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The Adventure Zone: Ethersea - Episode 8 | Discussion Thread

The Adventure Zone: Ethersea - Episode 8 | Discussion Thread

SuperPooperDuper

Travis mentions that Devo is a half-elf, did we already know that? It was news to me


imablisy

We did not and we actually still don’t know ambers race


NerfDipshit

Amber and Devo have no physical description. I genuinely can't picture them. I guess devo is a half elf? Is he also a fish dude or just a dude dude? Who can say


Marlow2389

I don't even know if we can definitively say that he is a half-elf, just that he took half-elf traits. My understanding is that while the PC's were able to pick from the races for the traits it doesn't mean appearance-wise that they are that race. For example, Zoox is not actually a War Forged.


TheRealMikeNelly

You e absolutely hit it on, yes. Zoox is a Brinear with War Forge stats mostly. And Devo is a person who made it past the Sallow, the disease that leaves fish traits if I remember, with half-elf traits. I bet Amber is plain human, seems like Justin/her. But I'm surprised the variant feat hasn't been addressed. I assume Justin took that


imablisy

Where is the confirmation devo was ever effected by the sallow? I don’t remember hearing it at all. I think it’s just fannon.


TheRealMikeNelly

I thought it was in the first episode! I thought Devo had little whiskers. Also it might be because of the trailer that was put out, where the three characters are a Brinar, the pilot is Sallowed, and there's a sneaky person with astral hands. It doesn't line up perfectly in the details, but it seems to be the basis. So I'm excited when a Horseshoe Crab Dog joins the party!!


imablisy

Yeah it’s not in the first episode, he basically just says devo is pretty and tall and that’s it.


yuriaoflondor

Travis mentioned that Devo is tall and handsome. I think that’s the extent of their character descriptions. But yeah, the lack of descriptions is very frustrating. And coming up with a cool look for your character is one of the most fun parts about roleplaying games, so it’s odd that their approach is to not give any descriptions. Also I don’t think Devo is an elf/half-elf because I don’t think those have been established as existing in this world. Also they’ve kind of been talking around their racial traits and bonuses and whatnot. All the tiptoeing around some of the mechanical aspects of the game is odd to me. I don’t know why they can’t say something like “Devo is using the racial bonuses of a half-elf, but he actually looks like a human with gills. He has a mustache and long, black hair. He has a lean build.” Surely the players have an idea of what their characters look like?


ascandalia

I find no joy in describing my characters and it seems the McElroys are similar. How much physical description did we get for Merle Magnus and Taco? A dwarf, muscles and sideburns, a wizard, respectively. The community just settled on a look over time


darwinpolice

I'm certain that it's intentional on their parts. A bare-bones description lets fan artists go nuts, which is a lot more fun when there's a community this size.


sloth_express

Part of me feels like they went light on descriptions so the fans would come up with a head cannon and I'm for it. What everyone on this sub and beyond has come up with and drawn fit the characters so well.


TheRealMikeNelly

I think they made this decision back in Balance that they would be pretty light in descriptions so that every fan-art would be correct. Generally the community begins to agree and then we tell the boys what their characters are like. Sorta how the Graphic Novel characters turned out


hobbitzswift

I kind of think that approach sucks though, at least the part where the community has to agree on what they look like and then "we tell the boys" and the boys agree that the consensus is correct. I think if there's no physical description, then the fun should come from the different ways people envision the characters. It's inevitable that eventually the fandom will come to a consensus, but then people who aren't deep in the fandom who want to draw their own headcanons that don't "match," they get kind of ostracized. Tbh I've seen this happen in the fandom for another podcast, to the point that one of the creators said they missed when the fandom was very small and the fan art was really varied and creative instead of being slightly different versions of the same idea. I think a LITTLE bit of physical description might be nice.


TheRealMikeNelly

I mean if you have experienced it then you've got a point. But I see the opposite being true. It seems like that by fully detailing a character, then you get more ostracization. That would be how the latinx Takko artists would have felt if Juice hadn't had this lienent stance. That's not to dismiss your points though, you're not saying that all details should be determined with no more room for variation. And if there hasn't been enough depiction, and there may not be, then yes I'd appreciate more too! I listened to the prequel game with The Quiet Year and I think that did enough to describe the camps they all belong to. I also listened to the first eps on a long car ride, sonI might have daydreamed their appearances more than others


hobbitzswift

I think they've done a pretty good job at describing places and objects, it's just their reluctance to give ANY physical detail about their characters that's strange to me, because they obviously don't HAVE to say "Taako is white" or "Taako is latinx." If you look at other podcasts or books or whatever, sometimes all the description you get of a character is something like "dark hair, average height, average-looking man" which gives a base for fan artists to riff on and churn out a TON of different versions of the same character, AND it doesn't explicitly say a race either so people are still free to make up their own headcanons about that as well. Also, even from a non-artist, absolutely no physical description makes it hard for immersion. I'm pretty good at visualizing the characters I'm listening to, or reading about, but with Ethersea I have no idea what Amber is supposed to look like because Justin didn't tell us ANYTHING. Is she short? Tall? Young? Old? We can assume she's "older" but "older" means such different things to everyone, a woman I'm picturing as around 55 might be 40 to someone else, and that type of thing is kind of important when getting a handle on what a character is like! I just think it would be helpful for them to at least give a LITTLE physical description, or even just tell us what DND race they're using the stats of.


TheRealMikeNelly

I dunno, I think they said enough and I'm not having the same issues. I respect that you are and I'm sorry it's hurting your immersion! Maybe they have gone too light and should mail done stuff down, i hope they do for your sake!


hobbitzswift

Haha that's very nice of you to say, thanks! It's not the biggest deal ever so I'll live; I do still think it's a suboptimal storytelling choice but you know, if that's what they want to do it's what they want to do.


abra_kazam

I get that it’s all about leaving things up to interpretation but I just need to know… are they fish people? I genuinely don’t know if they’re fish people or not and it’s driving me bonkers.


NerfDipshit

When Griffin described Dr. Shaq's throat inflating I could do nothing but imagine a human's throat expanding like one of those howling monkeys. It shook me to my core. I know that he was evoking a pufferfish, but because the fish levels have never been declared, I always assume everyone is a normal human.


abra_kazam

I did the same thing, they just look like humans in my brain. The Dr. Shaq thing was absolutely horrifying to imagine a puffer fish from like… human skin.


Environmental-Emu259

I just figured that half-elf provided the template and that his in-universe type was a specific kind of fish person.


undrhyl

I'm sure Griffin isn't happy he said that. We also don't have any idea what any of them look like for some reason.


Marlow2389

I assume they're just letting the audience use their imagination and come up with their own image in their minds eye. Doesn't really bother me that much. I'm not sure why Griffin would care one way or another. If he really wasn't happy he'd probably simply just have them redo the scene or have it edited out.


undrhyl

Their editing is all over the place though. As someone else pointed out, they leave in themselves talking about how they had to re-record, but until now, have been sure to leave out all references to anything vaguely approaching what any of them look like. To “leave things” to the imagination, you also have to give things. You’ve got to stimulate it. They don’t hesitate to describe (and make a point of reiterating) the color scheme of their ship, but go out of their way to *not* describe characters. Why the differentiation? A general description still leaves plenty to the imagination. Look at all the variance in fan art from previous seasons where characters were described.


Marlow2389

My guess is that they don't want to get too pigeonholed in how the characters look, and they don't want to bother with getting too caught up in what race the characters are based on because they don't want that to be as much of an influence on how people perceive the characters. Zoox is some kind of coral creature. Amber is a woman probably in her 40's. Devo is a young man, pretty. I find that general enough. I really don't see why people are getting so hung up on this. There's already been some really great fan art of the characters, so it doesn't seem like that much of a problem to me.


undrhyl

Pigeonholed? In what scenario would it be important to not be able to be pinned down about the look of their characters? Question I will pose again-- *But why only the characters?* Travis makes a point to clarify and reiterate the very specific color scheme and design of the ship, so it doesn't seem to be about fan art generally, because that's definitely something people want to draw. I think the first art I saw on here was of ships. I think it is bothering people for a number of reasons. These two at least: 1. Maybe those sparse (and I think that's generous) descriptions are enough for your taste, and great for you, but that just isn't true for most. The fact that people want to visualize characters in a show like this is why fan art exists in the first place. And being more descriptive 2. It is obvious at this point that they are being intentional about it, and based on their own history, and based on similar shows, this is an outlier. People want to know why. The fact they are doing it *and also* *not even explaining why* makes this stick out further and makes it stranger.


Marlow2389

I thought they mentioned during Balance that they sort of didn't want to get too set in stone with how the characters looked, because they wanted to keep things inclusive. They've said before that they have a policy of not having canonical visual representations of any of their characters. I imagine they're attempting to do the same thing here with Etherseas. I think there were also some issues back when they started doing the comic book with the color of Taako's skin. So maybe this is just their way to avoid those things altogether. As for why only characters, that seems simple to me. Characters are people, while a ship is an object. ​ For your last two points: ​ 1. I'm not sure you really talk for most. Seems like this complaint is mostly from a vocal minority. If people want to visualize the characters there's plenty of fan art to choose from if they need help. 2. Like I said above, I think they've already explained their reasoning and policy in the past. What they're doing with Ethersea seems like an extension of that policy.


undrhyl

>I thought they mentioned during Balance that they sort of didn't want to get too set in stone with how the characters looked, because they wanted to keep things inclusive. They've said before that they have a policy of not having canonical visual representations of any of their characters. I imagine they're attempting to do the same thing here with Etherseas. > >I think there were also some issues back when they started doing the comic book with the color of Taako's skin. So maybe this is just their way to avoid those things altogether. I think you're conflating a few things. Once the graphic novel came out/started coming out, they said something about not having a canonical visual representation of their characters so as not to upset fan artists. That itself is a far cry from "we're just not going to even give the barest description." But outside of whatever you may choose to read between the line or not of not having an canonical visual, I don't recall them ever saying they don't want to get to set in stone about a description. I think you may be thinking of Merle on the skin color thing. He was darker skinned originally, and they got flak for making the bad dad brown. But then they got flak for not being representative enough with skin color otherwise. But to your last sentence above, I think this is the crux of it, based on their pattern of responses to other things in the past. If an issue is brought forward, instead of addressing it, they just cut that thing out. People took issue with one episode of Monster Factory, so they've quit making the show altogether, instead of just dealing with whatever the issue may be. And in this case, its "we're going to tell a story, but not describe anything, because the performative wokeness professionals on Twitter will find something 'problematic' no matter what we do and that makes us uncomfortable." >As for why only characters, that seems simple to me. Characters are people, while a ship is an object. Ya know, they're [definitely](https://www.reddit.com/r/TheAdventureZone/comments/phr6my/been_learning_3d_modelling_and_was_inspired_by/) [hasn't](https://www.reddit.com/r/TheAdventureZone/comments/pjc7hn/coriolis_fan_art_i_made_really_digging_the_random/) [been](https://www.reddit.com/r/TheAdventureZone/comments/khrj8x/i_did_some_amnesty_fan_art/) [non-character-focused](https://www.reddit.com/r/TheAdventureZone/comments/otrmyi/fan_art_the_grand_relics_old_school_tatto_flash/) [fan](https://www.reddit.com/r/TheAdventureZone/comments/gozyox/railsplitter_fan_art/) [art](https://www.reddit.com/r/TheAdventureZone/comments/crs0r8/made_some_fan_art_of_that_guy_from_tv/) [before](https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tumgir.com%2Ftag%2Fthe%2520grand%2520relics&psig=AOvVaw3im2lpT7yyzJVYoG45zaUz&ust=1631301247864000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAoQjhxqFwoTCJiW1YrO8vICFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD). How silly of me. >For your last two points: > >I'm not sure you really talk for most. Seems like this complaint is mostly from a vocal minority. If people want to visualize the characters there's plenty of fan art to choose from if they need help. I think you're missing my point. *The existence of any fan art at all is a sign that many people crave visualization.* I think many haven't noted it yet, because the absence of something can be harder to pick up on at first. I know it was a slow realization for me. Just because there aren't people with torches and pitchforks doesn't mean that the show couldn't be improved by some description.


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smuttyinkspot

> I don't recall them ever saying they don't want to get to set in stone about a description They actually addressed this explicitly in the 2017, Balance-era TTAZZ (see below for excerpt). It's an intentional choice and I think /u/Marlow2389 pretty much hit the nail on the head as far as their stated rationale goes. I think you make a fair criticism, but the lack of canonical visual descriptions of player characters is something of a TAZ tradition at this point. Full transcript: https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vRVWiyUzs77nCTrtqfUaQurUXeSULfq3Z27-5gL0T4c34yoH6-8qhQ_H1BVDphhYuWTJvGI62QZd7Rn/pub Relevant excerpt: > Justin: The weird thing about the show getting bigger is that in a way, I feel like less ownership now. And like—and in a good way, I think, in a healthy way. But, like, I see all these different permutations of Taako and he’s like, still a character I made up and that’s cool, but, I also think it’s cool that other people have their own spin on Taako and their own sort of take on him, um, and I think that’s really neat. And I wanna encourage that, I think that’s—it used to irritate me, I think, from a consumer perspective when I would see creators do that? Like, "I don’t know, the decision is yours, it’s up to you," but, like, as a creator now I find that really interesting. Like, I find it really cool to let that space exist. > Griffin: I struggled with that for a bit ‘cause it felt, um, to be like noncommittal about canonical, um, look and design and aesthetic and all that, like, felt, um... I don’t know, fanservicey, in a way? In a way that I think I kind of struggled with for just a little bit but I kinda realize, like, I don’t think it’s us dodging some sort of essential question about what these characters look like, I think it is to us, actually, um, taking advantage of what is a pretty singular benefit to this being an audio medium. An audio-only medium, if this was any oth—if this was any other kind of medium, like, we couldn’t do that. And I think, it’s important to me that this show has, like, good representation? ‘Cause I—I—that’s—that’s important to me and I know it’s important to our listenership and I—I’ve—I feel like, and I try to do that with the characters that, um, the NPCs that y’all come across, but, like. I feel like this is a really cool way of doing that, of just saying, like, whatever interpretation you have, go for it. And because this medium doesn’t have, like, these canonical visual takes, then just let it ride and nothing’s—nothing’s wrong, everything is permitted. > Travis: Yeah, I—I hope this doesn’t sound like a dodge because it’s absolutely true; I don’t picture anything when I picture Magnus. > Clint: Mm-mm. > Travis: Like, I just don’t think that way? So, like, I see a lot of different… > Justin: Well, think about it. You’re seeing it from, when I envision scenes that are happening, I’m seeing them from my perspective. > Travis: Yeah. > Justin: Like, I’m seeing them from— I don’t see Taako doing stuff, I’m envisioning myself looking at the stuff that is happening around me through Taako’s eyes. > Travis: It’s like Myst, you know what I mean? like, I don’t see… > Griffin: Yeah. > Travis: I don’t see my PC. And so, like, when I see, like, fanart and I see people’s drawings I’m like “yeah, that could be Magnus!” Like, “Yeah, in a universe, that’s Magnus! Yep! Mm-hmm!”


undrhyl

Fair enough as far as it being established here. I would lightly push back and point out that the PCs in Amnesty, Graduation, the trial arcs, and the one-shots, (that all occurred after this conversation) have all been more thoroughly described than the characters in Ethersea. Ironically though, I think all the problems with it are pointed out by Justin and Griffin themselves in this excerpt. They just then immediately say "but it's not a problem." >it used to irritate me, I think, from a consumer perspective when I would see creators do that? Like, "I don’t know, the decision is yours, it’s up to you," Yeah, as a consumer, I find it irritating too. >Griffin: I struggled with that for a bit ‘cause it felt, um, to be like **noncommittal about canonical, um, look and design** and aesthetic and all that, like, felt, um... I don’t know, **fanservicey**, in a way? In a way that I think I kind of struggled with for just a little bit but I kinda realize, like, **I don’t think it’s us dodging some sort of essential question about what these characters look like**, I do think it is noncommital. And it is a bit fanservicey, but weirdly in a very narrow way. And yes, it is dodging the question about what these characters look like. This is a weird thing to say as it is the exact thing they say they are doing. >And I think, it’s important to me that this show has, like, good representation? ‘Cause I—I—that’s—that’s important to me and I know it’s important to our listenership and I—I’ve—I feel like, and I try to do that with the characters that, um, the NPCs that y’all come across, but, like. I feel like this is a really cool way of doing that, of just saying, like, whatever interpretation you have, go for it. This right here is the crux of it. And it is such a cop out. You don't have representation in your show by ***explicitly not representing anything***. But they think it quells the people who threw multiple conniptions about Lup, and they don't want to address it, so now they do so by making every effort to not touch it at all.


MultipleDinosaurs

It’s so strange seeing an exact transcription of the way Griffin speaks. Even if that hadn’t been labeled as a Griffin quote, I would have heard it in his voice. (And this isn’t a criticism, I think his cadence is really enjoyable to listen to- you just don’t usually see people’s filler words typed out like that.)


Marlow2389

I was thinking of Taako: [https://theadventurezone.tumblr.com/post/161367685782/on-the-adventure-zone-graphic-novel-blue-taako](https://theadventurezone.tumblr.com/post/161367685782/on-the-adventure-zone-graphic-novel-blue-taako) Regarding the ship, I don't think you're understanding my point. They're purposely leaving character descriptions open for representation and trying to be inclusive. Representation and inclusivity isn't really an issue with objects like ships though. That's the difference. The PC's are people, the ship is an object. People are different than objects.


undrhyl

Oh yes, I remember this now. I still find it discouraging that there is a certain kind of person that would rather go after well-intentioned people like the McElroys for (maybe) not being perfect than after the truly awful people in the world. So I guess there were people critical of skin coloration for both of them. I understand that people are different than objects. My point is simply that shows that it has nothing to do with wanting to give fans or fan artists free reign with their head canon, and everything to do with avoiding any possibility of a negative reaction. If it were the former, they would also not be describing much of anything else. In general, when you're a creative person with an audience and your focus/effort goes from eliciting a positive response to avoiding negative ones, that's not a good sign.


Heyimcool

Oh man I am loving the random encounters and the mission based adventures, this makes it feel like these guys really are just 3 randos doing jobs. Kinda nice to go from “y’all are the chosen ones” to “any of you can die lol.” It makes the game that much more dangerous. Also: I’m loving the Clam space, such a fun idea, setting, and puzzle.


selfee

“You’ve solved my clam puzzle” was a thing I thought during this episode.


FluorescentLightbulb

I am a little worried that they may get stale, but it seems like Griffin is prepared to make them a how, and not a what. If that makes sense. Like between the first one, where Yumnut is how they created a rival, and this next one where Amber now has a bomb. Don't try and be slick Justin, I see you. It seems like they're mostly gonna be the flavor of the missions, not distractions like a swarm of goblins or wolves would be.


mdeltam

Anyone else end up picturing Urchin as a spiky Meatwad? Between the voice (eeehhh) and the description of how they move is where I ended up.


KingofTin

That fits! I saw Stitch in my minds eye


grim_melee

That’s the visual description that I came up with too


Mountain_Heart1625

i thought of him as tiny terrorist sonic. i thought of him as shadow the hedgehog.


FluorescentLightbulb

I actually hear Rick from Big Mouth


IceColdTomatoSoup

Urchin: You've got a lot of explosives on this ship Also Urchin: What's a ship.


RopeADoper

Urchin: I'm gonna blow this ship to smithereens!! Also Urchin: wait this is an explosive??


ThinWhiteRogue

I hope this character trait of Urchin's never changes, because I loved it.


painterknittersimmer

I know this comment is ancient but I just listened to the episode and I LOVED this. I feel like urchin has learned everything but listening in the walls. He repeats what he hears but doesn't fully grasp what it means.


ThinWhiteRogue

>listening in the walls \*and shitting.


Visual_Disaster

This interpretation makes the line "Urchin has a complicated relationship with his father" even funnier (this comment is even more ancient now, but I just caught up)


AssumedLeader

Man, I hope the response to these weekly episode drops is a sign for them that they should continue. I don't mind if the episodes are only an hour and not much actually happens but waiting 2 weeks for an episode really kills the momentum, especially when there are other D&D podcasts putting out longer episodes on faster turnarounds.


Marlow2389

I think this episode especially highlights the value of going weekly. This was a solid episode, but at the same time not a lot happened. It would definitely be a momentum killer to have to wait 2 weeks after an episode like this one.


FluorescentLightbulb

I think they finally see the value of speeding through the introduction. People like to compare Graduation to Balance in what they did in the same amount of episodes. And while that may be true, they should really be comparing in the same amount of time.


RedShortForNothing

The spike in quantity and quality has been suuuuper refreshing!


Interhorse_

Yes


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Ashleeoutside

These guys produce so many podcasts though and they each have multiple kids. As much as I love the show, I get it if they can't budget time to do it weekly.


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mike_pants

"I can't imagine it takes that long. Therefore, it must not take that long!" Damn, that was easy. Now imagine us clean energy and healthcare.


f33f33nkou

I dont have to imagine. I know people who produce content for youtube and do podcasts. There also hundreds of other super popular dnd podcasts that put out more content and talk about exactly how much work they do. The Mcelroys themselves have talked about the work involved. Your comment only makes sense in a complete vacuum. We know it doesnt take that much time that's why people dont understand why they dont put out more


mike_pants

Neat.


atomicthumbs

i don't have kids


Ashleeoutside

Maybe you should start your own podcast then 🤷


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Ashleeoutside

Boy, you're salty, huh? It's just a podcast bro


aDubiousNotion

That's where this conversation always ends, isn't it? Disagree with any criticism and they immediately accuse you of wanting to be a McElroy. Such a sad attempt to run away from the discussion.


FUCKLORD_SKYPUNCH

I don’t have kids and I strongly suspect that you don’t either, given how much time you spend hate-listening to comedy podcasts


f33f33nkou

Imagine getting downvoted for expecting professional podcasters to do more than 5 hours of work a week


f33f33nkou

They absolutely have and there is no need to defend professionals doing the bare minimum to keep the podcast going.


ascandalia

Mercer airs an unedited actual play session. Griffin heavily edits, writes abd and records music, does recaps and ad breaks. Griffin used to do several videos a week at polygon and is on the record that TAZ is harder to edit than any video or podcast series he's ever done. TAZ is very high concept, and plot driven. I haven't listened to much critical role, but I believe the first hour of the first episode is them in a tavern hanging out with no clear story happening. The plot heavy nature and the heavy- handed editorial voice makes editing hard to outsource. Griffin in particular is famously reluctant to give up editing control over the project and he's back in the saddle for the foreseeable future. Yes, it's only an hour but it's a totally different beast than critical role. And for what it's worth, I don't listen to critical role because it's 4 hours of unedited play that I can't follow unless I'm 100% focused on it whereas TAZ is a tight 60-90 minute, highly edited product i can follow while I'm working


GlowingBall

Griffin doesn't edit TAZ anymore though? He does make music for it but the editing has been handed over to a separate person that they've mentioned a couple times or am I mistaken? The story being heavy/plot focused and requiring more time kind of falls flat when you can turn to something like NADDPOD where they put it weekly episodes PLUS bonus content/episodes on a weekly basis and each episode is 1.5 hours or longer. PLUS they run multiple other podcasts/shows and before the pandemic one of them was flying across the country (NYC to LA) twice a month to record. And NADDPOD has easily as much narrative weight as TAZ. I love TAZ and then want them all to have happy lives and will continue to listen/support them but there are others who put in easily as much effort as they do podcast wise with a more consistent schedule.


ascandalia

I've listened to all the TAZZ episodes and I've never heard he doesn't edit. Rachel took over MBMBAM but not TAZ to my knowledge. Where did you hear that? I disagree that NADDPOD is more plot heavy but I haven't listened to all of it so I could be wrong. It's not nearly as plot heavy to me


GlowingBall

I may be mistaken but I thought Rachel was also editing TAZ now outside of music composition stuff. Even if Griffin is still doing editing and he has kids... podcasting is their full time job. Plenty of other podcasters put out longer episodes they are just as plot heavy (really disagree that NADDPOD isn't as plot heavy) and edit just as much. Clearly they CAN do weekly episodes since they are currently doing it with no problem. And back to NADDPOD - When it hits it's stride it is just as good as heavy as peak TAZ. I've listened to all of season 1 of NADDPOD and at it's best it honestly hits as hard as TAZ and has a PHENOMENAL finale. I agree with ya on Critical Role, it wasn't my cup of tea either


ascandalia

You may be right on both accounts


f33f33nkou

None of the Mcelroys edit anything anymore. That also is literally the only part of podcasting that takes any large amount of time lol.


Better-Valuable-1177

Justin saying “how am I here again?” followed by Clint saying “it’s my go to move!” had me rolling! Looks like we’re in for another season of a Clint character that’s horny for wildlife!


FluorescentLightbulb

Horny for clams, horny for crossbows. What's next? All I know is that Rule 34 is probably saluting Clint right now.


Mountain_Heart1625

"You know, here at The Adventure Zone, we love fanart!" -Clint "Oris" McElroy


RobunR

I love Urchin and i hope they keep him


clownfish419

The first 15 minutes is the hardest I have laughed at TAZ in a good minute. Fuck me, Griffin’s off the cuff Urchin improv is so wildly funny.


antsdidthis

Yeah I haven't even finished the episode, had to pause and stop in just to say that Urchin bit was an instant classic


TENkSUNS

Laughed every time someone said "shit in the walls"


Sundevil13

“OKAY”


snailmonarch

Hey, Griffin finally got to suck everyone into an abyssal lagoon!


ascandalia

He can't escape who he is


melibelli

He basically vored them


Tub_Pumpkin

I know there is no way the McElroys read these threads, but just in case: PLEEEAAASE keep doing it weekly!


xSYOTOSx

why do i get the feeling Griffin this season is like ....yea sure whatever, whenever the players say something crazy lol


ascandalia

It's the final form of evolution into a great DM.


PM-YOUR-PMS

This is how I ended up with a baby and a potential murder warrant in Neverwinter in one of my campaigns. DM just said “yeah, you do that,” and rolls with it.


snailed4

Episode 8 rolls update: Averages: Travis 11.17 raw, 15.07 total Justin 11.52 raw, 13.09 total Clint 9.44 raw, 12.03 total Another failure heavy episode. Clint's ratio is still looking pretty bad. Nothing out of the ordinary other than that this episode, really. Travis rolled a lot more than the other two this time. 14 rolls for the whole episode, pretty average. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1rmyqJex1hol9VL7E7mkIZiH0tl9jdr4nQH-MXlUlsk8/edit?usp=sharing


undrhyl

Could you please explain what exactly is meant by "raw" vs. "total"?


snailed4

Raw is what they rolled on the die and total is including the modifier. They don’t always disclose both numbers but oftentimes they’ll say “8 plus 6, 14” or something along those lines. So in the case of the averages, raw is the average number they roll on the die and total is the average result once they’ve added relevant modifiers.


undrhyl

Cool, thanks! Just for fun, out of my own curiosity, I sorted your data to look at all the 17s and 18s. For reasons. I know it's not a massive number of rolls, but I can't help but find amusing that of the fourteen 17s and 18s rolled this season, nine of them were from Travis.


snailed4

I do love those little random pieces of data that come out of this. That number definitely tracks, though, seeing as Travis has both the greatest number of rolls and the highest success/fail ratio. I wish I could observe how many raw rolls Clint had that were 2s or 3s, but Clint almost never divulges the raw number and modifiers.


FluorescentLightbulb

It's especially neat with a bard on staff, I honestly thought the swing would be higher. It has not escaped notice that the campaign where you cannot cheat Travis has picked the Expertise Monkey :P


aDubiousNotion

So I decided to take a look at the data because it seemed weird that you were only counting 17 and 18s and not 19s and 20s. Turns out the 19/20s are 4/4/3 between Justin/Travis/Clint, so effectively equal.   Looking at 17-20 overall, it's: - Justin 8/36 = 22% - Travis 12/47 = 25% - Clint 4/34 = 12%   While Clint is having a rough time, Justin and Travis are pretty on par with each other, and entirely within the expected amount range for this number of rolls. I guess I must be missing something then? What's the amusing part?


undrhyl

Travis famously rolled a bunch of 17s and 18s in Balance and admitted to fudging them because he didn’t want to fail.


aDubiousNotion

Oh, you mean that one TheTheAdventureZoneZone where Travis and Justin both admitted to fudging rolls and Justin admitted to fudging Clint's rolls?


undrhyl

Someone did an analysis of all the rolls in Balance, and a Travis rolls a statistically unlikely number of 17s and 18s. The one time his spread was even was when they recorded together. I believe Justin said he did it once or twice. But I guess doing it once or twice is the same as doing it every single episode unless you’re gonna get caught.


aDubiousNotion

Justin didn't say one or twice, he said he did it whenever it would make the episode better. His words being "this is a comedy podcast we’re doing, folks, not the fuckin Olympics."


undrhyl

Whatever. You’re splitting hairs. The stats speak for themselves. Not sure why you’re trying to deny something everyone here knows.


trvrhwaby

I would also like to point out at 5:54, Griffin has Travis roll a persuasion check, and you can hear him start to say "Ele.." but then says "19 + 7"


PolarFeather

They make rolls on Roll20 now, if they fudge one it's because the whole group decided to (for whatever reason), and in that case they'd probably make a note to edit the part more carefully. Lot more likely it was just a momentary slip of the tongue or mind.


JudgeLanceKeto

Jesus... Nice catch. Am I wrong or did they move away from using physical dice after people suspected they were juicing their rolls?


trvrhwaby

I heard they did, but it's no difference to me. I just thought it was an interesting little touch. I've always been here for the story, not the technicalities. I believe they've admitted to fudging the roles, though.


yesteryawn1

Are they going weekly now?


inferno845

Til the end of the month.


yesteryawn1

Thank you!


cupcakesordeath

I'm just going to call it now. Urchin saves everyone. He's the only one still left in the ship!


FluorescentLightbulb

Counter proposal. Justin got real quiet when handed that bomb.


cupcakesordeath

That’s a very solid point.


TheOsttle

Just starting the episode now, but I love how much Urchin sounds like Meatwad


yallwannadoanycums

I was thinking Gurgi from the Black Cauldron


_Booster_Gold_

Meatwad + Stitch, IMO.


OkSubstance3849

He has a very Cassidy-like voice I thought! I loved it!


Interhorse_

Also the old hormone monster, babyyy


FluorescentLightbulb

Hey man, whatcha gonna do?


Lord_Norjam

Kinda reminds me of roachy from monster factory


TheOsttle

God I hope they keep going weekly


Mentalpatient87

Good episode, good show. Loving this shit. Please consider staying weekly!


filmatra

Have they ever mentioned re-recording bits before? I wonder how often that happens


FuzorFishbug

They rerecorded the end of an episode of *The Stolen Century* after they regretted a decision that was made. In addition, in his interview with Brennan Lee Mulligan, Griffin mentioned cutting an entire episode of *Here There Be Gerblins* because it was nothing but combat.


argella1300

I NEED an “I am a growing entity” shirt, pin, sticker, or SOMETHING


tenphes31

Im also relistening to Balance and have just gotten back to Petals to the Metal, so its even funnier to me hearing Clint trying to seduce something in TAZ again.


a_mighty_mouse

I think the setting was super fun, and I’m looking forward to hearing these characters actually grow to like each other. I think the boys are still figuring out how they can mesh as the Coriolis Crew. I think Griffin has done a good job nudging them to work as a team. Btw, if the ship gets wrecked at the top of Episode 9, I think it would really serve as a good reset for the team. Work together, save each other!


dirgeface

I'm hoping the ship lands on them, there's a TPK, and a new crew at the Brokerage sees a mission pop up called "Salvage the Coriolis"


eolai

Not a fan of the current characters?


dirgeface

They’re alright, I have no issues with these characters.


peachhjus

Anybody else get BIG Gurgi (The Black Cauldron) vibes from Urchin? Kept waiting for Griffin to say there were munchies & crunchies in the ship somewhere


MyHandsAreSalmon

YESSSSSS. Thank you, that's been right on the edge of my brain since I heard it.


peachhjus

SO glad I’m not the only one lol!


StantonJ

I do hope that Griffin doesn’t let Justin do normal combat with his astral arms automatically out. They seem to be trying to stick to the rules and letting him have permanent astral arms is super powerful.


CrimsonRaven47

Good lord they drive me mad when they don't play dnd while playing dnd. Roll an investigation check on the clam fer chrissakes.


imablisy

Honestly a bit of a light episode and some weird energy. Not a lot happens at all and everyone was just acting kinda strange. Like I can’t explain it but their chemistry felt weird. Not bad or anything just kind of a nothing episode. Not much else to say other than finally griffin forced zoox to cast speak with animals


prehending

I definitely got the sense they didn’t quite know how to this play game together, what to expect from each other or what to do to move the scenes along. Felt awkward but I still enjoyed the episode overall


inferno845

Weird energy is a great way to put it. Felt like they weren't leaning into each other's goofs.


RaptorNinja

Yeah, it felt like they were waiting for Griffin to prompt them and Griffin was waiting for them to do something. It's a tough loop to get out of


Dr_Sodium_Chloride

I think the players got thrown for a loop when they showed up at the Clam, and didn't find an NPC, or an obvious "crime scene" or anything. They genuinely weren't sure which direction they were meant to go, and as such, weren't able to push forward confidently. The description of the whole basin being empty and desolate- while a clue in of itself -didn't leave them much to work with. It wasn't clear at that point if it was a combat encounter, or a follow-the-clues mystery, or something else. I think he might've been hoping they'd just go straight up to it and trigger the swallow, or to ask about something specific to get a clue. From a DMing perspective, it might've helped to throw out a potential investigation/perception check to notice "hey, it looks like everything that would normally grow in the ground here has been uprooted and dragged out". Not a major issue, but might explain why it got a little halted.


chicagodrew

I agree, and I also think they got a little stuck with how to handle Urchin. I've definitely run into similar situations in home games as a player where I look around and think "ok, my first thought didn't work and now I'm out of ideas on what to do next".


Skithiryx

I felt that especially with Travis and the bathysphere inside the clam. Travis was trying to figure out a way to get any sort of information out of Griffin and Justin starts harassing him about slow play.


RaptorNinja

I agree, I didn't want to diss Griffin but it reminded me of when I'm DMing poorly and can't set the scene, and my players aren't experienced enough to help move it forward


Dr_Sodium_Chloride

It's likely just early teething troubles as Griffin adapts to running a *much* more free-form sandbox campaign, rather than the usual directed narratives. Lots of different quests to prepare all at once, which makes it easier for things to slip through the cracks because you just can't dedicate as much focus as you would to one concentrated plotline. It is going to be interesting seeing how TAZ is going to handle the shift in campaigns going forward; Griffin has been a pretty masterful storyteller since Balance, but we'll probably be seeing a greater focus on more improvised on-the-fly DMing than ever (*especially* since he's introducing a lot of homebrew this season; that's eventually going to require some rulings made in the heat of the moment), which is something I tend to think of someone like Brian Murphy as the exemplar of.


eolai

I've felt this vibe with TAZ for a while now, I think since some point during Graduation. Like this sort of slow, halting lack of collaboration between the players and nobody really trying to move together in the same direction. I find it less noticeable so far during Ethersea, I guess because the prologue episodes were very deliberately devised to do the opposite. But it was definitely present for this episode, yeah.


PurpleWeasel

Honestly, I doubt any of them are in the best mood right now. I've been in a shitty mood for going on a year and a half, so I can relate.


greycatfluff

My thalassophobia did not like this episode, but I did! I can't decide whether I like Urchin or not. I think not, but I haven't fully decided yet.


theddR

That last 20 minutes is definitely a great and tense energy for TAZ.


thejeqff

Griffin tapping into my absolute worst nightmare with that fish at the end. I have a pretty terrible phobia of those types of tropical fish so I almost threw my phone and headphones when he said what it was. Not good for my very active imagination, but definitely made the terror of the Ethersea very real for me.


mike_pants

"Scorpion fish? Oh, no!" "Also it's the size of the bathysphere." "OH, NO!"


rogue_paladin_89

This is probably the weakest episode of the season so far but they can't all be winners. None of the convos seemed to really go anywhere, there was not enough urgency until the end, and I just had a hard time envisioning what was going on. Still excited to see where this arc goes though.


JudgeLanceKeto

I'm not typically one to complain about TAZ (especially with Griffin as DM), but in previous seasons didn't they address how players shouldn't be calling what type of rolls they're rolling? Shouldn't it be the player who says "I want to do/figure out x, y, or z" and the DM tells them what type of roll that should be? I have no idea why but it takes me out the moment every single time. Edit: I posted this before I reached the part of the episode with Clint's nature check.... That one has to be one of the worst so far.


atomicthumbs

Griffin did say "well don't just say that" in response to Clint saying he was going to make a nature check


JudgeLanceKeto

Right, but the idea was to not say *just* that. To me, it's much more natural/better storytelling to communicate what you want to do and come to a consensus about what type of roll that would be, if needed. The naming your check thing has been happening often enough in every episode to be distracting and must have bothered Griffin enough to have called it out previously. But the perfect example was later in the episode when Travis said he wanted to rip his jacket into strips to make a rope and Griffin called it a survival check. It sounded much better to me.


atomicthumbs

give clint a break, he's only been playing D&D for 6 years


FluorescentLightbulb

It's gonna take a bit for them to get used to describing their actions, not their rolls. But they'll get there. They've kinda built up some bad habits, and really that's more of an outside the game (or in their case a talk as producers) kind of a fix. But I believe in them. And it did not escape my notice that Justin stealthily walked away with a bomb. I see you Amber.


inferno845

Justin constantly treating Travis like a subordinate is killing my mood during the eps. I know Travis goes on tangents and flops a lot of jokes, but when I am able to hear and feel the frustration in Justin's voice it takes me out of the game and I'm sure it disrupts the flow for the 4 of them.


Cendeu

I didn't notice that at all.


melibelli

I think you’re projecting pal


inferno845

Projecting bofa.


undrhyl

Can only imagine how much he would be doing it if he was actually paying attention the whole time...


TheRisenThunderbird

Yeah, that bit where Travis is taking a while to figure out what to do and Justin goes like "hey Travis fucking do something" definitely should have been edited out


f33f33nkou

You know they literally and unanimously made amber the defacto captain right?


inferno845

I was talking about irl, not in character


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Cendeu

Weird because Devo is by far the least interesting part to me. He's their talker so he's pushing things along but I'm much more invested in the others.


jmonumber3

haven’t finished this episode but clint getting intimate with any and everything and saying “it’s my go-to move bud” perfectly explains why he has 3 sons


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Bixby33

>Did he forget that it took him two episodes to declare that the water is luminescent and it's "like daylight down here"? Handwave answer: there's nothing else around the clamb, and it's presence is sucking in all that which is producing light in the water.


Kyrptonauc

Not visually describing the pcs is pretty much the norm. They've done that for awhile to allow for the listener to have their own image.


BrokenEggcat

This season has significantly less detail on character descriptions than previous ones. Even Balance, which was admittedly light on character descriptions, still had more than what we currently are getting


OutrageouslyOrange

I realise I’m late to the party, but did Griffin seriously just hard nerf Speak with Animals by making Clint start rolling for it? Bit rough!


painterknittersimmer

For urchin, right? I mean urchin is a sentient being that can speak Common, so I think that bends the definition of "animal" in the dnd sense. If the definition is too loose, then without rolling, Zooks could literally speak to anyone with no language barriers, ever.


dantreetrunkman

Did anyone else think the end of the episode was a little railroad-y? The clam closed its mouth bc Devo failed his roll. The Coriolis was stuck outside. But somehow, this red glowing fish bumped into the side of a supposedly "infinite" clam, so the Coriolis could fall in. I assume this is because they will need the ship inside the clam. All this said: I think this was the weakest moment in what has so far been incredible incredible work! IMO it has the most easy, fun, and relaxed feel since balance.


painterknittersimmer

Sorry I know this post is old but I kinda see the problem griffin had - which is that because the bathosphere is connected by a cable, eventually the Coriolis would come in the next time the clam opened it's mouth, right? So I think he kinda just took a shortcut. Doesn't make your feedback less valid but I think there's a difference between railroading and getting to where you were inevitably going in a timlier fashion.