A collaborative podcast between Penny Arcade and Wizards of the Coast, where Jerry Holkins and Mike Kraholik from Penny Arcade join Scott Kurtz from PvP to play Dungeons & Dragons, with Chris Perkins, a senior producer from Wizards of the Coast, as their DM. In Season 2, they are joined by Wil Wheaton.
The campaign features the adventures of Acquisitions Incorporated, an adventuring team. To date, they've been on five adventures, spread over three podcast seasons and two PAX livegames:
Season 1: Keep on the Shadowfell sees the newly founded Acquisitions Incorporated venturing down through Shadowfell Keep in pursuit of the leader of the local wildlife (read: kobolds and goblins), Irontooth. The season is divided into two sections with each part having a different DM. The first part consists of the party's battle against Irontooth and his goblins, while the latter is about their confrontation with a death cult of Orcus. This adventure is an abridged version of The Keep on the Shadowfell, the first module published for Fourth Edition.
Season 2: Storm Tower rejoins the group several months later as they're joined by new hire Aeofel (Wil Wheaton). The new lineup is hired by the town guard captain to scout out the abandoned tower of Goldenhawk. This and all subsequent adventures were written and DMed by Chris Perkins especially for the podcast, although a modified version of this one (titled Storm Tower) was published in Dungeon Magazine.
Season 3: Raid on Ambershard Manor sends the group to help the dwarven city of Hammerfast get rid of a criminal clan. The mission quickly turns personal when Binwin learns the leaders of the bandits are the Ambershard clan, sworn enemies of the Bronzebottoms. It doesn't end well.
Session 4: Prisoners of Slaughterfast was played live at PAX 2010. The surviving members gather to perform a ritual to bring back their fallen buddy, only for it to fail for an unexpected reason- Aeofel's already alive. To get him back, Acquisitions Incorporated are going to hell!
Session 5: The Last Will and Testament of James Darkmagic I was played live at PAX 2011. The gang are called to Jim's native land of New Hampshire following the death of his grandfather, the original Jim Darkmagic.
A fourth podcast with most of the same players (Wil was replaced by Kris Straub and Jerry was the GM in place of Chris) served as a prologue to the second season of Wizards' Encounters campaign, showcasing the newly resurrected Dark Sun campaign setting.
The party (for the Acquisitions campaign) consists of:
- Omin Hereward Dran, CEO of Acquisitions and a half-elf cleric of Avandra. Played by Jerry Holkins, co-author of Penny Arcade.
- Binwin Bronzebottom, a dwarven fighter. Played by Scott Kurtz, author of PvP.
- Jim Darkmagic, a narcissistic human wizard of the New Hampshire Darkmagics. Played by Mike Krahulik, co-author of Penny Arcade.
- Aeofel "Al" Elhromane, the new intern of the company and an eladrin avenger of Malora. Played by Wil Wheaton.
- Accidental Innuendo: Happens a couple of times in the PAX live games.
Omin: So go bang on her!
- Awesome McCoolname: Mike's character, Jim Darkmagic.
- During character creation, immediately called out by Scott Kurtz, who demands "Why don't you call yourself Chet Awesomelaser?" The group then also "Jim Fellmagic," "Fell Darkjim," "Jim Felldark," "Fell Darkevil," and "Ominous Darkfell Magic-Bad." (Nonetheless, the original name grew on them quickly.)
- Bag of Holding: The party acquire one in season 1, although it doesn't feature in later campaigns.
- Base on Wheels: The Darkmagic family manor (which isn't actually on wheels; it "merely" teleports).
- Berserk Button: Aeofel goes apeshit when he is called "Al", which becomes a sort of Phrase Catcher.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Darkmagics, with some additional nuttiness from being a family of wizards.
- Big Damn Heroes: Splug, the temporarily foe-turned friend goblin employee, pulls one at the climax of season 1 where he saves the party from another defeat.
- Butt Monkey: As the team tank and pointman, Binwin is constantly caught in traps, set on fire, and generally treated like shit. He can (usually) take it.
- Catch Phrase:
- Jim Darkmagic has a habit of saying "Have a magical day!" or a variant of it.
- Omin has a habit of saying that some event "is the worst thing that could happen."
- Aeofel often says "My name. Is. AEOFEL!" when people call him "Al," and also would like to remind us all that "elves are the eladrin's hillbilly cousins." Out of character, Wil also declares his catchphrase to be "Does nineteen work for you?"
- Critical Miss: Jerry is infamous for this. See the entry below for Epic Fail.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The idiotic Surfer Dude, Rad Longhammer, is able to defeat a couple of guards while unarmed and shackled.
- Death by Irony: Cetrine Ambershard dies in a acid pit, much to Aeofel's amusement.
- Defeat Means Friendship: After defeating Irontooth and his lackeys, the only surviving goblin pledges his loyalty to the party, if only so they won't kill him. He proves his worth later in the campaign.
Jim: Have we room for a new hire?
- Deliberate Injury Gambit: It's a common tactic of the team for Binwin to charge in and get surrounded, whereupon Jim drops a fireball on all of them, Binwin included. Binwin is not always in on this plan but generally comes out of it looking better than the bad guys.
- Downer Ending: At the end of season three, the party hasn't helped Barton or Hammerfast, neither of the chief villains have been captured or defeated, and Aeofel is dead.
- Epic Fail: At the climax of season two, Binwin and Jim are down, and Omin and Aeofel are in bad shape as well. Omin breaks out an encounter power, but rolls an one. With some divine intervention from Aeofel, he gains a re-roll and tries again. And rolls another one.
- Nearly duplicated in the first PAX game by Binwin, who manages a 2 on the second roll.
- Also, in the second PAX game:
Wil/Aeofel: Oh yeah, so I run down the thing, and I land on top of the bear, and I, like, flip in the air, and then, as I'm coming down, I sort of, like, barrel-roll a little bit, and then I flip again, and then I come down here so I land just like this, so I'm flanking this guy. Yeah, and it's super-cool! And there's rock music playing while I do it, and I'm gleaming cubes on my way there, and as I come down, I use my Avenging Echo against him... ohhh, I rolled a 1.
- Gag Penis: The whole penis conversation from season two. Apparently dwarven penises are shaped like tuna cans.
"When women see it, they say it's time for some more chicken of the sea."
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Aeofel usually introduces himself to his enemy before he swears his Oath of Enmity. Which he does a lot.
- Noodle Incident: All the horrible implications Jim makes about his childhood with the Darkmagic carriage Cronk, an ancient, skeletal dragon. Also that his cousin Olivia makes about her childhood with Jim.
- Honor Before Reason: Two uses combine in the third season:
- First, It's Personal for Binwin when the party is raiding the home of Clan Ambershard, which had ruined the Bronzebottoms. So while everyone else wants to get the treasure and leave, he leads them straight into a confrontation with Leer, the Big Bad.
- This leads to Aeofel swearing his Oath of Enmity on Leer, and once that happens, he pursues even when (both in and out of character) he realizes it means getting separated from the team. Which ends with Aeofel meeting his end in an acid pit.
- Hurricane of Puns: All the "Fay" jokes in the second PAX game.
- "They don't acknowledge Fay marriage in this state".
- "This isn't the first time I have double-teamed someone with a fay".
- "This isn't the first time I have bloodied someone with a fay".
- I Will Show You X: In the first PAX live game:
Devil: You have never experienced fire this mighty.
- Jerkass: Jim Darkmagic is selfish, narcissistic, and pretty cruel. He is still loved by the fans.
- Kill It with Fire: Jim's primary method of injuring enemies (and Binwin).
- Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: After Jim summons a magmabeast, Aeofel becomes a beacon of Malora's might, and Omin declines to attack because he wants to save his abilities for stronger enemies, Scott complains that Binwin's daily powers are still just "hit things with hammer".
- Never Split the Party: Aeofel shows us why in Season 3.
- Passed Over Inheritance: Most of the Darkmagic clan in the second PAX game.
- Pitfall: Binwin falls into one in the very first encounter of the series.
- Running Gag: Plenty of examples. Jerry rolling ones, Binwin getting caught by traps, no one being able to pronounce Aeofel's name, Jim setting Binwin on fire, and Scott getting his teammates killed.
- Sarcasm Mode: In the Dark Sun campaign:
Mike: Oh no, honestly, this is good, I was worried the desert wouldn't open up and swallow us.
- Shout-Out: Plenty. It's a table-full of geeks, remember?
- "I want this motherfucking eladrin off this motherfucking plane."
- "I do a triple-flip and say: I am Ramona's eighth evil ex-boyfriend!"
- "You shall not pass..." and "What does your dwarven eyes see?"
- "There is no Zethir only Zuul!" and "Did anyone think about a giant marshmallow man?"
- Looks like these dwarfs had some... *Beat* years shaved off. YEEEAAH!!!
- Signature Move: A literal example with Jim's Magic Missile, which scorches out JIM when it hits. Less literal but still definitely so is Aeofel's Oath, which fans of the show can recite by now.
- Small Name, Big Ego: While Jim Darkmagic is a great wizard, his ego is still way too big. He make it sound like he is the gods' gift to mankind, while in truth he is cowardly and fairly stupid.
- Surfer Dude: Rad Longhammer. You can't really tell from his accent that he was adopted and raised by dwarven nobles.
Rad: That would be totally rad! Oh, by the way, that's my name: Rad.
- The Intern: Aeofel, which is actually funny because he is a lot more serious than the rest of the party. He generally balances the others' crazy antics.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch : From season 1.
- Those Two Guys: Invoked by the guys when they meet two crossbowmen multiple times in Season 2.
- To Hell and Back: The entire plot of the first PAX game.
- Too Awesome to Use: The scroll in season 2.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: The entire team. Apparently no one told these guys that Trash Talk is generally meant to be directed at the opponents.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: When the party ventures to Hell. Aeofel, both in and out of character, has some post-traumatic stress to deal with from the last adventure.
Aeofel: Why did it have to be acid pits?!