Talks Machina Episode 86 Highlights: 2-38

This summary has been reproduced from this Tumblr post.

Tonight’s guests are Sam Riegel and Taliesin Jaffe (and, as always, Dani Carr and… Tiny Corner Max?)!

  • Announcements:

    • The latest episode of Between the Sheets, featuring Daytime Emmy Award-Winning Sam Riegel ™, aired last night and will be available on YouTube tomorrow morning. Sam: “I feel like this channel is mostly just you and me talking?” Brian: “Are you saying that everyone else is just riding our coattails?” Taliesin: “He’s also saying that you look a lot like Liam at this point, and he can’t tell the difference.”

    • Another episode of All Work No Play will debut this Friday on the Critical Role Twitch (uploaded to YouTube on Sunday). In this episode, Sam and Liam do yoga… with goats. TJ Storm and Travis Willingham guest star!

    • Next week the cast will be at London MCM! Taliesin: “I’m packing slightly more tweed.” Brian: “Gettin’ tweedy with it.”

    • There’s a new (harp music) Laura Bailey emote on the CR Twitch for subscribers.

  • Stats for this week’s episode:

    • The M9 hit 150 natural ones in this episode. Number 150 was Jester’s acrobatics check to get away from the yuan-ti abomination.

    • Jester also set the record for the most natural ones in a single episode: 5. The previous record of 4 was held by Nott and Beau. Brian: “You guys remember these are not still going to charity, right?” Sam and Taliesin: “What?”

  • Taliesin was the one who helped Momlan glue on her elf ears. Taliesin: “I would be very nervous if my mom were going out there.” Brian: “Well, she’s got hundreds of years of secrets on you.” Taliesin: “Mom of the damned.”

  • Cad’s definitely been upset about being around undead; Taliesin’s rolled a few times to see if there’ll be a worse freak-out, but there hasn’t been one so far. “The notion is that there’s a direction things are supposed to move, and [undead] is something moving against the grain in an intense way. What’s the point of having an imaginary organized religion of any kind if you can’t have something they’re fundamentally against?”

  • Nott’s extremely far from her comfort zone right now, being outside the Empire, working for a captain on the sea who’s threatened their lives: “There’s snakes and lizards and… wouldn’t you drink, dude?!”

  • Given how much he’s been getting the shit kicked out of him lately, is there a breaking point for Cad? “Probably. I haven’t really finished nailing him down emotionally yet. I genuinely don’t know what zen people do when everything goes to shit.” Jester’s speech genuinely comforted him a lot. “Apparently Laura knew what to say.” Sam notes that the party hasn’t really had a chance to sit down and ask him questions about himself so far. Taliesin mentions that Cad’s been ordering drinks but hasn’t actually been drinking.

  • Nott’s fallen into the role of the mom friend mainly because nobody else has (everyone agrees that Caduceus is more of “a wise pothead”). Brian: “Everyone seems to have so much baggage right now. Half the people seem focused on just holding it together, the other half are focused on the mission.” Dani: “Somebody has to be the level-headed one.” Sam: “And why can’t that leveling force come from a three-and-a-half-foot insane goblin alcoholic?”

    • Once Caduceus levels out (he’s still a little shell-shocked), he’s going to realize that he’s surrounded by “unhealthy lunatics” and will want to do something about that.

  • Sam’s done some research about chemistry (although he wants to make more of a cheat sheet after Travis’ experience with sailing), knowing it might come up with Nott’s alchemy knowledge. Taliesin is trying to learn more of what Sam terms “that fungus s***”. Also tea, and zen. Sam: “I was thinking you should go to a morgue and see how bodies decompose.” Taliesin: “Oh, I have some experience in that.” 

    • (don’t worry; it’s just some friends in forensic anthropology)

  • Gif of the Week: Taliesin casts Detect DM Shenanigans.

  • “There was a certain order to the universe that he has come to expect, and it has been thrown into great disarray.” Cad was expecting the Epic Quest to save his home, but he wasn’t expecting the Mighty Nein. He’s mainly staying because of what Jester said about not necessarily needing to understand what’s happening right now. “He’s confused and trying his best to just let things happen, because that’s how the Wildmother works.”

  • Nott’s been surprised by some of the Mighty Nein’s actions, but so far she knows it’s out of necessity. She doesn’t view the incident on the docks as quite as bad as some of the others did—it was chaotic and based in self-preservation rather than actively causing harm. “But some of the other actions lately have been surprising to her.” Sam points out that she and Caleb did a lot of things to survive, and that she still steals a lot, and reminds everyone that she lives in a very morally grey area. She’s not thinking of leaving at this point, and all the high-stakes trauma has brought her closer to the group. “It’s a f***ed-up dysfunctional family, but it’s starting to look a little bit like a family to her.”

  • Taliesin and Sam are both enjoying being moral compasses of the party this campaign, in major contrast to the previous campaign. Brian: “You were a teenage asshole. You were a teenage dirtbag.” Taliesin: “It’s so weird. I love it.” Sam: “Oh man. We’d better step up our game. If we’re the moral compasses…” Taliesin: “We’re like Cracker Jack compasses, we almost point north.”

  • Cad’s got a lot of abilities he just doesn’t use very often. “He knows that some of it is… rude? Death cleric, man, they’ve got some insane s***.” Cad doesn’t have the same opinions on life and death as most people. Brian: “How surprising.”

  • Taliesin is having “a ton of fun” playing Caduceus. “I love Molly… and the character. Too easy.” No, but seriously: “I loved playing Molly, but the nice thing I got to do with Caduceus that I didn’t get to do with Molly is we had an established group and I got to create a character that was useful to the dynamic both mathematically and emotionally.”

  • Sam: “Wait, is it or Oh my god, I’ve been putting the wrong links on my Twitter for like a year.”

  • Cad was very selective about who he told about Jamedi, and purposely didn’t tell Nott because he knew she’d tell others. Sam, trying to keep a straight face: “Nott’s nothing if not trustworthy.” He’s more surprised that Caduceus has figured that out already, given how little he knows about Nott. “Maybe it speaks less to Nott and more to Caduceus being judgey…” Taliesin clarifies that it wasn’t so much that Nott was untrustworthy, it was more than Nott couldn’t keep a secret. Sam, as a player, was shocked that the rest of the party didn’t instantly tell everyone that “we are being led through the jungle by a dead guy.” Taliesin points out that with two clerics (Brian: “well, a cleric and a battle Mercy”), they literally have a button they can push to make him go away if they need to.

  • Sam: “It seems like Fjord’s going into a real bad place without any information, and Nott’s there to support and make sure he doesn’t die, but it seems like a bad idea.” Taliesin: “This seems like a test of one’s soul, and Caduceus is on board but aware that this could go badly.” Taliesin also points out that the rest of the group isn’t aware of the creepiest stuff going on because they weren’t there for it.

  • Fanart of the Week: the group (sans Jester and Caduceus) inside Leomund’s Tiny Hut! 

  • Taliesin got recognized in public, and the fan immediately called out the two clerics for going off on their own in the middle of the night. Taliesin: “It was a good burn.”

  • Caduceus had some experience with fights pre-M9 (grave robbers, wildlife). Taliesin: “Have you ever seen Cemetery Man? S*** gets weird!”

  • There’s a brief interlude while everyone arranges a movie night. As you do.

  • Has Nott been feeling protective toward members of the Nein other than Caleb? Fjord is probably the next-likely candidate, followed by possibly Yasha. Sam: “Caduceus is just too tall.” Taliesin: “I feel that.”

  • Taliesin describes Lesser Restoration as “the aspirin of D&D”. He’s done some healing of illness before, but this has just been a bad time. Sam points out that in the last campaign they didn’t really have to deal with disease so much. “I assume it’s Bird Flu.”

  • Scanlan stealing the gun was messing with both Taliesin and Percy. Nott is interested in the mechanics of the gun, interested in the chemistry of gunpowder, and has already designed and manufactured one explosive arrow as a result. “But Nott has also noticed that there’s people with guns wherever they keep going, and it might be a good idea to have a gun. It’s a self-preservation thing. If that also happens to mess with Taliesin Jaffe, I’m not going to say no to that. I mean, the heart does what the heart does. If that happens as a result, we’ve all grown as people.”

  • They realize there’s about a four-foot height difference between Caduceus and Nott. Taliesin: “He squats.” Dani: “He’s got killer calves.”

  • Caduceus is very, very good at reading people. Nott doesn’t lie because of goblin upbringing, but more out of her travels with Caleb and having her first impulse to be to get out of any situation by lying to stall/delay/confuse. 

    • Taliesin: “Why lie to a plant?”

  • There’s a brief interlude about telling your plants inappropriate bodily measurements. As you… do? Brian: “I’m calling an Uber right now. I’m sorry. I’m done.”

  • Taliesin is collecting spells based mainly on what he can guess might be helpful. He doesn’t need a lot of damage-dealing, so focuses more on deflecting and healing. He’s picked out some feats he’s interested in to make Caduceus less likely to take damage. “That’s been a problem. I don’t like being hit.”

  • It is pointed out that all of Sam’s characters in the campaigns have had high intelligence and low wisdom. “That’s a pretty great winning combo for comedy.”

Legends of the Hidden Talks Machina:

  • Overwatch mains? Sam: “What’s a main?” Taliesin: “It’s like Quidditch…”

    • Taliesin is a support main, especially Zenyatta and Brigitte.

    • Brian is a D.Va main (woo!) and also plays a lot of Orisa.

      • Look, I gotta cheer on anyone who also mains D.Va. Those are the rules.

    • They agree that watching Sam play as Hanzo would be funny, but decide Roadhog would be the best. Sam: “Yeah. It’s Hog Noon. Is that what he says?” Brian: “Yep.”

    • What’s Matt’s character name?  Sam: “Tyrone McCabe.” Brian: “It’s close!”

  • Ghost stories? Taliesin: “I’ve been ghosted.” Sam: “I saw some raccoons in my backyard?” Taliesin: “I got attacked by a skunk when I was in my hot tub.”

  • Taliesin: “Now I’ve seen a ghost.” Past and present combine:

  • Taliesin has a 1930s stripey swimsuit, because of course he does.

  • What (harp music)-style sound cues would they have? Taliesin: The sound of building a temple in the original Warcraft. Sam: An… explosion? Brian: The sound of my mom’s tears because he never became a doctor. Taliesin: “I was thinking the Golden Girls intro.”

  • Goth advice for the week, courtesy of Taliesin: Best style eyeliner is eyeliner on day 2. Put on the eyeliner before the shower. Know if your choker’s loadbearing.