Episode 101: Mysteries, Memories, and Music
The Nein introduce themselves to Viridian, one of the leaders of the villiage Vo. Viridian welcomes the party and asks if they would like to stay the night and discuss the matter of TravelerCon at a later time. The group agrees and begin to orient themselves to life in Vo.
The group explores the treehouse shelter they’ve been given to sleep in and discover abandoned items from someone’s forgotten life. A chest containing clothes from a land far away and a broken watch with the initials B.V.
The Nein then split up to do as much ‘getting to know you’ as possible. Jester draws caricatures, Yasha plays her harp, Fjord and Caduceus help with food, and Beau gives explosive fireworks to local children.
The island of Rumblecusp contains many mysteries and wonders that are not seen anywhere else in Exandria. Different sections of the island contain unique wonders like, a waterfall that flows up into the sky, pre-calamity dinosaur like beasts, an abandoned civilization the likes of which have never been seen before, and of course Vokodo, the volcano god. It’s almost as if…this land…could be the center of the world…if you, ya know, drink the Kool Aid.
The Nein spend the night under Caleb’s dome in their treehouse just to be extra careful. They discuss the nature of creepy cult vs religious following and real god vs faux god and what their hopes are for the Traveler and Vokodo. Jester learns that The creeping feeling of being watched since they’ve been on the island is coming from Vokodo BUT Vokodo is not actually a god. Something really strange is going on.
The next morning Yasha, Caduceus, and Jester realize they have lost some personal items sometime in the night, which is weird because no one can come in the dome, and sentry Frumpkin didn’t see any of the Nein leave the dome during the night. Strangely, Yasha’s missing blanket is tucked under an unused bed. She must have lost track of it.
Anyways, the Nein prepare to travel the island of Rumblecusp with Viridian. They have plans to travel to the doorway to Vokodo’s domain then possibly circle back around to see the abandoned civilization in the north. The trek is not without it’s perils as Caduceus is quick to discover. His foot slips and gets stuck in a tar pit that suddenly begins to retract and pull him into a hidden toothy maw but Yasha easily pulls him out…then a few hours later Yasha hears “Help, It’s again.” Fed up with the carnivorous forest Caduceus asks to be carried by Giant Owl Caleb for the rest of the day.
Travel continues to go slowly, but more safely though Beau hears someone sobbing nearby in the forest. Curious, she scouts ahead to see who might be out in the forest and why they’re crying. Strangely, when she approaches the tree hollow that the noise was coming from it stops. She tries to coax the creature out (much to the dissent of the rest of the party). Nothing is working until Caduceus gets an eerie feeling and casts Eyes of the Grave. There is a wraith like figure standing inches away from Beau’s face, he warns her. Beau turns and comes face to face with a soulless black-eye, hollow creature with a large, open, dragging, gaping, void maw. Yikes.
This seemed to be a cross between a shopping/ city exploration episode and a character centered research episode, with the lightest hint of creepy encounter subtext. It’s obvious we wouldn’t go from Dragon Turtle encounter directly into another boiling pot. I was ready for a slower episode, and honestly rather curious to get to the bottom of all the creepy cult connivings concurring. Plus Mercer threw us a rather tasty bone with his signature cliffhanger ending. The Mighty Nein vs Slenderman. I’m calling it now.
Story wise, not a lot happens this session. It’s much more heavily focused on the background and history of Rumblecusp, the Vo, and Vokado. Which is great! Mercer’s world building is always incredibly solid and endlessly intriguing, so getting to know new locations and mysteries is always entertaining.
Action wise, I’d put this episode on the slower side between “at dawn we plan…for three hours straight” and “everything about this prank has gone wrong and Nott’s just killed someone”. There’s a bit of exploring, Beau climbs a tree and doesn’t get shot in the ass this time. They find a forgotten chest with a watch no one will ever remember owning. Beau gets to play irresponsible auntie and supply a child with explosives. Jester draws dicks. You know, the usual. Things picked up a bit during the second half of the episode when the Nein left the safety of Vo to venture into the strange wilds. We get Caddy’s memorable “Tar-lac” moment and his exasperated “Caleb, carry me” moment as well.
Ooh and we got the interesting hint that Vokodo is not actually a god. Not massively surprising, but it adds to the layers and layers of mystery Mercer has been heaping on at Rumblecusp. Will The Traveler have to throw down with some unknown entity for the right to host Traveler Con? Or will the Nein have to flee Rublecusp with an angry volcano on one side and an even angrier Dragon Turtle waiting for them on the other side?
We ended the episode with farm more questions than answers, and with a whole game week before TravelerCon let’s hope we at least get a couple answers! Why can no one remember where they are from? What is Vokodo’s true identity? What’s up with all the Island of Doctor Moreau/ Bermuda Triangle stuff going on with the island? How did Yasha lose track of her Wubbie??! Episode 102 promises to start off with a bang and hopefully give us an answer to some of these questions.
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You may have heard the news that California is rolling back reopening and shutting non essential businesses again. As of the writing of this article, just hours after the announcement, Critical Role has not stated if they will be impacted by the new orders. They did post the weekly broadcast schedule, which includes a new (pre recorded) episode of All Work No Play Unplugged with guest Marisha Ray! Stay tuned to Critical Role’s Twitter account for the most up to date news on their program schedule!