It’s Titansgrave Tuesday!
Chapter Nine isn’t in the book, it wasn’t in the schedule, and it wasn’t something any of us thought about until the day before. If you want to know more details, keep reading. I recommend that you don’t continue this post until you’ve seen the episode, though I avoid any specific or direct spoilers.
This was originally part of Chapter Ten, and in the book it’s pretty much something like, “the PCs endure nightmarish visions and have to make a save roll”. I was ready to do that, but my son and co-creator, Ryan, realized that I had inadvertently paid off some important character moments and goals way back in Chapter 5 when they got the Staff. I didn’t see what he was talking about until we got to the end of Chapter 8 (we filmed 7, 8 and the original 9 on the same day) and that’s when I knew I had messed up some really important stuff that affected the narrative character arcs for most of the players.
“What am I going to do?” I asked him. “It’s too late to change anything, and now all this very important character stuff — the most important thing to me in the whole season — isn’t going to pay off.”
“I’m going to stay up all night and write you something that will accomplish what you wanted to accomplish,” he told me. He has a degree in writing, and is an accomplished storyteller, so I trusted him.
“You sure you want to stay up all night?” I said.
“Let me try. I’m young, and I have coffee and ideas.”
“Okay. Good luck.”
The following morning, I texted Ryan when I got out of bed. At the same time, he was e-mailing me the script he’d written. I won’t discuss specifics because spoilers, obviously, but it was exactly what I needed: a final test for the characters. A final test they needed to endure, to coalesce into the family they needed to be in order to have a chance at taking on The Prophet Dahwan.
The result is nearly 50 minutes of narrative, with some extremely emotional and intense decisions being made by the players about their characters. The players did an amazing job with this, and when we got to the end of this section, most of the crew and all of our observers were wiping their eyes.
If you’re not connected to the characters and want a lot of RPG action, this is going to leave you cold. But if I’ve accomplished what I always wanted to accomplish, you’re invested in the characters at this point. If I’ve done what I wanted to do, you may not even notice that this is a story-heavy episode without a single die roll. If I’ve gotten you to come along on this journey with us the way I wanted to, this will be an emotional episode for you like it was for us
So I expected that this would be a polarizing episode, but after four days at GenCon where I talked to hundreds of people who are watching this show, I’m hopeful that the vast majority of the audience will be glad they watched it.