Come one, come all for discussion of D&D modules, creative collaborations, and autumn—the season, not the assassin. 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.
Find Us Online
- website: jointhepartypod.com
- patreon: patreon.com/jointhepartypod
- twitter: twitter.com/jointhepartypod
- facebook: facebook.com/jointhepartypod
- instagram: instagram.com/jointhepartypod
- tumblr: jointhepartypod.tumblr.com
- merch: jointhepartypod.com/merch
- music: brandongrugle.bandcamp.com
Cast & Crew
- Dungeon Master: Eric Silver
- TR8c (Tracey): Brandon Grugle
- Inara Harthorn: Amanda McLoughlin
- Johnny B. Goodlight: Michael Fische
- Multitude: multitude.productions
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 jointhepartypod.com.
Amanda: Welcome to the After Party, where we shut down their means of production. You’re welcome.
Michael: Down with the bourgeoisie!
Brandon: Uh, that’s it folks!
Brandon: That’s the end of the After Party. We shut it down.
Michael: Unite the proletariat.
Eric: The After Party isn’t a part of the industrial machine. It’s an educational space that anyone can learn things about Dungeons & Dragons.
Brandon: You’re right.
Eric: It’s a communal… learning area.
Amanda: It’s the break room!
Brandon: It’s the break room.
Amanda: That’s for sure.
Amanda: Well, I had fun throwing an almost literal wrench into the machinery here.
But before we got to our climactic factory floor followed by the running of the cows, Eric, this felt like a one-shot. What is this little one-shot doing in our campaign?
Brandon: How dare you?!
Amanda: How dare you, sir, this is not what I paid for.
Eric: Alright, listen.
Michael: Rattle, rattle, rattle, rattle.
Eric: Hold on a second.
Brandon: I make a crazy speech that I have to roll Charisma for.
Michael: [making rolled-r sound]
I didn’t even roll Charisma, by the way.
Amanda: It was so good, he didn’t have to.
Eric: At this point, Johnny keeps putting himself in situations where he has to make a speech, and I’m like, “Yeah make the speech.”
Michael: And I keep on forgetting that you’re gonna call my bluff.
Eric: Every single time.
Amanda: It’s as if you had me jump ten feet into a vent and then you’re like, “Yeah you did it,” like there’s no need to roll.
Eric: Yeah, there are things that I know you can do, but it’s the results that are the problem. But I’m getting off track. So, I decided to take a little bit of a different tact with this arc. I reached out to a bunch of D&D aficionados and enthusiasts that we’ve worked with before, and people who have contributed to the show, and I’ve solicited stories and one-shots that are supposed to be the labors that y’all are taking on, and it’s really fun!
Let’s see, I got some help from Mischa Stanton who plays the Undying Light. I got a one-shot from my friend Jeff, Jeff Brice who played Comway, the computer in Captain Alex’s-
Brandon: The second coolest digital thing-
Brandon: Computer, robot thing in this universe.
Brandon: Electronic thing.
Amanda: And the second-coolest person aboard Captain Alex’s ship.
Brandon: Wait, we were on that ship, though.
Amanda: Yeah, Captain Alex, then Comway, then the rest of us.
Brandon: Then- yeah. That’s fair.
Eric: I got some suggestions from Julia Schifini who is one of our creative consultants. And I actually got a lot of stuff from Ev Downey, who is one of Amanda’s friends and does a lot of gaming work, and-
Michael: Does he speak in a way that’s clear and concise, or is it in a way where it’s-
Amanda: The thing is, he’s a writer.
And so, the fact that that was the character Ev’s main trait, I texted him the day after we played that to be like, “Hey just so you know, I don’t think this is intentional,” but he found it very funny because he has a good sense of humor. But, yeah, he is a writer and does a lot of things with game mechanics and game design.
Brandon: Was that who Evan was named after?
Amanda: He’s a patron, too. Hi, Ev!
Eric: Hi, Ev!
Brandon: Ooh! Hi Evan!
Eric: Evan actually-
Brandon: Sorry about all the rudeness for-
Eric: Ev actually wrote up like legit modules for me to follow. And so did one person- I got a legit module from Jeff as well. And actually, oh I got one from Connor! Connor sent me a module. Connor McLoughlin, brother of Amanda and also amazing DM and game master.
Amanda: The D&D player in the McLoughlin family. I just play one on a podcast.
Eric: So, it’s actually like me running other people’s modules, but it’s like I’m threading it in with stuff that’s happening in the universe, and the situation that I’ve kind of laid out with Ze’ol. And the other cool thing is that I actually did all of this prep beforehand. You can do any of the labors in any order that you would like.
Michael: I like this because it also gives you a creative time-out so that you can breathe, relax, and not feel so pressured. Because you’ve been killin’ it lately, but also, it’s good to not feel so like, “Oh god! So much!” As a DM, I’m assuming it’s been very helpful.
Eric: It’s nice. It’s been very nice. I mean, well I can start from the beginning- I knew that I wanted to do this job ward thing, which is like you’re an adventuring party who is more of a company and you guys need to take jobs.
So, I wanted to do something like that. I paired it with Hercules’ labors a little bit, so some of them are inspired by that if you look closely at the labors that I said.
Brandon: Yeah, Mr. Pickles, that famous Herculean task.
Eric: Yeah, you know Mr. Pickles. And also, I took some other stuff from other mythology suggested by Julia. And I wanted like you all to be able to do it in whatever order, so it is a- I did a lot of front legwork. Collecting everything was nice, but setting up like the whole Ze’ol thing has kind of been like creatively taxing.
Michael: Well, you’re talking about taxing in terms of the accent and having-
Basically, before every time we start a session with Ze’ol it’s just me and Eric talking to each other.
Brandon: Hey can we get a little taste of that? Can we get a little taste of that?
Michael: [in grandpa voice] I don’t know what you’re talking about! We’re just talking, normal people.
Eric: [in Ze’ol voice] Why do you have to ask me questions? I’m trying to tell you-
Michael: When I was a young boy, we didn’t have to do this, we just relaxed, and we just sat, and we were polite to our elders!
[in normal voice]
God, they’re not even good.
Eric: No, they’re not great. But the fun thing is that like I’m running other people’s modules which is a part of DMing that I’m just not great at yet, because I just don’t do it. Because a lot of the stuff is like-
Amanda: You’ve been homebrew since the start.
Eric: Yeah, I’ve been doing just things that come in my head I’m like, “Yeah, that’s canon.” but at the same time it’s like I feel more pressured to use everything that are written down in the notes than I do when I’m just homebrewing it.
And like y’all missed a bunch of stuff during this adventure, but like that’s what happens, because Ev is very thorough. So, it’s like, “If this happens, this happens. If this happens, you meet this character. If this happens, you can solve this problem in one of three different ways.”
Michael: I don’t see that as a negative thing. I think of anything it just means that Ev, and hopefully this is true with everyone who contributed to these next few stories, that they worked hard on it and like, you want a module that gives you every option. That’s the whole point of a module is that it’s not that the DM isn’t creative enough to do their own thing, it’s that you have to be creative anyway with a module. But the module should have things prepared for you no matter what direction the players go. So, a good module includes, “Your players decide to burn the barn down and kill all the cows. What happens next?” You know, we dress Oatcake up as a cow-
Brandon: Buy some buns-
Brandon: And have a-
Amanda: And use illusions to make it look as if there’s a herd of cows.
Amanda: I’ll make out with someone and distract them.
Amanda: There you go!
Brandon: Make some steak fries, maybe some mashed potatoes and have a nice meal!
Eric: Mad cow disease burgers!
Michael: That’s not good. So, I mean, it’s a good thing then that we missed things, because it shows that we were-
Amanda: By definition, then some of the stuff that’s prepared isn’t gonna be used.
Amanda: Because there are like branching decision points.
Michael: But I totally get the feeling-
Brandon: I totally felt that same way, Eric. Prewritten stuff is so much harder for me to run than just like- if I have an infinite sandbox it’s so much easier.
Michael: See, but in my head it’s like if you have it prewritten, it’s like-
Brandon: I feel like I’m forgetting details, though, and that stresses me out.
Michael: But when I see those prewritten stuff it’s like this is a great jumping off point; it’s not the bible. You know?
Michael: I always- at least when I play- I do a lot of homebrew stuff, but then I copy modules even things- simple things like hooks or just like endgames will be what I will take, and then everything in between will be just new.
Brandon: Oh yeah.
Michael: Based on what the characters want.
Eric: There’s a lot of stuff in here that I also just like changed just to make it easier.
Michael: Oh sure, yeah.
Eric: For example, the organizer was supposed to have like a Minnesota accent like, “Dontcha know,” which I can’t do.
Michael: Oh, you betcha.
Eric: Aw, you betcha!
Michael: You betcha!
Eric: So, she was like kind of a midwestern like sort of type-A mom, but I did like type-A moms that I knew, but I love that Ev wrote that down because it’s like, oh I need to make sure that she has a personality and a voice. Same thing with Hannah Mae. Oh, that’s right, since we’re doing one-shots, I’m gonna use a lot of names from patrons.
Eric: So, Hannah Mae was a patron, Ferguson… Cody Ferguson! And Alyssa, who is also a new patron. Alyssa Frankl. So, I’m really happy that I get to use names from our patrons.
Brandon: I’m gonna donate to our Patreon so you have to use my name at some point.
Amanda: I thought that it was just, “Brandon’s Tacos” was one of the food trucks that you were backing up.
Brandon: Hey, Eric, what were the food trucks?
Eric: God, you kept saying that you were gonna ask me this and now-
Michael: Now you’ve had time to think about it.
Eric: Well one was a taco truck, obviously.
Brandon: Obviously. What kind of tacos?
Amanda: Breakfast tacos.
Brandon: Are they breakfast tacos?
Michael: Korean barbecue?
Brandon: Is there cactus?
Brandon: Do I get queso?
Eric: The answer to all those questions is yes, Brandon.
Amanda: Is there pico?
Eric: There of course was pico. Then there was a pasta truck [laughing]
Brandon: That’s hard to do.
Amanda: I know.
Eric: Yeah, so that was pretty impressive.
Brandon: When you do it right, though, it’s good.
Amanda: Wow, for some reason I was just thinking to myself, “How do you make food truck portable pasta?” I pictured a bunch of spaghetti in a waffle cone.
Eric: I was literally just thinking that! Like eating it in a cone.
Brandon: You know what? That’s gotta be a thing, right?
Amanda: It must be. It must be. There’s no way that we just like in our collective unconscious just birthed that into the world.
Eric: I bet it’s a thing.
Amanda: I bet it’s a thing.
Brandon: And the last one’s burgers.
Eric: And it was- no it’s waffles and dinges.
Yeah, so I’m really excited about all this stuff.
Brandon: Eric, what did we miss? You teased us.
Eric: You want me to tell you?
Brandon: I want everything.
Amanda: Yeah, I do!
Eric: You could have talked to Alyssa a little bit more, and she’s very high strung and she believed that like, much like the myth of Maya the milkmaid, that this was like a blessing from Adamah from on high, which was interesting.
Amanda: I was very close to breaking into the General Store to steal paper plates for her, but then I was like, “Fine, Johnny’s going to the farm, I’ll follow him.”
Eric: If you guys had- oh, if you had taken a look more at the pipe from the factory, then you could have realized you could have stuffed something in there. It was about the size of a beach ball. I just didn’t get the chance to describe that.
Brandon: Guys, a use for all of our beach balls!
Eric: But like if you had found something sizable or, knowing you three you probably would have found something to stuff in there.
Michael: I’d just stuff enough apples in there.
Eric: What does that mean?
Brandon: Yeah, knowing us three.
Amanda: I just wanted to cut it right off at the source.
Michael: But also, that wouldn’t have inoculate- that wouldn’t have cured the cows.
Eric: Right, you would have had a backup problem, and like I kind of was thinking maybe the workers would become zombies, like who knows?
Brandon: Zombies with those masks on?
Brandon: I would have left the room.
Eric: It would have been bad.
Amanda: Yeah, that would be the one episode when ‘Doctor Who’ had those gas masks-?
Brandon: Yeah, the one where I threw my TV away.
Amanda: -in World War Two. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. No. I didn’t make it all the way through.
Brandon: This is why I don’t own a TV today.
Eric: The big one that y’all missed was that since you walked along the creek instead of going back up the main road, you missed seeing a crop duster who rented out his plane for free, and that is actually Hannah Mae’s uncle and Ferguson’s brother-
Brandon: That’s not a stable business model.
Eric: Yeah, who is a former fighter pilot who would have let you use the crop duster. All y’all three would have flown and it would have been hilarious.
Brandon: What war did he fly in in the Concentric States?
Amanda: Maybe not a war. Maybe just a patrolsman.
Michael: Maybe a stunt flyer.
Amanda: Maybe a surveyor of the land. Stunt flyer!
Brandon: Oh, a stunt flyer! Charles Lindbergh type!
Amanda: Maybe so, maybe so.
Eric: Yeah, but like less racist. But yeah! So, it’s really cool the things that y’all missed because like I get to indulge in the fact that y’all missed it instead of like you missing things that I write, which feels like, “Oh no! You missed the thing!”
Brandon: I’ve had to learn as an audio editor to be okay with cutting things that are like fun because it’ll serve the story, and every time I do it in my head I say, “Oh, that’s just for me.”
Michael: Like the fact that Johnny’s a licensed therapist. Are you gonna bleep out me saying the words “licensed” there?
Brandon: I will.
Michael: Because every time I say “licensed therapist” you’re bleeping it out?
Brandon: So those little bits are just for you, Eric.
Amanda: I like that. It’s very sweet. Gone but not forgotten.
Eric: Brandon, you really liked those hats didn’t you.
Brandon: I really liked those hats. I’ve recently become a hat man myself.
Michael: A hatman.
Brandon: A hatman.
Brandon: And I like to think that Tracey made it out with at least fourteen hats and he now has- oh he doesn’t have like a Bag of Holding. He needs the Bag of Holding.
Michael: You have fourteen hats, it’s fine.
Amanda: he can also like put- string each of them through a string on top of his pack and just have a little like wreath of hats on top of his pack at all times.
Eric: Oh, like the mask guy!
Michael: Oh, the mask- we literally had the same thought!
Eric: Oh my god! Same person!
Michael: We’re the same person. Okay. Yeah, from Majora’s Mask.
Eric: I have a question for my players. This was a little bit more of like a traditional D&D game. Like go solve the mystery, fix the problem, there you go. How do you feel about doing something that was a little more standardized?
Amanda: I quite liked it. For me it was obvious like, oh a mysterious building down the river. Let’s go there. Oh, there’s a murky river problem. Let’s cut it off at the source.
It was just made my personal problem solving easier and I was able to kind of relax and have fun more than usual, because I talked about this before on the After Party, but I often feel kind of paralyzed by choice. Like oh there’s a blank open map in front of you, what do you do? And like Brandon and Fish help me out a lot.
Brandon: There’s 47 hats in front of you! Which one do you pick?
Amanda: Yeah! Like you know Eric guides me as well as a player, but in this case, I felt like I knew what I was doing, like it was a shape that I recognized. I wouldn’t want to do this every time. I like that we are unpredictable and that our games don’t look like other people’s games, but as a little diversion, vacation, I thought it was great.
Brandon: Yeah that was the same thing, I felt it as like a reprieve from a lot of- I mean we’ll see what the next tasks look like, but this one in particular like- it was whimsical in the way that you put it together, like the mad-
Amanda: Yeah, no one was dying.
Brandon: The mad hatter syndrome, like the mercury thing, it was like, “Oh! I like this. This is fun.”
Eric: I mean ehhhhh….
Michael: Well listen like if we boiled it down it was, “River’s poisoned. Stop the poison.”
Brandon: Don’t eat the cows.
Michael: It’s a simple thing. Don’t eat the cows. But like that’s why it was- it’s all about how you- the flourishes that make it actually like fun and interesting. That’s not to say that playing traditional type of like, “This is the situation. These are the things.” That is not like a bad way to play D&D, because you have to- not even like you have to start somewhere.
That is just fun sometimes because you have to just when you’ve had a long week of like having to make a lot of decisions and you’re being a character where you’re making a lot of decisions for yourself. The situation you’re in is still fairly straightforward. You are still your character making the decisions and the choices you want in a fairly like- I don’t like using the word simple, but let’s say simple, scenario.
Eric: Just the objective is.
Michael: Yeah, exactly.
Amanda: To me it felt like I had all of the keys for all of the locks, like I had all of the tools for all of the problems. And like I needed to sneak into a thing-
Brandon: You have a lockpick, you always just-
Amanda: I’m missing my file! Don’t rub it in!
But it felt like I- there was a bunch of problems and I felt like I had the tools I needed to solve them, where I don’t normally feel that way, because like together we have to find a new thing, and unlock a new paradigm, and the problems are bigger than we’ve had before.
So it felt like, I don’t know, playing on a playground or something where there are several different rides you can do and we did them, you know and it just felt more like a gamified game.
Brandon: Yeah, it feels like the last maybe one or two specifically are like the problems and the overarching story and world feel so big. At points it feels like as a character it’s like insurmountable, but in this you’re like, oh this world feels like we are suddenly the big-shots, and we are suddenly very much in control.
Brandon: We can do anything here.
Amanda: Solve the problems, yeah.
Michael: I don’t know why you guys are talking like that. Johnny’s always been the bigshot. He’s been able to solve all the problems and really only chose to become like embroiled in problems because really that’s what he wants to do to distract himself.
Eric: Yeah, I mean it’s being set up- you guys are- you were roaming in the world and now it’s like you’re putting yourself in like the care of Ze’ol to like push you in the direction that you need to go.
Brandon: Which also might be a bad idea in the future, we don’t know.
Eric: Exactly. So, like there’s still mysteries that haven’t been answered, and I’m really interested in the- how you use the reward. Hopefully you get the reward at the end, but once you guys get the memory- the memory videos that Ze’ol is offering to you.
Michael: You mean the pastrami sandwich?
Eric: Yeah, the pastrami sandwich.
Brandon: That’s gonna be one good sandwich.
Michael: It’s gonna be half a good sandwich.
Amanda: It’s a godly sandwich. I have no doubt that this is like the calm before the storm. That it’s a bunch of things where we think we’re doing really well and accomplishing a bunch of things, but either you know slowly after each task or at the end of it we realize that the big shit is bigger than ever before.
Michael: I personally believe that every single task we’re doing is actually hindering-
Amanda: Is fucking up the future?
Michael: Is fucking up the future and help- so like for instance, that rose bush was a friend-
Amanda: Eric is like giggling right now.
Michael: That hat factory was needed for some esoteric reason that will come into the future.
Brandon: To cover everyone’s head!
Amanda: I know it’s like introducing kudzu to the South. That’s not a good idea, y’all.
Brandon: I initially thought that we were in another- not only a different location but also at a different time.
Amanda: It does feel out of time. Yeah, it feels, you know, old-timey, all that kind of stuff.
Eric: He can control time, but it’s-
Michael: Johnny feels more comfortable in this town.
Eric: Yeah, he definitely controls time, and I think that like-
Amanda: [in Southern accent] Back when milk was in bottles and newspapers were five cents!
I don’t know why that’s what I went for when I went for old-timey things.
Michael: No, that’s definitely correct.
Brandon: The hats were nice and brimmed!
Eric: Stiff brimmed!
Brandon: Stiff brimmed!
Eric: Yeah, I’m really excited to see what happens and how you deal with some straightforward problems. I’m definitely excited to see that.
Brandon: Spoiler alert: poorly. Just like we always do.
Michael: Also, how straightforward are things like, “Groom Mr. Pickles” and “Clean up the HORSE stables?”
Amanda: We’ll see!
Eric: You have to do it!
Brandon: Eric, I do actually have one more question.
Eric: Oh no.
Brandon: What’s the Speaker doing?
Eric: Okay, so, thank you. This is actually a very good question.
Brandon: Thank you.
Eric: So, like I said before, the Speaker is kind of like having a god heart-to-heart with Ze’ol. Like I said before, the Speaker is an Azamar and has a piece of Adamah, the god of like stuff that people do on a regular basis, so like I’m just kind of like pulling a lot of those-
Amanda: Live, love, laugh, family.
Eric: Yeah. Harvest! Like all of those.
Michael: Is she Guy Fieri?
Amanda: Any one-word sign and a Home Goods. That’s Adamah.
Eric: So, I think that the Speaker-
Brandon: We’re gonna find her instead of inside of a compass, there’s just gonna be a shitty sign from Home Goods, yeah.
Amanda: Listen, you all who are listening that don’t live in New York City, please go to a Home Goods and send me pictures of the signs, and I’ll say Adamah or no.
It’s my new favorite game show.
Brandon: New game!
Michael: Adamah or no.
Eric: The Speaker is trying-
Amanda: Adamah or Nah-damah.
Michael: Yeah, there it is.
Eric: Oh my god.
Amanda: Back to the Speaker.
Eric: Yeah, the Speaker’s trying to sort out some celestial bullshit. I think that there’s another mystery here is that why is Ze’ol powerful all of a sudden? Or this piece of Ze’ol has like autonomy all of a sudden.
Michael: Yeah, why did this piece of Ze’ol decide to wreak havoc.
Amanda: It woke up.
Michael: And then can’t undo it.
Michael: When like confronted like, “Okay yeah I should undo it.”
Eric: “I should probably undo it, but I can’t.”
Michael: But he can’t- it can’t so like what’s going on.
Eric: “Can’t”- with quotes around it.
Michael: It probably can.
Eric: Oh! That was the other thing that I left out. If you had attacked the cows- first of all, if you had gotten any closer to the cows then like one of them would have grabbed you and then they all would have descended upon you.
Amanda: Oh, good, good, good.
Eric: But like these cows that are used for the running of the cows are like particularly sacred to this community, and like you would have been tossed on your butts like immediately.
Amanda: I love the running with the cows as like that one fucked up movie where crime is legal for 24 hours that I keep seeing trailers for.
Brandon: ‘The Purge’!
Michael: There’s more than one. It’s a very successful series.
Amanda: In any case, it is a pure and unproblematic version of that where people can just like feel like a settler for a minute.
Brandon: It is not- nope, because at the end of it, that was the first thing I thought of when they were all in their burglar outfits and they were gonna do burgle bad things. I was like, “This is The Purge. This is just a bad thing they’re gonna do.”
Eric: It was very pure.
Amanda: Yeah, yeah, I guess in my head I hoped that it was just cops and robbers with just like finger guns, but I see how it could be in fact kind of bad.
Brandon: I got very scared.
Amanda: What if it were, “let’s be a herder day”. Let’s think about philosophy.
Brandon: It’s not even as bad as a cattle drive, like it’s-
Amanda: Let’s wear strappy sandals, let’s use a staff-
Michael: Yeah, not even a cattle drive, which is like an actual stressful thing. This is just like walk down the blocks.
Amanda: Tending the sheep day.
Amanda: I would do that.
Michael: Be a shepherd day.
Brandon: Give your favorite cow a massage day.
Eric: Believe me, this was super low stakes. I’m glad we started with this one. And it’s interesting because now you have, uh, you have an interesting item.
Michael: We have a hat.
Amanda: We have a hat.
Brandon: A hat. A thinking hats.
Michael: Oh, no, we have two interesting items. We have a smokescreen-causing-rock in Tracey’s arm-
Eric: That’s right.
Michael: And a hat that Johnny really wants to mess with.
Amanda: I super hope that it’s like Sorting Hat style-
Michael: Because it’s divine and it’s Intelligence.
Amanda: Oh yeah.
Eric: Don’t worry, by next episode I will come up with stats for these things [laughing].
Brandon: Oh, the NPC at the office, the management office… the most helpful NPC we’ve ever run into.
Amanda: Oh yeah!
Amanda: No, super wanted to get out of there with their life and like help us out and thank you.
Brandon: Yup. So, bravo.
Eric: This is actually- I- Ev wrote this in really well, so this was actually the R&D office. It wasn’t even like management, so like if you had walked in they would have ignored you because they’re like, “I’m working. Get out of here.” and you could just be like, “Alright.” and then grabbed the antidote and walked out.
Amanda: Yeah, I totally like brought a gun to a knife fight.
Eric: Yeah, seriously. It’d just be like, “I’m doing science, can you leave me alone please?” it would be very funny.
Brandon: You brought a knife to like a scientific laboratory where there shouldn’t be knives.
Amanda: I literally did that, yes.
Eric: You brought a knife to a science convention.
Brandon: To a science fair.
Michael: Oh, that’s just sad.
Eric: Oh shit. Hey, y’all, I got some questions!
This one is from Andrea M: “Hey guys, I would love to know more about your thought process, Eric, about the Book of Things to Come. Was it, or something like it, something you intended to include in the Chronopolis story from the beginning? Or did you decide to roll with it (see what I did there?) when Tracey stole the book from James’s lab?”
Brandon: I don’t get it, what was- what did they do?
Amanda: Hang on, let me just work through it, uh-
Michael: Rolling is something that generally someone does to roll high.
Amanda: ‘Rolling in the Deep,’ trendy song.
Michael: Like high numbers. I don’t know- you definitely wouldn’t know that, Brandon.
Amanda: You can roll in mud if you’re a pig and you’re happy.
Eric: Wait, it’s about dice.
Eric: It’s dice!
Brandon: No, I don’t think that’s it.
Eric: No, probably not. I’m just gonna keep going. “Can you talk a little more broadly about collaborative story development and how you decide which player actions will or will not come to play a role in the future.
For the players, are there any things you’re hoping will come back or be addressed from previous episodes? Thanks for making such an amazing and immersive experience for all. I love the show and I’m so, so excited to see what’s to come.
Amanda: Aw, thanks Andrea.
Brandon: What’s to come? The times to come? They did another one.
Eric: The podcast of things to come. I put the Book of Things to Come in the library. I didn’t even think that Tracey would necessarily grab it. I just knew that it was in James’s bookshelf all the way back in the first arc.
Brandon: Like you had a list of books and that was one of them?
Eric: I did, I did.
Brandon: Okay, so you weren’t- it wasn’t like an off-the-cuff like-
Amanda: Man, what did we not touch? What did we not get?
Brandon: I know!
Amanda: I still think about the basement in the Speaker’s castle, I guess, in Antipolis.
Michael: In the government building, yeah. All the moths. No, I’m glad we didn’t go in there.
Amanda: I know, it would have been a dusty flappy mess.
Eric: We’re gonna have to run that at some point, because Connor and I put a lot of work into that-
Brandon: Is there a moth man involved?
You’ll never know.
Brandon: [whispering] Oh no.
Eric: See? This is what you miss.
Brandon: So, what would you have done if I had not picked up the Book of Times to Come?
Eric: Nothing. You would have-
Brandon: It just wouldn’t have existed? We wouldn’t know that we’ve been hunted from the beginning?
Eric: Well I think that, um… I think this will answer the larger question. So, I rolled a table about books that you could have taken off the shelf if you were looking for it. So, I don’t know if you remember, but I rolled to see what book you were gonna pull off the shelf.
Brandon: Yeah, was one of them ‘Magic Treehouse’ books?
Eric: He has the entire set, you just didn’t see it.
Amanda: Was one of them ‘The Art of French Cooking’?
Eric: No, actually.
Eric: Not a Julia Child lover.
Brandon: Why not?
Amanda: I guess France doesn’t exist in our world.
Eric: That. Because of that.
Brandon: Japan is canonical though.
Eric: Yes, it is. Julia Child’s a kobold, so she actually doesn’t have a lot of-
Amanda: Oh yeah, it’s actually-
Eric: It’s harder for her.
Amanda: Because she’s so tall.
Eric: So collaborative storytelling, I got this from Griffin McElroy when he talked about DMing. He said that when you put together a story for D&D, you need to have one very large story arc, and idea of what you think is gonna happen your entire campaign, but then you have smaller arcs which we literally have as our arcs or chapters, for you to fill everything in in the gaps in between.
So, I can bring something back if I thought it was interesting, and then I can figure out which of my arcs I am going to put it in. All of the stuff is at our disposal to come back. I think D&D is a lot like a Charles Dickens novel, where you should just expect that someone you met in like the first ten pages are just gonna like show up at the end and be like a big motivational character.
Amanda: Or an episode of ‘Law and Order: SVU.’
Eric: [singing ‘SVU’ theme] Bum-bum.
Brandon: And our campaign will be remembered forever.
Eric: Yeah, exactly.
Brandon: Classic literature.
Eric: Hey, it’s serialized. I talk a lot because I get paid by the word.
Amanda: Damnit, I was gonna make that joke!
Eric: Yes, got ‘em!
Eric: Got ‘em! So, the idea with the Book of Things to Come- I saw an idea of really putting something in the future and seeing if your characters were gonna think about it, and I decided to put it in, and now I’ve been able to re- to weave it back in. I knew there was gonna be Chronopolis, the city of time, but the idea of Ze’ol and putting him in the actual arc came to be a little bit later.
But there’s nothing wrong with threading it in later, I mean I didn’t know necessarily what’s gonna happen, but since it’s a collaborative medium, I’m writing so many things down, I’m just gonna have to throw away half of it anyway. So, I like keeping it open ended.
Michael: So basically, you’re saying Stoneface is the ultimate actual champion?
Eric: No, Stoneface is the Big Bad evil guy at the end.
Michael: Don’t you do that to us!
Brandon: Spoilers! Spoilers!
Brandon: He like sheds his skin in a Ganondorf kind of way.
Michael: It’s always been Ganondorf.
Eric: It’s always been Ganondorf. But no, I mean I like keeping things open ended. IF you look at my notes, they’re not as filled in as you’d think they might be, but I know that I can rely on myself to kind of put some stuff together, and I like relying on my players to kind of fill in details. There’s some stuff that’s gonna come back in the next few arcs that I’m really excited about, so keep an eye out for more references.
Brandon: Every time I see your notes, I panic.
Eric: I know.
Amanda: Just on the laptop, you have to go around the table for something, you’re like, “Ah no!”
Brandon: Yeah, I’m just like, “Eric, there’s just two sentences here. What do you mean?”
Eric: Eh, don’t worry about it.
Michael: Why is “butts” in both sentences?
Eric: Yeah, it’s true.
Brandon: The ratio of “butts” to other words is not appropriate for the English language.
Eric: Butts to details. That’s how I write out all my NPCs is in relationship to butts.
Amanda: ‘Butts to Details’ is my favorite Dickens novel, so-
Michael: Oh, very good.
Amanda: I really hope that we talk to Kohl again and not just because she was voiced last time by my companion form the cradle, Julia Schifini, but I think Kohl is dope. I love this idea of the steampunk magic driven technology that we have in our universe. I love a fantasy universe with tech of some kind.
So, I hope that in addition to Tracey’s excellent gun-mancy and all the other spells that we’ve done so far, I want to see it come back. I want to see like a technological city. I want to see a steam engine, you know? I want to see a logical extension in infrastructure of this thing we’ve established exists.
Brandon: Me too. That’s what I want to see a lot of, too. Gun-mancy is very good, by the way [laughing].
Amanda: I mean, you got it.
I want to see what Oatcake sees when she blinks other places, you know? Like I wanna deal with the whatever that would be- Ethereal Plane or Transitory Plane a little more.
Brandon: What else have we got?
Amanda: I have a question for you guys. It’s coming to be fall here in the Northern Hemisphere, and I want to know your favorite parts of fall, because I know that we’re all pro-fall.
Brandon: I am so pro-fall.
Amanda: Tell me!
Brandon: I wish that no other seasons existed.
Amanda: Same. Me also. That’s why I never want to leave Chronopolis.
Brandon: Same, so this is our announcement. We’re never leaving Chronopolis. This is the end of the podcast.
Michael: Oh, I see. Fall’s great because layers.
Michael: And because it’s not hot and you’re not sweating all the time.
Amanda: It’s also true. I really like caramel apples, and it’s very hard to find them outside of fall. If you’re not at a street fair and you’re not in fall…
Michael: You can always make ‘em.
Amanda: I have tried, and it is difficult.
Brandon: It’s hard to get caramel that sticks to the apple, especially if you have apples with like wax on the outside.
Amanda: Yeah, yeah, I just watched the caramel episode-
Michael: Episode of ‘Great British Bake-off’? I also did just watch that.
Amanda: Those- those fuckers- those fuckers’ caramel, man! And they’re all experts, and it’s hard still!
Michael: They messed up a lot.
Michael: They messed up a lot.
Amanda: I know. I think that what’s-his-face with the cute lisp had a problem. He came out of the gate too strong. He did those like when you do like a caramel ball that like drips and then it becomes a little sword that you can stab someone with?
Amanda: Anyway, he did that in the first episode-
Brandon: You know the sword stage of candy making?
Amanda: Yeah, shh don’t worry about it. He did that in the first week and I think he came out of the gate too strong, but that’s just me.
Eric you’re very pro-fall. What are your top five things for fall?
Brandon: Give us five or leave the show.
Eric: Okay. Uh, flannels. Boots. Thanksgiving. The aesthetic of Halloween. And also blankets to cover up the chill. That’s five.
Amanda: That’s very good.
Brandon: My favorite thing is having the- literally my favorite thing is having the window open and sitting on the couch with a blanket and a pillow watching a good movie.
Brandon: And at like twilight.
Eric: And just cider in general, both cold and hot. That’s six.
Amanda: Yeah, that’s true. We always did this thing growing up, because I have a delicate, delicate, um-
Amanda: What do you call the breathing system?
Amanda: Respiratory system, thank you. No, Eric’s right though I have a very delicate constitution, but to like make the house a little bit less dry in the winter time, my mom would always just take a big stock pot and just simmer it on the stove with some like pieces of orange, or like a cinnamon stick or something, and it makes the house smell really lovely, makes it a little less like awfully dry.
So, I do that like all the time in the wintertime and fall and it makes me so happy to walk into my house and it smells like cider. And also, very good holiday gift! You can give people some just like dried citrus peel and cinnamon sticks and star anise in a jar and it’s lovely.
Amanda: Thank you for joining us for this After Party, if it were less hot in this studio I would do a bunch of voices for my outro, but I’m not.
Brandon: I’ve got one.
Michael: [in transatlantic accent] How dare you, good sir!
Amanda: Go ahead, Brandon, give us one of the spiels.
Brandon: I’ll wait for the end.
Amanda: Okay, okay. Well if you want your name to be eligible for our next round of NPC lottery draws, you can join us at Patreon.com/jointhepartypod as little as one dollar you’ll get access to our Discord. At different levels you’ll get different bonus things. You’ll get periodic interesting art, or audio, or little commissions that we do for our patrons, and it’s really a lovely community. And if you make it this far, if you listen to the show, if you enjoy it, you really ought to listen to us there.
We also keep the party going on Twitter and Instagram and Tumblr @jointhepartypod in all the places, and if you have questions or suggestions or links or fan art that you want to share, hit us up on any of those sites or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always accepting more After Party questions, so please, send ‘em in.
I think that about does it for us, so I wish you goodbye.
Eric: [in deep Wolverine voice] Uh, see you later.
Brandon: You stole mine!
Eric: That was the one I did! Do your British voice!
Brandon: [in British accent] Cheerio, chap!
Michael: [in almost unintelligible wrestling announcer voice] Undying Light be with you!
Eric: That was like Hulk Hogan mixed with Nixon.
Michael: I know. It was so good. I didn’t do it.
Eric: I am not a crook, brother!
Michael: Yeah, you nailed that one.
Eric: One more voice to put in the arsenal.