Episode 79: Through the Trees
Remember how last week I asked for a more serious, action filled episode. One that really showcased the story and tension that’s been missing? Well… Critical Role delivered… This episode was up to its elbows in espionage, spooky midnight forest chases, plans gone horribly awry, hell hounds, the Laughing Hand breathing down their necks, and that [email protected]*kr Oban!
The session started out pretty typically with the Nein bugging Essik one more time to teleport them where they need to go. It seems they have absolutely worn out their welcome with him though. He probably owns all of their souls for eternity at this point with as many favors as the Nein have called in. Once the Nein have finally decided which part of the forest to travel to, they get right to work searching for Oban, Yasha and the Hand. With Caduceus’ help, and Jester’s scrying they discover that they are a day’s travel behind Oban and his crew and further still from the Heart of Jourriel. The chase ensues as the Nein frantically construct a hare-brained plan of action.
You’d think they’d know by now that the more you plan, the worse things go in DnD. But still, the cast did their best to keep a bad situation from getting worse. Fjord’s confident natural 20’s that littered the first half of the session seemed to get the Nein in the mindset that they could take on anything.
It seemed like Mercer really wanted to push the story forward in this session. After Caleb and Jester’s careful owl/eagle flight through the forest, Mercer ends up dumping the Nein directly on top of Oban and crew. In a moment of sheer pants soiling terror, Fjord and friends realize that they have landed basically in the Laughing Hand’s lap and Oban is on a very paranoid patrol. The Nein cycle through Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D before sending Nott on what seems like a suicide mission. Nott will try to stealthily pickpocket the Skull of Jourriel the Caedogeist from Oban’s bag. Nott fails and the Nein are spotted leading to a very intense race to the Wraithroot tree to acquire the heart.
Fjord saves the Nein’s hides by charming the Laughing Hand for an entire hour, calling off his Shadowhounds, and buying them enough time to try and cut Oban off. Due to a terrible series of bad rolls, and a lucky two rounds for Oban, he manages to easily take the heart from the tree, grab Yasha, and GTFO before the Nein can even blink. You could feel the feeling of absolute frustration and failure from the cast at the end of the episode. Near the end, Marisha kept making rash and dangerous recommendations to “kill the Laughing Hand” or “chase down and attack Oban right away”. It was difficult to tell how deep in character she was, or if her frustration was just boiling over and making her say crazy things. Like Taliesin said though, “This was the best loss possible”. No one died and no one got seriously hurt or taken captive. That’s a win in my book.
The story is getting more compelling and interesting every session, and if the Nein had won or at least partially won, it would have felt cheap or easy. This campaign is definitely different that Vox Machina’s save the world heroic missions. The Nein face obstacles and enemies bigger than whole armies could take on, and losing is a very real part of their journey. It’s going to be great watching them work their way through this new challenge and try once again to get Yasha back and stop Oban from awakening the Angel of Irons. I won’t lie, I though Matt pushing the Oban and Yasha storyline was purely to reintroduce Ashley back into the show, but it seems like there may still be some story left to explore. Thursday can’t get here fast enough.
Don’t Miss It!
Critical Role and Talks Machina will be on hiatus this next week, October 3rd and 8th. There will be a very special Sam Riegel One-Shot sponsored by Wendy’s (whatever that means?) airing in its place this Thursday the 3rd. Just from the sheer amount of questions left unanswered, my guess is you won’t want to miss this.
Critical Role also announced buckets of new shows and content releasing this fall! Their Fall Programming Schedule highlights three new and returning shows, plus several releases of Everything is Content.
Some highlights of the Fall Schedule include a brand new 4 part mini series, Undeadwood, starring Brian W, Foster, several of the Critical Role cast, and guest stars Ivan Van Norman, Anjali Bihmani, and Khary Payton. I know Brian is a huge fan of the Deadwood series, so I’m absolutely sure that this mini series will be a blast to watch.
Will Friedle is returning to Critical Role! And he’s bringing his wildly requested Mini painting tutorials with him. Previously only available for Alpha subscribers to the Geek and Sundry channel, Will’s mini painting adventures and his biting comedy are moving channels. His new show, Mini Primetime will feature tutorials on assembling and painting the new Critical Role Might Nein minis. By the way Marisha spoke about this show during the announcements, I cannot wait to see what they have for us.
Pub Draw with artist Babs Tarr will also return with their first guest star being Mica Burton! Also, the Everything is Content we’ve all been waiting for… Spooktacular: Scare the Ever Living Sh*t Out Of Travis. is airing on Youtube Thursday October 10th. I. Cannot. WAIT! The only thing that could make this Fall schedule even better would be an update on All Work No Play. Let’s just hope that the deafening silence on this show is just because they’re taking their sweet time to give us the best content possible. There’s so much more Everything is Content that I haven’t even begun to cover. Keep your eyes peeled and your channel subscription up to date so you don’t miss anything.