So by now you’ve heard the news. Critical Role’s Kickstarter campaign is crushing records and the Critters are still begging for more. I’ve been watching the money rain in from reaching their first $750,000 goal in under 45 minutes, to raising $1 million in under an hour, and now as I am writing this article they have broken $3 million with no end in sight.
The Critter community has already unlocked ALL FIVE stretch goals within 8 hours. This means we get at least an 88 minute animated special, A Search for Grog one shot epilogue, The Search for Bob. A Vox Machina Summer Reunion at Dalen’s Closet one shot. AND a Vox Machina x Mighty Nein crossover one shot (maybe battle royale?)
Critical Role has definitely attracted the spotlight with this Kickstarter. Many news outlets like Variety, IGN, Collider, CNBC and Forbes have taken notice and begun covering the campaign. You could say that the excitement is palpable for the DnD community tonight. Hopefully this means we could see a full series from Critical Role sometime in the future! Especially with all of the incredible talent they have rounded up for this animation. Titmouse Studios, creators of Korra and Big Mouth, will spearhead the animation. Writer Jennifer Muro, from Star Wars, JLA, and Spiderman fame will help write the scripts.
All of this is to say the Critter community is incredible. The full force of the Critter Death Hug has been felt this day. Congratulations to Critical Role! The cast has definitely felt the love and we can only look forward to the new adventures to come! Now…on to this week’s episode!
Episode 53: Cornered
This week’s episode was insanity from start to finish. The Mighty Nein are fully embracing their time in Xhorhas by doing what they do best, fraternize with the locals and start fights that they are unprepared for.
Within the first few moments of the episode we get a visit from Uk’otoa! It seems Fjord has been wandering a bit too much for his patron’s liking. He gets a very clear warning that should he not return and complete the quest there will be mortal consequences. It’s been a while since Fjord had a vision and this one left him visibly spooked. He finds some solace in confiding with Caduceus but still seems unsure of where this path will lead him.
The Nein decide the best course of action will be to lay low in the City of Beasts for a while longer. They will attempt to gain an ally in the city to aid with their rescue mission. Recalling that Lady Zephrys offered up to 15,000 gp for the Nein to seek out Abyssal rifts and capture an Empire spy in the city, they decide to poke around and see what they can find. Beau and Caduceus are rather uneasy about revealing the identity of an Empire spy, seeing as they themselves are Empire folk and this spy may be someone they know, but they both agree that nothing bad has to happen if they do find the spy.
We got not one, but two hilarious NPC caricatures from Mercer. The goblin Moorbounder breeder Zorth made an appearance to teach the Mighty Nein how to bond with and control their Moorbounders. The Nein manage to get their new steeds…mostly under control, which should prove entertaining in future episodes. Then, The Nein search the city for supplies and happen across a haunting elderly halfling merchant shopping her wares. Madame Musk creeps the f*!k out of the Mighty Nein with her lilting voice and mysterious way of speaking. Even Caduceus can’t seem to get a read on her. Only Jester seems to spot Madame’s secret and whispers a little message to her on the way out.
Along their adventures, the Nein learn that there are strange forces at work in Xhorhas. The Abyssal portals have caused quite a number of disconcerting events around the wildlands. A strange magical darkness still hangs over areas of the wilds. The plants in the area wither and the meat rots almost before they can butcher it. The Nein make their way to the Four Corners Tavern where all the scum and villainy of the city congregate, and apparently where the empire spy may be hiding. Jester and Bean immediately become entranced by the battle royal style fighting ring in the center of the tavern. They both put their bets in to fight in the next round. Jester quickly realizes that she is out of her element as she is knocked out of the fight fairly early. Beau gets a run for her money as she is paired blow for blow with an enthralling drow monk. There’s one hell of an entertaining battle that livens up the middle of the episode but, ultimately, the drow gets the upper hand and knocks Beau out of the fight.
Surprise, surprise, the Drow ends up being the Empire spy the Nein were searching for. And, just as Beau feared, the spy ends up being her mentor Dairon from the Cobalt Soul. They have a tense, but joyful reunion discussing the conditions that have brought them together.