Probably Bad Podcast 20: against all better judgement, we watch the second dungeons and dragons movie

d&daniel

D&D Daniel here. it’s been a rough week for me. ever since i forgot to thank the patrons in the previous episode, the hosts have stopped feeding me dice. so thank you to mario, hedwig, matt satinrabbit and jamie for your support. please, keep listening and maybe i will be fed dice once more. i need to liiiive…

opening music.

mod pencil

hello and welcome to the probably bad podcast a podcast which is definitely bad. i’m pencil.

paper

i’m paper and as this is our 20th episode we are following up our watch of the D&D movie with Dungeons and Dragons 2: Wrath of the Dragon God.

mod pencil

it’s not very good.

paper

no, which is a tv movie containing only one character from the original movie.

mod pencil

it’s not very good. but it does capture the feel of a D&D campaign where you don’t want to be in and don’t really like any of the other players. it is set 100 years after and all the major characters are dead.

paper

the only character i cared about in the first one did canonically die, and they did a thing like they were going to bring him back but they didn’t.

mod pencil

yeah it does capture the feeling of being in a campaign with people you don’t really like, but isn’t bad enough for you to quit.

paper

yeah. my favourite part though of bringing damodar back is he was the head henchman in the first one, he was the blue lip guy but in this he’s not wearing his blue lipstick he’s just a regular guy.

mod pencil

yeah that was his only distinguishing characteristic. now he’s back, he’s undead now and he – so there’s a scene…

paper

he’s not undead, he’s spent 100 years as like trapped in undead pain as a curse which drove him insane but now he’s not in undead pain anymore he’s back back, now he’s cross.

mod pencil

we cut to scenes of him doing his plans and they are really fucking weird… there are scenes where they pour blood in his spine through a funnel and there’s a scene where he’s getting a foot massage from a goblin in bdsm gear.

paper

yeah it’s a weird film.

mod pencil

we occasionally cut to him doing whatever the fuck he’s doing. neither of these things are ever followed up.

paper

despite all the exposition i’m unclear what his actual long term goal was.

mod pencil

he was trying to get revenge on the nation except they didn’t turn him into an undead.

paper

yeah a very specific guy who was very much killed by dragons.

mod pencil

yeah.

paper

while he was there, you know this guy’s dead and no–one liked him.

mod pencil

just general revenge as a concept. he was not the most 3D villain. it was never brought up why he had blood poured in his spine.

paper

probably general dark magicks probably spelt with a k.

mod pencil

he’s not a vampire he doesn’t do blood magic or anything. it’s just a thing he does sometimes.

paper

it’s his thing, everyone has a thing. the other three main characters though… lord beric, and his wife melora and also the random old guy… it looked like the casting director wanted very specific people but couldn’t get them they looked really eerie similar to ian mcdiarmid, james mcevoy and emilia clarke except they obviously weren’t any of those people. and it really freaked me out thinking where do i know them from and turns out i knew them from being other people.

mod pencil

so yeah the main character is a generic lord of this fantasy place has a very gay interaction with his head of the guards. there’s the line would you like to come to my room and joust with quills…

paper

except there’s a really long pause before the word quills.

mod pencil

would you like to come to my room and joust… with quills. so they’re banging.

paper

yep. well you know his wife’s too busy trying to be multiclass.

mod pencil

his wife’s arc is that she’s a wizard trying to take a level in cleric essentially. she wants to know how to do divine magic.

paper

because that would make her more politically powerful than being the lord’s wife apparently.

mod pencil

it’s one of those things that’s a little odd in D&D terms cause at the end she takes a level in cleric and saves the day. but her motivation is she wants to multiclass.

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and through trying to multiclass she becomes cursed and the plot of the thing is less about damodar and more about what has cursed her for daring to try to multiclass.

mod pencil

they collect four adventurers with no other pretext than it’s D&D you need to collect adventurers.

paper

yeah the first half is damodar being weird and so we need a barbarian a cleric a wizard and a rogue. the one creative part of the party gathering is the barbarian’s a woman oooo. who has no personality.

mod pencil

there’s an elf wizard and it’s almost impressive how much she refuses to get a personality. she refuses to do anything that distinguishes her in any way from any other elven wizard.

paper

if you’ve been in a session with someone who decides to be an aloof arsehole despite it being a collaborative game, that’s Ormaline, we have a name for it now.

mod pencil

it’s a good half of the way through the movie where she says something other than a spell.

paper

i think so. saying about ormaline though can we talk names for a second? i get these names are largelly from canon 3rd ed stuff but you can’t just call your magical fantasy place inverness. that’s a place, an actual place already. and you can’t call a place curtle cause that’s a skirt. the goblins of curtle or the skirt goblins. i have problems with this.

mod pencil

luckily i don’t have this problem cause i forgot every single name after they said them. to be fair the rogue is only referred to as rogue in the entire movie.

paper

no his name is nim. the party are called lux dorian ormaline and nim.

mod pencil

yeah there is the world’s most generic wizard, the world’s most generic cleric, who dies before he can develop a personality, he has one monologue on faith and dies, um…

paper

yeah the film is very pro religion, just religion in general.

mod pencil

but yeah the only way to defeat dragons is by faith. which is certainly a moral. there’s the barbarian who is mentioned – a woman – she has some tragic backstory related to her brother murdered a bunch of people. someone says dramatically you’re not like your brother which would be more resonant if she gave any indication she was, and the rogue who is the biggest asshole on the planet.

paper

the barbarian doesn’t really grasp the scale of what’s happening. at one point the four of them, they’re trying to solve the puzzle in the woods and this literal army shows up and she declares they are bandits and they need to fight them.

mod pencil

what is happening is the lipstick man no longer having lipstick has found an evil orb that summons a plague dragon and is going to use it to kill everyone.

paper

the plague dragon is legitimately cool. there’s a lich called klaxx and everything, with two xs.

mod pencil

klaxx is my favourite character.

paper

klaxx is the only good actor.

mod pencil

he shows up, summons a dragon to kill everything, klaxx shows up and says you’re doing evil bullshit i like evil bullshit, i want to do evil bullshit. his only motivation is he knows evil si happening and he wants to be included and when things turn against the villain he does essentially hah you’ve been punk’d i wasn’t part of this at all, turns into a gargoyle and flies away.

paper

yeah i think it says a lot that both of our favourite characters who as i said is also the only person who can act in this whole film, shows up for shits and giggles, and when things start to go wrong just flies away.

mod pencil

so they have to get the orb off the evil man, they find the four other members of the party i genuinely couldn’t tell you where they know them from, how they know them, why they agree to join the quest…

paper

i think they’re generally well known people?? like according to gary gygax they’re level 7 characters so i guess they’re known?

mod pencil

there’s no scenes of them being hired or persuaded to join they’re just… they’re just mentioned that they’re on the team. so they go off to find-

paper

there’s a lot of ADR when recruiting as well, a weird amount. it’s like they were rewriting the film in the editing. it’s like they realised they didn’t have enough exposition and did ADR, realised there still wasn’t enough.

mod pencil

there was a lot of exposition.

paper

there was a lot but not enough to actually know what was going on.

mod pencil

i feel like a load of things one of the characters turns out to be a secret gargoyle, which is one of my favourite things.

paper

i don’t think he’s a secret gargoyle i think he’s a shapeshifter, cause he shapeshifts into the cleric at one point. like i appreciate his choice to become a gargoyle in order to peace out but i think he’s a lich who shapeshifts.

mod pencil

yeah, but i still appreciate the fact that he dramatically pulls off his disguise to reveal he’s a gargoyle and laughs and flies away it’s my favourite dramatic reveal.

paper

if i could draw i would be drawing that scene right now.

mod pencil

if you want a dramatic reveal in your campaign have a character reveal they’ve been a gargoyle the whole time, take off their mask and fly away. they need to find a scrying thing to find where the big bad is, and at the same time the cursed wife is trying to unlock a book of her mental power…

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which she realises there’s something important going on cause there’s a very minor typo.

mod pencil

she sets the book on fire, because the pages go 363-.

paper

893 is missing. which is definitely not a mistake cause these pages are hand numbered.

mod pencil

yeah she sets it on fire cause fire reveals everything. but it would be hilarious if she just burnt the book. yeah they miscounted.

paper

congrats, you just ruined someone’s life’s work.

mod pencil

yeah she needs to burn the book to show she has faith in the book. cause that’s how books work. as mentioned this is a weirdly pro religious movie for a D&D campaign. yeah there’s another villain they’re trying to find malucard, who’s a dead villain they’re trying to find the magical thing he had.

paper

i couldn’t work out what his purpose was except macguffin haver.

mod pencil

yeah figures he buried his macguffin in a tomb. the only thing we know he did was use scrying to find virgins on their wedding day, teleport into their room and stab them. which…

paper

which is a very minor thing, it has no bearing on the plot, it’s just a thing about him.

mod pencil

it has no bearing on the plot and it’s also such a specific asshole thing to do? such a specific kind of evil you get known for.

paper

didn’t he also make his password to his lair his boss’s name? an actual demon.

mod pencil

all he did was teleport around and stab virgins and that’s all he’s still known for 100 years after his death. he’s a strange man.

paper

yeah but he knew what he was about.

mod pencil

yeah, but dabababababadah, we should probably cut this out.

paper

so part of the critical response was it’s more like a D&D campaign than the first one, which it is, but we also barely spend any time with the party it’s just things happening around them. if it is a campaign it’s one with a lot of cutscenes.

mod pencil

the problem is none of the party members have a personality.

paper

even lord beric who is supposedly the protagonist, and the leader of the party, he’s just gotta save my stupid wife.

mod pencil

he’s very generically protagonist. he’s good in a generically wholesome good way.

paper

a good person not a good character.

mod pencil

he’s a good person, that’s his thing.

paper

you half expect him to stand around dramatically in places, like galavant, but galavant is a character with a personality.

mod pencil

it feels almost like a parody of a D&D campaign but played seriously.

paper

yeah…

mod pencil

but yeah – also there’s a scene at the start where this town is full of poison gas and they’re trying to figure out what causes it, wipes some mud off a rock and the rock turns out to have been a dragon this whole time? there’s just been a muddy dragon in this village that’s been killing everyone and they’ve been assuming it’s a rock?

paper

which i’m 100% sure we’ve done an idea on this podcast similar to that.

mod pencil

yeah wipes mud off it and is just like this isn’t a rock. which has been breathing poison gas on the town, and no-one’s gone rocks don’t do that.

paper

and the monsters as well, there’s the magmins, which are basically little lava babies.

mod pencil

they were very adorable.

paper

they were very cute and very interesting creature, i’m unclear why they were there.

mod pencil

there was a lot of – there was a lot of random encounters essentially, true to the game but doesn’t make a good story. there’s a lot of scenes where a lot of random evil bullshit will show up and then they fight it for a bit then they just leave.

paper

and you assume it’s connected in some way but i couldn’t tell you how. some sort of elemental threat, so there’s lava babies.

mod pencil

they mention the army that was mentioned earlier attacked them was sent by the big bad, but a lot of things never come up again.

paper

yeah the magmins are just there. sometimes there are just lava babies and you have to deal with that.

mod pencil

sort of provides a living breathing world in the sense of there are a lot of things the main characters have absolutely no interest in that presumably all ties together but we’re not going to learn because the main characters aren’t going to learn that.

paper

it’s not relevant to harry’s journey.

mod pencil

yeah there’s presumably some lore that explains why there’s lava monsters.

paper

to be fair there is a lot of lore and it’s the D&D 3rd ed content.

mod pencil

they get their way through the puzzle. the puzzle is a legitimately cool puzzle.

paper

i like the puzzle even if the answer is the guy’s boss.

mod pencil

beats using password as password. and there’s another one inside with a mirror that reflects the path across a bunch of lazers. they kill the wizard’s familiar, that’s as close as she gets to any kind of characterisation, but yeah they scry their way…

paper

yeah i didn’t care about the deaths, i cared less and less as the film went on cause the body count is remarkable.

mod pencil

yeah for such a straightforward fantasy romp a lot of people straight up fucking died. a lot of characters straight up died casually. they get the orb and take it back, and give it to the head wizard, dramatically reveals himself to be a gargoyle and flies away, which… looking back it’s hinted that’s he’s killed early on and replaced with a gargoyle but i prefer to think he was just a gargoyle the whole time.

paper

to be fair he could be a gargoyle who shapeshifted into a lich. we have no- if we just look at the film there is no textual evidence that lich is his true form.

mod pencil

yeah so the lipstick man finally summons the plague dragon and that goes well for him? the plague dragon decides to give him a big throne and what have you then starts levelling the town and the main character’s wife learns through the power of faith to multiclass. There’s a long monologue on the – at the start the cleric says there’s something more important than swords and spells for fighting evil and-

paper

they use their cleric powers for fighting people.

mod pencil

turns out that’s faith, using spells for fighting people. they ask – they go to track down the evil wizard they essentially ask him to lift the curse and he says ok sure.

paper

if it was that easy…

mod pencil

he doesn’t really need any convincing. the final scene is him in a prison cell looking sad.

paper

there’s a lot of things i don’t understand.

mod pencil

sorry i’m just- also i’m looking at quotes i wrote down from the movie which include Ismir is at risk so risks we must take, blessed are the works of nature, smashes the shit out of a tree with a hammer, and you’ll never stop me, you’re wrong. that’s the dramatic one liner.

paper

it’s very gandalf though, isn’t it? i prefer white. i actually liked that. just being that glib at a big dramatic villain is beautiful.

mod pencil

the villain really overacts and really underacts at the same time.

paper

it’s the theatrical equivalent of saying the loud part quiet.

mod pencil

simultaneously very monotonous and over the top. also unfortunately i’ve never been able to control my urges, even as a dead man, which is… weird flex. i don’t know if it was just me and i’m just weird, but a lot of dialogue seemed weirdly innuendo-y. they kept saying penetrate, and i want to duel you with my quills in my bedroom and i can’t control my urges. it’s possible i am just weird.

paper

i don’t think there is a good explanation for a large part of the dialogue.

mod pencil

and the villain is getting foot massages from a bdsm goblin. i don’t think it’s ever established who his goblin boyfriend is, if it’s a minion or an ally or if he’s just there?

paper

it’s a symbiotic relationship, he likes getting foot massages, the goblin likes giving foot massages, they’re hanging out. doing their thing.

mod pencil

yeah i think they’re dating. good for him. the goblin guy dies i think?

paper

probably? there’s a lot of unclear fates.

mod pencil

lots of people have things happen to them. the elven wizard gets her arm torn off and it took me checking the tvtropes page to realise that’s what happened.

paper

wow, i entirely missed that.

mod pencil

when she teleports the big bad she gets her arm stuck in a wall and that’s why she’s screaming and not helping out.

paper

ok i thought she was just shit.

mod pencil

yeah i initially thought she didn’t want to be there.

paper

which is valid, i wouldn’t want to be there either. she was just hanging out on mystical elf island and then got summoned to join this quest.

mod pencil

yeah so at the start we do a monologue of the characters and what they’re doing; the barbarian is beating people up, the cleric is trying to stop people desecrating the church, the thief is tricking two other thieves into dying so he can steal a treasure, and the elf is on a boat?

paper

i did interpret that as travelling over from mystical elf island.

mod pencil

possibly but it doesn’t-

paper

yeah it doesn’t do anything for her character.

mod pencil

yeah they’ve expressed their characters even in a cliched way, she owns a boat that’s her whole thing.

paper

she doesn’t even own it, it’s just at one point she’s travelled over water.

mod pencil

yeah at least once in her life she’s been on a boat and that’s the most she could say about her character. that’s the biggest defining characteristic.

paper

that and she wears crop tops when it’s misty out. huge mistake. you’re going to get water in your belly button, put on a jacket.

mod pencil

maybe that’s why she’s screaming and like – not joining in the fight.

paper

just belly button mould.

mod pencil

i hope you enjoy the phrase belly button mould. subscribe to our patreon for more uses of the phrase belly button mould.

paper

belly button mould.

mod pencil

it’s not even so bad it’s good so much as- it does sort of feel like hanging out with a bunch of people you don’t know and you’re- you know when you do a campaign and can’t get into the character headspace so you’re sitting there trying to be a wizard and you’re acutely aware of like the fact… it’s a full movie of that.

paper

yeah. i feel like there’s an alignment chart – on one axis is technically good to technically bad – one is enjoyable to watch, not enjoyable to watch. this is just like pretty central honestly. there’s some pretty good CG but also a lot of ADR and bad acting. you can almost get into it in places but it pulls back. it’s cinematic edging.

mod pencil

that marks the second very good phrase on this our podcast.

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i’m so sorry.

mod pencil

for our 20th anniversary we’re going to say the phrase cinematic edging.

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it’s not our anniversary!

mod pencil

for our 20th episode.

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i’ve not been doing the podcast since i was 5.

mod pencil

to be fair that’s how long 2020 has felt.

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yeah. yeah…

mod pencil

basically if you want to see a bunch of – that bad campaign you made as a 13 year old made into a full length movie-

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starring people who look like people you’ve heard of.

mod pencil

then this is the film for you.

paper

i think that’s our review of wrath of the dragon god.

mod pencil

i’d watch the first one which is at least more enjoyable to watch. unless you’re really committed to seeing a really boring film.

paper

the first one has tom baker in it which is something. yeah if you want to support our terrible film habit, and get bonus episodes where we do stuff other than answer questions and talk about bad films you can go to patreon.com/probablybadrpgideas

mod pencil

and we won’t say belly button mould.

paper

belly button mould. shall i say the other one in case anyone wants a clean take in case they want to use it?

mod pencil

yeah.

paper

cinematic edging.

mod pencil

if you want to use either of those in your podcast i guess we can’t legally stop you.

paper

technically we could but i hereby give permission.

mod pencil

thank you for listening i’m sorry about the direction this took.

paper

i’m not.

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