Miss my review last week? Find it here!
Episode 7: Hush
Fjord and friends continue their rescue mission in their mines. They rush to the aid of a woman screaming for her child, who is being carried away by a vicious gnoll. With the help of a mysterious newcomer, they rescue the woman and child, who almost loses his life in the hands of the gnoll. The group thanks the stranger who came to their aid and introduce themselves to the man named Shakӓste. Shӓkaste, a human cleric with a stark white afro, beard, and eyes, is glad to make their acquaintance and offers to help them look for more survivors and lead them to a safe house above ground. The group all agrees to the offer and Shӓkaste leads everyone to his safehouse a short way from the surface of the mine. He has several more townsfolk hidden there and promises to protect them and return soon with more survivors.
The adventurers head back down into the mine to try to find more people to save. They come across the strange human priest/shaman that wears the skins of a gnoll over his arms and head. The priest is offering a fresh sacrifice of flesh to a large winged beast in the center of the room. Horrified, the group rushes in to attack the beast and save the two chained humans from being the next sacrifice. The priest unleashes attack after attack on the group, defending this winged Manticore and her infant. The fight nearly becomes deadly for several members of the group. Fjord is paralyzed by the priest and is seconds away from a grisly death when Nott saved him by killing the Manticore’s baby. Nott is then attacked and nearly killed by the Manticore, who is furious over the death of her baby. The priest uses the distraction to Spartan kick Beau down a 30 ft hole in the floor and knock Jester unconscious with a blast of necrotic energy. Shӓkaste turns the tide of the fight by taking down the Manticore with a bludgeoning attack from his Spiritual Weapon and an epic Sacred Flame. Caleb, in a frighteningly violent attack, lights the Priest’s head on fire, killing the priest and ending the fight.
The group recoups and returns to Shӓkaste’s safehouse to reunite all the rescued survivors. They begin the slow trek back to Alfield and are welcomed back with open arms. They relish in the attention and enjoy being treated as heroes. Shӓkaste uses this busy moment to slowly fade into the background and slip away without saying goodbye.
First guest appearance of the new season was a success! Khary Payton’s role playing was so great and Shakӓste was such an interesting character to flesh out over the course of the episode. It seemed like Khary was pretty new to DnD and did admit to only playing a few sessions with his kids. I personally liked watching him figure everything out and add such fun flavor to the episode. Some of my favorite moments were watching Khary play Shakӓste, like the “Estelle Getty Spiritual Weapon” or his heartbreakingly adorable hummingbird familiar Duchess Anastasia. I also loved his post-episode gift of a Will Wheaton cursed die that sent the whole cast into a superstitious uproar.
The fights in this episode were all pretty epic. There were a few moments where I was worried for Fjord, Jester and Nott, who all seemed to be in over their heads. Nott was a true badass murderhobo this episode with the epic baby Manticore killing. Caleb also had quite a “How do you want to do this?” moment, with the ghost-rider style burning head killing. There were also hints of a darker, more sinister backstory for Caleb that I hope gets a more in depth look next week. I have been intrigued by Liam’s choice to play Caleb as a socially awkward outsider and I hope that Caleb doesn’t get as emo as Vax did at the end there.
Jester continues to be one of my favorite characters this campaign. The moment where she decides to heal the injured child instead of attack the last surviving gnoll, all while grumbling about wanting to be back in the fight was another favorite.
Although, I liked the flavor of the fight between Nott and the Manticore, I felt like Matt took some liberties as DM that would have made me frustrated as a player. Giving advantage on two or three attacks in a row seemed like the DM was reaching for an epic monster moment that never actually came. Sam was a great sport about the whole thing and played along with the action just fine, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.
I am really looking forward to see where the group goes in next week’s episode. This episode ended on a strangely quiet moment that leaves a lot open to the players. I’m ready for more creepy Necromancer creature attacks and more in-depth character developments.
Episode 8 is here, and so is my review!