The Adventure Zone: Graduation Ep. 11 "You Can Call me Al(thea)"
April 2, 2020 4:43 AM - Subscribe

Investigator Althea Song has some questions for the Thundermen. Meanwhile, each of the fellas has their own missions.A friendship is forged in favors, allegiances are questioned and a letter is sent. Also, the Thundermen go toe to toe with an Arena Champion.
posted by Tevin (6 comments total)
This episode was put together by TAZBot-GRAD Deep Learning 2000. It surveyed the previous 10 (!) episodes of TAZ-Graduation and algorithmed together an episode featuring:

- Party Separation!
- Tell-not-show!
- One on one conversations with NPCs!
- Fitz being asked why he came to this school!
- A chance for an NPC to show off!
- Both a lack of dice rolls AND meaningless dice rolls!
- Vague combat descriptions!
- Rules confusion!
- More Gary!

If these were Normal Times, I'd be done as there's only so many hours in the day.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:30 AM on April 3, 2020 [4 favorites]

I'm still listening because I like spending time with the characters, but it's definitely not going well.
posted by PussKillian at 10:16 AM on April 3, 2020

Don't ask me why but I still haven't bounced off this as hard as I did for Amnesty. I think I just like the characters they came up with more this time. I just wish they, y'know, spent most of their time interacting with each other, and had a shared common goal.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:18 PM on April 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've enjoyed these episodes more than some prior ones, but yeah, the issues are not disappearing. I really don't understand the drive to take characters aside and interview them like it's Inside the Actors Studio, especially when the characters haven't had any chance to develop interior lives through play and interaction, since all they've EVER done is have these sorts of interviews. If you don't give the characters time to have a life, all you're ever going to get from this sort of thing is regurgitations of the backstory paragraph on their sheets.

In particular, Althea's discussion with Argo had me literally shouting out loud "WHY!?" It was twenty minutes in which we learned literally nothing and in which the most interesting part was Clint pretending to enjoy the taste of imaginary tangelo juice (which I noted prompted catcalling even from the other players). Fitz's was the best simply because (due to Travis forcing Fitz to become "friends" with a character and then killing the character off and brainwashing another) Fitz has had actual development as a person within the game, with his slight paranoia blossoming into full-grown panic and now having something to latch onto in the form of Althea and the hope(?) she represents.

If he's going to make a show of it, Travis desperately needs to learn Griffin's lessons about letting the players and the characters direct the story. Wait for the players to become interested in a particular NPC or location or object and then build around that. I can't tell yet if Althea's privacy ring is going to be a successful use of this or not; I suspect not, given prior history and that Travis shut the inquiry down pretty hard. (If I were GMing, I'd have ad-libbed something about spares and how/where they were stored under heavy security and seen if the player wanted to have a heist session to satisfy his newfound fear of mind-affecting spells.)

I'm not going to lie, I am basically 100% here for the Firbolg. Okay, maybe 70% for the Firbolg and 30% for when Griffin has a chance to really get Fitzroy deep into the Awkward Swamps.
posted by Scattercat at 2:09 AM on April 4, 2020 [4 favorites]

People accused Griffin of putting Balance on rails, but like, this is a whole different thing. T is putting the story on rails and half playing all the PCs himself. Wonder if he’s learning bad lessons from his three-year-old; it very much smacks of “You be this doll; NO he wouldn’t do that, he would do THIS and he talks like THIS.”
posted by supercres at 8:09 AM on April 4, 2020

I'd like to see the players pull at the leash more. We almost had it when Clint wanted to keep fighting the Dragonborn - go farther and insist on doing some story changing action. Poison the Dean. Torture a Gary. Set the campus on fire. You know, the stuff that 90% of D&D parties end up doing at least once. If Travis can roll with that without putting the kibosh on it via DM fiat or NPC intervention, then I'll put up with the party splits and Inside the PC Studio sessions as I'll know that's just his style but he supports his players' choices.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:38 AM on April 4, 2020

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