On this week’s episode of Channel F (the Fanbyte Video Game Game Show!), special guest Eric Silver joins Steven and Fūnk-é for more of merritt’s maniacal machinations, and by “maniacal machinations” we of course mean fun games and friendly banter. Eric is the head of content over at Multitude Productions and is also the host of Games & Feelings and Join the Party, the former of which will feature merritt on an upcoming episode!
In Oh God, Oh God, Who’s That Pokemon?!, the gang must identify Pokemon based only on their horrific (but real!) Pokedex entries. Last time we played this it was all ghost Pokemon and that was just too dang easy, so this time there’s not a ghost in sight. As it so happens, living Pokemon are also violent nightmares with no regard for life — human or otherwise — and though we like to pretend that Pokemon are our friends and companions, it’s becoming increasingly clear that mankind is simply prey in a much larger game. Who is in the pocket of whom when your child is carried off by a balloon, or when you come face to face with the gaping maw of the afterlife? When your ever-burn aches each morning and every night, did you really win that battle?
Meanwhile, a special tabletop role-playing edition of Speed Pitching has Eric, Steven and Fūnk-é coming up with brand-new characters for kinda-randomly generated TTRPG settings, in less than a minute! One of these ideas is so good that we actually debated not publishing it, for fear of it being seized by nefarious ne’er-do-wells with less-than-scrupulous scruples, but let it be known: anyone attempting to cop Steven’s great idea will have to deal with the full legal might of Tencent Holdings Ltd., our parent company’s parent company, which definitely knows we exist and would back us up in court and wouldn’t just fire all of us and shutter the website to save time.
Channel F Ep. 169: Death to Smoochum (with Eric Silver!) Transcript
Transcribed by E. Powers
merritt: Hi and welcome to Channel F, the show where we pit your favorite Fanbyte staff members against one another in contests of skill and knowledge. I’m your host, merritt k. We got our producer Jordan Mallory in the toad hole, and let’s get started. As always– as usual, not always. That’s a big word. I am joined by Steven Strom and Fūnk-é Joseph, Fanbyte Senior Managing Editor and Featured Contributor, respectively.
Steven: Hello. My knee hurts.
merritt: Oh, that’s not good. I mean…
Fūnk-é: What happened?
Steven: You know…
merritt: Yeah, did you do something?
Steven: Yeah. You know like 15 seconds ago when we were starting the recording and you heard like a loud crashing sound?
Fūnk-é: The big thud, yeah.
merritt: Mm-hmm, yeah.
Steven: Yeah, the big thud. The big– capital T, capital B, capital T.
merritt: That’s my favorite Marvel crossover event, is The Big Thud. [laughter]
Steven: Captain Marvel was here. It was great.
Steven: She-Hulk checked on me. I’m okay. But I did fall backwards in my chair, because my chair is broken to shit right now.
Steven: And if I sit in it just right, I can sit in it, but if I sit in it not just right, I fall over backwards and I hit my knee on the bottom of my desk.
merritt: [laughs softly] Now, can I offer a possible solution to this problem?
Steven: I would love you to.
merritt: Could you get a new chair?
Steven: [shocked] What? [laughter]
merritt: I just, I mean, there are many possibilities. There are many ways you could tackle this problem. You know, buying a new chair is only one of those possibilities. But we do also have a special guest on this episode. Eric Silver is the host of the Games and Feelings podcast and the Head of Creative at Multitude Productions. Welcome to the show.
Eric: Hello! Steven, I was really worried you were gonna be like, “Ugh, my knee gets hurt when I know that there’s gonna be a games release coming. [laughter] I always get achy whenever Nintendo Switch is on the horizon.”
merritt: Yeah, they have a bum knee that, yeah, just, you know, it’s not when it’s about to rain or something like that, [Steven: “Mm-mm”] but just like, “Ah, Nintendo Direct is coming.”
Steven: Yeah. Well, that’s–
Fūnk-é: Only when there’s a new Yoshi game, the knee starts wiggling. [laughter]
Steven: That’s why my knee is fine normally right now is because there’s no new games coming out right now. [laughs]
merritt: Ah, yes, that’s true. That’s very true. But you know what? We don’t need new games to have fun. We can talk about old ones, and we’re gonna start off–
Steven: Games you made up.
merritt: Games I made up. Games I stole from other places. Uh, who’s to say what– you know, it’s remix culture, right? Did I make it up? Did I borrow it? It’s fine. It doesn’t matter. But this one I did make up.
Eric: I wanna say…
Eric: I do wanna say. I do listen to this show and I’m a big fan of Channel F, so I’m listening to you do this, merritt, and I’m like, “Oh, this is the part before merritt gets to the games where merritt just kind of talks about it! I’m so excited.” [laughter]
merritt: Where I just sort of waste time, just kind of– words just come out of my mouth, and I’m not really in control of them. It’s sort of an automatic speech kind of thing. [laughter] It’s a Jack Kerouac style thing where I’m just narrating the entire, you know, story of On the Road after doing some mescaline or something. But, um…
Eric: And I’m like, “merritt said the thing! Yeah!” [laughter]
merritt: Yeah, you know, my great catchphrase. So anyway, [laughter] I don’t know any of the games, but I’m gonna make them up. And it’s right up there with, you know, “Kiss your dad square on the lips,” in terms of the podcast hall of fame of catch phrases. This game is called Oh God, Oh God, Who’s That Pokemon?
Eric: Oh no! You can’t see it, but I do have “trans rights” on a piece of paper right behind me as well.
merritt: Is that a podcast catchphrase?
Eric: Oh, no, that was a McElroy reference. That’s my fault for showing my butt about that.
merritt: Oh, did they make that up?
Fūnk-é: I think they did.
Eric: On stream. Yeah, [laughs] they didn’t make it up.
merritt: They started that phrase.
Eric: On stream, Travis just like has…
merritt: I see, I see.
Eric: Travis just has a piece of paper that says “trans rights” that he keeps on a thing back there.
Eric: And I’m like, I guess?
merritt: I just, the only piece of paper I associate with them are the ones that are like, uh, the “I don’t know what this meme is a reference to, and at this point I’m too afraid to ask.”
Eric: All right. That was still pretty good.
Fūnk-é: Oh, the Jojo one? Yeah.
merritt: The Jojo one. Well, let’s all go on our own bizarre adventure with this game, [“Heyoo”] Oh God, Oh God, Who’s That Pokémon? And we’ve done this once before. Look, we all know ghost Pokémon are really messed up, and there’s– you can find a million clickbait lists of just like, “Did you know that this ghost Pokémon eats kids?” Yes, I do. I’ve been playing this series for what feels like 30 years at this point. But there are a lot of non-ghost Pokémon that are also really scary and weird, and why did they design them this way? So, I’m gonna give you a Pokédex description of a Pokémon, and I would like you to tell me, Oh God, Oh God, Who’s That Pokémon? Some of these are gonna be pretty easy. Some of them are gonna be…I think overall they’re easier than last time, because I think there’s more generation one Pokémon in this one. Because last time, we got real deep into the weeds.
merritt: But, uh…
Steven: You were telling me about Flargonsnarfle and 3D2D2D3D?
merritt: Yeah. [laughs] Those are good names for a Pokémon. ??? does sound like a Pokémon.
Eric: Flargonsnarfle is really great in the meta.
merritt: Yeah, yeah.
Eric: You use trick room and a pair of Regigigas. [laughter]
merritt: Such a great trick room sweeper, yeah.
merritt: Incredible stuff. All right, let’s go. “The bug is mostly dead, with the mushroom on its back having become the main body. If the mushroom comes off, the bug stops moving.”
Eric: Eric, Eric.
merritt: Yeah, Fūnk-é, go ahead.
merritt: Very close. [incorrect noise]
Eric: Eric, Eric.
Eric: Oh, do I still say my name as a Pokémon? Is that how I buzz in?
Steven: Well, you do now! [laughs]
Eric: It happened on one episode, and I’m like, that’s definitely how they do it here. [laughter] It’s Parasect.
merritt: Yeah. Yep, that is correct.
merritt: Parasect is correct. [correct noise] Paras is just, it just has a light fungal, kind of, you know, disease.
Fūnk-é: Mild fungus.
merritt: And then Parasect…
Steven: ‘Cause of all the catacombs.
merritt: Yeah. And then Parasect is what happens if you don’t treat your athlete’s foot, is a giant mushroom takes over your body, and uh, just sort of– Parasect is basically The Last of Us, huh?
Eric: Damn. It’s art.
Fūnk-é: Yeah, I mean, the flickers.
merritt: I’ve never played those games, but that’s what happens, right? The mushroom zombies?
Eric: Yeah. It’s funny–
Steven: You breathe in the mushroom spores, yeah.
Eric: It’s funny, Parasect I feel like is having a little bit of a moment because of Arceus.
merritt: Oh, right.
Eric: Because like, you see the Alpha Parasect, like that’s where you learn that there are alpha giant bugs.
Eric: And you’re like, yo, that Parasect will eat me! Much like The Last of Us, so. [laughter]
Eric: And it’s also triple A art, and video games are art, so. [laughter] You totally nailed it.
merritt: Let ‘em know. Let ‘em know.
Steven: Extremely long, drawn out sequences of torture porn in my Pokémon games. That’s exactly what I need.
merritt: Yep. Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep. [laughter] Parasect always creeped me out. “As a matter of course, it makes anyone it meets fall asleep and has a taste of their dreams. Anyone having a good dream it carries off.”
Eric: Eric Eric. That’s Drowzee?
merritt: Oh, I’m afraid not. [incorrect noise]
Fūnk-é: [thoughtfully] Carries off.
merritt: Wow, same problem as the last question.
Steven: Same guy.
Fūnk-é: Was the guy’s name Hypno?
merritt: That’s correct, yeah. [correct noise]
merritt: Hypno is the evolution of Drowzee. Drowzee’s too small to carry anyone off.
Steven: Yeah. He’s like a baby. He’s like small.
merritt: He’s like a little creepy elephant baby. He does a baby elephant walk.
Steven: [laughs] He’s a little Yule Lad.
merritt: Yeah. And then Hypno is just a…so, let’s not mince words, okay?
Steven: [laughs] Adult man.
merritt: [laughs] Yeah, let’s not mince words. Hypno kidnaps people, and yeah, tortures them by eating their dreams. Like, let’s not, [Fūnk-é: “Damn”] you know, beat around the bush here. This is an adult man breaking and entering someone’s home and kidnapping them.
Steven: Okay, yeah.
merritt: Hypno is five feet tall. So yeah, that is…you know, an on the shorter side adult man.
Fūnk-é: Wow. I always thought he was taller.
merritt: Me too. He looks taller, right?
merritt: It’s the proportions, yeah.
Steven: You know, the image boards that I see him on, he definitely looks a lot taller. [people sigh]
merritt: But Pokémon height is such a weird thing, ’cause you’ll be like, oh, that’s like a little gear. Okay, so it just like floats. It’s like about the side of a baseball. No, it’s like gigantic. Like, whenever they show the actual size next to a guy, because the pictures are all basically the same size like in the game, so you have no sense of scale.
merritt: Which is why I think the 3D games have such a hard time with like, okay, this thing is supposed to be like two stories tall.
merritt: And then it’s fighting a rat. [laughs] How do we depict that?
Steven: Like, Haunter is like the size of a house or some shit, right?
Fūnk-é: Oh, whoa?
merritt: I couldn’t possibly say.
Steven: I’m pretty sure. I’m pretty sure. Like, and this might just be because I’ve seen him in a picture from the manga, but I’m pretty sure Haunter or Gengar is like huge.
Fūnk-é: Yeah, I know Gengar’s big.
merritt: Jordan says Haunter is five feet. I think a house is a little bigger than five feet, but…
Steven: Yeah, but like, he’s a head. If a head was five feet in diameter [merritt: “Haunter?”] floating at you– Haunter?
merritt: He’s a head? He’s like a ghost.
Eric: Like a floating head. Well, it doesn’t help that the giant– it doesn’t help that the Gigantamax of Gengar is like the evil tunnel of love that wants to eat you.
merritt: Oh, it’s like a portal to hell? Yeah.
Steven: Oh my God. I’ve not seen this.
merritt: Oh, yeah, no.
Eric: Oh, it’s the best!
Steven: Oh my God.
merritt: Gigantamax Gengar is really something.
Steven: [laughs] I’m looking at it now. This is great.
Eric: Just come into my mouth. It’s fine. It’s nice in there. [laughter]
merritt: It’s not a portal to hell. Don’t worry about it. Um, but those are ghost Pokémon. We don’t talk about those in this segment.
Eric: Oh, sure, sure, sure. If we’re not talking…
merritt: Uh huh.
Eric: But if we’re not talking about it, merritt, can I read the Pokédex entry for that one?
merritt: You have a very interesting definition of not talking about it. [Steven laughs]
Eric: Oh, okay. We’re not talking about it. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
merritt: No, please do. Please do. I was just kidding.
Eric: Okay. No, it’s fine.
merritt: No, no, no. Yeah, yeah, yeah. What does Gengar do?
Eric: Oh God. Let me see. I had it. Shit. I can’t find it now. Bulbapedia! Bulbapedia, I don’t need to know about a Mega Gengar in a side game! I just wanna see a funny joke with friends.
merritt: It’s lost to history. No one knows what Gigantamax Gengar does or did.
Eric: No one knows. I can’t. I just can’t find it.
merritt: Steven has dropped something called a .jfif file in the…
Eric: The fucking JFIFs.
merritt: Untitled.jfif. [laughter] And I’m really scared, and we need to move on. [laughter] “Its body temperature is approximately 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Water is vaporized on contact. If this Pokémon is caught in the rain, the raindrops instantly turned into steam, cloaking the area in a thick fog.”
Eric: Eric Eric.
merritt: Eric, go ahead.
Eric: That is Torkoal.
merritt: Close, but I’m afraid not. [incorrect noise]
Eric: Oh, dammit. Shit.
Fūnk-é: Fūnk-é Fūnk-é?
merritt: Well, I don’t know really how close– Fūnk-é, go ahead.
merritt: Oh, that is weirdly closer. [incorrect noise]
merritt: Steven, go ahead.
merritt: No, I’m afraid not. [incorrect noise] The correct answer is Magcargo, which is a fire/rock, I wanna say.
Eric: The snail.
merritt: Snail. And so its temperature is 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit. How hot do you think the sun is?
Steven: [laughs] Oh God.
Fūnk-é: A million.
Eric: The sun is less than that. The sun is definitely less than that.
merritt: The sun is less than that.
merritt: The sun is under 10,000. So this Pokémon is hotter than the surface of the sun.
Steven: [sarcastic] Oh, that wouldn’t ignite the atmosphere of the planet [merritt: “No”] and kill everyone on the board or anything like that. [laughter]
merritt: You wouldn’t like die just from coming within, yeah, like a mile’s radius. Like, what the fuck?
Eric: Children have these.
merritt: You guys are writing this. You can say…you don’t have to put that number. You could say like 180 or like 1800 even. That would still be insane, but it would at least be like, I don’t know, not just ignite the entire planet? [laughs]
Fūnk-é: Maybe its skin and shell like keep it in, like encase the heat inside.
merritt: I guess that’s possible.
Fūnk-é: It’s so durable that…
Steven: [googling] How hot is thermite? 4,000 degrees.
Eric: [laughs] This is the proof that the Pokédex was written by children and unedited by any professors. [laughter] That is like, “How hot is it? It’s so freaking hot, man!”
Eric: “It’s like 18,000 degrees!”
merritt: It’s as hot as the sun.
Steven: “It’s like three suns.” “Wow, three suns. Wow. [hushed] Write that down. Write that down!” [laughter]
merritt: So, my theory was that it was written by the Pokémon, [“Oh,” “Mm”] because it’s always like, “This Pokémon’s sooo cool. It’s 10 million degrees. It can jump over like the moon. It’s the best.”
merritt: It’s like that whole meme of like, did a…what was it?
Steven: Did a Pokémon write this?
merritt: Did a Pokémon write this? Yeah.
Fūnk-é: Yeah. The Pokémon’s allowed to eat a little bit of salami as well, in the entry.
merritt: Yes. Yeah. Little– they can have little a salami. “Its lips are the most sensitive parts on its body. It always uses its lips first to examine things.”
Fūnk-é: Buzz. Fūnk-é Fūnk-é.
merritt: Yes, go ahead.
Fūnk-é: Um, Jynx?
merritt: Very close. [incorrect noise]
Eric: Oh, I was also gonna say Jynx.
Steven: I was also gonna say Jynx. [laughs]
Eric: Jinx! Am I right?
merritt: Well, the correct answer is Smoochum, which is…
Eric: The little one.
merritt: The pre-evolution of Jynx. It’s the baby Jynx.
Steven: [pained] What the fuck are you talking about?
merritt: [laughs] It’s called Smoochum.
Eric: Steven, you know this one!
merritt: It’s called Smoochum. You know, Smoochum.
Steven: Smoochum? Let me see. When is Smoochum?
merritt: When is Smoochum?
Steven: When is Smoochum? [laughs]
merritt: It’s generation two.
Steven: Generation two?
Steven: So I guess I do know Smoochum.
merritt: But literally no one cares about Smoochum, ’cause first of all, it’s a terrible idea for a Pokémon, and second, just, I mean, Jynx’s whole sort of history is, um…
Fūnk-é: Yeah. They made a less racist one.
merritt: [laughs] Right. But also, just–
Eric: Hey, how are we gonna get out…how are we gonna get out of this incredibly problematic pocket we’ve put ourselves into? [laughter]
merritt: We just tend to dig deeper, yeah.
Eric: I know. We’re gonna make a child that kisses. Is that good?
merritt: Kissing child, yeah. Oh shit. Oh fuck. This Pokémon is being seen, you know, as a horrible caricature. I know! We’ll distract them with the child, the child that kisses, the child Pokémon. [laughter]
Steven: [laughing] The child that kisses.
merritt: It doesn’t even look like– it just looks like a weird, like, Muppet or something. Like, it sucks. I hate it.
Steven: It’s too…I mean, I don’t know if this is like indicative of its normal personality, but it’s too sassy. I don’t like it. [laughter] It’s got its like hands behind its hips, and it’s just like…
Eric: Yeah. For sure.
merritt: [sighs] It’s just bad.
Eric: That’s like the Muppet Babiesification of the Pokémon. [laughter]
Eric: Like, they can’t have horny. It has to be sassy instead.
merritt: It’s Muppet babies. It’s Pokébabies. All right, last one for this round. Okay, Jordan– wait. [laughter] You can’t post pictures of the card from the Pokémon card game [“It’s showing its butt!”] where it’s like showing its ass! That’s not okay! Why is that the picture?
Steven: Why is its power sweet sleeping face? What are they doing over there?!
merritt: See, I told you. These are worse than the ghost ones.
Eric: It’s even worse that it’s called its Poké-body. I don’t like that. That feels rude. Its Poké-body has a sweet sleeping face. I just don’t like that at all.
Steven: I don’t like this. Merritt, what have you done?
merritt: Death would be a blessing to Smoochum. [laughter] It would be a kindness. All right. “Using its tail like a spring, it keeps its heart beating by bouncing constantly.”
Eric: Oh, Eric Eric.
merritt: “If it stops, it dies.” Eric, go ahead.
Eric: That is Spoink, and it is very sad.
merritt: That is true. [correct noise] Spoink is a psychic [“Aw”] little pig Pokémon that bounces around on its tail. And I don’t know if it just doesn’t sleep or if it just sleeps while bouncing like a shark does.
Eric: It eats the sleep of others.
merritt: Possibly eats others’ dreams or sleep, yeah. That could work too. I think once it evolves, it can…it doesn’t have to bounce anymore, which is nice.
merritt: But you have to wonder how many don’t make it to that point.
Eric: Now, remember: you as a trainer, when you’re doing the Pokémon games, you’re like 11, and I think that’s the perfect time for you to like go on Reddit and see that all of the cartoons you liked as a kid actually were super dark and terrible.
Steven: [laughs] Yeah.
Eric: Like in the Rugrats, like Angelica was like in a coma the whole time, and all of her friends died.
merritt: Oh my God. We can’t.
Eric: So this feels like, oh man, look at this adorable bouncing pig. [sinisterly] Well, you know, if it stops bouncing, it dies. Nice!
merritt: God. Yeah, that does feel like a backstory that like, yeah, someone added to…yeah, like a, you know, dark game theory.
merritt: But it’s canon, though. It’s real.
Steven: I have a logistical question about Spoink.
merritt: Please, please.
Steven: If it stops bouncing, it dies. Now, when does that timer tick over? Is it this thing of like, if like, if a Spoink bounced so high that it would like took five minutes for it to land again, would it die in mid-air? Or is it just like, does it trigger when it falls to the ground?
merritt: I think it’s sort of a bouncing to beat its heart kind of thing.
merritt: So yes, I do think it has to just keep going. Like, it can’t just be like boooiiing, ‘cause it would…
Steven: I see, I see.
Eric: Steven, if your heart beat really hard one time, can your heart just like chill for 10 seconds? [laughter]
merritt: Yeah, if it launches the blood through your body with enough energy to circulate a few times.
Steven: Yeah. That’s how I activate my overdrive. I just… [laughs]
merritt: Listen, that is actually what better cardiac health is, right? Your heart beats strongly but less.
Fūnk-é: Just moving more.
Steven: But crucially, it does keep doing it consistently though. It doesn’t stop for like five straight minutes. [laughs]
merritt: What’s the lowest heart rate that someone– that like…
merritt: Like, ’cause beyond a certain point, a low heart rate is bad.
Fūnk-é: One. One.
merritt: One. Per minute.
Steven: [laughs] One per minute?
merritt: Just a beat that just shatters glass in the same room as you. [laughter] That’s like, Baki’s dad from Baki is probably doing that. That’s a great anime reference for three people.
Steven: [typing] Lowest heart rate. Yeah, all the Beastar fans love it.
Eric: If you’re going into gear 2 like Luffy, that’s fine, but otherwise I’m not going to recommend it.
merritt: Mm. Now, Steven, you did say all the Beastars fans love it. And are you referencing the fact that the creator of Beastars is the daughter of the Baki guy?
merritt: And sort of got her start by drawing doujins of his stuff?
Steven: Of her dad’s–
merritt: Of her dad’s stuff. And he was like, “Hey, this is really great. You should become mangaka too.”
Steven: You should write really boring manga about these animals.
merritt: Hey, great job drawing my cool guys just, fucking…fucking. [laughter] I mean, I don’t know if they actually were that kind of comic or not.
Steven: They probably were.
merritt: But they probably were. Imagine just being, like coming to like success because you drew porn of your dad’s OCs and then he also saw it and was like, “This is great stuff. You’ve got a real skill.”
Steven: Well, and then he was right, because she’s arguably more popular than he is. [laughs]
merritt: Right, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Steven: Beastars is like really big, or at least I think it is.
merritt: Anyway, that was Steven’s Manga Minute. [laughter]
Eric: You just cannot get anywhere in this world. Nepotism is rampant.
merritt: I know! I know.
Eric: If only my dad drew manga for me to make gross OCs of.
merritt: If only my dad drew a comic where a guy fights Donald Trump or something. Oh, no, he doesn’t fight Donald Trump. He just makes him piss by being in the same room as him.
merritt: Oh yeah.
Steven: Oh yeah.
Fūnk-é: Fuck are y’all talking about? [laughter]
merritt: Fūnk-é, you should watch Baki or read Baki. It’s…I don’t even know. It’s like, what if Jojo was less about like crazy powers and stuff and more just like, just like…
Steven: Fucked up muscly guys?
merritt: Just like grotesque muscly men just fighting each other in really stupid ways.
Steven: A guy who’s just like, “I’ve implanted knives all over my body, and they can just jump out at you at any time.”
Fūnk-é: Ooh, I do like wacky powers.
merritt: I don’t know if you follow wrestling, Fūnk-é, but there’s a guy named Orange Cassidy [“Oh, my favorite”] who always like has his hands in his pockets, which is a Baki thing. It’s a guy who fights with his hands in his pockets, and then he fights a guy who only wears a thong, but that guy is able to imitate his powers by sticking his hands, like, in the sides of his thong. So, that’s kind of [Fūnk-é: “What?”] the kind of show that Baki is, yeah.
merritt: Muhammad Ali’s son is there, I think, is part of it for a while. [laughter]
Eric: More nepotism. Damn. [laughter]
merritt: I know! I know. Baki is the son of the most powerful man in the world, so that’s sort of more of that.
Steven: That’s also true. Yeah, but all it gets him is people trying to kill him constantly.
merritt: That’s true. That’s true. There’s a whole bit where Baki’s dad tells him that he has to have sex if he wants to be the greatest warrior. So that, uh…
merritt: Yeah, anyway, it’s available now on Netflix. Check it out. [laughter] Baki, streaming now on Netflix. Give us money.
Steven: [laughing] Everybody loves it.
merritt: You’ve got so much money right now, Netflix. I mean, you probably do. You just don’t wanna spend it on, you know.
Steven: Yeah, well.
Eric: Netflix just keeps boofing it, consistently.
Eric: You know the– it’s like a– I think they are fully going forward with the ad tier, which a hundred percent feels like someone just like screamed it out at a board meeting.
Eric: And no one wanted to say it was bad, because it was like Mr. Netflix’s nephew who said it. [laughter] And now they’re just like locked into it forever.
merritt: Hi, I’m Mr. Netflix. Thank you for enjoying my product.
Eric: Oh no! That’s Mr. Netflix’s music. Ah! [laughter]
merritt: Why is it Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake’s theme song? That’s weird. I mean, I guess he’s not using it anymore, but still. [laughter] That would be my theme song. If I could use one from wrestling, I would take that one. I don’t know anything about wrestling, by the way.
Fūnk-é: They stopped TV to make TV again.
Eric: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
Fūnk-é: It’s pretty wild stuff.
merritt: Stopped TV to make TV. That’s so true.
Steven: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I suppose.
Fūnk-é: Netflix and like streamers in general. They’re just like putting ads back in it.
Steven: Mid-roll ads and stuff. Yeah.
Fūnk-é: Pretty wild.
Eric: My wrestling walkup music would be the final chorus of “Tradition” where all of the mamas and the papas and the sons and the daughters all say it at the same time, and then they say “tradition.” [laughter]
merritt: Oh, well, uh, speaking of original characters like Mr. Netflix… [laughter] TM. Let’s move onto Speed Pitching, but we’re gonna do a variant of Speed Pitching today.
merritt: And instead of coming up with a game, we’re gonna be coming up with a character. And, so, I am putting together a tabletop RPG for the first time in many years, and so I’m sort of, you know, thinking about character concepts and different kinds of settings and stuff. So, the way this is gonna work is same thing as normal Speed Pitching. Two people will shout out a genre, but it should be like a genre of a setting, rather than like a type of video game, right? So.
merritt: Horror or, you know, like high fantasy or post-apocalyptic or whatever. So, two people will give the genres, and then the third person will have 60 seconds to come up with a character concept for that setting, as if you were creating a character that was going to be in a game set in this world.
Steven: Hell yeah.
merritt: Any questions? Fūnk-é, have you ever played a tabletop game, Fūnk-é?
Fūnk-é: I’ve played a few. I’ve played a few. I actually, before I worked here, I studied like some tabletop games, and we read your book.
merritt: Wait, what book?
Fūnk-é: The twine book? Like, about indie devs and stuff.
merritt: Oh! Oh yeah.
Eric: Oh, that’s so cool.
merritt: There was that book. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Cool. Well, so, the genre thing, I mean, can be pretty much whatever. And then, yeah, we’re just talking character concept, not like, you know, you don’t have to be like, “He has 10 strength and no intelligence.”
Steven: Like a name, a basic like one-sentence backstory.
merritt: Yeah, like a…you know, like…
Eric: Background, motivation, the thing that we want.
merritt: Christian TikToker who becomes a vampire, [Steven: “Ooh,” Eric: “Nice”] which is a character concept in the game that I am starting to run right now.
Eric: That’s awesome. I very much want to hear more about your Vampire: The Masquerade game after this. [laughter]
merritt: Well, we haven’t actually started yet, but I’m guessing that it is gonna go better than the last time I tried to play it, which was in middle school. And if you can believe it, preteens, probably not the best people to play a dark game of brooding and darkness.
Steven: Mm. Why?
merritt: Uh…you know, just too upbeat, too cheery.
Steven: Oh, okay.
merritt: [laughs] It was sort of too good of a point in our lives. We couldn’t really relate to how dark it was, but.
Fūnk-é: Oh, damn.
Eric: I feel like for any tabletop RPG, you need, like, you have to pass a test where you need to respond to like three Am I the Asshole? posts on Reddit and see what they say. [laughter] And it’s like, if you come out like insane on more than two of these, you are not allowed to play a tabletop RPG.
Steven: [laughs] I really like that idea. I might steal that.
merritt: We need a Voight-Kampff quiz [Steven, laughs: “Yeah!”] for players in tabletop games to determine if they are replicants and/or murder hobos, you know?
merritt: But, yeah, why don’t we start? Steven, you can start off, if you like.
merritt: So, Fūnk-é and Eric, on the count of three, if you could each say a genre, then we’ll get started. So one, two, three.
Eric: Weird west.
Fūnk-é: Near future!
merritt: So, near future…
Eric: And I said weird west.
Steven: Near future weird west?
merritt: Near future weird west. All right. Steven, I am putting a minute on the board, and I would like you to tell me your character concept for someone who is in this near future weird west style game.
Steven: Okay. [Western music starts playing] So, I’ve got a new character here, just put it down on my character sheet. You can see that on the table here, next to the cheese puffs. This right here is Brady Cardio. [laughter] He is a bounty hunter who used to be a sentient train, but his sentient train brain, after a failed highway robbery, was transferred into a human robot body. And now he walks around like Yul Brynner from Westworld and goes around, uh, just kind of like stomping about and going, like, “I’m going to catch those thieves that stole my body!” And he rides on a steel horse named, uh, not Silver, but–
merritt: Now, is he wanted, and are the conditions of that like dead or alive?
Steven: Well, he…I mean, yes, you’re right.
Eric: He can’t die.
Fūnk-é: Can he die?
Steven: They don’t know that.
Eric: Can I also ask if it’s wanted, [singing] wanted! [laughter]
Steven: I mean, he does have a loaded six string on his back, so you can kind of draw your own inferences from that.
merritt: Okay. Okay. Now–
Eric: Oh, he’s a bard! He’s a bard. Okay.
Steven: Yeah, he’s a bard character.
merritt: Did you…is this from like a comic or something? Because guy who used to be a train is like an incredible concept.
Steven: Uh, it’s from the comic book of my brain from 30 seconds ago. [laughs]
Eric: I’m gonna write this down. I love it.
Fūnk-é: I’m buying a copy.
merritt: That’s incredible, because that’s like a very good idea.
merritt: Like, “I used to be a train, and now I’m a guy, and now I’m hunting the guys who stole my train body.” [laughs]
Fūnk-é: He can’t stop chugging. He can’t stop doing it.
Steven: He’s riding the rails, trying to catch them.
Fūnk-é: He’s off the rails, honestly.
merritt: He is off the rails!
Steven: That’s the name of the series, everybody!
merritt: Uh, TM, TM, TM, TM!
Steven: Jordan, cut this. We need to… [laughs]
Fūnk-é: Honestly, yeah, Jordan, don’t publish this one.
merritt: Yeah, cut all of this.
Steven: We need to write a screenplay.
merritt: Yep. Yep.
Steven: About a guy trying to chase down his train body that has been stolen by thieves in the near future.
merritt: Oh my God.
Eric: Steven, I can’t promise you I’m not turning this into an actual play podcast. [laughter] I just, I can’t promise it to you. It’s too good. Also like, is he a Krang?
Fūnk-é: Ooh, yeah.
Eric: Is it like a Krang person inside of a train, of like a…well, a robot man made out of train?
Steven: You know, that feels like a good season three question.
Fūnk-é: Season three, true.
Steven: Did he used to– before he was a train, was he actually a man, but those memories were locked away [merrit: “Ah”] when he was transformed, and– oh, wait, no! All the trains are people! Noooo!
Eric: Season four.
merritt: I feel like–
Fūnk-é: I have one last question for season one.
Fūnk-é: When Brady Cardio is learning how to use the guns, is he training? [laughter]
merritt: Jesus Christ.
Steven: All right, well, we can just end it right there. I’m not gonna do anything better than that, so I’ll just put my headphones down, and…
merritt: I feel like Matt Mercer is just furiously taking notes right now. [laughter]
Eric: Matt Mercer, I swear to God.
merritt: [franticly] “Ah, he’s a train. He used to be a train. He’s a guy. Oh my god.”
Eric: Matt Mercer, I already called dibs on this. Stay away! [laughter]
merritt: We will sue. We are litigious.
Eric: This is for MY actual play podcast.
merritt: The full weight of the Tencent corporation will come down on you, if you steal this idea. [laughter] You don’t want that, trust me, Matty boy. Well, that’s incredible. Fūnk-é, did you wanna go next?
Fūnk-é: Yeah. Sure.
merritt: All right. So, on three, Steven and Eric, if you could hit me with some genres. One, two, three.
Eric: Cozy animals.
Steven: Star Trek. That’s not a genre. [laughs]
merritt: Uh, well, let’s say space opera.
Steven: Space opera, okay.
merritt: So, space opera with cozy animals. And, uh…
Eric: Yeah, like a Wanderhome, like a cozy tabletop RPG.
merritt: I see. So like, yeah, like animal, funny animals.
Fūnk-é: Funny animals.
Eric: Yeah, like Animal Crossing as a tabletop RPG, basically. Like low stakes, low conflict.
merritt: But it’s like on a spaceship, and there’s a lot of exploration and–
Steven: With kind of a family dynamic between a lot of the people, sort of a found family.
merritt: All right, Fūnk-é, I’m putting a minute on the board, and whenever you’re ready.
Fūnk-é: [laughs] I’ve never seen Star Trek in my life. [laughter, light sci-fi music begins] So, hi guys. Sorry I’m late to the…the tabletop meeting we’re doing. I have a character, though. I’m ready this time. [laughs awkwardly] I’m gonna be playing as, um, Spock Nook, [laughter] who is kind of the operations manager of our little spaceship. They’re pretty good. They kind of have a loan out on the spaceship, and everyone else is working to pay them off, but it’s not about…I know a lot of these RPGs are about like just violence and fighting, but it’s more about the day to day life on the ship and just hanging out, pretty low stakes. There’s not too many rolls. They’re just like, we have a– we manufactured a one die, so it only rolls a one.
Fūnk-é: So everyone wins!
Fūnk-é: That’s kind of our goal here, so we’re all having a good time. [music stops]
Steven: Oh, nice.
Fūnk-é: What do we think?
Eric: God, I feel like I’ve seen that on our r/ tabletop RPG, [laughter] where it’s like, yeah, a one sided die. Everyone gets a success. It’s fine.
Fūnk-é: We don’t want any losers, we just want winners. [laughter]
merritt: Fūnk-é, I feel like this would fit in very well in sort of the newer genre of tabletop games that are very much just like, “What does it mean to be a roleplaying game, though? I mean, what are we– is this– I mean, we don’t need rules or we don’t need dice. Just hang out and just, you know, no DMs ’cause that’s hierarchical. And we just–”
Fūnk-é: Those are literally my favorite kinds of tabletop games.
Fūnk-é: The ones with the least amount of crunchy rules. Yeah, that was kind of an inspiration.
merritt: I do like a game with like, you know, rules-lite, or like, you know, [Eric: “Yeah”] only the rules that are totally necessary to flavor it.
merritt: Especially like trying to play VTM right now. Wow, that game has a lot going on.
Steven: It’s weird, ’cause like VTM is like, there’s a lot going on in the character creation. It’s like number, number, number, number, number. And then you look at the actual rules for play, and it’s like, “Basically try to ignore those numbers as much as you possibly can.” [laughter]
merritt: Well, they’re like, “Hey, I don’t know. We had to write the rules to sell this book, but you’ve bought it now. So like, do whatever the fuck you want. We don’t care.” [laughter]
Fūnk-é: Have y’all ever played Kids on Bikes?
Eric: I have. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
merritt: No. I’ve heard of it.
Fūnk-é: That one was pretty fun. That’s like the one I played for the longest, I think, tabletop, and our DM was just like so lax with the rules. We were kind of making it up as we went but used it as a baseline. So I think that’s what Spock Nook would be doing.
merritt: Yeah, I feel like that’s…okay, also, I just wanna say I do really like the idea of like Animal Crossing on a spaceship.
Steven: That has to exist on Steam right now, right? Like, if I go to the Steam Summer Sale right now, I bet there’s a game like this.
merritt: Almost certainly.
Steven: I bet.
Eric: I mean, the mechanic– like, it writes itself.
Eric: The mechanic, his name is Buzz, and he’s a firefly, [“Oh!”] because he takes care of the ship, which is a Firefly. Like, oh my God. Yeah.
Steven: Yeah. You could have like little alien people.
merritt: Little aliems.
Fūnk-é: Ooh, alien animals! That’s a whole ‘nother realm, too. Yeah.
Eric: Ooh, that is fun.
Eric: I’m giving this whole thing a contempt token, because I don’t– [laughter] I don’t like that I didn’t come up with it.
merritt: Now, is that a Kill Doctor Lucky thing? What is that from?
Eric: It’s like, in some games where it’s incredibly rules-lite, when like someone makes a story choice and [Steven: “Yeah”] either you, the player, or you, the characters who you’re controlling, don’t like it, you can give someone a contempt token.
Eric: It doesn’t really do anything. It just, they have it to demonstrate [merritt: “Wait”] how many times someone found what they did contemptible. I think it’s in The Quiet Year.
merritt: Wait, but wait, as the player or the character?
Eric: Like, it’s in…The Quiet Year is a worldbuilding game, where you–
Steven: In The Quiet Year, yeah.
merritt: Oh. Yeah. yeah, yeah. I have played. It hasn’t…it’s been a long time, though.
Eric: So it’s like, you know how you’re supposed to embody like the different parts of the community without like [merritt: “Yeah”] playing toward being that character. Whenever you’re doing something, you give– and you’re like, oh, I want to demonstrate that someone is not happy, either you or the person you’re playing at the moment, [merritt: “I see”] you give them a contempt token. It’s very silly, ’cause it doesn’t do anything.
Eric: It’s just like, wow, people contempted you seven times. Good to know.
Steven: But it’s very funny.
merritt: People fucking hate your guts. [laughter] I like the idea of a token that you give someone that– ‘cause I thought you were talking about something where you’re like, if you, the player, disapprove of a character’s actions, you’re just like, “I think you should not have killed that orc. That was incredibly rude of you. [laughter] It was extremely problematic.”
Steven: No, it’s more just for flavoring the like tone of what’s going on in the world, [merritt: “Mm”] I think is kind of what it exists to do. Like, how does the community feel about this? Even if it’s not necessarily going to have a gameplay impact directly.
merritt: Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Steven: But The Quiet Year is such a story-driven thing anyway.
merritt: Yeah. Yeah.
Eric: I do love this, how it’s like, you go into your first D&D game, and your DM’s like, “Hey, so I’m using some mechanics that I found in other games. I’m gonna give you this coin. And if I give you the coin, you fucked up my game and I hate you.” [laughter]
merritt: If you accrue three of these, please leave.
Steven: It’s like the keepsies token from Whitest Kids U’ Know when they’re naming the months. It’s just like, “I’m gonna use my keepsies token on February.”
merritt: Oh my God. Yeah. [laughter] Well, okay. Eric, you’re up.
Eric: I’m ready.
merritt: So, Fūnk-é and Steven, if you could come up with a genre and shout it out on three. One, two, three.
Fūnk-é: Gothic horror.
Steven: 90s hacker drama.
merritt: Okay, so, a 90s hacker drama gothic horror. So, you could take this in a few different directions. [laughter] This could be…I could see the gothic horror stuff being some kind of cyberspace thing.
merritt: I could see this being a Batman type thing where it’s like gothic horror [“Mm”] like the first Tim Burton Batman movie, but there’s hackers in it. There’s a lot of ways you could go. So, whenever you’re ready, I’ll put a minute on the board, and yeah.
[techno music playing]
Eric: Oh, hey, guys. Welcome to my session zero. I’m really excited to play this with all of you. I know that our scheduling hasn’t really worked out, but we were finally able to work it out and have these 45 minutes from 1:00 a.m. to 1:45 a.m. on a Tuesday to work this out. [laughter] I’ve just, I’ve been toying around with this one character that I just wanted to tell you about. His name is Dracula, but instead of A’s it’s fours. [laughter]
Fūnk-é: Oh, this is…this original character, right?
Eric: Yeah. Well, I mean, you know, it’s in just like, it’s not copyrighted, so I can just kind of use it, because–
Eric: But the fours. So, he can go into computers by turning into a bat and shoving himself into the CD-ROM port. [laughs] That’s how he gets inside of a computer.
merritt: Just, you know, like a bat does.
Eric: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And then like, I don’t actually access cyberspace in the way that all of your characters do.
Eric: I actually, it’s just then it’s a bat inside of a computer, and then the people need to like spend like three hours trying to get the bat out of the computer, so they can’t access their computers, which is a real– it’s a support class to let everyone else sneak in. [laughter]
Fūnk-é: That’s really good.
Eric: It’s Dr4cul4. He’s really great. Yeah, yeah.
merritt: That’s fun.
Eric: And then he eats all the cookies inside, because he heard there were cookies.
merritt: Oh, yeah.
merritt: Vampires famously love eating cookies, so. [laughter]
Steven: [Dracula voice] I don’t drink…wine, but I do eat cookies. His famous line from that movie.
merritt: Yeah. That’s very good. Or like, you know, like a– I mean, I feel like this is just a Shadowrun thing, actually, right? Like, a vampire hacker?
Eric: I think this is in Shadowrun, yeah.
merritt: That’s just Shadowrun, right?
Steven: That probably exists, yeah.
Fūnk-é: Oh, true.
merritt: Turn into mist to go into cyberspace or something.
Eric: But no, merritt, I want to be very clear. I’m not going into cyberspace. I’m inside of the computer.
merritt: No, you’re just getting stuck in their hard– in their, like, their computer case.
Eric: And then they have to like call a pet control and a pest control, and then like, it’s gonna go up on Reddit later, [laughs] and they’re gonna get a lot of karma, but that’s when you get in and you hack.
Eric: I just like have a few. And I can’t go outside, because I have a very rare skin condition where, uh, I’m a big fucking nerd and I’ve never seen the sun.
Eric: Which is not a vampire thing. It’s just a nerd thing.
merritt: So, crucially not a vampire.
Eric: Oh, no, I am a vampire, but the reason why I can’t go outside isn’t because I’m a vampire.
merritt: Oh, okay, okay, okay.
Eric: merritt, it’s like you’re not listening to me when I share my characters. [laughter]
merritt: Yeah. I mean, like, I’ve got a lot of worldbuilding to take care of, so like, I can’t be on top of like every character detail.
Steven: You already gave her one contempt token. You can’t do it again.
Steven: She’s scot free for the rest of the show. [laughter]
merritt: It’s called Double Jeopardy.
Fūnk-é: They stack, though. I swear they stack.
Steven: Oh shit.
merritt: They stack? Oh God. Now I’m gonna have to pay cumulative upkeep on my contempt tokens.
Fūnk-é: You’re over.
Steven: You have to play a game of that…is it called Dread? Where you play Jenga [“Yes”] to determine who loses? You have to do that with all of your contempt tokens.
merritt: What? Ugh.
Eric: I love Dread. Dread is one of the most fun things to do, because it actually just like, if you have big fingers, it means [laughter] much like anyone in a horror movie, you’re just gonna die faster, which I find very funny. [laughs]
merritt: Mm-hmm. Well, let’s go back to another round of Oh God, Oh God, Who’s That Pokémon? Also, great work.
Fūnk-é: I’m ready.
merritt: Points for everyone on that one, because these are all characters that I think are really cool, and yeah, I look forward to hearing about them in a future episode of Critical Role. [laughter] All right. Back to Oh God, Oh God, Who’s That Pokémon? [laughter] “With sharp claws, this ferocious ancient Pokémon rips apart prey and sucks their body fluids.”
Steven: Steven Steven?
merritt: Yeah, go ahead.
merritt: That’s correct! [correct noise]
Fūnk-é: Smart, smart, smart, smart.
Steven: My first correctly guessed Pokémon in the history of Channel F! [someone applauds]
merritt: [laughs] Ah, you did it. Yeah.
Eric: When you said ancient, my mind immediately went to legendary, [merritt: “Mm”] and I’m like, [Fūnk-é: “Same”] man, they really phoned this in in gen five. Jirachi just ripping people apart. [laughter]
merritt: That would be scarier than Kabutops. Just like…just this weird little fairy.
Steven: What if save fairy ate you. Yeah.
merritt: Just like, this weird little fairy trying to rip you open and like eat your lymph fluid or something.
Steven: Oh, it’s like in, uh–
Eric: Honestly, I– oh, no, you go ahead.
Steven: I was just gonna say it’s like in, uh, Hellboy 2.
merritt: Now, how is that like Hellboy 2?
Steven: Remember in Hellboy 2 with the little tooth fairies that eat you from the inside through your teeth?
merritt: No, I never saw Hellboy 2. [laughs]
Steven: Oh. There’s a scene in Hellboy 2… [laughs softly]
Eric: Steven, I’m giving you a contempt token.
merritt: God, we’re all getting so many of these things.
Steven: The fairies ate it! There’s a scene in Hellboy 2 where like the bad guy, who’s like the king of the fairies, he like unleashes tooth fairies, and they’re like, “How bad could it be? It’s tooth fairies.” And then they realize that the tooth fairies–
merritt: They have teeth?
Steven: They eat teeth.
Steven: They jump into people’s mouths and then eat them from the inside, starting on their teeth.
merritt: That sucks. That sucks.
Fūnk-é: Only the teeth or everything?
Steven: I think it eats their bones? [“Ew”] They definitely kill people.
merritt: Well, teeth are outside bones, so that fits.
merritt: They hang from your mouth like bats. [laughter]
Fūnk-é: I would just close my mouth.
merritt: Yeah, right? I mean.
Steven: That’s a good point.
merritt: Okay, but if fairies– but the thing is, if they can eat teeth, they could probably eat through your mouth is the problem.
Fūnk-é: [clapping rhythmically] Wear a mask!
merritt: That’s so true, Fūnk-é.
Fūnk-é: Wear a mask against the fairies.
merritt: I keep saying this to people. You gotta keep wearing a mask. We’re still in this thing. We still got teeth eating fairies.
Steven: [laughs] We’re still in the tooth fairy pandemic!
merritt: We’re still in the tooth fairy pandemic, folks. It’s not over. I see people on the subway not wearing a mask, and I’m like, do you want a tooth fairy to eat your teeth?
Eric: And they say, “Yes. Yes, I do.”
merritt: Yeah, maybe they do.
Steven: That’s my thing.
merritt: I don’t blame them. In this economy? You know what? I mean, you don’t have to buy toothpaste anymore. There’s that.
Steven: That’s, hey, you know what? Good point.
Eric: True. Yeah.
merritt: Oh, man. Jor– Steven! That sucks.
Eric: Steven, no!
Steven: That’s what they look like!
merritt: I like how I immediately tried to blame Jordan. I was just like… [laughter]
Fūnk-é: Steven has sent the worst image, for all the listeners.
merritt: Steven has posted a picture of the tooth fairies, which to– okay, if I had to describe this, I would say it looks like an emaciated human with like, reptilian arms.
Fūnk-é: Praying mantis.
merritt: And then the head looks like a slime from Dragon Quest [Steven: “From Dragon Quest”] if it had a full mouth of human teeth in it.
Fūnk-é: Annoying Orange style.
merritt: Yes. Yeah. [laughter]
Eric: Oh my God. The first thing that came to mind–
Steven: I’m sorry. This movie is PG13.
Eric: The first thing that came to mind was like fifth grade diorama from a kid who doesn’t really know what they’re doing [“Mm”] whose parents did not help them because they were at work.
Steven: [laughs] That’s a fucked up thing to say about Guillermo Del Toro. [laughter]
merritt: All right. Well, uh…
Eric: Hey, did you see that NBC news poll that 55% of people who don’t wear masks don’t even know what Pokémon is? It really makes you think.
merritt: Wow. [laughter]
Eric: Like, whoa.
merritt: They should be worried about Kabutops slicing them open and sucking out their body fluids.
Eric: And this is why we need to vote. Everyone, vote.
merritt: This is why we need to vote. Pokémon GO to the polls. Pokémon GO away from the Kabutops that’s trying to suck out your internal fluids.
Steven: [sighs] God.
Fūnk-é: Pokémon wear a mask.
merritt: Pokémon wear a mask, definitely. Hey, remember Pokémon Sleep? That never came out, huh?
merritt: That’s a shame.
Steven: Well, maybe it came out in Japan and just never here?
Fūnk-é: Wait, Pokémon…?
merritt: Pokémon Sleep, you know, the game where you sleep and then catch Pokémon?
Steven: Which is basically just Wake-Up Club from the PlayStation Vita.
Eric: I’m concerned that merritt is a Hypno who’s trying to make us all sleep, [merritt laughs] and it’s not really a real game.
merritt: No, yeah, that game was created by Hypno. [laughter] Just like, Hypno secretly runs the Pokémon company and was like, “Yeah. Gonna make ’em sleep. Have dreams of catching Pokémon.”
merritt: “The flames it breathes when angry contain toxins. If they cause a burn, it will hurt forever.”
Eric: Wait, can you read that from the top one more time?
merritt: The flames it breathes when angry contain toxins—not how flames work. If they cause a burn, it will hurt forever.
Eric: Eric, Eric.
Eric: Is that Torkoal?
merritt: That is not Torkoal. [incorrect noise] That would be fucked up if that was Torkoal.
Eric: [sighs] It’s smoke. It’s a smoke Pokémon. Yeah, it’s fire and it has a whole smoke thing, so that’s what I thought.
Steven: It has to be…
Fūnk-é: Flames, though. Emitting…um, uh, Dragonite?
merritt: No, God! That’s horrible! [incorrect noise]
Fūnk-é: [laughs] I don’t know!
merritt: It’s a dark Pokémon, if that helps.
Steven: Dark. Houndoom?
merritt: That’s correct! [correct noise]
Steven: Fuck yeah!
Eric: Oh, yeah.
Steven: Two in a row! New world record.
merritt: So, if Houndoom breathes fire at you, you will just have a– you will be in agony for the rest of your life. You’ll crave death if Houndoom attacks you. [laughs]
Fūnk-é: And trainers will still be like, “He don’t bite.”
merritt: In those days, you will seek death, and it will flee from you. So that’s fun.
Eric: Yeah, you just walk up to a Team Rocket member, and they’re like, “Oh, this Houndoom is so friendly,” and then you burn forever. [laughs]
merritt: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Fūnk-é: [laughs] Forever.
merritt: So that’s fun. “It can see the future in the movement of the stars. When it learns its trainer’s lifespan, it cries in sadness.”
Eric: Oh my God.
Fūnk-é: Fūnk-é Fūnk-é.
merritt: Uh huh.
merritt: I’m afraid not. [incorrect noise] This one’s gonna be tough, ’cause I always forget that this one even exists.
Steven: Steven Steven.
merritt: Yeah, Steven, go ahead.
merritt: Ah, no. [incorrect noise] But it is psychic, though.
merritt: Eric, go ahead.
Eric: Eric Eric.
Eric: Oh, man. Is this Wobbuffet?
merritt: No. [incorrect noise] No, Wobbuffet doesn’t care if you live or die, famously. [laughter] Uh, it’s Gothitelle.
Eric: I knew that from the anime.
merritt: It’s Gothitelle, which is from generation five, which seems to be the one that the fewest number of people have played, just based on total anecdotal evidence.
Steven: I have never seen this Pokémon in my life.
Fūnk-é: Oh, the Gothorita evolution.
merritt: It’s the Gothorita evolution. It’s just a weird goth. It’s like a gothic lolita Pokémon that knows when you’re going to die and is sad about it. Imagine if your pet [“God”] knew when you were going to die and was like…
Eric: I hate everything about the horny women Pokémon that exist.
merritt: They’re bad.
Eric: You don’t need to put women in–
merritt: I mean, this, I would say, is one of the least troubling of them, though, because this one at least is like…its shape is just sort of a series of triangles. And like, it’s still a weird design, but like it’s not quite as off putting as like the rabbit or like…
Eric: Right, yeah.
merritt: You know, the one that everyone is really weird about.
Steven: Yeah, the one Pokémon that everyone’s weird about.
merritt: You know, the one that everyone’s– no, the other psychic one that’s like a singer or whatever.
Fūnk-é: The ballerina one?
Eric: Oh, Gardevoir, yeah.
merritt: No, Gothitelle–
Eric: The one that has literal gendered…isn’t it gendered?
merritt: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Eric: Like, there’s a lady version and a man version.
merritt: The male…well, yeah. The male one evolves into like a different guy or something? I don’t know.
Eric: It’s like there’s a knight and a princess, and Gardevoir is the princess one. Is that correct?
merritt: That sounds basically correct, yes.
Steven: Oh, yeah.
merritt: Gardevoir and Garde…
merritt: Gallade, yes. That is correct.
Steven: I’m looking at Bulbapedia right now. I don’t know any of this off the top of my head. I just want that down for the record that I have no idea what I’m actually talking about. [laughter]
merritt: Gothitelle is the parallel to– in some Pokémon games, they have like two different types, two different Pokémon that are like sort of equivalent across the different versions. And the equivalent to Gothitelle is Reuniclus, which is a horrible little fetus bear baby.
Eric: Oh, I thought that was the first one where it stole your dreams. I thought it was that.
merritt: It’s a weird little psychic bear fetus, and just the worst.
Fūnk-é: I like it! It’s like green. [laughter]
merritt: Maybe I just have trauma from when Black and White was out and it was just incredibly overpowered.
merritt: Calm mind/psyshock is a hell of a drug.
Eric: Are we talking about– oh, we’re talking about that one, not the elephant that’s also a fetus. The sleeping elephant that’s sleeping forever that’s also a fetus?
Fūnk-é: Oh, the one that’s literally like a fetus.
merritt: Oh, yeah, that one. Yeah, no.
Fūnk-é: Got it.
Eric: We’re not talking about that one.
merritt: The one that has the gas command over the top of it? Yeah, no. God, generation five was weird.
merritt: It was very weird. All right. Uh, just got the one more. “Its ribbonlike feelers give off an aura that weakens hostility in its prey, causing them to let down their guard. Then it attacks.”
Steven: Steven Steven?
merritt: No, I’m afraid not. [incorrect noise]
Fūnk-é: I know what it looks like in my head. It’s a blue guy that’s an oval with two antennae.
merritt: You could not be more wrong! [incorrect noise] [laughter]
Fūnk-é: Dammit. Okay.
Eric: Ribbons. Ribbonlike feelers.
merritt: Ribbons is the key word here.
Eric: Eric Eric.
Fūnk-é: Could you– oh.
merritt: Eric, go ahead.
Eric: Is it Jirachi?
merritt: It is not. [incorrect noise] It is not Jirachi.
Fūnk-é: Could you read it out one more time, please?
merritt: “Its ribbonlike feelers give off an aura that weakens hostility in its prey, causing them to let down their guard. Then it attacks.”
Fūnk-é: Oh, geez.
Steven: Yeah, I’m not gonna get this one, so I did Google “ribbon Pokémon,” and it does just take me to the, uh, list of ribbons in Pokémon games page. [laughs]
merritt: Oh, yes. Yeah. When that was like a friendship or a…I think that was a competition thing where you…
Fūnk-é: For the…yeah.
merritt: Alternative to battling.
Fūnk-é: The fashion show.
merritt: Yes, yeah. The correct answer is Sylveon, which is the fairy Eevee evolution.
merritt: This is really scary, because you’d think, “Aw, it’s really cute.” Well, first of all, it’s kind of weird that it has like fucking flesh ribbons. That’s…when you consider that those ribbons on it are just like made out of skin, that’s sort of upsetting.
Eric: And a bow.
merritt: But also, apparently, it shows up and is like, [calming] “Nah, nah, it’s okay. Don’t fight. Don’t worry about it. It’s cool. Everything’s good.” And then you’re like, “Oh, okay. I guess this is my friend.” And then it’s like, and now I’m going to eat you. Like, what?
merritt: That sucks!
Eric: Yeah, fairy Pokémon are just like…fairy Pokémon are just ghost Pokémon that have better PR. They’re so fucked up. [laughter]
merritt: I’m often saying this.
Fūnk-é: Very true.
Eric: Like, you know Grimmsnarl, which was like the big fairy in Sword and Shield?
merritt: Well, Grimmsnarl is also dark, isn’t it?
Eric: Uh, yes. Dark/fairy, yes. But I think that it comes from…its a regional Pokémon are more, are fairy, and then it gets the dark typing. But like, it’s just like– actually, I don’t know that. I shouldn’t have stood on principle that hard. [laughter] But like, it attacks with hair! it’s covered in hair that will grab you, which is bad.
Steven: It’s the Bayonetta Pokémon. [Eric laughs]
merritt: I mean, do we wanna see…do we wanna know Grimmsnarl’s deal? ‘Cause I bet it’s not good.
merritt: Do you remember the Gigantamax Grimmsnarl is like just Aku from, uh…
Steven: From Samurai Jack?
merritt: [laughs] From Samurai Jack.
Eric: Yeah. Yeah.
merritt: Grimmsnarl. Um…yeah.
Fūnk-é: It looks like a goblin.
merritt: No, it does attack people with its hair.
merritt: It’s not that bad, compared– for a dark/fairy Pokémon, its thing isn’t that bad. Although it does look…yeah, it does wrap its hair around its body to enhance its muscles, which is…
Steven: Mm-hmm. Hair muscle.
merritt: You know, hair muscle. You know how you do that with your hair?
Fūnk-é: I’m not getting any fairy vibes from this, though. It seems all dark to me.
merritt: It’s like an imp. It’s like a…
merritt: I guess they…I don’t know. The original, it’s predecessors look a little more fairylike, but yeah.
Fūnk-é: Like a little goblin.
Eric: It’s based off of the– ’cause it’s, you know, it’s British, so it’s based off of like [merritt: “yeah”] the British fairies, and one is a little imp that’s walking around.
merritt: They’re all messed up.
Eric: And the next one is like a teen imp that will steal your baby, and then Grimmsnarl’s like, “I’m just gonna kill you with my hair!” [laughter]
merritt: Yeah, I mean, fairy types. Yeah, especially in like the Sword and Shield games, like yeah, they’re…fairies, historically– not historically, I mean…
Steven: [laughs] Historically, you know.
merritt: Historically, before, you know, before we drove them underground.
Fūnk-é: In the old books.
merritt: Yeah, before we defeated the old ways with the light of God and science, [laughter] fairies were really a leading cause of death in England, so.
Eric: Yeah. Before the colonialists showed up with their steel type Pokémon, [merritt: “Mm, mm,” Steven: “Uh huh] there was just a lot of shit going on.
merritt: Yeah, yeah.
Steven: Ah, the grim backstory.
Eric: You know, that book we all read in high school in AP US, uh, AP World: Guns, Germs and Steel Pokémon.
merritt: God. Boooo. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah! Yeah!
merritt: Wow. Extremely good. Yeah. That was, um…that was really something. [laughter]
Steven: You definitely sold it as such, merritt.
merritt: I was gonna say that was by Neil Diamond, but nope! That’s not the right man. That’s a different man.
Steven: Is it by Neil Stevenson?
merritt: Nope. That’s also a different guy. [laughs]
Steven: [laughs] I don’t know what this book is.
Fūnk-é: Yeah, I also never read it.
merritt: It’s by, uh, Jared Diamond, not Neil Diamond. Neil Diamond is, you know, the musician.
Eric: The “Sweet Caroline” guy.
Eric: Yeah. I’m sorry to everybody who I cast back to like 14 for saying Guns, Germs, and Steel. That’s on me. [laughter] And I also should have said Guns, Germs, and Steelix, and I’m mad at myself, and I will be making a Canva later and sharing it with all of you. [laughter]
merritt: Wow. Yeah. Damn.
Steven: I can’t wait for like the notes app apology for that one. [laughter]
merritt: Yeah. “I’m very sorry. I’m trying to do better.” Well, let me just tally up the points. [drumroll plays] Blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip. Uh, it looks like we have a tie between Steven and Eric, [“Woo!”] so we have joint winners. [victory music plays] But you know what, Fūnk-é? We got one sided dice, so Fūnk-é, you win too.
Fūnk-é: [gasps] Let’s go!
Eric: Uh, merritt, I looked at the bylaws of Channel F.
merritt: Uh huh.
Eric: And if there is a tie in the regular points, you need to count up all the contempt tokens, [merritt: “Oh, God”] and whoever has the least actually comes out on top.
Fūnk-é: [gasps] Oh shit.
merritt: Oh no! I think that’s…
Fūnk-é: I give Eric a contempt token.
merritt: No! [laughter]
Fūnk-é: For saying that.
Eric: Rule lawyers!
Steven: I have none. I have none.
Steven: So I think I win? What?
merritt: Somehow, maybe Fūnk-é wins? I don’t know. I was willing to give you the tie, but… [laughter]
merritt: I think Fūnk-é might have won, somehow? I don’t know. Someone cast topsy turvy. Somebody used that Pokémon ability, and now…hey, do you remember how there was a Pokémon where you had to turn your 3DS upside down to make it evolve?
Eric: Yeah, that was tight.
merritt: Yeah. How would anyone have ever thought of that? That’s completely ridiculous.
Eric: I just can’t believe…I can’t believe that there are Pokémon that are legitimate and Pokémon that are fakesies. You know, Sinistea has like, they have a little image on the bottom, like a little seal.
merritt: Oh, right.
Eric: That like, some of them are legit, and some of them are fake, like you’re looking at an antique teapot, which is the most ridiculous thing.
merritt: Ah, not a real Pokémon. Yeah. Yeah, kind of a weird choice there, Game Freak, Pokémon Company. But you know what, you guys made Pulseman, so I’ll let it go. That’s a reference for producer Jordan Mallory, and well, maybe not even him. Anyway, Pulseman, haha. [laughter] Pulseman is my new character for our tabletop roleplaying game. And Pulseman is actually the secret identity of Brady Cardio.
merritt: Do you get it?
Eric: They’re twins? They’re secret twins, and we don’t find out until later?
merritt: Pulse? Cardio? Heart? Yeah.
merritt: Well, that’ll do for this episode of Channel F! [laughter] Thank you so much for listening.
Steven: Phoenix Down!
merritt: Phoenix Down! Ah, they should call it Phoenix Up, ’cause it make you stand up again.
merritt: Ayo! [snaps] Thank you so much for listening. And Eric, thank you so much for guessing. Also, I guested on Eric’s show Games and Feelings, which, when’s that coming out, like next month, or…?
Eric: Yeah, it’s coming out in a few weeks.
Eric: I’m very excited about it, though, merritt. You did a really good job. You helped a lot of people.
merritt: Thank you. I try, you know?
merritt: If you want to follow us online, you can follow Steven at @stevenstrom. You can follow Fūnk-é at @funkefly. Our producer Jordan is @Jordan_Mallory on Twitter. Fanbyte is @FanbyteMedia. And Eric, where can people find you online?
Eric: You can find me on Twitter at @el_salvero, E-L underscore S-A-L-V-E-R-O, my name if I was a lucha libre wrestler. You can find Games and Feelings wherever you get your podcasts, or you can listen to Join the Party, which is the actual play podcast that I’m the DM of that we’ve been doing for five years, and we’re now doing a Monster of the Week campaign set in a summer camp, which is really, really fun.
Eric: It’s kinda like our summer mini campaign. A lot of Gravity Falls vibes. I’m very excited about it.
Eric: And I just had one last really important plug for Gigantamax Gengar. Rumor has it that its gigantic mouth leads not to its body filled with cursed energy, but instead directly into the afterlife. [laughter]
Steven: Oh no.
merritt: Cool. Well, thank you all again for listening. Please tell your friends. And until next time, watch out for tooth fairies, and keep that dial tuned to Channel F.