The Adventure Zone morphes into a new beast


Photo Credit: Gustavo Morales

Katelin Aanerud

The Adventure Zone is a Maximum Fun podcast featuring Justin, Travis, Griffin, and Clint Mcelroy. The three brothers and their dad have been sitting down and playing the popular roleplay game(RPG) Dungeons and Dragon(D&D) since December of 2014, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

After the “Balance” arc came to an end on Aug 24, 2017 listeners got a glimpse at two new casts of lovable characters in “Commitment” and “Amnesty.” Though fans were sad to hear the end of the story of Taako Taaco, Magnus Burnsides, and Merle Highchurch, they welcomed the family’s new characters as “Amnesty” came into full swing as they played a variation of D&D. With fewer rules, and more shenanigans, Griffin donned his cloak to play Dungeon Master(DM) once more.

“I’m just so stoked to get started because we’re playing a game called Monster Of The Week,” Griffin said. “It is a game that is part of the Powered By The Apocalypse system. There’s a lot of cryptic activity, and I think that the show will be so intresting. Because, it’s like, what if that all was real? I wanted to tell a story about community and more rural communities and the banding together that they sometimes have to do against real forces. But like what if monsters were that threat.”

Unlike the previous two arcs, “Amnesty” is placed in the modern day West Virginia town of Kepler. We got our first glimpse at the story and characters in their setup episode on Jan 4, and the first narrated episode came out the following week.

Duck Newton, who is portrayed by Justin, is the first character we meet as the new arc starts. He has the background of a “Chosen One”, but after rejecting his calling, he becomes a park ranger in the Monongahela National Forest just outside of Kepler.

With a fiery entrance, Aubrey “Lady Flame” Little quickly became a fan favorite. Played by Travis, she’s a goth magician who accidentally sets a hotel on fire with the help of her bunny companion Harris Bonkers. She meets Mama, who tells her her “magic” might not all be fake, and teaches her about a world of monster beyond our own.

Sitting in a shop on the edge of town, we meet Clint’s character Ned Chicane. While he is a non believer in the supernatural, he owns a mini-museum called the Cryptonomicon where he collects artifacts pertaining to mythical creatures like Bigfoot, Mothman, and the Loch Ness Monster.

“I worked really hard on preparing this arc and I’m so glad so many of the fans are enjoying it just as much as we are. We’re all kinda in love with this one, and in love with the characters the boys made. It has so much promise and it’s the reason we’ve been doing these mini test arcs,” Griffin said.

I found this story easy to grab onto and hold as Griffin narrated, and the other boys jumped in with their witty humor and innovative solutions to absurd problems. Not only is “Amnesty” as good as the previous arcs, it succeeds in grabbing the listeners attention right away. This story does what “Balance” did in 15 episodes in one amazing introduction of each character.

The series came to an end on Feb 9, wrapping up the story in a neat bow in only five episodes. As much as I love “Balance” and their old characters, “Amnesty” was so riveting, different, and they managed to stuff more character development into the few episodes we got.

For anyone interested in D&D, podcasts, or radio dramas, The Adventure Zone is a great place to get started. I highly recommend new listeners to start with “Amnesty” before delving into the over 70 episodes of “Balance.”

To listen to the series, visit their website, or download the podcast app for iTunes and Androids.