Author's Note: This article will include spoilers for the 4th episode of The Ravening War.
Episode 4 of The Ravening War is a testament to how much "story" can a DM and players cram into one episode without it feeling like too much. So many events happened in this one!
We've started by going around and learning what our players have been up to in the 4-5 year jump between this episode and the previous one. Then we started making moves in the direction of the Sanctus Putris and finally arrived at the site of the final battle of The Ravening War at Pangranos.
As I said, a lot has happened. Let's dive right in!
Lady Amangeaux's Transformation
At the beginning of this episode, We find Lady Amangeaux defeated, terrified, and desperate. She's afraid of the Queenslayers she and her companions have become. Realizing that this war is about to worsen, she decides to flee instead of going ahead with her plan to marry Lord Tomate.
As she's about to enact her escape, she is faced with Karna Solara, who is reluctant to let her go after everything she's done for her.
Karna finally accepts but not without a tear in their relationship.
As Amangeaux's story progresses in this episode, we see her becoming more rogueish and cunning and no longer presenting as part of the nobility. After some years of going dark with none of her friends knowing where she was, she goes to the Uvanos, who were friends of her family. For her son's safety under the parentage of Gustavo Uvano, the Uvanos put her to work.
I need to go back to see if this son of Gustavo Uvano is mentioned anywhere in A Crown of Candy, as we know that Gustavo's daughter is the heir to the Fructerran throne.
The Darkening of Karna Solara
In this episode, we've seen Karna spiral into different aspects of herself. She wasn't as affected by the killing of Queen Rocks as the others were. And instead, went on seeking the Sanctus Putris.
Although Karna is serving The Hungry One, Aabria describes her as a true believer. Meaning she believes that conflict and rot will keep the hungry one satisfied. And so, she seeks out an audience with the Sanctus Putris and finds Jamela Gemilli - Delissandro's crush - since she also noticed her smell at the base of the pyramid of food.
This story thread seems to be abandoned when Delissandro summons Karna when he learns that Princess Saffria Rocks visits the meatlands to implore an alliance.
Her death by Karna was executed perfectly to allow Basha Myaso to ascend to the throne and unite the tribes under his banner.
This death, again planned by Lou as the original player of Amethar, is mindblowing to me.
The Price Delissandro Paid For His Ascension
When Deli comes back from the mission in the previous episode, he realizes his mother is not the right fit to lead the meatlands.
He has a falling out with Provolone that couldn't accept what they had done for reasons we'll discuss below when we talk about Colin.
And when Deli's mother realizes he went to support Basha Myaso and became the chief of his own clan, she goes north, never to be seen again. That's terrifying and heartbreaking. She was a rough woman, but all she ever wanted for Deli was to see him succeed.
And when that success happened by turning his back on his family, she couldn't take it.
As the years progress, Deli looks rougher and rougher. His new portraits show an almost crazed figure who lost an eye.
Nevertheless, his relationship with Karna seems pure, and we love to see it even though it's kinda illegal because he's her boss in a way. By making Karna his Skald, he effectively saved her from being consumed by the idea of joining the Sanctus Putris.
The Unraveling of Bishop Raphaniel
Raphaniel is not in a good place after the last episode. The weight of his shame bears down on him as the years pass by. He needed to find the Sanctus Putris, and it all goes downhill after a certain discussion he has with the Archbishop.
In that conversation, she reveals that she is quite healthier than she seems, even towering over him at some point when she tells him he'll never be ready to join the Sanctus Putris.
That moment where he vows to destroy her while lying to her face that he accepts her observation is such a cool moment of self-conflict.
In a way, that conversation sparks his desire to bring the "blender" in his mind into the world. And as he meets up with Colin in Comida, we learn that Raphaniel is pretty far gone by then.
A Nat 20 Insight from Mercer was the only thing standing between Raphaniel and his Deception skills against the Church. When the Archbishop suspects his actions, she demotes him to Archdeacon and sends him to Comida.
That's where he meets Colin Provolone after his falling out with Delissandro.
The Birth of Sir Colin Provolone
The falling out between Provolone and Delissandro was suspected in how the characters interacted during the previous episode and pretty much confirmed in the Adventuring Party for that episode when Lou asks Zac, "are we bros?"
We get some backstory from that moment when Colin decides to tell Deli why he's been hiding. In the dairy isles, his ancestors were melted down in the town square for trying to go against the powers that be.
And now he helped kill a queen. That's a triggering event, for sure.
Provolone decides to go to Comida, and that's where he meets Raphaniel, and they have a little adventure going back to the scene of the murder to try and find the Rot cave again. Which they don't.
Instead, we find the family of the innocent banana man, and Colin gives them a lot of money, which is incredibly sweet.
It's only until the end of the episode, where Mercer draws us into a battle in the caves that we realize that the Rot creaturs can move and open caves in the earth almost undetected.
Our PCs Are Adults Now!
Since it's been so many years and all of our characters are now consenting adults, we got some new portraits of them that look Fabulous. Samir Barret did an amazing job with these ones.
Looking at the portraits, we can also see how the years affected the PCs.
There are many things the PCs did that could remain in darkness. Did our characters do anything that they did not report to the entire table? A Crown of Candy is notoriously known to be full of secrets. I wouldn't be surprised if, over the years, the characters have done some things they did not want to admit publicly to the rest of the table.
The Young Amethar and Manta Ray Jack
In the war council before the fight on Pangranos, we got to see a young Prince Amethar of House Rocks and Manta Ray Jack.
Although it was a younger version and only for a moment of levity, I did not like that Mercer voiced Amethar. In A Crown of Candy, where PCs would return to the campaign in one way or another, Brennan would ask the players to voice their characters. I thought Mercer would do the same here. I know many people didn't even mind, but I just wanted to throw it out there for matters of taste.
Seeing a portrait of the young Amethar was also amazing. And Princess Recocoa was also an amazing leader to behold. There's one Cake that we haven't seen yet, though, and if we've seen these characters and Recocoa, we can predict what happens next. I'll discuss this more below.
The Battle Before The Battle
As the episode draws to a close, Mercer dangles a carrot in front of Raphaniel in the form of a Rot creature near the encampment. In a frenzy, he runs after it and asks his friends to accompany him.
They follow and, eventually, meet three Rot creatures. One of them infects Raphaniel with spores which allow him to communicate with the creature and doesn't poison him. Maybe there are different types of spores?
The episode ends with the players realizing the Sanctus Putris are among the rot creatures, and a fight ensues. What side will Karna take as a "true believer"?
Let's talk about Predictions next.
"In the great blender of the void, can all things be made one." - Bishop Raphaniel.
Predictions For The Next Episode
We have two episodes left. And this next one is going to be primarily a fight one. We could end the fight early if our characters surprise Mercer, but I doubt it.
It feels like this will be primarily a long fight, just like the last episode was.
There's going to be some kind of big reveal in this one as well. Maybe we will fight the Archbishop to pave the way for Belisabeth Brassica to raise the ranks? She has already ordered Citrina run down through the streets of Comida, so she might have been influenced by the Archbishop to cause more chaos. But we know she isn't affiliated with the Sanctus Putris, so something else could have happened over the years to help her recognize the truth - Could be that our players had a hand in doing so.
In addition, being part Rot seems to give the Archbishop more time alive. Killing her in a battle seems a more likely way for someone like her to go.
So far, Queen Pamela Rocks and Princesses Saffria and Citrina have been killed in this campaign. I feel like this campaign would see more of Amethar's family destroyed with him having a hand in doing it. Maybe we'll see Recocoa killed next? We know that Lazuli is the only one who sacrifices herself for Uvano.
This episode has been a heavy one. So many things happened, and the characters grew from teenagers and youngsters to full adults. Five years of progress is a lot to swallow in one sitting, but it didn't feel overwhelming.
Overall, this episode was really good and provided a lot of context to events we only heard of in A Crown of Candy and flavors them in a way that feels much more personal.
I'm excited to see what comes next! What about you? Let's discuss this in the comments!
Read the review of the next episode right here.