Critical Recap: Critical Role C3E56 “By Goat or By Boat”
Written by Dani on April 26, 2023
Hello! Welcome to Critical Recap! I’m Dani Carr, the Critical Role Lore Keeper. Let’s dive into our recap of Critical Role Campaign 3 Episode 56 By Goat or By Boat!
GOATS VS GIANTS
The group travels via large riding goats across the Flotket Alps, heading southwest to the Savalirwood. Their first two days of travel are easy, with a blizzard arriving on the third that exhausts both Chetney and Imogen. On the fourth day, their journey is harried by frost giants throwing boulders. The goats sled down the side of the mountain to escape, and with Imogen’s telepathy, Fearne’s fire, and F.R.I.D.A.’s sharpshooting, they’re able to dissuade the giants from continuing their pursuit.
The goats bring the party to a stop at the base of the mountain and beside the Boreal Omen River. The group realizes that the river is flowing in the direction of their destination and that it will be a shorter journey if they travel on the water. They consider making a boat by lashing their goats together and letting them float, but the frozen chunks of ice and Fearne’s magical conversation with her goat Donnie Boy dissuades them from that idea.
Instead, they take the afternoon to fashion a raft from the trees. During this construction, F.R.I.D.A. asks Deanna to put her death ward on FCG, claiming that he’s a healer so he needs to stay alive, but also because F.R.I.D.A. cares about them. Deanna goes to FCG and asks what their intentions are with F.R.I.D.A. and FCG assures her that he just wants to make F.R.I.D.A. happy. FCG encourages Deanna about her chances with Chetney.
They finish the raft as night falls and decide to camp and sail in the morning. Before bed, FCG casts commune to reach out to the Changebringer. He wants to know if she’s real. The wind picks up and FCG sees a figure standing impossibly far on the horizon, her hair so long as to flow on the wind around FCG. The Changebringer has been watching.
FCG thanks her for finding them and asks if she needs help. The figure lifts off the horizon, her hair like a rope, and FCG senses a yes. He sees her join other shapes, ancient and powerful, in the sky and FCG feels both hugely important and impossibly small at the same time.
FCG talks to Deanna, asking her how she remains faithful despite her cynicism. Deanna explains that she puts her faith more in people than in the gods. She’s grateful to the Dawnfather, but it’s people she trusts. She puts her faith in the world.
GOATS VS GNOMES
In the morning, the group looks over their raft and realizes that the goats are not going to fit. Deanna kills her goat, Jerry, and she and Chetney harvest his meat and fur. Imogen is horrified and the group argues over what to do with the goats, either kill them or leave them. Fearne magically talks to Donnie Boy, who does not want to explode like Jerry did, and convinces him to stay here with the other goats and be here when the group comes back. They can eat Jerry!
The group boards the raft sans goats and FCG uses their propeller attachment to push them forward while Fearne uses her staff to guide the boat. They move into the shadows and mist of the Savalirwood, where the forest is dense and the trees are strange, with unnatural colorations and even more unnatural creatures. Chetney was able to survive here by living off the land and killing a werewolf.
This conversation makes F.R.I.D.A. realize that the lycanthropic curse is passed via werewolf bites and that Chetney bit them during their fight. No one knows how aeormatons work in regards to blood curses, but there is a way to cure F.R.I.D.A. if it ends up taking hold. F.R.I.D.A. doesn’t want to hurt anyone but the full moon isn’t for a number of weeks. It will be awhile before they know if the curse has taken hold.
As they travel, they can tell that the woods seem very alive. Imogen sends light into the forest, where they spot pixies annoying a strange creature known as a bog wretch. Deanna casts control water, trying to push them away from the bog wretch and further down the river while Imogen tries to distract it with her lights. The bog wretch still notices them and jumps into the water ahead, initiating combat.
They fight against the bog wretch and the pixies, having to contend with the wretch’s grappling and attempts at swallowing them, as well as the pixies’ magic. Deanna washes the pixies away with her control water and F.R.I.D.A. is swallowed by the wretch, but they shoot their blunderbuss while inside it and force the creature to spit them back out. Finally, Chetney fells a tree onto the bog wretch, killing it, and the group continues their journey on the raft.
As evening progresses, they discuss whether to stop and camp or keep going down the river. Fearne casts speak with animals and dunks her head underwater, talking with a strange fish with two mouths about the dangers of the river. There are no waterfalls ahead, but they should avoid the Wolf-King. The group (and the fish) is unsure who the Wolf-King is, but the information is helpful. They decide to stay on the raft through the night, taking watches.
Deanna and F.R.I.D.A. discuss F.R.I.D.A. potentially being a werewolf. F.R.I.D.A. isn’t opposed to the idea, since Chetney seems to enjoy it so much. Deanna believes she can rid them of the curse if it ever feels like too much. Though Deanna hasn’t prayed since before she met F.R.I.D.A., she joins in their prayer of thanking the Dawnfather for their new friends. They sleep, and another day passes without issue as they continue down the river.
It is during their last half day of travel that they come across cursed geysers that are theorized to be part of the initial corruption of the woods. One of these geysers explodes onto the group and Fearne and Deanna are cursed by it, taking a point of exhaustion and having their maximum health reduced by 5 points. Chetney knew of these geysers, but hadn’t been able to warn them in time. At least now they know what to look out for.
F.R.I.D.A. spots the tip of a tower in the distance, prompting them to pull the raft onto the bank to investigate. F.R.I.D.A. leads them through the woods, which seem to adjust to block their path at times, but they make it to the edge of the ruins of Molaesmyr. The towers and walls and homes are overgrown, having been taken over by the forest. There are clusters of webs and strange noises deeper within the ruins.
They are on the northeastern side of the massive city and the Gildhollow Tower that Ludinus worked in is on the northwestern side, so they have to delve into the ruins to find their way. Imogen summons a Thought Eater crimson shade, which she tells to make its way north as a distraction. The red being moves through the city, emitting a high-pitched shriek.
This noise attracts a massive elk creature, which slams into the Thought Eater, destroying it. This elk is featureless, with ten spider-like limbs, two of which are human-like arms that are dragged and pulled along in a horrifying display.
FCG casts Telepathic Bond on everyone and they quietly enter the cursed city ruins. Chetney can sense the ghostly presences throughout and they all notice the numerous skeletal bodies tangled in the growing vegetation; the remnants of the fleeing families. They move deeper into the ruins, searching for the tower.
That is it for Episode 56 of Critical Role!
- The ruins of Molaesmyr!! It’s so exciting to finally be exploring these ruins, which have been teased since Campaign 2.
- The creatures of the Savalirwood are horrifying. Not just the creatures, but the very trees seem to have their own unsavory motives and desires. So unsettling.
- Poor Jerry the Goat. Rest in Peace, sir. I hope your stew is delicious.
- What will they find in the ruins? Is there anything there that hasn’t already been plundered?