Bonus One Shot: Club of Misfits
In this bye-week special one shot, GM Laura Bailey takes us on a spooky adventure through ‘Shmogwarts Academy”! The streams have crossed as two classic movies mash up to give us a magical adventure with a teenage coming of age theme. All story elements that mirror Harry Potter or Breakfast Club are merely coincidence. No copyrights were infringed in the making of this one-shot.
Our five heroes begin their story in Shmogwarts detention. As punishment, the students have been forced to stay behind from a trip to Shmogsmeade. Their professor, Furbin, the Defense Against the Dark Farts teacher, assigns them all to write an essay describing who they think they are. The professor gets a mysterious message and must quickly leave the classroom. She threatens the students to not leave their seats as she will know if they get up to trouble.
The five students finally get to know each other. A young red headed Dryffingor witch named Claire Sittish looks over her shoulder and notices Brian, her quiet and nerdy Pegeonclaw classmate. In the back corner, a rowdy Smytherpin wizard with dark hair named John Bunder tries to make conversation with a shy Horfleporf girl named Alison. She hides in her scarves. Andy, the typical Smytherpin jock wizard kid, tries to stay out of trouble on his own. Bunder, already bored of the assignment and intrigued by the Professors locked office door, decides to break the rules and go see if he can find something more interesting to do.
He can hear small voices calling for help behind the locked door. He calls the others over to investigate and they manage to get the door unlocked and find a small cage sitting near the Professor’s desk. Inside are tiny Faeries, though these ones have a strange arachnid type appearance. The Faeries beg for help, asking to be released so they can go back home to the forest. Bunder and Brian unlock the cage and free the faeries. The faeries go absolutely berserk once they are freed, destroying the Professor’s office and attacking the students.
The students band together and one by one take out the Faeries. Bunder is ready for more action and wants to explore outside of the classroom. The others are nervous to break the rules and leave the classroom, but Bunder persuades them all to take a risk and live a little. The five students begin to make their way towards the great hall.
As they carefully sneak around the hallways, they notice another little voice calling for help. Allison, Claire and Bunder discover a house-elf named Beetle. Beetle asks the kind students for help. She is being attacked by spiders roaming in the tunnels beneath the school. She thinks it’s her fault the spiders are attacking because she stole some creatures from the forbidden forest for Professor Furbin. Bunder agrees to try and help, bringing his other classmates along for the ride.
Beetle leads the students to a dark tunnel hidden behind a wall. She says that this is where the spiders are all coming from. Bunder and Andy lead the group down into the tunnels. They reach the end of the dark tunnel to find a hidden chamber under the school. A giant chessboard with human sized chess pieces sits in the center of the chamber. Andy and Allison notice the giant spiderwebs covering the corners of the room.
Bunder and Allison begin to play the game of Wizard’s chess and tell their other classmates to pick pieces to play. As they begin to play, Bunder notices giant spiders closing in on them. The five Misfits must use their chess skills and their fighting skills to ward off the spiders. An intense battle ensues and several of the group get seriously injured in the fight. Andy, Allison and Bunder take out the spider’s leader, Son of Aragog. Dusting themselves off, they bond over the intense fight and start to make their way back to the surface. Beetle thanks them for their help and says they have to hurry back to class. She will distract the professor and give them enough time to sneak back in.
The group quickly hurry to their classroom and leave their professor a note detailing their emotional growth and self discovery. The newly minted Club of Misfits all leave together, fist-pumping into the distance.
This was such a fun episode. I loved it and thought that first time GM Laura Bailey did such an amazing job. The story was great and the mashup between Harry Potter and The Breakfast Club was fantastic. The action and story flowed really well and didn’t feel rushed or dragged out. The ending was enjoyable and made for a memorable one-shot.
Laura Bailey was so lovely as this sessions GM. For as nervous and she was, it didn’t show a bit and I thought she handled the fights and action like a pro. I particularly loved her voices for the Faeries and Beetle the house elf. We’ve gotten to see her sexy British accent and now her adorable Jester accent, but this was a rare peek into her mythical creature repertoire.
Liam O’Brian, Travis Willingham, Taliesin Jaffe, Sam Riegel, and Brian W. Foster were an outstanding cast tonight. It’s always so fun to watch the cast play new characters. Travis was having a blast the entire time. He is an avid Harry Potter fan and has in fact gotten other cast mates into the series. His face when Laura pulled out the Wizard’s Chess fight was amazing. Liam played a loveable goth character once again, although this time with a little bit of druid thrown in.
Brian was my favorite hilarious mess of a character. His role playing was great, but the accent….oh the accent. I knew it would be something else when he apologized to all of England before the episode even came out. It’s better if you pretend he is an Australian foreign exchange student that’s just trying to fit in. It’s amazing to watch the accent evolve and fall apart by the end of the episode.
Taliesin was the real MVP of the episode as Andy. He crushed every round of combat and saved all their asses multiple times. For as quiet as Andy was during the episode, he really was a crucial character. Sam Riegel was the surprise wild card this episode. Claire was supposed to be a typical Gryffindor/ Molly Ringwald type but actually ended up somewhere closer to Slytherin/ Mean Girls tropes. I guess that happens when you’ve NEVER SEEN Harry Potter or the Breakfast Club.
The final battle was as epic as you’d want from a magical wizarding world adventure. I was really impressed that she managed to combine chess and a monster boss battle and have them both work really well. It was kind of a low stakes battle as no one died or really came close to death. Not every one-shot has to be a Liam O’Brian murderfest special though!
Overall, this is definitely an episode to watch or recommend to friends interested in starting Critical Role. The Harry Potter and Breakfast Club aspects are super appealing to a mass audience and may be a fun way to introduce friends into the wide world of Dungeons and Dragons without bashing them over the head with the Dungeons…..and Dragons…
Next week’s episode will pick back up with The Mighty Nein in the creepy Yuan-ti temple! Don’t forget to check out Critical Role’s other fantastic shows. Last week’s episode of All Work No Play was a hilarious Halloween Monster Makeup. Matthew Mercer’s episode of Between the Sheets is a two hour long amazing conversation that you don’t want to miss. Also, in case you didn’t notice, The Q&A from MCM London was posted on Facebook for everyone to watch.