Acquisitions Incorporated started out as a four-man teamup between Penny Arcade creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, creator of the webcomic PvP, Scott Kurtz, and now-renowned Dungeon Master Chris Perkins. Since the heady days of 2008, several other team members, interns, and franchisees have joined the dubiously auspicious ranks of Faerûn’s best* adventuring corporation, but the venturesome spirit of Acquisitions Inc. has never faded. This Sunday (September 2nd, 2018), Acquisitions Inc. will play a live game of D&D before thousands of screaming fans in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. Holkins, Krahulik, and Perkins will return, but there will be two more Acq Inc. team members joining the fray this year.
*As determined by an anonymous Masked Lord of Waterdeep
Holly Conrad first appeared as part of the Acquisitions Incorporated crew at last year’s PAX West live show, when a contract signed by Omin Dran (Jerry Holkins) bound Strix, her tiefling sorcerer, to his service for a time. Additionally, Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear (books 1 and 2 of The Kingkiller Chronicles), frequently appears as Acquisitions Inc.’s only intern to gain full employee status, Viari!
Fortunately, Acquisitions Inc. is an easy show to jump into without any context. But, if you’re caught in the line outside Benaroya Hall this Sunday or are just looking to refresh your memory before the show, read on and learn some juicy lore about the four “heroes” of this weekend’s live game. If you want to really put in some hours before this show, their old episodes are all archived on the delightfully corporate Acquisitions Incorporated website, and the next live show will be broadcast on the D&D Twitch Channel on Sunday, September 2nd, 2018 starting at 6:30 PM Pacific.
Ominifus Hereward “Omin” Dran
Omin Dran is the founding member and CEO of Acquisitions Incorporated. He is a half-elf cleric of Tymora (though there are some dubiously canon details of his worship of Avandra before Acq Inc. was translocated into the Forgotten Realms), and he holds the grand honor of being a secret Masked Lord of Waterdeep. This isn’t just a fun fact about Acq Inc., this is canon in both Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and Death Masks by Ed Greenwood!
Omin is the son of Prophetess “Propha” Dran, who runs the Dran and Courtier Inn in Red Larch, the home base of The “C” Team. Omin also has a strained relationship with his sister Portentia, who set up a rival adventuring company hellbent on driving Acq Inc. out of business, and longs to see his missing sister Auspicia again. While it was originally thought that Omin and his siblings are the biological children of their two mothers, Propha Dran and Audra Courtier, new developments suggest that may not be quite true.
Omin is decidedly lawful neutral, and often makes brusque and selfish decisions that are in the best interest of Acquisitions Inc.’s profits rather than in the best interests of its employees and interns. So, while Omin is definitely the most mature and responsible member of the company, he is decidedly not the nicest. Don’t cross Omin, or you’re likely to head back home in a box. Or at least with a strongly worded cease and desist order.
James Winifred “Jim” Darkmagic III
Jim Darkmagic “of the New Hampshire Darkmagics” is a human wizard of great and terrible power. Apparently. His magical talents seem to have waned in recent years, as his once-amazing dice rolls have averaged out to “pretty okay.” As a person, however, Jim Darkmagic can only be described as a narcissistic bastard. He's a charming jerk, but he’s best pals with Omin Dran. Really! They bicker sometimes—okay, all the time—but they really are inseparable!
Jim holds the dubious honor of “most deaths” of the Acq Inc. crew, having fallen no fewer than three times in the course of their adventures. This led to some issues last year, when the Death Curse (from the Tomb of Annihilation storyline) caused Jim to wither away. This terrible fate was somewhat averted when Omin Dran revealed that he, without Jim’s knowledge or consent, had a clone of Jim created just in case an event like this occurred.
Hailing from the extraplanar metropolis of Sigil, Strix is a self-proclaimed trash witch who has, to put it lightly, seen some shit. As a full-time member of the Waffle Crew on Dice, Camera, Action, Strix’s typical adventures are filled with horror and trauma, not the light fare that Acquisitions Inc. tends to handle. Case in point: Strix once spent fifty years trapped in Barovia, separated from her party. And Holly Conrad, her player, created a full-blown cosplay of Strix containing hand-made props of the dozens of trinkets Chris Perkins said she had collected over her years in the domain of dread.
Strix was first introduced to Acquisitions Incorporated at last year’s PAX West live show, when Omin Dran called upon a contract that summoned “greatest member of the Skizziks clan,” a group of human sorcerers whose devotion to Asmodeus turned them into tieflings. Strix appeared atop the Acquisitions Inc. airship when Omin invoked the contract, and she aided them in the skies above the Lost City of Omu. Then, her contract completed, she was returned to Sigil. Strix also made an appearance in the crossover episodes of Dice, Camera, Action and Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team, where she helped the “C” Team bust into a drow city.
How will Strix become entangled with the corporate adventures of Acq Inc. this year? That remains to be seen.
(Also, Holly designs all of the merch for her character! Strix’s design and iconography are perfectly witchy, and they’re available on Holly’s personal Etsy shop. If you can find her in-costume at conventions, she sometimes has pins and other snickety snooks to pass out.)
This red-headed and red-blooded swashbuckler from the streets of Waterdeep may be in for a rude awakening when he returns to the city of his birth. Viari has many valiant deeds to his name—he is the only person to have ever climbed the ranks of Acq Inc. from intern to sub-intern to full employee—but he is also something of a sham. His tragic backstory is, anyway. While he styles himself as a great hero who once lost everything, the truth is that he was a bored lad who ran away from a loving and supportive (and perhaps stifling) peasant family in Waterdeep.
One must admit that his real name, “Timothy Goodboy Dunstucker,” doesn’t quite have the same swashbuckling lilt as Viari. He was probably right to change it.
Keep an eye out for Viari shouting, “What-ho!”, swinging from chandeliers, and generally out-swashbuckling Errol Flynn in the live show this year. He also possesses a weapon of terrible power known as the Apocalypse Dagger, stolen from Vanifer, leader of the Cult of the Eternal Flame. It once burned his arm off, but don’t worry. He got better.
Get Ready for Acquisitions Inc. at PAX West 2018!
It’s not long ‘til the latest chapter of the Acquisitions Incorporated storyline comes to life at this year’s PAX West. The show starts at 6:30 PM Pacific Time, and general seating is first-come, first-served, so if you want to get a seat in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, you should get in line at least two hours before curtain.
If you can’t make it to PAX or just don’t want to stand in line, you can still watch the show on Twitch. If you have the chance to catch this game live and in person, though, I highly recommend trying to get a seat. There’s something indescribable about being in a theater filled with thousands of cheering D&D fans that transforms the experience into something completely new.
Unless otherwise credited, all images are courtesy of Penny Arcade.
James Haeck is the lead writer for D&D Beyond, the co-author of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and the Critical Role Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, the DM of Worlds Apart, and a freelance writer for Wizards of the Coast, the D&D Adventurers League, and Kobold Press. He lives in Seattle, Washington with his partner Hannah and his two feline interns, Mei and Marzipan. You can usually find him wasting time on Twitter at @jamesjhaeck.