Episode 133:Hunter and Hunted
The Mighty Nein face a dire new foe as they explore the ruins of Aeor. A frost salamander attacks from above, sending a sub zero blast of ice over the battlefield. Essek, who managed to dodge the worst of the attack, opens up a gravity portal underneath the lizard, crushing it in his grasp and making it easier for the Nein to hit. Beau takes a swing at the beast, but ends up with mostly frozen knuckles. Caleb, who took a face full of piercing frost damage, is clinging to consciousness and takes matters into his own hands. He polymorphs into a giant ape and sends a couple good whacks at the lizard. Fjord is up next and lands two fiery sword attacks on the creature, nearly finishing it off. Yasha and her sword Holy Avenger take the final swing against this salamander and the field goes quiet.
But not for long! Just as the Nein begin to relax for a moment, another screeching salamander enters the battlefield. It appears the first lizard had a mate. The second lizard also manages to send an icy breath blast across the Nein. This time Essek gets a face full of frost and has to back off the encounter. Veth and Jester manage to land a couple solid attacks first, then Beau and C’ape’leb come in with their fists. Fjord comes back in with his glove of fire blasting and manages to finish the job this time. Now, for real, the battle quiets and the Nein are able to cach their breath.
After they recoup their health, the Nein continue searching for an entrance into the Congouza ward. Carefully traversing the slippery terrain, they come across an impasse. Caleb and Veth combine a fly spell and an invisibility spell onto Caduceus to send him flying over this troubling terrain. ON his journey he finds more signs of calamity and chaos. Dozens and dozens of desiccated bodies litter the ground. Another magical preservation dome lies ahead. A figure is trapped inside, like an insect in amber. Caduceus leaves the scene untouched and returns to his party.
The Nein settle in for a short rest and some serious planning. several plans are thrown about. Are the Nein too far into the ruins? Will they risk losing Lucien around a wrong turn, or picking a battle ground with to many escapes? Are they even sure Lucien hasn’t magicked himself into the ruins already?! Jester communes with the Traveler to try and get some clarity. He tells her that they are still on the right path to find Cognouza. The Tomb Takers are nearby, but not quite breathing down their necks yet. And Ickithon and crew are also in pursuit, but that is a back burner issue today.
The Nein then decide to return to the first chamber, just before they encountered the Lizards, to set up an ambush for the Tomb Takers. With some help from Caleb, Jester sets a psychic damage glyph just under the lip of the cliff face entrance to this chamber. They hope that the Tomb Takers will get caught by surprise and take enough damage to fall down onto more traps. Beau, Caleb, and Essek will set more psychic Intuit Charge traps at the floor of the cavern, hopefully catching the Tomb Takers in about 150 HP damage. If this works, they make take a sizable dent out of their enemies. The Nein know that Lucien will remain unaffected by this trap, thanks to his evil eyes, but at the very least, his companions will suffer.
With the plan in place, and the traps set, the Nein are left to momentarily relax in Caleb’s tower. Jester prepares a Heroes’ Feast while Essek gets a private tour of the tower from Caleb. The two wizards chat about their feelings towards their respective countries, each acknowledging that things have become complicated. They share much pain and guilt in common, and both still admire the others skills and magical talents. Jester gathers everyone together to share their eclectic meal of cakes, stew, fried foods, and bugs.
Caleb, Essek, Fjord and Beau stay up to keep a night’s watch over their battlefield. Slowly, Beau and Fjord fall asleep leaving Caleb and Essek on watch. Even Caleb begins fighting sleep, when on the fifth hour of watch, Essek receives a message from his lookouts. He wakes Fjord up, asking if his lookouts should attack the Tomb Takers or remain hidden. Fjord takes a ruthless gamble and tells Essek to have his guard attack. Essek gives a somber nod and gives the order, then they wait.
Through Frumpkin’s eyes, Caleb watches as a figure begins descending the rope into the chamber. A bright flash, Jester’s glyph triggering. Frumpkin watches as several figures fall, then three beacons begin to glow as the Intuit chargers trigger. Suddenly Frumpkin poofs out of existence in the wave of Intuit charge damage. Caleb counts…eins…swie, drei, vier, funf…then he dispels the tower signaling the Nein to attack.
The Nein rush in towards Lucien and his crew. Fjord can hear Lucien cursing, he hopes this means their plan worked well. The Nein power up their spells; Veth casts Intellect Fortress on Caleb and stealths in, Caduceus casts Holy Weapon lighting up their field of vision, Beau readies her Lightning Gloves and throws an arcane field generator down. Jester notices three figures unconscious on the ground. Otis, Tyfial, and Zoran have fallen to their trap. A bloodied but still conscious Cree lands softly next to an unscathed Lucien.
Lucien chastises the Nein for springing this unfortunate trap on him. Well played though, he has to admit. He sends anti-magic cone out over his fallen companions. Thanks to Beau’s arcane field generator, the Nein are able to see exactly where Lucien’s eye will affect their magic. They won’t be able to kill his companions from afar, but at least they can keep themselves out of the eye’s influence. Fjord moves close enough to get a hit on Zoran, killing the goliath and forcing Lucien to act in defense. Lucien yells for Cree to take care of this mess as he gathers up the bags with the lodestones. Cree rushes up to Lucien and begins to cast Dimension Door. Fjord is still incapacitated inside the anti magic cone, and the others are all too far away to counterspell and in a flash, Cree and Lucien are gone.
The Nein struggle between frustration and elation as they spend the next moments finishing off Tyfial and Otis. They can’t believe that their trap managed to take out three of the five Tomb Takers, but in the end Lucien managed to get away. For tonight, the Nein will cut their losses and play defense. Lucien gives one last taunting message to the Nein as he collapses the tunnel behind him, making a chase even more impossible. We’ll pick up right here next week, stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Talk about a slow build! This session was one big tease ending in a tense, nail-biting encounter. I was shocked at the way things went down! Next Thursday can’t come soon enough.
We started off the session with a fun little encounter with two frost salamanders. I loved the casts reaction to the first salamander going down but Mercer acting a bit shady. The cast have learned not to trust the quite moments of a battle! Fjord was on high alert, Yasha just kept stabbing the dead body just in case it was only playing dead. And they were right! That second salamander wasn’t able to get the drop on them and they were able to take it out before it did too much icy damage.
The poor wizards have been having a bit of a hard time in Aeor, both Caleb and Essek had to carefully navigate HP during the encounter. Caleb opted to polymorph into King Kong while Essek managed to get himself out of the way of some of the area attacks and stay on his feet long enough for Caduceus to heal him back up. Fjord and Yasha had some cool battle moments in this encounter. Fjord saved the day with his fire based attacks doing double damage and Yasha got the kill with Holy Avenger.
The next three hours of the session are filled with planning, planning, exploring, and more planning. If strategy sessions are your jam, this middle section is for you! I can handle an hour or so of serious planning before my head starts to spin. I’m the kind of person that likes to play out every scenario in my head and try and guess all possible outcomes of a fight, so I get how the cast get so caught up in the planning. These encounters are insanely high-anxiety life or death so any slip up could cost someone their life.
In between the planning sessions, there were some cute role playing moments. Jester communed with the Traveler leading to another adorable interaction between these two tricksters. It’s so interesting to see the relationship dynamic shifting between these two. Jester treats the Traveler less like a god and more like a genie in a bottle now. She gets he’s powerful but all the sparkle, smoke, and mirrors are gone. The Traveler also seems more busy with his own little life going on behind the scenes. Someone has been distracting the Fey trickster. Or maybe he’s enjoying a little beachy solo vacation and taking the time to get to know himself outside of his Traveler personality.
And of course, Caleb and Essek had some gosh darn cute moments during the session. Monkey Caleb did his best to help an injured Essek out. Though not very gentle, he got his point across by rag doll shaking a frost bitten Drow at his two cleric companions. Then there was the solo tower excursion the two wizards shared before the Lucien encounter. Mercer was itching to give the fans some role play room between these two. While their talk remained a bit too PG for some thirsty Critters, they did seem to build out their friendship a bit more. They still obviously share an attraction to each other’s magic and abilities, though Caleb is more cautiously guarded with his feelings. Knowing that Essek may have the key to unlock Caleb’s still smoldering desire to undo his past mistakes puts Caleb on edge. Though Caleb has been pining over Jester lately, and with Astrid and Eodwulf out of sight for now, Critter artists have their pencils hovering just waiting for these two to take their friendship to the next level.
After a helpful Heroes’ Feast cast by Jester, the Nein had a rather restless sleep waiting for the Tomb Takers to descend into Aeor. Caleb opted to stay awake the whole night to keep his tower up, protecting the Nein from the effects of the Intuit charge traps. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for another tease of a cliffhanger ending to the episode. Mercer relented though and we got to play out a 50 minute heart racing encounter!
Travis gambled BIG as the Tomb Takers approached. Hoping to…I don’t know, maybe scratch at the Tomb Takers, he instructed Essek to have his guard at the door attack Lucien and Co. It was a brutal decision, I mean…Dagen may be dead now, but it was a move that could have possibly knocked a couple spell slots or hit points off of the Tomb Takers. And as close as these fights are, one or two hit points, or one important spell slot could make or break the battle.
I was amazed that the Intuit charges managed to take out three of the five Tomb Takers right out the gate. Brilliant! 90% of the time these long winded, heavily scripted plans don’t end up working, or are a bit weaker than planned. Instantly knocking out three valuable enemies was the best possible outcome. The Dice Gods were kind this night! Unfortunately, the two more powerful members of the Tomb Takers remained conscious and managed to escape. Who knows, maybe one decent hit on Cree instead of Lucien or one of the fallen members may have changed the entire battle. Fjord was stuck in Lucien’s anti magic cone and unable to take Cree out. Everyone else was too far away or too late in initiative to do anything to stop Cree and Lucien from leaving. Lucky, crafty bastards. There’s no way Lucien could have successfully pulled off his scheme all by himself. Luckily for us, this means we get at least one more encounter with this big bad evil genius.
Next week brings many exciting unknowns. The Nein have to chase down Lucien and Cree. Hopefully they get there before Lucien takes them to the Astral Sea. Will the Nein spend the rest of the night in hot pursuit of Lucien, or drag out the next encounter to get some more rest and recoup some valuable health and spell slots? Either option is a gamble. Next session will be a hectic one for sure, we are in the thick of this incredible arc. Don’t worry Critters! It’s almost Thursday.
Don’t Miss It!
Critical Role finally released their Munchkin collab game! And of course, it almost instantly sold out, but keep an eye on the store for a restock soon! Play as your favorite Mighty Nein character and enjoy teaming up with all the amazing NPC’s from campaign 2 (and a few from campaign 1!).
Talks Machina this Tuesday! Travis Willingham and Marisha Ray join B.W.F. to pick through the campaign up through episode 133.
Another volume of Mighty Vibes is now out on Youtube and the Twitch stream. Catch the relaxing tones here!