Episode 115: Fetching Fables and Frosty Friends
Dagen leads the Nein, sans Vess, into their first day of travel through Eiselcross. The terrain is treacherous but Dagen is a skilled guide and the Nein are experienced travelers. The Nein decide to try and rough it for their first night in the tundra…but by the middle of the night they’ve had enough of frozen extremities and Caleb throws up the dome. Let’s leave the real camping to real hardcore adventurers.
The second day brings a new adventure when they Nein come across a partially buried obelisk. It seems to have once been covered in gems, though they have been long pilfered or lost to the elements. All but one. A shining emerald tempts the Nein and Caleb tries to carefully pry it free but triggers a devastating wave of necrotic energy that rocks the entire adventuring party. After carefully licking their wounds and taking a few extra cautious steps backwards Caleb takes a second swing at freeing this dangerous diadem.
Attempt number two goes…about as well as attempt one. At least this time Caleb’s companions were a safe distance away and weren’t harmed. Now, if two failed attempts at retrieving the emerald of certain death weren’t enough, Caleb rolls his sleeves and whips out the big gun spells. But this is a problem not even Cat’s Ire or a sixth level dispel magic can solve. When in doubt, throw a snowball at the problem, whip out the double middle fingers, and promise to incite revenge on the way back home.
Day three brings an abominable foe. A pack of yeti manage to trap some members of the Nein in a net and descend on the group to claim their victory. A ferocious battle begins, but the adventurers quickly realize that this is no ordinary pack of Yeti. They speak common, seem to use tools and wear clothes. They also seem fiercely protective of each member of their hunting party, and begin to surrender the fight once the tide begins to turn. The Nein quickly switch tactics and negotiate a peaceful end to the fight and actually end up making some pretty awesome new friends. In a classic DnD move of make friends with your enemies, The Nein end up inviting their new yeti friends to dinner in Caleb’s wizard tower and spend the evening entertaining and celebrating together.
Day 4 is a completely safe and beautiful day thanks to the yeti aiding the Nein in their travels. Day 5 and the Nein still haven’t addressed what to do about Vess DeRogna, whose dead body is still lying in repose in Caleb’s amber vault. What does happen, is Jester receives a rather eerie message from their old friend Lucien. Lucien’s voice sounds strange though, almost as if Lucien and Cree were saying the same thing at the same time in Jester’s mind. Lucien/Cree are glad to see the Nein have followed the trail to the first alpha site. The Nein get the feeling that Lucien is paying very close attention to their travel and maybe they should be more cautious about their journey.
Dagen leads the Nein to the cavern entrance to their first alpha archaeological site. The Nein notice dozens of footprints, with the most fresh set leading straight into the cavern, but not back out. Is this Lucien and his ilk? Should the Nein just blindly wander into this probable trap without having a plan? What are they even looking for now that they’re here all this way without Vess’ guidance? So many questions waiting to be answered, next time on Critical Role!
Interesting episode this week. A bit different and a little slower than I thought we’d get to see this week. First thing that stood out to me was they left Vess dead???! Maybe I am misremembering, but I thought the plan was to wait until morning when the Clerics’ spells reset and then Resurrect Vess as soon as possible. Yet here we are, 5 days into the journey and Vess is still dead inside Caleb’s amber vault. Also, not sure if this was address but Beau repeatedly mentions that Vess is dead right in front of Dagen during their debate at the entrance of the Alpha site. Will anything come of this accidental reveal, probably not… but it would make for an interesting scene.
For covering 5 days of travel through the difficult frozen terrain, Eiselcross has seemed a bit tame compared to some other places the Nein have traveled. I mean Rumblecusp had T-Rexes, demonic beasts, and devilish ghouls. The walk up to Caduceus’ Dust relatives in Kravaraad had the spooky ghosty mist. Even their second home in Xhorhas is surrounded by haunted lands stained from The Calamity. Where’s the creepy in Eiselcross? Mercer is fantastic at creepy and I do hope we get a taste of it here in Eiselcross soon.
We got a slight taste at the weird magics that lay hidden all over Eiselcross when the Nein came across the obelisk with the strange emerald. What a sequence of events that unfolded there. I thought one round of high level necromantic damage would give the traveler’s the hint that this relic may be a “look but don’t touch’ moment. But that’s not how we roll here with the Nein. No deadly necromancy trap will be left untampered with! And after one failed attempt at retrieving said cursed emerald…. well Caleb surely couldn’t be bested that easily right?! NO. We must expend valuable high level spell slots and repeatedly endanger our own life and the lives of our companions to show this obelisk who is boss! Caleb “I Killed Vokodo” Widogast.
There was a surprising Yeti battle this session as well. Surprising only in the fact that no Yetis were killed in the making of this episode. In another great example of what sets this campaign apart, Mercer gives the Nein an out of the fight by humanizing these usually feral beasts. Which then led to the absolutely wonderful scene of the Yeti hunting party joining the Nein in Caleb’s fancy tower for a magical feast. Only in the best DnD sessions to you invite a Yeti to dinner for leftover waffles and BBQ.
Caleb and Jester share a darling moment when Caleb reads Jester the Zemnian children’s story “The Cat Prince”. I loved this little interlude listening to Liam spin a mini story together jsut for the fun of it. Beau also had a rather cute moment, reading Yasha’s poem and note to herself while relaxing in the bath. These quiet character building moments are lovely.
Jester had quite a chilling encounter with Lucien/Cree this session as well. Lucien has been keeping tabs on Jester since she messaged him last week. This was no normal sending spell though, Jester could hear both Lucien and Cree in her head at the same time…like some kind of weird hive mind. More mysteries! I am desperate to figure out how the floating city from Vokodo’s vision and the Nonagon cult are connected. Its lovely getting all these little glimpses at the webs woven in the story around us.
After a rather heated discussion on whether walking into the first excavation site blind is a smart dumb decision or a dumb smart decision, Caleb and Fjord take charge and lead us right into the cliffhanger for the week. Are the Nein hot on the tail of Lucien and his gang or are they playing right into another smoke and mirrors set up? What are the Nein going to discover in their first pre-calamity excavation site? Don’t worry critters, it’s almost Thursday!
Don’t Miss It!
There will be a new episode of Critical Role in its normal time spot this Thursday. There will also be a new episode of Talks Machina this Tuesday with Liam O’Brien and Taliesin Jaffe joining Brian W. Foster on the virtual couch. It is assumed that Critical Role skipped last Tuesday’s broadcast out of respect for the US Election Day news cycle. Hopefully we get a new episode of Narrative Telephone coming next week!