Media References and Puns of 2-09 Steam and Conversation

We're looking forward to the Chastity's Nook Job as executed by Widowgast's Nein.

Media References

  • (0:01:04) Liam: Sorry, Kit.
  • (0:02:00) Travis: I feel like that was Masterpiece Theater all at once.
  • (0:02:23) Matt: Our very own James Haeck, who you may know helped me with the Tal’Dorei Campaign Guide
  • (0:06:18) Taliesin: Darkest timeline shirts. (Community)
  • (0:07:15) Matt: Those of you who are in, around, or are planning to visit Chicago in April for C2E2, the whole cast-- aside from Ashley, who’ll be filming, will be there.
  • (0:08:41) Marisha: We talk about Deadpool.
  • (0:12:36) Laura: A mine! (Fellowship of the Ring)
  • (0:32:56) Sam: We need to look for Claudia Sheet. Laura: Sheed. Sam: Sheed. Sheedy. Ally Sheedy is here.
  • (0:33:02) Travis: Sheed or Sheen? Sam: Charlie Sheed.
  • (0:34:13) Matt: You don’t have to roleplay every meal. Taliesin: Not like Grover style!
  • (0:50:53) Travis: Xerox!
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Quick Answers 60

Congratulations to Critical Role and Geek & Sundry for celebrating three years of streaming!

Are you tracking NEINS?

Are you tracking the number of nines rolled in both the first campaign and this campaign?
We do have all rolls in tables for both the Tal’Dorei and Wildemount campaigns. As for the current campaign, we’d like to direct your attention to this fancy infographic designed by @callmedeeray, who constructed it using our data!

How many times has Frumpkin been killed?
As of episode 9, twice. The full and updated list of party KOs and deaths can be found on this page.

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Monster Analysis: Bandits (Amber Road)

Thanks to @kimchidraws for this art piece!

  • First Appearance: 2-08 The Gates of Zadash
  • Suggested Armor Class 12
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 11, 18
    • “Trevor”: 44 damage taken, 37 finishing fire damage by Caleb
    • Bandit 1: 12 damage by Fjord (unconscious)
    • Bandit 2: 5 damage by Beau (still conscious)

Highway robbers are an unfortunate fact of life on the road, a threat to travelers that guarantees employment for armed escorts. To quote the PHB directly (p344), “Bandits rove in gangs and are sometimes led by thugs, veterans, or spellcasters. Not all bandits are evil. Oppression, drought, disease, or famine can often drive otherwise honest folk to a life of banditry.” A conversation and a look beneath the masks seem to indicate a similar fate for the marauders of the Amber Road.

Bandits are slightly more used to combat than your average civilian, carrying a “hearty” 11 hit points each. Still, consider that the average highway robber still carries almost half the hit point total of the squishiest level three wizard. It’s little wonder that despite outnumbering the party even at the end of the surprise round, the surviving brigands were quick to throw down their arms. Considering that their leader was turned to ash and two more of their comrades were incapacitated almost as afterthoughts, they certainly learned they had more to lose than gain.

In terms of encounters, this leaned heavily on social rather than combat, with combat merely reframing the discussion. What started as deceptive (but humorous) pleading for their lives and possessions quickly turned as the party demanded to know what the brigands were doing with their lives (and got some horses in return). The bandits could only look on their fallen allies and pray the same fate did not visit them while the party returned their own fallen friend to consciousness. The infighting in the group stayed quelled under Trevor’s leadership; with him gone, the group’s confidence and organization were decidedly not present to deal with resistance.

Media References and Puns of 2-08 The Gates of Zadash

In honor of Jester's commercial-style jingle for her mother, we'd like to hear ideas for other Critical Role-related commercials and jingles. A few ideas to get you started:

  • A PSA on the importance of reading, brought to you by the Archive of the Cobalt Soul
  • Trostenwald brewery ads that are increasingly passive-aggressive about their competitors
  • Come on down to the Broad Barn in downtown Alfield!

Media References

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Monster Analysis: Manticore and Yeenoghu Priest

Monster Analysis: Manticore and Yeenoghu Priest

The presumed leadership of the Rill’s Mouth Mine chapter of gnolls, and the source of the attacks on Alfield! Thanks to @spacecaptainz for this art piece!

  • First Appearance: 2-07 Hush
  • Armor Class 14
  • 50 ft flying
  • Darkvision 60 ft, Passive 11
  • Multi-Attack (Bite x1, Claw x2)
  • Tail Spike Attack (ranged, unused)
  • Suggested average, max HP: 68, 104
  • 83 damage taken, 6 killing blow by Shakäste

Manticores look like a cross between a sphinx and a javelin-covered porcupine, with an uncannily wide mouth filled with rows of sharp teeth. Evil and unintelligent, wild manticores are willing to hunt in packs of manticores and share their spoils. However, manticores also willing to serve other evil creatures, so long as they are provided with regular prey. Gnolls are already known for their mad desire to kill all human flesh, but until the party got to the final chamber and saw the manticore and her new cub, the dramatic increase in their bloodlust was puzzling. The manacles and chain that the party found after their battle seem to indicate that sort of relationship between the gnolls and the manticore mother.

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Monster Analysis: Gnolls (Abandoned Mine)


Gnoll Pack Lord

  • First Appearance: 2-05 The Open Road
  • Encounter Appearance: 2-07 Hush
  • Armor Class 16
  • Speed 30 ft
  • Darkvision 60 ft, Passive 10
  • Suggested average, max HP: 49, 89
  • 59 damage taken, 19 HDYWTDT by Nott and Jester

Despite already engaging in multiple combat encounters, and Beau getting kicked down a pit, this encounter against the Pack Lord was significantly less dire and terrifying than the encounter the party entered relatively fresh. Why?

The psychological game played a much bigger role in Alfield, for starters. Even if the party did not engage an entire army of gnolls, the still overwhelming number of gnolls present in Alfield quashed any potential heroic decisions. The party also had much more time to plan their attacks against the admittedly fewer gnolls in the mine, as well as spread out the encounters rather than taking on the full strength of the gnolls all at one time. The option to take a short rest to recharge spells and hit points in between only made the effort that much less risky.

In Alfield, the party contended with 11 hostiles total within 30 seconds. This penultimate encounter leading to the final chamber in the mine took place in fewer rounds than the Alfield encounter and only involved six enemies. Even with Beau getting knocked off the previously-unseen ledge, the party was well-equipped to handle the gnolls’ attacks, especially with the addition of Shakäste as both support and an additional source of damage.

It can also be noted that the total damage the party dealt to the pack lord this time was less than that dealt in Alfield. From a narrative standpoint, this can be explained by the lack of time for a full rest in order to complete the ritual for the gnoll’s monstrous patron. From a metagame perspective, take note, DMs: it’s okay to readjust your boss baddies when you know that your party is going to face something more difficult immediately after!

Media References and Puns of 2-07 Hush

Media References and Puns of 2-07 Hush

Thanks to @TriaElf9 for the art piece!

How many references to Judas Priest's song, "Breakin' the Law" were in this episode? Too. Too many refs, too many refs.

Media References

  • (0:02:51) Liam: Les Mis was a stepping stone for this.
  • (0:03:15) Liam: *Mickey Mouse voice* Comes with Prime!
  • (0:13:16) Matt: Regular gnolls. (“Breakin’ the Law” by Judas Priest)
  • (0:13:40) Travis: Visual aid, visual aid! (“Breakin’ the Law” by Judas Priest)
  • (0:17:52) Liam: Regular roll, regular roll. (“Breakin’ the Law” by Judas Priest)
  • (0:18:57) Liam: Regular gnoll, regular gnoll. (“Breakin’ the Law” by Judas Priest)
  • (0:19:00) Liam: Just nein and regular gnoll, that’s all we have. (“Breakin’ the Law” by Judas Priest)
  • (0:21:57) Sam: Can I use my regular-- regular gnoll. (“Breakin’ the Law” by Judas Priest)
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Monster Analysis: Hyenas

  • First appearance: 2-06 The Howling Mines
  • Armor Class 11
  • Speed 50 ft
  • Pack Tactics (advantage on attacks with group)
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 5, 9
    • Between 5 and 13 damage dealt to each hyena

Hyenas followed Yeenoghu in his rampage. While many were corrupted by the carnage they fed on in his wake, not all received his cursed blessing. Many hyenas still follow the pack of gnolls, scavenging for leftovers from the gnolls’ excursions and attacking the occasional wayward wanderer as the pack’s guard dogs. They are simple beasts, operating out of a sense of survival, instinct, and basic hunger, rather than the insatiable craving for destruction of their bipedal kin.

A single well-aimed hit is enough to dispatch most hyenas, even among the lowliest of player characters. Their bites took a bit of luck to land on the party, and even those that did hit dealt upwards of 1d6 damage, a seriously low value compared to the weapons of their superiors.

Like the regular gnolls, the hyenas’ threat is in the numbers of the pack. Hyenas gain advantage to their attack when they have an ally harassing the same target. However, the real danger in the hyenas were not in the damage that they could deal (even with advantage), but in whose attention their barks and whines may have drawn. Outside of a gnoll stronghold and within the twisting tunnels of the mines a while colony occupies, their disturbed laughter and hungry growls serve to alert reinforcements. Valuable turns, spells, and other resources were spent dispatching creatures that the colony likely placed little value in in return, resulting in unfortunate trades lest the hyenas drew more powerful attention.

Media References and Puns of 2-06 The Howling Mines

Behold, the Focus of this week’s Fiesta of references and puns. There’s a bit of Flex required, but we consider it our Super Duty.

Media References

  • (0:00:06) Travis: Yeah, we do!  Matt: Apparently someone’s got mail on Drag Race.
  • (0:01:32) Sam: (sings “Sabre Dance” by Aram Khachaturian)
  • (0:04:03) Matt: Those of you who have an Amazon Prime account can get a free subscription to the Twitch channel through Twitch.
  • (0:19:12) Liam: This is a Zork game. “We go downstairs.”
  • (0:27:55) Laura: Shrimp scampi, butterfly shrimp.  Travis: Coconut shrimp.  Laura: Fried shrimp. (Forrest Gump)
  • (0:33:25) Thadeus: Her name is Gesture?  Taliesin: It is a gesture, like Prince.  Matt: The adventurer formerly known as Jester.
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Monster Analysis: Gnolls (Alfield)

Monster Analysis: Gnolls (Alfield)

Thanks to @GalacticJonah for this art piece!

“When gnolls are weakened, they seek out isolated settlements, maim and disable its inhabitants, and feed upon them as they rest and regain strength.” - Volo’s Guide to Monsters, p153

Long ago, carrion hyenas fed upon the grisly remains of the rampage of a demon lord. As their numbers grew, their form began to take on the cursed blessing of this entity, following him in an ever-growing pack of evil and reckless carnage until he was banished to the Abyss. In his disappearance, these cursed humanoids spread across the world, a sign of Yeenoghu’s persistent threat, interest in, and ongoing massacre of the entire Material Plane.

While their ever-present hunger for flesh and destruction guides their every action, gnolls will still choose their battles, targeting weak and exposed villages and victims that allow them to dominate and continue their path of destruction. They are even more disinclined to target defended settlements when their numbers are weakened, implying that the war band at Alfield, while overwhelming, are not necessarily at full capacity. It’s unclear at this time if the bodies loaded on the cart represent anything more than an addition to the gnolls’ food reserves, leaving a mystery for the party and the forces of Alfield to investigate.

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Media References and Puns of 2-05 The Open Road

Question: Are "nine/nein" puns listed in this article?
Answer: NEIN. Those can be found here. (Though plenty of sea-based puns surfaced here, among others.)

Media References

  • (0:07:00) Laura: The Shadow of War expansion pack, The Blade of Galadriel came out!
  • (0:13:13) Matt: Imagination!  Laura: You’re doing it, Feeder, you’re doing it!  Taliesin: Bangarang! (Hook)
  • (0:24:07) Liam: Wakka wakka! (Fozzie Bear)
  • (0:25:56) Travis: Reach for the sky! (Toy Story)
  • (0:25:58) Taliesin: Be careful, those fingers are loaded! (Blazing Saddles)
  • (0:33:31) Taliesin: She’s starting to believe. (The Matrix)
  • (0:55:09) Liam: You would tell us if something was wrong, Rorschach.
  • (1:09:16) Liam: Vasquez.  Travis: You’re just too bad, Vasquez.  Matt: Vasquez is a pretty good print. Vasquez and Starbuck from the new Battlestar.
  • (1:10:49) Liam: It must be nice! (“Washington on Your Side” from Hamilton)
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Nine? Nein!


Thanks to @icecoolz1 for this art piece!

We blame you for this, Foster.

Number of times nine or nein was said during Episode 2-05: 41.

  • (0:19:16) Sam: Nine!
  • (0:31:45) Liam: That’s a nine.
  • (1:12:04) Liam: Nine!
  • (1:12:05) Sam: Nine!
  • (1:12:06) Laura: Nine!
  • (1:12:10) Matt: Nine as well?
  • (1:12:16) (as Taliesin imitates Rammstein) Travis: Nein!
  • (1:52:47) Liam: That’s nine.
  • (1:52:54) Liam: Nine.
  • (1:54:40) Sam: Nine points, that’s including sneak attack damage.
  • (1:54:42) Sam: Nine points of damage.
  • (2:03:15) Travis: Nine! Nine!
  • (2:03:17) Matt: Nine. Nein!
  • (2:03:18) Travis, Marisha, and Taliesin: Nein!
  • (2:05:23) Matt: You suffer nine points of piercing damage.
  • (2:05:24) Sam: Nein!
  • (2:05:27) Matt: Lot of nines tonight.
  • (2:13:06) Travis: Nein.
  • (2:15:59) Taliesin: That’s nine points of damage.
  • (2:16:00) Matt: Nine points of damage.
  • (2:18:05) Laura: Nine.
  • (2:18:06) All: Nein!
  • (2:19:28) Laura: Nine radiant!
  • (2:19:29) Marisha and Sam: Nein!
  • (2:19:32) Matt: What is it with the nines tonight?
  • (2:19:40) Taliesin: We just lost...nine.
  • (2:20:02) Laura: Plus three is nine!
  • (2:20:03) All: NEIN!
  • (2:21:28) Liam: Nein! Nein! Nein!
  • (2:21:41) Liam: Push my back against the wall and go: Nein, nein, nein, nein, nein, nein.
  • (3:30:25) Liam: Nein!
  • (3:30:27) Taliesin: Nein!