Friends at the Table
|Name:||Friends at the Table|
|Abbreviation(s):||FATT, FatT, F@TT|
|Creator:||Austin Walker, Ali Acampora, Art Martinez-Tebbel, Jack de Quidt, Keith J. Carberry, Nick Scratch, Andrew Lee Swan, Sylvi Bullet, Janine Hawkins|
|Date(s):||September 12, 2014 to Present|
|Country of Origin:||Canada, UK, USA|
|External Links:||website, Twitter, Patreon, webstore|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Friends at the Table is a long-running weekly TTRPG actual play podcast focused on critical worldbuilding, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends. In addition to GM and host Austin Walker, the cast includes Ali Acampora, Andrew Lee Swan, Art Martinez-Tebbel, Jack de Quidt, Janine Hawkins, Keith J. Carberry, Sylvi Bullet, and (formerly) Nick Scratch. The show's smallish but dedicated fandom is active on Twitter, Tumblr, Cohost, and Discord.
Seasons and Continuities
- See List of Friends at the Table Seasons for a full list.
The podcast is currently in its eighth full season, not counting three mini-seasons or the multiple bonus seasons created exclusively for Patreon supporters. Generally speaking, Friends at the Table alternates between continuities each season, and fans of one season/continuity may not necessarily be fans of another; in this way, it encompasses a number of sub-fandoms.
So far, seasons of the show have taken place in four different continuities:
- the post-apocalyptic, post-fantasy world of Hieron (Autumn in Hieron, Winter in Hieron, Spring in Hieron)
- the mecha-focused space opera universe of the Divine Cycle (COUNTER/Weight, Twilight Mirage, PARTIZAN, PALISADE)
- the weird west/horror/Gothic fiction setting of Sangfielle (Sangfielle)
- the fictionalized and fantastic version of Atlantic City known as Bluff City (Bluff City)
History of the Fandom
While the results are certainly not scientific, two separate Tumblr polls that ran in 2023 - one in February, and one in November - found that well over a third of respondents began listening to the show in 2017 or 2018.
In 2022, a number of Friends at the Table fans followed the cast of the show from Twitter to Cohost, creating accounts on the new social media platform and either cross-posting or exclusively posting their fanworks and fandom posts there.
Popular pairings and moresomes are listed below according to the continuity in which they appear. No one ship genre tends to dominate the fandom, although F/F, M/M and non-binary ships are more popular than M/F.
Seasons of Hieron
- Samsam (Samot/Samothes)
- Adaire/Hella Varal and Adaire/Hella Varal/Adelaide Tristé
- Lem King/Fero Feritas
The Divine Cycle
- Aria Joie/Jacqui Green - COUNTER/Weight
- Cassander Berenice/Mako Trig - COUNTER/Weight
- Grand Magnificent/Echo Reverie - Twilight Mirage
- Tenfour (Tender Sky/Fourteen Fifteen) - Twilight Mirage
- Balence (Kal'mera Broun/Valence) - PARTIZAN
- Gur Sevraq/Valence - PARTIZAN
- Kalvin Brnine/Gucci Garantine - PALISADE
Fan Reviews and Responses
1.) I love the balance FatT strikes between seriousness and humor. They are very storytelling-oriented, and never let humor detract from the story they are telling. However, they are friends and they act like it, joking around with each other fairly frequently, and they are genuinely funny in their own right. Worldbuilding is one of their 3 main focuses and they do a great job of it. Their other two focuses are "smart characterization and fun interaction between good friends", so they place high priority on both roleplay and banter
2.) I would say that the quality of episodes increases throughout the beginning of Counter/Weight, and then stays pretty consistent up through the present. 3.) My background: I'm in love with The Adventure Zone, and tried up to the start of the second "book" of Glass Cannon, but found it less funny and more straight gameplay-oriented than I had hoped.
Friends at the Table is much more story focused than Glass Cannon was, and about as story oriented as The Adventure Zone during 11th Hour. FatT doesn't have me laughing as much as TAZ usually does, but FatT does have me as enraptured by its story as TAZ did during these last few episodes. A good comparison to draw between the two is that while the McElroys are primarily concerned with doing the funniest thing, the Friends are primarily concerned with doing the most interesting thing. That isn't to say that TAZ isn't interesting, or that FatT isn't funny, though.I very much love Friends at the Table. I've tried a smattering of different RPG podcasts, and FatT and TAZ are my top two favorites.
There is a good mix of serious and funny, not so much of either one though to make the tone shifts completely unexpected.
I would say that overall FatT gets better with age. I've been listening since early in Counter/Weight (and did go back to listen to season 1 when I got caught up with C/W, it's good if you can get past the audio issues) and I feel that the quality of the RP as well as the GMing get better as the series continues. The music is consistently incredible as well.
I have only listened to tAZ of the four pods you referenced here. Breaking it down I would say tAZ is funnier on a minute to minute basis, while FatT is more of a balance between serious and funny. TAZ is far more loose with the rules. Also FatT does not play D&D, they have played several games in the PbtA family of systems, so if you're looking for more D&D this may not be the right pod for you.With all that said, I absolutely love both podcasts, they are my two favorites to listen to, both have pulled me into their characters/worlds extremely effectively and I would recommend them to anyone who has an interest in Actual Play podcasts.
friends at the table fans are absolutely the most insufferable type of fan. no question about it. we KNOW we're insufferable too, and very loud about it. the niche we have carved ourselves is too great. a PODCAST (hard media for people to get into) about playing ROLEPLAYING GAMES (weirdo nerd interest to get into) and not even the mainstream ttrpgs but the indie ones that 75% of the already niche weirdo subculture don't know about, and every season is about insane gay people and grappling with huge philosophical concepts and the world changing and also freaky weird shit like a guy who is all bees and mechs that keep you alive for a hundred years. and yet its the best media you could ever consume and you desperately need other people to talk to about it otherwise the little bugs in your brain will DIE.
Fests and Challenges
Secret Samol, or SecSam for short, is an annual Friends at the Table fanworks exchange organized by dancynrew, imperialhare, and oziads. It runs in the winter, typically through December and January, and was in its seventh year in 2022.
FatT Pinup Week
- the cat who got the whipped cream by bluecloak. A popular canon-setting Tenfour coffee shop AU.
- Fits and Starts by LuckyDiceKirby. A popular Samsam kidfic.
Some examples include:
- The Adversary and the Never-Dies Machine by Nat Silveira (PARTIZAN, Motion/Perennial)
- The Confession of Captain Kent Brighton by Matthew Guzdial (Twilight Mirage, Gig/Kent)
- Life under Rigour, a Counter/Weight fan game by FabbyBear (COUNTER/Weight)
- OPERATION. VERNACULAR. DECODER RING. MEMORY. by Emma Conner (PARTIZAN, Figure A and Exeter Leap)
- Princéton: Bluff Version by mousewifegames (Bluff City)
- Three Nights in Marielda by jesspretend (Marielda, Castille/Maelgwyn and Castille/Rebecca)
- We Know Exolution by WhiteLightning (Twilight Mirage, Fourteen/⸢Signet⸣/Tender)
Four Friends at the Table fanzines have been created so far, all of them collaborative charity zines. In June 2020, with permission from each zine's respective organizer(s), the cast of Friends at the Table collected PDFs of all of the zines and included them in a charity fundraiser sale on Itch benefiting four US-based non-profits fighting for racial justice and police/prison abolition.
The zines are:
- COUNTER/Weight: A Fanzine (COUNTER/Weight, 2016)
- City of Light: An Unofficial Illustrated Concordance of Marielda (Marielda, 2017)
- It's a Garden (Twilight Mirage, 2019)
- Who's That Big Man? (all seasons, 2020)
Because Friends at the Table is a non-visual medium, vids tend to take the form of either animatics or constructed reality vids. The latter are often labelled as AMVs and/or created using footage from classic anime in homage to Friends at the Table's anime influences.
Examples of animatics:
- Twilight Mirage: Finale Animatic, a multi-artist collaboration that depicts the final scene of Twilight Mirage. Artists who contributed to the video include astronbot, dancynrew, kieren_sz, SeamonsterArt, ootron, and hedgemice.
- COUNTER/weight opening credits, a multi-artist animatic by Mandy, Jae, and Vox depicting opening credits to COUNTER/Weight.
- four conversations by solibrie, an animatic depicting events from the mini-season Marielda.
- Friends at the Table: PARTIZAN Title Sequence by Drew Genel, a fan-made title sequence for PARTIZAN set to the season's theme music.
Examples of constructed reality vids:
- Road to PARTIZAN Trailer AMV by LieutenantShwa, a fake trailer for Road to PALISADE.
- Palisade Intro AMV by Laggardsdon, a PALISADE fake trailer.
- An Animal Out of Context/Love's First Explosion AMV by LieutenantShwa, a vid based on an iconic episode from COUNTER/Weight.
- Marielda Opening AMV by LieutenantShwa, a vid depicting the opening to Marielda.
- Custom Aria Joie doll Archived version by ootron. A doll made to look like Aria Joie from COUNTER/Weight.
Thanks to Friends at the Table's sprawling canon and huge archives, the fandom has initiated a number of projects to create resources and reference materials for fans. These resources are sometimes also used by the cast in the making of the show.
- FatTWiki, an independently hosted fan wiki launched in 2022 to consolidate the numerous other fan wikis on the proprietary website Fandom.com
- Transcripts at the Table, a transcription initiative. Fans are paid by the cast of Friends at the Table for their transcribing work
- Search at the Table, a tool for searching episode transcripts that was originally created by bryanbakedbean (link)
- The Library of Memorious, another tool for searching episode transcripts that was created by emily signet (link)
- Divines at the Table, an attempt at creating a comprehensive list of every Divine who has appeared or been referenced in the Divine Cycle (link). Created in response to a player lamenting during an episode of the show that no such list existed.
- Friends at the Table subreddit
- Friends at the Table official Discord
- Friends at the Table Fanart Tumblr
- Friends at the Table fan wiki
- Post with poll by knittedbond (Feb 28, 2023). "unsure if anyone's done this yet, i really do want to know tho. calling all friends at the table fans: what year did you start listening to friends at the table?" 392 total responses; 26% of respondents voted 2017 and 16.6% voted 2018. Tumblr. (archive link)
- Post with poll by peacereturnedtothevalley (Nov 16, 2023): "Friends at the Table fans when did you start listening to the show" 549 total responses; 21.1% of all respondents voted 2017, and 13.7% voted 2018. This poll also had a "see answers" option, which received 16.9% of the votes, so by my haphazard math about 42% of respondents who did not select "see results" voted for 2017 or 2018. Tumblr. Retrieved November 28, 2023. (archive link)
- "1.) I love the balance FatT strikes between seriousness and humor." by ellingeng123 on the Reddit thread "Potential new listener to Friends at the Table...what's the tone and style of the podcast?" Posted on September 12, 2017. Accessed on April 8, 2018.
- "There is a good mix of serious and funny, not so much of either one though to make the tone shifts completely unexpected." by Jdick516 on the Reddit thread "Potential new listener to Friends at the Table...what's the tone and style of the podcast?" Posted on September 12, 2017. Accessed on April 8, 2018.
- Post by knittedbond on Tumblr referencing the voting war that ensued when Samsam went up against Softboots in the Ultimate Divorced Battle. Posted on May 20, 2023. Accessed on Oct 20, 2023. (archive link)
- Twitter bio of Secret Samol account. (Accessed May 7, 2023.) (archive link)
- Post on official 15daysoffatt Tumblr: "Since 2016, FatT fans have answered over 70 prompts" (May 9, 2023). Accessed Nov 8, 2023. (archive link)
- @Friends_Table (Jun 5, 2020). Today we're starting a sale to raise funds for a number of groups working towards justice and equality. We've gathered every @Friends_Table fanzine and (for the first time) digital PDFs of all of our formerly Patreon-exclusive postcards! (Tweet) (archive link)
- @Friends_Table (Jun 5, 2020). The groups we're supporting are: @reclaimtheblock @byp100 @bailproject @MarshallProj Find out more info about them on their respective accounts! (Tweet) (archive link)
- Divines at the Table "About" page (archive link)