A whole lotta love for the Maximum Fun podcasts

I’ve mentioned my love for podcasts, The Adventure Zone and My Brother, My Brother and Me before. Those two podcasts plus the other host of McElroy family of podcasts (like Wonderful! — another favorite of mine) are part of the Maximum Fun network. Last week and this one is the Maximum Fun pledge drive where the podcasts on their network as listeners to help support their work. The pledges go directly to the podcasts you listen to and help support the creators continue making good work. Not all of these podcasters do their podcasts for a living, but some do and personally I like knowing that I can help support that.

I don’t often contribute to these things, or like even patreons for people I don’t know. But in the past few years that I’ve been listening to these shows I’ve come to appreciate how much joy listening to these shows give me. For instance, Episode #400 of MBMBAM which was last Monday’s episode at the beginning of the pledge drive, kept me in stitches. I listened to it while at the gym Tuesday night and I barely noticed my time on the treadmill because I was laughing so hard. I’ve laughed about it in the week since and continued to feel connected to this random group of dudes because it feels like we’ve shared an experience… even though I’m just listening from home, work or the gym.

I’ve consumed a lot of their episodes. Over half of the 400 episodes of MBMBAM all ~90 of The Adventure Zone, most of the new episodes of Wonderful! and a handful of others. I pay good money for things like Netflix or Hulu and honestly, I often get way more enjoyment and bang for my buck from the McElroy podcasts than I do from the shows on those networks.

So last year I promised $10 a month to the MaxFun drive. It got me a cool MBMBAM pin and access to a proverbial shit load of free content dedicated to the pledge subscribers… stuff I didn’t know existed before. This year, I’m planning to increase that donation. Not because I feel pressured to… at least not by these creators. But by my own want to support these creators who give me so much of themselves in each episode.

One of the coolest things to happen so far this year is based on their 2018 motto of “Stronger Together”, Collabor18. I started a MBMBAM Discord channel specifically for fans who write or wanted to get into writing. The channel has over 100 members, is active daily, and we’re in the process of building an anthology of written works about collaboration, any proceeds of which will go to charity. And that’s only one small thing that’s happened from a giant community of fans. (I’ve got plans to post more about this anthology sometime soon.)

If you listen to MaxFun shows, I suggest you think about how much you’ve laughed and enjoyed these shows. And maybe do the same.

Champions of the Earth! a podcast

Recently I started listening to a new actual play podcast called Champions of the Earth.

I’ve tried several actual play podcasts that aren’t Critical Role or The Adventure Zone and had a lot of trouble getting into them. Many of them explain too much or take themselves way too seriously or just have too much bro-ness about them that make them uninteresting or just boring. Champions of the Earth  was a recommendation through twitter because one of the members is Gina DeVivo, who’s on a few different Geek & Sundry / ProjectAlpha shows… not all of which I watch. That’s a long way of say that she was my way into this podcast.

The GM for Champions of the Earth, Collin Kelly, is a big fan of The Adventure Zone and I think that shows strongly in the way he tells the story. But in just a few episodes I’ve found that I really enjoy how he backs out of the story when the characters are having moments among themselves. He lets them direct some of the action, let’s them have character moments that aren’t necessarily plot related by have an impact on how the characters will interact when the plot resurfaces. It’s a good mix of storytelling and actual play. They use a modified version of D&D rules to play which makes the game play familiar enough for people that know 5th ed. rules and they explain character changes and rule updates quickly as they come into play, but don’t belabor the rules too much.

What’s different about Champions of the Earth is that it’s not a medieval-esque fantasy world though. It’s a modern day story of high school students thrust into a world of zombies, aliens and giant mecha knights. It’s a little Power Rangers and a little Twilight. It’s great.

It’s also really great that the episodes are about an hour like The Adventure Zone instead of 3-4 like Critical Role. If you start now, you’ll catch up to today’s episode 8 in no time. I think episode 8 also has my favorite moment of the show so far — a scene in which one of the characters is about to get into a fight with a creature, but pauses zen-like to take a sip of Fresca before it happens. It’s perfect.

You can find Champions of the Earth on iTunes and Google Play and wherever fine podcasts are sold. #ChampionsCast