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Episode 4: Disparate Pieces
Our adventurers find themselves battered, but triumphant on the battlefield. After taking a moment to recover and think of a way to explain their situation to the Crownsguard, the group begins to collect the evidence around them. They search the body of the Devil Toad, sever his head to take back as proof of their fight, and secure the frightened carnival girl Toya. Toya has some pretty serious PTSD and doesn’t fully trust the group, except for Mollymauk who she has known for a couple of years. She has no knowledge of why the Devil Toad would turn on people or if he showed any signs of attack previously. The group return to their boat and begin to row their way back to Trosthenwald.
Back on the shoreline, Caleb comes up with a plan to turn himself in to the Crownsguard and take full responsibility for the hunting and attack on the Devil Toad, allowing his companions to sneak back in to the Nestled Nook Inn. The plan nearly works, but in an unlucky moment, Jester, Beau, Molly and Nott are discovered trying to sneak back in to the Inn. They are arrested for breaking their house arrest and are taken in to the jail.
Moments after Caleb arrives and attempts to exonerate his friends and explain the zombie attacks, the Crownsguard burst in with everyone handcuffed and headed to the jail. Caleb begs for the jailer to give a fair trial and free his innocent friends. The jailer agrees and orders a trial to begin. She brings the entire group forward and calls in the two carnival owners still under arrest in the jail, along with a manacled Yasha who was captured shortly after she attempted to run. The jailer listens to Caleb’s recounting and ultimately decides to free the companions, but orders the Carnival owner Gustav to remain in Trosthenwald and work for 3 years to repay his debts to the town. Caleb and his friends return to the Nestled Nook Inn for a well-deserved rest.
The next morning, the group decides to take a shopping/spa day to recover from their intense evening. Caleb and Nott visit a fancy upper class bathhouse. The rest of the troupe visit several shops around town searching for healing potions, healer’s kits, a map of the area….and some illicit drugs….already. Beau runs into her instructor from her Monk Academy she has run away from. A tense discussion ends with Beau and her teacher facing off in a one on one sparring match. After a day of fun and relaxation, the companions examine the map of the area and decide to head north to explore the nearby cities.
I know some people really enjoy these interlude episodes where the players can mess around and stock up on supplies and interesting knick-knacks. This episode was just a bit too slow for me personally though. I was so excited to see Ashley Johnson sitting at the table again, but the story pacing and random adventures meant that Ashley spent the majority of the episode quietly watching everyone else talk. There was also a new mechanic that Matt introduced in this episode. A 15 minute one on one session with just him and Marisha at the table. While I think the concept could be an interesting way to move the story along and get a more in depth look at a characters’ backstory, I really missed the dynamic of the other players at the table. I am willing to give this mechanic another shot with another player to see if I like it. I wondered if my reaction was a bit lukewarm to this session’s one on one because Marisha’s roleplaying and character aren’t my favorite.
There were some pretty funny moments that got me laughing. I enjoyed Caleb and Nott’s visit to the bathhouse for the most part. Nott and Jester’s mischievous nature is the much needed comic relief I enjoy in every episode. Watching the players readjust to having low level characters is pretty humorous at times. There are many more failed ability checks and attack roles that add an element of unpredictability to each encounter. You never know when you’ll role a zero when trying to convince a Crownsguard you’re a harmless innocent bystander.
This is a good episode to play in the background, fast forward through the boring parts, or skip entirely if you are looking for a more action packed episode. There are some helpful timestamps in the comments on the Youtube video that link to the better highlights of the episode. Hopefully next week’s episode picks up the story pace as the adventurers set out on a new mission.
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