This Saturday, December 2rd, the final episode of Season 2 of Acquisitions Incorporated will wrap up. We got to speak to player and founding member of Acquisitions Incorporated, Jerry Holkins, about the latest season, it's twists and turns, and posit on the future of the franchise.
Holkins, who is also Penny Arcade's co-creator and PAX's co-founder, explained that they've been very lucky with the timing of Season 2 as it relates to the timing of PAX conventions.
While they kickstarted 10 episodes for this season by having the first episode occur at a PAX almost three months ago, and to have it wrap up with a second live show this weekend they've been able to get an extra two episodes out of it.
"That's a fun and powerful way to be able to tell the story, you get two bonus episodes out of it but also live-game intensity"
Each episode of Season 2 was crafted as a puzzle for the party to complete where they would get whisked away to the next location at the conclusion of the previous one. Knowing that there was no downtime and the party was getting thrown into another puzzle Holkins said "it was intense but I love puzzle rooms. That's a prized genre for me so the D&D version of that is really fun."
He complemented the DM's ability to mess with the energy of each room "Each of the different rooms and domains are quite different. They're capsulized for a while and then they begin to interact."
The goal of the season is to collect obelisk shards from the Far Realm that are emitting Impossibility each location is warped and strange. "Even though the location looks the way you think it would, there's no guarantee that it's actually going to unfold that way because impossibility is the theme of the entire season."
Holkins credits Chris Perkins and Jeremy Crawford for taking what is a good hook and elevating it into what we've been able to see. They were able to "take the concept of impossibility and use it to question the most fundamental aspects of Dungeons & Dragons as an IP and that's what they literally do."
The Difference In Chris Perkins and Jeremy Crawford as Dungeon Masters
Holkins postures that because Perkins and Crawford understand the rules and world so greatly they're able to take it off-model successfully. "The twist that they put in front of us is cosmic in nature and is only possible due to their mastery."
"I think them splitting it this way is actually a reference to Asmodeus, that's how committed these motherfuckers are to the bit." Talking more about who Asmodeus is in terms of D&D lore Holkins explained that "he has two mouths and in some variation, he's speaking with two mouths."
Holkins recounted his own experience co-DMing a campaign with Perkins where they used a similar Asmodeus concept and for one session were both behind the DM screen. "We would finish each other's sentences and elaborate on each other's stuff, it was spooky I suspect for players… on purpose."
When comparing the DMing styles of Perkins and Crawford, Holkins explained that they were both excellent at what they do, and playful, and "they see themselves shepherding and guiding the table."
Holkins did have to add that each of them has their own way of taking jabs at a player. "Chris basically chooses favorites and they can do whatever they want and never fail and it's always great times for them. Pat Rothfus was in that vein, and Jasmine has inherited this. At one point Bobby was able to use me as a melee weapon."
"Jeremy is a different energy from Chris in that Chris will just fuck you. Like I said, he likes to inflict real damage on real people, not the characters the players. [Jeremy] likes to get inside. He has beautiful and elaborate descriptions of things. The same scene would be different in either of their hands. When it comes to game day, at the actual table, I feel a lot more worried when Chris is there."
When asked if the PAX Unplugged game would be a Chris or a Jeremy game Holkins responded "I don't know, I don't actually ever know" in almost a defeated tone.
"I know that Chris did the intro," Holkins added "It could be that [Crawford] brings it home. It's going to be a big table. The finale is going to be Omin, Jim Darkmajiq, and Certainty Dran. Then it's going to have Bobby, played by Austin, Evelyn, played by Anna, and Strix, played by Holly Conrad so it's going to be an Avengers-style table on-stage."
For where Acquisitions Incorporated continues into the future, Holkins is hedging his bets on whatever cosmic event is about to unfold at this weekend's PAX Unplugged game being what will set forward the path going forward.
"If we get anywhere near some of the cosmic level stuff that they are suggesting, '24 is going to have to be about that. If it ends up going through and we end up manifesting some of what's on the table it will necessarily have to be about what we've wrought. It's really big ideas [...] and I'm giving credit to [Perkins and Crawford] for what is something only they could do."