle. I'm going to be paying attention to that particular thread.)
posted by ardgedee at 2:17 PM on December 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Continuing my re-listen: At the start of the second episode, there's a quick montage of all the character introductions from the first episode: Three player characters and over a dozen NPCs. So, three people doing one character each and one person doing fourteen or fifteen characters. And then the second episode adds even more.

If Griffin's main flaw in "Balance" was going on long expositional soliloquies, Travis's has been crowding the stage and kind of making it hard to focus on the main characters. (Keeping in mind that I loved the "Balance" season, and I've really been enjoying "Graduation" so far; falling short of perfection is certainly not the same thing as keeping me from listening.)
posted by ardgedee at 3:21 PM on December 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


I feel like it's a little NPC-heavy so far? There seems to be a lot of Travis talking to himself.

As a DM I think one of my least favourite tasks is having to role-play NPC-to-NPC conversations. It's harder than NPC-to-PC, and I am really aware I am taking the interactivity away from the players and turning it into a rubbish TV show. Listening to another DM do it is not much more fun.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:38 AM on December 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


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