Author's Note: This article will contain spoilers for Worlds Beyond Number's main campaign, episode 004.
This episode was a doozy.
What a perfect sound design. A treat to the ears that comes with all the triggers from your favorite horror movies. Episode 4 of The Wizard, The Witch, and The Wild One introduces us to the first battle of the campaign and a visit to an eerie port city.
Let's dive in!
The First Battle of The Campaign
So, my prediction from the last episode was correct. This was the prompt for the first battle of the campaign. And it was a hard one.
I loved the sounds added during the fight and the entire cinematic quality of the episode in the first couple of minutes. It felt terrifying like this possessed captain was becoming a giant insect. But she wasn't.
Instead, she was possessed by some dark being that extended dark tendrils from her body and allowed her body to take a hit when Suvi's magic missile was aimed at it.
Very cowardly if you ask me.
But there was a fun part to this fight: the meta-conversation with Brennan.
Delightfully Come On'ing Brennan
"Hey, Brennan? It's episode 4!" the players plead with the DM as he describes Ame being touched by a tendril of darkness and falling to death saving throws.
This was such a cute callback to "I'm all the bad guys" and "gonna kill that dog" that I felt I was right there over Lou's shoulder saying, "Yeah, tell him!"
But we all know the story wouldn't be the same if Brennan succumbed to peer pressure. He's all the bad guys and works hard to make the players look good.
Suvi's First Kill
After Suvi kills the captain, something is changed, and there's a weird subtext of Suvi trying to understand how to feel about this kill. She's taken a life and met with Ame's merciful nature.
"Wasn't this supposed to be more black and white? When someone tries to kill you, they're the bad guy. Why do we need to bury them? Let them rot." This was not in the episode but my interpretation of Suvi's behavior at that moment.
When Eursolon says he didn't kill but hurt people and "it's never easy," Suvi's reaction is more reserved. She respects Eursolon, but maybe there's a different approach toward Ame. She respects her too, but perhaps she thinks Ame is naive?
When they reach Port Talon, flipping her pin seems ladled with pride. But is it, though? Suvi didn't kill the creature controlling the captain, only its "chalice."
All of this makes me think there's a life lesson about maturity headed to Suvi soon. She was cloistered at the Citadel and didn't experience these things. I'm excited to see her grow further!
Port Talon On a Witch Hunt?
When the group arrives at Port Talon and smells the salt fires on the wind, the entire scene feels weird. The group's dice rolls were not too high to understand what was going on, but from what they gathered, the previous fight that specifically targeted Ame, and the subtext of fires about cleansing and dispelling magical things, that maybe Port Talon is going through a witch hunt.
There was talk of a group called Dominion before. I'm not sure who these people are, but they are enemies of the Citadel. And since there are only Royal Mages in Port Talon, a Witch hunt wouldn't be challenged if the perpetrator has some authority. Maybe Port Talon changed leadership lately?
I hope we learn more about this in the next episode, but we must deal with Finley for now.
What Did You Do Finley?
Finley is the Hedge Mage that took WaveBreaker from Eursolon. In this episode, we understand it was blackmail and not fair trade like Eursolon vaguely made it seem.
Finley realized Eursolon couldn't sleep in beds and gathered he had a secret identity. So, instead of being nice to the honored friend, he abused him and took WaveBreaker as a price for his silence.
The entire ordeal speaks to how our players as kids were cloistered during the Children's campaign when they believed everyone thought a visit from an honored friend was such a welcome sight. In truth, the world is much more vile than kids expect.
And that's also a sad truth about our own world. We picture a rosy world when we're trying to be optimistic, but the unfortunate reality is that a crime is being committed somewhere as you read these words. An FBI report from 2015 showed that robberies would happen every 1.6 minutes. And that's in the united states alone. Imagine how much crime is happening around the world. No wonder Eursolon had a rough time alone during those five years.
Finley looks bad. Jaundiced? That's serious, dude. In other words, even though the place seems pretty lavish with conjured walls and all that jazz, this man has seen some stuff happen lately.
On a second listen of the last couple of minutes, I realize that Finley is dead. His neck is slashed. So, whoever was around was probably a squatter or a thief.
Seeing what happened to Finley, maybe people like Ame and Eursolon are unsafe in Port Talon. In fact, perhaps they're in grave danger. I don't think whoever is doing this would dare hurt Suvi, knowing she's a Citadel wizard, without weighing the consequences first. But Ame and Eursolon are practically nobodies.
Whatever weight Grandmother Ren's Word had, it died with her, and Ame couldn't rely on her protection. It is she who needs to protect now.
I wonder what happened to Finley and who was around. We'll see if we can figure it out in the next episode. Let me know what you think about this one in the comments below!