Episode 10: Ghosts, Dates, and Darker Fates
Chetney frantically launches himself through the window of Jrusar business commissioner Vali Dertrana to evade capture. He’s still invisible, which gives him just enough advantage to gain a slight lead against the agile elf. Vali gives a valiant chase to try and apprehend the invisible intruder and is nearly successful, until Imogen stumbles into him on the grounds outside his office. Imogen, doing her best to cause enough distraction, plays dumb with Vali and ties him up in awkward conversation.
Chetney, decides to lean into the supernatural instead of making a clean escape, and pretends to be a ghost haunting Vali. Laudna feels that this is her time to shine and throws on her spookiest form of dread and scares the living daylights out of Vali, sending him running through the courtyard to find some guards. Well… that’s one way to stage a getaway!
The gang regroup, Chetney updates the crew on all the information he collected and treasures he stole. They agree that there is more to glean from Vali and his strange dealings. Right now through, the ladies have to get back to the tavern for a hot date with Pretty the ogre chef.
The party decides that while Laudna, Fearne, Imogen and FCG attend to an evening with Pretty, the rest of the crew will stakeout Vali’s office to see if they can dig a little deeper. Ashton also requests a little time off to deal with a matter on his own.
The ladies plus FCG have a strangely wonderful evening sharing a meal and drink with Pretty and end the night at the theater. Pretty slowly peels back his gruff layers, revealing a deeply emotional, caring, and charismatic lover of arts and entertainment. At the end of the evening, Pretty does the girls a kindness and lets them down easy, making sure that they’re aware it’s not them-it’s him. He wants them to go be free in the world and find their happiness. The ladies and Aeormaton thank Pretty for a night they’ll never forget and head back to the rest of their crew.
Ashton finds their way to one Jiana Hexum at the gauche Hexum manor. The obviously rich elven mistress of the estate is pleased to see Ashton and invites them inside. They speak about the recent theft on one of her caravans, the very same theft that Dorian’s brother Cyrus was framed for. Jiana implies that should Ashton and their current companions look into this theft and find anything of value, Ashton’s remaining debt to Jiana would be fulfilled and forgiven. Ashton promises that he’ll speak to his friends about the possible job.
The gang reunite and dish on the hot date and hotter lead on a new possible job. Ashton’s companions have more than a few questions about Ashton’s other employer and how they came to be indebted to her. They share the story of how his old crew, The Nobodies, were hired to steal from Jiana and the job went very wrong. Ashton was attacked and sent flying through a window from the roof of the tall mansion, landing right on their head and leaving them with grievous scars. The crew dragged his body back to his buddy Milo and then skipped town before the law came crashing down on their heads. Milo did their best to patch Ashton up, and Jiana takes pity on them, opting to indenture Ashton to repay the debt instead of turning them over to the authorities. Ashton reveals that should the gang take this job to investigate the theft, they could finally be free of Jiana’s debt and they might possibly be able to absolve Cyrus of his bounty. The gang promise that once Gurge is located and Chetney’s job is finished, they will definitely look into this possible new job.
Speaking of Gurge, the gang decide that the best time to strike against Vali is tonight. Don’t give him time to hide away his dark dealings and move while he’s already weak. They decide to lean into the ‘haunted office’ facade once again and let Laudna work her magic. Laudna conjures haunting image of a ghastly flower girl, complete with black void eyes and dislocated jaw. The guards outside of Vali’s office scatter, leaving the coast clear. Once everyone has snuck into the office, Chetney quickly opens up the secret chamber. He begins to sneakily descend into the darkness below. He sees a flickering light, hears some kinds of electrical or magical surges, and some eerie humming that might be the voice of Ira (the strange mastermind Vali was hesitantly working with). Chetney can see a figure walking around some kind of laboratory set up. The figure is bizarre in appearance. Long, long pointed ears, bald yellowing skin, and a freakishly skinny and elongated body ending in spindly fingered hands. Dark green, pupil-less, alien eyes, and a jagged mouth cut wide across the creature’s skull. Chetney motions for the others to begin to move forward.
As the rest of the gang make their way down the stairs, Chetney hears the voice begin to speak to someone locked away in the room with them. Chetney realizes that Gurge is definitely the other person in the room, and seems to be prey to this strange man’s evil experimentations. Ira suddenly begins speaking to the group, who were not as stealthy as they had hoped. “Don’t worry my pets,” the creepy voice calls out. ” I wasn’t expecting guests, but the night seems to be getting more and more interesting.”
And that’s where we’ll pick up next time!
Well, well, wellll….This episode was a strange one for sure. It starts out with some excitement as Chetney makes a grand escape, finds a bit of a lull in the middle while the rest of the story falls into place, then ends on another high energy break in and encounter cliffhanger. Let’s dive right in and unpack the action in this week’s session.
I don’t think Chetney’s escape could have gone any…better? I mean, it all worked out in the end right? It’s seeming like this campaign will rely more heavily on outlandish silly escapades than the outright heroic heists of campaign 1 and the absolute chaotic capers in campaign 2. It’ll be interesting to see how these little plots will evolve as the gang level up and possibly gain or change members over time. I will say, for how green these adventurers are, their breaking and entering skills are….not so bad! They’ll be outright professionals before too long, especially if they keep Chetney’s penchant for unlocking doors around.
After Chetney’s escape is made, the gang spilt up and spend a large chunk of the episode role playing and building out backstories. It wasn’t my favorite interlude ever, but it did have its moments. The date with Pretty was a hit for many critters, and I do feel that Mercer kept the role play going just long enough for things to not feel tedious or over acted. Did we gain anything story wise from this escapade? No… but sometimes it’s nice to be able to let loose and go on a little DnD date every once in a while.
Ashton’s little side adventure definitely hit some interesting notes for me. A solo adventure can be a bit weird for the rest of the table to sit through, but Ashton kept it short, sweet, and ever so intriguing with just enough juicy details to entice us. Imogen was on the right track when she linked Ashton’s mysterious letter to the heist gone wrong that Cyrus is involved with. We also learned quite a bit more about Ashton’s connections in Jrusar and their secret second employer. As shady and detatched as Jiana Hexum seems, I feel some very interesting story leads buried in Ashton’s backstory. We finally got to know how Ashton came across their gnarly scars and injuries! While there was nothing outrightly surprising or unexpected in the story, it is nice to see them opening up to the rest of the group and sharing a few more details. I loved the little detail they threw in that the golden scars lining Ashton’s arms and torso are crafted from the very gold they were paid with on the heist against Jiana. Also, we saw that the Hexum estate already has two massive stone golems guarding the entrance, so this missing golem that was stolen is definitely feeling like a piece of this interesting puzzle. I’m excited to see more to come from this thread, and we may get a two for one deal as the gang’s investigation could also help Cyrus out as well.
The final act of the episode centers on yet another break and enter scheme that ends in a wild cliffhanger. At least this crew is staying on brand. There’s still no definitive clues on the strange figure in this hidden laboratory. We did finally find Gurge though! And it seems this “Ira” figure is using Gurge as a catalyst to poison or spread more lycanthropy around the city. Maybe? There was a lot of talk of “sharing one’s abilities with the world” and such. Plus all the weird arcane or alchemic equipment Ira was messing around with. There might be another hidden layer to this plot, or maybe this weird alien creature is really obsessed with werewolves. We’ll just have to find out! The jury is still out on if this character, Ira, is related at all to the Somnovum Ira from C2, though the bizarre alien appearance can be an argument for either side really. And who else is desperate to know if this Ira is definitely the Nightmare King mentioned in Gurge’s bounty?! Many, many questions still need answers. Let’s hope our gang survives long enough to ask them! Don’t worry critters, it’s almost Thursday!
Don’t Miss It!
The wait for The Legend of Vox Machina is almost over! Catch the premiere Friday, January 28th on Amazon Prime. If you backed the Kickstarter project, check your emails to get early access to the first two episodes as early as Tuesday, January 25th!
Critical Role also released a sneak peek at the next two weeks of programming. Episode 11 of Campaign 3 will air in the normal Thursday time slot on January 20th. Then, we get an all new Battle Royale episode coming Thursday, January 27th. You wont want to miss this guest-star laden action packed happy fun time GM’d by the wonderful Sam Riegel.
Five warriors are plucked from Exandria’s timeline and forced to fight in an alternate reality TV show — Garyon Garrington’s Plunder Games. The last contestant standing will be awarded one use of the Wish spell.
MEET THE CONTESTANTS
Anjali Bhimani as Fy’ra Rai from Exandria Unlimited
Darin De Paul as Sprigg from Campaign 1: Vox Machina
Will Friedle as Kashaw Vesh from Campaign 1: Vox Machina
Sumalee Montano as Nila from Campaign 2: The Mighty Nein