Category Archives: Tabletop

Let’s talk about Titansgrave for a moment.

Here’s a picture of Aqualad as a pirate, from one of the funniest episodes of Teen Titans Go I did.

Aqualad is a Pirate

I realize that TTG has its detractors, and respectfully request that they don’t use this post to list their grievances. I liked the show, I loved the cast and creative people involved, and there’s always the older, more serious Teen Titans for you to watch.

Speaking of older stuff: you know what holds up surprisingly well? The Land of the Lost (not that abominable movie; the original series). In fact, I used some elements from Land of the Lost as inspiration for some elements in Titansgrave.

Titansgrave. Let’s talk about Titansgrave for a moment.

Holy shit you guys Titansgrave is looking amazing. I desperately want to share some of the art images we have, including some of our character models and locations, but there’s this whole marketing plan that I have to follow, like I’m an adult who is part of a successful business or something.

Yesterday, I watched a rough cut of our first episode, and I loved it.  The photography and the set are beautiful, the actors I cast to play the adventuring party are just fantastic, and as I watched it, felt like the cameras and editing captured the experience we had when we filmed the show. This was really important to me, because translating the emotional and visceral excitement, tension, curiosity, triumph, despair, and joy we all had while we played the game and told the story into something an audience can enjoy is the only way this show will be a success.What I saw yesterday did exactly that. However, I know that, I’m not entirely objective, so I’m going to screen a few edits for some people at Geek and Sundry who weren’t on the set and don’t know anything about the campaign — basically what the audience will know going into it — to make sure that my instincts are correct: Titansgrave is a hell of a lot of fun to watch, and the characters who you’ll get to know are pretty damn compelling.

Lots of people are asking if we’re going to release the campaign setting, and what game system we’re using. These questions have been answered elsewhere, but I’ll put it here just so it’s here: the game is powered by the AGE (Adventure Game Engine) system that Green Ronin created for Dragon Age RPG. This is a version of the AGE system called Fantasy AGE, and we’re adding a few elements to the rules that are specific to our setting, that allows us to incorporate some science fiction elements, as well. At the moment, a lot of us are developing the world, writing fiction that takes place in Valkana, creating NPC allies and adversaries, imagining areas that we touch on in the show but don’t fully examine (so players at home can have their own adventures in our world) and building out the lore of this world we created. It’s a lot of work on a very tight schedule, because we are going to release the campaign setting this summer, but I’m not complaining because I have been itching to just write and write and write some more.

Speaking of writing, here’s a little bit of fiction I wrote while I was figuring out what a particular district of the city of Nestora would feel like.

Grell’s Alley

Korram put one hand on the pommel of his sword, and the other deep into his pocket. He pressed together the two sovereigns he found there, lest they make a sound and draw unwanted attention in this rough part of Nestora. Korram knew his way around a back alley, and was indeed using one at this very moment to make his way to the Shal, but there had been enough killing today. Far too much killing for the two sovereigns he had to show for it. Best to not attract attention, he thought. Some distance away, a concussive boom shook the air. Not thunder, Korram knew from instinct he had long forgotten how to explain. It was more likely a Guilder strike. The flashing of lights reflected off buildings at the end of the alley, as emergency and security hovers sped past, confirming his suspicions.

So much killing. He thought. Too much killing. Korram was tired.

He straightened his spine, pulled his shoulders back, and walked deliberately down the alley. Garbage bins and foul waste piled high around him. Rainwater dripped down from wires and off of rooftops, forming foul puddles between the cracked and broken cobbles beneath his feet.

“Oi!” Called a voice from the darkness in front of him. “Oi! Trellem!”

Korram grunted, and kept his eyes fixed on the end of the alley. With one thumb, he imperceptibly slid the leather guard off his sword.

A stocky dwarf stepped out of a shadow, and blocked his way. No dwarf would stand against a Trellem alone, Korram knew. He sniffed the air, drawing as many scents as he could, forming a mental image of everything around him: Wet brick and urine — human urine — eight hours old to his right. Garbage, a dead rat, a slowly leaking gas line to his left,  and there, above it, tucked into a fire escape made of rusting metal and rotten wood, an elf, wearing soaked Darham leather.

“Stop a bit and visit with old Grell now, won’t ya?” The dwarf said.

“I don’t think so,” Korram said. His sword settled into his hand, ready to become an extension of his arm, of his will. A single-shot blaster, tucked into his belt, felt warm against the small of his back.

“How about you just give me yer gold then?” The dwarf said, “To, uh, ensure yer safe passage through Grell’s alley.”

Korram breathed deeply. The elf was tensing its — her, he now realized — her legs and was about to pounce. He exhaled a sigh.

“There has been enough killing today.” Korram said.

The dwarf flashed a grim smile, revealing a mouth of broken teeth behind his filthy beard. “Disagree,” he said. The elf pounced.

Korram spun in place and drew his sword in one motion. The elf fell on it, sliding down its blade and catching her jaw at the hilt. She hadn’t had time to register surprise, Korram thought, as he yanked her head from her body. Dual daggers clattered to the ground and Korram turned back to face the dwarf.

Korram didn’t need to use his highly evolved sense of smell to know that Grell had pissed himself. “Too much killing,” he said, advancing on the dwarf, who fell as he tried to turn on stubby legs and run away.

Minutes later, Korram wiped his blade clean along the back of Grell’s tunic, elven and dwarven blood mingling together on the rough, heavy cloth. The lifeless heads of Grell and his companion kept watch over the alley, while Korram pulled a small bag off the dwarf’s body. Several coins inside jingled together.

Too much killing, Korram thought, but at least he had more than two sovereigns to show for it. He walked to the end of the alley, and down the lane toward the Shal.

Valkana is a broken and wounded world, a post-apocalyptic land of science fantasy that is so much fun to create and explore. I’m having a fantastic time imagining it, and I’m really excited for you all to come and visit, later this summer.

peer into our world…

I’m not quite ready to announce the details of the world we created for our RPG show, but I am ready to show this little glimpse of it, and I encourage you to make of it what you will…

a sneak peak at the tabletop rpg world
a sneak peak at the tabletop rpg world

What could it be?

…something wonderful.

meet the players who will be rolling initiative in our tabletop rpg show

We’re shooting the Tabletop RPG show all this week. Yesterday was our first day of production, and we had so much fun, eleven hours of nonstop work flew by in a flash. In fact, at the end of the day, one of the players said to me, “that’s it? I want to keep playing!”

We’re going to be slowly announcing details about the show all this week, and yesterday, I introduced the players to the world:

Here’s a little bit about them:

  • Hank Green is one of the most successful and influential YouTubers of all time. With his brother, John, he created the Vlog Brothers. Their network has grown to over 1 billion views, and earlier this year, Hank interviewed the president. Hank is an old school role player, and he’s a fantastic storyteller.
  • Alison Haislip hasn’t ever played an RPG like this, but she was amazing in Fiasco during the first season of Tabletop. She’s worked for G4 and Nerdist, among others. It was pretty awesome to watch her start out tentatively yesterday morning, and by the middle of the day she was slinging dice like she’d been doing it all her life.
  • Yuri Lowenthal is one of my best friends. We met when we were working on Legion of Superheroes, and we’ve gone on to work together on Ben Ten, There Came an Echo, and countless other animation projects. You’ve heard him in pretty much every video game, ever, (he’s Sandal in Dragon Age: Origins), and you’ve heard him as Sauske in Naruto. Yuri has been playing RPGs as long as I have.
  • Laura Bailey and I met when we worked on There Came An Echo last year. By lunchtime on the first day, we had decided that we needed to be friends, and it feels like we’ve known each other since college. She’s an accomplished voice actor who you have heard in over 250 projects, including Dragon Age: Inquisition, Hearthstone, The Last of Us, World of Warcraft, and Fullmetal Alchemist. Laura also plays on Geek & Sundry’s RPG Twitch show, Critical Role.

You can find them on the usual social networks, and we’ll all be posting behind the scenes pictures and short videos during production this week.

It turns out that there’s a lot happening today.

First up, this is happening:

Wil Wheaton Big Bang Theory Season 8

We also have a new episode of Tabletop out today, and it’s one of my favorites of the season.

And after waiting almost a year to be able to talk about it, Nintendo of America has announced that I play the voice of Abraham Lincoln in their insanely awesome 3DS title, Code Name STEAM.

I am extremely proud of this game, and I can’t wait to play it. It’s got a great balance of humor and strategy, and there may be some awesomely weird stuff in it, too … you can confirm it for yourself with the trailer:

Tabletop Gag Reel: Stone Age

Agressive BreedingSometimes, YouTube stops to buffer and I get some pretty great Tablederp.

This week’s gag reel is one of my favorites in the history of the series:

Forbidden Desert, on Tabletop

This week on Tabletop, Alan Tudyk, Jon Heder, and Felicia Day join me for a cooperative game that’s devilishly hard, Forbidden Desert!

A couple of notes for you all, before I get back to preparing for this afternoon’s bacchanal, starting with a comment on r/boardgames, with my reply:

> You move the tiles according to the card you flip, not the “storm”. Nothing too important. But they excavate (flip) tiles that they are not on. This one makes it easier.

I’m really unhappy and annoyed that this happened. I can’t remember every single rule for every game, and if we were playing at home, we’d have the rules next to the table to be sure (we also wouldn’t be playing 21 games in 10 days). I have a producer who is supposed to catch all of this stuff, and ensure that we don’t make mistakes like this, and I think he was stretched a little too thin this season, so if we do a fourth season, I’ll make sure that we hire someone *specifically* to keep an eye on the rules.

I’m annoyed and disappointed that we’ve aired two episodes this season, and we’ve made a rules error on each of them (not such a huge deal in Tokaido, but a huge deal in this one, because we unintentionally made the game much easier on ourselves.) I know there’s a big mistake coming up later this year in Stone Age, too.

Ultimately, the goal of Tabletop is to be entertaining, to introduce people to boardgames, and to get people excited about playing games. If we misunderstand a rule here and there, it’s not the end of the world, because that happens in real life when we play at home, but I do hold my show to a higher standard, for obvious reasons.

I don’t think this is going to get in the way of anyone’s enjoyment, except for the übergamers who nitpick and complain about every mistake or sub-optimal play we make, but I’m honestly not making this show for them, anyway.

That said, I regret making such a massive and fundamental mistake.

Also, you may notice that someone in our graphics department wrote Forbidden Dessert on the thumbnail, instead of Forbidden Desert. On the one hand, this is a simple and basic grammar error that should never have happened. On the other hand, it is pretty hilarious, will obviously be corrected, and gives us something to never let that department live down until the heat death of the universe.

For some of us, today is a holiday about being thankful. For others, it’s a day off from work or school and a chance to eat a lot of food. For the majority, it’s Thursday. Well, whatever today means to you, I hope it’s a good one.

Tabletop’s RPG Show

This is one of those “write it now so I can refer to it later” posts, because this is a FAQ.

A Redditor asked:

Still excited about the RPG show, any idea when we’ll be hearing any news on that front?

I responded:

We’re in preproduction right now. I’ve designed the fundamental pillars of the world, met with some writers and game designers to get the ball rolling on the actual world building and campaign writing, and I’ve written an outline for the campaign itself.

We have a schedule on the board, but it’s likely to change, and we have to go over our final budget on Monday to determine how many episodes we can afford to produce. Once all that stuff is locked down, and we’re confident that things won’t change, we’ll make some announcements, but I can’t tell you when that it, because I don’t know.

I am so incredibly excited about this show, and I love the world we’ve created for it. The system we’re playing is really great, and I hope we’ll be able to share some of the details with the world sooner than later.

For now, here’s a shot from our editing screening yesterday:

TableDerp

Tokaido Gag Reel and Nerdist News

Our gag reel for Tokaido is out:

And I visited Jessica Chobot at the new and awesome studios that we now share with Nerdist, to do a silly Best Worst segment for Nerdist news:

I give great thumbnail face, you guys.

Tabletop Season Three Premieres with Tokaido!

It’s finally here! Our third season of Tabletop officially kicks off today, with Tokaido.

I love this game so much, and I hope we captured the beauty, balance, and wonderful mix of strategy and guile that goes into each turn.

I played with my pal Chris Kluwe, J. August Richards (who some of you may remember from The Wil Wheaton Project), and Jason Wishnov, who wrote, produced, directed, and coded a wonderful game I worked on earlier this year, called There Came An Echo.

I have said this quite a bit in the last several months, and I’ll continue saying it for the next several months: thank you, so much, to all of our backers, for helping us make this show that we love. I couldn’t have done this without you, and I sincerely believe that you’ll be happy that you did, as the season unfolds.

(NB: Apparently, we made a minor rules mistake at one point in the game, which I won’t discuss specifically because spoilers, but I don’t think it would have affected the outcome.)