Critical Role: The Folding Halls
October 14, 2019 7:47 PM - Season 2, Episode 80 - Subscribe

The Mighty Nein recover from their encounter with Obann and head to Nicodranas to seek Yussah's guidance, but find more than just a meeting awaits them...
posted by booksherpa (8 comments total)

So, this episode gave me even more respect for Matt's DM'ing. He had to know his players were off their game from the recent spate of off weeks, and their characters were disheartened by a series of difficult defeats, but there's not much he can do in-game to help them out.

He CAN, however, do something in-game that is pretty awesome at a meta level! What a delight, and how appropriate that Allura, one of Matt's two personal counterparts in Exandria, was the first character we meet again from Campaign 1. I loved the cast's reactions when they realized who it could be - yay Laura, who I think figured it out first. I loved their reactions again when he confirmed it. I loved Matt's smile as Allura introduced herself, and his attempts to stay in character and in the scene.

Also, the M9 now have a specific goal that helps focus them on an immediate task that the players didn't have to dig into their memories for and helps them save the disaster that has been trying to stop Obann and the Laughing Hand while rescuing Yasha. It may also move the plot along bigtime because a day or two spent in the Happy Fun Ball will mean weeks in the real world.

I'm glad it's Matt on Talks tomorrow; I'll be curious what he has to say. It's also Matt and Taliesin together, which is always a delight.

Oh! Also fodder for conversation: Bright Queen is having them watched. Fjord felt some of the effects of Cad's spell. What will Yussah's gratitude (assuming they rescue him) earn them? Multiple whispers! Caleb made a spell!
posted by booksherpa at 8:14 PM on October 14, 2019

Yes, it very much felt like Matt was giving them an episode that was designed to lift spirits; he listened very closely as they discussed their lack of allies and that they would make some decisions about the Dynasty based on how Essik responded to them - and then had Essik apologize for how he had been acting. Then, he has Allura show up during what appears to be a side quest, and then that side quest takes on huge importance as they realize the Happy Fun Ball might contain the heart of Gigglefist.

It was nice to see the session end with cheers and excitement.

"Don't pop and lock, please. It's the dad joke of dancing."
"I rolled a three, I have to pop and lock!"
posted by nubs at 9:01 PM on October 14, 2019

Finally caught up! I’ve been watching the campaign since it started, but took a break when they met the Bright Queen. That first conversation with her was real uncomfortable.

It’s nice that there’s an NPC they all implicitly trust now, but also bittersweet that Matt hasn’t been able to make any Dynasty characters trustworthy enough to fill that role yet.

A few episodes back we found out that The Traveler is considered a cult by scholars. I’m curious, since Jester keeps drawing dicks alongside her Traveler graffiti, if those scholars consider it to specifically be a fertility cult.
posted by lazugod at 1:09 AM on October 15, 2019

I was really sick tonight and queued this up to listen while I was in bed. It was just what I needed. I really like how Matt paid attention to his players. His says his purpose is to give them a good game that they enjoy and he lives up to that. Sometimes that means hard decisions or outcomes, because it's no fun if there are no consequences at all, but he listened when they said that being so unsure about everything was wearing on them. He's not prideful about telling "tough" stories, like some DMs are.

It also reassured me about Essik, who I have been hoping will turn out to be an ally. They really need more of those. I mean, you never know, but I think they need more allies. Grey areas and mysteries are fun but so are NPCs that DON'T stab you in the back...
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:31 AM on October 15, 2019

bittersweet that Matt hasn’t been able to make any Dynasty characters trustworthy enough to fill that role yet.

I think it's been deliberate; this campaign has been about secrets, factions and intrigue. It's part of the reason I think that Matt has been making sure that family connections like Jester's & Nott's have been warm and supportive, because the rest of the world of the M9 is full of hidden agendas and suspect people; heck, it wasn't that long ago that some of the fans figured the "big bad" was going to be someone from the group. So the recurring NPCs are going to be a shady lot in part because the M9 are generally suspicious themselves.

Wouldn't it be a hoot if Essik has been a solid ally this whole time, but the reason he's being escorted by security is because he's been spending a little too much time & doing a few too many favours for the M9 and is under suspicion himself? Maybe the twist isn't that an NPC will stab them in the back; maybe it's the fact that hanging around with the M9 causes the NPC to be viewed with suspicion by the larger powers and they get stabbed instead.
posted by nubs at 8:53 AM on October 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm also wondering if the Dreadnought room is home to an Astral Dreadnought
posted by nubs at 8:58 AM on October 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

We/the players also have (meta) reassurance about Yussah's trustworthiness as an ally through his association with Allura. If they do manage to get him out of the ball, they now have an NPC whose been vetted by someone the players trust, who isn't associated with either side in the major conflict, and who may be someone they can turn to for greater assistance in the future.
posted by darchildre at 1:14 PM on October 15, 2019

I'm also wondering if the Dreadnought room is home to an Astral Dreadnought

I am going to file this under "Possible but Unlikely". This detour, as entertaining as it is, feels designed to give the Mighty Nein an easy W to boost morale and pull them out of the spiral that they have been in since the players came back from Burning Man. Unless Matt did some serious contortions of logic to stack the deck in the PCs' favor an Astral Dreadnought would absolutely wreck their shit even if Allura and Yussah helped (although if Allura were able to call in Vox Machina they could probably handle it without breaking a sweat).

Per the standard D&D rules Nott should not have been able to activate sneak attack against the froghemoth; disadvantage cancels sneak attack. I am unsure whether Matt was aware of this; he tends to bend the rules toward allowing the PCs some leeway in using their powers to their greatest possible effect because it's more fun for the audience at home.

I love the weird fringe monsters that don't get the same levels of love and exposure as beholders and mind flayers; the froghemoth is an old favorite of mine. I never played Expedition to the Barrier Peaks but I appreciate it as a source of some of the weirder monsters in D&D (although it’s 2019 and I no longer feel comfortable with the name "vegepygmies" so I just call them "little mold dudes"). I would be greatly amused if Matt were to work the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing and karate master robot into the story somehow.

Overall, a good episode even if dungeon crawl episodes are not normally my thing.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 2:42 PM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

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