Harmonquest!


Television


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Anyone else watch Harmonquest?

I was a huge fan of Community, so I had high expectations. I can honestly say I was not disappointed. There was some really funny stuff in there, and it is always enjoyable to watch people with a good sense of humor play the game. I also thought it was cool that they used Pathfinder.

I like the sort of "drunk history" mix of in and out of character, and thought they did a great job of throwing in occasion versions of their real selves in the animated scenes.

I thought it seemed a little short at 23 minutes, but with the crazy format, I'm not sure I would want it to be much longer. I think it would be cool if they got a little more into some of the details of the characters, but I realize that is something that would make most non-gamers eyes glaze over. I think if they can tweak the format a little, this could draw a big audience.

I'm looking forward to the next episode.

Liberty's Edge

* Scratches head.

Am I the only person who just doesn't get this sort of thing? Much like everything else Hammons ever done in just found it unfunny. I mean I enjoyed Rick and Morty but I didn't realize it was supposed to be comedy rather than an existential cosmic horror until I actually read the listing.

Maybe I'm just too old.

Grand Lodge

Krensky wrote:

* Scratches head.

Am I the only person who just doesn't get this sort of thing?

I find that to be true for most of what passes for "humor" today; I am definitely NOT among the targeted demographic to be sure!

So I'm right there with you.

Now you kids get off my lawn! :-P


I watched the first 6 episodes so far. I enjoyed it because a lot of these folks were new, and it reminded me of folks still getting into the game and making absurd schemes while occasionally playing well and straight.


The first episode was excellent. Very funny and reminded me of more than a few games of D&D that I've been in.

The only problem is that it seems to be impossible to legally watch the rest of the first season in the UK right now.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:

"I call for the militia to form up."

"Three guys show up."

"Wow. Where is the rest of the g~*&~@ned militia?"

"They're all on vacation."

"During the Restoration? Who signed off on that?"

"We don't plan our calendar very far ahead."

"We have 99 years from the last Restoration to prepare for this."

"These are all reasonable points."

Every single time a player raises a well-argued and perfectly logical objection to something that's going on, the GM should now just say "These are all reasonable points" and just carry exactly on as before. It's going to be a meme.


Werthead,

I'm SO using that in my next game. :p :)


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Wait, there's an episode where Aubrey Plaza plays PATHFINDER? And I still can't watch it.

HAAAAARMOOOOOOON!!!!

Quote:
"There's two things I know in life. There's dice...and there's no dice. This is no dice."


Wert,

Yes, she is the Halfling Alchemist, Hawaiian Coffee. :)

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

If you finish Harmonquest and want more, you might want to go listen to Dan Harmon's podcast, Harmontown.

Pretty early on (ep 4 or so?) they started playing "D&D" (Pathfinder) at the end of each episode. That's how they met Spencer--Dan asked if anyone in the audience was a DM, Spencer raised his hand, and they invited him on stage to run a game the next week.

It starts out just Dan and Jeff, with Erin and Kumail joining later as regular party members. They have guest stars too, but with less regularity.

It's a bit less cohesive than Harmonquest (more drinking involved) but still pretty entertaining for the most part.


Did they need to get permission from Paizo to show PATHFINDER on the show or is it all fair use and Paizo just get some free publicity? Interesting to know.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Werthead wrote:
Did they need to get permission from Paizo to show PATHFINDER on the show or is it all fair use and Paizo just get some free publicity? Interesting to know.

I think they worked out some kind of deal with Paizo for the show, but I do not know any details.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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We gave them permission.


Just curious Vic, but they never mentioned the name Pathfinder. Was that their choice or something else?


In a later episode they do mention the fact that they can say the phrase "Dungeons and Dragons" but cannot imply that the game they are playing is D&D (Harmon gets a bit panicky about it at one stage, possibly only for a laugh though).

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Pathfinder is named in the credits and all of the books and stuff are clearly visible on the table, in the introductions, etc.

They originally recorded hour-long sessions and then edited around them to focus on the funniest stuff. It's quite possible that the few overt mentions were cut, but if you look at the credits, Pathfinder is clearly identified as the game they are playing.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Werthead wrote:

Wait, there's an episode where Aubrey Plaza plays PATHFINDER? And I still can't watch it.

I was lucky enough to be in the audience for that one, and got to see it live. :)

It was pretty amazing!


Yeah, I've seen it now. Hilarious stuff.

Also, Jeff Davis starts each episode with a dramatic or OTT "casual" look at the camera, usually whilst holding the PF rulebook up in clear view :)


Thank you Eric for clarifying that. Yes I did see the Core rulebook. I was just wondering if they ever SAID the word "Pathfinder Roleplaying Game."

So if they did, it's probably as you said, cut for space reasons.


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I feel Paizo should be leveraging the marketing benefits of the final episode guest star :)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Captain Tight Pants FTW.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Werthead wrote:
I feel Paizo should be leveraging the marketing benefits of the final episode guest star :)

I agree, Matt Gourley is a delight!


I love Community and still binge it now and then. This show, while not as funny, still has that playful sensibility that marks Harmon's work.


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And here's my full review:

HarmonQuest: Season 1

Quote:

Fantasy roleplaying! A bunch of friends create characters - wizards, elves, thieves, dwarves, sorcerers and what have you - and make their way through a vivid world created and controlled by the Dungeon Master Gamemaster. Various attempts have been made to capture the fun of roleplaying and put it on the screen, but they've largely ended up being a bit poor.

HarmonQuest takes a different tack by combining fantasy roleplaying with improvisational comedy in the vein of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Just typing that makes me realise how blinding obvious an idea it is and why no-one thought of it years ago and cashed in. HarmonQuest features three regular players: Dan Harmon, the famous comedy writer (Community, Rick & Morty) and podcaster (Harmontown); comedian Erin McGathy; and actor Jeff Davis. Respectively, they play half-orc ranger Fondue Zoobag, elven barbarian Biaro Shift and goblin rogue Bone Weevil.

There is also a special guest slot which is filled in by a rotating cast of comedians and actors: Paul F. Tompkins, Ron Funches, John Hodgman, Rhea Butcher, Kumail Nanjiani (as a pathological gold and handjob-obsessed kobold), Matt Gourley, Steve Agee, Chelsea Peretti (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley), along with an excellent appearance by the immortal Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle). The greatest turn, arguably, comes from the mighty Aubrey Plaza (Parks & Recreation) as the randomly insane gnome Hawaiian Coffee. The in-joke is that the guest characters can't continue into the next episode, so they have to be introduced to the adventure, fulfil a vital story role and then be written out (usually killed off in a ludicrous manner, but a couple survive) in an organic fashion, all in an hour (the episodes are the edited half-hour highlights of each game session).

That's a tall order for any Dungeon Master Gamemaster, but fortunately HarmonQuest employs the impressive skills of Spencer Crittenden, a GM for the ages. His ability to let the crazy comedy play out when it should, reign in the insanity when it threatens to completely sidetrack the adventure and pushing the story forwards whilst adapting for his players' impressive improvisational skills is completely amazing. I feel a better Gamemaster for just having watched him in action.

The adventure itself is splendid, old-skool fun: Fondue and Bone Weevil's favourite village haunt is destroyed by an evil cult seeking to unleash a powerful manticore upon the world. Teaming up with barbarian warrioress Biaro, they try to stop the cult getting its hands on the three gems it needs to complete the summoning ritual. This doesn't entirely go to plan. Along the way they have to deal with Fondue's unresolved childhood issues and confused sexuality (Harmon basically making a one-man argument in favour of characterisation in roleplaying), Bone Weevil's need for respect and Biaro's tendency to hulk out in a barbarian rage. There's some excellent running jokes but it's the guest actors that really make the show, each one bringing a different sensibility and style to the story which mixes things up nicely.

The big trick in the bag is that each episode of HarmonQuest is partly animated, with the live-action shots showing the actors and players discussing what they want to do and animated segments showing the result of their plans. The animation is colourful, well-characterised and quite funny. This is HarmonQuest's ace in the hole which lifts it from being simply entertaining to occasionally bordering on genius.

It's all very, very funny, although some episodes are funnier than others: the first, fifth and last ones are the stand-outs but even the weakest installment still unleashes regular laughs. Interestingly, the actors who have serious Dungeons and Dragons fantasy roleplaying experience seem to be the least amusing, as they take it all a bit too seriously, whilst those who have never played seem to do the best as they don't worry about the rules, just having a fun time.

I'd be interested to see that audiences with no fantasy roleplaying background at all make of it, but the show pulls back on anything to do with the rules in favour of the story and laughs so it should be pretty accessible for everyone.

Season 1 of HarmonQuest (****½) is excellent, being clever, funny and featuring a surprisingly well-executed story. I recommend it very much.

You can see Episode 1 on YouTube (embedded above) but the remaining nine episodes are only available (right now) on the Seeso streaming service in the United States. I imagine there will be some kind of international release (Netflix? Amazon?) for those wanting to watch the show in other parts of the world.

Note: the fantasy roleplaying game that is being used is the excellent Pathfinder from Paizo Publishing and, as Harmon rather worriedly points out several times, absolutely not Dungeons and Dragons in any way, shape or form, and certainly not any that suggests anything even vaguely copyright-infringing.


Honestly, I kind of liked John Hodgeman's one pretty much. That and the Bard guest star were pretty awesome. :)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Just want to say I appreciate seeing the review.


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The bard was excellent. Getting an actual musical comedian to play a bard is a great idea.

Quote:

"This is the song about five dead babies

Five dead babies
In the bottom of a like
This is the song about five dead babies
Five dead babies
That were bitten by a snake."

The same team did Great Minds with Dan Harmon, with GM Spencer as his assistant. It's quite amusing, with more Aubrey Plaza and added Jack Black.


You can find eps on youtube, but they come and go, usually pretty poor quality.

You can sign up for a free trial on Seeso to watch it free for a month.

Dark Archive

I like this show.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My favorite episode was the one with Kumail Nanjiani. I listened to it like a pod cast while driving one day, and binged the whole series.


HARMONQUEST returns for a second season in the summer!

Kumail Nanjiani I think is the only returning guest from the first season (unclear if it's as the same character), but new guests will include Patton Oswalt, Elizabeth Olsen and Gillian Jacobs.


Sweet! Scarlet Witch on the new season! :D And of course Koenigs!


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Back on the 27th. https://www.releases.com/p/harmonquest-season-2/seeso


Sweet! :D I can't wait to see how this rolls.

Liberty's Edge

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GM Spenser was as PaizoCon this year!


Just binged season 3. Still funny stuff.

Liberty's Edge

I forgot about this!!

Is it still on that odd ‘network’ ... Sieeso or something like that? Can you catch it on Youtube yet?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Marc Radle wrote:

I forgot about this!!

Is it still on that odd ‘network’ ... Sieeso or something like that? Can you catch it on Youtube yet?

Seeso has been replaced by VRV. (Okay, it's really more complicated than that, but the bottom line is that Seeso is gone and VRV, which launched when it closed down, is where HarmonQuest and some other Seeso originals are now.)

Here's the HarmonQuest page on VRV.

It looks like Season 1 (and only Season 1) is also available on Vudu, but seasons 2 and 3 are exclusive to VRV.

(For reasons that are unclear to me, Amazon Prime also has a page for HarmonQuest Season 1 that says "Our agreements with the content provider don’t allow purchases of this title at this time," and each individual video is listed as "currently unavailable." I suspect that Vudu and Amazon had deals that didn't carry on when it went to VRV.)


Wait there was a third season???

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Thomas Seitz wrote:
Wait there was a third season???

It launched about 3 months ago.

Hey, it looks like you can watch all of Season 1 on VRV.co for free (albeit with advertising) now!


Seriously?!!! Dammit. Now I have to watch the entire season before Crisis on Infinite Earths starts!

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