Spoilers for Critical Role Campaign 2 Episode 16 (obviously). Check out the recap for Campaign 2 Episode 15 here.
Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
The Mighty Nein return from their exploration of the research facility.
The Mighty Nein finally met The Gentleman, the mysterious figure they had heard so much about. He asks them to clear out a research facility uncovered by some of his men in exchange for getting into his good graces. They are led, blindfolded, to an underground docks. There, they traveled down a river, fighting some enemies along the way, to the research facility. They entered and fought will-o-wisps before coming across a ghostly figure.
The ghostly figure doesn’t seem to make any aggressive movements towards them, but it slowly glides towards them.
Jester: “I have a secret for you! Did you know that in Nicodranis, the pastries are made with cinnamon, and here they are not.”
The whispers begin to penetrate Beau’s brain. She begins to see visions. Losing her grip on reality, she swings her staff towards Yasha, who deflects the blow.
Nott sees chaos break loose. She runs across the room and hides behind a cage. She pulls out her crossbow and waits to shoot the creature.
Yasha tries to reason with the creature. She asks if the creature wants to give them a secret. The creature responds that it would have given them a piece. She goes into a rage and swings her sword at the ghostly figure. Black cloth tears away as her sword connects.
Out of the cages around the room, four more will-o-wisps appear. Two swarm on Fjord. He swings at one while the other comes up behind him and shocks him. His armor deals back damage in kind.
The entity uses howling babble on the group. Nott fires her bolt in a panic.
Caleb casts message. He whispers to the creature from a distance. He sends Frumpkin over to Yasha.
The entity flies around the room swinging at The Mighty Nein. Yasha swing at it as it flies by. Her sword connects, preventing it from moving further. It fights to reform its semi-corporal form.
Beau runs over. She vaults off of Yasha’s shoulders and splashes holy water on it. Holy flames climb the black cloth and burn the being.
Jester pulls out her symbol of The Traveler. She calls out to the travel and uses turn undead. There is a burst of deep blue energy. It washes over the creature without effect, but some of the will-o-wisps begin to flee.
Nott begins to fire at the pots around the room holding the will-o-wisps. Two of the pots shatter, and two more of the will-o-wisps disappear.
The remaining will-o-wisp goes over to Fjord and shocks him again.
Beau, Yasha, Jester and Nott are hit with an attack. Beau and Yasha are stunned while the attack knocks Jester unconscious.
The figure attempts to slip down into the floor. As it does, Molly swings his sword into the air and strike down. The creature cries out and dissipates into ash and nothingness. He then rushes over to Jester and heals her.
A cold energy emerges from the far wall through the bookcase. The same entity as before appears once more. Molly suddenly remembers that the research done here had something to do with binding souls to physical forms. He wonders if they need to look for a body somewhere.
More whispers pour from his mouth. Yasha’s mind is consumed by the whispers and she swings at Beau. Molly quickly casts a blood maledict, and she misses the monk. However, in the process, she falls unconscious.
Jester and Beau pull down the bookcase. Behind it. They see a dark hole behind crumbling stone. Jester speculates aloud that his remains may be inside.
Molly runs over to the wall where the bookcase has fallen. Inside, he sees a small chamber with an urn inside. He reaches through and swings at the urn, shattering it. There is a moment of silence, and then the entity slowly fades away.
Jester suggests that they rest before moving on.
After they’ve rested, Nott goes over to the hole in the wall. She gives her possessions to Caleb for safe keeping. Beau slathers her in oil, and she slips through the wall.
She tumbles into the ash that fell from the urn, and it covers her. She finds a box and opens it. Powder bursts from the box as she opens it. She coughs as it burns her throat and lungs. Still, she finds gold and jewlery.
She uses mage hand to open another box. She opens it to find a mantle. She passes it and some vases she finds to the others.
Beau looks around the room. In the brazier, she notices something in the ash. Digging through, she finds a partially burnt book. It’s a journal filled with strange script. She brings the book over to Caleb. He flips through the book and sees that it’s a partially intact spellbook. Jester magically restores it to its original form, but none of the writing that was burned away reappears.
Nott comes out of the wall. After some prodding from Molly, she splits up the gold jewelry and jewels with the group.
Caleb examines a sword they found. He discovers that it was used as an executioner’s blade to kill mages.
Nott and Jester divvy up the rings, taking the lion’s share for themselves.
They discuss what they should do next. During the process, they discuss the Crawling King. Fjord remembers that one of the Betrayer Gods was a worm-like creature with a screaming human face crawling through the deepest tunnels of the world. They are all now locked away. Jester starts drawing it in her notebook.
They leave the facility and get back into the boats. Yasha, Nott, and Caleb stay behind while the others board a boat to explore downstream. They start to row back up the river. Beau lights a torch to guide their way.
As they row, they reach a small waterfall. Jester rows up to the bottom. She asks the others if there is something behind the waterfall. Molly dives into the water to check. Fjord goes in after him. As she gets closer to it, the water begins to push back on the boat.
Molly surfaces behind the waterfall and finds a small chamber. He sees a humanoid skeleton with manacles attached to his wrists and ankles. The remains of their clothes are covered in fungus. Among the rocks, they see remains of boats. They also find a rusted shortsword and a few other goods. They swim back over to the boat.
When he gets back into the boat, Molly mentions to the others that this would be a good place to stash things they don’t want to be found.
They make their way back to the rest of the group. Tired from their day and journeys, they camp and go to sleep in the entrance of the facility.
As Fjord goes to sleep, he sees in his hand his blade. He swings it, and it leaves a trail behind it. Suddenly, a yellow light emerges, as a large, familiar yellow eye opens.
He looks at the blade and back into the eye.
He asks the directionless voice what it means.
He brings the blade up to his mouth. He swallows it. There is a sharp pain as he forces the blade down his throat. Blood pours from his mouth. Blood pours from his mouth as he looks at the eye.
The eye closes.
A heavy current pulls him away. He grabs for something to hold on to, but finds nothing.
He wakes up. Everyone else is asleep. He wipes his mouth and sees blood. He summons his weapon and a curved, hooked falchion appears. It has taken on some of the properties of the magical blade he found. He holds in his gasps and goes back to sleep.
Nott asks Caleb if he got injured the previous night. He says that they did not. Nott points out that it was also the only day he’s let her put flowers in his hair. For an experiment, she suggests that she add more flowers today. He agrees, for the sake of the experiment.
Jester nervously asks Fjord if he has tusks. On Caleb’s insisting, he pulls down his lower lip and shows them nubs with scratches on them. Nott recalls that Fjord once said he did his own dental work and asks if he did that to himself. He explains that kids made fun of his teeth growing up. So, he took away the thing they were making fun of. At the time, there were not other half-orcs around.
Jester asks if he feels the same about his teeth. He says that he doesn’t, but at this point filing them when they grow back is habit. Jester asks if that’s why he had blood on his mouth last night. He lies to her that he simply bit his tongue.
Yasha asks if he killed the other children. Nott asks her if she killed other children going up. She tells Nott that it’s important to go to battle.
Jester tells Fjord that the guy in Tusk Love had tusks.
Fjord: “Sometimes I wish I had them. Sometimes I’m glad I don’t.”
Jester assures him he would look good either way. He tells her that, if she wants them to grow out, she only has to say the word.
They load into the boats and head back to The Gentleman. They manage to row past the creatures that attacked them earlier without issue.
They get back to the docks. Jester announces that they killed stuff because they are bad ass. They are blindfolded again and led back to The Gentleman.
Before they go in, Yasha puts Nott on her shoulders to try to hide the sword they took from the facility.
The Gentleman comes down to greet them. They explain that, to kill the will-o-wisps, they simply need to break the vases. They recount their adventures to him. Nott announces that they returned with exactly 6 rings. No one believes her. The others turn over some other goods.
They go into more detail about what they found in the facility. He asks if what they have turned over is all they found. The others try to avoid the question, and The Gentleman announces aloud that he knows they aren’t being entirely upfront with him. Caleb elects to hand over the book. Believing that’s all there is, he tells them to keep the rings.
He adds that Horace is safely on his way out of the city.
He says goodbye and leaves.
They leave to sell the goods they uncovered. Beau wonders if people are going to get suspicious that they keep selling magical manacles. Caleb suggests visiting Dolan. He says that Ulag gave him something before he died that Dolan will like to have.
The group points out to Nott how dirty she is. They know that she doesn’t like water, but she is covered in the ash of dead people and oil. She agrees to think about it.
As they walk, they hear a town crier. The crier yells about conflict on the Xhorhasian border. There is a warning to the townspeople to keep a closer eye on their children at night.
They return to The Leaky Tap for a few days rest. Jester pawns some of her rings. Fjord goes by the physician’s office. It’s still running, but he guesses there has been some upset. He uses his mask of many faces to investigate inside. He asks about Ren Zutan. The orderlies simply say that he isn’t in. Fjord threatens them with The Myriad. They go to fetch him. Fjord sees that the orderly is going straight to the nearest crownsguard. Fjord quickly changes his disguise to a woman and evades capture.
Jester goes to the shrines in the town. There are some crownsguard, but not too many. The least attended is the Raven’s Den, as it is a graveyard. She goes to the shrine of the Matron of the Raven’s Den. The statue wears a white porcelain mask. several bowls with offerings lay in front of the statue. Jester waits until it seems that no one is around. She jumps on the statue to draw a mustache on her mask.
Someone merges from nearby and asks that she not climb on the statue. She says that she was trying to clear a smudge from the mask. She rubs the mask with her sleeve, pretending to clean it. She jumps down, saying she’s going to pray. The man offers to pray with her, and she sarcastically accepts.
As they pray to the statue, a raven lands, watches them for a moment, and flies away. Jester asks if the ravens come over often. The man says no, and he suggests that the matron must smile on her. Jester guesses he is right because she worships so well.
Jester, seeing she will not be able to cause the chaos she wanted to, tucks a pamphlet to The Traveler under one of the bowls and leaves.
Molly decides to enter a chemically altered state on the first night. Beau, Fjord, and Yasha discuss who should take the other two doses. Beau pops one in her mouth. Yasha says there’s something she needs to do, so she can’t babysit them if Fjord takes the other dose. Beau yells at Yasha, saying she always does this.
Beau: “WHERE DO YOU GO, YASHA?!”
Fjord decides to babysit them. Molly and Beau talk about childhoods, and Molly’s lack thereof. Beau and Molly come to the conclusion that it is not a safe substance.
Nott disguises herself as a halfling girl. She grabs a bite to eat and pays for the delivery of buttons, all of her rings, the doorknob, the brass baby bottle, all of the ball bearings, 50 gold, and two bracelets. She pays 5 gold for delivery to Felderwen.
Beau goes to visit Xenoth at The Cobalt Soul. She asks for Dairon. She tells her that she’s ready to train. They go downstairs to an obstacle course. Beau explains that she heard of an artifact that would increase a population. Dairon gives her a brief crack of emotion. Dairon warns her to not trust the Cricks. She explains that the Cerberus Assembly is outside their jurisdiction, but The Cobalt Soul keeps an eye on them.
They go into another training session.
During the night, Jester knocks on Caleb and Nott’s door. She explains that she and Caleb have a date to examine the beacon in the haversack. They take it out and link hands. Caleb looks into the artifact while Jester looks at Caleb.
From Caleb’s perspective, he falls into the dodecahedron. He sees purples, blues, and clouds. Darkened objects pass him as he drifts into nothingness. He approaches a threshold. The speed increases as he moves not at all, but also very quickly. He sees a faint, grey glow. He halts. Before him, he sees a mote of pulsing grey light.
Caleb: “Do you know if it’s achievable?”
There is no response. It is an ancient concept of possibility.
Caleb: “Father and mother, I hope I do not let you down.”
He reaches out and touches it.
Nott and Jester see a tiny grey mote come out of the dodecahedron and float into Caleb’s chest.
Caleb senses this happens inside the dodecahedron. Probability becomes malleable. He pulls from himself a fragment of possibility.
He comes back to Nott and Jester. He sits wide eyed and not responding to them.
He begins to babble an explanation. Jester asks why he talked about his mother and father. Nott says that she wasn’t going to ask.
Jester asks if the wizards in town will be able to sense him now. He thinks that’s not how it works.
Nott tells Caleb that she’s proud that he did something that made him uncomfortable with the help of his friends. She advises that he keeps doing that. Jester turns to Nott.
Jester: “Your son is just the cutest!”
The following day, they hear in the town another town crier.
“Murderers of the High Richter brought to justice.”
They ask who killed her, but the crier just shouts back that they don’t know.
Over the next few days, the presence at the gates dwindles back to normal. They watch as the decorations for the Harvest Close Festival are put up in the city.
To be continued…
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Nick is a professional graphic artist from Youngstown, Ohio. He has a BA in Multimedia Technology. When he isn’t doodling for one thing or another, he spends is his time writing and Dungeon Mastering several D&D games, enjoying craft beer, shooting zombies with Nerf blasters, and tweeting about #CriticalRole. Buy him a coffee!