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"Commerce & Chaos" (2x31) is the thirty-first episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein take two weeks of downtime in Zadash, shopping and researching, before embarking on their next adventure...
Laura will be joining the rest of the cast shortly: she's finishing baby stuff in the other room.
- Our sponsor tonight is our fantastic friends and glorious sponsors through Campaign 2 thus far: D&D Beyond!
- Yesterday (August 15, 2018) was D&D Beyond's one-year anniversary. Wish them a Happy Birthday on their Facebook and Twitter pages! Also, as a reminder: D&D Beyond streams their weekly show ("And Beyond") every Wednesday on twitch.tv/dndbeyond. It's got great conversations with special guests like Matt Mercer, Mike Mearls, and other guests with the initials "M.M.". Sam has to do a few pick-ups during the announcement. Sam recently went to Virginia, so he got inspired to write a country song for D&D Beyond. Sam was going to learn this song on the guitar, but then he realized he doesn't really play guitar. Sam starts to sing, but then does one last pick-up as Laura sits down. Sam confirms that everything mentioned in the song are all official Southern things. Travis isn't sure if D&D Beyond will animate that song. Sam says give it time. We now have the mental image of Country Sam enjoying "an all-night date" with his D&D Beyond (aka Sam's computer).
- For those who haven't seen it yet, the VOD for Marisha's "Honey Heist 2: Electric Beargaloo" is available on YouTube for free, so go check it out whenever you want! Matt says it was nuts, but so much fun. Marisha confirms they were all pretty loopy. For the time being, the Electric Beargaloo T-shirt is available right now in the store for a limited time. Fantastic, "beary" awesome art by Joana Carvalho ("SleepyJane" on Twitter).
- Laura wonders why her dice are already laid out when she got there. Who was touching her dice?!? Travis tells Sam to deny it: his life is short enough as it is. Sam claims he was helping set up for Laura...being a caring parent himself. Sam tells her not to worry: he only touched the dice Laura wouldn't have used anyways. Laura says that's GREAT...
- merch update from Laura: We've got those Electric Beargaloo shirts that Matt mentioned! She gets handed the ad copy. We have retro tees (which Travis is wearing)! We have Mighty Nein tees (which Marisha is wearing)! The one Marisha is wearing has been altered (Sleeves Are Bullshit), but you can alter your own at home! We don't have the tee Taliesin is wearing...it's a classic (Gilmore's Glorious Goods). But we still have our...other shirts. Sam states that Laura has *one* job. Laura responds by clarifying the "Nott the Best Detective Agency" shirts are in the store. The pins and "Dad Hats" are sold out, but will be back sometime. Everyone loves the Dad Hats: they're awesome! Sam asks why the navy Critter caps are called "Dad Hats"? They just are called that. Marisha and Laura were wearing theirs earlier today. There are other things, so go check out the shop! At shop.critrole.com...Laura *obviously* knows that address by heart. Travis remarks how "polished" and "professional" that was. Laura hopes that someday she will get to those "Sam Riegel levels" in advertising.
- We'll have our Wyrmwood giveaway at the break. Matt will have all the information for that at the time.
- Before Matt can finish the "Previously on Critical Role" recap, Sam interrupts to reveal what's on his flask tonight: one of Matt's very first headshots...a ten year-old character headshot as a doctor archetype, with the text, "THE DOCTOR IS IN." Because when Matt was a new actor in LA, everyone told him he had to get some costumed headshots. Liam reassures him that no one in LA knows what they're doing "right off the truck". Laura tells Marisha to look at her husband. Marisha says it's so good. Travis says, "Doogie Howser, eat your f***ing heart out!" Matt isn't going to be able to run the game tonight: he can't focus.
Previously on Critical Role Edit
"Our band of adventurers, the Mighty Nein - having trekked away from Zadash, northward on two different jobs for the Gentleman - had accomplished both of these contracted jobs for him. Losing a friend, gaining a friend, made their way back south.
"Upon completing your journey - checking in with the Gentleman - you were paid the ripe sum that you had discussed, and after taking your newfound friend from the Shadycreek Run (Ophelia) back to The Evening Nip, you exited with your new gold and platinum in hand. And after a celebratory drink to the memory of Molly, you grabbed Caduceus and led him into the city of Zadash - the largest city he's ever seen by leaps and bounds - to see what kind of ways you can corrupt this new, fresh mind...free out of the Savalier Wood..."
Part I Edit
The Mighty Nein has roughly two weeks of downtime before the next leg of their journey.
- In disguise, Nott uses her money to buy 1 gp worth of bunch of baubles, trinkets, buttons, ribbons, string, beads, and one crescent-shaped ornament. She puts it all in a package with a note and 100 gp, and mails the package to a yet-to-be-revealed location. She also buys tinkerer's tools for 50 gp.
- Fjord discovers that Nott has a gun, with a single shot. Nott warns him not to mess with her, or she'll blow him away! (unless she misses)
- Nott uses her new tinkerer's tools to take her gun apart and figure out how it works (specifically, how the hammer works and how the gunpowder ignites). Caleb helps: he's not proficient in tinkerer's tools, but he's very intelligent. Since Nott isn't proficient in tinkerer's tools either, she rolls a straight INT check: 14 with a +3 INT modifier is 17. It takes a bit of time, but Nott manages to carefully disassemble the entire pistol without any issues. Matt has Taliesin (since Percy was responsible for inventing these things just over 20 years ago) detail exactly how the impact of the hammer creates an explosion.
- With that knowledge and whatever gunpowder she can acquire, Nott tries to modify the 20 arrows (which she grabbed from the Sour Nest) with explosive arrowheads. With another straight INT check of 14 (11 + 3), it costs Nott 20 gp in additional materials because she fails multiple times and end up wasting a lot of arrows. However, in the end, she has one explosive arrow...though she is not entirely certain what it does.
- Nott attempts to reassemble the gun (INT check: 12 + 3 = 15). She reassembles the gun...it *looks* functional. Nott comments that whoever invented this...she must have been a very, very smart person.
- Nott commissions a pair of gloves for comfort and show. They are human skin-colored, with little "fingernails" embroidered at the end. She has them made for 5 gp at the same store where Beau commissioned her reversible cloak.
- Nott asks for Jester's help to forge a letter to the Soltryce Academy in Rexxentrum. She asks Jester not to tell Caleb about it. Nott wants a letter that sounds like it comes from some kind of legal entity (a law firm, or a court, or something like that). Jester is proficient in forgery kit, so she rolls an INT check (11 + 1 + 3 = 15) She forges the letter in what Jester believes to be a fairly decent forgery of an officious letter. She adds little flourishes of calligraphy at the beginning and scenting the letter with lavender oil. They try sealing the letter with candle wax. Jester rolls a DEX check (6 + 4 = 10). There is a difference between sealing wax and candle wax. How does Matt know this? He has made this mistake before sealing letters for previous D&D campaigns. There is mush on Jester's ring and on the letter. Jester peels off the wax and goes to purchase sealing wax for 2 sp. Nott offers to pay for the postage. Jester keeps the rest of the sealing wax for when she sends letters to her mom. Jester re-seals the letter with sealing wax, and her ring gives the seal a rose symbol. The letter reads something like:
- "To Whom It May Concern, I am trying to reach a young lady named Astrid (no last name given), who was a student about eleven years ago at your Academy. She has inherited a bit of money from a distant relative: her uncle Leonard Hyphen-Leonard, from the town of Nigeria. And his estate has employed me to find her, in order to deliver the vast sums of money. Please reach out to me with her last known contact information or address. You can write me in care of the 'Pillow Trove Hotel, Zadash. ATTN: Mrs. Lavorre, Esq.' My legal practice of Nott & Brave law firm thanks you in advance."
- After the letter is sent off, Nott again urges Jester not to tell Caleb. Nott believes he would get upset, but Nott believes this person would be able to make him think of happier times. Jester realizes that Astrid is the name that Caleb drunkenly mumbled to Jester when they danced in Hupperdook. Nott cites this as proof that Caleb misses her. Jester asks if Astrid was Caleb's girlfriend. Nott doesn't know which way Caleb swings, but Nott thinks Astrid was indeed his girlfriend. Nott is confident that Caleb could get any girl he wants. Jester agrees that he is very handsome, especially when he shaves because you can see that little "butt-chin" he has.
- Caleb goes shopping, and Caduceus asks to come along: if they're going to be traveling together, they ought to have some supplies. Also, Caduceus is looking for some diamonds for some things he knows how to do. Jester remarks that she needs some diamonds too. Beau just got money, so she goes shopping too. It is late morning (almost midday) in the Pentamarket as their shopping trip begins:
- The Invulnerable Vagrant: Caduceus is introduced to Pumat Sol and his three simulacra. Caduceus assumes they are all quadruplets, and he is very impressed with what Pumat's mother had to go through. Pumat Prime clarifies that the other three are arcane-based copies of himself: they are all collectively Pumat Sol, but Pumat Prime is the original. Caduceus calls that crazy and would love to learn to do that himself. Jester insists that Pumat Prime shouldn't just call the others "copies": they have their own personalities, and Pumat Prime should appreciate them more. One of the Pumat copies explains that they take no offense, because it's true. Jester insists that each of them is unique in their own way, and each of them should really appreciate that. The three Pumat simulacra go, "Awwww" at the same time, and Jester goes back to rearranging the shelves. Caduceus asks if there's anything he should see in Zadash? Caleb remarks that the baths in town are quite lovely. Pumat Prime goes back into the workshop, so the other Pumats help the party with their purchases. Caleb notices that one of the Pumats is reading a book, but Beau cuts him off and demands to know if Pumat still has those Bracers of Defense she was looking at last time? He does: the price is still 1200 gp. Beau holds off on them for now. Caleb states that he is looking to spend 1000 gp here, and he would be more likely to do so if Pumat could give Beau a better price on the bracers. Caleb needs 500-600 gp of Pumat's finest paper and ink, so Pumat #3 is sent to go fetch more of that "wizard paper and ink". Caleb also needs about 60 gp worth of fine incense. Pumat doesn't have a whole lot of incense: he has 20 gp worth of incense, but there are incense makers in Zadash who could probably help him out with the rest of it. Pumat offers to order more incense in stock, if this is going to be a regular order from Caleb. Caleb was also hoping to look through Pumat's collection of spell scrolls, in particular any Transmutation spells. Pumat asks what Caleb is looking for? Caleb is looking for one if you or your friends are falling (Feather Fall), one that can get him out of Dodge if he gets too hurt (Expeditious Retreat), and one that can sort of catapult things across the room (Catapult). Pumat can give him the three spell scrolls for 300 gp. Caleb says he might consider adding the three scrolls (and maybe some additional spells) to his cart if Beau gets a better deal on the bracers. Jester also might want to buy a magic weapon if it's "really cool and stuff". Pumat shows her a broken enchanted sword from the Age of Arcanum. Pumat also has a pouch containing Dust of Deliciousness, and a Cloak of Elvenkind. Jester gives Pumat her handaxe to be enchanted. She wants a "really cool" enchanted weapon that would hit really hard, open wounds that don't ever close, poison people, also turn them into candy, makes people turn pink, and makes people start dancing and stuff. Pumat Prime says such a weapon would take eight months to enchant, and would probably cost 10,000 to 12,000 gp. Jester says it seems like a really reasonable price, and Pumat agrees that is the best price Jester will get outside of Rexxentrum. Jester asks how much for an enchantment that forces people it hits to dance uncontrollably? Pumat says that would be about 8,000 gp. Jester doesn't have that much either, so Jester has her handaxe enchanted into a +1 magic weapon for 400 gp. Caduceus buys the broken sword, because he likes broken things. Jester and Caduceus buy the Cloak of Elvenkind as a gift for Nott. Caleb persuades Pumat to give them a discount on the total purchase: 100 gold off. Beau buys the Bracers of Defense. Jester purchases the Dust of Deliciousness, and manages to get 5 gp off because Pumat likes her.
- Caleb asks Beau to take him with her to the Valley Archive of the Cobalt Soul when she goes back for training, so he can peruse their library. Beau agrees, so they return back to the inn to prepare. Caleb pulls an all-nighter: he empowers the lucky rock as a Transmuter's Stone (that will let Caleb see in the dark), he transcribes every spell and scroll he has acquired into his spellbook (using up all of the paper and ink that he acquired), and performs the ritual to re-summon Frumpkin as a cat.
- Caleb spends four days researching various topics:
- Caleb spends the first day researching Xhorhas, the Xhorhasians, mentions of beacons and living many lives, and their religion. Caleb learns about the Kryn Dynasty: the Xhorhasian society that exists in the ruins of Ghor Dranas. Most of them are dark elves (or "drow"). In ancient Exandrian history, there was only one race of elves. However, the elves who would become the drow were corrupted by the Spider Queen, one of the Betrayer Gods. Under her rule and silver tongue, these elves became deceptive and cruel. When the Betrayer Gods were defeated and banished in the Divergence, the drow fled to subterranean cities to rebuild their power...far from the burning light of day. Much of recent studies on drow society speak of growing paranoia and madness, seeping in because of the remnants of the Chained Oblivion (possibly due to proximity to relics of his power). Thus, there are whispers that some of these drow societies are being driven slowly mad by the Chained Oblivion's influence. Interestingly enough, there is little iconography to either deity in Xhorhasian society, and what symbols do remain are ancient and crumbling. The Cobalt Soul mentions nothing about beacons or reincarnation, but their knowledge does mention something new and dangerous (as far as the Cobalt Soul and the Dwendalian Empire are concerned) called the "Luxon". The book speaks of the Luxon as a "false god", and Xhorhas seeks to bring all races "under its Burning Banner". These drow who follow Luxon have rallied to the surface in the ruins of Ghor Dranas, casting the skies above in eternal midnight, and indoctrinating the local beastmen and terrors of Xhorhas's wastes into worship of the Luxon. A number of Dwendalian children (mostly adolescents) have been abducted in the night by the Xhorhasians of the Kryn Dynasty on occasion...though this number has sharply increased in the past generation (years after the first conflicts with the Kryn Dynasty began). The leader of the Kryn Dynasty is Empress Leylas Kryn, who in the Xhorhasian language is referred to as an "umavi" (the word's meaning in Common is currently unknown). Accounts of Empress Kryn describe her as a powerful and dangerous warrior on the battlefield, and well over 600 years old (the Human equivalent of over 80 years old)...the oldest historical records in Wildemount date back no further than 600 years, so she has existed as long as local history has.
- Caleb spends the remaining three days researching the weave of time and any mortal's attempts at controlling it. Caleb learns that time is a constant: moving forward, unyielding. Some powerful arcane spells can accelerate its progress, even slow or stop it...but always in a localized area. There are some stories that survive from the Age of Arcanum (roughly 1500 years ago) that speak of the greatest sages of that age experimenting with reversing time's forward momentum...supposedly with some success. Though the process was always too taxing and the energies required too extensive to merit repetition...killing most who made the attempt, and nearly killing the caster in even the best-case scenarios. Most of the specifics in research that Caleb picks up are footnotes warning future arcane practitioners not to make the attempt, or risk death. Despite his efforts, Caleb finds no record of the names of those who were only nearly killed. Caleb does find some names mentioned, but nothing directly correlating to the experiments Caleb is interested in (Matt will send Liam those notes later). Caleb does discover that there are apparently some newer arcane experiments being conducted by the Soltryce Academy in Rexxentrum. A newer magical energy seems to have been discovered (or possibly rediscovered from the Age of Arcanum...the Cobalt Soul is unsure) that can seemingly adjust the properties of reality with ease...possibly including time itself. This energy is being referred to by the Soltryce mages as "Dunamis". Other than that, there's very little information: anything else is the proprietary knowledge of the Academy and subject to government censorship.
- As Beau and Caleb leave the group, Caduceus and Jester continue on their shopping trip:
- Grace of the Wilds: Caduceus follows his nose to an herb shop in the Pentamarket. Jasna Bree welcomes the pair to Grace of the Wilds. Caduceus wanted to learn how to make some healing potions and is looking for some things to add flavor to his cooking. Caduceus also asks for directions to a nice tea shop in town. Caduceus also purchases a new tea kettle, new cookware, kitchen supplies, and a straw hat for 4 gp.
- Suvo's Secrets: Despite the drab tent looking very unwelcome, Caduceus and Jester enter the tent to purchase some diamonds. Suvo has twelve diamonds available for sale. Jester and Caduceus each buy six diamonds, for a total of 300 gp each. Suvo has many other curiosities in her Bag of Holding: a mummified owlbear matron hand, garlic, etc. The garlic is good for cooking and keeping away "vampyrs". Jester suggests sprinkling the Dust of Deliciousness on the garlic and feeding it to a vampire. Jester rolls a Religion check...Natural 1: this plan is "perfectly sound". Suvo pulls out what looks like an iron mask of an orc face, a chess set with half the pieces missing, and a Greater Healing Potion. Caduceus buys the garlic, haggling Suvo down from 2 gp to 1 gp. Jester asks how much for the Greater Healing Potion, but it costs 250 gp and Jester doesn't have enough gold. Caduceus holds out the garlic just to double-check that Suvo is not a vampyr. Jester buys the mask for 5 gp.
- Caduceus finds the nicest park in the city and spends every day trying to connect with the Wildmother. However, amidst the din and chaos of such a large city (even in the greenest portion), Caduceus can't connect with nature and his deity.
- The potion making costs 150 gp in materials and fees, and takes the remainder of Caduceus's downtime. Caduceus realizes he can make healing potions at the cost of 25 gp in materials. Caduceus takes six days to make Lesser Healing Potions (one potion per day).
- Fjord looks for sailors and merchants in the bars and taverns of Zadash. Not finding any travelers from the Frozen Depths or the Menagerie Coast, Fjord decides to travel by himself to Nicodranas (the northernmost city along the Menagerie Coast), which is just over a week's journey from Zadash. As he travels south, Fjord adopts various disguises and stops at inns and taverns to carefully hear if anyone mentions the name "Sabian" or is talking about ships. Fjord makes three Investigation checks: a 12, a 9, and a 6. By the time Fjord reaches Trostenwald, he is frustrated by a series of dead-ends. No one who might have crossed paths with shipping lanes that Fjord or Sabian might be familiar with are passing this far north. Fjord assumes he will have to go to the wharf taverns of the Menagerie Coast and do a thorough investigation with his connections there. Travis wants to spend the rest of the week continuing on to Nicodranas, and then start to make his way back. Matt warns Travis that Fjord will be traveling alone, and the passage through the Wuyun Gorge is not a "not-dangerous road". Thus, a frustrated and disappointed Travis stops at the Wuyun Gates, and Fjord turns around and spends his second week making his way back to Zadash.
- On his way back to Zadash, Fjord summons the falchion to study it (the cat's eye gem in particular). When Fjord casts a spell, the eye shifts towards the direction of the incantation.
- By the time Fjord returns to Zadash, the rest of the Mighty Nein is genuinely worried that Fjord just kind of vanished for two weeks. Rather than rejoin the group, Fjord heads straight to the Evening Nip to speak with the Gentleman. Fjord asks for the Gentleman to share any knowledge he might have of the criminal underbelly and competitors he has in Nicodranas, Port Damali, and the Menagerie Coast in general. Most of the criminal contacts in the Menagerie Coast (aside from a handful) are not part of the Gentleman's network. He can tell Fjord which ones to trust. The Gentleman has been to Port Damali ("The Jewel of the Coast") a number of times, but he hasn't been back in years due to keeping an eye on his work in Zadash. The one criminal in Port Damali that the Gentleman can recommend is Father Dwandath Pierce: a dwarven Cleric of the Changebringer, who operates a house of worship called "The Pearl Shrine". If Fjord wants Pierce's help and the Gentleman's help, he should tell Father Pierce that he "brings many gifts". The Gentleman also warns Fjord not to work with any criminals outside of Father Pierce's network: they are likely in opposition to the Gentleman, and he does not take kindly to betrayal. Fjord offers to assist the Gentleman with any of his efforts in Port Damali, to which the Gentleman replies that if he thinks of a suitable task, he will send a message to the Mighty Nein. He also asks that the Mighty Nein please keep him informed of anything that might be of interest to him.
- As Fjord turns to leave, he finds Cree on the steps leading out. Cree overheard that there were "losses" in the Mighty Nein's journey. She has had a number of uncomfortable dreams in the past week, and she can no longer sense "Lucien" through her blood magic. Fjord regrets to inform her that Lucien befell a terrible fate. He is sorry that she has to find out this way, but confesses that he was absent when it occurred, and he found out in much the same way as her. He asks what happened the last time Lucien "left"? The Task Takers were performing a ritual that Lucien had orchestrated with an ally of his: a woman of magical renown. Lucien claimed that the ritual would lead them to a city where they could learn of many great powers and secrets. Lucien did not survive the attempt. Cree described Lucien as at times being "charismatic in his cruelty". When Cree "reunited" with Molly, it was the first time she had seen him in two years. Fjord asks if she hopes that he might come back again? Cree did not expect to see him again, and she feels that whatever grace brought him back again was taken away by the Mighty Nein's carelessness. Fjord concedes that Molly's death maybe was indeed their fault, and he apologizes for Cree's loss. Cree will try to move on: after all, she has started a new life in Zadash and it has served her well.
- Beau begins her "monk retreat" with Caleb to the Valley Archive of the Cobalt Soul by asking around for Dairon. Xenoth informs her that Dairon is still investigating behind enemy front-lines in the war against Xhorhas. Beau is disappointed and confused: Dairon said she'd only be gone for a month, and that she was just going to assess Dwendalian forces and fortifications at Bladegarden. Xenoth says that things change, and the war effort needed Dairon elsewhere. Beau initially wants to wait until Dairon returns, but Xenoth lets her know that will probably take longer than Beau will be in Zadash. Thus, Beau agrees to train with Tubo instead, while Xenoth keeps an eye on Caleb while he researches in the archive.
- Beau begins her training by demonstrating her current capabilities to Tubo. Then, Tubo begins instructing Beau in new abilities and techniques:
- The first day of training, Beau is taken up to the library and made to read. Tubo instructs Beau to think carefully about what she's trying to find...what she's trying to learn. Beau researches families of Wildemount and underground trade. In particular, family trees and connections. Tubo shows Beau how to focus her spiritual energy to find quick ways of finding knowledge she seeks in large tomes (spend a ki point to gain advantage on an Investigation check).
- Day two, Tubo teaches Beau how to use that same internal spiritual energy (Beau's ki) to break through defenses not meant to be touched by a mortal hand (Beau's attacks are now considered magical...she can punch ghosts).
- Day three, Tubo sits Beau in a chair in the chamber and asks her to tell him a secret. Beau asks if this is like Truth or Dare, and insists on taking the "Dare" option. Frustrated, Tubo does a series of quick strikes on Beau. Beau fails her Charisma saving throw, so Tubo asks Beau a series of questions about Beau's youth and family history...things that Beau does NOT talk about with anybody. Beau is constantly on the verge of giving up that information, and it is only by refusing to speak at all that she is able to keep from answering. Beau is taught the Extort Truth ability: a technique to pull the truth from others.
- On the fourth and final day, Beau is taught how to use her ki to give herself a moment of reactionary time to prepare against an incoming assault. Two other monks join Tubo, and the three monks draw bows and fire arrows at Beau. Beau's Bracers of Defense are unable to deflect the arrows, so Beau uses her ki to catch all three arrows. Tubo says Beau's training is complete. Beau is confused: she doesn't get to kill the other two monks? Tubo insists no, and Beau apologizes as the other monks leave.
- Jester gives Nott the Cloak of Elvenkind that she and Caduceus bought from The Invulnerable Vagrant.
- Jester spends the remainder of the two weeks trying to make The Traveler like her again, rationalizing that he didn't come save her from the Iron Shepherds because he doesn't like her anymore. She scouts out the temples to all the other gods, memorizing the schedules of the guards and priests, and planning to desecrate them. She enlists Nott's help to do so. Jester already vandalized with the Raven's Den and the Hearth of the Allhammer. Jester decides to skip the Valley Archive of the Cobalt Soul, since it's where Beau and Caleb are training and researching. She also decides against the King's Hall, since there are a lot of guards and it is the center of local law enforcement. That leaves the Platinum House (temple to the Platinum Dragon) in the Interstead Sprawl and the Shrine of the Dawn (temple to the Dawnfather) in the Signet Wall. Jester decides to mess with the Platinum House, since it's close to the Steam's Respite bathhouse. She asks for help from Nott.
Part II Edit
Featured Characters Edit
- Caduceus Clay
- Jester Lavorre
Yasha Nydoorin(absent, mentioned)
- Caleb Widogast
- Sam's giant flask has a ten year-old character headshot of Matt in a doctor costume, with the text, "THE DOCTOR IS IN."
- Part of the reason why Laura chose to vandalize the Platinum Dragon's temple and not the Dawnfather's may have to do with Vex's history with Pelor in Campaign 1.