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"A Woodworker's Quandary" (3x08) is the eighth episode of the third campaign of Critical Role. The group gets to know a very unusual new friend who requests their help in a missing person's case while Dorian receives some unwelcome tidings from a beloved family member...

Synopsis

Announcements

  • Old Spice has created six new scents inspired by the world of The Witcher, where people smelled very, very bad. Each of the other cast members smells one of the new flavors and takes their best guess as to what it actually is. Since they run out of scents before they get to Marisha, she gets to smell Sam - and she commits fully to the bit.
  • Second sponsor is Ghostfire Gaming's Fables, coming 1 January 2022, a subscription-based set of six-part D&D all-in-one adventures released monthly. Sign up before 31 December 2021 to get it for $10/month for the first 12 months.
  • This is the last episode of Critical Role for 2021. They'll be back on 6 January 2022 to continue the third campaign.
  • The Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn is coming 18 January 2022 from Darrington Press.

Previously on Critical Role

So, last we left off, this group of heroes, upon forging themselves a space here in the city of Jrusar, you encountered some dangerous denizens, you made some allies, and you began to discuss about the possibility of this becoming a thing. Upon searching some of the various rumors that are swirling about, you heard that there were mysterious vanishings, people who have gone missing around the Dreamscape Theater. You went and got tickets for the show, enjoyed the performances, and began to ask around for information about these recent disappearances.

As you began to travel about, you pieced together some interesting details, met some curious characters, and eventually found yourselves ambushed in the back alley where these disappearances you discovered had been occurring, as a part of the wall seemed to attack you. You managed to defeat this strange, amorphous, nightmarish wall creature, and as it lay slain on the ground, the wardens, the Wilders, came to inspect. The brief interrogation to yourselves and being supported by the denizens of the Dreamscape theater as well, you were given a pass. As they continued to inspect the body of this corpse and hopefully close their investigation into these disappearances, of which they did not do the hard work, you began to walk away, where in the alleyway there was someone awaiting you, an older gnomish gentleman that seemed to have been keeping an eye and an ear open to your penchant for seeking out missing persons.

Upon introducing themself, you met Chetney. At which point you said, "Walk and talk. We're going to head to the Spire by Fire and we can figure out what the hell is going on."

Part I

The party talks with Chetney on the way to the Spire by Fire. He shares that he came to Jrusar two to four weeks ago to find a person named Gurge Kisgregg and has spent "some decent time" with him. Yesterday morning, he was to meet him at Gurge's home, but Gurge wasn't there and the home was a mess. Since he knew that Gurge enjoyed theater, Chetney had gone to the Dreamscape looking for Gurge when he noticed the party.

Once at the tavern, the party introduce themselves. Chetney is from Uthodurn in Wildemount. Gurge was very helpful in helping Chetney understand "some things" and was going to introduce him to people that might employ him, outside of Marquet. Chetney suggests it's possible that his friend might have been arrested. Since the party is still very beat up from their fight against the wall, they propose to sleep at the Spire by Fire and in the morning, they will all head over to Gurge's hovel on the outskirts of the Smolder Spire and see what they can uncover. They agree to be paid in Chetney's woodcrafted toys.

As they are winding down for the evening, Orym notices that the mysterious cloaked Hubatt Corsair from the theater[1] has followed them to the Spire by Fire, and is surreptitiously watching them. Orym motions for him to come over, but the figure instead abruptly leaves. Orym and Chetney trail him and eventually persuade him to stop in a deserted alley. He tells them he wants to talk with Dorian, and Orym goes back and brings the rest of the party there.

The figure reveals its face: it is Cyrus Wyvernwind, Dorian's older brother. He just wants to see how Dorian's doing. When Dorian left home, at first Cyrus was angry, but he learned that it is in the nature of their air genasi people to wander, and eventually he felt the pull of wanderlust himself. To earn a living, he became a sellsword but there is now a 20,000 gp bounty on his head. He had been hired by the Gold Guild of Treshi to escort a caravan through the outer trails, but the other hired guards had apparently plotted together to steal from it. While robbing it, they woke a large stone golem being transported in a cart marked with the initials "J.H.", and took the golem with them when they escaped. Cyrus became the fall guy. The Corsairs have been helping him to stay safe from the bounty hunters seeking him.

Fan art of Fearne using FCG as a flask, by BlackSalander.[art 1]

Cyrus doesn't want to go home until this situation is resolved. He and Dorian are the only children of the noble leadership of the Silken Squall - the best analogous title is probably "prince". Dorian's real name is Brontë Wyvernwind. The Silken Squall is a nomadic city of floating tents that travels the world, but has been in Marquet for quite a long time. As of seven months ago, it was in Aeshanadoor in the south.

Telepathically, Imogen tells Ashton that she noticed the letter that was dropped in their room at Krook House[2] bore the initials "J.H.", the same as were on the caravan Cyrus was hired to guard. Ashton asks her to give it a day and if nothing turns up, it will be time to have that conversation.

Dorian escorts Cyrus back to the Lantern Spire and Elder's Post, the safe house of the Corsairs. On the way, Dorian gives him the sending stone and tells him to use it if he needs anything.

Break

Fan art of Cyrus with the sending stone, by Dylan Chinn.[art 2]

Part II

In the morning, while eating breakfast and discussing plans, the party notices a posted flier complaining of a recent rise in violence and dangerous lawlessness by the Hubatt Corsairs, and calling on the Chandei Quorum to take steps to combat this by using Paragon's Call, a well-known profit-oriented mercenary company from the Hellcatch Valley. After discussing this, the party decides that Paragon's Call would be more likely to work for the rich of the city against the interests of the common folk.

They head to the Smolder Spire and Gurge's hovel. Chetney quickly picks the lock, and inside they find definite signs of a struggle, including smatterings of blood, but no sign of a hole similar to those used by the shade creepers and Dugger.[3] Laudna is able to determine there are claw marks in the furniture, too large for the shade creepers they've encountered previously.

Meanwhile, Imogen also finds a few traces of claw marks and a bit of blood that has been attempted to be cleaned up in the street outside. There, she is confronted by Siroc, Gurge's landlady. Gurge has not paid his rent, and she is unhappy, complaining about a very recent dire wolf attack down the street, burglaries, a magical detonation at the Core Spire, and spirits haunting the Prakash Pyre. The party suspects the damage to the hovel may have been caused by a dire wolf.

When she leaves, the group takes stock, asking Chetney for any other information he has. The hovel was just a short-term rental, not Gurge's actual home. Gurge was rumored to be sort of a wild man, living out in the jungles, and Chetney was told to meet him at the hovel by the people who sent Chetney to Jrusar, the master craftsman's guild in the Savalirwood. Chetney was kicked out of his old job when they moved away from working with wood.

Fan art of Fearne in rat form sneaking into the factory, by KageSatsuki.[art 3]

The party heads down toward the factory where the dire wolf attack took place, asking the wardens posted there about it and telling them they're looking for their friend, Gurge. One of them immediately goes inside to check with the boss. FCG casts Detect Thoughts on the remaining guard and learns that he is suspicious of how they would know Gurge, and that he too wants to report this. When he also goes inside the factory, Fearne wildshapes into a rat and follows. She sees the guard locking the interior gate to the factory behind him, and follows him to a room where he and the other warden they spoke to are reporting to their superior.

The wardens have been told not to engage in any speculation about Gurge, so when the party came questioning them about him, they grew suspicious. The superior tells them to tell the party that Gurge has been arrested and held in the Granite Hold and is none of their concern. He'll take care of the rest. As the guards turn to leave, one of them steps on rat-Fearne, bringing her to zero hit points and causing her to revert to her faun form in front of all three wardens.

Featured Characters

Player Characters

Returning

New

  • Keledon (unnamed), head warden of the Smolder Spire factory
  • Siroc, half-elven landlady of the missing Gurge Kisgregg

Mentioned

  • Gina, Siroc's friend
  • Gurge Kisgregg, an acquaintance of Chetney
  • Jiana Hexum (as J.H.)
  • Nova, leader of a group of thieves
  • Oltgar, Chetney's former employer
  • Zunado, a genasi known to Cyrus and Dorian

Quotations

  • Chetney: (to Dorian) You look like a Dorian.
    Dorian: Joke's on you.[4]
  • Chetney: (staring at the hole in Ashton's head) I don't mean to stare. I know I asked you about it before, but that, it's okay, right?
    Ashton: Oh yeah, it's fine.
    Chetney: It's not like a clock that's ticking or anything? It's just...?
    Ashton: I mean, aren't we all?
    Chetney: That's so deep.[5]
  • Fearne: Is Uthodurn north?
    Chetney: Yeah, from Marquet, it's northwest if you were looking at a map.
    Matt: (whispering) Northeast.
    Chetney: Northeast![6]
  • Laudna: Could you make a little girlfriend for Pâté?
    Chetney: Yes.
    Laudna: (as Pâté) "I'm quite horny, you see!"
    Chetney: Well, I'll be sure to take that into account with the design.
    Laudna: Did you hear that, Pâté?
    Chetney Pock O'Pea: We'll make sure it's girlfriend material.
    Dorian: Anatomically correct.
    Fearne: I've seen a puppet show like that before.
  • Chetney: Look, sometimes you got to steal to make ends meet, okay? It's a crazy world out there!
    Dorian: I didn't make any judgment assertions about it. All I did was give you one look, Chetney! One look!
    Chetney: I'm just saying, come correct or get corrected.[7]
  • Ashton: (to Cyrus) So you ran away from a family of generations of oracles, is what you're saying?
    Cyrus: Yeah.
    Ashton: It's amazing that they didn't see it coming.[8]
  • Chetney: How do you find people so well? Oh, they were all dead.
    FCG: We wait until they die, then we find them.
    Ashton: Conveniently, they move around a lot less.[9]

Inventory

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Transferred Mini chisels Chetney Fearne
Transferred 1 Sending stone Dorian Cyrus The corresponding stone is held by Orym.

Trivia

References

  1. See "Behind the Curtain" (3x07) at 0:43:34.
  2. See "Growing Bonds and Teasing Threads" (3x06) at 2:32:30.
  3. See "The Threat Between the Walls" (3x05) at 1:59:32.
  4. See "A Woodworker's Quandary" (3x08) at 0:30:00.
  5. See "A Woodworker's Quandary" (3x08) at 0:31:10.
  6. See "A Woodworker's Quandary" (3x08) at 0:33:42.
  7. See "A Woodworker's Quandary" (3x08) at 0:54:31.
  8. See "A Woodworker's Quandary" (3x08) at 1:40:08.
  9. See "A Woodworker's Quandary" (3x08) at 2:19:56.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Fearne using FCG as a flask, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Cyrus with the sending stone, by Dylan Chinn (source). Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Fearne in rat form sneaking into the factory, by KageSatsuki (source). Used with permission.
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