Actually, speaking of Matt's reveal that the characters were all able to start with one magical item, I think that is probably an under-noticed but huge difference between campaigns 2 and 3.
Campaign 2 started out with incredibly destitute and scrappy PCs. They were level 2, not level 3 like the C3 characters are. They rarely had money, had trouble getting and keeping it, and that wasn't really on the characters - Matt designed the campaign that way. Their narrative was much more that of people struggling to survive in a world that was often aligned against them.
And I think that was incredibly on purpose, as a direct contrast to C1! They were proper rich by the end of campaign 1, and the frugal necessity of C2 was a welcome and interesting change.
But likewise, the change for C3 is also a bit of a breath of fresh air, three years later. We're starting at level 3, everyone's allowed a magic item, and everyone feels a bit more stable and sure of themselves at the start. Pacing-wise, it means we won't be hanging as much in the incredibly vulnerable lower levels. I think it's going to make for an interesting and contrasting party dynamic.
I love Fearne because she truly is an absolute id monster —she does what she wants because it feels good or looks nice or seems fun. If she wants to steal she steals. If she wants to kill she kills— but instead of being an uncooperative chaotic edge lord she’s this precious thing who loves her friends and will follow them anywhere and will literally hunt down and devour anyone who tries to take them!
She’s loyal and she’s sweet! Not because that’s the moral way to be! But because it feels nice! She isn’t good! She’s just doing what feels good and friendship feels good! She scares me! I love her!
Waving to your GF is a free action. 😌
[ID: a comic showing a scene from Critical Role campaign three, episode three. Laudna peers from a balcony out onto the street with a frown. Then she looks up, spotting Imogen on an identical balcony to her right. Imogen spots Laudna too, and the pair wave enthusiastically at each other while shouting "Hiiiiiiiiii!". It is nighttime, and the room behind Imogen is lit with warm light. The room behind Laudna is dark. End ID]
Currently obsessed with the idea that when Imogen said "they might kill Fearne", Ashton's first instinct was break the motherfucking door down.
Ashton positioning himself in front of Orym after he gets hit with the arrow.
Ashton wanting to get Dorian's brother out of town cause (paraphrasing) "people do stupid shit to protect their family".
Like I can't tell if his first instinct is "fuck shit up" or "protectprotectprotect"
I've been mulling over my impressions of the premiere of campaign 3, trying to grasp some sort of explanation for this unique feeling it has given me, and maybe I've finally cracked it. Part of the joy of being in a fandom is making tons of bold assumptions based on barely anything at all while holding your nose up at people doing the exact same thing, and I reckon that sounds like a good old time at the moment.
My brain is stuck on two characters in particular, and those characters are of course Imogen and Laudna. I'll leave all the shippy stuff to others, as that's not really what I'm interested in, but I am fascinated by what is revealed about these characters through their mutual friendship with each other.
While some have jumped to the conclusion that it is a case of each of them looking on the inside as the other does on the outside, I don't think that quite does it justice. Not to say there isn't a dark side to Imogen, or a light side to Laudna, but these characters aren't really morally motivated people in my mind. What makes them interesting is how they react to other people, and in turn, how they react to each other.
If I were to assume anything about Imogen, it's that she is heavily motivated by the practical realities of her existence. She can read minds, and it would seem this isn't an ability she's entirely in control of. She's incredibly intimidated by crowds almost certainly because of this fact, as one might expect accidentally hearing the intimate and private thoughts of dozens of strangers to be a bit overwhelming.
And I wonder if there's also a dimension of seeing more of people than she really ever wanted to see. Of seeing right through people's socially crafted masks to whatever they hide behind it. I can't wager to guess how one might change if they occasionally knew what people really thought of them without realizing they revealed anything at all. Illuminating and sometimes probably quite hurtful, I suspect.
And then there's Laudna. The absolute sweetest nightmare you ever could meet. While there's almost certainly a couple of coffins full of backstory with this one, I largely think, for now at least, that what you see is what you get with Laudna. What you get is wonderful, but I reckon she's probably fairly simple in her motivations. That's not a knock at her, by the way, far from it. I immediately sympathized with her because I could tell right away what it is she cares about.
Laudna obviously is not someone that can easily gain social acceptance. And while I don't think this has deterred what I imagine to be a fairly strong spirit, it's still not easy to be alone in the world. To be different in a way that sets one apart. To not just see the smile on another person's face, but to know you are the reason it's there in the first place. That's a special part of being a person no one ever thinks about, and one Laudna must think about quite a lot.
While both Laudna and Imogen are motivated in large part by the practicality of existing in a world while strange, It's interesting that for Laudna it's how the world reacts to her, and for Imogen, it's how she's forced to react about the world instead. The ever-seen and the seer, joining forces to survive two entirely different obstacles posed by the very same people, the very same world. They must see the world in entirely different terms, but in ways that are strangely complimentary as well. It would make sense that they are actively filling in each others' blind spots, whether they realize it or not.
For Imogen, she can probably see exactly what sort of person Laudna is, and seeing that inner self must have come to the conclusion that despite appearances, Laudna is mostly harmless and totally sincere. She does appear to have a certain familiarity and comfort with death, and doesn't seem to rest too much of herself on sentimentality, but overall, she's a good egg. And being so strange, it probably feels to Imogen that they share a similar character in that way, even if Imogen herself gets to hide hers for the most part.
For Laudna, Imogen is for all intents and purposes a day-walker. A weirdo just like her, but one who can blend in and get around without too much fuss, something Laudna has almost certainly never been able to do. So suddenly, Laudna has a key to a whole world she was formerly blocked from participating in.
It's no wonder she's so enthusiastic and energetic. Due this friendship, Laudna gets to be a person and not a creature for once, at least mostly. And when it fails, and the kids run away in terror, she still has Imogen to turn to, just as Imogen has her to turn to when she begins to feel overwhelmed by it all.
They're social parachutes for each other at a time in their life where they probably need one the most. If that's the assumption you're running with, it should be no surprise how willing they were to express to one another that if things didn't work out in this town, the one thing they know for certain is that they're sticking together. And I'd guess that no matter what answers they find about themselves and each other, that sentiment probably won't change, and that they both know that. And that's a remarkable conclusion to draw about characters after all of four hours, but I'm going with my gut, and I don't think I'll be proven wrong.