The Adventure Zone is a podcast of three brothers playing Dungeons and Dragons with their father. Justin McElroy is the Dungeon Master who directs the story and portrays the Non-Playable-Characters (NPC’s). Travis portrays Magnus Burnsides, a human fighter with a motto of action over thought. Griffin portrays Taako, an elven wizard that acts as the main comic relief who pursues an overarching sub quest of inventing the world’s first taco. Their father Clint McElroy portrays Merle Highchurch, a dwarven cleric who preaches religious practices randomly to various NPC’s in usually inappropriate situations.
The Adventure Zone started in 2014 and has since expanded into a New York Times’ best-selling graphic novel and live appearances, including one with guest star Lin Manuel Miranda. Improvisation and humor plays throughout the adventure. At first there seems to be a tension in the game as the family adjusts to the rules and strategies of the table top adventure. By the second quest they find their different voices and the show becomes much more entertaining.
Griffin uses Twitter comments from fans of The Adventure Zone to name some of the NPC’s that the family meets along their journey. He also allowed fans to suggest items for the characters to purchase in between quests, and allowed paid messages from listeners on “Jumbotron” announcements which he would read during breaks in the podcast.
I have never listened to any podcast before. The Adventure Zone has got me hooked. The humor, improvisation, and fan inclusion is a format that I have not yet experienced. I suggest this podcast to anyone that has the time to get through the first few episodes. Once you make it to the second quest, the humor and story really start to take off!