It’s been a summer of endings for my favorite series. Always Human wrapped up its wlw slice-of-life cuteness in early June, Orphan Black finished in early August, and finally The Adventure Zone, whose humor got me through much of last year and this one, came to a close this past week. Though The Adventure Zone will continue, this particular adventure about Merle, Magnus, Taako, and a world of delightful NPCs is now over. Fittingly enough for this comedic fantasy-ish podcast, it ended with a finale which would, in other series, be considered extremely cliché. As other people on this blog know very well, I balk at the slightest hint of anything cheesy, but when I finished listening to this finale, I wasn’t rolling my eyes — I was happy. Somehow, through its 69 episodes (yes, 69, the sex number), The Adventure Zone boys had managed to construct a story in which a loving ending wasn’t only enjoyable, it was also practically required by the preceding narrative.
Massive spoilers for the entirety of The Adventure Zone below.
In mid-2016, the U.S. presidential election had just kicked into high gear with the announcement of Orange Cheeto Dust as the Republican presidential nominee, and I started looking for a comical podcast to take my mind off things. A friend of mine recommended The Adventure Zone, a podcast by the McElroy brothers, without really telling me what it was about. Mostly what I knew about the McElroys was that they were from my own home state and had some well-known podcasts, so I went in with absolutely no knowledge of the game they were playing, laughed at some jokes, and listened to an episode or so when I had the time. Before I knew it, I had somehow gone from “an ep whenever” to “three or four eps a day” because I was so invested in the story, and it’s definitely one of the few things that keeps me laughing even in this news vortex of despair. Now that The Adventure Zone is hurtling towards a sure-to-be hilarious and heartrending finale, I feel like it’s past time to try to get some of you to jump on this train with me.
Finally having caught up with Critical Role, I found myself with a hole in my schedule that I didn’t quite know how to fill. Luckily enough the internet was there in my time of need, and while several other D&D streams and podcasts failed to grab me, I managed to find one that did. The Adventure Zone is a D&D podcast put out by the McElroy brothers (also known for My Brother, My Brother, And Me and their various other podcasts on the Maximum Fun network) that follows three quirky characters—Magnus the warrior, Merle the cleric, and Taako the wizard—as they do everything in their power to derail all that Griffin, the DM, creates for them. Despite the fact that I’m nowhere near caught up with TAZ, I decided that this was a perfect time to look for fic. The obvious choice would have been to look for AU fic where I wouldn’t necessarily need to worry about spoilers. What ended up grabbing me, though, was the complete opposite: a post-canon fic that explores the struggles, tragedies, and joys that come with being an adventurer.
Warning for potential spoilers—not like I would know—and discussions of depression and self-harm.