Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Don't Tell Us Where The Prison Is

The farther we get along in the series, the less the Escapist argued with me--episode 8 gets us into the "Axe" episodes where the Escapist took the tapes I gave them and didn't complain at all or make me change anything. We'd agreed about where the good stuff in the show was going to come from and didn't have to ship the footage back and forth re-cutting from both sides.

(These were cut months ago, but, knowing people, I'm sure the haters on the boards who like the newer episodes will assume they get better because we're responding to their whining. "Make tha sho gooder!""Yes sir!")

-It's the first with Justine Joli flying in from New York to play. Though I've probably said it before and it's probably in the video there always seems to be profound confusion on this point so I'll say it again: Justine is new and this is her first game. The other girls are not new.

-Also in the category of I would-have-thought-it-was-obvious-but-experience-teaches-otherwise the action in-game here begins just as the last Sasha-guest-star-episode ends. That is, just after the girls have discovered the Goblin Palace.

-I handwaved Sasha's character's disappearance--as you do--though, since this game has a rotating cast of guest stars and so I know that people will be disappearing at intervals I suppose next time I might think up a slightly more elegant way to do it. I don't just want to kill them off though, you never know when people will be back.

-Click here to see bigger.

-The mushrooms and their effects were derived from a table made by Lee Reynoldson for the Fungus Forest on actually didn't intend to include anybody's stuff but mine in this episode but the Goblin Palace was written up long before the show existed and it wasn't until I started editing that I realized Lee's invention had made it into the filmed game. James Mal helped me track him down and pay him for his contribution so it's all good there.

The cosmetic similarity between Satine's blue wood elf and the protagonists of a recent Ferngullylike science fiction film is strictly accidental and unfortunate.

--The mug Justine is drinking from says "Maybe I want to look cheap." Mandy's mom got it for her. Should be the motto for the whole show..

-"Disgusting grub monster."

Anyone wondering why my descriptive style as a GM is so minimal would do well to examine this short sequence. All I say is "this sort of disgusting grub monster" and I get an immediate and visceral eeeeew from the party.

Maybe this is a D&D principal: describe the thing until you get the reaction that tells you you've described the thing and then move on. I have managed so far to avoid hearing withering "yeah yeah we get it"s from both Kimberly and Mandy throughout my GMing career despite hearing them almost weekly from one or the other of them in ordinary life.

I think the Cthulhu rule would be something different: either describe the thing until you get the barest flicker of recognition or describe the thing until you get the reaction and then keep describing it and keep describing it and keep describing it until the players are just dying to do something about it.

-The upside down rooms predated me reading the tesseract articles in Best of Dragon. It's probably best that the Goblin Palace didn't have tesseracts--keeping track of everybodys position without fridge magnets glued to the bottom of the minis was weird enough by itself.

-"Funguses" is a word, anybody who says it isn't doesn't have Google.

Because of this I've spent years of my life explaining that "octopuses" is a perfectly acceptable plural of "octopus" because "octopus" is Greek, not Latin, so "octopi" isn't particularly correct and if you want to be all etymological about it then it'd be "octopodes". I would have a sense of humor about it if people didn't assume you were stupid just because they think they know more about plural nouns than you.

It is very hard not to despise people.

-They're making an awful lot of noise in the Palace but still not attracting any guards--there's actually a reason for that. Explained next episode.

-The footage underneath the credits is Mandy walking Justine through character generation, if you look carefully you'll notice Justine isn't wearing any pants. She doesn't wear any pants for the first 3 or 4 episodes she's in and nobody mentions it.


  1. This is my favorite episode so far, which sounds trite since you have given the above disclaimer but is true. The players are clearly having tons of fun the the fungi book & the Opposite Goblins; it seems to me like the vibe of the session really came across.

  2. My group has done that same mushroom thing before. Made me laugh. Kimberly is brutal, hacking off the Goblin's foot. Damn.

  3. Aaaah, that's better. Much less hyperkinetic editing than the early episodes. I think the lesson here is: trust the visual vocabulary of the PROFESSIONAL ARTIST.

    * The "It looks like this" cut was great.
    * I lik yer DM journal. Tis like a beekcake Moleskine.
    * And yer Goblin voice. That's cool too.

  4. Allow me to add my agreement: this is the best episode yet. Justine seems much more energetic and enthusiastic about the game than Sasha was. Her energy and involvement seem at odds with her being a total newbie (Sasha was more typical in that regard). This session looks like it was a lot of fun.

  5. Excellent episode. I wish they listened to you the first time regarding style and format. Hell, go back and find what you submitted to the mag and post them instead of what they had you edit, if the first 5 are of the same quality and style as this one.

  6. Critical lasso, motherfucker! Another really, really great ep.

  7. As a student of the Classics, I appreciate that somebody else shares my distaste for the pretentious and incorrect pluralization of fungus and octopus.

  8. "Maybe this is a D&D principal: describe the thing until you get the reaction that tells you you've described the thing and then move on."

    This is a gem.

    On issues of linguistic grief -- My pet peeve is the crap I get for pronouncing coup de grace properly (per any English or French dictionary), which no American gamer I ever meet believes.

  9. So it's really octopuses, huh?
    Now I'm ashamed.
    Oh well... live and learn. Thanks for mentioning it, Zak.

  10. I like how all the goblins talk like backwards meatwad.

    Also, the format's much better, less escapist meddling definitely seems to have helped the pacing. It's a lot easier to tell what's going on.

  11. I have the exact same issue with my gamers too. No Pants.

  12. The no pants bit. Yes, that would be a decided problem. “Let me re-roll that or I’ll stand up!” In other news, I looked at your books on Amazon. Not to mention your paintings. Incredible. How do you do this?

  13. @Chris and Eric
    My original cuts were WAY faster than anything that's been posted so far. Mainly the Escapist wanted a show that was slower and more traditional than what I was sending them and I wanted a show that was funnier and more fun to watch than what they were sending me. After a while we worked it out.

    I like to keep busy.

  14. Just got a chance to watch the video, and I actually enjoyed this a lot more than prior ones. Camerawork seems more interesting, players seem more relaxed. The wordplay was fantastic. Justine's a great addition. Thank god for those opening credit tags!

    Much appreciated, kudos.

  15. Zak, I love all your players.

    I did indeed spend the entire episode trying to see Justine with no pants on though.

  16. Sir Allen: if that is your goal, sir, you are doing it wrong.

  17. Me no am Bizarro Goblin #1. This not bestest episode of all. It not hilarious. Me hate goblin voice. It not make me laugh me ass off.

    Also, Frankie am not most adorable as usual.

  18. @mordicai: Seriously. It's like going to a strip club and getting excited because one of the strippers left the changing room door open. Which I do.

  19. accidental partial nudity is always more exciting than intentional full nudity i find.

  20. Cool beans for paying for the use of the fungi table. You're a stand up guy, sir.

    I am enjoying the series a lot!

    @Delta: I love to mispronounce coup de grace as "koop deh graysee" and watch people squirm.