Campaign 2: Episodes 51, 52 and The Search for Grog
Welcome back to Critical Role Review! We have so much catching up to do this week. Not only do we have two episodes of Campaign 2 to review, we also have the incredible Vox Machina one shot The Search for Grog that was finally released! There were also a lot of exciting announcements and changes announced over the last two week that we’ll cover at the end of the review.
Episode 51: Xhorhas
We are getting deep into a new arc with this week’s episode. The Nein finally reach Xhorhas after travelling through undergound tunnels for two weeks. They get no rest though, for as soon as they emerge into the sunlight they are confronted by several different threats.
Matt Mercer unleashed some highly intriguing homebrew magic in this episode. While this is not the first time the Nein have encountered “Dunamancy” magic, they are finally getting to see its more dangerous capabilities. The Nein were feeling a bit out of their league for this fight, only able to helplessly press on while the Empire scouting group were slaughtered around them. I am interested to see what new magic Matt will unveil soon, and what Caleb will try and do to gain power from it.
After the chaotic first half, the second half seemed rather like a strange hike through an alien world. They saw many fascinating creatures flying overhead or roaming in the distance. They even manage to catch the attention of an enormous Roc that incites a strange fight. In true Mighty Nein style, they manage to distract the Roc with a couple mastadons and a travelling family of bugbears.
I will admit, this episode was a bit rough for me to get through. I had to restart it three times and still feel like I may have missed some interesting interactions. While episode had some interesting moments (like the cliff climb out of the tunnels, and the Krynn attack) it was a little long winded for me.
The Mighty Nein enter the City of Beasts! Their new bugbear friend gave them some valuable information about the city on the horizon. After attempting to plan the best method of entering the City without drawing too much attention, the Nein get themselves disguised and begin to make their way through the streets.
We get to meet an amazing new NPC. Zorth, the goblin Moorbounder breeder. I was wheezing within seconds of Zorth’s introduction. I haven’t seen the cast this helplessly out of breath from laughing in ages. Zorth is this campaign’s Victor the gunpowder merchant.
The Nein take a side job to help Zarth clean out an infested Moorbounder kennel in exchange for a steep discount on several of the packbeasts. I was worried that this new side quest would distract from the main goal for a couple episodes, but the Nein are doing their best to stay on task so far. I am enjoying this exploration of Xhorhas and the scores of new characters and monsters we are meeting.
The humor in this episode really stands out. between Zorth and Nott and Jester teeming up as the Empire’s best detectives, I really enjoyed the crazy situations the Nein got themselves into.
The main fight to clear out the tunnels was more dangerous than I thought it would be. The first few rounds were so easy that I thought this would be an incredibly quick and painless mission, but by the end of the fight, several members were way to close to death for comfort. It is kind of nice to see the Nein still struggle to make it through encounters in one piece.
The Search for Grog
I did not know how much I needed this one shot in my life. I missed Vox Machina much more than I care to admit. This one shot in 100% non stop fun, action, and excitement! I dare to say it is one of my favorite Critical Role one shots.
Travis and Liam’s new characters were fantastic. Travis especially stood out with Bertrand Bell, the Gilderoy Lockheart inspired adventurer. Liam stays true to his dark, emotional characters with Lieve’tel, the female cleric of the Raven Queen.
We get to see a few fan favorite NPC’s return! Allura and Gilmore both make very emotional returns. I could hardly make it through the Gilmore reunion without my heart being broken. We also got to meet a fascinating new NPC, the Githzeri named Bob. I don’t know how Mercer does it, but each new NPC brings such depth and interesting characterization that make them instantly memorable.
The final boss battle was as epic as we could have wished. Level 20 DnD battles are definitely something to behold. While the cast spent most of the episode trying to remember how to play their old characters, they had a blast while bumbling their way through the story. I love the adventures of Vox Machina, and am so pleased to have this one shot to add to the shelf.
Don’t Miss It!
There were some major announcements last week. Critical Role has officially parted ways with Geek and Sundry. Which means that to catch Critical Role live, you have to watch on the Critical Role Twitch channel. The vod’s will also be released to the Critical Role Twitch channel.
Talks Machina will now be released on Youtube and as a podcast! For those Critters who are not able to subscribe to Twitch, this is a fantastic way to include as many fans as possible. Also, if you haven’t watched the 100th episode of Talks, I would recommend adding that one to your watch list.
Travis Willingham and Brian W. Foster have a new gaming show called Travis Willingham’s Yeehaw Game Ranch. Watch a couple of 30 year old men try and play their way through popular action video games.
Between the Sheets is currently on hiatus until March 11th. They will return with Brian’s interview with Christopher Perkins. I found Noelle Stevenson’s episode of Between the Sheets to be absolutely phenomenal. She talks openly about mental health, career success and trials in a way that was incredibly moving.
Critical Role also announced that they will be attending Denver Pop Culture Con June 1st and 2nd! Tickets will be on sale April 2nd.
Enough announcements! We’ll be back to our normal posting schedule for episode 53. Don’t worry guys, it’s almost Thursday.