Podcast / The Once and Future Nerd
Zach Glass and Christian Madera produce a podcast audio series called The Once and Future Nerd
Currently in BOOK 1 – PRINCES OF IORDEN, the story follows three highschool students, Billy, Jen, and Nelson, who were transported into a magical realm one afternoon in detention. Noteworthy for its surprising variety in terms of depiction of race, class, gender, age and all other sorts of issues without actually beating you over the head with any of them or giving them much more than passing comments.
The protagonists include the three children, a doctoral student called Nia, an adolescent elf called Yllowyyn, thief queen Aerona Regan, King Gunther, an older general named Brennen, Antonin Mooncrest, half-Orc General Traft, noblewoman Arlene Redmoor, her handmaiden Gwen, and her psychotic brother Ardel.
The Once and Future Nerd provides examples of:
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Frequently mentioned by Regan, mostly to rile up whoever she's talking to for kicks.
- Adult Fear: Quite a few. From Ardel's treatment of Arlene to how a lot of the country is run, to General Traft's very motivation and the idea of being thrust into a world where people kill left right and center while having no training or imunization and having been raised in a modern, relatively comfortable world.
- Always Chaotic Evil: We are told this about the Orcs. Traft's conversation with humans, the mass murder of helpless Orc women and children by the Knights of the Forest, and Nelson's queries revealing just little the common knowledge of Orcs is based on hard evidence throw this out the window though.
- Automatic Crossbows: Regularly wielded by the Th'ar lo-Hyyl. Regan is given one by them for the Fetch Quest.
- Black and Nerdy: Nelson is the stories resident Fantasy geek whose Genre Savvy occasionally comes in handy. Being black also gives him a more nuanced view of race relations in Iodren. To a lesser extent, Nia, who is a genuine scholar. Because discrimination against black people was never a thing among humans of the realm, her race is downplayed.
- Chainmail Bikini: What Jen is initially hooked up with at the insistence of her two horny school companions. According to the seller, it's for "moral support" rather than combat. It has no real use and Regan gets her some more practical leather armor that actually covers Jen's entire body later.
- Cool Old Guy: General , or Sir, Brennen. A paragon of honor and virtue who does his damndest to protect the children and serve his king and thief queen. Despite being well into advanced age, he can still crush a man or two with his bare hands.
- Dumb Blonde: Jen seems to be this at first. Subverted as Jen gradually reveals she has been dumbing herself down and hiding her true intelligence in order to be accepted by her community and boyfriend.
- Dumb Jock: Billy, a source of angst for him, as he's knows not smart enough make something of himself academically and also not a good enough jock to advance through sports. The fear of returning to this no-win situation has made him reluctant to return home.
- Genre Savvy: Nelson has long hid himself in Fantasy stories and games, which definitely comes in handy when magically transported to a fantasy world. The Iodren adventures, lacking awareness of the tropes their world runs on, are frequently surprised when he seemingly pulls unknowable information out of thin air.
- Jerk Jock: Billy, thanks to his abusive relationship with his rather, can't express his own emotions well and instead lashes out from repressed anger and needs constant gratification. Confronting a conjuring of his father after the Templars attempt to get him has led him to try to be more expressive in a constructive manner.
- Lovable Jock: When he's not making an ass of himself Billy actually can be fun. Usually seen when he's free to be silly and express himself.
- Fantastic Racism: Yllowyyn makes "human" jokes. Yllodyck tries to touch Nelson's hair. The Elves systematically oppress the Orcs.
- Fantasy Character Classes: Nelson categorizes everyone based on standard World of Warcraft character classes, leaving several options for himself and admitting he doesn't know where Jen fits in. This was before her talents as a sorcerer were discovered.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Elves seem to have a lot in common with the antebellum Southern aristocracy, from their grand mansions down to the accents. And their treatment of "lesser" races.
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Discussed and Played For Laughs with the Cairn of Evil Untold. The Children outright refuse to go there because the name screams Obviously Evil. They're completely right.
- Magic Music:
- Arlene Redmoor is slowly revealed to have this power. It becomes obvious in "Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Pt. 4," in a scene that serves double duty as Serenade Your Lover.
- Billy and Nelson try to do this in escaping from Armstrungard. Subverted in that they fail miserably, but Zig-zagged in that their failure is fascinating enough to distract the guards and let Regan move in for a Percussive Pickpocket attack.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Brennen is sourly tested when Regan orders him to prepare for a fight against the elves, something which is against everything he has ever believed in. When Regan points out he swore to obey all her orders, he points out she swore to never give him an immoral order. What Brennen would do is ultimately solved for him by the confirmation with his own eyes of the elves duplicity.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Templars of Discord. Even their own allies, and it's very much an alliance of convenience, find them creepy as hell.
- Order Versus Chaos: An integral part of the magic/mythos, and political set up of Iodren. The god Galodin and the Elves bring Order while the aforementioned Templars serve Chaos.
- Really 700 Years Old: Elves, of course.
- Rebel Leader: The Rebel General Traft seems to think himself this. From what we've seen, he's probably right.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Having grown up in the slums and traveling incognito, Queen Regan is a very active monarch in their adventures.
- She Who Fights Monsters: This is a thru-line of Brennen and Regan's conversations throughout Chapter 4.
- Token Trio: Nelson (White Male), Billy (Black Male), and Jen (White Female). While Billy is the most assertive, no one kid is particularly in charge, mostly because they tend to follow the lead of whichever adult is watching over them at the time.