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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Force Grey: Giant Hunters - Prologue Episode

Force Grey: Giant Hunters is a campaign run by Matt Mercer, the DM of Critical Role. This "preview session" was run in front of a live crowd as part of the D&D Meltdown event in L.A.

You can watch this on twitch here.

Chris Hardwick will play next week. His character is a wizard.

The Party

(Ashley Johnson) Dagny Halvor - Half-Orc Cleric
(Shelby Fero) Katya Horn - Dwarf Fighter
(Jonah Ray) Joppa - Human Monk
(Utkarsh Ambudkar) Hitch - Human Rogue
(Brian Posehn) Calliope - Half-Elf Bard?

There are more details on the characters here

This session is the origin story. We get to see the group meet each other for the first time.

We start off with Brian Posehn's character. Calliope has a deep voice. She's apparently part of some wizard experiment that goes wrong. The guy in charge says: "Time itself should slow. Stand between those ivory pillars."

She does so. Calliope's vision goes dark. The last thing she hears is the guy saying: "Ohh shit."

That's all we see of Calliope. Brian just sits on the stage for the rest of the session. 

Matt goes into a detailed introduction of the Forgotten Realms. We are in the City of Waterdeep. We get a look at Jonah's character first...

Joppa brings a bunch of fish to his shack. He's an old, whiskery, lonely fellow. He notices that his door is ajar. He goes around to the back and peeks in the window. Someone is in there checking out his smutty novels. He is hoping it's a sexy lady in a robe to act out his fantasies. He goes in.

To Joppa's disappointment, it's a man. The man hands him a scroll. Joppa has been summoned to Blackstaff Tower. Blackstaff Ijira herself. I have no idea if I got the spelling right.

Joppa says he will go right after he gives himself a full release, if you know what I mean. The guy tells him there's no time for that.

Elsewhere.. Katya Horn the dwarf comes home from what I think is a construction job. Hitch, Utkarsh's character, is living on her couch. He has to pee so bad and someone's after him. He whoever was chasing him runs off. Hitch stole a bunch of gold off the guy.

They argue a bit and we get to see that these two have known each other for a long time. 

There's a knock at the door. Hitch hides under the couch. It is a robed figure - a woman with fair features. She immediately spots Hitch despite his high roll. She tells them that they have been summoned to Blackstaff Tower.

Hitch asks her if she's eaten anything. Hitch likes her and he quietly begs Katya not to screw this up for him.

We jump to a repair shop. There are piles of metal, scrap, gears and a partially completed grandfather clock. Also in the shop is a symbol of Gond, god of invention. A raggedy half-orc woman is working diligently: Dagny. This is Ashley's character.

A 6 year old boy named Sebastian, comes in. He likes to watch Dagny work. Matt does a great little kid voice. I don't think I know anybody who can pull one off, but he did it. The guy is amazing.

Sebastian's father comes in. He's Dagny's boss. Ogden has a big mustache. It's time for Sebastian to go to bed. The kid leaves after Dagny gives him some cool gadgets.

A figure in a hooded robe is at the door. It's a young man with long blonde hair. He has a scroll. Dagny is being summoned to Blackstaff Tower. She asks him if he's hungry. The players do a lot of playing off of each others antics for laughs. I'm pretty sure everyone asks a PC or an NPC if they're hungry by the end of the session.

The group meets each other in Blackstaff Tower (except for Calliope). Joppa wants to know if there is going to be an orgy. He sees Dagny and they bond over the fact that they both read the note and were told the exact same message by the cloaked person. Joppa asks her if she's hungry and blurts out how lonely he is.

Hitch asks him if it's Joppa with a soft J.

They meet a guy named Jorman. Hitch spots a floating gem and wants to steal it. Katya talks him down.

The heroes are led to a room with a red glyph on the floor. The group meet Blackstaff Ijira. She's short, has black hair and she has a staff with a wolf's head carved on it.

She has been tasked with creating a faction: Force Grey. This team will go on missions for the City of Waterdeep. In return, they will receive amnesty from the law, gold and respect.

Katya needs to know how much gold. Ijira magically summons a chest spilling over with gold.

The heroes will be on call. When needed, they must answer Ijira's summons and complete their mission. The group starts to try her patience with more questions and haggling. Her eyes and her staff glow blue.

Here's our first mission: The Sun Dragon, ally of the watchful order, has asked for aid. The group must travel to the Sword Mountains. There, they must find a "maiden statue" to summon the dragon.

That's where we stop. This show will appear on


Improv D&D: When I wrote about the Meltdown event, I expressed concern that there were too many new players who didn't seem to know the first thing about D&D. While it is true that some of them really don't know anything about the game, it doesn't seem to matter.

This truly is "improv with wizards" and it worked out fine. It's nice to see this style of game, where it's all about comedy. I don't know if future sessions will be in front of a live crowd or not, but I'm fine with it either way.

Some of the players did lean too much on improv to the point that they were grinding the game to a halt, but to their credit they sensed it and nipped it in the bud. It didn't really matter because there wasn't anything tangible to do in the session, anyway. It was literally just them meeting each other.

Every single character is distinct and each player brings something good to the table.

Matt's Voices: I realize that this is the guy's real job, but I want to talk about just how good Matt's NPC voices are. They all sound completely different. Here's some of the voices he did on this show:
  • Crabby Old Wizard
  • The Hero Voice: Matt does the hero voice, period. 
  • The Gentle Woman: Not a lot of guys can pull off the soft woman voice without sounding silly, but he does it effortlessly.
  • The Little Boy: I said it above, but I'll say it again. Very few men can do a little kid voice without coming off goofy or screechy. He does it just right. It's amazing.
When I do a voice, I almost always lean toward a comedic version of that voice to hedge my bets. I don't feel confident enough in some of my voices to deliver serious dialogue. I really admire Matt's skill in this department and I am going to try to learn from him.

Jonah: This guy is just hilarious. You get the sense that any show he's on is worth watching.

Force Grey is probably going to be very good, so check it out if you have the time!

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