What is a Hollow One, and how did this undead race from Xhorhas arrive in Critical Role Campaign 3?
Laudna in Critical Role‘s Campaign 3 is absolutely my favorite new character, and I’m ecstatic any time Marisha gets to ham it up on the show, like when she introduced us to Laudna’s dead rat Pate de Rolo. Man, I could watch an entire animated show just about Laudna and her ever-expanding menagerie of dead Cockney-accented puppets, but there’s more to this creepy character than dead rats. Who is Laudna? What is Laudna?
Initially, we weren’t sure what race Laudna was. Was she simply an ordinary Human with an odd personality, or was she something else? D&D has many races that walk the line between life and death, and Laudna might have been any of them or none at all. But soon we saw her use an ability called Unsettling Presence and found out she was a Hollow One, a character option from the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount.
So, problem solved, yes? Laudna is a Hollow One.
Yes and no. Because finding out that Laudna is a Hollow One raises all kinds of new questions.
What is a Hollow One?
Hollow Ones aren’t exactly a race. Anyone who dies in the Blightshore region of Wildemount, on the Xhorhasian coastline, may find themselves returning to life as a Hollow One — whether they’re an Elf, a Dwarf, a Minotaur, a Human or something else entirely. Hollow Ones have a very unique relationship to life and death — they mostly appear as living beings and retain their previous affiliation rather than becoming the Undead creature type, but they are detectable as Undead by spells and abilities that can sense the undead. Think of them as a Exandrian variation on the Reborn Gothic Lineage — still technically alive, but suffused by Undeath.
What’s interesting about Laudna being a Hollow One is that so far, they’re only known to come from the Blightshore in Wildemount — a place scarred and twisted by the legacy of the ancient Calamity where magic ran rampant and scarred the area, and many other places in Exandria. But so far, Laudna has only revealed that she lived in Whitestone in Tal’Dorei — far, far from Xhorhas — before the coming of the Briarwoods. However, considering that Delilah Briarwood was a powerful necromancer who turned her dead husband into a Vampire and served the Archlich Vecna and came from Wildemount, it’s not impossible that Laudna fell victim to some gruesome experiment from these two and became the ageless Hollow One we see in Campaign 3.
But what about her race before becoming a Hollow One? Laudna has the Spell Sniper feat, and to have that at third level she would need to be a Variant Human or a Custom Lineage with a feat. So she may be as human as she (mostly) appears.
Regardless, we now know that Laudna is a Hollow One, with the ability to unsettle others with her very presence, the ability to hold on to life past what would kill others, and a touch of Undeath in her nature. I’m looking forward to every episode as a chance to find out more about her.
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