D20 Tales

Published: 10/3/2021Updated 5/5/22

Note from the Fox: Hello lovely Dungeoneers. There is an update to this article as the live show has excitingly done a rebranding and is now D20 Tales! This show was formally known as Spawn of Chaos and even though I have done my best to go through and update all of the article, some of the images and pieces will still have the formal title as Spawn of Chaos instead of their new D20 Tales title.

Out of the void and chaos that is the internet, a new group was brought to my attention and a new D&D campaign was happily added to my list to listen to. With a large cast and crew, a group of voice actors bring to life a group of characters in the story that is guided by Dungeon Master Russell E. Welch III. The Heralds of Wayinar takes place in a homebrew world that follows 5th edition D&D rules.

This blog article will focus on the D20 Tales shows. The party also has a premium subscription that will get you access to their second show called “The Emissaries of the Ancients.” ** update: this second show is also now free for viewing on their YouTube channel. I highly recommend you go check it out** There is also a show called Spawn of Chaos: After Dark which is a video series with behind the scenes with cast and crew commentary for every episode that can also be unlocked with their premium membership.

Season One: The Heralds of Wayinar

At the creation of this blog article, there are eight (8) episodes that have been uploaded to their free content section on their website and Youtube for your listening and/or watching pleasure. The episodes are about an hour to an hour and 45ish minutes. I personally like these lengths as it makes it easy to stay focused and engaged for that amount of time. It also feels like the correct length when listening to this group as the time provides enough for the action and for the party to get to an ending point for the episode that makes sense. Never once as I was listening did it feel like I was listening for as long as I was. The energy of the group is really good and it helps keep the story going.

When first writing this article I personally listened to the first 5 episodes and was hooked. I have now finished the full first season and eagerly await their second show: Emissaries of the Ancients. Each episode is its own unique ride as you never know what is going to happen. The Heralds of Wayinar is a weekly show that happens Fridays on YouTube. There is also a rebroadcast on Twitch as well. You can find their full schedule here.

When watching you can expect to see video of the voice actors who are talking. There are also some cool maps, sound effects and sometimes visuals to help tell the story. The visual look of the videos are good. Each voice actor has their own character that they portray in this game. Dm Russell narrates and runs The Heralds of Wayinar and also voices an NPC / DM character named Gritzern for the first few episodes. More beloved NPCs arrive later in the season and completely steal my heart as well.

The Episodes

*Skip down to the next section “Thoughts from the Dungeon Fox” if you want to avoid any and all spoilers related to Season One- The Heralds of Wayinar.

Episode 1: Betrayer. We start right in the thick of things as the players come into an interrogation scene. The pacing for this episode is intense and the shadow mist that the party comes across made me intrigued as a dm. There is a lot of darkness and madness that I personally enjoyed in the episode. This is one of the only times you will see/hear the character Sorrel from the released episodes, but it is a really cool druid character with some good moments with animal shape changing. If you want more Sorrel you will need to join the premium content and see him in Emissaries of the Ancients.

Episode 2: Blood Door. Here we lose the player character of Gorrkarraus. This entire episode was built around a puzzle and tensions and emotions were high. To me I very much appreciated the message from Dm Russell E. Welch III at the end that shows how emotionally we DM’s do get when connecting to our players and their characters.

Episode 3: Fall of the Divided. This was one of my favorite episodes due to the in between character banter and RP. Vano with the bunnies, Obi with the ship stuff, Rosara and Amadeus even had some good banter going. The episode also went out with a bang.

Episode 4: The First Answer. Besides starting off with two character deaths; this is where we first hear the mention of “The Heralds of Wayinar” and we get some of the lore that has been driving the players through the first three episodes. I also must say that Russell gives the most amazing npc character monologue that takes place at the beginning of the session, with lots of emotion and it was very impressive. The party gets their first tavern scene that we get to see, and there are a variety of NPC’s the Dm gets to bring to life. There is a bit of civilization in this episode before some chaos erupts leading the party back into the dark woods. At the very end, the cliff hanger is a new player joining the group.

Episode 5: Prime Before the Storm. We get to meet a new player and a new race of this world. This episode is action packed with lots of combat and Rp. The party gets their next group goal and make plans for an adventure. I will say my favorite part of the show is the very very end where Obi and Cendrillion have a conversation. The last statement that Cendrillion makes about fate really hit home and was a very inspirational quote.

Episode 6: Streak of Horror. Starts with a 3 months earlier scene that I enjoyed that was between Dm Russell and some of the players as they first meet. This episode is where the character Obi first meets the character Vano. There is also another PC called Elyiaes that is shown. The scene opens with the first quest of not taking drugs is given to Obi who needs to go search for someone called Vano at this town wide party. This episode has a lot of culture color and character interactions that I enjoyed. It also has my favorite moment of giving a child fireworks brought to us courtesy of Elias. This episode also has a lot of drama as chaos erupts at the party and causes Elias, Obi and Vano to go into action. This episode also features the best use of pork rind butter as a spell component.

Episode 7- Streak of Horror II: Continuing with the memory sequence, this episode was stressful to the end of “Does the DM have a back-up plan if your players died in the past?” Thankfully Russell did not have to answer that as the chaos continued with more of what happened in the streets as the party was broken up by monsters. This episode has excellent monster descriptions, unique transformations and good audio enhancements in post editing. The players had very creative solutions to some very dangerous situations and was a very action/emotion packed listen.

Episode 8- Flames in the Dark. Starting in fire and flame the party flees one possible horror and runs into another. There is some quality tension within the party. The episode ends with a new figure entering the story and causing a new dangerous darkness entering the land. This was deemed a “Rosara episode.”

Episode 9- Fractures: The party decide that they will take Dolben and his daughter up the mountain. We hear a little bit about the Edwind race and the Primes.We learn that Primes do not eat cats. There is also some more about Vano’s backstory that comes to light. Cendrillion and Rosara have a conversation about beliefs as there is some disagreement.

Episode 10- The Storm: This episode has a well placed trigger warning at the beginning of the episode. As the party makes their way up the mountain things don’t go according to plan.

Episode 11- He Who Stalks: The players get captured after dealing with some trauma. Very emotional and the players let us see a little more of their vulnerable side.

Episode 12- Blood Will Fail: We get to see more of the Legionnaires. Obi has a bad deception roll and things look dire for the party. Rosara and Cendrillion have a combated battle of worth. Ends on an epic cliffhanger with the promise of battle.

Episode 13- The Open Eye: So many memes and references as the party has fun with each other during a battle. This was a really great episode to listen to. There is also more Prime time and doors doom the party once again.

Episode 14- Legends Lost: Traps prove tricky for our heroes as they continue deeper into this prime building. There is a lot of tension and stress felt by players and viewers as they try to survive. There are also some great moments around prime and Herald lore.

Episode 15- Into the Dark: This was such a great penultimate episode. More lore and realizations for the party as they go deeper into the prime facility. Starting in chaos and battle, the party quickly tries to retreat with traps becoming problematic. Vorn addresses Azathell for a very interesting conversation. Rosara spends the episode mostly injured and terrible realizations are made.

Episode 16- Chaos The much awaited season finale. This was such a great episode and had such an amazing cliff hanger (literally) that I can't wait for season 2. This had all the action, back story and NPC ties that I could have have hoped for. I am amazed and quite thankful that the episode turned out the way that it did. You'll have to watch it for yourself.

Thoughts from the Dungeon Fox

I have very much enjoyed my time listening to The Heralds of Wayinar. With Episode One, it is clear in the first few minutes that we, the audience, are missing out on some information as the party has come into a tense situation and by the end of the episode we have lost a Voice Actor. I enjoy listening to D&D groups for listening sake. If a person comes in for story, this in action/story in progress may make it a little harder for some folks to get into the series. When looking through their website I found that the game is "a story 20 years in the making from the creative minds of Russell E. Welch III & Bryan Henery." Not that the story is 20 years in but the production of the show has been in development for that long. Coming into the listening audience of this show, I wasn't sure of what to expect. I have enjoyed listening as it is an action packed story and though we have not been with the characters from the start we are still made to care about the main characters and become invested in their adventure. I very much became a Chaotic fan and was quite pleased with the progress that was made throughout the whole first season.

Some things of note, this is a production that has a cast and crew. Music and sounds have been added to help bolster the listening experience. As someone with less than perfect hearing (I usually listen with CC on) sometimes the music can be a little much compared to the voice actors but it’s not enough to drown out the speech. Also the CC (as I watched episode 3 at home and could enjoy with CC on) I do think there is a decent closed captioning for the video. I will give credit where credit is due, there is full Episode Transcripts on their wiki page through episode 6. There are notations on the sounds and music types, parentheses with who is speaking and if it is in character (IC) or the voice actor saying it in the closed captions as well. I also love that it tries to embody the players as well by telling you what each player character’s accents are like (British, Scottish, etc.) to help give the vocal changes in text form. I cannot be sure that this is the same CC for each video but for the third episode where I got to enjoy it with CC I was quite happy with it.

Also, this group may have a very serious adventure going on but there are some great moments of comedy as well. I like pink tie intro/outro Russell and Obi has some comedic gold moments as well with the party. There are also great moments of comedy between the players in role play. There are a lot action packed moments but there is still role play and time for players to interact.

Though there are many positive things with D20 Tales there are some other things that this writer would like to discuss as well. Firstly, there is cussing, which I know not all readers/viewers are a fan of. Sometimes there is lots of swearing in a row, but for the most part it is sparingly but it is present. Something that will be very noticeable when watching for lots of episodes, there is a large turn over for characters and you will never know who will be there in the week's episode or not. Part of me enjoys this as it keeps you on your toes as the story progresses. As a DM I like having a party that is consistent so I respect that Dm Russell is able to keep the story going with so many different characters entering into play.

As the season progressed it was easier to stay with the story and it felt like a more cohesive piece as the cast stayed fairly consistent and grew as a party. The NPC's became beloved, though we only get to know what happens to Dolben in the season finale. I wish that we the audience also get a closure on what happens to Margo/Whipple as the scene does not happen on screen for us viewers.

Book Worm Activated

I personally am a lore and world junkie; learning about other people's homebrew to me is a fantastic use of time and for me I wish that more things lore wise would have come naturally from inside the game. I understand that we are joining into to the story already in progress, but I feel that there are indeed moments that I feel like I as a listener am missing out on some lore pieces but I don't feel like it has ruined any of the listening or adventure experience. That stated, the discovery of the wiki page has helped considerably. There is a map of the world along with articles that have summaries for the first 2 episodes, parts of the worlds and more lore based items. I do think that the wiki hasn't been updated since the end of the episode 2 but there is still good information there.

A part of the Youtube channel you can also listen to the Origins playlist, which has 6 videos that are an hour to a little under 2 hours long that each feature one of the Spawn of Chaos characters. I discovered this play list after listening to some of the other episodes but I would recommend listening to the Origins play list after listening to an episode or two to so you can get to know each player and character individually. There is a lot of great lore and role play with each of these one-on-one sessions between Dm Russell E. Welch III and the individual characters.

A lot more information about the characters can also be found in the short stories and in the video “Chatting Chaos: The World of Gregoor-Sheav” under the Bonus Content in the Premium section of the website.

Can't Get Enough? Good News, There's More!

Do you want to watch the season finale or start later in the series? Enjoy some time with Frank (and err… Frank) to get a recap of what happens in the first 10 episodes in a comedic (Justice for Sorrel) and entertaining way. Thank you Frank for giving us 12 minutes of comedic gold while bringing everyone up to speed. He hits some of the major points to try to get players ready for episode 11. I personally recommend watching full episodes if you can, but Frank does well for a short what has happened update. I am looking forward to more Frank (Sorrel) content coming soon in Emissaries.


Also available for your viewing/listening pleasure:

Shorts! On their Youtube channel there are a bunch of shorts that show some great moments that have happened in the game. Share them with friends, relive some great moments and enjoy the great content that comes with Spawn of Chaos.

Music that is Awesome

Did you know that Nick Little, player behind Cendrillion, makes some pretty great music? You can now find on Youtube some of the character themes that were created by Nick such as Knight of Fury (Rosara’s Theme) and Midnight Run (Obi’s Theme).

Want some more great jamming ttrpg music? Check out Nick's Twitter account @RPGMusicMaker.

Premium Accounts

Do you absolutely love Spawn of Chaos? Now that Season One of The Heralds of Wayinar is done are you having ttrpg withdrawals? Not to worry, consider signing up for the Premium account of Spawn of Chaos where you can get more great content. With the finishing of Season 1: The Heralds of Wayinar soon you will be able to watch Season 1 of Emissaries of the Ancients, a second live play group that has a story that takes place at the same time as Herald. Right now on Youtube you can find a roundtable where you can meet the new cast members and familiar faces that make up the Emissaries of The Ancients. I personally am excited for the upcoming new show to watch. Episode one will be launching January 14th, 2022.

Want to know some more of the behind the scene secrets? You can re-watch the Spawn of Chaos episodes with cast and crew to hear behind the scenes commentaries that can only be seen live on Twitch or on the Premium account.

You also get access to the short stories of Gorrkarraus, Obi, Farragazza, Elyiaes and Gritzern that give amazing insights into character backstories and very well written stories for those characters.

There are also great videos such as “Chatting Chaos: The World of Gregoor-Sheav” under the Bonus Content that gives a great detail of the world with Dm Russell E. Welch III and Bryan Henery (hosted by Brad Marsh). One shots are also posted here, currently featuring The Litcher. Interested? Watch their teaser trailer here. I'm also excited for the Holiday One Shot Special that will be showing on December 24th on their Youtube Channel (5pm PDT).

Getting Connected

If you would like to check out this group I highly recommend checking out their website. There you can find episodes, D20 Tales show schedule along with any other events or live shows that they have on their calendar. There is also premium content if you want to join ($4.99) to get more goodies from the group. At the bottom of their website there are links to follow their Twitch and join their Discord server. There is also a r/SpawnofChoas **now at: https://www.reddit.com/r/D20Tales/ on Reddit if that is your social media platform of choice and a fandom/wiki page where a lot of information can also be had.

I listened to the group from their videos on their website/YouTube, but they also have their content on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. I have also joined their discord page which is great for up to date information and public decrees. There are also channels dedicated to fan art, cosplay, chaos inspired homebrew and a place to discuss episode spoilers and theories with other fans. Their linktree can also be found here.

Last Words

Doing a live stream game is no easy task, as a streamer myself just starting out in the D&D Twitch community, it is a very daunting task to put yourself out in front of an audience you can't see. I think that D20 Tales did very well bringing a professional looking and sounding game to the public. It is very action packed and it has been enjoyable to listen to. If you are one who want's to jump in at a point where story rp takes place to create a cohesive story, start with episode 3. The world that has been built for this campaign is interesting and there is always so much unexpected danger to keep listeners and players on their toes. The first season of Heralds was in my opinion a success, I am very happy to continue watching their content and look forward to future shows that they create.

All images and screenshots were provided by the actual crew of Spawn of Chaos and being used with their permission. All rights to the photos belong to them.

ReBranding & Updates

As the heading stated, there is a rebranding happening! I hope that you continue to love D20 Tales or give them a listen. If you live in the Dallas area or traveling to FanExpo Dallas, keep your eyes open for some of these fun folks wandering about and check out their show!

As I am on hiatus I also just want to put out there that I absolutely have loved Emissaries of the Ancients show! This show was originally going to be for the premium accounts but they are on the D20Tales YouTube for everyone to enjoy! At the time of this update (5/5/22) there are 14 episodes. The episodes range from the 30 to an hour 30 time frames and they are enjoyable and fun filled. I hate to play favorites but the team dynamic of Emissaries is fantastic and I have had so many more laughs from this crazy team dynamic. One day I will get to writing a proper review to season 1 of Emissaries of the Ancients. Season of 2 of The Heralds of Wayinar will be also be coming July 1st 2022 so I'm excited for that as well!