The Adventure Zone: Ethersea - Episode 3
August 5, 2021 6:40 PM - Subscribe

The Gallery Job: Part Three. A brief diversion during their first undersea voyage has proven to be far more arduous (and far more dangerous) than our heroes initially expected. A race for the prize breaks out with a new, well-armed competitor. 
posted by Cash4Lead (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Be ready with dibs infinity."
posted by zeptoweasel at 7:35 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


I appreciate them, especially Justin, repeatedly trying to deescalate the situation rather than going in for the kill, it's a nice model for folks who treat DnD like a video game. Not sure what the deal was with the explosion. Was "Blow up the priceless art" the true secret plan all along?

Also, as a submariner I hope the gang learned a valuable lesson in keeping watertight doors CLOSED unless in use. If I had known the permeable barriers only worked when the engine was running I would have personally made sure the moon pool and every other such opening was physically sealed whenever not in use. Flooding a compartment like the cargo bay must have been why Travis had so much trouble with his piloting rolls, a real submarine has an entire Ballast Control Panel that is manned by an experienced submariner. Their whole job is making sure the boat stays balanced and neutrally buoyant while submerged (they also get to sound the dive alarm and make those 1MC announcements).
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:09 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


> "Be ready with dibs infinity."

That was so good. Not only was it funny, but it showed how well they work as a writing / improvising team.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:44 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


I am really liking Justin's folksy down home criminal intimidation stuff I'm watching the Fargo series right now & he fits right in.
posted by bleep at 12:42 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Justin as a player is so good at narrating charisma actions but Amber’s character sheet doesn’t have the stats to make the skill checks. Meanwhile Devo has the CHA but Travis narrates Devo as so naively off-putting when he tries to be persuasive or intimidating or deceptive. The stats don’t reflect the characters they’re inhabiting! I have no idea how they can fix this but it must be a common thing in D&D right? Like, J gets advantage when he comes up with a really great intimidation line and T gets disadvantage when he puts his foot in it? Or they just reroll character sheets after the first arc.
posted by supercres at 7:35 PM on August 6


Every group has to find their own solution to that sort of thing. The McElroys tend to just embrace the absurdity, so I expect we will see a lot of Devo saying something blisteringly stupid and the NPCs accepting it as gospel.

I'm enjoying this a lot, but I do have to say that some of that is just how much of a relief it is to have Griffin GMing again. This whole episode was a really fun miniature narrative that resulted entirely from player actions and decisions (within the "magician's force" of hidden GM direction).
posted by Scattercat at 8:08 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


> Justin as a player is so good at narrating charisma actions but Amber’s character sheet doesn’t have the stats to make the skill checks. Meanwhile Devo has the CHA but Travis narrates Devo as so naively off-putting when he tries to be persuasive or intimidating or deceptive. The stats don’t reflect the characters they’re inhabiting!

That bothered me too. There's basically nothing in Divo's (hey, "Divo" is my headcanon spelling; have the McElroy's written it down in public anywhere?) background to imply he would be charismatic -- he's all but literally someone raised in a cell until he turned himself out, and spends most of his time fumbling in public rather than being charming.
posted by ardgedee at 5:45 PM on August 7


I think one of the things that came out of the worldbuilding prologue is that there's been no urge to try to pack as much exposition as possible into the first episodes; no long explanations from the DM, no obstructive questions from the players, no events that the characters in-game should understand but the players don't. It's helped make the shows fairly breezy and, reading between the lines, the players are more disposed to goofing because they have a better grasp of the boundaries they're working within than they have in the previous couple seasons.

Here's to them keeping things moving.
posted by ardgedee at 5:50 PM on August 7 [6 favorites]


The stats don’t reflect the characters they’re inhabiting!

This is not a new phenomenon for TAZ (or tabletop games generally). In Balance Taako had a towering Intelligence score and used Charisma as a dump stat but he was mostly played as a dummy to whom most people none the less took a liking. I just roll with it; the discrepancy between how characters portray themselves and what their stats actually let them do when the dice hit the table can occasionally make for some hilarious roleplaying.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:00 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


I think that RPG numbers are often best understood as abstract properties of the characters as story entities, rather than reflecting a specific aspect of the world. This is most important with rolls: people instinctively think of rolling a low number and failing a roll as indicating that their character did something poorly, rather than thinking of the infinite number of other reasons why we fail at something, which are beyond our control. Your muscled half-orc barbarian loses an arm-wrestle with a halfling? Maybe your elbow slipped because you didn't see a patch of spilled beer, or you sneezed, or someone walked into the bar and the light dazzled you just as you were toying with him, or...

With stats it's less important that you consistently abstract away from the numbers, but it's still important to be able to. All that having a good charisma score (say) means is that you're more than averagely likely to succeed at certain kinds of activities. Perhaps you have big brown eyes that look hugely appealling when you want something, or you're incredibly graceful, or you have one of those faces that reminds everyone of someone they know, exude absolute confidence, or are so incredibly annoying that people just give you what you want to shut you up, &c. It's not like charisma is real life is particularly measurable or objective. We can all think of at least one person who appears to lack even the most basic skills of persuasion, tact, empathy and wit who, nonetheless, is regarded as a great leader by millions.

D&D stats are such broad categories that, if you don't see them as highly abstract, finding ways to fit the bits together, you end up rather limiting the sort of characters you can play. All your bards have to be charming, all your rogues have to limber, all your fighters have to be burly, etc.

One thing I will say is that the idea of a bard lacking any discernable charisma is almost a D&D trope. I know players who appear to play nothing BUT obnoxious bards...
posted by howfar at 1:41 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


I finally realized who Divo's accent reminds me of and why I find it so delightful.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:53 PM on September 3


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