Wizards of the Coast’s celebrity DM Chris Perkins is back running games for the Penny Arcade crew in a new season of Acquisitions Inc. If you haven’t seen them before, these are the characters developed by famed nerds Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, along with their various friends back when D&D 4th edition was first released, and they’ve carried on the game with Perkins for eight previous seasons and have now moved into the 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons ruleset.
While these hilarious examples of actual play began as audio only podcasts, they’re now shot “in an actual basement” for all of us to view. The show includes a revolving stable of guest players including Morgan Webb and Geek & Sundry‘s own Wil Wheaton on occasion.
Here’s the first episode of the new season. Thought it’s a bit slow as it sets up the coming campaign, it’s definitely worth checking out the intro cartoon and it leads into the following episodes well, setting up the importance of the coming heist.
The new season is already a few episodes in, unfolding the setup, planning, and initial actions of a magically enhanced bank heist against an elaborate dwarven vault containing a piece of The Rod of Seven Parts. It’s basically Ocean’s 11 if George Clooney was a cleric and Brad Pitt was a lecherous magician.
You don’t need a whole lot of backstory to get into the fun though. Acquisitions Inc. is a corporate business culture themed adventuring party led its CEO, the half-elven Omin Dran (Holkins’ cleric), with support from Jim Darkmagic (Krahulik’s wizard), Binwin Bronzebottom (Scott Kurtz’s fighter), along with special guest Viari (Patrick Rothfuss’ rogue). It’s tongue-in-cheek most of the time, with lots of references to interns, corporate training manuals, and hostile takeovers.
Acquisitions Inc. is all about what makes Penny Arcade great: witty dialogue, great art and production values, smart thinking, and a few well-placed call back jokes. Listening to their campaigns it’s clear why Chris Perkins is such an important Dungeon Master. He’s prepared, but thinks well on his feet. He’s a great roleplayer, but possesses a soothing voice that carefully guides the group through the adventures. He’s always ready to roll with the crazy ideas that the party puts forth and even offer a suggestion of his own here and there. His maps, miniatures, and terrain show just how well those paraphernalia can add to fun at the table. Like Critical Role, Acquisitions Inc. is basically a masterclass in how to put on a good game.
Here’s the group playing an epic game involving Drizz’t at the Penny Arcade Expo. Again, the intro video is top notch and worth a look.
So check out the new season and be ready to take notes. You never know when you’re gunna pick up the next great idea for your own games.
Feature Image Credit: Penny Arcade TV