The first episode of Campaign 2 featured Liam O’Brien, Taliesin Jaffe, Travis Willingham, and Laura Bailey. They talk about the creation of their new characters, what happened in their session zeroes, and whether Laura is as greedy as online commenters say she is (She’s not).
The following contains spoilers up to, and including, Campaign 2, Episode 1: Curious Beginnings.
All || I love the new intro, and I’ve been wondering: which shot took the most tries to film and why? Also, what is your favorite part of the new intro?
Travis: I think the [dice] rolling took a little bit.
Taliesin: Yeah, it only took a little bit.
Laura: The shot that probably took the longest was the shot of Talesin doing the spell motion and the wind blowing towards Ashley.
Travis: Yeah, there was a big card off-screen and they had to wave it hard and sometimes they’d do it too weakly and it was just like a small puff. And we were like “Damn it, recut!”.
Taliesin: We did a couple of different versions of the final Matt speech too, and we took a couple of those.
Liam: I remember working by a monitor and listening to Matt do the very last moment going “Something something something PAH!” like ten times. “PAH!” over and over again.
Brian: And what was your favourite part of the intro?
Liam: Ashley Johnson.
Travis: Sam Riegal and those shorts coming in.
Laura: I think Ashley’s full commitment to the–
Brian: –to the headgear, yeah.
Taliesin: (to Laura) You blend into the era more than anybody else, I will say.
Brian: Yeah, you did. Your lips looked really glossy.
Laura: They looked really light pink. I feel that the filter that got put on made them even more.
Brian: Awesome-ass filter.
Critical Role Team
All || I want to talk about the seating arrangement. Did that throw you guys off? How did we land at the new seating arrangement for Thursday?
Taliesin: It’s a little weird, but I like it though. I’m really digging it.
Liam: It’s hard to quantify though, because everything threw me off. I just felt out of body the whole time. It was great, it was a lot of fun, but people are in new places and people are different people–
Travis: –different voices–
Liam: Yeah, different voices. For weeks we knew that we were having Russian, Irish, and German come in together. For weeks, I’ve been walking around my house going (mumbles German) to myself. My kids know about it now.
Brian: Who’s Russian?
Laura: Well, Eastern-European, you know?
Brian: Oh, I thought you were doing Despicable Me guy.
Laura: Eastern-European, basically.
Laura: (to Liam) Like you and I had lunch together where we actually tried, for part of the lunch, to talk with our accents. It was so hard!
Liam: At the beginning of this episode, I came in going “I’m gonna do it super light, that’s what I’ve decided” and everybody else was so much stronger than me that I went and turned up the knob.
Travis: Plus you don’t even know where to look for people. I would looked for somebody at an old spot, but they’re on the opposite side of the table.
Taliesin: You’re on the opposite side of the Earth now. It’s very strange. And I played with five different Irish accents before I was comfortable. And they were all a miss. I was in Dublin and was like “maybe I’ll do Dublin” and then I heard what people sound like in Dublin and I realised that no-one would understand a word that I was saying.
Liam: I don’t fully expect to settle in for five or six episodes.
Travis: We had a couple of iterations of the seating arrangement. We tried to mix it up so that we had new neighbours.
Laura: It was an equation because [Travis] still needed to be on the end because [he] needed more room, and then we needed Ashley on the end just in case we have a monitor because she has to Skype in, and for everybody else it was about how can we get as many people sitting next to different people than they did before.
Taliesin: And then also play with some of the already pre-built relationships in a way that made sense.
Brian: From the one-shots you guys did, and stuff like that.
Taliesin || You said Mollymauk started in your head when Percy died; how has your original concept developed for this campaign?
Taliesin: Barely at all.
Brian: So it stayed true to what you had written?
Taliesin: Yeah. There were a few details but they were pretty vague. What I originally came up with was that it would be fun to play a carny. Percy is very much one aspect of my personality but we are complicated humans. We’re not just characters, so I have this whole chunk of my reality and people that I know that are very different from that. I wanted to play with this part of my reality a little bit. He’s very much from that. That was my initial thought is that when Percy went, a circus would literally pull up and he would have a whole stage show about the Terrible Tinker of Tal’dorei. I have a whole horror spook show about either Percy or Ripley — who knows — but they’re kind of melded together.
Brian: Would it have included any of that cool, sexy Percy dragon stuff I see on Tumblr sometimes?
Taliesin: Of course.
Laura || You played Jester in a one shot before. What made you want to revisit and further develop the character?
Laura: Because she’s fucking cool. I just really, really like her a lot. I was very sad that I didn’t get to play her more so, when this came up, it was like “well, shit”. I was coming up with all these other ideas of what I could be, but nothing enticed me as much as what Jester was. I had already come up with this whole backstory for Jester for those one-shots that we never got to explore at all, so I thought it would be fun to actually get to play with it.
Travis || The biggest theory about Fjord’s class was that you’d be playing a Bloodhunter in order to become a Werewolf. What drew you to Warlock and specifically to Hexblade instead?
Travis: I knew a lot of people who thought “Travis is going to be Order of the Lycan and he’s going to get to play a werewolf” but that means they were going to be expecting it, and that alone was enough to know that I couldn’t do that. It’s got to be a surprise.
Liam: That’s a thing too. The moment I see a huge portion of the audience go “I hope this happens”, it makes me go “Yep. Can’t do it”.
Travis: I had to cast a spell. Five years without casting a fucking spell is ridiculous. I gotta be able to dip my toes in the other side of the D&D pool. I mean, I don’t count Enlarge, because I was just like (BINK — the sound of a magic item activating). So I wanted a class that had some spells. I looked at Eldritch Knight, I looked at Paladin, but the name ‘Warlock’ just sounded nasty and I just liked some of the imagery that I saw while I was reading. Then, with Xanathar’s release of Hex Blade, I was just — you know me and sentient weapons. We be tight. I wanted to explore that, so Matt and I had some interesting conversations, and I’m interested, terrified and excited to see how it goes.
Liam || When talking about your character, you described him as “Filthy, unshaven, a bit of a mess.” What made you decide to base your character on Brian?
Liam: Well, I just thought that you really haven’t been given your due yet. Your mess is more metaphorical or figurative. You’re squeaky-clean, look at you!
Brian: There’s a team of pygmies that come and take care of me before every show.
All || Where did your choice of accents come from? Were they spur of the moment or inspired by anyone or anything in particular?
Brian: I doubt any of your accents were spur-of-the-moment decisions to do that night–
(Travis raises his hand)
Travis: Actually, yeah. We played our session 0 and I was just going to do a straightforward voice, and it was terrible. I just didn’t feel specific or like I had made any kind of a choice at all. And I was playing with Laura and Marisha, and Laura was doing her brilliance and Marisha was all “fuck the world”. I thought that I had to figure something out. I did a session with Wes Gleason, and my voice had a little Texan in it, and I thought “wait a tick”. I think it might have been 48 hours before the game. I though “fuck it, that’s what he sounds like”.
Brian: I loved it. It comes across authoritative. What about you guys? What was the inspiration for the voice?
Liam: Well, I’ve known for a year that I wanted to go Wizard. I even had a backup for the last campaign if Vax disappeared, but I wanted to save the Wizard for this campaign. But the accent came about three or four months ago. We had a meeting and Matt started explaining the place where we were going to be. He says “parts of it are based on Eastern European and German” and I just (excited sounds). So for the last three or four months I’ve known.
Taliesin: (To Laura) We had a running gag where we were both wanted to do the same thing. We were both thinking lavender Eastern European with a sickle sword.
Taliesin: So we just divided them up.
Laura: “Okay, you got the lavender, I’ll take the sickle.”
Taliesin: For the accent, I was playing with Eastern European and the speed of bullshit was not running fast enough. And, for other reasons that will make more sense later, the Irish kicked in and, for reasons I can’t get into yet, it was the perfect accent for this person.
Laura: I mean, that’s one of the biggest deciding factors when coming up with what accent or what voice you’re going to do. It has to be something that you can actually improv in quickly. There are certain accents that we have in our wheelhouse that we can go to and that is one of the ones that I’m very comfortable with and I don’t have to think about how I’m going to say something, it will just come out.
Brian: It’s not something where you really have to keep it in mind?
Laura: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Liam: Give us a script and we work at it and prepare, but there’s a select few where you can just do it.
Laura: Oh definitely! I was doing Uncharted and I was in the South African accent. Claudia was just riffing and could improv in the booth like crazy. I was coming up with stuff in my head but I couldn’t articulate it because the accent was so hard.
Taliesin: I’m using this as an excuse to drill this accent in my head. I’m not super comfortable in it yet, but I’m getting there.
Travis: You have to be able to improvise. Like off-the-cuff, be fast, be quick and witty like we like to be.
Taliesin: I was sweating a bit. I was doing it, but I was sweating a bit.
Travis: We’ll get there.
Liam: It’s important to me — and I think all of us — that we’re not Game of Throne, we’re not going to come out right on episode one and be fully realised. This is a game. We’re goofing around. We’re figuring it out. I mean, we didn’t feel like Vox Machina right away, it took them months of sinking in.
Travis: Oh Jesus, half of the show is just going “oh god, you sound like that?! Oh Jesus, you’re sitting over there?!”. (To Taliesin) I literally called you Percy like 30 minutes before the show started and was just like “oh fuck”. So sorry!
All || What drew you to these particular races?
Laura: I think Tieflings look really cool.
Brian: Yes, they do. Confirmed. Were there any abilities or any adjustments or any stuff that drew you to the race you chose specifically? Like Travis: Half-Orc? Just the way they look or–
Travis: So there are certain things about Fjord that’ll be revealed later. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I want to dress up like that later.
Laura: You’re thinking about the cosplay?
Travis: Yeah. I was looking at the Tabaxi thinking “do I want to put a fucking cat nose on and pretend I’m in fucking” — what’s the musical?
Travis: Cats, yeah!
Travis: A Tortle would have been great. Just walk around with a big-ass Tortle shell.
Brian: What’s that show about the Teenage Mutant Ninja ones Travis?
Taliesin: The Adolescent Radioactive Black-Belt Hamsters.
Travis: Look, Grog is a long detoxification process, okay? It takes a while to get out the veins.
Brian: What attracts you about a human?
Liam: Well, they’re warm. They’re nice to touch. I knew that I wanted to play Wizard for a long time but not what race initially. Everyone else was saying what they were gonna be, and everyone else was weird, so I thought it would be good to be the unassuming normal in the middle of it all.
Laura: Humans have some really great perks.
Liam: Oh yeah. And there’s a little bit of story reason for it. But mostly it was: blue guy, purple guy, green guy, little green gal, and so I was–
Taliesin: We have two humans now.
Liam: I know. But Marisha’s human is more exotic. (Note: Liam has since apologized for his choice of words)
Brian: But your character’s more jovial.
All || Can we have details about your session zero games?
Brian: All of you got a session zero game except for Ashley because she was shooting.
Travis: Well, there’s one obvious thing to be said about two of you dunces. (points at Liam and Laura)
Laura: I think Matt talked about that, but yeah, we almost died.
Liam: The twins, in the their second lives, went down.
Laura: I was one death saving throw away from being not Jester anymore.
Travis: I could’ve let her die. I literally spent my one fucking health potion on this one.
Taliesin: Yeah, we’re squishy man. That’s the only thing. Nothing that exciting happened in my zero other than realizing that we were very squishy. Ash saved by life. She wasn’t even there and she saved my life. She was being piloted by Matt.
Brian: She does that for me nightly when she calls and says “did you leave the oven open?”. Anything else you guys want to share from it?
Liam: Do we want to hide how those things went down? I don’t know.
Laura: I know. I feel like it will come out.
Brian: Okay, save it then. Save it. We’d rather see it in the game than have it spoiled for us on this shitty-ass talk show.
Laura: If, further down the line, we still haven’t talked about it then we will.
All || How did you guys decide who would be grouped up prior to the campaign starting?
Brian: Was it Matt’s decision or did you guys–
Laura: No. It was our decision.
Liam: A couple of months ago, Sam and I went “you want to” and then “yeah, cool”. It was very casual at first and then it got real interesting.
Taliesin: I built a circus and then offered whoever wanted to join in. Marisha kicked it around for a while and ended up not doing it, and then Ash kicked it around for a while and said yeah.
Laura: (re: Travis) We knew each other’s backstory without being involved. We talked about it and then we realized that we could have totally met up in this way, like this could have happened. So we decided to have had that history. Then, when we were figuring out when we were going to play session zero, it was sense for Marisha to join in our game as well.
Taliesin || How did it feel to sit there, across the table from Matt, knowing he was rolling the golden snitch against you?
Travis: Thank you. Good question Foster.
Liam: And [Taliesin] was rolling balls too.
Laura: Yeah, what the hell Tal?
Taliesin: I need new dice. I know. I’m working on it.
Travis: You gave away the Elder Wand. Hell’s the matter with you?
Taliesin: I’m used to, you know, ‘burn down your idols’. But yeah, I may have made a terrible mistake there. Wouldn’t be my first, probably not my last.
Brian: I’m interested to see how that dice rolls in this campaign.
Taliesin: I’m thinking about getting in and giving it some slight dents.
Brian: I know where it is!
Taliesin: I know where it is too. Right behind me.
Laura: Maybe you should switch it out for another gold dice. He doesn’t know it well enough, he might not—
Taliesin: –He might not notice. Yeah, that’s fair. We could switch it out for one of Marisha’s.
Laura and Travis || How long have Jester, Fjord, and Beauregard known each other and how do you see that relationship?
Laura: We’ve known each other longer than we’ve know Beau.
Travis: Which ain’t that long.
Laura: Ain’t that long but kind of a bit longer.
Travis: Yeah, a little bit longer.
Laura: Like a week longer, I would say.
Travis: Yeah, we are pretty freshly new acquaintances.
Brian: So you would define the relationship as acquaintances?
Travis: Very new, yeah. Met up in happenstance. It’ll come out, but it is new. It’s not like a year. Not even a year. Not even close.
Talks Machina Team
When the episode started and Matt began to describe Wildemount, he barely looked at his notes. It was bursting out of him like he had been holding in this new world.
Laura: He also sent us this email, months and months ago, that had “this is the new location, this is the government, these are the cities”. So that we would be able to build our backstories and go “this is where I’m from”.
Brian: Travis, are you shaking your head because you didn’t read it?
Travis: I read it three times, because it was like Encyclopedia Britannica. It was really involved. It’s kind of intimidating when you read that. You’re like “oh, I had a stupid one-shot one time that’s about the best that I could do. He made this whole intricate world”.
Brian: Yeah, that’s why I said it was so good to be back in his imagination again.
Liam: Well, we’ll let that come out if it’s gonna come out. Longer than the trio. Months.
Brian: Months? Okay, wow. Enough to get dirty. How would you describe their relationship?
Liam: A very new friendship.
Taliesin || Were you already familiar with the NPC members of the carnival troupe or were they as new to you as to the others?
Taliesin: That’s a very good question! I had been given notes on them previously and had put a few things in Matt’s head. A lot of them are actually based off friends of ours, which doe not entirely surprise me. I mean, it was all pretty easy to put together but that was mostly Matt but he gave me a rundown of everybody and we did a little bit of back and forth. So yeah, I was ready and prepared, and already had some idea of the relationships involved there and what the performances were going to be. I was not prepared for how he described it, but it was great.
Brian: When you told me carny a few months ago, I got really excited. And I’m really excited now about the possibilities.
Taliesin: Oh man.
Brian: I’m really excited because I know a little bit about what’s in your brain.
Taliesin: Carny culture is interesting. It gets weird in there.
Brian: Yeah. Ash grew up with some carnies so I’ve been around a few of them.
Taliesin: I grew up with a few myself.
Brian: Nobody’s surprised Taliesin.
All || Which character are you most excited to have interact with your character and why?
Taliesin: I don’t know. I’m enjoying so many.
Travis: I want to talk to Nott and Caleb more. Can’t say why.
Laura: I probably want to talk to Molly more.
Taliesin: Jester, yeah. I want to have a talk with you. I already know that I don’t like Beau and that excites me. Molly’s already like “Oh god, really?! Oh, a smartass, that’s so great. You must be so proud. I bet you’re doing well.”
Laura: And Nott. I’m excited about Nott as well.
Liam: Yeah, some people point out online that [mine and Travis’] characters are the talkers of the group, even though both of us were pretty quiet in that game.
Travis: We were.
Liam: But our stats say that we’re the negotiators, so I’m looking forward to figuring out what that dynamic is. Instead of two brothers just fucking with each other.
Laura: You better be careful though, because some people may not be very good at charisma but they don’t know that.
Laura: Yeah, no, it’s fine. Here’s the thing: I’m totally fine being a character that is terrible with money. But, me personally, I really like to keep track of things.
Travis: As a player.
Laura: Yeah, as a player. I like to write shit down. I saw somebody online being like “Well Laura’s just greedy, obviously”. But I’m not greedy.
Travis: No, you’re not greedy. You have a hard time throwing shit away though.
Laura: I’m a hoarder, I would say.
Brian: You’re not a hoarder, because I’ve been to your house and there are very few rats. I would say you’re more of a collector who maybe has…letting go issues.
Travis: All I have to do is say “Yes, we can totally keep that.” and then six months later, if it hasn’t moved, I just chuck it.
Brian: That’s why, every time I go to your house, Travis is around a dumpster fire.
Laura: I just like to keep track of things and so it’s hard not to be the treasurer. That’s why Vex was the treasurer to begin with is because I like to write shit down. I like to be organized in that way. But when it comes to being stupid with money, I’m totally fine being stupid with money.
Travis: We got no bag of holding though.
Brian: I know. I thought about that. They’re not hard to get.
Laura: (exasperated) I’m not greedy!
Travis: You’re not greedy. You’re actually not.
Brian: Nobody said you were greedy.
Laura: People online said I was greedy. I’m not greedy!
Travis: No, you’re very generous. You tip well.
Brian: People online also think the Earth is flat.
Liam: Guys, we are our characters. Don’t lie.
Travis: I kill people one or two times a day, yes.
Taliesin || Are you using a currently existing deck for your fortunes or one of your own creation?
Taliesin: Oh boy! It’s an original deck that I’ve been working on. I tried to get a little farther with it with my brothers, over the Christma break. My little brother is a game designer and my little little brother DMs his own game so I said “I want to make this in-game fortune-telling deck. How crazy am I?” and they’re like “No, this is a great way to spend Christmas instead of talking to the rest of the family”. Bless them. It’s not finished ye, and it’s an original deck, and once it’s finished I will show everybody all the cards and what they mean.
Travis: Was that the official Illuminati Jaffe Christmas?
Taliesin: That was why I was in Berlin.
Taliesin: It was an experimental fortune-telling deck. It was really nice. Really nice!
Brian: Experimental fortune-telling?
Taliesin: There’s the classical tarot decks but a lot of people sometimes will do intense deviations from the form. This is a very interesting intense deviation of the form and I’m really enjoying it. It’s quite good.
Laura: I found it and it was so beautiful. I immediately thought “Taliesin!”.
Taliesin: I’m quite delighted by it.
Brian: It was wrapped so beautifully. You wrap presents so well. I hate giving you gifts because they just look so shitty.
Laura: No, I love your presents Brian.
Travis: Well, if you didn’t put it in a fucking trash bag.
Brian: Well, that’s all I got. Living in the edge here on my Alpha salary.
Liam || You said a bit ago that you chose Sam’s class and race for this campaign. How did Sam react when you revealed that he was going to play as a goblin rogue?
Liam: Well, that’s a funny thing because I never said that. Sam said that. And it’s almost true. Sam, for months, was all “I don’t know what I want to do” and I sorta brainstormed and said “The coolest thing I think would be if you were a goblin rogue. It’s totally different from what you did, and you’re the funniest fucker in this group and I think there would be a lot of comedy there for you.” I threw out swashbuckler too as a possibility. And he just kept saying “I don’t know. I don’t know.” and then he said “Liam chose my character!” But him being a lady goblin: nothing to do with me.
Travis: Oh man! I don’t know. I haven’t really exercised either of them yet.
Brian: When I saw you grab the flyer for the carnival, I was like (Travis impression) “I can read”.
Travis: We’ll see how it goes. It’s nice to not have to put the Grog filter on things and go “Oh, I can’t know that or he wouldn’t say that or he wouldn’t come up with that idea.”
Laura: But it’s hard to have to put the thinking filter on things.
Travis: It is. As you’ve seen, there’s a little residual funk that’s still in the pipes. I think we’ll figure it out. It’ll come as we do the voices more and we figure out who the personalities are. We mentioned it before: you really have to build this neural pathway of taking what your brain hears and what your reaction is, and how it comes out to the character. And some people are already there — Jester — and others, we’re just figuring it out, how we talk to other people and what that person says and what their demeanor is. There’s a whole bunch of stuff happening.
Brian: Little Grog residue left in the pipes.
Travis: There’s a bunch. Like uranium, it leaves traces.
Laura: Human legs.
Taliesin: Human. Easier to cosplay.
Laura: So much of Jester’s stuff is already very human so it makes sense.
Liam: Sam’s accent.
Laura: Oh my god!
Brian: Do you think he’s going to be able to keep it up for the next couple of months while he’s still alive?
Travis: I was surprised at Taliesin’s shit-stirring. Just right out the gate.
Liam: I wasn’t surprised by that. I expected that. I really loved [Taliesin’s] accent.
Taliesin: Thank you.
Liam: I wasn’t expecting Ashley to be such a stone-cold fucking killer. She really was creepy.
Brian: That’s a lot closer to how she is in real life than Pike was. A lot of people think in real life she’s very whatever, but you cut her off on the 405…
Travis: I knew, as a hexblade, you needed some sort of weapon. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a blade or a sword. So it was my pleasure and delight to be able to turn through the player’s handbook, look at all the weapons, and go “Oooh!”. And it was just picking the thing that spoke to me. I saw the sword and it was a little different from a scimitar, it was a little different from some of the other curved blade options. I actually looked up different images of it and there are all sorts of varieties. Some are thin and long, some are elven, and I found one that’s very stout and straight, and just the tip is curved and sharp. It has a very broad blade to it. It just really spoke to me. I just thought it looked really cool. It was just called a falchion.
Brian: Funny thing about the falchion that Dani showed me before the show: Google Analytics, on the 11th, it spiked for people looking up what a falchion was. I thought that was so amazing.
Laura || Without revealing too much, can you tell us about Jester’s deity? Is it a new deity or is it one that we’ve already come to know?
Laura: Well, I didn’t change my deity from the one-shot. So there’s that.
Brian: Oh okay. Almost Funny videos is going to get a lot of views tonight of people out there looking at your one-shot with Greg Miller.
Taliesin: It’s like coming home. I was having a moment where I realised that Molly doesn’t like cops, this is going to go very poorly.
Laura: If you’d just kept your mouth shut in that one moment.
Taliesin: I mean, he’s not good a keeping his mouth shut.
Liam: What was it back in the day though? I know it was in a cell, but wasn’t it an abandoned building, right? It was a fucked up building.
Taliesin: I’d been thrown down there by private security.
Travis: He was in that basement cell, yeah. It was in a big mansion. It had that little demon upstairs too that bounced off the bookshelves and shit.
Laura: And the succubus.
Taliesin: Yeah, I’d been thrown down there by private security. That was long time ago.
Talks Machina Team
Liam || Frumpkin is Caleb’s Find Familiar. Where did the idea and the name of Frumpkin come from?
Liam: Frumpkin was my cat when I was little.
Brian: How little? Four?
Brian: I know because you told me.
Liam: Really? I did? Okay. So it’s just a comfy reminder of simpler times.
Brian: Yeah, that’s awesome.
Liam: And then it’s just an ability that Wizards have. I got a lot of ritual casting coming motherfuckers. I don’t have to spend my spell slots.
Laura: Ritual casting takes what? An hour?
Liam: No. It takes ten minutes longer than whatever it is.
Laura: So if you’re not in battle, you’re fine?
Brian: You’re allergic to cast in real life Travis. Incredibly, insanely allergic to cats. What made you decide to put it into the game too?
Travis: The second she was like “Can I bring Frumpkin up and jump on my lap?” I was like “This is happening.” Because instantly, just the thought of it, my nose started to tickle. I was like “For sure, Fjord is going to be fucking allergic to cats”. I see pictures of cats and say “Can you take them away?” And to be fair to Liam, I also had a cat when I was a kid. I had it for a while and my parents couldn’t figure out why I was so damn sickly.
Laura: Isn’t that sad?
Travis: My cat’s name was Mary Midnight, thank you very much.
Brian: Mary Midnight?
Travis: All black cat, yes. She slept in my face and I went to the hospital.
Taliesin: I feel like that explains so much.
Liam: “She slept on my face and I went to the hospital”. That is a story with no context.
Liam and Laura || Does the separation of seating help keep you from slipping back into twinnies?
Laura: Yeah. I also think the different accents really help from keeping us slipping back into twinnies.
Liam: Yeah, but also we’re always going to be twinnies.
Laura: Well, obviously.
Travis: It’s so light where I am. There’s so much real estate. Less jingle-jangle, pre-ritual dice rolling. Sam, I’m sorry but you’re fucked.
Laura: Sam, before we started was all like “Really? Oh god, really?!” after every single thing I did. I was like “Come on man!” And I’m helping Sam because, honestly, he never has any fucking dice.
Brian: He has one die of each.
Laura: Especially as a rogue now, he’s going to be rolling other shit.
Travis: That’s literally all you need is one of each dice.
Laura: No, because that’s really slow to roll them one at a time.
Taliesin: When he rolls a d6 fifteen times, we’re going to want to murder him.
Laura: Straight up. But if he needs new dice, like if he needs to have other dice in the game, he cannot grab them from my tray. I told him “You can’t touch any of this that I’ve already sorted, but the big bag you can use.”
Liam: I will buy the little goblin a box of d6, it’s fine.
Brian: He’ll lose them.
Laura || How worried are you that (at least so far) you are the only character with healing capabilities in this group?
Laura: I’m not worried about it at all. I’m very good at healing so everyone is safe.
Laura: No, we’re fucked. I’ve got three spell slots. I like to do damage, that’s the kind of gameplay that I’m used to, so it was really hard in that fight that we did. I thought that I could do another big spell that would damage these creatures a lot, but then I would be down a big spell healing thing. So I had to cantrip that only did one d12 damage instead of doing 46 radiant. It’s hard to balance that, especially when you’ve only got a few spell slots.
Taliesin: It’s so low. I mean, level 2 is nothing.
Laura: I know, I know. I’m looking forward to having more.
Brian: My level 5 wizard could wipe all you motherfuckers out. Except for probably Ash because I would spare her so that we could have children.
Laura: Yasha is really strong and has a lot of hit points.
Liam || After the joys of playing a rogue, what are you looking forward to most about playing a wizard? Is there anything particular that drew you to Transmutation?
Liam: Yeah, but I’m not going to talk about that.
Brian: So talk to us about what led to your decision to become a wizard.
Liam: The same thing Travis said: we’ve just been hitting things for three years and I’m looking forward to not. I know I just cast spell attacks in that battle, and that is probably going to be that way at the very beginning because of his build, but I’m looking forward to not. To doing very little of that shit. I want to help everybody and make the field turn upside down.
Laura: Oh really. Like more of a tactician?
Liam: Well, we’ll see.
Laura: That’d be cool.
Travis: A bit of a challenge for you?
Liam: Well yeah, but luckily we’re starting at the bottom. So I have very little and it’s going to [grow wider and wider as we level up]. But rogues just stayed on one [line] the whole time.
All || Now that you guys know what class each other is playing, how do you feel about the team dynamic so far?
Liam: It feels so magic-y compared to before.
Laura: It is, right? It is magic-y.
Brian: That excites me personally, because in our home game we have a sorcerer which is Mary Elizabeth McGlynn.
Travis: We haven’t really seen [the dynamic] yet. We got to see them trip over each other in that first fight.
Taliesin: We haven’t figured out who dives in, who stays in the back.
Travis: We haven’t even figured out range.
Laura: I’ve certainly learned that I need to stay back. At least that much.
Travis: A hard lesson, quickly learned.
Laura: I’m sad that we don’t have a bard, because bards are such good supports.
Travis: Support or god-killers.
Laura: That’s why I was happy that [Liam thinks he] might be a controller instead of a damage wizard.
Travis: Or a bard for when you die.
Liam: Halfling next time. Halfling for sure.
Laura: Can wizards cast Haste?
Liam: Everything. Wizards can cast everything. If they can learn it.
Laura: We gotta get you Haste. We gotta find Haste.
Travis: We don’t need to get Liam Haste again.
Laura: He can cast it on other people!
Taliesin: You get Haste, and you get Haste, and you get Haste!
Brian: When do you think you’ll get to the earring?
Laura: I don’t think we’ll ever have an earring again.
Liam: Nah, we’ll never have that again.
Brian: You don’t think the technology has advanced since it’s so many years in the future?
Liam: I mean, it could, but a part of me just hopes we don’t have it because that’s like god mode.
Laura: I have a feeling a lot of our goodies that we’re going to find in this campaign are not going to be as crazy awesome.
Brian: Yeah, Matt’s going to have to nerf things a little.
Laura: It’s because we were coming from Pathfinder so a lot of things that we brought over were like really major items.
Liam: 30 thousand people talking about Boots of Haste might have had an effect on what we do next.
Taliesin || This is now the second character class you’ve used of Matt’s. What is it about the classes that he creates that speak to you?
Taliesin: Wow, this is going to be such a depressingly simple answer. I feel a little bad. It was mostly just that I played a lot of D&D as a teenager, and I just don’t want to play anything again.
Brian: Because you’re already run the gamut, basically.
Taliesin: We didn’t create the original gunslinger, we were in Pathfinder. One of the reasons why I didn’t transfer over my original character was the thought that if we were going to Pathfinder, let me do something new. And I had never done [gunslinger] before.
Liam: Taliesin is Mr. I Took The Road Less Travelled.
Taliesin: The Blood Hunter was just an interesting fit for the character. When [Matt] first came up with it when we were at some convention I thought “This is interesting”.
Liam: Both Taliesin and Ashley were total shits and wouldn’t tell us what their class was until the game.
Dallas of Yo [?]
Travis || Why doesn’t Fjord have tusks? Is it just an art decision or something more?
Travis: Just going to have to stay tuned, I guess.
Lady Nimara [?]
Liam and Travis || How excited are you to become the talkers of the group, now that everyone’s charisma is so low?
Brian: You guys are going to have to be the negotiators and the face. That’s going to be a little different.
Liam: I don’t know if I’m going to be successful at this, but I am tasking myself to be more of a responsible thinker at the table. One of the things I enjoyed about playing Vax — which some people love and some people hate — is that he was impulsive. And that’s not this guy.
Travis: I’m excited to give it a try. The one hurdle that’s in the way is that a good tactician plays to the strengths of the people in your group, and I don’t know my group yet. I don’t know what everybody is good at, what their weakness are, how away they need to be. All those things that are relevant to an overall strategy. I don’t know if you’ll see that in the first few episodes because I just want to get to fucking know people first before I start throwing them to die for me.
Liam: I do promise to make real bad decisions. Just in a different way.
Travis: Yeah, high-five on that one.
The Mister Henry
All || What were your initial impressions of your new minis?
Laura: So good.
Travis: They’re so ace. Hero Forge is dope.
Laura: Yeah, it was so much fun to just create them. And that was before the character art was finished. It’s really fun how close we actually got to our character art.
Travis: I had three and I had to whittle it down to just one. It was tough.
Liam: I kept trying to find ways to put books in his armpits. But it wouldn’t work so they’re on his hips.
Brian: You did get mini Frumpkin in there. That’s cool.
Liam: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Travis: And the paint job is just superb.
Liam: Of the miniatures, my favorite is the Nott. It’s so cool.
Laura: I didn’t even see Nott!
Critical Kira [?]
Taliesin || Mollymauk was a unique name. What was your inspiration? Also, I got a very Gilmore-esque vibe from Molly. Was he a source of inspiration? Thank you.
Taliesin: He wasn’t a source of inspiration, but the characters have a lot in common. They are definitely characters who have spent some time externalizing a lot of internal stuff. It’s a thing that I’ve thought about a lot, which is that this is definitely a character who things “I’m going to take all this stuff that’s inside of me and put it way on the outside for everyone to deal with”.
Mollymauk is a fabulous word and it has a great meaning and there’s a great song about it. I will not say why his name is Mollymauk, but I know the word because it’s the name of the lead character from Lord Love A Duck. It’s a great movie that everyone should see.
Brian: Are you in it?
Taliesin: No. My grandfather directed it. It was a book and he wrote the adaptation and directed the film. Tuesday Weld. Roddy McDowall. It’s a weird little film but some of my core DNA as a human being is this movie.
Laura: With our character backstories and stuff we came up with? I can say that, the way that I created my deity, me and Matt went back and forth a little bit based on the way I decided that they would have been introduced into her life. He went “What if it’s this, or what if it’s this, or what if it’s this?”, and we went back and forth a lot and then came up with a really cool joint effort. So it was cool to create that with him.
Travis: I was the last person, besides Ashley, to figure out what I was playing. So I went through a lot of different talks with Matt about different strengths of different classes, especially with the hexblade. It won’t give anything away, but there definitely things that [Matt] was like “No, no, no no, how about this”. Leniency was not a thing that was freely given, it had to make sense and it had to be justifiable.
Taliesin: Yeah, there were a couple of things that I gave him that I’m giving him the option to use — I don’t know if he will — that were connected to character’s backstory. And then there was one thing he nixed, because I wanted a very, very tenuous connection to the previous campaign. He said “Yeah, don’t do that” and I said “Yeah, no problem”.
Liam: I think I got to do exactly what I wanted.
Travis: Oh yeah, of course you did. Fucking Liam.
Liam: We planned it in advance, he told me that he’s going to kill you all off, and there would be a solo game. No, I’ve been thinking about what I want to do for a year and I gave it to him in a huge in a huge email in October/November. Then he passed it back to me dripping with lore and amazing.
Talks Machina Team
All || Of the seven of you, who do you think showed up Thursday night the most prepared?
Travis: Sure felt like Jester to me. [Laura] was amazing.
Taliesin: [Liam and Laura] felt pretty solid.
Liam: I felt scared to death.
Taliesin: Well, you may have been scared but it went well.
Laura: All of us were so nervous.
Liam: You were like the living embodiment of the fucking Laura Bailey harp.
Taliesin: Man, it was so intense.
Liam: The way I think about it is that I don’t really know who my character is yet, but I know these traffic cones that I’ve set up down the road that I’m going to be bouncing off of. I’m curious to find out who he is.
Travis: I think one good thing that happened in the first episode was that we all had at least one flash each. Even if we were panicked or fumbling or stuck in our heads, we had one moment where you saw what the rest of the campaign would be like. Even if it was a brief flash, it was still there though. We’ll just have to elaborate.
Liam: So tickled to meet all of you.