‘Critical Role’ 3×56: “By Goat or by Boat” recap

The Bells Hells grab a goat to the Savilirwood, but the journey is far from peaceful on 'Critical Role'

Critical Role’ recap: Campaign 3, Episode 56 “By Goat or by Boat” Aired April 20, 2023


The Bells Hells head out of Uthodurn with their new friends FRIDA and Deanna making for Molaesmyr. The journey will take them over the snowy mountains, but with their giant riding goats, the journey will only take a matter of days until they reach the river that will take them into the Savilirwood. This isn’t to say their journey was entirely uneventful. A blizzard on the third day forces Imogen and Chetney to take a point of exhaustion just in time for the group to encounter a pair of frost giants on the fourth day. 

Largely thanks to some quick spell casting from Imogen, the group (and their trusty goats) is able to out run the giants and make it to the Boreal Omen River which will take them into the Savilirwood. After lashing together some wood to make a raft, they spend one last night on shore before it will be time to head out in the morning. In the brief moment of calm, FCG decides to do something they’ve never done before: commune with the Changebringer.

The vision they receive is a trippy one: in the vast distance stands a feminine figure: the Changebringer, she is present, but distant. Her hair streams forward in impossibly long tresses that flow past FCG’s face. She says she’s been watching FCG, which probably was comforting to them until FCG asked if she needed help. The answer was a definite yes. And so do the other gods. 

If they needed any more confirmation that whatever is happening with Ruidus is still happening, they just go it.

By Goat or by Boat

When morning arrives and it’s time to leave, the party has to face the fact that there is simply no way that they will all fit on the raft with a bunch of horse-sized goats. At which point, Deanna immediately kills her goat, Jerry. For…. reasons?? It’s not really clear why she did this. Chetney made a joke about the two gnomes riding together right before the killing, maybe it was her way of ensuring that? Maybe Aabriya was trying to be funny? No idea, but Imogen was horrified

Fearne uses magic to speak with the other goats, convincing them to stay near the shore lest they explode like Jerry did. Yeah. Don’t think they’re going anywhere. On board the raft, they set out into the cursed darkness of the Savilirwood. So naturally that’s when Chetney reminds everyone that that was where he was bitten and transformed into a werewolf. Cut to FRIDA, who was bitten by Chetney a few nights ago. They don’t seem overly worried about being turned into a werewolf, but then again they have Deanna. She might be a goat-killer, but she also thinks she could cure FRIDA if they do turn wolf-y. 

Blue light

As nightfall descends, the group decides it’s probably better to stay on the raft than try to make camp on land. (Which, yeah. Good plan.) Still, it’s far from smooth sailing. Before long they spot a series of flickering blue lights: pixies. And worse, they are floating around a massive bog wretch like flies around a horse. As soon as the wretch sees them, it attacks with its tentacles and tongue, and FRIDA is wrapped up, dragged closer to the beasts mouth.

While the party fights, the pixies join the fray, turning Imogen into a fox. A quick-thinking Deanna magically forms a tidal wave that forces the pixies back, breaking their concentration on the spell, and allowing Imogen to turn back into a human. FRIDA meanwhile gets swallowed by the beast on purpose which is only a good idea in D&DFrom within the creature, they shoot off their blunderbuss, getting spit right back out just in time for Chetney to cast shatter, finishing the wretch off for good.

Sail away

Though shaken by what they’ve seen, they decide to travel onward through the night. Though nothing is ever totally safe in the Savilirwood, Fearne was able to speak with an eyeless snake creature to confirm that no other dangers await in the waters– though they should be careful of the Wolf King. (Chetney’s lupine grandfather perhaps???) Over the next few days they see small cracks filled with dark energy appearing in the ground which would be unsettling enough, but the crack also randomly erupt into geysers. Fearne and Deanna were unfortunately hit by one of the geysers and the miasma that covered them actually lowered their HP. Yikes!

When FRIDA notices a tower in the distance, the crew decides to make landfall and trek through the woods. It’s not long before they find themselves on the outskirts of Molaesmyr. Recent experience has made them cautious though, so they don’t go rushing in head first. Especially when they hear an echoing clash that sounds like two pieces of wood smashing together.

Imogen casts Summon Crimson Shade and her own personal reilora appears. She sends it into the city, hoping to draw out the source of the rackets. And boy does that work. Within moments the shade is speared through the middle by an enormous many-legged elk-like creature. The shade is destroyed instantly, and the creature–losing interest– drags itself further into the city. 

With hesitant steps, the party enters the cursed city of Molaesmyr.

But what they find will have to wait for the next Critical Role


Watch Critical Role Thursdays at 7pm PST on Twitch and YouTube! Check out last week’s Critical Role recap here, or watch me talk about all the highlights and theories here!

Critical Role Episode 56 Highlights

  • Fearne drinking goat milk. That’s all I’m gonna say- go watch the episode. You’ll cry laughing, I promise.
  • I have to admit, I really want to see a werewolf robot. 
  • Was anyone else expecting Imogen’s shade to immediately turn on them all? Because I definitely was. 

Greta Kelly

Greta Kelly is (probably) not a witch, death or otherwise, but she can still be summoned with the Horn of Gondor or the promise of a ride in the Tardis. She loves all things fantasy and is the author of THE FROZEN CROWN and THE SEVENTH QUEEN, and her third book, THE QUEEN OF DAYS will be out in 2023. Find her on Instagram or Twitter at @gretakkelly to geek out about literally anything.

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