Shadow of War – Part 1

"Shadow of War – Part 1"
One-shot episode
The thumbnail for "Shadow of War – Part 1" (OSx13), featuring Darin De Paul, Matthew Mercer, Sam Riegel, Laura Bailey and Travis Willingham
Episode no.Episode 13
AirdateOctober 3, 2017
Running time1:38:26
Game systemDungeons & Dragons
Laura Bailey as Arburuk the Unbreakable
Sam Riegel as Ur-Eden Goodthink
Travis Willingham as Skak Scar-Artist
Darin De Paul as Mozuu the Chosen
Matthew Mercer as the Dungeon Master
Links and related articles
Episode chronology
"Bar Room Blitz" (OSx12)
"Shadow of War – Part 2" (OSx14)
Airdate order
"The Final Ascent" (1x113)
"Talks Machina #41: The Final Ascent" (TM1x113)
List of one-shots

"Shadow of War – Part 1" (OSx13) is the thirteenth one-shot. This week, Critical Role sits down to play a special one-shot RPG inspired by the upcoming video game Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Join Dungeon Master and voice actor Matthew Mercer as he leads fellow voice actors Laura Bailey, Darin De Paul, Sam Riegel and Travis Willingham through Mordor as a group of Orcs from the Marauder tribe against a mysterious new enemy.

This episode is the first part of a one-shot.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Arburuk the Unbreakable, Ur-Eden Goodthink, Skak Scar-Artist, and Mozuu the Chosen "have spent months stationed on the outskirts of the watch-fortress of Nargaroth, on the eastern edge of the massive Plateau of Gorgoroth, many miles southeast of Mount Doom. They are a part of the Marauder tribe, participating in raids that span between Nargaroth and the Sea of Nurnen, "scrounging up what meager spoils are left when the bulk is brought to the feet of the warchief, Barfta the Blood Pike", whom they both loathe and respect. They've "seen him carve every challenger to his position to pieces as a show of power and hope to show him their worth and achieve greatness under his specific banner."

Late afternoon, the party sits amongst the common tables in the courtyard of Barfta's fortress, drinking watered-down grog as they celebrate a rather "unimpressive crushing of a not-too-far-away ghul mound". The party has "bonded out of a need for allies, for boredom here leads to violence, and it's good to have friends". Around that time, brawls begin. Ur-Eden Goodthink suggests to join-in two uruks (Rarr and Oog) to sate their boredom, and Skak Scar-Artist wholeheartedly agrees, correcting him that the first uruk is called Oop-tha. However, Mozuu the Chosen persuades them not to fight and suffer just for the fun of it, but also find a way to make gold out of it and rule the world. Arburuk the Unbreakable says she likes gold, but she is unsure how they could rule the world if Warchief Barfta does. Mozuu doesn't think Barta is worthy of his higher rank and offers them to overthrow him.

As they are considering this proposal, a stringy uruk slams Mozuu on the back, while passing through, and spills grog on the floor. Hoshgrish Bootlick, the skinny uruk, immediately angers and demands Mozuu to refill his cup with grog, while Skak does it instead, Hoshgrish and Mozuu have an argument. Mozuu argues that Hoshgrish was the to blame for his clumsiness and the spilled grog. Heated by the quarrel, Hoshgrish unsheathes his paired, jagged blades and demonstratively spins them before Mozuu. Arburuk about to take the side of Mozuu, but is dissuaded by Hoshgrish's argument that his drink was "disrespected" by Mozuu and Hoshgrish expects to take Mozuu's head off to avenge it. Arguing that he was worthy to spill Hoshgrish's drink, Mozuu declares himself "Mozuu the Chosen" and claims to have heard Sauron's voice in his head saying: "The strong take what they want." Hoshgrish laughs it off, unable to believe that Sauron would've spoken to Mozuu, from all people. He demands his drink from Skak and walks away.

Mozuu confirms that, indeed, the Sauron himself reached out to him, when no one else out of their group didn't. Ur-Eden, well-versed in medicine, is concerned about Mozuu's mental health and suggests they should chop off his head to inspect it closer. As their conversation continues, the group hears a massive explosion in the tower of Warchief Barfta, sets aflame and begins to burn away. They see as the uruks on the walls around the courtyard betray their brethren, shooting and killing their own. The turned uruks have a faint glow in their eyes. They also shoot the party members, and the party decides to fight off the traitors, quickly finishing three of them. Ur-Eden stuns one of them, hitting them in the groin area, who is then killed by Arburuk. As they proceed up the stairs of the tower, they continue battling the turned minions of the Dark Lord. When Ur-Eden eliminates another uruk, he creates a Zorro-esque message on them, carving an "E" into their dead body. Arburuk crushes down the door into Barfta's chamber, revealing a room adorned with silks, scattered gold, an opening on the far wall where the explosion has occurred, and a raging Barfta repeatedly bludgeoning one of the would-be assassin. Barfta throws the assassin at the party's feet and commands them to interrogate the intruder. Mozuu introduces himself as the chosen of the Dark Lord and offers the would-be assassin survival and many riches, if he shares the reason of behind the assault. In response, the assassin promises them a soon approaching death, but nevertheless tells them the name of his chief: "Ur-Gram the Face-Eater". Ur-Gram rose in ranks under the banner of a new lord and sent a battlement to take over Barfta's fort. The assassin also adds that fortress of Nargroth is the next target.

After Ed-Eden heals up Barfta, Barfta assigns them to head east (toward the Mithram Spur mountains) and find out the location of Ur-Gram, the information which will be rewarded; if they manage to kill Ur-Gram, all four of them will be promoted to Captains. Skak investigates the opening in the wall, noticing assassins' corpses and three orbs filled with black powder that survived the explosion. While resting before their journey, the party name themselves "Forcs", Skak tattoos them with a symbol of Forcs, and Mozuu visually counts the "blades" in the courtyard and assesses the size of the regiment stationed at the fort, estimating that there are about 125 soldiers in the fort. He also takes note of fleeing goblins heading eastward. Forcs consider to mount caragors for their journey, when they notice a caged caragor pulling one of the beastmasters and tearing them apart. They decide to walk.

Traversing the lands eastward, Forcs stumble into a wide, soft mound of dirt (Ghûl Nest), and get ambushed by swarms of Ghûls. Skak used an explosive orb to cast Thunderwave, and they managed to kill seven Ghûls, before running away from the nest. Nearby, Skak notices a cavern occupied by six uruks (one uruk on watch). The uruks whom Mozuu sighted earlier fleeing eastward. As Forcs take a brief rest and prepare for the assault on the camping uruks, Eden heals up Arburuk, Mozuu, and himself.

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Player characters (Forcs)[edit | edit source]

NPCs[edit | edit source]

  • Hoshgrish, a lanky uruk
  • Rarr (or Oop-tha) and Oog, uruks engaged in a bar brawl[1]
  • Warchief Barfta the Blood Pike, the superior of Forcs

Mentioned[edit | edit source]

  • The Bright Lord
  • Sauron (Dark Lord)
  • Ur-Gram the Face-Eater, sent assassins to kill Barfta and capture his fort

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Shadow of War – Part 1" (OSx13) at 10:30.