First and foremost, Matt wanted to thank all the Critters who came out for the art show this past weekend. It went amazingly. It was great to meet a bunch of the artists who had the opportunity to attend. Matt is looking forward to meeting all those who didn't this time at hopefully future events. Critical Role hopes to do more community-centered things like this in the future. Matt is just very happy how it all turned out.
The live show went really well. And thank you all for coming to that who could. The VOD for Twitch subscribers is coming out in February. We will have details soon at critrole.com, so keep your eye peeled for that.
- Our fantastic sponsor for the evening: D&D Beyond! The campaign trail is heating up: Sam has declared his candidacy for the President of D&D Beyond.
- Sam would like to thank his constituents for their inventive slogans and mottoes that they sent D&D Beyond. He wanted to read a few that you'll be seeing on the #SamForPresident campaign trail:
- "Yes We Cantrip!" - Juskeletin Vow Gogh (@j_viviano on Twitter)
- "Nott, My President!" - alyssa (@alyssatombs on Twitter)
- "Crits About To Get Riegel!" - JetPackPaul (@jetpackpaul on Twitter)
- "I Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Manticore!" - ARSEQUEEF (@ArseQueef on Twitter)
- "Putting the 'D' in D&D Beyond!" - The_Mayonnaise_Guy (@JarsonKames on Twitter)
- "Stay Turnt!" - Brian Wayne Foster (@BrianWFoster on Twitter)
- Sam has enlisted Dani Carr as his campaign manager. As part of his D&D Beyond presidential agenda, Sam promises:
- every character shall come preloaded with one Inspiration point
- your default D&D Beyond character background will be a picture of Sam
- all characters get exactly 69 hit points (Dani silently assures this will be removed from the list of campaign promises)
- you'll have a new resting option: short rest, long rest, or "sex nap" (Dani is surprisingly okay with promising a sex nap)
- Next time, Sam's campaign opponent will be revealed. Sam would like Critters to tweet at Sam, D&D Beyond, and Dani with the hashtag "#SamForPresident" and tell them which one of the cast that Sam should run against. Thank you and God bless Samerica! Dani, Marisha, and Taliesin clap for Sam. Matt thanks Dani, and EVERYONE claps for her. Laura urges Dani to run away! Matt thanks D&D Beyond for their unending patience with this weekly...this.
- Sam would like to thank his constituents for their inventive slogans and mottoes that they sent D&D Beyond. He wanted to read a few that you'll be seeing on the #SamForPresident campaign trail:
- The second season of Between The Sheets begins next week! This upcoming Monday, January 28, 2019 at 7:00 pm PST. The VOD will be available on the Critical Role YouTube channel on Wednesday, January 30, 2019. Our very first guest is friend of the show, musician, rapper, and all-around awesome nerd: Logic! Marisha adds he's also a best-selling author. Matt confirms that he is a very prolific young man...and Matt can say that because he's older than him! Matt is super-excited, Between The Sheets Season 2 is going to be great, and Matt is happy to kick it off with such an awesome guest! Travis says it's so good! Marisha promises it's going to be good: it's a good episode. Taliesin is going to enjoy the crossover of a whole bunch of Critters going, "Who's Logic?" and a whole bunch of Logic fans going, "What's Critical Role?" This is going to be a train-wreck of happiness, and Taliesin is so excited!
- Matt wanted to give a very, very special thanks to our friends at Wyrmwood Gaming. They have continuously supported Critical Role and the community for a very, very long time. They actually created for The Search for Grog (and for the show here) this badass DM screen that Matt is happy to unveil! As he lifts up the screen to the camera, he reveals the classic DM screen behind it...the red dragon on which gives PTSD flashbacks to the former members of Vox Machina. Special thanks to Jason MacDonald: the master craftsman at Wyrmwood who made the DM screen and the table they play on. Matt missed a chance to meet him at the live show, but Jason is awesome. Another special thanks to Chris Gladis for our "How do you want to do this?" calligraphy design, which is also used on the DM screen. Thank you, Chris: you did an amazing job!
Previously on Critical Role
"So, last we left off: The Mighty Nein had been returning from Nicodranas. They had made their way northward from the Menagerie Coast, left their ship in the care of their favorite tortle - to earn money at sea while you were away.
"You made your way northward, past the Wuyun Gorge, back into the Dwendalian Empire. Passed through Trostenwald and Alfield - and met up with Bryce for a bit to catch up - and then made your way towards Felderwin. Upon arriving, you discovered the city was still visibly scarred from the recent assault that it seemed to suffer at the hands of the Kryn Dynasty from Xhorhas. Upon perusing the streets, you came to discover that the location that Nott was leading you towards was in ashes - this apothecary.
"Upon inspecting the vicinity, you did not find a body, but you did find a basement where you found ruined furniture, a few traps, a chest, and a mysterious chair that has grabbed the nation's imagination! (You thought the gazebo was bad.) However, you also found that apparently the person who previously lived there was nowhere to be found and the son of that individual was being held at a nearby home of another person who lives here in Felderwin.
"You went there with Nott. Nott took the form of a halfling, and proceeded to speak to this child as...her son. And after an interesting bit of conversation and curiosity, said goodbye and you turned to find these two powerful magic-users - that Caleb had identified as members of the Cerberus Assembly - were walking their way towards the ashen ruins of the apothecary, deep in conversation..."
The Mighty Nein is a few houses down from the burned apothecary at Old Edith's house, as Lady Vess DeRogna and Martinet Ludinus Da'leth walk up to the apothecary and stop there talking to each other. Caleb urges the party that they need to go...right now! Nott agrees they should get off the streets. Nott tells them of a spot she knows near the Samir River. They loop in a southwestern arc to avoid the Archmages entirely, arriving at the river fifteen minutes later.
Caleb is still very nervous and asks if they can leave town, but Nott says she, at least, needs to stay. The party, particularly Jester, questions Nott about what just happened. Nott tells them that once upon a time, she was Veth, a young halfling woman who grew up in Felderwin, the disguise that she is now wearing and has used before. She was an odd child who loved to collect things and was tormented by the others. One day, they dared another boy, Yeza Brenatto, to kiss her, and to their mutual surprise, they both kind of liked it, became friends, fell in love, and got married. Together, they built up the Brenatto Apothecary and had a son, Luc.
One particularly hard winter, the goblins invaded the town and took Veth, Yeza, and Luc captive. Luc was starving, and in desperation, they ran, and Veth baited the goblins to follow her rather than her son and husband. They caught her and she threw acid in the face of the leader, killing him. His wife took her to a magic woman in a hood, telling her, "Make her suffer." They drowned Veth in this river, and when she woke up, she was a goblin. The goblins treated her as a slave for maybe six months or a year--she's not sure on timing--and she eventually ran and met up with Caleb.
She has been sending Luc and Yeza letters and gifts, but only recently started signing them, and she doesn't know if Yeza believes they're from her or not. The town hates goblins, and she doesn't know what Yeza would think of her if he knew what had happened. She's sure she doesn't want Luc to see her in her goblin form. Caduceus offers, and she accepts, to clear the alcohol from her system so she can think more clearly about what to do now.
Fjord urges Nott to get Luc somewhere safer, and after discussion, Jester Sends to Bryce in Alfield, asking if Edith and Luc can come there. Bryce agrees. Nott apologizes to Caleb for what she said in the cellar of the apothecary, but she feels that they need to know what Yeza was doing when he was taken in order to find him, and that seems to involve Caleb and his knowledge of the people Yeza was working for. Caleb is very concerned about being overheard, so they start driving in the wagon, with Caduceus keeping an eye out for anyone approaching. On the way, Beau tells Jester she lied when she said she'd slept with Dairon: Dairon is her teacher.
Jester tells Caleb they can tell he's scared, and that's okay, but they need to know why. He confesses that his name was Bren Aldric Ermendrud. He was from Rexxentrum, attended the Soltryce Academy, and was plucked by the Cerberus Assembly, specifically by Trent Ikithon, to be trained to do the kinds of things he fears may have been done to Yeza. There were a lot of plans for him that didn't pan out, and he went a little crazy and ran away. He's been on the run a long time.
The two mages they saw in town are high up in the Cerberus Assembly. Caleb doesn’t want the Nein to be seen with him, because if they are, the Assembly will use them to get to him. He unwraps one of the bandages he has been wearing on his arms, showing them little, very faint scars all up the arm, from cuts made by Ikithon inserting crystals in an effort to strengthen them. Nott asks when he got his new name, and Caleb responds that he has used a lot of names-- Caleb was just what he told Nott. He confesses that he now cares about the rest of the party.
The party speculate that the Cerberus Assembly has taken Yeza to Rexxentrum. Lady DeRogna is Archmage of Antiquities, and Martinet Da'leth is Domestic Protection and head of the military. There is much discussion, but unable to reach any conclusion, they head back to town and rent rooms for the night and get information about the shops and people there. They find the local doctor, Demi Loric, and discover from her that about one or two months ago, there was a wave of complaints about general malaise. Beau questions a wounded guard, Geoff, who tells them the Cricks took Yeza back to "the hole". Jester asks if the party can call them "Kryn" instead of the derogatory term "Cricks".
They go to the hole mentioned by the guard, a well-guarded sinkhole. The guard there tells them it was carved by a giant worm with teeth, but it has now collapsed. The party investigates the collapsed tunnel. Caduceus uses Thaumaturgy to create a low bass chant and in the returning echo, he hears an indication of a gap a ways back. They head back to the Inn for the night.
The next morning, waking up in the Goldfield Tavern and Lodge, Caduceus tells the rest of the party that there is an opening past the blocked portion of the tunnel. He thinks it might be possible to dig past and get to the other side. The Mighty Nein tries to plot their next course of action. Beauregard suggests that maybe the Xhorhasian drow might not be the bad guys here. Nott wants to ally with the Kryn to attack or infiltrate Rexxentrum, where Yeza would likely be held captive by the Cerberus Assembly. Fjord believes that the Kryn were responsible, and might have already killed him. Nott insists that they don't know whether or not Yeza is dead, or who was really responsible for taking him. Beau suggests it might have been a false flag attack and that the Rexxentrum mages disguised themselves as Kryn and burned Felderwin to cover their tracks. Caleb reminds the party that Rexxentrum is the largest city in the Dwendalian Empire, and (though not heavily fortified) it would be hard to attack. Fjord and Jester point out that the Kryn have their "pet worms", but Caduceus counters, asking why the Kryn haven't attacked the Dwendalian capital already with that tactic. Fjord theorizes that the attack on Felderwin might have been a trial run for a larger assault. Beau feels like there are few places in the Empire that are off-limits to Xhorhasian attack. Fjord adds that it would be easier to take your enemy's capital if you could slow them down first with the apparent Dunamancy of the Xhorhasian beacons.
Caduceus asks if they want to try experimenting on the beacon using the knowledge they acquired at the apothecary. Fjord wants to get Luc out of town first, and then investigate the tunnel. After all that is done, they can start poking at the beacon in their possession. Jester reminds both Fjord and Caduceus that Yussa said not to have the beacon out in the open...especially right now, if people are going to be looking for it. Beau agrees that they definitely shouldn't poke at the beacon.
Caduceus will go with whatever the group decides, but he states that when he left the Blooming Grove, he had been out of options...and now he's found some options. Beau asks what exactly has been happening to the Blooming Grove. When Caduceus last spoke about it, he said that the "life force was being sucked away". Caduceus explains that it's been happening for a while: The corrupted forest that surrounds his home is beginning to overtake his graves and his home. There are other graveyards, but Caduceus and his family never really communicate with them, so he's not sure if it's happening anywhere else too. Caduceus's family is supposed to protect the Blooming Grove, and Caduceus had run out of ideas by the time the Mighty Nein arrived. Everyone else in his family had already left to find answers, and Caduceus was the last to leave. Beau asks if Caduceus has ever asked the Wildmother for word on how his family is doing, but Caduceus is confident that she will let him know if he needs to know, because he worries that they're all dead or worse and "that's not an answer [he needs] right now". He saw the Mighty Nein as a sign that he needed to take some responsibility and fulfill his duty to save his home.
Caduceus casts Divination, and asks the Wildmother, "What is Yeza's destination?" She responds, "Ghor Dranas," the capital of the Kryn Dynasty in Xhorhas, hundreds of miles away. Jester Sends to Yeza, telling him they're looking for him and asking if he can tell them where he is. He responds that he doesn't know--it's very dark and he has to be quiet.
Jester visits Edith, introduces herself as a friend of Veth, and tells her Veth wants Edith to take Luc to Alfield. Edith agrees. The party hires Geoff's friends to escort them, pays for board for thirty days for the cart and horses, and then heads back to the collapsed tunnel. They tell the guards they're a research party. Matt tells the party they're now level eight. Jester Polymorphs into a dire honey badger and digs through the blockage. After two hours and two casts of Polymorph, she breaks through the blockage.
Before her is a dark tunnel with the sound of running water. Caleb goes into it, casting Dancing Lights to see a large cavern with an underground river. The party follows, telling the guards they're just going to take a look, and begin walking down the shadowed tunnel system.
- Caduceus Clay
- Jester Lavorre
- Yasha Nydoorin [controlled by DM and Travis]
- Caleb Widogast
- Nott (explaining her past as Veth Brenatto): Okay...well, hi. Um, my name is 'Nott the Brave' and I am a little goblin girl...but...once upon a time...I...was Veth. A young halfling woman. And...before that...a, uh, halfling child...who grew up, um, being told...being told that she was not pretty, and not brave, and not coordinated, and not smart, and just...not.
- Wife of the goblin leader: "Make her suffer!"
- Nott (about her transformation into a goblin): They made me everything...that I thought I was: not pretty...not good...just Nott.
- Caduceus: Nott, you ran and got help and here we are. It’s the right thing to do. We’re here to help.
- Jester (Sending spell to Bryce): Hello. It's Jester. Two people incoming. A woman and child. Take care of them, please? We're sending money with them. This is important. Please help!
- Caleb (revealing his real name to Nott): My name was...Bren...Aldric Ermendrud. Was.
- Caleb (confessing to the party): I have been using you all...um...I-I-I...I am from Rexxentrum. I attended the Soltryce Academy. And, um...I-I-I was plucked by one of the Cerberus Assembly...with a few others and, uh...was being trained to do the kinds of things that I fear may have been done to...
- Caleb: (speaking about Ikithon) He believed that the unwashed masses relied on their base instincts and the highest calling was to rise above the muck and control the cattle for the good of all.
Jester: That sounds like a bad person.
Caleb: But we were-- are-- at war. Many of us felt that way-- feel that way.
Nott:: Do you still feel that way?
Caleb: I don’t believe in anything now.
- Caleb: I'm not a very good person...
- Jester: It's only using us if you don't like us. Do you like us, though?
Nott: You do?
Caleb: (sighs) I... Oh, Jester. I am glad you see good in me.
- Beau (reaffirming the party's belief in Caleb): Don't run. You can say that you don't believe in anything, and that's fine. Believe in us, just a little bit?
- Fjord (proposing a plan to separate and ambush the archmages): Right, well what about the one that studies history? You met a bunch of really 'dangerous' historians?!?
Beau (a Monk of the Cobalt Soul): Yeah. Yeah, I have.
- Jester: I came from Nicodranas, and everything was nice. The empire is really fucked up. Everybody went through such horrible things, and I'm really sorry for everyone. ...
Beau: I mean, nice is boring after a while. We can get to nice. Right? Eh.
Jester: I would like nice again at some point.
- Beau: The Mighty Nein...made of seven people...works great.
- Nott (after the party comes across an underground river): Guys...there's no one I would rather go rescue my husband with...
- The spell used to turn Veth the halfling into Nott the goblin was possibly Reincarnate: a 5th-level Druid-exclusive transmutation spell (implying that the person who transformed Veth could have been at least a level 9 Druid). The magic that Nott seeks from Caleb to turn her back into a halfling is consistent with Wish or True Polymorph, 9th-level transmutation spells. However, True Polymorph can be dispelled. 
- In Talks Machina #98 Sam mentioned that the spell used on Nott was "similar" to being reincarnated.
- In the introduction to "The Endless Burrows" (2x50), Matt stated that Nott "was drowned and then reincarnated by some sort of a hooded, powered figure that had an alliance with these goblins (it seemed)".
- Both Caleb and Fjord could gain the ability to transform Nott back into a halfling if they reach level 17 in their respective classes. However a transformation using True Polymorph could be dispelled whereas a carefully phrased Wish spell could likely only be undone by another Wish.
- When Caleb gains a wizard level, he can add two Wizard spells of a level for which he has spell slots to his spell book. At level 17, he would have access to a 9th-level spell slot. As both True Polymorph and Wish are Wizard spells, Caleb could add one or both of those spells to his spellbook.
- If Fjord reached Warlock level 17, he would learn one 9th-level Warlock spell as a Mystic Arcanum. As True Polymorph is a Warlock spell, Fjord could choose it as his Mystic Arcanum. Nott either was unaware of Fjord having this potential or else trusted Caleb more to perform the spell.
- When Nott reveals that she and her husband were saving for a honeymoon trip, she mentions that she wanted to go to Tal'Dorei (and possibly visit the city of Whitestone), and Caduceus makes a derisive joke that Whitestone is "a tourist trap". This was a joking jab at Campaign 1, where Taliesin played one of the ruling nobles of Whitestone (Percival de Rolo).
- The party left Felderwin on 12 Horisal 836.
- The Mighty Nein reached level 8 at the end of this episode. In rolling for hit points, Caleb, Fjord, Beau, and Nott rolled 6, Jester rolled a 7, and Caduceus rolled a 3.
- The spell description for Reincarnate allows for the DM to choose a form, consistent with going from halfling to goblin. See D&D: Player's Handbook, 5th ed., p. 271, available online at D&D Beyond.
- The druid class table notes that druids gain access to 5th-level spells at level 9. See D&D: Player's Handbook, 5th ed., p. 65, available online at D&D Beyond.
- See D&D: Player's Handbook, 5th ed., pp. 283–284, available online at D&D Beyond.
- See "Talks Machina #98: 'A Game of Names'" (TMx98) from 34:55 through 35:15.
- See "The Endless Burrows" (2x50) from 11:16 through 11:24.
- See D&D: Player's Handbook, 5th ed., p. 114, available online at D&D Beyond.
- The wizard class table notes that wizards gain access to 9th-level spells at level 17. See D&D: Player's Handbook, 5th ed., p. 113, available online at D&D Beyond.
- See D&D: Player's Handbook, 5th ed., p. 211.
- See D&D: Player's Handbook, 5th ed., p. 108, available online at D&D Beyond.
- See D&D: Player's Handbook, 5th ed., p. 210.
- See "A Game of Names" (2x49) from 3:23:13 through 3:23:34.
- See CritRoleStats' running game calendar.