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"Critical Role: Bar Room Blitz" (Sx21) is the twenty-first special episode of Critical Role.
Part I Edit
Sam begins the adventure at the foot the of Umbra Hills in Jorenn Village. White snow caps the distant Cliffkeep Mountains Mountains and the roads. A young woman hurriedly riding through the night hits and seemingly kills an elderly woman on the road; realising no-one has seen her, she hastily covers the body and rides away in a panic.
The young woman, Val, arrives for her shift at the second crappiest tavern in town: The Ass Sailor (once called ‘The Crass Sailor’, the sign has been vandalized and the name stuck). The Ass Sailor is notoriously warm, meaning most patrons disrobe and leave weapons, armour and extra clothes in a pile by the door, and the homemade liquor, Greep, is infamously flammable.
Val rushes in and gets to work, on a night that will prove to be unlike any other. At the bar is Gryffin (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn), a seemingly-dignified and wealthy Summer Eladrin asking questions about a red-haired young girl. She is joined at the bar by regular Clothesline (Ashly Burch) a Tabaxi fighter whose face is covered in bandages, having come straight from a street brawl. Clothesline asks for milk and catnip, and takes an immediate dislike to Gryffin’s appearance (particularly her ‘weird eyes’).
Meanwhile, a pale, white-haired girl named Jayne Merriweather (Liam O’Briensitting by herself is approached by a local drow bar-fly, prostitute and one-time successful poet named Kingston LaForge (Brian Wayne Foster). She declines Kingston’s offer of a beer, asking instead for bread, which after some argument Val places on Kingston's seemingly near-infinite bar tab.
Kingston regales Jayne with his extraordinarily boring and self-aggrandizing life story. Clothesline yells at Kingston to leave the girl alone. Gryffin, who has been eavesdropping in an awestruck daze, begins frantically asking for Kingston’s autograph - Kingston is coincidentally her all-time favourite poet. Kingston obliges, and then makes a disastrous attempt to flirt with Clothesline, which ends with the towering fighter attacking him.
The tavern's owner, Xavier, intervenes, and things briefly settle down before two dwarves enter with a young red-haired girl, Holly, who matches the description given to Gryffin. One of the dwarves, Frankfurt (Eric Bauza) is the paladin who had directed Gryffin to the Ass Sailor earlier, the second is Obby ‘The Rat’, Sam’s PC from the earlier one-shot The Return of Liam. They are transporting the girl, Holly, and Frankfurt is eager to find someone named Garello to ‘complete the delivery’.
Things become more complicated when Kingston recognizes Frankfurt as the dwarf who seduced his wife. Kingston uses Message to inform Gryffin about the feud, but only confuses her.
Across the room, Jayne locks eyes with Clothesline and gives her a wink and a nod, before attempting to give Kingston advice regarding his ‘beef’ with Frankfurt. When Jayne touches a symbol of The Lawbearer, however, Kingston bursts into an expletive-laden rant about how much he hates the Gods.
Gryffin begins to make her way towards Kingston but is interrupted when Clothesline attacks her, yelling ‘SORRY, XAVIER! BAR FIGHT!’ and tearing into Gryffin’s scalp with her claws. The room predictably explodes into violence. As Gryffin and Clothesline fight and Frankfurt proactively attacks Kingston, Jayne seizes the opportunity to bewitch Holly and Command her to follow her out of the premises.
Suddenly, the characters flash forward to the next day, where they are interrogated in turn by the town constables. Gryffin explains she was a princess of Illyria, an Eladrin city which appears only during solar eclipses; she had been knocked unconscious by an attacker and left outside the city with no way to get back. She was searching for Holly because the girl might have information that could help her calculate Illyria’s next appearance. Kingston regales the constables with stories of his work as a prostitute servicing the town’s elderly women. Clothesline reveals that she owed Jayne a favour after the girl saved her life – starting the bar brawl to make a distraction for reasons Jayne didn’t explain. Frankfurt admits that he was transporting Holly for ‘Garello’ and flips the interview to ask about the Chained Oblivion cult. As the Constable asks Jayne what such a sweet young girl was doing in the Ass Sailor that night, she casts Sacred Flame on him, the flashforward dissolving as the constable suddenly bursts into flame…
Gryffin gets Val to hand over her keg of greep and starts pouring bottles for improvised molotovs. Jayne is attacked by a patron but immediately disintegrates him; her plan is scuppered, however, when Frankfurt and Obby move to secure Holly as she walks towards Jayne. As the temperature in the room climbs, everyone in the room is forced to remove items of clothing or suffer exhaustion: Clothesline and Frankfurt kick off their pants, Kingston goes shirtless (revealing an extremely unappealing ‘writer’s body’), Gryffin tears off her sleeves and Jayne discards her cloak to reveal her porcelain doll dress, white leather arm straps, and chain tattoos.
Gryffin accidentally sets fire to the bar and the tavern cat, and as she sends a firebolt at Clothesline she is overcome by her wild magic, behaving erratically and lapsing into an aggressive New Jersey accent. When she recovers her senses, she proposes to team up with Frankfurt to protect Holly; the dwarf agrees and heals Gryffin back to full health.
Suddenly and without warning, a new figure bursts into the bar, radiating even more heat that the fireplace – the intruder looks human but with glowing red eyes and Gryffin makes out a tail under his cloak. The intruder grabs Holly and yanks her from Frankfurt’s grasp and all eyes turn on him – except for Kingston, who is still fixated on killing Frankfurt. Gryffin hits the intruder with a ray of cold, which he appears to be especially weak to. Jayne tries to attack Clothesline and the intruder with Chill Touch – although the attack fails, Clothesline realises the death cleric is betraying her and was using her as a patsy, though Jayne’s Sanctuary spell prevents her from retaliating. Obby decides this is above his pay grade and leaves the bar. Killing a patron in the way with a mere touch, the mysterious man bolts down a trapdoor into the basement, taking Holly with him.
Part II Edit
The characters converge on the trapdoor when Jayne unceremoniously kicks Kingston into the hole, casting Light on his ass as she does so. Clothesline suggests restraining Jayne because of her untrustworthiness but fails to convince the others. Jayne, admits she knows something about Holly but has no idea who just abducted her and suggests they work together to rescue the girl.
Exploring the Ass Sailor’s basement, Gryffin identifies a trail of melted frost that would seem to show where the abductor fled, but Jayne proceeds down a different corridor and finds the bar’s Greep distillery, discovering that the infamous house alcohol is made from kerosene.
Turning back towards the party, Jayne finds the doorway blocked by Clothesline, who grabs her by the throat. Realizing that she has no leverage over Clothesline (since she doesn’t care about rescuing Holly), Jayne instead hits her with an empowered Inflict Wounds spell, nearly killing her. Jayne explains that she is a cleric of Chained Oblivion, dedicated to the destruction of all life, and offers to let Clothesline live in exchange for her help in retrieving Holly. Knowing she stands no chance against the Death Cleric in her wounded state, Clothesline agrees to help, and Jayne partly heals her.
Back in the entrance room, Gryffin, rapidly souring on her literary idol, tries to convince Kingston and Frankfurt to put aside their differences for the time being. The party reunites and enters the next room, where they find four poison-spitting pillars carved with serpent symbols, hundreds of numbers carved into the ceiling in various colours, and a magical padlock sealing the next room. Jayne, Gryffin and Kingston find a pattern in the numbers which allows them to open the padlock and press on.
The next room contains a large, golden portal emanating extreme heat. The intruder stands before it, holding a struggling and bloody Holly as he turns and addressing the party: “It seems we all want this youngling. I’m sorry, surface creatures, I saw her first. She’s needed below.” As the kidnapper lunges for Gryffin, his magical disguise dissipates, revealing him to be an elemental Salamander. Clothesline, pushed forward by Jayne, is immediately knocked unconscious by a blow from the salamander’s tail. As the salamander is worn down by the party’s magical barrage, an old woman bursts in, demanding to know where “the bitch that ran me over with a horse” is.
Seeing Clothesline unconscious and hoping to clear up a loose end, Jayne attempts to finish the job by breaking her neck but is foiled when Kingston uses Healing Word to revive the tabaxi. Clothesline delivers a devastating Double Clothesline Combo to Jayne in retaliation and nearly knocks her out. The attack inadvertently exposes Jayne’s holy symbol of the Chained Oblivion, which Frankfurt immediately recognizes as the symbol of the cult that massacred his village. His attempt to attack Jayne swings tragically wide and kills the old woman.
As the party turns on itself, the portal reaches full power and the salamander grabs Holly and lunges for it. He gets only halfway through the portal, however, when Gryffin catches him with a Wand of Entanglement and then bisects his head with an ice spear, slaying him. Sensing her chance, Jayne darts for the door and runs at breakneck speed back through the dungeon.
Holly thanks the travellers and promises them a future reward for their good deeds. Seemingly unaware that Jayne has scarpered, Holly asks the remaining party members to “put aside your differences and marvel in what you have accomplished here together, as more than strangers, as friends”. She also warns them not to tell the police anything about what happened to her, and vanishes – at which point the Constable and a team of armed police bust down the door, a captured Jayne in tow, and arrest them all for murder, arson and public affray, vowing that he will ‘get them to talk’.
As they are frogmarched outside, the party sees a frazzled Val packing away her apron and mounting up for the long, cold ride back home – one in which she will, hopefully, not kill anyone.
Featured Characters Edit
Player Characters Edit
- Clothesline, Tabaxi fighter
- Gryffin Errondil, Eladrin half-elf sorcerer
- Frankfurt, dwarf paladin
- Kingston LaForge, drow bard
- Jayne Merriweather, human cleric
- Unnamed old woman
- Holly, a mysterious girl
- Garello AKA Sal, a salamander
- Kay, a prostitute
- Valerie, bartender at the Ass Sailor
- Xavier, manager of the Ass Sailor
- Zarva, a prostitute
- Clothesline: You are this close from a claw in your goddamn eye Kingston.
Kingston: I just want to-
Clothesline: So choose the next few words carefully!
Kingston: Catnip and chill?
Ashly: Can I attack Kingston?
- Sam: Kingston just saved you. Clothesline, you are alive, it is your turn.
Clothesline: I'm going to-
Sam: She's prone.
Ashly: I'm prone? What can I do then?
Sam: You can get up and you can
Liam: It's half your movement, but you can fuck me up still.
Ashly: I can get up?
Clothesline: Then I'm going to clothesline that motherfucker there (points to Liam/Jayne)
Sam: Great! Roll an attack.
Liam: I haven't lost a hit point this entire game.
Ashly: NATURAL 20!
Mary: Boom, karma's a bitch.
Sam: That certainly hits. Roll 1d4+4.
Mary: Karma's a beeotch, beeotch beeotch beeotch.
Ashly: Come on, baby.
Sam: Double it, 14.
Mary and Ashly: FOURTEEN
Liam: Nonononono, 3--the dice are doubled.
Sam: OK. 6--it's 10. And you're knocked--you're not knocked prone but-
Ashly: Did I take my second action surge?
Sam: No, do it.
Ashly: I'm gonna clothesline you again!
Liam: Do it, do it.
Mary: Action surge!
Ashly: A NATURAL 20!
Liam: WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? GET OUT OF THIS BUILDING, GET OUT OF THIS BUILDING.
Mary: This die...[inaudible] this die--you could sell this die for millions.
Sam: So Clothesline turns around, delivers a right arm clothesline to you--it hurts.
Sam: She kisses her bicep, uses the other arm, left arm clothesline on you.
Ashly: Gimme a 4, baby, give me a 4. A FOUR!
Sam: A 4!
Ashly: And you're prone, motherfucker!
- This was Sam Riegel's very first time as Dungeon Master. Likewise, it was Eric Bauza's very first game of Dungeons and Dragons.
- Gryffin is Mary Elizabeth McGlynn's character from the home game she plays in alongside Brian Wayne Foster - the only difference was that in this one-shot Gryffin was aware of the effects Wild Magic has on her. In the home game Gryffin has no memory of what happens when her alternate personality is in control.
- Although the cast did not necessarily know each other's characters before starting, Sam gave each of them at least one reason to hate someone else's character and one reason to like a character.
- For instance, Brian was told that Kingston had a cat fetish, that he hated the gods and anyone who loved the gods, and that a dwarf named Frankfurt had slept with his wife. He did not, however, know that Ashly would be playing a Tabaxi, or that Frankfurt was Eric's character.
- Ashly knew that Clothesline owed Jayne a favour, that she needed to make a distraction at Jayne's signal, and that she hated magic users.
- Mary knew she needed to get information about Illyria from Holly, that Frankfurt was responsible for guarding her, that Kingston LaForge wrote her favourite book, and that she hated dark magic.
- Liam was told that Jayne needed to capture Holly as a sacrifice to the Chained Oblivion and had got Clothesline to act as a distraction.
- Sam revealed in Talks Machina that he had planned an entire alternative plot in the event that the characters left the bar. The end boss in this plotline would have been the old woman who was knocked down by Val in the opening narration, who would have turned out to be a powerful mage out for revenge.
- When affected by Wild Magic surges, Gryffin slips into a thick New Jersey accent and makes various fourth-wall breaking references to New Jersey. Liam, who like Mary is from New Jersey, also swaps to a New Jersey accent in response to Gryffin's outbursts throughout the episode, at one point joining Mary in waxing nostalgic about the now-closed Clam Broth House in Hoboken.
External Links Edit