Critical Role plays Daggerheart

"Critical Role plays Daggerheart"
One-shot episode
"Critical Role plays Daggerheart" (OSx57) thumbnail.
Episode no.Episode 57
AirdateMarch 12, 2024 19:00 PT
Running time4:33:58
Game systemDaggerheart Beta 1.3
Links and related articles
Associated 4-Sided Dive"4-Sided Dive: Witch Sesh" (4SDx22)
Episode chronology
"Red Nose Day 2023 One-Shot: Choose Their Adventure… Again!" (OSx56)
"The Menagerie Returns!" (OSx58)
List of one-shots

"Critical Role plays Daggerheart" (OSx57) is a one-shot using Daggerheart. It was played live and was streamed the first day of the Daggerheart open beta to celebrate the launch of the playtest. The playtest launch, and this one-shot, occurred on the ninth anniversary of the channel.[1]

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Pre-show[edit | edit source]

Daggerheart's Open Beta is here, as is an instructional video, a character build video, and the Session Zero.

Part I[edit | edit source]

The story is set in Lochspire, a land with many different terrains and containing long-lost ancient relics. It is a lively and ever-changing place, full of opportunities for adventure. In a cabin owned by Everett Cole, a retired adventurer, located within the Emerald Sky timberland, The Menagerie, a recently-minted adventuring party, finishes up their meal. Danté, a galapa warrior, fans the fire, which Everett appreciates. Pango, a giant guardian, asks Xarlo Grandall, a simiah seraph, if he is going to finish his food or if Pango can have it. Xarlo gives it to him, and they exchange some friendly words before Everett asks Kexon Peros what had brought the party to the region. Kexon tells him that The Menagerie was sent to the region by The Grim Wardens, and Everett responds that while he does not have much, they are welcome to stay with him. As Pango apologizes for eating so much and offers to regurgitate it, Sweetpea Betabean and Oppenheimer Betabean search for a bucket. Everett then addresses Bunnie, who is helping Danté with the fire, asking her if she is the leader. Then Everett asks the group how much they know about the Emerald Sky, telling them the sky is associated with the god Ondra,[fn 1] and the forest can be tricky. Xarlo tells him he is familiar with the region, and with Ondra.

Everett mentions an interaction with the Grove Children, and the party recalls an encounter the previous rainy day in Fort Overmarsh, a former military outpost turned trading center, in which they attempted to get work. After discussing some potential ways to raise their profile, Oppy and Pango suggest they take a job for free to prove themselves. As they do this, several faeries, along with two other people in ruined clothing, arrive, calling for help. Bunnie calls out to them, telling them The Menagerie can help, and the two people who are not faeries reveal themselves to be elven. One of the faerie creatures lands on Sweetpea's staff and tells her they were sent from the Velvet Grove to get aid. Xarlo asks for more details, and the elves, who appear to be closely related, tell him they were sent by Boko the Glen Warder. They tell the party that the Exia river has grown murky and taken on a strange scent, and the wildlife of the forest has grown strangely violent. Oppy asks if this is because people are drinking the water, but the elves tell him they have drunk the water as well without issue. The Menagerie agrees to take the case and meet with Boko in the Velvet Grove, and in exchange the people from the Velvet Grove will tell of their deeds.

Back in Everett's cabin, he tells them how to reach their destination: they can take the Wispallo Trail to Cleft Hand Rock and follow the river upstream, or they can follow the sound of the ether carcrow as they tend to lead people towards places of tragedy and dark power. He also tells them to look out for Wild Cullen, a ranger and potential ally, who has been watching the Amma Ranch Logging Guild. Xarlo recalls having met him before, during a period of hermitude, and of Wild Cullen encouraging him to find companions. Everett invites the party to stay in his cabin, or they can set out now, and they decide to get a start immediately. They plan follow the Wispallo Trail, but discuss listening for the ether carcrow, which has an oddly human cry.

As they walk, Sweetpea asks Bunnie how she got attendees at her shows, and Bunnie tells her they would advertise in front of the building, have good acts, and perform good deeds in the town and protect it from danger. This is interrupted by a moaning sound, at which point Xarlo climbs a tree to get a better look at the source. He sees much of the forest canopy, as well as a winged shadowy creature flying away. He and Danté lead the party further, but as they continue in they find the path behind them grows dark, though they can still see ahead of them. Bunnie tries to listen for the carcrow, but is only able to tell that the sounds of the forest are becoming more unwelcoming as the night falls. As the party continues, they begin to see massive claw marks on some of the trees. Oppy finds a blueish purple slime inside these claw marks. When Sweetpea touches it, her finger goes numb, and Pango does not recognize it as the Seep that claimed his home. Kexon flies up into the trees to investigate further and sees a massive two-headed owl. When it asks him who he is, Kexon introduces himself as part of The Menagerie, but the owl tells him to get down. Kexon retreats, not turning his back, and the owl descends. He does not notice the sap-like substance on it.

Xarlo interposes himself and tries to explain the party's mission, and the owl introduces itself as Echo and warns them that they walk in the realm of Ondra. Xarlo shows Echo his holy symbol, which Echo accepts, but then it questions the rest of the party, asking Danté for his proudest moment, Kexon for his greatest fear, and Sweetpea for her ability to survive inner darkness. When they all respond honestly, Echo tells them they may survive the forest, and flies away. The Menagerie continues, smelling iron and hearing a distant growl. When the sound comes closer and they notice a large figure, Bunnie responds by casting Enrapture which will enthrall a creature and focus its attention on her. A wounded hedge bear emerges and the party can see it seems unwell and predatory, and they can hear a second one. A fight breaks out: Danté hits one bear with his grappler. It swipes at Bunnie, but misses, and she retaliates successfully with her bladed fan. The second bear hits Danté, wounding him. A third bear attacks but misses Sweetpea. Xarlo inspects the bears and believes they are infected with a surface-level corruption, and jumps on the back of one of them to attempt to heal it. He is partially successful. Pango attacks with his sword, missing one bear but hitting the other, wounding it severely; it seems frightened. Sweetpea tries to attack the same bear Danté had hit, but misses, and it successfully wounds her. Another attacks and hits Pango. Oppy shoots flames at the bears, but misses, and is badly wounded by one of them. Pango is attacked by two bears, but takes comparatively minor damage. Kexon also fires flame at the bears, and hits two, knocking one unconscious. The remaining two bears attempt to attack Oppy, who is able to dodge, and Kexon, who takes the hit. Danté misses his first rapier attack, but hits when the bear successfully retaliates against him. Xarlo heals some of Oppy's wounds, and Oppy injures the bears further with Rain of Blades. Bunnie sings a song to give everyone in range a Hope, and then does a tag team attack with Pango, killing another bear. Danté and Oppy also team up and take down the final bear. The first bear they downed is still alive, though unconscious, as the Menagerie considers the threats in the forest.

Part II[edit | edit source]

In the aftermath of the fight, Xarlo attempts to heal the surviving bear, while Kexon casts Mysterious Mist to hide the party. Xarlo is successful, and heals not only some of the injuries, but the strange corruption. Bunnie, Kexon, and Xarlo discuss their mixed victory and what they've learned, though they have not yet reached the Exia river. They decide to try following the bear, who seemed to have been affected by the river, and diverge from the path. Pango and Bunnie both search for the Cleft Hand, but while they do not find it, they feel a connection with the natural landscape and are able to locate the river easily. The Menagerie sees that some of the trees on the banks have lost their leaves, and smell a strange, stagnant smell like rotting vegetation in the river. Along the edges, some of the ferns and other smaller vegetation appears bluish-purple and swollen, and the river water seems murky and thicker than it should be. Danté pokes at the river with a stick to see if there is something floating on top of the water, but finds the corruption seems to be throughout the river. He then finishes the water in his canteen and fills it with river water to have a sample. Bunnie asks Pango if the corruption seems similar to the Seep, and he tells her they seem different, though he wonders if one is fresh and one is older and that could account for the differences. Bunnie tells him that there was a red mist in her home that also caused strange behaviors.

Sweetpea takes the lead as they continue forward, and all of The Menagerie notice the river banks appear to be eroding and the width of the river expanding. Sweetpea notices someone in the water, snagged on a root, and Danté uses his grappling hook to pull the body out. Xarlo recognizes the corpse as that of Wild Cullen, missing his legs below the knee. His head appears to have been bludgeoned and the back of his skull is caved in. Kexon investigates and casts Reveal, and notices that Cullen's weapons had not been drawn, indicating a surprise attack. The spell also shows something hidden in the roots on their side of the river bank. As he warns the party, they see large crab-like creatures emerging. Sweetpea hides, and Bunnie and Danté run towards the trees, using Danté's ability to be silent. Four of the skitterfish attack Pango, and he immediately responds with his Whirlwind, killing all of them, though more of the creatures are still emerging from the water. Danté fires his grappler and kills one, scattering some of the others. Xarlo kills two more with his axe, and Bunnie rallies the party, but the larger creature Kexon had noticed, a timber serpent tainted with the corruption, finally slithers out from the roots. It strikes Danté, and then attacks him, Xarlo, Oppy, and Pango. Sweetpea, noticing the serpent is venomous and its throat is swelling, emerges from hiding to hit it. Kexon teleports away to be out of close range, and Bunnie does a performance that makes the serpent vulnerable to the party's attacks. Oppy successfully casts Unleash Chaos, further injuring the creature. Pango attacks, and with help from Xarlo's prayer, is able to hit, but several more of the skitterfish attack Bunnie as he does. The timber serpent, meanwhile, attacks Pango and damages his armor. Bunnie pulls out her whip and scatters the skitterfish, and Danté attacks the serpent with his rapier, killing it. The skitterfish retreat.

As the members of The Menagerie check in with each other after the battle, Sweetpea looks through Cullen's pockets and finds two handfuls of gold, and notices his armor and weapons are well-made. She and Pango are able to get the armor, which is Atiris Soft Armor and provides one with the ability to move quietly, off Cullen's swollen body. Bunnie asks Xarlo if he wants to do anything, since he knew Wild Cullen, and Xarlo tells her he was going to build a cairn and let Cullen's body decompose. After doing so, Xarlo heals Kexon, and they all decide to take a brief rest. Oppy looks for safe places to wait as Pango unsuccessfully inspects a hill. Bunnie meditatively plays a relaxing song, Kexon cleans himself to destress, and Sweetpea repairs her cardigan and armor and sings a song. Pango ties an ascot knot and Danté and Sweetpea take the weapons from Cullen. Xarlo also heals Pango, and Oppy works on his map of places he has been. Having rested, everyone continues forward.

The forest initially grows denser before giving way to a more open grove, with a flat hill in the center. There they can see the source of the river, which is even more full of the corrupted sludge; the trees by it are dead. Kexon tries to determine the cause, and recalls that the Velvet Grove has a powerful fane within it, and so he believes that the fane itself must be corrupted for the river to be affected. He suggests they keep moving, as everyone can smell the corruption. Xarlo asks Pango if it feels familiar, and they all keep an eye out for a living hill; the one near them does not seem living, but Sweetpea pokes it with her staff and Bunnie mentions she can try Telepathy once they have a better lay of the land. Kexon flies up to get a better vantage point, and sees the spring that is the river source, which appears to have a pulsing knot of vines from which the corruption is spilling out. He tells the others to look, and they climb up. However, as they do, vines around them slither and retreat. Pango again reiterates it doesn't seem quite the same as The Seep, and the group discusses whether they should plug the spring or destroy the strange source of corruption.

Xarlo walks forward and, holding his medallion of Ondra, asks her to reclaim the spring. As he does, one of the stone fane guardians comes to life, but The Menagerie notices it is tainted with the purple corruption, and recognizes it as the Boko the fairies had told them about. Xarlo jumps on Boko's back, but the Seep Abscess in the spring activates the vines and sends some towards Bunnie, who is injured and restrained. Sweetpea runs to the shadows and teleports between them, though she remains hidden, and casts Shadow Bind. With some luck-bending assistance from Kexon, it works, restraining Boko. Pango enters his Unstoppable state and teams up with Danté, firing the grappler with him, injuring and further restraining Boko. Xarlo retains his grip, but some of the tainted water splashes on him, and he goes numb. He tries to use his healing abilities on Boko, and thanks to Bunnie's rally is able to do so and clear some of the corruption. It still has the vines attack; Danté dodges but Pango takes the hit, though he is resistant to the damage. Pango becomes restrained. Boko breaks out of the Shadow Bind, and punches Danté, who takes significant damage. Oppy runs up a tree and Unleashes Chaos on the abscess, and with help from Kexon, hits. Oppy also notices the abscess has a red glow within, and relays this to the rest of the party. Bunnie breaks out of her restraints, but as she does, Boko throws a rock at Kexon, hitting him and badly injuring him.

Sweetpea pulls back some of the vines to give Bunnie a better hit, but despite further assistance from Xarlo, Bunnie misses and falls into the tainted water. Boko throws a boulder now at Sweetpea, who is also badly injured. Pango breaks out of the vines, and Sweetpea and Bunnie try again, this time both hitting. Fumes come forth from the abscess as they hit, and their surroundings seem affected. Pango and Danté team up again as Pango throws Danté like a frisbee, and with Pango's force and Danté's weapon, they destroy the abscess. While they are covered in the innards, they notice the spring begin to clear. Boko stands up, about to hit Xarlo, but the purple glow fades from its eyes and it apologizes to him and asks how long the corruption has been in place. The forest immediately begins to recover, as Boko apologizes again and tells The Menagerie it hopes to repay them, and it should have been more careful. When Kexon asks for more details, it tells him that it was too trusting of an alleged pilgrim who came the prior week hoping to commune with Ondra, who ignored its counsel and wandered around before leaving. The abscess began to grow the following day. Sweetpea and Pango ask for more details about the person, and Boko makes its face take on the visage of the person, a balding man with loose jowls. Bunnie recognizes the man as Dylan Brouche, a patron of the Lily Locket Lounge.

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Player characters[edit | edit source]

New[edit | edit source]

  • Everett Cole, retired adventurer and ranger of the Emerald Sky
  • Echo, giant two-headed owl
  • Wild Cullen (deceased)
  • Boko the Glen Warder
  • Twix and Twex, two of Xarlo's puppies

Mentioned[edit | edit source]

  • Ondra, goddess of nature
  • Wango, Pango's brother
  • Dylan Brouche, a patron of the Lily Locket Lounge

References[edit | edit source]


  1. Also at times spelled "Andra".