Episode 81: From Door to Door
Matthew Mercer absolutely crushes it out of the park with this week’s episode. The Happy Fun Ball has always been a confusing and intense little ball of misadventure, but this session proves that the Nein are way out of their league here.
There is no break in the action for the great majority of the episode, with a fight breaking out within the first few moments of the show. The Nein have fled through another arcane doorway still searching for the Permaheart Chamber and hoping to lose the rather frightening Iron Golem that locked in on them. With only a few frantic moments to orient themselves in a new plane of the Heirloom Sphere, The Nein get separated as the Iron Golem tears into the doorway. True to the nature of the sphere, the Golem has an anti-magic field around it and rends most of the Nein’s abilities, spells, and items completely useless in this fight. Their only option is to run.
If an anti-magic, T1000 laser focused, killer iron robot isn’t enough tension, why not add a totally dangerous, 100 % deadly labyrinth of clockwork gears to traverse in order to escape? Simple, right? Easy to do under pressure? OH, and by the way, the killer robot has rocket powered boosters and can fly. Totally fair fight.
The rules and role play got a little bit wiggly during both Golem encounters during this session. Chalk it up to intense nerves from the players, mainly Laura Bailey, and Mercer having to keep in mind every possible magical item, spell, or ability the Nein might have tried to use against the Golem. There were a handful of instances where actions had to be retconned, or players froze for waaaay too long during a turn trying to figure out how to escape. I can’t even remember how many times Laura and Liam were giant birds, then weren’t birds, then maybe were birds again “because I wouldn’t have dropped the spell if I had known…” Let’s face it though, we’ve all had those intense D&D battles where we lose our heads, freeze like a deer in the headlights and just begin feverishly metagaming our way out of the terrible nightmare.
All of the struggling and metagaming in the first half really lent a more punchy victory to the Nein in the second encounter with the Golem. Because their fight was so desperate and intense, the incredibly lucky victory at the hands of Caduceus, Beau and Nott was so much sweeter. One of my favorite moments was when a completely powerless Fjord literally held up his bare fists as if they would somehow defeat the Iron beast. Caduceus needs a huge raise after his lifesaving uses of Command to ON/OFF switch the Golem for just long enough to allow his companions to escape. Beau also did a lion’s share of damage with her magic fists as she was the only one able to get close enough to bypass the anti-magic sphere. Nott also played her part by hijacking the Alien tech ballistas do deal the killing blow with a well aimed acid spray.
If that first half wasn’t enough of an episode for you, just wait, there’s more! Matt has been dropping hints of tech, gear, and magic that seemingly originated in the Heirloom Sphere. The weird blue alien tech that the Nein previously saw in the White Dragon’s lair. Or the Golem’s clockwork mechanisms that were previously battled in Hupperdook. OH and don’t forget that Halas, the creator of the Happy Fun Ball, might also be the Laughing Hand!! Let’s not glaze over that little tidbit from the cliffhanger. Was that not the creepiest mutant clone scene? Nasty boy Halas was into some weird stuff when he “disappeared”. Hopefully Yussah is somewhere nearby the Permaheart chamber. If the Nein spend any longer exploring the Folding Halls, or building Tiny Willi Golems to follow them around, they’re going to miss Traveler-Con and the whole rest of the Empire/Dynasty war. Don’t worry though, it’s almost Thursday!
Don’t Miss It!
If you didn’t catch the first episode of UnDeadwood then you are seriously missing out. You don’t need any prior knowledge or familiarity with the tv show Deadwood to really appreciate the craftsmanship and story that went into Undeadwood. I could rant all day about how amazing this episode is OR, you could go read Geekly Grind’s own Mithrandiel’s full breakdown review!