Suspension of Disbelief: The Adventure Zone
Sometimes the world is really rubbish, so we need some good boys to make us laugh and sooth our souls, welcome to… THE ADVENTURE ZONE.
I’ll start by outlining what D&D is, you’ve probably heard of it, but if not here we go. D&D or Dungeons and Dragons is a role playing table top game where you create a character and through the power of imagination, alongside a creative dungeon master (DM), seek adventure. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but the basic mechanic of the game is dice rolls, which determine how successful an action is. A campaign is ran by the DM, who creates a story (more accurately a string of potential scenarios) within the D&D universe often using material from books published for this purpose, which the players then get to run around in and mess up. All of this makes D&D fun, silly and a super organic way to tell a story, oh and great podcast material.
The Adventure Zone is a D&D podcast hosted by the McElroy brothers and their father. The McElroys (Justin ,Travis and Griffin) have their fingers in a lot of pies, working on a bunch of podcasts while Justin and Griffin also work on the gaming site Polygon. Today however, I’m only going to talk about one of the podcasts they run, the one they got their dad in on. The Adventure Zone follows the story of a dwarven cleric, a human fighter and an elven wizard; better known as Merle, Magnus and Taako. We listen as they valiantly defeat gerblins, solve murders and get fast and furious all while insulting most of the people they meet and operating with questionable morals.
Since it’s fruition in 2014 The Adventure Zone has developed far beyond its fairly “rustic” beginnings. The Adventure Zone began as a sort of spin off episode of the Mc Elroy’s already popular podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me (watch this space for a review soon) and quickly became another faction of the Maximum Fun network. The fact that the players are relative beginners lends a lot of charm to the podcast and makes it easier to listen to if you’ve never played D&D before. However, it does mean the first arc is a little rough around the edges story wise and D&D wise as the boys are still finding their feet, but it’s still hilarious and fun to listen to. It’s as the podcast gains traction and Griffin starts to come into his own as a DM that the story really starts to heat up and explains it’s recent surge in popularity.
D&D is a long game, but it’s more than worth the time invested to experience the development of titular characters and elaborate storylines. The Adventure Zone is mostly silly fun, especially in the beginning, but as we reach the finale it’s become a deeply loved story of friendship, family and overcoming our darkest thoughts. Indeed the Mc Elroy’s have proven themselves to be dynamic and caring show runners, making every effort to introduce characters of varying sexualities and backgrounds. Their responsiveness to fans is part of what makes the show so special, with early issues of troubling tropes they issued apologies and have made steps to make the podcast as inclusive as possible. It’s refreshing to have creators so aware of their shortcomings and so determined to improve and provide well thought out representation. So give it a listen if you enjoy silly shenanigans, engaging storylines and crying over fictional characters. Alternatively you might just want to find out who that Taako guy everyone is talking about on Tumblr is.
The Adventure Zone airs bi-weekly and is available to listen to on itunes, spotify and wherever else podcasts are found.
The first arc of the podcast is also being made into a graphic novel and isn’t that just the best? Available for pre-order here.
For more information click here.