Episode 112: The Chase Begins
The Nein, still reeling from the discover of Molly’s empty grave, are shocked by Jester’s scrying vision. They quickly hash out every possible scenario that could have led to Molly/Nonagon’s resurrection. Jester has the idea to maybe talk to the surrounding plant life to see if it has any pertinent information. And thus… Henry Crabgrass is born. Henry, the hyper-cognizant patch of crabgrass surrounding Molly’s gravesite tells Jester that about 50 days ago a group of people came by, dug up the ground, did some chanting and left with the newly animated Nonagon.
Armed with this new information, and a new deep reverence for all crabgrass everywhere, the Nein discuss what to do next. They need more information about how Nonagon’s crew, the Tomb Takers, are aligned with Vess DeRogna, their new employer. Saying a quick goodbye to Henry, the Nein teleport back to Zadash to meet with Vess.
Vess surprisingly divulges some interesting history with her connection to the Tomb Takers. While the initial relationship seems as above board as can be when hiring a group of mercenaries, there seems to be no underlying insidious anger between the two parties. Vess makes no mention of a stolen book or hunting the Tomb Takers down for breaking a contract. According to her, she only needed the Tomb Takers for one or two missions then both parties amicably ended their working contract.
The Nein convince Vess to speed up their date of travel as soon as possible. She agrees that if the Tomb Takers are truly pursuing the same mission as Vess and the Nein they should leave the next morning. The Nein hurry along their orders of winter clothes and beefed up magical items from Pumat. Poor Pumat, already pushed for time, works non stop to the bone to get the Nein’s items done-and although the Nein feel quite guilty for pushing Pumat so hard they are grateful to have their essential items ready to go.
The Nein wake the next morning and board their iceberg crushing arctic vessel. Fjord agrees to help navigate and captain the ship as best he can during this trip. The group encounter several days of bad weather, a spooky sunken shipwreck to pillage, and then, one eerie, sleet filled morning Caduceus notices some strange clicking sounds coming from somewhere near the ship. The crew members lean over the sides to get a better look and one of the crew is suddenly yanked overboard.
Three lobster-like Chuuls clamber aboard and begin to attack the Nein. While his companions unleash volley of attacks on the chuuls, Fjord notices another creature climbing onto the ship. The figure pulls a crystal from her pocket and points towards Caleb, shattering his amber vault and spilling an entire cartload of fireworks and the glowing yellow eyed Cloven Crystal onto the deck.
A sudden chill grows in his stomach as a hauntingly familiar form walks towards him. Deathly pale skin, a grotesquely twisted broken neck, shocking red hair and an instantly recognizable pirate hat. Ice-vantika grabs Fjord and attempts to throw him overboard but in a miraculous save, he manages to break her grip and stay aboard the ship. She gives him her signature smirk, pulls out two wicked blades and says…” It’s been a while.”
This episode has a little bit of everything! After a two week break, it was fantastic to get back to so much action. We’re finally getting to dig into Molly/Nonagon’s mysterious history which I know we have all been waiting for since the early days of this campaign. So many threads tangle around Molly, the Tomb Takers, and this strange Eyes of Nine vision. A darling new NPC named Henry to fall in love with. More Beau/ Yasha awkward interactions. And ONE ever so brief, teasing round of sweet sweet combat. After so many weeks of not a single encounter, I am slavering at the bit for next week’s kickoff battle. Let’s dive right into this week’s session.
Beau’s theories are slowly being proven the deeper the Nein dig for answers. Vess DeRogna has confirmed that she did in fact have business with Nonagon’s crew the Tomb Takers several years ago, right around the time the group was dissolved after their disastrous encounter with a mystery mage and a powerful tome.
We had some wonderful NPC interactions this session, starting with a sentient patch of crabgrass that all of Critterdom seems to have fallen for. Henry Crabgrass immediately lightened the somber mood around Molly’s grave while also providing some incredibly helpful information. What a hero. The Nein also got into a bit of a hairy situation with Pumat Sol in Zadash. They made the mistake of mentioning that they had items pending at Pumat’s shop that would delay their journey and inadvertently sentenced Pumat to a sleepless night of intense labor under Vess’ watchful eye. Hopefully a mistake they won’t make twice, if Pumat will even consider taking new commissions from the Nein in the future.
Another hilarious moment of levity in this week’s episode was Fjord interacting with Vess’ magical tower. It’s like watching a kid in a candy store. Fjord/ Travis (mostly Travis) can’t keep his hands to himself and just has to go touch all the things. Luckily, he avoids transporting the group into a dangerous room of dragon-y death and just pisses off a hidden imp creature with an unsolicited slap to the face.
Beau and Yasha. The Critter’s biggest and gayest ship is slowly and oh so awkwardly set sail. I am so thrilled that Ashley has embraced low charisma to an ultimate level with Yasha. Their beautiful bed time interaction had me literally on the floor in stitches. I love these two characters together so much. It’s an absolute treat to watch these new stories and characters evolve over time. I don’t think I would have paired up hard ass, punk rock Beau with the broken and silent statue that Yasha was at the beginning of the campaign. Character growth FTW!
Aaaand we’re back on a boat… which means we are immediately back into trouble with Uk’atoa and his ilk. Even though Fjord asked the Wildmother for protection during their journey, the Nein didn’t get far at all before Uk’atoa was able to hunt his former pawn down once again. It was only a matter of time before Uk’atoa exacted his revenge for Fjord’s betrayal and of course it happens in the most intense, trademarked Mercer cliffhanger ending possible.
The reveal of undead Avantika as the main antagonizer was absolutely brilliant. I know there are some complaints that characters who die in Critical Role never actually stay dead, but just like the best anime, the shock factor of having characters return from the dead is worth the minuscule complaints. I personally am glad that we get more Avantika/Fjord interactions and that Fjord is coming face to face with his past mistakes.
Next week promises more chaos, intense boat battle number 3 and Halloween costumes??? We’ll have to see what the cast can cobble together for costumes in the new Covid America. It’s almost Thursday!
Don’t Miss It!
Critical Role is back from their brief hiatus! If all goes well we should be able to expect a new episode every Thursday from now on.
New Talks Machina episode next Tuesday. The new social distance format seems to be going very well. The show is also an extra 30 minutes of hilarious interview questions as the cast try to catch up on every loose thread and plot point since quarantine began.
Narrative Telephone is back for season 2! Watch Mercer magnificently mutilate the whole premise of the show, break the entire cast and catch bonus cast member Brian W. Foster butcher his was through every NPC accent…ever. The first episode already aired on Twitch this past Tuesday and the YouTube VOD will go up Thursday the 22nd. New episodes will air every other Tuesday, trading places with Talks Machina.
In case you missed the animated intro to this episode, there were a few new pictures added in! Those Critters with eagle eyes spotted Trent Ikithon, Artagan, Reani, Twiggy and Spurt, and everyone’s favorite spoiler Molly/Nonagon!