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Podcast / Dark Dice

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"Do you seek the Nameless God?"

"You have found yourself among those who roll the Dark Dice. What you are about to hear happened long ago; a story brought back from the edge of oblivion, dutifully transcribed, and enhanced aurally to better captivate your attention."
Travis Vengroff, introducing each episode

Dark Dice is an Actual Play podcast by Fool and Scholar productions, creators of The White Vault. The podcast uses the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition system, with the addition of a homebrewed Sanity mechanic. While the podcast is considered actual play, much of the gameplay is streamlined for the sake of storytelling and extensive soundscaping is employed to give it the feel of an audio drama. It can be accessed here.

The first season, which originally aired in 2018-2021, goes through Domain of the Nameless God, an adventure created by Dungeonmaster Travis Vengroff and played by (most of) the cast of The White Vault, and follows a group of six as they descend into a realm of horrors in order to rescue the kidnapped children of the town of Ilmater's Hope.

The cast for the first season is as follows:

  • Travis Vengroff as the Dungeonmaster.
  • Hem Cleveland as Rowena Granitepike, dwarven bard and distant relative of Father Westpike.
  • Eyþór Viðarsson as Father Sindri Westpike, dwarven cleric and distant relative of Rowena.
  • Peter Joseph Lewis as Soren Arkwright, human ranger.
  • David Ault as Iaus Innskeep, tiefling rogue.
  • Kaitlin Statz as Sister Tsavorite Cavernsfall, dwarven paladin.
  • Kessi Riliniki as Flygia of Zarketh, tiefling druid.

The second season began in February of 2021 as an "epilogue story" to the first season's adventure. It follows two different parties, each containing at least one survivor of the original party, with Travis Vengroff returning as the Dungeon Master.

Party A includes:

  • Hem Cleveland as Rowena Granitepike, dwarven bard and distant relative of Father Westpike.
  • Eyþór Viðarsson as Father Sindri Westpike, dwarven cleric and distant relative of Rowena.

Party B includes:

  • Peter Joseph Lewis as Soren Arkwright, human ranger.
  • Jeff Goldblum as Balmur, elven sorcerer/cleric.
  • Russ More as Ildrex Mystan, dragonborn monk.
  • Holly Billinghurst as Gaelle of House Vogelberg, human warlock and sister of Glom.
  • Sean Howard as Glom of House Vogelberg, human fighter and brother of Gaelle.

Dark Dice contains examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: The Bane of the Nameless forces Rowena to roll an attack against the person standing nearest to her. A series of critical successes cause the strike to be an instantly killing blow, and Sister Cavernsfall dies when she uses her Helm of the Martyr to keep Father Westpike from being struck.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Soren Arkwright, gruff but good-natured monster hunter, when he remembers his past as Soren Arkwright the Carver of Dreams, leader of the cult of the Nameless God.
  • Anyone Can Die: By the end of the first season, half of the party is dead although one was seemingly resurrected by DM fiat.
  • Arc Words: "Da haf wyyc Mah?" Infernal for "Do you seek him?" a phrase commonly spoken by the followers of the Nameless God.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Flygia is known as the demon-witch of the grey swamp, the keeper of the wilds, and the lady of bunnies.
  • The Blank: The Silent One lacks any features beyond three empty eye sockets.
  • Body Horror: The Silent One is introduced reaching its spindly fingers out of a woman's mouth and climbing out through it as her discarded body slumps to the ground like a dirty sock.
  • Breather Episode: "Tiefling's in the Details", a special episode and fundraiser for Pride Month 2020 where Iaus attends a speed-dating event after the events of the first season.
  • Does Not Like Magic: Glom in season 2, who hates "witches" to the point that he takes stress damage when he sees his sister cast a spell.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Nameless God, an ancient being so powerful that it took the combined forces of gods, demons, devils, dwarves, dragons, elves, and giants just to seal it. When it breaks free and is chasing the party at the end of Season 1, Father Westpike and Soren look back at it and only barely comprehend it as a star-filled void surrounded by teeth.
  • Enemy Mine: A series of murals on the Six Pillars depict otherwise mortal enemies joining forces to combat and seal the Nameless God (the Infernal pillar mentions that even the Blood War—the eternal struggle between demons and devils—was put on hold).
  • Everybody Lives: Invoked by the DM at the end, when he decides to not have the Silent One attack what's left of the party and seemingly resurrects Soren.
  • Evil All Along: Balmur is revealed to have been the Silent One, taking yet another form to infiltrate the party and torment Soren.
  • Game Face: The Silent One shapeshifts into party members in order to infiltrate the party, but typically when it attacks, it returns to its true form of a spindly figure with a blank face and three empty eye sockets.
  • The Heavy: While the antagonists of the first season include the Nameless God and the cultists trying to revive it, The Silent One is the main force acting against the party.
  • Implacable Man: The Silent One, a being who cannot be killed and whose sole purpose is to hinder the party.
  • Kill and Replace:
    • During her watch, Flygia falls through a wall and fights a version of herself with an inverted alignment, although the results of the fight are left ambiguous. Later, after Flygia attacks Iaus, who kills her in self defense, the party finds her real body, confirming that this took place.
    • Soren either witnesses or has a vision of The Silent One smothering Gaelle and taking her place.
  • Missing Child: The adventure kicks off with all the children in the town of Ilmater's Hope disappearing into the dangerous forest known as the Dead Pines in the same night.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Iaus epically kills a devil, saving his son... and kicking the devil into the bottomless pit, providing the final blood sacrifice needed to unleash the Nameless God.
  • Papa Wolf: Iaus Innskeep, a retired assassin who struggles and stabs his way through nightmarish horrors in order to rescue his son.
  • Plague of Good Fortune: Rowena gets a natural 20 on an attack roll followed by a 100 on a roll to determine the effects of the critical hit, all but guaranteeing an instant kill... on an attack that a cursed sword was forcing her to make against an ally.
  • Record Needle Scratch: Plays whenever the players or DM break character, usually to explain or talk through something that is confusing them or for the DM to "rewind time" and re-narrate what happens in light of player actions.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Nameless God was sealed away behind multiple guardians, time-dilating archways, wards, and gates sealed with blood. Freeing it is the goal of the cultists that kidnapped the children of Ilmater's Hope.
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: In one dream, Rowena eats a pot of stew in order to reach a key hidden in the pot, only to discover Sister Cavernsfall's head in the pot.
  • Someone Has to Die: The door sealing the Nameless God must be sealed with blood—enough blood and life force to kill a person. At the end of the first season, Soren fatally stabs himself with his cursed dagger in order to seal the door, although season 2 implies that it might not have been that simple.
  • Story Within a Story: Episode 202B consists mostly of Ildrex telling the story of Mordemao, a human mystic who went on a spritual journey to save their village.
  • Taking the Bullet: Sister Cavernsfall uses her Helm of the Martyr to take a fatal blow meant for Father Westpike.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Travis narrates the events of the campaign as characters perceive them, which may not be accurate to what actually happened, especially when characters have taken heavy stress damage. At the very least, the circumstances around Soren's death and the appearance of Lady Cavernsfall's ghost almost certainly didn't happen as narrated.
  • Was Once a Man: According to the story it tells while pretending to be Soren, The Silent One was once an elf. The adventure Domain of the Nameless God goes on to reveal that specifically it was Kel-Paeris, one of two elven heroes assigned to guard the Domain of the Nameless God, who was corrupted and driven mad by the isolation and the God's influence.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Discussed by Rowena and Father Westpike on one watch, where they mention that from a dwarven perspective, humans tend to die just as you're getting to know them.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The cultists of the Nameless God, who kidnapped the children of Ilmater's Hope in order to kill them and use their blood to release it.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Time moves slower beyond each of the archways in the Nameless God's Domain, which means that the party has time to take long rests despite the cultists they're chasing having a head start.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Each of the archways in the Domain of the Nameless God slows time beyond it. While it took the party several days to recue the children, by the time they returned to Ilmater's Hope, three months had passed.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: The B party in season 2 come together in a fight with elven slavers that had captured Balmur and Ildrex.

"Do not go into the woods at night. Fear the strangers in your midst. Never play games with fate."