- "Welcome, weary traveler... to an Evening at the Tavern!"— The Lone Boarman, opening voiceover.
Three to five friends of a GM and his wife, all new to Pathfinder and tabletop gaming in general, convene once every two weeks to explore the homebrew world of Maakoneet.
Tyler, Rachel, David, Ryan, Troy, Andrew, Josh W., and Josh R. decided on a whim to give this whole tabletop RPG thing a shot. An Evening at the Tavern chronicles their experiences as they figure out Pathfinder. Beginning with four players and the GM, the party explores an abandoned asylum at the request of wary townsfolk, and discover that the dark forces churning in the bowels of the ancient site mark merely the beginning of the journey. The party learns to what lengths the power-hungry will go to rise in the world, and experiences firsthand the consequences of summoning the powers of darkness to do your bidding. Upon reaching the lowest level of the ancient building, the party is catapulted by unnatural forces into a new world with new rules. Though the change of scenery is welcome, in the wake of the dark things hiding in the asylum, there is little time to enjoy the idyllic green forest. A prophecy has been written, and it's all about the party. Is is said that they will free the land of Maakoneet from the grip of thieves and bandits, or die in the attempt.
The podcast is ongoing, and so far covers two campaigns:Within These Walls, which extended to the adventure in the asylum, andA Clockwork Robin, which is the party's adventures fulfilling the prophecy (or not) on Maakoneet.
Episodes are recorded directly from entire eight-hour sessions, and edited into hour-long chunks almost entirely by Rachel, the GM's wife. Unfortunately, no one was sure that such a group of new players would stick to the game for long. Because of this, the first few sessions were not recorded, but are frequently alluded to in late episodes.
Within These Walls Provides Examples Of:
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: The Lady in White. Her true form is that of a sapient star, which is about to go supernova. Later, the Shadow assumes the form of one of its Dark Folk underlings.
- Big Bad: The Shadow, an incomprehensible creature from beyond the edge of our heroes' reality. Subverted, in that the Shadow was actually summoned by a benevolent wizard in one final attempt to contain the terrifying Falling Star with something equally terrifying. It bears no ill will against the party, and wants to destroy them only to starve the Star of its source of power - the suffering of living souls.
- Butt-Monkey: The Dark Creeper.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Shadow. See the entry for Big Bad.
- Deus ex Machina: After the defeat of the Lady in White with the aid of the Shadow, the Falling Star goes supernova, and death seems a certainty to the members of the party. However, they are whisked away at the last instant to another world, which is not in immediate danger of exploding stars.
- Diabolus ex Machina: After the final boss fight, Mithrandel's soul is violently torn from his body by a vengeful ghost after stealing a cursed nurse's hat. Makes Sense In Context. Turns out, Ryan just felt that the character was not well-built, and wanted an excuse to roll up another.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Genevieve Harland, the former captain of the asylum's security force was found wandering the halls without shoes. Stays barefooted until asked to aid in the final encounter against the true villain. Possible Shout-Out to Genevieve Gorder of Trading Spaces.
- Early Installment Weirdness: This campaign represents the players' very first experience with tabletop gaming, and admittedly very little was done correctly with regard to the rulebook. Tyler invoked Rule Zero repeatedly while he figured out Game Mastery.
- Easily Forgiven: Sigurd and Siv each lead a half of the party, as the group is split down the middle. Half the party is certain that the Lady is their ally, the other half think she can't be trusted. When the smoke clears, the party's reunited for the final boss fight and beyond.
- Eldritch Abomination: Not only the Shadow, but also the Falling Star. And by extension, the Lady in White.
- Enemy to All Living Things: The Shadow definitely qualifies. Its very presence in the party's reality warps space, bends time, and destroys living beings, or at least converts them to something dark twisted, like itself.
- FaceHeel Turn: Depending on your perspective, Siv, Sigurd, or both might qualify. They get better.
- Five-Man Band:The Hero: Sigurd Stoneshard the Ranger/ David - In-universe and out, he sort of appointed himself, and everyone went with it since no one else was willing to take charge of the early game.The Lancer: Araion the Fighter/ Troy - Stayed at the fringe of the action in early sessions, resting at the midpoint between Sigurd's tendency to charge into battle and Mithrandel's reluctance to engage directly.The Smart Guy: Mithrandel the Wizard/ Ryan - Sociopathic tendencies aside, he fulfilled the role of tactician during combat, and was definitely the most cautious member of the party.The Big Guy: Gellid - A highly intelligent gorilla, and Siv's animal companion.The Chick: Siv Kiana the Druid/ Rachel - She acted as a sort of buffer for Sigurd's harebrained ideas, and provided a voice of reason to the inexperienced party members.The Sixth Ranger:Sytykke the Fire Elemental/ Andrew - Originally an encounter, he was sweet-talked into aiding the party by Sigurd and Siv's combined efforts. Andrew took control of him before creating his own character.
- HeelFace Turn: Sytykke the Elemental, Theodore the Bear, and at least one of the Shadow's Dark Folk minions are all talked into joining the party, rather than continuing to fight.
- Immortality Immorality
- Light Is Not Good: The Lady in White again. She appears to the party many times, seemingly to aid them, but really wants only to preserve the player characters to use later as a source of power.
- The Man Behind the Man: The Lady in White, the avatar of the Star.
- Mooks: The Shadow's dirty work is done by reanimated corpses and various summoned demons. The more sensitive of its plans are carried out by sneaky, creepy Dark Folk from another plane.
- Motive Misidentification: Both the Shadow and the Lady in White, in different ways.
- Pokémon Speak: An artifact of early attempts by David to fake a Nordic accent. At random points during the session, and almost every time his name is called, the Dwarven Ranger will often shout "Sigurd!"
- Reality Warper: The Shadow, and the Falling Star.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The headstrong Sigurd was a borderline case of Red, and the sly, empathic Siv was the Blue.
- The Scrappy: In-Universe. The Dark Creeper, a captured agent of the Shadow becomes this when its revealed that he doesn't speak Common, or even really know what's going on with his master's plan.
- Unusual Euphemism: At one point Mithrandel begins referring to the healing spells of the Lady in White as "glowjobs."
- What the Hell, Hero?: During a nonviolent interrogation of one of the Shadow's Mooks, Araion stomps on the captured Dark Folk's head and kills him in cold blood. The party never really forgives him.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Lady in White basically says this to Sigurd.
A Clockwork Robin Provides Examples Of:
- Cool Airship: The Robin, a vessel captured from careless Sky Pirates and put to more heroic use by the party. The Robin's sister ship the Thrush also qualifies.
- Dismantled Macguffin: The Sampo, borrowed from Finnish folklore. Its function in this setting is still unclear, but it is believed that allowing the Vultures to acquire and reassemble it would be bad.
- Five-Man Band:The Hero: Elithrandel the Wizard/ Ryan - Upon acquiring the Robin, the party holds an election for captain of the ship. The late Mithrandel's brother is elected by the party. Siv later takes on this role after Elithrandel's untimely death.The Lancer: Araion the Fighter/ Troy - Serves the same role as in the previous campaign, until he's eaten by a dragon. Later, Sigurd serves as a sort of second-in-command to Siv, continuing the Red Oni, Blue Oni dynamic since he's the last of the original party, apart from Siv.The Smart Guy: Sigurd the Ranger/ David - Until Siv's promotion, Sigurd takes over as a tactician of sorts in Mithrandel's absence. Later replaced by Aesha the Rogue, another character of Ryan's. She's a more devious example.The Big Guy: Dakkor the Barbarian/ Andrew - Shares this role with Gellid. Later, both are supplanted by Willhelm the Barbarian/ Josh R.The Chick: Siv Kiana the Druid/ Rachel - Until replacing Elithrandel as the captain of the Robin, and leader of the party. When Dakkor dies in combat Lirastraza the Red, a Sorceress/ Andrew replaces Siv in this role as a timid, soft-spoken young girl. Hilarious to listen to, given Andrew's deep and masculine voice.The Sixth Ranger: Oki Po the Monk/ Troy - A peculiar martial artist who speaks in Haiku. Shares this role with The Lone Boarman/ Josh W. - A nomadic Druid drifting into the party on a whim. The Boarman is later replaced by Dimitrikov the Bard, also played by Josh W.
- Mid-Season Upgrade: During a journey of self-discovery brought on by the use of recreational drugs in natural hot springs, eahc party member present for the session is rewarded with a special gift.For Siv, a magical token which removes her Druidic metal restrictions. Also, Gellid is reincarnated as a Bengal tiger after he dies of being stabbed by a kobold he swallowed.For Sigurd, a pair of Dwarven gauntlets that give him enough of a strength bonus to remove his much-hated negative mod.For Aesha, a magical cloak that makes her harder to see in dark or foggy conditions.For Oki Po, his haikus become deadly spells of uncertain function.For Lira, a flaming sword that can absorb excess magic, and bring it to less dangerous levels when her power becomes difficult to control.Also, when the Robin is shot down as the party tracks down the last remaining piece of the Sampo, it is replaced by the Vultures' experimental craft, the Raptor. If you see this, guys, keep it quiet for now. It's a surprise. =)
- Running Gag: Carried over from the previous campaign. (see Pokémon Speak, above.) Now, the GM gets David's attention by calling out "Sigurd!" in an imitation of David's own voice. Also, whenever anyone says a word that sounds even slightly similar to Sigurd, the rest of the players will begin to shout that word at David. (Triggered! Figured! etc.)