Talks Machina Episode 79 Highlights: 2-31

This summary has been reproduced from this Tumblr post.

Tonight’s guests are Marisha Ray and Matt Mercer!

  • Announcements:
    • A one-shot will be airing on August 30 in place of Critical Role (Matt, Marisha, and Taliesin will be away).
    • A new Critical Role show will be announced (I have seen the future).
    • Crew AMA on Friday at 2 PM Pacific on the /r/criticalrole subreddit!
  • Stats for this episode:
    • The party spent 4,047 gold and 2 silver, plus the cost of the Dust of Deliciousness and the straw hat, in their downtime shopping (Matt’s enjoying the financial caution that comes from being at low levels).
    • Nott’s discarded save against the Bead of Force was the M9′s 3,000th d20 roll.
    • Jester used eight of her ten spell slots and both uses of Channel Divinity during the prank/escape.
  • For time-jumps like this, Matt sends out texts to get a vague idea of what everyone’s planning on doing, but they always come up with more/different stuff at the last minute.
  • Beau mostly enjoyed her training with the halfling monk. Marisha: “I don’t know if he was her flavor.” Matt: “That can be taken a few ways.” Marisha thinks it’s important to learn from multiple teachers, and that philosophy bled through to Beau in-character.
  • If a player’s plans fall through because of the dice, Matt may try to give them a partial win anyway if it looks like a player will be genuinely disappointed and lose out on having fun, but he points out that this group is generally very accepting of the possibility of failure.
  • Marisha is really excited about the extra reactions Beau gets now. She also loves the visual of Beau being super amped to go kick a** and then having to just rage-read.
  • The cast loves the Mighty Nine, but they still really miss Vox Machina. Marisha is enjoying how new fans of the second campaign are reacting to Keyleth when they go back to watch the first campaign. Matt points out how great it is that this group is comfortable sitting back and allowing or facilitating chances for growth and development from the other characters, because that results in slow but realistic growth of the ensemble (rather than backstory dumping right off the bat).
  • The Waste Hunter Blade is permanently gone now that Fjord’s consumed it; the falchion shape is the constant in this process. Matt thought this was a good way to fit with the Hexblade class while still allowing for the upgrading of weapons throughout the campaign. Dani points out that at some point he’ll probably have to let go of his last memento of Molly. Ouch.
  • Beau was a little bit worried about Fjord leaving, but fundamentally it was something she would’ve done as well. In this party, they’re still pretty used to people coming and going and taking care of their own business.
  • Matt had a long conversation via text with Ashley to make sure Yasha’s reaction was genuine. “It was all her, man.”
  • Matt tends to keep a few DC thresholds in mind for library excursions, with different levels of information prepared according to how well characters roll. He now has to overprepare (and often improvise) even more than usual as a reaction to Caleb’s character. “I’m so excited they’re engaged in that regard.” He’s had a lot of campaigns in the past where people were completely uninterested in lore, so he’s happy to play to that, and he wants to reward Liam for playing that kind of character properly.
  • Gif of the week: ghost-punching.
  • Beau’s goals have changed since meeting the Mighty Nein. Marisha is more aware of meta-goals than Beau is directly. “Keyleth was deeply long-term goal-oriented. Deeply. I didn’t want to do that again.” Beau’s flying by the seat of her pants as a big-fish-in-a-small-pond character getting thrown into something much bigger.
  • Beau’s leveling montage was mainly just a fun bit of narrative-based flavor—she won’t have to return to the Archive every time she wants to level up, but it’s a great opportunity Matt wants to take whenever possible. Matt sings an 80s-style montage for training to punch ghosts. It’s glorious.
  • Fanart of the week: Fjord underwater.
  • Matt had only loosely outlined the Gentleman as part of the underworld faction in Zadash; he only became an important character because of that one time Beau stole the mail.
  • Especially when she was younger, Beau was definitely the sort of person who would leap unnecessarily into violence just for the excitement. While she’s a little more cautious now, sometimes that enthusiasm still slips out.
  • Matt especially enjoyed Jester’s shenanigans because it was a great example of players not playing it safe. He points out that painting a symbol of Bahamut in colors that could be interpreted as belonging to Tiamat would’ve been… bad. The government would’ve gotten involved if they’d been caught.
  • Beau opening up more to calling the rest of the group friends/family is partly because the rest of the party’s started doing it as well, which kind of gives her permission to admit it (to herself and the rest). “Beau’s never had friends that lasted this long.” Brian: “Friendships that lasted this long, or they all died like Molly?” Ouch. Matt: “Just for perspective, by ‘friendships that lasted this long’, she means ‘two and a half months.’” Also ouch. Marisha: “All of Beau’s friends were people who worked in the criminal underground who were older than her and just passing through the town.” She was the local hire for people passing through.
  • Matt is loving building Jester’s relationship with the Traveler. He talks about how he designed Exandria as a world where the gods have basically removed themselves from mortal concerns. This has been an opportunity to explore the notion of different scales of deity (Vesh was a similar example from the previous campaign). He talks about how the Traveler can have a much more personal relationship with his followers because he’s not constrained by the Divine Gate.

Talks Machina Isn’t Talking About Scientology Anymore:

  • Matt points out that the correct pronunciation of firbolg is actually “feer-bolg”. He found out by listening to the audio guide on D&D Beyond… that he recorded. “Thanks, me.”
  • Matt and Marisha love Caduceus because they enjoy seeing Taliesin’s quick wit paying out with longer payoffs.
  • Brian: “What’s the last movie that made you cry, Matt?” Matt: “What was the last movie I watched?” Marisha: “You broke down when we were listening to Pink Floyd in the car.” Marisha sent Liam some Pink Floyd after she told him that story and realized he hadn’t listened to them before. Matt: “Asking if Liam cried to it… he’s like me with the added weight of children. I’m ready to cry at the drop of a hat. He’s brimming at all moments.” Brian: “We’re a group of sensitive boys, aren’t we?” Marisha: “I love my sensitive boys.” Matt: “I’d rather feel really hard than not feel at all, man.” Brian: “Feel really hard… Life is short. Do something to a bagel.”
  • Beau does think Jester’s speaking literally about her closeness with the Traveler… or, at least, she believes that she believes that’s the way their relationship is. “I believe you’re speaking about this imaginary friend literally. Doesn’t change that it’s an imaginary friend.”
  • Matt: “I avoid Pillow Mercer. I don’t want to know how dirty he is and why.”
  • Matt waxes poetic about Fruity Pebbles cereal. Brian: “Chief didn’t even need to come up with anything weird for this episode.”
  • What flavor of dead-person tea would they be? Marisha: weed and red wine. Brian: bourbon and resentment. Matt: ahi tuna.
  • Matt loves DMing CR, but he also loves backing off to give other members of the cast a chance to shine in the DM chair.
  • Reunited at last: