Missed last week’s review? Find it here!
Episode 5: The Open Road
Fjord and friends travel north on their way to the city of Zadash. On their way they get to know each other a little better, encounter a few other travelers, and spend the night underneath the stars. Fjord has a restless sleep with a nightmare of drowning in an ocean of water. An oppressive presence crushes the water around him. As he struggles to find a way to escape, an enormous yellow eye opens and a voice echoes in his mind. Watching. The water around him vibrated and rumbled from the power of this creature. Fjord asked what this entity wanted of him. Potential, Learn, Grow, Provoke, Consume. Each word sending shockwaves through Fjord’s body. He returns to consciousness shaken and vomiting sea water.
Concerned for Fjord’s wellbeing, his companions question him about his dream and the cursed blade he carries. He tells a story of a shipwreck, nearly drowning, and finding the blade on a deserted island. The curved falchion is crusted in sea-life and barnacles and perpetually drips sea water. Fjord appears to be bonded to the weapon and can call it to his hand at any time. His companions are intrigued by the story and are curious to learn more of Fjord’s story.
As the group approaches the city of Alfield, their first stop along the way, they find the city up in flames and the townsfolk running from attack. Beau, Fjord, and Caleb rush ahead and see a band of jackal-like Gnolls attacking the city, burning the homes, and collecting bodies of the dead. The Crown’s Guard are woefully underprepared for attack and ask for the groups help in defending against the Gnolls, offering 30 gold a piece for each kill. The group eagerly agrees and unleashes a volley of attacks against the Gnolls. The Gnoll leader, a ferocious armored Gnoll, takes out Mollymauk and Nott with two longbow arrows and calls for a retreat. Taking a moment to heal, the group regathers their strength and ask the Crown’s Guard why a group of living and undead Gnolls has attacked their city. The Guard said they heard of a roving band of Gnolls several miles to the south and had sent most of their guard to investigate when the town was attacked. The Guard also said that it is very uncommon for the Gnolls to attack the city itself, and noticed that this time they collected bodies of the dead and raided the taverns for any other meat they could find. The group decide to stay in Alfield for the evening, just in case the Gnolls return. They hole up for the night in one of the only remaining inns still in operation and drink themselves to sleep.
This episode was just delightful. The humor was so on point throughout the whole episode and the story was engaging. I had so many favorite moments scattered across the episode it was hard to pick some to write about. Jester’s quirky persona adds such an element of fun and unpredictability that I am quickly falling in love with. Her interactions with Caleb while he was warg-ing as Frumpkin were hilarious, as well as her giant lollypop spiritual weapon she used to bludgeon a Gnoll to bits. Beau makes another ‘seaman’ joke that earns her a begrudging handshake from Fjord and a double facepalm from the DM.
The action was great this episode too, and I am really enjoying watching the group get used to low level characters again. Seeing them wince at 6 or 7 hp damage is so endearing. The group has leveled up to level 3, so we are starting to get hints of subclasses and more in depth backstories. There was another one-on-one session with the DM this episode. This time it was Fjord’s turn for a backstory interlude. I will say, I enjoyed this one-on-one a bit more than the last one. Travis looked terrified to be on camera alone with the DM. The story flowed really well though, and was a super interesting peek into Fjord’s warlock origins. Something interesting I caught while rewatching Travis’ one-on-on was that he changes Fjord’s accent from ‘Texan’ to a more ‘British’ accent, making me wonder if Fjord’s entire ‘cowboy’ character is a façade. It will be interesting to see some other one-on-one sessions in the episodes to come. I am particularly interested in Caleb’s backstory and hope that there is something interesting underneath the hobo-dirty façade.
I am excited to see where this campaign goes in the next few episodes. All the freaky necromancy spreading throughout the lands is pointing to a pretty awesome Necromancer boss battle showdown sometime in the future.