Welcome back, passengers, to another episode of Dungeons and Dragons actual play Children of Éarte. Last week, the party was drawn to the door of Room A by whispers, a glimpse into the train’s history, and a burning hot doorknob. Silas Jordan (player Adam Bradford) took matters (and his life) into his own hands by climbing onto the outside of the train. The episode ended with our first glimpse of Room A – and the horrifying face peeking through its curtains.
As with every good mystery, each early chapter of Children of Éarte inspires more questions than it answers. Who are these supernatural beings sharing the train with the adventurers? How much does Augie know about what’s going on? And, as Robin Beckett (Hope LaVelle) says, “do you believe in magic?”
If you’re new to Children of Éarte, you might want to check out our episode directory below. You can also go back and watch the entire series so far on Demiplane’s YouTube channel (as well as in podcast form). Episode two is still up on Demiplane’s Twitch channel, too.
Here’s the Children of Éarte episode review list:
- Episode 1 – Starlight Special
- Episode 2 – Whispers on the Wind
- Episode 4 – Shivering Shadows
- Episode 5 – An Empty Train
- Episode 6 – Enough Blood
- Episode 7 – Campfire Mysteries
- Episode 8 – Magic Muscles
Otherwise, sit back and enjoy this week’s recap – and exclusive post-game interview with the cast.
The slumber party
Everyone takes a moment to breathe in Silas’ room after his horrible vision outside of the train – except Maeve Flynn (Jennifer Kretchmer), who pockets one of Silas’ mysterious makeup cases while everyone is distracted. Nebula (Lauren Urban) takes the opportunity to show Robin the mysterious blue lights that are floating outside, and Robin assures her that these are certainly magic (trust her, she was a magician’s assistant, a psychic, and a volunteer firefighter once). Maeve’s Celtic background is showing, as she explains Neb may be seeing Will-o’-Wisps, mystical lights that, as she puts it, “steer travellers into trouble”.
In the after-game interview, Lauren Urban explains that Neb’s relationship with Robin is particularly important right now, as Robin was “the first person to confirm with her that something magical was going on”. “This is the first time Neb has ever felt that this is something she really wants to do,” Urban adds. “She’s been adrift, and suddenly something has grabbed hold of her. She’s not going to let go.”
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Robin uses a hearing aid to “comprehend languages” on the door of Room A (Editor: The ability to cast this spell narrows down the potential classes a bit – Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard?). A voice whispers back, “my love, my one, my only, stay for eternity”. Aside from creepy messages, though, everyone gets a chance to rest and recuperate at the long-awaited slumber party.
Staff member Augie provides nibbles and blankets, but she also has a story or two to tell about the train. Steel tycoon Julian Corbyn may have sold off all his stakes to travel on the Starlight Special with his lady love, but every passenger on the train (Corbyn included) disappeared sometime in the 1930s. Augie also explains the mystery of Twin Creek Mine – a place that had enough gold to fund all of Hollowvale, but one day dried up completely.
Inside Room A
Several party members wake up simultaneously in the early hours of the morning. The Will-o’-wisps are inside the train, and they float right into the ajar door to Room A. Everyone rushes to the train corridor, where they see the same woman Silas caught in the train window. She raises a finger to her lips as a shadowy face behind her stretches out its warped, smoky fingers – and they both disappear.
Fairuza Armstrong’s player Alicia Marie says, for Fairuza, “reality is starting to bend”. Methodical and firmly grounded in reality, Fairuza is now having to look to Maeve and her mythology knowledge to grasp what’s going on. Maeve assures Fairuza that they’re just seeing tricks, but she also spots the name ‘Ivy’ etched into the door. Saying the name aloud opens the door – Room A is officially open.
"This is definitely a shared experience that will forge relationships on the other side"
Through a thick mist that blocks out the rest of the train (and deals cold damage), Neb sees a gorgeously decorated bedroom. There’s a shattered mirror in the vanity with a single shard remaining, and writing appears on its face. “Release me”, says the mirror. Silas is the first to follow Neb into Room A, a move that Lauren Urban says left Neb “super impressed”. In fact, Jennifer Kretchmer and Hope LaVelle both say their characters’ perceptions of Silas changed this episode (after his “reckless” train-hopping escapade, that is). Robin also enters Room A, and together the three passengers deduce that the spirit in the mirror wants them to collect the shards of the mirror to release them. Each shard can be found at a different location on the Starlight Special’s route. Dungeon Master Deborah Ann Woll says this kind of interaction leaves her “thrilled”. “Now this new group has to decide together what to do going forward”, she says.
While Neb is asking pertinent questions of the spirit by writing “PRBLMs?” on the mirror shard, Maeve and Fairuza discover a shadowy figure hovering in the doorway of Room A. Fairuza walks through it to tell the others, and someone says that fateful name once again – Ivy. The shadowy figure pushes the door shut, and as Maeve rushes to intervene, everyone becomes trapped inside Room A. The shadowy creature advances, whispering to the party. It claims it isn’t Julian Corbyn, but it calls out for “my love”. The train shudders more and more violently as the passengers question the shadow, and everyone is thrown forward as the brakes grind the train to a sudden stop.
At the after-show interview, the players show incredible excitement about what’s to come, and each says this episode is one that has changed their characters’ worldview and relationships a little bit more. Hope LaVelle says that Robin is discovering her “inner child”, and Jennifer Kretchmer says their character Maeve is slowly beginning to believe in the stories from her childhood. “She always regarded superstition as a silly thing, but for the first time, she’s putting whiskey by the door [for faeries and magical spirits].” Adam Bradford says “this is definitely a shared experience that will forge relationships on the other side”.
Editor: The map shown in this review is fanart, created by @MarcoMA4PS, which was shared during the Children of Éarte episode 3 stream. The episode directory was last updated on May 18.