Sneak Attack! is a real play D&D 5e podcast set in a homebrew world called Brannis (at least for the first volume). The game uses most of the standard rules with a few homebrew twists added in to suit the players and DM, just like most other at home gaming groups develop over time.
The conceit of the first volume of the show is that Brannis is a world made up of five continents, most of which are home to one of the major playable races (humans, dwarves, elves, halflings, gnomes). Because of meddling by the deity that created the world and other magical and supernatural interventions, that has been turned a bit on its head, and into the middle of the chaos march the heroes whose story is going to be told in the show.
|Sneak Attack!||Audio Only||https://sneakpodcast.com/||Mostly Weekly||PC-PG|
Sneak Attack! has been releasing episodes since the summer of 2015. The first volume follows the adventures of characters that met in the act of saving a village girl who had been caught in a bear trap and was being threatened by hyenas. This volume continues for over 150 episodes into the late spring of 2018, with episodes being released more or less weekly.
Volume 2 is currently gearing up for release and will be a sci-fi adventure exploring the far-flung reaches of space. Since this is not yet releasing episodes, the rest of my review is focused on Volume 1.
Sneak Attack! is set in a homebrew world. The world is made up of five island nations, and the DM describes it in an early episode as much smaller than Earth, perhaps more the size of Pluto. There is a single deity, a goddess, who created the world and its races, but who soon grew tired of them coming to her all the time to solve their problems for them. She has had an inconsistent presence in the world, and her presence or absence plays a role in the chaotic forces at work leading into the story.
The country of Norrich is where Volume 1 begins, and it is the country that has the most cosmopolitan mix of races from across the world. An event with a villager being trapped in a beartrap set out by some shady businessmen leads the heroes to take some work which uncovers a more sinister plot that eventually leads them to the capital of the country for further investigation.
Sneak Attack! doesn’t seem to be part of a formal podcast network at this time. However, their group has been featured several times on the official WOTC D&D special event podcast Dungeon Delve, where they have presented one of the episodes associated with the launch of a new D&D adventure or rules compendium.
I always enjoy homebrew games, since it’s how I cut my teeth as a player back in my first gaming groups in middle school and high school. While it may seem contrived, I like how the DM introduced the characters by having them all be in the proximity of a villager in distress and they had to leap into action to aid each other in saving the girl before they even knew each other’s names, abilities, or backgrounds.
The production quality of the podcast is good, with some minimal sound effects added in (brief music and atmospheric sounds) to lend a little ambiance and background. Since the show is recorded and released, it’s not clear if this is something done in the moment (as with the sound effects on There Will Be Dungeons) or something that is added later in post-production (as with Godsfall). The point is that the added sounds work for the show, and add just a touch of audio scenery in the same way that good community theaters can use stock props or even abstract boxes and other shapes to provide a touch of visual scenery when they produce a classic play or musical.
For families looking for a show to listen to with youngsters, the show is relatively clean. The most racy or adult bits generally come from a pair of cast members who are married to each other, but that takes more the form of innuendo and humorous observations than outright foul or explicit language. The show, however, is not intended for a young audience, so there is fantasy violence and the occasional adult situation or profanity that appears in the show. As with all my reviews, my ratings and observations are subjective so it’s a good idea to preview for your family and see if the show is something you’re comfortable sharing with everyone.
I mentioned before that my sense of obligation to review a show means I like to listen to at least 10 episodes do get a feel for the show, and one thing that intrigues me in the early episodes of Sneak Attack! is a reference to the Princes of the Apocalypse. Since this story is set in a homebrew world and not in the Forgotten Realms it’s interesting to see how much of the old Elemental Evil “revisited” story he will weave in or whether he’s just borrowing the name for a completely unrelated and unrecognizable organization that has nothing to do with the Elemental Eye or the Princes of Elemental Evil.
When I set out to do this project I thought that maybe I would find 20 or 30 different podcasts and be able to give them all a lot of listens, but the sheer volume of shows means I’m having to tune in for a few episodes to write my review and then move on to other shows without really knowing what happens in the full story until I can come back later.
I like this show and it’s one I will probably try to listen to for the complete run because I’m curious to find out how the PC’s discovery of certain elements of the world’s history and the interaction of the goddess and other celestial or infernal forces has shaped the world, its people, and their attitudes.