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Triple Advantage
Triple Advantage

Season 2, Episode 15 · 2 years ago

Ep. 24 - Experience and Escapism

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Welcome back audience to episode 24 of Triple Advantage! This week we cover some self analysis from the Royal City Society team, we continue our divination of the DMG, and address yet another Critical Thought. We also answer some community questions that we post on our instagram @royalcitysociety. 

As game designers we try to incorporate a bits of ourselves in the game world to add a sense of realism and connection for players and their characters. However, we do acknowledge that to subvert expectations at our table we need to continually step out of our own comfort zones and explore more diverse and complex themes for our games. This week marks the start of a longer discussion the RCS team will be having regarding the community we want to build. 

Wow, is everybody excited for Episode Twenty Four of Triple Advantage? I am welcome to your wonderful podcast, triple advantage, where three semi experience DM's talk about Dd as if we've had twenty five years of experience in the craft. Join us. My name is Carlos Right, I'm Jordan. On this week's PODCAST, we're if you're new to the show, we explore three different segments. Usually were general conversation about our daily DD woes and thoughts. We are going through the Dungeon Masters Guide for the first time as DMS, so to keep that with a grain of salt to what it is we actually talked about in this podcast. And finally, we are always thrilled to close out on a very thoughtful question from Jordan, our critical thought of the week. So, without further ado, let me make a plug. Make sure you go check DM skilled for the fires below available now by Royal City Society, and let's hit into this podcast. Guys, this week I've been thinking a lot about culture in general. Role very abstract thought, but I love to travel and one of the things that I've seen myself do more at the table now is, after going and seeing places firsthand and sort of spending some time there. I like to incorporate it into my games, my tables for my peers. I find that it brings a livelier sense of atmosphere. But I was wondering, Burn and Jordan, what, if any, experiences like this have you guys sort of weaved into you your storylines for your campaign's let's take a take it away, whoever. One of the one of the biggest things that I incorporated by, or rather into my homebrew setting was something that I think I made the sitting back in two thousand and eighteen in the first place, and I was just kind of been expanding on it until I actually got to run the game earlier last year, and I think it's actually more relevant now. Was the idea of divisiveness, and that's the concept we were talking a little bit before. We were rolling about the current the current political climate in it's publicized a lot in the US, but also appear a lot of racialization, a lot of dividedness amongst a lot of people, for a lot of good reasons in a lot of case. But that was something that I just started bringing more and more into my campaign. Personally, the the setting that I that I created kind of puts all of these fantasy races on a more level playing field than I think they get a shake towards in tradition, in like that traditional players hand book. Like ORCS are supposed to be evil, for example. GOBLINS are not supposed to be traditionally good. Hags are supposed to be traditionally evil. A lot of these creatures that are thought of as traditionally evil or traditionally good, for example, for the opposite example, are not necessarily like. You can't really assume that anybody is or is not something just because of the way that they appear. That's something that always kind of bugged me about the basic rules and that's something that I wanted to change in in there. But at the same time I created the setting with a lot of unrest at the time. They're kind of living in a period where, yeah, anybody can do or be anything, but there's still a lot of individual persecution of these people be based on what they might be, and it was kind of designed as a as a reflection of what what we lived through in our society, in North American society, and probably others are in the world as well, which is I mean it. I'm up two minds about it, because it's a fantasy game and it kind of should be a bit of an escape from, I think, the bigger problems in the world, and I think that's why a lot of us play it, is to kind of get away for a couple hours from anything that's going on, but, at the same time, like it's we wright from what we know, like,...

...which is I think what you talked about care was we right, based on experiences that we've had and experiences that we've seen reflected in the different cultures that we've seen and studied and been a part of. So I think it's something that kind of just naturally came out, something that's kind of always there and is now being represented in this game. HMM. Interesting. Personally, I guess for my campaigns, I I lean more towards staying away from things that are irl like real life stuff, just just because, like, like Braden was saying, like it's it is a fantasy game, it's a and it's an escape for a lot of people, bull and that's definitely the case for me. I I enjoy the idea of being able to kind of put the world's problems behind me and just like role play in a less turbulent world, I guess, or a turbulent world in different manners. I kind of purposefully stray away from the kind of things that you would find in in our time today, unless I am like I could design a specific scenario or a specific campaign with specific kind of setting, and I would have to go and talk to the players ahead of time and say, Hey, do you guys want to play in a setting that is like this, where there is, you know, some sort of like, you know, elves versus humans or something like that, right where it's like there's this tension between races or whatever. Only only if the players agreed to something like that and they understood, like, this is not indicative of anything going on in the world. It's more just, you know, this is something that could be used as a form of tension in the world and a form of, I guess, campaign progression. So it's a it's a story device, right, because for me, I guess, dd ends up becoming exactly that. It's a story that you're building together, and so I don't like, yeah, bringing in anything that that comes from the outside world. I want it to be kind of the separate thing that's kind of pure almost to a certain extent. Yeah, so that's that's where I kind of land there. If I'm bringing anything in from real life, it would be like, Oh hey, I learned about this new religion. It has some pretty cool, interesting gods or goddesses or whatever, and that would be a really cool character to bring into this. Or, you know, Oh hey, like I met this person and, you know, they were acting a little bit crazy. I'm going to use, you know, this experience that I had as a character device or something like that. It wouldn't, it wouldn't. It would never be like a main plot thing unless I specifically designed it with the players in mind and as I'm talking with them, I would have to talk through it and all that kind of stuff. So that's where I kind of stand on that. So it's interesting hearing your guy's answers to this because, like you guys, the the way of the so let me expense the way that I phrase the question. was intentionally a little bit vague. When I think of this game space, for example, I like to use experience, my own personal experience, as a means to better connect players to the game. Now, both of your examples are methods of doing that, which is sort of resonating with people's motives and this natural archetype and stories of good versus bad. Right. It's a it makes it easier to determine, you know, what the proper course of action is within a game space, right, like what the success criteria, how the success criteria will be achieved in a game space or in a story. But I guess when I when I, when I initially asked, I was more so referring to things like if you've ever been in a hot summer beach or in a jungle and how that feels and how you try to transcribe that into, you know, a ten on a perception check, how...

...you would incorporate these little bits of information. But it's interesting that you guys both answered in the similar manner and I think it does strike. Its strikes to the ton of our listeners. It strikes to the utter importance of how you should stay informed, especially with the vast amount of injustices that are occurring in the world. But it's I've been I've been watching a couple of more interviews online and sort of trying to see how other creators, specifically in the Dungeons and dragons media are handling this, because a lot of the people that I watch our voice actors, and it's it to me it felt like a little bit of an a gray area on how these people, who are portraying cultures that obviously they deeply care about right like to become a professional and successful voice actor, you you need to dive right in and communicate and converse and or at least listen and pick up the oddities of dialect and whatnot, and how they're sort of transcribing that into a very sort of just representation in their campaign games. And I think brain what you said was pretty much like in line with what Matt Mercer and Brandon said in a podcast that I watched, which was just you try to mix it all up and diversify it as much right, like a hag might not be evil. And I got to say it was interesting because we played that just recently in your campaign on Friday. This was one of the first moments that I, as a player, was exploring these avenues, these thoughts in a game like where you just like how you said it Jordan, that it's it's, you know, a bit of an escapism, right, like it's not supposed to be the real world. But I think, I think, I don't want to, I don't want to shit on your dming, Braden, but I when we were at the Bar, when when we were when we were at that bar speaking to the the I forget our name, but the entertainer. I all I had an inkling to insight check what you was saying about, like you know, it's the HAG. Oh, it's the HAG. And it's interesting because one of our other players, the Druid of the party, also brought that up later on and it sort of you felt the party sort of pivot slightly and how we approached the initial encounter. You know, normally, I think we were planning it at normally we tend to plan out everything like, Oh, we're going to go fight a hag, how we're going to do it? Their spell casters and like break out the strategic plan. But it was interesting to see that that didn't happen and just the general approach to that encounter changed ever so slightly, and it was definitely because most of the party, I feel, is very again aware of the current political climate and the current the current state of affairs in the world and how we're all trying to figure out our place in this sort of global culture, and I think we all had that thought at that moment where it was like maybe our expectations aren't, you know, correct. Maybe, like I'm it was interesting to see that or character at the beginning to like this very dope, you know, teen ORC, you know, like I don't know what, I don't know how to do anything at the house and being bossed around by his parents. Essentially. It was refreshing and it was interesting to see that and I'm excited to explore the space further at the table and I think this this changes a lot between like I think for us the consideration is, if we're hoping to starting to include more of the community, how do we do this properly? You know, absolutely, and I think it's important like how we do and sort of start adapting our home games a little bit before we start advertising more and more. But I think it's interesting because I think of culture, I think of I think of like traveling in Asia, or think of like just the feeling of being in like a bamboo force, like like how does it are feel? Is a cold? You know? It's like it wasn't terribly humid when I went. So I've been trying, like, especially in the jungle campaign that we've been playing and child, I've been trying to incorporate a little bit of that feeling to the world. But I don't know. Sorry, this this conversations kind of like a couple of places and it definitely did. Yeah,...

...we think about a lot of yeah, towards towards the first conversation I'll say like, I don't I don't want to jump onto like some canceled DD train, but that is one thing that is always really, really deeply upset me about dd is the idea that they do kind of pigeon whole races specifically into good and evil. Sure, and, like you were saying, in we were we were playing in this campaign on Friday and our Paladin, our friend Matt, said when he had heard that they thought it was a hag that was doing these crimes in the town. He was like, so what would we know that hags are evil? Yeah, and I was like, but it would he didn't say if it wasn't. Would we know if HAG's evil? Would we know that hags are evil? It's it is because it is a known fact. In the DD verse. Yeah, this specific creature is evil, and that's just like our our reality, I think, is a reflection of our art as much as our art is a reflection of our reality. Like art in lunces is life in a lot of cases. So when you're reading things that are specifically pigeonholing races, especially into good and evil, I don't like that. I don't like that one bit and that's always been something that I've been trying to not incorporate into my own games. Towards your second point, regarding the forests, you got me think it now because I don't travel a lot. So you guys know that I hate travel. I said I'm a very I'm a very stay in my house and not go further than downtown kind of guy, but also in my campaign's maybe you both noticed this, I I stick to cities a lot. I really enjoy cities and presented people with cities and when you're traveling, sure you're traveling, but it's always between cities and I'm wondering if that's why. I've never really thought about that before now, but I'm wondering if it's because that's what I know. Like I can describe the city. I can describe a city remarkably well. It's really not much else I know but cities, so I stick to it. I think for the sake of this we're going to run a little bit longer on this segment. I think it's important too, but for the sake of the organization that we clearly have two different points here that we're talking about. So let's let's let's continue a little bit on that first sure, that first point, that first yes, yeah, yeah, with regards to races and dd I think that I am I think that a lot of that is because where the stories that I think the game itself is basing itself off of started. As you know, these fantasy settings with good and evil forces, something that a writer like Jordan said, uses as a story device to drive, you know, a book from front to finish. What who are the heroes? Why are they heroes? And that you can see it with like more modern characters that are on the gray area, you know, the like you're dead pools of things where it's just okay, they're like they kill bad guys, but they're also bad guys since but they're funny. So I guess that's you know what I mean. So it's okay, so it's like, let's bad, it's right, renold, it's like I think. I guess I get that point and I think I see the importance when it comes to a story and when you're talking about the creatures and adaptations of monsters that are created in the world of DND, I think that it's largely based on their stories, like the stories of, you know, werewolves, you know, and the stories of like Dracula and how that emerged. Right. It's again the character itself, if you read the book, is very complex, but largely they're luring people into their castle and kind of keeping them forever. And it's not, you know, it doesn't jive with good a general sense. Right. So I think the importance now in the game is do you shift? I think, do you shift the the expectations of your players? Right, I think you can definitely run a game where vampires, you know, like you can see it in TV now, right, like my mom's been binge watching vampire diaries, right, and these vampires are bad. They're helping humans, but you know, they're also their way that like the way that...

...they've been doing it is just about like staking each other through the heart. So it's not a generally non violent situation either, and I think you're seeing little transgressions. You know now that were they're interacting with other species, for example, and how those like interactions play out, and it's interesting to explore those spaces creative and the it's very important to explore those places creatively. I will say it's a little bit of an of an interesting thought, given that there is a race of humans in the game and it's not like they're really segregated like they would be in the real world by race. Right, human is human. I think, given the space, and I'll say personally, like as a DM and watching everything transpire on the news, it's definitely gotten me to think maybe what kinds of characters I should portray in my game or how I can best portray them right, without enforcing a bias that's sort of been installed in culture for hundreds of years, or trying to, you know, pivoting from that narrator stereotype. Yeah, trying to pivot away from certain things like that. But it's odd because I see it in a sense of it's a story and you're trying to tell a tale of escapism you know, where you can become a hero in this world and yeah, like, I mean, it's just it's just interesting to explore that with creatures, you know that, like vampires and whrewel's. It just feels like a very as a DM, it feels like a very safe like as a very safe space in general to explore these more complicated ideas that exists within the real world. I'll definitely that the game it's a very helpful tool that I like to use when I try to explore things that I have conflict with. I'm not conflict with. Sorry, I haven't to be don't sound like I'm being too careful with my words here, but like it ideas that I, as a person haven't fully figured out on my own. It's nice to be able to put them in a game space and sort of pseudo test how five other people react to this and then inform myself in a in a manner like that. I don't know, Jardan, what do you think? Well, I've got to two kind of things here. First of all, the game is a fantasy game, so you always have to keep that in mind. So when we're talking about like creatures like hags and and your situation there where Matt was like, would we know if they are evil? The game was created for people to become heroes and if you're going to be a hero, you kind of need to know what is an evil action and what is considered a good action. And you don't want to have people think, have to think too hard about these kind of things, right, if you're if you're translating over everything. So, yeah, anything can be good in anything can be evil. Then suddenly people don't know once again whether the whether their actions are considered good or evil. And so can a Paladin even go about, you know, in this campaign where violence is, you know, acceptable and where you know that's kind of like the norm for dd can they go about doing that and still expect to maintain their status as a lawful, good paladed? I don't know, maybe, maybe not. I think would be really, really hard. I think if you want to do something like that, where anyone can be anything and no matter what creature they are or whatever, then you want to make sure that your players know that this is part of your campaign from the very beginning so that they can anticipate those kind of responses from the from the world. Right. But yes, but I think that my main problem with that is that maybe that shouldn't be inherently assumed, that everybody can't be everything right from the beginning, because I feel like I agree like actions are actions. But I think Carlos said it best when he was talking about deadpool and the kind of idea of the Antihero, is that, like people are complicated and write absolutely possible to reconcile a villain that does both good and evil things, independent of what that individual is as right a creature in the game.

So I don't I don't disagree that their needs to be evil creatures in people to defeat in this game in order to it that that's the narrative of the game, that's the game. That right, right, but I did where I disagree is that there needs to be they need to give you a handbook and say races x, Y and Z are the evil people. So our demons always evil in your campaigns. Absolutely not. Okay, it's a weird space, right. It's a weird story element, because I understand where you're coming from, Jordan, Uh Huh, in a game, and it's something because I think about this, I try, I try to think about this all the time. In the sense of how can I make it easier for my players to play this game? Things like changing mechanics to better adapt their sense of the world into a game space, into this RPG game space, and saying something like hey, that person over there is being real bad to everybody around them and you guys are getting paid to make everything better and locations makes it easier for the players to go, HMM, okay, we should go stop that thing over there, because that is our goal, right. It comes to the interactions, I think with those, with the spaces and in general, like how you introduce this setting right, because I think in in critical role the second campaign, right, I wasn't expecting Sam to play a Goblin and that was one of the first times that I saw a Goblin in like a player character role, main hero of a story. To get there, how far? How far have you gotten in the campaign? I mean I understand that it's spoilers to those who have yeah, general spoilers to everybody if you have, if you're just starting season two of critical role. Not is not what she seems exactly so, but it but it didn't change the aspect of the story because for the majority of it I assume that right, it was just going to be playing a Goblin, and that's just what it was, you know. But yeah, it definitely subverted my expectations and it's not something that was so out of left field that kind of made me question the story as a whole. Right, and I think that's in part because Matt made the entire wild mouth setting to incorporate an entire culture of races normally deemed bad right as their own independent so society living their own independent world. And you the players eventually reach that and it's not like they are shoot out of the city immediately or attacked by any means. They're able to interact with this entire group and this entire culture of people. But again, it's weird because I also know that it's a fantasy space, right, like it's it's this. The stories that you know, I might write into a campaign are stories that, in my head, are interesting to pursue and, like I said, they're interesting things for people to say, like hey, how would a party of five people that have superpowers approach the situation? That aren't me right, it's all like, I mean, I might plan a story to go one way or another, but as a DM it's important to always be flexible, right and if your parties intent changes throughout the campaign, it's your responsibility to guide that tent into that success criteria and to give and to deliver that feeling of heroicness and goodness that extense from I think. I think it definitely comes down to communication with your players, making sure you're on the same page as them, or at least they understand where you're coming from, so that again, so that they can anticipate the world's that you're going to be bringing them into. Right, because I know some I know some of my friends who, well, they want they just want to be heroes and that that's that's where they want to go and that's what they want to do. They want it to be a little bit easy to be able to do that. So I'm not going to try and bring in these really complicated people who are, you know, easily definable, like our are very hard to define as good or evil. There might be one or two characters in there that are like, Oh yeah, you can't really typele too much new player to handle. It's too much players who, like, are barely figuring out how to work their own character to think exactly increased the intricacies of another individual.

Right, and and it's like a resonating truth, right, like it's one of these where you, as a person, you can't really understand somebody else until you understand yourself as well. Yeah, right, I'd started parallel, I think. HMM and both. Yeah, yeah, playing a lawful evil character in a realm where you know anyone can be anything would probably be the easiest thing for a new player to do. Then in that instance, because a lawful evil character will be able to say this person did something bad, I slice them down. It is justify. Boom, done, kind of thing. Move On. I do the same thing with everything and anything that does that right, whereas you can't. You can't do that if you're a good character and you see some good and some evil and you're like, MMM, I don't know what's what's right in this situation. Unclear. Yeah, I think, I think I understand we're brains coming from to write like a yeah, you're trying to break away from being put into one of these nine squares in the grid, right, like I'm not lawful good all the time. Yeah, right, so, how? But again, but again, that's that kind of exposition. No, but that kind of exposition, when it comes down to a player, right, is exploring that maybe you, like, do you, as a DM, when characters level up, say your alignment has shifted since your last level or something like that? Right, like, right, make players aware of their actions or see, it's weird, right, but like maybe reflect your opinion on the players actions so that they're updated perhaps on like, Oh, I started as lawful, good character, but my DM's been keeping track of how many bad things I've done in game. Right, I think it's caught. It's a complicated mechanic to add, for sure, and I think that that's why it's just easier to sort of wash away with the sort of grid in general. Right. Like do you make some your new players, especially for new players? Yeah, and like you're not going to make your player keep track of that because, well, of course I'm just going to keep saying I'm awful good, all right, but then also DM's perspective on that might not sit well with a player. Right, and we have. At the end of the day, you think your actions are justified, because the the person playing that character feels different about it. It creates a complex space already and it makes, I think, like what Braden said. It makes it sort of irrelevant at that point. Right, everybody's the perception of what a lawful good character is and how they should be played is subjective between player and DM in general. Right. So I understand where brains coming from to which is just how the fuck do we even have it? Well, is that important at all? Right, like, sure, your even's can generally just want souls, but if everybody in your game generally just want souls because that's the setting, it's just collect souls from people. Right, I don't know, just some noir theme Ghost campaign where your job is literally just to collect souls? Well, that's not a bad action in your community. I don't know. Two thoughts. First of all, I would love to make that a campaign. I would one hundred percent playing. That's it. Everyone's a reaper. Said, I have at least ten minutes worth of thoughts on on the alignment charts. So puts us out on air. Maybe we can move this to a bonus action where we're sure about. Yeah, the grid, the alignment charts, let's let's talk about that. And Yeah, I think it's definitely a topic that we can further explore and will. I think it's important for us to. I mean, we're trying to build a community and I think it's the best place to get an input from our community on how we should best build this for them, you know. So let's pivot a little bit again just to close out the last little bit of this longer segment. But, Jordan, any physical sensations and experiences in that space that you've incorporated in your DMD campaign? You know, if for for that section, I have to say actually, I usually don't use my own experiences I have other than like, Oh hey, I watch this DM do it this way one time. Oh Hey, I watched, you know, I heard about this guy doing this one time, or Oh hey, I read this book and it described this much detail, and you know, I bring that into my games. But if I'm thinking about personal experience, honestly, I don't have enough to be able to go off of. I mean like, yes, I live every day, but no, I do not have enough to say, Oh, I felt the wind this day or oh, you know, like I just don't I don't pay attention to that kind of thing. I guess in real life, whereas I'm forced to listen to it when I'm listening to a DM or...

...or reading a book, so that's where my descriptions come from. Or even like what does twenty dexterity mean in a character? I don't know what that looks like in real life. I'm going to pull that from, you know, a book that I've read. or Oh hey, look it's spider man. He's ridiculous. He moves like crazy. That's what twenty decksterity looks like or more, you know, which is funny. You say that, because I feel like some players would totally resonate with He. It was a shadowy, overcast night, you felt the fog cling to your skin, blah, blah, blah, whereas maybe you play at the table you're like, all right, come on him. No, I actually enjoyed every I enjoyed those, but I don't know, like I can feel it more from someone else describing it or from reading it in a book then I can in like as I go about my normal, everyday life, I just don't think about it. It's just it's there. So I it doesn't come up as like, HMM, what does the air feel like right now? I would have to actually think about it in order to be able to grab any details from that experience and put it into my DD world. All right, it's terrible. Hey, no, listen, we all guess. We all get it. We all get our inspiration from somewhere, right. So, yeah, like if it's from books and if it's from novels, that's a totally valid place to pull that for your game's right, it's the things that you are in, or you gonna say Britain. Nothing too much on what besides what I've already said, I'll agree with Jordan. I do tend to pull a lot of we've talked at different times on the on the podcast about how we pull from fantasy settings and whatnot and how we pull from what we've read and what we've watched. And absolutely I am coming at the the creative writing side from more of a place of that than more than my experiences in the real world. But yeah, when you when you talk about descriptors, I think that it is a lot easier to describe somewhere that I've been versus somewhere that I've read about. And I'm really, I really am thinking that's why I'm everybody's constantly in city. You're never leaving cities. This is this is what is an urban campaign. It's all one big city. We're in Raptic, you know. Well, I've mentioned my one of mine before, which was like the feeling and the experience of actually being in a place. But the two other ones that I really enjoy and I haven't really explored too much in game, but with little I'm going to and I and I want to our foods, foods of the world. Some of them have some interesting textures, you know, and I feel like it's that kind of thing where that's maybe hard to pick out on a book, like the combination of flavors. To me you gotta taste it. But the other one is voices, and I know that I've been trying to do that a little bit more of like having more distinct voices in in the the Games I'm running. But I I spent some time in Europe last summer and one of my favorite things was just listening to my friends, who are also native Spanish speakers, speak fluent German and speak amongst one another. We had we had this little moment we were at a lake where the languages that people were fluent in were English, German and Spanish, and it was about seven of us that had a mix and match of all of those, right. So the the some of the significant others that my friends had from in Germany, that they met in Germany, spoke fluent German and English. My friends spoke fluent Spanish and German and I spoke fluent Spanish and English but no German. So it was really interesting on how everybody was just talking amongst one another, because there sometimes there was there needed to be an in between person to communicate right, and sometimes there didn't, like there was one person there who only spoke Spanish, so they always almost needed to have like a through person to communicate. But in general, everybody else spoke so many languages that there could be like three conversations going on at the same time, all in their respective language, and I felt that was super interesting to be a part of. And it's I don't know, it's like it's, like you said, journ it's one of those e experiences that I like to sort of pick out and see and working that into a game where...

...now, like, I think we've had like how many languages and two of annihilation and generally speaking, we're we've been moving through from one to the other to you know, an older language to an older language, but I love to explore a setting where I could just once a more comfortable with these voices to try and explore like that. Oh Shit, there's like a big gap here of how we can communicate, right, because usually everybody speaks common. But what if you speak broken common? So what if you speak, you know, broken elevation? Can you kind of know elish? That's I'm going to be more excited, but I haven't been able to because we haven't been in an urban setting, for example. Right the part the parties largely been with themselves the entire time. So that's something that I'm really looking forward to introducing in a campaign sometime soon. But this segment has ran much longer than normally does and I think it's time for Breeden. Do you have the thing I have? I have lots of things vernice. So yeah, first of all, as the as the sound editor behind the scenes production, part of triple advantage and and a significantly lazy person, this is just going to go long. Second of all, let's take a quick look at this week in our community, because we have been trying to get some more community engagement and some more questions out there to the people and you, the people, are listeners, have responded. Thank you. We had several people respond to a question based off of our conversation last week, and our conversation last week was what do we look for in a northern setting? The first answer that we got came from our good friend David at the Gupta power plant on Instagram, who said, what does that even mean? And once I broke that down and described that we're talking about far north campaigns such as, I think, like Arctic regent, he said what he wants to see is mad MAC style sligh chases. Yes, yes, strong agree. Yes, I would absolutely love to see that. I don't know what you guys since it would be pretty cool just the chaos. Yes, our good friend at Tyler Day on Instagram said he wants to see these and most of the Cancan forced good old Elf reference, Tyler from at Valhalla at your boy. Love the name. First of all, that's that's brilliant. Second like, he wants to see storm chasing tribal sled Vikings, so we can mix that with the Mad Max sile. Yes, absolutely, both of those at the same time. If you ever want to write this, drop us a line at Valhalla, at your boy, we will, we will work with you on this. We were excited for the concept. Carlos, your response to this I loved, actually, and that was a lush jungle with a hidden temple. I like the I like the subversion of expectations, the idea that you go up north looking for the looking for the ice and snow, and then all of a sudden you're in a jungle. Well, my whole thought was, what if the world's north wasn't cold? That's a good one. Good point you made last weeks. Question. What are you doing? Throwing obvious what? No, I'm done with this. Moving on, let's look at the let's look at the DMG. So last week we started getting into planes and with the different planes look like, starting with the astral plane, talking about the Astral Sea and talk about how it's kind of literally a regular see and also not a regular see, and also there's psychic damage. Yeah, but this week we're going to be talking about the ethereal plane. I think you need to read that little description at the top, the the from the shadow storm. Yeah, Tamlin felt a hand on him, felt his body Shimmer into missed the screams and shouts sounded far off. The walls around him appeared to be only gray shadows reveiling, and Brynni stood beside him. The ethereal plane reveil and said the dragons immediately invokes thoughts of the blank spell for starters, because I believe that's what the blank spell does, is it not? Your transported to the ethereal plane? Yeah, I mean in this case it seems like he's taken somebody to the ethereal plane with them. Yes, it would be the F realness spell, but I believe that's like, is that seventh or eighth level? It's pretty high up. Yeah, so the asterial plane is...

...defined as a misty or fog bound dimensioned, if you can call what it has, on the outskirts as shores. They overlap with the material plane in the other inner planes, so that there is a corresponding location on the ethereal plane for every position on the material plane. kind of think I thinking a bit of an overlay situation here. You know what? That kind of grip reminds me of. Did anything and even read the Gun slinger serious, steven can? No, no, Oh no, I didn't. I don't know. I guess up. The the third book drawing of the three begins with Roland at a beach and just it's it's had like one of those like memory flashes of HMM, interesting setting. To put this in visibility is severely limited in the ethereal plane. Sixty feet of most reduced down to thirty in some places. It mentions some locations that you can enter via that being. The plane shifts spell at with limited success in terms of CO ordinating how to get where. Also, the as Jordan mentioned, the ethereal on this spell. So it mentiones the border ethereal, which is the shores that we were talking about, kind of where they can see into where the plane overlaps, but the plane appears muted and indistinct, colors blurring into each other, the edges turning funny fuzzy. Sorry immediately. Who here has played bioshock infinite? NOPE, Carlos. I bought it on the night summer sales so long ago, though. Okay, first off, hands down one of the best games of bird played. If you've, if you've played bioshock infinite, listeners, hit me up on my personal account, approfins booblog. We will rate for hours. But can I spoil a little bit? I don't know how much you guys know about go for it. So over the game focuses on Booker de which, who's a detective, kind of S S era, kind of nor style detective, being tasked to very, very vaguely. You're not really sure why. Your motivation is to bring bring us the girl, wipe away the debt is his is his motivation, and the girl being Elizabeth, somebody who's being held in the in this fictitious floating city of Columbia, this kind of utopia with a lot of really dark secrets. But Elizabeth has this power. She can open tears. Tears are essentially these very fuzzy if you can think of like Super Old television, black and white and all grainy at out of focus, that's how these tears appear. So you run into tears in the world and she can open them, and what they essentially are is her opening dimensional doors. So if you're running out of em, she can open a dimensional door to somewhere and they overlap exactly, so your location in your dimension is the same as the location on the other side of the tear. It's just a completely different dimension. So she can reach in and grab M for you and grab supplies for you from this other dimension, toss them over to you, kind of taken up a role as your sidekick. But that's immediately what I thought of when I was looking at this. I saw the idea that, yes, sorry, go ahead. Sorry, I thought about NAS cools and shadows of more door. Okay, that game. Have Not that. That was where my head went. It's kind of like a spirit, almost realm right, where you're half in, half out right, if you can kind of interact with the world, but mostly you just pass through it. So that's interest. Yeah, now a schools from board of the Rings, I think, is a good example of someone that's like in the ethereal realm. You know. That's why Frodo can see them when he turns it, when he puts on the ring or whatever, but everyone else just kind of sees this invisible ish creature with a cloak on, and you can see that when the creature stabs Frodo the damage sort of cuts through as well. Exactly. Yeah, so from here it talks about the deep ethereal, which is essentially if the border ethereals kind of where it touches all these other planes, you get kind of these grainy little areas to pass through. The deep ethereal is the ethereal plane. It is dark, it is covered in mist, it's it is the a theorial plane, essentially, and what interests me is that scattered throughout the plane are curtains of Vapor's color, and passing through a curtain leads a traveler to a region of the border ethereal connected to a specific innerplane. That reminds me. If you've seen the movie, it might...

...be of the less impact Harry Potter. Either of you which what order the Phoenix honor? So what's for you? Have you guys heard order the Phoenix? Yes, that Jordan haveview. I've watched the movie. I haven't read okay, I'm not in Carlos. Did they have a better descriptor of it in the book that in the movie? In my opinion, in order the Phoenix in that final scene spoilers of see somehow. Still haven't seen this movie any but what's that? Any nonmillennials out here? Yeah, okay, but the idea of the veil. The veil is what serious ends up falling through, an ends up disappearing into non corporealness. Essentially, the veil is the veil between this world, the material plane in Harry Potter, and the next world. That's kind of what I'm reminded of and I'm wondering if it's something similar. HMM, I mean, I could be actually it's spirit realm almost. Yeah, a half in, half out in in. I think in Harry Potter it more alluded towards the fact that it was kind of the land of death, more more bluntly than this, but that's that's really the vibe I'm getting here. I'm wondering if that's possibly a source that's JK ruling would have drawn from when she was writing that alsoble. But ether cyclones, let's talk about that because I like how much they go into kind of encounters and what to expect besides just the topography of the planes themselves, as it's exactly what it sounds like. It's a cyclone. They appear in the ethereal plane. They are apparently very tough to detect by the sounds of it. You need a passive score of at least fifteen to actually have any kind of warning. And let's see, they can extend the journey, extend your journey through the etherial plane by a certain amount of time. They can blow you straight to the border ethereal of a random plane, or you could be hurled straight into the astral plane. Awesome mistanks for have yeah encounters. It sounds like it's most of what you would actually expect from something called the ethereal plane. Ghosts are able to move freely between the ethereal material anything where their senses or abilities extended to the etherial plane, and mentions face spiders specifically, who are kind of blink in that out of existence. So I guess they're traveling through the material planes. They do that other travelers being the primary, the primary people that you would be battling. Similar to the astral plane, you're going to come up against people that are also traveling through and although it mentions it's is particularly once for the inner planes, and my first thought when they said traveler was like other people like you who are just kind of passing through on your way to something. It mentions elementals, genies and Salamanders and interesting. I don't. I don't. I don't read the Monster Manual as much as I do because I don't want to spoil too much of anything, in case you guys decide to throw something at me. Yeah, Salamander strikes me as odd. Yeah, what what is the Salamander? And v Fellas all of fire, obviously, is actually not. I think it's like a cousin of the dragons, essentially, okay, but I think they might be more related to the plane of fire. I'm not entirely sure on that though. So, yeah, there are large elemental okay, because I thought Salamanders in the first thing I thought was, you know, a salamander or like small lizard. So, yeah, our like some version of a small lizard that has some I don't know. I fought like kind of like pokemon. So like the probably has some like fire or yeah, I was just like, yeah, I was reading like fire. Salamanders have been associated in my head for Oh, absolutely, Huh. Yeah, why I just like on this list. I was just like, you know, elementals, these great and powerful titans of primorial matter, genies, the magic granting lords of their own planes. Salamanders, HMM, these things is not like yeah, yes, I think. Sorry, go ahead. That's like the it's like the fire news that you guys faced and to move a nihilation back in rockcomer. Okay, Yep. So why would an elemental go through the etherial plane, though, or the ethereal they're bound spell. So, yeah, like I imagine fire...

...elementals natively live on the elemental time, right, or whatever, their respective elemental planet. When I think of like a spell, I could be like a narrowto summoning thing, right, like this jar contains a trapped air elemental, for example, and it's bound to the jar, but if you were to banish it, it would disappear to the plane of the air or whatever you know. Right. So does travel through the ethereal plane in order to get to the material plane and then back? If you be in a shit, I think that that's maybe where you put your ethereal plane, right, like what your description of this ethereal plane could be, because if they, if all the planes are connected like the Super Highway, by this, right, then sure, right, yeah, it goes through it and finds its gate to like at the the banishment spell could be kind of like the what is it them the Purple Fross? Know, what is it from th the DETROL? Yeah, what are you guys? STUCK BY FROST? The by Frost, Yes, like the buy frost, right. It's like and it just like pushes across all the planes and you travel through the Astro plane are the ethereal plane back to, you know, the elemental plane of fire or whatever. It pushes the creatures through it. That's how I would say. I do like the thought of the etherial plane as some kind of a communicative plane, because the astral plane we saw was between the inner planes, in the outer planes, right, and this kind of seems like a dimensional, like Carlos said, super highway connecting the inner planes. Yeah, I like that. I like that a lot. It's like gravity. I guess I always connected the by frost with the astral plane more than the ethereal plane. I I would tend to agree with that. Yeah, that's true. Yeah, whatever, but it's yeah, you want if I has a DMCAC etherial plane, but that that's pretty much our conclusion of divining the DMG for this week. Listeners at home, what did you think? How do you handle travel within the ethereal plane and its planes? Have you played biosh talk infinite and do you want to talk to me for the next eight hours about it? Let us know at real series society on Instagram. And Jordan. I believe I'll turn it over to you with that. Sure. All Right, I'm gonna go with the pretty quick critical thought for today because we are running a little bit over. So the time. What do you talk we're not constrained by time at this podcast, really constrained by anything in podcast. We count, we make our own. Normally we keep it to about an hour for our listeners soon. That is. That's there is. If you had other scheduled programming, we're sorry. Yes, all right. Well, in that case I think I'll still stick with this one. What do you guys think about higher and lower level characters? Which one would you say is more fun than the other? Do you have a preference? Do you think that higher level characters are more fun than lower level characters? Because once I think so. Well, listen, I love starting a new campaign with low levels, but as a player you don't really get to do much outside of I attack again, like a lot of combat will boil down to. Oh, even as a fighter, I burned my action searge. Guess I'm still attacking. It's more option to play as a higher level character, but there is an intrinsic feeling of playing a lower level individual. Absolutely. I don't think it's as fun, though. I don't think it's nearly as fun unless you maybe inform the player of like some world knowledge, like if they know maybe how to interact with goblins in a certain manner other than just hack, and maybe that could explore some really fun games. But for the most part I think you just boil it down to I pick up the wolf and I throw it at another enemy because I don't know what else to do right now. So the record, you know who you are and you're listening. That wasn't me. That was not the right thing to do. I'll I don't have a definitive answer for this, just because I haven't played a ton of upper level characters. Okay, what do you think? I'll say this. We've all played sieve, Sive Five. There's there's two very distinct phases of sieve.

In my mind, that's as two phases when you're playing and when you know someone's going to win but you still need to wait forty minutes for the tea. Yes, yeah, I I play some. I play some solo campaigns in times. So I obviously there's all the different errors and stuff, but I break it into kind of two phases of the game, the last of those phases being once you're already firmly in trench and you know everybody and you're all kind of in this arms race and you've got all these options available to you because you've got all these tech all this tech that you have, and all these social policy. So what row do you going to take? What are you going to do this time? How are you going to approach to this battle? What am I going to build next? When I'm going to build next? And then there's the introphase. And the introphase is like, okay, let's let's let's throw it on a city, let's see what how that works, let's let's explore to the left, let's see how that goes. Let's Oh, there's a new thing, I've never met them before. That's cool and I kind of like that pace. I kind of like that's explored of pace, where it's like, what can I do? What is available to me? What what do I know, and what don't I know? What do I still need to figure out? But I think you're I think you're I think that that perspective is definitely different, because you're wanting to explore the world as a solo player versus what you can explore in this theoretical world with a within a party as a player. I think like yeah, maybe I'm maybe, I'm maybe it's a poor comparison. I also I don't plague I just think there's a bit of a distinction between the mechanics of like a solo RPG or solo strategy game. But you're just like in general, as Solo game that you you are playing to progress through, versus a game where you have a story that can can be explored. I think it's just a little bit different, maybe the way that you think about exploration because as a player, right the exploration that you have is based on what your DM has prepared for you or has available to you. So it's not like you have a general I like maybe with the better knowledge of the world you can make then that's kind of what I was saying before, right, like maybe with better, like player or character knowledge within the world, you could explore some different avenues and starting areas, but normally it's going to be like hey, quest starter, you know, like RPG Games normally give you that initial quest to your character goes, oh there's something else over there, okay, through let's go explore there. Right. It's not so much Oh, what's all around me, because I have, you know, this third party perspective of what it, what the environment is or something. I don't know, but I I get what you're saying. I would. I would also argue, though, that exploration doesn't have to be linear, one dimensional. Like exploration doesn't have to be literally let's explore the world. I'm thinking more like what what do I know? At Yeah, level one, knowledgewise, versus why not level twenty? There's probably a huge difference in like if I were to roll at twenty, at Level One, and at twenty, at level twenty, as to what I know about a subject, I might get some very different responses. Okay, I thought, if I get this, okay, imagine running a low level or a high level one shot, but you don't tell the players what they need to do. Okay, if the stage there's an issue somewhere, but you don't tell the players. Right, the way that you do that as a DM is you feed them information as the interact with people. But if I feel like it would be kind of hard to just all right, you're in ice, when Dale what do you do? How did we get here? Why are we here? Yeah, I guess I was definitely thinking more long form campaign versus one shots, for sure, but yeah, I see what you mean. HMM, Jordan, what do you think? I agree a little bit with both of you. I personally prefer the higher levels, but that's because I think I'm more combat oriented when it comes to dd so I enjoyed the versatility that comes with being a higher level character in that perspective. I also enjoy like the different creatures that you're able to take on and interact with and not necessarily have to be like, okay, well, I'm a level one character. If I ever come across a dragon, you know, I run away because I literally cannot do anything else and if I do I will die right whereas if you're a slightly higher level, maybe you find a way to slow down the dragon or you find a way to like cover for your allies. Will they make a break for it? Or maybe your high enough level to finally take on a dragon. You know, I find that more interesting, guess, than the lower levels, generally speaking. But there is something to be said of lower...

...level characters because I, like you said, Braden, I call that like the develop mental phase, almost where the player is learning about who they are as a person, what is available to them in the world and you know how they can be an influence in the world and almost like they start training right away, right it's that training montage that gets you to the point of the big battle. So I enjoy lower level characters from a role playing perspective, I guess, because you're allowed to make mistakes and you can learn a little bit. Once you're a higher level character, it's almost like your character should be at least a little bit set or at least a little bit more firm and what they believe and what they should and what they know of the world and where they should go and that kind of thing. So that's where it would be interesting, though, to see a campaign like that where maybe you as a DM just introduce to the characters and let them figure out what they need to do. We're but again, you need to inform the characters, like hey, maybe your character knows the blacksmith upstate, like upstate, and you need to your per you have a personal goal, you know, hmm, and you kind of force the players to talk and divulge information. But each other and that sets the ball rolling for this. But it's a little fine line where you still need a little bit of an angle, you know, because otherwise you don't want that ball just sit flat on the table. It's gotta go somewhere. Otherwise people are going to be like all right, idea please. What do yeah, personal goals are actually something an interesting topic to because they are at higher levels you should be almost kind of completing those personal goals, whereas at lower levels you're kind of setting them and you're saying, Huh, what do I do want to do with this character? Where do I want to be in, you know, five years time, when I'm now level eleven or whatever. You know, you're kind of like a trying to set the stage almost, and for someone to pull off a personal goal early on in the campaign is well, pretty pretty unheard of, I think almost. What if your goal was just to be a member of number of the girl? Yeah, maybe maybe you can do that. I heard it. Three prestigious access yes, did you guys have anything else you wanted to add before I close US off here? I think that that's good, pretty short episode of that. What a Patrit of bit. Yeah, true, wow, thank you. Everyone for for listening this week. Hit US. Hit US up on Instagram at Royal City Society. Send US messages about what you think about higher and lower level characters. Where can you know? Where's where's? Hmm? Is it more fun that higher levels or lower levels, and what have your experience has been? Finally, look forward to a potential upcoming character, I guess, or subclass, coming up from new warlock patron. Look forward to a new warlock patron. Those who are yeah, it's kind of class. You'll enjoy this one. Team has been working hard at it. Exactly upcoming? Soon? We're not entirely sure on the date yet, but soon, probably before two thousand and twenty one. All right, all right, thanks, thanks, thanks for everything and we'll see you guys next week.

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