"Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) is the twenty-eighth special episode of Critical Role, featuring an array of characters from a wide variety of folk tales, children's stories and fairy tales.
- Sam spoke about the show sponsor, Star Wars: Battlefront 2.
- Critical Role D20 sets are currently sold out, but should be available in the online shop soon:
- The Art Book is available in the Geek & Sundry store.
- Episodes 71-85 of the Critical Role podcast are released into the wild this morning.
- The Critical Role podcast is now available through Amazon Alexa.
- Vox Machina Origins Issue #3 will be available 29 Nov.
- Taliesin, Marisha, Liam and Matthew will be on a panel at Pax Unplugged.
- A new episode of Madness came out today on Project Alpha.
Setting The Scene
Once upon a cruise, somewhere in the seven seas, a peaceful three-masted ship sways towards the horizon. Below deck, the state rooms are empty, save the banquet hall on dining deck which glows with chandelier light, buzzing with excited guests. The decor is frilly, the table are adorned with flowers, hors d'oeuvres, drinks and life-sized ice sculptures showing naked couples locked in romantic poses.
An eager crowd huddles around the dance floor, cruisers of all ages and backgrounds, humans, elves, dwarves, even a giant and among them are you all. Formally clad, wearing name tags and presenting your best posture.
You suddenly see a hulking, ten foot monster with sunken red eyes and a ferocious, toothy muzzle. If you saw him anywhere else, you would probably run, but somehow his pink leisure suit and cheesy smile erases any hint of threat. Everyone follows him with an expectant, happy expression. He walks to the centre of the dance hall and addresses you all, "Welcome to the Storybook Love Singles Cruise. I shall be your cruise director aboard the S.S. Public Domain for four amorous days and nights. My name is Beast and as you may have read in my fairy tale, I know a thing or two about finding romance in unexpected places."
He glances over to Beauty, a gorgeous, young woman in a ball gown who laughs politely and curtsy's back.
"Raarrr! Am I right?"
The crowd chuckles politely.
"The purpose of this cruise is simple. You are all single on a quest for true love, and I will not stop until at least one couple finds their story book, happy ending. Think it can't happen? Well, have you ever heard of the old woman who lived in a shoe, who had so many kids she didn't know what to do? She met her husband right here on this ship. Some of you have cruised with us before so you know the drill and all of my corny jokes. Ah, Hansel, Gretel, good to see you again... Easy on the gingerbread tonight. Aladdin, still stealing hearts I see. Oh, Big Bad Wolf is here ladies, I hope you didn't wear red dresses, heh, I kid, I kid. We'll be dining and dancing at sea for another day and then we arrive on Pleasure Island, where you'll go on romantic excursions culminating in the famous Hot Coal Walk. But first start the cruise with fun 'Getting to know you' exercise called Speed Dating. We'll pair you up according to those questionnaires we had you fill out, give you ninety seconds to meet and see if there's any chemistry. If there isn't, no big deal, plenty more chances. But if you do sense a spark, let me know and we'll pair you up again. So, let's get started..."
After the Speed Dating
The party retire to the bar after their speed dating, whilst they wait for other cruisers to finish off the speed dating themselves. They include Sleeping Beauty and Jack (of Beanstalk fame) and the Hunchback of Notre Dame with Mary Mary, Quite Contrary.
Wendy takes the opportunity to talk to the Beast and lets him know that she was interested in getting to know the Hatter better, so he replied that he would make sure they went on an excursion together later. She also complained that Peter Pan was here and she had specifically requested that he wasn't supposed to be. The Beast told her that unfortunately, Peter Pan was unable to reschedule so he had to come on this cruise. He went on to let her know that he would make sure Peter and her were kept as far apart as possible.
The Scarecrow approached the Queen of Hearts and asked if she currently loved anyone or if she was open to loving someone new. She nervously responded that she didn't currently love anyone and needed advice and was looking for the new king of her kingdom. Her problem was that although she was a perfect woman, the men she showed interest in, all had wandering eyes, so she asked him if she should just be herself or if she should 'fem it up'. The Scarecrow, being of limited intelligence misunderstood her question and was of little help.
Goldilocks, having listened in on their conversation, returned to the bar where she absolutely needed a drink and had a conversation with Wendy about the issue of Wendy's ex being here and also that most of the men were monsters, quite literally monsters. Goldilocks also mentioned that she made sure Prince Charming would not be on the boat as she had history with him and no fond memories.
Peter Pan was standing fairly nearby and was doing his best to strike a cool pose and look like he was taking no interest in their conversation. He then took the opportunity to slide up to the bar and engaged Goldilocks in a chat. This led to a minor argument between him and Wendy. The Scarecrow, completely missing the tension in the atmosphere at the bar wandered up to Wendy and asked her the same question he had asked both Goldilocks and the Queen of Hearts. Peter took him to task and then derailed his attempts to talk to Wendy.
Peter Pan led the Scarecrow out on to a viewing deck and made a pass at him as Peter was bisexual. But this seemed to be subterfuge to see if Wendy was paying any attention. She did side eye him, but continued to talk to Goldilocks.
The Hatter, at this time was mingling and was knocked over by the Big Bad Wolf without apology. The wolf was very drunk on cherry brandy, Hatter picked himself up and made his way towards Goldilocks where he attempted a lame, cheesy chat-up line that totally failed to impress her. Then the Big Bad Wolf interrupts the conversation and asked Goldilocks why she was a no show for his birthday party, to which she responded that she would have felt out of place there. The Wolf leaned in close, so Goldilocks cast Shield and stopped the Wolf from getting too close, which caused him to get angry.
The Hatter decided to calm the situation down and offered to use his Massage cantrip on the Wolf, causing the tension to leave the Wolf and relax him. The Wolf leaves at this point.
The Queen took the opportunity to flirt awkwardly with the Hatter.
The Electric Slide
The Beast once again calls the room to order and announces it is time for the guests to learn the dance of love, the Electric Slide, which is demonstrated by Beauty with Goldilocks as a volunteer. The demonstration was not a success, so Beauty called up the Hatter who was more proficient at it and impressed the crowd.
Suddenly, without warning,the ship lurches to one side causing chaos inside the ship. Then there is an explosion that makes the vessel rock violently, causing Wendy to fall into some broken glass.
There follow a series of explosions throughout the ship, amidst the chaos, a crew member appears yelling about pirates attacking the ship. The Beast warns everyone to stay below deck and darts upstairs with the sailor. The ladies ponder the possibility of dating the pirates if they're hot. Scarecrow takes the opportunity to proposition Beauty in his own special way, he also uses his medicine skills to fix her cuts.
A cannon ball bursts through the hull and kills Hansel, whereupon the Scarecrow immediately propositions Gretel. This causes Goldilocks to educate him about the appropriate times to approach women.
The Princess of the Pea panics loudly and the Hunchback of Notre Dame collapses and convulses violently. The Queen tries to assist him, but is ineffective, the Hatter also tries to help offering mouth to mouth. Peter Pan uses Healing Word and helps the Hunchback out of his convulsions.
Wendy and Peter agree to put their issues to one side whilst the emergency is ongoing and the Queen yet again attempts to awkwardly flirt with Peter. As this is happening, the Scarecrow sees through the hole in the hull, a sleek, black pirate ship cutting through the water. Goldilocks feels warm sea water around her feet and realises that the ship is taking on water.
Wendy can see the nameplate on the pirate ship, the Jolly Roger, owned by Captain Hook, another of Wendy's exes. She can also see the crew of the pirate ship running around on their deck and recognises them as some of the Lost Boys.
Peter wants to fly over to the pirate ship and talk to the Lost Boys to find out why they are working for Captain Hook, the group decide to go up on to the deck of the cruise ship, unfortunately they are locked in. The Queen rages and smashes the door off its hinges, allowing the party to make their way upstairs.
Once they arrive on deck, the pirate ship comes to bear and prepares to fire another cannon at the cruise ship. The Scarecrow successfully menaced Tootles on the pirate vessel which starts a ranged battle against the Lost Boys. During the battle, Peter notices something a little 'off' about the Lost Boys and messages Slightly to inquire what's going on, to which Slightly responds, "If we can't have Wendy, no one can!"
However, the cruise ship is heavily damaged and there are a lot of dead crew members strewn around the deck. The party can see that one lifeboat is damaged beyond use and the other is missing. They also spot Captain Hook's severed head stuck to the top of the mast of the pirate vessel, having been murdered by the Lost Boys in their madness. One of the Twins spots Wendy and implores her to come back to Neverland as they missed having her as a mother.
The cruise ship is starting to sink, so the party board the prate ship and fight the Lost Boys. The party win the fight; thankfully with minimal damage on the Lost Boys, they managed to win by incapacitating the majority and only killing one of them, Slightly who was burned to death by The Hatter. Thankfully, Wendy and and Peter manage to revive and cure him.
After the Battle
Slightly then explains that they were desperate for Wendy to return as Neverland is falling apart without her. To which Wendy responds in the negative as she isn't willing to be a mother yet, also it seems a poor reason for her to get back together with Peter.
Goldilocks then wants to investigate the missing lifeboat, but instead witnesses the cruise ship sink beneath the water. She also sees the missing lifeboat on the horizon being furiously rowed away at which point Peter takes the helm of the pirate ship and follows the lifeboat, and finds that it is manned by the panicking Beast. Peter blasts a hole in the lifeboat to stop it and pulls the Beast to safety.
Meanwhile the Scarecrow and the Queen of Hearts investigate the captain's bunk and discover that the navigation maps have been ruined, as well as some pages from a notebook that have been ripped to shreds. They manage to piece the pages back together, the Queen taking this opportunity to flirt (somewhat more delicately than usual) with the Scarecrow.
The Beast thanks the team for saving him and also apologises for his cowardice and leaving his wife to die on the ship. Peter is suspicious and casts Zone of Truth on the Beast which fails, but Goldilocks has some insight and knows the Beast is not being completely honest with them and forces him to admit that his relationship with Beauty was on the rocks and that Beauty was having an affair, possibly with Captain Hook.
The Beast is distraught and Peter reads his thoughts, discovering that the Beast was truly forlorn at the loss of his wife's love, but wasn't aware of the affair and is still hiding something.
The Scarecrow is upset at a joke made at his expense by The Hatter, and in a surprisingly tender moment, is comforted by the Queen of Hearts.
Due to the following winds, the team decide to continue on to Pleasure Island rather than return to the home port in the wake of the disaster.
- Advert for Star Wars: Battlefront
- Giveaway featuring Brian Foster.
- Advert for Thrashtopia.
- Advert for GM Tips featuring Satine Phoenix and Dani Carr.
- How to play Legend of the Five Rings featuring Becca Scott.
- Critters' Art Montage.
The Dating Game
As they are making their way to Pleasure Island aboard the Jolly Roger, the Beasts asks everyone to help him pass the time and convince him that true love really exists. He has taken a huge emotional hit due to the revelations about Beauty and is now full of doubt, and wants them to play The Dating Game, which is the game that would currently be being played if the ship had not been attacked. The prize for the winners is to spend Seven Minutes of Heaven in the Romance Lounge (actually the galley) of the ship. The Beast will ask questions of the group and a correct answer wins one point.
- Question 1: Based on your previous answers, which of the ladies described her last relationship as a summer fling with a mermaid?
Peter: Ooh, Wendy. She fucked a mermaid while we were still dating.
- Question 2: Which gentleman listed as his pet peeve, clocks?
Goldilocks: The Hatter
- Question 3: The question was "Where's the strangest place you've ever made love?" Her answer was, "In some random guy's house in the woods because breaking and entering is hot."
- Question 4: Ladies, which fella says the he only ever wears some leaves to bed?
Wendy: I mean we all know, it's Peter.
- Question 5: Men, which lady fantasises about marrying a man so she can own more land?
Scarecrow: The Queen of Hearts.
- Question 6: Ladies, which bachelor said his goal was to find a monogamous relationship, but only be monogamous for them, not for me?
Wendy: It's Peter... Again.
- Question 7: Men, which lady described her sex life as not hot, not cold, just tepid?
Hatter: That'll be Goldilocks.
- Question 8: Women, which gentleman said his last relationship was being married to an ocelot-
Goldilocks: er... The offelot? No wait... that one!
Beast: Incorrect, lose a point... With an ocelot until he found out his wife was cheating on him with a shark?
Goldilocks: The Hatter.
- Question 9: Fellas, which lady's ideal mate is someone magical or several magical someones at the same time?
- Question 10: Ladies, which man said the strangest place they'd ever made love was, and I quote, "There was a local munchkin who used to come to my cornfield and suck me off"
Goldilocks: The Scarecrow.
- Question 11: Boys, which girl's ideal mate is a small man?
Scarecrow: The Queen of Hearts.
- Question 12: And finally ladies, which gentleman goes to sleep wearing a wooden pole up his ass?
Queen of Hearts: The Crazy Hatter?
Goldie: The Scarecrow.
After The Dating Game
Due to some confusion, Wendy and Peter are declared the winners. Wendy picks Peter to join her in the Romance Room as she wanted to talk to him, but insisted that The Hatter joined them there as a therapist. They tried to talk through the problems they had been having, but Peter started passionately kissing The Hatter. This turns Wendy on and she too, passionately kisses The Hatter. The Queen, being "a little thirsty", grapples Scarecrow and puts the moves on him. The whole scene then descends into debauchery until the Beast manages to calm the group down.
At this point, Peter notices a potion on a high shelf and Wendy spots a sword which they collect. The Scarecrow dons his Suspenders of Disbelief, the Queen asks Goldilocks for relationship advice and how to make herself more attractive to small men.
Everyone goes to bed for the night except the Hatter, who delays slightly in order to read a bedtime story to the Lost Boys.
After everyone is settles, Goldilocks attempts to steal a bar of chocolate from Scarecrow, but he notices and stops her, whereupon she attacks him with Shocking Grasp and takes the chocolate by force and rapidly scoffs it down. Then Scarecrow attacks Goldilocks causing a lot of damage, this now degenerates into a full knock-down fight, which is stopped by Wendy when she casts Entanglement on the combatants.
Everyone now falls asleep for the night.
Arrival at Pleasure Island
Everyone is suddenly jolted awake as the Jolly Roger slams into something. They congregate on the deck and discover that they have run aground on a sandy beach, which Beast declares to be Pleasure Island and runs away along the beach.
Peter and Scarecrow are distrustful of Beast, but he does seem to be genuine.
The group sends the Lost Boys back to their clubhouse in the Jolly Roger, but they decide to sit on the beach with the ship whilst the group explore the island.
The Hatter tracks Beast through the jungle followed by the rest of the party, except Wendy who delays in order to tie the Lost Boys to trees before leaving the beach. She gets lost trying to follow the group, but eventually finds them.
They are dawn to a dimly lit building hidden in dense jungle, they can also smell the aroma of delicious sweets, chocolate and candy; and getting closer, they can see that the building is actually a massive gingerbread house.
Arrows are fired at them from the house, narrowly missing Peter and Scarecrow, but Beast tells the group not to worry, he will let the people inside know that they are friends. He then disappears into the house, telling the group that he is going ahead to calm the people inside down an let them know that the party were friends and not a threat.
This time, Goldilocks is distrustful and knows that Beast is suspiciously nervous. Peter casts Detect Thoughts on Beast and discovers that he was in a hurry to get into the building and "talk to Jack right away."
At this point, Wendy, having been led here by the scent of the sweets and candy, moves around from the rear of the building and rejoins the group.
Peter searches the immediate are and finds a discarded bag containing a small piece of fabric and a Spider Pill. Wendy takes the fabric and Scarecrow claims the pill.
The Hatter licks the door of the building and discovers it is made of dark chocolate flavoured with cherry. Then they hear from inside the house, a female scream followed by male laughter and someone cursing in Italian.
Wendy hits the side wall of the house with the fabric which adheres to the wall and melts away leaving a 6 foot diameter hole, through which they can get inside and discover some ice sculptures that turn out to be Robin Hood, Baba Yaga and Gepetto, slowly being transformed into statues by a giant blue creature with icy breath. Scarecrow decides to take his Spider Pill and climbs the outside of the building to an upstairs window that he smashes open to gain entry.
They also see the Beast calmly roasting the severed head of Captain Hook over some hot coals, who then takes a bite out of it, like an apple.
It turns out that Beauty had filed for divorce several months ago, so Beast felt compelled to murder her along with her paramour, regardless of who else got hurt. He was also tired of running singles cruises for losers, so he partnered up with Jack Frost, changing people into ice sculptures.
The Final Fight
The group, led by the Queen of Hearts charge into battle against the Beast and Jack Frost. Halfway through, the enemy are joined by a giant, green troll who can only be seen by Wendy, and the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The first enemy to fall is Jack Frost when the Hatter causes his head to explode, killing him instantly. He is eventually followed by the Beast who is initially confused when the Queen kisses him passionately whilst he is charmed and he collapses to the floor. This causes the enchantment on the troll and the Pied Piper to fail, releasing them and causing them to stop fighting.
The Big Surprise
At this point a woman enters the room armed with two swords. It turns out to be Beauty, smiling and totally normal. The Beast springs to his heat and joins her in congratulating the group on finding true love, and extolling the virtues of the members of the group. It turns out that this whole adventure was a set up by Beauty and the Beast.
- Scarecrow - Scarecrow monk (played by H. Michael Croner)
- The Hatter - Halfling wizard (played by Yuri Lowenthal)
- Wendy Darling - Human druid (played by Molly Ostertag)
- Peter Pan - Half-elf bard (played by ND Stevenson)
- The Queen of Hearts - Human barbarian (played by Amy Vorpahl)
- Goldilocks - Human fighter (played by Stefanie Woodburn)
Big Bad Wolf(deceased) Gretel(deceased)
- Tootles, a Lost Boy
- Slightly, a Lost Boy
- Nibs, a Lost Boy
- Curly, a Lost Boy
- The Twins, Lost Boys
- Robin Hood, a folk hero
- Baba Yaga, a supernatural being from Slavic folk tales.
- Gepetto, an Italian woodcarver and foster father of Pinocchio
Jack Frost, a personification of frost, ice and freezing cold. (deceased)
- Troll, a folk tale character.
- Pied Piper of Hamelin, a German folk tale character.
Sleeping Beauty(deceased). Jack, of Beanstalk fame (deceased). Mary Mary, Quite Contrary(deceased). The Hunchback of Notre Dame(deceased). Prince Charming(deceased). Hansel(deceased). The Princess of the Pea(deceased). Captain Hook(deceased). The Witch of the Gingerbread House(deceased).
|Acquired||1||Sceptre||Unknown||Queen of Hearts||A royal sceptre that doubles as a heavy club.|
|Transferred||1||Sword||Wendy||Goldilocks||A normal long-sword inhabited by the spirit of Amy Vorpahl and she talks to the wielder (An Amy Vorpahl Sword). Initially found on the Jolly Roger.|
|Acquired||1||Cereal||Shelf||Peter||A box of stale Fruit Loops.|
|Acquired||1||Suspenders||Unknown||Scarecrow||Suspenders of Disbelief.|
|Expended||1||Fabric||Discarded bag||Wendy||A 6 foot piece of blue fabric|
|Expended||1||Chocolate||Wall of Gingerbread House||Goldilocks||Broken from wall of Gingerbread House and eaten on the way inside|
|Expended||1||Spider Pill||Discarded bag||Scarecrow||Scarecrow swallowed it in order to climb a wall.|
- Queen of Hearts: Should I just be myself or should I fem it up?
- Sam: Guys by the way, little legal note here. Yuri is portraying a character tonight called The Hatter, he's not portraying a character called anything other than The Hatter, which would be the property of Disney... He's the Crazy Hatter... Because we're all on the S.S. Public Domain.
- Credited as Noelle Stevenson; Stevenson changed their name in 2021.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 0:7:39.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 0:11:29.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 0:14:27.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 0:16:34.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 0:18:44.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 0:33:36.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 0:37:15.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 1:17:03.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 1:40:30.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 1:42:29.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 3:16:55.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 3:17:33.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 3:19:25.
- The classes of the party were extrapolated from the skills, spells and abilities the party displayed, where not explicitly stated by the GM.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 0:21:21.
- See "Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise" (Sx28) at 1:14:24.