Episode 33: The Ruby and the Sapphire
The Mighty Nein explore the beautiful Menagerie Coast. Jester is eager to visit her mother, but the group decides to take the scenic route and stop by the ocean. Beau, Caduceus, Caleb, and Nott have never seen the ocean before and are taken by the beauty and grandiosity of it. Caleb strips bare and spends his time floating away in solace. Beau attempts a quiet mediation on the rocks. Caduceus builds a sand castle and watches as the waves wash it gently away, he enjoys the sand between his toes and the cold waves washing over them. Jester spends her time training her blink puppy Nugget. Nott hunkers down far from the water’s edge and starts an intense fight with a land crab, then hunts down a flock of seagulls to snack on later. Fjord spends his time pranking Caleb. It is a good day.
Once the Nein has sufficiently beached, they make their way to the Marquis de Main. The Marquis is a spectacular mansion standing proudly near the center of Nicodranus. Jester’s anticipation becomes palpable as she returns home for the first time in months to see her beloved mother once more. The Nein, mostly disguised and laying low, take in the beautiful sights while Jester races away to find her mother. Rushing upstairs, Jester makes her way to her mother’s bedroom, pushing past a rather angry looking man rushing away from the room. She speaks to her mother’s maid, attempting to sneak past, giving the code phrase “The Little Sapphire has come to see you.” Her excitement bubbles over as she hears her mother excitedly call out and they both rush to each other. Marion Levorre, The Ruby of the Sea is as beautiful and entrancing as ever and is overwhelmed to see her dear daughter once more. They spend several moments catching up before Marion has to leave to perform. Jester returns to her companions to watch her mother sing.
The Nein are entranced by The Ruby’s performance and are so pleased to finally meet the mythical courtesan. After the performance, she eagerly greets each of her daughter’s companions and thanks them for keeping her safe. Marion reveals that she has had some troubles with a recent client. Algar Dyomin had become extremely possessive and started to threaten the Ruby’s other clients so she had to cut him off. He is still harassing her though, which angers Jester and she vows to put an end to his mistreatment.
The subject of Jester’s father happens to come up by chance when Beau mentions The Gentlemen. Marion becomes intensely interested in his description and goes on the gently remind Jester that she has told her about a man that exactly fits that description. Everyone begins to talk a million miles an hour, demanding to know every detail while Jester processes the information that the Gentleman might in fact be her long lost father. Marion recounts the story of a man named Babenon Dosal who she had a romantic tryst with years ago. Jester frantically sends a telepathic message to The Gentleman asking if he is in fact this man but is met with silence at first, then a frank but gentle denial. Marion decides that this was wishful thinking anyway and that the man she loved must be gone, lost to the ocean once more.
The Nein decide to call it a night after the wild revelations and agree to meet each other again very soon. The group makes plans to visit a Lighthouse that may hold some clues to Fjord’s mystery letter about the Cloven Crystal. The next morning The Mighty Nein make their way to the Lighthouse to visit the reclusive keeper, Gladys. She reluctantly lets them in after Caduceus sweet talks her. Caduceus is entranced by the sculpted image of his deity, The Mother Melora, carved into the Lighthouse. He implores Gladys to help them with their missions. She does in fact have some information on the man that was harassing the Ruby of the Sea. She believes that Algar works for one of the protectors of the harbor that lay beneath the city. Gladys thanks the adventurers for their visit and quickly ushers them out onto the street again.
On the way back from the lighthouse, Fjord notices a rather strange tower standing out of the skyline. He learns it is called Tidepeak, tower of Yussa Errenis, a powerful mage that lives in the area. The group quickly become distracted and enthralled by the mysterious looming tower and begin to investigate the base of the tower. They soon realize that there is no way in on the ground floor, and any attempts to reach the upper balcony embarrassingly fail. Caleb grows impatient with the group and ushers them on towards the wharf to find Algar.
The Nein approach The Wayfarer’s Cove, one of the seediest bars they’ve seen and meet an interesting cast of characters. A large humanoid Tortle sits hunched over a table drinking, a dark skinned woman and a well-armed ship mate scan over the tavern patrons, giving a careful eye to the newcomers then giving them a sly little smile.
This episode had its definite ups and downs. While I found a lot of the situations and backstory deep dives really entertaining, the main story seems to be hitting a bit of a lull. I’m kind of getting into a more ‘slow burn’ style campaign that give us little hints to major story lines while leaving plenty of room for individual character story-telling and development. The little ‘beach day’ in between episodes can be fun in their own way. We get to see the characters relax and interact in ways that constant monster battle epic episodes usually don’t allow.
Some of my favorite moments from this episode were the little moments that the characters shared with each other. Fjord pranking Caleb, Nott hunting seagulls on the beach, Caduceus bringing out the best of a cranky hermit Lighthouse keeper, and Jester finally being home with her mother. Caleb is such a gem and his dry humor brings such light to his interactions. Wandering from beach, to tavern, to lighthouse, to wizard’s tower we got to see a lot of interesting new sights in the fantastic Menagerie coast and meet some interesting characters.
This was one of those episodes where you feel like a lot happened, but nothing actually got done. If you’re really into world building and lore this episode is a gold mine. Wildemount is definitely the most diverse in Matt’s canon so far and we’re getting to see a lot of culture and diversity that only came much later than in the first campaign. This campaign has definitely got a more fantastical, mythical feel to it with a more colorful cast than the previous Vox Machina campaign ever had. The only real ‘diversity’ I remember from campaign 1 was Vox Machina’s mission to Marquet and the levels of hell to hunt down Hotis the Rakshasa. So having such a diverse and colorful cast has been really interesting so far and built such a rich world that begs to be explored.
Poor Fjord has been having shit luck in finding out any information about his letter and the Cloven Crystal. As interesting as the side story could be, the dice gods deem it is not yet time. The episode rather meandered from side story to side story with Fjord learning a lot about everything but the one thing he travelled to the Coast to investigate. I am still feeling a bit vague about how the episode ended and what the group plans to accomplish beyond harassing a powerful figure in the Menagerie Coast underbelly. Hopefully next week gives us a bit more action with some intriguing hints to Fjord’s quest.
Did you catch all the new Critical Role announcements that came out today? There will be two new shows airing on Critical Role’s Twitch channel! Our favorite host, the illustrious Brian W. Foster brings you Between the Sheets. This show will dive deep into the backstories and motivations behind the character sheets. The show will premiere Monday September 17th, 7pm pacific at twitch.tv/criticalrole.
The next, and by far my most anticipated, announcement… All Work No Play is returning Friday September 28th at 7pm pacific! I can’t wait! This show will be a continuation of the hidden gem of a podcast that Sam Riegel and Liam O’Brian used to gift us with on a….once or twice a year schedule. This show predates their Critical Role fame, and even includes the first conversations about the famed Liam’s Birthday One-Shot that started it all. I can’t wait to see what kind of meticulously planned fun these two crazy busy dads will bring to the internet.
If you are not a Twitch subscriber the Critical Role team will graciously make this content available on their YouTube channel two days after it airs on Twitch. Between the Sheets will also be available in podcast form one week after it airs.