Episode 55: Duplicity
This week’s episode was INSANE! We haven’t seen this much edge of your seat action since Lorenzo and the Iron Shepherds… or the Chroma Conclave attack on Emon. I. Could. Not. Stop. Watching.
The Nein were already battle damaged from last week’s encounter, but so were the succubus and incubus they chased down the well. By all expectations, this should have been a minor opening action battle sequence. But no, instead we got a four hour long multi-level, battle royale style fight to the death. Dear gods. My emotions were fried by the end of the episode. To think that last week I complained that there wasn’t enough action… well they more than made up for it with three separate encounters!
I was lulled into a sense of security when the first encounter of the night was basically adorable gremlins. You could kill the Quasits just by looking at them, or in Beau’s case, without even trying, Things quickly took a turn into nasty when a drunken Nott accidentally lured Caleb into a dark cavern to be charmed by the Succubus they chased down the well. I loved how eager Liam was to have his PC absolutely devastate The Mighty Nein. The next series of rolls from both Liam and Travis took the action to such unexpected places. I think I held my breath through the entire encounter from fourth level fireball until Nott’s final bolt through the brain.
Encounter number two was just as harrowing. After taking down the succubus, the Nein faced off against the surviving Incubus. This time, it was Yasha who fell prey to the charms of the abyssal fiend. For an entire half hour of combat. It was painful to see hit after hit leave Yasha unwavering in her haze. Both Caleb and Caduceus took some major hits from Yasha while also trying to fend off the ethereal Incubus.
A new level of hell is unleashed on the battlefield when the Incubus rips a new tear in reality and creates a portal into the Abyssal plane. A menacing fiendish creature with bull horns tears its way into reality and the Nein must quickly redouble their efforts. This third encounter is where things really fall apart. I don’t think I’ve seen Mercer so nervous for all the PC’s… and so intensely interested in seeing their fate. The Nein start dropping like flies. Caleb is knocked unconscious four times, rolling more death saving throws than I’ve seen in a long time. Caduceus and Fjord are also knocked out of the fight, though Jester and all of the healing potions in the room revive them long enough to watch the disaster unfold.
Beau lands the goriest How Do You Want To Do This of the night, in a fashion that I now desperately want to see animated. (What amount of money do we have to give to animate all of Critical Role?) Then immediately afterwards, Nott gets the *final* kill of the night with an explosive arrow to the Incubus’ face. Unfortunately, Caduceus was lying unconscious and on death’s door just behind the Incubus. Nott’s explosives accidentally blast Caduceus beyond the veil and an immediate silence falls on the battlefield.
Thank the gods, Jester didn’t actually lose the diamond during the barfight or Taliesin would have to roll his third PC for this campaign. In a frantically quick, but beautiful moment, Jester calls on the Traveler and the Wild Mother to bring Deucey back to life. The Nein rested right there in the caverns beneath the City of Beasts while they gathered evidence and information about how these abyssal rifts were occurring. I think we are all ready for a much calmer episode Thursday.
Don’t Miss It!
Critical Role was at Emerald City Comic Con this past weekend! If you were lucky enough to have watched Episode 55 live with a room full of Critters at ECCC, you are a lucky bastard and I am so jealous.
The cast did a Q&A session with the fans that is now available to watch on YouTube here!
Also, the cast gave us our first preview of what to expect from the Kickstarter Legends of Vox Machina! You have to watch it. Spoilers, it’s a Troll!
Mary Elizabeth McGlynn was the guest on Between the Sheets, and of course it was hilarious, enlightening, and delightful. Next week’s guest is ASHLY BURCH! She is one of my favorite Critical Role guests and I can’t wait to see this interview.