Talks Machina Episode 1 Highlights: 1-75

Tonight’s guest is Matt Mercer… and he’s later joined by Travis Willingham and Laura Bailey!

  • Brian: “Do we call you Matt? Matthew? I just call you my delicious little gumdrop.”

  • Matt: “What could have been a pretty clutch Feeblemind spell ended badly, and this next episode’s going to end—” Brian: “End everyone’s life?” Matt hopes there’ll be some creativity at play, or everyone’s just going to wind up getting eaten.

  • Matt’s ability to get a sense of where the characters are going to go has shifted with the story. The Underdark didn’t have a lot of branching points, but now that they can teleport to other planes, all bets are off.

  • Matt made up the encounter with Cenokir on the spot, because he took the party at their word when they said they weren’t going to the City of Brass.

  • Matt rarely gets to be a player rather than a DM—generally only for one-shot games with friends. He points out that knowing the rules as a DM is helpful and all, but rules in a good RPG are just guidelines, so it doesn’t give him a leg up over a new player.

  • A lot of the tieflings in this game have Eastern European accents, coming from Wildemount. Cenokir’s voice was picked to be distinct and to make it easier to conceal his intentions.

  • Matt hardly ever gets to reuse his maps if they don’t get used in a given session. Brian: “It’s like a science project. Not only last place, but they wouldn’t even let you put it up.” Matt feels better having overprepared than underprepared. There’s some speculation as to whether Sam would be able to vamp for the time needed for Matt to create an entire battlemap live. Brian: “He’d come up with a three-act play.”

  • Matt was expecting the final battle with the Briarwoods to be a lot more difficult, but he didn’t want to punish the players for rolling well. Having those moments where enemies feel too easy makes the whole thing feel less engineered, too.

  • Gif of the Week: flaily hands all around!

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  • Laura and Travis tag in!

  • Laura’s pretty sure they’re going to die. Travis: “We make some dumb moves, but I think we’re pretty solid.”

  • We get some full-body shots of the Halloween costumes in all their majesty. Travis did his own makeup and contouring.

  • How deep does the Hamilton obsession go? Travis: “We mortgaged our unborn children so we could go.” Brian talks about trying to get tickets when he was in New York. “Well, there’s these things called the Vestiges of Divergence…” Laura: “We got to see the original George Washington.” Brian: “He must be so old now.”

  • Matt confirms that Kamaljiori’s Vestige information was just that—information—and not a promise to help in the final battle.

  • Laura’s more worried about the pit fiend battle than Thordak, because she’s convinced they won’t survive this one.

  • Vex and Grog don’t consider themselves heroes. Grog’s an adventure-seeker, first and foremost. Laura thinks everyone—except maybe Scanlan—has some impostor syndrome.

  • Broomgate makes a reappearance. Matt talks about how there were some “needlessly aggressive intimidation tactics” that contributed to the alignment change.

  • There’s an extended discussion of Laura’s dice superstitions and her extensive collection. Travis: “Please stop sending her dice.” Travis still has the same dice he started with.

  • Grog is “a prideful beast” and is far too proud to admit he’s lost his knowledge of letters. “He might go back to numbers, but letters are done.” Matt thinks it would probably take him a few weeks of in-depth study to get to basic reading.

  • Matt preps, at minimum, as many hours as they actually play; usually around six hours a week.

  • There wasn’t a lot of character prep before the first game, because they all thought it was going to be a one-off. Travis hadn’t even come up with a character name before they started, and he didn’t want to be left out when everyone started doing character voices, so he went with “the trolls from the Hobbit”. Laura and Liam had decided in advance to make their characters twins.

  • Travis and Laura both don’t trust Cenokir. Travis: “I think he’s attracted to Vax. I don’t have anything to base that off of, I just want to start some s***.” They’re very nervous about the favor. Matt reminds them that the hag Vax made a deal with also hasn’t cashed in her favor, yet.

  • Fanart of the Week: Grog with Pike on his shoulders after her point of exhaustion!

  • Matt is so excited about the pit fiend fight, because he’s never had a campaign get to the point where something with such a high CR could be a viable battle. Laura’s upset that they didn’t get a chance to do a Hero’s Feast before the fight. Brian wants to cosplay as an erinyes and just go to Arby’s.

  • The group hasn’t been strategizing in their text thread about the pit fiend fight because they haven’t had time to talk about it in-universe.

  • Alternate episode titles: Sextuplets Sells, Sextuplet Nesting Dolls, You Bamf Baby!, The Slaves of What’s-Her-Butt, Little Slave Chickens, Pisspot Hot Tub, F***ing Jenga, Green Apple S*** Splatters (Travis: “Green Apple Splatters. The ‘s***’ is implied.” Brian: “Much like Talks Machina”), Baby Ghostrider.