The Adventure Zone’s “Balance” Arc Is Ending, And I’m Not Ready (Spoilers)

Extremely important update: The Adventure Zone ended, and I wasn’t ready.

This Thursday, August 17th, 2017, The Adventure Zone‘s first campaign, the Balance Arc, is coming to an end. While the finale has already had two episodes, it has been confirmed that this upcoming episode will be the final installment of the campaign.

The Adventure Zone is an actual play D&D podcast hosted by The McElroy brothers of My Brother, My Brother and Me fame. If you’re not already familiar with the show, though, this whining, sad post is not for you. What is for you is this link to the “supercut” of the first episode. Stop reading this post now and go start one hell of a ride–and as any fan can tell you, stick with it. What starts out silly and kind of boring becomes so much more beautiful than any of us could have expected.

Update: I wanted to be rational and chill and not constantly add to these lists, but who are we kidding? I think I’m going to be adding to them forever. Check back whenever you want to see if I have remembered more things that make me feel too much.

The first episode of The Adventure Zone aired on December 4th, 2014, as what was planned to be a one-off episode of MBMBaM. Now, almost three years later, the show has become something entirely different and extremely beautiful. I’m not going to talk about that in that post, though, for two reasons:

  1. I’ve already done that.
  2. I’m already sad. I have no interest in feeling more feelings.

While I am happy this arc has a planned end and won’t be doing what I call “Night Vale-ing,” continuing on and on for no reason other than producing more content with a wave of growing and diminishing returns, I want to spend this post reflecting back on what I loved about this show so much.

And please, comment below with discussion of your favorites. Let’s all share this pain together.

Moments that made me cry the hardest

Listen. I want to talk about the happy and not all of my emotions, but this post would be garbage without all of the moments that made me sob.

  • Taako and Magnus counting down to attack Lucretia
  • Magnus talking about his flesh body while in his mannequin body, saying, “Those are the arms that held my wife.
  • Literally the entire last episode of the Stolen Century arc, but especially, “Who?”
  • Taako’s leg shaking when Lup tells him she’s going to become a lich
  • Hurley and Sloane
  • Taako telling Kravitz he works with the bureau because nobody else would have him
  • Merle and Taako vowing to avenge Julia
  • Everyone’s reactions to Magnus being “dead”
  • Merle asking John, “Are we friends?”
  • This fucking gem from the TV tropes page:

Best part of the TV Tropes pages

The best part of the TV Tropes pages for The Adventure Zone is absolutely how the spoiler censoring looks exactly like the visual representation of when people talk about things the voidfish have eaten:


Moments that made me laugh the hardest

  • Lup’s introduction, and any subsequent mention of Greg Grimaldis
    • Similarly, “Count the shells!”
  • Magnus yelping in alarm when one of the twins appears behind him in their flashy introduction
  • Magic Brian keeping his ridiculous accent when he’s posing as Gundren Rockseeker
  • Angus telling the trio he’s a “good enough detective to see through [their] bullshit”
  • Any time Lucretia is super, super casual with the trio, e.g. “Booyah”
  • And when Lucretia says, “Magnus, this is the nightmare scenario” when he offers to give her a massage
  • Tom Bodet
  • Fantasy Justin filling in for Delilah
  • The golf commentary during the realtor phone call
  • Every moment with the Fantasy Gashapon
  • Taako not figuring out Barbara’s name, quickly followed up with:

TAAKO: My name . . . of course . . . is Taako. Psych, that’s my name. Say my name.

JUSTIN: I cast Magic Missile.

Moments that made me the happiest

  • Lup being canonically trans
  • Magnus’s duck
  • Every moment with Ango
  • The absolutely incredible moment of plot derailing when the trio forced Magnus’s soul into the mannequin body instead of letting him hit the astral plane
  • Merle building the church for the mushroom people for no reason other than that it was important to bring them hope
  • Hearing Griffin talk about how creatively fulfilled the show has made him
  • The return of every character during the finale
  • The reveal of Barry Bluejeans being the helpful Red Robe after Griffin insisted he wouldn’t brought back
  • Taako canonically wearing a skirt, and Justin making that moment clearly not a joke:

JUSTIN: Um, don’t–and please don’t trip, I’m wearing a skirt. Don’t even bug on that.

GRIFFIN: Like a–

JUSTIN: Of course I’m wearing a skirt.

CLINT: A kilt!

JUSTIN: Not a kilt.

GRIFFIN: Like a man kilt?

JUSTIN: Not a kilt. Like a–

TRAVIS: Merle would have a utili-kilt. That’s a fact.

JUSTIN: No, like a skirt, but like, a magical one.

My favorite Fantasy Costco items

  • The Pocket Spa and Workshop, a.k.a. Boy Pokeball
  • Mockingbird Gum
  • The Slicer of T’pire Weir Isles, obviously

. . . all of which I have implemented into my own campaign.

My favorite Horny Boy

Absolutely not. How dare you.

My favorite arc

Other than The Stolen Century, obviously, this one has to go to The Eleventh Hour for me. The setup was just so inventive, the city was built so well, the music was amazing, the plot was exciting, and there was the perfect mix of comedy and drama. This arc felt like the moment when all of the characters had really settled into who they were, and we had some substantial growth in Taako, Magnus, and Merle.

The things I’m going to miss the most

  • Angus
  • It’s Angus
  • I’m going to miss our beautiful magic boy so much, y’all.

But also, this arc in general. I’m going to avoid getting sappy here, but I’ve spoken briefly before about how this show hits all of my interests. At my wedding, our officiant was our Dungeon Master, and we rolled initiative to see who read their vows first. I met my husband and some of my best friends working at a radio station, on which we played D&D like some early version of The Adventure Zone that took itself much too seriously. This show is the perfect example of both how important podcasts can be and how important D&D can be. I could go on about what this show means to me specifically, but y’all, I am just already feeling too much.

The Adventure Zone‘s final episode of the Balance arc will be released this Thursday, 8/17/17. You can, and should, listen to it on any podcast streaming service, or on its website.

Please share you favorite moments down below! I’d love to hear what you loved the most and why!

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