DCC Spotlight: Natural 20 Panel (Full)

Natural 20This year at Denver Comic Con we had the honor of presenting a panel for the first time. Together with our friends Christian and Shayla, Dungeon Masters for ATK, Inc and all around amazing humans, we led a discussion on the role that tabletop RPGs play in making the world a more awesome and accepting place, as well as how to get involved in your own tabletop RPG and find the perfect adventuring party! We had a blast, met some incredible gamers of all ages and we already can’t wait to come next year! Check it out, and make sure to give us your feedback. Thank you Denver Comic Con and Pop Culture Classroom for the opportunity to be a part of this year’s programming. See you in 2018!

Denver Comic Con is an education program of Pop Culture Classroom with more than 600 hours of educational programming and 9,000 sq. ft. of convention floor dedicated to the Pop Culture Laboratory, an area designed to engage kids in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) educational activities, and spotlight the PCC program and its students and graduates. Further, it provides educational, youth-based programming and fun activities for our younger attendees and their families, and allows young creators to work directly with professionals from the comic book and animation industries as well as other creative professions.

PCC Mission: Pop Culture Classroom ignites a love of learning, increases literacy, celebrates diversity and builds community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression.

PCC Vision: Pop Culture Classroom envisions individuals transformed by the educational power of popular culture who create diverse, inclusive and engaged communities.

PCC Values:

  • Quality service to kids and communities
  • Respect, inclusiveness and diversity
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Alternative approaches to education
  • Recognizing each person’s intrinsic dignity and importance
  • Open communication, responsibility and honesty

For more information about Pop Culture Classroom’s role in the community, please visit http://popcultureclassroom.org/ 

5 Things Vox Machina Can Do to Avoid a Fiery Death

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Art by caiomm at http://caiomm.deviantart.com/

It’s Thursday, people of geekdom, which means it’s time for Critical Role! The heroes of Vox Machina have little time left to prepare for a showdown with Thordak, The Cinder King. In an attempt to control our fears, and build our excitement, we put together this little advice column for our favorite adventurers. Vox Machina, please don’t die! Tal’Dorei needs you, and so do we.

  1. HEALING POTIONS. Hundreds of healing potions. Potent healing potions. Thordak was tough when he was just a dragon. Now he’s taking on fire elemental crap from some crazy powerful heart stone thing. He’s glowing red and bringing the whole fire plane over. Uh, not good. Fire breath, claws, tail, probably other crazy fire elemental stuff. He could kill you in one round. Don’t wait for healers. They might be dying on the other side of the battle. DIY healing.
  2. TALK. We know you can. In fact, it’s probably our very favorite thing about you! Well, that, or your fabulous hair. Use those free actions to focus on battle talk in character! Make yourself say something quick at the end of your turn. Quick information sharing every single turn. Examples could be: “DYING!” “Raishan has turned on us!” “Thordak is wearing cute underwear!” “POISONED!” “Grog is really a dragon too and we’re surrounded!” Though if that last one is true, you’re all hosed and I would probably just give up.
  3. HIDE. Better cover and hiding places are essential. We’ve learned the drawbacks of the mansion. Stupid being on another plane where magic jewelry phones don’t reach. Make that Plan B. For Plan A, maybe a quick half wall that curves over? Percy’s a genius, ask him.
  4. FIRE RESISTANCE. Seriously. You’re going to be cooked alive. Scrolls of fire resistance! Potions of fire resistance! Whatever you can find! SHOP FOR YOUR LIVES! Life may only need things to live, but you guys need some major fire resistance. Not everyone can be as cool as Pike with her badass armor. Help yourselves. Oh, and throw in a Heroes Feast while you’re at it. Just in case.
  5. KEEP GILMORE ALIVE! For real. We will come in game and perform a TPK if you let him die. Sorry, sorry. That was aggressive. We are all stressed. We just love Gilmore the most.

As a bonus action, we have added the following:

5 Things Critters Can Do to Survive

  1. BEER POTIONS. Characters could die in a round! Make sure you heal your emotions with your favorite drink. Maybe Grog will lend us his Alchemy Jug? Potions of Wine, Gin or Diet Coke can substituted as you see fit.
  2. TALK. Twitter. Chat. Make sure to use all caps. You can panic with us and the rest of your fellow #critters together!
  3. GET IN THE MOOD. Listen to this freaky soundtrack to get yourself pumped up. Oh crap, they’re all gonna die.
  4. FIRE RESISTANCE. We all better get some fire resistance too. Thordak hates everyone. I’m not sure we’re safe. Make sure the blanket you’re hiding under as you watch is fire resistant. Carry a fire extinguisher everywhere. Can’t be too careful .
  5. PRAY. Sacrifice some chocolate. Gods like chocolate. And by sacrifice, I mean eat it. If you don’t like chocolate, send it to us. We will make your god offering ourselves because we love choc…I mean, we love you that much.

We hope Vox Machina takes our advice in the loving spirit it was intended. And who knows? Maybe Thordak will wake up tomorrow and decide “Nah, I think I’ll go back to the Fire Plane, this is boring.”

Oh who am I kidding? We are so boned.

Memory and Mercy: A Critical Role Story

Critical Role is one my very favorite things on the internet. I wear the badge of being a #critter with pride, but I usually keep my fandom contained within compliments, retweets and buying beautiful art made by other people. But something unusual happened this week. I felt inspired to write a story. To give you some context, I haven’t written fiction since I was in high school, and I have never even put my toes in the waters of fanfic. But I had to get this story out. This piece is made with more love than talent.

To give some brief context, this is set a few centuries in the future of the world of Vox Machina, the intrepid adventurers of Critical Role. I hope this story is the beginning of turning the adventures of Vox Machina into a series of folk tales, as they would have become in the decades after their real story ended. We’ll see how much inspiration I can come by.

Please be advised that the rest of this post contains spoilers up through Episode 68 of Critical Role.

Enjoy!

Memory and Mercy

New Emon, circa 250 years Post Conclave

The children filed into the teaching hall in as orderly a procession the young and excited are capable of, finding their seats and chittering to each other. The hall was beautiful, lush green grass for a carpet, high windows streaming in the light. The students’ benches glowing warm wood, made that much more beautiful and inviting with Druidcraft carvings and living flowers climbing the legs. At the front of the space, their teacher waited with the patience only a long life can bestow. She had promised to start their day with a story, truly a history lesson hidden within a tale, another chapter in the famous adventures of Vox Machina, heroes of Tal’Dorei.

“Good morning, good morning students, let’s take our seats. It’s time to begin our lessons.”

“Mistress, Mistress, you promised us a story!” the students cried as they found their benches and chairs.

“Tell us ‘Grog and the Pony’!” she heard Callisto Brightheart shout out. “I want to hear about how the pony saved Grog and Scanlan from the evil dwarves! Please Mistress, it’s my favorite.”

It hadn’t really been that way, but these tales grow with the telling and the years gone by. Better to let the children believe a magic pony had rescued Grog and the Gnomish bard from certain death than the rather messy truth. Certainly Callisto was not ready for the real tale, she rode her pony every day and was becoming very attached to him.

“No, no, I want to hear ‘Vax’s Wings’!” piped the voice of Fen. “Tell us how he traded his favorite blade so he could fly and how he became best friends with the Queen of the Ravens, who saved Vox Machina again and again.”

Well, that last part was mostly right. Vox Machina’s bacon had been pulled from the fire by the grace of the Raven Queen more than once, but it was never a blade Vax had traded for her favor. Someday, the children would learn that the blessing of a god does not come in exchange for steel and leather.

She opened her mouth to speak, to tell the students what today’s tale would be and found herself cut short by another request.

“Mistress,” said the small voice of Quince, “please, I would like to hear ‘Trinket, Trinket, Little Bear’. Everyone knows that talking bears are the best! Tell us about all the times he saved Vex, oh please Mistress.”

She smiled. Trinket didn’t talk, not really. But it was true that he saved Vex many, many times. Saved her life, saved her soul and her sanity. She thought for a moment about perhaps giving in to Quince, and telling the children all about how when Trinket was just a cub, Vex found him and made him her family. But no, she had made a promise.

“Those are all most wonderful tales, my children. But you have heard them all already. I have a new story for you today.”

“Is it ‘Keyleth and the Sparkstone’?” called Hylas. “Or ‘Attack of the Dragons’? My sister says that one’s scary! I want to hear a scary story.” Sweet Hylas, for whom the dragons were never real.

“No Hylas. This is the story of Percival, who rose and fell, then rose again through the blessing of Sarenrae and the love of his family, Vox Machina. Listen well, children and heed my words. The pull of vengeance may be strong in this life, but the power of love is greater by far.”

The children finally quieted, as if by a spell. This story was definitely new. She looked over her students bright and beautiful, settled her shoulders and began.

“His name was Percival Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III, which is a mouthful, isn’t it children?” She paused, steadying her breathing. “But we called him Percy.”

The Best of SDCC 2016: Panels and Trailers and Nerds, Oh My!

SDCC-Banner-2016So, San Diego Comic Con was last week, and while once again we couldn’t be there in person, we watched and tweeted and laughed as amazing things from Con appeared on the internet in all their nerdy glory. Here are some of our top highlights from San Diego!

NerdHQ

NerdHQ killed it again in 2016, bringing top-notch talent to their offsite stage, with panels, one on one conversations and laughs. Oh, and by the way did we mention they made an absolute ton of money for Operation Smile? We suggest you go to the archives and watch them all, but if you can only pick a few, make sure you check out the Badass Women panel, Nathan Fillion’s solo panel and Stephen Amell and Friends.

Critical Role

Critical Role hit critical mass in San Diego this year, having not one, but two panels. One onsite at SDCC and then a second, Dating Game themed panel over at Conival, a joint collaboration between Nerdist and Geeky and Sundry. And boy howdy, did they deliver. All while managing to be more or less spoiler free for those viewers out there that may not be completely caught up. The cast was hysterical and irreverent as usual, and showed in both panels their love and respect for the nerd community. They’re not only putting dynamic and amazing entertainment out into the world every Thursday, they’re putting out a ton of love and joy. Which, just between us, the world sorely needs right now. Also, Travis sang C is for Cookie as Grog, so really, what more do you want?

All Things Wonder Woman

First off, let’s talk about that trailer. Oh, you haven’t seen it? Go, watch, we’ll wait. Are you back? Wasn’t it amazing? Yeah. There was also a short, but awesome panel with Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, Connie Nielsen and Chris Pine that we wished was 2 hours longer. Oh, and they did a Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Retrospective panel too. Everyone keeps asking “Who won Comic Con?”. Our answer: Wonder Woman. Hands down. The first female superhero is finally, finally, finally getting her moment in the sun and it is glorious. Let’s watch the trailer again.

The Game of Thrones Panel

Game of Thrones always delivers at SDCC, and 2016 was no exception. They were funny, they were pithy and Sophie Turner got to shut down a fan who really, really, really wanted JonSan to happen. (Spoiler Alert: that’s not happening). Having the panel hosted by Rob McElhenney (Mac from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) continued one of my favorite SDCC trends as well; having famous fans host panels for things they nerd out over. It’s delightful, endearing and offers a unique view into how celebrities really are geeks just like the rest of us. We also got to cry over Hodor again and hear the cast predictions for who will sit the Iron Throne in the end. Good stuff.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Panel

It had showmanship. It had Chris Pratt generally being adorable. And Michael Rooker in full costume haranguing James Gunn in front of all of Hall H. What more do you want out of life? While it was short on scoop on the new movie, it was long on awesome. And also long on there being more awesome and ass-kicking ladies in Volume 2. And really, that’s what matters. The Guardians films are an important reminder that movies can, and should, be fun, silly and heartfelt. And that comic book movies area for everyone.

John Barrowman’s Cosplay

Holy nerdgasm, John Barrowman’s SDCC cosplay was next level. He did Harley Quinn, Squirrel Girl and Zapp Brannigan! Not to mention all that time he spent running about Con in heels just because he felt like it. John Barrowman is an international treasure who puts more positive, zany love out into the world every day than most of us can hope to in a lifetime. If you’re not following him on social media, you should be.

 

We know that the list of amazing, epic things that happened at SDCC 2016 is way longer than this. There was a ton of incredible cosplay and the annual Adam Incognito game. There were comics artists and authors and artists galore. There were pop-up parties and dance marathons. So tell us readers, what was your favorite moment from San Diego Comic Con? Tell us in the comments!

 

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