Episode 125: The Neverending Day
The Nein spill out into Yussa’s tower and are quickly led to meet him in one of his rooms. They notice the Magic Fun Ball is sitting out on a pedestal with many notes and drawings scattered around it. Yussa greets the Nein and asks what business they have in Nicodranus. They take the time to tell the whole story of Aeor and the Somnovum, culminating in a plea for Yussa’s help. While Yussa is intrigued by what the Nein have discovered, he is hesitant to go to Aeor in person after hearing how messy magic using can be. He can offer help in other ways though He offers the Nein two healing potions, a new piece of amber for Caleb, and they can also borrow his scepter of blasting if they would like.
Caleb thanks the mage for his kind offer then asks if they could also spend a moment talking to Halas (the soul gem trapped creator of the Fun Ball). Yussa and Caleb both acknowledge that this is a very dangerous gamble, but one Caleb is willing to take. Caleb asks that Yussa and the Nein prepare to take him out by any means necessary should he fall prey to Halas’ mind. Taking a deep breath, Caleb reaches out to grab the gem.
Immediately, Caleb feels a presence in his mind. A gravelly voice calls out to him, asking his name. Halas can sense Caleb is a magic user, he is also willing to play along with Caleb’s game so far, though he has some requests of his own to make. Halas will answer Caleb’s questions if he can…borrow Caleb’s body, you know, just for a second or two. Caleb carefully steps around this request, toying the line and asks for Halas to answer three questions first, then maybe he will see about Halas’ request. In a spectacular show of persuasion (two natural 20’s in a row!) Halas agrees and Caleb sneaks more information out of Halas.
Halas is aware of Aeor’s destruction but it happened well before his time. In his home, Exandria, Aeor was used as a cautionary tale. Aeor attempted to best the Gods and paid the price with the destruction of their entire society. Halas also reveals that the Somnovum, according to his knowledge, also perished in the destruction- no one survived. Caleb interrupts Halas’ train of thought before it can wander into promises made and quickly tries to drop the gem.
Caleb feels a crushing force, and is nearly unable to let go of the gem. But his mind is stronger this time and the gem slips from his fingers, silencing Halas once again. The Nein are quickly assured that Caleb isn’t possessed by an evil wizard and everyone decides they’ve gotten all the help and information they needed here. Yussa hides Halas’ gem back into his pocket universe and asks the Nein if there’s anything else they require. Caduceus sheepishly asks if he can help them locate a threshold crest they may have possibly misplaced in a wonky teleportation accident. Why yes, Yussa does have a room for that.
Yussa brings the Nein into his Magical Amplification chamber. The room is encrusted with glittering green Residuum, used to power up magical abilities. Jester is able to dial in on the crest and her consciousness is violently rocketed across Wildemount, coming to rest somewhere in the forest outside of Rexentrum, down into the trees until her vision rests on the blue stone lodged into the dirt. Jester can’t quite pinpoint the exact location on a map… but the Nein at least know the crest is far away from Lucien for now. They’ll deal with finding this incredibly rare, super powerful, massively expensive artifact a little later.
The Nein ask if Yussa could contact his associate Lady Allura for a quick visit. Yussa agrees and is hopeful that she can also aid the Nein in their quest. A quick message is sent and the all clear is given for the Nein’s first trip to Tal’Dorei! Emon here we come!
The Nein step through Yussa’s teleportation circle and find themselves in a gorgeous white tower. Allura briefly catches up with the Nein. As they exchange pleasantries, Allura’s wife Kima comes ambling into the chambers, curious at their unfamiliar guests. The Nein then spin their spooky Sonmovum tale and ask if there’s any way she and Kima could help. Allura notices Fjord’s strange weapon, as he brought out Star Razor to check for Lucien’s prying eyes. She tells Fjord that his weapon is in fact an incredibly powerful Vestige of Divergence and he should be most careful with it.
Allura agrees that the Nein will need all the help they can get facing off against Lucien and the Somnovum, but she and Kima are rather past their adventuring days. She can however offer to send them with borrowed gifts. She gives them two objects called an Arcane Field Generator, used for hunting Beholders. Maybe these can give them an edge against Lucien’s weird eye problems. She also gives them an item that is attuned to the Astral plane, to aid them in reaching the plane in case they need to chase Lucien into Cognouza.
Allura also offers a pouch of 500 gp worth of Residuum. The Nein are amazed she has so much of this precious and rare material just laying around! Eh, she knows a good place up north to find some. Veth also manages to get her hands on a spell scroll of Intellect Fortress. Lastly, Allura very solemnly hands over her personal wizard’s staff. Gods know they need it more than she does right now. But its just a loan! She would very much like it back. Not wanting to be outdone by her wife, Kima also, extremely reluctantly hands over her platinum greatsword, The Holy Avenger, she got as a gift from Vox Machina. The Nein are incredibly thankful and promise to do their best to return safely.
The Nein decide to do a bit more world travelling today and make for Rexxentrum and the Cobalt Soul. Beau takes the lead here and askes for a meeting with head honcho Yudala Fon. Yudala agrees to meet but asks to see Beau alone, without her companions. He thanks Beau for all the work and research she did into the Dynasty with Dairon. It has helped them continue the peace talks. There is concern that the Cobalt Soul is being shut out of some investigations into corruption in the Cerberus Assembly. SOmeone is leaking valuable information to the Crown and the Assembly before the Soul can build a solid case. More intel will have to be gathered.
Before Beau can jump into her Somnovum spiel Yudala surprises her with the information that her recruiter Xeenoth has been arrested by the Soul. Dairon looked into Beau’s claim that she was kidnapped and forced to join the Soul. They discovered that Xeenoth was taking bribes and Yudala is extremely apologetic that this happened to Beau. It was not okay. This is not how the Soul operates. Beau is invited to watch Xeenoth’s trial in two months. While Yudala can only offer an apology for Beau’s trauma, he is hopeful that Beau has found her calling in the Soul and would have found her way here regardless.
Beau is shocked and a little unsure how to feel. The Soul has shaped her life for the better and given her everything she has now. But because of her rocky beginnings, she’s always had a chip on her shoulder and not been completely trusting of the Soul. This changes things. Yudala wishes her luck in her quest, stay alive and return to the Soul soon.
Beau returns to her companions, who ask her how Yudala took the news about the threshold crest and Lucien…well F*@k… she’ll just have to update Dairon instead. The Nein find Dairon in her chambers preparing for another mission. Beau gives Dairon an emotional hug and thanks her for believing her story and bringing Xeenoth to justice. Dairon also apologizes for being so harsh on Beau back in Xhorhas. Her mind had been clouded by prejudice and Beau helped her see the Dynasty was not an evil entity to be destroyed but a varied people just like the Empire. She is still doing her best to stem the propaganda misinformation against the Dynasty. Beau wishes Dairon luck on her mission…OH and keep an eye out in the woods for a giant, cheese wheel shaped super magical gem. Thanks buddy.
An exhausted and jet lagged Nein settle down at the Soul for the night. They make some quick plans for the next day and inspect their new weapons. Jester and Caduceus notice Veth is being awfully strange about letting go of her dagger. She’s been so secretive about it but now she’s coming off as paranoid and possessed. Things get heated after she refuses to set it down and let Caleb identify it. Jester casts a spell to command her to let go and it falls from her hand. Yasha picks it up and Veth immediately pulls her crossbow on her. Before Veth can fire, Jester casts Greater Restoration and a shadow falls from Veth’s mind. Wow she was just acting really crazy wasn’t she? Caleb identifies the dagger as a cursed Corecut dagger. Every time Veth was healed, there was a chance she could have been instantly killed by the curse. Huh, that’s pretty crazy.
The Nein begin to find their beds for the night. Beau brings Caleb aside and asks him if she and Yasha could maybe borrow the tower for an awesoem date night soon. They want the whole twoer all to themselves?? Well…yeah! And also could he make a bunch of specific adjustments? Like… could some of the cats be ninjas? Like cat-ninjas, or ninjas the size of cats? Eh..yeah! She’ll get him a list of her requests in a sec. Thanks boo!
Sleep comes slowly but the dreams come in rapid succession. Caduceus dreams of home. His crystal forest grows, but a darkness spreads again. The forest begins to come to life, branches reach like bony fingers, the ground turns to gnashing teeth and the trees turn to flesh, consuming…everything. Yasha dreams of the sword, her Holy Avenger. The true power of the sword is just out of her grasp. No matter how she reaches she cannot unlock its power. The Stormlord calls to her, she has found her new purpose, through Him, she must save her friends. This new path promises to unlock new power. Caleb and Beau share another nightmare of screaming voices, nine red eyes, and insane whispers.
And that’s where we pick up next time!
Just as Liam said at the end of the session, this episode has it all! Except a fight or tense showdown, but let’s be honest, after the last two episode we all need a break from fighting. The episode starts off with a huge lore dump from Yussa and Halas. Then we get Campaign 1 crossover throwback. There’s a bit of heartbreaking character backstory building, a sprinkle of espionage and seedy government corruption. All ending with another edge of your seat Mercer cliffhanger. Let’s dive right in!
We get another tiny peek at the reclusive Yussa. He has obviously still been occupied with unlocking the happy fun ball’s secrets but hopefully a bit safer than his last perilous escapade. He doesn’t have much knowledge at all about Aeor’s history beyond the basics and shows a great disdain for local politics and history in general. He prefers, much like Halas and other super secretive wizard geniuses to keep to himself and delve into the untold secrets of the world of magic.
Against better judgement, The Nein agree to let Caleb try to drag some sweet Aeor history out of ancient, trapped, Fun Ball mastermind Halas. Unfortunately Halas isn’t as connected to Aeor as the Nein had hoped. He came from an ancient Zemnian city that was destroyed in the Divergence. Despite the similarities between his experiments (i.e. his gross monstrous clones) and the Aeoran experiments The Nein came across…Halas only has a rudimentary memory of Aeor. He also doesn’t know that Cognouza and the Somnovum may be trapped in astral plane. Not sure what this information will do for the Nein, but this conversation was interesting nonetheless.
With one lucky roll, Caleb was able to trick Halas out of Bodysnatchin’ yet again. Though, after negging on their end of the bargain twice now, The Nein may not find such a willing wizard if they ever try to talk to Halas again.
And now to Tal’Dorei! The entire cast, and all the Critters were rather titilated by this sessions Campaign 1 crossover characters! The Nein visited Emon for the very first time. Though we didn’t get to see the city itself, or get to know who’s on the Tal’Dorei council, it was still a trip down memory lane for the cast. Allura and her tower were featured several times during campaign 1, including a rather dangerous escapade that involved them stealing a magic carpet from her. Ah the good old days.
Kima also made a classically gruff appearance. I loved seeing these two up to their usual shenanigans again. There was also another fun Easter egg from campaign 1 in this episode. Matt mentioned that Kima’s super cool platinum greatsword, The Holy Avenger, was actually a gift from Vox Machina! Vox Machina had retrieved the weapon from the ancient white dragon Vorugal. The weapon is meant to be wielded by a paladin, which may explain why Yasha couldn’t unlock its fullest potential. Maybe a new multiclass is in store for our bararian.
We also got to see Caleb drooling over Allura’s Scepter of Power. It’ll be fun to see that little doodad in action soon. Although, giving up his Ioun stone and losing the hefty boost to AC and HP is a weighty price to pay. Will it be worth it? Fjord also had his suspicions confirmed when Allura identified his weapon, Star Razor, as a vestige of Divergence. He caught a glimpse of the swords exalted form in his fight with Avantika. Speaking of Avantika…
Veth had quite a WTF moment this episode. We finally got a peek at Avantika’s dagger that she’s been so secretive about. And, of course it was far more dangerous than Riegel let on. This cursed Corecut dagger was one ill timed heal spell away from killing Veth in the middle of battle and no one had a clue. I am thankful they were finally ably to pry the thing out of Veth’s hands…but there is a very small, dark part of me that was so curious to see that instakill happen at an inopportune moment in a fight. And obviously we can’t talk about this moment without bringing up Riegel finally using halfling luck. No, not to change a crucial action, or save a companion from a misfire…just to try and hold onto that cursed dagger. Agent. Of. Chaos. I love it.
Beau got quite the surprise when she and the Nein visited the Cobalt Soul. While she wasn’t able to discuss any of the reasons she came for, Beau got a rather heartfelt apology that was a long time coming. There was also some quite juicy information about a possible mole in the Empire, corrupt Kingsmen and slimy Assembly members, but we’ll stick a pin in this info until after the world is saved. Both Yudala and Dairon really stuck their necks out for Beau and made some big steps towards repairing her issues with the Soul. Beau just assumed that the Soul kidnapped unruly teens into servitude like that was a normal thing. It was her one sticking point that kept her from fully trusting the Soul’s motivations. Mercer hit some tender backstory notes that pave the way for some great character development in Beau’s future.
Finally, let’s get to those dreams! What a way to end the episode, not even a minute to unpack all those seriously jampacked visions before the session ended. Caduceus had quite the trippy nightmare about his home forest. The hopes that his backstory had been stamped with a happily ever after came crashing down as soon as the trees started sprouting arms and the ground became teeth. I don’t know if he’ll quickly be able to shake the image of his entire family and home being devoured by a sentient zombie forest. Maybe there was some deeper secret to uncover in that cursed forest he and Jester burned in Aeor.
Yasha had a slightly more uplifting dream…only because no one was actively dying during her vision. She could hear her friends calling for help, but was unable to wield her new sword to go save them. The Stormlord was laying on that “please multiclass Paladin” imagery pretty thick, so we’ll see what Yasha can come up with in the near future.
And of course, Caleb and Beau had to go having another creepy eye filled nightmare. We don’t have all the puzzle pieces yet, so there’s no telling what these awful visions will mean for the monk and wizard over their quest. Perhaps they are racing against more than one clock and must also save their own minds as well as the world as we know it. Perhaps it will give them the winning edge they need if the Somnovum give them more visions of the city. Maybe Mercer just really liked to do creepy whisper voices and giving players new tattoos and nothing bad will really happen.
Next session, we get to find out if Beau and Caleb have new eye tattoos. The Nein never quite decided on their next steps. Do they have the time and secrecy available to make a visit to Astird and Eodwulf for some nifty warding necklaces? Is there a good reason to go to Roshona and ask the Bright Queen for help? Will Beau and Yasha finally have an awesome date filled with cat-ninjas? All this and more next week, on Critical Role. It’s almost Thursday!
Don’t Miss It!
We get lots of new content from the Critical Role gang this week. First up, a new Lo-Fi volume of Mighty Vibes dropped on YouTube over the weekend.
Next up is a new episode of Narrative Telephone airing Tuesday, 4pm on Twitch. This episode will feature a story by Liam O’Brien and guest star Dani Carr.
Finally, join Brian W. Foster for another episode of Talks Machina with guests Travis Willingham and Laura Bailey Tuesday night at 7pm on Twitch.