Red Nose Day 2023 One-Shot: Choose Their Adventure… Again!

"Red Nose Day 2023 One-Shot: Choose Their Adventure… Again!"
One-shot episode
"Red Nose Day 2023 One-Shot: Choose Their Adventure… Again!" (OSx56) thumbnail featuring Taliesin Jaffe, Laura Bailey, Tony Hale, Matthew Mercer, Sam Richardson, and Sam Riegel.
Episode no.Episode 56
AirdateNovember 28, 2023 19:00 PT
Running time2:28:53
Starring
Sam Richardson as Ranthiel
Tony Hale as Sarge
Laura Bailey as Bramble
Taliesin Jaffe as Bobby Socks
Sam Riegel as Scanlan Shorthalt
and
Matthew Mercer as the Game Master
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"Red Nose Day 2023 One-Shot: Choose Their Adventure… Again!" (OSx56) is a special one-shot fundraiser helping Red Nose Day and Comic Relief US. Game Master Matthew Mercer guides a quest shaped by your donations for CRF’s Red Nose Day fundraiser! Laura Bailey, Taliesin Jaffe, and Sam Riegel will play alongside legendary comedians and actors Sam Richardson and Tony Hale to help raise money for the fight against child poverty.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Pre-show[edit | edit source]

All donations made before midnight Pacific time from the airing of the one-shot (at 5 pm Pacific) on November 28, 2023 were matched by Comic Relief US. Also, while Liam O'Brien was originally slated to join, he was unfortunately unable to, so Sam is taking his place.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

The story takes place around the early 790s PD[fn 1] on Athova-Rae, an island in the northern part of the Shattered Teeth archipelago, in its port city of Drobanagos. The local Musetide festival is fast approaching, and the townspeople are preparing for it. The town's elder, Aldafud, hired a group of adventurers to serve as general security during the festival after they defended him in a bar brawl, and they agreed to what appeared to be relatively easy money. Two of these adventurers are Ranthiel Volthor, a human warlock, who appears telling Bramble, a fairy barbarian that they are not dating. Meanwhile, Scanlan Shorthalt is practicing with Kent Plucker and being reassured by Dr. Dranzel. Kent's son, Bobby Socks, for whom Kent is not the custodial parent, is behind the stage, and Sarge, a drummer formerly of Nicodranas, agrees to get a drink with Kent. Sarge has a large white tiger named Ethel, and a number of secrets.

Aldafud approaches the group, at which point Kent leaves to go to the tavern, and provides them with some possible information about threats to security they may see; mostly thieves on the outskirts of town. He promises them a potential bonus if they do their work well, and leaves. Scanlan and Ranthiel discuss flirtation techniques, with an unsure Scanlan taking advice from Ranthiel, and as Bobby discusses their plan, a young elvish woman with dark hair cries for help nearby. She trips in the mud and falls, and Bobby's attempt to help her leads him to also fall in the mud. After Ranthiel helps her up she appears impressed by the group and asks for their assistance: she lives outside the town with her sister, Teles and mother, Prothanthanope. After noticing the creatures around their cabin becoming unsettled, she and Teles went to investigate and found a strange ship docked in the coastal caves. The woman fled, but her sister did not return, and she is looking for people who can help rescue her. The group considers the job, which is technically out of their purview, but ask the woman her name. She introduces herself as Ligeia, and when she asks the group for their name, Sarge tells her they are The Glorious Ones. Ligeia offers to lead them to where her sister was lost. As they begin to follow, Sarge feels a chill and notices that something from his past might be following him.

On their journey, Sarge tells the group his history: about five years ago, while in Nicodranas, employed as court jester for the Uludan family, he was accused and found guilty of the murder of a local merchant. Sarge believes the actual murderer was a member of the Uludan family and that this is why he was framed for the murder. He has since been on the run. Meanwhile, Ligeia offers crystals and a date with Ranthiel as payment, which Ranthiel accepts. Ligeia continues to trip and fall frequently, arousing Bramble's suspicion and jealousy. Meanwhile, Scanlan considers adopting an accent in order to be more like Ranthiel, and Bobby notices that one of the rocks he had collected earlier appears to be beginning to crack. He brings it to Ranthiel's attention. Bramble, who has cast Speak with Animals, asks Ethel what she thinks. Ethel tells her she wants to eat the rock or egg, and also that her relationship with Sarge is largely one of convenience. Ranthiel decides to Eldritch Blast the egg, which, upon being hit, appears to fly off into the jungle. Bramble chases down the egg and is able to find it, seemingly unchanged, but the entire party, as they find her, seems to hear a strange music surround them. At that, Ligeia catches up. They group follows the singing to its source, a single reddish-purple apple hanging from a twisted tree branch.

As they look at the apple, a voice fills their minds, welcoming them to the Grove of Enlightenment, a source of all knowledge and purpose. Sarge asks to see the apple more closely, and Bramble flies him over. Upon closer inspection, he believes the apple to truly be a great gift and not a danger. He picks the apple, and the voice tells The Glorious One that it will come with them and provide them with its gifts. Bramble wants to eat it, but Sarge tells her she can't and directs her to some nearby mundane pears instead. The group picks up the egg, and as Sarge puts the apple around his neck, it tells him to be emboldened and that the future is his. Bobby verifies this doesn't appear to be a hallucinogenic apple.

The group continues through the jungle and finds a bunch of beautiful vegetables with a sign saying they are free, but Ranthiel notices this is a trap set by some nearby kobolds. Bramble flies over the snares and is noticed by the kobolds, and the group enters combat. Sarge hits two kobolds with poisonous blow darts, and Bramble kills another with her battleaxe. The remaining kobolds attack and miss Sarge, but hit Ranthiel. Bobby attempts to Entangle the kobolds, who avoid it, but the ground does become thorny and difficult to traverse. Ranthiel Eldritch Blasts the kobold who hit him, killing it, and Scanlan tries to convince the two remaining badly injured kobolds to stop fighting and inspires Ranthiel. Sarge notices the kobolds seem very interested in his apple, and also notices a shape in the growing mists of the jungle that he recognizes. Bramble kills one of the remaining kobolds with her axe. The group then talks with the remaining kobold and asks if they were working with anyone, but they tell them that they were only trying to trap travelers. The Glorious Ones agree to let them go, provided they leave the vegetables.

As the party presses on, Sarge points out the spirit of the murdered merchant that appears to be following him, and the rest of The Glorious Ones are able to see a shape in the mist. They discuss what to do with the spirit as Ligeia emerges from her hiding space and Bobby casts Cure Wounds on Ranthiel's injuries. As Bramble makes another pass at Ranthiel, they reach the shore of the island. As Ligeia walks towards the caves along the cliffs, the apple speaks again, telling the party it will grant them protection. Ligeia leads them to a large cave entrance, from which a redheaded woman who looks very similar to her appears. A second woman who also looks like her emerges. Sarge becomes suspicious, and notices there is something slightly unreal about their appearance. The women greet Ligeia, who seems oddly calm, and they tell the party that there are enemies within the cave. As Sarge expresses his concerns to The Glorious Ones, the spirit tells him to avenge it, and the women become frustrated. Ligeia initially says the group is capable, but one of the other women loses her patience and transforms into her siren form, saying they only need one for a sacrifice. They begin chanting as the others follow suit, and attempt to charm the party. Bobby becomes entranced and follows the women into the cave. Sarge casts Pass Without Trace so the rest of the party can go after Bobby stealthily.

Inside the cavern, they can hear the voices of the sirens, and Ranthiel lights a torch, revealing bioluminescent plankton. As they continue they find one large landmass in the back of the chamber and a smaller one in the middle, and notice the women in their true form have tails, fish-like spines, and sharp teeth. They see Bobby on one of the three altars as the women chant a ritual. The plankton's light brightens, revealing a massive sleeping crab in the back of the cave. The party discusses grabbing Bobby and running by going invisible, but as they do, the sirens chant about waking the dreamer, and the runes on the shell of the crab begin to glow, as do the filled chalices on the altars. Ranthiel casts Counterspell, and one chalice goes dark and the ritual seems to stop. Bramble casts Faerie Fire on the three sirens, and combat begins.

Concentration is dropped on the domination spell on Bobby, so he Wildshapes into an alpaca. Sarge attacks the crab, which is difficult to hit, but manages to land one attack and it begins to wake up. Scanlan's Vicious Mockery is successful, as is the crab's attack on Sarge, and the sirens yell they can't control it yet. One siren casts Fireball, severely burning Ranthiel and Scanlan and hitting Bramble as well. Another siren tries to bring Bobby, in alpaca form, to the altar. Bramble rages and lands two hits on Ligeia, who tries to hit her with a Stupefying Touch but misses. Ranthiel, with his Hexblade's Curse and his sword, attacks Ligeia and kills her. Bobby drops his Wildshape and instead casts Conjure Animals to bring a walrus into the fight, though it misses. Sarge and Ethel continue to attack the crab, which misses him on an attack. Scanlan casts Thunderwave at the remaining two sirens, which also damages the ritual cairns. The crab attacks and knocks out Scanlan. As the sirens attempt to escape, Ranthiel and Sarge each land hits, and Bramble finishes both of them off. Ranthiel casts Eldritch Blast to try to cave in the ceiling, which does take some damage. Bobby casts Cure Wounds on Scanlan and then summons his Bear Totem, whom he calls Bauble, which grants everyone in range 10 temporary hit points.

Sarge, hearing the spirit ask him again for vengeance, decides to eat the apple, which screams the entire time it is being consumed. It immediately grants him 50 temporary hit points and imbues him with great strength, at which point Sarge flips and lands two mighty attacks on the crab, splitting its shell and then killing it. The power of the apple then immediately fades and Sarge vomits, but the crab has been killed. The Glorious Ones collect the meat of the crab and bring it to the Musetide Festival to be eaten as part of a feast. Elder Aldafud thanks them for their service and asks them if they'd like to stay in his employ to deal with crabs, and they consider it. Bramble realizes that the sirens referred to the crab as The Dreamer, which worries her, and this is confirmed when the festival ends with a ceremony to summon the spirit of the village's crab guardian but no one arrives. However, the villagers do not seem to realize what the cause was, despite all the crab they have been eating.

At the end of the festival, Dr. Dranzel tells Scanlan that they will be continuing on to Tal'Dorei by ship, and the rest of The Glorious Ones decide to join, either to escape the future scrutiny of the village, or because Kent still has Bobby for two more weeks. As they leave, the spirit once more tells Sarge to avenge it.

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Main player characters[edit | edit source]

Official art of The Glorious Ones, by Annalise Jensen.[art 1]

Companions[edit | edit source]

Returning[edit | edit source]

These characters previously appeared in a Critical Role work.

New[edit | edit source]

These characters have not previously appeared in a Critical Role work, though they may have been previously mentioned.

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Various elements of the one-shot were chosen through a series of polls in which the choice that garnered the most donated money wins. The polls opened on October 25, 2023, after the one-shot was announced at "The Mighty Nein Reunion: Echoes of the Solstice" (OSx54), and closed on November 3.[1] The polls were:

  • What class will Tony Hale play? The winner was ranger, and the other choices were barbarian, bard, monk, and wizard.
  • What class will Sam Richardson play? The winner was warlock, and the other choices were barbarian, bard, druid, and rogue.
  • What class will Laura Bailey play? The winner was barbarian, and other choices were bard, paladin, rogue, and warlock.
  • What class will Taliesin Jaffe play? The winner was druid, and the other choices were rogue, paladin, ranger, and sorcerer.
  • What class will Liam O'Brien play? The winner was bard, and the other choices were barbarian, cleric, monk, and warlock.
  • What event is happening at the start of the game? The winner was someone has a date with a mysterious entity, and the other choices were anniversary of a tragic wedding and a celebration of victory over an ancient evil.
  • What does one of the players secretly carry? The winner was a mysterious egg that is beginning to crack, and the other choices were a curse that will eventually transform them and a contract to subdue/capture another player.
  • What's stalking the players as they venture forth? The winner was a haunted spirit that is tethered to them, and the other choices were a shadowed, hungry cryptid and a raving super-fan.
  • What twisted magical treasure will find them? The winner was an apple that gives powers and screams when eaten, and the other choices were a magical saddle that lets one player ride another and oil that can summon bees from an orifice of choice.

Liam was subsequently unable to play, and Sam Riegel played as Scanlan instead. The production stated that they were finding a different opportunity for Liam to play the bard, as decided by the poll.[2]

Matt confirmed that the one-shot is considered canon during the announcements for "To Hurt Is to Heal" (3x79).[3]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

The one-shot is most likely set "circa 790 PD." Kaylie was described as "young" during Campaign 1, set in late 810 PD when she first appeared.[4] She told Scanlan that she lied about her age to get into the College of the Savvy,[5] implying her to not yet be 18 when she did so. After three years at the college she found Dr. Dranzel's troupe and joined them for 6 months,[6] so it can be assumed that she was around 19 when she met Scanlan. This would put her birthdate no later than 791 PD. In the one-shot, Scanlan has joined Dr. Dranzel's troupe but hasn't yet gained his confidence. Over the one-shot he begins to model his personality after Ranthiel. It can then be presumed that he continues to do so as the troupe returns to Tal'Dorei.

Kent Plucker's appearance in the one-shot indicates that it takes place no earlier than 790 PD. In his appearance in Campaign 2, he is described as a middle-aged halfling.[7] As they "generally live into their second century" (around 150),[8] middle aged would be in their 70s and 80s. Because Bobby is 15 in the one-shot, and presuming Kent was at least 20 when Bobby was born, Kent would be 35 in 790 PD, and therefore would be 81 in 836 PD during Campaign 2.

References[edit | edit source]

Footnotes:

  1. The one-shot takes place before Scanlan developed his philandering tendencies. Assuming Kaylie was at least 19 in 810 PD, she must've been born no later than 791 PD. See this page's Trivia for full discussion of timeline placement.

Art:

  1. Official art of The Glorious Ones, by Annalise Jensen (source). 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.