Nerdarchy has a new streamed game for you to watch! Entitled Those Bastards this fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign streams live on Tuesdays 8-10 p.m. eastern on our second channel, Nerdarchy Live. The premise is a gaggle of half siblings, all with the same constellation birthmark, who search for answers regarding their father, themselves and the mystery of disappearing constellations in the sky. As they venture into deep dungeons and face deadly monsters their destinies converge on more questions than answers. Even if they live to find the answers they seek, will they wish they never had?
5E D&D live play
As part of our effort to boost the show we sat down with the players and Dungeon Master to discuss the campaign, their characters and how they fit into the party. Today we’re delving into the mind of DM Megan R. Miller!
Who are you, and what’s your role in Those Bastards?
“Salutations, I am author Megan R. Miller and I am the dungeon master this time around.”
What was your thought process behind the campaign concept?
“So I’ve got to be honest with you, Steven, it wasn’t my concept. Dave and Ted got a wild hair and ran with it, and the rest of the party seemed perfectly happy to go along. I just took what the players gave me and built around it.
I guess you could say my concept was ‘you guys gave me a lot of cloth, I bet I could spin something really cool out of this.’
The world is so unlike your standard D&D campaign, with its prevalence of bestial races, particularly aaracokra, and the cities match that beautifully. What was your inspiration for the world?
I wanted to run pulp adventures and part of the allure of stories like that is being taken to cool exotic locations. To me, that says ‘things that don’t exist on our own real life prime material.’
I love cities. They’re probably my favorite thing to work on in terms of worldbuilding because every one of them has a heart and soul of its own. The people in it, the general vibe of the place, something that sets it apart from other settlements. They crop up for various reasons, after all, and that’s going to influence what they become.
So you guys had an adventure to do in a jungle. And jungles have an abundance of trees and I was thinking about what I’d read about the rainforest, the various parts of it, what lives in a place like that, and one thing the jungle has a huge surplus of is birds. So the aarakocra seemed like a good fit. Then as far as Lustre goes, one thing the desert has a surplus of is glass, so a city of glass seemed really cool to me. Like, this is what people have to use as a building material and obviously fire elementals would be comfortable with that, right?
There is this particular feeling that D&D tends to encapsulate to me, most of the time. That very sword and sorcery sort of adventure. Most of the time you roll up and it’s like we’re trying to invoke the feeling of Dragonlance or Conan or sometimes with a particularly ambitious DM, Lord of the Rings, but those weren’t the stories that took my breath away when I was growing up. I loved The Dark Crystal and The Last Unicorn. Legend and The Labyrinth.
I don’t think I’m doing anything particularly earth shattering, but I do want to take you guys places you haven’t been before, or at least haven’t been often. Dark and gritty is all well and good, but I want the whimsy, you dig?”
What are your thoughts on Vent?
“Oh, Vent. I adore him. He’s this bright eyed young man who still believes in destiny and hasn’t lived long enough to see himself become jaded to the world around him. There are a lot of things he believes in that are questionable to those around him, and some of them are just flat out incorrect, such as that thing about elves trying to read your thoughts, but that reads as so real to me from someone who grew up sheltered in a dragon’s lair.
And when weird things happen around him, he just accepts them. Because he does have a destiny, after all, why would he not believe them? So in many ways, he’s the hero of the piece. In that classic way that means, doing heroic things. Vent is bright in every way but intellect. If I might paraphrase a quote from one of the Kung Fu Panda movies, ‘I might not understand what’s going on in your head, but what’s going on in your heart will never fail you.’
And as far as hearts go Vent has a very good one.
What are your thoughts on Galesin?
“Poor, tragic Galesin. Grew up in a world that didn’t want him with a family that didn’t appreciate him and eventually started believing the cruel things his grandfather was saying about him. The people around him failed that boy early and he’s still carrying the lessons he learned in childhood with him to this day. I don’t know if Ted’s doing it on purpose, but when I see him, I see a very wounded man.
But where Vent is bright eyed and utterly without guile, Galesin is sharp because he has to be. Or at least he’s had to look it. He comes off to me as someone who was never allowed to let on when he didn’t know something and has learned to watch others carefully, and growing up at an elven court with such an obvious target on his back as human blood, I have to imagine there’s a lot of truth to that.
He’s left a trail of broken hearts in his wake, but he’s loyal to his siblings, and honestly, brother things tend to hit me really hard in the first place.”
What are your thoughts on Oonga and Sheldon?
“Their bond melts my heart to magma, okay? Like, poor Oonga was left to his devices and not treated very well by the world. The man that stepped up to look after him was almost definitely taking advantage of him for his orcish blood and his sheer size. And he clearly cares a lot about the creatures of the world, even going as far as to pay an exorbitant amount of money to free all those birds at the market and it wasn’t lost on me that he was kind of sad when most of them flew away.
I think Oonga just wants to be loved because that’s something he’s had only rarely in his life and it breaks my heart into tiny little pieces and makes me want to give him a hug and take him to the zoo so we can free all the animals there, too.
Meanwhile, Oonga tends to be really trusting, so I always imagine Sheldon as just being very jaded and done with everything. I mean, he’s a crab, so he’s obviously not going to be spouting any soliloquies about the state of the world but I’m pretty sure on some level he knows how much trouble Oonga can get into left to his own devices and his tiny crab heart beats for this man that took such good care of him all this time.”
What are your thoughts on Prudence?
“She is everything her brothers are not. Eloquent, savvy, actually kind of well adjusted. And I approve of this because somebody in this party had to have healthy coping mechanisms.
She comes off to me as being slow to warm to people. And considering her upbringing, and that whole ‘strike a bargain first and see what you can get’ mentality this isn’t a huge surprise to me. Pru comes off as being someone who wants to know things and maybe even the kind of person who would look at the Book of Forbidden Knowledge anyway because skirting the edge of madness is a small price to pay to know something that not everyone else knows. She’s the quintessential witch, and I love it.
I’m looking forward to seeing more of her.”
Why should people watch Those Bastards?
“Okay, if my previous ramble about how much I love the characters hasn’t convinced you I’m not sure what will. Ha. No, seriously, though I feel like this party was specifically hand crafted to tear my heart out and I’ve found that if something is really hitting me that hard there are going to be other people it hits that way as well. We’re having a really good time. So for me it’s not so much ‘people in general should tune in with us,’ it’s ‘the people looking for a whimsical adventure about a group of siblings taking the long road to find their father and heal their old wounds’ and ‘the people who want some of that old fantasy whimsy.'”
Any secrets you’re willing to share about the campaign?
“Ah, giving me just enough rope to hang myself, I see. Let me see if I can put on my cryptic DM hat for this…
The stars are closer than you think.”
This really has me itching for the next stream! Megan is clearly a skillful and creative DM and I can’t wait to see what they’ve got planned next! You can catch this streamed D&D game Those Bastards every Tuesday night, 8-10 p.m. eastern with VOD available immediately following each session. Visit Nerdarchy Live to subscribe and hit that notification bell because you don’t want to miss a thing here!