Episode 108: Traveler Con
It’s Traveler Con Eve, and the Nein know how to throw a killer party. The alcohol is flowing, the drum circle is drumming. The dance fight ring is being used to perfection. Everyone is having a great time. Even Caleb and Veth loosen up a little with some drinks and dancing. Caleb attempts to focus everyone’s attention on what the Nein should do next. He proposes that the Empire kids actually head back to the Empire for a change. Veth and Beau agree that they wouldn’t mind going back to the motherland to catch up on how everything is going. They will revisit this after Traveler Con.
Jester and Caduceus are still trying to plan a few crucial details for tomorrow’s event. They attempt to reach out to the Moonweaver to make sure she’s aware of the Con that’s going down the next day and to maybe expect a few hundred new followers. The communication doesn’t seem to go through. They will deal with this problem tomorrow.
After a drunken night’s rest, the Nein awake excited and nervous to start the festivities. Yasha kicks the events off with a hauntingly amateur musical number on her harp. She’s super into it, the audience…not so much. Can’t win them all! Jester takes the stage as the Head Priestess and kicks off the Golden Dick Hunt. Chaos ensues. Everyone is pleased. Celia, Jester’s least favorite follower, finds the Golden Dick. Veth asks to borrow the prize phallus for a brief moment, to…you know…polish it up.
Now it’s time for the procession of the Dicks to the top of the volcano. Jester leads the Traveler’s followers in the tossing of the Dicks and two long hours later, it is finally time for Celia to throw in the final golden dick. Veth has taken a page out of the Trickster handbook and applied a crazy magical super glue to said golden prize. Poor Celia has no chance of winning in this moment, and to make matters worse, Beau gets the idea that Celia has become suicidal all of a sudden and tackles Celia mid wind up. After the dust settles and questions are asked, Beau realizes she may have messed up and helps Celia back to her feet to complete the Dick Toss. Artagan takes credit for super gluing the dick to Celia’s hand and she storms off humilated and defeated. A new big, bad, evil genius is born this night.
Jester begins the final event. The Traveler’s ascension! Everything is going magnificently to plan until Jester’s fake moon does not disappear on cue. A bright, beautiful full moon still shines bright in the sky. Artagan suddenly begins to look nervous. A shimmering celestial being begins to descend in the moonlight and unmasks Artagan as a fraud. Chains wrap around his body and mouth and begin to pull him into the heavens.
Jester clings to Artagan, pleading with the Moonweaver’s messenger to have mercy but the being seeks justice for Artagan’s lies. Fjord teleports up to Jester, begging her to let go, they will all be there to catch her. Tears fill her eyes and she cannot imagine letting Artagan go after all this time. She is prepared to suffer the consequences of her devotion. Artagan has a different plan though, he force kicks her off of him and silently… a single tear drips down his face as he watches Jester fall back to earth.
The messenger stops, and a new voice echos forth. The Moonweaver asks if Artagan has learned his lesson. I think everyone here can agree that’s the case. She chides him, saying he should serve penance back in the Fey Wilds but she is prepared to let him go if he agrees never to trick anyone into following him again. He readily, happily agrees. The Moonweaver promises the Traveler’s followers that they will be accepted and never lied to if they pledge themselves to her. She returns to her heavenly home. Artagan takes a sweeping bow and tells his followers that’s why they should follow the Moonweaver and not him. He awkwardly walks away to scattered applause.
The Nein make a silent, awkward trek back to camp and unpack the day’s events. Amid speculation that Artagan may have left Rumblecusp to lick his wounds, he appears outside their camp and asks to join them for a talk. The Nein of course feel sorry for him but also threaten him with physical violence if he ever pulls a stunt on Jester ever again. He agrees and apologizes for putting her in danger. She of course forgives him and looks forward to seeing what he will show her next.
The next morning, the Nein wrap up the con, send followers back on their journeys and help others who want to stay in Vo settle into their new island lives. Then, they travel to Heaven’s Falls to help Orly free some ships so they can get their crew off the island. The Nein pick the gorgeous vessel, Eden’s Horizon, renaming it Nein Heroez. IT is a vessel worthy of the name. Orly promises to keep their ship safe and see them back at port soon.
Beau says goodbye to Vo’s leader Enola, leaving her 350 gold and making her promise to make Rumblecusp into the vacation resort it deserves to be. There will be a bar named in Beau’s honor. The Beau-re-Bar will be world famous. It’s time to go home to Nicodranus.
Caleb suggest they message Yussa before teleporting into his wizard tower. He seems….thrilled the Nein will be returning. Once they’ve arrived, Caduceus makes it a point to ask Yussa to investigate the Nein eyes and the rest of his Vokodo vision. Yussa is definitely curious and will get back to the Nein if he finds anything. The Nein begin to make their way to the Lavish Chateau for dinner and a family reunion. Things are looking up for our little heroes.
What a crazy ride! I knew I could expect a certain level of chaos, revelry, and mischief from Traveler Con. I didn’t predict that the events of the evening would nearly destroy Artagan, in front of all his followers, while also emotionally annihilating Jester.
The episode dives right into full party mode, sprinkled in with Caleb trying to find new story threads to keep things flowing after Traveler Con. The Nein should find a few more interesting story lines in the Empire verses the Dynasty, though I will say I have been missing darling Essek. Mercer also dropped a couple more shivery hints at the Vokodo vision that’s been haunting Caduceus.
The next hour and a half is filled with the expected drunk dance fighting, dick pranks, trek to the center of a volcano, and then that awful business with Celia. Poor Celia, whose only wrong doing was being a bit uppity with the Nein and now has a wooden dick permanently fused to her hand. And to add insult to injury, a trigger happy Beau violently misreads Celia’s intentions and Secret Service style tackles her to the ground in front of everyone. So. Awkward.
Finally, some drama hits the fan when The Moonweaver actually shows up to this festive facade and quickly puts Argatan in his place. I think we all expected the Trickster Archfey to get away with pawning his followers onto a fellow fey frolicker. But The Moonweaver had different ideas. The grand, and rather alarming events, that led to Artagan being bound in celestial chains and threatened with eternal punishment in the Fey Wild had me at the edge of my seat. For a minute there I was so curious to see how Jester would handle life without the Traveler. Would she still have cleric powers, would she go rescue him in the Fey, would she fall back on her friends to lead her down a new path? But then, Jester pulls a Jester and manages to assuage the Moonweaver and convince her to release Artagan who definitely, absolutely, 100% for sure learned his lesson and will never, ever, ever try to trick anyone else into following him again. We’ll see how this goes. How long can he hold out before his ego wins out again?
The final half hour of the episode quickly moves through the end of Traveler Con and into the Nein’s departure from Rumblecusp. Orly setting sail with a beautiful boat named the Nein Heroez was poetic. As was the Nein finally remembering to message their strange wizard friend Yussa before they teleport into his tower! So proud of the character growth the Nein have shown.
Next week’s reunion episode will be so sweet! We’ll have to see what new mischief and adventure the Nein discover. Don’t worry, it’s almost Thursday.
Don’t Miss It!
Finally, after 6 LONG months of waiting, Talks Machina will return! Catch the return of cabbage man Brian W. Foster Tuesday, September 15th at 7 pm on Critical Role’s Twitch channel. There will be some changes to the format of the show. It will be prerecorded for now. They will not be taking any critter questions while the episodes are prerecorded. Everything will be filmed virtually from the comfort of the cast’s homes. And finally, it will only air every other Tuesday, though it will cover both the weekly Critical Role episodes.