Murder on the Rockport Limited: From Podcast to Graphic Novel

With the release of the second The Adventure Zone graphic novel, Ally from Ally’s Appraisals and I thought it would be a great idea to look at how we each experienced the novel; myself having listened to the entire TAZ Balance podcast, and her only having read the graphic novels.

Naturally there are a few differences in structure for graphic novel adaptation, but a lot has thankfully stayed the same.

Warning: If you haven’t listened to the podcast for this arc, here there be minor spoilers.

 

How did you enjoy the story knowing/not knowing the podcast?

Amy: I loved the story because I loved reliving the story in visual form. I heard the boy’s voices in my head and I loved being able to read it with their voices.

Ally: Before reading Murder on the Rockport Limited, I had read the first in the series, Here There Be Gerblins and I remember really loving both the story and characters. While I’m not as familiar with the characters as Amy, I very much got a clear grasp of their characters.

Amy: With the hints and clues to future events I knew what was coming and I loved the easter egg hunt to see just what Carey had included in the illustrations. From background detail, characters in crowds or the smallest detail in character stat sheets it was a fun read to see the references I understood, and it often replaces some of the jokes that were excluded by simply making them visual.

Ally: Sometimes I would see little details in the background or read an offhand comment by a character and it would pull me up. Just the knowledge that this story has already been told in a different format really made me aware of little things like this – I couldn’t help thinking, ‘I am sure this means something to someone.’

Amy: It’s hard to say just listen to the arc to match the graphic novel because it draws from multiple episodes. Murder on the Rockport Limited takes storyline from episodes before and after the actual arc and even alludes to things that are far from happening.

Ally: I will admit that after I finished the graphic novel I did flip back to certain pages and ask my partner questions like, ‘will this come back in later books?’ or ‘Is this character important?’ I swear the characters Angus talks to at the end were too fancy and pretty looking to just be throw away characters – I swear they must be coming back or something!

Things Amy noticed that were missing or different from the podcast

While the majority of the storyline was there, naturally not everything could be included. Seeing which scenes and lines were omitted was an interesting game I played while I read and while I know some parts couldn’t possibly be included because the content wasn’t quite story related or only possible in the audio medium, they were missed.

  • I missed the references to everyone in the town of Rockport looking like Tom Bodett, and I wished desperately that Carey had made all the background characters look like Tom Bodett as a subtle nod, but I understand why she couldn’t do that.
  • In the podcast, The Director gives the trio tokens and are told to present them to the resident artificer and “he will help [them] out with acquiring a few new tools that [they] can use on [their] adventure”. She also provides directions and instructs them about how to find the chambers. In the graphic novel this is brushed over with the characters getting a guidebook which explains everything they need to know about navigating the moon base, and Taako mentions their first stop is to see Leon the Artificer.
  • Connected to this, Leon mentions it is against the rules of the Bureau of Balance to hand out magical items to people, and that instead they leave it to fate as a work around situation. This is the only explanation given before the tokens are put in and each character gets their new item. Everything else is the same, the items they acquire are the same, and Taako has the first of his many funny and trying interactions with poor Leon about how he uses the machine.
  • Structurally it contains not only the Rockport arc, but the Moonlighting episodes from before and after. These episodes, come to be known as Lunar Interludes, are the events that happen on the Bureau moon base that are separate from the adventure arcs. This is where characters level up, buy items and you get more of the overarching story from the Director. The way they have been split is perfect for the graphic novel as it gives great cliff hangers and it allows the Interludes to be included because they hold vital information as well.
  • There were a couple big scenes not included such as the initiation test the trio were required to do to join the Bureau of Balance as well as a battle in a swamp when they first land near Rockport. These are inconsequential really, though there were some great origins of later events, but this was early on in the podcast when Griffin was trying to have more random mini battles for the players and not simply continual story.
  • Robbie at the moment is only visually referenced which means no Pringles just yet but I have high hopes for his return if the story stays on the same track.
  • Just as in Gerblins the official licenced names of characters and places have to be changed so instead of going to Neverwinter the train is heading to Ever Summer which is just adorable.
  • The other big one is of course the ending. While the podcast arc ends simply enough, the novel adds a little extra that extends the character development and brings a few more details forward so we don’t need to wait for further arcs to learn things. It also gives a greater sense of the Bigger Picture and great foreshadowing.
  • Not quite a difference but additional dialogue is included that doesn’t happen in the original story. This is often still within the established scenes though and is more for space and timing than anything else. There is still word by word dialogue taken from the podcast, even if it is out of order it is included. Clint has tidied up Griffin and the boys’ conversations into something succinct and appear more intentional, the jokes that are spur of the moment on the podcast become clever and funny dialogue in the story.

Looking at the list it goes to show how much actually stays the same. The tiny jokes and the off the cuff remarks are the main things missing but they are also things that are funny in the podcast, not actually connected to the story (see Jenkin’s voice crisis which is a delight).

Ally: Oh wow! This does answer a lot of the questions that arose for me when I was reading. I did think the whole scenes on the moon were over so quickly! It just seems all so easy and glossed over how they joined the Bureau of Balance – I’m glad there is more to that whole part of the story.

Also Tom Bodett? Pringles? I – I honestly have no words…

 

Things that didn’t make sense to Ally as a first time reader of the story

While I extremely happy to pick up the two The Adventure Zone graphic novels and read them with not much prior knowledge, there were a few things that I thought I was missing out on. Nothing too serious just small moments and throwaway comments that let me thinking that there was probably more to it than what I read.

  • No dogs on the moon – I honestly have no idea why this caused such a passionate response. I know Magnus asked for a dog but the passioned panel of NO DOGS ON THE MOON really confused me. I just kept asking myself, why? What did the dogs do? Why aren’t they allowed back 😛
  • Leon and the gashapon machine that the trio used their tokens on really confused me. While it certainly was a visual joke that worked well, I think the conversational tone really threw me as I did not really get what was happening.
  • The part where the trio find out about the organisation and the moon base happened so quickly!

I felt like I had barely been introduced to this before we were speeding onto the next adventure. Like, what is the Bureau of Balance – I have a basic understanding but it did leave me quite unsure and curious.

As you can see, the main points that didn’t completely gel with me were the ones based on the moon. So, while I completely followed the main story, I did feel like the larger story and world building was a bit vague. Due to this, I did feel this part of the story left a lot of gaps for questions for me but because of how awesome the rest of the following story was, I was quick to forgive and move on.

 

Final Thoughts

Ally: Having read Amy’s post about her experiences with the graphic novel, I am shocked at how much content has been left out as well as how much foreshadowing there appears to be. Some of the content left out does appear to relate to moments that confused me, so it is good to know that there is the chance that it will be included and fleshed out more in future releases.

Amy: Overall, I think it certainly acceptable to only experience the story through the graphic novels because I have full trust in Clint and Carey to bring to life Griffin’s story and all the wonderful additions the boys made on their epic journey during production.

Ally: I’m not ready to sit down and listen to the podcast but as a first time reader, I am really enjoying the characters, the story, and the way that the DnD elements have been incorporated into it all.

*          *          *

It was fascinating to see how the graphic novel came across to someone who had never listened to the podcast.

If you’d like to read my review of Murder on the Rockport Limited click here or if you’d like to get started listening to The Adventure Zone: Balance from the very beginning you can find it here. If you enjoy a great story or actual play D&D podcasts it might be just the story for you.

 My review of the first book Here There Be Gerblins can be read here. The third book Petals to the Metal is available now.

 

The Waterproof Notepad: A Thing of Genius

I have gone to so, so many author events where the discussion inevitably ends up somewhere around getting great ideas in the shower and having to try and remember them. I’ve sat in the audience while authors cry “why isn’t there a waterproof notepad” to which I tell myself I will speak to them afterwards and tell them that there is in fact a waterproof notepad but alas, I never do. I’ve even considered raising my hand and telling them during question time but that’s a whole different hurdle to overcome. Instead, I thought I would share it here publicly with you in case you too are suffering the frustration of having million dollar ideas and perfect story plots lost down the drain ever night.

May I introduce you to Aqua Love Notes, the waterproof notepad.

Despite the name, Aqua Love Notes are the greatest thing ever created. This is the absolutely fabulous one that I bought a few years ago that has been a pure life saver. It isn’t used for fun notes and message to others in my household, it is used for when my mind is mulling over menial things in the shower and suddenly an idea comes to me, or a piece of dialogue or scene and I need to write it down lest I forget.

There are multiple pages, and if you are like me who writes small and scribbles all over the page you can use the same pad for years. You get two pencils, red and lead, one which has a rubber on the end and both are able to be sharpened in a regular sharpener.

I used to try and write in the steam on the shower but I’d always forget about it by the time I finished and it doesn’t last once it dries. Who knows how many brilliant ideas I have lost over time, but not any more. If you are looking for something to jot ideas down on or plot out your next epic story than this is ideal. I bought mine from Amazon because it was the only place at the time I could find one, but now you know such genius exists you may find some elsewhere with some clever searching.

With NaNoWriMo happening this month it might be the perfect thing you need when you are plotting and planning and need all the ideas you can get when you are starting out.

Go forth and never be stuck in the shower with nowhere to put your ideas again!

Release Day: Scorch by Nikki Rae

A couple of weeks ago I showed you the cover reveal for Scorch and now I am here celebrating the release! After a long wait the day has finally arrived and if you’re like me and have read the other three books, this has been an eager wait. The fourth book in Nikki Rae’s The Order series has dropped and it is marvellous. My review will be going up in November so keep an eye out for that, but in the meantime you can check out my reviews of books one, two and three and maybe head to the purchase links below and see what all the fuss is about.

Scorch (The Order, 4)

Page count: 225

Release Date: October 29, 2019

Purchase Link

Add to your TBR

 

Synopsis:

With failure after failure, Fawn finally thinks she has a way to escape the Order and make them pay for what they’ve done. Betrayal is a poison—and poison spreads. Elliot’s rising paranoia makes him almost unrecognisable, forcing Marius into the position of Owner. Her bond with both begins to grow and change beyond the roots Elliot planted in her. Between Marius’ kindness and Master Lyon’s cruelty, Fawn is torn in too many directions while the Vultures lie in wait, prepared to strike while evading a new Mainworld organisation intent on taking them down.

Fawn has earned her place in House Chimera, and she will fight for her family no matter the cost.

Even if that means the Wolves devour her in the end.

 

Previous Books

 Bloom (The Order, 1)

Page count: 327
Release date: February 28, 2018
Purchase Link

Synopsis:

Given to The Grimm Order as an infant, Fawn was raised in a world shaped by the rich and powerful. When she was sold at the age of nine to a Suitor, Fawn believed he would protect her from the “Mainworld”, where those who know nothing about the Order live. Living with the cruel man who bought her freedom, she finds just what the Order is about: money, control, and status for the Owner and humiliation and abuse for those they own. 

Unwilling to accept the expectations of being Owned, Fawn goes from golden girl to maid, content to live in the shadows of the Order as long as she isn’t Owned again.

It’s been ten years since she disgraced her former Owner’s name, and now the brooding Frenchman Elliot Lyon wants her. Master Lyon is kind, smart, and unlike any man she’s met. She doesn’t want to admit it to herself, but Fawn is drawn to him despite constantly planning her next escape. 

Even the prettiest flowers have thorns, and Master Lyon is hiding secrets that will uproot everything she thinks she knows about him.

 

Wilt (The Order, 2)
Page Count:
231
Release Date: June 30, 2018
Purchase Link

Synopsis:

When she was sold to Master Elliot Lyon of House Chimera, Fawn could have never imagined he was the same person as Elliot, the man beneath a well placed mask. A victim. Just like her. She would have never thought he was grooming her for the Wolf she’d already escaped once. That he planned to deliver her to the beast’s jaws in exchange for his wife.

 Master Jäger will stop at nothing to have her—even if that means using others as collateral. With more than just their lives on the line, Fawn must become someone else, and Master Lyon distances himself further from Elliot as her transfer looms. 

The roots of the Order run deep within them, but Fawn is beginning to realize another bond has formed between her and her Owner, a man she vowed to destroy along with the rest of their tangled branches. 

In a world where trust is just a tool and love isn’t meant for people like them, Fawn is determined to beat the powerful at their own elaborate games of make-believe. Even the man who Owns her.  

 

Chrysalis (The Order, 3)
Release Date:
 April 30, 2019
Page Count: 257
Purchase Link

Synopsis:

After Wolf Manor, Fawn vowed to never be weak, broken, or scared again. She has wrenched her power from the Vultures, visiting them under the cover of darkness to deliver the same drug they’d given her. This version has a different side effect: death.

It doesn’t stop the nightmares, it can’t erase what happened, but revenge is the only distraction from Lyon Estate. Tucked in the wilderness, she draws back into herself until Master Lyon demands they make good on their deal. In order to continue her vengeance, he is to be her Owner—really this time.

While it is a small sacrifice to make, Fawn isn’t prepared to be pulled back into Elliot’s world, where the rules of the Order exist, but in a new way. Running from him sends her into the arms of others in House Chimera. People who should be off limits, but they also stir something within her wholly different than the emotions Master Lyon can conjure. Marius is patient, and she finds herself clinging to him more now than ever before. People like them don’t believe in love, but can they choose it?

Fawn is no longer the prey, but beyond the trees, a lone Wolf is hunting…  

 

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How Will You Celebrate Reading Hour?

Stop what you’re doing for one hour and pick up a book. That’s the message.

Today is the day when Australia celebrates Reading Hour. For one hour pick up a book and escape for a little while. You can celebrate the day by doing this at home, at work, in a cafe, in a library or a bookshop. There are places all over the country holding events you can attend or you can even start your own impromptu one, it isn’t too late. If you’d like information on planning your own event check out the guide here.

I will be continuing to read Monuments by Will Kostakis for my hour today. Who knows, I might escape for a little longer than an hour if the world permits.

What will you be reading today?

 

Tribute To The Unsung Heroes: Librarians

A fabulous dedication to all the librarian superheroes out there for everything they do. It’s wonderful to know you’re appreciated and people recognise the work we do. We are pretty awesome after all! 💕📚

The Never Ending Bookshelf

I just want to take a moment to appreciate and share the love for some of the most unsung heroes in the book community: librarians.

Librarians are so often overlooked, under-appreciated and not recognised, that I want to take the time to say I see YOU and I THANK YOU for your service to the book world,  in every imaginable way.

Thank you for being the smiling gatekeepers handing out free keys to the magical world of books and reading. Thank you for being the unofficial holder of information and genius researchers; always willing to lend a helping hand even when you are asked the same question a thousand times a week.

Thank you for working endlessly behind the scenes in a million thankless tasks. Thank you for filling our reservations, and re-shelving our messes, so that the place always looks tidy and we can find what our hearts…

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