Episode 37: Dangerous Liasons
Captain Fjord “Tusktooth” and his crew watch as a pirate crew make their way to his ship. He tells his crew to stand down and wait to see what the pirates want. He disguises himself to look like Captain Jawgrasp (the former captain of the ship that the Nein killed in Nicodranus). Once the other crew gets aboard the ship they tell Fjord that he and his chosen crew must come aboard the Squall Eater and meet Captain Avantika. Fjord keeps up his disguise and agrees to come aboard, asking for Avantika’s crew to help fix his sinking ship. Avantika’s crew takes over the Mystake, steering it towards shore, as the Mighty Nein make their way towards the Squall Eater.
Once aboard the Squall Eater, the Nein are introduced to Captain Avantika, a female elf with bright red hair. She is concerned to see ‘Captain Jawgrasp’ with an entirely different crew. As hard as Fjord tries to keep up the façade, Avantika sees through the disguise and signals her crew to attack. Suddenly surrounded by loaded guns pointed directly at them, Fjord and Beau do some quick talking to calm the crew. He tells Avantika that they do in fact have the Cloven Crystal, but he and his crew must be kept alive if she wants the crystal. Avantika offers them a deal. Join her crew or be killed and tossed in the sea. The Nein accept the deal and are now officially part of Avantika’s crew.
Once Avantika accepts the Nein as part of her crew, she tells them to get comfortable and join her for dinner later that evening. As soon as they’re alone, the Nein try and figure out what the heck they’re doing and what they are trying to learn from Avantika. They agree that they should try and get as much information about the Cloven Crystal and why she wants it. They will keep an eye out for danger and any possibilities of escape and stay vigilant.
At dinner, Avantika and the Nein trade questions scouting for information. They both know they are lying to each other, but neither wishes to concede any truths. They do find out that Avantika has hired an adventurer named Jamedi Cosko to explore the island in search of a temple of Uk’otoa (the Great Leviathan). She needs the sphere to unlock hidden secrets of the temple. She claims to be the chosen of Uk’otoa and shows Fjord a tattoo of an eye on her neck. Fjord instantly recognizes the eye. He has seen it in his dreams as the great eye that has granted him his powers and his falchion. Avantika continues to tell the history of the Lucidian Ocean and the indigenous people that ruled it in the name of Uk’otoa. They were all powerful and could not be stopped until the rest of the world grew jealous, locked their serpent god away for eternity and destroyed their temples. Avantika feels she has been chosen to restore Uk’otoa to power and become queen of the Luicidian Ocean and its people. She reveals that she also has dreams of a great eye in the water that speaks to her and grants her power. Fjord is enthralled by Avantika and slowly reveals that they may share a very important purpose. Excited, Avantika tells the crew they must spend the night on the ship and wait for Jamedi Cosko (Jumanji Cosko to the rest of the cast) to return with information on the temple ruins. She also informs the Nein that they will accompany her to the temple grounds once they are found.
The Nein find their quarters on the ship and settle in for a restless night. The group is unsure of their new Pirate life and whether they should really be risking so much for this crystal right now. As the debate heats up, Fjord is mysteriously summoned to Avantika’s chamber alone. Nott uses the distraction to wander the ship alone and unwatched. She discovers a massive amount of explosives hiding under the decks.
Avantika welcomes Fjord into her private chambers and they share a very heated, surprisingly arousing conversation about their shared patron Uk’otoa. As this intense discussion is happening, Caleb uses tiny owl Frumpkin to spy on the room and shares the entire conversation with the rest of the Nein back in the chambers. Fjord learns that Avantika knew another chosen of Uk’otoa but does not reveal who that person was. She shows Fjord the tattoo again, and shows him a second marking on her body. On her palm is another unblinking yellow eye. Fjord is unsure if this eye is real or another tattoo. He shows her the falchion which also has the eye of the Cloven Crystal lodged in the hilt. Both speechless for a moment, they stare into each other’s eyes. She reaches around and grabs his…sword… and they have a moment of connection before she breaks it off, saying they both need rest. Fjord begins to leave, taking one last longing look back at Avantika before he returns to his companions.
His companions question him endlessly about what they overheard and Fjord brings up an old memory of Mollymauk. He tries to remember if Molly had any tattoos of yellow eyes amongst the litany of artwork on his body. Yasha quietly speaks up saying that he did in fact have nine yellow eyes over his body, including a tattoo of an all seeing eye on his back. They think on the implications for a moment and wish they could question their missing friend. As they one by one fall asleep, Fjord has another dream of the eye. In his dream he destroys two likenesses of his nemesis Sabian and his mentor/father figure Vandren. He finds a dark, endless pool of water. In that pool he finds the eye. It speaks in his mind. Watching. He sees a vision of a black ocean with a fleet of ships coming his way. He reaches his hand out and an immense power courses through him and he controls the entire ocean to destroy the armada. Reward.
Fjord awakes in a cold sweat to his companions watching over him. Just as they are about to confront him, they get called to the deck for a meeting. Avantika tells Fjord that Jamedi Cosko has returned and has found the temple. They are to set off into the jungle in a few hours. He is to get himself and his crew ready for the adventure.
By now I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about the terrible audio issues from the live show, but I just have to make my peace with it. There were parts of the episode (when Matt or the cast speak quietly) that are nearly unwatchable because the mikes cut out all of the dialogue. It is heartening that the tech team at Critical Role are taking an extra day to release the episode to patch up the problems as much as they can. Hopefully the YouTube release is much better quality. My poor eardrums are still ringing from those surprise LOUD NOISES at the start and middle of the episode. One last tech problem note. About 3 hours into the VOD the audio cuts out, then the feed cuts out, break music starts, then the VOD resets about 30 minutes back and picks up again. It was weird. I thought my internet died. Again, it’s all fixed in post but it really took my out of the experience. Anyway, Thank you to the crew at Critical Role for doing their best to give us the best quality video we can get with all the tech problems they had. Ok, now onto the important parts!
Holy shit what an episode. Even with all the problems, this has to be one of my favorite episodes of this campaign. I didn’t know how much I needed a Matt/Travis love story. Arsequeef is right, this gif is all of us.
— ARSEQUEEF (@ArseQueef) October 5, 2018
— ARSEQUEEF (@ArseQueef) October 5, 2018
I was thrilled to see the announcement that Ashley Johnson was able to make it to the Live show. There wasn’t a whole lot for her to do this episode but it’s always a pleasure to have her back with the gang. It’s time for her to come back to the show full time. I need me some more Yasha.
I have been loving this Pirate life side story a lot more than I thought I would. I love me some warlock backstory! Fjord’s patron lore is fascinating and his whole interaction with Captain Avantica was incredible. The tension was palpable and watching the cast react was just as fun to watch as watching Travis squirm under Matt’s flirtatious gaze. Knowing how chaotic neutral this party likes to play, I am interested to see if they will all be ok with releasing a possibly evil entity from a sealed, eternal prison. Do it. I dare you.
As much as I was fearing a bottleneck episode with the entire gang being cooped up on a boat, it’s been hilarious to watch them get up to their usual hijinks and interactions while at sea. Nott’s midnight espionage, Caleb’s Frumpkin voyeurism, and Fjord trying to play it cool and be a leader. I love it. I am dying to see the gang take on the Temple of Uk’otoa and the dangerous indigenous lizardfolk in next week’s episode.