Author's Note: This post will include spoilers for episode 3 of The Ravening War. It has also been updated thanks to reader feedback.
Episode three of the ravening war is a turning point for this season of Dimension 20. We finally got some much-needed information about The FDA, the motivations behind the mission our players have been given, and learned about a new layer of existence in Calorum.
There's a lot to talk through in this episode. Let's begin!
Preparing For Battle
We begin the episode by arriving at the site of the battle - which is a beautiful battle set by Rick Perry and his team - in the Fructeran countryside.
The team surveys the area as Colin Provolone scouts ahead and waits until a watermelon carriage arrives.
A few exciting things happened in his battle.
The first was Queen Amangeaux casting spells and Raphaniel suspecting it. Although it was retconned since Anjali was using Subtle Spell, it was still a reminder that the team only has baseline trust, and someone like Raphaniel could still turn on the queen.
The second was Provolone using his Sword of Wounding which prevents anyone attacked by it from being healed or taking opportunity attacks against the attacker - sick as hell! It makes me wonder more and more who Colin Provolone is! We still don't know.
The third exciting bit was seeing Karna get hurt and then rot, spreading where she was hurt. In addition, Aabria's killing imagery in this episode is pure poetry. Stilleto under the chin, water dagger into the heart. Those are the scenes for a world like Calorum! I loved it very much!
The fourth fantastic thing to happen in this episode was seeing Matt use the box of doom to determine whether Brennan's character would get hit by an orange. Good stuff!
The Death of Queen Pamela of House Rocks
Mid-episode, we realize the hooded figure in the carriage is non-other than Queen Pamela of House Rocks - Amethar's mother.
Brennan admitted in the episode he killed her when he wrote the history of The Ravening War to spark Candia into the conflict. Now he was forced to witness it first hand and also commit the deed as his Shatter spell was the last nail in her coffin.
Turning Point for Raphaniel...?
As the blueberry queen "detonates," Raphaniel doubts what he's been doing his whole life. Brennan said something interesting here; his biggest fear was to admit he was used and a fool. Which might mean he doesn't have many grand schemes other than making sure he is never suspected and can keep doing whatever he wants for his freedom.
At some point, Raphaniel is out of Subtle spell and conducts a spell in full view of his companions to detect thoughts about a particular vein in a cave they found. But let's backtrack a little bit.
The Rotting Layer of Existence
Everything rots when left for dead out in the open. The group encountered a being near the battle site, where they slayed the queen.
That being tried to flee, but with two Nat 20s by Deli and an eldritch blast by Karna, the being did not stand much chance. As Matt describes the creature as a creature of rot, again, that sinking feeling that "for sure, Calorum would have to have this" bubbled up in me. Of course, fruits and vegetables that live and die by the light of the bulb and the void of the hungry one would have to rot.
It just makes sense.
Deli and Raphaniel make contact with the being only to discover its a whole layer of existence under the world of Calorum as we know it. And its roots run much deeper than that.
Introducing: Sanctus Putris
The big reveal of this episode is that the FDA is actually the official name for something else, much more primal, called Sanctus Putris - a church doctrine that states that to appease the hungry one, there has to be a level of rot in the world. And what is rot caused from? Death. How do we accelerate death? War.
Hence The Ravening War.
They don't care about politics. They don't care who survives. They don't even care if they survive. For them, some of the world needs to always burn.
But imagine that power this group has as the one leading it is none other than the Archbishop herself.
We know she is succeeded by Belisabeth Brassica, who eventually becomes the pontifex and is not a Sanctus Putris believer. So, maybe a plot point in this season would be to take the archbishop down?
A Little Nod to ACOFAF From Matt Mercer
When Deli picks up the dead rot creature, Matt presents spores coming out of his midsection and immediately asks Lou to make a con save. Reminiscent of Aabria's poison spores against the players in the later stages of the campaign.
Aabria's "NO!" was so satisfying.
Predictions For the Next Episode
I'm unsure how many years pass when the next episode drops, but we learned that after a time jump, there's a tiny part of the episode where we go over the players and ask them what they've been doing in that time.
We know Karna and Queen Amangeaux tried to establish a relationship with Tomate. We might see the resolution of that.
In addition, we might see the group try to rebel against their puppet masters.
We might also witness other famous moments in The Ravening War like Citrina's book establishing the church's power.
Last time, I deposited that we might see Raphaniel being instrumental in making the church famous. But seeing as the Pontifex and many others are already empowered by the Sanctus Putris and the Rot community, I feel like that won't happen as I envisioned. He might still throw in his lot with them, though.
I'm definitely excited to see how Karna deals with the rotted part of the world, seeing as she's of the hungry one.
Once again, Matt Mercer surprises us with a new part of Calorum that we didn't know existed but makes total sense.
We learned more about our characters and have seen them change and react to actually doing a deed they've been set out to do by the FDA.
This episode feels like a turning point in the journey of our characters. No longer are they disparate people coming together. Instead, they have formed a bond about the shared experience they have done this day - Queenslaying.
I can't believe we're already at the midway point for this season and advancing toward its end. Next week can't come soon enough!
What did you think about the episode? Let me know in the comments below!
Read the review for the next episode right here.