"Blessing in Disguise" (2x95) is the ninety-fifth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. Now in the jungles of the White Dawn Lagoon, the Mighty Nein find themselves challenged not just by Caduceus's journey of faith, but by Jester's as well...
We all play Dungeons and Dragons! But why is Ashley at the wrong table?
- In the latest spine-tingling adventure of CryptonicOverride and BlackWillow73@aol.com, they are one firewall away from the Ultra Kodex (protected, of course, by Nord VPN) when Cereal Killer comes bearing the secret key to the hacknet, jacking in for justice - but apparently frying BlackWillow and Cryptonic! And because he's also protected by Nord VPN, they will be in the internet forever! But seriously, folks, buy a three year plan, get one month free with coupon "CriticalRole" at checkout.
- The second sponsor tonight is the wonderful D&D Beyond, an amazing online tool for keeping track of your campaigns and characters. They've just updated the revised Blood Hunter class created by Matt.
- Merch Alert! Critical Role has now officially arrived at Hot Topic both online and in stores with four new shirts and a hoodie.
- Friday, 14 February 2020 at 7 pm PST is the new Cinderbrush: A Monsterhearts Story one-shot on Twitch, VOD available Sunday morning on YouTube.
- C2E2 is coming up shortly. Photo ops and autographs are still available.
- OSD has announced that Xbox is matching donations through March, so donate now.
Previously on Critical Role
So, last we left off: the Mighty Nein have found their way to Kamordah and the mountains northward to try to engage with the old crone, the Prism Sage, Isharnai, to break the curse that still holds Nott within her physical form. A deal was struck through the use of memory-altering magic via Jester, and you escaped without conflict for the time being with the creature. You battled some undead in the swamp as you fled into the night, and after survival and a safe rest, you made your way back to Rosohna, where you collected yourselves, your intent, and asked Essek if he could help transport you to the Whitedawn Lagoon, where it seemed visions of Caduceus’s Wildmother-given journey and finishing what his family had set out to accomplish, lie.
After transporting yourselves to the exterior of the jungle where it seems the Circle of Beasts, the oasis that contains one of these collections, the Stone family in particular, that is the next step of this vision quest. You made a parasol for Essek and sent him on his way, and you began to traverse the dangerous jungle. A short time into your journey, rest was taken, a night was set, and in the middle of your evening’s watch, Jester was called away from the camp spot, by a familiar green-cloaked figure. Called by the Traveler to the shadows of the jungle, the Traveler revealed a lot more about his past than you were previously aware, learning that the Traveler may not be entirely a god in the sense that you had anticipated or believed, but had discovered Jester many years ago as this entity traversed the land, saw chaotic kinship within her, and this worship that Jester gave, this love and trust that was placed into this entity gave it purpose in a way it wasn’t expecting, which led to it seeking other people to join this family of belief and trust, and forthright interest in adding more chaos to the world around them. He also revealed himself to be a long-orange-haired fey entity and revealed that he had no idea what he was doing and he desperately needed your help. And that was where we left off.
The Traveler gives his name: Lord Artagan of the Morncrown, but says calling him The Traveler is fine. Jester asks if he wants to be a god, and he replies that he doesn't know. He enjoys the adoration and ability it gives him to spread chaos, but the demands of his followers are becoming too much and he's considered just leaving. He assures Jester that if he leaves, he will take her with him to visit other planes and other worlds.
Jester suggests that perhaps he could become more like the other gods, who while remaining remote from their followers still manage to convince them they are being aided and watched over constantly. They could use TravelerCon to allow the followers to meet one another and learn to rely on each other. The Traveler suggests that: "Where anything goes good, it’s because of me. If anything goes bad, it’s because of them," and Jester adds that the other followers would start believing that everything happens for a reason. She and the rest of the Mighty Nein can use TravelerCon to establish the religion and how it will be. Jester's main concern seems to be that even if the Traveler withdraws from his other followers, he will always be there for her and that she's always the most powerful of them.
They agree that he should meet the rest of the party in the morning and Jester returns to the dome, worried, but eventually goes to sleep. In the morning, she makes a display of praying to the Traveler and from within a tree a door opens surrounded by blooming flowers, growing vines, and fireflies. The Traveler steps out, impressively, and Beau immediately attempts to touch him and successfully evades his vines that try to stop her. He swells to fifteen feet tall but finds himself uncomfortably cramped by the tree boughs above. Jester explains to the others that they need to figure out how to use TravelerCon to make all the other attendees (approximately 200) not talk to him as much, because it's annoying. He admits that he is not a god, but an archfey, and he's looking for things that are interesting and fun. He wants to build a religious cult where only a few know the truth because it would be a marvelous trick.
The rest of the party has reservations. Nott argues that they should give the other followers a path to happiness of some sort. Caleb is interested in gaining the Traveler's aid against the "shitty people" they know of. He casts Seeming on the party so that they all appear to be wearing green cloaks. The Traveler hopes that if they can pull this off and do it right, they could leave his followers still content, with new friends and some defined direction in the way they go through their day-to-day as they slowly walk towards the days of dusk. The party agrees that Jester is the success story, and as part of the discussion she reveals that "Jester" is her chosen virtue name. Her mother called her Genevieve at birth. The Traveler takes his leave to go visit a friend somewhere "ashy".
Nott asks Jester if she is okay, and she admits it is going to take a little bit of time and that he never told her he was a god-- she said it to him and he didn't correct her. She is taken aback that it really is a cult rather than a religion, but hopeful that she has the chance to decide what it becomes. They all agree they will help in planning and facilitating TravelerCon.
They walk on through the jungle, spotting small patches of blue and purple fungus growing on strange waxy material attached to trees. Within the wax are bones of small animals. As they walk on, the patches become larger, as do the bones they contain, and they also spot small hillocks of freshly dug-up dirt as would be thrown up by something burrowing upward. Eventually they reach a clearing with a large waxy cocoon and dirt hill. Despite Caduceus's warnings that they should just bypass them, they cannot resist poking them, eventually creating a hole in the wax allowing incredibly smelly, decomposing matter to drain out. They move on hurriedly trying to get away from the smell, but hear the soft sounds of creatures approaching, and finally spot a multitude of large silverfish-type insects called bladerakes coming towards them through the forest.
- D&D Beyond animation.
- Cinderbrush: A Monsterhearts Story one-shot, will be broadcast 14 February 2020 at 7:00 pm PST on Twitch.
- Ghosts! On All Work No Play 18 February 2020 at at 4:00 pm PST on Twitch.
- Clips from "Talks Machina #141: 'With Great Power...'" (TMx141).
- Pumat Sol invokes the Subscription cantrip to reach the Twitch Prime dimension.
- Critters' art montage.
One of the bladerakes climbs into a tree and Beau climbs up after it, spiking it to the ground and slamming her elbow into it as she follows it down, where Fjord quickly finishes it off. More bladerakes immediately appear, however. The insects spew acidic wax onto the Mighty Nein, causing some of them to become restrained as the wax hardens. The mushrooms in the area releases a spore cloud attack that poisons the victim. When Beau is restrained, Caleb successfully frees her by casting Enlarge on her. The insects are not difficult to kill, but most party members take at least some damage.
Even more bladerakes come from the the surrounding brush, and their attacks bring Caleb dangerously low on hit points, while breaking Caduceus's concentration on Holy Weapon and Jester's on Spiritual Guardians. Caleb casts Polymorph on himself, turning into a giant ape with the ape's reserve of hit points, and Jester Polymorphs into a giant blue mammoth. The party then pretty quickly dispatches all the remaining insects. They hear the skittering of more in the jungle-- heading away from them.
In victory, Giant Ape Caleb jumps onto Giant Mammoth Jester, squishing her slightly when she suddenly drops her mammoth form. Jester successfully harvests glands from the bladerakes which, when combined, create their acidic wax. Nott tries and fails to steal her flask back from Yasha, and the party decides to take a short rest while engaging in another guided meditation. Refreshed, they travel on for hours through the jungle.
Eventually, they reach a small pool of extremely clear water, surrounded by statues of various animals and creatures. A cavern descends into the earth on the far side. As they approach, they notice statues of people among the creatures. Caduceus sees two taller figures among them that he recognizes: his mother Constance and his aunt Corrin. A little bit beyond is his father Cornelius with his sister Calliope. Caduceus starts pushing everyone back into the tree line, but they hear heavy sounds of earthy impact, and see a massive swollen bull-like creature covered in metallic plates and surrounded by plumes of green fumes beginning to rush towards them.
- Beauregard Lionett
- Caduceus Clay
- Caleb Widogast
- Jester Lavorre
- Nott the Brave
- Yasha Nydoorin
|Transferred||1||Superior Healing Potions||Fjord||Caleb||Purchased from Pumat in "Titles and Tattoos" (2x84)|
|Transferred||4||Regular and Greater Healing Potions||Fjord||Fjord, Yasha, Beau, and Nott||Purchased from Pumat in "Titles and Tattoos" (2x84); unspecified who got which potion.|
|Acquired||2 uses||Acidic Wax Compound||jungle insects||Nott and Jester||Two liquids which combine to form the acidic wax cocoons|
- The Traveler: “I am not any less than I have been, though the pretense itself is a bit of trickery and I think that even you can appreciate that, Jester. I am Lord Artagan of the Morncrown, and I am the Traveler. You, Jester Lavorre, are my protégé, my most prized pupil. You hold the purest priorities to see the world turned on its head. I know I can trust you. Would you help me?”
Jester: Well, obviously.
- The Traveler: “Nothing happens for a reason. It’s absolute fucking chaos.”
- Yasha: I feel like you throw a person into the deep end. Isn’t that the way you do it? And then they recover?
Caduceus: If you’re trying to drown them, sure, you throw them into the deep end.
- The Traveler: “Well, there’s a particular word, I think, that deals specifically with this, that’s been very prevalent through much of mortal history. The word is 'faith'. And it means giving everything and expecting– and receiving, honestly, in the realms of religion– very little in return.”
- Jester: (about the Traveler) Just going out and killing someone– what’s the point, right?
Caleb: Yeah, he’s looking for fun. He’s not looking to strangle anyone or something like that.
Matt: Been there, done that.
- Matthew Lillard's character "Cereal Killer" from the ad-read is a parody of his character of the same name from the 1995 film Hackers.
- Fan art of the Traveler revealed, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of the party traveling, by Monica M. Magaña (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of the bladerakes, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Caduceus seeing his family, by GalacticJonah (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of the Gorgon, by Kageyama Satsuki (source). Used with permission.