I swear I’m not intentionally leaving out Hank Green on these Titansgrave posts. He’s a fun guy and I love his character, Aankia. But he doesn’t make silly faces very often.
When you’re in a role-playing game, sometimes characters have more knowledge or perception of their whereabouts than the other members of their party. A good way for a dungeon master to give this information to the player is by passing notes.
In Titansgrave, we’ve seen this happen a couple times. Most recently in chapter 5, “Staff of Forlorn Hope,” when Kiliel (played by Alison Haislip) can see more about Mr. Voss than the others can. Her reaction nails why this story-telling tactic is awesome.
It’s exciting because it empowers the player. They get the information and they get to choose what to do with it, instead of being subject to the DM’s narration of events.
For the purposes of Titansgrave, it’s doubly effective because each of the players have secrets they’re hiding from the others. Using note-passing during more common instances like Kiliel’s actually makes it more normal when the note-passing is crucial to those secrets. I really hope a note-pass makes or breaks the climax of one of these adventures, because Wil has used them skillfully.
When Geek and Sundry’s webseries Tabletop had its record-setting Indiegogo campaign last year, one of the stretch goals reached was the creation of a new RPG show to be produced as well. That show is a now a thing you can watch called Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana. Right now we’re 3 episodes into the 10 episode series, plus a bonus ‘episode 0′ that fills you in on the rpg system being used, the story’s universe, and the characters’ backstories.
When Geek and Sundry launched their Twitch channel in March of this year, they also created a tentpole of their livestreaming with Critical Role. This is a separate RPG show, where a group of friends play their weekly Dungeons and Dragons (5ed) game for approximately 4 hours. It’s just like your game and mine, except cameras are rolling. And those cameras are excellently run by the Geek and Sundry staff. And the group are lead by a very talented game master (GM) in Matt Mercer. And the party of adventurers are all voice actors with an incredible knack for performing their characters.
So it’s a little better than your game and mine at home.
I think you should watch both, but in case anyone was conflicted between between #savegrog and #savethebeer , here’s a quick comparison of the two.
Like It Is, or Like It Is in Hollywood
Critical Role plays it like it is. These folks are playing an excellent game of DnD and there’s no reason your home game can’t be very similar. Players are making nerdy jokes and chomping on vegan pizza while their characters haggle with the local shopkeep, polymorph into animals, or downing a cask of ale they had stashed in the bag of holding. If it’s any different from your previous RPG experience it’s probably because your friends weren’t as experienced.
Titansgrave is a whole realm of production beyond what you and I will do at home. They’ve had the resources or artists, video editors, and graphic designers augment the experience to a level that if you try to mimic it, you’ll probably fall over before you have a chance to finish your storyline. Your everyday GM shouldn’t bother trying to make this sort of immersion happen — but holy cow is it awesome. Watching Titansgrave feels a lot more like watching a movie. Enjoy it the same way you enjoy a summer blockbuster.
Matt vs. Wil
Matt is clearly an amazing GM and his quick acting of NPCs is clearly at another level. Wil lacks some of the quickchange voice-acting cred, but also gets a lot of credit for creating one heck of a new universe in Titansgrave. Using a less-developed system has also given him a lot of power, so I think Titansgrave really feels like we see a lot more of Wil’s mind that Critical Role shows us playing around in Matt’s.
That, and Wil is my man-crush. But Matt might be yours.
How’s Your Schedule?
Twitch has become the hot new place for Geek and Sundry to release content. Good on ’em for keeping up with the times. What that means though is that unless you start matching the Twitch stream’s scheduling, you’re missing out on the full experience. Titansgrave is still posted asynchronously — so if you watch it 5 hours after it comes out, you’re still on par with the rest of the world. 5 hours late on Twitch is missing the whole episode. Critical Role is definitely an in-the-moment experience. The episodes still get posted later (here) but it’s just not the same. Plus you miss out on the chat room with the other “Critters,” which is a pretty great way to participate with an RPG show.
All I’m saying is, to max out your fandom you might need to think about just how available you can be Thursdays 7pm PT.
Wil Wheaton said Titansgrave was gonna come out on June 2nd. On June 2nd we got an apology and an explanation for why it wasn’t coming out on June 2nd. Here it is:
And I’m totally cool with this explanation. I’m excited to see the show and I’m disappointed that I’m not watching it right this second, but I trust Wil and the staff at Geek and Sundry to put out the very best program they can.
Me: *Waits for June 9*
Bit by bit, Wil Wheaton has been sharing pieces of the concept art for his upcoming RPG show, Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana. Today he released the entire image in its enormous glory.
In fact, this image is so large, you could probably use it for your desktop if you were so inclined.
I am so inclined, Mr. Wheaton. I am.
I’m sure I’ll come back to you one day, Wapuunk.
Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana premieres on Geek & Sundry this June.