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"Chases and Trees" (2x65) is the sixty-fifth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein continue their trudge through the Barbed Fields, and find beauty, shelter and unexpected danger in an unlikely corner...

Synopsis Edit

Pre-Show Edit

Sam introduced a report by Marisha, who had investigated possible foul play during the D&D Beyond Presidential race. She provided a recording of a phone call between Liam and an unknown caller codenamed Sherlock, then a photograph of Liam who mysteriously had British currency in his wallet. Finally, Marisha showed a video of Liam plotting with Mark Hulmes (High Rollers) of  to subvert Critical Role and force them to use British English pronunciation, spelling and weights and measures.

Announcements Edit

Previously on Critical Role Edit

"Last we left off, the Mighty Nein had uncovered what seemed to be some strange, growing conspiracy between the strange devices that were causing portals to tear open into the Abyss, across Xhorhas. You had scryed and discovered an individual who was involved with this and had set up a meeting in Rosohna, in the Overcrow Apothecary. Lying in wait, you managed to assault the people that were involved, killing two, but seemingly the most important one fled to the north. You, through Scrying and Speaking with Dead, managed to gather the information you had at your disposal, grabbed your moorbounders, and make your way northward to pursue them towards what seems to be the city of Bazzoxan.

You made your way directly through the Barbed Fields, and are currently there. You’ve traversed your first day and a half of your three day journey across the Barbed Fields, a unique, dangerous landscape, relics and signs of the great ancient wars of the final moments of the Calamity, a marred landscape, and came across some strange creatures, that seemed a little lonely and just wanted a hug, that assaulted you in the middle of the field and some of the nearby fungus-growing trees. The battle completed, you’ve all been to bed down this evening for some rest."

Part I Edit

Yasha and Jester take the first watch, talking about the man who recognized Yasha as the Orphan-Maker back at the Overcrow in Rosohna, and Jester suggests maybe Yasha was a famous rock harpist during the time she doesn't remember. The rest of the night is uneventful.

In the morning, a storm starts moving in. The party explore a giant tortoise shell, inside it finding a rough map of the Barbed Fields, which Jester copies. From its top, Nott (who has again been drinking steadily) sees what looks like a giant tree in the distance, roughly the direction they are traveling. They continue on, and the strange spires in the landscape seem to be becoming a little more frequent.

Eventually, they see a dead udaak being feasted on by three gloomstalkers, who notice them and begin flying after them as the Nein try to outrun them. Caduceus casts Daylight on his moorbounder's saddle, which seems to keep them at bay[1], but when Fjord hits one with two Eldritch Blasts[2], and Jester seriously wounds it with a Guiding Bolt[3], it attacks with a screech, paralyzing Beau, Jester, and all three moorbounders, sending the party flying from their backs. A battle ensues, and Caduceus kills two of the gloomstalkers with his glowing bug-and-beetle Spirit Guardians, while Nott kills one with a crossbow bolt and sneak attack. Caduceus heals the party, particularly the badly injured Beau, and they set off again toward the towering tree as the cold rain begins to fall.
The Arbor Exemplar

Fan art of The Arbor Exemplar, by BlackSalander.[art 1]

As they approach toward nightfall, five more gloomstalkers detach from one of the spires and begin swarming behind them. They urge the moorbounders into a run towards the tree, but as the moorbounders tire, the gloomstalkers begin catching up. Fjord summons a barlgura which distracts four of the five, but the fifth one gets within 120 feet before Jester horribly wounds it with a pink Guiding Bolt and it loses interest.

They decide to camp about 100 feet away from the tree, with Caleb casting Leomund's Tiny Hut. Nott turns invisible and begins scouting toward the tree.

Break Edit

Part II Edit

Nott notices unnaturally green grass extending about five to ten feet from the roots of the tree, and stealths back safely as the rain continues. Caduceus casts Commune to speak with the Wildmother, who tells him the tree is her last and final seed. The land remains scarred as it has been since the gods all stepped away. Caduceus asks if he is here to fix this, and she replies, "It's too big to fix. Your path is your own." He does not like that answer one bit.[4]

Jester Sends to Essek, asking about the giant tree, and he tells her it is called the Arbor Exemplar. It was planted by the Wildmother toward the end of the Calamity in the most desolate land, to leave a beacon of life and hope. It is a sister tree to the Seed of Rebirth in the Birthheart of Vasselheim. Jester then scrys on the drow, presumably named Obann, who appears to be searching for nooks and crannies in the rock surface at the base of a mountain, and pulling out a small stone crest when he finds what seems to be a likely spot. While Jester watches, he does not find what he's searching for.

Caduceus dreams of the Wildmother, who shows him an image of ice-capped mountains bordering a desert of white glass beads, containing a volcano with a black iron anvil in its belly next to a pool of magma. As grains of greenish glass-like sand tumble onto its surface, they grow into shards of purple crystal. The vision shifts to a mammoth dark rock ravine carved into the earth, with a rudimentary city at its southern edge, near a shoreline and jungle. At the edge of a lake in the jungle is a cavern, and within the cavern is a temple next to a pool. When the purple crystals fall into the pool, they begin to root and grow.[5]

Fjord also dreams, of the giant eye of Uk'otoa, who commands, "Return!" and "Release!". Suddenly, tendrils begin to tear through the pupil of the eye, and a voice says, "Come with me, child." Fjord fights his way through the doorway created by the vines into a small chamber of tangled leaves and roots. The voice tells him that it will wither without faith, and "His will shall find you again... but until it does, rest."[6]

On Jester's watch, the grass is continuing to grow. She messages Kiri, sending her love, and Kiri responds in kind.[7]

Beau and Yasha take the final watch. Beau shares that she, too, was forced to leave behind her first love when they were separated by her father. The woman, Tori, was a little bit older, and Beau's literal partner in crime, and they were arrested together. Beau is sure that wherever she is now, she must hate Beau for what her father did to her.[8]

In the morning, the grass is now green about 200 feet out from the tree. Beau, Fjord, and Jester climb the tree, with Jester falling midway. As she is plummeting to the ground, Fjord dives after her, and when they are both caught by Feather Falls from Nott and Caleb, uses Thunder Step twice to boost them to the top, where Beau is waiting. Caleb Polymorphs into a giant eagle, carrying Nott up in his talons. There is a beautiful vista from the top, and they see that the rock spires circle and become more dense towards the center of the Fields, where there is a large chasm. They move around the tree through the edge of a roc's nest, and the disturbance seems to wake the giant bird. They decide to leap out of the tree top and Nott casts Feather Fall on them so that they are drifting toward the ground, when the massive roc pierces out of the canopy and begins curving back around towards the tree.

Featured Characters Edit

The Mighty Nein Edit

New Edit

Returning Edit

Mentioned Edit

Inventory Edit

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes

Quotations Edit

  • Caduceus: Is this place yours?
    The Wildmother: "Yes, it is mine. My last and final seed."
    Caduceus: How new is the threat? Is this one season? What's the thing that's beaten you back?
    The Wildmother: "The land remains scarred. It has since we all stepped away."
    Caduceus: Am I here to fix this?
    The Wildmother: "It's too big to fix. Your path is your own."
    Caduceus: I don't like that answer one bit.[4]

  • Yasha: Thank you for not judging me, Beau.
    Beau: Have you seen me? Who am I to fucking judge?
    Yasha: I've seen you. I've seen you a lot.

Link to Episode TranscriptEdit

References Edit

  1. See "Chases and Trees" (2x65) at 0:59:10.
  2. See "Chases and Trees" (2x65) at 1:02:28.
  3. See "Chases and Trees" (2x65) at 1:03:34.
  4. See "Chases and Trees" (2x65) from 2:37:31 through 2:40:18.
  5. See "Chases and Trees" (2x65) from 2:57:15 through 3:02:00.
  6. See "Chases and Trees" (2x65) from 3:02:05 through 3:07:00.
  7. See "Chases and Trees" (2x65) at 3:07:20.
  8. See "Chases and Trees" (2x65) from 3:11:00 through 3:16:40.

Art:

  1. Fan art of The Arbor Exemplar, by BlackSalander (source).  Used with permission.


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