Over the last few years, I’ve enjoyed watching Wil Wheaton and guests play a number of tabletop games on Geek & Sundry’s Tabletop show. The combination of scripted game explanations, score summaries, side interviews and table banter is well-edited and the pacing is perfect. I’ve found plenty of new games to play based on watching the series, and I’ve even shared a few links here and there with friends who have rediscovered the joy of sitting down and playing a game.
Tabletop has touched on RPGs a few times, but its primary focus is still on boardgames and card games where a game can typically be covered in a single episode. Some of the best qualities of RPGs are their on-going nature, the character development, the freedom of action, and the relationship between the referee/GM and the players. With the exception of Wil, most Tabletop episodes consist of a new group of players for each change of game. And any RPGs that have been played on Tabletop have definitely involved a short adventure with a defined beginning and end. Anyone tuning into Tabletop and hoping to find a developing storyline in a serial-style adventure isn’t going to find it.
But that’s about to change.
Geek and Sundry has a new gaming show on the horizon. It’s called Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana, and it’s G&S’ attempt to recreate the success of Tabletop but with a single RPG adventure that will span the first season’s ten episodes (and hopefully continue on for a second season if the show is popular). Wil is serving as the game’s referee, and shared this bit of description about the game:
Valkana is a broken and wounded world, a post-apocalyptic land of science fantasy that is so much fun to create and explore. I’m having a fantastic time imagining it, and I’m really excited for you all to come and visit, later this summer.
A bit vague, but there’s not really that much longer to wait to get the full details. The first episode is scheduled to go live on June 9, 2015. Even better, there’s also supposed to be an Episode 0 released (maybe) a few hours before Episode 1 that will provide some background on the setting and what sounds like some gameplay explanations.
Note: If you were expecting the show to go up on June 2, 2015, it was delayed a week. Watch this video if you need to know more. Long story short – Wil didn’t feel the show was 100%, so requested another week for some additional editing and tweaking. I’m all for making the show the best it can be, so a one-week delay didn’t faze me one iota.
A video was released this last April with Wil explaining how the RPG selection was made and also covering some of the game mechanics. You can watch that video below. I’m very curious to know more about this Adventure Game Engine (AGE) from Green Ronin, and Wil’s excitement over the new system really comes through in the video.
So… Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana Episodes 0 and 1 should go live on June 2nd, and I’ll be tuning in along with a lot of RPG fans around the globe to watch Wil and four regular cast members — Hank Green, Alison Haislip, Yuri Lowenthal, and Laura Bailey — and then I’ll be posting my thoughts on the weekly episodes with a recap post and some commentary. (I’ll also be at GenCon July 30-August 2 where more details about this new AGE system should be announced. And maybe I’ll even be able to try out the system in a pick-up game.)
While there are plenty of podcasts and regularly-updated shows that follow different RPG campaigns and provide recordings of gameplay, they’re often in need of some heavy editing and the video and sound quality can be disappointing. Geek & Sundry has set a high bar with its shows, and my hope is that Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana will offer up episodes that are as entertaining as they are polished in their presentation.