Episode 18: A Hungry Jungle
We’re back! After an unexpected month off, Geekly Grind’s Critical Role Review is ready to dive back into the adventure of Bell’s Hells. For an in depth recap of each episode check out the fantastic Dani Carr’s Critical Recap .
In this episode we are thrown right into combat when Bell’s Hells accidentally aggravate a carnivorous fey plant creature. Half the group is roused from their slumber when Ashton is swallowed whole by the creature. The genasi barbarian is able to break free using their brute strength, but the fight becomes frantic when a heavily damaged Laudna is also swallowed and is nearly knocked unconscious. Laudna’s patron Delilah isn’t going to let her little pet go that easily, and helps Laudna cling to life until she can claw her way back out of the plants maw. Imogen uses her fey stone, giving her attack a fey flair while also unintentionally turning her skin a deep blue color. FCG is next to suffer being eaten by the creature and is rescued by were-Chetney’s vicious attacks. FCG helps Fearne to buzzsaw and burn the plant creature into oblivion.
After such an eventful night, the next couple days of travel pass relatively uneventfully. The gang pass by some interesting pre calamity ruins before coming across another adventuring party led by a silver dragonborn named Hutchin. It turns out the groups are traveling in the same direction and agree to keep a watchful eye out for each other.
Bell’s Hells finally make it to the hamlet and are able to locate their quarry at the Twilight Emporium Museum. The museum’s eccentric owner, Evon Hytroga, is delighted to meet the gang and tells them to return for their challenge tomorrow at midnight. Oh, and get ready for some competition. It appears that the skilled adventuring party the Bell’s ran across on the way into town will also be vying for Hytroga’s prize!
Episode 19: Omens Above
While waiting to start the heist at the Twilight Emporium Museum, the Bell’s Hells decide to follow another loose thread. Roe Estani, an elderly elf-orc uniya, was another witness to the fatal attack on the Lumas twins. Estani is able to corroborate Oshad Breshio’s story, but unfortunately doesn’t have any notes or belongings from the twins. He does disclose that the notes the twins had with them mysteriously disappeared during the attack. A bit disappointed, Imogen will have to keep searching for answers about her mother.
Estani is able to enthusiastically educate the group on the mysteries of the ruddy moon Ruidus and all its strange lore. Several powerful figures in Exandria’s history were born under the eerie flares of the red orb. These Ruidusborn may have stronger or stranger connections to the magic of the world. Imogen looks through Estani’s telescope and is a bit frightened to notice the moon is covered by an eerily familiar red storm she sees in her dreams. The gang spend the rest of the day preparing for their heist and gathering supplies around town.
That evening, Imogen finds herself trapped in another red storm nightmare. This time, she’s determined to face the storm despite her mother’s plea to run. She lets the storm overtake her, not knowing if she’ll survive or be torn apart like so many she’s seen consumed before her. She sees the image of a woman walking towards her, a demonic smile plastered on her face. Imogen tries reaching out towards her mind, but there’s nothing there. The storm overwhelms her senses and she jolts awake, the glowing purple marks on her arm inching their way further up her body. She spend the rest of the night in a restless panic.
At midnight the next evening, Bell’s Hells return to The Twilight Emporium to try their hand at a burglary heist!
Episode 20: Breaking and Entering
After a lengthy and unsurprisingly self centered preamble, Evon Hytroga releases the two competing adventuring parties to begin the heist! The other group, called The Verdict, immediately split up and infiltrate different entrances.
The less experienced Bell’s lose several precious minutes trying their best to saw, melt, and bend their way through the metal barred window and into the museum. Chetney decides to go rogue and invisibly antagonizes two members of The Verdict as they explore the upper rooms. Laudna discovers a hidden doorway behind a painting. The gang alternate between accidentally setting off several hidden traps while also laying a few of their own for The Verdict. Chetney accidentally gets caught in some of the Bell’s own traps as he tries to rejoin them. Orym’s tar and flour trap works perfectly against the Verdict. FCG is able to track the earring prize down to the lower levels of the museum.
As the Bell’s explore downward, they encounter a Kryn headdress display and Orym accidentally triggers a hallucinogenic gas trap that sends his friends spiraling in an falling illusion. It takes the group a couple long minutes to shake off the jolting effects of the gas as they escape into the next room.
Unfortunately, the next room treats them no better. The creepy marionette dolls lurking in the corners of the room jump to life and hypnotize FCG, Chetney, and Imogen into an uncontrollable bout of laughter. The rest of the gang manage to help their friends break free and they move into the next chambers.
The next rooms boast some interesting and powerful relics, but none are the earring the group searches for. The heist continues. Chetney accidentally triggers a trap door and nearly falls into a pit with a hungry gelatinous cube at the bottom. Thanks to the quick thinking teamwork and some rope, his companions manage to pull Chetney back to safety.
Together, the group explore the next chamber, led by FCG’s locate object. They find a glass case in the center of the room containing their prize! As they are investigating the room for traps and forming a plan of action, a swirling clay storm begins forming in the corner of the room. Ashton takes his hammer to the glass case, but it seems nearly impervious to his attacks. The swirling clay storms solidify into two large golem constructs that begin to make their way towards the frantic group.
And that’s where we’ll pick up next time!
The journey to the Heartmoor was relatively uneventful considering all the ominous warnings the group received prior to leaving Jrusar. The gang found some interesting relics, saw some fey-touched creatures, and met some eccentric characters.
The story picked up the pace a bit once the Bell’s Hells reached the main city in the Heartmoor. While it may not have been their primary reason for coming to the Heartmoor, the gang’s conversation with the uniya Estani was pretty interesting. Mercer is laying on the Ruidus lore preeeety thick this campaign. We saw some hints of moon lore and interest in campaign 2 but the Mighty Nein never bit at that particular bait. It seems like several players have a more intimate connection to the red moon in this campaign, which could lead to some fascinating story lines. Who knows, maybe Critical Role will go to space this campaign!
Orym and Imogen didn’t have any luck following their stories’ breadcrumbs here in the Heartmoor. No new information came out of investigate the Lumas’ twins attack site and the missing pages with information about Imogen’s mother are also missing. I guess we’ll have to dig a little deeper for those threads later in the campaign.
Chetney had a bit of a backstory moment when mention of his old mentor Oltgar reached his ear. Not sure if his history will be explored too deeply in this story arc, but I think this little moment warrants some attention.
With all the extraneous story lines taken care of for now, the gang got right into their first group burglary heist. This one went (not so) surprisingly better than the ‘ring swap’ heist at the ball. The Bell’s are up against a well trained burglary team and their inexperience was immediately obvious when we blinked and the other crew had already split up and climbed their way up into a second story window. Chetney and Orym doubled up on the humor and hijinks to antagonize the other group. Chetney, who invisibly haunted half the other party, managed to delay and tangle up the NPC’s enough to slow them down in their investigations. Orym decided to lay a few of his own ‘harmless’ traps after falling prey to a few himself.
Once the gang got their antics out of the way, FCG quickly led everyone to the lower levels of the museum and they were able to locate the prized item by the episodes end. I loved all the fascinating little relics that dotted the museum’s displays. There was an item from the as of yet unexplored Issylra. I am dying to know what this mysterious land could be hiding. Of course there were some fun Kryn relics floating around. I’m curious to know how authentic some of these relics really are. Do you think that Hytroga really has a broken beacon sitting in this little museum basement?? And what about the authenticity of the pre-calamity journal of the infamous Vespin Chloras?! I’d love it if Mercer gave this eccentric little museum curator actual incredible relics. He’s just weird enough that I can’t help but wish this museum actually contains what it boasts to contain.
With the heist in full swing and the Wind’s Folly earring located, next episode promises to be packed with action and excitement. The Bell’s are facing down two terrifyingly huge clay golems that stand between them and the exit. On the other side of the door, their seasoned burglar opponents. The mad dash to the finish line begins! Let’s see if the Bell’s have the wits and constitution to fight their way tooth and nail out of the bowls of the Twilight Emporium!
We’ll be back next week to deep dive into episode 21 of Campaign 3! Don’t worry Critters, it’s almost Thursday.
Don’t Miss It!
There’s been a TON of Critical Role content that released during our hiatus.
First up, did you catch the wonderful, high octane Tiny Tina’s Wonderland One Shot? Lovely GM Ashly Burch led a troop of seasoned DnD veterans through an adventure based on the popular video game of the same name. Shout out to fan favorite and comedian Ify Nwadiwe for dominating the stage with his humorous role play. This one shot also saw the return of Robbie Daymond as well as main cast members Ashley Johnson, Travis Willingham, and Laura Bailey.
Continuing on the video game RPG train, we have an Elden Ring One-Shot. Matthew Mercer GM’s this deep fantasy based adventure. If you’re looking for some new faces at the Critical Role table, this one-shot is for you. Fans were clamoring over the appearance of Brennan Lee Mulligan, a familiar face on rival DnD RPG Dimension 20. Joining the DnD all star was returning guest star, the lovely Krystina Arielle who brought her role play A game with hilarious and deeply serious priestess character. Fans of Sam and Liam’s show All Work No Play will recognize the next guest star Alex Ward. Joining the table were main cast members Marisha Ray and Sam Riegel.
Next on the list, the two part Exandria Unlimited: Kymal escapades. These episodes follow the trials and tribulations of Dorian Storm and his wayward brother Cyrus Wyvernwind as they navigate the seedy casino town Kymal.
And finally, Critical Role’s newest after show 4-Sided Dive! Marisha Ray leads cast members Robbie Daymond, Matthew Mercer, and Travis Willingham on dishing all the behind the scenes tea critters have been waiting for. Learn all about Robbie’s experience at the table, Travis’ daring character choices, and Laudna’s delicious backstory and patron.
If that wasn’t enough Critical Role content for you, there’s a couple of Everything is Content episodes lurking around as well. Keep an eye out at the end of the month for Critical Role’s Red Nose Day special episode. Matthew will return to GM Stephen Colbert and a handful of main cast members reprising their Mighty Nein characters!