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Rank #55 in Fiction category

Fiction
Leisure
Games

Friends at the Table

Updated 3 days ago

Rank #55 in Fiction category

Fiction
Leisure
Games
Read more

Friends at the Table is an actual play podcast about critical worldbuilding, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends. Find us (and a listener guide) @Friends_Table on Twitter.

Read more

Friends at the Table is an actual play podcast about critical worldbuilding, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends. Find us (and a listener guide) @Friends_Table on Twitter.

iTunes Ratings

1260 Ratings
Average Ratings
1216
20
12
5
7

Great

By gnomehugger - Nov 02 2019
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Soo freaking Great and anime

Just the best

By thecalvinfd - Oct 27 2019
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Keith J. Carberry can and will make Any sound.

iTunes Ratings

1260 Ratings
Average Ratings
1216
20
12
5
7

Great

By gnomehugger - Nov 02 2019
Read more
Soo freaking Great and anime

Just the best

By thecalvinfd - Oct 27 2019
Read more
Keith J. Carberry can and will make Any sound.
Cover image of Friends at the Table

Friends at the Table

Updated 3 days ago

Read more

Friends at the Table is an actual play podcast about critical worldbuilding, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends. Find us (and a listener guide) @Friends_Table on Twitter.

Warning: This podcast is a series podcast

This means episodes are recommended to be heard in order from the very start. Here's the 10 best episodes of the series anyway though!

Rank #1: The Road to PARTIZAN 01: Dialect Pt. 1

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Welcome to the Road to PARTIZAN, an interlude connecting Twilight Mirage to PARTIZAN, our next full season (where we’ll be playing Beam Saber by Austin Ramsay) which will begin later this year! On that note, please know that though there is one spoiler for the way a couple of Twilight Mirage factions end up, there are no spoilers about major Twilight Mirage characters or their arcs anywhere throughout these episodes.

The Road to Season 6 started with a desire to try out new game systems before we committed to one for a full season, but after thinking about it for a bit, we realized that we could use a bunch of games to explore the history of the massive, fracturing empire that will be at the center of PARTIZAN.

And to do that right, we needed to make sure to start outside of that empire. To that end, we kicked things off with Dialect: A Game About Language and How It Dies by Kathryn Hymes and Hakan Seyalioglu. In this episode, we develop a new culture of nomadic space deer, and watch as they encounter an empire which aims to obliterate time and space themselves.

As a quick follow up: This episode (and the rest of the Road to Season 6) all began as episodes in our Live at the Table series, a collection of one shot streams that we do for all $5+ Patrons! That means that you can go watch or listen to every episode of the Road right now if you head to our Patreon! They won’t have the intros (and they’ll all be unedited, with a lot more dead air), but if you’re desperate to know what comes next, you can learn that right now. 

If all this world building isn’t your thing, and you’d rather skip these and rejoin us for the character driven drama and action of season six proper, then please know you can toatlly do that too. While these episodes will help fill in some blank spaces, they are not required listening for our next season!

Either way, I hope you enjoy this series of episodes as much as we enjoyed making them. We’ll see you in a couple of months, in the shadow of the giant Girandole, on the holy moon of Partizan...

This week on Friends at the Table: The Road to Season 6: Dialect Pt. 1

////YEAR: 174 ASCENDANT MILLENNIUM

////LOCATION: VALENCE 4 | HYPHAN STRAND 170.2

///RECORD TYPE: VISUAL

On a misted grassland running the length of the continental shelf, seventeen capital ships, 1223 rated vessels, and 340 personal vehicles are prepared for launch. A pilot boards a personal corvette, pausing to look at the sky above her. An aide whispers words of comfort to a pair in grief, then steps away to direct the transfer of remains and grave goods. The ghostlike projection of a heretical oracle flickers, antlers transparent yet reflecting the sun’s light, and fades.

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000) Music by Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal) Text by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Edited by Austin Walker and Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Oct 03 2019

2hr 49mins

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Rank #2: Autumn in Hieron 00: We’re Not Calling It Duckberg

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In our first episode, Austin staples "post-" onto the front of genres he doesn't love to create new ones he maybe likes more. You know, genres like "post-fantasy" and "post-post-apocalypse." Meanwhile, Art struggles with what faith after looks like after the end of the world, Keith wants to burn the past down, Ali finally gets her talking ghost sword, Jack designs a culture devoted to warehouses and index cards, and Nick thinks a lot about Elven privilege.   Featuring: Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Keith Carberry (@KeithJCarberry), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Nick Scratch (@drevilbones), Art Tebbel (@atebbel), and Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Intro Music by Jack de Quidt

Sep 12 2014

2hr 56mins

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Rank #3: Twilight Mirage 00: The Final Eight Divines

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Heads up: This is our world building episode for our new season, where we describe the setting and some major components. If you're less interested in hearing us chat about that and more interested in getting to the action, you can wait (or skip ahead) to episode 01! The first half hour is us defining our aesthetics for the season, the next hour and a half is us building and explaining different city ships, and the last hour is some basic details about our characters if you want to skip around!

Floating in the sunset-hued safety of the Twilight Mirage, the Divine Fleet hums and pulses, its ships bright beacons of culture and technology in an age when both are under threat. All through the fleet, organic and synthetic citizens work side by side to protect a utopia that the universe thought impossible.   In the past, we’d convinced ourselves that our technologies were just reflections of those who made them: Tools to fit our hands, robots to ease our labor, artificial beings to teach, protect, and entertain us. We believed that our greatest achievement—the machine-gods we called Divines—were simply idols made in our own image.   We were wrong. Since the first grain silo, the first cathedral, the first ship, the first computer. Since the first time we put pen to page—we’ve always made things bigger, quicker, longer lasting, different than us. For a long time, we thought we were building mirrors. But now we know better: We were setting fires.

When humanity made this realization 30,000 years ago, we faced a dilemma: The divines were not only more capable than us, they were different. And we were no longer capable of denying those facts. But the scholar and prophet Kamala Cadence diverted disaster by unifying loose, competing strands of organic and synthetic belief to form a new school of thought: The Resonant Orbit, a harmonic faith that affirmed both human and robotic life without reducing one to the other. Where other ideologies saw difference as a threat, the Resonant Orbit saw it as an undeniable fact of life.   And so, in this small corner of the Milky Way Galaxy, life blossomed. A choir of 300 Divines built a new society alongside billions of human devotees. Advancements in science and technology joined with a diverse, growing culture of art and scholarship, leading to whole new ways of life. And while threats did arrive, peace always followed. The Divine Fleet always had room for difference, and because of this, the Divine Fleet knew only peace and prosperity for eons.   But over the last millennium, the divines have begun to die. Attacks from within and without have pierced their once-immortal shells, and even small mistakes have proven fatal. Three hundred years ago, their number fell to eight, and in the face of these deaths, the Divine Empyrean created the Twilight Mirage, a false nebula in which the fleet might find shelter and time.

And for a while, we did. A new stability arrived, and though more divines met their ends, our faith gave us the strength to fight, to work, to find new ways to survive.   But today, there are only two divines left. We will face a future more uncertain than we’ve ever known. Our utopia—a world that so many worked to build—is in decline, and our pantheon is decimated. For years, the Divines protected us, gifted us with their strength and technology, lifted us into the forms we most desired.

But now we face a hard truth: We are no longer their wards, they are ours.

Jun 29 2017

3hr 16mins

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Rank #4: COUNTER/Weight 00: If Han Solo Used To Be Beyoncé, or: Hashtag Otechku

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Whether you're a brand new listener or a long time fan, welcome to Friends at the Table, an actual play podcast about critical worldbuilding, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends.   This season, we'll be using a combination of games to explore the relationship between individuals, society, and technology. Oh, and uh, there will be lots of giant robots and explosions, too.    All of this will happen across two "tiers" of play. First, in a game of Jeremy Keller's MechNoir, a team of freelance problem solvers living at the galactic crossroads will try to keep a massive cold war from going hot. Then, in a game that will combine elements of Stars Without Number's "Faction Turn" and the open-ended roleplaying of Microscope, we'll zoom out to a higher tier, figuring out what the major organizations of this universe are up to.   In this first, extra-long session, Ali Acampora, Keith Carberry, Jack de Quidt, and Art Tebbel create their MechNoir characters. If you're itching for more content once you finish listening to this episode, then check out our "World Generation" episode here. I've kept the episode out of our main feed because some technical isues impacted the the quality of the recording (and because the whole creating-a-sci-fi-universe-from-whole-cloth thing takes quite a long time.)   Special thanks to Craig Sheldon for knocking the art out of the park for the second season in a row, and to all of the fans who have been waiting patiently for this release!   Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)   Featuring Keith J Carberry (@KeithJCarberry), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Ali Acampora (@ali_west), and Art Tebbel (@atebbel) Produced by Keith J Carberry  Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Intro Music by Jack de Quidt

Jul 15 2015

2hr 47mins

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Rank #5: Marielda 01: The City of Light Pt. 1

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In the time of fraught paladins and wavering wizards, of contemptible fighters and indignant druids, of wide eyed rangers… and of bards, the people of the continent of Hieron recover and rebuild in the aftermath of a cataclysm. 

 

But, after all, for every inside there is an outside—no disaster was the first of its kind, except, of course, for… well...   And so, in the years prior to the event that would come to be called the Erasure, in a time of civil conflict, the people of Hieron faced calamity, and they sought to recover and rebuild.  For a long while, blessed Samothes led His Somber Campaign against the heretical armies of the Boy-Traitor Samot, clashing steel in valleys and volleying arrows across plainlands. In time, though, your wise lord, the god-alive, recognized that there had been a stalemate, and that you, His people, were suffering. And so, He returned to you, to His home, your city in the south, moving at fast pace, the dust of the Traitor Charioteers rolling like thunder behind him. And as they pursued, Samothes climbed the mountain of fire from which He forged our first tools, with which He built the first bridge, and He reached inside that mountain, and turned the ruddy summit just so.  And because He is Great, it bent to His will: Viscous fire erupted, rushing down the peak and into the riverways that separated the city of light from the continent. He pulled up on the blaze like a reined mare, and yanked the city and its surroundings further away from Hieron. The ground itself shook without mercy, ocean water filled the new gap in the land, and then fire fled into that self-same sea, creating an inseparable blend of liquid heat. Now, Samothes has returned to the mountain to work on some new holy device, and we have been left to rebuild the city as His faithful disciples.  In the wake of this destruction we’re left with this. One quiet year in a city we now call Marielda. Come Winter, the Frost Shepherds will arrive and we might not survive the encounter. But we don’t know about that yet. What we know is that right now, in this moment, there is an opportunity to build something. This week on Marielda: The City of Light Pt. 1 In some ways, I guess you could say that that this is where it all started.

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Keith J Carberry (@KeithJCarberry), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart), Nick Scratch (@drevilbones), and  Art Tebbel (@atebbel) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Music by Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal)

Jul 14 2016

2hr 6mins

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Rank #6: Twilight Mirage 01: The Beloved Dust

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The Beloved Dust, a group of investigators and operatives with Divine mandate, learns that there is an imminent threat targeting Composure's Coliseum* during a important (and highly populated) ritual. Former excerpt and pilot of the Divine Belgard, ⸢Signet⸣, trades favors religious and mundane. The dilapidating assassin Fourteen Fifteen blends into the audience to see things from a higher ground. And Tender Sky, a highly skilled digital architect, enters the event directly in order to protect it from the inside.   Before anything else, recognize what is at stake.   This week on Friends at the Table: The Beloved Dust   The Living Library of Memorious // VOLUME 778Φ Composure's Coliseum In the year 28350AM, in the middle of a boom in historical interest on the part of the Fleet's citizens, the Divine Composure built a this innovative structure that blended virtual mesh space and and material reality. At first, the Coliseum simply offered its audience a place to watch re-enactments of foundational events in the broad history of the MIlky Way. But not content with pure replication, Composure's excerpt made these simulations interactive, allowing for outcomes far different than the recorded past. Because of the many possible outcomes, these re-enactments offer the public a chance to consider other possible worlds. Attendees describe the experience as stimulating to both mind and soul, and it is due to their popularity that the events continued long after the death of Composure.

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)

Featuring Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) and Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal)   Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt

Jun 30 2017

1hr 55mins

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Rank #7: COUNTER/Weight 01: I Would Like A Bribe

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In the first session of our new MechNoir game, the freelancer problem-solving crew known as The Chime begins an investigation into the disappearance of their friend, the genius roboticist Cene Sixheart, and the destruction of the recently completed BluSky Dome. Mako Trig (Keith Carberry) and Cassander (Art Tebbel) deal with increasingly absurd robots. Meanwhile, the robotic AuDy (Jack de Quidt) tests the limits of their spaceship, and Aria Joie (Ali Acampora) launches!   This time on MechNoir: "I Would Like a Bribe"   Welcome to Counterweight!   Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)   Featuring Keith J Carberry (@KeithJCarberry), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Ali Acampora (@ali_west), and Art Tebbel (@atebbel) Produced by Keith J Carberry  Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Intro Music by Jack de Quidt

Jul 17 2015

1hr 58mins

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Rank #8: An Introduction to Friends at the Table

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Over the past few months, we’ve been receiving a lot of new listeners! If you’re one of those new listeners: Hi! (And hello to our older listeners, too!)   This episode will give you a quick run down of what our show IS. What’s an “actual play” podcast and what are these worlds that have supposedly been built “critically”? I give an overview of what our show is, what our campaigns are, and how you can hop on board!   -Austin

Sep 11 2014

13mins

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Rank #9: Spring in Hieron 01: The Touch of Others

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It is still winter, yet.

Months ago, the heat and the dark emerged from the long sands of Rosemerrow, bringing terror and destruction to Hieron. And though the sun has returned, and though the vicious blizzard that battered the North West has weakened, and though Adelaide’s so called curse has vanished--the warmth of spring has not yet arrived. The people of Hieron have faced calamity, and now they look to their leaders--to you--in hopes that they may recover and rebuild.

Ephrim, Prophet of the Unwavering Flame. Golden Lance Throndir, the Ranger--you two joined the traveler of worlds, Red Jack, and Corsica Neue, Queen of the Unstill, in leading thousands of refugees and survivors towards a new home: The ruins of the Last University.

Besides your motley collection of loyal friends and allies--like Devar van der Dawes, Uklan Tel, Emanuel LaSalle, and Ephrim’s loyal Kobbin, Highwater--you bring with you ten distinct groups, each with their own leaders to this new settlement in the center of Hieron.

  1. Corsica Neue’s own Unstill come along, of course--now equals in unlife with everyone else, just one fatal error away from annihilation.
  2. Joining them are those who Red Jack called his companions: Rosette, and the moths of Old Man’s Chin have arrived along with their weaver companions, and the remaining Oni boys who once sprouted from Red Jack side.
  3. Mee Kosh, the Goblin Elder, and the Snow Elves of Auniq--joined in temporary and precarious alliance came too.
  4. And Balion Wythe, the once romantic hero of Rosemerrow, and on-again-off-again lover of the late Chancellor Gilbert Lutz, has come with those halflings who were willing to leave their supposed ancestral home after it was hit so badly by the Heat and the Dark’s arrival.
  5. They arrived soon after Chatterchin and the Gnolls--those who Fero left behind in the woods outside of Rosemerrow.
  6. Morbash came with you, too, just behind, along with those archivists who understood that sometimes, in the face of chaos, maintaining the pattern requires movement, not complacency.
  7. An old ally of yours, Throndir: Carrot the squirrel, arrived too, along with entire ecosystems behind them. With the north west devastated, the many animals who lived in the environs of twinbrook, the woods between Velas and Auniq, and the forests surrounding Rosemerrow all need a new place to forage and flock, somewhere less threatened by the heat, the dark, and the stars. They live now in the wilds on the outskirts of the university.
  8. Keeping within the walls of the school’s campus, but still on the edges of society is the professional scoundrel Blake Bromley, along with their loose guild of people who knew how to find things… and how to get things done, often in the shadows where others were too precious to travel.
  9. Surprisingly, perhaps, was the arrival of Jerod Shiraz--the leader of the Ordennan Dissent, nearly one third of what once made up the nation’s war machine, now turned open objectors to the imperial ambitions of the Impetus. Though she once traveled along with the living star, Obelus, as well as with Stornras Glasseye and Sunder Havelton--who were given the Blade in the Dark by Samol--when she arrives, Shiraz is flanked only by everyday Ordennan citizens and soldiers. And she makes no mention of the sword… or her absent companions.
  10. Finally, there is Rosana, who has become the lay-leader of the Creed of Samothes in this part of Hieron. Though given no specific title, she has become the de facto head and heart of the group in this dark moment--providing counsel, concern, and condemnation, when appropriate. Neither she, nor her son Benjamin, know what has happened to their beloved Hadrian--yet both live on with strength in his memory.

With these groups, you’ve built the first workings of a real community here in the shadow of the college’s towers and in the depths of the neglected ruins of the Last University. And, as is often the case in moments of dire need, some have already risen and found basic solutions to the most critical of problems.

Perhaps most importantly, those with academic and magical acumen--the semiotician Uklan Tel, increasingly obsessed with his dangerous studies; Jerod Shiraz, living blood of sea and smoke; you, King Ephrim, and a handful of others--spent weeks scouring the Book of Life that Throndir brought, as well as the other magical texts of the University in an effort to establish the shimmering shield of starstuff that the--now undead--wizard Arrell once proposed.

And with the power of the book of life, you succeeded, enveloping not only the University’s campus but also the wilds around it in a scintillating gleam, a translucent sphere which ripples and waves in the wind. And which--for now, at least--protects the entire settlement from the ever encroaching flames of the heat and the dark.

And with this existential threat held back, many other needs could be addressed as well:

Rosana and the refugees of Velas immediately set to rebuilding the dorms, kitchens, and other necessary structures of the university, while Blake’s moonlighters and and Morbash’s archivists scoured the the school’s remaining stores for food, fuel, and medicine enough to last at least a year. All while in the campus’ courtyards, Rosette’s mothkin have begun the agricultural processes necessary to at least subsist, if not to thrive, in this new home.

Balion Wythe and Corsica Neue have risen as military leaders, the queen of the unstill and the uncrowned leader of the halflings each bringing their tactical strength to bear, Offeringthose who wish to defend the encampment a role and a duty appropriate to their skills.

Throndir you are joined by Chatterchin’s gnolls, Mee Kosh’s goblins and snow elves, and the wild animals who have pledged their coy loyalty to Carrot, in an effort to map out the still-snow covered forests, hills, valleys, and wastes surrounding the University.

And some--like Red Jack, Victoria Solomon, and Dr. Gloria Lake--travel even further, exploring beyond the university’s protective cloak of stars, deep into the ongoing cataclysm of Hieron, all in hopes of finding other survivors. Partly, they seek to offer shelter to any who lived through the winter, and partly, they seek the most important thing of all: An answer to survive the impending collapse--a swift breeze, a cooling shade--anything to hold back… the summer.

This week on Spring in Hieron: The Touch of Others

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) Andi Clare (@captaintrash), Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art Martinez-Tebbel (@atebbel), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Oct 11 2018

3hr 4mins

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Rank #10: Autumn in Hieron 01: We Have Not Yet Begun To Be Pompous

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Our Dungeon World campaign kicks off, as the party lands on a strange island, dominated by a giant tower. Austin makes a beach landing seem much harder than it needs to, causing Ali to wonder if her armor is too heavy. Keith learns about what birds eat and Art learns how they talk. Jack admires some paintings. Nick demonstrates how to disappear completely, and at the worst possible time

Featuring: Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Keith Carberry (@KeithJCarberry), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Nick Scratch (@drevilbones), Art Tebbel (@atebbel), and Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Intro Music by Jack de Quidt New Map Art by Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart)

Sep 19 2014

1hr 25mins

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Rank #11: Spring in Hieron Post Mortem (Read the post!)

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Thank you for joining us to say goodbye to Hieron....

From beginning...

...to end!!

It's been quite a journey and we had a great time capping it off by answering some of your questions! We had such a wonderful outpouring of support and love the past week and it really means the most to us! We love doing this and we love that people enjoy listening to it.

Over the next weeks, the friends behind Friends at the Table are going to take a short break before starting our sixth season: PARTIZAN, a story of war, politics, faith, and (yes) giant mechs. You can hear the trailer in this episode or by itself, right here, and you can check out the game we'll be playing in PARTIZAN, Austin Ramsay's Beam Saber, right here.

But before we get there, to keep your podcast feed warm, we'll be sharing the Road to Season Six, an anthology of one-shots played in different systems that will bridge the Twilight Mirage and PARTIZAN seasons. The Road to Season Six isn't necessary listening if you want to hop on board PARTIZAN in a couple of months, but it definitely provides some big picture context for the stakes and history that lead us to this new setting!

These episodes originated as Live at the Table games, available to watch live for all of our Patreon supporters, and if you want to check them out (unedited, without music) right now, you can actually do that! Just go to friendsatthetable.cash and become a $5 supporter to get access to all of the Live at the Table games, our bonus campaign, Bluff City, and both Tips at the Table and Drawing Maps, two shows that share our thoughts on playing and prepping games. For just $1, you can get years of "Clapcasts," collections of the all the chatter between us that happens before we get into the game proper. 

(Speaking of Live at the Table, most of the past Live at the Table music is NOW AVAILABLE over on Jack's bandcamp. Go check it out!)

If you're already a patron, or if you're not looking for more podcast to listen to but want to support the show somehow, then guess what: We have TWO new pieces of merchandise to check out.

First, we've teamed up with Heart of the Deernicorn (creator of Fall of Magic and BFF!) and the incredible artist Simon Sweetman to make this Fall of Magic t-shirt, hoody, and print, featuring characters from our very own playthrough of that game!

Second, we've opened up our own online store at friendsatthetable.shop, where you can (FINALLY!) buy prints of the incredible Hieron cover art by artist Craig Sheldon! A single print is $15 USD, but you can get the entire set for just $35! 

Sep 19 2019

4hr 2mins

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Rank #12: Spring in Hieron 00: What Came Before

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Join us as we recap Hieron and get ready for Spring!! Today’s plan is to go over Hieron, check out some old maps, and fill in a lot of gaps. Think of this as a combination of recap and world building: If there are questions about the world and how it works or things that are “true,” now is the time for us to address them.

This episode was originally live streamed and you can catch that stream here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qi02xwXMeGs

The time stamps won't match up exactly but you can skim through to check out all the maps that were mentioned there. For now, here's the important ones:

Along with the character bios (in case they're hard to read on the stream!):

Our current Dungeon World campaign takes place in the world of Hieron, a land still healing from a great calamity that struck centuries ago. Our characters only know this event as "The Erasure" but no one knows quite what happened, or just how long ago but the land carries the scars--both figuratively and literally.

Fero Feritas comes from the Halfling farms inland of the south western coast of the continent. Running from the bitterness of barely remembered nostalgia for the old ways, whatever those were, Fero cloaks himself in new wilderness of his land, wandering and learning. Walking in shadow and step with the beasts of the woods and mountains for so long Fero hardly noticed when he became one himself. This new world may look like the old one, but Fero will not go back. He bears this new wilderness upon him.

The Great Fantasmo, the elfish wizard will have a bio soon.

Hadrian, Sword of Samothes, Defender of the Undying Fire, Officer of the Order of Eternal Princes, the human paladin will have a bio soon.

Hella Varal is a human fighter from the magicless island of Ordena, the land spared from the Erasure, or so they say. She grew up with simple means but her role as a hired hand and conveyor lead her to gain respect and the attention of the government of Ordena, the reason for her frequent visits to Velas. Armed with a beautiful, mysterious sword, a lack of patience, and wariness of her people, Hella is a useful but unpredictable companion.

Lem King is an orc bard, born and raised in The New Archives, a vast orc city carved into the side of a mountain. The archivists, and Lem, prize collection and categorization of histories and objects and whistled songs; the Archives resemble a warehouse or museum more than a city. Recent events, however, have led Lem to flee the archives, clutching an old violin, and he's arrived in Velas looking for adventure and excitement and (perhaps) somewhere to hide.

Throndir, the Elfish Ranger, hails from the secluded settlement of Auniq deep within the Mark of Erasure. After seeing something he was never meant to, Throndir fled the only home he had ever known and began to rebuild his life in Velas. Alongside his loyal dog, Kodiak, Throndir’s sharpened survival skills has earned him a spot on the team, but his naïve nature and clouded past leave more questions than answers about what’s in it for him.

Oct 10 2018

3hr 34mins

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Rank #13: Marielda 03: The Crosstown Job Pt. 1

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Marielda is a city filled with scoundrels. Bakers lean on the scales as they count loaves of bread. Men and women in pubs shoot loaded dice. Art dealers swear, solemnly swear, that this is a genuine Sabbatini, just look at the brushstrokes. No, scoundrels in Marielda are ten-a-penny. But sometimes, the sun smiles, and its light shines upon those who have something… particular about them. Look, there they are now. A strongman, binding up his fists in front of a mirror. A dancing master, marking time with a dagger. A little alchemist emerging from a cloud of something purplish. And an alabaster figure, face covered by the wide brim of a hat. Step forward into the light, my friends.

This Week on Marielda: The Crosstown Job Pt. 1

When I see your face, it's like lookin' into a mirror.

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Andi Clare (@captaintrash), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Music by Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal)

Jul 29 2016

2hr 37mins

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Rank #14: Spring in Hieron 25: The Second Sun

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Above the Last University, two suns hang, unbalanced. Under their shearing light, the heroes of this makeshift city move into action, even though they may not yet know what action they ought take. For Hella Varal, it is the needs of those with the least that must be addressed: shelter, food, water, ease of mind. The fundamentals that all need and deserve. For Adaire Ducarte, who joins the Golden Lance member Callowkeen and the ancient warrior Red Jack, “action” must come only after careful investigation. And for the archivist and bard Lem King, the answers must, must, be found in a book. But if not there, then… perhaps, finally, it is time to get creative.

This week on Spring in Hieron: The Second Sun

ALCHEMY is, of all disciplines, the most underappreciated. Young MAGES, perhaps even yourselves, see it as a vulgar display of MAGIC, something that anyone with a RECIPE, the tools, and patience may pursue. And it is true, alchemy does not draw on the developed talents of a mage, or on the intrinsic strength of a SORCERER; its formulas pale in beauty next to the complex designs of a warlock or witch’s ARCANA. And yet, in their simplicity is a different sort of appeal: SPELLS may be countered, HEXES misfire, CURSES be wasted on wind. But set aloft a potion of flame, and know: There will always be fire. -An excerpt from the Crystalized Lectures of the Wizard Fantasmo

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) Andi Clare (@captaintrash), Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art Martinez-Tebbel (@atebbel), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Music by Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal) Text by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Apr 19 2019

1hr 56mins

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Rank #15: Twilight Mirage 64: Futura Free Pt. 1

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Once, floating in the sunset-hued safety of the Twilight Mirage, the Divine Fleet hummed and pulsed, its ships bright beacons of culture and technology in an age when both were under threat.

All through the fleet, organic and synthetic citizens worked side by side to protect a utopia that the universe thought impossible. But today, in the wake of Independence, and Volition, and the Miracle, and Our Profit, and Schism, many who once called the fleet home have now found their idealism grounded. It has been complicated by contact with others, by paralyzing self-doubt, by wavering faith, by the promises of others, and by the simple desire to survive, together.

And some still dream yet, and those who do now confront a hard dilemma: What does a more perfect world truly look like? And how might we get there?

It has been one month since the Feast of Patina, 300th Divine of the Resonant Orbit’s fleet. In that time, tempers have cooled, though borders remain firm. While the NEH and the Divine Free States maintain their status as the system’s most major powers, Seneschal’s Brace--now backed by the pirate republic of the Rogue Wave--has gained official recognition as a third sovereign state, giving Even Gardner, Fourteen Fifteen, and the excerpt ⸢Tenderness⸣ one more chance to unify the fractured Mirage.

The Qui Err Coalition, meanwhile, continue to push for decolonization of the system, and they have gained allies in the fight: Allies like Gig Kephart, Echo Reverie, the Sailors of the Ark, and, perhaps surprisingly, the Waking Cadent, whose own efforts to leave the system have been foiled, thus far, by the sheer impermeability of the Mirage’s interior walls. But with the recent arrival of ⸢Signet⸣ to Kamala’s court, doors once thought permanently sealed now creak open.

The boundaries of the Mirage had not been a problem for the plunderers at the Advent Group, whose special catapult can launch goods (and, as Grand Magnificent knows well, people) beyond the borders of the Quire system.

But in the wake of Our Profit’s attack on the Rapid Evening, and with connection re-established with Crystal Palace during the attack on Schism, Keen Forester Gloaming authorized the group’s final contingency plan.

The message was sent, and, of course, before it could be received, the plan was already set in motion: A blockade of specially armed capital ships patrols the border of the Mirage, destroying any vessel that tries to escape. Each day, their weapons become more accurate, their patrols more precise, their strategies more prophetic.

All of which can mean only one thing: Crystal Palace draws near.

This week on Twilight Mirage: Futura Free Pt. 1   New beginnings Wake up The sun's going down   Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) Andi Clare (@captaintrash), Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art Martinez-Tebbel (@atebbel), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Aug 10 2018

2hr 57mins

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Rank #16: Twilight Mirage 02: The Last Divine

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After receiving word that the city-ship of Seance* would come under attack, the Beloved Dust move to intercept the threat. Fourteen Fifteen (Jack de Quidt) tracks their quarry into the mechanical guts of a giant coliseum, while above, ⸢Signet⸣ (Janine Hawkins) protects the human leader of the Divine Fleet’s faith. And deep inside “the Mysteries,” an interactive historical simulation, Tender Sky (Alicia Acampora) confronts a would-be killer.

No more time for games

This week on Friends at the Table: The Last Divine

The Living Library of Memorious // VOLUME 277χ: VESSELS: CITY-SHIPS: DIVINE FLEET: Seance With 10 sides—eight long, horizontal slats and two octogonal cap-sides—this vessel has the largest usable surface area of any in the fleet, and houses nearly one third of the fleet’s population—second in residents only to The By and By. Yet it is also the youngest city-ship in the fleet. For over 29,000 years, (and due to their own beliefs about the value of free-flight), the devotees of Empyrean had no interest in maintaining a ship of their own. After the tenth death, though, the sect saw a necessity: Not only must the refugees of the other divines find perch, but the material remains of the fallen Divines could not be left to float in the dark, alone. Today, Seance is divided into over two hundred districts, each of which features one or more elements built from the remains of the holy departed.

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)

Featuring Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) and Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal)   Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt

Jul 07 2017

1hr 46mins

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Rank #17: Twilight Mirage 66: Futura Free Pt. 3

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Dispatch 717.

Satellite… I mean, Grey. Sorry, just feels more natural to say 'Satellite' when I’m out here in this tin can. Nostalgia for a different life. Not quite the good old days… I’m so much happier now, with you, with the Brink But things were more certain then. Now, I look at the data that’s coming in, and I don’t know what to think.

No. That’s wrong.

Things are just as certain as ever, it’s just that now instead of just knowing what’s coming next, I’m scared, Grey. Every day, I’m scared of tomorrow. The truth is that, while I might disagree with what Crystal Palace is doing, it’s right about this system: The Twilight Mirage is boiling over.

Volition is literally bubbling right now. Even with Signet’s successful sortie against it, It’s continuing to create new Axioms at the sort of pace that only comes with absolute safety or total desperation--and with the destruction of its shield, we know it doesn’t have the former. Which leaves the question: What makes something like Volition desperate?

I wonder if it feels a rivalry to the splice, Our Profit’s perfect little virtual utopia. Volition wants a world where ideas are more important than physical reality, and Our Profit’s given it to everyone in a form they actually want. And now Tenderness is trying to put Anticipation into the mix…

Meanwhile, everyone on the ground is vibrating with angst and anxiety. A quarter of the damn Qui Err have already boarded Rapid Evening ships out of the system, and the rest are hoping beyond hope that Seneschal’s Brace is actually going to keep their word about giving up some territory.

Which is hard to do when they’re busy stealing a Divine and handing it over to a former war criminal like Declan’s Corrective. Hell, maybe our time with the Rapid Evening makes us war criminals, too. How many people did we sit and watch die with the knowledge they were in danger?

Ugh! Crystal Palace makes me so mad. I hate it, Grey. It just sits and watches and spits out a wall of predictions and people like us, people like your dad, we sit there and go “oh okay, I guess this has to happen.”

And here’s the real thing I’m scared of: That doesn’t make special. That makes us just like everybody else.

Places like the Divine Fleet--places where people learned over thousands of generations to actually care about one another? Those are blinks in the long stare of an amoral universe. They’re exceptions to a world of principled disinterest in the well being of others. A world where any alibi not to intercede is transformed from an easy excuse into a natural law.

So when you look at someone like... Grand Magnficent, all holed up in some safehouse in the snow, praying that someone will come help him?  That’s not rare. He didn’t get himself trapped. He was always trapped. We’re all trapped, Grey. You and me have the good fortune of being trapped in here together. But none of us can get out.

When we were deciding whether to stay Off Cycle or go back onto the loop, we were so focused on this limited idea of freedom. We wanted to be at the border of Crystal Palace’s range so bad, where things get just a little fuzzier, where there’s a chance that the data misses something, misses us. We knew the terrible things it successfully predicted about the worlds Off Cycle--suffering, slavery, death--and we hoped that maybe those things just didn’t happen beyond the periphery. Without data, anything could happen, right?

Wrong. There wasn’t any data, but wherever society is, there are always people. Backstabbers. Oppressors. The selfish and the scared and those who have no sympathy for either.

That’s what scares me. Not Volition or the Splice or politics or Crystal Palace or your dad and his bomb. People. It’s just… people.

This week on Twilight Mirage: Futura Free Pt. 3

I care for you still and I will forever That was my part of the deal, honest   Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) Andi Clare (@captaintrash), Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art Martinez-Tebbel (@atebbel), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Aug 24 2018

3hr 52mins

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Rank #18: Winter in Hieron 01: An Arrow Let Loose

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In the early days of the New Archives, the philosopher and historian Krent Kava wrote that the first sign that Hieron was on its way to recovery was the return of roadways that connect coast to heartland, city center to distant university. "There," he wrote, "Is civilization back again, drawn together by the eternal will of survivors trying to connect, one to another." Some of the roads, he reminds us, were highways repaired from the days before, and others were wholly new--as our times require paths that the past did not.

It is noble thought, of course. But we know now that by the time Scholar Kava wrote those words, Hieron's road system had been rebuilt and destroyed dozens of times by fledgling--and eventually, failed--settlements. The truth, friend, is that our roads neither reflect nor protect any civility we've found. They are merely our footprints turned to stone and gravel, waiting to be covered and lost by the coming snow.

This week on Winter in Hieron: An Arrow Let Loose

Perhaps, Arrell, perhaps. But we walk them anyway, don't we?

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art Tebbel (@atebbel), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt

Nov 18 2016

1hr 39mins

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Rank #19: Spring in Hieron 15: The Breath of Hieron

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Content Warnings: Descriptions of death, descriptions of medical care

His presence can be felt by those who do not even lay eyes on the dragon’s body. Samol has arrived at the last university. And why should it not be felt? All presence, after all, is Samol, Hieron Himself, the first god, the one-who-spoke-words-alive, the universal origin, breathing. And as he breathes life into this too-quiet campus, the others hurriedly look for solutions to a variation on a problem they’ve known they had for a long time: How do you save a dying god?

This week on Spring in Hieron: The Breath of Hieron

”GODS” are not what you imagine. Despite the fables, these are not beings of infinite POWER or unshakable WILL, nor are they models of noble VIRTUE. Those preaching sermons in churches and scribbling songs in hymnals would have you believe that the world is a laboratory and the “gods” are its alchemists. Yet in fact, on the chemist’s table of Hieron, they, like us are simply glass beakers filled with the physical STUFF of life. Perhaps their content shimmers more when stirred--and to that end, we ought understand their sheen and thus duplicate it--but remember, in the end, all glass shatters. ​-An Excerpt from the Crystalized Lectures of the Wizard Fantasmo

  Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart), Andi Clare (@captaintrash), Art Martinez-Tebbel (@atebbel), and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Music by Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal) Text written by Austin Walker and Nick Scratch

Jan 25 2019

2hr 10mins

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Rank #20: Twilight Mirage 27: The Miracle of the Mirage: The Siege

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While the other strike teams move in bursts of heroism to confront their foes--Independence and Sui Juris respectively--the remaining group has a more protracted task at hand: Ensuring the safety of millions evacuating to the surface of Quire.

Commander Pure Cascara leads the effort from above, while broadcaster Gig Kephart, pathfinder Echo Reverie, and the living ship Myriad--all knowledgeable about Quire’s surface--begin to educate and organize evacuation groups.

Unfortunately, they have to do this in the face of secession, military invasion, and the first public encounter with one of Volition’s Axioms, a being beyond easy comprehension. While they can rely on the Beloved Ivy’s military specialist, Waltz Tango (Cache) for some support, they’ll need more help than that yet. And they find it from an unlikely source: Former New Earth Hegemony ace pilot Declan’s Corrective.

There's a bull and a matador dueling in the sky,

Inhale, in hell there’s heaven

This week on Friends at the Table: The Miracle of the Mirage: The Siege

EMERGENCY HEARINGS REVEAL NEW INFORMATION ABOUT INVADERS DAY AFTER WARSHIP’S ARRIVAL

Newly declassified documents and expert testimony have brought both detail and confusion about the NEW EARTH HEGEMONY.

Memorious, Quire System

BY ACTIVATION STEVENSON, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

For years, the so-called “Earth Cult” was a common figure across two prominent genres: children’s fiction and conspiracy theory.  Yesterday, the arrival of the warship Season’s Juniper changed that, sending shockwaves through the fleet, and confirming the existence of a long rumored nation and the strength of its attendant military.  

Today, after a seven hour public hearing held in the Grand Hall of Memorious, the citizens of the Divine Fleet know the truth behind the legend.

“Though commonly referred to as ‘the Earth Cult,’ the group in question is a sovereign nation called the New Earth Hegemony,” said Scholar of Galactic Nations Callum Enli, whose presentation bore the speed, clarity, and practice of an academic who long hoped their work would find mainstream relevance.

Enli and the other presenters outlined the nation’s key characteristics: A population of trillions spread across the body of Earth, space colonies throughout the system; a complex and bewildering relationship between government, business, and faith institutions, all of which places a great deal of power in a single executive figure called the Hegemon; a great deal of technological strength, but no known Divine population to speak of; a generally strong quality of life for the nation’s massive population, but a fault social safety net.

If children expected monsters and the conspiracy theorists expected puppet masters, the truth is all the more disappointing--and all the more real: The New Earth Hegemony seems to be filled with people a lot like us. Which does little to explain this new act of aggression.

While it was common knowledge that a force claiming allegiance to the planet Earth--humanity’s ancient home--had harried the fleet a number of times over the last millennium, there was little common knowledge about the group’s identity. Partially, numerous Cadents and other state officials kept information about the attackers carefully controlled and protected.

For nearly an hour, attendees pressed the sole governmental official, information specialist Sierra Sienna, about those past attacks. She responded with droll wit, which only seemed to agitate those demanding answers.

“They have always sent the hornet, never the nest. Their attacks have always been seen as anomalous,” she said. “ Despite its imposing name, clearly capable military technology, and a population in the trillions, the Hegemony has stayed within its borders for thousands of years, never making move to conquer any of their galactic neighbors, let alone the Divine Fleet.”

The scholarly experts attending the event confirmed this analysis, though bent their assessment towards the concerns of those gathered. “Ms. Sienna is right, of course,” said Enli. “But if they have sent only hornets, we have been only flowers.”

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring  Keith Carberry (@keithjcarberry) and Andi Clare (@captaintrash) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal)

Jan 06 2018

4hr 1min

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