campaign guide

fascinating tidbit from the half-elf section of the campaign guide:

humans view half-elves as blessings and a great honor; a show of good faith and unity between elves and humans, between syngorn and tal’dorei. meanwhile… well, we already know what elves and syngorn think of half-elves.

which means the twins most likely went from being treated very well in byroden as a whole to being treating like garbage in syngorn in a few months, which somehow makes the whole thing even worse?

also, this is fascinating re: vex and percy and any hypothetical children they may have, because we’ve speculated whether human culture would look down at half-elves (and quarter elves) the same way, and the majority of them probably wouldn’t? and obviously there are bound to be some human purists out there, but as a whole whitestone and human cultures would see vex entering the de rolo bloodline as a blessing and diplomatically wonderful

Pantheon of Tal’Dorei

I’m not going to copy paste or screenshot all the gods, but I will list them and their D&D/Pathfinder equivalents, as far as I can tell. Deities marked with a question marks are those I am least confident about.

The Prime Deities

  • The Archeart - Corellon Larethian
  • The Allhammer - Moradin
  • The Changebringer - Avandra
  • The Dawnfather - Pelor
  • The Everlight - Sarenrae
  • The Knowing Mistress - Ioun
  • The Lawbearer - Erathus
  • The Matron of Raven - Raven Queen
  • The Moonweaver - Sehanine (?)
  • The Platinum Dragon - Bahamut
  • The Stormlord - Kord
  • The Wildmother - Melora

The Betrayer Gods

  • The Chained Oblivion - Tharizdun
  • The Cloaked Serpent - Zehir
  • The Crawling God - Torog (?)
  • The Lord of the Hells - Asmodeus
  • The Ruiner - Gruumsh
  • The Spider Queen - Lolth
  • The Strife Emperor - Bane (?)
  • The Scaled Tyrant - Tiamat

I’ve seen a lot of discourse about Erathis 4 Scanlan in regards to the Golden Grin and Dranzel’s membership with it and the idea of knowledge domain and that’s all well and good.

But.

Bane, god of the goblinoids, swore vegence against Melora after Melora fucked him up. Erathis is in a committed, hate-fueled lesbian relationship with Melora.

So proposal: they go to Erathis’s domain where everything is very ordered and shiny and grand and Erathis is like the fanciest bitch ever and she gives a big speech about the meaning of civilization. And she ends the dramatic monologue with “fuck Goblins tho, I fucking hate goblins”

And that’s how Scanlan Shorthalt finds his patron deity.

fandom: The Knowing Mistress (Ioun) isn’t meant for Scanlan. She’s for Percy. And really theres no god in the pantheon that’s a perfect fit for Scanlan. Maybe he just gets nothing.
me:


matt mercer:
 Theres a secret society called The Golden Grin, they’re all about empowering individuals. Also, Scanlan’s former mentor Doctor Dranzel is apart of it and it’s headed up by a follower of The Lawbearer (Erathis), a god who hates lying but loves for people to be inspired.
me:

Highlights from Talks Machina (Episode 105)

Again, covering for @eponymous-rose​ while she continues her international vacation! Sorry for missing last week–things got crazy! Tonight’s guests: Darin de Paul, Taliesin sporting a lovely scarlet mohawk, and Travis. Brian starts a story that ends with him forging several signatures, and off we go.

  • The new campaign guide comes out soon! Taliesin is now worried about messing up the history of a character he invented.
  • Darin loves D&D as a long-form improv exercise and is happy he was able to get moments with each of the cast members.
  • Right after college, Darin was an apprentice at the Burt Reynolds Theater in Florida (a year-long program for theater students). One of his co-apprentices was Matt’s mom, and Matt’s grandmother was the director’s assistant. Matt’s father was part of the writing room. During the run of Darin’s last show (Fiddler), a clarinet player said they were going to play D&D and invited Darin. Matt’s mother was also in the group; they were all new to the game, so they rolled on a table for names and played four sessions. Last year, Darin was hired by Blizzard to do various voices, which is where he and Matt became friends. Later, Matt realized his mom had a picture of herself with Darin de Paul, and discussion of that picture led to the conversation of their D&D game. It’s been 37 years since Sprigg’s original campaign.
  • Matt was worried about fitting Sprigg in until Darin mentioned he was a hermit. The hobgoblin TPK was canon! Sprigg, a chaotic evil illusionist thief, was the only one to survive; the last moment of that campaign had him fleeing on a cart with wolves chasing him, abandoning the rest of the party to their deaths. Travis and Taliesin ask if he really was chaotic evil; “Why do you think he was so interested in redemption, dear boy?”
  • The first episode Darin saw was the Trials of the Take episode when the carpet was destroyed. He’s wanted to be on the show ever since.
  • Symmetra’s voice actor, Anjali Bhimani, also plays D&D. My heart skips a few beats.
  • Vex and Percy eloped over the year break. Laura and Taliesin kept it secret out of pique at first (Taliesin doesn’t remember why they were piqued). He’s not surprised the others are annoyed.
  • Grog was extremely impressed by Sarenrae and hasn’t thought much about Kord giving him any boons.
  • Darin has been a fan of the show and watching for some time. Taliesin says he is the most prepared guest they’ve ever had.
  • Very few people were present at Vex & Percy’s wedding. They did not intend to ever bring it up on their own.
  • The plane of books is the worst possible plane for Grog. Only the plane of shopping would be worse.
  • As soon as Darin walked into the studio last Thursday, Travis immediately asked him if he was a god. Travis still thinks he might be.
  • Percy would rather have a thousand years with Vex than a thousand years with Ioun’s library.
  • Travis wants a “positive, upbeat resolution to all the drama that is a-hanging in the air.” Me too. Travis does not read the Player’s Handbook to help keep Grog dumb, so he never knows what’s going on.
  • Travis loves how prepared Darin was. He offered the Deck because he thought Darin was looking for something specific after Sprigg deflected the weaker offerings.
  • Darin loved the emotion in the room during the plane shift and the strong moment with Marisha in particular. He also likes the movie Gargoyles.
  • The hardest thing about playing Sprigg after so long was finding him again. Brian gets very sentimental about the long journey that brought Sprigg back to life, including Darin becoming friends and colleagues with Matt so many years later.
  • Darin will be back on the next episode and is visibly excited about it.
  • Darin used to read tons of D&D books (mentions Drizzt by name) and used to paint minis as a hobby. He still has some of the figures and wants to donate them to the show.
  • Darin’s wife was part of Taliesin’s parents’ circle, so he’s known her for a long time. Taliesin and Darin exchange memories of meeting Roddy McDowall, and Darin says part of Sprigg’s concept of memories being the most important came from a conversation he had with Roddy while Roddy was dying of cancer.
  • Percy’s current distrusting attitude towards the gods came directly from his interaction with the Raven Queen. However, he didn’t know there was a god of knowledge and has been “chewing on it a lot, and what it means to have faith in knowledge.” He sees the library as a testament to faith in humanity and the good works of life and how important memory is and is blown away by it. “Books have always been about finding meaning and this whole library thing has changed him.” Taliesin expected Percy to be much more resistant to Ioun and was surprised at how quickly the books sold him.
  • Darin felt as the scenes progressed that his role was to “illuminate” CR as to where they were and what they could be. Taliesin and Percy both wondered if he was Scanlan from the future. Darin had the choice of being Scanlan’s dad, but declined.
  • Percy picked Vesper because her namesake was the last person he’d talked to in real life.
  • The only place Travis can think of worse for Grog is if the books were replaced with clothing & a For Sale sign. “Grog has a beatnik poet inside him waiting to get out.”
  • Darin’s advice to Keyleth was total improv. He almost cried when she touched his hand. He loves funny characters that can become sad and/or touching.
  • Marisha has no idea how to get Keyleth out of her emotional nosedive. Watching Marisha break character from Keyleth at the end of an episode is one of Taliesin’s favorite things because they’re such different people.
  • Percy would seek out the lifebooks for all his family & ancestry because he’s fascinated with legacy, and Whitestone is full of ghost stories. He had lots of stories he’d planned to give as part of the gnomes’ tour, and tells one about a woman forced into a marriage who slowly poisoned her husband over a number of years.
  • Sprigg feels he is what Scanlan might become. He did not expect to survive the episode.
  • If they were really in Ioun’s halls, Travis would love to see the books of his family and of JFK. Darin would like to see his father’s book. Darin also likes wearing suits, which is why he wears suits. He only wears t-shirts at the gym. (At one point Darin’s family also owned 20 horses???). He wishes his parents could see him now because they were so supportive when he was growing up.

Honor! Justice! After Dark, After Dark, After Dark!

  • If the challenge for Ioun involves any physical activity, Grog will fight Percy for it.
  • Bucket lists: Travis wants to swim with a great white shark. (Darin’s biggest fear is great white sharks.) Taliesin wants to travel to India. Darin wants to learn to tap dance, and casually drops that he used to dance with Cirque du Soleil.
  • Darin’s favorite color is black. His favorite season is winter.
  • There’s a video somewhere of Darin de Paul and Steve Blum pretending to be zombies and running towards the camera.
  • Travis and Darin do Reinhardt “impressions” by talking in high-pitched baby voices. Taliesin does a pretty decent actual impression! Darin likes that there’s heroes for every playstyle.
  • Darin hasn’t told Matt’s parents he brought back Sprigg. He also used to have a crush on Matt’s mom.
  • If Darin could pick any character from VM to play, he would play Scanlan. Brian teases the entire world by saying he would play “the character Pike’s in love with.”
  • Darin’s twitter flooded after last Thursday and he wishes he could respond to all of the kind messages.
  • Darin once shared floss with Gilbert Gottfried as part of an old bit.
  • Darin feels his whole history has led to this moment last Thursday where he had the chance to create a story with people he loved.
  • Laura read the Game of Thrones books as they came out, well before the show started. Brian just found the copy of the first book she lent him in 2010, which he still hasn’t read.
  • If Sprigg could fight any D&D monster, it would be a hobgoblin.

byroden is literally so far south that it’s near the jungles on the far southern tip of tal’dorei, literally on the opposite side of the continent from whitestone

pour one out for vex because even after years away from her hometown that is some Rough climate change

Talks Machina Highlights - Episode 102
  • Pre-show picture: Travis photoshopped into an Eagles uniform
  • Matt’s birthday is on Thursday! Brian gives him a thoroughly mangled cake.
  • No TM next Tuesday, because it’s the 4th of July.
  • Matt: “Look, I have half the internet wanting to fight me after that episode.”
  • Matt had three or four more battlemaps prepped that will never see the light of day, including two that were in the tower that they knocked down; there were a lot more challenges that the party completely overcame by bringing the top of the tower down to them.
  • “Your imaginary boyfriend was killed by your real-life fiancé.”
  • Keyleth knows it’ll take some time to prep for Vecna, so right now she is entirely focused on Vax.
  • Matt: “The book we’re releasing after the campaign guide is The Man-Ass of Tal’Dorei.” Travis: “There’s a fold-out calendar.”
  • Travis thought the Earthquake spells were just gonna weaken the structure of the tower, and then they’d still have to climb it… “What caused the TPK? Our own hubris.”
  • Travis’s GTFO-alarm went off at the very first turn of the first round when five members of the party were paralyzed. Marisha knew that Keyleth’s wisdom was high enough to shake it off, but she quickly realized that everyone else would need to roll a natural 20.
  • VM would’ve had a chance to stop Vecna’s ritual. Once Delilah saw them and knew the threat, she escalated the timeline. On the other hand, if they’d taken too much time, they would’ve come back through the orb to the Shadowfell and just found a giant crater with no clues as to where to go. Matt emphasizes that things will happen regardless of where they are in this arc, whereas the Conclave arc had the baddies settling more on their laurels and VM had a little more leeway to plot and scheme.
  • Matt points out that almost no DMs ever get to run an epic-level game, especially since 5e is still relatively new. Travis: “We’re gonna peter out and start gradually leaving the game.” Matt: “I will run you over, Travis.”
  • Marisha talks about how Keyleth has started going into very competent crisis-mode in the moment, but she’s very freaked out at the prospect that Foresight may have given Vax a vision of his own death (which is essentially what that failed first Disintegrate amounted to), and after putting him through that, she doesn’t think Keyleth will use it again.
  • Travis: “There’s a whole line of vacuum-cleaners called Vax.” Brian: “That’s fucked up.”
  • Vecna’s a keeper of secrets and knowledge; he knows everything about VM. He immediately targeted those who had range and mobility.
  • Keyleth had mixed feelings in the past about True Resurrection, just because of the moral implications of wielding that sort of power, but now things have changed. (Matt mentions that Pike may have leveled and might have access to it as well.)
  • Brian points out that you can have those standards and principles, but everything goes out the window when it hits close to home.
  • Keyleth is also concerned about how the Raven Queen’s influence is going to come into play; Vax could be standing right in front of her, and she’d still feel like it was borrowed time.
  • True Resurrection bypasses Matt’s resurrection ritual completely. It does require 25,000 gold in diamonds, however…
  • Grog is feeling better about Scanlan being back after seeing him in action again.
  • If everyone had died and Pike was the last one standing, she was gonna ask the knight to send her to Grog so they could at least go out in a blaze of glory together.

MS-DOS Machina in the Dark:

  • Marisha wins the roll for hosting!
  • After a rough episode, Marisha paces around the living room for half an hour. Travis and Ashley are advocates for avoiding the internet and going straight to bed.
  • Ashley thinks Matt does the best Pike impression.
  • Marisha’s “Sleeves are Bullshit” shirt was a gift from Laura.
  • Matt: “Whenever I see a mansplaining comment on the internet, it just goes through a Papyrus filter in my mind. ‘Well, actually…’”

I just want to say, the cast and crew of Critical Role is A+ at providing us with ENDLESS content. I mean, the show itself should be plenty but then they added a talk show with **exclusive content**, then the campaign guide and the podcasts? Live shows? Battle royales?? And now a comic book??? Honestly, mainstream TV should take a page out of Matthew Mercer'a book