Why you need to listen to The Adventure Zone S1
The Adventure Zone is one of those things that you hear people talk about, but you have no idea what it's about. It has such a large following, but generally unknown among most people. The Adventure Zone is one of those podcasts that you either love or you haven't listened to it yet. If you're categorized as the latter; what are you waiting for?!
"Hot diggity shit... That's a baller cookie"
Before I tell you why you need to listen to this podcast, I need to tell you what a podcast is. Most people have heard about podcasts and podcasting, but they have no idea what it is or what it does. Podcasts are auditory forms of media, most of the time. They are mainly listened to. Podcasts are usually available as a series that one can download and listen to on the go. Some big-name podcasts include This American Life, Serial, WTF, Radiolab and The Joe Rogan Experience.
I have for the past couple of years become infatuated with podcasts. I am subscribed to about 30 different podcasts of varying genre. I find that podcasts are a fantastic medium to consume media. Today's society is constantly on the move. There isn't a time of day where the majority of the population isn't out and about. This is why podcasts are perfect for the 21st century, even though most of the population doesn't know it yet.
"Not killing is really hard. How does Batman do it?"
The Adventure Zone is a podcast created by brothers Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy together with their Dad, Clint McElroy. In this podcast, they play the popular tabletop role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons. They started with this project in 2014 when they decided to post one episode of them playing D&D on their main podcast; My Brother, My Brother and Me. After raving fan reviews they decided to make it its own podcast, which was a huge success. From there on they continued with their story by adding episodes of them playing D&D.
The story follows three adventurers through their missions at the Bureau of Balance, an organization that protects the realm by capturing and destroying powerful artifacts known as relics. Taako is a high-elf wizard with a chaotic good alignment and acts as their trump card. He is voiced by Justin McElroy and provides the comic relief in most cases. Magnus Burnsides is a human fighter and all-around good guy of the group. He's the one that does the damage and does it well. He is voiced by Travis McElroy.
Merle Highchurch is a dwarf cleric who is quite clumsy throughout the season. His purpose in the group is to heal his teammates, although later on, they joke about him never healing anyone. He is voiced by Clint McElroy, the brothers' dad, and he is the only one that doesn't have any tabletop RPG experience so seeing how the brothers teach him how to play D&D while trying to stay on top themselves is quite a humorous interaction. Lastly is the Dungeon Master (DM) who is voiced by Griffin McElroy. Griffin does an amazing job as the DM as he is constantly describing the environments, voicing characters, providing information to the players and, most importantly, creating an incredible story for his players to explore.
"So his only weakness is being stabbed 14 times?"
What separates The Adventure Zone from other Real-Play podcasts (podcasts where they play the game live while recording) is it's innate ability to make you laugh. The Adventure Zone is super funny! There isn't an episode where I didn't laugh due to their current situation, Taako throwing a very stale one-liner or Merle screwing up hilariously once again. This is because the three brothers all have experience in the comedy industry. They are notorious for their comic-filled podcasts such as My Brother, My Brother and Me, Schmanners, Sawbones, Wonderful! and 'Til Death do us Blart.
The Adventure Zone also boasts an amazing story. After the first couple of episodes, it is apparent that they were still finding the ropes, including Griffin, but the further one listens the more we realize how deep and interconnected this tale goes. Some places in the story include an independent bureau on top of a fake moon, a violent desert race full of pirates and wooden cars, an abandoned laboratory overtaken by infectious crystal and rogue robots, a hot, old-west styled town stuck in time and a building designed as an obstacle course that would leave a challenger worse off than death.
There were moments where I laughed my ass off, there were moments where I was on the edge of my seat because of crucial fights that would last several hours and there were moments that I would cry and cry and cry for how beautiful the story would be. Kudos to Griffin McElroy for creating that story. A story that transcended podcasts and is now in book format for more people to enjoy. Not many people could do what he did and it makes me excited for future installments.
The final point I want to make is the large role music had in this podcast. Griffin McElroy is an experienced musician and created the tracks for this podcast. Some arcs in the season would have entire albums dedicated to them. These songs are unique and once you've listened to the show, these songs become something much, much more than just tracks in the background.
The Adventure Zone is an amazing podcast that really needs to be listened to by anyone that enjoys fantasy tales or D&D or even just comedy. I would recommend this to anyone that has the patience and sense of humor to give them a chance, you will not be disappointed.
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