Podcast Spotlight: Godsfall

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Aram Vartian is the sexiest DM, you guys. Sorry Matt Mercer and Chris Perkins, it’s just the way it is.

Damn Aram!

Damn Aram! (Sourced from Google Images. It only said Youtube!)

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about Godsfall.

I will say upfront that I am a bit behind with the amazing actual play podcast known as Godsfall. If I remember correctly, I started getting in to season two a while back and then it kind of dropped off for me as I learned about and listened to new podcasts. This is far from the fault of Godsfall, I just get obsessed with things for a while, like podcasts, and other things fall to the wayside for a bit, like podcasts. What I’m trying to say is I’m sorry Aram and I promise I’ll be better, okay!?

Godsfall-29b-400x400

I’ll get caught up, I swear! (Sourced from godsfall.com)

…Moving on.

Godsfall is an actual play, fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons podcast with probably the highest level production of any internet radio show out there, no matter the category. Aram is one hell of a perfectionist, incorporating a plethora of sound effects and music into every episode, by himself. It helps that all much of his sound catalogue is provided to him by Battlebards, but the meticulous, painstaking editing is all done by Mr. Vartian. I don’t think I’m the only nerd out there that’s thought about doing an actual play rpg podcast then heard Godsfall and watched the bar that was set shoot up into the stratosphere strapped to jet pack. He’s a damn fine editor, is all I’m saying.

His world is intricately crafted, a work of love and dedication that could only come from someone so enthusiastic for tabletop roleplaying games. As a homebrew world builder myself, I can be a bit judgemental when it comes to settings for D&D. My biggest gripe is seeing the same old clichés over and over again, without any sort of twist or intriguing alteration. I love beer chugging dwarves and haughty elves as much as the next nerd, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be given a fresh coat of paint. From Aram’s pantheon of gods to the way magic works to the history itself, Godsfall has everything I like with enough curves and originality to make me one happy DM.

What are these places? Where am I? You'll just have to listen to find out. (Sourced from the Godsfall World Book Kickstarter page.)

What are these places? Where am I? You’ll just have to listen to find out. (Sourced from the Godsfall World Book Kickstarter page.)

What captures me about Aram’s game and his game mastering style is that it’s very in keeping with my own philosophy, and a lot of people’s philosophy’s from what I’ve seen online. Story has to come first. When running a game, it isn’t about you versus the players, it is about you presenting options to the players, seeing where that takes them, and adjusting accordingly. In an actual play podcast, I think many people would go the route of having a clear story in mind and keeping things quite linear, which makes sense. If you’re recording and want to have something entertaining by the end of it, a way to keep that controlled is by having a story fleshed out, at least in arcs, and see what happens to the players as they go from A, B, C, and so on. Trust me, when I get into the actual play podcasting game, that’s how I’m going to roll. If it works for The Adventure Zone, that’s good enough for me.

Godsfall, however, has a nice ‘at the table’ feel. It really seems as though whatever the players do could and will completely change where everything is going come next session. The fact that Aram can keep everything straight, tell a genuinely interesting story, and elevate it with great audio and sound effects makes it all the more impressive.

His players help him out, of course, bringing great characters and character to the table. Doug’s Dorra Knott is a wonderful scamp of a gnome whose voice is equal parts grating and endearing. Torrvic, the dwarf paladin played by Stephen, has everything I love about dwarves and adds to that with the adorable lady pig, Oinkers. Xion Preten, Michael’s human sorcerer, has baggage galore, selling emotional moments beautifully. Kay’s Phryane is well missed – at least for how far I’ve gotten – but I enjoyed her interactions with everyone she encountered while she was a part of the group. I have not had the chance to form an opinion on Kelly, the “newest” member to the Godsfall crew, but I doubt her character Rina is any less enjoyable to listen to than the others.

A little taste of what all this super-powering is about. (Sourced from the Godsfall World Book Kickstarter page.)

A little taste of what all this super-powering is about. (Sourced from the Godsfall World Book Kickstarter page.)

Aram has created a Dungeons & Dragons actual play podcast that all others must try to live up to and if they don’t want to, they have to mention“Hey, this ain’t Godsfall.” at least once and a while. We’ve been living in a post-Godsfall world for some time now and that means the rest of us have to step up our game. Right now, Aram’s got the high score.

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