Sneak Attack! The Interview
In case you missed it, we featured the Dungeons and Dragons podcast Sneak Attack on our very first Pod Nod. After that, we reached out to Reid and the gang for an interview and got our answers! After a wild episode on a different plane of existence and finally getting the Colonel’s background, how about another treat, Sneakers? Check out our interview with the group below, with some questions from the audience incorporated as well!
Stjep (@StjepanLukac) asks, “If Reid could join the campaign as a player, what race/class would he play? And why?” And to elaborate on that, I’m also interested to hear if there are any NPCs that you have created for Sneak Attack that you could see yourself playing on the team.
Reid: I am a huge fan of Halfling Rogues. They have been such a core staple of D&D throughout the years that I love the legacy, and there are so many fun ways to play a Rogue that it provides a lot of unique opportunities. To your other question, I don’t feel that any of my NPCs particularly stand out to me as possible characters to play. Maybe Thaylin Brightspire as a Bard or Ranger, since I love her as a character.
Mike, Whacky Donkerz (@lukevorwald) asks, “Will Sherwood have an alignment change given the recent events?” I’m also interested knowing about the conversation that you and Reid had in preparation for the episode, specifically how surprised were you to see how things turned out, Reid?
Reid: Mike and I had a conversation about Sherwood’s conversation with Brinlin, and what he intended to glean from the interaction. What he did not tell me is what would happen if Brinlin didn’t see eye-to-eye with Sherwood.
Aaron Gutekunst (@aarongutekunst) asks, “What are your three most influential external sources from which you pull inspiration for the campaign?” And in addition to that, Bard (@Prophet_Of_Bass) asks, “What is the thought process (for each member about the game) between each recording session?” Do you guys do much prep before a recording, if any?
Reid: I don’t get a ton of inspiration from traditional fantasy stories. Obviously, Lord of the Rings is a great tool for creating character traits based on race or geographical location. But I glean ideas from just about every piece of fiction I read or watch. The stories I’m more interested in are fundamentally human stories, so I can get ideas from Breaking Bad as easily as I can Mass Effect.
Joshua: I spend some time each week thinking about my character’s motives. I also get several hours to ruminate over each episode as I edit them, giving me a chance to think about what Greaek’s current goals are and what he’ll try to do next.
Kelsey: I think about it nonstop as I go to sleep the night we record, and I try to empathize with Brenna as much as possible. That way when it comes time to record, I can just BE Brenna. I don’t actually hate the guys, (they’re all hilarious people) but c’mon. If someone dreaming of incredible, epic adventures was traveling with a guy who always stops to make noodles, a guy who hits before he thinks, and a guy who poops on everything… it would take her a while to adjust her expectations. It has been fun following her journey of realization and coming to grips with reality. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m really proud of how much she has grown, slowly but surely.
Mike: For me, inspiration comes from the other people at the table. When I see the crew really getting into the story or their characters it helps me meet them in that moment.
Danny: I usually spend the time between episodes thinking of new characters to play because I’m pretty sure I’m going to die the next time. Jk! I usually listen to the tail end of the previous episode and just arrive ready to have a good time with my friends. I spend time getting into my character’s “head space” thinking about their motivations so when I’m playing, I can react like they would. It’s definitely a work in progress but it’s so much fun.
Scotty Peters (@happytoberanga) asks, “Do the players discuss the game and their characters between sessions?” Kelsey and Josh, I imagine you guys inevitably do since you’re married, but is there a deliberate sense in the group of not wanting to go too meta, for the sake of the story, or are there no real rules?
Joshua: Kelsey and I usually talk about what’s going on during the week. Not all the time, but it’s a fairly regular topic when we hang out.
Kelsey: It’s so hard NOT to talk about it. It’s our hobby and we get to share it with each other, so I relish getting to be able to bounce ideas off of Josh. Plus, I think he is an incredible RPer, so I know that he won’t let our discussions sway how he plays. We also have a group chat where we trash talk each other.
Danny: I’d say we definitely chat it up between recordings. Most of the time it’s us talking about what the heck Sherwood is doing and whether he’s playing this long con or if he’s just shooting from the hip. I love that guy.
Audrey (@AudreyPauer) asks, “If each players character had a theme song, what song would it be?”
Kelsey: “i” by Kendrick Lamar (the clean version obviously). In all seriousness, in the most basic possible way I can be, “You Found Me” by the Fray.
I’m pretty sure Mike told me Sherwood’s song is “We’re All in This Together” from High School Musical.
Joshua: “The Funeral” by Band of Horses, whenever I listen to that song I picture the emotional scene from Episode 31 “Knock Two Times” It is perfect. Also, I can confirm that Mike loves High School Musical. He’s always telling us to get our heads in the game.
Mike: “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston.
Danny: For the Colonel it’s “Lavender Cowboy” by Burl Ives. I could def see Akio getting down to “Daddy” by Psy. Even though he’s running away from the family pressure to be a wizard, he knows where the magic comes from. If Mike talks about Troy just wanting to play ball and sing one more time, I’m going to flip out.
Reid, I know that you’ve mentioned before that you have the story of the campaign separated into different story arcs, I’m interested to know how much the players have changed the game through their decisions. Is where you imagined you’d be at the end of the final act still achievable, or have things inspired you to alter the future?
Reid: I think the final act is still achievable, but the thought of a self-contained, structured narrative has flown out the window. I have an idea in mind for the end of Act 2, as well as the end of the “Valisaar Saga” proper, but most of the time nothing that the group is doing contributes to that story directly. The way I DM, structured stories don’t really work super well, so we just kind of wing it until naturally-occurring stories resolve and then I continue the larger story.
Danny, as the only player so far to have to create a new character, how does it feel to be playing the Colonel after Akio? And in the case that Akio comes back to the group and the Colonel leaves, how do you imagine he spends the rest of his days? Or do you think he’d opt to stay with the group?
Danny: I was so excited to go a new route with the Colonel because he was so unlike anything I’ve ever played in D&D. I’ll say this though: it was a huge mistake to commit to a voice. Haha… never again. I do really miss Akio though. The Colonel has a lot baggage he’s been carrying around for years. The group still doesn’t know about it either. The Colonel knows the baggage is there but he’s been denying it for so long that it’s taken recent events to unearth it and make him confront it again. If the Colonel would ever leave the group, there’s no going away to quietly live out the rest of his days. He would have to either go out in a blaze of glory or sacrifice himself to atone for past sins. I think he knows he doesn’t quite fit in with this group, but he’s determined to take the glory and complete any “orders” he’s been given.
A lot of times in television, the actors might take a shot at directing an episode or two to test their skills, is there anyone in the group who has caught the bug and considered DMing a campaign? There’s a lot of love for Mike in the audience, would you consider “guest DMing” an off-shoot episode?
Reid: I would be totally on-board with someone DM’ing a special episode, not part of the weekly Friday adventures. I think for consistency I like to keep the structure and feel of our episodic content in the same.
Kelsey: *endless laughter at the thought of Mike DMing*
Mike: *endless laughter at the thought of me DMing*
Joshua: I’ve DM’d a game with Reid and Kelsey before and it was jolly good. I focus a lot on NPCs, and probably not half as much on exposition and scene description as Reid, which makes the thought of DM’ing on the podcast a bit intimidating. Reid kicks so much butt in that field, and I’d hate to disappoint our listeners with anything less.
Danny: Mike did say he was the dungeon and DM. I’d be down for some magic school bus one-off where we explore Sherwood. Haha
Being a part of the podcast, I would imagine that some of you also might listen to a few as well. What are some podcast recommendations you can give, and they don’t have to be DnD themed?
Kelsey: Anything the “This American Life” light touches (if you’re looking for someone new, Ira Glass, hmu), Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, Lore. Not necessarily conventional podcast, but Josh assigned me Acquisitions Inc. as my homework when we first started recording, and I love them. Chris Perkins is God, and I’m looking for any excuse to listen to Patrick Rothfuss. Genius.
Joshua: Personally I listen to audiobooks 80% of the time, but where podcasts are concerned these are some of my absolute favorites: Serial (season 1), Crime Town, S-Town, Start Up (Season1), Revisionist History, Missing Richard Simons, Radiolab, 99% Invisible.
Danny: Don’t even get me started… My Brother My Brother and Me, anything “This American Life” has their hands in, anything Gimlet Media makes…I could go on and on. I’m a podcast junkie. It’s all I listen to, everyday and all day.
Kelsey, I know there was a chance of Brenna leaving the party recently after Brinlin death, Seth Aaron Mahan (@tieflingforlife) asked this, and I am curious as well, would you consider playing Beatrice, if Brenna did die/leave?
Kelsey: Although I love the idea of Beatrice (aka Brenna with an even bigger chip on her shoulder), I think I need to prove my RP skills by choosing something completely different. But you can bet your bottom dollar I will still sing songs under my breath (that is 100% Kelsey, not Brenna). I will probably beg Reid to let me be a cleric, even though that’s highly unlikely in our world.
Your characters enter through a portal and are dropped into the modern day, how do they react to it?
Kelsey: Brenna would not waste any time and sign a record deal as a rapper. Many won’t like her incorporation of banjo and bagpipes, so she will become an investigative journalist instead (she likes knowing other people’s business and telling their stories).
Joshua: Jail, or a mental institution would probably be his only real options.
Danny: Akio opens a food truck and maybe goes a little Hannibal (the TV show). The Colonel would start a Wild West show like Buffalo Bill did in the 1800’s.
Mike: Day 1 – Head Zookeeper at the Henry Doorly Zoo. Day 2 – Running from the law after he lets all the animals out.
Reid, were there ever any storylines or side quests that the players never explored that you really wish they had?
Reid: Some side quests with store owners or random citizens have never been explored, but at the same time I don’t really regret that because I’m really proud of the story and where it’s been. With the way I plan my side quests, I can easily integrate most of them to fit any race, NPC, or city, so it’s easy to reuse them in a pinch.
Ever consider a crossover episode with some of the other DnD podcast groups out there? I would think the portal plot device makes that very possible!
Reid: Not really, but I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it!
Joshua: There are most certainly some other great RPG podcasts out there. I have personally had the pleasure of playing a game with Robert Adducci, Rich Howard, Michael from The RPG Academy, and Mitch from DM’s Block on The GM Showcase Podcast. That was a good time.
Josh, this is obviously not the first time you’ve played a dwarf, and you definitely do it well, but do you have any non-dwarf characters that you’ve played over the years that you really loved?
Joshua: On The GM Showcase, I played a rude and greedy half-orc barbarian named Fang Fourfist. Which was a nice change of pace, but my personal favorite non-dwarf character I’ve played has to be my half-elf monk Able of the Temple of the Yellow Rose. He is blindfolded 90% of the time and uses the blindsight ability allowing him to be aware of anything within 30 ft. He also wears weighted bands on both his arms and legs to keep his speed reduced to 30. This is all part of his service to the God Ilmater, The Broken God. However, if the blindfold and bands come off, you’re in trouble.
Mike, you get to choose one of these choices to come back and play as a permanent companion to Sherwood, do you pick the giant eagles, the boars, or Greg the shadow bear?
Mike: I LOVE THEM ALL! But Greg will always have a special place in my heart.
Do you guys have a favorite villain/challenger from the campaign so far?
Reid: I really like Dath’Meros from a story perspective, because he is the rare kind of NPC that can provide world background info along with his own story and motivations. Also the Pineapple Gang hold a special place in my heart just because of how large of a story those dorky enemies ended up having.
Kelsey: Taegan. Most definitely. I was totally intending for him to be a love interest for Brenna, but then Reid said that he based him off of himself and it felt weird so I dropped that like it was hot REAL fast. But he’s still my favorite. (And Brenna don’t need no man)
Joshua: I really enjoyed the Fish People arc, however brief our time with the Fish People was. The Fish People may not have been villains per say, but I just loved the Fish People. Please Reid, bring back the Fish People… Fish People
Danny: Dath’Meros is hands down my favorite. He messes with us without laying a finger on us and the personality Reid gives him is next level.
Mike: Delphina, Melius’ wife.
Kelsey: Because she killed Akio?
Dungeons and Dragons can be pretty steeped in high fantasy, but it’s not uncommon for people to roleplay in a different setting or world. Kelsey, I remember you mentioning in a Dragon Talk episode that you first played the game through a Hunger Games setting. What kinds of universes, e.g. Harry Potter, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, do you guys think would be interesting to roleplay in? Where do you think your characters would thrive?
Reid: I’d love to explore other worlds and settings once this mean campaign has wrapped up. The idea of playing a different RPG like Shadowrun would be fun as well, to provide a fresh concept while still keeping the core of the show intact.
Kelsey: Harry Potter. But I would only invite Danny to play with me because the others don’t appreciate my references. I’m obsessed with The Giver by Lois Lowry and the whole series she wrote; I would love to explore it more through a RPG.
Joshua: I’m pretty big on high fantasy, however, I would absolutely LOVE to play an RPG styled after shows like Voltron or Power Rangers. Complete with multiple kinds of conflict, a heavy focus on team dynamics, and every session would end with a monster battle. I am also a huge fan of David Petersen’s world of Mouse Guard.
Danny: I accept the invitation to the Harry Potter realm, but I know I’d totally get railroaded in Hufflepuff. Curse you, sorting hat!! I’d totally dig a futuristic realm or something out of the Bioshock/Fallout universe.
Mike: I would be down for some Borderlands action, also FernGully cause that’s a classic tale.
Finally, I have to know Reid, any plans for the fish people to come back?
Reid: If we’re lucky — Drapodaanx be praised!
And that’s it for our interview! Thanks for sending in your questions to us on our Twitter. If you have any more that we didn’t get to, the Sneak Attack podcast is doing a second mailbag episode and they’re taking questions until the 19th so get them in ASAP!