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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.

See also The Magnus Archives and Stellar Firma, two other podcasts made by Rusty Quill.

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

Rusty Quill Gaming contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: The main section of the Shoin Institute is an abandoned school and sanitorium.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: Shoin's kobolds, at least at first, particularly given the sound effects; it's later revealed that they've undergone atrocities.
  • 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.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Averted. Traditionally evil races in Dungeons & Dragons such as orcs, goblins, and even chromatic dragons are fully integrated into Meritocratic society, and their stereotyping as evil is the propaganda of the Roman empire, now long-discredited.
    • This is played with during the Shoin Institute. Kobolds, another traditionally Always Chaotic Evil race, are first encountered there, and act like unintelligent evil minions. The players' Knowledge checks give conflicting information on if kobolds really are intelligent in this setting. This leads to Hamid fireballing a huge group of them without a thought... only to later discover that, just like every other race in the setting, they are intelligent and only appeared otherwise due to the effects of a Mind Control drug. What the Hell, Hero? ensues.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Barefoot Captives: The kobolds enslaved by Shoin; they have bare claws in the Institute, but later, when freed, appear wearing boots.
  • 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.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: The players do this regularly to Alex:
    Zolf: Is he telling us riddles? Is he trying to run some sort of game?
    Azu: Can you imagine that? Someone trying to run a game?
    Zolf: Yeah, is he trying to be the master of this dungeon? Honestly, what kind of idiot would spend all of their time doing that? Ugh!
  • 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.
  • Booby Trap: The Shoin Institute is filled with these. Reading his diary reveals that he was inspired by in-universe Sword & Sorcery novels, making it an incredibly meta nod to traditional D&D dungeons.
  • Boss Dissonance: Unintentionally ends up as an extreme instance of Hard Levels, Easy Bosses. The player characters consistently breeze past even the most difficult combat encounters, but are laid low by routine traps and environmental hazards. Even by the end of the first season it becomes a Running Gag to the players.
    Alex: [After the party trashes a boss that was way above their level] This could not have gone worse for me. I put so much work in. I was worried. I was legitimately worried here. Carry on! That's fine.
    Lydia: No, you know what's gonna happen is, this is gonna go really well for us, and then on the way out, we're gonna trip over a squirrel.
    Ben: And we all just shatter like glass.
  • Bottle Episode:
    • 62-3, in which the party travel by airship.
    • 129, in which Azu and Hamid are kept in quarantine for a week.
    • 153-4, in which the entire party (along with Barnes and Carter) is once again quarantined and get a chance to talk.
  • Breaking Bad News Gently: Sasha and Grizzop try to do this to Hamid when telling him about Aziza's death.
    • Later, Einstein does this to Azu and Hamid as he tries to explain how long they've been gone from the material plane and what's happened since.
  • 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.
  • Call-Back: The "Desiccated Corporal" in Damascus, calling back to the "Soggy Admiral" (and related establishments) in Dover.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Nod: At the beginning of season 1, when the party visits the British Museum and learns that Bertie cannot pay his family's debt to them, the curator suggests that they might "just skimp on Mr. Carter’s expedition." Two seasons later, the party meets Carter, who has turned to crime because his research funding has been cut.
  • 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.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Orcs, a fantasy race traditionally the focal point of Unfortunate Implications due to commonly being portrayed with similarities to African races, are native to Africa in this setting, and the stereotype of them as Always Chaotic Evil is propaganda from the Roman empire. This maps eerily well onto how European empires used racist propaganda to dehumanize the peoples of Africa in Real Life.
  • 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.
  • Exact Words: In the Roman Rogues sidequest, Sasha deliberately discourages following her exact words.
    Sasha: What have I told you guys about following instructions to the letter being a route to evil?
  • Explaining the Soap: The audience often gets glimpses of Zolf explaining the plot of his favourite romance novels.
  • Fantastic Racism: Significantly downplayed compared to most Dungeons & Dragons settings, with many races (including traditionally Always Chaotic Evil ones) peacefully coexisting in Meritocratic society. Some issues still crop up, however:
    • Bertie has a thing against gnomes, likely a generalization from his bad experiences with the gnome lawyers of Harkness, Harkness, Darkness & Sphinx.
    • Grizzop, as a goblin, regularly experiences a significant amount of prejudice due to his race.
    • The Evil Empire of Rome displayed major racism and propaganda against non-human races as evidenced by the reactions to Grizzop in the Ancient Rome sidequest. In the present day, these beliefs are rejected by Meritocratic society.
  • Fantastic Slurs: Bertie apparently has some of these for gnomes, though we never hear them.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Inverted; the setting is an Alternate History Earth with familiar settings populated by fantasy cultures. Humans appear to be the predominant species in Meritocratic lands (Europe and northern Africa), while orcs are native to Africa, elves are native to the Americas, and gnomes are prominent in eastern Asia. Additionally, season 4 reveals that druids of all races make up the culture of Siberia and the polar regions.
  • 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.
  • Gilligan Cut: Aboard Earhart's airship, Hamid and Zolf are arguing about the literary value of Harrison Campbell's romance novels – and cut to Hamid angrily reading one of his books with a disgusted look on his face.
  • 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.
  • Good News, Bad News: When Zolf is telling Sasha that she has a degenerative magical disease:
    Zolf: Right, so I’ve got good news and bad news. Which one do you want first?
    Sasha: I don’t really believe in good news.
  • Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: There are several in the Shoin Insitute; in fact, Shoin gifts one each to the party.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In the season 3 finale, when the Gate spell to escape from Hades is botched, Eldarion sacrifices herself to ensure the surviving characters make it out.
    • In the Ancient Rome sidequest, Grizzop uses Paladin's Sacrifice to save Sasha from a fatal blow by taking the hit themselves. While they survive that attack, they then proceed to perform an all-out attack against the enemy commander, knowing they will take attacks of opportunity from the entire enemy squadron. They succeed in killing the commander, but get reduced to giblets in the process.
      Sasha: Grizzop took a spear meant for me, and then a whole lot more.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: At the end of nearly every episode.
  • 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. Some of them get fantasy Race Lifts as well; Earhart, for instance, is a gnome.
  • Hive Mind: the blue veins appears to be this.
  • 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.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Many, many times.
    • Hamid and Bertie, when visiting the temple of Poseidon, much to Zolf's dismay:
    Zolf: I will remind you that this is my religion, actually, as funny as that might be. So, cut it out, ok?
    Hamid: I’ll stop carping on about it.
    Bertie: We don’t want to make you feel out of plaice.
    Hamid: I think he’s haddock up to here with us.
    Bertie: What a load of codswallop we’re spitting!
    • Out of character in episode 75, in which James jokes that he is sponsored by Megabowl, leading to a flurry of bowling puns from the players that results in Alex punishing them mechanically.
    • Sasha and Wilde get one in 111 while waiting for Grizzop and Hamid to return from exploring, despite Sasha's demonstrated difficulty with puns.
    Wilde: Well, you know, studying metal takes an iron will.
    Sasha: Yeah, it does, uhhh, like… I mean, that’s a good copper, ey? Copper, yeah. Coppered out there. Right. Wonder when the others are gonna be back.
    Wilde: Maybe you should steel yourself.
    Sasha: Yeah! Uhhh, there’s um… you know, ironing. We could do some ironing while they’re there.
  • I Have Your Wife: The party all has some of their closest friends kidnapped and kept in Rome.
  • Inherently Funny Words: "Pump hole."
  • 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.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: The Shoin Institute.
  • Island Base: the Shoin Institute.
  • 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.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: A regular reaction to Wilde's puns.
  • The Law Firm of Pun, Pun, and Wordplay: Harkness, Harkness, Darkness, and Sphinx.
  • 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!
    • The Shoin Institute is rife with this, as Shoin is himself a self-styled Dungeon Master who grew up with a love of sword & sorcery adventure novels. Many sections parody traditional Dungeons & Dragons traps, puzzles, and obstacles, with Shoin being a Large Ham throughout. See Biting-the-Hand Humor, above, for a specific example.
  • 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.
  • Lighthouse Point: The upper part of the Shoin Institute.
  • Lockdown: After the quarantine cage is breached in 155, the entire inn is placed in lockdown.
    • Also, for a bit of a bit of meta-tropage, these episodes all aired during the actual Covid-19 lockdown in the UK.
  • Locked in a Room: Occurs every time the party is quarantined for a week.
  • LOL, 69: Episode 69? Nice.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Mr Ceiling's simulation.
  • 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.
  • Mistaken for Afterlife: When Sasha is transported to Brutor's knighting while being cured, she initially assumes that she's died and gone to an afterlife.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Grizzop and Sasha decide that Hamid and Gideon must be exes, given how they're avoiding each other.
  • 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.
  • Not Used to Freedom: The kobolds, after being freed, follow Hamid and expect him to be a tyrant.
  • Ordered Apology: In the Roman Rogues sidequest, Sasha repeatedly demands this of her kids.
    Sasha: I’m not gonna let you go on a quest if you don’t say you respect your brother.
  • 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. They are characterized by being extremely good at crafting and engineering due to their high dexterity and small size; this has led to them being highly desired workers, but that in turn leads to some economic tensions as goblins want to start their own buisness instead of working under others.
  • Phlebotinum-Induced Stupidity: The drugs Shoin forces on the kobolds.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Orcs are also fully sapient, with many who are skilled craftsmen in various professions.
  • The Plague: The "blue veins" disease that appears following the Time Skip after season 3. It spreads through an unknown mechanism, and appears to create a malicious Hive Mind out of those affected. Not even the Meritocrats are immune, and the resulting chaos leads to the collapse of Meritocratic society. It is implied that this has something to do with the simulacra.
  • 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.
  • Schmuck Bait: Despite being repeatedly told that opening your eyes during a Gate spell is a bad idea, Grizzop and Sasha just can't help themselves when they use one to travel in the season 3 finale. This forces them to make an additional saving throw which they then fail, causing them to be separated from the main party and thrown into the far past.
  • 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.
  • Sexual Euphemism: When going to a one night stand with Wilde, James asks whether Bertie should roll an "Intimate Knowledge Nobility" or "Ride" check.
  • 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.
    • Later, the kobolds in Shoin's lair free themselves following the party's destruction of Shoin.
  • Slave Mooks: The kobolds in the Shoin Institute.
  • 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.
  • Stable Time Loop: Sasha's letter establishes one of these.
  • Staircase Tumble: Gideon falls down the stairs from Einstein's office after noticing Hamid trying to hide from him.
  • 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 try 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?
  • Time Skip: After the events of the season 3 finale, the botched Gate spell displaces the party in time, causing them to come back 18 months after they left. The party quickly learn that things have gone From Bad to Worse while they were away: Most people, including the Meritocrats, have been infected with The Plague, causing a total collapse of Meritocratic society and potentially the start of a world war.
  • 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.
  • Underwater Base: The lowest level of the Shoin Institute.
  • The Virus: The blue veins appears to be this.
  • Volcano Lair: The Shoin Institute is founded on one of these.
  • 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.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: When the party spends almost an entire episode talking to a crow, Alex makes this joke.
    Alex, making crow noises: People choose to listen to this podcast for pleasure!
  • With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Hamid gives this speech to his little brothers when he discovers they are also sorcerers.
    • More seriously, Skraak repeatedly reminds Hamid of this when kobolds begin following him.
    Skraak: Being in charge doesn’t mean life gets easier because you have more people to help you, it just means that life gets harder because you’ve got more people you need to help.
  • Write Back to the Future: After Sasha is thrown far into the past in the season 3 finale, they manage to pass down a letter to be delivered to the party in the present day, informing them of Grizzop's Heroic Sacrifice and assuring them that she herself has managed to live a long and fulfilling life.
  • 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 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.
  • 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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