Lords of the Feywild

In this installment of Critical Hit – A Major Spoilers Dungeons and Dragons Podcast: It’s five against four!

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Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

41 Comments

    • Melanie Brookbank on

      I can’t argue – were we the only ones confused by this? I mean it was neat to hear some other characters but I feel like – did I miss something? I even went back to listen to the last episode of gaming. Did I somehow miss something? I am confused…

      • Crystal Groves on

        I felt that way as well on episode 121. I had to check (and re-check) to make sure I didn’t skip an episode. I’m sure it’ll be explained in due time.

    • Two episodes ago: huge cliffhanger with the reappearance of the Hogba.
      Last episode: mailbag
      This episode: How the other half lives with a bunch of characters the listeners don’t know, and which the players apparently received minutes before the episode started. And, on top of that, it starts in medias res with a combat encounter.

      Definitely a bold choice. I think it’ll be interesting to see what the Fey Wild has been like since Spud took over, but I am not sure that this episode was the absolute best way of getting to that story.

      Dunno if any of the crew will want or have the opportunity to respond, but I really don’t understand the desire for “secrecy” about characters or mechanics. If you guys are going to bust out a bunch of new characters, I don’t understand why you don’t cover in very brief who and what they are. What is gained by not saying, “Ok, Adriana is playing a Human monk, Matthew is playing a [hummingbird?] sorcerer, etc.”? The same goes for the times “back in the day” when people, Matthew especially, would describe what a skill did without telling us what the skill was.

      At this point, I would not be surprised to hear that the group regrets using such a mechanically oriented system like D&D, and would rather they were using something more RP/description oriented. But, at this point, everyone’s committed, so why go out of your way to obfuscate simple stuff like class, race, and context? Compare this episode to the first two “other half lives” episodes. It’s much harder to engage with this one because of that lack of context, I think.

      • Matthew’s Character is a re-skinned pixie, I think most of the characters are from the Heroes of the Feywild splatbook. That said I think that Rob is playing a Hengeyoka, but I may well be wrong, as I know that Rodrigo has said in the past he doesn’t like to use options from the dungeons/dragons magazine because they’re not necessarily balanced.

      • Not sure if you’re responding to me, or to OP, but I feel there’s a difference between the positive off balance in the sense that it can quickly generate suspense and interest, and off balance in the sense where you finish listening and say to yourself, “What in the fuck just happened and why was i supposed to care?” Critical Hit isn’t a book or a movie, it’s an RPG.

        Re-imagine today’s episode as a short story: “A pair of rabbits flee across a snow-swept landscape. They fall into a crater, at the bottom of which is a giant desiccated skull. One rabbit transforms into a humanoid, draws his swords, and turns to face his pursuers to protect his companion. Mysterious creatures-a magical hummingbird, a warrior princess, a starving jackal, and strange singer-come to the rabbit’s aid against malevolent otherworldly forces.”

        In a straight narrative, where names of abilities, races, classes, and the results of dice rolls don’t matter, not knowing what’s going on builds suspense and adds mystery. It’s exciting. Who are all of these characters? Why are they here? What the creepy things trying to kill them? In the context of D&D (especially with a group that is not insanely mechanics oriented in the first place-how many times have we had questions asked about skills people have had for literally years at this point), the lack of context when you jump immediately into a combat situation-where abilities, races, classes, and the results of dice are paramount-ended up being sort of a confusing mess. If Rob of all people is trying to figure out how his character works halfway through the episode, that doesn’t bode well for the listener being able to track what’s going on.

        • Hi frosstbyte, I was replying to the Original Poster. I understand your points, and your preference.

          My personal experience was that I found this episode to be exciting and fantastic – I was intrigued as to who these new characters were, but I wasn’t confused at all.

  1. Peter Jeanes on

    Que?
    No seriously, huh? You kinda lost me there.
    I do enjoy the occasional random change of pace or how the other sixteenth live but it feels a bit like the episode was accidentally uploaded out of order rather than just shaking up the perspective.

    I await next Saturday with much anticipation

  2. I’m not sure if it is because this began in media res or if these characters just are less awesome somehow but they really didn’t capture my interest as the other third did.
    Those guys I was really pleased to see more of when the main party split up.
    With these I don’t feel like I’d mind this being their only appearance, although they could still grow on me.

    Looking forward to the next episode!

  3. Frederick aka Darth Macho on

    My first thought when the episode started was, “Wait, I thought that Rodrigo said he doesn’t do cut scenes?” Lol, then I caught on quickly. While I was bummed at first that we were going to have to wait to find out what was happening with The Hogba, I was very interested to get a glimpse of what was going on in the Feywild under Spud’s tyrannical reign. Glad to see the Fey fighting back. I, for one, was engaged by the new characters, and while the players seemed a little hesitant as they learned their new characters, they certainly made up for it with their descriptions and role-play, which they seemed very comfortable with. Well done crew!

      • whiles’t i too enjoyed the episode, it did seem rather off pace, usually a “how the other (insert fraction here) live” has a good lead on or is otherwise hinted at through the main story.

        In the how the other half live arc it was hinted at that there was some sort of conference.

        in the how the other third live it was in a relative lull in suspense.

        This seems odd for two reasons, it was not hinted too ( granted the second one wasn’t hinted too) and the fact that it was during a highly suspenseful point of re-meeting the Hogba who may not be able to be trusted. It was all rather confusing and I feel that it could have been better placed storywise.

        That’s just my opinion though and i wont judge this booklet by its proverbial cover and i hope that it gets less confusing as time goes on.

        thank you for the episodes. Sincerely. Have fun :)

          • While you may have intended to heavily foreshadow these characters with Orem’s fey steps, the comments here and on twitter suggest that those hints were too subtle and diffuse to provide the foundation and context you guys expected listeners to have going into this episode. I would venture to guess you guys as players knew this was coming in more concrete fashion before this episode, so you were more sensitive to the hints.

              • Well, given that, did you, as a group, immediately recognize who all of these characters were and why they’d been selected for “How the Other Fourth Lives?” If so, did you only remember/recognize them by consulting your notes?

                Granted, I fully expect one of you is taking copious story notes, and I absolutely would be if I were a player, too, but I doubt very many/any of the listeners are doing that, so none of us could easily refer back to them.

                • Critical Hit is a show that occasionally takes these narrative leaps of faith, and they have made for some of our most memorable episodes and moments. Mileage, as always, may vary, but I recommend you give it the benefit of the doubt.

                • Plague Jackal is the only character that was seen (to my knowledge) during a Feystep, and to my knowledge none of us made the connection until after that particular episode was released. I made a point of that on Twitter when I reheard the episode. That Rodrigo is a sly one, you really need to pay attention to everything, no matter how subtle it may seem. That being said, the new characters have never met and this is their first encounter, so from my perspective yelling out “I’m a druid pixie” would clue all of the players around the table in on the mechanics of their characters instead of the group trying to figure out their strengths and weaknesses to combat the creatures. I like the gambit that Rodrigo pulled in this (and upcoming episodes).

                  Thanks for your comments! We enjoy reading everyone’s thoughts on episodes, and though we can’t respond to everyone, all comments are read. I hope you continue to listen and enjoy the show.

                  • Peter Jeanes on

                    Ok after a more attentive relisten. Cool, get it. Nice twist and an interesting peek into the Feywild under Spud.

                    Rodrigo, you are a sneaky so and so ;)

                    Can’t wait for #256 guys. Keep up the great work

                  • Frederick aka Darth Macho on

                    In the second fey-step, one of the gelatinous creatures made an appearance, no? I didn’t get that until I listened to it last night again in work. (I do that a lot, since an orc could probably do my job.)

  4. I personally find “How the other half lives” episodes to be the best you guys put up (with mailbag’s pretty close). It’s always very interesting to hear how you adapt to new characters quickly and in a cool way.
    Stephen and Matthew’s characters are my favourite so far, expecially the Jackal, so nasty :). Matthew visual effects are just amazing, It seems heavy influenced by mystic rather than arcane energies. I can clearly picture it in my head :D

    Can’t wait to hear more!

  5. John Meunier on

    Found the episode interesting. Looking forward to being able to find out about the characters. Love the way everyone seems to be getting revenge on Rob for blasting them with area attacks as Smith/Ket.

  6. The reason – as I see it – as to why we’re coming into the episode seemingly from the middle is because things are happening to the Feywild and these characters are constantly in the thick of it. We’re in a scene of tension from the get go. Running, fighting, loud explosions, all is not peaceful in the Feywild despite Spud’s best intentions.

  7. Great Great episode. Just the right time for at cut-away from the main story. It just seems like you guys and girls can do no wrong on this show.
    Bomb to see Rob as the defender. But does Rob allways play the leader?
    As I recall we have seen him as Artificer, Cleric, Shaman, Bard and ooooooh yes, was he ranger that one time?
    Well I love to play the “support” class and would love to hear if this is also what Brian likes the best too?

    • Are you potentially confusing Rob and Brian? Rob is a defender in this episode, was a cleric/shaman in celestial crusader, a striker for the fight against the thing that shatters the sky, Smith was a striker, and Ket is a striker with a tinge of leader. I forget what his season 2 “other half lives” character was and what character he played in Steven’s campaign.

      The classes you list I think are all classes that Brian has played. Am I remembering?

  8. Terry Heying on

    When I saw a “How the Other Fourth Live”, I was a little disheartened – really wanted to here what was happening our intrepid heroes! But I liked this episode – a new change of pace and a chance to know what the heck our heroes might be getting into when they return to the Feywild. Granted, the entrance was a little abrupt, but I think this is going to be a cool side-story that will meld interestingly with the main characters. :)

    As a DM, I started playing the game of “What’s Your Race and Class” and I think I’ve got the majority. Brian is an Eladrin Bard, Rob is a Hengeyokai Fighter, Matthew is a Pixie Sorcerer (Dragon Magic pact?), Steven is a Gnoll Druid, and Adriana is a Deva (going off of the pink skin description) Monk. Am I close?

  9. I haven’t listened to the newest episode, having just found you guys by chance while running a route every morning. I have since listened every day and am currently on episode 49. I like the show so much I have decided to run my own version of “Four against the void” as a 3.5 campaign. Is there any way to get notes on monsters or any such to help me out in this endeavor or shall I continue to listen and guess as to what the creatures are, or just build my own? I will say I am a bit more mean of a DM in a sense that I too have taken all the clerics/priests away but thrown in Vampires as the main “Cult of the Void” (Seems like they would want to destroy the planet, or at least create a lasting darkness…) In any case, love the show, can’t wait to catch up to current shows, and keep doing what you are doing.

    -Steven

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