Episode 65: Chases and Trees
This was…an episode. I was expecting a pretty action packed chase through the wilds of Xhorhas, and yes, while we did see some high speed moorbounding, for the most part this episode felt like a bit of an interlude. An entertaining interlude, but an interlude nonetheless.
The first half of the episode centers around The Nein riding deeper into the Barbed Wilds in pursuit of the escaped Drow. They don’t find any traces of the Drow, but do come across an enormous Udaak, a beast Yasha recognizes as too dangerous to even think about fighting (level 20 zone!!). They rest rather uneventfully for the night, only to discover the Udaak was killed nearby sometime in the night and is now being torn apart by carrion. Although apprehensive to investigate, the Nein begin to move towards the body. Three huge winged shadow bats notice their approach and begin to attack the party. I was not surprised when their first reaction was to run, I also would run like hell if I met a creature that could take down an Udaak.
The shadow bats, or Gloomstalkers (from the Illithid realm in Campaign 1!), easily overwhelm the Nein by stunning the moorbounders and sending everyone crashing to the ground. Jester and Caduceus discover that Radiant spells do extra damage and begin to fight back the Gloomstalkers. The Nein take down most of the foes and continue a quick retreat. Nott spies a tower off in the distance and the party continues towards it.
The Nein rest for the night near the base of the tower that is actually the largest tree in existence. The Nein marvel at the enormous wonder and the life it apparently shelters. During the night both Caduceus and Fjord have interesting visions. Caduceus finds peace in his journey and also more direction towards the forge or crematorium. Fjord dreams of Uk’otoa again, but in a new twist, the eye in his vision is torn apart by living vines. A warm and motherly voice calls for Fjord to follow and he willingly does. He discovers a godly woman’s visage before him, eyes closed in peaceful repose. She tells Fjord that she has broken his connection to Uk’otoa for a brief time. She wishes him peace in this moment but warns that Uk’otoa will find him again soon. Although I was a little shocked at this vision, I am definitely interested in the option that Fjord has been offered. A way out of Uk’otoa’s dangerous binds and a possible choice to leave it behind permanently in the future.
Now, the second half of the episode is spent exploring the towering tree that Nott directed them towards. Essik lets the Nein know that they have reached the Arbor Exemplar. Beau recognizes this name, remembering that is if the Wild Mother’s final gift to this Plane before the Divine Gate. The tree brings life to the desolation and hope to those who seek refuge near it.
Beau, Jester and Fjord decide that climbing the 400 foot tree is the best use of time and spend the next few hours making their way 300 feet into the air. Jester and Fjord take a tumble about 100 feet up and are saved by Fjords quick thinking. Beau anime runs directly up the tree and discovers a gigantic Roc’s nest in the top branches. The three in the tree accidentally disturb the Roc in her nest and quickly jump out to try and escape. As they fall the 300 feet back to earth (with the help of Nott’s featherfall spell) the Roc begins to circle around for the kill.
This episode felt like it took a sharp left turn at the discovery of a tree. At least they know that the Drow is hiding somewhere in the mountains nearby searching for some kind of secret passage. Maybe if they escape the angry big bird the Nein will continue their chase. Next week’s episode should pick up the story pretty quickly!
Don’t Miss It!
Ashley Johnson’s episode of Between the Sheets is out on Twitch VOD now! Finally! Keep an eye out for the Youtube upload Wednesday at noon. Between the Sheets will return with another episode featuring Amanda Palmer in August.
The Critical Role cast had an eventful weekend at Denver Pop Culture Con! The critters showed up in full force.