Episode 16: The Shade Mother
Chetney stealthily investigates the chamber ahead while his companions deal with the remaining shade creepers. He finds the twisted Lady Emoth speaking with a horrifying monster lurking on the ceiling of the cavern. The hulking lump of flesh drips and oozes with a strange visceral goo. Elongated, clawed limbs stretch out of the cocoon of flesh, ending in a nightmare vision of dark hair and sharp teeth and black eyes. The Shade Mother speaks directly into Chetney’s mind, urging him to show himself and join her children. Chetney manages to quietly escape the chamber without drawing attention and goes to warn his friends.
After Chetney describes the nightmare that awaits them, Bell’s Hells make a plan of action. Gus and Ollie will focus on incapacitating Lady Emoth to bring her in for questioning while the rest of the gang will focus fire power on the Shade Mother. The group dive into action.
Gus slings a fireball at the Shade Mother to create a distraction while Bell’s Hells spread over the battle field. Ollie throws an amber ball of force at Lady Emoth and it manages to cage her completely and remove her from the fight. The gang try and land a few hits against the Shade Mother, but then she calls forth another wave of shade creepers. Fearne evens the playing field by calling up an intense sunlight spell to light up the battlefield. The spell is super effective against the Shade Mother and her little minions, putting them at a major disadvantage for the rest of the battle.
The next tense few rounds play out with both sides taking heavy damage. Laudna struggles to land any attacks against shade creeper or their mother. Ashton wallops on the shade creepers while the Shade Mother hangs out of range on the ceiling. FCG and Orym are poisoned by the Mother’s stinger and excreted slime coating the battlefield. FCG notices a strange bit of machinery near the Mother and pulls the lever to turn it on. A large boring drill powers up and sends a wave of rubble crashing down on the battlefield, nearly crushing Chetney and Imogen.
Orym uses the chaos to come up with plan to capture the Mother. He pulls out Marwa’s magical rope and ties one end of it to the Shade Mother’s abdomen. Then, he dives towards the spinning drill and drops the other end of the rope into the gnashing mechanical maw. In a few quick seconds, the Mother finds herself slowly being sucked in towards the drill and unable to strike out at Bell’s Hells. The gang use this distraction to make their escape.
They roll the captured Lady Emoth towards the elevator exit, followed by the increasingly desperate screams of the Mother. Lady Emoth is in a feral, angry state and is not responding to any attempts to communicate. Ashton and Orym cover the rest of the group from more shade creeper attacks. Laudna is hanging on by the skin of her teeth after suffering attack after attack from the sharp claws of the creepers. The gang manage to cram themselves back into the elevator and begin their long ascent to the surface.
Once the adrenaline of battle has worn off, Gus and Ollie thank Bell’s Hells for their help in uncovering this sinister ordeal. They promise to keep the gang updated on what they find connecting Lady Emoth to Lord Treshi and the Nightmare King. The gang call it a day and head over to the Sip and Swill to regroup and recover.
The rest of the night is spent in high spirits, checking in with each other, flirting, cuddle piles, and planning for the upcoming adventures. As each of her friends drift off to sleep, Imogen can’t help but investigate the strange, powerful orb she picked up from the Shade Mother fight. She can sense a strange enticing magic emanating from the orb and opens her mind to it’s influence. The magic is an irresistible siren’s call to her and she lets herself fall into its grasp. She falls asleep cradling the orb to her chest, unwilling to let it out of her sight.
This episode definitely started off with a bang. Last week’s cliffhanger turned into this week’s two and a half hour long epic showdown. Critters were a bit worried for our Bell’s Hells going into this Boss battle right after wearing themselves down against a horde of shade creepers. Bell’s showed their strengths though and fairly dominated the playing field. Even against the formidable Shade Mother and her creeper children, everyone managed to stay on their feet and escape to safety with nary a death saving throw in sight.
Not to say that things didn’t get a little hairy during the battle. Laudna, FCG, Orym, and Chetney were all quite worse for wear by the end of the day. Thankfully though, this fight had quite a few MVP moments that really turned the tides for the gang. Having an NPC take out Lady Emoth from the fight completely was a huge boon right from the first round. Then, Fearne unknowingly flipped the table when she summoned Sunlight onto the field and instilled a nascent disadvantage on all enemy attacks. I don’t think everyone would have made it through the fight without her spell. And finally Orym came in hot with his little bondage trick and trapped the Shade Mother in her own lair. Brilliant maneuvers all around!
The second half of the episode calms down considerably. Bell’s Hells get a well deserved rest after some non stop action starting all the way back at Treshi’s ball. Rather than hyperfocusing on uncovering the story’s mysteries, the gang let loose and have a little fun back at the tavern for the night. Everyone spends a few moments checking in with each other and building those character ties. Ashley and Travis play a little “will they, won’t they” chicken when Chetney flirts with the down for anything Fearne. Ultimately, Chetney sleeps through his rendezvous hour with the gorgeous gal and the story moves on to something a bit more spicy.
We ended the episode with an interesting cliffhanger to lead into next week. Imogen just couldn’t help herself around the magical orb recovered from the Mother’s lair. FCG had promised to identify the orb first thing in the morning. Her and Laudna’s investigation promised that the orb contained a strangely familiar, and enticing magic that would probably best be left alone for now. But no. Imogen’s impulses just couldn’t be contained and she ended up falling under the orb’s influence. Mercer ended the episode before revealing just how much trouble Imogen might be in. So we’re up for quite a treat to start the next session. I’m so curious to see how all these threads connect and how this orb will tie into it all.
Don’t worry Critters! It’s almost Thursday.
Don’t Miss It!
Critical Role released an exciting new State of the Role in celebration of their 7th anniversary! They announced two new shows coming our way in the next few weeks.
First up, we have a second mini series of Exandria Unlimited: Kymal featuring some familiar faces. Aabria Iyengar will return to GM a two-shot following the story of Dorian Storm (Robbie Daymond) and his hapless brother Cyrus Wyvernwind (Matthew Mercer) as they travel through the dregs of Kymal to reunite with fellow Crown Keepers Fy’ra Rai (Anjali Bhimani) and Opal (Amy Carrero). Joining the fabulous returning cast, we have esteemed voice actress Erica Lindbeck hopping on to Critical Role for the first time! The two episodes will air back to back starting Thursday, March 31st at 7 pm, then April 1st at 7.
Up next, we have the return/ debut of a new Critical Role aftershow. The long awaited replacement to Talks Machina will be called 4 Sided Dive. It will feature a new and interesting set up. Each episode will feature a four member round table of cast members. The host will be decided at the start of each episode by die roll. The episode will still feature audience questions, though in a different way than we’ve seen before. You can visit critrole.com/tower to submit general, open-to-any-cast-member questions like “what’s your favorite C3 moment so far” or “what’s surprised you most about your character”. The cast will then play a “jenga” style game to answer these audience submitted questions. Based on the description, this show seems to completely change up the game in what to expect from an aftershow. Knowing the level of chaos that Talks used to devolve to, it’ll be interesting to see how well the episodes flow with a randomly decided host. Catch the first episode of 4 Sided Dive Tuesday April 5th at 7 pm.