Fans of Friends at the Table

I appreciate people bringing this thread back around every now and then. I JUST finished Winter this week, and started on both Bluff City and Twilight Mirage. Looking forward to them both!
The different strata stuff in Winter? Fucked me up. Also, pattern magic is wild.

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I appreciate people bumping this thread every so often because I regularly feel “oh, I should probably try to get into FatT”, and then have no idea what’s a good place to start at.

Are there any suggestions [other than the ones on the website ]?

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I think the recommendations on the site are good. :stuck_out_tongue: I feel like it really depends on what would and wouldn’t work for you, personally. I started at the beginning and had a great time, but people who care about audio quality more than me might want to start with Counter/Weight, or they might really be into fantasy over mechs and cyberpunk, in which case Marielda would be a better fit. The older stuff is better if you want to binge through it, while Partizan seems like it’d be a fine place to start and is no worse if you’re only listening week-to-week anyway.

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The current season has started relatively recently and doesn’t require knowledge of the previous seasons. There are a few references here and there but never anything that would confuse a new listener.

If you prefer fantasy over sci-fi another great starting point is Marielda, a relatively short miniseries of 14 episodes. I still start up an episode now and then just to listen to the amazing intros :smiley:

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In addition to those suggestions, the three-episode playthrough of The Fall of Magic is really lovely and wistful and strange, showcases the Friends’ storytelling dynamic with very little time spent on discussing rules and mechanics, and requires no outside knowledge; I usually suggest new listeners start there or with Marielda for that reason (a lot of moments in Marielda cast light on the mysteries of Autumn in Hieron, but you don’t need that context to enjoy it).

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I’d push back on saying Partizan is the best place to hop on, as great as it is so far. Like, you definitely COULD start there, and you’d enjoy it a lot, but I can’t help but think it would be even more enjoyable with knowlage of Counter//Weight and Twilight Mirage that it draws from regularly. Like, Clem’s mech being The Panther, Crystal Palace Crashing, the Independance Mechs showing up, that stuff is all one level of great without the context, it gets +1 great with it though. If you’re gonna start with the sci-fi half of the show, it’s gotta be Counter//Weight imo.

And Marielda also kicks ass, I think it and Counter//Weight are the best seasons in terms of being consistantly great all the way through.

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So, I’ve been listening to Twilight Mirage. I love this story so far. The friends really need to let themselves be Extra more, messy or not. Post-humanism, pervasive AR, mechs and utopian foundation is wild mix that I am here for.

I found my imagination somewhat captured by the way Excerpts named themselves. While it is sort of anime-trope-ish, this particular execution of it really worked for me. So I asked myself, at 1/3 of the way into the series, what larger texts were then Excerpts from? Now I could have gone and did some fan writing, but instead I decided to let an AI do it for me. I used Text Synth, which is built on the GPT-2 deep learning dataset, to complete the Excerpts I’ve run into so far. Predictably for this technique, the results are a slightly creepy combination of simulated creativity and mechanical extrapolation, which I thought was completely fitting the source material, and I feel like I want to share this.

Spoilered below:

They marked scars of light in pitch; born in fiercest purpose, and beheld as the signet sealed upon our pact . Aye, and their spirits, to us, were as a living, burning fire; aye, and their breath, as a roaring wave: so it was that the fire of their wrath went forth against our foes without, and the blast of their wrath in the midst of our ranks. And they knew it would have been a bitter and long, long, long day, to give that day again to our foe: but they took counsel that they should not do it for naught."

To the prince we offered twelve thousand flowers, Blooming in an untouched field. To the queen we offered one thousand flowers, Blooming in an untouched field. To the king we offered ten thousand flowers, Blooming in an untouched field. To each of the three high-priests we gave one, Blooming in an untouched field. To us each of the three holy queens gave one, Blooming in an untouched field. To the three holy kings, we gave one, Blooming in an untouched field. The flowers that were presented to that queen were so much like ours." (4.5)

Under Starlight Covenant Was Etched Into Flesh And Steel, And The First Day Of Spring Was Upon The World, And The Earth Gasped With Joy. And In The Days Of Darkness The Earth Began To Rattle, And The Skies Were Glimmering With Gloom And Fog And Stars Awaiting The Dawn.

There was a Star that Gleaned For All Men From The Stars.

And a Star that Was Like a Wheel. And a Star, that Was As The Moon Is.

With the fourth promise broken, the people of the clay city watched the sunset for a final time , as the sun set and the sky was bathed in golden light, as all the earth was filled with the light of the sun.

But the city itself, which had stood for thousands of years with no light, was now filled with the light. It turned to stone, and in its center the sky turned to fire, as the great earth was filled with light. And the people who were now a great multitude fled from it, fleeing into the hills.

And the people who lived in the hills fled, and they went down into the valley that came from Eden, into the valley of the son of Hinn.

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I decided to begin at the beginning. Just started about a few weeks ago and I’m super happy so far. The audio issues are a little rough…I have to turn the volume up high to hear specific people and that makes others VERY loud. But outside of a few loud noises that made me jump (and forgetting to turn down the volume before turning something else on) it has been enjoyable.

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Either Marielda or COUNTER/Weight would be my suggestions for starting points, COUNTER/Weight is where they really hit their stride as far as figuring out exactly what the podcast should be (well, okay, to be fair it’s more like halfway through the first season when they figured it out but still) and Marielda is shorter than a full season, a pretty self-contained story, and has the best theme music outside of Patreon content and peak Austin narration intros.

That said, when I first found the podcast they had literally just posted their world building episode for COUNTER/Weight so I went back and listened to Season 1 and got hooked, but I’m the sort of person who has a higher tolerance for stuff recorded on bad microphones.

EDIT: Though I will say that right now isn’t a terrible time to get on board either, considering they just started a new season. PARTIZAN does reference stuff from previous seasons, but it’s all deep background lore stuff and the Road to PARTIZAN episodes do a good job of telling you what you need to know to have a feel for the setting.

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So, to keep everyone up to date: I started on COUNTER/Weight, and am just up to the first section using the Faction Turn system from Stars Without Number. It’s growing on me, but I’m in two minds about how the “play sessions” are divided up across multiple podcast episodes - I’d kinda rather have 1 play session per podcast, and just remember where I am in it…

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To me its wild. I tried to get into C/W at this point five times and failed out each time (I will keep trying!) but I started Twilight Mirage and was on lock before episode 0 ended. I find C/W starts vvvvvvverrrrrry slow for me. I found TM and, oddly, Bluff City the most approachable.

At this point i"m honestly considering jumping a few eps ahead in C/W. I want that story so bad, but the start is just putting me off so bad, I never stick with it and it’s frustrating.

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Honestly that might not be a bad idea. If you haven’t gotten to episode 9 yet, that’s when the patented Austin Walker Intro is invented to introduce what is, in my opinion, the most horrifying cosmic threat ever in fiction?

Yeah I thought about it and my soul hurts so yeah it’s the scariest thing in fiction. I love it. C/W is the best and it literally kept me up some nights.

Also after that they switch to The Sprawl which is a fantastic TTRPG that the group is more comfortable with and is better suited to the actual play format.

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This was me too, though not as my intro to FatT generally. It took me several tries to get into it, and it was the last season I finished. I do love it now, and I’m really glad I listened now, but I just outright do not understand recommending C/W as a starting point. Especially now that Partizan exists. Its very slow to start and full of rules confusion until they switch systems, and they really never hit the level of confidence and fluency and clarity in either the rules or, especially, the setting that they’ve started out with in Partizan. I also think the faction turns, while very very cool, to kind of be pace killers – the mechanics in particular are really hard to follow in audio, and the sheer number of actors makes it so easy to forget things.

Its definitely as great as everyone says it is, to be clear. Even in the early episodes: Keith buying those robots remains one of the funniest bits in the history of the show, for instance. I just think it’s a much better season to return to after getting familiarity with the cast and the style, when you can expect more tolerance for rough edges. Same deal with the audio quality of season 1.

I also want to say, having listened to C/W after TM, I feel like there’s a ton of joy to be had in going back and seeing the origins of references and recurring jokes and all that after the fact. At least as much as the reverse. So, I feel pretty confident in now recommending Partizan firstmost to new listeners, and secondarily Marielda for folks looking for fantasy.

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this is precisely why i wanna force my way through it, one of my FATT pals keeps making cool jokes referencing CW and i wanna be cool too

But for real, Partizan is good but also Twilight Mirage is extremely friendly imo. And if you listen to TM first, then you too will have the enjoyment of hissing in anger every time someone says “Stel Nideo.”

(Also maybe its me being fairly “news” to FATT but I cannot imagine a greatest character than Grand Magnificent, who was a standout in a cast of standouts like holy shit.)

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I jumped in right from the beginning and the audio’s not…professional quality, but it’s perfectly fine. Maybe pick up episodes 1-4 (or so, you’ll have to read the episode descriptions) to see if it’s you’re kind of thing.

100% agreed. I’ve recommended TM as the best starter score fi over C/W before (I think in this thread too) but I never feel sure if I’m not just being biased by that being my favorite season :sweat_smile: I think Partizan is now definitely a better jumping on point, but I hope everyone who gets into it goes back and listens to TM, it really is incredible. And fascinating, from a “watching people experiment with storytelling” perspective. You really see them learn and implement so much throughout that season.

It also has the best finale they’ve ever done, by far.

I love Twilight Mirage so much, I know Austin is of the opinion that they were over-ambitious and made a ton of mistakes, but the fact that everyone is like “screw it, we’re going to be as extra as possible this season” lead to such a great setting and characters, and what other story ends with an omnipotent genocidal empire of philosopher kings being thwarted by a massive piece of installation art?

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Extremely mild spoilers for COUNTER/Weight (Intro to Ep. 32)

“And Orth added a new syncopation to the martial percussion; a black powder rhythm he forgot he knew how to play…”

Austin Walker can write, y’all.

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Is Maritime Lapel (I think I have that name correct) of the September Institute just Claire Saffitz?