Talks Machina Episode 85 Highlights: 2-37

This summary has been reproduced from this Tumblr post.

Tonight’s guest is Travis Willingham (definitely not solo because of scheduling conflicts)!

  • Announcements: 

    • Liam’s episode of Between the Sheets is now available to subscribers on the Critical Role Twitch channel, and will be up on YouTube tomorrow! Sam’s episode airs on Monday, and it’s the longest episode yet.

    • The next episode of All Work No Play is this Friday at 7 PM Pacific on the Critical Role Twitch channel. This week, they visit a rage room, and they will be joined by actor/writer/producer Stephanie Sheh.

    • The cast and crew thanks everyone for their patience in the whole process of undoing the technical difficulties related to the live show. They’ve learned from the experience and will be working to avoid something like that moving forward.

  • Stats for this week’s episode:

    • Fjord has cast Disguise Self 21 times, and has made 20 deception checks over the course of the campaign.

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  • It’s not a fireside chat, it’s an undersea chat.

  • Travis was opposed to the pirate outfits. “We’re not making fun of the thing I can’t even do yet!” Everyone else was totally on board. Marisha told them to “think ‘seafaring casual’.” Dani: “Nothing about that coat was seafaring casual.” Travis had to make a last-minute run to the Halloween store. Taliesin, on the other hand, brought a ton of coats. Travis: “When you’ve been alive for 19 centuries…”

  • Travis hit up Ashley first for information for the Idiot’s Guide to Sailing. There are alphabetical dividers. Font decisions were made. Brian: “Don’t @ me, by the way: Papyrus is s***.”

  • It was Brian’s idea for Momlan to ask Matt what time it was. He and Sam briefed her quickly right before she went on stage, and she had no idea what it meant, but they assured her it would get a great crowd response.

  • Travis was largely prepared to learn what sort of creature was behind Fjord’s powers, but the magnitude of it “is pretty f***ing big. That was a lot. There was a lot going on there.” It’s part of why he was keeping it to himself; he didn’t know yet how he was going to respond to it. Travis: “I mean, I’m pumped for me to control the ocean. Holy s***.”

  • Travis: “Backstory’s great and all, but Matt doesn’t make it super safe or easy, so there’s no guarantee that just because we’re in my backstory that I’m going to survive it. I was curious to see higher warlock levels… No, my confidence is overwhelming. Very secure.” He would’ve liked to get Fjord to a higher level and feel out his powers a bit more before tackling backstory, but he thinks it makes more sense and is more interesting for him to be thrown out of his safe and careful approach into the thick of things.

  • Travis mentions that he learned a lot about keeping squishy characters alive in combat from watching the first campaign; Fjord probably wouldn’t have survived if he’d been Travis’ first character.

  • Travis was expecting something water-based as Fjord’s patron, but hadn’t speculated too much. He was remembering the kraken, and had a vague idea of an aboleth. “Maybe a giant-looking fantasy shark, like a megalodon or something. Or a very benevolent ocean water seal or otter. But really big.”

  • Travis was really excited to find out that he wasn’t the only one dreaming about Uk’otoa. “Hopefully she’s not lying.” He’s thinking more about what happens next now that the most recent dream started giving him some context. “I think he’s genuinely excited.” He doesn’t trust his own powers, and he’d have to know someone really well to trust theirs. Brian: “How well would he have to know them?” Travis: “They’d definitely have to sleep together.”

  • Gif of the Week: Sailing 101 ft. Momlan.

  • Fjord’s internal monologue during the one-on-one with the captain: “Oh f*** oh f*** oh f*** oh s*** oh s*** oh s*** DON’T COME OVER HERE.” He didn’t mean to say “OH NO” out loud. Travis points out that he was sitting closer to Matt than usual. “I could see the glistening in his beautiful blue eyes. His hair was all majestic and glowy.” But he was committed to wherever that was going. Brian: “I wanted to see you and Matt verbally act out an entire sex scene.” Travis would’ve been more uncomfortable in the quiet of their usual group. But with the audience there? “I am gonna get naked and nail my fictional NPC right here.”

  • Fjord’s not really aware of Jester’s jealousy yet. “I have to comment though about how terrible a person my wife was:” He told her in December that he had no interest in playing a D&D character involved in a romance. “She was like, ‘I’m going to romance you. You’ll have to fall for me or turn down your wife.’ And she’s f***ing doing it!” He was determined to shut her down until she brought “jellyfish and tears”.

  • Blowing up Sabien made sense, but doing the same to the statue of Vandrin was mostly just a puzzle-solving technique at the time. Travis had a “well, wait a minute” moment the next day, wondering if he’d have to find Vandrin and destroy him too. “Vandrin’s very important to Fjord. He’s as close to a father figure as he’s ever had.” He’s sure Matt didn’t intend any hidden meaning or symbolism there. Nope. None at all. Since when has that ever happened?

  • Fanart of the Week: Fjord looking out over his patron.

  • Brian was going to wear one of the backup outfits from the pre-Gen Con video with Taliesin, but it was a really fragile outfit that wouldn’t travel well. He decided to class it up, “and then Taliesin shows up with the eyeliner. I looked like an extra from Blade: Trinity.”

  • Fjord mostly lied about the dream because he hadn’t had a chance to process it for himself yet. “Plus, I think they’re trying to be honest with each other, but that doesn’t mean you have to share everything all of time, especially when it doesn’t affect everyone immediately. I’m sure they’d argue it does, but it’s just a dream, right? As long as there were no Ender’s Game-type consequences, then no harm no foul.”

    • If it had just been Jester, though, he would have told her the truth. “Jester knows a little bit more about Fjord than I think some people have realized and I think that she’s let on to the group. She also doesn’t care about certain things that others in the group care about because of that knowledge.”

  • “Taliesin has a great poker face, but also in front of 3,000 people that can break a bit.” Travis is pretty sure Taliesin had a reaction to pointing out that Molly’s tattoos looked a bit like eyes. “I don’t think Molly or Lucien has anything to do with Fjord’s patron, but also, Molly didn’t know who he was, so it’s hard not to connect that to everything. If Molly is as well-traveled as I think he was…”

  • Fjord has a huge guilt complex over his perceived sense of responsibility within the group, and he’s shying away from it; he’s still not comfortable being called ‘captain’ because he’d always rather blend in. Knowing that finding out more about his patron might put the group at risk is playing out in his mind. “How much do you want to know if it costs a little bit on the side?”

  • Travis has typically been the one who watches other people take the big risks. “When you’re actually having to drive and change things, it’s just a totally different experience. Last Thursday was amazing.”

  • Sam Facetimes in. “I wanted to call in to your show to wish myself a happy birthday.” Brian: “We wished you a happy birthday earlier. You should really watch the show sometime.”

Talks Machina: Under the Sea

  • “My guest: still just Travis. Sorry.”

  • Brian and Travis debate drinking out of Sam’s flask. Brian: “The only thing I would touch that Sam’s lips have also touched… is Liam.”

  • Who would they like to see next on the Mercer flirtation chain? Travis: Caleb, Caduceus, Yasha. 

  • There’s a lot of happiness about all the Fjord cosplay at NYCC. “Everybody’s so nice.” Brian’s handler knew nothing about the show but commented on how incredibly nice the fanbase was. Travis reproduced an 11-year-old con photo with a fan. Many, many other great interactions. They loved the instant reactions from the audience at the live show. “It makes our little theatre hearts sing.”

  • Sam’s surprise for the worst seat in the house was a gift bag that included a signed poster.

  • Before CR started, Sam and Travis mostly just knew each other professionally. Sam had a paintball game for his birthday and invited Travis, who proceeded to pull out some action-movie movies. At a different paintball game, a masked Laura once dramatically shot three big guys mid-surrender.

  • Travis uses his Grog voice to order at Taco Bell and to answer robo-calls.

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