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.”

LARPs is a Nerd Masterpiece!

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LARPs is a masterpiece, so why aren’t you watching it? (If you are already, isn’t it great? Do you want MORE? Every new subscriber and twitter follower helps! Show Geek & Sundry that we love LARPs.)

LARPs is a web series that is silly, dramatic, and respects nerds and geeks. It follows a group of realistic nerds who play Live Action Role Play. Like any group of humans, they make their own drama…Betrayal from within! Laziness! Fear of embarrassment! It is a character-driven plot, but oddly driven by both the LARP players and the LARP characters they play. In fact, where is the line that divides player from character? I think–Oh wait, I was talking about why you should watch.

LARPs is hilarious, but it never makes fun of the nerd craft of role playing. Instead, the characters make fun of each other for the usual: trying too hard, not trying at all, and doing something ridiculously stupid that makes the whole party do extra work, and seriously, what were you thinking? It’s very realistic and whimsical.

Here are its characters…

evan2

 

Evan: The dedicated GM who gets nothing but whining from his friends no matter how hard he works for the STORY. Evan just wants to be part of the group, but must stand alone, as the one responsible for everyone else having a good time.

Arthur-Notcus

 

Arthur: Plays NOCTUS the rogue, master of the silent strike. Which may be a fart. It certainly sounds like one.

 

brittany

 

Brittany: Brave and creative in-game, incredibly shy and indecisive out of game. Can she gain bravery from her in-game character?

 

Shane-Astra

 

Shane: Surprisingly violent and fire obsessed in-game, but what is she like out of game? Should her friends be scared?

 

Will

 

Will: Will is phoning it in. He LARPs purely to hit his brother inappropriately hard in inappropriate places.

 

Kat

 

Kat: A new player in season two, Kat has much to learn from the GM.

 

 

As a gamer who prefers pjs for game day, the dedication of LARPing outside with costumes is alien! However, I could not cheer harder for these players and their characters! Will they win? Will they set something on fire? Will they figure out what they are supposed to do so that they can stop getting eaten by bugs in the woods?

I will leave you with that hook. It is possible that the show ends because everyone was literally eaten alive by bugs in the woods. It is filmed in Canada. Start the LARPs journey here: LARPs Season One. Then continue here with LARPs Season Two.

If you love LARPs, show it! Follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their YouTube channel and subscribe to Geek & Sundry!

Never Weird? Almost…

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You're Never Weird on the Internet

Felicia Day just released a memoir. Who is she? Felicia Day is creator and star of The Guild, and co-creator of the Geek and Sundry site, packed full of web series. She also is a founder of Vaginal Fantasy, an online book club for romance books. Oh yeah, and she has appeared in Eureka, Supernatural, and Dr. Horrible!

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost) is Felicia Day’s love story with the internet. (Although, they did break up that one time.) It is a story most of us are familiar with. The people you know in real life don’t want to talk about your video game poetry obsession. It is also a story about when we had to walk uphill both ways to get anything done online. For instance, funding and promoting a show before there was Kickstarter or social media, or anyone even knew what a web series was. It is an inspirational tale for people just starting to share their internet weirdness. It is a map of the potential pitfalls to creativity and sanity.

Felicia Day’s word choice is perfectly ridiculous. “Stay Puft Marshmallow of Doom!” She writes a beautiful comedy that made me laugh a bit too much to seem normal in public. What does the public know, though? With their books that don’t make them laugh hysterically?

Felicia has met some of the weirdest people, and you get to meet them too! She has such a relaxed writing style, that it feels like you’d hear all these stories drinking with your friend. Probably with some “THAT CAN’T HAVE HAPPENED!” thrown in. No really, did all of that really happen?

I realized halfway through the book that I actually met Kim Evey, producer of The Guild, at SDCC last year. She came over to say hello to my friend Tabz. I said something nervously like “Hi” or “Nice to meet you.” Now that I know how hard creating The Guild was, I need a time machine to go back and fix that. I didn’t realize there was DVD shipping hell! I’m thankful that everyone involved in The Guild stuck it out so Tinkerballa could inspire me. I always think of her when boys are giving me a tough time for being a gamer. Tinkerballa doesn’t put up with that, also can you go mine some gold for her?

Never Weird also delves into some serious drama that we all experience to some degree, when people on the internet decide you shouldn’t be allowed a viewpoint because of your sex, age, race, orientation, etc. Also, with a bit of, I’m going to have a very strong opinion about someone I didn’t even bother to google.

Felicia poses a problem in her book, that we, the internet can absolutely solve. She describes how the hateful and awful comments stick with her, but the nice comments don’t. Now having too often read the comments, I can tell you, the good comments are often all the same and not very vivid. They are often similar to “I love you!”, “Love your show!”,”You’re great!” etc. These aren’t as eye catching as hateful ones. I feel like some of our passion is lost. Let’s all take some time to make sure we write nice comments that she’ll never forget! Word choice and passion! We can do this!

Felicia Day, you’re a fiery badass Pixie of Nerdom! (Pixies of Nerdom have comic book wings, obviously.)

If you love The Guild, read this book. If you love Felicia, read this book. If you need a funny guide to starting your own internet work and promoting it, read it. Also, internet nerds, female gamers, female nerds, this is a book about us. READ IT!

FIVE STARS Tiny-Alien

Titansgrave Is Making Me Fall In Love With RPGs All Over Again

Titansgrave-RPG

Wil Wheaton, certified Geek God, has a new show on the Geek and Sundry network. An expansion of his fantastically successful show Tabletop, Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana is super awesome. It’s fun, hilarious and beautiful,  and you should watch it. This is why.

I’ve been a fan of the show Tabletop from the beginning, and absolutely started my gaming life with tabletop and paper and pen games like old school D&D and Risk. But ever since my first taste of FFVII some 15 odd years ago, my true gaming love has been video games.  I enjoyed dipping back into the tabletop world for the occasional round of Munchkins or Cards Against Humanity, but really, nothing was as fun as logging into my Playstation and immersing myself in the beautiful graphics, epic soundtracks and dynamic game play of the electronic world.

When Wheaton and the team at G&S announced plans for an RPG special edition of Tabletop, I was excited to watch Wil and his friends play, but that’s really where my expectations ended. I had no idea how deeply I would fall in love with the world of Valkana and the story the group is telling.

There are a lot of things that are making me fall so hard for Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana. The first is the depth of characterization that Wil, Alison, Laura, Yuri and Hank are bringing. Every one of their characters, even most of the NPCs voiced by Wil, are fully realized and fully committed. Certainly, it helps that this game is being played by professional entertainers, which makes watching it that much more fun, but it’s obvious that you don’t need acting training to create a fun and well designed character. Then there is the setting of Valkana itself. What a world! The mix of magic and tech is seamless and rational, and the combination of sci-fi and fantasy expands the play style opportunities. Basically, what I’m saying is this: Why wouldn’t you want to play in a world where you can have magic AND swords AND guns AND robots? Finally, the thing that truly puts Titansgrave over the top for me is the silliness, absurdity and joy.  The absolute blast everyone is having bursts through my laptop screen every week. I can’t decided who is having more fun: Me watching or them playing. And that’s awesome.

To sum up, what I’m saying is this: Wil and company have proved, emphatically, with Titansgrave that you can play RPGs with an equal mix of seriousness and goofiness. You can have fun, and adventure and create a real sense of the stakes without getting bogged down in being SUPER SERIAL. And you can do that while still respecting the rules, respecting the work your GM has done to build the story and the world.

Waiting for the new episodes to load on Tuesdays is an exercise in patience, and I know I’m going to be incredibly sad when we reach the end of this journey.  I’m anxious about the fate of Lemley, Killiel, Aankia and S’Lethkk. I want them to succeed and get more gold and more parties. I want to hang out with them and drink That Old Chaotic Neutral. (Seriously, Wil, please brew that beer for real. I beg you.) The team at Tabletop has produced a great show, but they’ve done more than that. They’ve reawakened my own interest in playing old school pen and paper RPGs around a table with my friends. I find myself outlining characters during down time at work.

Green Ronin is releasing the Fantasy AGE rules set at GenCon, as well as the Valkana setting. While Titansgrave might be almost over, my adventure in a new world with my friends is just beginning. I think I’m gonna play some sort of super stealthy spy who specializes in taking out enemies from really, really, really far away with magically enhanced sniper rifles. Or maybe I’ll dual wield daggers and specialize in thievery. Maybe I’ll have a pet space monkey, or be part fairy. These RPG worlds are full of endless possibilities, and that’s the beauty of it. You can be whoever you want.

 

You can watch Titansgrave on the Geek and Sundry network, as well as at the Geek and Sundry YouTube page. I also recommend the excellent show Critical Role on Geek and Sundry if you need more RPG adventure.

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