D&D podcast season 2 is ‘about power, connection, and change’

Ysabella Gonzalez, Reporter

Dice Operated is a table top roleplaying game show that has recently returned with the second season of their Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) actual play, “Sorcerous Origins.” The podcast-formatted show began back in October 2020 and is hosted by students and alumni from California Lutheran University.

In a Zoom interview, class of 2021 alumus Will Peña said that he had been playing for five years already and listened to other actual play channels playing D&D, ultimately deciding that he should try. He began gathering all his friends he had played with previously and offered to work on this project with them.

“I approached it with a lot of love,” Peña said.

Along with Peña, the cast and crew of Dice Operated are fellow class of 2021 alumni Maya de la Torre and Sarah Sherwood, seniors Clayton Currie and Riley Civerolo Douglas, and sophomore Sydney Steinberg.  They soon became a small team that would each take a job to help post their videos online on a biweekly schedule. Though, approaching season two, many of these responsibilities were moved around.

“I think we have changed a lot since the first season. We have reshuffled responsibilities, some of us have graduated college, some of us are in our senior year, different work loads and business, so we’ve shuffled some stuff,” Sherwood said in a Zoom interview.

Steinberg writes the recaps that go before each episode and episode descriptions on YouTube. Peña, besides being the dungeon master, records the recaps and edits the audio to release in a solely audio form for a podcast. Currie and Sherwood handle video editing and uploading. De la Torre makes the title cards and animations. Civerolo Douglas focuses more on their social media platforms and graphics.

Despite the changes of roles, the story was still cared for and formed in a way that really highlighted the campaign and its characters, even after a long break between the seasons.

“Season 1 is set in a pseudo-Ancient Roman setting and centers around this idea of five characters being the first people to ever get magic,” Civerolo Douglas said in a follow-up interview.  “So there’s this fun and compelling mix of political machinations and drama, but also genuine relationships and character arcs.”

The group had insisted that the campaign and story would be unlike any other previously seen since they all played within the same class, sorcerer, but had different subclasses.

“I feel like we’ve got some unique twists you don’t see with a lot of games, that being we are all the same class, we are in a Rome analogue loosely inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’, so if you like Shakespeare, if you like D&D, if you like role playing, it’s definitely worth checking out,” Currie said.

It continues the story from season one, expanding the world more as the players continue their journey.

“It’s nice to know that there is more to come and more to delve deeper in the character and story. Also to explore the world more that Will has created,” de la Torre said.

In a very quick summary, de la Torre also said that the second season, “is about love.”

“Ultimately, ‘Sorcerous Origins’ is an exciting story about power, connection, and change, complete with drama, humor, and lots and lots of dice rolling,” Civerolo Douglas said about both seasons.

The campaign had taken off nearly immediately as the group began to record and get back into the rhythm. The group had also taken to finding a system with each other that made the process enjoyable.

“I think we have a strong cast, a lot of great improvisers and a lot of great actors in our show,” Currie said.

The group has also found more enjoyment in not just the process, but with each other as well.

“It’s been nice to have a solid time to sit with my friends and say ‘Okay we are going to create something now, tell a story now’,” Sherwood said.

After a first season that lasted 22 episodes, some members have parting words to leave other people who may be considering playing D&D.

“If you don’t know what D&D is and are interested in playing, one, just grab some friends and do it, and if you don’t want to do that there’s tons of actual play shows, like ours, that are a really good place to get started too,” Steinberg said in a Zoom interview.

Season two of “Sorcerous Origins” is posted on Monday’s biweekly at their YouTube channel, Dice Operated.