Afterparty: Labor Party II

Defeating a hydra, bringing back old items, and celebrating holiday one-shots. 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

- Johnny B. Goodlight: Michael Fische

- Creative Contributors: Connor McLoughlin, Julia Schifini, Heddy Hunt

- Multitude:


About Us

Join the Party is a collaborative storytelling and roleplaying podcast. That means four 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]

Amanda: Hey, hi, hello! Welcome to the After Party, where I summoned a cloud of knives!

Brandon: You summoned a cloud of knives!

Amanda: Cloud of knives!

Brandon: Cloud of knives!

Michael: I was gonna do a joke-

Amanda: God, that was good. I summoned two things! One was a badger, whatever. But I finished strong with a cloud of knives.

[Eric laughing]

Brandon: I appreciate that you turned your instrument of murder into farming equipment.

Amanda: You know, we really just built that moment together here at the table, and I think that it’s really beautiful that out of death and destruction we can contribute something to the environment.

Michael: Johnny really wants to retire to his Rancho Ideallo.

Brandon: I think we all do.

Amanda: [laughing] At this point.

Michael: And, you know, it’s a lot of acreage and, you know, you need good dependable [pauses] I’m getting choked up thinking about it.

[all laughing]

-good dependable farming equipment.

Amanda: Definitely not a burp. But yeah, I think it was really cool to use part of an item that I received in our first arc and have really conserved up until now. Lots of things from the past getting used in this episode.

Brandon: Yeah!

Amanda: Like, I don’t know, the Book of Things to Come.

Brandon: That little ol’-

Amanda: Tome.

Brandon: Tome, thank you.

Eric: That ol’ paperback.

Brandon: That ol’ paperback.

Amanda: That ol so-and-so, that ol’ penny arcade.

Brandon: So, when you were using your patch, is there a reason why you haven't used one yet- is it fear? Of uncertainty?

Amanda: No, it’s… maybe. I talked about that in therapy yesterday, but…

Brandon: About your patch in your D&D game?

Amanda: [laughing] No, but I, in some cases fear the consequences, like the doors- I have kind of like a vague idea of what it could be. I very nearly used it when we were with the Bone Whale, but in most cases, there have been kind of backup plans, but here, I needed to defeat that thing and I had no other better options.

Michael: It doesn't help that I’ve been very adamantly against the use of the door thing.

Amanda: Yes.

Michael: Because I have had a lot of bad experiences with the- it’s the City of A Thousand Doors, or whatever it’s called.

Eric: Again, there’s no-

Michael: We’re not sure!

Eric: No one’s saying that that is what it is.

Michael: I associate any door at any point with and magic times.

Brandon: Here’s a fun fact about Michael Fische: he doesn't use doors!

Eric: No.

Michael: I’m allergic to doors.

Eric: He has to take them off the hinges before he can go through.

Michael: Do you know the musical band, The Doors.

Eric: I do.

Michael: Never heard of ‘em.

[Brandon laughing]

Eric: Yeah, there’s nothing to say what the patches are on the robe. I mean, you can make educated guesses about what the pictures might mean, but other than that-

Michael: When I play video games I always save all the items. I never use them. I’m too scared to use them. Because what if I need them? It’ll be that final boss and I’m like, “What if there’s that extra boss at the end, you know?”

Amanda: I do that in my pantry and then I have baking soda that’s two years old.

Michael: Delicious.

Brandon: And then you end up with six things of baking soda that’s two years old.

Amanda: Yeah, you do.

Brandon: And then you say, “Brandon, you’re a hoarder and you need to throw out your baking soda,” and I say, “I might bake.”

Amanda: Yeah.

Brandon: You know?

Michael: Who are you talking to in this scenario?

Brandon: Myself.

Michael: Oh, okay just making sure.

Amanda: Yeah, that's why I have a four-cup size of pumpkin puree.

Brandon: Yup.

Amanda: That I got in September for oatmeal. But now I’m just gonna have to find an excuse to make pumpkin-oatmeal cookies!

Brandon: Oh my god, pumpkin oatmeal sounds so fucking good. Holy shit I’ve never thought about this. You just blew my fucking mind.

Amanda: Oh my god, it’s the best. You can put raisins, you can put chocolate chips-

Michael: You could do pumpkin oatcakes.

Amanda: It’s pretty good.

Brandon: That sounds delicious.

Amanda: Yeah, it’s good stuff. Yeah, but no that book is terrifying, and I love that kind of moment where all of us realized what was going on at the table. For me it was hearing, “Jamie, yes, of course I’ll marry you.” was hearing like [gasp] I’ve heard this before! It was terrifying.

Brandon: Yeah, I like to think now that when I wrote in the book previously, many episodes ago now- I forget what I wrote.

Eric: You just said, “What’s next” I think.

Brandon: Yeah, I think I wrote next- and I like to imagine Ze’ol was like, “Hey! Stop it! That hurts!”

Eric: “Hey get out of here! This is mine! Excuse me!”

[Brandon laughing]

Michael: Or now in the embodiment or physical manifestation of Ze’ol, he has written on his body somewhere just the word “What’s next-” just the words, “What’s next” question mark on him.

Amanda: I’m a real sucker in fiction for the like prediction that you never thought could be true but, oh no, in the end due to the actions you’ve taken to avoid the prediction it actually is inevitable!

So, part of me is almost just sort of resigned, like there’s nothing we can do to try to avoid this. It’s going to happen if it’s going to happen, and we’ll just have to try to deal with it when it’s there.

Michael: The Undying Light teaches a little more about deterministic fate. So not like is it written in stone.

Brandon: Both of you, is that what your characters believe, or is that what you as players think.

Michael: That’s what Johnny believes, and also as a player-

Brandon: So Johnny’s not worried at all?

Michael: Johnny is not worried because at least with his line, he can come back to life, so eh.

Brandon: You didn't know you could- well, you knew it was upcoming, but when we first heard it, you did not have that ability.

Michael: Yes, technically speaking I did not have that ability.

Brandon: Does Inara believe it? Is she worried?

Amanda: I think Inara probably is performing indifference. But will just casually avoid oceans while we’re in Chronopolis.

Michael: What’s your roll for Performance?

Amanda: It’s always strong, Johnny. Michael. Fish. It’s always strong.

Brandon: Wait, I got another question. Who do you think the mayor is?

Amanda: Oh shit.

Brandon: Who do you think won? Mayor McCheese?

Eric: Yes, it was Mayor McCheese.

Brandon: Great, thank you or that.

Amanda: I don’t know.

Eric: In one of the outer towns of Chronopolis, Mayor McCheese is now the Mayor.

Brandon: Tracey’s scared out of his mind, by the way. He doesn't want to die.

Amanda: Yeah.

Brandon: He doesn't want to get hunted.

Amanda: Yeah.

Michael: It’s, “dead or alive.”

[Amanda laughing]

Brandon: That’s true. That is true.

Michael: You could be fine! Do we want to do a pool as to who Mr. Pickles is, or what Mr. Pickles is?

Brandon: Okay, yeah.

Amanda: I really hope Mr. Pickles is a love interest for Oatcake.

Brandon: [laughing] I was gonna say Mr. Pickles is a puppy!

Michael: Or is Mr. Pickles another camel for a love interest for Joe.

Brandon: Hmm.

Amanda: Or a crocodile?

Brandon: Or a crocodile.

Michael: We have three animals, each character with an animal. Which animal will it be? Eric’s looking at me like I should just shut up! It’s Animals and Animals! The animals game-

Brandon: What if it’s one-third crocodile, one-third puppy-

Amanda: Nope.

Brandon: And one-third camel?

Michael: Nope, nope, nope.

Amanda: You know what? That would only really work if it was an alligator with a hump and little puppy paws.

[Brandon laughing]

Brandon: Canon. Canon, canon, canon. I’m calling it now. I own this game now. I am your DM. Welcome, I’m Eric.

Eric: I have invented some monsters before, so this is not out of the realm of possibility.

Brandon: It’s not a monster, it has feelings and a heart. Speaking of monsters, though, we met a monster!

Amanda: We met a hydra!

Brandon: We met a hydra.

Michael: I’m right here… Oh, sorry.

Amanda: Very mythological. Very mythological. And very evocative of death, which makes sense because we are meeting the death/time god, which I am no Julia Schifini, but I can tell you that in my limited experience doing eighty plus shows about mythology through the ages on my other show, Spirits, death gods are almost always time gods.

There is something about the cyclical nature, about obviously the passage of time, old age, rebirth. All these things are really strung up together and frequently that involves agriculture as well and fertility. Because it’s like the spectrum, you know, life to death. Fertility to barrenness or whatever.

So, it reminded me very much of Persephone and Hades. This whole idea of the death god allows or is really joined to the goddess of fertility, harvest, bounty. So, I am totally ready to sass the pants off of Ze’ol and tell him exactly what Inara thinks of him.

Michael: I just really want to go to-

Brandon: Uh, he’s a jerk. Sorry, that’s what it was. He’s a jerk. That’s all I’m gonna say to him. Say, “Mr. Ze’ol, you’re a jerk.”

Eric: Okay. I’ll register that with him

Brandon: Thank you.

Michael: Kind of makes me want to go to a Jewish deli.

Eric: [laughing] Yeah! I swear, so Fish and I- we were hanging out and we- Fish was doing his Jewish grandfather voice.

Michael: I do lots of voices just as part of my day-to-day, like it’s a constant thing. It’s out of my control.

Eric: And he was doing it and I’m like, “Oh man, I can’t believe I haven't done a Jewish grandfather voice on the podcast.”

Michael: [in Jewish grandfather voice] I mean, look at you! It’s been how many episodes and you’re not doing it? My boy! You gotta- I’m just- I get so worried about you. You’re not eating right! I just- I don’t know! I don’t know!

Eric: I will say that I wrote down, “Ze’ol Has a Jewish grandfather voice” and I texted Julia to ask if it was funny.

[all laughing]

Brandon: Did she say yes?

Eric: So, I have a paper trail. She said, “Do whatever you want, my dude.” and I’m like, “Yes! I’ll take it!” So I have a paper trail and I actually said that just to bait Fish into this conversation.

Brandon: But hydras- how do they work?

Eric: Yes.

Brandon: When we cut off the limbs and legs and arms and stuff or whatever, like some grow back but we were still able to kill it, so how does that function?

Eric: So hydras- when you cut off their heads, they grow back. And there’s actually an entry for Hydra in the regular ‘Monster Manual’. And there's some really cool stuff. It’s if you do 25 damage or more, you cut off a head, but then two more grow back and for each two that grows back, you get 10 hit points back.

Brandon: So that doesn't necessarily like outweigh the damage we’re doing to it by cutting off the heads?

Eric: No. No.

Michael: Each head is ten points?

Amanda: It’s like two steps forward, one step back.

Eric: Exactly. So it’s kinda like up to my discretion, so when Tracey did a ton of damage with his gun, that was like a really good reason-

Brandon: Yeah it was really cool and stylish, and I looked very good doing it.

Eric: Yeah, you took five opportunity attacks when you were doing it, but-

Brandon: Worth. It.

Eric: I love that. It literally says that it gets a reaction for each one of its heads-

Brandon: Oh, that’s bullshit. Let me-

Eric: And it’s used-

Brandon: Do you have Gary’s number that I can-

Eric: It’s used towards- yeah! Call him up. And I actually got inspiration from reddit, from r/dndbehindthescreen. They had a plantify-your-monster section, because like May is plants month on the subreddit, and this was the example that they gave, was just like Flower Hydra! And I’m like, “Oh that’s sort of interesting.”

Brandon: That’s really cool.

Eric: And they gave a vague sort if idea about it, but I kind of filled in some of the other stuff. I dropped its HP down a little bit, and it hides really well in bushes, which is why it had the surprise attack to Inara, and it’s- for hydra it’s usually you get a bite attack for each head, but I switched it to Thorn Whip, which is a hunter cantrip, I think.

Brandon: I think it’s what you learn with Ivysaur at Level 28.

Michael: Uh…  Perhaps, if not, 26.

Amanda: It’s also my roller derby name.

[Brandon laughing]

Eric: And it’s the same amount of damage, but it pulls you ten feet closer, and if you got subsumed, it was gonna be some like shambling ooze type of damage if you got pulled all the way in there.

Michael: That's cool.

Amanda: Like my fucking cosmonaut of a badger?

Brandon: In my head, the way this hydra- in my head canon the way this hydra was created was miracle grow was literal miracle grow in this fantasy universe.

Amanda: I think someone poured a Monster energy drink into a tiny rose bush.

Brandon: That’s also good!

Michael: And the person who did it is the one sketchy salesman from Fidapolis who never-

Eric: Marcus Magicperson!

Brandon: Marcus Magicperson!

Michael: We never dealt with him, did we?

Eric: No, you didn't.

Brandon: We should go murder him.

Amanda: He’s the worst character.

Brandon: Arc 6: Murdering-

Michael: Murder.

Eric: Murder Party. Hunting Party.

Michael: Murdering Marcus Magicperson.

Amanda: Still got no idea what the arc title is, but you know, going from there.

Brandon: Yeah, I don't know why either. Uh…

Michael: It has been a full labor. Or is it seven labors, it’s that a reference-

Brandon: What is that?

Amanda: It’s an Overwatch reference?

Brandon: Wait, what is that? I don’t know. Inform me.

Michael: It’s Hercules x labors? No, it’s-

Eric: Mhm.

Amanda: Yeah, it’s Hercules.

Michael: It’s Hercules, yeah.

Amanda: I can tell you that the twelve labors of Hercules are-

Michael: Hercules, Hercules.

Amanda: Tenants that Hercules has to carry out, and they’re stuff that you’re not supposed to be able to do like impossible tasks that he has to do for King Eurystheus.

Michael: Such as kill a Hydra.

Amanda: Such as kill a Hydra.

Brandon: [screaming]

Eric: There it is!

Brandon: What are the other ones?

Michael: Pet Mr. Pickles.

Brandon: Is one of them Mr. Pickles?

Michael: Groom Mr. Pickles.

Amanda: He has to slay the Nemean lion, he has to slay the nine-headed hydra, that was labor number two.

Michael: There’s a boar, right?

Amanda: Capture the Ceryneian hind, capture the Erymanthian boar. These are all very hard to say. Clean the Augean stables in one day, slay some birds, capture a bull, steal a horse, obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, obtain some cattle, steal some apples, and then capture and bring back Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the gate to Hades.

Brandon: [screaming] Dog patch! Ahhh!

Amanda: Yes.

Brandon: I’m losing my freaking mind over here. Why is no one else freaking out?

Michael: Because I’m just rewatching the Disney ‘Hercules’ movie, which isn’t that great, in my head.

Brandon: Whoa, wow.

Eric: Whoa! That’s a very good movie.

Brandon: Are you serious?

Michael: It’s a-

Eric: It’s a very good movie!

Michael: It’s not that great. But I am now imagining him having his Nike swoosh shoes and his like McDonalds like drinks.

Brandon: I will say the most- the one I’m looking forward to the most is “Attend the opera.” That’s gonna be delightful.

Amanda: The opera! The opera!

Brandon: Are you kidding? I will put on opera glasses. I will wear a full gown. It will be delightful.

Amanda: Aw man, I want Inara to wear like a tux with tails.

Brandon: Yes. What are you gonna wear, Johnny?

Michael: Johnny will be singing.

Brandon: [laughing] in the opera?

Michael: Johnny is the-

Brandon: Yeah, he’s the guy- he’s definitely the guy the ushers have to kick out because he won’t stop singing along to the show.

Eric, you have any thoughts? Feelings?

Amanda: Hints?

Eric: Yeah, I feel pretty good that you guys put that one together.

Brandon: Remember when you said the word, “Hydra” accidentally.

Michael: Like five times!

Eric: Yes, I do. I do remember that.

Brandon: And then it took us until you said, “It’s a hydra. It regrows-” to figure it out?

Eric: Yeah, until I said it regrows heads and you’re like, “Oh shit! It’s a hydra!”

Brandon: Yeah, we’re dumb.

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: I was gonna shoot it no matter what.

Amanda: We’re dumb and pretty though.

Brandon: I wanna party with Ze’ol. That’s all I gotta say.

Eric: With an old Jewish grandfather?

Michael: I don’t.

Brandon: He seems cool as hell. Like he can make literally last forever.

Amanda: Well, I think that’s all we’re gonna get out of the DM for now, so let’s turn to some listener questions for this After Party.

Eric: This question comes to us by email. You can email us at This is from Alicia Moore, who wants to know about play by post D&D. “Hi all!” and then she says a bunch of nice things about us.

Brandon: Thank you!

Amanda: Thank you!

Michael: Thanks!

Eric: Thank you so much. And her question is, “What are your thoughts or experiences about play by post RPGs. I have trouble with role playing in person. I feel awkward doing so, but I’m about to enter an in-person campaign again with a first-time player and I’m hoping to kick my awkward feelings in the tail and get past them.”

Do it! You got this, we totally believe in you!

Amanda: You got it!

Eric: “In the meantime, my husband DMs a game just between the two of us and I have to say I’m enjoying it so much more than I did in the first and only campaign I was in a couple years ago. There’s not as much pressure to perform and I have time to respond in a way that is more appropriate to my PC instead of having my own personality interfere. I really appreciate all you do and hope to be able to listen to your sessions for a very long time. Love from Dallas, Texas!” Bah bah bah!

Brandon: Ayy! Whatup, Dallasite?

Eric: And this is Lish.

Amanda: So, this refers to games that are played by email or by like snail mail and stuff, right?

Eric: Or like maybe by forum or by email-

Amanda: Oh, okay.

Michael: In a way where you can take time to answer, maybe do a little bit of research, and it’s like a play by mail chess.

Brandon: Yeah.

Michael: Which is something I always wish I’ve done and I never did.

Amanda: Or growing up one of my first kind of like internet communities was role playing, and before there were prevalent chat applications that wasn’t just AIM, you would do it usually by email or by forum post, so that’s something that I spent a lot of time doing.

I loved it so much because exactly like the questioner said, you have time to think, and you don’t have to just, “Bleh, ugh!” and just blurt out the first response that you can think of. So, it sounds pretty awesome.

Eric: I think like most emails that are questions, your answer is in your question. And it sounds like you’re having a really good time doing this with your husband, and any form of role playing that you are doing that makes you feel like you’re having a good time a you feel comfortable, just do it! This is my affirmation to do whatever you want that makes you and the people around you feel comfortable.

Michael: It seems exciting that you’re going to be able to do a IRL one, but definitely keep doing the ones on forum posts. I did, a long time go, a couple of years go, this sci-fi one where I had to like find a ship, on the internet design, and I had to write all these things and giant posts and we would all like take turns doing it and it took so long for anything to happen, but it was a good thing because we all had time to- we did space battles on a forum, like we all had time to-

Brandon: Wow, that’s pretty neat.

Michael: Yeah.

Brandon: I’ll also say like it sounds like you’re playing- you’re RPing in a really cool way. Like taking time to think how your PC would react is valuable. I think a lot of people are gonna enjoy that. I don’t think- I don’t think you should feel so ashamed of taking some time to think before you act.

Michael: You’d be supposed the amount of silence Brandon has to cut out when we’re just sitting there being like-

Brandon: My own silence.

Amanda: “Hmmmm, I wonder.” As someone who’s getting more comfortable with in-person roleplaying I absolutely second everything we’ve said so far, and something that Fish said many episodes ago, where you can kind of inject role playing into any game. Doesn’t have to be a role-playing game specifically. But you can play Betrayal at House on the Hill. You can play Bananagrams, or Boggle, or something or poker. Poker is role playing, you know?

You can do whatever you want to kind of get comfortable with these players in particular or even with you and someone you trust, whether it’s your husband, or friends, or whatever. You can get comfortable making silly choices or doing silly voices in a way that isn’t where alike that is the only thing that stands between you and the next person’s turn. Anyway, good luck. It sounds like you’re gonna have fun.

Brandon: Yeah.

Eric: If anyone has any experience playing by post RPGs, role playing, also by post chess, I super want to hear about it. The only experience I have with it is John Darnielle’s-

Amanda: ‘Wolf in a White Van’

Eric: Yeah.

Amanda: Such a good book.

Eric: But if you have any experience, hit us up on social media or by email, and we want to share this with Lish. We really want to hear your experiences.

This is from Mickey, who also emailed us: “Hey! I just binged the entire pod in a week and it’s a problem.” Thank you so much for listening.

Amanda: Oh my gosh, this is not a problem.

Eric: “Anyway, my question is what is it like to DM? How much of it is simply flying by the seat of your pants, and how much is carefully planned out?” And then they attached a meme for Inara who they wish is their tiny girlfriend.

Amanda: Adorable. Inara also wishes that she were someone’s tiny girlfriend.

Eric: Again, I tried so hard.

[all laughing]

Okay, we’ve talked about DMing in the past, but I really wanna focus on this, like the difference between prep and improve. I want to opt be honest about something now that we’re past it.

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: For everyone that listened to the live show, it seemed like it was pretty straightforward. I did not have a resolution for how you were supposed to bring down the Zaratan.

Brandon: Love it.

Amanda: Oh, classic.

Eric: However, you did it, and if it made sense and you made the rolls, that was how you were going to do it. I had some ideas, like a definitely put the slide whistle in there, and I figured you were going to Prestidigitate it to make it louder, but out’s like you could have done anything.

You could have gotten Inara’s cousins to help. You could have jumped down and used the forest. You could have tried to do some other magical stuff. You could have tried to kill it if you really wanted to. It would have been really difficult, but you could have tried. So, giving yourself room to improve is just as good as having 5,000 notes of DM prep.

Michael: I super, super, super second that. The best games for me as DMing and my players have been the ones that I’ve, like Eric’s done many times at JTP, thrown away most of my stuff because it’s just the players are the ones who should be taking the reins. It’s not a DM versus players, it’s a DM with the players. And when the DM is improving as much as the players are because the players really only are improving, you get a lot more fun times.

But it’s also why most DMs get really exhausted at the end of the games, because there aren’t able to look at a book the entire time. I will say, if you’re a first time DMer, that’s why I do like the modules or the pre-written stuff, not just from Wizards of the Coast, but the things that fans have done, a den you can go to Drive-Through RPG to get some of these, so then you can work with these, and then start getting your comfort out to get out of there and improve some more. It’s a good time. And you can prep all you want, but you can’t control the players, so.

Eric: Isn’t that the fuckin’ truth.

[everyone snickering]

Brandon: Eric knows.

Amanda: That sounds like good advice for like parenting. I’m not a parent, but it sounds like one day just like do your best, try to have structure, roll with the flow. It sounds good.

Eric: I have a question for the players and I think it’s worth saying this out loud. Does it bother you if you know that your DM is pulling something out of their pants?

Michael: No. I love it. I’m sorry, I just immediately didn’t give anyone else to say- I love it! I love when a DM is like, “Oh no I’m totally out of options. Okay, here we go!” because it gives a more dynamism- dyn- I can’t words. It-

Eric: It’s more exciting.

Michael: It’s more exciting because it feels like- where at the same time it feels more collaborative in the moment, which that is to say it is not bad when they have prepped stuff, but it changes the energy in the room, which can be beneficial especially when it’s been like three hours and it feels like a slog and suddenly boom the energy changes and ah! Ah! Ah!

Amanda: Mountain shaped like a turtle, blah!

Eric: Anybody else?

Michael: Sorry about that.

Amanda: Yeah, I think I like it too. Initially I- when I can recognize moments of you needing to completely make things up as we go, I would feel bad as your friend that like all the work that you did was kind of for now on the cutting room floor. But I find it to be really funny and I love the stuff that you come up with in the moment. I am more comfortable doing those kinds of decisions now myself, so it feels like we’re all, like Fish said, in the same boat, so we’re all trying to bail water out slash row this dang thing together.

Brandon: I think yes or no for me, and I think it’s because of who I am. So, I- I very much am a person that likes to watch videogames. I very much like to be a passive person.

Amanda: Oh yeah, same.

Eric: It’s a good thing we play an active role-playing game together.

Brandon: I know. But I love stories, I just like listening to hear stories, so I love when DMs- when you specifically improve within the- within the minutia or the step-by-step.

Eric: Sure.

Brandon: Because that feels like it’s dynamic and we’re playing off each other. It is- not you specifically, but if a DM were to change the ultimate end goal or not have a plan for the ultimate end goal, it’s frustrating for me as someone who likes to ingest stories, because I want to have that like nice buttoned up resolution.

Eric: Sure.

Brandon: That’s just me.

Michael: Well hopefully no DM’s ever doing that kind of improv.

Eric: No, no one wants to like- DMing is the balance between improv and prep, like you should have your very big set pieces and your plot points laid out, but like you can fill everything in with goofs when you work with your players.

Amanda: Yeah, like we said before, it’s like the creativity is getting between points A and B and it’s not like rewriting a complete map from scratch.

Michael: Really good TV shows that rely on improv, like an ‘Always Sunny’ or a ‘The League’ will come into a scene- they know they have to say a certain phrase or sentence and they know how their character needs to leave and a lot of it will be left up to the actors, to the improvisers, and that’s kind of how good D&D should be.

The DM knows where he wants his placers to eventually get to, now how they wanna get there, what they wanna do on thwap, that’s up to the relationship between the players and the DM. And I think that’s what’s really cool about improv, and I think Eric’s been killing’ it with it so far. We’ll see. We’ll see [laughing]

Eric: Thanks, bro. Thank you.

Amanda: Jury’s out.

Eric: Well it’s funny that you say that, because this leads right into a question from our discord, from Raccoon Danny- thank you so much, Danny. This is a question for DM Eric, but I’m also gonna ask Amanda some stuff about this because the question is, “What are your original intentions with Oatcake? Did you plan for having her stick around for so long, or did you have to roll with it when Inara rolled high with animal handling and gave her a name?”

Amanda: Once she had a name, she wasn’t going anywhere.

Eric: This was always an option. Remember we got Oatcake during the chase scene in-

Amanda: The Flipping. Flip Day. Flipperoo. Flip Holiday. Greatest Day of All Time.

Eric: Flip flip Hooray!

Amanda: Individual Independence Day: Flip Day.

Eric: Also known as-

Brandon: That is the full name of the holiday.

Michael: That is a long name!

Amanda: It is. Someone give me the initials, I wanna know it.

Eric: Also known as an episode during- was this Political Party?

Amanda: Wedding Party.

Eric: It was Wedding Party.

Brandon: Wedding Party.

Eric: One of the later episodes of Wedding Party, which was the big chase to get kidnapped Alonzo back. I was using this chase mechanic as I had talked about during this episode where I just had an events table. And one of the events tables that I had specifically for the second section which was the garden section was that you were gonna meet a dog and have a dog. Like that was- that was an option for anybody, like if it was your turn, you could have gotten a pup. I promise-

Brandon: And you haven’t given us this option in the future, or now, or-

Michael: Well, I have Joe, and you have-

Amanda: Tallahassee.

Eric: Tallahassee. You have Tallahassee! I gave you all-

Brandon: I miss my dog!

Eric: I gave all of you pets!

[Amanda laughing]

Michael: Yeah! I just don’t see mine a lot but that’s cool.

Amanda: A scaly dog. You have a long scaly dog.

Eric: You have used Joe in specific situations though.

Michael: That’s true. That’s true.

Eric: And Joe is so OP, I just can’t have you-

Michael: Joe is soooooo OP.

Amanda: Fish has a tall, lumpy dog.

[Eric cracking up laughing]

Michael: Joe might be more min-maxed OP than Johnny.

Eric: Yeah, absolutely. So, it was always my intention to have Oatcake stick round, though we haven’t gotten into Oatcake’s backstory and why she showed up with boxing gloves. And I hope that we get opt that at some point.

Amanda: I hope so too! We’ve used the Ethereal Plane, but her gloves are just in my pack and we haven’t dealt with that yet.

Eric: No.

Brandon: Did we talk on mic about this dog being a celebrity dog? Weren’t they like on a poster?

Eric: Yeah, actually- that’s right, we did at one point!

Brandon: Was is on mic though?

Eric: We got- I just wanna put this in, I don’t care.

Amanda: I don’t remember this.

Eric: At one point, I don’t remember wham-

Brandon: It was- we were making a joke and I think it was in the episode, I think I left it in because it was really funny, and-

Michael: Let’s just say it may have been on the cutting room floor, it may-

Amanda: But what was the joke? I don’t remember this?

Brandon: The joke was that- it was a poster about I think Oatcake, “Hang in There,” poster or something like that.

Amanda: Oh, that’s right! Like a meme!

Brandon: A meme, yeah-

[all talking at once]

-and it was confirmed to be Oatcake.

Michael: -like this is a celebrity dog-

Eric: Was this in Captain Alex’s ship or somewhere?

Brandon: Oh, I don’t remember!

Amanda: I don’t’ remember, it was someone’s work room or something.

Eric: But like that is canon- that is canon. There was a poster of-

Amanda: Oatcake has a past.

Eric: -of Oatcake as a celebrity, as a celebrity doge.

Amanda: Alright, well, she contains multitudes.

Eric: So, believe me, I do have things planned, but hopefully we’ll get to it, and we’ll go from there. This is another question for me that I just want to run trough.

Amanda: I see, it’s the Eric question hour.

Eric: No, this is a question for all of us, but this is my fault.

Amanda: Classic.

Eric: This is from Darcy: “A question for the cast. You’ve got a lot of Killers references going. What is your favorite Killers song?”

Amanda: All of ‘Hot Fuss,’ that’s the answer.

Eric: Oh, all of ‘Hot Fuss.’ I love the Killers so much. I think there one of my favorite bands. I just saw them at the Firefly Festival and Brandon Flowers puts on such a good show the first half of ‘Hot Fuss’ is just bangers all the way through. My favorite song from that is actually ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ but of course ‘Mr. Brightside’ is my go-to karaoke song.

Brandon: So, I’ve been a huge fan of the Killers for a long time. I’ve seen them a couple times in concert, and they’re-

Eric: Fuck you, are you kidding?! Goddamn.

Amanda: I’ve seen them none, let’s move on.

Eric: I wanna murder you in the eye.

Brandon: They’re one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. That’s why I go multiple times, because there definitely always one of the best ones. I am a huge fan- so I have all their albums. I love ‘Hot Fuss,’ it’s obviously the best. But I actually really like ‘Sawdust,’ which is this collection-

Eric: ‘Sawdust’ is so good!

Brandon: It’s a collection of sort of B-sides from various albums and it has like some covers, some like country covers.

Amanda: I get it, cutting room floor, very nice.

Eric: My other favorite song is the cover of ‘Romeo and Juliet.’

Brandon: ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is so good!

Eric: Which is by Dire Straits?

Brandon: ‘Ruby Don’t Take Your Love.’

Eric: I think it’s by the Dire Straits.

Brandon: Yeah.

Eric: Anyway, that’s a great cover.

Brandon: And it’s got like the Abbey Road version of ‘Sam’s Town’ which is just like piano and acoustic instruments, it’s beautiful.

Eric: There’s also a song called, ‘Indie Rock & Roll,’ which is fun-

Brandon: Which I listened to when I was fucking thirteen and-

Eric: Yes! It was like such formative like, “Ah man fuckin’ hipsters,” and it’s all about how indie rock and roll is just like super pretentious and everyone who does indie rock and roll is super pretentious, and it’s just like this B side they just left on this album. And it’s just like Brandon Flowers is like so condescending while also being like- condescending to all sides. He’s just so talented.

Brandon: But it’s a reworked version. So, like the version we had was like fuckin’ LimeWire when we were fourteen or whatever.

Eric: Yup, yup, yup.

Brandon: But this is like a real studio version and it’s beautiful.

Eric: I keep waiting for them to play ‘Indie Rock & Roll’ and I just now they’re never going to.

Brandon: Nope.

Amanda: This is a Killers appreciation podcast.

Michael: I like music. Music’s good.

Eric: This is called “Death Saving Throw,” a D&D and Killers podcast within a podcast.

Brandon: Here, I’ll make it better. You know what’s not well? Brandon Flowers’ solo album.

Eric: No! I think it’s kind of good!

Brandon: Do you like it?

Eric: Yeah!

Brandon: Oh no.

Eric: I thought it was okay.

Brandon: It’s okay.

Eric: Okay, I’m gonna stop talking about the Killers.

This is from Mister Zorn, which is Chris, thank you Chris from the Discord. “Have you guys ever thought about doing one-off holiday themed or seasonal themed specials?”

Brandon: [whispering] Yes please.

Amanda: Yes.

Michael: Every episode has been. You just have figured it out.

Amanda: We have to do a Halloween episode. I know that in our content planning we’re kind of in the fall already, but we really need to do a Halloween special.

Eric: It’s spooky!

Brandon: I wanna do Halloween and I wanna do holidays- a winter holiday special.

Eric: That’ll be fun. It’ll be- it won’t be “Christmas Party,” it’ll be like-

Michael: Lightmas.

Brandon: I think we should do a Hanukkah party.

Michael: Lightukah. It’s the holiday of light. Lightukah.

Eric: Johnny’s just Jewish, isn’t he?

Michael: Johnny’s just Jewish, isn’t he? That’s funny.

Amanda: That’s allowed!

Eric: Does anyone have a party that they wanna do? So, what would you call the Halloween party? Would it just be, “Halloween Party”?

Brandon: Spook Party!

Eric: Spooky Party?

Amanda: Ahh…

Eric: I guess it would just be Halloween Party, huh?

Amanda: Yeah. Trick or Treat Party?

Brandon: Monster Mash?

Eric: Ooh!

Michael: Oooh! Monster Mash!

Eric: That’d be good.

Amanda: Trick or Treat! There’s a big table and odd rolls are tricks and even rolls are treats.

Eric: I like that a lot!

Brandon: This is good. This is good.

Amanda: And everyone adds a thing to the arena, maybe it’s a help, maybe it’s a foe. I don’t know.

Eric: It’s like an arena like an arcade boss rush sort of thing.

Amanda: Maybe.

Eric: I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. So, I wonder if there’s something like- getting people around a table in this world would be so difficult.

Amanda: Yeah.

Eric: So, I think that that one would be pretty interesting to look into.

Michael: Longest and shortest day of the year would be a Johnny like and Shadow and Light thing.

Amanda: Well, that could be the- the holiday party could be on the winter solstice.

Eric: Oooh, that’d be fun!

Michael: And I can be the Lightmas or Lightukah or Lightwanza or- what’s that thing with the pole and airing of the grievances?

Eric: Oh, fuckin-

Amanda: May Day?

Eric: I used to do this!

Michael: I- I love this! It’s from Seinfeld! It’s very Jewish.

Eric: It’s from Seinfeld.

Amanda: Festivus!

Brandon: Festivus.

Michael: Festivus! Lightest for the rest of us!

Amanda: Alright, well until time stops and all three of us die, that’s pretty much all we’re going to get to for today. Thank you very much for joining us for thief After Party. Your support on Patreon specifically is what helps us sustain the show, so if you like the show, if you like the After Party, if you like that we bring you two awesome episodes of D&D every other week, we would love your support. So that’s at

And there’s all kinds of stuff. There are bloopers, there’s cut audio, there are NPC backstories that Eric writes every single episode, and of course, access to our Discord, the most hoppin’ hippin’ party-don’t-stop corner on the internet. And if you’re not in a place to give to us financially, listen, sharing the show with a friend makes just as much of a difference. Like a hydra, the more you share Join the Party, the people you share it to also get to share it!

Michael: Burn it with fire. Burn it all with fire.

Amanda: And then your reach increases like a cloud of knives. No, wait, like a cloud of really good media recommendations. The metaphors a little bit ham-fisted but the support really does mean a lot, so please join us on patreon and/or tell a friend about Join the Party.

You can send them to where we have a recap of our past arcs, and explanation of the After Party, a link to our beginner episodes for those who don’t know D&D- everything you have to know is right there on one page. I coded it, I think it’s cute. Well until next time, gentlemen, any wisdom to share?

Brandon: Never trust a rose bush.

Eric: Always have your to-do list on hand.

Michael: Don’t… don’t… don’t…

[Amanda laughing]

Amanda: Next time you have a choice, just don’t.

Michael: Just don’t,

Amanda: See you soon.

Eric: See ya later!

Brandon: Bye, guys!

Michael: Undying Light be with you.

[theme music]