"A Favor in Kind" (2x16) is the sixteenth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein deal with the ramifications of their actions in the research facility, exploring more of the dark caverns beneath Zadash and experimenting with dangerous unknowns...
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Previously on Critical Role Edit
"Last we left off, The Mighty Nein, after being in proximity to some sort of an assault from Xhorassian operatives in the city of Zadash here in the center of the empire, they found themselves also caught up in a murder of the High Richter in the city. They pulled away and realized that there was a manhunt for individuals that were seeming in connection with this murder. And, as this was transpiring, they had to smuggle out some allies they had found and had been working with, Dolan and Horris. Dolan, who, part of this whole deal was to get him involved in local politics, but Horris needed to be smuggled out for safety in case they got caught.So, you made your way to The Evening Nip; met up with Yasha. Down there you had a conversation with this individual called The Gentleman. You made a deal. You've kind of decided to trust each other on this endeavor and do a quid pro quo - a little favor for one, favor for the other - and see if this is a business relationship that you want to develop. In doing so, Horris was smuggled out of the city safely, seemingly.
You were brought down through the tunnels of the underworks towards an underground dock where the river that exited to the northeast towards Berleben was. You loaded up on boats to make your way toward what seemed to be a recently uncovered but barely explored underground research facility, long buried, where The Gentleman asked you to enter it, see what you found, clear it out if possible, and return.
As you made your way down there, assailed by a few of the creatures that existed in that tunnel, you found the exterior of this research facility, broke your way in, began to meander around and discover strange mysteries afoot in its construction. The urns throughout its vicinity, the strange wisps of spiritual energy that came to assault you in the process. Bypassing traps, mostly, kind of. Completing the mystery of the strange, arcane runes in the ceiling and the schools of magic that they seemed to connect to. And you found your way into some sort of secret study or den where there were research tables set up, a mostly empty bookshelf, braziers filled with ash to the side between pillars, two small chambers with these cages with tight-knit bars containing urns and empty nooses hanging above and seemingly filled with ash. You began to look throughout the room. You found a sword across the upper ceiling, an ornamental blade of some kind. You [Caleb] recovered a book of notes and began to read through to get a feel for the person or entity that seemed to have written what remained of these pages. And around this time, the wind began to pick up in the center of the chamber as this darkened figure began to rise from the stonework. This large, tattered cloak of a figure, just spreading and whipping around like this sudden wind is tossing aside sails of a dark ship. You see this skeletal, ghostly face begin to emerge from it. Its voice slowly hissing out, "My secrets are yours," as you saw small glows begin to emerge from the ash in the urns."
Part I Edit
The figure of Siff Duthar hangs in the air before the party, wrapped in moving tendrils of cloth and black shadow energy that tapers to nothing below, seemingly waiting for them to offer a secret in trade to him. Jester tells him about the cinnamon pastries in Nicodranas, which doesn't seem to be exactly what he was looking for, and he attacks with Whispers of Madness. Jester and Yasha are able to shrug it off, but Beau hears words shooting into her brain and attacks Yasha, unsuccessfully. In addition, four will-o'-wisps emerge from their urns and also attack.
Siff's continuing mental attacks prove highly effective against the Nein, stunning half the party twice, causing party members to attack each other, and knocking Jester unconscious. Molly is eventually able to kill it and immediately gives Jester a healing potion, bringing her back. The party also destroys the wisps' urns, eliminating them. Just as everyone is back on their feet, cold energy begins to emerge through the bookcase on the far wall, and Siff re-forms before them. Caleb recalls that the journal he found speaks of binding the soul to the remains of the physical form, similar to the wisps. Yasha is knocked unconscious, but Jester quickly heals her and then pulls over the bookcase with Beau, exposing a small hole with a room behind it holding pots and small cases, and a large urn in the center. Molly puts his arm and sword through the hole and manages to destroy the urn, and the entity disintegrates and dissipates.
The party takes a short rest to recuperate, and Nott oils herself up and squeezes through the hole into the room beyond, landing in the ashes which stick to the oil. Meanwhile, Yasha enlarges the hole. Nott finds some art vases, and tries to open a box without checking for traps, poisoning herself. The boxes, however, contain jewelry and a ceremonial mantle. Nott passes all of the loot out while Beau investigates the urns for anything unburnt in them. In one, she finds a half-burned book. Caleb recognizes the book as a spell book, which he keeps, and uses Detect Magic on everything else. He identifies the greatsword as the Magician's Judge, which allows the wielder to cast Dispel Magic once per day, and which Yasha keeps.
Molly, Jester, Fjord, and Beau take a boat to explore the other fork in the river and find a waterfall with a chamber hidden behind it containing a skeleton wearing manacles. They take the manacles. Meanwhile, Caleb reads and memorizes Siff's journal. They camp for the night.
As the group takes a long rest, Fjord fades into a dream of himself standing in total darkness. In his hand is the Waste Hunter Blade. A large yellow eye appears in front of him. A voice says, Consume. Fjord opens his mouth and pushes the sword into it, feeling pain but also a strong hunger, and continues to push the sword further. After he swallows the sword, the voice says, Good. The eye closes, and Fjord realizes he's underwater and starts trying to swim against the current. After a few seconds of struggling, he wakes up suddenly. The Waste Hunter Blade is gone. Fjord wipes his mouth and finds a little bit of blood. He summons his pact weapon. Instead of the Waste Hunter Blade, his weapon takes the form of the old falchion again, but with a more curved appearance similar to the Waste Hunter Blade. This suggests that Fjord's falchion absorbs his other weapons, taking on their characteristics. Fjord goes back to sleep without telling anyone about the dream.
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Part II Edit
When the party wakes up, Jester notices Fjord has dried blood in the corner of his mouth. Fjord keeps his dream a secret and lies that he grinds his teeth. Jester hesitantly asks if that's why Fjord's tusks are smaller than most half-orcs. Fjord shows them the inside of his mouth and the scratches and chips on the bases of the tusks. Nott asks if Fjord did it on purpose and why would he do that.
Fjord tells the group that when he was a child, other children would make fun of his tusks. He filed them down himself to try to prevent the bullying. Since then, he has kept doing it out of habit. Yasha asks him if he killed any of the children who made fun of him. Nott is disturbed and asks Yasha if she's killed any children. Yasha does not answer directly. The Mighty Nein reassure Fjord that if he wants to grow his tusks out again, they would be supportive of him either way.
Return to the Evening NipEdit
The Mighty Nein row back up the river and are taken to The Gentleman once again. They conceal Magician's Judge and the spell book, but give him just about everything else, including the journal. The Gentleman seems satisfied with the results of their quest and promises them that he will clear their names; they just have to lay low for a few days.
The party embarks on various endeavors over the next few days, including:
- Caleb & Fjord visit Dolan Thrym and give him the papers to prove Ulog's wife innocent.
- Fjord returns to the hospital to see Ren Sutan, but is told he's not there. When Fjord namedrops the Myriad, the crownsguards are summoned and rush in, but Fjord disguises himself and leaves.
- Jester tries and fails to deface a statue of The Matron of Ravens.
- Beau and Mollymauk take skein, a shroom-like drug that could have had massive side-effects, but instead just allows them to see into the ethereal plane while high.
- Nott turns herself into a halfling girl and has lunch at a cafe. She then sends a package to Felderwin containing 50 gold, all the rings, the door knob, brass baby bottle, ball bearings, buttons, and bracelets.
- Caleb, Yasha & Nott visit The Invulnerable Vagrant. Nott loans Caleb 200 gp and he buys paper and ink. Nott picks up her Flask of Endless Alcohol.
- Beau trains with Dairon at the Cobalt Soul, and tells her about the Kryn soldier they met. Dairon reveals how much she hates and distrusts the Kryn, and mentions she will be traveling to Bladegarden soon.
Featured Characters Edit
|Acquired||?||jewelry||Siff's burial room||Nott||less than 12 rings plus some other things|
|Acquired||1||Siff's spellbook||Siff's room||Beau|
|Transferred||1||The Magician's Judge||Jester||Yasha|
|Acquired||1||manacles||behind the waterfall||Fjord||has a rune|
|Transferred||2||antique vase||Nott||the Gentleman|
|Transferred||1||Ulog's wife paper||Caleb||Dolan|
|Relinquished||1||pamphlet for the Traveler||Jester||Raven's Den|
|Relinquished||1||bunch of buttons||Nott||post office|
|Relinquished||1||all the rings|
|Relinquished||1||brass baby bottle|
|Relinquished||1||all ball bearings|
|Expended||200||gold||Caleb||The Invulnerable Vagrant|
|Acquired||1||ink and parchement||The Invulnerable Vagrant||Caleb||for scribing|
|Acquired||1||enchanted platinum flask||Nott||called a Flask of Endless Alcohol|
- Jester: (trying to think of a secret to tell Siff Duthar) I have a secret for you! Did you know... that in Nicodranas... the pastries are made with cinnamon, and here, they're not?
- Molly: You know what just occurred to me? I didn't have a childhood. (laughs hysterically) I've never said that out loud to someone before.
Beau: Mmm. What happens if you have a childhood, but it's barely a childhood because it was supposed to be someone else's childhood, but it was you instead? Is that a childhood?
- Caleb: (reaching out to touch the grey mote from the Beacon) Father and mother-- I hope I do not let you down.
- Sam's giant flask bears a message that reads "COMEDIC GENIUS" that appears to be taped over the multicolored "FART" letters from the previous episode. Only the R and the T are completely visible in this episode.