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Critical Role Recap: C2E5 – “The Open Road”

Spoilers for Critcal Role  Campaign 2 Episode 5 (obviously). Check out the recap for Campaign 2 Episode 4 here.
Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!

The party travels to the city of Alfield.


After arriving in Trostenwald, the party found themselves being accused of crimes they did not commit. After discovering that the performer Kylre was actually a fiendish nergaliid, they killed the creature and returned its head to the town guard to prove their innocence. After a trial, they were released and cleared of any crimes, though the circus was disbanded. Having found new friends along the way, they leave Trostenwald, headed for Zidash.


As they travel, Fjord asks Beau again about her injuries. She says she wouldn’t said that she won the fight, but she also didn’t lose. She says it was merely friendly sparring.

Jester hands out donuts from her bag, assuring the others that they’re “pretty new.”

Caleb asks Molly what he does in the circus. Molly says he isn’t a performer, but he did help set up. However, he does know how to juggle swords, which he does for their entertainment.

Ahead, they see another caravan cresting over a hill. Caleb sends Frumpkin, still in sparrow form, to investigate. He begins to look through Frumpkin’s eyes, going blind and deaf to the world around him. While in this state, Jester begins to question what forms Frumpkin has taken in the past, listing many animals.

Frumpkin sees 6 heavy wagons being pulled by 18 horses. Jester continues to ask him questions.

The gap between their group and the caravan grows smaller and smaller. They see a mismatched group of wagons. One person holds the reins. They get the impression that the group is from the Menagerie Coast. They guess that the group is returning from a trade run.

They simply pass by the group. Jester asks if they’re going to Nicodranis. They said that they are only passing through on their way somewhere else. She asks how far Zidash is, and one of the highwaymen tells her it’s about 150 miles away.

Molly balances his sword on his head and holds out his cards, hoping for someone to stop. Two children see him and smile, but the caravan continues to pass.

Jester, Molly, and Fjord ask Caleb and Nott if they have robbed similar caravans in the past. Fjord tries to convince Nott to try and rob the caravan, but the others stop her.

Beau suggests they take a break. They take the cart off the road. Beau goes over to a tall tree and climbs up. Caleb reminds her that Frumpkin can fly higher than she can climb.

Jester picks some white wildflowers.

Frumpkin flies around, but sees nothing. Jester and Beau decide to climb the tree anyway. Jester tells Beau that tiny unicorns likely live in the tree.

As it grows darker, the air grows colder and they decide to rest for the night. They find a cluster of three trees and set up camp. Jester laments that they didn’t take the circus tent for shelter.

Jester gives Nott the bouquet of wild flowers. Nott thanks her and asks what she did to deserve the bouquet. Jester responds that it’s simply because they are friends. They decide to take first watch together. However, Jester gets distracted drawing after 10 minutes in the watch.

Caleb takes the second watch. A ways off, he sees a distant shape pushing through the grass. He wakes Nott. Nott offers to sneak forward and look, saying that the others will be upset if they’re woken up. However, Caleb ignores this and wakes up Beau anyway.

Nott decides to sneak forward anyway. He sees three large buffalo-looking creatures wandering through the grasses. Nott takes out a piece of copper wire and whispers to Caleb what she sees. She also asks for more instructions. Caleb tells her to get back to the group. He briefly celebrates Nott’s success with the spell.

When Nott returns to the group, Caleb grabs her and swings her around, happy about her magic usage. He tells her that they are going to ignore the creatures, but Nott protests, saying that they could eat the buffalo.

Fjord asks why they were all woken up. Caleb explains that he was worried about the threat of unknown creatures. Nott exclaims that they could wrangle the beasts and pull the cart. Fjord excitedly proclaims that they should have another look at the creatures.

Molly and Jester continue to sleep. Caleb, Nott, Fjord, and Beau exit the camp to look at the creatures. One of them steps on a small creature, which yelps out. The buffalo are startled by this and run away.

They go back to the camp and go back to sleep.

Molly takes the third watch, but he falls asleep part way through.

As Fjord falls asleep, his mind lingers aware. Time begins to lose sense and meaning. As time passes, the air grows colder around him. He begins to flail about, but there is resistance as he moves. He finds himself in water. He feels a burning pain in his lungs as he drowns. He sees movement in the shimmering blue around him. The darkness surrounds him. The current tugs at him, moving rapidly. Water rushes into his body. He opens his eyes to see a gargantuan mass moving through the water around him. The pain in his chest vanishes and his breathing normalizes. It feels strange, but familiar. An enormous yellow eye opens in front of him.

The eye narrows and the creature lets out a low tone. He senses the word “watching” in his head. The eye stares at him, waiting expectantly.

Fjord asks the creature what it is and what it’s watching. It communicates “potential.” He asks what the creature wants. It says “Learn. Grow. Provoke. Consume. Reward. Patience.”

He opens his eyes again. He coughs and sputters, but he’s above water in the morning air. The others ask him if he’s okay. Fjord reassures them that he’s fine. Molly and Beau notice that the water he spits up smells salty and briny.

Fjord admits that he had a very vivid dream. Jester asks about the water, but Fjord says he doesn’t know what happened.

Beau asks Fjord if it has to do with his sword. He goes to look at it, but he realizes that the falchion is missing.

Fjord tells them that his experience with the arcane came to him at the same time as the falchion. He said he was formerly a merchant sailor. On the trip, he met rough waters and found the sword shortly after on the shore. Ever sense, he has been trying to discover what his abilities could do.

He looks down at his palm, and the falchion, coated in barnacles and sea water, appears.

Caleb asks if he can examine the sword. Fjord says that they will revisit it later.

Jester asks if he’s turning into water. She assures him that, if he is, they will do their best to catch him in a jar.

They clean up their camp and head back into the cart.

They travel for another day pushing into the night to reach the next town: Alfield. Right before reaching the town, several of them suddenly feel very exhausted.

There is a flash of orange in the distance. The roof of a building erupts into flames. They rush towards the town to warn the people in the town. They hear dozens of voices screaming as the fire spreads from building to building. Hundreds of villagers run out of the town and into the fields. Molly yells out to a family running from their home. They tell the group that big dog-faced creatures are attacking the village.

Villagers are shot down with arrows. Nott sees one of the creatures and tells the others that she and Caleb have fought them before.

They rush over to several crownsguard. When they reach the guards, they are offered 30 gold per gnoll ear.

Jester casts blessing of the Trickster on Caleb. They rush over to a wall to conceal themselves and get a better idea of the situation.

Nott creates a silent image of one of the crownsguard. She has the illusion run down the alley in an attempt to distract the gnolls. Arrows passes through the illusion’s form. One of the gnolls swipes at it, but its claws pass through the image.

The group uses the moment the gnolls are distracted to prepare for the incoming attack.

Jester creates a giant lollypop to bludgeon the gnolls. She swings her giant candy and smashes one of the gnolls.

Beau runs into the village. She looks into the window of a nearby building. She sees the inside is completely disheveled. Two gnolls grab sacks from the kitchen and rush out the other door. She tries to signal to Nott that there are two gnolls inside.

Nott takes a drink from her flask. Beau jumps through the window and rushes up to a gnoll. It is loading sacks into a cart. She sneaks up behind him, cautiously preparing to dodge.

The gnolls notice her and shoot arrow at her. She dodges the first two arrows easily. When the third arrow is loosed, she catches it in the air and throws it back to him.

The gnolls push the cart away, trying to make off with the stolen goods.

Beau pushes past the gnolls. She notices that they smell like rotting flesh and mangy fur.

As a gnoll runs past him, Fjord casts crown of madness. A crown of iron appears around his head. He then uses his mask of many faces to make himself appear like a small gnoll.

 Jester sends her duplicate into the village. She runs in as well, trying to hit one of the gnolls with her spiritual weapon. However, the attack is blocked by a shield.

Caleb casts scorching ray and aims his bolts of flames at one of the gnolls. The bolts land, burning the gnoll. He hides again behind the building.

Nott shoots into the building with Beau. Her crossbow bolt sinks into one of the gnolls. She then climbs up the building into a second story window. However, once she enters, she sees that the entire upstairs is on fire.

She tries to rush through the burning room and burns herself in the process. She goes over to a window and looks down into the street below.

The gnoll with Fjord’s crown of madness fights another gnoll on the roof. In attempt to push the other gnoll away, it falls off onto the ground.

 Fjord drops his crown of madness. He runs into the street to attack the gnoll captain.

The guards rush over and kill the gnoll attacking Jester’s duplicate.

Jester runs away from a nearby gnoll. It hits her, but she uses hellish rebuke to send damage back to it. She casts guiding bolt on the captain.

Beau hits a skeleton gnoll with her staff, killing it.

More gnolls join the captain to attack Fjord. The captain retreats back to the cart.

One of the crownsguard kills another gnoll.

Nott, using Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, tells a joke about broken frog wagons getting “toad” away. The gnoll collapses in laughter. Caleb giggles too, in spite of himself.

Beau kills another gnoll as it tries to flee.

The gnolls run away with the cart, though one remains, still laughing, on the ground. Jester kills it with her double using inflict wounds.

The rest  of the party, led by Nott, runs after the gnolls. They see gnolls from other parts of the city looting corpses and goods. The captain looks back from the cart to Nott. He pulls out his glaive.

Seeing the other members of the party approaching behind her, he puts away his glaive and quickly draws his bow. An arrow sinks into Nott, knocking her unconscious.

The captain fires again, this time hitting Molly. He goes down as well.

There is a cacophony of cries from the gnolls. They retreat into the clouds of smoke and ash and disappear. Beau makes a mental note of the direction they retreated to.

Jester runs up and casts cure wounds on Molly and Nott.

The guards and villagers begin to gather the dead and protect what structures they can.

One of the guards comes up to them. They thank them for jumping into the fray without question. They tell them that the guards and the rest of the city have been protected thanks to the group’s help.

Jester and the others cut off the ears of the gnolls. Jester cuts off some tail as well to see if it will pass.

The guard introduces themself as Watchmaster Bryce Fieland. They say that they have encountered gnolls before, but in much smaller numbers. They add that it isn’t uncommon to come across undead gnolls though. They wonder what has made them hungry enough to steal the village’s food in such an aggressive way.

Jester goes to check on their horse and cart. Sees him being happily fed by one of the families who have fled.

The Watchmaster tells them that they will be paid for the ears they have collected and any future ears. Molly and Fjord offer to exchange some of the gold for services like lodging, but the city’s finest lodgings have burned down. Bryce tells them to go to a less nice inn (one that is still standing) for their stay. They count out 360 gold for the ears, having to leave to retrieve more gold for the group.

Caleb finds charcoal in the city to use to change Frumpkin back into a cat.

The Watchmaster says that if they wipe out the gnolls, they will make it worth their while. Bryce tells them for the time being, however, to rest up. When they are ready, they can get supplies and anything else needed on the west side of town.

They limps away, returning to the other crownsguard.

The party goes to the tavern. They are greeted by an older dwarf. He says that one of their two rooms will be provided for them. He leads them to a room jammed with four beds. Molly and Beau offer to sleep on the floor.

Molly goes downstairs looking for a drink. He asks for something interesting. Krut tells him that the first one is free.

They all settle into the tavern, resting for the night.

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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