The Adventure Zone: Graduation Ep. 10 "Dark Arts and Crafts"
March 17, 2020 9:23 AM - Subscribe

A new semester has begun and with it comes a new guests, new questions, and new mysteries.The Thundermen have moved into their new dorm. The Firbolg confides in a friend, Argo ignores hidden dangers and Fitzroy takes on a project.  Can friends be trusted? Who is this person asking question? And where did that new crepe station come from?!
posted by Tevin (14 comments total)
Nobody gives a fuck about your dad, Rainier.
posted by Tevin at 10:30 AM on March 17, 2020

I just started but I fucking lost it at the exchange that went something like

"Remind us, who's Buckminster again?"
"He's one of your main friends here."
posted by supercres at 11:30 AM on March 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

I can't believe how much better this got after episode seven. The plot is moving forward! Interpersonal drama! Stakes!
posted by fomhar at 5:32 PM on March 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

The stuff about the room being haunted followed up by Fitzroy suddenly being voiced by John mulaney hinting about making out with imps had me laughing for like 8 minutes straight.

When Justin said "And just like that, he made the impossible crepe, and two food trucks exploded" was that a reference to when Taako made the impossible taco on TAZ? What a wild ride that sentence was.

Can you imagine Clint living in Daytona Beach and growing a kumquat tree outside his home, not knowing if he would ever return to Huntington, West Virginia? Because I can't.

"This is not the first time I have spoiled the mood. It is great shame." I started a very thick chuckle, disruptive to my colleagues (my cats).

It's amazing that they're doing this over Skype, that they can react to each other so fast, unless they edit out all the walking on each other's sentences that happens to me on every kind of voice call, phone or computer.
posted by bleep at 10:47 PM on March 17, 2020

I was getting back on board, but then Travis narrated how The Firbolg would text directions. I'm already not keen on The Firbolg being defacto'd into an NPC at times due to plot, but this was a bad sign. At best, it means Justin was not on mic at that time, at worst, it means either 1) Travis sees no problem in turning PCs into puppets over minor stuff or 2) Justin is so checked out he does not care.

I was generally positive until that moment, but it made me take a more critical eye on the episode. Argo had group breakfast at the start and then a scene. Fitzroy rolled two dice. Firbolg took a nap and then stood in the forest. The highlights came when the players got to play with each other, not from DM stuff.

And this was supposed to be for MaxFun?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:16 PM on March 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

holy moly Justin is so good at playing characters in TRPGs

also god dammit Clint how do you not know that kumquats are citrus fruit
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:11 PM on March 18, 2020

I feel like this whole setup, and Travis' style, would work better as a visual novel/CYOA. School is a classic narrative structure for that medium, and Travis clearly has Stuff he wants to share in very specific ways. Like, the "You wake up under a tree -- you must have fallen asleep" immediately popped into my mind as an image in a VN, text box and all.

I bounced off Balance very hard in the beginning, so I think I'll check back in with this sometime later. I'm glad it's working for some folks! I hope you keep listening and posting. =)
posted by curious nu at 10:58 AM on March 19, 2020

> When Justin said "And just like that, he made the impossible crepe, and two food trucks exploded" was that a reference to when Taako made the impossible taco on TAZ? What a wild ride that sentence was.

Whoa. That's a deeeeeeeeeeep cut!
posted by ardgedee at 5:50 PM on March 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I also noticed Travis narrating what Firbolg was doing, it's quite the faux pas to ever take control of a PC like that. Controlling your character is literally the only thing you do as a player, so it's important to let players do that. Even employing in-universe stuff like mind control is pretty dangerous territory and a GM ought to talk to their players about it beforehand.

Isn't it true that Travis actually has a decent amount of GMing experience outside of TAZ?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:20 AM on March 20, 2020

We don't know whether Travis discussed it with Justin -- maybe he did. It seemed to me like Justin was kind of indifferent to the proceedings for the rest of the episode though. On the other hand, he often sounds like he's only half-engaged when he's paying attention, so I dunno.

Agree that it was a faux pas, though. I had a wtf moment when I heard it. Even if it was OK with the players, it sounded bad to the listener. Like watching a movie and suddenly for no reason one of the character's voices is dubbed in with an entirely dissimilar voice.
posted by ardgedee at 3:50 PM on March 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I enjoy it just because it reminds me of playing pretend when I was little and how me & my friends would take turns telling each other what we want their barbies to say. That Travis spends significant time doing that feels right to me, natural.
posted by bleep at 5:39 PM on March 20, 2020

This sucks. It’s just not any fun at all to be in Travis’s half-assed make-believe world. There’s no collaboration in what should be collaborative world-building.

I’m so sad
posted by mr_roboto at 9:45 PM on March 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was hoping that the interlude was a turning point in setting up a scene, putting the PCs into it, and saying, “What do you do?” Because it was great D&D, and the storytelling came through without sketching it out like a novel.

Nope, got another episode mostly of scenes with one PC each. (To be fair, Amnesty had a fair bit of this too.)
posted by supercres at 9:23 PM on March 25, 2020

> (To be fair, Amnesty had a fair bit of this too.)

As somebody who's complained about how Griffin occasionally puts the story on rails, I'll praise him for accommodating the players' decisions (I remember a TTAZZ where he complained about having to throw out a big chunk of "Rockport Limited" scenario because Travis did a thing that made it all moot) and integrated their characters' storylines and actions into his own worldbuilding. Travis tends to give players multiple-choice scenarios and seems to just brush off or do end-runs around them when they do something outside of his plans.
posted by ardgedee at 6:00 AM on March 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

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