After each episode we sit down for the Afterparty, where we break down our game and answer your questions about how to play Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying games at home. Today, we’re talking about bunk beds, critical fails, rage mode, rests, and dust sandwiches.
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- music: brandongrugle.bandcamp.com
Cast & Crew
- Dungeon Master: Eric Silver
- TR8c (Tracey): Brandon Grugle
- Inara Harthorn: Amanda McLoughlin
- Johnny B. Goodlight: Michael Fische
- Multitude: multitude.productions
Amanda: Hey, hi, welcome to the Afterparty! This is where we sit down and talk about what we just did, what could have happened, what almost happened, why things happen the way that they did, and answer your questions, and just get behind the scenes—behind the screen—in our D&D game here. So we end episode two frozen in time, and in a tableau. We ended episode three frozen mid-fall. Eric, is every episode going to end frozen in a moment?
Eric: [Laughs] I can make no promises.
A: I want to commission a listener who’s a classical oil painter to paint all of our tableaus of all our episodes. I think that would be a really good collection.
E: I'm not really expecting all of these tableaus, these frozen scenes, these freeze frames. The only ones I really care about are people jumping in the air and high fiving, but it just so happens...
A: ...credits roll...
E: Yeah, it’s like the end of just another episode of a sitcom.
Michael: So this time it wasn’t actually because of a freeze, a time freezing spell, but what is the kind of the spell mechanics you're using to cause that time to stop in the second episode?
E: Sure, so there is a spell call time stop which I love, it's super powerful. You're actually supposed to use it in combat, which is really interesting? It actually just like lasts for for like 4 to 6 rounds, and if you actually attack someone or like do something to hurt somebody else, then time like starts up again. So I guess it's like giving wizards more time to like prepare certain other crazy rituals, but I just love the feeling of a monster or an item or sort of magic just stopping time. Because isn't that what you would want to do in a situation where—
A: Yeah, you can stop and think and you can figure out what your next move is.
E: —right. But of course even Alonzo can’t do it because everything is happening. Even if you have magical time stop (and I mean I am going to tell you right now I'm totally stretching the bounds of it, the fact that there were other people moving around, you three, is totally stretching the bounds of it) but even if you think that you have control over everything, you really don't.
M: I mean I don't think it was completely... I don't think you were stretching it too much. There's definitely there are spells that could have been applied to us unknowingly that gave us resistance to time stuff. There's all these McGuffins, or answers to it. I just always love when a spell or a spell effect is given to an item and then is triggered accidentally.
M: It didn't seem like Alonzo knew that he was about to do that, he definitely didn't react as such, and that's always fun ‘cause magical items are so much fun in this game.
A: Especially, like, a family of heirloom. Because people say to you, “Oh, this is important, we're not quite sure why,” you know, and then suddenly when the need is great enough, or whatever, it activates. And it is pretty mysterious why we are moving too! Like, I really want to know why that is. It makes sense for someone with an amulet, that they and the amulet can do something amazing, but the fact that we are also able to observe what's happening... I'm really curious what's going to end up having allowed that to happen.
E: Listen, I’m not going to drop any spoilers in the Afterparty. I mean, no one knows. It's obviously apparent that Alonzo is no freaking idea what's going on.
A: And let’s not forget that one of the starts in the sky winked out! What the heck! That was at the end of episode two, and I am excited to see what ends up happening and what had made that happen.
M: One of the other standouts, I think, from this episode was our friendly gargoyle friend guy.
A: Stone Cold Steve Gargoyle?
M: Oh jeez... So, I mean, not to... Definitely not to come off as flippant, because I love Stoneface and I want him to be the main character now, but—
A: He should join our party.
Brandon: Can I switch, can I switch my character?
A: But what about your cool magic robot lore?
B: Nah, I’m all about that gargoyle life.
M: Yeah, so, so, soo... why?
A: Whence and wherefore?
E: There are gargoyles! There are gargoyles on big castles. And I... I mean, shout out to all my Disney people out there. But doesn't, like... That's the best part of a hunchback of Notre Dame, are the gargoyles, and how they're messing around with each other and cracking wise.
A: Wow, I have not watched that movie as an adult but now I have to. And speaking of, like, items and things with with amassed power and like institutional knowledge, I'm sure gargoyles have Iike seen some stuff. You know, that would be pretty cool to interrogate a gargoyle about all the things that they've seen at their castle over time, much like the amulet.
M: Yeah, but I wouldn't want to see how his sandwiches have fared over...
A: I’m sure that’s so gross.
B: Do you think he eats the sandwiches, or just, like, watches over them? [Pause] That was not a question for the DM, that’s a question for the players.
M: I mean, “gloop” was a word that just went straight to my head.
M: And it's just all, like, just like dried crusty bread that's filled with mold, with a gloop of what must have in the past have been a tuna salad with extra mayo, just now just all gloop. Mostly translucent.
A: Just, like, lettuce and dust.
[Grossed out noises]
E: I love you guys. You guys can't stay still in a room for more than 15 minutes.
A: Listen, I thought just by giving us 15 minutes there was space for something to happen. But I guess it didn't.
B: I, I am, I'm not an idiot. We were in prison again, just a fancier prison. We had a prison with better beds, apparently California King size beds that were bunk beds. And I am not about that life.
A: And we got to see a critical fail. So how are thieves’ tools actually supposed to work?
B: Oh my God, you know how well we rolled in the first thing? We rolled so bad this time.
A: We rolled as badly as we did well the last time.
E: Thieves tools are... There aren’t a lot of things in Dungeons an& Dragons that just kind of let you do certain things? Like, weapons: you can still hurt people, but weapons make you hurt people better. Like, horses: if you're riding something, your speed just goes up. But thieves’ tools literally give you the ability to do something that you weren't able to do, which is pick a lock. So you just, you add your proficiency bonus if you're proficient in it—I think Rogues inherently are—
A: Yeah, I get a plus two to, uh...
E: Yeah, and then plus your Dex modifier. So, I just, I mean I just think they’re great.
M: I'm willing to bet, I don't know what the DC (or Difficulty Challenge) was for that door and that lock, I'm willing to bet that if she had even rolled, if Amanda had rolled even just a two, probably she would have been able to get through it with all the bonuses. Except it was at 1, so everything just went to heck.
A: And as we covered last time, a crit fail means that the worst possible outcome happened, and a nat 20 means that the best possible thing happens. But listen, guys, Inara is a baby rouge learning what her thing is.
M: I love whenever you do a roll a 20 or 1 how you go on to explain it. That's, like, the chemistry between the DM and a player to tell the story. Inara is a newbie rogue. It’s not going to haunt her that she couldn’t do this, but it’s something that’s part of her story now that she was unable to handle a simple door to the point that she even lost one of the parts of her tool—
A: [Sarcastically] Thanks, dad.
B: Fish is calling Inara out!
M: —no, I mean, as part of the character and part of the history! Because all of the actions, and all the players, every roll adds to the story and how the player reacts. You know, like from Charlene and Tracey's interactions, or Johnny B. Goodlight unable to really party down with James the medicine dwarf, these are all things that are now just part of who they are. And I just love what a 20 or 1 really does to that.
A: Yeah, and that’s part of how we are adapting, too, to our histories and interests as players. Like, I don't know D&D that well, and I don’t how to use thieves’ tools, so the fact that my character can also be a novice and allow me to learn as we play without breaking our universe, was like a smart adaptation that Eric made to my character so was able to not, like, drag you guys down.
B: And Tracey is probably going to pick up a book on knot tying next time he’s in town and learn how to do that properly, I think.
A: I can just see his metal and wood hands just being like, “Uh, how, how??”, like oven mitts trying to tie the knot.
B: Oh, it’s the oven mitts he was wearing! Damn it!
M: You never took those off?!
B: Uh, no!
A: He has, like a tiny apron over his gigantic broad chest.
B: Oh yes, that is very true.
A: So in this episode we saw our first full day end. So we passed the night and slept. So there’s a difference in D&D between long and short rests; so we, I assume, we did a long rest ‘cause night happened. What’s that all about?
E: So even though you were all frozen in time from episode two to episode three, you had not rested at all. You guys still had damage done to you, and there were still spell slots that had been expended. And at the end of a long rest, all that stuff comes back. You're sleeping, you’re sleeping through the night. If you just get like an uninterrupted 4, 5, 6 hours of sleep, then you get all that stuff back. During a short rest—and I, like, never use short rest ‘cause I think it's kind of just like, you’re kind of just like biding your time in between?—you use your hit dice, which is what dictates your HP, and it like makes your HP grow every single time (so like every single class has different hit dice, like barbarians are super high while clerics are super low), you roll that, and that is a certain amount of HP that you get back during a short rest. And you only get like a certain number of times you can do it, like you have three or four hit dice, right?
B: It depends on your level.
M: It depends on your level, but like sitting around the campfire waiting for it to become dusk before, like, a raid, you know, that's a short rest. And for any kind of magic user, and that's even ancillary magic like a monk that uses chi, these short rests are very important when it comes to spell slots. Johnny used Color Spray, which meant that he had only assigned himself one use of it, which meant it was no longer there. With that rest, he can now use it again and possibly even switch out, like Eric said, what spells he can use the next day.
A: And how closely are we paying attention to the, like, biology of this game? I know that there are ways that you can calculate weight and speed and velocity and, like, eating and drinking and stuff...
E: The physics of D&D!
A: How deep can you go?
B: We know our world has gravity.
E: It definitely has gravity.
E: Gravity, nice! Yeah, you can go really hard and some of that stuff, like food, water, exhaustion, like general heebie-jeebies. But I think, no, I think that if you want to go figure out your food and water, I can't keep track of that. And, like, I don't want you guys to get super hungry. This isn’t Oregon Trail, it's D&D. You can get dysentery on your own time.
A: Is there fantasy dysentery?
E: Yeah, fantasy dysentery.
B: It’s way worse than normal dysentery.
E: What I think is really interesting is Tracey's ability as a warforged to be a sentry. So what is sentry mode exactly? ‘Cause everyone was sleeping but you didn’t, but you still got your long rest? So like what’s the deal?
B: Yeah, as a warforged, so, I'm a living construct, which means even though I was constructed I am a living creature. I'm immune to disease. I do not need to eat or breathe, but I can ingest food and drink if I wish. Instead of sleeping I enter an inactive state for 4 hours each day. I do not dream in this state, but I am fully aware of my surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal.
A: So like power napping for a Mac. You’re doing stuff, but your screen is off. You’re still observing the world.
B: Yeah, I’m defragging, I think.
A: Or like vampires in Buffy, where they can eat and drink, but they don’t have to.
E: Vampires are computers. So. That's why they're the same.
M: That’s true. That's a fact.
E: Buffy is actually short for buffering? Buffering Summers.
A: Oh noooooo.
B: I like that one. That was very good!
A: Or, yeah, we just entered the season of Spring: Buffering Summer.
E: Wait, that’s really fucking gooood.
A: Most of the time, when I make jokes as we play, the boys look at me and then let it become quiet and then redo that take, so I’m glad that sometimes the jokes make it in.
E: That was really good! I really like that.
B: So this is actually more for the players, ‘cause I don't think you [Eric] can answer it. Sylvanus was a dude that we met that was not the Sylvanus that you were impersonating, I was really confused by this?
M: As was I. I asked about it and apparently, as I wrote down, "He is a purple-dressed old Kiko, Sylvanus Kiko.” I'm assuming he's the patriarch? He made a note of being the representative from what I understand from the wonderful history of the world that Eric wrote and recorded—
A: The Concentric States.
M: The Concentric States each have a representative that go to Concentra, and I believe that Sylvanus... I don’t quite know the government enough, but I do believe that... so he's voted for?
E: Yeah, let me just make this clear because you guys were too busy doing dope-ass handshakes to actually ask him and let him talk about his name.
E: This is Sylvanus Kiko. He is the patriarch of the Kikis, he is Alonzo and Max's dad, and he is the representative to Concentra on behalf of Fidapolis. Yeah, it is a vote, but it's also is a popularity contest in that way? I mean, you can tell like, the Kikos are the most powerful family for whatever reason—and maybe we'll get into that, maybe we won't.
A: And I assume he has the same name as Sylvanus Stormborn because, you know, you name your kid after the king. Like, that's the thing that happens. And so I’m just assuming that because Sylvanus is the patriarch—not the king—the most important guy in the city of Fidapolis, that like, babies are named after him.
B: Is the city, like, a halfway point between representative democracy and a monarchy? Is this what’s happening?
E: Yeah, I mean, it's pretty close. I like to think that it was, as we talked about in the histories, they came up with this idea of like a representative government. How all all five of these city-states are working together. But, I mean, they didn't really do any work to, like, actually have a real democracy. It's more like the Roman Republic, you know? It's not like a straight-up, up and down, Greek direct democracy.
A: Or like the UK Parliament where it's like, “Oh, you elect people, and also there's a House of Lords.” Like... why? “Just because we always had one, bye!”
E: Yeah, it’s a lot closer to that.
M: And we may see, like, different shades of government within each city-state as to how the powerful families come up perhaps, or...?
E: I mean, yeah, we might see it. I mean, each city is definitely different and we will see that as the map grows. Right now y’all are falling out of a castle wall, and I’m going to try to think about what happens next. Listen, I had nothing ready for y'all jumping out a window but...
B: [Sarcastically] You’re kidding!
A: I could see you making up in your head when when Michael asked if there was a window, and you’re like... I guess...
B: So you know, like, the fantasy gears in Tracey's head that turn what he thinks of detective work? I literally saw that in your face.
A: You were like, “Is there a window? It would be fun if there was a window.” Which I love! Like, that's how this game works.
M: I mean I guess we could have done the easy thing and have, like, the 240 lb like metal and wood thing ram through the door, but that wasn't fun. I just... it screamed, okay, we're supposed to be free. I don't even want to look at their face. Let’s just get out of here.
B: For some reason I’ve gone from 270 to 250 and now to 240...
M: I thought it was originally 240?
B: It’s 270!
A: You’re sweating out weight as we fall through the air.
M: I definitely said 240 multiple times.
B: I put on a lot of, like...
E: Water weight.
A: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
A: And sweat it out when you get nervous.
E: Listen, you guys, I love that. I mean, I didn't have any of that prepared, but so much happens when one thing goes wrong in D&D. And that is my favorite thing! Like, you can't crack a lock open, so something totally different happens, and you interact with that space. I mean, there could have been another way for you to get to the Bumbleate Rookery, but this way involved a bedsheet.
A: Which to me is super cool! Because this isn't just, like... when I thought about D&D before I started playing, it was like, “Oh, well, I guess I just decide everything!” Like, we're just here sitting at a table, and we decide, we see what fails and succeeds. But I love that Eric and other DM's can just mix in in a smart way what they allow for story purposes and for fun, you know, just to keep going, and what actually let the dice decide. And we spent a lot of this episode solving problems together and, like, discussing what we're going to do next! Which is really interesting, ‘cause I feel like in episodes one and two, we were just like, doing stuff! And reacting to stuff! And, like, getting it done! But this episode, I mean, if you go over and think about the plot points that happened: like we successfully stopped an assassination, and the lovely wedding continued, and then we woke up and jumped out a window.
A: And so, like, plot-wise, not a lot occurred, but I feel like we as a party, you know, have tested out a lot of the things that we’ll have to do together, and then like know each other a little bit better. And, I don't know, it was just, it was interesting in a different way.
M: And I appreciate that we did kind of change the way we were handling things because we should be switching back and forth. There's going to be times or Johnny's not going to want to, like, discuss with you guys on how to how to tackle an issue, but Michael, I, really just, all I want to do is pre-plan every move! And it's going to get to the point that the two of you are not going to want to talk to me anymore about it and you're just going to do something, and I’ll be like, “No, you shouldn’t have! Oh gosh!”
B: I do also like that we, like, we talked to Charlene, and I threw an insight check, and I gleaned that she was not part of the Red Throat Gang. So, like, if I had gotten that information and she was part of that, it would’ve gone whole different way, and I would have... it would have been in a big battle or something.
E: Sure, I totally agree. I want to point out, like, the plot points which y'all hit, comparing episodes one, two and three. One and Two was one big, basically, like, it was a heist! Or, in so many words. You snuck into a place and you were trying to protect a person of interest while hidden. That is straight up action movie. Here's what you guys did in in three: you try to find a cure for a very powerful poison. You had to talk down someone who is having an emotional breakdown. You needed to navigate a very powerful family who, then, is treating you (who are prisoners about three hours before), who are loving you. And then you had to clean up your mess, and then you might have been locked in another jail cell, and had to figure out whether or not you should trust the person who you just helped, or wanted to, like, spurn them, and then you have to decide how you were going to escape. All of those things are infinitely more cerebral, and is not a good plot for an action movie, but I thought it was interesting! I had a great time.
A: So it’s just another flavor of adventuring, and another way that D&D campaigns can go.
M: Yeah, it’s going to be in waves like this. You're going to have these big giant set pieces that will take time, or move very quickly as it may come out, but, you have these moments where you get a lot of character development where... I think we found out a lot about the nature of some of our characters today because of the way we acted in these very specific situations.
B: Yeah, I totally agree. I think we learn that Inara is—at least more of, at least in her age—she's more of a “wait and see”-er.
A: Or she’s testing out what’s she’s going to be.
A: So Inara is, like, it’s her third day away from home. So I think she is sort of testing out what her response ought to be to things. And so maybe next time she'll just try going for it, maybe rush toward whatever the danger is, you know, or just try to solve the problem. Or another time maybe she would have tried the door again. It didn't even occur to me to try to lock again! Like, I think that's maybe just my style or my background as a player coming through, where like, I haven’t played that many video games before. But I'm used to being like, “Oh, is this the door to go through? No? I guess it's this one that's the predetermined door that I ought to be going through.” So like, I sort of take no for an answer when I'm playing games, which maybe I shouldn't be.
B: Yeah, and Johnny is... how would you describe Johnny?
M: So, I mean, he wasn't going to stay in there. There wasn't going to be a way that he would stay... He's like, he's, he doesn't like to be held back, I guess. What do you mean?
B: He seems like... it seems to me that a lot more of his, like, trusting nature came through? LIke when Inara asked him, like, point blank, “Hey, can we just sit for a second and wait?” while Tracy was basically kicking him out the window.
A: He was humoring her.
B: Was he humoring her, or was he trusting her?
M: I think it's a little of both. Inara is, I think, a really cool character because she is still trying to figure out what she wants to do in her life, and how she acts, and how she is, and her choices, and whether or not she wants to be the patient one or not. And Johnny Goodlight, he's been around for a while, he's a half-elf which means he's going to live a pretty long life, and I have him as... He's 103? I mean he, he's fairly old, he's been through a lot, so he wants to get out the window, but he'll wait 15 minutes first. He'll be patient. I think that, like, that's also why he would resurrect Tracey. ‘Cause he sees that, you know, who knows? It may be that we can get into it in a further character history, like, why he saw Tracey and wanted to bring him back, or just in general why he has patience for Inara, some random scamp that was thrown in jail with him.
B: Sure, yeah, and I think Tracey kind of further highlighted that he's made his decision ten minutes ago, and he's acting on it. Regardless of whether or not you're with him. He wants to bring you with him, but he knows what is, in his mind, the right decision, and he's going to act on it.
E: What's funny about Tracey, though, is that he pretends like he's easily convinced. A bunch of times in the last few episodes all someone has to say is, like, one good point, and Tracey’s like, “Okay, I'm going to do it!”
A: “That’s the one!”
B: It's not because they have given him one good point, it's because they've said that one good point and within that 10 milliseconds after they said it, he's done a million calculations his head and he's run every scenario against it, and he said, “Yep, that's the right choice. Gonna do it.”
A: I feel like he definitely has, like, the strength of his convictions, like, once he decides to do something, that is the plan of action.
A: Whereas Inara is, I think, always second-guessing. And every time she, like, follows through on an Impulse, she’s like, “Ohmygod I'm doing this!!”, you know, and just like, I don't know... Very, very in her head about things.
B: And I think, you know, that may come out to be a strength or weakness eventually in Tracey's character, so we'll see how that plays out.
A: I like that this is also sort of an adaptation for us as players. Like, I don't know what thieves’ tools are. Like, I don't know what rouges are meant to do. So making the character decision to have a beginner character that's learning the ropes as she goes helps the game be fun for me while not, like, holding you guys down because I don't have to flip through my handbook and learn things that my character already knows, you know. Like, we’re sort of adapting the game to fit what we are bringing to the table.
E: I think that Inara is bringing some cool, cool stuff to the rogue class. I think it's really easy to be like, “The rogue is the trickster! And he's going to go around and pick pockets and sneak attack!”
B: I don't want to play with that DM.
E: No, but, isn’t that what rogues are mechanically made for? Like, sneak attack is the big thing. Thieves’ cant is just, like, some cool flavor. I mean, what else can they do other than sneak up on people and do massive amounts of damage and steal stuff?
B: That's their thing.
M: I think the three characters, their classes don't really matter as much? And it's like, a good... I think, a sign of of a good RPG in general where you are not as confined to a class. You know, you have Tracey, who's a detective but also a barbarian but also you know, like, a loving creature unlike most, maybe, barbarians kind of come out to be. Inara as a rogue really isn't that, like, “I'm just going to come behind you and... sneak attack. I'm going to come behind you and...”
A: Cut your purse and then your throat.
M: Yeah, and you know, like, even Johnny, like, breaking most conventions of warlock by being a more positive and happy creature as opposed to most warlocks are sad depressing things.
E: Shoutout to Unearthed Arcana for letting us do it.
A: I think that’s representative, too, of how we approach the game, which is: you use the canon as a guideline, and take what you want, to make informed choices about what you want to change and, like, make it fun for yourself.
E: I want to raise my Solo cup to two separate groups of people. One are the people who love doing, like, food and drink and, like, exhaustion RPGs out there. That's such a different game than anything I want to play and am good at, which I think are intertwined, so like, if you want to do that stuff there's stuff in the DMG (the Dungeon Master's Guide) that is just all about like going crazy and like fending for yourself and like doing Oregon Trail. And that is awesome! But I also want to raise us all a cup to us, who figured out alternative ways to use the medicine check and the survival check. I mean, those two are really tied together, because it's like, “Oh, I broke my leg because I was running in a river bed and now I need to, like, stabilize something!” Or a survival [check] is, like, “These berries! Bleh!”
E: And it might be because we don’t have a ranger, and like that’s very inherent to them, but like I love that tying knots is survival. I'm going to use that from now on. I think it's great. And I love that like medicine should also be Alchemy! Because D&D has not figured out how Alchemy works just yet, and making potions is so cool. Shout out to Skyrim for getting me excited about making potions. And, I mean, we're just going to figure it out. We're appropriating this game as it goes along for what we like to do. Our hot takes are just, like, what we care about and what we think is fun.
A: And we will raise our Solo cups to you, Eric, for adapting to the things that we want to do and figuring out how to translate them in the laws of the game as they are given to you. Like, I want to make an antidote out of a poison kit and you were like, “Okay, let’s figure out how to do it.” You know, I don't have to worry about breaking your game. I can say stuff and and the universe is, like, elastic enough to accommodate it.
E: Yeah. And that’s not a hot take. That’s just, like, how you should live your life. Thank you. Just be elastic to how...
B: That’s a life tip from Eric.
E: Yeah, pit that on a pillow
M: T.I. once wrote a wonderful song called “Rubberband Man”...
A: OH MY GOD
E: Wild like the Taliban?
M: That's right!
A: Oh nooooooo.
A: This seems like as good a time as any to wrap up the Afterparty. Like most after parties, it has gone on a little bit too long.
E: You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.
A: Well, this Afterparty may be over, folks, but the after-Afterparty never ends. So you can reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram @jointhepartypod. Email us if you have in-depth questions or stories, anecdotes about campaigns that you've been in, firstname.lastname@example.org, and just ask us your questions! So again, if you don't understand something, if you have questions, if you really liked something, we want your feedback. So please, get in touch!
B: Thanks, thanks Amanda.
A: So we'll see you in two weeks with a new episode.
B [as Tracey]: Bye, guys!
M: [Singing] Rubberband man, wild like the Taliban...
M: ...nine in my right, 45 in my other hand!
M: [Self-satisfied laughter] I hope you got that.