Second Opinion

Second Opinion is a reviews show about anything and everything under the sun. If we can experience it, we can review it.

Titansgrave Review

Episode #2The Fringe #353

Ian R Buck and Ian Decker discuss Titansgrave: the Ashes of Valkana.


Titansgrave: the Ashes of Valkana is a video series featuring a group of minor celebrities playing through an RPG campaign.
  • Setting
    • Love the combination of science fiction and fantasy!
    • [Buck] Of course I was inclined to root for the technological solutions.
    • A world with ancient evils that haven’t been seen in millennia is a fun trope. Makes me think of A Song of Ice and Fire.
    • [Decker] I agree with Buck on the melding of Fantasy and Sci-fi themes- it was cool to see! I appreciate that there was still a love of good beer! I do wonder how more of the political systems worked though- although Wil created a vast world and introduced many characters, he didn’t really develop things like the society that they were in as much as I would’ve liked.
  • Story
    • [Decker] I wish that more things had been explained- there were things, like Lemley’s amulet and why her family was despised, that were never answered. I also felt that it was a bit short, but I’m also used to novel-esque stories.
    • Time for a sequel!
  • Characters
    • Most of the characters had quite a bit of depth. This was intentional, of course, because Wil had each of the players come up with major and minor goals for their characters.
    • Most of the characters were well-specced for combat, except for S’Lethkk
    • [Decker] I think that it helps for the PCs to have good actors behind them as well- that makes for some fun characters. I wish that Wil had kept up the whole character keeping secrets from others thing later into the story as well- it would’ve made for some interesting interactions.
  • Players
    • Looks like a fun group to play with!
    • Wil Wheaton
      • Did a great job coming up with the whole setting
      • Went to the effort of incorporating the player characters’ backstories into the missions they were going through in the campaign
      • [Buck]Seemed a little heavy-handed in guiding the players through the campaign
      • [Decker] I agree a bit, although I also think that he did a pretty good job of improvising and working with what the characters wanted to do along the way (5 gold and a party). The story was definitely a bit railroaded, although he did include a few choices for the characters to make, which is always nice.
    • Laura Bailey
      • She was great! She got really invested in her character, Lemley.
      • [Buck] I’m always impressed with people who have to play a character with low intelligence, because they have to reign in their own ideas.
    • Hank Green
      • He had a really well developed backstory
      • [Buck] He is too snarky for his own good. Wil had to punish him in the game a few times.
      • [Decker] No such thing as too snarky... that may have just been part of Ankia.
  • Format of show
    • 40 minute episodes felt pretty good.
    • [Buck] Maybe 30-35 minutes would have been ideal.
    • [Decker] I would’ve gone the other way to 1hr episodes. I thought that it felt like the story was getting clipped short in a lot of cases.
    • The intro was really long, and we started skipping it
  • Production quality
    • Love the bottom third they have when someone rolls dice! Especially since they change the numbers when somebody makes a mistake with their math.
    • I enjoyed the art style- big brush strokes leaves some “smeared” details, but that fits well with the noir and dirty feel of a lot of the setting.
  • RPG system
    • Looks really fun!
    • Using three dice pushes most rolls towards the middle of the pack. Bell curve, you know.
    • The stunt points counter this by making even regular rolls a bit more exciting
    • Combat seems mostly balanced- sets up both PCs and NPCs for success
    • Spellcasting seemed almost underpowered- many of the spells had not as much damage as the other weapons, both melee and ranged
    • Armor damage reduction for all characters was really nice!


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