Episode 35: Dockside Diplomacy
The action picks right up with The Mighty Nein still beneath the city in the Sluice Weave. Fjord has just cut Algar’s wrist off, the bracelet clanging to the floor. The water creature, named Jundi, floating above them is finally freed from his bonds and looks menacingly over the adventurers. Fjord takes the bracelet from the floor and holds it out towards Jundi. Jundi takes the bracelet and tells the Nein his history with Algar and his task in the Sluice Weave. Several of his people were captured and enslaved in order to change the flow of water under the city. They redirect water to various parts of the city in order to keep power and energy running for the whole city. He thanks the Nein for freeing him from enslavement and tells the Nein to seek him out in the city under the sea at the Silver Silt Palace and he will reward them.
Jundi leaves the tunnels and presumably returns to freedom, leaving the room in silence. Algar still cowers near unconscious in the corner, clutching his wounded arm. Beau and Fjord begin to roughly interrogate Algar for more information about his dealings in the Sluice Weave. He tells them everything, saying he was tasked with using Jundi for their own purposes. Once they have bled Algar of all the information they need, the Nein agree that killing him may only draw unwanted attention and they should instead set him up to take the fall for Jundi’s escape. They force Algar to lead them back through the tunnels into the city. He leads them to the secret entrance into his own office, where the Nein ransack the place, create a false identity and disguise for Algar, and forge an incriminating letter detailing Algar’s betrayal and desire to see the city fall by releasing Jundi. Algar, on the edge of despair, is put on a boat headed for Marquet and told to never return to Nicodranus.
The adventurers wander back to Jester’s home, the Lavish Chateau. Jester lies to her mother, saying that Algar had seemingly gone away before they could meet with him. Marion thanks the Nein for their troubles. The Nein decide to head to the docks that evening to try and look for Marius Lapual. Leaving their blink pup Nugget with Marion for baby-sitting but Beau insists on taking her owl Professor Thaddeus with them. The group ‘stealthily’ heads off to the docks to investigate.
At the docks, Caduceus spots a thin elven man matching Marius’ description. Marius is meeting with several heavily cloaked people, but their conversation is too quiet to hear. Fjord attempts to investigate by swimming under the docks, but ends up making too much noise and alerts the lookout to their presence. Jester, Caduceus, Caleb and Beau try to create a distraction to allow Fjord more time, but only end up agitating the lookouts even more. Things continue to escalate and end with Beau getting shot at by the lookout, Fjord casting an incredibly loud Thunderstep spell, and Caleb lighting up the place with a Fireball.
Things quickly devolve into chaos as the Nein try to launch a ‘rescue mission’ for Marius, but Marius was frightened of the newcomers and refuses to go with them, joining his contacts in fighting the Nein. The fight travels onto the boat when local city guards move towards the sounds of fighting. Everyone is in a panic and attacking each other while undocking the boat and attempting to set sail.
Caduceus, who has been watching the fight from afar, realizes he is being left behind. He disguises himself as his best impression of a pirate, sneaks past the approaching guards, and walks into the water to swim towards the sailing boat his companions are on. Jester, who has been using her charming duplicate to distract the guards, has to come up with a clever way to get rid of her duplicate without drawing too much attention. She decides that making it seem like her duplicate commits suicide and falling into the water will be the best way to get rid of her duplicate. The guards watch horrified as they see an innocent Jester, who they are trying to help, shove her axe deep into her stomach then go toppling into the water.
The guards watch on as the supposed pirates make off with a new ship, leave the docks burning and several dead bodies behind in their wake. Confused and defeated, the guards do their best to pick up the pieces. As the boat sails on, Yasha and Fjord notice a figure swimming in the water towards the boat. Caduceus calls out to his companions in a bit of a panic. Dark figures swim in circles around him and just as he begins to struggle, Yasha reaches out and pulls him into the boat.
After Fjord, Jester and Beau interrogate the frightened Marius, they realized that they killed the crew that had the information about the Cloven Crystal. Marius doesn’t know much about the crystal except that he was supposed to bring it to these sailors and Captain Sivantekai, leader of the Squall Eater ship, and they would deliver it on behalf of an unknown magic user. Realizing that they have gained almost no new information, kidnapped a man, commandeered a ship, destroyed part of the docks and essentially become pirates against the law, the Nein settle in for a long night of thinking about consequences.
This is one of those famed ‘what the fuck did we do’ episodes that really showcase why D&D can be so fun. Chaos, just pure chaos. Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. You will do things you never thought you’d ever do. You will become pirate fugitives, swim in shark infested water, terrorize innocent guards, and kidnap a man just because his name was in a letter you stole. Good game guys.
Rewatching this episode made me realize exactly how insane the entire final act was. I completely forgot that the episode started with Algar and the fight with the water creature, which was what I was most excited for going into this episode. This episode also kind of reinforces the idea that The Mighty Nein (or maybe just the cast of Critical Role) really don’t know what to do with enemies they don’t kill. Poor Algar was brutally maimed, mocked, blackmailed, and forced to assume a new identity in a foreign land he’s never been to. Pretty freakin intense guys. The Nein also panic and end up causing a huge scene at the docks at night, frightening the guards, possibly breaking so many maritime laws, and kidnapping Marius against his will because he is too frightened to listen to them.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely loved this episode and I can’t wait to see just how the Nein will get themselves out of this mess. I have the feeling they will just end up dumping the boat and sneaking off pretending like nothing’s wrong. The entire ‘Cloven Crystal’ endeavor has been so fraught with misfortune and bad luck that it may just be time to lay it to rest. Sorry Fjord. Maybe some mysterious unnamed powerful sorcerer will seek you out sometime down the line. I almost felt bad for Travis during the session. He was so defeated and discouraged by his die rolls that by the end of the episode he rage quits and gives up on trying to maintain any sense of story.
This episode made it abundantly clear that this party’s alignment leans FAR more towards chaotic neutral than Vox Machina did. The Nein did have their little streak where they rescued orphans and kidnapped kids and did right in the world. But now it’s time to get back to their truly chaotic roots. Jester’s unpredictability seems to have permeated through this entire session. I was watching helplessly in tears by the end as it seemed that the Nein were completely fine with the burning mess they got themselves into. I honestly have NO idea where this story will go next week. The only people with information on the Cloven Crystal were killed by the Nein, Marius remains useless, the city guards think that murderous and possibly suicidal pirates have raided the docks, and we still don’t know anything about who lives in that goddam creepy wizard’s tower. Next week will be interesting for sure.
Don’t miss the first episode of All Work No Play coming this Friday, Sept. 28th at 7pm pacific! Also, catch Travis Willingham’s episode of Between the Sheets on YouTube this Wednesday.
Did you catch the broadcast of Sam Riegel’s Crash Pandas? If you haven’t, it’s definitely a must watch that I 10/10 would recommend watching. The, mostly complete, cast of Critical role play dastardly raccoons on a mission to win the drag race of their lives. There’s bananas, rocket launchers, a one armed skunk, a terminator style villain, Vin Diesel, and a souped up ice cream truck from hell. You don’t want to miss it. Also, this happens.
— 🤫 (@ArtforthesouI) September 23, 2018