Foul events have ravaged the continent of Arcadon. In the north, tales of dragons and war spread, and in the south, the town of Bay Hollow has been burned to ashes. Determined to bring the perpetrators to justice, Paddock Whitlaw, last son of the noble Whitlaw family, has joined a party of adventurers on a mission from the mayor of the Free State of Kadar. Will they fall prey to the great evils that are infecting the world, or will they maintain High Hopes?
The series is written and narrated by the group's Dungeon Master, Jenny Budd, drawn by Alex Brennan-Dent (Also known as ABD Illustrates) and Amy Manning (Bin Witch Illustrations), and features the voices of the rest of the party. The first episode was dropped September 13th, 2019.
The story also has a Tumblr.
Unfortunately, production of the story was halted in early 2022 with the disbanding of the Shrieking Wizard Company, due to not having enough time or money to continue working on it.
High Hopes, Low Rolls provides examples of the following tropes:
- Arc Symbol: The stylized H of the High Hopes party. On a lesser note, the Evil is symbolized by a stylized star with five curved points. The symbol of Tiamat.
- Arc Words: "High Hopes" or "Have Hope".
- Big Bad: Hydracil or Tiamat.
- Cast Full of Gay: Nagar is the only character so far to be straight.
- Paddy is gay (like his player)
- Torlin is bisexual
- Gimgar is Pansexual
- Rook's sexuality is "Magic"
- Gwing "Likes people"
- Ava's is not listed
- Character Alignment: The High Hopes players admit to put little focus on this in their games, but the characters still have canonical alignments:
- Charm Person: A variant, the Crown of Madness spell, is ABD's favorite spell, depicted as a wreath of leaves instead of flames. Apparently he's used it on a kraken.
- City-State: Kadar, with Rosa as the mayor, has declared independence and stands against the dark that consumes Arcadon.
- Demihuman: Nagar is the only party member who isn't this. The others are humans, dwarves, elves and genasi.
- Doomed Hometown: Paddy's hometown of Bay Hollow was burned to ashes while he was of with the circus.
- Draconic Humanoid: Nagar and Hydracil are both Dragonborn, which are this trope, despite being only vaguely related to dragons. Rosa falls into this by technicality, but resembles a human with some scales.
- The Dragon: Literally in Hydracil, an actual dragon(born) who's Tiamat's champion.
- Fantasy Character Classes: Since the story is based on a D&D campaign, this is obviously featured. By appearance:
- Paddy is an Arcane Trickster Rogue.
- Gimgar is an Eldritch Knight Fighter/Totem Warrior Barbarian multiclass
- Ava is a Circle of the Land (Forest) Druid
- Nagar is a Berserker Barbarian (he'll later multiclass into Paladin)
- Rook Lunera is a School of Transmutation Wizard.
- Gwing is a Beast Master Ranger/Thief Rogue multiclass
- Torlin is a College of Valor bard.
- Jenny Budd is the dungeon master.
- High Fantasy: The primary genre. Dragons and city-states and adventurers (oh my).
- Hope Bringer: Right there in the name. Whenever someone in the series refers to having high hopes, these are the guys they're talking about.
- In Medias Res: The series starts with Paddy joining High Hopes, but the party had been active for at least four years before that.
- Noodle Incident: Pretty much anything ABD or the other players talk about on Tumblr or in their videos. One notable example is that time Paddy used Crown of Madness on a kraken.
- Seasonal Motif: Paddy's Doomed Hometown, Bay Hollow, is depicted as an autumn wonderland, a motif Paddy brings with him when he travels. After the town is sacked and burned, the bright autumn colours are replaced with gray.
- Tarot Motifs: The Themed Tarot deck below. The Sun in Major Arcana symbolized optimism and enthusiasm, fitting for the jolly Paddy Whitlaw. Upright it can also symbolize good luck, fitting for Rogues, who get the Stroke of Luck ability as lv. 20. Reversed, it symbolized sadness and depression, fitting for Paddy, who's journey is motivated by the loss of his hometown and family.
- The Devil represents an unhealthy relationship to something that is not for the greater good. Hydracil is the champion of Tiamat.
- The Magician represents resourcefulness and inspired action, as well as the ability to manifest the spiritual in the physical world. Rook Lunera is more or less the prime mover of the High Hopes party, as well as a Wizard. The Magician is also numbered 1 in the Major Arcana (although it's not the first card, The Fool is numbered 0), and Rook was one of the first members of the High Hopes party.
- Themed Tarot Deck: ABD illustrates a card for each episode of the series, thematically tying it into the events of the episode (all cards are available for print on their redbubble). Paddy is The Sun, Hydracil is The Devil and Rook Lunera is The Magician.
- Token Minority: Inverted and played straight by Nagar, who's the only straight member of the party, while also being the only "exotic" species, a Dragonborn.
- Tragic Keepsake: Paddy's mask was given to him by his family. The family who inhabited his Doomed Hometown.