Dice Funk is a Dungeons & Dragons podcast that spun off of Word Funk. It is equal parts audio drama and improv comedy, with most of the players being professional film or video game critics. While nominally operating on 5th Edition rules, the focus is much more on characterization and storytelling. The show is split into distinct "Seasons," each featuring a new storyline, players, and characters.
Season 1, subtitled "Stoneroot," is noir-inflected black comedy about a con man, a moronic cleric, and a shapeshifter who accept a seemingly straightforward missing person's case and end up making a mess of cosmic proportions.
- Leon Thomas as Rinaldo, human fighter.
- Jess Kitrick as Jayne, human druid, and Allana, half-elven rogue.
- Austin Yorski as Anne, halfling cleric.
- Johnny Maloney as the DM
Season 2, subtitled "Lorelei," is a swashbuckling adventure conceived of as a cross between The Princess Bride and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. It features a much lighter tone than the first, a more improvisational DM, as well as a cast of largely non-humans. Our interplanar ensemble of fresh-faced adventurers seeks to uncover the reason behind the world flooding, and put an end to it if they can.
- Leon Thomas as Violet Skittles Unicorn, unicorn barbarian.
- Johnny Maloney as Drop Goodwood, human monk.
- Lauren Morgan as Lavinia, dryad bard.
- Michael "Skitch" Schiciano as Alias Valamin, eladrin rogue.
- Austin Yorski as the DM
Season 3, subtitled "Ilium", is a mystery surrounding a small town where one can enter but never leave, inspired by the likes of Twin Peaks or Hot Fuzz, and the first season with characters starting at a higher level. It features a crew of bounty hunters called the Avant Guards, attempting to bring order to the hive of scum and villainy they live in while uncovering its secrets.
- Leon Thomas as Bumbershoot Von Victrola, vampire noble.
- Lauren Morgan as Theodora, nixie warlock.
- Michael "Skitch" Schiciano as Rolen Hawklight the half-elven justiciar.
- Chris RolloT Larios as Zoey Legrand, half-elven wild sorcerer.
- Laura Kate Dale as Veltari, tiefling bard.
- Austin Yorski as the DM
Season 4, "Valentine", is an Urban Fantasy story surrounding four internet acquaintances scrounging to make rent. It is named after the Valentine desert it takes place in, and set after a cataclysmic event which lead to the development of technology and all powerful corporations. The story is split between a North Valentine City above ground, and a South Valentine City underground, populated by Warforged exiles and reptilian species.
- Lauren Morgan as Lenora Desmond, tabaxi DJ
- Michael "Skitch" Schiciano as René Eddi, warforged rogue sorcerer
- Chris Larios as Catarina "Krakenbane" Brooks, human wrestler
- Laura Kate Dale as Frank Westerly, human card duelist
- Austin Yorski as the DM
Season 5, "Markov" is set in space, and meant to have a lighter tone than Valentine, which one should take to mean that there will be only a few mutilations and existential crises.
- Lauren Morgan as Sasha, Aarakocra bard
- Chris Larios as Olivia, merfolk doctor
- Laura Kate Dale as Captain Liamoira Melbeck, Giff ranger
- Conrad Zimmerman as Dregg ogre paladin
- Austin Yorski as the DM
Tropes per season:
Tropes concerning two or more seasons
- Achievements in Ignorance: Multiple times Lauren wants to start a fight against an enemy strong enough to be a season-ending boss statted for the entire group on her own. Austin warns her every time that if you fight this creature, you will die. She wins every single one of those fights because she fails to understand that the rules of the game are slanted to make them meat-grinders designed to murder player characters.
- Alternate History: A different Glittergold company develops in Season 3. As there never was a flood, the Rosemary family concentrates on creating firearms instead, with disastrous results.
- Big Bad Ensemble: The show follows the Word Funk derived Meatwheel Mythos, with one spoke of the wheel coming in contact with one world at a time. Season 1 has the city of Stoneroot confronted by The Hunger, Gorfinax, and season 2 has Lorelei torn asunder by The Sacrifice, Zavala. Season 3 has Guilt, or Aurora, who is not a Big Bad and more of a Cosmic Keystone, and later Death who seems to fit the Big Bad bill much more. Other spokes mentioned that have not yet come into play include the Stillness, the Convergence, the Kingship, and the Uniformity.
- Call-Back: A possible accidental one. In the first episode of season 1, Anne says the phrase "I follow Rinaldo. It's what I do." In late season 2, Violet says "I follow Drop. It's what I do." Both are quite sweet.
- One of the relics in the Temple of Primus in season 2 was Anne's teddy bear.
- Veltari's guitar in Season 3 is of the "Ehlonna Industries" brand.
- Zoey says the words "I'll give you anything" to Lady Nim.
- Two in season 3 to Violet's flashback from season 2:
- Lauren's character in season 3 is the (very minor) character Violet met in the swamp during her flashback, who was voiced by Lauren even back then.
- The code-word 'Generica' gives to Violet to transport her to the Prime Material Plane is 'pineapple', the same as Winifred's code-word. A unicorn also appears within Mardis' mind prison.
- Warden Light's deceased husband Lucas is from the Rosemary family. The man who came after Lucas to stop his elopement is Alias' son Mardis who thinks of Lucas as his uncle. Nice to know Isaac and Alias stayed close.
- In Season 4, corporations besides Crown Corp. running the same 'game' in their respective territories include Legrande and Glittergold.
- Mardis in Season 4 speaks with Aeron, who mentions the events of Season 2. Specifically, the actual events of Season 2 as recorded by Primus, not what happened in the new universe. Both Mardis and Aeron read this in a book, apparently.
- Cast Full of Gay: Season 1 was no slouch, what with Rinaldo and Silas, but Season 2 takes it to another level: husbands Mayor Moreno and K, the exes Lita and Joan, and from episode 21, the budding relationship between Vinnie and Jem. Season 3 has the bisexual Dora, Veltari who seduces Carrie with a pun, and Bumbershoot who is heavily implied to have been more than friends with his sire Count Danto, and the widower Warden Light. Season 4 follows the tradition straight off the BAT, with all player characters confirmed same gender attracted within the day the season started, except the artificially constructed Warforged.
- Catchphrase: At some point, Austin started using the phrase 'paint me a word picture' whenever a player does something particularly impressive.
- Continuity Cameo: In episode 24 of season 3, Alias Valamin appears, still played by Skitch. This occurs in a flashback some fifty years before the episode, however. Cyldiel eventually shows up in person to protect her grandson.
- Corrupt Church: Weirdly kind of a thing over the seasons. In season 1, there's Jayne's awful cleric parents she's running away from, whereas season 2 has the more loving but still money grubbing parents of Lavinia, who lead worship of Ehlonna at the Spiral of Lorelei. Then in season 3, Rolen's paladin order has been corrupted by Count Danto into his Secret Police.
- Cross Player:
- Season 1 Austin Yorski (male) plays Anne the halfling cleric (female).
- Season 2 Leon Thomas (male) plays Violet Skittles Unicorn the barbarian unicorn (female).
- Season 3 Chris Larios (male) plays Zoe Legrand the half-elf wild mage (female).
- Season 4 has two cases and introduces a first female player in the role of a male character: Laura plays Frank, while Chris plays Catarina.
- Didn't See That Coming: One repeating theme throughout the series seems to be the GM writing out branching plotlines and charting every possible scenario only for the players to make decisions the GM couldn't have possibly foreseen.
- Special mention to Ilium, where both planned end-game bosses were murdered midway through and one of the PCs ended up becoming the Big Bad. After Lady Nim's death, Austin ends the credit section saying he has no idea where the plot's going anymore.
- Markov starts this way, with the very first arc ending with the Bastards taking a third option Austin didn't see coming.
- Dirty Cop: They become a reoccurring villain type from Season 3 onward, with characters like Gylan and Graves.
- Fan-Art: Fans on Twitter have made a lot of sketches and images of their characters (see them in the #DiceFunk twitter tag).
- Fantastic Racism: It is briefly mentioned that Anne is from the "halfling ghetto." In season 2 the running joke of this is "you all look the same to me." Applied pretty universally to every class. Leon is especially guilty of this because Violet thinks Unicorns are better than everyone and in season 3, Bumbershoot Von Victrola thinks vampires are better than everyone. Dora is referred to by an other sylvan creature as a "drowner".
- The only time this is used for drama is in Rolen's backstory, where his superior Gylan Cadun ordered him to slaughter a village of orcs. When they meet again, Gylan calls him "Rolen Orc-lover Hawklight". His first appearance in the show couldn't make it more clear he's a fascist bigoted thug.
- Skitch mentions in the post-mortem that Alias was meant to be respectful of other cultures, but still think of Eladrin culture as superior. This never really comes across due to the strange nature of the group, although it's much more evident in the brief glimpse we get of the new universe.
- Valentine was created primarily by Lizardfolk and Warforged, both of whom don't like other races for some fairly justified reasons. There's no real segregation or anything, but pop culture in Valentine seems to portray Lizardfolk and Warforged in a much more positive light than the rest. This is especially evident in the wrestling arc; the only face who isn't a Lizardfolk or Warforged is Catarina, and even then she has to give the Lizardfolk faces an opening to have a comeback next championship in order to win the belt.
- Genre Shift: All of the seasons so far have had some kind of large-scale shift to the tone. In recent seasons, the players have lampshaded this.
- The first season is ostensibly a comedy with a fantasy setting, but Episode 9 makes a hard right into horror. From there, it careens wildly between noir, cosmic horror, and dark humor.
- Shifting even harder, Season 2 is a more whimsical adventure story, though still with some dark angsty elements thrown in, and gets darker as the season goes on and Lorelei continues to fall into chaos. Austin himself pointed out that it was supposed to be like Wind Waker but had somehow evolved into a sort of 'moist Undertale'.
- Season 3 is a police procedural at first, but the personal drama and motivations of each player character takes over the mysteries until the season becomes more akin to a fantasy soap opera of sorts.
- Season 4 started with four internet friends pulling Shadowrun-style heists in a corporate game before turning into two separate cat-and-mouse games as bounty hunters and corporate soldiers hunt Team Loser, Cat hunts the Crown Corp. executives, and Ash is (maybe) hunting everyone's families. Then the genre shifts again with Team Loser becoming what are basically superheroes working for Crown Corp. and helping the Administration branch of Crown Corp. take over the board of directors.
- Even within Season 4's initial heist setting, each heist has a different theme. The first is a simple home invasion and robbery (although with the added story hook of Skel), the second is a wrestling championship, the third is pretty much a Yu-Gi-Oh arc, and the fourth was a mix between Splinter Cell and Hitman.
- Running Gag: Is it smarter than Anne?
Leon: Wouldn't it be hilarious if I botched the last roll of the season? (Leon botches Violet's performance roll and breaks out in laughter as she slams into the punch bowl)
- Season 3: Trinity, Rolan's horse, is smarter than Anne. Skitch specifically called back to "is it smarter than Anne" when introducing Trinity.
- In Season 2, variations on the phrase: "He gives you fingerguns. You have no technological context for what they mean, but you like 'em."
- Alias (and eventually, other spellcasters) putting Violet to sleep whenever she gets too excited.
- Leon's bad luck with dice is almost supernatural. His characters, despite having high stats, do very poorly due to constantly rolling low numbers and botching more frequently than everyone else put together. His bad luck only seems to relent when the situation becomes so unbelievably dire that a single roll will make or break his character, such as Rinaldo attacking Jayne and Violet making one last stab at the Spectator to prevent a party wipe.
- Throw It In!: As a dungeon master, Johnny is quick to declare canon anything weird and funny suggested by the players such as the hierarchy of Jeffs from season 2 and its running gag of fingerguns ("You have no technological context for what they mean, but you feel pretty good about it")