What is this? Griffin, Justin, and Travis McElroy had a freeform podcast that dated back to earliest days of podcasting called “My Brother, My Brother, and Me” Similar to HarmonQuest yesterday, they ran out of content and decided to play DnD for just one episode to kill time, inviting their father Clint along. It was an instant hit and they spun it off into its own episode called “The Adventure Zone”. DnD 5th Edition had just come out. It had a Starter Kit, but didn’t have a Player’s Handbook yet. This is the only actual play I listened to that’s using a pre-made module, “The Lost Mines of Phandelver”, from the Starter Kit.
The people involved:
- Griffin McElroy is the game master. He’s never done it before.
- Clint McElroy, the father of the other three, is Merle Highchurch, Dwarf Cleric
- Justin McElroy is Taako, Elf Wizard. He pronounces it “taco” and wants to invent the taco.
- Travis McElroy is Magnus Burnsides, Human Fighter
How to play with players who find DnD hard to take seriously.
One brother (I can’t tell their voices apart) talks about how, as a kid, he was a nerd, but he did like to say “At least I don’t play Dungeons and Dragons.” Both brothers who are playing bring a little of that attitude here.
Unlike the other shows/podcasts I checked out, these guys aren’t (yet) being paid to do this, aren’t hardcore gamers, and think they’re a little too cool for it, which I think is common. Griffin isn’t helping, because he’s sort of groaning at the names in the starter kit as he’s reading them.
- Griffin: I’m nervous, like I’m not psyched about saying things like Neverwinter, and Gundran Rockseeker.
- Brother: You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.
- Griffin: Gundran is actually going up ahead of you guys, with a fighter escort named Syldar Halwinter.
- Brother: His name one more time?
- Griffin: (apologetically) Syldar Halwinter.
- Brother: Ugh. Sounds disgusting. I’m just going to call him Silly.
- Griffin: Barry… Barry Bluejeans. I can call him, this is what I’m saying, this is our game, we can do whatever we want, I can start calling this guy Barry Bluejeans.
- Brother: Syldar Halwinter does not stick in my head but Barry Bluejeans I’ll never forget.
- Griffin: Okay, Barry Bluejeans, that’s his name now.
- Unlike Critical Role, which we’ll look at later, Griffin announces they will never go shopping. “There’s a lot of like, game shit about having to stop and forage and how much money are you spending on food, but I hate all that stuff, I’m gonna leave it out”
- Another way to adjust for people who don’t take DnD seriously: curse a lot. They come across “a very goddamn big spider.” At one point, they have this exchange: “Make a perception check.” “I rolled a 23.” “You see the shit out of anything.”
- One thing I find frustrating and so do the brothers: When the DM says “roll initiative”, which just means “Kill this thing” but you still want to talk. The problem being that your turn lasts six seconds now, and it’s hard to say anything in six seconds.