This article is about the streaming show. For the mercenary company, see The Chain of Acheron.
The Chain is a weekly web series of a fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign hosted by Matthew Colville. The stream follows the Chain of Acheron, a mercenary company active in Capital in the world of Orden. The Chain airs on Wednesdays at 7pm (PST) on the MCDM twitch channel, with episodes later archived on YouTube.
For its first 28 episodes, The Chain was formatted as a typical live Twitch streamed D&D game. The show aired a selection of fan art, then a brief intro to the session (typically a recap), the animated intro to the show, and 3 to 4 hours of live D&D with an intermission. Cameras on an overhead rig captured live views of the dungeon master and players and table. A second simultaneous live Twitch stream on the MCDM2 channel featured live video from tripod mounted cameras for close-ups combat encounters.
The Chain went on break in September 2019, following Episode 27, so that MCDM could focus on the Kickstarter for Kingdoms & Warfare, which would launch in October 2019. The combination of working on the Kickstarter and the holiday break led to the hiatus being extended into 2020. By then, the team had begun to ramp up work on the actual deliverables from the kickstarter and the hiatus continued. Then the COVID-19 pandemic led to the show being put on hold indefinitely and as of June 2021, it does not have a date when it will return.
Matt has discussed changing the format of The Chain upon its return. During his personal livestreams, Matt has often said that he finds live long-format tabletop streams to be "pretty unwatchable", and that he would rather produce products that he would be excited to consume. He also said that some of the players - who are simply Matt's friends who have volunteered to share their game - would prefer not to return if the game continued to be streamed in unedited.
Matt discussed several possible changes, including releasing an edited version of the stream, and simply not returning to streaming the game at all. As of June 16th 2021, Matt's latest plan is for the game to be filmed but no longer aired live as a stream. Instead, Matt will create a campaign diary video for the episode, recapping the story and lessons from the game, interspersed where appropriate with short clips from the episode, such as Judge saying "I don't take orders from dead men!".
While a change in format is likely, the details are not final. Matt, MCDM, and the cast, are still in the early stages of bringing back the show. Other possible changes that Matt has discussed include a shift to Fourth Edition D&D, the use of Fantasy Grounds at the table via touchscreen computers, an alternative trapezoidal table layout with attendant changes to filming, and the use of simple special effects.
- Matt Colville as the Dungeon Master
- Lars Bakke as King, formerly Red
- Phil Robb as Slim, formerly Sweet
- Tom Schmuck as Boots, formerly Nails
- Anna Coulter as Judge
- Tom as Copper and Bigcat
- Matt O'Driscoll as Leech and Odie
- Main article: List of Episodes
The first six episodes of the Chain was the prologue of the Chain, showing the Chain's defeat following the failed assassination on Mortum, the wizard of Ajax, and how they obtained the Somnium Tenebris.
Season one begins with the remaining members of the Chain arriving at Capital, they take on a couple of jobs for a couple of guilds, earn some money, and establish a spy network. As an all-out territorial war over the prince's lands begins in Capital, the Chain join the resistance against Ajax and plan to unite the many factions to stop Ajax. They adventure into Ringwell, a dungeon beneath the city of Captial to retrieve the Wards of the Last Emperor.
The tactical streams are also archived on YouTube, though some are unlisted and can only be found in their respective episode's description.
- Main article: Campaign Diaries
For several episodes, Matt released videos recapping the previous episode to get people caught up with what is happening in the Chain. These videos also share how Matt thought the session went and how it could've gone better. These were eventually stopped as they were time-consuming to produce and not very popular. When The Chain comes back from hiatus, the campaign diaries may return in place of the livestreamed show.