The Afterparty at the End of the World

What is up with Derek, our favorite moments of growth for our characters, a whole lot of memes and more. This is the Afterparty at the End of the World, where we sit down to talk about every single every episode until now to break down our game and answer your questions.


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Cast & Crew

- Dungeon Master: Eric Silver

- Brandon Grugle: Brandon Grugle

- Amanda McLoughlin: Amanda McLoughlin

- Multitude:

About Us

Join the Party is a collaborative storytelling and roleplaying podcast. That means a group of friends create a story together, chapter by chapter, that everyone from seasoned players to true beginners can enjoy. Where else can you get adventure, intrigue, magic, drama, and lots of high fives all in one place? Right here.

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. We also have the Punchbowl, an interview series with people pushing D&D forward creatively, communally and socially. It’s a party, and you’re invited! Find out more at


[theme music]

Eric: You’re gonna be the first person to put their consciousness in a computer. I’m excited for it.

Brandon: No! This consciousness dies with his body, my friend.

[Amanda and Eric laugh]

Amanda: Welcome to the Afterparty.

Brandon: [quietly] Jesus Christ.

Eric: Jesus Christ!

Amanda: I know, it felt wrong. [excitedly] Hey, hi, hello to the Afterparty!!!

Eric: [happily] Yay! We’re having one! It’s been so long!

Brandon: I know, we haven't talked with each other for 6 months.

Amanda: No, we have not. Two out of three of us are wearing tank tops and shorts and Brandon is wearing a full button-down.

[Brandon heartily chuckles]

Even though we now work together and there is no dress code. I feel like every day, I've just gotten out of bed and Brandon is about to go close the deal.

Brandon: [still laughing] And jeans. I am still wearing full pants.

Amanda: That’s true.

Eric: I’m going to close a deal, but like, in a chill way? Like I’m going to come in and change everybody's minds.

Amanda: You’re going to call everyone, brah?

Eric: Bruv? We’re going to revolutionize the…synergy of the…society constraints  technology…force.

Amanda: Mhm…mhm…very good.

Eric: Radicalize. Just disrupt, man. I’m just going to disrupt everything.  

Amanda: We're so excited to come back together after our extremely fun summer one-shots to answer some questions about the main story arc. About each other. About the process. Looking forward, maybe some speculation? Um, we’re really excited to do it. But first, I have to get out of the way, the elephant in the room…

[short pause] Eric, who the fuck is Derek?

[Eric giggles]

Brandon: Has Eric been an elephant this entire time?

Eric: Derek has been an elephant this whole time.

Amanda: And I'm sorry, I do have to quote kitkat94 from the Discord, “I’m not going to ask who is Derek, but rather, why is Derek?”

[Eric chuckles]

Brandon: I don't accept that as a question that we can legitimately answer. What do you mean?

[Eric continues laughing]

Amanda: Who can say?

Eric: Why does Derek exist? It became a running joke as we were recording Join the Party episodes that me explaining the game to my players and then me saying things to the characters themselves were kind of conflated. So, it was right… before Brandon liked to point out that I was in the story and then it became Derek who is my invisible bard DM PC that I would have around with the party at all times.

Brandon: Right. You were inserting yourself into character moments when the characters were talking to each other. When you cannot do that, because you are a DM, sir!

Eric: But I was telling you rules! And Brandon was like, is Eric here?! And I was like, I’m Derek, obviously!

Amanda: Some of the reason why our play sessions are longer than the episodes that you end up hearing is because, like, Eric will explain something to us, like an encounter, or combat or something, and then we will re-explain that in character because Eric is not like… the Monty Python, like, foot coming, gods coming out of the sky to crush people.

Brandon: Right, yeah.

Amanda: Within the game, I genuinely don’t remember, does Derek joke at all? I don’t remember it. Like, obviously I was there, but I don’t remember at all.

Eric: I think Brandon was like, who is telling me this?! As Tracey was walking into a workshop…

Brandon: No! This is not…Derek-Derek came from when Inara and I were talking about something. We were whispering to each other and you were trying to like help us as players. So you decided to do, like, a character whisper voice…

Eric: [cackling] Oh…

Brandon: So we were whispering, like, what do we do?! And you were like, [quietly] maybe you should do this thing.

[Amanda and Eric laugh heartily]

Who-who the fuck is that guy!?

Eric: And he’s Derek, the invisible bard.

Amanda: And KitKat would also like to know, is there any relation between this Derek and the Derek continually mentioned in Arcs?

Eric: Uh, I don’t listen to that podcast so…I wouldn’t know.

[all laughing]

Amanda: [chuckling] Vicious.

Brandon: Oh! Brutal!

Eric: All the terrible shit is oh, Arc’s release plan was let’s drag Eric in Join the Party.

Amanda: That was their social media for several weeks, that’s true. We love Atypical.

Miriam_why on Twitter would like to know, is there a single episode or scene that you feel was pivotal for your character or for Eric, for any of the NPCs?

Brandon: Mm, that’s a great question.

Eric: I want to say this as a DM, for me, I think I would say that the resolution of the Black Fish narrative was something that kind of went off the rails for me. Like you guys were like, alright! Let’s go to Black Fish HQ and fuck shit up. And I’m like…oh. I’ve never planned that. I did not build out that encounter, I don’t know what’s going to happen there. And I was really happy with how like, the standoff that ended up happening between the three of you and then saving Ev. I think that all came together really nicely. And I was proud of myself for growing as a DM  that day.

[Brandon chuckles]

Amanda: I think my favorite is in that arc as well. I really loved Inara’s encounter with Zubi. I think, it was just like extremely fun to play. It was just one of the first times, I think I mentioned this in that Afterparty, where I felt like there is only one decision to make and it was like the thing that Inara would do. I wasn’t like thinking about my options, I was just like, well this is what she would try. 

And I think there is obviously like, a funny tension between Inara wanting and not wanting to fuck shit up. And in that arc, she did also make her first kill, so like, it was truly like a…I don’t know, like a real, exercise in contrasts.

But, being able to talk to Zubi that way, I thought it was beautiful. It was really the height of role playing and what that could mean to me. And for Inara, I think it was also a sort of moment where you realize that you don’t always have to follow the script. You don’t have to fight the monster that’s in front of you. You can decide to do a compromise or to ask or to try something pacifist before you go in guns blazing.

Brandon: What were some of the Tracey moments?

[Eric laughs]

Amanda: Brandon, this entire podcast is one Tracey moment.

Brandon: Is it?

Eric: [still laughing] Yeah.

Brandon: Yeah, obviously. Episode 49 is a big shift and will continue to be a big shift. There’s the moment where he chopped Greg’s leg off, which I think was a big moment in terms of character development. And like plotting moving forward.

Amanda: Oh yeah.

Brandon: I think that was like, oh! This is the thing I’m capable of. I don’t want to do it anymore, kind of thing.

Eric: Those were good ones, honestly. That was also a turning point of the podcast. When I’m like…again, when I realized, oh! They can just kill people who I like…

Amanda: Aw…

Eric: You critted on that attack too! So you took out, like, two-thirds of Greg’s HP points. Cause he was level 3, and he’s a squishy bard man. So you were just like, chop!

[Amanda makes hi-yah sound]

And all of his leg came off.

Brandon: Yeah.

Amanda: Well, similarly, what is your favorite moment from each arc everybody? Want to give us a little something?

Eric: [sounding surprised] Each arc?

Brandon: Oof.

Eric: Oh man.

Amanda: I really enjoyed getting extremely flustered by Brink. And Captain Alex. And Kohl.

[Eric laughs]

And others.

Eric: It feels to be…a pattern.

[Amanda laughs]

Brandon: It seems to be the flustering that you like.

Amanda: I do, I do. And I really liked working with the Speaker. Obviously, a lot changed in Hunting Party. Sort of like, taking over for her, when she was like incapacitated. That really felt like she was the source of all wisdom and so having to defend her instead of the other way around made me felt like oh, man! Things are really starting to accelerate.

And similarly, working with Franny was just super fun! Like she is, such a great character. Like having someone who like, was so secure in her answers but her power is limited, you know? Like we kinda knew the direction but we still had to figure out how to get there.

So, that for me that was fun as a role-player. I know what I have to do, but how and exactly when, and with whom I need to accomplish it, is sort of like a fun puzzle.

Eric: Yeah, I think that different conflicts, and, encounters, or like what I remember the most…like the ship encounter in Political Party. All the way back.

Brandon: Oh yeah. Octopus?

Eric: Yeah, with the octopus. And with being able to run a skill challenge like that, was just very fun.

Amanda: Very fun.

Eric: The entire bone whale stuff. I was really hyped about in pool party. Um, the ZubeCube in the Bachelorette Party. That really didn’t come out that much because Johnny just kinda, dealt with it very easily. And then just let it out and it kinda attacked some stuff. [chuckling] But I spent a lot of time working on that monster.

And then introducing Franny in Labor Party was one of my favorite things.

Doing the Queer Eye in Labor Party was…another one where you guys like incapacitated a monster that I spent a lot of time on it. Like that entire thing about hopefully being swallowed and eaten. And then like, being hungry and turning into the lion. Those are things I spent a lot of time with. And then you guys were like, oh! Let’s take care of Vince. Vince needs help.

Brandon: I have two different minds when it comes to this show. One is like character mind, and one is like, editor mind. And like, the things that always stick out to me are like, the emotional beats that are really fun to score, and like, really fun to edit. So like, the Zubi encounter is one of the things that always sticks out in my head.

And a lot of the Labor Party stuff was always super fun because I got to sort of like, take each episode as a discrete chunk and like, do music that was just for that episode and do sound design that was just for that episode. And also, uh…salmon, is good.

Amanda: Salmon is wonderful.

Eric: Oh I forgot about that! I was sitting on that for so long!

Amanda: This is actual a good segway into our favorite magic item we’ve gotten in the campaign. A question from Paul in the Discord. And for the DM, your favorite magic item that you’ve made that the players didn’t end up acquiring.

But it’s a Segway for me because it reminds me of my favorite moment in Pool Party. Where we might have or might not have turned a racoon into a werewolf.

[Eric laughs]

[chuckling] With the use of the werewolf potion. That was my…I was sitting on that for like 25 episodes and it was extremely exciting.

Eric: I don’t want to tell you about some of the items yet.

[Amanda gasps]

I don’t know if I’m going to reuse some of the stuff that was in Döove and Böosters. Maybe they’ll be sprinkled throughout the final arc? We might end up using it if you get your hands on it.

But I’ll talk about that at the end. We’ll see. I have my entire table I will read out all the items that you guys didn’t end up using. But I will definitely tell you about it.

Brandon: I really love Inara’s marbles were really fun.

Amanda: Yeah.

Brandon: I know they don’t really do very much necessarily? But they’re always an interesting little, like, plot device to revolve around.

Um…and I think it’s kind of a testament to the item. It’s just like, the Long Arm of the Law is just, like, integrated it into my character so much that I don’t even think about it anymore?

Eric: [contemplatively] Hm…

Brandon: But that was an item that we just gave. It’s just like, it’s just a part of the character now.

Amanda: And the shadow cowl. That’s like my go-to move in combat. Which would make a lot of the things that we’ve accomplished not possible.

Brandon: Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Eric: I think my favorite item that I made is Mr. Sippy. 100%.

Amanda: Yeahhhh.

Eric: Also, the only reason you have Mr. Sippy is because you rolled a nat 20 on Lockpicking, which you’ve never done the entire podcast.

Amanda: That’s sure true!

Eric: And I’m like, well! The entire water filling the workshop trap…totally biffed it. Here’s an amazing item I came up with.

[Brandon chuckles]


Amanda: Speaking of, this is from The Spammy on Twitter, is there anything that anyone wished happened a bit differently? Like if you could go back and change something, what would it be? As simple as taking one more bagel? Laughing/crying emoji. Or something more dramatic?

I do wish that I just, like, rolled Perception in every room until Eric is forced to give my something interesting every time.

[Eric and Brandon laughing]

Uh…or like rolling for food and just like finding food somewhere. I, going back, would do more lawls.

Brandon: Yeah, I think I would play better for sure.

[Eric laughs heartily]

But uh, I wish-I wish I’d played more into more of the detective stuff with Tracey. I think that was fun. But now it’s no longer really the character at all. And I think the one that always sticks out to me is the Greg encounter. Cause, I think, when I did it, I was frustrated with the gameplay. So I was just like, Fuck it! I’m killing Greg! And I don’t think that’s necessarily what Tracey would have actually done. But I also didn’t know Tracey that well yet at that point.

Amanda: Mhm.

Eric: It feels like something Tracey would have done. Tracey acts out of anger a lot, which is kinda part of his whole steeze.

Brandon: Yeah. I don’t think it’s out of character at all. But I don’t know if I’d known the character as I do today, if I would have made that same choice.

Eric: Um…I don’t know if I necessarily have one. Cause anytime that I’ve made mistakes, it’s kind of worked out in a different way?

Brandon: Oh, I have one. Jersh?

[Amanda laughs]

Eric: Jersh is my greatest creation. And I do not know what you’re talking about.

[Brandon laughing]

You know I wish I had bought the D&D Beyond thing. D&D Beyond is the online portal for all the D&D stuff. And I know I was always looking for things, but sometimes when you’re just flipping through a lot of the manuals it gets really tiring. And sometimes I’d always want to create my own stuff. And creating my own stuff has been really fun, and I really adjust things on the fly according to what the games say.

But I know that there’s so much stuff in D&D books that can be re-flavored or re-skinned, and it would probably save me a lot of time. And if I’d done D&D Beyond, I could’ve just searched for it.

Then again, coming up with my own shit is really fun. And I’ve gotten a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of inspiration from this one compendium called Monster a Day. Which is a subreddit where people would just like, come up with their own monsters. And then there’s a giant, giant google spreadsheet that I’ve been using. And you can search by type and stuff. And I’ve been pulling a lot of things from that and like grafting that onto other monsters. I don’t know. I feel like I’ve done a lot of research but I’ve used a lot more D&D lore to do it.

Brandon: Sure.

Eric: Yeah.

Amanda: Question from Coogs on the Discord.

Eric: Coogs!

Amanda: From start to now, what arc was your favorite to craft and build Eric? And I would love to hear Brandon’s thoughts on sound design too. And which one surprised you the most as it unfolded and progressed through it?

Eric: I think the thing that I had the most fun putting together was Bachelorette Party. I was like, alright, I’m going to put some constraints on this. You guys are going to be lost in this. We’re going to make it super reality show. Having you confront your doppelgangers also was my favorite thing. Just knowing that I was going to put things in front of you that was surprising.

[energetically] I will say, and Brandon doesn’t edit this stuff out, I have not gotten any surprise from any of you! Not the players, not the guest players…

Amanda: [offended] Rude!

Brandon: What do you mean?!

Eric: You guys have been surprised, but you didn’t go, what?! Or [gasps]! It’s never, you’ve never reacted to me!

Brandon: Oh you mean, reacted.

Amanda: Hey! Listen, buddy.

Eric: Do the surprise things.

Amanda: I thought you were saying we never surprised you and I was like, excuse me!?!

Brandon: I was like, have you never met me as a player?!

Eric: You all have all have done some random-ass shit that I’ve had to deal with. But it seems like I have never surprised anybody else. Like no one has been like, oh shit!

Brandon: I think it’s because I can’t speak for Amanda, I think for me it’s not because I’m not being surprised. It’s like I have my head in the game, and I’m like just adjusting as quick as possible to new things.

Amanda: No, yeah. 100%. You don’t yell when a monster comes at you in a video game, you just, like, dodge it. That’s always what I’m feeling during a session. It’s just like, oh shit. How do I deal with this thing now?

Brandon: Exactly.

Amanda: At the end of an episode, frequently, when you say the final line and we all go beh beh beh, I am often just like, Ohhh shit! And, like, I can’t wait. Because it’s often a cliffhanger.

Eric: Mhm.

Brandon: Yeah.

Eric: I guess there’s some things that I definitely put in that I thought you guys would go, oh shit about. And then it just like doesn’t come, and I’m like, ahh, I’ve gotten raise the fucking stakes! So get ready, this last arc, raising the fucking stakes! 

Amanda: Uh oh.

Brandon: I think, and Amanda I want to hear from you, just your opinion as well, my favorite thing was Labor Party. My favorite arc. Because it felt like 7 or 8 monster of the week episodes from like, X-Files kinda thing?

And that meant, I touched on it briefly earlier, but it meant that I could discreetly sound design/compose those individual episodes and not have to worry about the like length of the arc? And I think that was right about the time where I was sort of getting my sea-legs of what this show was and what it sounded like.

Amanda: [surprised] Then? That was like a year and a half in!

Brandon: Yeah.

[Brandon chuckles]

Amanda: Wow. I don’t feel that way, but huh.

Brandon: But what was your favorite arc?

Amanda: I was going to say Labor Party as well, because I didn’t expect the structure of it to be that way? I mean the moment we landed in Cronopolis and then went into the Soup River, you were like Amanda explain Soup River. And I was like, oh no!

Brandon: Soup River!

Eric: [exclaiming] Soup Ri-VER!

Amanda: [repeating Eric]: Soup Ri-VER!

Eric: I want to say something about Soup River. So I have this distinct memory of going to Broadway shows with my grandma. And I don’t know if anyone who is not familiar with New York City, there is like an ecosystem that survives around shows in the theaters. And like people being hungry before and after Broadway shows.

So, I have this very distinct memory of going to this place called Pasta Break with my grandma…

[Brandon laughs heartily]

And it was just like, PASTA. Like, everywhere! And I assume, thinking back on it…

Brandon: [excitedly] Pasta tables, pasta chairs, pasta ceiling fans!

Eric: She…[pauses] Brandon, shut the fuck up, you know what I’m talking about.

[Brandon lightly chuckles]

It’s this like accessibility. Like, here! Have pasta! Go to your show!

[Amanda laughs]

And I felt that way about Soup River. Like, this needs to be next to this opera house, there needs to be a place that people go to just to get soup immediately and then they get the duck out of there and go to the opera.

Brandon: Soup makes sense to me before a show. But like, pasta before a show? You’re going to fall asleep before intermission!

Eric: Brandon…100%.

[Amanda laughs]

You got it. So that’s what Soup River was in my head.

Amanda: That’s beautiful. It very much was modelled off of YO! Sushi in the UK for me.

Anyway, but no, Labor Party was great for me. I loved the different mechanics. I loved all the different NPCs we met. I wanted to like, immerse myself in each universe of each Labor…all the time. Like I want to know what Vince is up to. I want to know the deal with that hat factory, like is the environment okay?

I just loved each of them so much and never wanted to leave. And the way that a great short story book feels that way. Where it feels perfectly long enough, the plot arc. But the environment is hopefully rich enough that you can pause after each short story and continue to imagine what that would have been like. And I think the sound design definitely made that feel even realer.

Eric: Shout out to Jeff, Ev, and Connor for all the help that you’ve given me. You know, a lot of the stuff I would’ve never been able to pull off the opera, and the depth…

Brandon: The opera was so GOOD.

Amanda: SO GOOD. There are so many theater kid jokes from Connor and me, it’s so good.

Eric: Brilliant!

Brandon: I’m not a theater kid, and I, and that was like one of my favorite episodes of this entire series.

Eric: It was wild.

Brandon: So good.

Eric: And then all the backstory of the harvest festival and the hat factory that Ev put together. Like, I don’t know if you’ve been reading the NPC backstories, but one of those was the poem that Ev put together that was like, motherfucking Rime of the Ancient Mariner! About the goddess and the woman who saved everyone from bandits and like, that was the entire basis of this dumb festival, that you guys ignored and went to a hat factory and just hung out with instead!!

So, I really appreciate that. All the stuff, I mean, I wouldn’t have been able to pull a lot of that off without Jeff’s construction of the labyrinth of Dawn Rise to begin with, and then being able to jump off and deal with the character stuff we then had to do.

And! If you want to buy [laughs] and if you want to buy these wonderful write-ups…

Brandon: [high-pitched] Where can I find it Eric?!

Amanda: Where can I find it!?

Eric: You can go to and spell it like the Americans do.

Amanda: Modules, plural.

Brandon: I didn’t know there were two spellings. What is the second spelling?

Eric: There is a ‘u’ in Labour.

Brandon: Oh! In my head I was thinking module!

[Eric laughs heartily]

I was like, what the fuck, where does the ‘u’ go in modules?

[Eric continues laughing]

Oh, I’m so dumb! Alright, next question.

Amanda: Speaking of sound design, uh, a few questions. Mikey asks how long mixing the episodes takes? And QuietShell asks how Tracey’s voice is made?

Brandon: So…um…

Eric: [sings] This is Brandon’s sound design corner where he tells his things! Where he looks at a computer for a very long time!

[Amanda makes electronic beat]

Brandon: So there’s a couple steps, right?

[Amanda and Brandon cackle]

Amanda: First you cut off anytime your co-hosts sing.

Brandon: Uh huh. And then, so…like yeah. I think, like, the leigh-person thinks, editing, and mixes encompasses everything. But the steps are really…you record the thing, you edit the thing…

Amanda: So by edit you mean all the like, words and pauses, and you know, repeats that we don’t want making it into the final episode.

Brandon: Exactly. And story edit a little bit. So like, if there’s a scene that like doesn’t end up going anywhere because we were just exploring some random cavern for no reason and takes 40 minutes, I’m going to cut that scene. But um, that only happened once or twice, I think.

But, yeah. So we edit, or I edit. I next do the mixing. Which just gets everything nice and line and sounding good. And then I do the sound design pass, so I’ll listen to the whole thing on my headphones and take notes. And then go back in and do all the…so there’s ambience, there’s sound effects, and there’s like, drones.

Amanda: Ambience being like the grasshoppers that make you look behind you and see if there’s a bug in your room?

Brandon: Yep.

Amanda: The sound effects like a cannon, right? Or like jumping, or something?

Brandon: Individual sounds, yep.

Amanda: And then, what are drones?

Brandon: Drones are like, I don’t use them a ton, but like, so like if you ever think of a TV show or a movie where like there was this tense moment or a spooky moment, it’s like that low, underlying sound that tells you that something’s tense. And you can do it with music too. But sometimes I just want to do it with drone.

And then I’ll bounce that and do another listen through of the entire thing to make sure that everything sounds good and then also take notes on music.

And then I will go, I will know, hey, I want four music queues in this episode. This one should sound spooky, this one should sound mysterious, this one should sound neutral or whatever. And then I’ll go write those. And that has a whole process! Of composition, mixing, mastering, editing, all that stuff.

And then I take that final file and then mix it back into the episode. So, all in all, if I’m doing like my best work, probably 30 hours an episode seems right?

Eric: [short pause] Just go to [laughing] to support Brandon. As he works for 30 hours?

Amanda: People will be like, eh, it’s a fun D&D podcast, whatever, they don’t need my money. But this is part of the reason why we took the summer break, because doing a show that is a full time job for like two-thirds of the team is a lot of work. And we wanted to be able to have time to, you know, just literally have more time per episode to get it sounding the way we needed it to sound. To have preparation for Eric’s gameplay, for all of us to take like, a little bit of a vacation and come back excited.

We actually had a question from Haney in the Discord about whether or not it like feels like work to roleplay now? Like whether we come to work and we don’t necessarily want to record and like do you have to do it?

And that definitely happens sometimes! Sometimes just, your mind is elsewhere or you’re really tired, or we have like a bunch of stressful phone calls in like all sides of our recording. It’s no longer like we show up at Brandon’s house and we spend all of Sunday, you know, like having bagels and playing D&D. So, it’s a lot. And, as you can tell, hopefully from the way it sounds, it’s all super worth it. But we want to make sure we put out the best thing that we can.

Brandon: I was thinking about this the other day, cause it’s like, yeah, while that’s all definitely true is I think that the thing that’s shifted the most for me is the naturalness of being able to do it at this point? Like, I’m confident that I can roleplay now. That wasn’t really the case until 6 months ago or so.

Eric: That’s fair. I think that it was also like the relationship between the DM and the players on a microphone is different than just with a game. Cause, really in a game, it’s just like, hey! Don’t be shitty. You can be as random as you want, and I will respond.

Amanda: I kind of dream about that sometimes, like, wow. Just playing D&D for fun. [chuckles] And not to make something good.

[Brandon chuckles]

Eric: Well, that’s actually kind of part of it, because I don’t want anyone to feel restricted and like they’re on rails. But then it became a lot of conversations like about like, hey. I need you to help me move the story forward.

Brandon: Right.

Eric: Being a player, there is a very careful difference between like not throwing everything wildly in the air but making bold choices to move things forward.

Brandon: Totally.

Eric: And being intent about those things. And like, we’ve had to talk a lot about that stuff. Let’s talk about this Greg stuff. Cause that happened a long long time ago, that made us all stop and we had to stop recording to talk about what to do. Because I’m like, Brandon you just, you’re trying to kill one of my NPCs!!

Brandon: Yeah. I think that’s the real difference that I’ve been discovering between like, real like pro-level RPGers at this point. Like crit-roll people? Like the players themselves know how to push the story forward alongside the DM. And they’re not combative in a weird sense with the DM.

And that’s what I really like doing. In a sense, I have trouble playing you know home games now, because it’s like, I’m as a player trying to push the DM to push the players to push the story forward because I want to get to more exciting places. And some characters, some players, might just want to check out a tree for 20 minutes, you know?

Eric: Yeah.

Amanda: And I think the end of Episode 49 really speaks top our growth as a team in that way, because can you imagine if in the first arc, Tracey like threw a roll in order to attack Inara?

[Brandon laughs]

I would be personally offended probably. And like, not know how to deal and be thrown off and weird and shaken. But like, we have now, 2 ½ years in, a trust and a rapport in each other and in our process where I’m like, fuck yeah! Let’s make interesting choices! And like deal with it. Like, I’m ready for it.

Brandon: Yeah. I think that’s also super born out in the practical side of things too where it’s like, nowadays, we have to stop at an hour and a half, because if we go any longer, this episode is going to be an hour and a half long.

Amanda: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, for real.

Brandon: Cause it’s almost like it’s one-to-one in this point of editing where like I can get it down to 20 or 30 minutes just from retakes and ums, but the rest of it’s like solid.

Amanda: Versus, we used to play like 3 hours to get 1 hour long episode.

Brandon: Yep. At least 2 hours, sometimes more, and then we’d get down to 45 minutes to an hour. Which is like, not the case at all anymore.

Eric: Real.

Amanda: Sorry Bloops. We try.

[Brandon laughs]

Eric: I feel really good also about the relationships and the conflicts that each of the individual characters dealt with. I like this entire Tracey wrestling with his warforged past and now warforged present. I like Inara’s like figuring out how to be a person and figuring out how what it means to be an assassin, what it means to be a good person.

And with Johnny, it was all about him wrestling with his god, and I feel like that was a big part of the world itself. Johnny getting the Undying Light, and the shadow, and the gods themselves are real things, and they’re trying to deal with everything that’s happening in the Concentric States that are getting pulled apart and reestablished.

So, I’m happy that I’ve given everyone, like, hooks of their own. And everything is very intertwined at this point. And I think that we’re going to hit a lot of that in the arc.

Like, the Undying Light is still there and dealing with stuff. Like, just cause Johnny isn’t there doesn’t mean.

Brandon: It’s in a mug, being drunken by...

Amanda: Yeah.

Eric: But yeah, the fact that the Undying Light can be harnessed as energy is like a big fucking deal!

[Brandon laughs]

Amanda: Yeah, no, I love that. And I do think a lot of Johnny’s  journey was kinda around here on earth, mortal obligations versus immortal obligations? Like the things you think about that are bigger than you and sort of off of this plane.

Um, so even though like Johnny’s journey is over in the show, the Undying Light persists. And like we can still kind of like reckon with the consequences of that being such a formative influence on our first few arcs. And I love that it’s still around. I love that it’s kinda bigger, and weirder, and more powerful and more dangerous than we thought it was originally. Like, Undying Light is not contained in a book y’all.

Eric: Um, for everyone who's been saying things about how they’re crying from Johnny’s death, for everything, I want you to know, it was definitely difficult for all of us to do and we’ve talked about it. But like, the respect of the work that Brandon and I have put in to making that, I’ve-I’ve felt that a lot.

I wrote that scene between Johnny and the Undying Light and I’m really proud of how it went. And I think that Mischa did a really good job as the Undying Light, as the prophetic person. And of course now, we don’t have the Conduit, so we don’t hear Mischa anymore which is a bummer.

But I’m really happy with how that all came through and the fact that you are feeling things is bittersweet, obviously, but I want to focus on the sweetness. So thanks! I appreciate that.

Brandon: And that was some of the most difficult to do, but very rewarding, sound design and music stuff I got to play with in that episode.

Eric: Yeah.

Amanda: I think for all of us the top priority was making sure that this is meaningful in the story. That the audience gets something good out of it. That it has, like, emotional impact without being emotionally exploitative? And that is really fucking hard to do as a creator. So I’m really proud of how that went.

We have so much more to talk about, and so many more questions to answer. We have so much more to explore!

Eric: Absolutely.

Brandon: So, let’s do another question then!

Amanda: Wow.

Brandon: Wow! What a segway!

[Eric scoffs]

Amanda: Brandon, do you know what Tracey wrote on the paper at the memorial? This is a question from Starlight’s Weight in Discord. We never shared what our characters wrote on those papers.

Brandon: Intentionally so.

AM; Right.

Brandon: Um, yeah…I don’t…I might have an idea of what like me, Brandon, would imagine Tracey, the character, writing, but nah…

Amanda: Yeah, same.

Brandon: Intentionally so, I want you to imagine what it is.

Eric: Yeah.

Amanda: Me too.

Eric: We’re also like very…this is something that I’m a sucker for and I put into my own goddamn world, letters and writing things down, is very important in our world. Um, so like the letters between Alonzo and Greg were always a really big deal. So like the fact that you guys wrote something down and threw it into a fire are communicated to a different realm. I was always really emotional for that, so I really like that.

Amanda: And…from Michelle in the Discord, what are the biggest changes that we’ve seen in our characters since the first arc? Are there any that you really like and are proud of and any that we dislike or regret?


Brandon: I mean…yeah.

[all chuckle]

Um, no I really like the arc of Tracey. I think he’s a super interesting character. I think, I don’t know if I would have changed this or not, I guess it’s sort of integral to the character, but like in the beginning it was a little bit like not, slapstick? But sort of like slapsticky. But a little overly punchy, I think? And he plays a little bit into that, like, robot stereotype a bit and I would've liked to push off that a little bit more or subvert that a little bit more or subvert that a little bit more.

But I think the arc of Tracey as a character is super interesting to me as a human. Um, that has sort of searched for family and not knowing that an option is found family. Like, that is really…tugs at my heartstrings.

Amanda: Yeah, I think same for me. I do wish that Inara’s character growth was a little bit accelerated. Like I was obviously getting my feet under me as a player and as a role-player and even as a podcaster. So I feel like if we were to do it again now, it would be kind of more accelerated and maybe we would see her be a little bit more fully developed by the end of the story.

But I am really proud of it. And looking back, there are some really embarrassing parallels between like coming from worlds you know really well where everyone knows you where you have a big family and you kinda know your place, and then striking out on your own.

And similar to Tracey, trying to find like, a point of view, trying to find confidence, trying to find, your lane. Like trying on different professions and different like roles to play in a group and then deciding that the right fit for you is a mix of all of them. That there’s no one, you know, well-trodden path that’s going to fit you precisely. Like, that is what I’ve been struggling with over the last 3 years.

And I think this happens to a lot of people really often, you sort of play something out in the art that you make or in the games that you play before you notice that it’s your own thing in your own brain. So, I feel a little embarrassed at myself that I didn’t like, realize that a little bit sooner but it’s definitely true.

We have a few plot questions, Eric, to ask you…

Eric: Hit me, hit me.

Amanda: And to have you answer. Okay, okay.

Brandon: WHAT and WHY?!

Eric: Oops.

Amanda: [laughs] Jersh. Whence. Whereforth.

Eric: [short pause] I love Jersh. I can’t believe I didn’t use his voice earlier.

Brandon: I would have cut it out from the podcast immediately.

Eric: Incorrect, that’s not true.

Amanda: Uh, so, let’s start with Bachelorette Party. So what exactly did the gym do? Like what effect did it have on the characters and why?

Eric: Right. It was just making Johnny super agro. There was supposed to be like just an agro-field in like the gym itself. Which would have pushed drama, which of course is very bachelor/bachelorette.

It’s kind of like rudimentary of my understanding of reality shows at that point but I thought it would have been a fun thing just to realize, oh! This is happening to you! Unfortunately Johnny had a really high Charisma and kinda like shrugged it off. But it would have made him very combative. Actually no, that-that ended up translating, didn’t he like…

Amanda: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: He blasted Kevin Vacation. So that’s what happened.

Amanda: From Kepka, are the bombilates a homebrewed creature or are they official D&D creatures?

Eric: 100% from my brain.

Amanda: So good! How are they not!? I want big hummingbirds to ride! And also to pet!

[Eric laughs]

Brandon: They’re bumbeates, or bumbleaids?

Eric: Bombilates.

Brandon: Bambollaites?

Eric: It’s from the word bombilate. It is a literal word. It means to buzz. And I looked it up on which I have bookmarked because I’m a fucking nerd.

[Amanda laughs heartily]

And I always thought it was a great word, so…[laughs heartily] Oh, I got Brandon, there he is.

Brandon: Oh, you fucking nerd.

[Eric laughs]

Eric: So it was supposed to be this magical post when I thought it was going to be more of like a high fantasy story of world. But I’ve done this thing called like, pop culture fantasy. Where I kinda slip between high and low and then kinda drop whatever sort of pop culture or modern anachronisms I want just to like, move things forward. But now it becomes like Stone Faces posse, which I like just as much. I also wanted bombilates or other winged creatures to be flying around in different cities and I never really got around on that. But like bombilates were like supposed to be this like, not like pet, but very much carrier pigeon. Like a fantasy carrier pigeon.

Brandon: They’re very large in my head though.

Eric: No they are! Like-like as big as a bird of prey. Yeah, like a bird of prey to a turkey. Giant hummingbirds , off-white, I don’t remember if anyone remembers that, but I always imagined them as not being colored. I always liked that.

Amanda: [contemplatively] Hm, like grey scale, in with Stoneface.

Eric: Exactly.

Amanda: Tobias asks how do you deal with all the libraries you present?

[Eric laughs]

Do you have some sort of DM table with interesting books? I always blank when people ask to search for books in my libraries. Says Tobias.

[Brandon chuckles]

Eric: I…I’m just a big idiot and I really keep forgetting that libraries are things that have a lot of titles.

[Amanda laughs]

I guess I have to say it’s also like a simple, an easy plot device and an easy way to communicate secrets or like information. So, it can be like a stat boost like the Roboman C books that they found. It can be like a piece of information. Like what Inara looked for stuff on Cronopolis. Libraries have EVERYTHING. So you can put whatever you want in the library.

Um you can also have different types of libraries. We had like a personal library. We had the one in the university that Tracey went to and Chad scared off all of the terrible librarians who were running around. You can have like an archive, like what we had at the end of Hunting Party. So, just like, libraries are good places to like learn information, and D&D's all about learning information. So it’s more like communicating what you want to get across and like you can have them roll to do a Perception and figure out what they get. You don’t need a table, just make things up if you want them to get something nonsensical. But if you want to communicate plot, have a title. Give them something.

Amanda: Does this world have antidotes to permanent potions? Elizabeth is concerned about the forever lycanthropy potion and says, that’s pretty awful. Even if the person cursed is a bad guy.

ES; We never really got there, I don’t think anyone’s been cursed with anything or been immutably changed in that way. I put the werewolf potion in there to see what would happen, to see if anyone would do it to another person. And it probably would have led us down a totally different path if I had given them, like, undoing the spell in some sort of way, but…I assume it might be pretty difficult.

Brandon: Man, I’m glad I don’t have that potion because I would have used it in…2 seconds.

Amanda: Yes. Yes you would have.

[Brandon chuckles]

Eric: Yeah, you would.

Brandon: Uh, what happens if you use a lycanthropy potion on a werewolf?

Eric: Well, then they become a wolf at all times.

[Brandon chuckles]

Amanda: Uh, Eric, do you have a thing for people eating magic? Asks Pan.

[Eric laughs deeply]

First Franny eating light crystals. Now moths making people eat books, then casting spells. What’s the deal?

Brandon: [sarcastically] Yeah, Eric. Explain yourself.

Eric: First of all, this came from Tracey. I’m blaming Brandon because he came up with this running joke that Tracey can’t eat things, but he kept eating things.

Brandon: I can eat things, I can’t taste things.

Eric: No, you can’t. We’ve been saying it was like Futurama rules. Like you would eat something but it would come out in like in your karipis.

Brandon: Yeah, you two kept saying that!

[Eric and Amanda laugh]

I kept saying, no that’s not how that works! Please stop saying that!

[Eric continues laughing]

And you said, oh! Brandon’s so funny!

Eric: Ah! Brandon’s wrong!

[Amanda continues laughing]

I think that people eating things that are not proper food is extremely funny to me. And just like doing it because one, you think it’s better than regular good. Or doing it because you’re under the thrall of something are very good reasons, and I just find them very funny.

Um, being under the moth’s control, that was another one I know that like it kinda got lost in the shuffle there but being able to use that swarm that infected other people, um, it was a monster thing that I was really excited about.

Amanda: And Thetatag asks how do you keep your NPC voices straight? Do you have like notes that like make you jog your memory, to create a unique voice? Etc. And then use the pineapple DM Eric emoji that we have in our Discord.

Brandon: Drag him!!

Eric: I mean, I have a lot of different voices! I think that each voice is tied to each character and I think that I feel…I’ve talked about character creation a bit, but it’s like, I need defining details about their personality or what they do or who they are. And then the voice comes after. The only time I ever start with a voice is when I want to do something intentionally very funny, like Jersh’s voice for example. I was like, no matter is with this guy, he is gonna sound like this.

So like, gruff people sound like gruff people. Greg is like pretty high, flutant. Zubi, very big, deep voice. Chad is both human and inhuman, that very uncanny valley. So he talks like a Japanese dub. Um…

[Brandon laughs]

Amanda: And we sometimes prompt you with like a catchphrase for that character. Like,

[gruffly] Franny is like, uh yeah. All I wear is caftans these days. You know

Brandon: Yeah. Chad’s like, [high-pitched, excitedly yelling] slime it!

Eric: [chuckles, robotic] I’m human! My name is Chad!

Uh, Franny is very simple for me. She is just like very gruff in the back of my voice. I have an affinity for like, for female-coded characters sounding like that. I find it very very funny.

[Brandon laughing]

So I really wanted Franny to sound like Long Island, 10 packs a day, sort of woman.

Brandon: Speaking of, I didn’t answer where Tracey’s voice comes from. Speaking of voices…

Amanda: Oh, how you do it, yes!

Brandon: Yeah.

Eric: [exuberantly] Tracey feels great!

Brandon: Well, I was going to say, for Zubi and other characters like that, like I try to accentuate some of that a little bit.

Eric: Sure.

Brandon: Um, when it’s worth it, when it’s worth the time. But yeah, for Zubi, like I’ll cue it a little differently and bring out some low end so it sounds like boomier.

Amanda: That’s like an Instagram filter for sound.

Brandon: Yeah!

Amanda: So you can make the higher higher, the lowers lower. You can add some warmth or take away warmth.

Brandon: Right, exactly. Yeah. And for Tracey it’s a couple different things. Basically I try to emulate almost like a megaphone. Like, cause it’s sort of like…or a bad speaker or like a toy robot kind of thing. But it’s some like distortion, it’s some like delay. I was imagining you know those old analog 80s robots that are just twist and let go kinda thing?

Eric: Yeah.

Brandon: But he’s still human, so he still has my voice underneath it.

Eric: It’s really funny seeing Brandon doing Tracey's voice because sometimes I do it back to him. Because it’s just like, it’s this one cadence and sound pitch that you just need to hit and it just does all these other things.

Brandon: Right.

Eric: And then we have to do it to each other, and we’re like Tracey feels great! Ahhh!

Brandon: You, whenever you do Tracey, you do a mix of Tammy and Taylor and Tracey. I’m never quite that voice with this.

Eric: No, Tammy and Taylor are, [slightly lower pitched] Tracey feels great! I’m going to do whatever I want! TCHAA!

Amanda and Brandon: [in agreement] That is Tammy and Taylor.

[Brandon chuckles]

Eric: Good thing I don’t have to do Tracey.

[Brandon continues chuckling]

Amanda: Got a few nuts and bolts questions here. So, form Joey in Discord, what level are Inara and Tracey pre-final arc?

Inara is a level 12 rogue. She ended Hunting Party at level 10 and then we, having gone through a bunch of shit in the interim, leveled up to 12.

Brandon: Yeah, Tracey on a summer break, just like, chilled so hard that he gained 2 levels.

Amanda: Summer Tracey!

Brandon: Yeah…his boardshorts were very on point so Eric gave him 2 levels. So now he’s a level 12 total. 6 in barbarian and 6 in artificer. And I’M NOT using that DUMB new artificer sheet that came out. I use the old one.

Eric: I think it’s so funny for us doing a Dungeon and Dragons podcast while D&D as like an entity has like decided to spin up their creativity so much. So it’s like we’re behind the 8 ball so much. So it’s like, Tracey is this very old world version of an artificer.

Brandon: Which makes sense!

Eric: And I kinda like, hi! I’m an artificer. I shoot guns and I build things. And I like that more.

Brandon: I do too. It’s like more, wild westy. I like it.

Eric: Yeah.

Amanda: Speaking of summer Tracey, I, Amanda, really need to know…if Tracey had like loudly printed tank tops, what would his favorite be?

I think Inara’s would be knives.

Brandon: I think Tracey goes stripes.

[Amanda hums in agreement]

I think he just goes with horizontal stripes.

Amanda: Fair.

Brandon: And then printed shorts. Um…

Amanda: Okay. So, what’s the cheeky print on the short?

Brandon: Uh…probably all the favorite foods that he, like he wants to put off the air of being human, so they’re all of his “favorite foods” that “taste the best”, right? So, it’s like…pizza and like pineapples. And like maybe there’s frogs because he’s like, yeah, frogs are great!

[Amanda chuckles]

Eric: Alonzo would have a tank top that’s really, block printed, just like one massive pattern. I imagine it’s like gold coins?

Amanda: [chuckles] I love that. And here’s one from _michaelshaun on Twitter, when Ze’ol broke out of the compass, since it was a fragment of Ze’ol, at that time, were there two Ze’ols in existence or did he coalesce into one being?

Eric: Great fucking question.

Amanda: I don’t know.

Eric: This is something that we’ve had to toy with a lot, as that a god is both the entity of the god and the literal person, or the existence of a god who you can talk to. So, I would say that it’s pieces, and each piece is like, connected to the whole. But then they coalesce back. You only take your piece, like, if it’s stuck in a thing. So Ze’ol was stuck in the compass, and the piece of D’var is stuck in the paperweight. So, it is a piece of the larger whole.

And of course, the larger whole is infinite, so you can have infinite pieces. This isn’t like, a Horcrux situation, this is like various pieces of a every existing, expanding in all directions god. That can colles into a person with personalities and what we can understand in humanity and stuff. Very Greek god-esque.

Brandon: I’m really looking forward to making Ze’ol into two pieces. Specifically, one where his head is separated from his body.

Amanda: With your battle axe their bud.

Eric: [sighs] Listen. I have…[chuckles] if you really want to do that, I have set up a path for you to do that.

[Brandon gasps]     

Eric: You’re already on it bud, I’m not going to give you anymore. But if you think real hard, there is a way for you to do that.

Brandon: Would I have to chop off my own head when he’s in my own head?

Amanda: Oh no.

Brandon: Oh no.

Amanda: Hairy.

Azo58 in Discord asks how we would dance to the JTP theme, like as people? And then Kipia on Discord asked about your inspiration Brandon, for the theme song, and says that it really fits the show really well and was sort of wondering if you were thinking of that when you made it? Etc, etc. So why don’t you tell us your inspiration for it, and then we will tell you how we’d dance to it.

Brandon: Beautiful, because Brandon don’t dance.

Amanda: He does the robot! Beep boop!

[Brandon chuckles]

Eric: You could say, he’s like a Footloose town.

Brandon: [laughs] I’m a singular Footloose town.

Eric: You’re a singular Footloose town.

Amanda: AKA you don’t dance. With teenagers. But then you do.

Brandon: I’m going to go change my Twitter profile, and say…Oh no, oh no! I hate that a lot. Okay.

Eric: It’s very good.

Brandon: So, inspiration for a theme song. Yeah, I know my limitations as a composer. And one of them, I’m not super good at making catchy melodies. So, and I know that for a theme song you want to make a catchy melody because I want you to dance to it, and sing to it, and think about it.

So actually, I didn’t write this theme song, I arranged it. I got a lot of the samples from this place called the Converse Cover Tracks Library, Sample Library. And its um, it’s a cool program that the shoe company Converse does. But basically, I knew what I wanted, so I was looking for something that the music theme will transport you into the world and out of the world.

It’s like an amuse-bouche into the world to say, I’m going to wet your appetite, we’re going to get excited about going into our fantasyland and then it’s a tension reliever at the end. So, when things get super dramatic, the theme song plays, and then you can find the exhale. That’s the idea of it.

And then also, yeah, I just want, in terms of like marketing, every time you hear that do-do-do-do, I want you to think of our show. I actually intentionally wanted it to sort of stand apart from the show itself. Like it’s a theme song for the podcast, not a theme song for the world, or the story.

Amanda: Yeah. So was the cover art, and the name for that matter.

Brandon: Right.

Amanda: We’re not like jailbirds in fantasyland, we are Join the Party. Whatever is happening to the party, you’re not quite sure, but you’re going to like it, we promise.

Brandon: Right, exactly.

Eric: And also, in the naming of the arcs, and all the copy that we’ve written. Like, it’s supposed to invite you in, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with the story we’re telling.

Brandon: Right. Alright, so how do y’all dance? Like a jellyfish?

Eric: I go, do-do-do-do, and then I bop my head from side to side and then I move my arms around ad then I point at Brandon who is not dancing.

[Brandon laughs]

Amanda: So just Eric dancing at all times?

Eric: Yes.

[Brandon chuckles]

Amanda: I do that thing where you like collect money from the left and then from the right. You know?

Brandon: You mean from trees?

Eric: The money trees?

Brandon: I love it.

Amanda: Yeah! Picking apples from the left, apples from the right! That’s how I would do it.

Brandon: You tell me listener; how would you dance? Text 555 to…

[all laughs]

Eric: Do 01 if you dab, do 02 for Ruben Studdard.

[Brandon laughs]

Amanda:  Violet Jack asks my friends want to make a monster of the week podcast out of our campaign, but they didn’t really know how much work would go into it. Short version. How’d you know strange HP was a good idea?

Related, Rob asks for recording advice for their own show. We’ve talked a little bit about our goal for the show and how much preproduction and thought and testing and like scrapping out a bad pilot we did.

Eric: Yeah.

Amanda: Guys what do you think? How did you know doing this was a good idea?

Eric: I’m going to say the opposite right now. Is that don’t make a D&D podcast unless you have a very very good reason. Like You need to be able to stand out  and know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Brandon: Yeah, exactly. Ask yourself why you want to do it. Are you just like, oh man! Our game is so fun, and I want other people to hear it! Like, I don’t know if that’s a really fully complete reason to start a podcast?

Eric: It’s not.

Amanda: And why do your friends make this a part of your lives every week or every other week?

Brandon: Exactly.

Amanda: Like is it to see each other, and to have fun? Is it because you play it’s freaking so awesome that you want to share it? That’s pretty great and it sounds like doing the things that you’ve set out to do. We didn’t do this because we wanted to become better friends, that was a nice consequence. We did this cause we wanted to make a podcast, and like we started from that point of view.

Brandon: The initial impetus of this was Eric and I were slightly tipsy at a happy hour work event, and we were just like, WE CAN DO THIS BETTER AND WANT TO DO THIS BETTER. And yelling loudly at each other that we could do this podcast better than us. Not like that we love D&D and want to make a cool story it was like we want to make a goddamn good podcast that people are going to enjoy.

Brandon: Mhm.

Amanda: Yeah, but similarly, if you want to collaborate with your friends, and If you’re feeling creatively unfilled maybe in the other constellation of art school…

Eric: YEP.

Amanda: And work, and whatever you have, that’s why we started Spirits, cause Julie and I felt unfulfilled. We wanted an excuse to see each other more? Maybe doing a D&D would have been similarly nice. But tor both of use it was important for us to produce something and to, you know, get to know podcasting and podcasters better.

So, you know, think about your motives and if you want to continue playing your monster of the week campaign and then start a informal web comic and see where it goes from there. Do it! Or you want to start like a friendship bracelet side business with your friends, you know. There’s lots of ways. But you have to ask one question deeper. And not just like, oh we can make a podcast out of this. But, what are we trying to do, how can we get there? What’s the right combinations of projects, and fun, and relaxation and getting our goals? And with who, that would make the most sense for you.

Brandon: There’s also, there’s podcasts that have less amount of like, literal hours of work and people needed to make it function than a D&D podcast.

Eric: Yep, yeah absolutely.

Amanda: Yeah, I can’t think of many that have more work involved, like that’s real.

Eric: No, absolutely not.

Brandon: Maybe some really intense audio fiction, but that’s about it.

Amanda: And from Rob, how about some recording advice for my own show?

Brandon: There’s a lot to go into, that’s like we can talk about that for a whole hour about that by itself. But, I don’t know. I always go with, I think the best advice is like, just go as simple as possible. Like get the technology out of the way so you can think about story and having fun and making a good show. I think a lot of musicians fall into this trap too, of like, home musicians, where it like, oh! If only I had this plugin or if only I had this software, then I would make good music. No! You can make good music with a shitty guitar and a bad microphone.

So, like focus on the music, not the equipment. So yes, while you do to eventually need to level up to the professional tier of podcasting, like first and foremost make a good show. So, like, if you need to pilot your first episode on  your iPhone, pilot your episode on your iPhone. Maybe don’t put it out, maybe re-record it later or something, but like…work on your story first.

Amanda: I feel like the circumstances of me starting Spirits was really useful where I had a lot of time at my desk before Julia and I then only had 45 minutes together to record the episode at night. So, we ended up going a lot of pre-production, which, if you’re going to read one article on podcasting, read Multitude’s article on pre-production because we go through everything you need to know that’s like super crucial.

But, point being, like set out an outline, you know how the recording is going to go. You’re set up in the morning before, you know, you get there. For me, one of the best experiences of Join the Party that I’ve learned is how important it is to have like a nice and relaxed environment to kinda facilitate your creativity, your artistry, your flow. And Brandon is really good at this. So, like, have a nice lamp, don’t have overhead lighting, you know? Make the space comfortable. Get your favorite beverage. Take a bio break in the middle of the recording. So just make it a nice experience as if you’re having an aunt over or something?

You know, like make it special for yourself. And just those little touches help get the best out of the people who are there. And like, that’s the thing that’s the most precious is the time where all of you are in the same room recording. And from there, you know, you can do a lot of editing beforehand, you can do a lot in pre-pro. But, just trying to make that time really count will help you not get burned out and not get frustrated when inevitably something goes wrong in the room, like me losing a full episode of Spirits because of a recording problem.

Brandon: Yeah, totally.

Eric: [poshly] Auntie Podcast is coming over to visit. Put out the clotted cream.

Brandon: [chuckles] Maybe it would be fun to do some sort of articles about more one on one tech stuff from the perspective of that.

Amanda: Yeah!

Brandon: Like learning tech to get out of the way so you can do those things.

Eric: That should 100% be written.

Amanda: Yeah!

Eric: This is the only one you should actually know to make your fucking podcast. Yeah.

Amanda: I love that.

Eric: That’s good.

Amanda: And, how about we close out with a few memes, gentlemen?

Brandon: Let me check my Twitter profile real fast.

[all laugh]

Brandon: Tap, tap, tap. Oh no! I hate memes, I’m sorry.

Eric: Aw! I knew it. Brandon does hate memes.

Amanda: Would you rather answer thorny questions about the future of the podcast that we don’t know? Or memes?

[Brandon and Eric laugh]

Amanda: Genuine question. We can do one-to-one?

Brandon: [high-pitched] Let’s try memes. Let’s do one for one and see where we are!

Amanda: Let’s do one-for-one. Great. Uh, will the next arc feature fabulous guest hosts? From Lax in the Discord.

Eric: Probably not. As we recorded the majority of them so far, it’s just been the 3 of us in the room, just to facilitate storytelling and like, this is Inara and Tracey’s story. Like…

Amanda: And it’s also so dense in terms of the amount of stuff we’re fitting into each episode that I think having a guest host to play with was super important for Hunting Party. I don’t know if it would have a place in the final arc, as yet unnamed.

Eric: Yeah.

Brandon: From my opinion, it’s like, it’s nice that we’re sort of scaling back and focusing on arc too. Arcs for this. But! That’s not to say that we don’t have characters in this. The first episode that I finished editing recently. Has something like 20+ NPC voices.

Eric: I had to reintroduce what happened! I mean…

Amanda: It was wild.

Eric: I had to do a lot of goddamn character work for both of you.

Brandon: Yeah. So, they’ll be not a lack of characters in this arc.

Eric: And they’ll all be voiced by me. New characters too! I’m introducing new NPCs at Episode 50 because I hate myself.

[Brandon chuckles]

Amanda: Well, time for a meme break. Joey asks…

[Brandon and Eric laugh]

Who would you, players, characters, or NPCs, like to throw cold spaghetti at? Just the noodles, no sauce.

[Eric laughs heartily]

Cold and a little damp. It doesn’t have to be a mean thing.

Eric: I want to throw it at Tracey all the time.

Brandon: [flabbergasted] WHAT!? When is it not a mean thing to throw cold spaghetti at someone?!

Amanda: For example, I would very gently underhand lob it at my sister’s dog Koda who I think would find it delightful.

Brandon: Okay! Then I’ll give it to Oatcake.

Amanda: Good.

Eric: Sometimes I want to put Tracey in his place and I would just toss some cold spaghetti at him.

Brandon: Well here’s the thing you don’t know about Tracey...

Amanda: It’s like a spray bottle with a dog.

Eric: Yeah, right?

Brandon: Well here’s the thing you don’t know about Tracey is he can sort of unhinge his body to accept cold spaghetti and then close it back up.

Amanda: Oh nooo.

Eric: And I’d be like, cool thing! [laughing] I wish you’d used that during the podcast!

[Brandon chuckling]

Amanda: Shane in the Discord asks have you considered doing other RPGs, or are you planning on sticking with D&D?

Eric: As we examine what’s going to happen at the end of this story, I would love to stay with Dungeons and Dragons. Maybe we would reskin it for a different genre? But I don’t think that other RPGs facilitate making a podcast.

Brandon: I think we’re all kinda on alignment on that.

Eric: Dungeons and Dragons gives you rules of your world, and you can make whatever world you want inside of it. It’s very much a sandbox.

Brandon: Yeah.

Eric: It’s not a field, it’s a sandbox. A sandbox is a box for a reason. Cause it keeps the sand in!

Amanda: Wow!

[Brandon chuckles lightly]

And similarly, Lee asked if we would consider a non-fantasy setting a next campaign? Like modern, sci-fi, something else?

Eric: Um, I don’t know what we’re doing next. I’m not saying that I’m DMing it, but my favorite genre is magic realism. So, I would love to do a modern-day campaign with reskinned Dungeon and Dragons and then figure out a magical realism thing. That might be a superhero story of thing. That might be a mutant sort of thing. I’m not exactly sure what it could be, but it’s something I’ve been turning around in my head.

Brandon: That’s fun! Yeah, I like, I’m reading Neverwhere right now.

Amanda: Mmm.

BR; By Neil Gaiman, and that kind of separately intrigues me too,

Amanda: Yeah, or like a Scott Westerfeld’s? Like, he wrote like a bunch of standalone novels before he did the Uglies trilogy and they were all really good at magical realism.

Eric: I kinda like things that are modern because then I can’t tell you, oh! It doesn’t happen in my world.

[Brandon chuckles]

Amanda: Yeah.

Eric: Let’s just all like exist in the same goddamn world, and then you can be like, take out your cell phone and call your mom.

Brandon: Yeah.

Eric: And be like, oh! Good! You have a cell phone because you’re a person!

Amanda: That would be cool from an audio design perspective too. Like how do you reflect the world in a way that’s a little but through the looking glass?

Brandon: Yeah, that’s fun.

Amanda: Meme break! Varmint asks if the party members…

[Eric interrupts with hearty laugh]

If the party members/NPCs were animals, what would they be? Definitely not for fan art. Nope.

I had the image of Inara as a chipmunk, but, [chuckling] I think the real answer is that she would be a smoll wolf.

Brandon: Tracey…[unsure] ah. I don’t know!

Amanda: I think…an ostrich.

Brandon: An ostrich is very good!

Eric: I think that’s true.

Brandon: I like ostrich a lot!

Eric: Well an ostrich is susceptibly dangerous too. Looks ridiculous.

Brandon: Right.

Amanda: [excitedly] And they run REAL FAST!

Eric: Really very powerful.

Amanda: Large eggs! You know, Tracey.

Eric: I want to do this at rapid-fire, so just throw NPCs at me.

Amanda: Okay! Uh, Greg.

Eric: Uh, Greg is a cat. Who just lays in the sun and then just jumps…snarls at you when you get too close.

Brandon: Alonzo.

Eric: Uh, Alonzo is, he’s definitely the dog in the relationship. But, he’s like, a small dog. Like, uh, like a dachshund?

Amanda: Cute.

Eric: But he’s a long-haired dachshund.

Amanda: Oh, yeah, yeah. I was going to ask.

Eric: Yeah.

Amanda: Excellent. Um, Brink?

Eric: Brink is, like…I think Brink is a flamingo. She’s very like canonically pretty in my head. And she’s like, but she doesn’t like examine the things that are around her, she’s like, I’ve always stood on one leg! Like, whatever man!

Brandon: Chad.

Eric: Chad is an elephant, but he’s the elephant in the room.

[Eric laughs]

Amanda: Aw…

Brandon: Tammy and Taylor?

Eric: Tammy and Taylor are…they’re too rambunctious to actually be lizards. I feel like…

Amanda: No, I think that’s very good!

Eric: But I think it’s those stories on the news where it’s like, 10,000 lizards take over a mall!

[Amanda laughs]

In Arizona! [chuckling] It’s like, they’re those lizards.

Amanda: [continues laughing] Or squirrels maybe? That would be good. How about Franny?

Eric: Oh man. Franny is…Franny’s like a groundhog. But the way that you see groundhogs when you’re a kid, where you’re like, what’s that thing doing in our lawn!? Why is it pooping?! What’s it eating?! Why is it doing that!?

She’s like always been there, you cannot do anything to get rid of her.

Amanda: Just like Join the Party in your lives.

Brandon: We poop in your lawn!

Amanda: Nope! It’s more the always having been their thing.

[Brandon laughs]

Well, I think that’s a perfect note to end on. Pooping on lawns, man.

[Brandon laughs while Eric exhales loudly]

Just the single unifier of the human condition.

Brandon: This podcast is bad.

[Amanda laughs]

Eric: I disagree!

Amanda: Well, thank you all for submitting your questions. Thank you to all the patrons who have endured throughout the summer in supporting the show and helping to fund this new arc. We are so so so so excited to bring it to you next month!

Eric: I know, that’s so soon!

Amanda: Because, yes that’s right! We are back to our normal schedule!!! So, two weeks from today, on September 3rd! TBD arc 1, as it says on our spreadsheet. It’s going to be out! Episode 51.

Eric: Should I just tell them what it’s called?

Amanda: No!!

Eric: The arc?

Amanda: We need some secrets! Keep it alive, keep it fresh!

Brandon: I don’t know, that’s a…that’s a good tease to make them come back.

Amanda: Okay…you’re right.

Brandon: I don’t know! I don’t know if I want to know!


Eric: The final arc is called…House Party.

Brandon: The least stressful situations that Brandon’s ever been in.

Eric: Brandon loves un-stressful situations.

[Brandon chuckles]

Amanda: Yeah, like, House Party is where Brandon and I are just in the kitchen doing dishes.

Brandon: GOD, the dream!

Amanda: And then we decide the societally acceptable time to leave.It’s usually, 9:15.

[Brandon and Eric laugh]

Eric: Jesus Christ.

Amanda: So…listen. Uh, listeners. If you’re at a party in the next 2 weeks that you don’t want to be at, pull a Brandon. You can leave.

Brandon: Yeah. It’s near the decision point of after your 1 or second drink but WAY before anyone starts dancing.

Amanda: Oh yeah! Oh, no, no, no. If there is dancing at a party I pretend there is an emergency and run.

[Brandon laughs]

Eric: I like parties. I’ve…I think they’re fun.

[Amanda and Brandon laugh]

Amanda: Well, from your 1 Eric and 2 Brandos, we wish you…

[Eric and Brandon laughing]

We wish you a very good rest of your summer. And we’ll see you in 2 weeks with Episode 50.

Brandon: Bye guys!

Eric: [pitchy] BYEEEE!

Brandon: That’s not your thing!

Eric: I just wanted to say bye!

You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here, so GET OUTTA HERE.

Amanda: Oh no.

Eric: GET!

Amanda: Noooo!

Eric: GET.

Amanda: No!!

Brandon: Okay. Mean.

Eric: EH, GET!

Amanda: Say a polite goodbye to the host but not anyone else or else we’ll convince you to stay.

Brandon: I’m LEAVING!


Brandon: I’M LEAVING.


Amanda: No! This room is too well-padded for it to sound like I’m leaving!

[Eric chuckles]

[theme music]

Eric: Also, if someone wants to tell George, we’re fighting.

Amanda: Yeah.

Eric: Just…just let him know.

Brandon: [quietly] Just text him real fast?

Eric: [laughs] Call my lad for me.

Amanda: Alright.

Eric: Are you actually texting him?

Amanda: Okay.

Eric: [laughs] Okay, good. That’s fine.