Prior to the official launch of the show, we're releasing five mini-episodes that allow you the chance to meet the cast and characters. This is part two of the series, and introduces you to Player Alex and his character, Tychus.
Click "Read More" for credits and transcripts of the episode.
Scott: [00:00:19] Hello and welcome to Shocking Gasp: A D&D podcast. I'm your host and Dungeon Master, Scott Heckler. Before we launch the podcast proper, we're doing a series of mini spotlight episodes to help you get a little more acquainted with our players and their characters. This is part 2 of a 5-part series. And today we're meeting one of my most seasoned players, Alex. Hello Alex!
Alex: [00:00:40] Hello. How are you doing sir?
Scott: [00:00:41] I'm doing good. How are you doing?
Alex: [00:00:43] All right ready to dig into this! Excited!
Scott: [00:00:47] Me too. So let's let's jump right in then, tell us about your character.
Alex: [00:00:51] I will be playing the role of Tychus Gemcutter, a relatively tricksy Dwarven rogue. Tychus is less of a sneaky stabby assassination, if you will, type of rogue and more of a kind of a manipulator, a trickster. He's got, his strengths are generally based on the intelligence side with higher scores in his wisdom and charisma. Luckily being a dwarf, he still has a respectable constitution and as a rogue, has learned to be pretty quick on his feet, resulting in a pretty good dexterity score. He isn't the strongest of dwarves and probably isn't the most intelligent of people that you'll meet, but he still can think for his own just enough to outwit a few dumber people for a coin or two if possible.
Scott: [00:01:44] Okay cool. Sounds like a little bit of a diversion from the norm, but I like where you're going with it. Any ideas- Maybe to- is he going to multi-class ever and a bard or something like that or what are you thinking.
Alex: [00:01:55] Uh, he, while being charismatic and good with talking to everyone around him, the life of a bard seems a bit too out there, mainstream, he doesn't need to be performing at the tavern halls or reciting the great works of his fellow adventurer, he prefers most of his interactions to be a bit more behind the scenes, or one-on-one than a grand performer. At this point I would expect him to stay on the sneaky path.
Scott: [00:02:24] Cool, well it is very nice to meet Tychus. I understand you have a back story prepared, would you like to share that with us?
Alex: [00:02:29] Oh yes, of course. Tychus Gemcutter: a small-statured dwarf from small beginnings.
Tychus was raised far to the south in the hilly region of Tolgarfor. Born within a clan of artisanal dwarves, Tychus' parents worked not as gem cutters, as you might be led to believe, but no more than simple rock breakers and polishers, leaving the much more intricate work to the other dwarves.
Tychus was well cared for and despite his family's limited resources, didn't really need or want for much as a young dwarf, but a simple life of physical labor, never really felt like what he was meant for. He was never the strongest of his colleagues, and in turn had to be quite resourceful when with odds at them. He took pride in his ability to convince others that performing his assigned tasks and duties was actually in their best interest and that he was doing them a favor.
Being more of an observer was always his strong suit, but seeing as how most of his daily work no longer actually required his presence, he worked to train himself in other beneficial practices,. Providing a handwritten note from the local mayor of a nearby town was always a great way to obtain recognition for his fantastic work on behalf of the clan. Or sometimes his superiors would meet with a very interesting customer who had nothing but the highest praise Tychus' work on restoring an old piece of jewelry or various other things. But, alas, despite all of his attempts Tychus never seemed destined to rise above the meager levels of his parents and siblings.
Refusing to be held back by an outdated Dwarven hierarchy. Tychus decided to travel, making up his path as he went. And decided to set out and create a life of his own. Within a few weeks of being out on the road Tychus actually ran into a Lord Tordek Fireforge, in a common room of an inn, Tychus was stayed at. Well, he was staying at it, but also working on developing a profit sharing scenario with the owners. But that's not the point right now. Lord Tordek was a representative of Dwarven clansmen from across the far west sea and was looking to establish somewhat of a base of operations for trade and diplomatic relations to the clans on this continent. As a fellow dwarf and appearing to be a fellow aspirant, Tychus, was immediately impressed with him and volunteered to fall in league as quickly as possible. Since then, Tychus has been working as an emissary and representative of Lord Tordek across the land.
Scott: [00:04:49] Wow, dude, that was on point. I enjoyed that a lot.
Alex: [00:04:53] Glad you appreciated that.
Scott: [00:04:56] Well done well done. My question, I guess that I have, is he- his background then, is it the guild artisan or did he get something else.
Alex: [00:05:05] He is a charlatan.
Scott: [00:05:07] And then this Lord Tordek he's, is he like Tychus' boss then?
Alex: [00:05:13] Yeah. Essentially Tordek, you know they fell in league, like I said, when they were staying at an inn, and then and just conversing over things at some point. And Tordek was looking for someone that maybe had a bit better idea of the land, and the area and someone that he could use to meet with leaders on his behalf, like I said discussing trade relations, diplomatic relations, really just someone that was down to the Earth and could do a lot of just errands and things for him. And in turn he's been, you know, spread across the land going to various places, spreading the good word of Lord Tordek and really just doing whatever he needs on a day-to-day basis.
Scott: [00:05:53] Other than getting out of the family drudgery, I guess it sounds like, what does what does Tychus get out of working with Tordek? What's Tychus' goals and how does Tordek help with that?
Alex: [00:06:06] Tychus sees Tordek as a dwarf that, you know, he has left, what he's been led to believe, was a fine upbringing life, great lifestyle, that he had before and wanted to, you know, head up the entire operations of all of his clansmen on this- this piece of land across the sea. And he believes that if he can, you know, stick with Tordek and work with him and kind of build up, like I said, this base of operations, you know, maybe turn it into a very successful trading post, or, you know, a diplomatic region for that back there, that, you know, the sky's the limit for him. And, you know, if they become an established entity in this area maybe a lordship of a certain area of his own could come into play for being so helpful in the early beginnings.
Scott: [00:06:58] Aspirations of nobility.
Alex: [00:06:58] Exactly. Hey, the only thing people don't have enough of is everything. Right?
Scott: [00:07:05] I like the idea that Tychus is open to building, I guess, sort of a network or community or something like that and not to not to dip a spoiler too hard. But I think that sort of intention might be able to play out for you guys in the main campaign. So that's really cool.
Alex: [00:07:20] It's a lot easier for groups to be apt to trade well or get along with and, you know , grant, you know, responsibilities, privileges to various people from his organization if they've already heard and seen the good effects of someone like Tordek can have on their towns and cities.
Scott: [00:07:41] Cool, Well done. So this being a podcast I have to ask will we be hearing a character voice for Tychus.
Alex: [00:07:48] It is in work and ideally it will, it will be put in play and come out possibly fitting with his charismatic, somewhat shifty ways of handling things, it might randomly change at times, but, you know, this way we can say I've established that he's got a knack for, you know, maybe imitating voices or things like that. And that's why he suddenly became a Russian and Jamaican all in one sentence. But ideally, yes, I'll have something to bust out.
Scott: [00:08:22] That is classic Alex. I've been playing with Alex for quite some time. We'll get into that in a minute. But your-your character voices do tend to be very flowing and organic and it usually takes you a few months to settle on one so I'm sure we'll get something eventually
Alex: [00:08:36] There you go.
Scott: [00:08:37] Cool. Well now I think it's time to meet the man behind the legend. You have been playing with me for 15 years. Is that correct?
Alex: [00:08:45] I mean it kind of hurts to say that, but yes, that does sound- Gosh, I mean. 15 or 16 right in there.
Scott: [00:08:56] Might have been 2002. I think.
Alex: [00:08:59] Kind of a funny story about that, just happened to be hanging out with my father yesterday. And the thing that he had done the night before is, he plays poker with a group of guys. He said he played poker for five hours and lost a buck 50. So, you know, it's nothing too high stakes. But he mentioned that they started playing poker when they were sophomores in high school. And at this point you know they've been playing for some years I guess.
Scott: [00:09:28] Got to be 40 years.
Alex: [00:09:29] And I said to myself "What have I been doing since I was like a sophomore in high school that I regularly do with my friends from then still?" And I said "Oh my God what if I've still playing Dungeons and Dragons when I'm you know- 30 years from now." And I was like "I guess that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world," you know.
Scott: [00:09:47] I hope we're still playing Dungeons and Dragons 30 years from now. I love this game.
Alex: [00:09:51] That's our equivalent. Only said on a podcast, it's literally gonna be virtual reality. We'll be old and we won't understand that technology but whatever.
Scott: [00:10:01] And I hope we get to the point where we can play D&D with minis that look like that weird chess game. I don't know what it's called the nerds are going to get mad.
Alex: [00:10:09] Wizard's Chess?
Scott: [00:10:09] No, whatever they were playing in Star Wars when they were like "Let the Wookie win." I want that. That's gonna be awesome.
Alex: [00:10:17] I just want minis that move.
Scott: [00:10:20] Yeah. Yeah they can be see-through, blue. I don't care. I just wanna see them move, that's going to be awesome.
Alex: [00:10:25] And we'll be on a spaceship which is cool right?
Scott: [00:10:28] Yeah, maybe. So, 15 years. That's sophomore year in high school. That's exactly like your father. And I know the answer, but what got you into Dungeons and Dragons in the first place?
Alex: [00:10:41] I mean that would be our current Dungeon Master, Scott.
Scott: [00:10:45] That is me.
Alex: [00:10:47] Spoiler alert.
Scott: [00:10:47] Spoiler alert it was me.
Alex: [00:10:49] Yeah I mean we all were friends in high school we. We were all in the band together because we were the coolest kids and-.
Scott: [00:10:54] The marching band.
Alex: [00:10:57] Yeah the marching band. We marched and played so doing things like talking and rolling dice, you know, two things at once we were good at it. So it was the thing we'd do, you know, after school while waiting for practice or after practice while waiting to not do homework or whatever it may be. It was just a way that we all really hung out a ton and would randomly spend, you know, what attempt to do 36 hour weekend sessions straight. Fall asleep after four to six hours.
Scott: [00:11:29] 24 hours. And that was the thing, a 24 hour session.
Alex: [00:11:33] It was just something that we did in high school because we all thought being crazy barbarian warriors was really cool. You know, we had to wait 10 years before we learned how to play things like bards and stuff.
Scott: [00:11:44] Oh yeah. The Lord of the Rings had just come out.
Alex: [00:11:47] Yeah.
Scott: [00:11:48] We were in school when Lord of the Rings is coming out. And that was it man, we could all "Meat's back on the menu boys." I mean that was it, right?
Alex: [00:11:55] I mean, I was almost crazy. Every one of our parties, there was a dwarf with an axe and elf with a bow, a human with a sword.
Scott: [00:12:02] The bad guys were always British.
Alex: [00:12:03] Nobody ever wanted to be a halfling. Nobody ever wanted to be a halfling.
Scott: [00:12:07] Nobody really wants to be Sam or Frodo. I can't carry the ring Mr. Frodo. My I can carry you. Ok whatever.
Alex: [00:12:16] But yeah, that's when we started and we've been playing since then.
Scott: [00:12:21] It's been a great ride. In that whole span though, I don't think, it was only just recently, within the last two years that you actually decided to take up the mantle and be a dungeon master and you led for the last two years, our local group. Why don't you tell us a little bit about that campaign and your final thoughts on that experience?
Alex: [00:12:38] That is a true story. So, people out there, you might have played it, you might have heard it. We did the entire Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat series that Wizards actually formally published. Unfortunately as all of us have gotten older, life does kind of take hold and the idea that all of us constantly had time to completely come up with our own story and world etc. every week just wasn't happening, so we decided to go with some of those pre-generated campaigns. Keep getting our game sessions in, and at that point I was able to take over for Scott and run the DM for two years.
Scott: [00:13:15] And that was the two years I was working on my master's degree and I just couldn’t do it. I couldn't run the game and do that.
Alex: [00:13:21] Ooh master's
Scott: [00:13:23] I had to plug it, I'm smart.
Alex: [00:13:24] I'm reasonably confident that we played D&D while in school when we started, did we not go over that.
Scott: [00:13:30] Yeah yeah. But that was really bad D&D. Oh that was bad. I found some campaign notes, they're bad. We were bad.
Alex: [00:13:38] But yeah I mean anybody listening that has been on both sides of the screen, ironic in this sense that it's for us at this point, the other side of this computer screen. So they're saying still goes. But it definitely opens up your eyes to a whole new way of looking at D&D and really kind of a respect that you have for the person that runs the back end of everything.
Scott: [00:14:01] Finally. That's all I've ever wanted is that respect.
Alex: [00:14:04] You know, your players ask you a question and I look on page 78 and it didn't have an answer. You got to come up with something on the fly and then you have to remember that you told them that, so I would highly recommend it to anyone that has been playing D&D for a while, has a strong feeling for the rules, they feel good about, you know, anytime they go in they know what they're doing, you don't- you're not constantly flipping through the book to figure out exactly what you got to do on each play. Meet up with friends, you know, volunteer to run a couple and it just gives you a real interesting view on the other side and the work that goes into it. And also it can be just incredibly satisfying when like you kill the party. No. When you see them maybe figure something out that you've been trying to drop hints at or indicate and like you see the light go on their... You're like YES! My children, I'm proud of you.
Scott: [00:14:58] You've successful- you've successfully guided them to a goal and they got and it feels awesome.
Alex: [00:15:04] And they got that and they did it without you, you know, what's the phrase, having to railroad him into it.
Scott: [00:15:11] Yeah, railroad or fudge the rules or the Deus ex Machina or anything like that.
Alex: [00:15:16] It's satisfying, you know then the flipside of feel bad when they call you out for fudging the rules and you're like well look you shouldn't be able to kill this thing yet. So yeah that's right. It was a good time.
Scott: [00:15:28] I think every player should at some point be a dungeon master and I get that it's a big scary chair, and it'll be intimidating, but just slide into it and do your best and man people are going to have a good time with this game and like you said you learn a lot, you learn a lot about being a player by being a dungeon master. So what else do you do outside of this game any other hobbies that you care to share?
Alex: [00:15:48] Oh geez. I mean like how stereotypical can I sound. I work in I.T. so generally in front of computers most of the time anyway. Huge Star Wars fan, none of you can see it but there are a bunch of random Star Wars things all around me down here.
Scott: [00:16:07] You have Star Wars Legos right. Find out right now don't you?
Alex: [00:16:09] I do I do. I have a Millennium Falcon just chillin out.
Scott: [00:16:12] So jealous.
Alex: [00:16:14] I'm a big baseball fan. So right now it's summer which is nice because I can go watch baseball games. I don't know, every popular show has been on HBO in the last six years, I'll tell you I'm a huge fan of that too. So consider me a very unique individual or not, whichever.
Scott: [00:16:32] Now is the time of our people.
Alex: [00:16:34] Now is the time of our people- you couldn't be more right.
Scott: [00:16:37] HBO is doing it. Marvel's on top with the movies. Oh boy it's a wonderful time to be a nerd. Thank you for sharing with us today, Alex. We really appreciate the sneak peek at Tychus.
Alex: [00:16:47] Yeah, I'm looking forward to it.
Scott: [00:16:48] Well that's a wrap for this week folks. Please check out the other spotlight episodes. If you like what you hear, please feel free to leave a review, preferably on iTunes. And if you want to be privy to more content check out the podcast feed on Twitter at ShockingGaspDnD. You can also follow me on Twitter at HecklerusPrime. Thank you for the listen and have a great day.
Shocking Gasp is a serialized actual play D&D 5e podcast. When an enigmatic being falls from the sky, four strangers investigate and find themselves on the run from a superhuman force. Now they must fight for their survival while attempting to unravel the mystery of who the being was and why they’re being hunted. New episodes released every other week on Tuesday at 6am EST. First time listeners advised to start at Episode 1 - Livin’ On a Prayer