Turning D&D into Queer Eye, doing children’s mazes, and cutting the podcast. 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
- Multitude: multitude.productions
Amanda: Hey, hi, hello! Welcome to the After Party, where putting grapefruit and tomatoes together on a platter is apparently the most groundbreaking culinary invention.
Brandon: There’s some vinagrette involved.
Eric: It’s poke! It’s poke, it’s so easy to do!
Amanda: It’s yuzu, it’s soy sauce with fuckin’ lemon and lime.
Michael: Oh my gosh, this is a vine, “You put watermelon inside a watermelon!” Anybody? No? Okay.
Amanda: Ah, we love “Queer Eye” at this table.
Michael: Also, can we talk about how that was accidental? We didn’t go into this episode going into, “We’re going to make this a ‘Queer Eye’ episode.” I love how it just became that.
Brandon: I did watch like 17 episodes of “Queer Eye” yesterday because I was very hungover, so this might have been on my mind.
Michael: That’s some feel-good viewing.
Amanda: But yeah, like I don’t know, I just saw Vince tied up- in my mind’s eye because that was when we were doing the game and imagination-
Amanda: And yeah, I felt bad for him. He didn’t ask for this and he needed some help, but as someone who also forgets the more quotidien aspects of like sleeping, and cleaning, and eating, when, you know, I’m feeling down, it made a lot of sense to me.
Brandon: Yeah, I think Tracey felt a lot of similarities with Vince, so it was nice to help someone.
Michael: It was sad to go into a home that was so generic and then no food, that was just- come on, now.
Amanda: I know.
Brandon: Not even a cup of sugar to make a cake!
Michael: You gotta have emergency meals ready, even if that’s ramen or-
Amanda: Yes, soup-
Michael: I always have cans of beans and rice.
Amanda: I like those frozen Trader Joe’s pizzas. I always have a couple in my freezer. If friends come over, oh look, appetizers! It’s great.
Brandon: Welcome to Join the Queer Eye Party, where we give you household tips.
Amanda: Welcome to Queer the Party, a party within a party where everyone gets a queer glow-up.
Eric: And Inara finally gets a girlfriend!
This was a collaboration between Ev, who helped us during the… what was the first- the first labor?
Amanda: The Running of the Cows.
Michael: Oh, is this a bit? Because it’s Ev?
Amanda: Actual Ev, who is actually a writer, doesn’t have any memory impairments.
Michael: I met him recently, he’s cool.
Brandon: He’s cool.
Amanda: He is cool.
Brandon: Very cool guy.
Amanda: He is cool. Has a cool beard.
Eric: Yeah, Ev worked with me on this one. This is more like me doing the heavy lifting, but again, some of these are based on Herculean labors, so the first labor you do is the Nemean Lion. The Nemean Lion is supposed to be impervious to attack because of its golden fur, but shooting it in the mouth with a powder blast is definitely not a non-magical attack with swords and weapons.
Amanda: So, what I’m hearing is we were rewarded for avoiding the very nice, kind of convenient crop-duster plotline, and instead making Trace into an anti-poison crop duster.
Brandon: That’s what I’m hearing, too.
Amanda: Yeah, avoiding your neat plot ends is helping us out, ultimately.
Eric: This is actually hilar- I mean this is what I was actually excited for for Labor Party. By doing this in any order, now you will do each Labor with like new things. Like, I wondered if you would use the magic hat. What would happen if Vince had been your enemy? Like now you have a friend who you can call on the phone, Brandon.
Amanda: Yeah what -
Brandon: The stone! First of all, I’d really like to see Vince as a cat with the idea hat on.
Brandon: He would just come up with better ways to eat people, I think.
Brandon: Like better traps. But those are Sending Stones. So, when we went away and did our individual things, Tracey on the side has been sort of trying to learn more magical construction, I guess, and the first thing you get as part of your Level 8, I think it is, or like Level 3-
Eric: When you get to Level 2 of being Artificer, you get to make a magical technology thing, and you chose Sending Stones.
Brandon: Right, and they’re usually like really small things, so the cool one was a Sending Stone, and I kind of just put my own flavor on it, but basically, they are just walkie talkies that will work everywhere, DM?
Eric: They actually have no defined space in between them. They’re more like cell phones. Like the Nextel walkie talkies.
Eric: From like 2005.
Michael: Which are still kind of, you know people still use those kind of, ebcause they have real upgraded, kind of heavy duty, you know like tough ones?
Eric: Right, they use them on construction sites and stuff.
Eric: So yeah, they’re actually like very, very powerful walkie talkies. So that’s really cool.
Brandon: So now anytime our party needs a giant lion to come eat something for us-
Amanda: Or a nice just regular guy who’s working on himself.
Brandon: Or yeah, I just wanna hang out with Vince.
Amanda: Yeah, I do. I like Vince.
Michael: I think we should.
Amanda: He doesn’t have to be a lion.
Michael: We’ll do a potluck.
Michael: He’ll like that.
Brandon: What would Johnny make for a potluck?
Amanda: Vince would use an air fryer to make a poke-inspired but- cooked?- appetizer.
Eric: Johnny would bring forks.
Michael: Johnny would do all of the like decoration and-
Amanda: He would do like froze. Sparkling froze with like edible glitter.
Brandon: That would be delicious! Tracey is fluffernutter sandwiches.
Eric: The Nemean lion is really interesting because since you can’t puncture him, or I guess in D&D terms, he has resistance to piercing, bludgeoning, and slashing damage from non-magical weapons, that means that the Nemean Lion can swallow you whole. I have a “swallow” action which I was going to do to Tracey if he had not grappled the lion’s jaws.
Brandon: I’m too big and strong, though. You can’t swallow me. I’m Tracey!
Eric: That would have been… [imitating Tracey] Tracey!
That would have been very bad, but then you would have rattled around in its stomach.
Brandon: That’s would have been fun.
Eric: Which would have been very funny.
Eric: I had this vision in my head about how this was gonna go: one of you was gonna fail miserably like Brandon did-
Eric: You were gonna get- one of you was gonna get swallowed, and then Vince was gonna show up again like, “Aw man, don’t know where he went! Probably went on into the cave” and then you would have set off one of the traps, and then you would have been knocked out, and then he would have eaten all of you.
Brandon: That would have been very good.
Eric: That would have been like Vince’s optimal plan.
Amanda: I was gonna say that would be very dark as the way you hoped this would go.
Michael: No, no, that’s not DM Eric’s plan, that’s Vince’s plan. Eric’s plan was only one of us get eaten and then the rest of us figure it out.
Eric: And then you guys figure it out, like “Where’s Inara?”
Brandon: We can just say that you were gonna have me screw up and get eaten. [laughing]
Michael: He doesn’t have to make you do it, you do it anyway.
Eric: Yeah, it wasn’t me. You screwed up by not being able to do your maze.
Brandon: Well, I argue that I am very good and solved it creatively.
Michael: To be clear, Eric actually gave us mazes, which isn’t the first time he’s done this to players.
Eric: That’s true.
Amanda: Paper mazes printed out. We had to do them.
Eric: That’s true. I did this with the campaign that I played with Amanda and Julia Schifini and Eric Schneider from the Spirits team. This is like the D&D game I was playing before I did Join the Party.
I just think it’s really fun to do a game inside of a game, so whenever you have a maze, you do a Survival check to figure out how good you are at doing the maze. You make like DC tiers of how well you do. So if you do really well, you get an easy maze, which you print out for children. You get a medium difficulty maze.
Michael: Also, for children.
Eric: Also, for children.
Amanda: Listen, I have no shame in killin’ an easy children’s maze.
Eric: You killed it.
Brandon: You did do that.
Amanda: I crushed it, yeah.
Eric: This one was actually a little bit harder. The one that I did originally for Amanda and Julia’s campaign-
Amanda: I think Julia got that one, it had like four lines in it.
Eric: She did! She was a ranger, so she was super good at Survival, and it was like a ladybug maze, so it on top of like a picture of an animal. It was very cute.
Brandon: If this had been a three-dimensional picture you’d given us, it would have just folded- see if you fold time and space, you get from one point to the other point.
Amanda: That’s a wormhole!
Eric: Yeah. That’s deep.
Brandon: A wormhole
Amanda: A wormhole. That’s what that is.
Brandon: So, you know, I solved it better than everyone, I think.
Eric: I would disagree with you.
Brandon: I mean, that’s why I’m the DM.
Amanda: It’s true. And a quick plug for our Instagram, instagram.com/jointhepartypod, we have a little photo of our mazes.
Brandon: I have a question for players.
Brandon: How are you guys feeling about these trials so far?
Amanda: I like it.
Brandon: How are you feeling about the approach that we’re taking?
Amanda: I also want to sleep.
Brandon: Wait, you or Inara?
Michael: Yeah, Amanda or Inara?
Amanda: Uh, regardless of my own personal feelings, no I think Inara is going to really get disoriented as time goes on, and sleep does not happen, and days just kind of restart. She can count on nothing except for the passage of the seasons.
Michael: I really like this approach. Michael really likes this approach, I think it’s fun. Johnny however is fully taking advantage of all these different changes for clothing changes.
Eric: Oh, for sure.
Michael: Which I’m excited that that just ended in winter times.
Brandon: Yeah, well you were a Jungle Cruise operator for this game.
Michael: I was a Jungle Cruise operator.
Brandon: You had the puns and everything.
Amanda: Like high socks, sandals.
Michael: Oh my gosh, of course.
Amanda: Cargo shorts.
Michael: Johnny has arctic weather sock-sandal combination, by the way.
Amanda: Oh wow.
Brandon: That seems really inefficient.
Amanda: Are they waterproof?
Michael: It is waterproof, and it totally works, and I will describe it when we get there.
Eric: God, I love being Ze’ol so much.
I think this is what happens when you have a triumvirate god system, like there’s a reason why pantheons have so many gods, because you want gods that have a specific personalities and mythologies, and like be specific characters that control that one thing.
But like since we only have a triumvirate here, it’s like old Jewish grandpa is responsible of so many things and he’s just like not that great at being a trickster. I think that’s like what he’s trying to function as, and he’s trying to regain some power here, even though he’s over a metaphysical barrel, but I really like it, and being him is really fun, so I like that he just kind of combined two labors and is like, “Fuck it.”
Brandon: How does he like being a compass?
Eric: Uh, he does not like being stuck in the compass.
Michael: I’m sure he appreciates having the eyebrows now, though.
Eric: He does, and it’s very funny.
Michael: That is my gift to him. Anytime we will be there, I will activate the eyebrows.
Eric: It’s good. This is very like Greek mythology, like gods have human foibles too, and I really like that. It’s fun to mess with.
Brandon: Yeah, I’m super interested that Tracey doesn’t have to sleep, so like at the end of these labors, both Inara and Johnny are going to be dying, and Tracey’s gonna feel great.
Michael: We’re not dying, we’re just tired and ready for a nap.
Amanda: Inara will be dying.
Brandon: I’m going to have to carry you on my back. It’ll be fun.
Eric: It’ll be cute.
Amanda: And Oatcake on my back.
Brandon: [gasps] That’s so cute.
Eric: It’s good. Do you guys wanna do some After Party questions?
Michael: Yeah, let’s do it.
Amanda: Yeah, let’s do it.
Eric: Brandon, I have two questions that are related to each other.
Brandon: I’m unprepared!
Eric: I’m sorry to hear that. This one comes from our Discord, from Grizzly Joe, who is also named Tim.
Brandon: What a good name.
Eric: Very good.
Eric: Why do you cut the podcast so heavily? Was that a decision you made from the beginning, or are there things you cut out for sure in every episode?
Brandon: That’s a big question, and I want everyone to talk on it, obviously. But from my perspective, the barrier to entry for a lot of D&D podcasts is that they are so long, and it takes so long to get to anything meaningful. And like that’s a style of show, like if you’re just looking to like hang out and sort of be at the table with someone, that’s great, that’s what you enjoy. Very cool. I do not want to do that. I am very much like a plot and story person, and so I think tighter editing serves the story better.
In terms of things that always get cut, not really. My only like big rule is jokes have to stay in the universe unless they’re like really good. There’s a lot of bloopers that I cut that are very good jokes, but ultimately don’t serve the narrative or the story, so they end up in the bloopers, which is fun for our patrons if you’re a patron. But other than that, honestly most of the editing is like clean-up. Long silences, long thinking sessions, us debating about whether or not to do a thing.
Amanda: Dice falling off the table.
Brandon: Dice falling off the table.
Amanda: Glasses clinking.
Michael: References to Johnny being a- you’re gonna cut this, I just realized, that he’s a licensed therapist.
Brandon: Yup. Do you guys agree with that it’s- that it’s good to edit that tightly, what do you-
Amanda: Yeah, for me it kind of came out of the way that we played and designed the first two episodes, where we did months of pre-production and planning to make sure that this story was inviting to people who had never played D&D before, like myself.
So, having a ton of, you know, dice rolls or banter among the players, like it’s nice to hear people on podcast that feel like they’re friends and feel like I am one of their friends too, but there becomes a point where that is like off-putting to outsiders. Like I didn’t listen to McElroy podcasts for a long time because I was like, “I think they’re doing a bit, but I don’t know,” and you just don’t you know. You have to really get the humor in order to get the humor, and so it can be hard to start.
So that’s why I really like that we kind of put story first and then people come to know us through that, and the After Party if they want to, and if they don’t it’s fine. They can still enjoy our story. That is why we have the After Party too, so that we have a chance to talk about our choices, our characters, to hang out with each other and be a little more conversational.
Brandon: Loose, yeah.
Amanda: Because, yeah, we want to let people choose their experience. And if they wanna have both, they have both, and if they have time to listen to two recaps and then they can tune into our newest arc, they can do that too.
Brandon: And for the After Party, I don’t think I edit much out at all. It’s only like cleanup at that point. And anything that gets like too long-winded. But we had some big discussions at the top for that first episode. Like we had some initial edits and I think there was some like, “Hey I remember this joke being really good. What happened to that joke?” and it was like, it was out of universe, do we want that? It’s like a style choice, like a tone choice. We were really intentional about how we edited that first episode, and listening back it’s like you can kind of tell [laughs].
Michael: But it set the stage for-
Brandon: It set the tone and style for- exactly, for what we did down the line, and I think now where I am now, it’s something I’m super proud of, the way it’s edited and put together, and the way it’s structured and flows and everything. Yeah.
Eric: Something we always edit are fights. Initiative fighting, I think, is the least effective way to talk about fighting or combat on podcasts, so we spend a lot of time chopping things from there, like me discussing the maps, or people deciding what to do next, or-
Amanda: Or me being like, “Wait the door’s on the North side? Wait which side? The North side?”
Brandon: That’s actually really interesting, too, because we have to be really careful to leave in just enough direction for the listener to know where it is.
Brandon: But the listener has the luxury to rewinding, while us in the moment do not.
Brandon: So, we have to re-ask questions to make sure that we’re understanding, where you can just rewind if you don’t understand a direction.
Michael: And sometimes you get a little more information from that re-ask, or like you interpret it a different way and you learn something, so you have to edit that in as well-
Brandon: Right, and make that smooth, yeah.
Eric: I need to think about that critically. That’s why I never use minis. That’s why I very rarely use maps unless I need to make something explicitly clear to you three and then to the listeners.
Amanda: I also ask about the rules of Advantage every time Advantage is involved [laughs].
Eric: No one should ever play a rogue. Rogues are too complicated.
Amanda: Who let me play a rogue?!
Brandon: What’s also super interesting about fight scenes, is the thing that we- that Amanda talks about which I love is- and the thing I’ve been thinking about a lot as like podcasting and sound design and editing, is like impressionism. It’s about recreating the feeling that you have in the moment for the listener.
So like fights without music- I hate having fourteen-minute-long music tracks, but without that like constant rhythm behind it that like drives it forward, they’re so boring.
Eric: Yeah. Agreed.
Brandon: Oh my god, they have no energy.
Brandon: Like they have less energy than dialogue does, which is bonkers.
Amanda: Yeah, and maybe that is an argument for people that stream their games, or that put up almost unedited or completely unedited videos or audio of their sessions is that like over that length of time, you can kind of lose yourself in the conversation. You feel like you’re at the table. And when the plot builds, you kind of build along with it.
But we have like as shortcut and a fast pass, and we don’t leave in all of that like time and tension and like players squabbling and whatever that might be, so we need another way to make people care about the stakes like we do here very close together at one table, watching the story unfold in our imaginations.
So, I’m super glad, and I don’t know, we’re so lucky that Brandon has all these skills to do these things. Between the music and the sound design and the great editing and just having a great editorial point of view, because it takes everybody’s talents from the writing, to the story, to the individual playing, to just supporting each other as people that makes this actually happen.
Brandon: Yeah, thank you.
Eric: You know, that segues really nicely into another question. One of Brandon’s other skills is remembering fucking continuity.
Amanda: Yes, god.
Eric: So, this question comes from Amara, “Do you guys ever reference something that had been previously cut or used for bloopers? How do you keep track of it all?”
Amanda: All the time.
Brandon: You know what the funny thing is? When we were talking about things that we want to come back, a second ago, or a minute ago, or maybe an episode ago at this point, I don’t know. I’ve listened to every episode, I don’t know, four times at least? And I don’t remember most of it [laughs].
Eric: I do.
Brandon: I just know when I make intentional choices about this being in canon or not.
Eric: Yeah, in my head I have to flag things that I definitely want to come back to, so there are things that I remember that I definitely am going to bring back into the adventure. One example is the Book of Things to Come.
Brandon: Yeah. Which I think is a good example of teamwork, where you fill in the gaps where I can’t and vice versa.
Eric: It’s between Brandon and I. I mean, Brandon has listened to it enough times that he has a working knowledge of a lot of the stuff in there, and he knows the difference between things that are cut and not cut, so I fill in all of the more detailed questions.
Brandon: And I rely on you to bring things back to the story later.
Eric: Exactly. I think there are only two examples of things that Brandon cut that got referenced.
Michael: Racoon. I’ve been waiting to yell racoon and I’m angry you got there first.
Amanda: [laughing] Sorry!
Brandon: But the racoon didn’t get cut, though. It’s in there, it’s just not the quite the extent of the entire conversation.
Michael: But still!
Amanda: You cut the line where I was like, “Wait that was my werewolf potion! Does that mean it’s a were-racoon?” and everyone’s like, “We’re moving on.”
Michael: Racoons drinking, becoming friends, there was a whole racoon episode basically.
Eric: Hold on. Just to remember, back in Antipolis when we met Jamie for the first time, Fish threw the bucket of wine that had a werewolf potion in it into a dumpster, and then we established later that there were racoons in said dumpster.
Amanda: I think we actually saw a racoon walking drunkenly away from the dumpster.
Amanda: And then we were like, “Wait there was werewolf potion in that. Eric are we gonna have were-racoons?” and then we were like, “Moving on.”
Michael: Because we had seen them on our way into the tavern, and then on our way out, thinking that we would have were-racoons, and thinking that oh racoons appreciate a good thing of wine, they’d become our friends, we would have racoon werewolf companions.
Brandon: Okay, so this is a good example of something that is really funny, so I tried my hardest to keep it in, but the entirety of the segment does not serve the narrative, and it’s very long, and I also try to keep things under an hour if possible because it’s a long show.
Amanda: And we were on our way to a big plot reveal, and then we were just freakin’ fuckin’ around-
Eric: Two of us here really wanted to move on, but the other two [all laughing]
Michael: Really wanted to fucking know what was going on with the racoons! It was a big deal!
Amanda: Listen, I just wanna remember my items! I wanna remember my items! I remember my items. I remember them. I remember my items.
Brandon: So, it had no bearing on the further narrative, so if things don’t have bearing on narrative or they don’t serve the comedic function, they should not be in your show. Period. That’s my opinion.
Eric: Listen, I agree with you. The secret is, Brandon and I were the ones who wanted to move the story forward.
Michael: I don’t know how you can tell based on two people’s enthusiasm and two people’s quiet.
Eric: That was- it was a spoiler.
Brandon: But what’s the other thing?
Eric: The other thing is that Fish has been trying to establish that Johnny is a licensed therapist for about thirty episodes now.
Michael: I feel like- I can’t even remember when Johnny revealed that he had a degree in clinical psychology. I have a diploma-
Amanda: I have a feeling it was at the start of Pool Party?
Michael: I have here- it says, “Diploma of clinical psychology,” so I see that because it’s in my times.
Brandon: I think I cut that- there was a reason I cut it. Well, again, partially because it doesn’t serve narrative, but part of editing is trying to make everyone sound their funniest and best at all times, and I think the way it was set up it wasn’t- like it didn’t have a punchline really. Like the punchline wasn’t very punchy.
Michael: Oh sure.
Brandon: A lot of our jokes I’ll edit to make the punchlines punchier.
Amanda: Thank you.
Brandon: Like because-
Like Amanda and we were saying we’ll sort of riff until we get to the funny part, so I’ll just cut some of the riff, so we get right to the funny part, so it’s punchier.
Amanda: Would you say we cut to the feeling?
Brandon: I would say that we cut to the feeling, yes.
Brandon: But I’m sorry, Fish.
Michael: I mean, don’t apologize to me. Johnny’s the licensed therapist.
Brandon: [laughs] We’ll have a talk with him later.
Amanda: Thank you so much for joining us for this After Party. I hope that your cabinets are well stocked and that you think of some freezer meals that you can keep around for emergencies.
Please let us know what you thought of the episode and if you have any questions for the next After Party, @jointhepartypod on Twitter or Tumblr, or you can email us, firstname.lastname@example.org. We love hearing from you.
Seriously, this show is fun to play, but it’s a lot more fun to enjoy it with you and to listen to what you have to say, and to discuss with our patrons in Discord every single dang day. Patreon.com/jointhepartypod is where you can get in on that action for as little as one dollar.
Seriously, I didn’t think I had room for another chat forum in my life, but the Discord is the thing that I check when I wake up and before I go to bed, like it’s my favorite place on the internet. So, thank you to everybody for supports us there. And for those of us who are about to join, we salute you.
Brandon: Bye guys!
Eric: See you later!
Michael: Undying Light be with you, and I ain’t lion.
[Brandon and Amanda groan]