Thanks to the incredible hard work done by Orion, the special behind-the-scenes episode of The Mortal Path has been thoroughly and utterly transcribed! Wahoo! Thank you so much, Orion. We’re so thankful for all the hard work you do, and the love you put in each transcript.
While Orion plans to transcribe more episodes, transcription is a time consuming and difficult task, and this is a passion project of his. We’ll be updating the site with new transcriptions as they come, and will be keeping you all updated on Twitter. If anyone is interested in helping Orion write these transcripts, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can put you in touch!
So, with another HUGE thank you to Orion, we are so pleased to present here:
Getting Mortal 1
Created by Yubi, Gary, Kitty and ed.
Transcribed by Orion, because he quite likes transcribing things in his spare time, and he likes TMP even more than that. Any corrections to suggest to this transcription should be sent to email@example.com with ‘Transcript Error’ in the subject line.
Timestamps written are approximate rather than exact, so as to avoid breaking up the flow of the dialogue. All attempts at recreating Yubi’s weird mouth sounds are Orion’s own.
Yubi: Hello and welcome to the behind the scenes episode of The Mortal Path. Did we decide on a title? Were we gonna go with ‘Behind the Mortal Path’? Or ‘Under the Mortal Path’?
ed: It was ‘Under the Boardwalk’.
Kitty: It was ‘Beneath the Mortal Path!’
ed: ‘Under the Boardwalk, on a Blanket with my D&D Party’.
Yubi: I think you just said that, ed, and no one responded.
ed: That’s rare.
Gary: ‘In the Mortal Brush’.
Yubi: In the mortal what?
Yubi: Oh, I thought you say ‘in the mortal bush’! [Kitty laughs]
ed: In the Mortal Bush…
Kitty: Crawling through the mortal bushes… [laughter]
[the lone violin starts up under the dialogue to signal the start of a new episode]
Gary: Getting down in the mortal bush.
Yubi: Oh no…
Kitty: Not that one, thanks.
ed: ‘In the Mortal… Wink!’
Yubi: Okay… That’s…
Kitty: ‘Getting Mortal’.
Yubi: Getting Mortal. We can just-… Getting Mortal’s not bad!
ed: How about we let the listeners decide?
Kitty: I mean, ed, you are kind of assuming that we’ll have listeners.
ed: I… won’t listen to this. [laughter] But I’m sure someone will.
Gary: We can just call it, ‘Who the fuck we are’.
Yubi: Who the fuck we are…
ed: It’s imagination!
[The Mortal Path’s theme tune (by Rachel Graff) begins properly.]
Yubi: My name is Yubi, I am your DM. [pause] Someone has to follow that. [laughter]
ed: Okay. I’m ed, I’m your idiot.
Kitty: That’s fair.
Gary: I’m Gary. I’m confused.
Kitty: I’m Kitty, and I’m the old person who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
ed: But you did manage to get into this call, though! You made it! You got here!
Kitty: I did! I did… I did. I mean, I have had some practice. I’ve been walked through it several times by young people who understand the zeroes and ones.
Yubi: You are doing a very good job, all of you. But as I said, I am the DM so I’m sort of… playing everyone that these three are not playing! And do you guys wanna introduce your characters a little bit? We’re sort of assuming that you’ve probably listened to the first episode? Or at least half of it and then went ‘hold on, I don’t understand any of this, I’m gonna listen to the behind the scenes first’. Or you’ve listened to all three and then gone for the behind scenes? Or you’re just not listening at all.
ed: I’d bet that very few of the people listening to this… broadcast are not listening to anything. That’s very difficult. Very difficult.
Kitty: I would hope so.
Yubi: That would be impressive.
Kitty: I can say with fair confidence that my D&D character is a lot more interesting than me. So realistically if you were looking for a way to entertain your ears, the episodes are probably better than this.
ed: On that note. Why not describe your D&D character?
Kitty: [laughs] Okay, well. The information that I was given by Yubi before we started the game was that we were going to try and put together a low magic campaign. I am very new to playing D&D. I am a member of one long running game – which is also run by Yubi – and I’ve done a couple of oneshots. And yeah, the initial draw for me was – ‘hey, magic! And it’s not real magic, but everyone in the room at least agrees that the same piece of magic is happening.’ And it’s like, yeah, that sounds like something I wanna do! And I’m really enjoying it. But as I say, we were told that this was gonna be a low magic campaign. So I thought, ‘yeah, let’s see – let’s see if I can put together a character that specifically isn’t a caster, isn’t magical’. So Nerium is a rogue. And then of course in the first episode I woke up and I discovered that the other two people playing were both full casters! So I’m quite jealous and things may alter as we go on.
Yubi: I think that’s really interesting, because I definitely said that it was a low magic world. Not necessarily going to be a low magic campaign, just that the world itself was low magic as a setting.
Kitty: As somebody who has no real experience in this game… That probably was enough to confuse me. [laughs]
Yubi: That’s fair. That’s fair enough. So we have Nerium – who, as eagle-eared…? No, what’s a thing with good hearing?
Yubi: Owl-eared… As owl-eared listeners may have noticed, although we keep saying Nerium- and by we I do mean me, I do keep saying Nerium.. Nerium is not currently the name that Kitty’s character is going-… I think it’s Meredith? Merry Burrows?
Yubi: Is what she’s going with so far. So you must pardon me for my constant fuck ups. [laughter] because that was also a curveball for me. So I was suddenly like, ‘okay, that’s fine, I’ll put that in with all of my notes for the first episode. That’s quite alright’.
ed: I just thought you were being an idiot, honestly.
Yubi: I mean, that’s fair.
Gary: Yeah, same.
Yubi: That’s fair. That’s generally how it goes.
Kitty: It’s in her backstory. It’s a name that she has used before.
Gary: Oh, I thought you were saying it’s in Yubi’s backstory. [laughter] The idiot god.
Kitty: I wouldn’t dream of delving into Yubi’s backstory.
ed: No, let’s never go there. Ever.
Yubi: No. Don’t do that.
Gary: That’s true.
[~5 minutes in]
Yubi: So who wants to go next? We’ve had Nerium.
ed: Gary does.
Gary: Gary does. Okay. I’m Gary. I met Yubi and ed at uni and-… Actually with ed it’s where I started my roleplaying world. [laughter] That sounds dodgy.
ed: That sounds very dodgy!
Yubi: It sounded like fun! Please, elaborate!
Gary: I mean, it was a lot of fun! We played some Mutants and Masterminds, I believe it was.
ed: Yes, I can confirm.
Gary: We did. And my first character was Jerome J. Jerome.
Gary: Who’s name made a comeback here.
Yubi: Yeah, there was a little reference there. An homage, if you will.
Gary: Let’s see… Natalia. I liked the idea of being a human, because I don’t think I’ve ever been a human in a D&D world. So I thought – go for that. I liked the idea of, in a low magic world, somebody who doesn’t have magic but wants it. And is willing to do – to an extent – whatever it takes to get it. And so that’s why I liked the idea of a warlock – someone willing to sacrifice to become greater. Now, I will point out two days ago Yubi and I saw… And no spoilers here, don’t worry. Yubi and I saw The Last Jedi. [Yubi laughs]
Kitty: Oh my God, you were prepared to sit in a cinema with Yubi watching The Last Jedi?
Gary: I know, I regret it.
Yubi, louder: Hey…!
Gary: No, it was great. My arm was numb at the end.
Yubi: I only smacked you a hundred million times when I got excited! [Kitty laughs]
Gary: And I was like, ‘aw shit, I’ve accidentally created some kind of pseudo Rey’.
Kitty: [gasps] Awesome, though.
Gary: And I don’t know if you people have seen it yet…
Yubi: No spoilers.
Gary: Just look out for some stuff.
Yubi: Yeah, there were definitely points where we turned to each other and we were like ‘errr!’ Actually again, without spoilers, there is a scene which – you guys listening to this episode if you’ve seen The Last Jedi – where, I swear to God, I’ve got the dates on the files… I’ve got writings down from months ago, where I wrote this scene and then it kind of happened a bit in The Last Jedi and I was like ‘oh… my God…’
Kitty: That’s so cool, though. That’s just how incredibly in touch with the Zeitgeist you are. [Gary laughs]
Yubi: Yeah, I’m so deep in the Star War that I actually wrote The Last Jedi and I didn’t even know it.
Kitty, laughing: I think you’re just deep in the geek.
ed: ‘Deep in the Geek’… That’s what we should call this podcast. Deep in the Geek. [laughter] It’s time to get-…
Kitty: I regret ever having ever spoken those words.
ed: Deep in the geek… [laughter]
Yubi: I like that you kind of said that in Taro’s voice a little bit.
ed: I can’t help it. I just slip into it because it’s my bus voice.
Yubi: Your bus voice?!
Kitty: Your bus voice…?
ed: Look, there’s some vague backstory to this. When I first went to university, as a youthful and scared child, I wanted to become in touch with the common man? This is coming across very, very badly – and it should. But I had a voice I would do whenever I was getting the bus? [Yubi fucking losing it with laughter] And that voice lives on in the character Taro.
Yubi, trying to speak while wheeze-laughing: Your voice… Your voice is a sort of bad cockney accent!
Kitty: Yeah…. That is… ed, you sweet, precious boy, that is one of the most endearing things I have ever heard in my life.
Yubi, still not recovered: What did you think it would do? What did you think that voice would bring to you and your fellow passengers?!
ed: Look it became subconscious, right? I didn’t mean to do it! It just would happen whenever I was getting on a bus! I’d just kind of lace it with a kind of pseudo-accent.
Kitty in a bad cockney accent: Alright, mate!
ed: You laugh, but yes! That. Literally that. [Yubi and Gary still losing it with laughter in the background]
Kitty: Can I say, being a pansy Southerner who lives in Yorkshire now, I walked into the butchers, attempted to buy sausages… Which is not a difficult word to parse when you work in a butchers. I had to repeat myself three times because she couldn’t work out what I was trying to buy…
Yubi, laughing: Oh, bless…
Kitty: After that, I did turn to my husband who is from Yorkshire originally, and go ‘uh, next time you buy the sausages – sorry’.
ed: Just smooths things over a little bit.
Yubi: Just makes it all easier.
Kitty: I have a feeling if I’d walked in and attempted a Yorkshire accent, I would have left even faster and probably without my sausages.
Yubi: Probably. Probably. But speaking of- no, it’s nothing to do with sausages.
Kitty, laughing: We’ve already gotten deep in the geek!
ed: If we returned back five seconds, we could segue easy. Easy. Unfortunately you’ve fucked it all up by talking about sausages, so… [Yubi laughing again]
ed: Well there we go. Anyway!
Kitty: You can cut that. It’s not an interesting story.
ed: It’s a good one.
Yubi: It’s a very interesting story. Speaking of sausages – Taro!
[~10 minutes in]
ed: Yeah, Taro! Okay, Mr Sausage, is my character. [laughter] Yeah, so I’ve basically been watching – I’ve been binging the anime Kaiji? And I was like, this guy sucks. I’m gonna play as this guy. [Yubi laughing] So yeah, he’s basically just trash, that’s kind of my description. I wanted to be an asshole? I’m quite bad at being an asshole. But that’s the aim.
Kitty: Oh, I wouldn’t say that! [Gary and Yubi laugh, slow clapping].
Yubi: Wow! Called out.
Kitty: Oh, come on! You cannot give a feed line like that and expect any other response!
ed: I did really set you up for that one.
Yubi: R.I.P. in pieces, my guy.
ed: He is a bard? That’s kind of… he does spells.
Gary: Oh, he’s a bard?!
ed: A secret. A big secret. The trick is I’m just very bad at playing characters that aren’t just ‘go and hit things’. And I’ve explicitly rolled Taro as a ‘never hit things, don’t do that’. So that will be interesting in the fact that in every combat encounter, it’s not gonna work. [Kitty laughs] So just be ready for that.
Yubi: I did actually-… One thing that I said to you guys, and actually this is a good point, is that you guys did not know who each of you were playing apart from yourselves until we recorded. So you guys had no idea what other people’s class, race, anything was. And even in the first episode, you guys were still trying to work it out. I think the only one that was obvious was Natalia because of the book in Natalia’s backstory with the page on warlock that I said. And people who know a fair amount about Dungeons & Dragons will know that warlocks make pacts and that’s sort of what happened with the mirror scene.
Gary: Also, near the end, Kitty rolled a sneak attack.
Yubi: And also, Kitty wasn’t a spell caster which – that’s the one thing that I kind of spoiled when I said you’re not a spell caster? Which I was like… ‘oh!’ afterwards, but I was laughing which is really hard to edit out. It sounds really weird. It sounds like someone goes ‘hahaha-HUH!’ mid laugh. [laughter] It’s not a good sound. And I think, Kitty, actually – I think you worked out what Taro was but Gary you hadn’t work that out until I think a minute ago.
Kitty: No, no, no, I’d worked it out. Because I’m horrible – I know I have a really, really bad tendency to want to metagame. And I squash it as hard as I can. But I remember sitting there thinking ‘what is Taro exactly? He’s got magic and… Oh, dexterity saving throws!’ And I’m really sorry, but that was the bit that I was like ‘aah, good at dexterity saving throws – that’ll be a bard, then!’ Sorry.
Yubi: Very nice. But it is really funny because I looked at all of your stats of course, when you were building your characters, you kind of told me the race and the class… And the one thing that you all kept saying to me was ‘how’s the composition? How’s the party composition?’ [Kitty laughs] And I was like, ‘it’s fine! Don’t worry about it.’ Which is great because now you’ve got two learning spell casters, you’ve got two people who have got really, really bad strength and smacking things stats. And you’ve got one person who’s really good at smacking things – and no certified medics.
Gary: Or tanks!
Yubi: Or tanks, you’ve got no tanks. You’ve got no medics.
Gary: Gonna be a fun one.
Yubi: And you’re all relatively squishy because of your classes and your races which – I love that though, I thought that was really great. I thought that was really interesting.
Kitty: So, really, when we all came to you and said ‘how’s the composition, are we well balanced and everything’ and you kept saying, ‘oh yeah, no, you’re gonna be fine! You’ll have nooo problems’ and then we all turn up as three limp noodles… [laughter] Oh good, oh good, no that’s gonna be fine. That’ll work perfectly.
Yubi: Three limp noodles who almost killed each other in the first episode. [laughter]
Kitty: Three limp noodles with poor impulse control! Great.
Yubi: Speaking of almost killing each other in the first episode – this is probably a good point to say that we are playing Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition, but with Xanathar’s Guide. So those of you who have got the new book and who are looking up what’s happening, you’ll maybe be seeing aspects and spells from the new guide. I also have put in – and will be putting in – a lot of homebrew stuff. So there’s a mix of stuff that I’ve made up that we’ll have to see how it works in game. It might be totally broken, at which point – [singing] whoopsies… [normal voice] It’s just gonna punish me, really! And there’s stuff that I’ve got that’s been playtested but is unofficial material. But it’s homebrew. But I will be referencing those things when and if they come up. But I just think it’s really fun to do homebrew. I really like it. And speaking again of homebrew – how do you guys feel about me plonking you in the middle of a homebrew universe…? That I just went – you know what, I know from my first ever game that I GMed, I created… I think four continents?
[~15 minutes in]
Yubi: Over 400 cities and over 200 places of interest… And everyone was like ‘that’s a bit much for a first game! And I was like, yeah, don’t worry..
Gary: We’ve been to like, eight!
Yubi: Yeah, but they’re great. I’ve got lists of places you could go. And then for this one I was like, ‘you know what? You’re totally right – I’m just gonna chill. [Kitty laughs] Here’s a universe. Here’s a universe, here are planets, here are everything…’
Kitty: I think my favourite part about you homebrewing an entire universe is your… charming… absolute absence of any grip at all of any aspect of physics or astrophysics. [Yubi laughing]
ed: Yeah, yeah, it’s going great, honestly.
Kitty: I mean, I was thinking about it the other day and I was like, ‘oh hang on a minute, navigation’s gonna be really fucking simple in this world because the shadows won’t move. So you just follow the bit where the grass is dead behind you and you’re heading towards the Sun end.’ There’s all kind of implications!
ed: There’s a lot of implications and we should avoid them altogether. I think that my favourite implication is that inexplicably in this universe, North and South are called East and West. They’re no different, but they’ve just got different names here.
Yubi, still laughing: Listen, I’m the ideas guy, okay!
Kitty: Yep, yep you are.
Yubi: I’m not the building things guy, y’know? Gary’s said that – listen, all you need to do is say ‘moons’. Every time someone says ‘how does it work’, you just say ‘moons’. [laughs]
Gary: Okay, that specifically was about… Because we’re on the equator?
Gary: And you were thinking that’s always going to be dark. But if you’ve got two suns, that’s in fact always going to be light. And so the way to get around it… I’ve just said ‘moons’, just go with moons for everything. There’s moons obstructing it. Lots of moons, big moons.
ed: I’ve got a cheat spell for you. Just say ‘destructive interference’ and then it’s fine. That’s it.
Yubi: Okay, I know what those two words mean in isolation but I don’t know what they mean together.
ed: It doesn’t matter.
Yubi: Which in a sense how I approach most science.
ed: It’s magic.
Kitty: It’s magic.
ed: From a spellbook.
Yubi: It’s magic. But yeah – so basically I homebrewed a universe which aesthetically… 10/10. But physically, working-y… Not very good at all actually. Actually very bad physic-y. Physics-wise, bad. But ideas-wise, solid.
Yubi: Because basically it’s just like an inverted world on it’s side. I was like, ‘that’ll work! Everything can just move 90 degrees and turn inside out. That works.’ But it didn’t quite.
Kitty: It’s a cool concept. I like the fact that there are two sides to it and there’s a wall in the middle and… Two worlds on one planet is a cool idea.
Yubi: Thank you. But basically, yeah, I’ll put it right here. The science is not going to work. That’s fine. I’m chill with that. And the answer is moons and… destructive interference?
ed: Don’t worry. Don’t worry. Just don’t worry. Just don’t worry.
Yubi: Also magic.
Gary: Hakuna Matata.
Kitty: What a wonderful phrase.
Yubi: Exactly. But to give you-… Very good. But to give you a very brief description of the universe as it is, if you-… And we’re on google hangouts so I can see everyone’s face and it’s great because they kind of go from a gentle blank to just incredulous like ‘oh, Yubi’. But I want you to imagine 2 suns and for reasons of moons, destructive magic interference, and also because I wanted to, they don’t move further away from each other. Right in the middle is Alfallen trapped between these two suns, which is the planet that all of you are on. Alfallen does not orbit but it does rotate on an axis… You guys chime in if I get a word wrong, okay? And orbiting round the two suns are various planets that go round those suns but Alfallen itself is stuck in the middle. That’s pretty much all you need to know.
Gary: And there are a whole load of moons.
Yubi: There’s just so many moons.
Gary: That have erratic orbits.
Yubi: Very good orbits.
ed: I hope we never go to the sea because….
Kitty: Well now, that is another aspect of it, isn’t it… Where is the water and how does it work?
Yubi: Listen – it works because it is wet and there are things living in it, which is my greatest fear and means you will definitely come across them. Because I realised that the one thing I do in D&D is I go ‘what am I the most afraid of? Let’s just do that for a long time’. So I will tweet out at some point a picture of my very bad sketch of the universe so you guys have some idea. But all you need to know is the thing about Alfallen, it’s cold in the middle, it’s hot on either side for the most part at what would be the poles, I guess. But they’re hot. And also that because of the moons and other planets causing solar eclipses, we can do some really fun stuff with how long nights and days last and things like that. So basically it’s going to work aesthetically – it’s not going to work science-wise and that’s just gonna have to be okay. Because I can’t fix that, because it doesn’t work. It’s just magic, moons and destructive interference.
[~20 minutes in]
But speaking of the world, and your creative inputs, you guys actually all homebrewed where you came from in your backstories and you created-… I think also each of you actually named a moon as well? Or at least you should have done and sent it to me, which I need to find out. So I gave you the brief that this was what the planet looked like, and gave you guys total free reign of any country, how big or how small you wanted to create your places. And I don’t want you guys to go into too much detail at the moment because I want you to get to them in game, so to speak. But the reason that I wanted you to do that was so that you would have a very deep, innate knowledge of the places that you came from – because you made them. It wasn’t me being like, ‘okay, cool character, here’s your whole backstory, here’s your past, here’s where you’re from’. I wanted you guys to do that basis so that you could then build your experiences on that character off that local knowledge of the land. And you guys all did great, actually, you did fantastic. You created – although again, no spoilers – three really different places that I could fit in really easily with the world, and I’m really excited for when you guys get there.
ed: Out of interest – who’s massive fucking document is the most massive?
Yubi: Ooh… I mean… Probably mine.
ed: That doesn’t count.
Kitty: I’d hope so.
Yubi: I think ed’s is actually. I think it’s probably yours…
ed: Yesss. I’m the champion.
Yubi: Well, but that’s because I did a lot of work with Gary’s in person? Gary and I live relatively close to each other so we did a fair amount in person.
Gary: Also a lot of my document is still bullet points that I need to expand on.
Yubi: Yeah, exactly. So basically, ed, I think you did more writing about the place itself and the history and the traditions? And then Gary and Kitty both situated themselves very deeply in it – for reasons that make sense for your backstories, there’s a slight difference in what details I got where and when. Which was really fun because when… So we also recorded some, what I call, 15 minute scenarios. Which is basically where I wrote a couple of scenes out of the backstories that you gave me and we played through them so that you guys could workshop your voices, your characters, start to kind of get your stats in place so that we would have a backup – or a reason for why you could hit things or not hit things. And it made sense in Taro’s backstory, but we did quite a lot of character work on Taro but not on what happened in various places. And then with Nerium and with Natalia, it was slightly different. Maybe we’ll release them one day? But there’s very shaky audio, I’m still learning how to edit and there are some points that’s just a bit… Well, that’s just a bad sound that we all made there…
Gary: Oh yeah, yeah, definitely.
ed: Release the tapes, Yubi.
Gary: Don’t do it.
ed: Release the tapes.
Yubi: Maybe one day.
Kitty: I think also as far as Nerium’s run is concerned, the… I don’t think we got past the point where she was about 16. And in game she’s 39. So she’s a very different person than she was in those 15 minute bits.
Yubi: Absolutely, absolutely, ‘cause we did quite a lot of early work on her? And then didn’t do a lot of later work. Which is really interesting actually because she is a different person for sure. Speaking of the campaign and everything – the kind of plan that I have for the whole thing is it’s a long campaign style. So I’ve got… basically I’ve got your ending. But the ending is subject to lots of things. I’m gonna get into it a little bit later. I’ve got the idea of the ending, but how you get there and what actually happens is going to be totally up to you. And you guys might [waveringly] diiiee…. [normally] before you get there, so it might even be three totally different people who end up there.
ed: Three ghosts. [laughter]
Yubi: Or three ghosts! It might just be three ghosts.
Kitty: Or, or, we can do a Critical Role and everytime someone dies they are miraculously brought back, no matter how high the DC. [laughter]
Yubi: Yeah, I have to have a little think about what we’re gonna do about that when we get to it. Because of course-
Kitty: What, like in the first episode?
Yubi: Yeah, like in the first episode where I was like ‘I’m just going to change the rules of 5th ed for this one’. But actually Gary’s come up with a really good system of inflicting wounds that make a little bit more sense in terms of the story that we’re playing than death saving throws. Like you get knocked out, you do death saving throws and then you pop up at 1 HP? Which I am going to- I think I’m going to implement. But I kind of want to bring it in in a more organic way than just give you guys the sheet and ‘okay prepare for this’. So you’ll see. But that’s Gary’s own system and it’s really good and we use it in his homebrew game. And it really works, actually. It can be really funny, because actually my character suffered quite a few of these big wounds and it can be very frustrating but it makes really good sense in the game and I like it a lot. And if we’re doing a more story driven campaign then I think it works. Which, again, is what I’m really interested in.
[~25 minutes in]
So there’s two things that I’m really into in D&D. One is character development for the players and the other is the question of choice. And that really is what‘s going to sum up this campaign for me. As you guys will have heard if you’ve listened to the first… one, two, however many episodes before you listen to this, there are a lot of choices that happen very early on. And those may seem arbitrary or they may seem really important or they may seem inconsequential but I’m really into the idea of what matters in D&D. Because of course as a DM, you have to have a plan for each episode and you have to have an overall plan for the campaign – or at least I believe that I have to have that in order to do a podcasted one. But you guys never know what choices matter. And what’s gonna change the course of the game and what’s gonna come up later and what’s just gonna be forgotten. And I think that’s super interesting. And so that’s what I want to explore in the podcast, is autonomy and development through you guys.
Kitty: That’s very interesting. I’m very aware that although she looked through one of the two doors, the white door, she walked through the green one. And then when they got to the chests, she opened the green one, she didn’t even look in the white one. So she has no idea what the contrast point was. Whereas everybody else has a little bit of a clue, however small, I mean I know Taro’s are things that he doesn’t remember, but they’ve got a little bit of a clue of what the divergence from the path was. And Nerium has no idea!
Yubi: Yeah. And actually, you guys mentioned metagaming before – but my God you guys are so good at not doing it in game! Like, honestly, you guys are fantastic and I am A) grateful and B) proud. I’m proud. [Kitty laughs]
ed: I’ve actually got no idea what you’re talking about, to be proud for. [laughter] So uh, thank you very much for me not doing the thing that I didn’t know what it is, so… [laughter] Yet again, I’ve really nailed it this time.
Yubi: You’ve done a great job. You’re really good, all of you, at… I will say something and then rather than all of you going ‘okay, I know this now’, you will then act it out, you will go through it as the characters which is fantastic.
Kitty: I think that’s one of the most fun things about doing it, is that you don’t do the obvious correct answer to the puzzle, you go, ‘no, no, I’m playing somebody with a different set of skills to me who is experiencing this in a world rather than as a description’. And what choice are they gonna make? Are they gonna do the stupid thing or are they gonna… Y’know. And I think that’s part of the fun of it.
ed: That’s right. It’s our characters who are the idiots in this setting. [Yubi laughs]
Kitty: Yes. Yes.
Yubi: That’s it, that’s it. You can blame it all on the characters. But actually, that fits in really well with my idea of… And this is just my personal belief on DMing and it’s not the one playstyle and it’s not judging anyone else’s. But my personal belief is that a DM has two jobs – or at least I say that I have two jobs as a DM. One is to create a good and fun sandbox for all of you guys to throw little spades around and to make little plastic buckets of sandcastles and stuff in. And the other is to give you guys space and hooks for character development. I want to focus this around you guys in that sense. It should all be for you guys to explore and to grow and to do things and to make choices and to do all of that. But I couldn’t do that if you guys weren’t so good at roleplaying. Because if I said something and you guys were all like, ‘….cool’ and then just waited for me to say the next thing, it wouldn’t work. But you guys, what I think is amazing is I will say something and Nerium will kind of go [gasps] like as it happens and you really bring yourselves into it. Which makes my job so easy. Because I can just sit back and be like… ‘Run! Run free!’
ed: Go, my shitty children. Go forth.
Yubi: Go, my strange, vaguely insulting, big, lying children.
Gary: For me, a lot of that comes from listening to other podcasts and drawing on what I found enjoyable in them and listening to their behind the scenes and saying how they like to do it.
Gary: So for me, I’ll listen to Dungeons and Randomness, Glass Cannon and The Magic Tavern. And a lot of those will influence the way I like to play D&D. Especially Dungeons and Randomness and the Glass Cannon – they’re a lot more about ‘don’t say – oh I’m going to cast this! I’ve got a plus blah’. It’s more of a ‘my character looks around and brings their hands up and tries to blast out a force of energy’.
[~30 minutes in]
Yubi: Yeah, I really like that. It’s sort of like visual storytelling. My main inspirations really… ‘Cause actually, I’ve listened to a bit of the Glass Cannon, I think I’ve listened to like one episode of Dungeons & Randomness that you recommended – which is great, I just haven’t gotten more into it because [rasping] I haven’t got the time…
Gary: There’s a lot of it.
Yubi, still rasping: There’s so much… [normally] But I have listened to all of The Adventure Zone, which is what actually got me into D&D really and I have watched almost all of Critical Role. What’s really interesting is Critical Role and TAZ are, for me at least in my opinion, they’re at opposite ends of the spectrum on sort of how you can media-ise D&D. And I find that really interesting. And I think that that style like you were saying there Gary, that kind of describing things as they happen is what invigorates. Because really, for me, D&D is about communal storytelling. And that’s what I want to do with you three and to share is the creativity and the ability of you guys to… basically act! You guys are really good actors. And how you react and create stories within the vague limitations that I have set out.
Kitty: One of the nice things that I’ve got- because I similarly got into it via TAZ and then you made me promise to watch Critical Role, and I am now completely caught up and you’re not.
Yubi, laughing: I know.
Kitty: Which is… [inhales through teeth] Yeah, an interesting thing. Um, but I think one of the things that I really enjoyed about Critical Role particularly… I like TAZ because I like the way that they clearly have fun with it and that was really encouraging as somebody new to it, the fact that you’re allowed to get it wrong and mess up and go ‘hang on, what am I rolling? How many sides on this dice?’ But I also like the fact that in Critical Role was the first time I think that I’d come across people who say ‘I do this’ – because they are inhabiting the character enough that they’re not saying ‘Magnus rushes in’, which is great and works brilliantly in the context of that group. But I think that particularly Liam O’Brien saying ‘I do this’ and getting really, really invested in who he was playing… And it’s nice because you feel like it gives you permission to do that yourself and not to feel like you’re overdoing it or being ridiculous.
Yubi: Absolutely. Well no, you guys are amazing. You are evocative and you guys, all of you do really good points but you actually change points in your voice? So there’s once or twice where Nerium’s voice has like, wobbled? And Natalia in the second episode with one of the items in the box where she goes ‘this one… This one’… Y’know? And Taro as well with the ‘wha-, h-… hold on!’ Like all the different ways in which you guys actually act it out is so great in bringing it into the story. And I think that’s amazing because that’s really what I want to be doing with a D&D podcast, is to create something that is a story to listen to, that is evocative. And I think you guys do a great job with it.
Kitty: Aww, thank you… And you do a great job too. Not with the physics, but the rest of it’s good.
Yubi: But speaking of something that I do do that is not physics and that I do better than physics, I do want to just spend like a minute talking about the soundscape and production values.
Gary: Wait, wait, what are ed’s influences into this?
Yubi: Oh yeah, ed!
Kitty: Oh yeah!
ed: Uh, I’ve listened to TAZ, I guess. I think I’ve slept through several of the episodes.
Yubi, laughing: Wow! Wow… Alright.
ed: No offense to them. I get sleepy, okay? I get sleepy. Yeah. I guess I’ve watched a lot of anime. [laughter] Is that relevant? That’s relevant, right? Anime’s basically like D&D but without any… influence… It’s…
Yubi: Keep going, keep going.
Yubi: We’re listening.
ed: Eeerrr…… I dunno. I think that the-… Actually, I think that I’m least interested in the actual setting compared to everyone else. I’m not a massive fan of the whole fantasy setting, which I think is actually why TAZ appeals to me more than any of the other ones I’ve tried. It’s because they seem to… They don’t let the setting get in the way of the stories they wanna tell with it. In a lot of the ways, the really weird place where TAZ actually got me interested was at the end of the first chapter where they just go, ‘oh some massive bubble turns up and we’re going to the moon’. I was like ‘okay, I’m hooked now, that’s it’. [laughter] I’m glad. This elf shit, I don’t give so much of a fuck about. But we’re going to the moon? I’m in. I’m in, I’m sold.
[~35 minutes in]
Yubi: Actually, I really like that in TAZ as well, and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to create a world that had low magic because I think in D&D when everybody has the ability to cast spells, magic gets really boring. It becomes kind of normal? And that was one thing that I wanted to have in this world although it wasn’t necessarily going to be, like I said, a low magic campaign: that it was unusual in the world to have magic. And one of the things that hasn’t really come up yet in the thing but I’ve talked a bit about with you guys in the document and in the set-up that I wrote, is that I want to bring in elements of machinery and clockwork and steamwork and to build that mix of fantasy in really what is the epitome of high fantasy. Because this is a world reaching its zenith. Who is learning to put magic and machinery together and to have these mechanical wonders that are half machine and half magic and all of this… ‘Wow!’ atmosphere for everyone in the world? Rather than Lord of the Rings which is post-apocalyptic fantasy. So that’s after everyone has gone and died and the world…
Kitty: Half the continent’s died.
Yubi: Exactly. And things that tend to be fantasy, like Game of Thrones, again… All the amazing stuff is finished and you’re now in like the dying days of the continent type thing. I kind of wanted to pull it back to the building sense of ‘this is really amazing’. And that gave me the space to do kind of weird stuff with it. I also really like that about TAZ, bringing those elements of like, ‘there’s fantasy and magic, but there’s more to it’. And it’s more…
Kitty: There’s also Fantasy Costco.
Yubi: Yes, there’s also elements of sci-fi because we are all people who consume a lot of media. We consume a lot of very different media [laughs]. There are going to be influences, there are going to be homages, there are going to be accidental plagiarisms… There are going to be… You can probably pick apart anything we say and find a reference to something in it because unfortunately, we are all product of what we consume.
Kitty: To be fair, depending on who’s conversation you pick apart, going through ed’s references… Uh, good luck.
Yubi, laughing: Yeah!
Gary: That’ll lead you down a dark path, if you manage it. [loud laughter]
ed: This is cyberbullying. I’m getting cyberbullied. And I won’t hesitate to call the cyber cops.
Yubi, still laughing: And who are the cyber cops?!
ed: Erm… They’re the police online.
Yubi: Okay, that’s fair.
Gary: They fight the cyberpunks.
ed: You have to dial… They do work closely with the cyberpunks, yeah. You have to dial 999 but in digital.
Yubi: Okay, in binary, or…?
ed: In digital.
Yubi: Oh, sorry.
ed: You have to type it in in digital. Like on a digital watch.
Yubi: Oh, that makes sense. Thank you for letting me know.
ed: Just like that. Just in case, they probably won’t help.
Yubi: They’ve already got me on a record. But speaking of sci-fi and things that don’t fit into your typical fantasy, that’s actually something that I actually wanted to do with the music. So I do the soundscape and I do the post-production so, we record it – everybody records an individual track, sends it to me… I spend 800 years getting very angry at various little noises that people involuntarily make in my own head and then make a thousand myself and I’m like ‘Goddamnit! Who is coughing on this audio track? Oh, it’s me. Arghh…’ Um, but I do all of the music for it as well. I am not a professional music-maker. Fun fact! I got a U in my AS level composition. So, uhhh….
Kitty: Wow! That’s…
Yubi: I was so bad, they wouldn’t mark it! [in a soft dreamy voice] But look where we are now!
Gary: Also, in case any of you lovely listeners are thinking ‘ah, this Yubi, they’re great at computers and technology’ – Yubi, what does your screen look like?
Yubi: Oh, no.
Kitty: Oh, yes.
Yubi: Don’t do this to me!
Gary: What does your screen look like?
Yubi: Why would you do this to me? Why would you make me admit that I deliberately downloaded a pack that would make my computer look like it was Windows 98 again? Because that was a comforting time in my life and I understood the boxes that you clicked on and things were in boxes and you didn’t have to move your mouse to 800 sides of the screen to try and find your fucking calculator!
Kitty: You can defend it all you like!
Yubi: I will say-! I will say that I did try to open Firefox on it and it was like walking into the hellscape. It hated it. It hated it. All of my programmes hate it. But the thing is, I’m really used to them now? So what happens is I open a word processor and everything is this really light shade of blue with neon green on it. And people are like ‘what has happened?!’ and I’m like, ‘it’s fine, it’s normal. It’s what it looks like’. Like, it’s not! It’s not right! But yeah. So anyway, I do the-…
Kitty: Even I, at my advanced age, my advanced grandma age… Even I can look at a modern computer screen.
[~40 minutes in]
Yubi: No, I don’t like it. It’s too new. But… Getting back to it! I do the editing so any editing mistakes are on me. I do the soundscape in that I do the compositions that happen that aren’t the main theme – because I do just want to talk about the main theme very quickly. So the main theme was written by Rachel Graff. It was completely composed by her, recorded, we had a couple of like quote-unquote ‘workshops’ together where she would say a couple of themes and I would be like, ‘that one, that one – and can you also do that one, but maybe a bit lower? And sort of there…’ And she put it together and it’s absolutely amazing and actually you can go to her website which is Rachel Graff, r-a-c-h-e-l-g-r-a-f-f, dot com. She’s got lots of other compositions as well. She just released an album called Sketching the Rain, it is so good. It is really atmospheric. But she did the main theme, it is amazing, thank you so much. And this is the one that I did not do – because it’s the best one! But a thing that I wanted to do with the music – and that comes up in the second episode – is to kind of indicate that it’s not gonna be quote-unquote ‘normal’ high fantasy. One of the tracks I did was basically a mix of like 80s synth wave and like… Arctic dubstep? Put together?
Gary: Arctic dubstep?
Gary: I didn’t know that was a genre!
Kitty: I mean, those are all words!
ed: I’ll be honest…
Kitty: They are all words…
ed: What is arctic dubstep? You just kind of have a fucking rager out in the wastes.
Kitty: You just get real fuckin’ cold.
ed: Me out in the tundra, taking some ecstasy, goin’ ham.
Yubi: No, listen. Arctic dubstep is just a barbecue in Scotland. [Kitty laughs loudly] I’m totally comfortable in that atmosphere. [Yubi laughs]
Kitty, laughing: God, that’s gonna play hell with your sound levels…
Yubi: It’s alright, I can make you quieter. That’s the magic of editing. [Kitty laughing again]
ed: Doritos, dew, and arctic dubstep.
Yubi: So yeah, 80s vaporwave synth and arctic dubstep. But I kind of wanted to indicate that it’s not all just going to be a 3 piece violin suite and some kind of imperial sounding drums. I do want to do different things with it. So I hope that you like the music in the background and at the start.
Kitty: Are we gonna get some lovely bouncy Irish folk bouncing noises for taverns? Like steerage on the Titanic?
Yubi: We will have to wait and see. [Kitty giggling] Probably. Probably.
ed: This is actually a low tavern universe… [all laughing]
Kitty: Well that’s fine! I’m a Halfling! [all groaning]
Yubi: Oh, nice. Oh, wow… Another thing to bring in – so episode 1, I don’t know if you guys have listened to it yet or what order you’re listening to these in… But episode 1 just goes for it. It’s straight in there and it goes for it. And I recognised that that could be confusing to people who are maybe listening to this, like ‘is episode 1?’ But the reason that I wanted to just go for it was because although we’re doing a podcast and I’m editing it and putting in music and doing all of the post-production… We’re not professionals. You can probably hear that in bits of mic quality and background noise and everything. And ultimately, this is a D&D game. It’s not scripted. It’s as scripted as any other D&D game is in that I have a plan and I hope that I can think quick enough when you guys deviate from the plan to make it kind of still work. And so like a D&D game, I would want to just go for it. I think having 10 minutes of exposition at the beginning would really bog it down, make it really boring? And so I wanted to just start the game with a dice roll: ‘A constitution saving throw. We’re going in for it.’ And while I recognise that that can be confusing, I’m sure some people out there will really like that style . And there’s an element of ‘you can’t please everyone’. So if you did find it really confusing and terrible, I’m really sorry. If you loved it… Yay! I’m glad. [Kitty laughs]
Kitty: I liked it, as a beginner.
Yubi: Radio silence from Gary and ed, that’s fine.
ed: I just realised I’m sweating a lot.
Yubi, laughing: Are you nervous?! [odd accent] Am I makin’ ye noi-vous?
ed: No… I dunno. I guess I’m just a sweaty guy.
Kitty: To be fair, I suspect that one of the reasons why I liked it a lot was because I rolled really low and got to wake up last.
Yubi: You got to kind of hear what was going on. [Kitty laughs]
Kitty: That might be a factor.
Yubi: Yeah, Taro waking up first immediately… ‘Cause I didn’t give you guys any clues about what was going to happen in the first episode. I didn’t tell you guys how you were going to meet. I didn’t say anything like [stilted voice] ‘please be prepared to all go on an adventure together’ [normal voice] type thing. I said ‘make characters, tell me who they are, and that’s it’. We have a vague kind of trust going on in that if I lay down certain plot hooks, you will hopefully kind of pick them up if they make sense in character… You’re not immediately going to peel off and be like ‘right! Bye!’ and play that level of chaotic. But at the same time I’m not going to be pushing you into situations. Because again, like I said, it’s all about choice for me. And if I can’t keep you guys interested and together then that’s sort of on me, I feel.
Kitty: I think that one of the things that I found interesting about the start was that because we’d done so much talking about Nerium’s background and the environment that she lived in and where she was at the point that the story starts, that… To transplant her into this completely unfamiliar, alien place was kind of interesting. Because I remember the point at which you said, ‘what do you mean you’ve only got one dagger?’ And I was like, ‘I’ve only got one fucking dagger! I make dresses! Melvin gave it to me and I have to carry it to keep him happy! I don’t even use it!’ And I’m looking at these other two people next to me who both have swords and like armour and stuff, and going ‘oh my God! I have no idea what’s going on!’ And I think part of that was much easier to do because I wasn’t sitting there going ‘oh, well, if they’ve got swords with them, I’ve probably got two daggers or whatever’. Because we talked to such an immersive extent about what she’d been doing the day before she woke up in this bizarre place.
[~45 minutes in]
Yubi: Yeah, it was really interesting actually. Because I hadn’t really thought about that when Nerium was like ‘are they armed? Do they have swords?’ When you play D&D you kind of think everyone has a sword and can cast a cantrip. And that really summed up the kind of vibe that I wanted to go for in that this is a world of magic and wonders, but there are ordinary people. And that kind of plays into the whole getting you guys to level one. So you guys start out at level zero. We covered some stuff in your backstories, we had certain things like your certain proficiencies you had to roll certain checks to be able to have basic proficiencies for your classes and species in them… But you guys are kind of working from level zero to level one at the minute because you’re still unlocking your abilities and things that you can do. And I wanted to give that sense of… Even level 1 is a big step above everyone else in terms of normalcy in the world. [Sarcastic] Which I’m sure is going to be really fun for me to balance later when you guys inevitably get suuuper fuckin’ powerful… [normal voice] As what happens in fifth ed! But yeah, I thought that was a really good and interesting thing.
ed: So I didn’t have any backstory up til that. In our backstory sessions, we covered some stuff but it was like… I have no… I know vaguely where that is in relation in time to now. But it’s not like I was there the day before. So I was like ‘I literally have no idea how I got here at this point’ at the start.
Yubi: Yeah, yeah. ‘Cause we did your 15 minute scenario first? So it was still very much like… Nerium, we did yours last, I think. [Kitty murmurs in agreement]. So there’s definitely arcs of how polished things are. And I think both times Taro went first! Which means that both times – in the 15 minute scenarios and in the very first episode – I was kind of working out how to do things as well. Which means that they’re definitely probably a little bit shakier than the other ones. But actually that does remind me, because I do need to message you about a couple of things, ed – Taro – before we record the next episode. It was definitely an executive choice to just kind of drop you all in the middle. Because I find it kind of frustrating when you are suddenly thrown into the middle of a story? And people have pre-determined relationships and things that you all kind of know about. And I find that quite disconcerting as a listener. And so I wanted to put you guys on the same page as everyone else and like ‘who… are… you? Where are we…? What’s happened…’ type thing. So everyone has that sense of mystery in that respect.
ed: I think I especially like that we don’t know each other at the start because I’ve always found it quite uncomfortable when you’re dropped into a story and there’s nobody for you to… It feels like the people playing already have a set of relationships that have already been built on. There’s a context there that you don’t get as a listener from day one.
Yubi: Yeah, yeah. And I really wanted to… That is exactly it. I really wanted to bring in that sense of you guys started out all on the same place and the listeners are all also on that same place. Because again, without spoilers, there are ways in which you guys are already interconnected? In ways that you guys don’t know about and won’t know about for a while, I don’t think. But you don’t know each other.
Kitty: I mean, that is literally one of the things that Nerium is currently thinking about. Like… What have I got in common with these two large, armed, magical people?
Yubi: Yeah. [laughs]
Gary: Large? Well… I suppose, compared to you.
Yubi: You are all very short! The tallest of you… The two tall people are quote-unquote, “5’2” each. [laughter] And so you are both equal height and smol…
ed: hey, I’ve got horns! I’ve got big horns.
Yubi: That’s true! Are you 5’2 with the horns?
ed: No, without the horns.
Yubi: Oh, okay. So Taro’s got a couple of inch of horn on you. Well… [all laughing raucously]
ed: Please… Please, Jesus….
Yubi: You know what-…
Kitty: How do you do it?! How do you do it?!
ed: Also, ‘a couple of inches’?! A couple of inches… [everyone laughing] Excuse me… I believe I specified somewhere between half a foot and a foot, but that’s fine. [Yubi laughing loudly]
Kitty: I mean, that’s a lot of horns.
[~50 minutes in]
Yubi: You can brag all you want, ed… I’m very sorry, I didn’t mean it in quite that same way. But you know what, that is probably a good point to wrap this up. Thank you so much for-
ed: What, when we’ve just reached down into depravity? When we’ve rolled around in the shitty mud of our minds?
Yubi: Yeah, we’ve just kind of shown our true colours there after being all fancy about ideals and lofty goals for a D&D podcast.
Kitty: I don’t think they were ever very well hidden, but…
Yubi: No, no, that’s fair. Thank you guys so much for listening and I really hope that you enjoy the rest of the story. A little bit about our schedule is that the first three episodes and this one are all gonna be released at the same time on our launch date. Then we will be releasing one a week for two weeks after that until there are five episodes and this. And then we’re going to be going into one every two weeks after that – because I work 40 hours a week, I do another podcast, and I also run another game and I play in other games, and we do not have time to do a weekly one… Unfortunately. Not with the same levels of me being able to create the music and put things in and edit it. As for social media, we have a Twitter which is @themortalpath; we have a wordpress, themortalpath.com; we have a facebook, The Mortal Path on facebook, and we also all have personal twitters. So you can actually find me if you want at @uzbadyubi, which is u-z-b-a-d-y-u-b-i.
ed: Uh, I’m at @4423QQ…
Kitty, laughing: That’s nice and easy! Good!
ed: Yeah, just download that number and decode that for a little bit… Y’know.
Yubi: Does it mean something?
ed, sighing and mumbling: It’s… an anime reference… [exhaling]
Gary: Of course. Of course it is.
Yubi: Sorry, my apologies.
Kitty: Of course it means something.
ed: And some Qs because 4423 is too short for anywhere.
Yubi: Oh, okay. Just ‘Qs’, because.
Kitty: My twitter handle is @KittyDorkling which is k-i-t-t-y-d-o-r-k-l-i-n-g…
Yubi: Very nice.
Gary: I do not really do the Twitter. However! Natalia will be making a Twitter soon.
Yubi: You can follow Natalia’s Twitter. Which I am very excited about.
ed: I should probably just make a note, please do not follow me on Twitter. [all laughing] You don’t want to!
Kitty: That’s fair, actually!
Yubi: ed is like a slightly less relatable wint. So like, follow ed with care because you will get less of the tweets but the ones that you do get will be very good. But most of them will be incomprehensible.
Kitty: Don’t look at them at work.
Yubi: It will just mostly be… There’s a great bit about frogs which was very good. But other than that, it is vaguely indecipherable. Mine is just me vaguely complaining about where I live for the most part, so have fun with that.
Kitty: Mine has nothing on it yet!
[The violin starts under the dialogue to signal the end of the episode coming]
Yubi: We’re getting there. We also are available on podbean, iTunes and soundcloud. I think that’s about it from us for this, we hope that you enjoy the next episode or the first episode, or whatever order… Or if you just listen to this, then… Okay?
Yubi: Enjoy just this however long of a thing that we haven’t yet edited down.
Gary: See you later, fucklords.
Kitty: Thanks guys!
ed: That’s the worst sign off, the worst fucking sign off… Are we done? Shall I end the recording?
[The music starts in earnest with the familiar drumbeat of the theme song again.]