Episode 104: The Ruined Silver
With FJord sounding the alarm, the Nein spring into action to save Caduceus. Beau and Caleb make it to the entrance to the lair first and with a lucky roll, Beau is able to spot Caduceus right away. In a stunning mvp moment, Beau clocks Caduceus hard enough to give Caleb’s Cat’s paw a chance to grab him and drag him out of there.
Once everyone is safely out of the lair and onto a nearby ship, the Nein take stock and lick their wounds. During this short rest, Caduceus reaches out to the Wildmother seeking divine intervention and aid. Miraculously, she answers and grants Caduceus a vision. He sees an entity now known as Vokodo, frightened, running through the Astral Sea from some unknown dread. The entity begins to crash through planes of existence in its desperation to escape, shattering reality until it crash lands on Rumblecusp. The impact fuses the island with shards of broken realities and so begins the transformation of Vokodo. The volcano he landed in begins to change him and he in turn changes the island around him.
Caduceus snaps back to reality and shares his vision. The Nein discuss various plans to possibly combat or barter with Vokodo. They agree that visiting the next forbidden place on the list may help them get more answers for this encounter. After much deliberation on how to most safely exit through the waterfall, the Nein manage to easily swim out and fly off towards the ruins.
Three hours from their destination, the Nein and Vilya begin to stealthily hike towards the crooked black obelisk at the center of the ruins. Jester learns, by talking to a tree, that the surrounding trees near the center of the ruins have ‘lost their minds’. A disease or thrall of some kind palls the land. The Nein continue on and immediately see what the tree was speaking of. Shuddering, groaning, clicking diseased trees begin to move and take halting steps forward seeming to search for…something. The Nein air on the side of caution and stealth past these haunted trees and continue to the center of the city, walking through the mist until building begin to appear.
The buildings faintly remind Caleb and Beau of the buildings in the broken and abandoned area outside of Rosohna in Xhorhas. Calamity era, old ass haunted buildings. Spectral whispers disturb the group and a black roiling mist spills out towards them as these tortured souls begin to attack the Nein. Yasha and Caduceus become possessed by spirits and begin to attack their party members, but a quick Turn Undead from Jester returns her companions to their right mind. Fjord channels the light of the Wildmother and cleaves the black mist entity into oblivion and the rest of the ghosts flee. Silence falls.
Caleb leads the Nein towards the ziggurat-like tower. Inside the Nein find several sarcophagi with “retainers of the Lord” written in infernal and a larger black sarcophagus that they decide to open. Yasha opens one of the smaller sarcophagi first and finds an ancient robed figure, long rotted, and reminiscent of the ghost on the steps they battled. The other sarcophagi contain similar bodies. The Nein realize that they may have been able to make allies of these trapped souls if they hadn’t destroyed the leader. Ruing their mistake they decide to return to the safer area of the jungle and continue their plot against Vokodo.
As distracted and chaotic as the first hour of the session was, I will say seeing the cast too giggly to focus is adorable. I think we have all hit this crazy point in our quarantine where exhaustion paired with the slightest taste of the friendships and normalcy just makes everyone giddy. I don’t think Matt has ever cut to break so quickly or because he and the cast were too broken to pick up the pieces without a hard reset. In all fairness, I think we could all use a bout of uncontrollable laughter.
How creepy were those zombie trees?? Some kind of Lord of the Rings nightmare Ent moot. Matt as always is a master at setting the eerie mood. It also helped to center the rather chaotic cast and remind them that he’s not going to go too easy on them while they hunt for clues.
The creepy trees led right into an even creepier city and to the tower that definitely gives me the Vecna Thar Amphala heebie geebies. For the Campaign 1 uninitiated, the tower Matt describes has some serious resemblance to the location of the final God/Lich level 20 boss fight Vox Machina had with a evil s.o.b. named Vecna. We’ll see if this is actually the case perhaps in a later episode. Jester and Beau also heard whispers from the banished, suffering souls. Oracs. To my knowledge, we have not heard this name before, though it coulnd be a variation of either Orthax (Percy’s gun ghost from C1) or Orcus (again an easter egg demon lord from C1).
We got to see the Mighty Nein vs ghosts part 2, with the Nein seeming to be able to handle the undead battlefield a little easier than their previous encounter. There was only a brief partial round of possession this battle instead of the harrowing several round long massacre last time.
After the big HDYWTDT, Matt several times (both as Vilya and as almighty DM) hinted that the group may have missed a rather important hint in this encounter. In a bit of a cringy moment, Matt carefully explains that the reason Vokodo warned everyone away from this place was because the spirits were angry at him for being trapped and he did not want an alliance between the islanders and the spirits. AND that because the Nein went in fists first instead of brains first they missed the opportunity to make allies. the moment passes quickly though and the cast jokes and laughs their way through the rest of planning for the next day.
Overall the episode was more of an interesting side quest masquerading as a main story plot. The initial action with saving Caduceus from being drawn into Vokodo’s lair started the episode off on a high note. Things got silly in the middle, spooky after break, and “At Dawn We Plan” by the end. It seems like the Nein are ready to fight Vokodo in his lair next session! We’ll see if they can get enough planning done to get to the boss battle right after the break. Thursday will be here before you know it.
Don’t Miss It!
Critical Role has announced a new show in their Quarantine programming line up. It promises to be an absolute gem too! Mini Prime Time After Dark premieres Tuesday August 4th at 4pm. Featuring bonus and behind the scenes footage from Will Friedle’s Mini Prime Time, the show is taking the place of Narrative Telephone and All Work No Play which both finished their seasons.
We have already been promised a season 2 of Mercer’s revenge, I mean Narrative Telephone. Season 2 also promises to bring guest storytellers to throw another element of chaos into the mix! I for one would love to see the entire casts impressions of Shakaste, Reani, Kasha and Zhara. The possibilities! There’s no release date yet but here’s hoping they only take a couple weeks to recover from the trauma of season 1 before filming new episodes.
As always, the future of All Work No Play hangs in limbo. Our two favorite co-hosts are busy as ever and of course the pandemic situation really throws a wrench in the “play” aspect of the show’s previous seasons. I’m guessing that sometime in the next year…or two we’ll get some news that the show has been revived.