The New Listener's Guide To The Best Episodes of 'The Adventure Zone: Balance'

The New Listener's Guide To The Best Episodes of 'The Adventure Zone: Balance'

A spoiler-free look back at the Balance Arc.
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Now is precisely the perfect moment to enter The Adventure Zone. No matter when you read this article, it will be the perfect time, because there is no bad time to start The Adventure Zone, but considering the popular RPG podcast is currently transitioning between storylines and will be testing the waters for the next few months, there is no better time than right now. So, whether this is your first time listening to the show and you want to know which episodes to look forward to, or you're just looking for a refresher before the first official episode of the Commitment Arc drops on October 19th, here is a spoiler-free look back at the Balance Arc and some of its greatest hits.

1. Episode 4: Here There Be Gerblins - Chapter 4

"Hallo, hallo, welcome to my cave."

The episode where nearly everyone gets hooked (if you weren't already). We meet the first of many beloved female characters. Griffin creates one of the best voices he's come up with. The boys' first fight meets a surprising end. It's become such a staple of the show and the fanbase that the majority of it is currently being fully animated by fans to be released later this year, and for good reason.

2. Episode 12: Murder On The Rockport Limited - Chapter 2

"You saving your spells for that?"

This is possibly the funniest episode of the whole show, simply because the jokes never stop. Griffin introduces character after character and the boys choose to antagonize every one of them. Basically no dice are rolled, so the whole episode is just good, old-fashioned improv.

3. Episode 21: Petals To The Metal - Chapter 4

"Everything's gonna be fine."

Every moment of the race in Petals to the Metal is great, but these moments leading up to it are gold. In the first half of Episode 21, Hurley delivers some backstory and becomes the first NPC to really share one. In the second half, the boys each take turns trying to hilariously break into a heavily guarded gang headquarters, creating both a funny moment and an interesting look into how each person thinks to tackle a problem.

4. Episode 32: The Crystal Kingdom - Chapter 4

"I prostate myself in front of you." "Nope." "What?"

A goof-filled episode and the introduction of everyone's favorite robot. The fun of trying to solve riddles along with the gang carries over from the previous episode, carting hilarious divine intervention and a frantic Stone of Farspeech call. The crinkle-tinkles continue.

5. Episode 40: Lunar Interlude III - Rest and Relaxation

"Why? What is that? What is L-U-P?"

This is the first episode formatted in a way that would become essential to future episodes: each character's story is delivered in a one-on-one session with Griffin, leading to the development of some beautiful character relationships, more heartfelt moments, and some very funny improv. It's also full dramatic irony and foreshadowing as the story begins to come together, which is always fun.

6. Episode 48: The Eleventh Hour - Chapter 8

"I said, 'I love you, Jules.'"

For most, this is the first episode that hits hard. There are moments in Petals to the Metal and Crystal Kingdom that are emotional, but Episode 48 goes one step further. It uses the newly established Lunar Interlude format to address each character's history, regrets, and past loves. The Eleventh Hour is often called the best of the Balance Arc, and this episode definitely solidifies that title.

7. Episode 50: Lunar Interlude IV - The Calm Before The Storm

"I have something that I think is really gonna interest you."

Each Lunar Interlude becomes progressively more serious, and while this one does deliver intense moments for each of the main characters, each of these sections contains the same, if not more, heart than the previous ones. Also, Taako pulls of the greatest stunts of all time in the Fantasy Costco.

8. Live Boston Stunt Spectacular

"As I say to the wife before I hop into bed, make room for Greg!"

This was the first live show made available to non-donors. Like most live shows, it is ridiculous and improbable and very, very fun. The sheer absurdity abound in every live show basically maxes out on this one.

9. Episode 56: The Suffering Game - Chapter 6

"Bad luck."

The first half of this episode manages to wrap up the fight from the previous episode in what may be the most absurd way possible, but the second half is what puts this episode on the list. From the last twenty minutes comes one of the series' most iconic moments, one that even the show's creators say was such a major turning point in the characters' relationships that it set the tone for every episode that followed.

10. Episode 59: Lunar Interlude V - Reunion Tour, Part 2

"We're nearly caught up now. Have you been paying attention?"

Though the Balance Arc wouldn't end for another ten episodes, this Lunar Interlude is when the finale truly begins. Three years worth of foreshadowing finally come to fruition as some light is shed on the Director. Some heartbreak precedes and follows.

11. Episode 62: The Stolen Century - Chapter 3

"MAGNUS!"

The Adventure Zone becomes the anime it's always dreamed of being as the boys get a beach episode. It's the shortest episode in the series and definitely the sweetest. Beach episodes always seem to come right before shows go for the kill, though, don't they?

12. Episode 66: The Stolen Century - Chapter 7

"Who?"

Though this episode is full of moments that everyone knew were coming, it still hurts to see them play out. Even the audio effects in this one should have been obvious, but, somehow, they continue to be shocking. The first half of the episode is only marginally kinder.

13. Episode 68: Story And Song - Finale, Part 2

"How...how did you do that?"

It's hopeful and exciting and ridiculous and I love all two hours of it.

BONUS: MaxFunDrive2015 Bonus Episode

"Wo--Okay, a lot of things just happened in that sentence."

This prequel episode is available only to MaxFun donors, so you may only hear it if you decide to donate a few dollars to the network, but it's definitely worth it. If you don't want to donate, everything in this episode is revealed down the line, but the jokes and voices here are hard to beat. Also, getting to see these boys meet for the first time is really something.

Listen to The Adventure Zone now on MaximumFun.

Cover Image Credit: Twitter | Evan Palmer

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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Poetry On Odyssey: I was I am

A poem for those struggling with who they were.

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it seems almost like a page

in someone else's book now


how there was

a time that i thought

i could have been happy

with someone like you


a million years before

i knew who i was

and that i should mean so much more

than i ever did to you


i almost can't remember

the way you held your elbows or

the way you said the letter o or

the way you told me goodnight


it seems now

that all i can recall

are my relentless tears and

the fear that this was the love

that everyone spoke about


the fear that this

was what id have to live with

for the rest of my life


i remember those late nights

just you and i

you always got what you wanted

i was always too afraid to upset you

looking back i wonder why

i couldnt leave you then


but you kept me

my misery maintained until

i felt like nothing


that night was the record scratch

When I knew my life

Shouldn't be like this.


It wasn't until I finally broke our ties

That I started to remember

Who I am.

But my mind is clear now.

I can remember

How strong I am,

How perfectly happy I am

On my own.


It seems almost like a page

In someone else's book now.


You're finally fading away.

I just wish my scars could fade as quickly.

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