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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Acquisitions Incorporated: The Series - Episode 1

You can watch this episode here.

I am going to write a summary of this show, provide a few timestamps for what I think some of the best parts are and then I'll give some overall impressions.

I'm sure a lot of you know this, but I want to be thorough:

A Brief History of Acquisitions, Inc: Acquisitions, Inc. started when Chris Perkins ran some 4th edition games for the makers of Penny Arcade. The first podcast was in 2008. You can access the old shows here or on this backwards list on the D&D site.

They eventually started doing live games in front of an audience. The first one was in 2010 at PAX Prime. It was a success and it has been getting bigger ever since.

Since 5th edition hit, they do about two live games per year. Each adventure is linked in some way to the current D&D storyline going on at the time.

You can find the live shows here.

A good quick way to bone up on the backstory is to watch the animated intro of each live episode. They tell you what happened last time and they are, in my opinion, hilarious.

Run Time: This show is only 30 minutes long! Most of these D&D shows are 2 or 3 hours and even the good ones can be painful to get through. This episode was real breezy and left me wanting more.

Warning: If you have any intention of watching this show, do so before you read this. It's an awesome session. There's no sense in having me spoil the cool stuff. Please come on back and read my thoughts when you're done!

The Party

(Jerry) Omin Dran - Half-Elf Cleric
(Mike) Jim Darkmagic - Human Wizard
(Scott) Binwin Bronzebottom - Dwarf Fighter/Barbarian
(Patrick) Viari - Human Rogue

We kick it off with a fantastic animated intro which already makes the whole show worth it. It's a whole VHS/'80's cartoon kind of thing.

OK, here we go. We have a sweet camera set-up.

Jim has gotten to know Omin's sister, Portentia. She is part of a rival adventuring group called Dran Enterprises.

While canoodling with Portentia, Jim found out that Dran Enterprises is being paid a lot of money to acquire 2 pieces of the Rod of Seven Parts. Holy crap. This is going to be awesome.

Portentia is something of an underling of a woman named Auspicia, who runs Dran Enterprises. Auspicia already has one part of the rod. She stashed it in a vault in a dwarven enclave run by Clan Horn. This vault is loaded with treasure.

Chris points out that Dran Enterprises is trying to buy out Acquisitions, Inc. The best way to prevent this would be to diminish their funds.

The group realizes that Jim is a sleeper agent. Portentia is unhappy at Dran Enterprises and she seems like she knows more than she's saying.

Omin, Binwin and Viari take her out for drinks to try and get more information out of her. They offer Portentia control of the Waterdeep Acquisitions, Inc. franchise. They get drunk.

We learn that Auspicia looks like an older version of Omin. We also learn that if Auspicia buys Acquisitions, Inc. she's going to fire Jim Darkmagic. She has another Darkmagic on the payroll! Jerry flips out over this.

The group is able to learn that this other Darkmagic is none other than Percival Darkmagic. The group last ran into him in a past adventure and lost sight of him when a flying mansion they were all in split in half.

Jim runs to the tavern. He is worried about the Darkmagic brand name. Apparently it was not trademarked.

Binwin knows that the Horn Enclave is full of shield dwarves. They're great builders.

Jim rolls to see if he has rod knowledge. He sure does. Here's what we learn:
  • There was a war between Law and Chaos.
  • The Guardians of Law are the Wind Dukes of Aaqa.
  • The wind dukes made the rod to try to make the universe more stable.
  • The rod was shattered when it struck Miska the Wolf-Spider.
  • The seven pieces of the rod are frequently scattered on many worlds and assembled, only to scatter again.
  • If the pieces are on this world, something momentous is in motion.
  • Each rod piece has magic powers, and when they combine they have more powers.
  • Viari heard a fragment of the demon lord has infected the rod. Ancient runes can help keep the rod from coming apart.
  • The person paying Dran to get the rod pieces is someone named Stratovan.
Portentia gives the group a map of the enclave. The players get maps and hey, we get a good look at it too:

To get in, they are going to have to somehow bypass four portcullises. To get access, they're also going to have to play a specific set of bagpipes that a dwarven guard there has.

  • (19:02) The Horn Enclave
  • (22:43) #NotAllShieldDwarves

Really Good: This is the easiest thumbs up ever. This show is great. Everyone is funny. It's laid back. The story is awesome. I am severely fired up to see Chris run some stuff with the rod of seven parts. I know that an entire episode of talking and backstory might sound craptastic, but this is very good.

Quality: The production values are really great. We get an epic animated intro, there's a bunch of cameras and we even get graphics that break down each roll. To top it off, we got a high quality view of the map. What a great set-up this is. It's nice and simple.

Scott Kurtz: It's funny, on these shows everybody else talks more but I always end up watching Scott. If you watch his face, you can see him reacting and kind of read where he's at. He's a very interesting guy. He's so inherently likeable.

The Rod: This show involves the rod of seven parts. If you want to brush up on your rod lore, I wrote up a Guide to the Rod of Seven Parts right here.


Jason R said...

I quite like these episodes, the entertainment value is super high. You'd never run a home campaign like this, but that's not a concern, as I'm not watching these to gain a lot of campaign pointers. That said, they still have gaming value in terms of enticing new players to the game. Unlike some of the other sessions you've reviewed lately, the adventures for this group are designed from the ground up for play in front of an audience. These I can watch start to finish and have a great time doing it.

Sean said...

Jason Raabis: Yeah it's sort of like we're getting an adventure for free! I usually hate set-up planning kind of stuff, but this one actually got me excited. I love the rod of seven parts so I think this is going to be a lot of fun!

Anonymous said...

Patrick plays 'Viari' btw not 'Viara'.

Anyone know when each episode is going to be released? Is it a weekly thing?

Sean said...

Anonymous: Eep, thank you. I fixed it. I think this is a weekly thing. From what I understand, both this group and Force Grey will be getting pieces of the rod of seven parts. I kind of wonder if there will be a mega-session where the two groups fight each other for the rod.

MDA said...

Acquisitions Inc. is so much fun. The group dynamic is fantastic. I'm so happy to see them doing a series in between PAX shows. I'm pretty new to D&D and have gone back and watched/listened to every Acquisitions Inc. episode. I've recently been watching Dice, Camera, Action which I'm really enjoying too. I've just come across your blog and think you're doing a wonderful job. Just to let you know, I think the first season of Acquisitions Inc. was in 2007. Also Auspicia is Omin's & Portentia's sister (not sure if you realize that).

Sean said...

MDA: 2007! Cool, I'll fix it. I caught that she was the sister but I might not have mentioned it. After I write these things I go through and chop out piles of text. I always try to be brief and concise, but no matter what I do these things come out way too long. I'm glad you like the recaps! I enjoy writing about these shows and I plan on continuing.

MDA said...

Sorry, Sean. First season was actually done in the first half of 2008. My apologies.

Sean said...

MDA: No problem, I can fix it. Thanks for the help!