Talks Machina Episode 75 Highlights: SDCC 2018

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Tonight's guests are Marisha Ray, Taliesin Jaffe, Sam Riegel, Liam O’Brien, and Matt Mercer!

This episode was pre-recorded on Saturday, and hence there is a tragic lack of After Dark content. Please turn off all your lights after the episode airs to simulate the After Dark experience. Thank you.

  • Announcement:
    • Vox Machina: Origins will be back in 2019! The next arc (the first arc to really kick in for the home game) will be about meeting Pike and Percy.
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  • Matt is going to have Taliesin design him a Mollymauk tattoo. Sam: “Does Taliesin get to pick the body part?” Marisha: “No, I do.” Taliesin: “We’re in committee.”
  • Realizing how much the dynamic was going to change has thrown everyone a bit off-balance. Liam’s glad Keg stepped up when she did after Molly went down. Caleb’s mental process was “How many can we save?” and knowing he’d have to just cut and run if he couldn’t bring anyone with him. He was very aware of the Scroll of Invisibility in the pocket.
  • An older game of Matt’s where Taliesin played had only two out of five characters survive after a disastrous fight. That session was Marisha’s first time watching the game after she and Matt started dating.
  • Leaving the coat was mostly a respect thing since it was such an intrinsic part of Molly’s character. It is pointed out that they might come across a bandit mugging people in that coat. Anyone who stole that coat would just be liquified. Liam points out that if Lucien/Nonagon/whoever returns as an NPC Big Bad of the series, leaving the coat might keep them on their good side.
  • Beau has a family history with tarot cards, which is why she always had a thing about them. The last meaningful conversation she had with Molly was over those cards. Taliesin: “I was watching, going, ‘Yeah.’” Marisha: “It means something, and Beau has some regrets about how that conversation went.”
  • Nott didn’t want anything? “Of course I wanted things. I wanted everything.” But it didn’t seem respectful. Taliesin: “I was backstage screaming, ‘LOOT THE BODY, just loot the body, what’s wrong with you!’”
  • Taliesin had several moments last episode where he had to drop everything and get ready to go when his new character almost made an appearance… but never quite did. 
  • Taliesin’s opinion of the funeral? “I feel like more money could’ve been spent. I mean, you ended up in a brothel. You could’ve done something.” Seriously, though, he cried. To Marisha: “You were a lot.”
  • Sam’s getting to the point where Nott’s point of view is like second nature. “It helps that I have had a lot of drinks in the past, and I know just from sense memory what that’s like.” Liam: “Nott shares your unbridled sense of id, Sam.”
  • According to Matt, the hardest part about preparing for the new campaign was creating something that simultaneously felt new and set itself apart from the first campaign without deviating too dramatically. He also felt like if the first episode was a dud coming off of the very dramatic ending of campaign 1, that would be on him. He was very aware that a lot of people would be jumping into the show for the first time since it would be a more accessible entry point.
  • There will be one shots and all sorts of new content associated with the new studio. Honey Heist 2: Electric Bear-galoo will be the first one! Marisha wants to start and focus with bite-sized content, shows that will lower some of the barriers of entry to D&D. A lot of people have discovered D&D from CR and want to get into it, but the PHB looks like homework, so they’re trying to make elements of it more easily understandable to a wider audience.
  • Matt likes to bring in guest stars, but doesn’t want to do it too often so that the story still focuses on the Mighty Nein. He’s excited to have this opportunity to bring in more of the folks they’ve wanted to have for ages, though. There’s always the possibility of guests having to cancel last-minute, which makes the whole process nerve-wracking. The focus is always on bringing in the people who only really want to be there for that part of the story.
  • Matt on dealing with directed anger from the internet: “Whenever somebody lashes out, it’s coming from a place of insecurity inside them. Most people. Some people are just dicks. But some people are just angry at the world and lash out at whatever’s in front of them.”
  • Matt on non-binary NPCs: “There’s plenty more out there.”
  • Mechanics they miss from last campaign: Marisha went from being “a versatile Swiss-Army-Knife toolbox to a… toolbox.” She misses the versatility of the spells. “Now I try to figure out other creative ways to do things.” Taliesin: “I miss having an enormous amount of distance from combat.” Sam: “The ability to speak. With confidence. That’s it.” Liam: “I miss the sheer satisfaction, and dare I say smugness, of stealth rolls.”
  • Taliesin on Molly as queer rep: “I love watching what’s been happening with the community in the last 15 years.” He had to ask his “young friends” to figure out the vocabulary, but he’s been focused on exploring new things and he’s delighted at how much it’s resonated with people.
  • Taliesin on Molly: “He’s still doing great in my head.” Matt points out that Molly’s already having major effects on the campaign and the motivations of the PCs right now (Taliesin’s so pleased).
  • Marisha: “After the first few times that I put the moves on [Yasha], we were at break, and I could sense that Ashley was wanting to ask me something, and she got up the courage, and she was like, ‘Hey, um, I’m just curious. Is Beau–’ and at that exact moment someone called Ashley to the stage, and I was like, ‘Bye!’“ They haven’t had a chance to talk about it since then. Beau’s looking at it a bit like deciding whether or not to get into a work relationship right now.
  • An unexpected theme of campaign 2 has been identity and trust. Matt on one of his favorite unexpected storytelling developments: “Having a group of self-entitled terrible people that had this one amazing individual come into their life and be taken away, and now realize they all want to become better people because of that.”
  • Sam mentions that the first year in the home game, the characters were a bit like cartoon characters, until they got comfortable enough to start letting them have real emotions. Now there’s been a lot more pressure to create a character that’s internally consistent and different from their first characters without being too different and outside their ranges.
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  • Liam gets a question from a kid with the cutest voice and everyone loses it from the adorableness. What’s his favorite monster? “Well, my number one favorite monster is Matthew Mercer.” He’s a big fan of the beholder. “I really like that guy.”
  • Sam on being asked how he creates flawed characters: “I’m fascinated by flaws and how people overcome them and work around them and stuff, because in real life, I don’t have any.” For Nott, he picked a couple of weird character quirks and worked backwards from there. “The ‘why’ is the fun stuff.”
  • Matt talks about how we’re already facing a huge difficulty with prejudice in the world now, and he doesn’t feel like he should be forcing that awfulness into entertainment. He’s still finding the balance to give the players a chance to confront and defeat those ideas without it feeling hackneyed or unnecessarily painful to viewers dealing with those issues outside the game.
  • On resurrecting Molly, Taliesin: “Due to things I can’t necessarily go into, I don’t know if that would have even worked.”
  • Liam talks about how he never plays Renegade characters in video games and how it’s been a challenge playing Caleb. Liam: “The Mighty Nein isn’t really the family that Vox Machina was, at least not yet, but we are. We love each other and we love playing with each other.”
  • Marisha points out that when Molly talked about a silk flower, he said, “Here’s one that won’t die.”