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"A Hungry Jungle" (3x18) is the eighteenth episode of the third campaign of Critical Role. While traveling to the Heartmoor Hamlet, Bells Hells find their night's rest interrupted by an enormous fey plant creature intent on devouring them whole...

Synopsis

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Previously on Critical Role

So, last we left off, Bells Hells, following a handful of threads that led them away from the city of Jrusar and northward through the jungles to the Heartmoor, the swampy bog region of the northern part of the Oderan Wilds where the Heartmoor Hamlet exists. There, you had hoped to, one, find information that seemed to pertain to the death of the Lumas twins in the path of your particular interest, as well as deal with a possible job set by Jiana Hexum that could cancel some of your outstanding debt and issues that you carry as baggage, Ashton.

Gathering your materials, purchasing some horses, and trudging on for a handful of days, keeping predominantly to the roads through the jungle, you had a handful of odd encounters with some creatures in the vicinity, some errant weather effects, gathered a couple of small magical items through some careful planning, some careful reflexes, and pursuits, and some relatively uneventful evenings of camping off the road where some conversations were had, some bonding was mounted.

Fan art of the fairy, by Sam "Qelric" Spencer.[art 1]

Then, about a day out from the Heartmoor in the middle of the night, something seemed to be glowing in the nearby jungle, near the ridge of where you had set up camp: a strange little faintly glimmering fairy, a small tiny creature that led some of you curiously to look in its direction, Fearne specifically pursuing it out of frustration. But this seemed to not really be a fairy, as instead the presence of it drew you mindlessly forward into the darkness. Ashton, you were quick to follow and find Fearne staring stunned, mindless, into the darkness. There, this fairy creature was tethered to this long, winding vine that seemed to be protruding from, up until this point, a well-hidden gargantuan fanged plant creature, that began to rise out of the brush and shadow before opening its large mouth.

Part I

Roll initiative!

Part of the party is still asleep as the encounter with the fairy-lure mantrap begins. Fearne shrugs off the mantrap's charm and wakes Chetney, Orym, and Fresh Cut Grass with a yell. Ashton falls under its effect, moves towards it and is swallowed, taking serious acid damage on each turn thereafter. Chetney takes his werewolf form and Orym's Goading Attack gives the mantrap disadvantage on attacks against anyone but him.

Fan art of Imogen twinning Catapult, by Shrugs.[art 2]

Once swallowed by the mantrap, a party member can escape with a contested strength check or if the tree is damaged enough on a single attack turn to make it throw up. Ashton punches a hole through its esophagus with the bottom of their hammer and crawls through on a successful strength check. Laudna then gives the mantrap disadvantage on strength checks with Hex. Imogen attacks with a twinned Catapult spell and taps into a wild magic surge, which turns her skin dark blue.

Fan art of the fairy-lure mantrap, by Awefull Archives.[art 3]

The mantrap charms FCG and Laudna into moving toward it, and they discover it is vulnerable to fire damage and has legendary actions. The plant swallows Laudna, causing her Hex to vanish. The acid damage knocks her unconscious, but her ability to Cling to Life brings her back. She then crawls out through the hole Ashton hacked through the mantrap. The mantrap swallows FCG but Chetney damages it enough to make it throw him up. FCG then gets the How do you want to do this? with his saw blade arm.

Imogen is still a vibrant dark blue, and the party decides to see if finishing their interrupted long rest will cure her. They wake late in the morning to find her color unchanged. While they prepare to get back on the road again, Chetney pokes a fungal growth and releases a small cloud of poisonous spores. Imogen discovers a pre-Calamity long-ruined structure which Orym recognizes as old elvish architecture. He remembers that during the Calamity, there were "climactic elements" that took place in Marquet, scarring the landscape heavily and creating the Rumedam Desert from what had formerly been lush jungle holding a flourishing elf and orcish city.

They gather their supplies and ride on northward toward Heartmoor Hamlet.

Break

Fan art of Imogen turned blue, by Kiera James.[art 4]

Part II

Fan art of the other adventuring party, by Timo Fluit.[art 5]

As the party continues their journey, they reach an established camping area where a group of five figures with horses are packing up: a hairless male katari, a human female with a drum, a small male goblin, a tall female firbolg named Tejana, and Hutchin, a slender female silver-scaled dragonborn. FCG casts Detect Thoughts on the dragonborn, but she notices him performing magic and becomes suspicious. The travelers are going the same direction as Bells Hells, toward the Heartmoor Hamlet, and Orym asks if they'd like to travel together. They cautiously agree to go in tandem. Fearne asks if they have anything fun for sale, and they offer a bracelet which Ashton buys.

They travel on for several hours into a swampy bogland and eventually see the small walled town of Heartmoor Hamlet in the distance, past a bridge arching over a channel of water. They enter through the Southern Gate Ridge which is guarded by two wilders. One of them directs the group to a stable for their horses and an inn for themselves, where they rent rooms. The innkeeper, Dobby Kingsman, tells them a little about the town and the locations of the Twilight Mirror Museum and Mosslight Manor (the home of Estani, the astronomist who worked with the Lumas twins before their deaths).

Though Orym and Imogen are eager to talk to Estani, they agree to go to the museum first. The museum is an unusual curved three-story building on the main square, surrounded by a tall iron fence. When they ring the bell at the gate, a face peers through the curtains at them, and shortly thereafter Evon Hytroga appears and welcomes them, offering them a half-day pass to the museum. He is amused when Ashton tells him they were sent by Jiana Hexum, immediately withdrawing the offer of a tour. The rival party who will be competing against them to complete the heist have not arrived yet, but are expected any minute. Once they arrive, Evon will notify Bells Hells and the competition will begin at midnight the next day. Evon also mentions to Ashton that he'd heard that during Jiana's recent break-in, one of the burglars suffered a serious head injury.

They then head to Estani's home, Mosslight Manor, which is a little ramshackle but cozy. Imogen is very nervous, hoping that Estani has the ripped-out book pages that talk about her mother.[1] The door to the manor bears recently installed locks, and when the owner peers out cautiously, they can see Estani is very old and of mixed elf-orc descent. Orym explains they are here at the behest of Oshad Breshio, and Estani sadly welcomes them into the organized and book-filled chaos of his home.

Featured Characters

Bells Hells

Returning

New

Mentioned

Quotations

Fan art of a disgruntled Ashton, by Dylan Chinn.[art 6]

  • Ashton: (after being swallowed) Help.
    Travis: It's again?
    Marisha: It's again.
    Taliesin: It's fucking again.
  • FCG: (waking to friends in battle) Oh. It's happening again.
  • Delilah Briarwood: (as Laudna is brought back by Cling to Life) Not yet. There's too much to do.
  • Imogen: What was [getting swallowed/ingested] like?
    Laudna: Dark.
    FCG: Slimy.
    Ashton: Prickly.
    Laudna: Smelled a little like eucalyptus, actually.
    FCG: Very comforting there. Actually, you just felt all warm and wrapped up and safe.
  • Laudna: You're beautiful on the inside, just as you are on the outside. No matter what. It would be weird if you turned into a werewolf though.
    Chetney: (as werewolf) Why?
  • Ashton: We're splitting the party and both splits are going to the inn.
  • Fearne: Do you have any tips?
    Evon: Yes. Walk carefully. Be careful. Be safe. And if something scares you, run. (sinister giggle, then claps his hands) Oh, well, this is going to be fun! Oh, I'm so excited!
  • Evon: How much for your automaton?
    FCG: We've established my worth, right? Wasn't it like 20,000?[...]
    Orym: He's not for sale. He's priceless.[...]
    FCG: How much do you cost?
    Evon: Oh, you could not afford me, honey.

Inventory

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Acquired some Acid the fairy-lure mantrap Imogen Unclear if it retains any damage ability.
Acquired 1 Small chunk of the stone ruins the ruins Imogen
Acquired 1 Bracelet another traveling party Ashton A beautiful cluster of beads and imperfect gems in a double-wrap bracelet from Evishi, for which Ashton paid 20 gp.

Trivia

References

  1. See "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 4:57:53.  Imogen found a book in the Starpoint Conservatory that recorded research into recurring dreams of a red storm linked to theories of fiendish influence, Ruidus tidal corruption, or elemental boundary flares, which included her mother's name as one of the contributors or subjects. Additional pages on the topic had been torn out. She later learned that the Lumas twins were the last to borrow the book, and they were staying with Estani when they were killed in the mysterious attack Orym and Fearne were sent by Keyleth to investigate.
  2. See "The Threat Between the Walls" (3x05) at 01:59:44.

Art:

  1. Fan art of the fairy, by Sam "Qelric" Spencer (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Imogen twinning Catapult, by Shrugs (source). Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of the fairy-lure mantrap, by Awefull Archives (source). Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of Imogen turned blue, by Kiera James (source). Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of the other adventuring party, by Timo Fluit (source). Used with permission.
  6. Fan art of a disgruntled Ashton, by Dylan Chinn (source). Used with permission.
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