The Adventure Zone: Ep. 57. The Suffering Game - Chapter Seven
February 23, 2017 10:03 AM - Subscribe

Game Over. Taako makes some fashionable friends. Merle does some wordplay. Magnus remembers.
posted by Tevin (58 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I am only halfway through and I am D Y I N G, this is fucking amazing
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:17 AM on February 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


Oh Liz.

OH LIZ I WISH I COULD SEE YOUR FACE FOR THE ENDING
posted by Tevin at 11:44 AM on February 23, 2017 [4 favorites]


That's not what I expected.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:56 AM on February 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think I just experienced a jort-circuit.
posted by howfar at 12:09 PM on February 23, 2017 [4 favorites]


jayzus

Hilariously enough, just last night I listened to that The The Adventure Zone Zone episode and Griffin was absolutely EMPHATIC that Barry would never come back and he had no idea why people wanted him to. I wonder if he came up with this idea before or after that (they recorded it halfway through Crystal Kingdom).

Soon I will Process this episode enough to Deal but in the mean time I have a question, at what point in the second half of the ep did the guys ditch the rest of the Wonderland survivors?

Also, the battle in the top half was amazing, some of the best work Tres Boys have ever done. Often it's just Taako pulling super-inventive moves out of his ass but this time all three of them did it, and they worked together completely in sync. I'm going to miss them so much when this campaign is over!

I cannot wait for the fanart from this one.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:22 PM on February 23, 2017 [5 favorites]


Oh hey and bY tHe WaY: "We'll get 'em next time"

Has this entire campaign been one iteration of a massive time loop?

December 4th bitches
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:26 PM on February 23, 2017 [5 favorites]


ahahaha so this was pointed out elsewhere:

"I have one last prophecy for you, Taako. Something you will need to know. In your hour of greatest need, you will find the power that you seek from the man wreathed in flames."

mother fucker
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:40 PM on February 23, 2017 [7 favorites]


Not totally convinced of this but it would be fun: what if the Lonely Journal-Keeper from that Crystal Kingdom prophecy wasn't Isaac at all, but Barry? Would be a neat misdirect, since that's the only one of those 'seven birds' we think we definitely know.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:55 PM on February 23, 2017


Note: The ad break says the next episode is next week on March 2, but that was a slip of the tongue -- it's the normal two weeks between episodes so you still have to wait until the 9th.
posted by flatluigi at 2:04 PM on February 23, 2017


"You see a circular patch, with a design containing twelve multicolored circles and a sort of shifting, imparsable text in the middle of it. Only, Magnus, you can read that text as plain as day: it's an acronym, and it says IPRE."

Interplanar...rrrrr...something...
posted by Iridic at 2:06 PM on February 23, 2017


Interplanar Reconnaissance Expeditions?
posted by Groundhog Week at 2:42 PM on February 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


I want to fist fight Griffin McElroy.

Also I can't wait for the fanart of Taako with his mannequin horde.
posted by clarinet at 2:57 PM on February 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


I can't catch up with the thread until I'm done with work I just wanted to pop in and mention that I shouted "HAH LIZ TOTALLY CALLED IT" out loud in my home.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:23 PM on February 23, 2017


I'm only ten minutes in and I'm loving it.

"I'm going to cast -"

"At this point my reaction to those words is that everything planned is going to be screwed."

"No, I'm just casting Animate Object on the mannequins. Ten of them."

"WHAT THE FUCK?"
posted by nubs at 3:38 PM on February 23, 2017 [11 favorites]


Forever in blue jeans!
posted by nubs at 4:38 PM on February 23, 2017


Hey remember in The The Adventure Zone Zone when Griffin was railing against people asking him to bring back Barry Bluejeans?

Griffin: But, yeah, RIP Barry Bluejeans.
Clint: But that doesn’t answer the question: would we ever bring him back?
Griffin: He’s dead as fuck! Like, I don’t know how many times I have to say it, Barry Bluejeans- Barry Bluejeans’ soul [laughs a little bit] has left his body. He is no longer- he is, he is gone-zo. He’s dead.

Fuckin' shit, he wasn't even lying!
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:57 PM on February 23, 2017 [11 favorites]


Am I missing something? Why are people freaking out over Barry Bluejeans and why did Griffin hype it so much? I'm psyched for the plot to come but all I remember about Barry is his name, and there's not even anything else about him on the wiki.

Anyway, great battle but given how Griffin was hyping the ep on Twitter I was so sure we were going to lose one of the boys, a victim of Griffin's nerfing gone too far. I'm loving the show, it's one of my favourite things to look forward to every other week but I just don't get the Barry hype.
posted by yellowbinder at 5:53 PM on February 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


For me personally it's not Barry specifically, so much as the fact that we're FINALLY getting into the endgame and getting some answers about all these damn prophecies.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:23 PM on February 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I really didn't give a shit about who came out of the tank as much as getting a sense that we're moving into an endgame.
posted by nubs at 6:27 PM on February 23, 2017


I really did think it was gonna be Magnus, and then, for a moment after the jeans reveal, I thought it was going to be Literally Just Griffin McElroy
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:36 PM on February 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


To be completely honest, I had a very small hope it would be Magic Brian.
posted by nubs at 6:37 PM on February 23, 2017


Yeah I was briefly thinking "Oh shit is Magnus a wayward clone of himself and redrobe is the real Magnus?" Which would have been about as bonkos as bringing back Barry.

It sounds like Barry intends to go back to the Bureau of Balance, given his note to disguise Magnus. I assume we're going to discover very soon what is really happening to all the Grand Relics once they're taken away.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:39 PM on February 23, 2017


One of the clips from the beginning was that the Voidfish's powers don't work on the undead. So, Barry and Magnus are undead, and that's why Magnus could read the IPRE? And is Magnus remembering events that have happened or having visions of what is to come? I have no idea!
posted by gladly at 7:52 PM on February 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


"I have one last prophecy for you, Taako. Something you will need to know. In your hour of greatest need, you will find the power that you seek from the man wreathed in flames."

Help me here. I just listened to the episode but I don't know what this would refer to and I feel like it must be something dead-obvious.

As for IPRE... Inter-Planar Reclamation Efforts?

I'm still curious about LUP, and whether it refers to, as is my pet-theory, Lucretia.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:48 PM on February 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


Barry died in Phandalin, which famously was burned into nothingness.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:56 PM on February 23, 2017


is Magnus remembering events that have happened or having visions of what is to come?

Remembering, I think. Here's my best guess at the story so far:

The universe is made up of 12 concentric worlds, with the prime material plane, the show's setting, in the middle. Magnus was born on one of the outer worlds. (Possibly the other Boys were, too.)

Fifteen-odd years ago, a malignant force called the Hunger began consuming the planes, working from the outside in. Magnus and Barry Bluejeans joined up with a group called IPRE (the Red Robes) to resist the Hunger, but despite any number of deaths and resurrections, they failed to stop its progress.

At some point in the chronology, IPRE split a godlike force into seven grand relics. Possibly this action instigated the Hunger's invasion; possibly it was done in response to the Hunger - to create weapons to oppose it, or to withhold something precious from it. At any rate, the Red Robes had the relics with them when they fell back to their final defensive position on the prime material plane. The power of the relics sparked a horrific war that only stopped when seven Red Robes managed to squirrel them away across the continent and Lucretia (who I suspect is a former Red Robe herself) invoked the extraplanar abilities of the Voidfish to make every living person forget they existed.

For reasons of her own, Lucretia maintains a second Voidfish on the DL. She's fed this one information on IPRE and the war against the Hunger, so only the undead members of the corps can recall anything about it. As an uprooted soul, Magnus now has some fuzzy access to those memories - enough, at least, to remember growing up on an outer plane.
posted by Iridic at 9:58 PM on February 23, 2017 [5 favorites]


Thanks, Liz! (And between my comment and your follow-up I went over to the reddit thread and saw the conversation this came from, so I feel better informed now.)

I wasn't as blown away by this episode as I was by the last one (though Merle using the Grammarian Ring for the ultimate assist was exactly what that little tool should be here for) but I also am in the camp where Barry Bluejeans is for me what Little Sebastian is for Ben Wyatt. The Magnus stuff seems like a big deal, though I haven't put the pieces together yet on what all it implies, and I'm psyched to confront the BoB. But if I recall correctly, the big reveals about Magnus are that he's from another planet originally, created the Cup (and gave it to Jack and June), and fought unsuccessfully alongside Barry against the Hunger previously. Is that right? He is likely also a lich in a body. Baby Voidfish is doing something with a blue book with silver trim, and absent something unknowable, Magnus is not getting his body back. (Though if the relics haven't actually been destroyed, then the oculus could create it for him anew and the animus bell could potentially put him into the new one...)
posted by Navelgazer at 10:07 PM on February 23, 2017


Well would you look at that, it's Checkhov's Jorts!
posted by Itaxpica at 10:39 PM on February 23, 2017 [6 favorites]


At some point in the chronology, IPRE split a godlike force into seven grand relics. Possibly this action instigated the Hunger's invasion; possibly it was done in response to the Hunger - to create weapons to oppose it, or to withhold something precious from it.

I've been thinking of how something like this might square with something from the first lunar interlude, when Leon is checking out the umbrastaff (from here):

“That… let me see that.” And he takes it off your hands and looks it over, and says… “This is a- there are very few of these, you should count yourself very lucky to have this. This is called an Umbrastaff, which was created by a clever order of wizards known as the Umbrawizards. They created magical items that looked like normal, everyday items that would allow them to conceal those staves and wands, and allow them to bring it into battle unseen. What makes these staves interesting is that they can consume the power of any magical item used by a wizard that you have bested in combat, and absorb their powers and become stronger. So you will want to hang on to this, it is quite a rare find.”

So if... huh. In the episode where the cup is tempting them all, it says it remembers a time before it was split up, and that it had even more incredible powers then. (Unfortunately I can't find a quote of that.) So if those 'Umbrawizards' are, or are associated with, the Red Robes, then did they somehow defeat a godlike being and trap it in the seven Grand Relics? Either to destroy it or to protect it, or maybe save it for a time just like this?
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:12 PM on February 23, 2017


At some point in the chronology, IPRE split a godlike force into seven grand relics. [...] The power of the relics sparked a horrific war that only stopped when seven Red Robes managed to squirrel them away across the continent and Lucretia (who I suspect is a former Red Robe herself) invoked the extraplanar abilities of the Voidfish to make every living person forget they existed.

For reasons of her own, Lucretia maintains a second Voidfish on the DL. She's fed this one information on IPRE and the war against the Hunger, so only the undead members of the corps can recall anything about it.


This part doesn't exactly track for me. If we assume that Lucretia is not really destroying the relics, but secretly hoarding them, it doesn't make sense that she was also part of the group that originally split them up. Although as I think about it, maybe the creation of the Relics also caused (or was necessitated by) a schism in the IPRE, with Lucretia on one side and Barry and Magnus on the other.

I'm not a Barry stan or anything, but I think a lot of people really like him because he represents (I think) the first instance of Griffin breaking with the preexisting Lost Mines of Phandalin adventure to create his own campaign. In the published adventure, Gundrun Rockseeker is accompanied by a fighter named Sildar Hallwinter, and by changing him into Barry Bluejeans, Griffin really put his stamp on the world of TAZ.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:04 AM on February 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


If I remember correctly, when the Voidfish was communing with Magnus, it showed him backness devouring an entire set of planes and something escaping to a new multiverse, so I think Magnus isn't just from an outer plane, but is from another universe entirely.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:35 AM on February 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


From Griffin's POV, the Barry revelation has a major side benefit: it explains how THB just happened to find a powerful artifact of immense personal significance on their very first quest. Now Griffin can say that Barry, acting on the dictates of his magical memo coin, secretly arranged events to bring his old friends back into the game.

(Not that anyone was actually asking for an explanation. Griffin just hates loose ends.)
posted by Iridic at 8:01 AM on February 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


If I remember correctly, when the Voidfish was communing with Magnus, it showed him backness devouring an entire set of planes and something escaping to a new multiverse, so I think Magnus isn't just from an outer plane, but is from another universe entirely.

I think I'd agree with this. From what we know about the other planes, they don't really seem to resemble the in-fiction world that the characters live in.

Oh, here's another thought.

Istus: "The three of you are just so special- you know that, right? Our existence is made up of countless realities where the same people are just doing the same actions at the same time in parallel worlds throughout the echoes of creation, except for you! The three of you are the only three that there are doing the things the three of you do here in this world! When I say that you’re unique, I’m not being flattering, I’m being quite literal… The three of you are anomalies, and I certainly have god-like powers and I don’t like to brag, but I’ve never known anything like the three of you and I don’t know why that is, but I’m intrigued…"

Red Robe in Crystal Kingdom: "What's bigger than this?" And as each disk is consumed, you hear screaming voices coming from it; it is an absolutely terrifying scene, and it consumes the Prime Material Plane and you feel kind of sick watching it. And after it has consumed all of them, this red robed figure snaps his fingers, and the cloud disappears, this vision leaves you. And he says, "There’s no more running. There’s no escape. This world is life’s last chance…"

Suppose they've been hopping around the multiverse trying to stop this thing that is consuming not just their universe, but all of them - and now they're out of multiverse.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:52 AM on February 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


I love that the red robes backstory flashes threaten to leap over the line into Spelljammer at any moment.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:04 AM on February 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


I love that the red robes backstory flashes threaten to leap over the line into Spelljammer at any moment.

Oh yeah, I think we are going there. Why else have the BoB HQ in orbit?
posted by Rock Steady at 9:25 AM on February 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


The silver ship in Magnus's vision sounds spelljammer-ish, too.

On Magnus being a lich/undead: he was not immune to the BoB's voidfish's erasure, so I think this is unlikely. More likely there are many voidfish, such that one erased the IPRE, one erased the war, one erased the BoB, etc. Only Magnus has been inoculated with the IPRE-eraser's ichor.
posted by Maecenas at 10:21 AM on February 24, 2017


I am infamous in my friends' games for ruining the surprise of a Mysterious Character by figuring out who they are in advance and I did not even consider the possibility of Barry. Although in retrospect a certain amount of it makes sense. So big ups to Griffo
posted by WidgetAlley at 10:35 AM on February 24, 2017


Relistening, and in Episode 2, when Magnus introduced himself to Yeemik as "The Hammer," he justifies it by saying he just had a flashback to long, long ago and remembered that The Hammer was a nickname he once had.

Yeah. Y'all gettin' chills like I am over here?
posted by Navelgazer at 12:42 PM on February 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


Did each of the Red Robes create their own relic? I don't know if enough of them have been introduced to match them up.

It was funny that Griffin said he couldn't remember the voices of Lord Sterling's party, but he definitely went back to make sure he had the voice of Barry Bluejeans right.

Way to be heroic, Cam.
posted by minsies at 4:10 PM on February 24, 2017


Oh, another question - why the need to disguise Magnus? His mannequin form is recognizable, sure, but the only people who know that it's Magnus, for now, are the people who were in Wonderland. He's already disguised.
posted by minsies at 4:15 PM on February 24, 2017


I think they're disguising him as Magnus.
posted by flatluigi at 5:17 PM on February 24, 2017


Ooohhhh.
posted by minsies at 5:37 PM on February 24, 2017


So a lot of how I took Barry's explanation about not remembering things once you go back into a body was as a set-up for The Director's (and by extension the BoB's) behavior and attitude towards the Red Robes. If Lucretia was a Red Robe and went back into a body after so many failed attempts to save the multiverse, she may well be acting with good intentions and woefully incomplete information, and with the second voidfish out there...

Let's just say it tracks with her character so far.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:32 PM on February 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it makes total sense that the BOB is an offshoot of the redrobes that was created when somebody knew there was something scary and something about Relics and came to the wrong conclusion. I'd have to go back, but Lucretia talked about a terrible war with the redrobes that was covered up by the voidfish and when the boys first got inoculated against the voidfish they remembered stuff, but what was the real truth of that?

Also, are all three of our sweet boys lapsed redrobes? They all have blanks in their memories, and Magnus's blanks can be attributed to his time in IPRE. Seems a bit of a coincidence they all forgot their past, lived their backstories, then came back together again. Eh, coincidences like that are what campaigns are built on.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:02 AM on February 25, 2017


Well, per Crystal Kingdom they've all died a bunch of times (and then in Eleventh Hour 'there's something about the dying that feels familiar') and at the beginning of Crystal Kingdom they were all secretly given IPRE badges, so I'd be surprised if it wasn't all of them. Magnus is just remembering because he's semi-dead.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:00 AM on February 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


And it certainly wouldn't just be a coincidence, I get the impression that they have been fighting the same battle across either multiverses or time loops, and that there's some mechanism for coordinating this.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:03 AM on February 25, 2017


Now that I've caught up, I've been relistening from the beginning. There's an early point where Travis makes a joke about Quantum Leap, Clint adds to it, and Griffin says "Oh, boy, Travis, you're giving me ideas. I have pages of notes but I'll throw them shits in the garbage."

I wonder if he threw those shits in the garbage?
posted by tchemgrrl at 9:19 AM on February 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


Also relistening means that I caught the Barry reveal as soon as he spoke. Which was fun but took a little power from the blue pants moment.
posted by tchemgrrl at 9:20 AM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's the return of the original fan favorite!

(For some reason, I've been putting off listening to much of the suffering game, but now I'm all caught up)
posted by drezdn at 3:24 PM on March 8, 2017


It's Good Thursday!
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:06 AM on March 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


Doing that thing where I finally make time to catch up on this thread like hours before the new episode~

One thing I haven't seen mentioned here: up until the last few minutes of the episode, I would have thought that "MAGNUS IS A GHOST TRAPPED IN A MANNEQUIN???" would have been the #1 listener trauma takeaway, but! Honestly??

The moment where Barry destroyed their stones of far speech was what emotionally compromised me the most in the end. I don't even particularly care about Angus, but gosh, the poor kid! Seriously! And the thought that this may be a permanent break with the BoB -- that this was a moment in which their allegiances pivot forever -- is heartbreaking to me! I'm holding out some hope that the boys went along so easily because they wanted the red robe to show his hand and explain what's going on; that if it comes down to a choice between him and their friends at the Bureau, they'll ultimately side with the latter. But I don't know! I don't know!!! I've often worried that the players don't care nearly as much about NPCs in general as we, the listeners, do, and it seems like their investment -- and thus, the characters' loyalties -- are about to be extremely pressing questions?

It occurred to me sometime last week that we may never have another episode titled "Lunar Interlude" and that hit me pretty hard. Those interstitials have always been highlights for me -- many of my favorite moments in the show were parts of Griffin's one-on-ones with the players, the intimacy of two people working through a scene together and the deeper sincerity those scenes often had. I wonder if there will be any more moments like this before the campaign ends. I hope there will? Maybe in some sort of epilogue, at least.

Related: Griffin, please let Carey and Killian get married.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:14 AM on March 9, 2017 [5 favorites]


(And yes, count me as another person who could not care less about Barry! I'm a little worried that Griffin is going to swap his cast of BoB NPCs for him, and that he'll be a member of the party for what remains of this campaign, and if that's how things go I will be! A little annoyed!!! I understand him wanting to keep his RP load to a reasonable level, but I don't want to trade all of the awesome BoB ladies for one jeans dude I didn't even care about before he died the first time! Griffin!!!! If you only want to play one NPC, PLEASE PICK SOMEONE ELSE! MY DUDE!!!)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:16 AM on March 9, 2017


I'm holding out some hope that the boys went along so easily because they wanted the red robe to show his hand and explain what's going on; that if it comes down to a choice between him and their friends at the Bureau, they'll ultimately side with the latter. But I don't know! I don't know!!! I've often worried that the players don't care nearly as much about NPCs in general as we, the listeners, do, and it seems like their investment -- and thus, the characters' loyalties -- are about to be extremely pressing questions?

I'm pretty sure the Bureau is going to be revealed to other than it seems in the very near future. Not that it's a "Hail Hydra" thing where they all have been secretly evil all along, but given the vagaries of memory and time and life that have been introduced thus far, I think a lot of people may be working at cross priorities unintentionally. I am very interested to see how that plays out from the Director all the way down to more rank-and-file BoBbers like Carey, Killian, Pringles, Leon and Garfield. I just re-listened to the Lunar Interlude where Garfield is disturbingly interested in getting a few of Magnus's sideburn hairs for his own "purposes" and I am worry.

Maybe in some sort of epilogue, at least.

I would be shocked if Griffin doesn't include a Lunar Epilogue (or maybe in some other location if something... happens to the moon).
posted by Rock Steady at 6:45 AM on March 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oh, I am pretty sure the moon base is doomed. Like, I have been emotionally preparing myself for that for a while, it's just such a classic part of adventuring arcs to ruthlessly destroy beloved locales. =___=

I am very interested to see how that plays out from the Director all the way down to more rank-and-file BoBbers like Carey, Killian, Pringles, Leon and Garfield.

I may be proven totally wrong about this in the next couple of hours, but I've been assuming that whatever it is Lucretia's up to, the majority of her employees are completely in the dark about it -- that they all think they're doing their jobs exactly as those jobs have so far been described to us, the listeners.

And I know I keep saying this but I just REALLY DO NOT WANT for Lucretia to be flipped into the villain of this story! She's a gem! I love her! Let her be completed and even morally ambiguous, sure -- a differing view on how best to deal with a shitty situation -- but I LOVE!! HER!!! And having her turn out to be Evil would just be....not particularly interesting? To me, anyway.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:23 AM on March 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


"Let her be completed" should be "let her be complicated" >______>
posted by Narrative Priorities at 8:15 AM on March 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think the Big Bad is yet to be revealed; there's something odd about Lucretia, but that doesn't mean she's evil - just perhaps working with a (different) set of limited information about what is going on than Tres Boys. And TAZ has certainly set up NPCs in previous arcs to seem like the bad guy only to reveal that they are misguided or took steps to deal with the situation that weren't the best choices in the final analysis.
posted by nubs at 8:56 AM on March 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I really don't think Lucretia will turn out to be mustache-twirling evil, but more of a tragic figure - misguided or confused or with different priorities or something. I think it would be unlike Griffin to do that. I also suspect there will turn out to be multiple factions in play - one lead by Barry, another by Lucretia, another by Garfield, another by the Voidfish, probably at least one god or extraplanar entity, etc. There is also a good chance that THB will get their comeuppance from some of the people they have treated like shit over the course of the campaign. I think Griffin has been playing the long game on not letting that slide.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:19 AM on March 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


There is also a good chance that THB will get their comeuppance from some of the people they have treated like shit over the course of the campaign.

Perhaps just a small contingent of weaponised Bodetts do we think?
posted by howfar at 1:36 PM on March 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


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