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Critical Role Recap: C2E9 – “Steam and Conversation”

Spoilers for Critical Role Campaign 2 Episode 9 (obviously). Check out the recap for Campaign 2 Episode 8 here.
Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!

The Mighty Nein explore Zadash and find an old friend.


Upon finishing their business in Alfield, they traveled on the Amber Road. Along the way, they found landmarks to a war long past and were almost robbed by bandits. Finally, they reached Zadash, where they met new faces, including Ulysses and Pumat Sol.


The group enters The Leaky Tap. It’s a simple but large Tavern. A ratty-looking band plays in the corner. About 25 patrons are scattered throughout the room. Two busied bartenders rush back and forth.

Beau looks around the room, searching for anyone suspicious. She notices that two individuals in particular are dressed far nicer than the others. She also notices a group watching the door. A middle aged elf woman and a dragonborn man tend to the bar.

They go up to the bar to order food and drinks, mentioning that they would need three rooms as well. They put their tab under the name Nein, which confuses the bartender, as there’s only six of them.

Beau mentions to Jester that there is a card game going on. The tiefling bounds over, happily.

Jester sits down with the two well-dressed gentleman playing cards. They ask for her to leave them to their game, but she begs to play, lying that she is terrible and they will be able to win all of her money. They look at each other, and then offer her a chance to buy in. However, she just watches until the next game.

They begin the next game. The others gather around, making sure no one is cheating. Jester buys in for two gold.

Caleb tries to pull Nott aside, saying she’s too little for gambling. However, Jester assures Nott that she isn’t too young for gambling. Still, Nott goes to Caleb. As they walk away, Beau asks if she’s actually that young, or if it’s just a part of their relationship. They ignore her as they walk away.

As soon as the game starts, Jester immediately begins to cheat, though no one notices.

Caleb sends out Frumpkin and spies on the game through his cat’s eyes. Nott prepares to send message.

Frumpkin spies on the cards of the other players. Caleb whispers them to Nott, who sends their cards in a message to Jester.

Jester tries to cheat again. However, this time, the older gentleman notices Jester cheating. He pulls a card out of her sleeve.

Jester: “Oh, that’s weird. Where did that come from?”

The older man offers to not report Jester for cheating in exchange for the pot. Jester plays dumb. He simply scoops the gold into his purse. Jester says she thought that cheating was just part of the game. He just walks away from her.

Jester: “Motherfuckers. They took my money.”

She tells the others how much fun she had. She also tells Nott how good of a trick using the message spell was. She asks Molly to teach her how to cheat better.

They discuss how to find Claudia Sheed, Bryce’s friend. Molly shouts out her name in the middle of the bar. The bartender tells them that she’s upstairs in her office. They all head upstairs. Molly knocks on the office door. She asks who it is through the door. Molly says they are friends of Bryce from Alfield. Claudia opens the door. She says that any friends of Bryce are a friend of hers.

She asks what they’re looking for. Molly explains that they’re looking for employment. She says that she has dishes to be washed, but she also says that they seem more capable than that. She tells them where they will be able to find work, but warns them to not upset any of the crownsguard or violate the religious statutes of the area. She gives them the locations of several shrines in the city.

Molly asks if the fact that he and Jester are tieflings will stand out. However, Claudia tells them that no one in Zadash studies history, and they will simply be considered unique. Beau wonders why no one studies history and asks about their school system. Claudia recommends the Apple Tree Tutor Village for children and adults if she wants to learn about history. This is controlled by the academy.

As Claudia talks, they ask about the local underbellies. Jester mentions The Gentleman, and Claudia’s face darkens. She warns them to be careful with how they use that name. She reveals that he’s part of the underbelly of the city.

Downstairs, Caleb and Nott sit at a table. He explains to her the differences between all of his books. He shows her the different spellbooks he has and explains how to transcribe spells from one book to another.

Molly, Beau, Fjord, and Jester come back down the stairs. Stepping down the stairs, they see the group downstairs moving into the basement. Claudia explains that they meet in the basement to discuss politics.

Beau asks if she’s running underground groups. However, Claudia says that they just discuss their lifestyles. Fjord and Beau follow the group into the basement.

Jester tells Caleb to spy on the group through Frumpkin. Frumpkin runs off, and Caleb looks through the cat’s eyes.

In the basement, they see a man standing on a box in the middle of the room. He is thin and well mannered. Everyone stares at Fjord and Beau. The man asks who they are. Fjord explains that they’re new in town and trying to find good conversation. Caleb tells the others who have remained upstairs that they are making asses of themselves.

The man beckons them forward. He asks about the joys the empire has brought to them. Both Beau and Fjord struggle to find an answer.

Beau gives a vague answer, saying that the joys are not readily apparent, but they would be willing to look.

The man explains that they are looking to heal the political upset in Zadash. He tells them to listen during his talk.

He explains that he once ran a physician’s practice in the city. His partner was brought to ruin, and the practice along with them. The clients were poached, and they were left with nothing.

A dwarf then takes his position on the block. He says that he was once a carpenter. Six months ago, she was thrown in jail for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was sentenced to twenty years in the Amber Dungeon.

The others stand on the block and tell their story as well. They speak angrily about the lack of upward mobility for them in the empire. The crowd becomes more and more frenzied until they are calmed by the man from the beginning. He quiets them and begins to speak of a new beginning that is coming soon.

The meeting ends. He thanks Beau and Fjord and advises them to not speak openly about these meetings. Everyone goes back upstairs while Fjord, Beau, and Dolan, from the beginning of the meeting, speak. They thank each other once again and say they will talk to Claudia about future meetings.

Dolan goes upstairs, and Beau and Fjord look through the cellar. They don’t find anything of interest.

Frumpkin goes up to them and begins to yowl. Beau flips off the cat, hoping Caleb will see. They go back upstairs.

Once they are all together again, Nott suggests turning in everyone at the meeting for 50 gold per person. She says they will become heroes in this town as well. The others turn down the idea.

Molly announces that he’s going to go to a bathhouse. Jester and Nott decide to join him. They search for a bathhouse, but find that the one they were seeking was closed for the night.

As they walk, Molly talks to Nott about her sticky fingers. He reminds her that there are people who need what they have. Others, he said, would be happier if they had a little less. Nott asks how to tell the difference. They try to explain, but Molly eventually encourages her to just steal from grumpy people.

Back at the tavern, Caleb finishes transcribing unseen servant into his spellbook and goes to bed. Jester, using parchment she stole earlier from Caleb, makes pamphlets for The Traveler. They all go to sleep.

When they all wake up, Jester announces their goals for the day. Molly suggests they start at the blacksmith.

Caleb walks over to the dragonborn bartender. He asks about the library in the city. The bartender names a few libraries, and Caleb asks for directions to The Archive. The bartender gives him the directions. He leads Caleb outside and points to a slowly tapering tower.

The group rejoins one another and then heads to the blacksmith.

Along the way, Nott whispers to the group that the itch has returned and she needs to steal again. She happily announces to the group that she’s only stealing from grumpy people now.

As they make their way through the Penta Market, they hear a voice loudly talking. He has thin, blondish hair, a crownsguard tabbard, but, oddly, normal clothes otherwise. They realize that he is a town crier. He announces that the attack on Alfield has ended. They start to celebrate, but then the crier announces that the gnolls were defeated by the crownsguard.

Nott: “They stole our thunder.”

Molly: “But not our gold.”

Jester chases after the town crier. She stops him and asks where his news come from. He says that he receives all news from his boss at the King’s Hall. Jester tells him that his boss is wrong. She announces that the group who stopped the gnolls is The Mighty Nein. The town crier tells her to take it up with someone at the Kinghold and goes back to work.

When she returns to the group, they discuss how much they want to be in the public eye. Caleb and Molly suggest that getting paid and not having to become public figures may be the best case scenario. They decide that, if anything, they’re all okay with making money.

Molly suggests moving the conversation to the bathhouse after they visit the blacksmith.

When they reach the blacksmith, Jester happily approaches with her pink bag of holding. She asks if he has any handaxes while she puts the loot on the table. The blacksmith examines them, and he suggests that they perhaps could be used for scrap. She also pulls out the manticore manacles. The blacksmith is definitely impressed by this.

The blacksmith looks over the goods and offers 25 gold and a handaxe.

They decide to go to The Archive next. Along the way, they pass another town crier. They hear that in two weeks is the Harvest Close Festival.

As they approach the outside of The Archive, they see that everyone is being escorted by a member of The Archive. They see that the only entrances are currently being guarded.

They see a well-dressed woman exit the building. Nott looks closely at her face, and sees that she looks rather stoic. She begins to follow the woman. As the woman walks, she doesn’t notice the small goblin following her. Nott spies a small satchel on the woman.

The group doesn’t notice Nott leave, and, at Caleb’s insistence, begins to search for her.

Nott casts mage hand and begins to open the satchel.

The woman notices her purse opening, and Nott quickly dispells the magic and hides. The woman eyes some nearby pauper children, but continues walking.

Nott still continues to follow the woman, though this time more stealthily. She casts mage hand again and this time tries for a pocket. As the magical hand searches through the pockets in her blouse, the hand accidentally tugs too hard and buttons rip off the blouse. She turns to a nearby apple seller and slaps him. She rushes off into the city.

Nott runs over to where the woman was and collects the buttons. She returns to the group and excitedly shows them her prize. She assures Caleb that the woman she took them from was very grumpy.

They walk through the city. Getting to the courthouse, they see the job board described to them by Claudia. Four guards are standing nearby.

Seeing the guards, Nott sneaks into the shadows. She casts disguise self and turns into a miniature version of Fjord.

They examine the job board. They find a variety of work, including someone paying for information on Myriad activity. Even more offer gold for rebel activity and heresy.

Satisfied with their time at the job board, they head to the bathhouse. As they walk into the main chamber of the bathhouse, an older female half orc warmly greets them. She asks if they are all there for a bath. She asks if they will be separately or together. Jester informs her that they will be doing a lot, so she asks that they have the bath together.

As they go into the common bath, Beau greet everyone as she makes a space for herself. Jester runs in and does a cannonball. As Jester emerges from the water, she sees a familiar figure in the hot tub sitting next to her giant sword. Yasha gives Jester a curious look.

Yasha tells Jester that she has been tracking them for some time, but she figured she would treat herself first.

Molly walks over to them. The others see for the first time that he is heavily tattooed. He kisses the top of Yasha’s head.

Molly: “Took you long enough.”

Nott and the others wander into the tub. She still looks like a tiny Fjord. She asks Yasha if she has completed her mysterious big person things. Yasha says that there’s just some things she tends to.

The others tell her how much gold they’ve made over the past few days. Yasha is impressed with the amount. Then, Nott eagerly announces that she has found two buttons. Yasha asks to see them, but Nott tells her that they’re in her real clothes in the other room.

Yasha tells them that she has heard of their group name, though it confuses her. She says that they have a neutral reputation throughout the area, though she has heard of them.

Jester sees Nott standing off to the side of the tub. She tries to lure the goblin into the water. Yasha and Fjord offer to treat her how to swim. Eventually, the get Nott into the water, despite her fears of drowning. Beau holds her arms while she learns to kick. After kicking for a moment, Beau puts Nott back onto the side of the tub.

Fjord starts going through the potential jobs they can accept. They mention that the roving beast sounds promising.

Jester washes Nott’s hair. To rinse the suds out, they tell her they will put her underwater on the count of three. They count down, with Nott protesting along the way. When she resurfaces, she is crazed and threatens to kill them all. Caleb quickly calms her down. Beau and Fjord offer her gifts for getting into the water.

As they talk to Yasha, they discover that the god she worships is outlawed in the empire. She reveals that she follows The Storm Lord. She said that he pulled her out of what felt like the depths of hell.

Beau mentions that it’s odd to see Yasha without her cloak. Yasha tells her that the day Beau asked for it was particularly cold.

After more goofing around, they agree to take the job with the giant beast.

Nott gets out of the tub first. She wraps a towel around herself and drops her disguise self spell. The group sees her transform back into herself. Her wet hair hangs over most of her face. Caleb gets out, takes his silver thread, and ties her hair into a ponytail.

Beau and Yasha remain in the tub the longest, each waiting for the other to get out first. The others get dressed and ready and wait for the two outside. When the others leave, Yasha admits she just wanted to see everyone else naked first, and she gets out of the tub. Beau washes, and then she gets out of the tub as well.

Jester tells the others she is going to The Pillow Trove. Caleb offers to accompany her. He tells Nott to stay with the others while he is gone. Nott tries to get him to take health potions so he will not die along the way. Jester hugs Yasha before they leave.

The rest of the group goes to answer the posting. A male dwarf with thick mutton chops carrying the symbol of The Law Bearer enters. When Fjord explains they’re answering the posting about the roving monster, the dwarf asks for their names. They quickly give several fake names.

He hands the group a writ of law master intent, which will grant them entrance to the locations needed to track the beast. He asks that bring back proof of their kill, and they will be granted 700 gold pieces.

The group asks some more questions about the job. They discover that the law master has no knowledge of what they are seeking out in the tunnels. They also find out that three other groups have taken up the job, and only two have returned.

Jester and Caleb approach The Trispire. They are stopped by two guards at the entrance. While halted, one of the guards asks their business. Jester explains that she has a package waiting for her at The Pillow Trove. The guard eyes Caleb, and Jester adds that he is her bodyguard. She says that if he is not allowed entrance, the guard may walk her instead. The guard agrees, but warns Caleb to stay outside.

Seeing Jester enter without him, Caleb walks a block over to an alleyway. Then, he uses disguise self to make himself appear rich and respectable.

Caleb sends Frumpkin in after Jester. However, one of the guards, seeing a cat run by, kicks him. This damages the magical cat enough for him to poof out of existence.

He walks up to the guards once again. He tells them that he has a meeting at The Pillow Trove in 20 minutes. However, the guards simply stare at him. He looks down, and sees that he is no longer hidden by the effects of disguise self. He just walks away as the guards laugh and yell things at him.

As Jester walks through the Trispire, she walks through all of the decadence and money of Zadash. As they walk, the guard explains that she is currently in The Silken Terrace. Eventually, they arrive at The Pillow Trove.

At a circular desk is a human woman in her 20s. The guard waits outside while Jester walks up to the woman. Jester explains that she has a package waiting for her. The woman leaves to check for the package. After ten minutes, the woman returns. She says that there is no package for Jester. Jester asks for her to check under another name.

The woman returns again, but there is still nothing. Jester asks one final time, requesting a package from The Ruby of the Sea. When the woman returns, she says that there is still no package for any of those names.

Jester begins to worry about the package. She tells the woman that she may be there too early for the package, and wonders if she should just stay there until it arrives. The woman gives her the prices of each of the rooms, and Jester purchases a night’s stay in the smallest one.

Jester goes upstairs into her room. It’s small, but well decorated. She calls out to The Traveler. There is no answer. She talks to him again, saying that she may stay there tonight, or she may be with her friends. She leaves the room.

In the hallway, she sees a familiar cloak of deep green. She eagerly greets this person. The person apologizes, saying that Jester’s mother is not aware that she is at The Pillow Trove. However, the person continues, Jester is with friends. Jester asks for help. The person says that Jester is helped quite a bit already. He leans forward and takes her chin. Under the hood, she sees the green irises of The Traveler.

The Traveler: “I think the more deeds you do, the more lives you change, the more confident brats you break, she’ll find you.”

Jester pulls out one of her pamphlets and shows The Traveler. The Traveler takes the pamphlet. Jester assures him that people will worship him like crazy.

She looks away for a moment, and then, he’s gone. Jester skips away.

When she exits The Pillow Trove, she explains to the guard that she is staying there now and no longer needs to be escorted. She asks if she can bring Caleb in. The guard apologizes, but states that they need to maintain a certain decorum.

Meanwhile, Caleb goes over to the other entrance. Two guards are stationed here as well. The guards ignore him, but Caleb pleads his case.

He tells the guards that a store inside the Trispire, Chastity’s Nook, sells dirty books. He says that he has heard of it for months. He offers gold in exchange for entrance so he can buy smut.

The guard’s eyes widen, and he asks if Caleb is really a fan of Chastity’s Nook. Caleb responds that he wants to be. The guard laughs and refuses his bribe.

Caleb: “Enjoy working for the man.”

Jester exits and meets up again with Caleb. She tells him all about the missing package and her meeting with The Traveler. She laments that she has no money. Caleb offers to lend her some, stating that he has 50 gold. Jester says that’s how much she has as well, but it’s a stupid amount. They argue if 50 gold is a lot of money or not.

Caleb: “That’s more money than my parents ever made in their entire life.”

Jester: “That’s how much I made every day for like, my allowance.”

In full view of Jester, Caleb takes some mud from his pocket, smears it across his face, and storms off. Jester calls after him, saying that she didn’t mean to make him dirty again.

The entire group makes their way back to The Leaky Tap. Jester and Caleb arrive last, with the freshly muddied Caleb entering first, followed by Jester.

Molly: “We’re clean. We’re relaxed. We’re ready to enter a sewer.”

As Caleb and Jester sit down, the group discusses if Caleb’s clean look or the muddy disheveled look is better. Caleb changes the subject, asking Yasha if she will travel with them. However, she says she doesn’t know.

Molly asks Jester about her package. She responds that it hasn’t arrived, so she is staying the night at The Pillow Trove to check again in the morning. Molly and Yasha advise that she shouldn’t expect much.

Beau: “Here’s to abandoning expectations.”

They all clink their glasses and drink.

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. Buy him a coffee!

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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