Critical Role: Blood and Dust
September 12, 2022 12:17 PM - Season 3, Episode 33 - Subscribe

Surrounded by chaos, Bells Hells act quickly to secure their quarry, but their attempted escape leads to an unexpected confrontation with a deadly foe...
posted by nubs (12 comments total)
Haven't watched this yet, but I know this is a heavy episode - so be warned about spoilers, if you aren't caught up. Also, just in case, be kind.
posted by nubs at 12:20 PM on September 12, 2022

Holy. Moly.
posted by coriolisdave at 7:44 PM on September 12, 2022

Fucking hell, Matt.

So are psionics just broken as shit in D&D or was this massively poor luck?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 9:10 PM on September 12, 2022

I don't think psionics are broken at all, just the luck here was veeeeeery poor.

Knowing Matt this was a winnable fight but they came in somewhate tapped, and dropping Ashton in the first turn completely ruined any chance they had of prevailing. They were immediately on the back foot, scrambling to get people up instead of dropping the hammer on the bad.

The surfeit of legendary actions and shadows equalised action economy and made her super mobile, so she couldn't be pinned - even if someone had sentinel, which this party sorely lacks*.

* For now. Who knows what new characters will bring to the table

posted by coriolisdave at 1:14 AM on September 13, 2022

They came in tapped and with the party physically separated; Imogen's initial spell didn't help the party in terms of being able to rejoin (or at least be in support range of each other) against a highly mobile foe; and the dice really ran against them especially on initiative and the opening round where a non-raging Ashton got shredded. Even at full capacity, that would have been a tough fight but possible. Matt was generous in his rulings, but also played the NPC as an intelligent, deadly opponent.

FCG still has a revivfy.
posted by nubs at 3:29 AM on September 13, 2022

I haven't watched the episode yet but I've been DMing for about 10 years and I have been trying to kill my players in epic fashion for ages. It almost sounds like a perfectly planned TPK with the resource depletion and party split. I wish my attempts were half as effective.
posted by fiercekitten at 6:59 PM on September 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

I was spoiler-d for something big before I watched the episode (thanks not!thanks, but I am kinda glad I was, because I probably would have been too tense to get through the entire episode otherwise.

Matt seemed exceedingly happy with the ending, so I don't think next week will be a full on Flash Gordon Retcon, but I also don't think that the characters nor we the viewers have the entire story about what actually happened during the fight / Imogen's transformation
posted by Faintdreams at 8:56 AM on September 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

Matt seemed exceedingly happy with the ending

I have to say, if they retcon what happened ("it was all just a dream") - I'd be pretty fed up. Part of what made this episode thrilling for me was the sense that there was no safety rail (which seemed more common in C1 and less common since), that it was one of those D&D sessions where the plan (if there was one) or the situation has gone to shit, and anything can happen - the player's creativity in the moment and the dice are going to write the outcome.

I was a little pissed at the Polygon article ("why did he want to do this?") as I think that's attributing a level of malice to Matt that has never been there - it was always, always abundantly clear that Otohan was a major threat, and he played her as one; he wasn't out to get them deliberately. I don't know, it made me think of a not uncommon mindset in D&D that it is DM vs. players, which is never the vibe on CR. I think Matt was happy/excited for the same reason many of the players were - it was a thrilling encounter, he had the players fully invested, and everyone had fun.
posted by nubs at 10:34 AM on September 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

It's been pointed out on the subreddit that (a) Laudna isn't dead-dead yet (but she's down two death saves), (b) FCG has Revivify and a spell slot, so he can bring back one person, and (c) Fearne as a wildfire druid always has Revivify prepared. It's possible that the first thing that will happen next week is:
  1. FCG casts Spare the Dying on Laudna (or she succeeds on her death saves—and she pops with one HP on a roll of 16+, so 25% of the time)
  2. FCG Revivifies Fearne
  3. Fearne (assuming she has a third level spell slot) Revivifies Orym
So they may all survive RAW, without any DM assistance. And remember that Orym is working on direct assignment for an Archdruid who has access to True Resurrection and is only a Sending away...and he just cracked that case wide open by recognizing Otohan's echos as the shadowy assassins that attacked Zephrah.
posted by The Tensor at 12:01 PM on September 14, 2022

Kind of wish they had tried going for that conversation with Otohan; I suspect the outcome wouldn't have differed that much, just maybe fewer corpses.

At least my dear sweet Chetney made it out.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:16 AM on September 17, 2022

Wow that was harsh.
Just seeing the cast go suddenly quiet when they realise how serious things are.

Getting up and walking around to quietly talk to one another. When has that happened before?

Talisien looked incredibly upset and frustrated, especially at the "betray your friend to save them" moment.

I loved the way Sam and Travis kept finding ways to lighten the atmosphere by cracking jokes.

And Laudna! Total MVP! Although I wonder about the wisdom of telling Otohan about the Moon tide crown and Ira.

I'm going to watch the next episode tonight. I have no idea what to expect!
posted by Zumbador at 9:17 PM on September 18, 2022

I usually listen to the podcast but was glad to watch this one on youtube to see the body language—the side conversations, walking around to figure out who could see what. Taliesin was looking concerned well before the fight; I think they spread themselves so thin on shenanigans that any fight would have been tough, and I think that fight would have been tough even if they’d been focused on it beforehand. The combo was pretty hard to watch, but it looked like whatever was going on with Imogen required playing a pretty hard game.

Fiercekitten: It was notable seeing how much fun they were having wasting spell slots in the first half. (I was spoiled enough to be wincing.)
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:10 AM on September 21, 2022

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