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Critical Role Recap: C2E2 – “A Show of Scrutiny”

Spoilers for Critcal Role  Campaign 2 Episode 2 (obviously). Check out the recap for Episode 1 here.
Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!

The party investigates the incident that took place at the circus.


In Trostenwold, the destinies of several adventurers began to intertwine. On the suggestion of Yasha and Molly, Jester, Beau, Fjord, Nott, and Caleb attended a carnival. However, during the show, an undead creature emerged. Still, it was no match for the group. The crownsguard rushed into the circus tent and arrested the carnival employees, including Mollymauk. Yasha was originally arrested, but promised she could lead the guards to the performer who, at that point, was the prime suspect. While they were searching for the singer, Yasha made her escape.


The crownsguard rushes back into the tent, announcing that Yasha has escaped. The commanding guard orders that the others be shackled.

Molly: “I’d like to make a counter-offer.”

Molly is ignored as the officer continues to shout out orders. Caleb asks for Molly to be released on the merits that he saved the audience when the undead began to attack. The officer suggests that he bring this up later, while Molly is being questioned at the stockades. He warns the rest of them to not leave the city while the investigation is underway, or they will also be placed in custody.

Nott asks Caleb if they should stick with Jester, Fjord, and Beau. Caleb says he isn’t sure, but they should follow behind a bit anyway.

Beau sneaks away from the rest of the group, hoping to find the dwarven girl before the guards. Leaving the tent, she sees the performers being rounded up by the guards. The guards are also watching the tents to make sure no one else leaves unexpectedly.

Glancing about, she notices one of the guards bring out Toya, the dwarven girl. The beastly lizard man puffs his chest out at the guard, trying to intimidate him. The guard reaches for his blade.

Beau, in an attempt to cause a distraction, hits a nearby horse with her staff. The horse begins to run away from her, successfully interrupting the encounter between the lizard man and the guard.

Beau sneaks over to the devil toad and Toya. She tries to bring them over to her, but the other guards notice her. Recognizing Beau, they arrest her and tell her she’s going to the stockades. She tries to struggle against the guards, but she is still shackled.

Ahead of her, Molly, Bo, and Gustav are led to a building marked with banners of the crownsguard. Fjord and Jester follow closely behind, ready to testify as to their new friends’ innocence. Caleb and Nott follow as well, though much farther behind. They are dragged into a darkened office. The inside of the office is relatively simple. On the far end is a stone desk. Sitting on the desk is a dwarven woman writing on a piece of parchment. When she finishes, she passes the parchment off to a messenger, who leaves to deliver the message. She asks the watchmaster what he’s brought for her.

The watchmaster explains that the three were arrested and detained in connection with the deaths at the carnival. The woman introduces herself to the three as Norda and explains that it is her duty to keep the city safe. She accuses them of killing two of the citizens she is tasked with watching over.

Molly asks how they are said to have killed the two people. She informs them that they unleashed beasts upon the crowd, killing two people.

Gustav steps forward and tells Norda that the carnival is his and the responsibility lies with him alone. Everyone was else was merely his helper and should not be blamed for the events that occurred. Bo tries to argue with him, but Gustav shushes him.

Norda asks Bo and Molly if Gustav really is the only one. Molly agrees that it is just Gustav, and he is released from custody. Gustav quickly nods at Molly before being pulled out of sight by the guards.

Still, Molly is not completely free. Though he is unshackled, he is ordered to stay with the rest of the group for questioning.

Norda asks them a few basic questions about what they know and where they are staying before letting them go. When they go back outside, Fjord asks Molly if anything like that has happened before. He says that this is the first incident like it that the carnival has had. Then, he thanks the group for sticking with him.

Molly: “Thank you. For the record, I don’t owe any of you anything, but thank you.”

As they talk, they hear the clanging of chains. They turn to see Beau being led past them in shackles.

Jester: “I thought you didn’t like jails.”

She’s yanked into the stockade and out of sight. Fjord warns Molly to not leave. Then, he and Jester go to help Beau.

Fjord and Jester explain to the guards that they know Beau and she was helping to fight the creatures that attacked the carnival-goers. The guards allow them to follow her to her cell.

They bring Beau further and further into the stockades. The rooms and hallways begin to smell strongly of mildew and other stenches.

Jester: “It smells like Caleb down here.”

Beau is placed into the cell next to Gustav and Bo. They demand to know why she wasn’t taken to see the lawmaster. The guards tell them that she lost the right to see the lawmaster when she resisted arrest. Beau unsuccessfully tries to convince them that it was the result of a spasm and she wasn’t trying to attack.

The guards tell her that she won’t see the lawmaster until the morning. He tries to lead Jester and Fjord away. However, Fjord asks if there’s any way to expedite the process. After some persuasion, the guards agree to ask the lawmaster.

After a few minutes, Norda descends the stairs to the cells, grumbling along the way. Annoyed, she asks why they are back.

Fjord begins to plead their case, saying that Beau was helping to defend the audience members. He also adds in the lie that the dwarven girl is Beau’s adopted sister, and seeing her in danger caused her a great deal of distress.

The lawmaster asks the guards if the story is true. They don’t have enough information to say if it is true or not. Jester adds that she is staying at the Nestle Nook Inn with them. Beau adds that the beasts injured her, showing the lawmaster the wounds on her ribs.

The lawmaster asks the jailer to make sure the wound isn’t going to become contagious. However, he says it’s mostly bludgeoning damage.

The lawmaster agrees to let Beau go. She warns them to not leave the tavern until the investigation is over.

They four head back to the tavern. At that point, they notice that Nott and Caleb have been absent. Jester asks the tavernkeeper if they have seen Caleb and Nott, but not before discussing the group’s recent carnival trip. The tavernkeeper tells her that Caleb and Nott are upstairs.

Upstairs, Caleb and Nott confer in their room. Caleb tells Nott that they have to make some decisions very quickly.

Caleb: “I have been thinking, and yesterday just furthers the thinking that I don’t think you and I are enough. I had the idea that we could come here maybe and find others to tag along with and team up the way you and I did. But now I think that is a terrible idea. The people we spent the day with are lunatics.”

Caleb laments that even though they want to, they can’t leave. However, Nott points out that no one will look at a little goblin girl if they’re looking at crazy teiflings. Still, Caleb isn’t convinced. Nott asks for a day to see if Caleb changes his mind. Caleb agrees to wait a day, but tells Nott they can’t do any of their schemes while under investigation by the crownsguard. Nott agrees to do her best for a few days.

They go down the stairs just as Jester and the others begin to look for them.

The group orders drinks and sits down at one of the tables.

Caleb asks Jester and Molly where they come from. Jester take offense, saying that not all teiflings are from the same place. Nevertheless, she tells him that she is Nicodranas. Molly simply replies that he is from the circus.

Fjord compliments Molly on his swordsmanship. He asks how Molly learned to fight. Molly demands a drink as payment for the story.

Molly: “My mother always said never give away a story for free.”

Jester: “My mother always told me to not give away other things for free.”

Molly: “I already like your mother.”

While Molly finishes his drink, Beau asks Caleb and Nott where they came from and why Nott wears her mask. Caleb explains again that most people are not terribly friendly towards goblins. However, Beau insists that she’s really more interested in knowing why they are traveling.

Nott admits that they’ve had a string of bad luck. She also admits that most of their troubles come from her kleptomania. This usually keeps them moving quickly from place to place.

Jester asks Nott to steal something from her. She closes her eyes, waiting for Nott to steal from her. She only asks that the goblin not take her symbol of The Traveler.

Jester feels Nott fishing around in her pockets.

Jester: “You’re doing great.”

The fact that Jester clearly notices her actions discourages Nott. Jester comforts her goblin friend.

Caleb suggest Nott show the others a magic trick instead. He pulls out a red bowl and a copper piece. Nott takes them from him, announcing to the others that she knows one piece of magic. She declares that the red bowl is a money pot and places the copper piece inside of it. She shouts “fibulous!” and the copper piece turns into a silver piece. She then offers to sell it to them.

After haggling with Jester, Nott offers the bowl for one gold piece. Caleb tells Jester to create her own magic word and she will be able to turn a copper into a silver once per day.

Nott, wanting to interrogate Beau, asks how she knows Halfling. She explains that her parents were in the winery business, causing her to have to learn the languages of her customers.

Fjord asks Caleb if he can show them any tricks. He asks Nott to be his assistant. He waves his hands around, creating golden light. Nott stretches her arms and legs out. More and more balls of light appear in Caleb’s hand. Slowly, the light takes form. It turns into the shape of Nott. The form coincides with Nott, and she glows brightly.

Caleb: “The goblight, ladies and gentleman.”

The patrons of the bar, noticing Nott’s brightened form, begin to applaud.

Fjord and Caleb begin to discuss magic, as Fjord is a magic novice. Caleb tells him he has known magic his whole life. Fjord says he met Jester a while back and wanted to learn magic like her.

Beau segues this into asking Jester to magically heal her. As Jester attempts to summon the last of her magic for the day, the bruise on Beau’s ribs turns a sickly green. Jester begins to poke at it with a fork. A pus begins to pour out. More pus than should be there gushes from the wound. Then, she blinks and it turns back into a bruise. She realizes that The Traveler has played a trick on her.

Jester declares she’s going to bed. Molly asks if he can bunk with someone. Fjord offers his room.

They all go to bed, waiting for the next morning.

When they wake up the next morning, they find themselves refreshed and ready to cast more spells.

As they pay their tab from the night before, Molly is reminded that he never told Fjord how he learned how to fight.

He tells Fjord that he seems like an honest man, so he tells him about his swords. Molly tells a story about a demon of ice inside of a volcano. His family, a long line of teiflings, acted as royal guards to these magical swords. The weapons, he explains, can only be activated by the blood of the royal family. To honor this, he ensures that his blood is drawn once per fight.

Molly leaves to get breakfast. Shortly after, Jester arrives to their room. She greets Fjord enthusiastically. They discuss plans to sneak out of the tavern. They go around to each of the others and ask if they can disguise themselves. Nott and Caleb say that they are allowed to leave. Molly says he is able to disguise himself, and Beau asks Jester for help disguising herself.

After getting a disguise plan together, Jester tells the others that she plans on sneaking out of the tavern and solving the case so they will be absolved of their crimes.

Once they are all disguised, they begin to head out. Caleb again tells Nott that it’s been nice to hang around the others, but if things go sideways, they’re going to have to go off on their own again.

Fjord and Beau exit the tavern first. They pass by the guards without incident. Molly leaves shortly after, also without issue.

Jester immediately begins to worry about leaving by herself. Nott offers to exit with her, but Jester refuses, saying that Nott being a goblin and Caleb’s stench will bring attention to them. However, she decides to leave with Nott, pretending the goblin is her daughter, leaving Caleb to leave last and alone. Neither she nor Nott are stopped. Caleb leaves without incident, as he was never ordered to stay.

A few blocks away, they meet up with one another and begin to discuss their plans for investigating. They go around the town asking various people about what had transpired at the circus.

They learned the man’s name (Enon Brinjay) and a few details about his life. He was not terribly well-known until gaining infamy the night before. Some of the people they talk to direct them to The Olde Mudhole tavern.

They enter the bar and order drinks. They begin to engage the barkeeper in conversation about Enon. The bartender admits that he was a patron but says they weren’t close. He does say that Enon was known to do physical-intensive odd jobs around town.

Caleb notices that the barkeeper is reading a book. He pretends to be a fan of the author, making up the name of a title from early in the author’s career, the barkeeper excitedly writes the name down, and they begin to discuss local libraries. The barkeeper directs him to a store called Burnished Biblos.

Molly goes over to a bar patron playing solitaire. He asks the patron if he would be interested in playing one-on-one. The patron looks at him closely and asks if he’s a devil, declaring that he doesn’t play with devils. Molly says that he isn’t a devil, he’s merely a person trying to clear the tragedy of the previous day from his mind.

Molly and the patron begin to discuss Enon. The patron tells Molly that he warned Enon to not go to the circus, but Enon always had his head in the clouds. Molly says he feels there’s something evil afoot. The patron, not trusting a “devil,” tells Mollymauk to not come back to the Mudhole. Molly complies and walks back over to the group.

When they all meet up, Beau asks Molly again why the elderly weren’t allowed into the circus. Molly sticks to his story, insisting that it’s a standard rule and it’s meant to build anticipation.

The groups heads to the docks where Enon sometimes worked. As they approach, the fisherman stop, not used to seeing such an unusual group approach. Noticing that they may have trouble getting information when they are total strangers, they decide to first visit the man who had tasked Fjord, Beau, and Jester with rescuing his daughter.

When they go to his house, they see a teenage boy skinning the serpentine sea monster that Beau, Jester, and Fjord killed. The fisherman is on the roof, repairing it. He comes down to greet the disguised group. Fjord drops disguise self to reveal their identity.

They ask if they knew Enon. He says that Enon sometimes does work for them at the dock. As they talk, it’s clear he had not heard about what occurred at the circus, so the group fills him in.

They ask him a few questions, but it becomes clear quickly that he doesn’t know anything about Enon that they haven’t already discovered.

They ask the teenage boy a few questions before leaving. They discover that he was at the carnival the previous night, though he didn’t see much.

After discussing their options, Fjord, Jester, Molly, and Beau go back to the tavern. Molly suggests going in the inn by himself and then sneaking a rope out of a second story window for them to climb up. Caleb and Nott, having no orders to stay in the tavern, go to the docks.

Nott jumps on Caleb’s back, and they search for information regarding Enon. Over the course of a few hours, they find that not many people know much about Enon other than the fact that he had died the night before.

Not finding anything at the docks, Caleb decides to temporarily abandon the search and shop for books at The Burnished Biblos. Caleb knocks on the door, but there is no response. Nott asks if she should break in. Finally, after more knocking, the door opens. An old gnome with a puff of white hair greets them.

They enter the room, but have little room to move as it’s completely stuffed with random items. Nott looks excitedly around the room. Frumpkin jumps onto Nott’s shoulder and nestles in.

Caleb asks for arcane books, but says any kind of book will do. Oglin, the owner of the establishment, suggests searching the shelves, saying that it’s half the fun. While Caleb looks through the shelves for books, Nott searches for small trinkets to steal.

As Caleb searches, he notices the remnants of a notebook written in a language he doesn’t understand. In the back of the notebook, he notices some notes of arcane nature. Another book he finds is titled Fiends of Folklore. He offers to buy both books, but he admits he doesn’t have much money. Oglin says he will charge 3 gold for Fiends and 10 gold for the notebook.

Caleb offers a magic cat instead of gold. He summons Frumpkin. Oglin, upon seeing the cat, immediately begins to panic.

Despite Caleb’s offer, he still asks for gold payment. Caleb, with few other options, simply says he will come back later when he has more money.

Meanwhile, Nott has found a shiny flask and baby bottle to amuse herself with. She puts her own flask in the platinum flask’s place and steals the one from the store. She goes over to Caleb and rushes him out the door.

When they’re outside, she admits that she stole some things and worries that the theft will be noticed. Caleb says he thinks Oglin didn’t notice.

Caleb turns around and walks back into the store asking about hours. Before entering, he casts detect magic, trying to subtly notice any magic items hidden in the rubble, but he finds nothing. Oglin says that they are open all hours of the day.

Back at the Inn, two crownsguard knock at Jester and Beau’s door. Jester calls out to them, lying that she’s getting dressed, making them wait for her. When she opens the door, the crownsguard inform her that the investigation is on-going and they will not be needed that day. The crownsguards move onto Fjord and Molly’s room, telling them the same thing.

When Caleb and Nott return to the inn, Nott shares that she saw something very early in the morning the previous day. They decide to sneak out again in the wee hours of the morning. Beau points out that there has been a distinct lack of gossip around town.

Nott tells them her route the previous day, and they resolve to stake it out.

Caleb performs a ritual so they will know if anyone entered their rooms while they were gone. After midnight, they exit into the alleyway. They are lit only by street lanterns and moonlight.

Nott suggests fanning out but staying close enough to see one another. Jester immediately teams up with Fjord. Nott asks if they are an item, but Jester responds that they are simply good friends.

After about three hours, they begin to realize that they might not see what Nott saw two days earlier.

Not wanting to wait any longer and growing impatient about their lack of results, they decide to head back to the circus tent that stands ominously in the distance.

As they walk, two crownsguard notice something moving in the distance. They call out to the group, but they cannot make out everyone. Caleb and Fjord cast disguise self and turn themselves into crownsguard. To help with the illusion, Nott pretends to attack Caleb. The two crownsguard rush over to help their apparent comrade.

Not wanting to risk Nott’s freedom, Caleb slams her into a nearby wall. One of the guards attempts to strike Nott, but she dodges out of the way. She and Caleb struggle with one another for a bit longer before he insists to the other guards that he can arrest her himself. The guards agree and walk away.

However, as they do, they notice Jester, who has tried to hide herself in the loch. They call her out of water. However, they don’t recognize her and continue on their way.

Fjord, still disguised, begins to talk to the guard at the entrance of the tent. They complain to one another about their guard duties. Fjord asks to take a look inside the tent, and the guard tells him to make it quick.

He and Caleb walk into the tent. The bodies from the previous day are still there. They examine the bodies, but are unable to figure out what suddenly affected Enon.

Meanwhile, Molly, Jester, Nott, and Beau search the performer’s tents. Many of the performers are still in them, though being kept under careful watch of the guards. Molly asks Desmond what is happening, but they don’t know either.

Jester casts detect good and evil. A rush of divine force floods her consciousness, but she senses nothing within range of the spell. Jester moves forward, seeing if anything pings on her radar.

They sneak over to the edge of the tent where the Knott sisters and Orna rest. They narrowly avoid being spotted by the guards. They life up the edge of the tent and sneak in. The sisters wake up, startled, but stay silent. When the guards pass, they ask what’s going on. Molly fills them in on what is happening.

Jester and Nott sneak out from the tent and walk towards the main circus tent. However, as they pass a large bonfire, one of the guards wakes up from his nap and sees Jester. Jester freezes, but he stands up to confront her. Jester quickly casts charm person and tells him to go back to sleep, as this is all a dream. He doesn’t believe he’s dreaming, but he lets her pass anyway.

She and Nott rush over to the main tent. She tries to detect evil. She senses a large radiating evil presence. Nott tries to send Frumpkin to fetch Caleb.

When they sneak into the tent, they see the devil toad, his form inflating and deflating as he snores. His fiendish presence is what Jester has detected. Toya sleeps cradled in his arms.

They sit down on the ground in an attempt to look nonthreatening. Then, they wake up Toya and the devil toad. The breathing stops and everything becomes very still and silent. The devil toad turns to look at them, baring his teeth. He asks what they want.

Toya wakes up and greets Nott and Jester.

Jester: “Did you notice how, when you sang, a dude turned into a zombie?”

Toya chuckles. She says that she did notice and that it was really scary. She tells them that the guards think she had something to do with Enon’s change.

They continue to question her, but she has a good relationship with most of the circus workers. When she is asked if Gustav has any enemies, she mentions that he and Orna argue a lot. Jester and Nott then decide that they’ve solved the case.

Molly and Beau continue to talk with Orna and the sisters. Orna complains that if she were in charge, they wouldn’t have let the elderly in and the issue would have been avoided. They gossip about the other workers. When Jester and Nott rejoin them, Jester points out that the devil toad is fiendish, which is news to the rest of them.

As Caleb and Fjord walk out from the main tent, they see something in the distance. A large, dark shape steps out from one of the tents. One of the guards stands up and crumples to the ground without a sound. The other guard runs over to check on them. The guard calls out to another guard. Suddenly, he clutches his head and chest. He falls backwards, his limbs seizing up. The shadow bounds like a giant frog northward.

Jester, Molly, Nott, and Beau peek out from their tent, hearing a small ruckus.

The flesh on the guard’s neck and throat begins to split as a familiar transformation takes place. Instead of blood, dust and sand spill from the guard’s wounds.

The two zombified creatures begin to lumber towards the main tent.

To be continued…

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About the Artist: Nick Uroseva (@Nick_Uroseva)

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.

Fiona L.F. Kelly (@FionaLFKelly)
Fiona L.F. Kelly is a writer, editor, and podcaster. She has published numerous articles about all things gaming and pop culture on websites all across the internet, was also a writer for Trinity Continuum: Aberrant 2e, and has been published in books and magazines. She is an editor for the pop culture and media website GeekGals.co. In addition to her writing and editing, she has also been a guest and host on several podcasts. She hosts the Project Derailed podcast Big Streaming Pile, produces and performs on Fables Around the Table, and plays the githyanki pirate Rav’nys on Tales of the Voidfarer. Buy her a coffee: ko-fi.com/fionalfkelly

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