Party of NPCs

"4-Sided Dive: Party of NPCs"
4-Sided Dive episode
Thumbnail from "4-Sided Dive: Party of NPCs" (4SDx02).[art 1]
Episode no.Episode 2
AirdateMay 3, 2022 19:00 PDT
Running time1:47:13
Starring
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Previous
"4-Sided Dive: Silken Secrets" (4SDx01)
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"4-Sided Dive: Fly Into The Danger Zone" (4SDx03)
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"Dignity: An Adventure with Stephen Colbert" (OSx47)
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"Promise and Potential" (3x22)
List of 4-Sided Dive episodes

"4-Sided Dive: Party of NPCs" (4SDx02) is the second episode of 4-Sided Dive, discussing up to "Fight at the Museum..." (3x21) with guests Laura Bailey, Taliesin Jaffe, Liam O'Brien, and Sam Riegel. Sam served as the night's Tavern Keeper, and the guests played Street Fighter V after the break.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Cold Open[edit | edit source]

Sam is declared the host with a roll of 19 and delivers the opening monologue in both of Fjord's accents, flossing (the dance) sadly before the title sequence.

What the fuck is up with that?[edit | edit source]

On the group's fluidity and changing membership: Liam feels that the fact that they were mostly travelers this time might have contributed to this feeling more natural; but then again, Jester was a traveler last campaign. Laura notes that the changes felt very quick at the beginning and that it was strange to not have Travis at the table. Sam agrees - they were all still getting to know each other and he still doesn't know what some of the characters' want to achieve.

Because of Exandria Unlimited, the start of Campaign 3 felt very different to Liam because Orym already knew Fearne and Dorian quite well at the beginning. Everyone loved having Robbie at the table, and they joke about Dorian's crush.

Taliesin thinks this feels something like the X-Men

  • Taliesin and Sam segue into comic collecting, and everyone talks about The Lost Boys, which Laura hasn't seen.

On Ruidus: Moon's haunted.

Imogen's seen the moon the most, presuming it is indeed the moon in her dreams. She's not sure why her mother was being researched - she could be Ruidisborn, or have had the dreams herself. Orym's connection to the moons was a coincidence - Liam thought of it as romantic that Orym and Will would look up and compare themselves to the moons. Chetney also has a connection to the moon (Catha, in his case) due to his lycanthropy. Taliesin is just excited to go to the moon. Laura and Taliesin wonder if Ashton is made of moon rock.

  • According to Taliesin, Imogen would be Hope Summers in X-men lore, who lives on the moon with her psychic parents.

The group then digresses to talk about Ashton's four rage types: time, space, gravity, and luck. They also consider whether the Luxon is related to the moon, or if other members of Bells Hells have ties to the moon.

On the heist: Liam really appreciates Matt switching up what the party is doing so that there's not only a mix of combat and RP but that the combat and RP they have varies, Laura doesn't feel they did a good job of planning, and Taliesin had fun and thought everything would be fine as long as they didn't split the party...and then Chetney went off on his own. But despite all that, they won the heist! Orym wanted to leave cleanly without the violence from Imogen and Ashton, but Ashton has a code and Evon's dangerous traps felt like a betrayal.

All four feel like Chetney will one day just run off while scouting and never return. Liam had originally built Orym to be able to go off and do whatever he wanted, but it turns out all of Bells Hells are fairly chaotic. Taliesin agrees - this is a Party of NPCs. Everyone feels like a strange character a "normal" D&D party would encounter, except for Imogen, who does seem to have a "feeling of intense destiny".[1] Dorian felt like this too, but he's left for his own destiny.

Favorite heist stories: The group first thinks of previous heists on Critical Role - the Vergesson Sanatorium break-in, the heist on Dayana Prucine's house, and the "egg day" when they all broke into the clinic in Zadash. After that, Laura's first thought is Ocean's Eleven. Taliesin thinks of Hudson Hawk. Sam thinks that heists with two opposing teams are fun; Taliesin mentions Leverage, and Sam brings up Bottle Rocket as well. The list goes on - The Usual Suspects, Logan Lucky, French Kiss, A Fish Called Wanda, and Quick Change. Sam jokes this segment will be called "Movie Think" going forward.

The Tower of Inquiry, Round 1[edit | edit source]

Ittybittybagelbites: What aspects of your current character were pre-planned and what ended up coming out organically while roleplaying? — pulled by Laura, 31:34

  • Liam: Generally, while he pre-plans the outline, a lot comes out in roleplaying. Orym's love for pie definitely came from his experience in Byroden during Exandria Unlimited.
  • Laura: Imogen's fear of heights wasn't planned until Matt described the cable car in Jrusar and she thought it sounded terrible, despite not having a real-life fear of heights. She did plan for Imogen to be fairly reserved and uncomfortable in crowds. However, she didn't realize they'd start in such an urban setting, and had to have Imogen open up a bit sooner given how long they stayed in the city. She and Marisha also discussed the friendship between their characters beforehand.
  • Taliesin: A lot of work has been figuring out what Ashton is being punk for, given how different Exandria is from our world. He also developed why Ashton would be spending time with Bells Hells based on roleplay decisions.
    • Taliesin and Sam similarly talked about their history: FCG would have been extremely inquisitive about all aspects of Ashton's life, and Ashton would not have answered, but Ashton does feel both protective of FCG and excited to see FCG interrogate other people.
  • Sam: His characters all need to decide why they're spending time with the rest of the cast's characters, since obviously they're friends in real life but not within the story yet. FCG is a flat-earther because he assumed FCG wouldn't have ever had that information programmed. He also didn't want to deal with money and remembered Matt had told him he could heal himself with metal, which is how the coin-eating began. The glitching and deflecting was also not planned, but it's something Sam likes.
    • Sam also talked about wanting a character who got mechanical rewards for roleplaying, which is partially how the Empathy Domain subclass was developed.

The Deep Dive[edit | edit source]

Laura's Imogen mug is not ready yet, so she has a disposable cup with a horse on it.

Sam: How is Fresh Cut Grass doing since their malfunction in the Shade Mother's lair? Can you give us some insight on what happened to him down there?43:04

They learned that FCG needed a reset, and Milo said it was an energy overload. Sam knows the mechanics behind this, but FCG does not so Sam doesn't want to share it yet. He did have to come up with how he'd roleplay the glitch in the moment, and the rest compliment him on it.

Taliesin: Where did Ashton get their magic glass hammer?45:29

The hammer is made of the glass left over after Ashton's head wound was fixed by Milo. The glass is tempered and it's magical, but Ashton and Milo don't know how or why it works.

  • Sam asks what Ashton used before that and Taliesin thinks he usually just punched people and was a general brawler; he has brass knuckles as well.

Laura: Did Imogen know that the lightning strike marks on her arms have been slowly growing in relation to the dreams or is that discovery new for her?48:20

Imogen wasn't born with the lightning marks, so she is aware that they're growing, but until Fearne pointed it out, she thought they were connected to her using her magic, rather than to her dreams.

  • Taliesin and Liam want to know if Imogen's hair is related to the marks or if it's dyed. Laura hasn't decided yet - she just wanted purple hair. It could be related to her powers, given that her mother likely had abilities; or it could be some older ancestry or something else.

Liam: How is Orym handling Laudna's revelation about her past?50:38

Orym, as a low-level guard, overheard a lot of discussions between members of Vox Machina so it's a little like meeting a veteran of a historical war for him. He doesn't want it to be true but he believes it is, and because there's so much else going on he's waiting to bring this up to Keyleth until a later time.

Sam: Liam famously picks your characters' race and class for each campaign. What was your reaction when he picked robot healer and where did the therapist idea come from?52:52

Sam wanted to try something different than previous clerics they'd had, and he likes to play characters who are unlike himself, so as he had never done therapy, he became interested in playing a therapy-oriented character. He did read some books for research and spoke with friends in the field.

  • Taliesin says FCG reminds him of freshman psychology majors. Liam says he gave Sam the combination because he was interested to see where Sam would take it.
  • They all digress and discuss the accents at the table - FCG's accent came out during test sessions. The accents this campaign are very infectious: everyone enjoys Marisha's acting as Laudna, and Ashley's voice for Fearne.

Taliesin: Ashton claims to not be here to make friends but how is he feeling about the members of Bells Hells?57:23

Ashton thinks they know themself well, but they do not, and they appreciate that this is a somewhat morally ambiguous group that permits a certain amount of messing with each other. He hasn't been very good with people in a long time, and is enjoying the experience.

Laura: Do you have theories on who the figure that Imogen saw in the red storm might be?58:46

Imogen has no idea. Laura doesn't know either, but maybe it's Imogen's mother, both telling her to run and simultaneously telling her to enter the storm. She was very clear in her backstory that Imogen believes that if the storm catches her, she will die, but Laura doesn't know if she actually will, which is both scary and very intriguing.

  • Taliesin brings up that maybe it's "nega-Imogen" and Laura agrees that maybe it's her future or alternate-universe self in which she went into the storm.

Liam: How has it been navigating new group dynamics after Orym's time with the Crown Keepers]? What is it like taking the same character out of one group and into another?1:00:10

Liam was torn because he both wanted to introduce Orym with the main class, but also wanted to try him for EXU. He also found the Crown Keeper dynamic interesting because Orym and Dorian were really the only steadying voices within the group and Dorian was not always reliably so. But in the end it added to the character. Liam is still on a text thread with the EXU cast.

  • They all digress about separate text threads they're on with each other.

Sam: How does FCG feel about the way others treat them? He is often the source of interest and confusion for many people, how does that attention affect them?1:03:53

Initially FCG liked it, but as the rest of the group has pointed out the problems with it to him, he's changed his mind - it came out during roleplay.

Taliesin: Did Ashton live the Greymoore State Home their entire childhood or did they live somewhere else beforehand?1:04:56

Ashton did not - they ended up there when they were around 9 years old and lived there through their teens.

Laura: The ball seemed to be a very tumultuous experience for Imogen, can you tell us more about what that night was like for her?1:05:30

It was a lot of people in an enclosed space which is very difficult for her given her powers, and she was also both excited to be so dressed up and then disappointed that she was playing a servant role, so there was a lot of emotion and frustration.

Liam: How is Orym feeling about the winding thread left behind by the assassins? What is chasing this path like for him?1:07:03

Orym's been wandering for some time, trying to come to terms with Will's death because no one knew who caused it, and so he's now frustrated that the leads he had are going cold again. He does like Bells Hells though, and wants to stay with them as he continues to pursue the assassins.

The Tower of Inquiry, Round 2[edit | edit source]

butchcookie: If the campaign was a Muppet movie, which Muppet would play your character? — pulled by Sam, 1:10:24

The Dani Barr confessions[edit | edit source]

In a black and white sketch, Taliesin orders a whiskey from Dani and dramatically monologues about his repeated choice to play homebrew classes and subclasses (gunslinger, blood hunter, Path of Fundamental Chaos) and how it must affect the DM.

Deep Dive during the game[edit | edit source]

Since Street Fighter V is a two person game, they continue the questions as they play:

Laura: What is Imogen's feeling towards Chetney in general?1:23:27

She thinks he's "a funny little horn dog"[2] and she's a little suspicious of him and doesn't trust him with how he deals money, but thinks in the end he's sweet. Laura also talks about how Imogen always blocks out other people's thoughts on purpose because technically, she could know much more about everyone else's characters: presumably, for example, Orym thinks of Will regularly, but Imogen blocks that out.

  • This leads to a deeper dive as Sam asks why she'd block all this out, and Laura says that when she first gained her powers, she heard so many terrible things: not just perverted or hateful thoughts, but other people's intrusive thoughts, and so she tries to not hear them. Sam remarks this would have made her very cynical, and Laura agrees that she tries not to be which is another reason why she blocks out the thoughts, so that she can assume better of people.

Taliesin: For Ashton, what percentage of what's going on was your roadmapping and what percentage is Matt fucking with your roadmap?1:31:00

Taliesin wrote more backstory for Ashton than any other character - even Percy, whose backstory was quite simple. He also gave Matt an ultimatum, but is not sure Matt will respect it, because Ashton has never had anything good happen to him and Matt is a "good boy" and likes there to be good things for the PCs.

  • Taliesin then mentions he's surprised about Orym's connections to Campaign 1, and Liam says that Orym was based on his backup for when Vax died. He decided that Korrin would send a widower from the Ashari to Keyleth to help her through it, because Liam wanted to ensure it made sense that a high-level character was joining the party at that stage. However, Vax survived until "The Chapter Closes" (1x115), so Liam had no need to use him, and kept the character in mind for later, but changed him since Orym is starting out a low-level character.

Laura: Did you know beforehand that Imogen was gonna have any connection to Ruidus?1:36:24

While she knew Jester's backstory and who the Traveler was, she didn't know about the Ruidus connection for Imogen: she only wrote that Imogen was being chased by a terrifying storm, and only vaguely described the storm. The rest has been Matt's creation.

  • Taliesin mentions during this, as an aside, that he had to change one small backstory element due to Liam, but doesn't specify what it was, only that it "crosses over too much".[3]

The group also asks Dani who her favorite character is and she says Laudna. Sam jokingly asks who her least favorite character is and she says it's FCG. Taliesin asks who she secretly undermines and she says Chetney. They then ask her about ships, and she says she'd rather just let the game happen and enjoy it as it unfolds.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The drink special on the chalkboard during the Twitch countdown was "Hytroga's Ellipsis".

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Party of NPCs" (4SDx02) at 22:08.
  2. "Party of NPCs" (4SDx02) at 1:23:39.
  3. "Party of NPCs" (4SDx02) at 1:37:58.

Art:

  1. Thumbnail from "4-Sided Dive: Party of NPCs" (4SDx02). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.