Catching Up On: The End of Time and Other Bothers

This is another feature I wanted to try out, in which I talk about a show that I’ve been catching up on recently. This is actually going to be the first time I’ve featured an actual play podcast on my blog, and I wanted to preface this post with some background information to give a bit of context. I don’t play any RPGs, I played one session of D&D a couple of years ago, and it wasn’t for me. I’m too much of an anxious bean to enjoy being part of a form of storytelling that relies on improv and thinking on my feet. So, as I don’t play any RPGs, I tend to naturally gravitate towards scripted fiction, and actual plays are definitely something I’ve neglected during the time I’ve been listening to podcasts. That’s something I’ve been trying to remedy this year, and recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of The End of Time and Other Bothers.

The End of Time and Other Bothers launched in April 2018, and is produced by Fable and Folly Productions. It’s set in the same world as a scripted fiction podcast by the same team – fantasy show Alba Salix. Alba Salix is the long-suffering head of the House of Healing and Royal Physician in Faloria, who’s assisted by apprentice Magnus, and Holly the fairy. However, episode one of Other Bothers starts far in the future, 12 centuries after Alba’s time, and Faloria is no more.

The End of Time and other bothers uses the Dungeon World system. For newcomers like myself, there’s an explanation of the system in Episode 0, which I found very helpful. There are three player characters: Blat the half-demon, played by Carter Siddall; Darcy the human, played by Marisa King; and Eggerton the flightless fairy, played by Michael Howie; and the Game Master is Sean Howard. The player characters are all brought together by an explosion, where everyone around them disappears.

It’s the end of time, in all the multiverse. And the three are all brought back to the past – to the kingdom of Farloria. They’re taken to the Academy of The Fallen, where they – and the audience – learn about The Shattering. The Shattering is what ended reality, and if it isn’t stopped, it will consume all realities in all times. The three weren’t affected by The Shattering, it’s not known why they didn’t disappear along with everyone else, and they must help the Academy of The Fallen fight it. This is the start of their long mission in this unfamiliar world.

One of the reasons I enjoy Other Bothers so much is that there isn’t a lot of dice rolling. A lot of dice rolls isn’t a bad thing at all – I mean, this is an actual play where people play a game which uses dice, so it’s kind of an important part of the whole thing – but for someone who doesn’t play RPGs, and isn’t that familiar with any TTRPG systems, it’s meant that Other Bothers been easier to get into for me than some others. There aren’t any big discussions about rules or mechanics, and rolls and their consequences are very easy to understand. One thing I found that really helped with understanding the mechanics of the game was the use of rolling for fairy cakes. Eggerton loves making fairy cakes, and they’re used to heal people; but obviously, depending on what the dice rolls, the healing doesn’t always go to plan. The use of this as a constant feature of the story is not only comedic, (Sean’s ‘roll for fairy cakes’ never fails to crack me up!), but it also helped me understand the consequences of different rolls.

Another aspect of the show I really enjoy is the NPC voices. Now this is just a normal part of an actual play, right? Oh but these are good, trust me. Not only is Sean excellent at voicing all kinds of different characters (I love you Snegal!), but the players also occasionally voice NPCs that appear in the story. There’s one part I particularly loved, I won’t spoil the details, but at one point, Blat has to go on a mission which involves going to a lot of different places, and Sean, Carter, and Marisa all voice the characters he meets, with some brilliant outcomes.

As of the publication of this post, I’m currently on episode 26, out of a total of 45 full episodes (and a few bonus ones, including a lockdown miniseries) which are currently available. It’s a very enjoyable listen, the characters are a lot of fun, and Sean is an excellent GM. He’s created a very rich and complex world, which goes way beyond what we see in Alba Salix, and the players do such an amazing job of creating a collaborative story together.

2 thoughts on “Catching Up On: The End of Time and Other Bothers

  1. Sean here. From Other Bothers. Thank you. What a truly amazing piece on our show. The entire cast is so touched that you are enjoying our show, took the time to write this up, and are such an amazing writer to boot!

    Liked by 1 person

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