Breaking down Creative, retelling an old D&D adventure, and invoking a safe haven. This is the Afterparty, where we sit down after every episode to break down our game and answer your questions about how to play at home.
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Cast & Crew
- Dungeon Master: Eric Silver
- TR8c (Tracey): Brandon Grugle
- Inara Harthorn: Amanda McLoughlin
- Multitude: multitude.productions
Amanda: Hey, hi, hello, and welcome to the Afterparty. We have with us Julia Schifini. Julia, can you and Eric who like wrestling talk to us about wrestling for a few minutes?
Julia: Of course I can.
Eric: [laughing] Damn we’re just getting right to the point. Usually Amanda says something cute.
Amanda: That’s all the context I have available to me. Asking questions is cute, Eric. Knowledge is power.
Julia: Well, do you have actual questions or are you just like, “Hey talk about wrestling”?
Amanda: I do. What is Creative? Like how close to the truth is this?
Brandon: Is that a real thing that happens?
Julia: So like there’s no actual bears. There might be some like bears but there’s no actual bears.
Amanda: Like hairy men?
Amanda: Okay, okay, okay.
[Eric cracking up]
Eric: Good start.
Brandon: Are there glasses, though?
Julia: Yes. Usually.
Brandon: Fish? Fish people?
Julia: Depends on how you view Stamford, Connecticut.
Amanda: You can't disprove it. That’s all I’m saying. Wrestling as a creative enterprise: what does Creative do and are all writers’ rooms full of bears?
Julia: So Creative writes the storylines, the overarching storylines for wrestling in the WWE. I’m using the WWE as an example because it’s what I’m most familiar with.
Julia: But the thing is, when it comes to writing, Creative goes from everything from the overarching storylines to the, “Hey, here’s the monologue that you're going to say in front of the audience,” “Here’s what promo you are going to cut in front of the audience.” They used to like actually give people kind of free reign with promos, but the WWE in particular has gotten much more staunch and particular about what superstars say, especially because the Attitude era was not great.
Amanda: So that’s like people being over-the-top personalities?
Amanda: And some of them were like, I don’t know, racist or misogynist.
Julia: Yeah, that’s probably true. There’s a lot of-
Eric: When you get super fuckin’ hype and youre forced to improv, sometimes you don't come up with the best things.
Julia: Yeah, sometimes you're like, “Ah, man yeah! I’m gonna beat this guy into the ground,” and sometimes you're like, “Yo, his wife is not a person I like,” and you're like no don't do that!
Eric: Whoa! Whoops!
Amanda: Wait, go back! Go back! Go back!
Brandon: Are there like indie wrestling federations?
Brandon: It’s not just like WWE and people in their backyards?
Julia: Yeah, no there's a lot of indie stuff. TNA is a great example of it. Lucha Underground, which you can watch on Netflix actually.
Amanda: That’s awesome.
Eric: Lucha Libre is so wild. It’s all about aerial stunts and all superheroes because everyone wears masks.
Eric: So it’s very good.
Julia: Lucha is very flippy. Lucha Underground features a wrestler who is like, “I can travel back in time to change the future!” So that’s a pretty cool persona.
Brandon: So Doc Brown.
Julia: Yeah. With a mask and can do flips.
Eric: So Creative is actually a lot like Dungeons and Dragons. It’s similar to how the DM functions. Like you set the stage for what happens, but it’s like once people get in the ring or play the game, things may change. So that’s why Kohl went to try to get Creative to change this whole Oatcake storyline, to make sure that the thing that she wanted would happen.
Julia: Yeah, Creative determines the beats and the outcome of the matches.
Brandon: Does all Creative have giant dogs hidden in the wings?
Julia: Uh, no.
Brandon: Just this one?
Eric: It wasn't really hidden, it was more like magically summoned.
Julia: There are some wild Creative stories though, including one where they're like, Hey we’re gonna have a match at some dude’s house and it’s gonna be haunted, and there’s gonna be some weird haunted dolls in there, and then they're gonna wrestle and someone's gonna get crushed-
Brandon: They wrestled the dolls?!
Julia: They didn't wrestle the dolls, but someone got crushed by-
Brandon: Oh! Grammar, Julia! Grammar!
Julia: They did get crushed by a haunted refrigerator.
Amanda: Okay, okay, okay!
Julia: There was a tractor that moved backwards.
Brandon: That’s so spooky!
Eric: Like that-
Brandon: That’s too spooky.
Amanda: Eric, I don't think I asked you last time, because i was too emotionally damaged from my Oatcake reveal, but why would you want to make wrestling into one of your arcs?
Eric: Well, it’s a part of this arc. I think that giving us an interesting framing device- we’re introducing NPCs and they have other jobs. And although you've been so tied in with the larger story here that’s happening in the Concentric States: the thing with Alonzo, this whole thing going down with Ze’ol, that I figured that like remembering that people have regular lives and jobs, and things happen, how in the cities is important.
I mean, Alonzo’s still out there and you guys chose to go to Creative instead. I think that’s a choice. It’s definitely something that regular people would do - you want to do the thing that is most pertinent to you at the moment.
Brandon: There was a puppy on the line.
Amanda: Oatcake’s on the line, man.
Brandon: Like I dont think it was really a choice.
Eric: But I think that it makes sense, I mean the lovable dog comes first, even if Alonzo is running around the city.
Brandon: The lovable dog’s never given us that much grief, so I think we go with the lovable dog.
Eric: The lovable dog never went Super Saiyan and then started making things explode.
Brandon: She did not.
Julia: And then like here’s the thing from the outsider’s perspective: as a outsider player I can kind of imagine, hey if we have a giant match in the middle of the city that all of these people are going to show up to, maybe Alonzo will show up too.
Amanda: Honestly, didn't even occur to me.
Genuinely didn't occur to me. Oatcake’s on the line, I’m gonna save Oatcake. Period.
Brandon: Do you think he’s gonna be like the Big Baddie at the end of the wrestling match? I don't know what happens in wrestling.
Amanda: Suddenly one of us has to marry the Undertaker.
There’s one writer I know. It’s the Undertaker.
Julia: That’s a thing that’s happened before. Not the Undertaker, but-
Brandon: John Cena.
Julia: Surprise wedding
Amanda: Also, a callback at least for some of the players at this table, is the idea of kuo-toa. Julia, tell us about our proto-campaign.
Julia: So we had a campaign where I played a half-elf ranger who was basically like a mercenary I suppose, and who lost her father in an orc attack as a young child. It was bad, there was some like fantasy racism happening. It wasn't great.
Brandon: Julia, that’s a very in depth and dark backstory. Are you okay?
Julia: Listen, it was my first D&D campaign.
Eric: It’s so original!
Amanda: It was the end of 2016.
Eric: And not something I read in every fantasy book.
Julia: Shut up!
Amanda: It was the end of 2016.
Julia: Wow, okay. So one of the things that we did was my now-husband Jake was not available for a campaign so we did some weird off-campaign, and it involved kuo-toa and also a panther that I summoned from a Bag of Tricks, and my father? The ghost of my father?
Eric: An entrepreneurial bro brought them in for adventuring advice, and they went into this conference room and they had to talk about like, “What would your god be if you had one?”
Julia: And my chaotic neutral ranger-
Eric: Yeah, and Julia had this magical panther with her, so -
Julia: They were like, “What would your god want?” and I’m like, “Death.” Like ah fuck.
Brandon: Julia, you okay?!
Eric: So they revealed that there were kuo-toa in the other room listening to these responses and it generated this terrible demi-god they had to catch, and then Julia’s character got tempted by the god-slash-her dad and it was very emotional.
Julia: There was a whole thing where it was a planar beast, and I was also going to be a Horizon Walker once I got to choose my ranger path, and a whole mess.
Julia: And I almost cried during the session.
Eric: Al- Almost… [laughing]
Julia: There were no actual tears.
Brandon: That’s a lot of air quotes coming from Eric.
Julia: My eyes were just super red.
Amanda: Her eyes were just glistening like an anime character. Dont worry about it.
Brandon: Well I can relate, because I also cried when I was running away from this giant dog.
Eric: That’s true.
Brandon: It was very scary.
Amanda: I love my Cerberus. I wanna keep him.
Brandon: So small compared to this other dog.
Amanda: So smol. I know and like six times taller than Oatcake is. I also love how “an Oatcake” has become slang among us and the Join The Party discord. For just any French bulldog. For any French bulldog you see out in the wild it’s like, “Oh I saw an Oatcake today!” all of us are like, “Yeah, that makes sense!”
Eric: French bulldogs are so cute.
Julia: They are. They're very cute.
Eric: I thought that a massive French bulldog would be -
Amanda: Even cuter?
Brandon: Yeah, the more big, the more cute.
Eric: Yeah, but also terrifying and would crush you in its jaws.
Brandon: Didn't crush Tracey.
Eric: It’s true.
Brandon: He’s uncrushable, he’s too fast.
Eric: It did crush Kohl though. And -
Julia: Oh real bad.
Eric: Real bad. Real big crush.
Brandon: Yes, what happens to Kohl now?
Eric: Well, I will say that Julia is not going to return next week [all gasp] but who is this mysterious new character who’s coming?
Brandon: Are you busy?!
Julia: It’s not me!
Brandon: But- Amanda, you used something I don't think we’ve seen before?
Amanda: Yeah, so as part of my background, I have something called Faction Safe Haven, and so far all that’s meant is that some of my abilities have an extra little bonus on my character sheet. But it’s true that because I’m joining an Assassin’s Guild, there are guild members in other cities, and one of the reasons that I chose this background is because there is this element called Safe Haven where you get extra special support in one of the skills that you choose from your other guild members in other cities.
So mine was Survival, and I figured that if I was down and out, or my tent got washed away, or whatever sort of straights I find myself in, I would be able to call upon the Guild. So this is when I did it, and I cast out and hoped that someone would give me some kind of lifeline, and it appears that either the guild has come through, or I find myself with an unconscious Kohl in an even more precarious situation. But I guess we’ll see next time, on Join The Party.
Brandon: That was a good pitch.
Julia: Good cut.
Brandon: Yeah, what do you think is gonna happen? Do you think 50/50 chance of like big scary monster person or like you know, very friendly helpful nice person?
Amanda: Knowing Eric, I’ll find myself in fuckin’ Doove & Booster's.
Julia: Damnit. It could be.
Eric: Well I gotta rewrite my notes.
Amanda: And I’ll use a claw machine to get like Advil for Kohl. Who knows.
Julia: I need so much more than Advil.
Amanda: I do have a 10HP healing potion in my pack that I’ve held onto for five story arcs.
Eric: I do appreciate that people are using their items. I love it.
Amanda: You know, I’m the kind of person who has a nice thing and I save it forever. Like my Halloween candy will go bad after New Years and I wasn't able to eat it because I wanted to save it until I needed it.
Brandon: What? What?!
Amanda: Yeah, like I’ll buy nice like balsamic vinegar or olive oil or something and then it will go rancid before I actually use it, because I wanna save it and only use it when I actually wanna use it! But you know, I have a revised awareness of mortality here on Join The Party, given recent events and also the world. So I figured use my items, we might all die young. I’m gonna rip a patch off a cloak. And that’s my manifesto.
Julia: Like they say, only the good die young.
Eric: [singing] Only the good die young!
Amanda: [singing] Bah-bah-bah-bah!
Eric: How many patches do you have left on the cloak?
Amanda: I think I only have lantern left but the listeners can correct me, because I forgot that I used mirror, so we’ll see.
Eric: Julia, this is what we talked about last episode!
Eric: We - this is like the cool mechanics subclass that we came up with for Artificer, so instead of giving you guns like Tracey has, we gave you some fun, cool mechanics.
Julia: I do still have a gun. It’s just not as cool as Tracey’s.
Eric: That’s true. It’s not like a Thunder Cannon.
Brandon: I mean, right now it’s kind of useless so -
Eric: You can get it fixed. You will get it fixed.
Julia: I can fix it for you at some point.
Brandon: Well you're knocked out, so no you can't.
Julia: Wow, okay wow. I’m just never gonna survive. I’m gonna die here. Thank you. Thank you, Brandon.
Brandon: We’ll see. Who knows? Who can say?
Amanda: I will say that we did not have quite enough Alabaster in this episode for me. I love him and I want to talk to him all the time.
Brandon: They were behind the entire time and I’m surprised that they did not get eaten up by the good dog friend.
Eric: Yeah, Alabaster got kinda lost in the shuffle there.
Amanda: Too much work, not enough shells, not enough meat in there, you know.
Eric: Alabaster did take a lot of damage but they have pretty high HP, for just being a good fun robot friend.
Julia: Like nearly double mine, so that helps.
Amanda: Well Julia, thank you so much for coming onto Join The Party for two whole episodes and accompanying us on this journey. Thank you for being present to my use of your gay cloak that you gifted me.
Brandon: And who’s your favorite?
Amanda: Any final words?
[Eric and Brandon giggling]
Amanda: Any decisions between your lifelong best friend and two men who you just met? Just any decisions?
Julia: I just don't really-
Brandon: I hosted you at my home. I gave you alcohol.
Julia: I don't really-
Eric: I gave you a game to play- a world, a fantasy world to play in!
Julia: I just don't really appreciate the idea that like I’m only gonna be here for two episodes now that I passed out. I’m clearly gonna die in the next episode.
Amanda: Who can say?
Brandon: Aw, skirting the question.
Eric: We’ll see if Kohl comes back.
Brandon: I think you said Brandon.
Amanda: How about you roll - 1 to 7 me-
Brandon: 7 to 20 Brandon.
Julia: Someone give me a dice.
Amanda: 8 to 14, Brandon. 15 to 20, Eric.
Eric: Then I’m -
Amanda: Eric has one fewer number, but he has the 20.
Eric: [laughing] What?
Julia: Oh man, it landed on an edge.
Amanda: Oh no. Fair enough.
Eric: We’ll never know!
Brandon: Oh it was me. It was me the whole time.
Eric: If Julia had rolled a 14, that would be the first time Brandon’s rolled above a 10.
Julia: Ouch! If I was using Intelligence or Wisdom, it would have been a 14.
Brandon: Julia, you wanna know who my favorite is? Because it’s not Eric.
Eric: Eh, there it is.
Amanda: Alright, well we’ll let Julia make her way far, far into the eastern lands home. Gentlemen, let’s go to some audience questions.
Brandon: Let’s go! Alright I have a question form the Afterparty Questions channel in our disco… Discord?
Amanda: The Disco.
Brandon: The Disco. Todd asks, “What advice do you have for people who would like to make a stab at podcasting or audio drama, but don't feel like they have a voice that lends itself to broadcasting?”
Amanda: Oh my goodness, then you're the perfect person. Listen. This is the deal with podcasting people. Get- lean in. Lean in. Make sure your headphones are on your ears properly.
Brandon: I’m getting closer.
Eric: I’m very - I’m right here.
Amanda: I can’t tell because your mic technique is so stellar that your mouth is always as close as possible to the microphone.
Eric: I am so close. I’m right here. I’m extremely here.
Amanda: One, you need to have new information to share with the world. Two, you need to have a new perspective or take, or point of view on stuff that people know already. Or three, you have a new story to share with the world. That’s it.
And there are lots of ways to make any of those good. There are lots of ways to combine them, to have a new perspective on unexpected information, and all kinds of great stuff that you can do, but listen, you go to a museum to see a bunch of interesting new things. You don't go to a museum to see different copies in different color palettes for the same subject, and that is what a lot of shows sound like in all kinds of media.
And if your voice is different physically, or metaphorically, or in your experience, or in your idea of what is interesting, welcome. This is for you. You must, if you can and want to, share that stuff with the world.
Brandon: A lot of people get hung up on the literal physical voice part of it. They think that their voice sounds weird, or they think that they don't have the accent that this audio drama creator wants, or whatever it is. But - I’ll say a couple facts and then I’ll say some opinions.
Eric: Fuck me up with some facts! Facts me up!
Brandon: Having, you know, done audio my entire life, your voice sounds different - literally sounds different in your head then it sounds to other people.
Amanda: That is true.
Brandon: And that’s why also a lot of people hate hearing their voice on the microphone or on tape, because they're not used to it. The way you are literally - your voice travels in your head, and the way it rattles your bones and all the empty space-
Amanda: It’s all in that soup up there.
Brandon: It’s in the soup!
Eric: You're all bones. Remember how bones you are.
Brandon: So you're hearing the reverberations from your bones in your head, and that's the voice you hear-
Amanda: And the soups.
Brandon: But when you say it out loud, your voice sounds different to the outside world.
Amanda: It does.
Brandon: It's literally different. So you cannot be objective about your own voice. Just period. And that includes tics you might have like - quote-unquote breathing weird or smacking your lips or I say, “um” a lot. I have really slow pacing. We all have quirks that we do when we talk. And then two, I personally- and I think you guys agree - I love it especially in podcasts when people have interesting voices.
Brandon: And literally unique sounds to their voices.
Brandon: That includes lisps, that includes tics, that includes whatever it is.
Amanda: Filler words, or patterns of speech that might not be typical. It’s like looking at a color combination you've never seen before.
Amanda: It sticks out in your brain, helps you remember the person, helps you get to know them. That’s what I’m here for. That’s what podcast listeners are here for. They're here to immerse themselves in a story or get to know a person that they haven't heard or known before.
Brandon: Yeah, it’s like literally - I think of it as literally an audio portrait of a person. So like I can't see you unless I Google you, so I have a portrait of you in my brain based on what you sound like. And the more unique, and different, and interesting it is, the richer that portrait is.
Eric: Yeah, I think it’s a fallacy that everyone needs to sound like Ira Glass.
Amanda: And Ira Glass was fuckin’ weird when he started broadcasting!
Eric: I was just gonna say that!
Amanda: No one had ever heard him before! And people still make fun of his voice, and yet it’s him and having his own perspective - I’m sorry, I’m getting very worked up here. But he has inspired thousands of people to start making stuff because he was different and that resonated with them.
Eric: Another thing is that the voices you hear on podcasts are not the way people’s voices actually sound. Through the magical work of audio technicians. Shoutout Brandon and that stuff-
Brandon: And literally just the fact that it goes through a piece of mechanical electric magic stuff called microphones.
Eric: Yes, but like I don't know how many podcasts you listen to, listener out there, but Roman Mars from 99% Invisible, he does not sound like that on a regular basis. He like is all bassy and he sounds like he wants to just like instruct you, and you're gonna believe everything he says, and his voice is all warm and mellow-
Amanda: He’s wearing like a shawl necked cardigan sitting in front of a fire, with like an architecture book in front of him.
Eric: Right. But I’ve seen live performances of him talking about architecture and talking about flags, and he doesn't sound like that. His voice is more tinny, he sounds like a regular person. And that’s not to say that Roman Mars doesn't have a great voice to start with, but the thing that comes out at the end of podcasts is not a real person’s voice. So don't compare yourself to the souped up, edited version of people’s voices. Your voice probably sounds great if it was modified and run through a mixing software as well.
Amanda: And there is someone out there who also thinks that their voice is unsuitable or something, in the ways that you fear yours might be, but putting yours out there gives that person a chance of hearing it and being like, “Oh damn, wait, I can make the stuff too!”
Like look up the music video for “Ring of Keys” from Fun Home. It is the gayest, so you're probably gonna like it if you like this show, but also it is for me, the most moving kind of depiction of seeing a version of yourself or what you could be out there. And in this case it’s looking at someone’s gender presentation and being like, “Oh wait, that’s an option?”
But that is how lots of people feel - how I felt when I’ve seen or heard people out there who have the same accent as me, or who use the word “like” and don't edit it out every single time, or who make silly jokes or esoteric references and do those things side by side and don't worry about sounding like a person who enjoys vapid entertainment but also critical theory.
Point being, you might think you're alone, but by putting yourself out there you are proving to others and to yourself that you're not.
Brandon: And from an editor’s perspective, I’ll also say that those people who leave things in, like the “like”s or the esoteric jokes, that does not mean they are not edited. That just means that the editor is smart and knows what to capture that is intensely reminiscent of who the person is. They're bringing the best, the most concentrated person to tape.
Eric: I got a question for Brandon. Hey Brandon, does Tracey have teeth?
Amanda: Oh no!
Brandon: Oh I was hoping you wouldn't ask me this one.
Amanda: Wait can we go around with our headcanons?
Brandon: Yeah, go - you all go first.
Amanda: I think he has one complete denture. Like one wooden carved bottom, one top.
Eric: I think he just has two buck teeth.
Eric: But that’s it. And everything else is just like metal munch.
Eric: [laughing] Tracey just has human teeth?
Brandon: Human teeth.
Eric: I don’t like it!
Brandon: No, they're wood. They're like George Washington.
Eric: [laughing] Dumb.
Amanda: Thank you so much for joining us for this Afterparty. It was a fun episode and we enjoyed having you along. Remember that you can ask us questions anytime. Just tweet us @jointhepartypod or send us an Instagram comment or a message on Facebook. You can email us for questions or game tales or whatever you might want to send the party, firstname.lastname@example.org, That’s also where you can find transcripts for every dang episode, put together by our Scribe Friend, Nicolle. [hello!]
And you can comment to Nicolle on her transcript work, or ask us Afterparty questions in the moment, or join other listeners in the story spoiler chat where every Tuesday morning that’s an episode day, people gather to talk about what’s going down in the episode. And that is available only to those who join us on Patreon. Patreon.com/jointhepartypod, where you can pledge to join our Patreon member community, and get access to that primo Discord, see people's cat photos, hear their RPG game tales, ask us all the questions you want. That’s at patreon.com/jointhepartypod.
Well that’s about it for us. Gents, would you like to end this episode by giving us your favorite wrestler send off?
Brandon: I’m gonna wrestle you good!
Eric: No, that’s my second cousin.
Amanda: Meanings in the hands of the reader! Postmodernism! My wrestler name is Praxis. See you in two weeks.
Brandon: Bye, guys!
Eric: You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.