Critical Role EXU: Calamity Discussion (Spoilers)

overgeeked

B/X Known World
The thing that had me start thinking in this direction was the name of the city: Avalir. Does it remind you of anything? It reminds me of Avalon, from Arthurian Mythos. If that was an inspiration for the name, it could have huge significance. Some of those Arthurian legends feature a wounded King Arthur being taken to Avalon to recover ... and waiting there to return to save Britain in the future.
There’s also the Savalir Wood. Names that close don’t tend to be happenstance in constructed worlds.
 

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The Age of Arcanum produced a surprising number of floating cities. IIRC before EXU: Calamity began we knew of Aeor, Draconia, and Zemniaz, all three of which have been destroyed. Now we have Avalir, which itself originated from a heretofore unknown continent called Domunas (though this could possibly be an archaic name for Wildemount, perhaps, just as Tal'dorei is known in this time as Gwessar).

BTW, wasn't it mentioned that Aabria's character was hypothesizing about plane shifting the city already? Perhaps the party could possibly end up sending Avalir to another plane (or even another Material Plane world) hopefully with less disastrous consequences than Aeor.
 

I think spending so much time on character introductions was... maybe not the right choice for a 4 episode run. But it's something Brennan normally does for his D20 games, so it's no surprise it happens here. On the positive side, it really gave us an in-depth look into how several (but not all) of the characters normally behave in their day-to-day lives, so there was merit to the choice even if I would have made a different choice at my own table.

It was an excellent episode overall. It's further proof that Brennan is a beast when it comes to quick improv comedy, and he managed to do a great job on the more somber and tragic tones. I got chills when he described Pelor, asked "whom did we betray", and posed the simple question of what lies above when the stars are beneath you.
 

jgsugden

Legend
...
TW, wasn't it mentioned that Aabria's character was hypothesizing about plane shifting the city already? Perhaps the party could possibly end up sending Avalir to another plane (or even another Material Plane world) hopefully with less disastrous consequences than Aeor.
They've mentioned both planar travel and time travel, but in roundabout ways.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I’d guess this is likely a scripted live play.
I very doubt it. Mulligan is all about improv, in and outside of D&D, and this sort of short story is what he does for a living, over at dimension20.

D20 seasons are about 12 episodes, 2 hours each, so this isn’t even outside his comfort zone.

They just built characters as a group, knowing enough of what is coming to aim toward interesting conflicts and such, and are all very good at this.

As for the idea that it won’t be a good intro to D&D, I couldn’t disagree more. Short campaigns with a specific theme in a somewhat geographically constrained setting are an excellent way to get into the game.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think spending so much time on character introductions was... maybe not the right choice for a 4 episode run. But it's something Brennan normally does for his D20 games, so it's no surprise it happens here. On the positive side, it really gave us an in-depth look into how several (but not all) of the characters normally behave in their day-to-day lives, so there was merit to the choice even if I would have made a different choice at my own table.
He doesn’t normally do that, no. He often introduces one or two characters at a time, but it’s rarely that in depth. If I were running a similar game, I’d probably do the same. Not in a normal game, but here I think it’s nearly 100% the right choice. Necessary, even.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
He doesn’t normally do that, no. He often introduces one or two characters at a time, but it’s rarely that in depth. If I were running a similar game, I’d probably do the same. Not in a normal game, but here I think it’s nearly 100% the right choice. Necessary, even.

Yes, here it's necessary because it's for an audience (if it wasn't there could have been individual sessions or even over email). But the game is introducing these characters to the viewers - as they are Wholey new.

Fortunately Brenan is pretty good at juggling that sort of thing. Though he did, very mildly, express a bit of frustration that after he'd gotten the whole group together they go and split into several different directions again.
 


OB1

Jedi Master
BTW, wasn't it mentioned that Aabria's character was hypothesizing about plane shifting the city already? Perhaps the party could possibly end up sending Avalir to another plane (or even another Material Plane world) hopefully with less disastrous consequences than Aeor.
Yes, and she specifically asked the question if the Solar bow would function as tuning fork for the plane shift spell before running back to the engine room at the end of the episode. Combined with the massive surge in lay line activity, seems like they'll have a chance to shift the city somewhere to try and protect it from the Calamity.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Yes, here it's necessary because it's for an audience (if it wasn't there could have been individual sessions or even over email). But the game is introducing these characters to the viewers - as they are Wholey new.
I would never do that via email. That sounds terrible, and solo sessions sounds only slightly less terrible. The character emerges via play. In how the player chooses to respond to this or that input, at the table, with the other players.
Fortunately Brenan is pretty good at juggling that sort of thing. Though he did, very mildly, express a bit of frustration that after he'd gotten the whole group together they go and split into several different directions again.
I wouldn’t even take that too seriously. His main game features regular moments of razzing and crap talking, often just as a form of vamping.
 

jgsugden

Legend
...One thing I have considered is that there is a chance that the PCs might save Avalir from the Calamity. They might be destined for a tragedy - but they may end up with a choice of tragedies.

There were attempts to save the people of Aeor that failed. What if they succeed here? What if they send Avalir to another plane using Threshold Stones, move it forward in time with Dunamancy, or otherwise keep it intact so that the city, in all of its glory, can return to the modern Exandria? ...
A very distinct reference to the ability to move the city to another plane was made this week, as well as a discussion of time at the start of the 'vision' at the end of the session "You are in another time, andother plane...."

I think we'll know what happens to Avalir before the end of episode 3. They said it would not make it back to Melora's Grasp (land) and they're in the process of landing.
 

Comedic Speculation:

City starts falling and plane shifts. Arrive in Mount Celestia. Immediately greeted by Border Patrol asking to see their paperwork. No paperwork? City is plane shifted back over the future Savalir Woods.
 

OB1

Jedi Master
So much love for Mulligan's portrayal of Asmodeus in episode 2. That scene between him and Xersus(?) was just incredible.

And was excited to hear mention that people all over the world are trying to take advantage of this period of magical convergence to do big things. Reinforces the idea that what is going on in EXU is about these specific characters and their choices and at this point, and I'm not sure if they are trying to stop the apocalypse or start it! My best guess at this point is that their actions will determine the fate of Avalir specifically, which is currently unknown in the existing lore.

I do wonder if Threshold Crest technology is known about at this point in the timeline. I wonder if Avalir could become an object lesson to others about what happens if you try and plane shift something that big without them...
 

Whether or not the Calamity is averted is not the adventure. That's the background.

Whether or not the city of Avril crashes is the adventure. That hasn't been determined. It is known that flying cities crashed, but we only know of one, and that's Aeor (I think). They won't be trying to save the world, but the city, their families, that which they care about. I think at this point the characters have all the agency they need.

(And it seems that Ep.2 is out)
 

BRayne

Adventurer
Whether or not the Calamity is averted is not the adventure. That's the background.

Whether or not the city of Avril crashes is the adventure. That hasn't been determined. It is known that flying cities crashed, but we only know of one, and that's Aeor (I think). They won't be trying to save the world, but the city, their families, that which they care about. I think at this point the characters have all the agency they need.

(And it seems that Ep.2 is out)

Zemniaz crashed as well, giving the Zemni fields their name, and I think Kethesk partially crashed before the remnants became Draconia and crashed later. Those two plus Aeor are the only flying cities we had heard of before this series added Avalir and Lathras (the city Aeor is planning to run a weapons test on).
 

Zemniaz crashed as well, giving the Zemni fields their name, and I think Kethesk partially crashed before the remnants became Draconia and crashed later. Those two plus Aeor are the only flying cities we had heard of before this series added Avalir and Lathras (the city Aeor is planning to run a weapons test on).
Okay. But as far as I know, the question of Avril crashing, landing and not taking off again, or taking off and then crashing is still open.

Or, I could be wholly wrong. Even so, I would still argue at this point that we haven't seen anything severely limiting player agency. But, we'll see, I guess.
 

Okay. But as far as I know, the question of Avril crashing, landing and not taking off again, or taking off and then crashing is still open.

Or, I could be wholly wrong. Even so, I would still argue at this point that we haven't seen anything severely limiting player agency. But, we'll see, I guess.
There is a fallen city near the Savalir Woods that is still full of creepy things to this day. The elves called it Molaesmyr. We know the forest rot originates from there, it resembles a similar forest rot in Aeor, and that the elvish word for "Guilt" is Savalir.

We don't know if Molaesmyr is Avalir, but both are fallen cities, the elven word for guilt is awfully similar, and having a weapon similar to Aeor would put them around the same tech level.
 

OB1

Jedi Master
There is a fallen city near the Savalir Woods that is still full of creepy things to this day. The elves called it Molaesmyr. We know the forest rot originates from there, it resembles a similar forest rot in Aeor, and that the elvish word for "Guilt" is Savalir.

We don't know if Molaesmyr is Avalir, but both are fallen cities, the elven word for guilt is awfully similar, and having a weapon similar to Aeor would put them around the same tech level.
Molaesmyr 'fell' long after the Calamity, though. It was a thriving elven city post divergence. It's possible that Molaesmyr was the 'Throne' portion of Avalir, or built on the ruins of that part of the city. It's suggested that Molaesmyr caused the turning of the Savalir wood because the elves there were experimenting with powerful magics.
 


OB1

Jedi Master
It does Matt credit that people can discuss the lore of his campaign with such interest.
It certainly does. I'm fairly deep into it mostly because I used the EGtW as the setting for my last campaign, and Molaesmyr became a big part of Tier III and IV (though I filled in a lot of details, as there are only a couple of vague paragraphs about it in the CS).
 

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