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Podcast / Rusty Quill Gaming

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"He's a monster and a psychopath... but we respect his craft!"
The party, regularly, about DM Alex

Rusty Quill Gaming is a serial Podcast series produced by Rusty Quill where a group of comedians, performers, actors and special guests play a bespoke Table Top Role Playing Game. Using the open-sourced Pathfinder system the game takes place in an Alternate History version of Victorian-era London where magic, dragons and steampunk automatons roam a Fantasy Kitchen Sink world intersected with Historical Domain Characters from the era.

The cast has included:


The series also features a vast array of supporting characters and guest players.

Beware of unmarked spoilers up to the end of season 3.

Rusty Quill Gaming contains examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: While many of the party have names common in real life such as Sasha, Bertie, and Hamid, others, such as Celiquillithon and Grizzop, are much more fantastical.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: Portrayed as such with Cel and Shoin.
  • All There in the Manual: There is a wealth of bonus content about the main show in the metacasts and on the Patreon page.
  • Amoral Attorney: Harkness, Harkness, Darkness, & Sphinx.
  • Ancient Grome: The Cult of Mars refers to their deity by the Roman name despite every other deity of the setting being referred to by their Greek name and everything related to the evil Roman civilization being considered taboo. Alex claims this is entirely deliberate.
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  • Ancient Tomb: Hannibal's tomb, which Bertie, Ed, and Tjelvar discover in Bertie's sidequest, as well as the tomb underneath the Meritocratic offices in Cairo.
  • Anyone Can Die: Alex is not shy about killing off both player and non-player characters.
  • Arc Villain: Mr Ceiling for the Paris arc, Franz Kafka for the Prague arc.
  • At the Opera Tonight: The LOLOMG attend a performance of Don Giovanni at the Prague Opera House.
  • Bag of Holding: The party has half a dozen.
  • Bar Brawl: Bertie starts (and ends) one of theses in Prague, when trying to find somewhere to stay, and Grizzop and Azu accidentally start one of these in Cairo while looking for Sasha.
  • Badass Crew: The Rangers/LOLOMG, as is typical for a Pathfinder party.
  • Badass Gay: The series has several badass characters who have expressed interest in the same gender, including Wilde, Bertie, Azu, and Zolf.
  • Bad Dreams: After particularly difficult days, Alex has the players make will saves for their characters to see if they'll have bad dreams.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Right at the climax of Sasha's undead arc, as Eren Fairhands is about to use the Heart of Aphrodite to heal her from her affliction in a ritual that hasn't been used in living memory, Sasha is subjected to a baleful teleport and appears on a mountain, overlooking a sunset. It's no wonder that Sasha assumes she's in the afterlife — until she sees Brutor, now an awakened dog, inheriting Bertie's sword. Sasha, the players, and most of the audience had forgotten Sasha's offhand request to see the moment in which Bertie's dog got his sword, but Alex had not.
  • Beneath the Earth: Other London is below London; it used to be the one and only London, but got buried in a flood and built over. Currently a more lived in version of the Paris Catacombs.
  • Big Fancy House: The al-Tahan residence.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Many buildings in Prague's university are like this, with Newton's office being the most impressive example.
  • Black Comedy: Comes up fairly regularly, particularly in relation to the horrible things that have happened to the party:
    Alex: The Living Garments are something that I think you’ll take a bit of a shine to. It doesn’t just magically change into any garment the user wants. What it does is it basically reads the user and what the user’s needs are and adjusts itself accordingly.
    Lydia: Oh my word, but Sasha’s needs are deep and complex. Does it provide a stable family? Sight of the open sky before she’s fifteen?
  • Blatant Lies:
    • In episode 2, after a fight in which Sasha stabbed a man:
    Zolf: We should get you a, uh, do you just have knives?
    Sasha: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have any knives.
    • After Hamid casts Invisibility on himself multiple times to avoid Gideon, and denies knowing him.
  • Body Horror: Episode 44 contains a much-needed warning for this.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: In 125. Because of complications during their Planar Shift, half the party ends up in Ancient Rome, and half back in modern Rome.
  • Breather Episode: Episode 63. After a good deal of emotional and physical turmoil in Paris, the gang gets into various romance author-related shenanigans while on a skyship.
  • Captain Obvious: Whenever someone (usually Bertie) lands a poor roll on any observation check, Alex will often tell him simply that he's in a room, which Bertie, in character, repeats aloud.
  • Chase Scene: the series has several, including the party tackling a Pseudo-Byron in the streets of London and being chased by La Gourmande's forces in Paris.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The kraken-like thing in the English Channel briefly appears in an early episode, and is revealed in s4 to be part of the mechanism causing storms all over the world.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Against the squizard at Aziza's wake; it doesn't manage to get a single hit out before being pummelled by the party for 82 damage.
  • Damsel in Distress: Subverted. While Bertie tries to claim that Sasha is one of these in the context of his ongoing legal disputes, Sasha is anything but.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Bertie's response to slander? Brutal death, of course.
  • Distant Finale: Sasha gets one of these at the end of the Ancient Rome sidequest, showing her life twenty years after the fall of Rome.
  • Dungeon Punk: In one Q&A, Alex specifically references this trope page as inspiration for the world of Erasing the Line.
  • Driving Question: Who has the plans for the simulacrum and what are they doing with them?
  • Dungeon Crawling: As to be expected for a Pathfinder Actual-Play podcast, this series has several, including clearing monster plants at Kew Gardens, working through perilous traps to an underground secret factory in Damascus, fighting through the hellish landscape of Rome, and most recently, investigating the puzzle- and monster-filled Shoin Institute.
  • Dysfunction Junction: At the beginning of the series, the cleric is grieving his brother and seeking to drown wrongdoers in the name of his god, the rogue didn't see the sun before she was 15 and cut off her own finger to escape her crime-boss uncle, the sorcerer has been all but disowned by his parents after his school pranks resulted in the deaths of several people, and the fighter is incapable of caring about anyone besides himself. It only gets worse from there.
  • Endless Daytime: In Rome.
  • Enemy Mine: After the apocalypse, former meritocratic agents such as Wilde and Saira al Tahan make unlikely alliances with the Harlequins to try to reverse the infection.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: An in-universe example; the Cult of Hades is portrayed as uniformly evil but Sasha and Grizzop's time in Ancient Rome suggest that this might not be the whole story.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: Because of Alex's homebrew rules about characters gaining scars when they're reduced to 0hp.
  • Fantastic Racism: Bertie has a thing against gnomes.
    • Grizzop, as a goblin, regularly experiences a significant amount of prejudice due to his race.
  • Fantastic Slurs: Bertie apparently has some of these for gnomes, though we never hear them.
  • Feed It with Fire: A certain type of mold encountered in the tunnels below Kew Gardens apparently gets energy from heat, drastically cooling the air around it. Fire makes it grow very, very quickly.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Well, Fighter Mage Thief Cleric (Sir Bertrand, Hamid, Sasha, and Zolf, respectively), but close enough.
  • Floating Continent: The entire University of Prague is in the sky above the city of Prague.
  • Follow That Car: Hamid pulls one of these while chasing Pseudo-Byron.
  • From Bad to Worse: The party travels from Paris, in which they've inadvertently started a war, to Prague, where a necromancer is raising the city's dead in preparation for an evil ritual.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The London & Other London Outstanding Mercenary Group, or L.O.L.O.M.G.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: During the Cairo and Damascus arc, the party is half female (Azu and Sasha) and half male (Grizzop and Hamid.)
  • Genre Savvy: Hamid correctly predicts that Kafka will attack at the opera, because that's the sort of thing villains do when they want to make a scene.
  • Ghost City: Rome.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: In order to avoid the "explicit" tag on iTunes, Alex maintains a strict no-swearing policy, meaning that "heck" and "frick" appear a fair bit.
    Bertie: You've got legs made of fiddlesticking water! What the sugar is up with that! What the sugaring fiddlestick!
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Episode 17 is named "Good Cop, Bad Cop, Stabby Cop and Bertie" as the party plays this.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The Meritocrats and the Separatists. Both have been known to seek extreme methods to hold or take power, both contain a variety of members ranging from sympathetic to simply power-seeking.
  • Gut Punch: The series starts out with the level of peril associated with many actual-play TTRPG podcasts — the party encounters perilous combat frequently, but rarely above their level; while the characters have standard D&D tragic backstories, they're not unusually horrific; and the series is full of lush descriptions of a fantasy world. Then, while exploring the Parisian catacombs, the party finds themselves lost and blindly facing a monster that they cannot beat, with Zolf having lost his second leg and Hamid's hand crushed; the party falls one by one to their presumed deaths. After this point, the party encounters one horrible revelation after another, resulting in almost all the party's loved ones being put in peril, the entire world's systems collapsing into mass rioting, and several of the party members dying.
  • Haunted House: The party encounters one of these in Prague.
  • Historical Domain Character: All over the place! We've met people like Lord Byron, Thomas Edison, and Amelia Earhart in passing, and Fan Favorite NPCs Oscar Wilde and Albert Einstein are working with the main group.
  • Hope Spot: The team wins a Boss Battle with Mr Ceiling, are celebrated as heroes, and everything seems to be going well — only to realize that it was All Just a Dream and they're still just about to face Mr Ceiling.
  • I Have Your Wife: The party all has some of their closest friends kidnapped and kept in Rome.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: Each episode opens and closes with the peppy, orchestral theme song.
  • Interrogation Montage: After being arrested by the Cult of Mars, Alex cuts between the interrogations of the different party members, in which Hamid yells through tears about his innocence, Grizzop laughs at the guard threatening him, and Sasha refuses to say anything.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Alex very, very gradually reveals information about the overarching plot, to the point that one of the main antagonists, the Cult of Hades, is not mentioned by name until season three.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: Deliberately averted by Alex; when non-player characters speak in other languages, Alex uses his normal accent.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: A common occurrence.
    Hamid: There are other dragons apart from the Meritocrats.
    Grizzop: Are there? I don’t actually know. Let’s petition this random sweeping man!
    Sasha: Sweeping man, what know thee?
    Alex, in a heavy fake accent: Well, thing is, is that I only answer questions based on the results of dice rolls. It’s a way to pass the time. With that in mind, can I get a knowledge history from everyone that has it?
    Grizzop: Thank you, sweeping man!
  • Lensman Arms Race: The Meritocrats and the Separatists appear to be engaging in one of these, with both seeking to build the Simulacrum first.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: The party splits up fairly regularly, sometimes to Alex's chagrin.
  • Magitek: The steampunk world includes lightning elemental powered trains and cars.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Subverted, particularly at the end of the Paris arc. Hamid wants to stay and save Paris from La Gourmande, but Wilde ushers them out of the city, telling them it's already been taken care of.
    • Further subverted in season 4, in which Curie tells Azu and Hamid that their investigations into the simulacrum are only one of many avenues of investigation into stopping the infection.
  • MacGuffin: Alex explicitly refers to the ring Barrett gave Hamid as such.
  • Mood Whiplash: Whenever the party is split, expect these as Alex switches back and forth between its members. A notable example: repeated smash cuts between Hamid and his sister Saira discussing the death of their sister Aziza and the rest of the party getting incredibly drunk on orcish moonshine in the same building.
  • Mooks: Also known as "lads and blokes"; the party fights swarms of these outside of the Temple of Aphrodite in Cairo.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: By taking down Mr Ceiling, the party destroys the world economy and brings war and chaos to the streets of Paris and other major cities.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Bertie successfully poses as a statue while in Other London.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: After episode 125. Half the party is missing and for the others, 18 months have gone by and they're now in the middle of apocalypse where no one can be trusted.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: In this case, they hold power over most of the world.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: The gargoyles on La Triomphe are sentient and can even be called down to protect Paris in times of emergency; Sasha makes friends with the gargoyles in several different cities.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Goblins are fully sapient in this universe, with all the variety of personality and intelligence as any other race.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Orcs are also fully sapient, with many who are skilled craftsmen in various professions.
  • Power Nullifier: The meeting room in La Triomphe, which is warded against scrying and which prevents any magic from being cast within it.
    • Additionally, Wilde makes use of an anti-magic room and later anti-magic shackles, which nullify his power, but also prevent his enemies from cursing him.
  • Prongs of Poseidon: Those of the Cult of Poseidon use these.
  • Pun-Based Title: Occurs frequently. Examples include "Tank but No Tanks" for 58, which features an illusionary tank; "Hedge Your Bets" and "The Root of the Problem" for 23 and 24 respectively, which both involve fighting plants; and "Water Way to Go" for 31, in which the party encounters various water-based perils.
  • Race Against the Clock: Sasha is told that she's completely (un)dead and actively deteriorating, and has approximately a month and a half before she turns into something else.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: While the Hellenic gods exist in this world, certain dragons known as the Meritocrats are the ones who hold the most power over everything. Not everyone is happy or okay with this.
  • Rays from Heaven: Apollo delivers these to Edward Keystone during Bertie's side quest.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The recording Studio was contaminated by Asbestos...Goblins causing a brief hiatus while the cast and crew found another venue.
    • James Ross decided to go on a parental break to care for his new child just as the Prague arc came to its climax, leading to the death of his character, Bertie.
  • Religion of Evil: the Cult of Hades, although the Ancient Rome sidequest implies that the situation is more complicated that that.
  • La Résistance: The Harlequins, against the Meritocrats.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: The party attempts one of these in Rome after having their loved ones stolen.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: Zolf discusses this in a conversation after their battle at Kew Gardens:
    Zolf: If you get caught up on the what-ifs — here’s a what-if for you. What if at Edison’s party, we’d have identified — because we were security there — we’d have identified the assassins? All those people that died? You’re responsible for that, because what if [...] What if you’d worked it out? What if we’d acted sooner? What if we’d stopped them? What if. You can’t get caught up on the what-ifs. Cause you don’t know.
  • Scenery Porn: Alex has put a lot of thought into his homebrew setting, and gives extremely detailed and beautiful descriptions of major cities such as Paris and Prague.
  • Science Fantasy: The show combines both standard high fantasy elements, such as elves, dwarves, and dragons, with elements of scifi such as automatons and Time Travel.
  • Secret Underground Passage: This show has several, including the secret tunnels to Mr Ceiling's lab, the pipe passageway underneath the factory in Damascus, and Shoin's underwater and underground tunnel.
  • Sinister Surveillance: According to Barrett, the Cult of Hades has the power to continually scry on the party; the Cult later proves this to them.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Bertie and furniture.
  • Slave Liberation: In the Ancient Rome sidequest, we learn that the dragons that later became the meritocrats were once enslaved by Rome and forced to defend it, but broke free and destroyed the city.
  • Something Completely Different: The series has a number of non-canon episodes where the cast and crew play one-shot campaigns from other Tabletop games and metacasts discussing the mechanics and behind the scenes elements that go into organizing the Erasing the Line campaign.
  • Something That Begins with "Boring": While walking across Newton's study, Grizzop and Sasha play I Spy.
  • Speculative Fiction: Given, as it's Alternate History.
  • Steampunk: Starts out in 19th century steampunk London.
  • Supernatural Team: While the party initially starts out with only two casters, by season four, the party consists of four magic users: a paladin, a sorcerer, an alchemist, and a cleric.
  • Switching P.O.V.: The 5 episode special featuring Bertie's adventures up the Alps, as well as Sasha and Grizzop's adventure in Ancient Rome.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: The party is forced to retreat from La Gourmande's forces in Paris to avoid the Meritocrats' attack on Eiffel's Folly.
  • Technophobia: The Serpentine gang bombs the simulacrum auction because they hate robots, since they caused the flooding in London.
  • Teleportation Sickness: During planar shifts, which Eldarion uses as teleportation to Rome.
  • They're Called "Personal Issues" for a Reason: Most of the party conspicuously to hide parts of their backstories, with limited success:
    Hamid: I just feel like, I mean — we’ve met Sasha’s maybe slightly evil family, Zolf has this weird ring that he doesn’t want to talk about —
    Zolf: — Yeah, a lot of people have ‘weird rings’, Hamid!
    Hamid: — Bertie has these mysterious employers. I should probably just tell you right now: I got kicked out of university! Because then it won’t be a surprise when it somehow comes along very soon. Maybe.
    Zolf: What were you kicked out… for?
    Hamid: I don’t want to talk about it.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Several gnomes in a trenchcoat attack the party in Paris.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Alex's general modus operandi. Hamid in particular just can't seem to catch a break.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Whenever the party is split up, Alex will cut back and forth between them, sometimes with hilarious contrasts between their activities.
  • Underground City: Other London.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Newton's office: the party is inside for several days, but when they return, it's only been an hour.
  • You Sound Familiar: Typical to an actual play series; when a player character dies or leaves, their player creates a new character — with the notable exception of James Ross, who left the show for paternity leave.
  • Wham Episode: 45: The party learns about Mr Ceiling and suddenly, many of the mysteries they've encountered in Paris come into focus — as do several huge moral decisions.
    • 126: The hostages are safe, but a year and a half has passed in the real world Sasha and Grizzop are trapped in Ancient Rome
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Bryn mentions this when Grizzop is interrogating the Damascus Harlequins for information..
    Grizzop: Is there maybe a better Harlequin base below this one? Look, I don’t know what kind of amateur operation you’re running here, but I assume, cause I was told somebody that can get me to Rome is beneath this pub, that you’re probably sitting on top of a proper Harlequin base and you’re maybe, like, the first test? You know like if you go into a dungeon and you find, like, a skeleton? You’re the skeleton and I want to get to the actual monsters.
    Bryn: He’s genre-savvy in completely the wrong way!
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Inside the failed Gate spell in Rome: the party spends very little time within the spell, but when they get back, a year and a half has passed.


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