Great episode! Due to the holiday today, my commute was light, so didn't get to finish it like I usually do.
Anyways, the portion talking about the NPCs dying and sacrificing themselves made me think of the "Bodyguard" PrC that I homebrewed for 3E back in the day. Nothing's worse than getting close to someone, yet knowing their job is to give their life for you if need be. Makes for good RP between battles, because I can see the PCs trying to get to know the BgD, yet them being stand-offish (ie: Doesn't drink. Doesn't play cards. Always on duty.). To them, it's just a job.......at first. It can make for even more tension and dramatic moments if the two are of opposite sex, and some sort of relationship forms.
I've been trying to think of how to convert the BgD into 5E. Obviously the Defensive fighting style is a must. Alertness feat perhaps. Bonus actions to Dash and/or Help.
In response to the Mailbag of Holding: That sounds like a rough group to deal with. I am currently running a sandbox campaign, but my guys can at least take a hint. I'm wondering if his players are newbies. If they are experienced players then having an out of game talk about what they want to be doing would likely be helpful. Failing that, I'd advocate for a serious existential threat. Alien invasion, earthquake, rift to the Abyss opening in their place of lodging...etc. If they are newbies, I'd recommend (I'm coining a new term here) some Metagame Exposition. Give them a rundown of game format, a bit of background regarding the world they are playing in, then tie all that to their character backgrounds. If they don't yet have solid backgrounds, do the same exposition, but concentrate on their local region, then ask them each to explain who their character is and why they are there.
The biggest thing is to make clear that D&D is about GROUP storytelling. The players, if they can, should have a hand in creating whatever type of campaign they are in. What do they want to do? Where do they want to go?
If they keep up with the hard time, have them choose professions and start making them roll skill checks to perform their tasks. Farmers have to roll a DC 5 dex check to milk the cow properly, a botch gets you kicked in the face. That'll get boring real fast
I've worked with my group a lot. They were all new to role playing and only now, after almost a year of weekly sessions, are they starting to really get into the spirit of the thing (some more than others, of course). They don't so much derail or resist my plot as choose actions that derail my plot. So its not malicious, its a combination of me not being prepared for every contingency and them being too darn creative. Or, if not creative, then thinking a bit outside the box of RP gaming tropes.
There have been some funny moments in this sode so far, I am not all the way done with it, but the MannEURisms bit was hilarious, and when someone mouthed quietly that the tiefling was literally attached to their tail had me laughing. Also a lot of the cool quick d20 NPC features, physical characteristics, flaws and bonds are on the 5e DM Screen.
Blessed are the legend-makers with their rhyme of things not found within recorded time.
Maneurism: A mannerism showing your serious manliness. Think blatantly obvious ball adjustments, combing your fingers through the chest hair peeking out of your shirt collar, or walking around nude...but still wearing black socks.
Maneurism: A vicious breed of aneurism that only afflicts men.
There have been some funny moments in this sode so far, I am not all the way done with it, but the MannEURisms bit was hilarious, and when someone mouthed quietly that the tiefling was literally attached to their tail had me laughing.
I listened to the episode again and remember saying the tiefling tail bit. I don't think Mitch or Jared noticed it while recording and I wondered if anyone would catch it!
As an aside, I'm surprised you didn't mention the forums here, as a way to interact with you guys. You should put the URL in the show notes.
That is...unless...this is just a group for the cool OG guys.
We are ahead of schedule as far as recording, which is a very good thing for us, but makes some new additions take a few weeks to hit the airwaves. Our next episode should have a shout out to the forums, updated Patreon rewards and a shout-out to a Patreon gold member!