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Web Original: Acquisitions Incorporated
aka: Penny Arcade Dungeons And Dragons Podcast
Always be branding, people.

Acquisitions Incorporated is a Dungeons & Dragons party starring in a series of online D&D adventures since 2008. A collaboration between Penny Arcade and Wizards of the Coast, the series was originally created to showcase the then-new 4th Edition of D&D, but soon evolved into something of an improvisational comedic fantasy thanks to the fun dynamics between the players and excellent Dungeon Mastering by WOTC producer Chris Perkins.

The plot centers on the (mis)adventures of the eponymous Acquisitions Inc., a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits banded together in a pseudo-corporate formation on a quest for fame and wealth. Originally consisting of The Leader Omin Dran (Jerry Holkins), The Big Guy Binwin Bronzebottom (Scott Kurtz), and The Smart Guy Jim Darkmagic (Mike Krahulik), they were later (temporarily) joined by a number of corporate "interns", a full list of whom and their associated tropes can be found on the characters page.

The series began as podcasts, available through the official WOTC website, before transitioning to live events at Penny Arcade Expo events around the United States, which can be viewed here, here, and here (as well as on YouTube). All adventures to date are listed on the recap page. Another podcast was produced to showcase the newly-resurrected Dark Sun campaign setting, but did not feature the characters of Acquisitions Incorporated. Wil didn't appear, with Kris Straub subbing in, and Jerry served as the DM in place of Chris.

The series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Innuendo: invoked
    • Happens a couple of times in the PAX live games.
    Omin: So go bang on her!
    Aeofel: Wait, what?
    Omin: I mean with your sword.
    Binwin: Huh?
    Omin: No, I mean with a weapon!
    • And:
    Chris: It's been several years since you had to "mount" Cronk.
    Jim: Well, I have a girlfriend now...
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The 2013 PAX game gives us the gem "You bluntly bash her bark-covered body".
  • Aliens Speaking English: In Season 6, the Drow girl speaks in French. Blocked by the DM when the players translate her French.
    Wil: So, she said she wants our help to steal the eye?
    Chris: You have no idea.
  • All There in the Manual: The official Wizards of the Coast podcast did a few episodes about converting the Acquisitions Incorporated characters to D&D Next, which helps explain why everyone's abilities are so different in the PAX 2012 games. Among other things, the mechanics for Wizards were still in early beta, the new Fighter mechanics were very different, and Aeofel is technically a Cleric because an Avenger class/build hadn't been designed yet.
  • Arc Welding: Chris took the story of Omin's sister, which Jerry probably invented on the spot in season 4, and actually introduced his sister into the plot in the end of season 8.
  • Arm Cannon: The eponymous Ark of the Mad Mage from the 2013 show has a bright green gemstone set into its right hand. Said gemstone, when activated, fires a ray of green flame that does massive damage. Which turns out to be useful since the climax of the adventure involves the Tarrasque.
  • Audience Participation: As the party descended into Halaster's labyrinth, Chris came up with a way for the audience to participate in live events: whenever someone at the table said "green flame" or mention fire of said color in any way or form, the entire crowd was supposed to echo it. By season 8, it seems to have become a meme, since every fire in the Forgotten Realms is now apparently colored green—to the delight of the cheering (and diligently participating) audience.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: At the end of "Ark of the Mad Mage", Omin is made a Masked Lord of Waterdeep.
  • Backup Bluff: Taking advantage of Percy's inability to perceive fey, Jim tries to do this in the second live game. It doesn't work.
    Jim: Percy! You are surrounded by my fey army... of fey warriors! They are all fey.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Aeofel, all alone in hell, facing Cetrine Ambershard and a Devil lording over a fortress full of minions and artillery, makes numerous claims of how he will extract a price in blood from all of them.
    Cetrine: Acquisitions Incorporated will be a footnote in the pages of history!
    Aeofel: Acquisitions Incorporated will not be a footnote, Acquisitions Incorporated will write the book!
    • Jerry/Omin is pretty good at these.
    Omin: Percival, let me save you a lot of time. We're better than you. Each of us, individually, are better than you. If we all hit you at once, you will explode.
  • Bag of Holding: The party acquire one in season 1, although it doesn't feature in later campaigns.
  • Base on Wheels: The Darkmagic family manor (which isn't actually on wheels; it "merely" teleports).
  • Beard of Evil: Chris dressed up as an evil cult leader for the PAX Prime 2014, complete with very evil-looking mustache and goatee. They both came off as the game progressed, however.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Splug, the temporarily foe-turned friend goblin employee, pulls one at the climax of season 1 where he saves the party from another defeat.
    • Done epically in the first live PAX game (season 4) where right after the bad guy is taunting Aeofel for how his friends have abandon them, the party appears on a hell beast to rescue him.
    • Finally outdone in season 8, when Viari, of all people, rejoins the party, who were trapped inside Dragonspear Castle, and brings a Cool Airship with him.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: The entire season 6 misadventure in the lizardmen temple takes place on Aoefel's 142nd birthday.
  • Blatant Lies: After hiring Viari as their new intern, the guys try not to mention what happened to their last one.
    Binwin: We will always, always... protect our friends.
    Jim: Don't worry. Your safety is our number one priority.
    Omin: "It has been zero days since our last intern death".
  • Black Comedy: Shows up from time to time. Some of the side-effects of the party's ride in the Halaster statue conveniently gets swept under the rug, as an example.
    Those orphans didn't have any parents anyway.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Never used in-game, but Jerry believes that all adventures should conclude with...
    You look up. It is a mouth.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Mike's Catch Phrase is "Jim winks", but Wil occasionally borrows it for Aeofel, usually directed at Jim himself.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In Episode 6, Wil deliberately mugs to the audience after pointing out a new feature in D&D Next, in mock shill. And is then disappointed when the DM won't reward him with a bonus on his next roll.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Omin, when yelling for the french speaking Danielle to find the switch that controls the acid trap in Ep 6.
    Omin: S'il vous plait!
  • Chekhov's Skill: Soon after his return in season 8, Viari gains Inspiration, allowing him or any party member reroll a single d20 later on. It ends up saving Omin's life during the final confrontation.
  • Cliffhanger: "Dragons Over Easy" ends with the party attempting to sneak out of Dragonspear Castle with a clutch of eggs, past a green dragon and its minions... only to run head-on into a second green dragon. This was a result of the PAX East 2014 live show running fifteen minutes over before the party had reached the final encounter.
  • Content Warnings: Most published recordings of the AI's sessions are prefaced by a warning along the lines of "This podcast features adults, using adult language. You Have Been Warned."
  • Cool Airship: The Acquisitions Incorporated Battle Balloon from season 8.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The idiotic Surfer Dude, Rad Longhammer, is able to defeat a couple of guards while unarmed and shackled.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In "Dragons Over Easy", thanks to a combination of the DM's amazing rolls and the party's poor ones, the villain ambushes the party, kills Jim, and downs Binwin and Mrgnnote ... before any of them can take a single action.
  • Death by Irony: Citrine Ambershard dies in an acid pit just like Aeofel did in her manor, much to his amusement.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After defeating Irontooth and his lackeys, the only surviving goblin pledges his loyalty to the party, if only so they won't kill him. He proves his worth later in the campaign.
    Jim: Have we room for a new hire?
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: It's a common tactic of the team for Binwin to charge in and get surrounded, whereupon Jim drops a fireball on all of them, Binwin included. Binwin is not always in on this plan but generally comes out of it looking better than the bad guys. This happened so often in Season 1 that the players joked it was an all-purpose plan: "When in doubt, set the dwarf on fire." In fact by Season 3, they've learned to use it to their advantage, where Binwin gets temp hit points when he gets wounded, and Jim gets better stats to hit enemies if his friends are in the field of attack.
  • Double Meaning Title: Part 2 of season 8 is titled "Five Heads are Better than None". At first, it was thought to be a reference to the Tyranny of Dragons metaplot (which revolves around the Cult of the Dragon trying to free Tiamat, the five-headed dragon goddess) that the game ties into, but it also foreshadowed the return of Viari, which bumped the party headcount up to five.
  • Downer Ending: At the end of season three, the party hasn't helped Barton or Hammerfast, neither of the chief villains have been captured or defeated, and Aeofel is dead.
  • Draco Lich: Towards the end of Ark of the Mad Mage, the party runs into a skeletal dragon, prompting Scott to ask Jerry "What is a dracolich, by the way?" Jerry's reaction: "That is a draco-fucking-lich, yes." It turns out to be just a reanimated dragon, not an actual D&D dracolich, however.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The original podcast series, which was recorded to help teach players about 4th Edition rather than purely for entertainment value. Wil/Aeofel wasn't part of the party yet, the others were still learning the rules and feeling out their characters, and half the adventure is DMed by James Wyatt (one of the lead designers on 4E) instead of Chris Perkins.
  • Elfeminate: The group makes the occasional joke revolving around this trope mentioning how Aofel is fey, or how they have a "don't ask don't tell" policy or how Aofel is a pretty boy. Wheaton (Aofel's player) for his part embraces and defends the trope.
    Wheaton: Listen, here's the thing about elves: Elves are the Eladrin's hillbilly cousins. So I'll take the Eladrin that looks like a girl, thank you very much, because we deserve to look and feel pretty.
  • Epic Fail:
    • At the climax of season two, Binwin and Jim are down, and Omin and Aeofel are in bad shape as well. Omin breaks out an encounter power, but rolls a 1. With some divine intervention from Aeofel, he gains a re-roll and tries again. And rolls another 1.
    • In the second PAX game:
    Wil: Oh yeah, so I run down the thing, and I land on top of the bear, and I, like, flip in the air, and then, as I'm coming down, I sort of, like, barrel-roll a little bit, and then I flip again, and then I come down here so I land just like this, so I'm flanking this guy. Yeah, and it's super-cool! And there's rock music playing while I do it, and I'm gleaming cubes on my way there, and as I come down, I use my Avenging Echo against him... ohhh, I rolled a 1.
    • In the third PAX game, Omin rolls a 1 on his first roll while the others roll well into the double digits. That roll being a Constitution save.
    Wil: Is he dead?
    Chris: No, he's just very, very unconscious. Possibly for the rest of the show.
  • Fantastic Racism: Parodied when Viari's sword breaks.
    Viara: Friend dwarf, do you have any forge tools? Not to be racist here, but your people carry, like, forge tools around, right?
    Jim: Uhhh...
    Omin: Oh...
    Binwin: Wow...
  • Film Noir: Parodied when Omin is aimlessly wandering through the city searching for a way to get his powers back.
  • Five-Man Band: In season 8, the party size is bumped up to five for the first time.
  • Friendship Moment: In part two of "The Ark of the Mad Mage", a demon-slash-familiar tries to tempt Jim (a narcissist who isn't known for very sound judgements) with promises of power and treasure, to which Jim responds by grabbing it with both hands, reminding it of how it tried to kill his friends earlier, and casting Burning Hands at point blank range.
  • Full Boar Action: The Ambershard clan's doorkeeper keeps a gigantic dire boar as a pet. And a mount.
  • Gag Penis: The whole penis conversation from season two. Apparently dwarven penises are shaped like tuna cans.
    "When women see it, they say it's time for some more chicken of the sea."
  • Good News, Bad News: Chris enjoys doing this to mess with the players, for instance:
    • To Scott: "The good news is, the dart only does minor damage. The bad news is... it is poisoned. But the good news is, you're a dwarf, and dwarves are immune to poison."
    • To Mike: "The good news is, the raven takes full damage. The bad news is, it has fire resistance. The good news is: you still kill it."
  • Graceful Loser: When the guys beat the Ambershards' gatekeeper, he willingly opens the only entrance to the manor and leaves.
  • Gunship Rescue: Viari brings a gun-dirigible to the Dragonspear Castle just in time to save the rest of the party trapped there. Subverted, however, in that they (with Viari's help) then manage to defeat all enemies without actually using any of the ship's guns. They do come in handy later on, though.
  • Has a Type: Mrgn jokes about Brath the Dragon Cultist having a type after Vandal relates seeing him with a woman who looked slightly like Mrgn shortly before he tried "courting" her. Of course, Brath was just trying to lure her away from the others and kill her, and the woman was his fellow dragon cultist.
  • High-Altitude Battle: The final showdown against the Dragon Cult and their masters in season 8 takes place aboard the Acquisitions Incorporated Battle Balloon flying through the storm of the century amidst a massive battle between metallic and chromatic dragons.
  • Honor Before Reason: Two uses combine in the third season. First, It's Personal for Binwin when the party is raiding the home of Clan Ambershard, which had ruined the Bronzebottoms. So while everyone else wants to get the treasure and leave, he leads them straight into a confrontation with Leer, the Big Bad. This leads to Aeofel swearing his Oath of Enmity on Leer, and once that happens, he pursues even when (both in and out of character) he realizes it means getting separated from the team. Which ends with Aeofel meeting his end in an acid pit.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first encounter with the dragon cultists in "Dragons Over Easy" is so blatantly rigged against the heroes that it was likely intended as one of these: the cultists wipe the floor with the party before they can even act, sparing only Omin, who happens to be both the leader (for whom their bloody message was intended) and party healer (who can quickly get his people back on their feet).
  • Humongous Mecha: The Mechalaster—the eponymous Ark of the Mad Mage in season 7—is a giant humanoid combat robot designed by Halaster to defend Waterdeep from the Tarrasque.
  • Hurricane of Puns: All the "fey" jokes in the second PAX game.
    Scott: This isn't the first time I have double-teamed someone with a fey.
  • Indecisive Medium/Packaged As Other Medium: The intro to the second half of season 8 is presented In The Style Of SNES-era Final Fantasy games, complete with 16-bit pixel graphics, white-on-blue menus, Overworld Not to Scale, 2D side view battles, and even a Kill Screen towards the end.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY: For the Will and Testament of James Darkmagic I campaign, it is explained that Jim's family is not from New Hampshire, but rather the much more fantasy-sounding "Newhamp Shire".
  • Kiss of Death: Jim instantly bites the dust when he brazenly kisses the succubus that the party encounters in "Ark of the Mad Mage".
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: After Jim summons a magmabeast, Aeofel becomes a beacon of Malora's might, and Omin declines to attack because he wants to save his abilities for stronger enemies, Scott complains that Binwin's daily powers are still just "hit things with hammer". He then goes on to finish off the boss they're fighting—with a hammer blow.
  • Literal Metaphor: In Ep6, the DM repeatedly describes Danielle's movements in terms normally used to describe Spiders. Wil even calls him out on this:
    Wil: I'm just saying, you are making very suspicious choices of words... sir!
    Chris: You take an extra two points of acid damage.
  • Mundane Utility: The first time Jim, a mighty wizard capable of great magical feats, uses magic in season 3. What does he do? He closes a door dramatically.
    Mike: I'm gonna turn that daily over.
  • Never Split the Party: In season 3, Aeofel leaves the rest of the party behind and is promptly killed by an acid pit trap.
  • Once an Episode: For a while after season 3, every session has had someone fall in (and in several cases die from) a pit of acid.
  • One-Hit Kill: In the "Ark of the Mad Mage" podcast, the party encounter a succubus, who kills Jim Darkmagic with a single attack. Mind you, she was only able to do it because Jim kissed her.
  • One-Liner Echo:
    • During the battle with the Ambershard's gatekeeper both sides go all out with taunts and one-liners, especially between Jim and their foe.
    Dwarf: First rule of combat: wizard dies first!
    Jim: I'm not a wizard, I'm an entertainer, sir!
    Dwarf: How's your death scenes?
    • Then later on when the guardian's beloved mount has bitten the dust.
    Jim How's your death scene?
  • Organ Theft: Jokingly used when Omin gets saved by a temple priest.
    "We had to remove your liver."
  • Passed Over Inheritance: Most of the Darkmagic clan in the second PAX game.
  • Player Punch: In-universe, in a meta way. The near-Total Party Kill in "Dragons Over Easy" was obviously intended as this for Jerry—and it connected real good, because the first thing he said afterwards amounted to "We are taking those bastards down—and hard."
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
    • Used by Binwin after the villain pulls a Who Are You? before the final encounter of the second season.
    Binwin: We are Acquisitions Incorporated and we are here to acquire your ass!
    • Also, in season eight, Jim gets one (subverted in that he gets killed after saying it but before making any actions):
    Jim (to Omin): Let me off the chain, boss. This dog's gotta hunt.
  • Psychic Static: Used by Vandal in season 8 to conceal the fact that he is a dragon in disguise when Jim attempts to read his thoughts—all Jim hears are some silly songs a not-too-bright halfling in awe of the upcoming adventure would sing.
  • Red Herring: The intro to season 8 part 2 drops a hint or two at a possible return of Aeofel. However, it's Viari who re-joins the party to save the day.
  • Running Gag:
    • Plenty of examples. Jerry rolling ones, Binwin getting caught by traps, no one being able to pronounce Aeofel's name, Jim setting Binwin on fire, and Scott getting his teammates killed. In the 2011 Live game, every time Jim Darkmagic's cousin Olivia makes a comment, Mike mutters "Shut up Olivia."
    • Everything to do with Aofel's fatal encounter with an acid trap and the lingering trauma from that encounter. Chris Perkins makes a point to include more acid in subsequent adventures.
  • Sadistic Choice: In The Lost Episode, when Aeofel is dangling from a rope above an acid pool where Jim is stranded, both of them almost botch a roll to grab each other's hands, so the DM rules that they grab hands but Aeofel has to decide whether to let go or to fall into the acid himself. His phobia of acid ultimately wins over the Power of Friendship. Wil and Mike actually play this entire scene out over the gaming table.
  • Shaped Like Itself: When Jim is trying to describe the artifact that they're after in season 3.
    Zethir: Magic coat?
    Jim:Yeah, it's like a coat, but it's magical.
  • Shout-Out: It's a table-full of geeks, remember?
  • Simple Score of Sadness: Starts playing when the season 8 preview explains how the party has lost Viari.
  • Snark Backfire: After Chris grants Viari Inspiration for an awesome performance, Scott quips "Now he can finally finish that novel!" Pat likes that joke so much, however, he doesn't take any offense.
  • Surfer Dude: Rad Longhammer. You can't really tell from his accent that he was adopted and raised by dwarven nobles.
    Rad: That would be totally rad! Oh, by the way, that's my name: Rad.
  • Surprise Incest: "The Last Will and Testament of Jim Darkmagic I", Jim's cousin Olivia wistfully reminisces about how they "used to kiss in [Jim's] bedroom closet". Later, Jim's aunt Wanda reveals that Olivia isn't his cousin - she's his sister. So technically it's "Surprise Even More Incest".
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: The Tryout videos in 2013, as Omin, Jim and Binwin interview candidates to take Aeofel's place in the party for their seventh adventure. There's a few Expys of well-known characters.
  • Thicker Than Water: The respective relatives of all three founding members have been the driving force behind some plot line: season 3 misadventure happens because Binwin's father stops drinking; Omin reveals in season 4 that the whole Acquisitions Inc. brand was started by him and his long-lost older sister who comes back as their enemy in the end of season 8; and Jim's own Big Screwed-Up Family basically is the plot of season 5.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Aeofel's memories of Hell while riding on the back of Cronk the skeletal dragon. Making their way to the New Hampshire during "The Last Will and Testament of James Darkmagic I"
    Wil: Nam was hell. "Necromancers are dicks, you guys. Necromancers are dicks." Aeofel just stares off, the wings beating beneath him, his silvery hair blowing out behind him, a thousand-square stare in his eyes. He feels nostalgia as a standard action. A single tear falls from his perfectly black, orbular eye, and turns into a diamond as the wind catches it and carries it away.
  • To Hell and Back: The entire plot of the first PAX game involves going to a hell plane to bring back Aeofel from the dead.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The magical scroll in season 2 ends up not getting used despite how useful it could have been.
  • Torture for Fun and Information: In "Ark of the Mad Mage", a miniaturised wizard trapped in a cage is being uncooperative, so Jim holds his new pet raven up to the cage to scare the wizard into talking. The raven leaps out of Jim's hands and eats the wizard.
  • Weapon of Choice: Omin wields a hammer that is simultaneously the holy symbol of his goddess, Binwin is a Multi-Melee Master who alternates between axes and mauls, Jim dual wields wands, Aoefel is the only one with a sword despite being as far removed from being The Leader as it gets, Viari has a swashbuckler rapier (or two, depending on the situation), and Mrgn wields a longbow.
  • We Can Rule Together: Invoked by the raven in Ark of the Mad Mage.
    Jim: When you say that you and I can have all the treasure, what do you mean?
    Invisible Fiendish Raven: Halaster's treasure! It's in his ark! Need the orb!
    Jim: [Takes the raven in his hands] You and I could have all of the treasure.
    Invisible Fiendish Raven: Yep! You and I!
  • Wham Episode: A double whammy in season 8 part 2. Not only does Viari come back from his bus trip to bump the party size up to five for the first time in the series, but Chris also does some Arc Welding to introduce Omin's long-lost older sister first mentioned in season 4—as an evil cultist fighting the heroes.
  • Wham Line:
    • When the group finds the Ark in season 7, Omin asks Tymora for some spiritual guidance.
    Chris/Tymora: I need you, Omin Dran, to fight and slay the Kaiju... or as we call it upstairs, The Tarrasque.
    • Then another, funnier one, as Mike and Scott reveal they have no idea what that is.
  • Why Do You Keepchanging Jobs: Kinda. While every party member dresses up pretty much consistently as their character during live events, Chris Perkins sports a different outfit every time (except the very first live event):
    • For season 5, he dressed as the Mad Hatter from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
    • In season 6, he was the Dungeon Master from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon.
    • In part 2 of season 7, he wore the makeup of Bhaal, the Forgotten Realms' god of murder.
    • In season 8, he dressed up as a king, crown and all, for part 1 (even though the players were not costumed), and as the Cult of the Dragon high priest for part 2.

Oh my God, you're horrible at this game!
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alternative title(s): Penny Arcade Dungeons And Dragons Podcast
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