tl;dr A dark, vibrant, intense premiere for the new season of this long-running podcast. The experience shows in high production values, great world-building and solid character work by the GM and party. The world and PC backgrounds need to deepen, but there’s every indication that that will unfold over the succeeding episodes. A great, refreshing listen.
Continue reading “Cthulhu and Friends: Season 6 — Quarantine”
tl;dr A slow-moving cookie-cutter episode with a few cool combat moves, but not a lot of original action. Three combat scenes, which are fine, and two to three shop haggling scenes, which are interminable. This is a skippable episode unless you really hate gnolls.
Continue reading “Critical Role: Campaign 2 — The Howling Mines”
tl;dr As this campaign hurtles towards a hopefully climactic conclusion, we get some nice forward motion, colorful game-play and world-building, but some worryingly new NPCs which seem like a distraction this late in the game.
Continue reading “Critical Hit: Hays of Shadows — The Shadows You Are Sniffing Into”
tl;dr The party moves on from their first mystery arc to life on the open road. Amidst maybe a little too much camping-and-carting logistics, the team has some interesting exposition, dream visions, and aesthetic encounters. The session’s final battle comes out of nowhere but manages to be interesting and complex as only D&D combat can be.
Continue reading “Critical Role: Campaign 2 — The Open Road”
tl;dr On this episode zero for this Urban Shadows campaign, the GM introduces the world and the players describe their characters. There’s some tweaking to get a tight fit of the engine to a fictional Old West milieu, with additional tweaking of character playbooks. Worrying portents for this campaign as this soap-opera system is layered over a murder mystery plot.
Continue reading “The Adventure Zone: Dust – Setup”
tl;dr Klaus and Alanna seem to have taken a couple of logical leaps too far in turning the game into a direct confrontation between two PCs. They call a war meeting of several PC and NPC factions to ally against The Proxy. The episode is bolstered by Rodrigo’s great characterization of the Proxy’s competence and elevated by the layered confrontation between the Professor and the wizard.
Continue reading “Critical Hit: Hays of Shadows – The Meeting”
So you heard about an actual-play RPG podcast from a friend, and you want to try it out. You download it from iTunes or on RSS. Now… how do you get started?
Continue reading “How to Try a New Actual-Play RPG Podcast”
tl;dr A piece of garbage. Players who are grown men who should know better get slurring drunk and play D&D. Their characters torture and sexually assault a defenseless prisoner. They then abandon their quest and head off into the world, abandoning one member of their party.
Continue reading “Harmontown: Cheapy Peepy”
tl;dr Long and theatrical first episode with a massive number of party members and way too many world-building details to keep track of. The PCs are interesting and well-played, maybe a little heavy on the tieflings, but the colour seems to depend more on improv chops than collaborative world-building skills. GMing this show seems exhausting.
Continue reading “Critical Role: Campaign 2 – Curious Beginnings”
tl;dr Rules-lawyering about advances and taking new moves in Urban Shadows takes up almost a quarter of the show. We catch up with Rob’s and Stephen’s characters, which saves this interstitial episode, but party dynamics are becoming really unstable.
Continue reading “Critical Hit: Urban Shadows — You Did Get a Free Advance”