By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
A Filthy Lot Entertainment Inc (AFL) is “Ready to Roll” with their in-house team playing Dungeons and Dragons. The watch party will begin on National D&D Day, Nov 5th, at 3:30pm (PST) on Twitch! They’ll also offer some pretty cool prizes post episode for those who can answer the tough trivia. Who knows, maybe the answers are tucked within the reveals in the information presented here too.
Instead of bringing recognizable personalities to play the game on YouTube, this show brings talents from all walks of life together–mostly those who moved to Vancouver, BC to pursue a career in the film or entertainment industry–to enjoy the game as its always been designed for: to have fun, sling a sword and throw spells around. “They tried in the past with a cartoon and a movie in 2002 to make D&D into a cinematic experience, but the biggest mistake is that they scripted it. D&D is often improvised,” said Chris Livingston and Trevor Gemma, founders of this company.
What will be presented is how ‘As the world of Altero turns.’ Roz Young and Matt Baker created this techno-fantasy realm that the AFL senior staff took a liking to and want to realize as a series. “The main global conflict is the fight for technology and magic dominance, related control over the portals that link parts of this world for fast travel but also to the alternate dimension, where tech can be fused with magic,” said the creators. “Orleana is the country that controls most of the portals and the link from Altero Nought to Altero Prime.”
The country of Kymond is where this game takes place. Here, they are neighbours with the nation of Czermios. Those two nations war constantly, as they both lay claim to the city of Lekk on the border. While other parts of this world live in a rather tenuous peace, conflict can happen anytime. That’s the world the players in this web series are entering into. The characters they play have a back story that’s not always part of the grande narrative. Some are even clueless as a few god-like figures have plans for them. “They’re alone, broken. They didn’t know that they needed people to truly have their back. And now they’re together, connected through tears and laughter. It’s about the family you choose,” said Young.
There will be 27 episodes in all for this first season, and they will be rolled out on a bi-weekly basis on AFL’s YouTube channel @AFilthyQuestline.
What these two creators developed has a rich lore that they’ve constantly added to over the past eight years. It even impresses Sam Cargnelli, a local gamer (Chef by profession) of over 20 years and one of the Game Masters of this company’s bi-weekly One Shot or Not program (more on this in a future post); he even agrees that a good part of the game depends your improvisation should players investigate a route not planned and said, “They did a fantastic job of building this setting and populating it. The documents they have are incredibly detailed in a way more than I have done for my own homebrew.”
Among the cast are: El’Undar the Silent (Alain Williams), a Wood Elf Monk from Telgha’s dense forest, The Lightless Vale. He’s on a quest for the missing spear of their greatest warrior. Arrin Sareth (Bev Rapley) is a Half-elf Paladin, serving Edan’Alastra, the Goddess of Justice. She barely has time to figure out her role in life after being ejected from the clan and suddenly, this divinity tasked her to restore the injustice existing within her order. Ahloni (Chris Livingston) is a Half-orc ranger who was once on the run. He thought he escaped it all, but the past has a way to catch up; viewers may see what that is as episodes are released.
Senno Vestuu-Essan (Matt Baker) is a scholar and much renowned archaeologist. After finding a medallion of an Elder God (a concept H.P. Lovecraft made famous), could he be cursed? Sanguina (Shay Lea) has a blood-lust that she has difficulty controlling because she’s a half-vampire (think Blade); Rurik Krynn (Trevor Gemma) never knew his true ancestry–he’s a Hill Dwarf–and longs to know his heritage after leaving the clergy who brought him in. He was raised by elves. But Torvaralla, a Goddess of War, calls to him as though a future conflict demands his hammer, and possibly, his life.
While the early shows will focus primarily on the players at the table being these characters, later releases will include vignettes of them as their characters dealing with certain challenges and giving life to what’s said on screen. It’ll differ from other Dungeons and Dragons podcasts because this show has professionals from the film and broadcasting industry working to give life to every shot. “Before the pandemic, the original concept we had was for every episode (from 45 minutes to an hour long), we’d offer 15 minutes of us reenacting the game, complete with fully realized sets and practical effects,” said Livingston.
Not enough footage was filmed because of the pandemic lockdown last year. With things slowly getting back to (a new) normal, the studio can catch up and release their flagship product. These recreations are on par with many of Vancouver, BC’s other known genre favourites, and locals may have seen them running around Grouse Mountain instead of Stanley Park. It’s bringing the talents who once worked on shows like Stargate SG-1, The X-Files, Battlestar Galactica or The Flash to the streaming world of YouTube.
AFL’s COO Ryan Whyte said, “As a team of gamers, storytellers and creatives, we wanted to create a show based on our love of gaming, and felt that tabletop roleplaying offered the best opportunity to showcase both our technical abilities, and demonstrate the value we place on community. Tabletop gaming is inherently social, largely story-driven and has always had a hugely passionate community behind it, so we felt it was the perfect fit for our brand and our values.”
“We’ve spent almost two years making this show,” said CEO Chris Livingston. “Honestly the main reason we’re so excited to release it, is there have been so many talented, hard-working people who have poured so much creativity, energy, blood, sweat and tears into it, We just want to share the fruits of all their hard work with the world.”
To keep up with the latest developments, please check out the company’s main Facebook page or follow them on Twitch and Twitter!
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