Episode 84: Titles and Tattoos / Episode 85: Threads Converge
This episode felt like a gigantic NPC vocal practice for Mercer. We got Allura, we got Yussa, we got Orly, we got Pumat, we got Dairon, and Halas, and new adorable animal lover Oremid Haas. With that in mind, we have a lot of ground to cover in this recap so let’s dive right in.
The Nein with Allura and Yussa’s help just completed scrying on Yasha and the entity that holds her captive. Allura realizes that Yasha’s captor is more than just the Angel of Irons, it is in fact an ancient being called the Chained Oblivion. The stuff of nightmares. The Boogeyman. Babayaga. Basically real bad news and it means that the Nein are in WAY over their pay grade. There is no way that they can fight this entity, or Oban and his crew without help. The Nein will have to dig deep and gather any allies far and wide to try and stop Oban from ending the universe as they know it.
Yussa and Allura mention a couple allies that they can bring in for some aid. Yussa tells the Nein to go to Zadash and confide in Oremid Haas, the Headmaster of the Hall of Erudition. For those who need a refresher (like me), the Hall of Erudition is Zadash’s branch of the Soltryce Academy. The same academy that Fjord was so eager to join and that allowed Trent Ikithon to recruit Caleb and others. The Nein have met Oremid in the past, after the Victory Pit fights when Yasha and Beau were stopped and questioned by him and Trent Ikithon. Knowing that the Nein may have a listening ear and a reliable ally inside of the Soltryce Academy is pretty huge for them right now. Allura also mentions that she will update the Council of Tal’Dorei to see what they can do to help. This news perked many Meta ears at the table, knowing that many members of Vox Machina may still sit on the Council. This leads to the Nein relentlessly and fruitlessly badgering anyone and everyone for the names of the members of the Council.
With a direction and a purpose in mind, the Nein set off to finish their business in Nicodranus before Travelling to Zadash. They make their way to the docks to find Orly and the Ball Eater. After catching up with everyone’s favorite Cajun turtle Sea Captain, Beau, Yasha, and Nott ask for the fancy magical tattoos Orly promised them months ago. Nott gets a tattoo across her brow that will enhance her Charisma. Jester gets hers across her chest to enhance Constitution. and Beau’s seeing eye tribute tattoo goes from the top of her neck down to her shoulders to enhance Wisdom.
Once the newly named Chaos Crew finish with their tattoos, and the boys finish their deep talks over fish and chips, the Nein travel to the Cobalt Soul in Zadash. They arrive with much less fuss and fervor than last time and are actually warmly welcomed back. Beau officially receives her Expositor’s robes and gets an upgraded room suite at the Soul. She meets with Dairon to update them on all the news since they last left Xhorhas.
After briefly settling in at the Cobalt Soul, the Nein prepare to meet with Oremid Haas in the Hall of Erudition. Caleb stays behind in case anyone from his former life were there to recognize him. Oremid hears the Nein’s plea and confirms that all this seems a bit too much for one tiny band of misfits to take on alone. Oremid also warns the Nein not to trust anyone else in the Soltryce Academy. He also promises to look into Vence’s past dealings and see why he has been tearing rifts all over Exandria. The Nein solidify their new friendship with Oremid by showering him with adorable cuddles from Frumpkin and Sprinkle and watch as Oremid melts into a giant softy around the creatures.
The Nein decide it’s time for a well deserved visit to their favorite Shopkeeper Pumat Sol! Pumat is pleased to see the Nein once again, though comments that they look more hardened and well traveled now. Caduceus suddenly tenses up in immense pain and the Nein realize they are not alone. A dark elf assassin has just stabbed Caduceus with two poison daggers and then suddenly passes through the floor like a ghost.
Episode 85: Threads Converge
I was so stunned after last episode’s cliffhanger! Matt so rarely pulls a move like that, but it just reiterates how deadly serious things are becoming with Oban and his Angel of Irons cult. It seems that the was able to unlock another nightmarish being called the Inevitable End (what a frickin name) and has set her loose on the Nein.
The battle felt so absolutely futile and frustrating, fighting against a ghost in the walls with deadly blades that could drop you in one hit. There was one moment when Nott got taken down by the Inevitable End and briefly seemed like she was dead, but a quick check of the Assasinate rule guide showed that the was merely unconscious (but still in great danger). Beau and the gang finally manage to land a few nasty hits with a stunning strike and a volley of magical attacks which seems to turn the tide of the battle. Seeing that her point was made, the Inevitable End vanishes back into the night without a single word.
Never trusting any safe space ever again, The Nein run to Gentleman for refuge. They had spoken about possibly stopping in, but now a well protected safehouse is most needed. He is welcoming, though slightly alarmed that the Nein might have been followed. They assure that if anything were to happen, they would run and try to take the danger away from his abode. Jester suddenly blurts out that he is her father and needs to finally admit it. There is a moment of stunned silence from Jester’s companions, but the Gentleman’s chiding denial once again seems to settle the matter.
Leave it to Laura Bailey to make you simultaneously laugh and cry. Jester’s antics have always been my favorite, but these quiet and heavy laden moments of her searching for love and acceptance from a father that abandoned her hit pretty hard. The Gentleman and Jester shared such a quiet and meaningful moment alone in the middle of the night, with him finally admitting he was Marion’s suitor and explaining his side of what happened. Fortunes were not on his side apparently and he ended up hunted in Nicodranus, unable to return, and not even knowing that he left Marion pregnant with Jester. There was one particular line that stood out to me. “Jester, any man can have a child, only someone who’s around to raise them well can call themselves a father.” I’ve had conflicted feelings about the Gentleman and his seedy dealings in the past, but seeing how he really tried for Jester in this moment changed my opinion of him. It’s like Matt said early into this campaign, there is no black and white, good or evil. Everything is more grey with both sides showing their uncanny natures.
The next day, the Nein return to Pumat’s shop where they scry on Yasha and discover that she is in Rexentrum. They quickly decide that they have to intercept this next attack and make preparations to leave as soon as possible. To their surprise, Pumat joins the party! I was a bit shocked to see Matt so willingly throw an NPC into their party, usually he seems cautious about letting his characters team up. It took Matt a few tries to get Pumat’s abilities and spell casting figured out during the Inevitable End fight, but hopefully Pumat brings some hefty skills to the table in the next episode. I still haven’t quite figured out why Pumat so purposefully joined this mission, but I’ll just have to wait and see.
Arriving at the Cobalt Soul in Rexentrum, the Nein are greeted by an overly jumpy guard yelling “Krin!” The Nein quickly realize that the attack on Rexentrum has already begun. The Dynasty has started a sneak attack, but a hasty scry on Yasha and Vence uncover that this attack is just a diversion. Vence is possibly at a temple of Pelor, plotting the next ritual with a priest there. The Nein do their best to try and intercept Yasha and Oban somewhere in this vast city.
These episodes were jam packed of story, new leads, lore, and character development. I feel like we are back in full swing after the month long dungeon crawl in the Happy Fun Ball. There have been whispers and rumors of Ashley Johnson’s imminent return, which I’m hoping will be in the next couple episodes. There’s only one reason for the store to surge forward at such a rapid pace. I’ve been loving the intensity of the unfolding story and the plot lines that are gathering in the fringes. We’ve had hints of chains, crawling beasts, and unending maws since episode one of this campaign. Thursday can’t come soon enough!
Don’t Miss It!
The final episode of UnDeadwood finally released on YouTube this past friday! It’s a special treat you don’t want to miss. This whole production has been a shining star in the Critical Role pantheon and it truly shows how much care they put into this series.
Mini Primetime has been an absolute joy to watch as well. The short, 12-15 minute tutorials are entertaining and informational. Will Friedle is a precious gem.
Taryon Darrington and The Adventures of the Darrington Brigade happens live in Austin, Saturday November 23rd! Liam, Travis, Laura, Marisha, and Taliesin will be playing all new characters for this One Shot. This event will be broadcast on Twitch Friday, November 29th at 7 pm, or available on YouTube December 1st.