Lords of the Feywild

In this installment of Critical Hit – A Major Spoilers Dungeons and Dragons Podcast: Who lives!? Who dies!? The finale of The Lords of the Feywild is here!

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About Author

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...


  1. A very nice episode guys, exactly what I wanted out of last week’s ending. I agree with Rodrigo that it took a bit longer than I thought to come to a decision. But who I expected to go did, I just hope that they weren’t truly “never heard from again”. Now I wait with anticipation to see what the character’s got up to during their seperation next season. By the way any hints on off-season stuff? I want to go into details but y’know spoilers.

  2. I’m shocked that I’m the first to comment, but just to get it started… A great final episode to the season. Trying to avoid spoilers, so I’ll just say that as a GM, I really admire Rodrigo’s handling of this – first for forcing the characters to make meaningful choices, second for how he handled the epilogues.

    And I really, really hope there’s another season.

    Separately I often find Torq really obstinate in these sorts of episodes. I’m going to assume that’s excellent role-play in action.

    • Holy crap. I’m halfway through this episode, and I just wanna say: Thank you Matthew, Stephen, Brian, Adriana, Rob and Rodrigo for an amazing story, with a brilliantly played out finale!

  3. Becky Armstrong on

    I was tearing up to actual crying for most of the episode. The most tragic thing of all was Torq not being able to say goodbye to Orem.

    I’m really going to miss Torq. But I know I’d miss anyone who decided to leave. It just stings a little bit more because Torq is my favorite.

  4. Great season! Amazing episode!
    But I’m gonna miss Torq so so much.
    You better come back with an awesome new character for next season Matthew.
    I hope Orem finds his way out of the feywild back to the others without too much trouble.
    Randus got left the Proud Baroness! Thoney = best mentor (Master Althern just left Orem an angry grieving Gnome to deal with)
    Looking forward to seeing what the southern continent is like next season, and to the off season adventure!

  5. What a memorable episode, in a season full of them.
    Knew there would be some consequence from the promise to the Hogba, but “and he was never heard from again” sounded so final. Left me heavyhearted.
    And I enjoyed the many heartfelt role-playing moments. Trelle choking an unsuspecting Orem out; Rob getting his instructions from Asmodeus; Randus actually speaking out strongly for a certain point of view; Torq reminding Randus of the statue owed…
    Would be great to hear Stephen, Adriana, Matthew, Rob and Brian’s reactions to the season finale.

  6. Randus’ recap “that was really a lot of work.” Cracked me up. In character mail bag MUST HAPPEN!!!! Remember Orem “kill your friends” or choke them out…

    • Aspiring Spambot on

      I think we need to fill their inbox with questions for the gang’s characters and see if we can make it happen.

      Or, y’know, they could just answer legitimate gaming questions in character.

      “Dear Critical Hit, what do I do about a player who shows up to the gaming table obviously intoxicated and frequently acts disruptive?”

      “Uhhhhh, crack ’em on the head.”

    Thanks for all the entertainment, guys and gals.
    I hope everyone remains civil in these here comments. Remember, you wouldn’t be so lit up if you didn’t LOVE this world they’ve created. Don’t say ugly things that will make family reunions awkward.

  8. Great season. Excited to hear more – looking forward to each and every episode! Hope there’s another discussion with the crew talking about their favorite and least favorite parts of this season!

  9. I commend Matthew for having enough courage to let Torq step up in his role of protector for the group. It’s hard to lose a beloved character like that, but this is exactly what Torq would have done.
    The party dynamics are going to change so much now! Looking forward to seeing the new character.

  10. Well, even though we knew it was coming that episode packed an emotional wallop. Thanks for this season! I am constantly amazed at the creativity on display by all the cast. Looking forward to hearing what you come up with next…

  11. What a momentous end to the season, and perhaps to these characters’ journeys together? Couldn’t have asked for a better way to end it. New characters and new system next season? Doesn’t matter, I suppose–I don’t see how you guys could top this. Excellent work–I’d love to hear more about Orem and friends next season, but I’d also love to see a new adventure. Thanks Critical Hit crew, for weaving a story as engaging as anything you can see on TV.

    • true, spud only died in Orem’s fever dream, time works differently with the Hogba, bug i think that James is well and truley dead, hell, i don’t know if he ever really existed in the first place…

  12. PrideoftheCowards on

    It’s hard to say how much I need Torq to show up at the final battle of this series armed with the black mistress and the holy light of Correlon. Either that or five paragon adventurers; the time sundered, the godbound, the fey patron, the planescrossed guardian and Matthews new character, heading into the Feywild to exact painstaking vengeance on the Hogba for everything that went beyond the terms of the bargain.

  13. Damn guys, what a finale. I really hope we see Torq again one day. I’ll raise a funnel cake in honor of the one who ducks.

  14. Great season ender. I’m on my way to your donate page next to make sure you come back with another season. I’d really love to see a new beginning next season with all new character, even though I love these characters, I think this was a good place to leave them, for a while at least. I’d love to see Matthew play a spellcaster or rogue, and Rob and Brian play in-your-face fighter-types.

    I’d also love to see you switch to 5th edition next season. I’ve played 3rd, 3.5, 4th, then Pathfinder, now just switched myself to 5th ed. I’d like to see the podcast change with the times as well. I had fun playing 4th, but honestly, whenever you had a combat episode, I fast forwarded through it. This may not be the popular opinion but I found 4th too miniature/grid based, too many AoOs, immediate interrupts, immediate reactions, reactions to interrupts, interrupts of AoOs, interrupts of reactions, etc…. It did not make for great listening IMO. But your story and role playing was so good it was worth it to get though those episodes.

    Thanks again for all the great listening. I wish I could get my group to role play to the level you guys do.

  15. I was listening to the episode and the thought which crossed my mind was “These guys are soooo broken”. They’ve been through dozens of horrific and violent events. They’re all prime candidates for a diagnosis of PTSD. Certainly not in any condition to make these decisions. However, nicely done! I was tearing up at all the hugging.

  16. When I finished this episode, I had that feeling of nausea in the pit of my stomach that I rarely feel. Every season has been such a quick jump to the next (Bao Bel Bina taking them from the Moon to the Astral Sea, Randus and Torq appearing in the natural world to follow Orem into the Feywild) that you don’t really think about endings. And, when you expect a grand ending, but hear the epilogues that end with such vagueness (except for Orem, really – and I mean absolute no disrespect to Rodrigo about the “vagueness”), it almost feels like a punch in the stomach. The group does all these powerful things and writes history with such influence, and, in the end, they are a “young man” looking for a road, a young elf reading a parchment. This group didn’t disband, they were strewn to the winds like ash. When the party splinters like that, I feel that sadness that resonates so deep that it makes you sick. I think a lot of us have that little 5-year-old listening to the bedtime story in us, looking at the storyteller with big eyes and asking, “But they come back, right?” I will be waiting (impatiently) to see, if there is a new season with the adventures of Orem, Torq, Randus, Ket, and Trelle, how Rodrigo will weave their threads back together.

    I loved this season, and I loved this session (as gut-wrenching as it was, it means Rodrigo and the crew are awesome storytellers – if it impacts you, they did it right). Thank you, Critical Hit crew, for all the work you’ve put into this, and all the amazing/funny/sad (and even some annoying. ;) ) moments. I’m really glad I found this podcast back in 2013, and this pdocast is worth every cent of my donations. Again, thank you all!

  17. I’ve came back after a night’s sleep, and I’m still mourning. The hard choice came down to the people I expected, and everyone’s reluctance to accept the original choice was both the best characterization I’ve seen in a while, as well as the most heart-breaking moment I’ve had while listening to a podcast. I’m probably going to trip myself into doing a full analysis and essay on WHY it came down to what happened…And maybe try and create a version of the “Vernal Path” song, because that’s how I deal with grief…

    Thank you to all the Critical Hit folks for this wonderful, soul-wrenching (…is it still too soon?) season. I look forward to the next season, and what is in store for our characters given the ending we had.

  18. Holy crap! This was such an epic ending to the season. Any one of those epilogues would make a fine farewell to the character (but I hope it is not) for good. Any one of the characters could be central to the next season of story, assuming we do not begin with getting the band back together. As much as I hate when each season ends, I love the brilliant climax and I can’t wait for the next season.


  19. I swear I spent more time laughing that episode than anything else. Can’t wait to see the next season. I’m sure it’ll be even better.

  20. That was great! Hats off to everyone for staying character even though you knew what could be waiting.

    There is enough ambiguity to pick up the new season where you left off or to say goodbye to Torq and the Torqletones for good. Can’t wait for the off/new season.

    PLEASE let young Zach have a part in the next one!

  21. Best episode yet. I do feel that Randus should have left, however. Nothing against Brian or Randus, but Randus is a human and their crises are of less urgency than the others’. Also there are more humans to fill the gap. Personally, I don’t think they should have contacted the Hogba in the first place. Excellent role playing, and I hope this isn’t the end. If it is, I’m ok with that, because this is one kicker of a conclusion. Once again, Rodrigo gets ya right in the feels.

  22. João "JG" Melo on

    This episode was simply masterful. A true work of art by Rodrigo and the whole crew, performing an awesome display of role-playing. I cried like a kid…
    The final exchange between Torq and Ket, the conversation between Randus and Torq, Trelle’s promise to Camus, the hug, Orem’s decisiveness, there was so much amazing things!
    Rodrigo’s rendition of the epilogues was pure genius. It gave an almost ethereal felling to the whole thing, all the while giving just enough of a hint about what happens next. I just hope that it isn’t as final as it sounded.
    Looking foward for the following adventures in the off season and the next season!

  23. Torq nooooo, come back! I was shocked to hear Rodrigo say “he was never hear from again”. I really hope it’s not the case.
    Through out the episode I was waiting to see Spud pop up in Orem’s vision, attached to him somehow… He disappeared too easily…. Orem crowing moment was epic!
    Can’t wait for next season, also curious to know what you have lined up for next episode ;)

  24. There is a line in a recent Doctor Who where Clara’s b-friend says something to the effect you can’t be angry at someone you don’t care about. So I suppose the good news is that I care a lot.

    Where to begin? Orem is, to me, the heart of the group… the guy who keeps this disparate gang together, the one who finds the middle path. He meets Spud in some alternate space and, after a few sentences, kills him? Never asks what Spud will do next, never engages with him about the future, just cuts him down? I can’t help but think that the idealistic mage we once knew, who argued with his father over the inherent dignity of all people, is the one who really died.

    Then things get worse. Orem makes his wishes very clear: he either is going with the Hogba or back to the natural world. So who pretends to comfort him, only to stop him from breathing? Trell. Trell, who over and over again this season complained that the rest of the group kept ignoring her personal feelings on how to handle matters. Who, if memory serves, went so far as to attack a fellow party member for not honoring her wishes regarding a dangerous animal even though every other character disagreed. Orem isn’t allowed to fight back or even phase step away. No, his fate is resolved in a group vote, which isn’t a good precedent by my way of thinking.

    As for Torq, the ending felt… wrong. In all my years of gaming, I can’t think of a situation where a player would just give up a character, any character much less a high level one, without some type of fight or attempt at bargaining. The group had adventured with the Hogba once before and survived. At any other table, that player would be asking for some type of Hail Mary roll (“if I get a Critical, he survives”). Instead, his fate is dealt with by the GM. Perhaps “never seen again” could be allegorical… Torq the Grey becomes Torq the White. However, there is no way the player should know that was the case.

    I’m not going to be one of those people who says “I’ll never listen/buy/support this [fill in the entertainment medium] again!”. I know I’ll be back. And I suspect that some of this may have just been the hour it was recorded. But, because I care so much, I found it to be disappointing.

    • I have to agree. I enjoyed the episode, but felt that Stephen should have at least been able to roll a save. It bothered me that he had no real choice in what his character was going to do. The rest of the group decided and he didn’t even have the chance to try and save. It would have been one thing if he had failed his save, but he didn’t even get that. Orem was told he had to lead his people and deliver them to a better place. And when Torq was pretty much told that he shouldn’t go for pretty much the same reasons, they all of a sudden weren’t good enough reasons for Torq to stay.

      I don’t know when it started, but it seems like the last couple of times the party has an argument, Torq gets such a chip on his shoulder. I could see Matthew giving up Torq if it made thematic sense, but to me it didn’t feel like it made thematic sense. The arguments of why Randus should go made much more sense and he’s my favorite character, I’d hate for him to go. His timey whimey self made him the perfect person. It would have been great for future Randus to fly in on his airship 10 minutes after he left Back to the Future style.

      I look forward to what next season begins. You guys do such a great job and this podcast has kept me sane the past 2 years. Thank you for all you do!

    • You have valid points, but this group has always been about the story and roleplay first and the mechanics come second.

      Matthew time and again has shown that he appreciates what would make most sense in character and for the story. If there was any ill will in Stephen’s part, it was probably just him knowing Orem would want to make the sacrifice. But what happened to him makes the most sense dramatically and was more interesting than “Okay everyone roll initiative to knock Orem out”. The same with Torq’s farewell.

      The power Torq’s epilogue would have had would have been completely neutered if Rodrigo would have paused the narrative to roll an attack versus Torq’s initiative.

      One thing I’ve learned in the past few years of gaming is that some things are better left resolved without dice.

  25. An absolutely brilliant and touching end to a fantastic campaign. Bravo to the entire cast.

    Looking forward to seeing which characters (if any) make the jump to 5th edition, but would be fine with an entirely new cast. I do hope that the campaign setting remains the same (with possible cameo’s for our Torqeltones ala The Queens Rebellious Daughter.) Rodrigo has, I believe, set up events perfectly to explain the 4e/5e differences that could be effecting the world.

    As to Torq going with the Hogba, to me his insistence made far more sense than any other character. His sense of loyalty and friendship is so strong that there is simply no way he would ever allow one of his friends to sacrifice themselves. I don’t think Torq could have lived with himself if he did. Besides, I loved the image of Randus looking up at the sky and seeing the airship heading his way.

  26. The way this episode ended, with the party almost literally being thrown to the wind and scattered, has been in the back of my mind all day. I made the decision (mistake?) of listening to it at 2am this morning. I’ve been feeling a little emotional about how final it all seemed to me, so much so that my fiancé was concerned that I was ill. While I wouldn’t think Rodrigo would scrap the entire world of Critical Hit when the story ends, I have been surprised before. My favorite part of the episode, the part that made me laugh when I didn’t think I could, was Trelle saying goodbye to Kammis and her father, and the announcement that concluded it. As always, this episode was masterful.

    Critical Hit has been the driving force behind my D&D playing, it fills in the weeks where my group cannot meet. Through it I was able to learn the mechanics of 4e, as well as the keys to telling a compelling narrative. I managed to listen to the full series twice over from the time Lords of the Feywild started, and I look forward to continuing my binge as new podcast episodes are released.

  27. I discovered Critical Hit a few months ago and have really enjoyed listening my way through the archives. What a godsawful time in the story arc to have FINALLY caught up! I can’t pull some Randus-like timey wimey shenanigans and immediately skip to Episode #280ish: What Comes Next… argh! Masterfully done, lady and gentlemen.

  28. I listened to this podcast yesterday and when it finished I honestly felt that the ending was a little hollow. Having taken the time to reflect on things, I’m hoping that Rodrigo is as smart as I think he is and has pulled an “Empire Strikes Back” on us.

    I’m predicting the next season kicks off a few years down the line, Orem looking disheveled in they Feywild, his family trying to reason with him as he is driven by his desperate need to locate and save Torq from the Hogba’s campaign.

    Of course dealing with a creature that can manipulate time to such a degree, he’ll need the assistance of someone who also has some experience with manipulating time. Not to mention the assistance of 2 other highly skilled warriors knowledgable in stealth and tactics.

    In my head I’m seeing Orem as Luke Skywalker, Torq as a Han Solo frozen in carbonite, Randus being a combination of R2 D2 and C-3PO requesting to join the Hogba’s quest as well, Ket being a Lando Calrissian, already disguised within the ranks of the Hogba using his contacts to keep tabs on everyone and Trelle sneaking in to free Torq before Orem can get there (having been sent there by her druid/shaman/guardian buddies). “Uh… Who’s there?” Asks Torq. “Someone who loves Camis, very much” :P

    That being said, honestly I’ve been running a regular game for almost 2 years and my players are about to hit paragon tier. I can completely understand if Matthew or anyone else wanted to roll up a new character, especially seeing as Matthew didn’t actually roll up Torq himself.

    Anyway, the podcast was everything I have come to expect from the critical hit team. Loved it and wish I could see the same level of RP in my group.

    TL;DR: loved the podcast, next season can totally happen, we may see Torq again but if not, can’t wait to see the new defender :)

  29. Thank you. Trelle’s shy-but-confident declaration to camis’ parents put a huge smile on our faces. “Trelle Loves Camis” should be a new spin off sit-com podcast.

  30. I personally think this is a fitting end to these characters, they all got satisfying conclusions, (except for Torq maybe) , I’d like to see the next season take place in the future, with new characters, I feel adding anything more to the characters would ruin the epilogues.

    • Got to agree with all of this. I’m chosing to view Torq’s departure as the paragon warrior heading of to an eternal battle.

  31. Melanie Brookbank on

    My gosh…I don’t think I realized how much I had come to let these characters into my heart until this episode….I was tearing up over everything…and the masterful picture painting of Rodrigo during the epilogue was amazing. I was picturing them in dramatic cinematic form…even if we never hear from these characters again, in my heart I know their stories continue on in amazing fashion! Thank you guys for not just letting us in on your D&D sessions, but telling a story that rivals the old time radio plays. Excellent role playing. I sure hope there’s another season – no matter which characters are involved!

  32. I was half expecting someone to say Re: Orem; “Because he’s the hero The Feywild deserves, but not the one it needs right now”. Lol.

  33. Nice end to the season. Great job Matthew, Brian, Adrianna, Stephen, Rob, and Rodrigo. Thanks for putting in the time and effort to bring these characters and these stories to us almost once a week over the course of several years. I’m sure it’s not always easy and I appreciate the effort (and results!).

    I’ve enjoyed listening to the adventures of Orem and the gang for the past several years, and while I’m sure there are other tales to tell, I think this is a good time to close the book and give these heroes an extended rest. Though bringing them back together for a ‘Holiday Special’ arc now and again would be fun.

    I hope this is not the end of the Critical Hit podcast as a whole. Listening to this group of friends play and banter for the past several years has been a blast and I can’t help but start to feel connected and invested to the people involved. I’ve really connected with the warmth, humor, and wit of this group and it would leave a little empty space in my life if I didn’t hear from them again in this format. Off to donate!

  34. Frederick, aka Darth Macho on

    It’s weird how I was looking forward to the culmination of this storyline for so long, but now that it has left the party broken, I want everything to be put back the way it was! I’m so curious to know what is going to happen to everyone, especially Ket, because Asmodeus seemed pretty irked with him, never mind after how it turned out! I hope we haven’t seen the last of Torq. I wonder if this means Biium will join the party full time, or a new character will be rolled? Too bad Sir Brensen is not available.

  35. I finally caught up last episode and now the season is over! What luck. Great episode, great season and can’t wait to see what is next.

  36. Bravo! I was compelled restart the episode and give it a full 2nd listen the moment it ended. Thank you Critical Hit crew (and Rob) for such an amazingly well crafted and acted story. I’m looking forward to whatever comes next.

  37. I’ve got to mirror some of the other comments here, I’m a huge fan of the show and the epilogues were great. But I couldn’t help but feel some of the decisions was taken away from the players. Ultimately, it seemed, there was nothing Stephen could say or do to make the decisions Orem wanted to do. Orem was staying and that was that and any time his reasoning started to make sense he was shot down by Cammis.

    Again, as others have said, a sleeper hold from Trelle should have at least warranted a save if not a simple fey step away, but this was not allowed. Ket then makes the decision to respect Orem’s wishes and all of a sudden the portal is ready and he is gone.

    Then when the only desicion that was allowed, Randus or Torq cam to pass all logic went out of the window. It seemed to me that all the players wanted to be the sacrificial hero so I was hoping that perhaps they would all decided to stick together. If one of has to go with the Hogba we all do, as a team, a team that can and has saved the world many times over.

    Again I do not want to be overly critical, I love the show and it is the reason I now play and run a weekly club. I’d just be interested to know the thinking behind this and whether if indeed there was never any decision going to be allowed the players didn’t discuss this ‘off-air’ and have an ending to the season that wasn’t simply a 45 minute squabble of who gets to be the biggest hero and the party all leave on essentially bad terms.

  38. Wonderful episode and season. Orem’s critique on Eladrin society was excellent and really showed how friends can change someone. Mathew – as usual – has his characters tone just right and says what needs to be said. I was disappointed Orem didn’t have the opportunity to say goodbye to Torq or the sleeper hold scene – that just seems out of character for this crew – but you needed to end the discussion somehow! Everyone did a great job, as always. I know you hear this enough and it is the GMs decision of course, but the recent combat scenes really show how broken 4e combat gets at high level. The math is brutal. Another vote for 5e if it matters. You guys are at your best role playing, not doing math. Great episode and wonderful season. The image of Torq walking down to the crossroads with his axe over his shoulder brought tears to my eyes. Thank you Torq!

  39. I don’t remember what episode I was recommended to listen to this podcast, but I quickly went back to the beginning and listened to every episode. For most of the last two years, I had a lot of trouble following along as I’d lost my iPod. Earlier this year however, I was finally able to replace the iPod, and I now have a job that gives me plenty of time to binge on the adventures of the Critical Hit crew.

    I managed to catch up about three weeks ago, and immediately began missing all of you during the week, anticipating every episode. Now, it seems the campaign is closed, and I’m saddened, for a host of reasons.

    First and foremost is the loss of such treasured characters. In January, I closed a 4e campaign that I had been running for three years. I’ve been gaming longer than Matthew, but I took a good many lessons from Rodrigo on the subtle art of game mastering. When I closed out my game, I gave my players epilogues for their characters, and I know my players miss those characters as much as I’ll miss Orem and his crew.

    Alongside that is the possible loss of the 4e system. Over all the years and all the versions of D&D, I’ve become a big fan of 4e. I’m actually hoping you *don’t* make the transition to 5e, as I’m not making it myself, but I’ll understand if you do. A FATE game would be cool though, as would a host of others aside from D&D.

    Anyway, thanks for many years of fun listening, Critical Hitters. I’m hoping for more in the future.

  40. I could see the characters either re-banding or starting up a new edition with the animal group, who can maybe happen upon one of the original group members from time to time :-)
    Did anyone else pick up that Orem killed Spud on a SPIRAL TOWER? I think that shows he fulfilled his paragon path, which makes me think we have seen the end of these characters. Along with the very final “He was never heard from again” for Torq.
    I thought it made the most sense for Torq to go and I was confused as to why Steven made Orem so obstinate about going in the face of very good reasoning- why go through all the trouble of saving the Eladrin and then effectively commit suicide? Torq is the best fighter without any immediate family or real home to return to. I thought it was obvious. Maybe that was why Rodrigo was so effective as Camis and allowed the choke out. But, I’m sure there will be dissenting opinions all over the place on who should have gone, if anyone should have gone at all. Would the Hogba have been able to get at them from the natural world? Though, I guess you don’t want to wantonly break a promise to a greater fae.
    I don’t think there should have been a save for the choke out- if he had saved one of the others would have tried the same. Just saved time, and the conversation was already going on too long.
    I love that it came down to Ket’s decision!
    The last thing that worried me: Steven intimating that Critical Hit might not even come back for another season due to monetary reasons. NOo0o0o!!

  41. Saturday is Dr Who and Critical Hit day for me, has been for some time. So many thanks to Rodrigo, Stephen, Matthew, Rob and Adriana for all the entertainment. Critical hit got me and my regular gamers back into D&D and made me join a local gamers group recently as well. It has genuinely changed my life for the better, for which I am truly grateful. I hope to have overcome some long term financial troubles soon and if I do, you can bet I’ll be subscribing. Here’s hoping that you can keep making whatever podcast of a roleplaying nature you want to do going forward.

  42. Just had my second listen and the episode got even better. There are just so many fantastic moments packed in I can’t even begin to decide which are my favorite. Also used the Amazon link to buy my 5th Ed DMG :) and while I do hope they are moving to 5E with the next campaign (quicker combat and greater emphasis on role playing can only make the podcast stronger IMHO), I’ll continue to listen to this amazing group as long as they are casting pods regardless of what system they use. I have truly become a better player and DM by listening and the story that has been told is by all definition a true work of art.

    Given the growing tension between the group over the last half season, the way it ended seemed perfectly earned. The characters were truly broken by their mistake from their first encounter with the Hogba, and there would be no easy or truly happy endings because of that mistake. I like the fact that Orem felt like he had to be the one to sacrifice himself to the Hogba, and love the fact that because he couldn’t see past that, he didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to his good friends.

    At any rate it definitely feels like the end of the story of Orem and the Iron Circle. Maybe we could follow the adventures of Trelle and the Nearly Dead Men, but again, I think I’d like to see an entirely new cast of characters. Maybe with a Pact Blade Warlock whose patron is a 3/4 Orc from the Feywild….

    Finally, here’s hoping that someone options this story to turn it into a Last Airbender style anime series.

  43. Overall thoughts,

    The good
    There was a price to be paid:
    Very rarely in life is there a simple perfect solution which lets hero or heroes escape with no one dying, that isn’t real life. Here coming up to the final battle the group was giving a choice. A: let Orem’s mother handle the distraction likely getting herself killed. B: Invole the Hogba meaning one of party would have to go with him and may or may not never be heard from again. Or C: Trelle taking the aid of of the Baltinok. In the end the group used option B. and there was a cost of Troq. Great work. It felt like the balance was right both in the cost and payment. Greater Fae are dangerous and if we never seem them exercise that price then they stop being dangerous. J. Michael Straczynski said of Bester that if your villain always fails it stops being an effective villain.

    Under the there is a price area I would also say Orem being literally forced to stay in the Faewild felt like a logical end to his Arc. Yes he was very first character we ever saw on critical hit but the call back to the Eladrin of the Astral Sea feels like all the major beats of Orem have been paid off(even the date) and if we never see him again I’m ok with that because the character is at a nature end to his story.

    Trelle has some good moments in this episode. Nice of her to finally be open about her relationship with Kammis to Brall and Althea not that I honestly think Brall didn’t know but it was a good moment for the character in a very Sailor Moon kinda way of handing romance.

    The Middle:
    Finally seeing what is truly going on with Ket as he has been given a mission by Asmodeus was nice, but it also feel this would be where my dislikes start. It feels off for Ket to come out straight off and tell Orem that Asmodeus doesn’t want him to go with the Hogba. The character seems to be playing it almost to straight be completely honest with Asmodeus then with Orem and really gained nothing.

    The Bad:
    Overall the structure of this episode felt like second half of final episode of Deep Space Nine. All the major action was done in the first part so the in the second half we a lot of long good byes and long draw out debates that don’t lead to much. All that was missing were the flash backs to all the characters happy memories of the series.

    The debate:
    The debate kinda became a “I’m more selfless,” “No I’m more selfless,” “No I’m more Selfless,” “I’m Ket and I’m not my own boss…” The good part was I honestly didn’t know how i would play out but I guess this is the difference between scripted and unscripted drama in a unscripted drama things like this take much longer to play out because there is nothing really t break up the argument and it will go on as long characters want it too.

    Troq voice:
    I assume this is an intentional change but Troq character voice has seemed different to me for the last two sessions Troq has been in. Gone is playful nature and is almost a anger. Troq always struck me more as the happy warrior and at the end he seemed to return to that but this more serious and almost angry quality about Troq has been bothering me for a few episodes. That is not to say characters can’t change only I don’t really understand why the change took place.

    Overall 2.5 of 5 I’m looking forward to seeing what we get for break, and look forward to meeting new characters next season. The show feels like it has gotten in a route in season 4 which I think is born out in the seasons over all length. A break and a reshuffle are good from time to time. I kinda hope we see more Randius and Ket but my concern is that new characters tend to eat up a lot of story because they have to have a reason to join the party.

    Only time will tell.

    RIP Troq gone to soon but not forget.

  44. Ok First off, WOW!!! I am a little embarrassed to admit this but I have binged all episodes of critical hit, I stumbled across your pod after listening to some other D&D podcasts and listened to all 271 episodes in approximately 4 months. I have not commented before but I just finished 271 and felt compelled to write in. Full disclosure I have not ever played D&D but can full fledged conversations with D&D vets because of you guys. Rodrigo, Stephen, Matthew, Adrianna, Brian and Robb you all are amazing, even though I have never played D&D I am familiar with the universe through numerous books that take place there. I just wanted to let you all know that listening to your game is like being in a book as it is being written, almost a new type of choose your own adventure book that I loved when I was a kid. I work in a large mental/behavioral health hospital which can be extremely stressful and you all help relief some tension. Thanks guys. BTW I have got at least 7 others listening to you all since I found you and they love it.

  45. What I thought would happen

    The party already knows that the power of the fey doesn’t reach to the natural world. The only way that they could all made it without having to give a sacrifice to the Hog… to “Their Friend” was for them all to jump in that portal right away, a permanent exile from the Feywild. The party stays together and people can keep buying Randus T-shirts.

    I never saw this end coming. I know that all the best stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. I just hoped that this story would never have ended. I know that more can occur. I know that Rodrigo could find a way to bring people together again, but one of the things that has always been said is that the change to 5th edition would never occur in the current story and this seems like a very organic ending.

    You made us love these characters, but it is the players who bring them to life. You will make more, and we will enjoy listening to them.

    Here’s to new beginnings.

  46. I have been an avid listener of Critical Hit since the beginning and not once have I felt like leaving a comment – until now.
    This did not end the way I expected it to. I had hoped that Randus would go and use his timey wimey powers to come back, or that all of them would have jumped to the natural world and escaped the Hogba entirely(it would still have been tragic that none of them could have returned to the Feywild without consequences).
    That “and he was never heard from again” broke my heart. I know Torq seems like a one trick pony, but he is my(and I think many others’) favorite character.
    Gosh darn it, I got something in my eye.

  47. Wow you guys. I don’t know how to process these feels but thank you. I have gone through two ipods specifically to listen to critical hit every Saturday morning, because I didn’t know how else to get it other than via itunes after discovering it 3 and a half years ago.

    And keeping this as short as possible as possible. I’m sitting at my desk at work, trying not to cry as everyone carries on with life like the world hasn’t ended.

    You have all been amazing, and I hope there is more critical hit. I’ve never read superman, but Torq is my superman.

    You have gained a gold VIP, it’s well overdue.
    Rhys Turner, UK

  48. Unbelievable season! I just had to tell my girlfriend a brief synopsis of the episode as I started crying at work. Fantastic way to end the season and leaving the fans wanting more.

  49. I love the show and all of the characters, but personally i have to say im disappointed by the complete railroading of orem in this episode. He literally had the ability to choose the fate of his character taken away from him.

  50. An amazing finale for an incredible season! I’m really sad to see some characters may not return, but as much as I like them, I knew they had to do what they did. I want to thank all of you: Stephen, Rob, Bryan, Adriana, Matthew and Rodrigo for giving us such an amazing story. I’m eager to see what you guys have planned for the off-season and I agree with some other people in that we need to hear the reactions from all the players (including Rodrigo) to what happened.

    Thanks again! Until next time!

  51. A few more thoughts, now that others have broken the spoilers…

    I agree with some of the others that some of the argument came down to “who is more selfless”, and this is what I was referring to in terms of Torq’s obstinacy. Personally Torq felt like a bit of a scene-hog in this episode.

    Overall I liked how the other characters handled the episode. Orem’s killing of Spud was shocking and appropriate; I always assumed Orem would strip his power but let him live, this was tough. Orem’s decisions about what to do were also powerful, and I thought it was interesting that he wanted to do ANYTHING except stay with the Eladrin. I really liked Ket’s interlude with Asmodeus, and didn’t have an issue with him mentioning this. Trelle was direct and clear in her duties. Randus was appropriately wushu-washy up to the end.

    Like others I really hope this returns. I’d certainly back a Kickstarter! (For some reason that’s preferrable to monthly membership to me). I’ve been gaming for over 30 years, but this was my first chance to really observe someone else’s game, and it’s a great pleasure. I found Critical Hit just after my daughter was born, and Critical Hit is definitely tied to my memory of my daughter – especially all the time walking her at odd hours, listening to Critical Hit on my earphones as she went to sleep. It would be sad to have it end.

  52. Loved the season and all of the characters. Player and non.

    Spud’s “end” felt a little anti-climactic. Maybe it was just where the episode break landed. Orem just strikes him down without any resistance. After all the rage, confusion, and a brief conversation.

    I figured Torq would eventually end up with the Hogba, if any of the members could eventually come to enjoy the eternal battle for freedom, it would be Torq. Plus, his protective nature wouldn’t allow him to allow another to go. I couldn’t help but imagine Torq walking away with a bag over his shoulder and the music from The Hulk playing as he hitch hiked his way to the crossroads to meet the Hogba.

    Love the epilogue. A great place to leave off each character. I am curious to what Torq’s would have been, had Randus gone with the Hogba. Since we all know Rodrigo is prepared for all eventualities.

    Excited for what is coming next.

  53. Wow I only found Critical Hit a few months ago and have bee binging on the episodes ever since. I knew I would get caught up eventually, I just never imagined the episode when I finally caught up would be the end of the Torqletones. Amazing story telling Rodrigo I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

  54. I liked the amount of exposition, and while I felt Orem should have been able to roll a save or something – echoing comments made here already – I understand the desire for Rodrigo to move things along and keep things professional. That, and if everyone didn’t want Orem to go, I suspect he wouldn’t have been able to.

    I’ll miss Torq, if he is indeed gone. I thought Randus and Torq had both bought it at the end of season 3, so I’m holding out hope.

  55. Stephen Fogarty on

    well I was crying ;). i just hope that this isn’t the last we see of some of these characters. these characters again some day… wonderful job guys i think as the DM Rodrigo gets all the credit for the story (which he is more then deserving of) but i think its just as much how you play the characters and this is the perfect example of that… i just hope that whoever torq was fighting along side they knew how to make some damn good funnel cakes

  56. I needed monday to let the chain of events play over in my mind. Wow…good. Somehow I knew who would make the choice. (trying to be vague for those that haven’t listened yet. Why are you reading this!? Go listen!) To me this episode felt sad from minute one until the end, just this feeling of sadness.

    Very Good episode to end the season (or perhaps series). Now I must go and re-listen from episode one.

  57. Long time listener, first time poster…
    Wow, what a powerful ending to the season. I listened to all the podcast from the very beginning in the span of like a year and a half, I love this podcast! Everyone does a great job, I love the characters and I love the setting.
    My question is this why didn’t they all go work for the hogba? Between the four of them they could have made short work of the campaign and been back in time for supper.
    Any ways great show guys can’t wait for torq to show up on Randus’ airship, saying I’m on a mission from god we gotta get the band back togther. Fade out. Title shot return of trelle and the nearly deadmen! Keep rolling those Crits gang.

  58. This episode really affected me and is sticking with me. That was some great story telling by everyone. You should all be proud!

  59. I like to think that despite everything, Spud and Orem are still friends. Evil demon sword strikes again! #killyourfriends!

  60. Wow, you guys actually brought me to tears. Crazy good ending, there are some story choices, as a fan, I am adamantly against, but hey, the greater the loss the more meaningful the story. I certainly hope Torq isn’t gone for good!

  61. Such a great episode! So moving. I am a large man with a beard and I was tearing up. I can’t wait for next season. Man I hope there is a next season! 5E maybe?

  62. I admit to kind of hoping for a Spud memory montage set to “When I ruled the World” when he died, but still a great episode, season, and possibly series.

  63. Great work on the finale and season as a whole. I look forward to whatever comes next. Sad to see Torq go, I’ll always remember him jumping out of that window right at the start of the show. Give em hell T.

  64. Wow, that was great. BUT SO FRUSTRATING! Guys, seriously, you all want to be the hero! At that point, just calm down instead of just saying “no” for half an hour! But overall, I’m excited to see what’s next and sad to see these characters possibly go.

    TORQ LIVES! Keep the faith, people. (Besides, he’s my favorite.* Barely.)

    I feel bad for Ket. Asmodeus does not take breach of contract lightly.* D:

    At least Randus has an fairly easy way to catch up to people, and they know they’re headed for the Southern Continent? But can he find Ket on the way to intercept Trelle?

    Orem needs counseling. :P

    * The only time I don’t like him, really, is when he’s just obstinate. But I guess it fits his character, and usually it’s at least partly the fault of everyone else for ignoring his opinion.
    ** But then, it kind of seemed like Ket was destined for a bad ending from the start. :'(

    • That came off as more negative than I want.

      It was an excellent final episode, and heartwarming, too. Whatever you do next, whether with a small lineup change or all-new characters, I plan to be listening. ^_^

    • I think Matthew was always pretty consistent w/Torq. In normal mode he’s kind of this affable guy who wants to do good in the world. But when he feels like he’s being patronized or treated poorly he puts Torq into a “screw you, I might not be all that smart but I’m not stupid either” mode which I like. Torq is wiser than he is intelligent but that makes him really perceptive and in the final, excruciating”this is us” debate Torq was being dismissed at first. So I think the way Matthew played him was really true to his character. And if you go back and listen to very start it’s really amazing how great of a role player Stephen became. “Kill your friends” is still my favorite part of the entire podcast.

  65. Elijah Gjerdingen on

    This episode was great and I had an idea for a picture of old Randus and Ket taking care of small Orcs. However I am a very poor artist and was hoping someone would draw it if so I’d love to see it.

  66. I’ve never posted before, but I’ve been listening for years. When i realised that things were moving to an end, I was like, “What? No!” I think it was a good ending, but I was disappointed in the Orem-choke-out. I didn’t quite understand why he was so determined to go with the Hogba. I did enjoy the epilogue. I was so sad realising that I was saying goodbye to all of them!

    I would personally love to see them switch systems, whether to 5E, or something. I think other systems would suit this group better, and as much as I loved 4E, I’m ready for something else.

  67. I’m a new arrival, having just binge-listened only to finally catch up today. According to my list of other podcasts that have been building up in my unplayed queue, it’s been about two months.

    Just. WOW.

    If we, the listeners, have become so emotionally attached to the characters to display such a wide range of responses that I have read, I can only imagine how the players felt at that moment.

    This is a wonderful end, even if I had to give the “dust in my eye” line several times today. And if this story continues, or if this is truly the end and a new story is about to begin, I fear not. Because I know it is in very good hands and will wait expectantly to be enthralled anew with characters, places and events that I will inevitably grow to care about.

    Thank you.

  68. Great episode guys.

    I really hope we do hear from Torq again, but given Rodrigo’s proclivities as a DM, i kinda think we won’t. From a meta game standpoint it makes the most sense. While Torq had developed quite a bit from his early days, he seemed to have the least room for development left — it was always going to be some variant of ducking or hitting it with an ax. The other party members are less strongly defined by their combat preferences. Also, while Matthew did a great job with the RP, there is only so much you can do to keep a low Int character interesting (to play).

  69. Papa_Sleestack on

    This episode had me weeping from about half way through. I think we have seen the last of the torqeltones, and that saddens me deeply. The characters of critical have worked their way into my heart and hearing Torq’s epilog felt like being told my brother had died.

    Rodrigo and the rest are such masterful and compelling storytellers I long ago forgot that that I don’t know the characters personally, that they aren’t in fact real.

    It is going to take me some time to mourn torq, and any who are not in the next season.

    Despite the sadness I feel I eagerly await the next season. Be it new characters or old, I look forward to falling in love with the combined imagination of the critical hit crew all over again!

  70. It was a great ending! I was expecting the characters to all head off together with the Hogba, but I It was delightful anyway.

    I am looking forward to a new season with new rules and new characters. As great as the old crew were, I feel like we have explored them fully and I really don’t want to wander down tired tropes such as Dark Randus, maimed Torq, or remorseful brooding Ket to try to add new dimensions to explore. There will no doubt be time for cameos in the new campaign to see them again. Instead, I’d like to see our actors with the chance to develop new roles to play.

    Just, no dinosaurs, please! :-)

    • …though on second thought, a unintentionally evil, entirely awkward older Randus as arch-nemesis for some young and under informed junior adventurers would be quite funny.

  71. I’ll just admit it, this episode made me choke up listening to the epilogue as well as the turmoil that everyone role played so well. Well done to everyone. It was a fantastic conclusion to the season, I can’t wait to hear what happens next.

  72. Once again Trelle resorts to physical coercion against a teammate.

    I wouldn’t change anything else about this episode. Torq was the right choice for the narrative and for the character, but the means of arriving at that decision were wrong. Seemed like only Trelle and Torq’s opinions mattered. Orem disagrees? Sleeper hold. Ket disagrees? Portal. Torq wants to go, so he just starts walking knowing the precedent has been set that the strength based characters can use their strength to get their way, but if the magic based characters respond in kind, they’re “attacking the party”.

    That speaks to a dynamic I’ve disliked ever since Trelle joined the party. Seemed like most of the time disagreements came down to Matt/Torq siding with Adrianna/Trelle and almost always getting their way. The fact that both characters were played pretty transparently only aggravated this. Nothing against either of them, that’s just what I observed. Matt fawns over Adrianna and Torq sides with Trelle on a regular basis.

    I still loved almost every minute of this episode and the season. Just hoping that there will be a more enjoyable group dynamic next season.

  73. Nice wrap-up guys. I’m interested in hearing what happens next. My gut is telling me you guys are using the opportunity provided by ending the story line to start fresh in 5e. I’d be very interested in hearing that! But either way, I think a clean break and fresh start is the way to go.


  74. Wow! Excellent ending! I feel a little silly as a grown man tearing up over these characters decisions…but wow! What a story!!
    I would love to see a brand new story/setting/system/dm?. I think knowing when to end a story is an important skill. Just my .02.

    In any case, great job guys and gal, I am eagerly awaiting whatever comes next!

  75. Just listened. I know, I’m late to the party.

    That was…

    I’m not happy with how it ended. However, I’m satisfied with how it ended. It felt like exactly how it was going to end, how it wanted to end, needed to end. It was the RIGHT ending. And for having the courage to bring this story to exactly that finale, I will forever respect each of you.

    Thank you for Critical Hit. I’m sure that when the main campaign picks up again, I’ll get just as invested in whatever’s going on, but for now, that is THE ending for CH, and it leaves me satisfied and proud to have been a part of it, even if my part only involved an hour or two per week of listening.

  76. Well, finally caught up to the end of this season, rather glad I’m listening while these episodes are already out. Imagining a week long wait between these episodes is aggravating to say the least!

    I know there are a million comments on this page already but I thought it would be appropriate to finally drop a comment after not commenting for several hundred episodes or so. This season went everywhere, like, literally and emotionally speaking. There were times I wanted to throw party members out the window when the characters were being dumb (“Just JUMP DOWN THAT WELL, DAMMIT”) and loads of times I cracked up (You guys have the best interactions ever) but I was left speechless during the finale of the season. Ending Spud was quite possibly the most tragic, saddest, and somewhat epic and yet not epic at all ending I did not expect, but it made total sense and was very befitting. In the end, that grief that drove Spud was felt even to the bitter end, and that was poignant, depressing and yet also refreshing in a way. Argh.

    Anyway! Thank you, all you lovely players and awesome GM, for just making this freely available and for sharing with us a powerful RP experience. Can’t wait to catch up to the latest episode, even though I know the impending waits are gonna kill me!

  77. WobblyBobbleNoggin on

    Fantastic! 271 episodes and not disappointed at any step of the way. Looking forward to continuing adventures with you!

  78. XantharTheFlame on

    I’m re-listening from the beginning, and I can’t believe I didn’t comment on this episode when it was first released!

    I have a lot to say, so if you don’t want to read it…
    TLDR: I thought it was a great ending. Loved the epilogues. I understand and appreciate all the characters’ motivations, and the great story telling. I’m sad, but hopeful for the future of these characters .

    Now for the rambling bit….

    I agree with a lot of the previous comments in many ways – that it was exactly right for the story that all 5 players plus Rodrigo created. I am sad (again) yet very satisfied.

    The one comment I can’t believe nobody made above is this: every time Torq said “Uh’m just a guy with a axe” I literally yelled out loud “Stop saying that! You are a paragon of your race, a noble and compassionate warrior, and probably the first agent of Corellon from an orcish background ever!! You are unique and irreplaceable!” Sigh. But I get why he went with the Hogba. It made sense from his character’s point of view. I choked up when Trelle said “Corellon brought you back for a reason,” and Torq responded “… and this IS the reason.”

    To another comment someone else made about why Orem was so obstinate about going…. Obviously I’m not Stephen and can’t speak for his character, so this is just speculation on my part, but I can guess this:
    a) Orem saw so much suffering and loss in his adventures so far,
    b) He grew immensely over the course of his adventures, overcoming deeply rooted prejudice, and a touch of arrogance,
    c) As a result of both, he grew very close to his friends, while growing farther away from his heritage and Eladrin society

    In that context I think it makes perfect sense for Orem to really want to go: He couldn’t bear to lose someone else close to him that he really cares about, plus he can’t stand to stay with the Eladrin (even though he is obviously close to his mom and sister, and seemed to come to an understanding with his dad).

    I actually like, from a story perspective, that Orem had to stay though, and take on the role of rebuilding and improving Eladrin society. I suspect having so many from the Astral Sea come in, who are probably not any more prejudiced than Orem given the nature of Shalai and how many other races are around, will help that society as a whole grow to true greatness. I feel bad for him that he will miss his friends and didn’t get to say goodbye.

    So many story threads are left hanging, that even though I never listened to Season 5 when it started up (personal reasons – I always loved the podcast and am glad I got back to it), I am hopeful we’ll see these characters again. Diamond Throne needs a strong leader, Tuberville needs rescuing, the Southern Continent and Trelle’s duties need following up, the Orc children who were refugees, where the heck did all the Drow go, can the goblinoids learn to get along with other races and actually take their place in the world as civilized society (they are certainly intelligent and developed enough), etc., etc.

    I am so glad that as I write this, Critical Hit is still going strong 3 1/2 years later. Thank you all: Rodrigo, Stephen, Matthew, Rob, Brian and Adrianna, for putting in so much time and effort to creating this great show, and not forcing people to pay for it. I’ve been a silver level VIP for a long time, and will continue as long as you do.

    Best Regards,

  79. All the way in 2019 and going through my first run from all over the start. I’ve never commented on these episode as I figured that it would not matter given the time difference.
    Yet wanted to give all of my creds to the team for this season, its many highs and awesome finale.
    Very sad to see torq go, but it feels like a sensible decision.
    Even though I still have 5 years of footage to go through at the moment, I am very curious to see where this is headed to

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