TitansGrave: The Ashes of Valkana

If you’ve dabbled in gaming culture you will realise that if a game has a long title it general means it’s safe to assume that you’re looking at a Tabletop RPG epic, and TitansGrave: The Ashes of Valkana is no exception. Well…almost.

TitansGrave (TG) is a YouTube series on the Geek & Sundry channel in which a group of people play through a table top RPG run by the master himself Mr Wil Wheaton. The world itself seems to be a mash of the two main table top genres, combining the magic and mythology of fantasy with the technology and futuristic settings of Sci-Fi. Combining the two is a brave decision – without flawless execution you risk creating a world that comes across as flat and crammed full of cherry-picked features from both in the author’s attempt of fan-fiction (quick disclaimer: I love me some fan fiction. I once won an award on a fan fiction site for “weirdest pairing” with some Wakka/Seymour FFX love). Thankfully we don’t need to worry too much with TG, as the world of Valkana has been thought out with great care. The traditions and history of the world have been carefully put together to form something Tolkien would approve of.

Wil Wheaton is a brilliant GM/DM (whichever you prefer); allowing the players to add unique details to the story (such as things they can see, the opportunity to take part in telling legends) and he is honest when it comes to his own dice rolls regardless of whether or not they work in his favour. The players are all eager to be involved in the world, willing to embrace their characters and their motivations (5 GOLD AND A PARTY!). It’s good to see, as I have sometimes found it hard to get players to fully engage with the game straight from the bat (I’ve been guilty of it myself sometimes) – and a game can quickly become uninteresting and flat if that happens.

Each episodes so far has been edited extremely well, with the story and progression cut with some amazing artwork. Far from just gilding the lily, the artwork helps show us the action and setting and helps to fully immerse the viewer in the world that’s being played out. We are only on Episode 3 (if you include Episode 0 which sets out the world and the characters for this RPG), and although the quests are expectedly small the audience gets the sense that they are already leading to something much more impressive.

Now I know I am one of those weird people that can happily watch someone or a group of people play through a game. I’ve even mentioned it in a previous blog post, of how I can happily spend an evening with the future-husband and watch him play through a game. But even with that in mind, I fully recommend you give this series a chance. If you haven’t played any D&D type games before and think you might be interested, this show will show you the kind of gaming experience you could have. If you’ve played plenty of tabletop RPGs, then consider this show excellent inspiration for your next campaign. Whatever your motivation – give this show a look, you won’t be disappointed.

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