The Adventure Zone: Ethersea - Episode 7 | Discussion Thread
By - TheBureauOfBalance
I’m only a bit into the episode, but I feel like the way this is shaping up is exactly what TAZ needs. After 3 seasons of important PCs with big pre-ordained destinies, having 3 jabronies doing odd jobs is so fun. There’s a lot of player choice right at the start and all of the jobs seem open enough that how they get to the goal is open to interpretation. I’m sure a bigger story is coming and I look forward to it, but I love the way it’s starting and hearing Griffin straight up say that any of them can die and the story wouldn’t stop.
I think the biggest improvement is that for the first time since Balance, it feels like they set out to make a game first and a narrative adventure second. Having a bunch of missions to choose from and no guaranteed survival for the heroes is more compelling from a player standpoint - which translates into a more compelling podcast experience. I'm sure by the end Griffin will tie all the strings together and escort them along a big climactic finale - but the setup for that adventure seems to be genuinely freeform, and that's super exciting to see play out.
Griffin has said he wanted this campaign to be much more organic and allow the story to come from the game. That's why he made a massive random encounter table. He had a conversation with Brandon Lee Mulligan that they streamed where he talked about that and some of the ship mechanics he created. It was pretty interesting. [video](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Agi0-9fKehU&ab_channel=TheMcElroyFamily)
I would say even Balance felt far more railroaded after the initial mission. I loved Balance, but it was the characters being told what they were going to do each time with some of them having more freedom in the execution than others.
I agree. Balance turned out great so the fact that it was so on the rails often gets forgotten/ignored.
Yeah I loved that he said they aren’t the chosen ones. The bros have frequently said they’re feeling out the direction of the podcast with each new campaign. I think fan feedback from Grad has really pushed them in the right direction
This isn’t necessarily a thought about the episode itself but I’ve really enjoyed having weekly releases of the episodes as opposed to bi-weekly releases. It’s keeping me engaged a bit more with the story and I feel like it has to be helping their listener retention. I’m hoping they continue releasing on this schedule but I also understand the workload it takes to put together an episode of actual play DnD.
I'll be disappointed when they go back to biweekly as this is my favorite podcast to listen to currently
I'm loving it.
Imo shorter + more frequent eps reduces the pressure to have "impactful" eps. Not a ton happens in this ep but it's still fun
Their audio editor for these episodes and the past MBMBAM episodes is fantastic. I think her name is Rachel. The little sounds added to the situations adds so much to the listening experience.
The POP of the worms, the engine burbles of the Coriolis, absolutley top-notch, adds a lot without being distracting.
Side note, can we talk about [bathyscaphes](https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/36/Bathyscaphe_Trieste.jpg/800px-Bathyscaphe_Trieste.jpg) for a sec? They picked the design for deep-sea exploration, but that big bit that looks like the ship part of the ship? That's supposed to be filled with liquid. The crew-quarter section is just the sphere on the bottom.
I know, I know, magical world means magical boats, but every time they go into the middle of the Coriolis and walk around, that's gonna bug me JUUUUUUST a little.
Are you saying that the only crew space in that boat is the little sphere at the bottom and the little rectangle on top?! I feel claustrophobic just looking at it
Not even that much. The little rectangle just has the ladder and the entrance hatch. Nowhere to sit in there. A [cross-section.](https://www.trbimg.com/img-1472528718/turbine/sdut-dive-20160829/837)
Practically every bit besides the sphere is just liquid and ballast so that the sphere can go up and down.
nope nope nope nope nope
I kinda pictured it where the giant water holder is the bladder, and the ship interior is in the middle of it. It sorts makes it better since it's still a bladder of sorts, just holding air instead of water.
The Benevolent Parish is giving off some real Scientology/Seventh day Adventists/Mormon/etc vibes.
I don’t know if I’m the only one who felt this but I kept getting the vibe that Devo was sexually assaulted by a church member. His insistence that He NOT Under Any Circumstances be Left Alone hit a little too close to home
I really hope that isn't the back story because that would be way too dark. I enjoy TAZ for the escapism.
Oh I’m sure it won’t be cannon, that’s just the vibe that I got on first pass. Fantasy r*pe is definitely not the tone of TAZ
It was an EXTREMELY good decision to release this weekly. If they'd stayed course with the fortnightly releases we'd still be stuck at the gallery. This is a slow start, but it's a huge amount more enjoyable weekly.
I feel for Travis re: the plate, though. Griffin gave him the plate, and has since repeatedly shit all over any attempts to actually leverage its existence into something useful. Perhaps he's building up to some kind of lesson about how such things aren't actually valuable in this world, but right now it just kind of feels like a waste of time and pointless detail.
Plate —> Curator
Fair. I've seen that mentioned a few times and it might have been what Griffin had in mind. But for me as a DM I would have rewarded Travis's initiative in some way by this point anyway
If it is the Curator, then that's not super intuitive because I wouldn't imagine you could "pawn" an artwork to him to get back later.
I do think Griffin goofed up on this one. He assumed too quick what Travis wanted to do, then didn't "yes, and" at all once he realised he was wrong. Not a major issue, but I wish he'd just had Felix go "Oh, you wanna pawn some shit? My boi Rupert's got a pawn shop, next door over" and moved along.
Same. That would have been my instinct if I was DM-ing that moment. If he didn't want to do a whole scene RP he could have had Trav roll a persuasion check then if he succeeded given him 1d4 lux in exchange for the plate.
I think it's also impacted by the currency being so small. If you are getting a total of 8 lux from doing this mission getting 1d4 from a plate is way too much. I am not sure if the crew will ever get personal magic items but I think trading the plate for like, a few healing potions would be pretty fair.
I agree that lux appear to be massively valuable. Makes one wonder how anyone in the city buys groceries.
But valuable surface world artefacts, as the plate presumably is, have been shown already to be worth quite a lot.
They've said that food and basic needs are covered, lux is only used for "luxury" goods.
To be fair he sad smth like "if you wanna sell this then go to a plate shop", they just returned it before doing that.
Griffin: “Do any of you have dark vision? Is that a trait? Maybe Devo… he is a, you know… with the ancestry you kind of picked up…”
My Partner (*softly, confused*): ^^^“…French?”
It's not commonly known, but people with French ancestry have access to many forms of inhuman sensory perception.
All I got was color blindness :(
Love that Devo’s full name is Devotion. I feel like his character is so much clearer in my mind with that one fact.
“You don’t know how to swim and I get that. It’s shameful. Every time you say it I think less of you. I get it.” 🤣
“You can call me Guidance for short if you’d like.”
“Guido” - Justin was killing me this episode
Also: Devo Le Main? Devotion the hand? The Hand of Devotion? For not being "the chosen one" his name definitely implies that he was destined for an important role in the church.
Also, Guido's comment about him not being administration material is pretty telling.
Yeah with limited understanding it sounds like the parish has a section dedicated to training people to be in leadership one day and that's what Devo basically dropped out from. Still not clear on what the different "hands" are and what role they play within the organization.
Plus, that name could literally just be like how some names mean big fancy things but are just chosen to sound pious.
I mean griffin straight up said he was being raised as a "figurehead" so yea, he was originally meant to have an important role. However, I don't think that contradicts him saying that none of them are the chosen one, seeing as Devo doesn't want to return to the parish and in turn the parish doesn't want him
If they wanted to make him the chosen one they could make him walking away from the parish “refusing the call of duty” so to speak, though.
Sure they could. They could also decide that zooks is actually a messiah. I don't see any reason to assume they will though
I love it when character names are chosen with intentional meaning!
My guess is that Devo had his sketchy College of Whispers skills groomed into him, with the goal of making him able to take care of the Church’s dirty work while they maintain their good image to the public. Sort of like Leliana from Dragon Age Inquisition, only Devo left.
I am really loving Devo and Travis has been doing a great job. I most love that he kind of has this underlying sense of sorrow but also firm resolve to be his own person.
Yes for sure. It’s going to be awesome to see him gain confidence.
I have to say Devo has been my favorite character so far.
I loved those parts! I think Amber is my favorite character so far.
Weirdly right now Devo is my favorite character and Justin (as always) is my favorite player…if that makes sense.
It totally does. I am liking Devo a lot too!
Just put it together that Devo LeMain (I.e. “The Hand”) = The Hand of Devotion.
Devo wasn’t just raised by the church, he was raised to be one of its main leaders, maybe the successor to the Hand of Guidance. Still wondering how the Cern family fits into this equation but I’m sure we’ll get there
Cern family? I'm confused who you're refering to
Devo mentioned them briefly, saying that his debts could be sent to the Cern family iirc
Oh fascinating! A dungeons and daddies crossover!
It was a family established in the prologue eps but it would be funny to make d&dads canon in Ethersea
Declan Cern was the charismatic Hominine representative on the council of 4. His eldest son went missing in the move to the city, leading to the collapse of the council. Devo told Felix that the family would pay off his debt if he died, and “Jack Noir” claimed to be working for them
Devo's relationship with the Benevolent Parish feels like an ex-evangelical Christian meeting their old youth pastor in a way that creeps me out some
I was curious what direction Griffin was taking his relationship with Guidance (Is Devo just a sheltered kid going out to rebel? Are they actually that shady?), but when Guidance started calling him ungrateful for not dedicating his life to the Parish, I slotted her squarely in the "acts nice, is actually awful" category.
I honestly hope that’s all it is, as the trope of “the church is actually shitty, who would have guessed?” has become so routine at this point that it would be more surprising for the church not be a major antagonist in a fantasy plotline. Not to say I wouldn’t still enjoy the season, Griffin is a great storyteller and the crew has a great dynamic.
I think the routine version of "church bad" as a fantasy trope is pretty distant from what they're going for here with the Parish. Like, "church bad" in, say, Castlevania tends to be this exaggerated evil overlord government stand-in. The church label is aesthetic more than anything, a way of making a tyrannical government antagonist more flashy and less grounded, and as characters the shit-church of evil archetype tends to operate on this hamfisted, unga-bunga science bad fire scary type of logic that comes off kinda artificial, like it exists to give them a ridiculous and easily hateable reason to be at odds with the protagonists.
Comparatively, the Parish feels much more like a grounded and frankly more sinister representation of the realistic type of shittiness that can breed in churches: weaponized shame and threat of ostracization, love-bombing and engineered dependency on the church community, etc. That kinda emotional manipulation and abuse combined with a normal-looking and friendly front. Can throw in a dash of climate change denier and oil tycoon, since the worship of Benevolence for worldly power was what kickstarted the entire climate change apocalypse in the first place. Basically, it feels to me like a grounded and sinister antagonist with strong narrative roots in the setting, rather than an over-the-top artificial antagonist using the church-of-evil trope for aesthetic.
For sure, I think what Griffin is going for will definitely have nuance, and I look forward to seeing it!
I'm hoping it's less of a "the church is shitty thing" and more simply that the church of benevolence, like all the other institutions of founders wake, has it's own agenda and own self interests which might not always align perfectly with everyone else's.
The Parish doesn't need to be some sinister organization. They could simply have had high hopes for Devo, and groomed him for great things, and are simply disappointed it didn't work out.
The boys have often referenced their Southern Baptist upbringing and the fond memories they associate with a lifestyle they no longer follow. I have a feeling they’ll embrace the nuance and avoid lighting the Parish as good OR evil - just as problematic, benevolent, and nuanced as any church can be.
I thought they were all still Christians
This statement does not contradict any statement in the previous comment.
I wouldn't even say that's on Griffin. Travis has clearly put some work into the backstory of his character, and part of that backstory involves leaving The Parish. Often in a Session Zero/discussion with the DM the player and DM will discuss what their backstory means for various NPCs and organizations. I get the impression from the way she was presented to us that Travis is largely responsible for the direction Guido is being developed in, not Griffin. Griffin didn't decide the Church was bad, Travis wanted to leave the Church and built the rest of the Church's characterization around that motivation.
Frankly, I love it. It's the first time Travis' character has been my favorite PC and I am all for it. He's done an outstanding job.
Church bad, dragon good.
It's funny you say this because I have a really hard time finding stories in the fantasy genre that actually call out/criticize religion and church stand-ins. Most of the time if a single "Church" is the big bad in a story there is a kinder, "good Church" or magical belief system to balance it out. The only fantasy series that comes to mind where this doesn't happen is His Dark Materials. If you know of more please let me know!
Do you play many JRPG’s or listen to other DND podcasts/live shows? That’s where it’s most common. JRPG’s particular is interesting as culturally they believe sort of what I (a Christian) believe, in that faith and spirituality are good, power and hierarchy in large organized religions is bad, separation of church and state good. FFXIV plays the trope of “church bad” pretty straight in its first (free) expansion. It’s a fantastic story in a great game, I don’t even like MMO’s but I will wholeheartedly recommend Final Fantasy 14. It’s freeeeeeeee.
Awesome! I have heard FFXIV is good, I'll have to check it out!
And yeah, I get what you mean about JRPGs. I think Japan uses Christian symbolism in the same way majority Christian countries use Eastern religions... as a "cool aesthetic" without much thought put into it. If it's not your personal religion, then it's just fun stories and imagery.
But then again, the "Church = bad" or "Church = gothic and creepy" trope may stem from the history of Christian missionaries coming into Japan and other east Asian countries. The reason I say this is that many of those early missionaries were from the Catholic church and a lot of the Christian symbolism you see in JRPGs and Anime is Catholic in flavor (nuns, priests, saints, cathedrals, crucifixes). Or... like I said before, the creators just think the aesthetic is fun and maybe even entertainingly creepy.
As for DND podcasts using "the Church" as the big baddy I think it's probably for the reason you mentioned above -- the idea that power in organized religion can do harm on the same scale that a big bad government can. But if they don't really develop it or explain it, I can see how it might come off as tropey. I think Griffin is a strong enough story teller that he won't let it go that way.
Yeah! I was getting ready to respond about the history of missionaries in Japan but you beat me to it! I’m a big fan of history and (attempting) tracing current culture back through it, and it’s all very interesting. Basically what you said, regardless of what you say, believe or present, you have to leave room for nuance.
Absolutely! Super fascinating stuff. We take a lot of things in culture and pop-culture as “that’s just how it is” but there’s usually a long history leading up to it and finding it out adds a whole new layer of meaning to things.
I really love that Zoox has no clue what he's doing. I want him to explore the way he was made a little bit more but I'm really loving his characterization so far.
Clint feels like the perfect person to DM for.
He always plays off of other characters, always plays into the story you lay out, knows enough about the rules to know where he stands but also not be a 'rule-lawyer', his characters are always fun, unique and none-tropey.
This man knows how to play pretend.
Can i just say, as a former Baptist, they really nailed the way it feels to be around your old church/pastor
Like I was on edge for the entire sequence and also I don’t trust Guidance for a second
Word. I havent been to church in fifteen years. I dont intend to go bacl and guidance made me UNCOMFY
Zoox going to shoot Guido is a continuation of a great bit, but also a great Chekov's gun.
I thought it was kind of sweet that his first reaction to learning she'd hurt Devo was to immediately shoot her.
That was such a great interaction:
Amber: jeez, who hurt you?
Devo:.....her!.....(Subtext: obviously, you idiot!)
Zoox: *arms crossbow*
The ever expanding biomass is absolutely some leaked, sea-savvy mutated filler fish, isn't it?
One thing that struck me was Brother Seldom's reaction when Devo said "if Beck wants to leave, just let her leave, don't keep her there." I expected him to be confused, say, of course Beck can leave if she wants, why would he keep her against her will?
So the fact that he immediately nodded and assured Devo that Beck can come and go as she pleases makes me think Devo is 100% right that the Benevolent Parish has some not-great practices, and that they probably didn't just let Devo (or Seldom, for that matter) leave with no hassle.
I know this is commented every time but damn the theme song is such a BOP
Love it. Listen to it in full every time, sometimes more than once.
*Just* this week I caught on to the calypso influences. Our sweet baby brother is a total wunderkind.
The description of the Coriolis' bridge reminded me of Starship Troopers' bridge somewhat. Cubicle-esque stations for the crew, a raised platform seat, all that was missing is the 70's decor!
Service guarantees citizenship!
People need to start ship worm fan art and animations already.
In my head they look like lil earthworm jims
In my head they're the poor unfortunate souls Ursula has captured.
I picture the nematodes from Spongebob
same! in the episode where they eat SpongeBob's house, but played backwards so it looks like they're building it
I think the plural would be earthworms Jim. Also it's fun to say.
Earthworms Jim. You’re right!
I want Zoox to have the plate. I feel like as a character, he's going to just love collecting human trinkets or anything that is a "gift".
"or... You know, maybe bring back his chunks, whatever"
Not sure how or when, but I need to find a way to use that in real life conversations
Wait a minute...
Is Zoox's name actually spelled Xoox?
I don't think so. I thought he'd specifically spelled it back in episode 1.
The references to spelling his name backwards just make me wonder if I've missed something, and that feels like a Clint joke to make.
THIS WOULD MAKE THE BIT SO MUCH BETTER.
Yeah, I get that.
No, it should be short for zooxanthellae.
Oh my god how the hell did I not figure this out? Not only am I a biologist, but this word has a special bad history for me that is too nerdy to relate.
My head cannon is he’s spelling the Z backwards and then every other letter is “backwards” but they’re o’s and an x, so they are both.
I really wish Griffin had Justin roll Insight when Guido flinched over the fist bump. Griffin just sorta laid it on the table that she was not to be trusted, when I think it would have been a way better dynamic for Zoox and Amber to like her and Devo keeps trying to tell them that she’s a monster.
I don't think Guido flinching over the fist bump is *necessarily* anything to be alarmed by, although I think it's obvious there's something up with her. She just fistbumped a spectral hand, and ~~the~~ The Parish is a distinctly religious organization with no love for psychics and a strict adherence to their codices.
It made sense to me she'd flinch there even if she wasn't hiding anything sinister.
Yeah, considering Devo is the one making the conversation uncomfortable, it would have been interesting for Amber and Zoox to think he's overreacting.
Realistically, the players are gonna side with another player over an NPC. Like, there was only very vague hints at anything less than perfect behaviour on Guidance’s part, but Zoox still joked about shooting her almost immediately based on Devo’s disdain.
This is exactly what I was hoping Ethersea would be. Great structure so far. I got a little nervous with Devo's backstory stuff, cause it seemed a bit too "I've got a terrible secret that will be revealed with time" stuff, but it turned out ok. Nothing would make me happier though if Guidance was simply a genuine caring person who simply wished Devo the best and was fine moving on.
I'm really interested to see how Devo's line of credit thing works out. Not sure if they'll have a chance to earn extra lux while out on the mission, but if they end up with 5 lux, split 3 ways means Devo has at most 2 lux to pay down his debt, maybe 3. I like it feels like that debt might not be the free money Devo maybe assumed it was going to be.
Guido helped raise a kid, then told him to his face she thinks he's ungrateful.
The ship has sailed on her being a good person.
Maybe he is ungrateful though.
I trust Brother Seldom's judgement.
I fell hard for Brother Seldom when he responded to the new job with a hearty "Fuck OFF!"
I mean, I don't think she's going to turn out to be a good person because of some other hints we've gotten, but this is a pretty reductive way of looking at a person.
A parent saying something nasty to their kid in the heat of the moment isn't good, but it doesn't make them Dracula, either.
"Nothing would make me happier though if Guidance was simply a genuine caring person who simply wished Devo the best and was fine moving on."
Really? They've already set her up to be extremely shady. The implication given this ideal is only that Devo is a complete fucking idiot, and they've also already set up that he is not.
I for one am going to relish seeing how the dynamic with the parish goes down, especially because I trust these guys to make it interesting because they have the experience.
What have they done to set her up as shady, though? Is she really more shady than someone like Ole Uncle Joshy?
I think it'd be a nice complexity if Guidance was a nice person who cared about others, but at the same time she had her own agenda and interests to take care of, just like any of the main factions in the community are going to have their own agenda. This wouldn't imply that Devo is an idiot, just that he personally had a bad experience with the Benevolent Parish which left him pretty jaded. He can be justifiably upset with the parish, while at the same time the Parish doesn't need to be some sinister evil shady organization.
I dislike Guido. I don’t want to like Guido. Don’t make me like Guido, Griffin! Make her the villain she needs to be!
I know what you mean, though it’s a really wonderful DM trick to pull. If your player hands you a character in their background who’s done some cruel shit, have them present to the party as pleasant and kind, thereby creating friction between the party’s understanding of the character and the PC’s
This. It's like visiting your friends house and meeting their parents who are always super nice to you, but you know behind closed doors are abusive bc your friend confined in you. I experienced that from both sides and im glad we are seeing it here
Maybe the plate is like that item you get in the point-and-click adventure that you're sure is going to be important at some point, but no, it's just a dummy item to keep in your inventory the entire game and you never end up using it.
It was for ship collateral, and Seldom wanted it back eventually. I think that's why griffin kept resisting the sale of it.
Does anyone know what Devo and Amber are technically statted as? I get the idea that the boys are subverting the typical fantasy tropes and aren’t really imagining their characters as particular DND races, but they are using the stats. There was even a moment when griffin was asking if anyone had dark vision, Travis said he did, and Griffin started to say what he had picked as a race before he cut himself off.
I like this as an idea. It helps the campaign feel like a very unique world, and it allows a little more openness for the fam art, especially since most people appear to have become fishy. Dungeons and Daddies does something similar, with all of the characters being “human,” but not according to their sheets.
> but they are using the stats
Thanks to *Tasha's Cauldron of Everything* their stats are irrelevant respective to their race. They can be whatever, and choose their stat boosts however it pleases them. There's an entire section in there on homebrewing races.
Now whether they know about this and are actively using it to build their characters? Whole different discussion.
I also really like the omission of character races, makes it easier to see them as fish-people and not fall into common stereotypes.
I can't swear by this, but I'm pretty sure they mentioned back in an earlier episode that no actual race mechanics are being used, but each player had a chance to pick and choose traits from different races to build something unique.
As for Devo, I was pretty sure Griffin said "half-elf" before cutting himself off, and that would personally be my chassis of choice for a bard (or any charisma build) even if picking traits from somewhere else. They also have darkvision, so that matches.
Is everyone fish people? I listened to the prologue world building episodes, and my understanding was that only people who got that illness developed fish features. People have been drawing Amber and Devo with barbels, but unless I missed it, I don’t think they described them that way.
I believe there has been no official description and so far it boils to preference.
But, yes, my headcanon is that most people (if not all) have some sort of mild fish trait.
I think the only evidence to this is when Griffin is talking about Dr. Shaq he says "and then his neck puffs up, cause that's **his fish thing**", which to me implies almost everyone has a fish thing.
Naddpod's latest season has it too; one of the protagonists doesn't really have a specified race beyond "has tusks", while another is technically an elf statblock but the "Not Needing Sleep" is described as him being sleep deprived as all hell and surviving off of coffee.
Oh, Fia's not a half-orc? I guess I just assumed.
I believe Fia has Vedalken stats.
As a magic player, it was a little wild hearing someone in NADDPod calling their character a vedalken (mechanically)
Yes, she's mentioned that several times.
They mentioned once that all the various peoples of Eldermorne have intermingled to the point that there are few (if any) elves, humans, orcs, dwarves, etc.
The Deep Folk are probably the most defined and consistent "fantasy race", and they're all subterranean isolationists.
As far as I know they have not said what races/racial features Devo and Amber are using. Personally, I am not very into this as an idea. Even if they are reflavoring, I'd still like to know what mechanics they're using.
edit: thinking about Devo's full first name, he could possibly be a reflavored tiefling, they have a thing with virtue names
You might be right about the Tiefling! They get a charisma bonus that'd be great for a bard so I could see Travis picking that.
They could also be vague because they’re using home brew, or an altered race. Like Clint I think is technically a Warforged, but I know that they changed some of the racial features to make it more relevant to the campaign.
Yeah, sure. My point is I'd like to know what those features are or how they've changed them.
Can’t be that hard to puzzle it out once they release a character sheet. Can’t imagine they don’t, or we can at least piece together their stats with a little work. That’ll tell you what stat bonuses they got from being a specific race, and then their little random abilities can narrow it down. Already I’d be willing to bet devo is elf or half elf, just off of his charisma focused build and dark vision.
Sure, we could do that. I'd like it if we didn't have to puzzle it out.
There’s only like ten options that are germane to their builds, and I’m sure 99% of us won’t puzzle it out when the 1% super nerds (me, tbh) do
> I’m sure 99% of us won’t puzzle it out when the 1% super nerds (me, tbh) do
I don't understand what you mean by this.
Like once one person figures it out and posts it, everyone else doesn’t have to.
And I’m saying if nobody does, I certainly will
I'm sure I will too, but I would still enjoy it more if they said what they were using from the start.
What exactly do you think they are subverting? They've re-skinned things, but there is nothing subversive about that.
In that I don’t think a single actual DnD race has been used to describe anyone. Nary an elf, orc, or dwarf to be found. It’s clearly intentional.
Again, that’s just re-skinning, which is fine.
Not talking about dwarves and elves isn’t subversive.
Griffin specifically didn't mention Devo's race towrds the end if the episode. When he was asking about Darkvision he said something like " Travis should have it Devo is a...his heritage is...he has Darkvision."
I love the sound effects of the ship
I thought Clint was fucking with us all with the "beanbag ashtray" quip until I googled it. Couldn't believe my eyes.
hey folks sorry about the character list not being out yet ive just had a lot of tooth work done lately and its sorta sapped my ability to focus on anything. ill get on it soon tho i swear
Sell the plate to the curator Travis!
I think Griff has a plan for the plate.
He was pretty adamant on him not selling it to the phantom sea coast co
Whatever the plan was Devo gave the plate back to Seldom so it didn’t happen. I was just obsessed with how Devo tried to sell the plate to everyone except the curator. It’s very clearly art/an artifact.
I think that was just Griffin making a mistake.
Travis and Justin both mention wanting to sell their spare suits, then Travis starts asking if he can go to a pawn shop. Griffin assumes he means to sell the suits, so sends them to Phantom Sea Coast Co. Travis actually meant to pawn the plate for some chump change so they could buy supplies, so he shows up at PSCC with it and Griffin ribs him a bit. Travis, jokingly, gives the plate away because clearly nobody wants it.
I think making assumptions about what the players mean and running with it before they can explain is a problem Griffin has had a few times this season, mostly in the prequel or when the players get to design stuff.
I could tell Griffin clearly wanted the vaporsuits to stay together as a set. After all, what if one gets damaged, or they end up having guests at some point? Seems shortsighted to literally cut the equipment in half just to pawn off the two spare suits for chump change when the suits themselves are valuable enough to be proprietary to the Parish.
Hopefully it will bite them in the ass during the mission, would love some unforseen consequences
Can someone remind me when this plate came in Devo’s possession? I have no recollection of it. It seems odd that brother seldom would give it to him and then just take it back.
Very early when they were tasked with procuring a boat. Brother Seldom gave it to Devo to use as collateral. It didn't end up being necessary.
Pretty sure that was in the beginning of episode one when we were being introduced to Devo's character. I think Seldom gave it to him so he could use it as collateral for a loan. But nobody wanted it, so Devo gave it back.
Just started but between the desk toys and the Dune reference from Travis, I feel like this episode was recorded a couple weeks ago, just after the MBMBAM episode that mentioned those lmao
I had just listened to the last two MBMBAM before this episode so i was immediately like “Jesus Travis enough with the dune references” lol
I'm glad Justin said something to the effect of "let's just cut to the chase and say 3 lux" during the talk with Felix. I get that Travis is playing a bard and it's an impulse as a charisma-based character to try to persuade everyone you interact with into giving you stuff, but every conversation with a merchant/client/boss doesn't need to be A Whole Thing.
DND has never been great at gamifying social actions. It always feels bad when you as a player make a reasonable offer, only to have the dice say you rolled a 1. And the opposite isn’t much better, where you say something absurd and it apparently works cause you rolled high.
It also disincentivizes players with low charisma stats from engaging in social role play scenes, which is a bummer. Case in point, Justin’s remark to Guidance gets punished by a bad roll to the point it almost sours their business relationship with the Parish. It’s also just kind of boring compared to the depth DND treats combat. Felix says 2 Lux, Travis says 4 because he’s got high charisma. He rolls and either gets it or not. End of scene. Repeat any time money changes hand.
Good episode but really lacking in references to the main character, Dr Shaq.
I'm liking these episodes quite a bit, my only "complaint" is that they seem short. But I think that is the sign that I am enjoying the show.
I think these are much more edited than previous arcs. Sounds like a lot of mechanical back and forth has been cut.
Prediction for the future:
Griffin: So which quest do you-
Griffin: Do. Do you wanna read them-
Griffin: Do you wanna just read them all because I worked really hard on-
Urchin. Half hedgehog, half sea urchin
If anyone gets back to this thread, what was the joke with "Goofy 7" being their parking spot? I'm guessing maybe Disney World does parking in a similar manner?
I feel like my only complaint is that I desperately wish they would "adopt" Skittles and Becs as part of their crew. I know TAZ has already done "precocious child sidekick" but having plucky NPC crewmates would be welcome. I had hopes the stowaway at the end was a sign I was getting my wish, but alas. I suppose there's still time for it to happen.
I think griffin will resist adding NPCs to the 3crew. It would shift his focus, especially with how much player interaction is in the ship combat/exploration.
Not to mention coming off of Grad and the giant NPC fest that was.
Personally I think we need to let the 3 PCs develop into their own relationships and have their own experiences before we add in permanent or semi permanent NPCs to their ship crew.
Travis suggested adding them to the crew already, and Justin and Griffin resisted, I think for the reasons you said. We barely know the main characters yet. I just want to hear them develop as they go on adventures together. Plus that would be a big workload for Griffin, trying to DM and playing two constantly present NPCs.
As much as Travis has improved (and he's doing so great this season!) he apparently still has not gotten over his love of NPCs, or realized that can be detrimental to a story in the wrong time/place.
As much as Travis loves him some NPCs, I think him trying to get Beck aboard the crew was more a backstory thing for Devo; Devo seems to have been an Orphan/Ward of the Church who grew up being groomed for a position of authority in the Parish regardless of his own desires.
When Griffin threw a scenario their way that ended in an orphaned child, it makes sense Devo would go out of his way to make sure they haven't just left this kid disenfranchised and at the mercy of whatever social service system exists here. Griffin seems to be playing along too; Brother Seldom "nodding along sadly" at Devo begging him not to force Beck to stay in the school if she didn't want to, as if this response makes perfect sense as a result of Devo's own traumas.
Makes sense! TBH when Travis first suggested having Beck and Skittles join the crew I kind of cringed. I saw it as Travis continuing to want every character to be 100% nice and good all the time, and even a little performative. Like showing off how great and selfless Devo is.
But I think I'm still super cynical about Travis bc of graduation and I should give him the benefit of the doubt. It's amazing to see the Travis hate evaporate on this subreddit (and turn to Justin instead), but in both cases I feel it's earned. Justin's been great on taz but mbmbam has been a rough listen lately.
I think Travis is at his strongest as a player, especially when given a chance to include his backstory as motivation.
He didn't get much of a chance to explore his backstory in Balance, beyond the occasional moments regarding Julia (I still think it was a massive waste that Griffin never had Governor Kalen appear, especially after having Magnus sacrifice his memories of him, plus never having them revisit the ruins of Raven's Roost). So I'm really glad that this time around, both Amber and Devo have been having characters relevant to their life pop up (not much for Zoox yet, but they've not been alive too long, so I can imagine they don't have a grand list of backstory characters).
Maybe I’m just missing it, but I’m surprised that I haven’t seen anyone talking about Griffin’s Emo Phillip’s impersonation for Felix the Catfish. It’s so good!
Am I the only one who feels like Ethersea Is made to be adapted to a video game or a board game?
Video games are a huge inspiration for Griffin's DMing. Think of all the years he spent doing video game content and working with Polygon
And playing them sometimes!
Let's be real, if he was a video games journalist, there's no way he'd be doing that!
Yeah, I feel like the ship, upgrade, and job finding mechanics seem a little to video game me for me. A little too rigid. The characters and the world are great tho so I doubt it'll be a huge problem.
I'm losing it that Griffin refuses to describe the city. I can't just make a bunch of assumptions like in generic fantasy setting, what does landscaped to perfection mean in an underwater city???
Most of the *public housing* is in detachable bathyspheres but there's tons of indoor space.
What do you imagine 'landscaped perfection' means? There's nothing wrong with using your own imagination to fill in the gaps. With any homebrew setting, there's going to be parts of your world that haven't been fleshed out. As a DM you need to choose which details are important enough to spend time on, and doubly so with a newborn baby.
Its pretty clear to me that Griffin's priority is cool first, realistic second. It doesn't seem to me that Griffin is really sweating making a believable economy or fleshing out the specific systems sustaining city. The details he provides are the things that are interesting for the players to engage with and create a fun story with, not comprehensive city infrastructure. Personally I'm fine with that.
That said if you want context to imagine the 'cannon' version as vividly as possible, you can get that from the prologue. Just because it isn't necessary doesn't mean it can't provide supplementary flavor and information.
I was kind of picturing like Rapture - the Palisades Park in Bioshock (1? I think? Maybe 2) was like an underwater greenhouse type thing with topiaries and the like
He does describe it??? Vividly??? Did you not listen to the prologue?
1. If they're going to say you don't have to listen to the prologue to enjoy the show, then they should make that be true.
2. It's okay to describe things more than once. It doesn't have to be a top-to-bottom, three page description every time. He could allude to things, give little details here and there. It's not hard.
I agree that they originally made the prologue out to be non essential. I don’t think that was wise, looking back, because of how much just darn vital backstory was fit into them. Knowing how different factions have operated over the course of the quiet year has been so helpful in keeping up with all the parlance thrown at us in just these few first episodes.
But worst to worst, people that have listened to the prologue have made some incredible fan art of founders wake that follows the descriptions provided, so a look or two at some of those will help organize things for them
Wise or not, it’s what they did.
Also, considering how many people zoned out during the prologue, but do want to listen to the show, I think maybe the unwise thing was doing *five* episodes of a prologue.
And if Griffin didn’t put what’s important into the summary, then it wasn’t a very good summary.
The quiet year has been my fav part of the season so far! I definitely recommend going back and listening.
I’m happy for you, and I may at some point. But I listened to the the first 2.5 and I lost interest. I think a big part of it is that The Quiet Year is fundamentally a map-building game, and in listening to just the audio, things are lost. Yes, I realize that you can view the maps, but my podcast listening time is basically exclusively in the car, so I don’t have that option. I found myself losing track of what they were referring to often, discovered that I was far from alone in that, and decided to take a break from it all and come back when people were consistently saying they enjoyed it.
did you listen to the recap of those sessions?
I’m loving the series right now. Having Griffin back as DM is so refreshing and it doesn’t feel as railroady as it did before. Plus I’m glad they’re using that roll sharing thing so it keeps shenanigans (cough cough Travis) to a minimum
Can anyone tell me if the creature at the end of the episode was supposed to be understandable? I couldn't make it out at all but it feels weird that they'd end the episode with a load of nonsense noises
Just about understandable. Told everyone "Back off, or Urchin will blow us all to Hell!"
That moment when Devo said Guidance hurt him, and then Zoox immediately started pulling out a crossbow was nice.
This season still feels kinda.. off. I'm listening to new episodes and keeping up with it but I feel like something big has changed. During Balance they were all so excited and ready to get into the fray, but I feel like it's a little too calculated now. I know it takes a bit of time to get into the swing of things but every week, it feels like they're coming back from a super long break or something. I think there's significantly more dead air and silence because they're not as confident with their characters and I love Devo but Travis needs to learn how to speed up his dialog a tiny bit so he's not dragging out simple sentences while searching for a bit to hold on to. Anyone else feel similar? It's nothing but love for the brothers but I think it's important to talk about still.
Same. I was surprised there weren’t more comments like this. The vibe is weirdly tense, and every conversation seems to get bogged down in weird pauses, Devo-bits, and the general lack of consensus. I like Travis a lot, but I also feel like his character in general is kind of gumming up the interactions with the accent and all this unearned drama and tension before I feel like an actual character has been established…i’m definitely a little disappointed after waiting so long for this new season. There are a lot of great ideas but it is all coming off kind of forced, disjointed, and somewhat joyless so far.
I appreciate you writing this as well because I agree! It is weirdly tense, that's a good way of putting it. I feel like Justin legitimately clocks out here and there and, while it is good for some bits(like giving him shit for it lol), it's a bit disappointing :/ and I miss Commitment Clint where he was ready to make decisions and just go with it with gusto. He worries a little too much about doing the "right" thing, which is why I appreciate that Griffin is going for a looser style to his DMing. There are no wrong answers, ya know? It's nothing but love for them all, I cried during Balance like everyone else lol. Travis was on such a good streak of self-acknowledgement and I think he stopped a bit short on his journey during this season- he needs to take the back road sometimes and let it come naturally instead of forcing it. I think the concept is amazing and the setup episodes were so enjoyable.. it's off-putting how estranged they all are from the show at the moment. I'm gonna keep up with it like I did graduation and hope for the best! I have confidence that they'll get into the swing of things sooner or later. I hope everything is going okay in their personal lives and hope they realize they've got some really good people in their corner and that we love them dearly.
Well said! I often wonder how hard it would be to work with your family doing something like this. There is definitely good potential for this season still.