Having used a sound effect in the initial chapter, I was much less hesitant to employ them now. I actually recorded the male laugh myself, and when I submitted it to FreeSound it was originally rejected as suspected of being pulled from a copyrighted work! I guess that’s flattering, but it’s not really that difficult to laugh into a microphone! Who did they think I sounded like?
This episode marked the first use of Harry’s internal voice. Again, in text it’s easily apparent when this happens via italics. In audio I was stumped as to what to do. The echo was disliked, and there isn’t really a good sound effect for “I’m thinking this to myself”. Eventually I came up with putting my mouth right up to the microphone and talking in a much softer tone. I dunno if it’s a “thinking” sound, but it’s certainly different, and that’s enough of a cue. With this rerecording project I can bring this technique to bear in the early episodes.
When I first read this I was defensive about my D&D habits (who hasn’t been mocked for that at some point?) so when Harry says he didn’t play the game I assumed he was being a pompous ass. It wasn’t until much later that I realize that he never played the game because he doesn’t have any friends. After all, the game would be right up his alley, and he does read & enjoy the rulebooks! So when I rerecorded this I tried to make that line sound kinda sad.
It might be that Harry has no friends, but I actually doubt it. My husband is very, very smart and in some ways reminds me of HPMOR Harry, and he loves reading D&D rulebooks. Right after 4e came out (which he likes – I know not everyone does, but he does), we started a 4e game that lasted several sessions (about three months, until school’s Christmas break, after which point we had trouble getting the group back together), and I read enough of the rules to understand what was going on, to create my character, and to vaguely outline what direction I wanted to take the character (planning future feats, that sort of thing – but I make those as roleplaying decisions). He read all the way through every 4e book that had been published at the time, more than once. He planned out how he would play every type of character that caught his interest, thought over different types of campaigns, wrote blog posts on the sorts of changes made in 4e (and why he thinks it’s an improvement)… I used to find him in the bath with a sourcebook in hand and the player’s guide propped open on the closed toilet. He drove myself and our housemate (the DM) crazy talking about all kinds of hypotheticals when all the DM and I wanted was to coordinate getting a player group of six people all in our house at the same time on a fairly regular basis, against the constraints of four different work schedules and two different class schedules.
After that, I concluded that yes, he likes playing the game, but he actually likes *thinking* about it more.
So it is sad that Harry has no friends and would not have anyone to play with, yes – but I think he was probably getting by just fine with his imagination.