"Contentious Company" (2x120) is the one hundred twentieth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein locate their prize but quickly learn that adversaries and conflict can come from even the most unexpected corners...

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Announcements[edit | edit source]

  • Cortex is a brand-new gaming toolset that lets you create your own game from hundreds of modular parts. Through December 31, use code CORE20 at checkout for a 20% discount on the digital edition. To demonstrate the system, Sam pitches a new truly immersive tea-brewing adventure game. He'll continue the game after the four minutes steeping time is over.
  • Matt does the ad for Nord VPN, so we'll have to wait for the further adventures of Cryptonic Override and BlackWillow73@aol.com. They do have a Christmas special - with every purchase of a two-year plan, you get four months free. Go to their website and use the code CRITICALROLE at checkout.
  • Sadly, this is the final Critical Role of the year. They'll be returning on 14 January 2021.
  • During the break on the live Twitch stream, they will be showing the first episode of Crit Recap Animated, narrated by Dani Carr.
  • Merch Alert! New Cobalt Soul varsity jacket available in all three CritRole.com shops. Also, they have partnered with Sideshow to create fine art prints and statues of the characters.
  • Critical Role and Dark Horse Comics have partnered for the upcoming Tales of Exandria, now available for pre-order, releasing 17 March 2021.

Previously on Critical Role[edit | edit source]

So, last we left off, the Mighty Nein, making their way through Eiselcross with the eventual destination planned of reaching the central ruins of Aeor, which currently is to the east across a volcanic river of magma.

You traveled here trying to head off Lucien and the Tombtakers for what seemed to be one of the artifacts they're attempting to gather before heading to Aeor themselves. You managed to gain some time by flying in the air via giant eagles, and upon trekking deep within, you encountered strange locales, ancient Aeorian citizens frozen in some kind of magical time bubble. You made yourselves scarce as you went deeper into the ruin, discovering strange laboratories, encountering a horrifying mutated abomination. After battling it, you discovered the remnants of one of these laboratories, and an eventual escape hatch that led to a further subterranean, nearly petrified forest, corrupted by some sort of unknown source. But beyond that forest, you began to come upon a hallway and stairs that descended into a blue-lit chamber in the same direction that Jester's magic had said the second threshold crest you seek would be.

And so, as we left off, you had just dispelled the magical barrier that had prevented entry and began trekking down the stairways into this blue-lit, familiar chamber.

Part I[edit | edit source]

Fan art of Beau and Yasha, by Elaine Tipping.[art 1]

As the party heads down into the chamber containing the threshold crest, Beau holds Yasha back, telling her that's she's nervous not because of the surroundings, but because Yasha makes her nervous... in a good way. She's read Yasha's note[1] and wants to try a date tomorrow night. Yasha accepts eagerly. They like each other a lot, but don't want to make it weird if it doesn't work out.

Fan art of the automaton battle, by Kieran Slate.[art 2]

The party descends the stairs into the room before them, virtually identical to the room within the A5 ruin they first met Lucien in. As they investigate the area, Caduceus notices a momentary magical pulse from two orbs on either side of the room. Caleb begins casting Fabricate to loosen the threshold crest in the ceiling, but as he does so, they hear heavy footsteps approach and a large automaton bursts in and attacks.

Jester casts Banishment on the automaton, sending it away for a minute and allowing Veth to Levitate Yasha up to whack at the crest while Caleb uses Cat's Ire to try to loosen it. Jester uses Stone Shape to create a hole in the spot where the automaton's foot will be when he reappears. Yasha and Caleb work at the crest, loosening it significantly before the automaton reappears and is immediately proned by stepping in Jester's hole. Beau, Fjord, and Veth attack, with Fjord's Divine Smite-enhanced crit doing 83 points of damage and creating magical butterflies, but Beau and Fjord are both Slowed by the creature.

Fan art of Fjord getting harpooned, by Omegasama art.[art 3]

Veth places the magical banana peel Jester painted for her in the Experiment Chamber of The Folding Halls of Halas[2] directly in front of the creature. Fjord is harpooned for massive damage, but Caleb uses Cat's Ire to remove Fjord from the skewering barb and move him away, and Jester Banishes the automaton again. While it's away, Yasha pulls at the crest, with the Cat's Ire paw hitting her enough after each try to keep her rage going. Eventually she frees the crest and the claw catches it.

When the automaton returns, they all attack again and Veth crits with the Tinkertop Bolt Blaster 1000, then on her bonus action attack rolls a natural one, hurting herself. Beau is hit and grappled by the automaton for serious damage. At Yasha's request, Veth drops the Levitate spell holding Yasha aloft and she drops to the ground. She can't quite reach the creature and throws her sword at it, narrowly missing Beau who continues to take damage from the creature and is getting perilously close to unconsciousness. Caduceus casts Heal to bring her back up. Caleb's Cat's Claw then crits for the How do you want to do this?.

Caleb finds the now-inert automaton's power source, usable in the Collar of Silence that was used on Caleb by the golem in the Tower Machine within The Folding Halls of Halas.[3] He then casts Widogast's Vault of Amber and places the massive threshold crest within it while Jester harvests a red spherical gem from the automaton's face. Caleb gives Fjord the amber vault to put in the Bag of Holding. Veth recovers her banana peel.

Veth tells Yasha that to celebrate their victory, tomorrow night they'll do something together. Yasha tries to tell her she has plans, but Veth isn't hearing her. Yasha is able to get the creature's lance.

Beau checks in with Caduceus, asking him about his reaction to the corrupted Arboretum they passed through. He believes it is a perversion of death, and he kind of wants to burn it on the way out... and he definitely doesn't want to walk through it. Caduceus tells Jester he would like to burn it, and she says she can do that. Fjord and Caleb search for alternate routes and find a hallway labeled "Centurion Quarters" but no exit.

Fan art of Jester's Fire Storm, by Dian Huynh.[art 4]

Since there doesn't seem to be an alternative, Caleb Polymorphs into a giant owl and begins ferrying the party up to the rope still hanging from the entry way a hundred feet above them. Jester asks to go last, and once the rest of the party have gone through, she hangs onto the rope as Caleb drops his owl form and joins her there. She tells him the trees need to be destroyed, and casts Fire Storm down into the forest below. She and Caleb climb upward as the fire erupts into the trees, and they can hear dozens of faint horribly echoing screeches of fear and pain from the forest as they move as quickly as possible in order to outrun the smoke billowing up.

Break[edit | edit source]

Part II[edit | edit source]

The party arrives back in the laboratory and work their way back up to the entry chamber where they find Iver Climtaver hiding. He asks how it went, and Caduceus unsuccessfully lies to him, telling him they didn't find what they were looking for. Distrustingly, Iver then asks about the rest of his party and they have to tell him they found only bodies. Now highly suspicious of them, Iver grabs his stuff and begins climbing the rope upward toward the exit trying to escape, cutting the rope behind him when Beau starts up it in pursuit. Fjord casts Fly to pursue him to the top and, joined by Dagen Underthorn, intimidates him into obeying. The others make their way up as well.

Dagen warns them a storm is coming and they move away, joined by Iver who is assured by Jester he can leave them in the morning. Unknown to him, she plans to modify his memory then. They travel an hour away from Site A2 and set up camp in Caleb's dome. Caleb gives Iver another Bead of Nourishment and loans him Frumpkin, while Jester casts Charm Person on him and reassures him.

They begin settling down for the night. Veth tells Beau she and Yasha are planning to hang out tomorrow night. Beau is skeptical that Yasha agreed to this due to Yasha's established investment in their date, but is unable to divert Veth's plans.

Fjord takes first watch, joined by Jester who leans her head on his shoulder as the storm moves in, covering the dome in snow. She makes a new tarot card with Caduceus in the middle, a lush forest at the bottom, and the corrupted trees on top. She calls it "Growth and Rot". Caleb takes second watch, noticing Jester leaning against Fjord as they go to sleep. He nods in recognition of their new relationship and scoops Frumpkin onto his shoulders.

Fan art of Caduceus peering through the dome, by BlackSalander.[art 5]

Caduceus takes the last watch. Toward dawn, but before their long rest is completed, Caduceus sticks his head out of the snow-covered dome and sees Lucien sitting a short distance away with the other Tombtakers, surrounding the dome. Caduceus wakes the others and he and Lucien have a cordial conversation while the party discusses whether they can get in their long rest while the dome still lasts. Beau eventually sticks her head out and tells Lucien they'd like to continue their rest, but he says the Tombtakers have walked all night to catch up to them and they're not in the mood to wait longer. With that, the eye on his chest flashes and the dome is dispelled.

Beau points out that it seems like he's upset. He asks if they recovered the crest in order to give it to the Tombtakers and she replies, "Maybe," but won't confirm where it is. Fjord asks if the Tombtakers now have everything they need except this one piece, and is told that the only remaining items are within Aeor itself. The Tombtakers aren't here to pick a fight with the Mighty Nein -- Lucien is giving them the opportunity to help them, to learn more about the Eyes of Nine.

Fjord agrees that he's curious and wants to learn more, but the deal isn't to give them the crest in exchange for information. Rather, the Nein will join the Tombtakers in their quest. Caduceus notices the eye on Lucien's neck turn to look at him. Lucien then agrees, but suggests Iver is unwelcome. Reluctantly, since they have not yet modified his memory, the Nein agree. Dagen has disappeared.

Featured Characters[edit | edit source]

The Mighty Nein[edit | edit source]

Returning[edit | edit source]

Mentioned[edit | edit source]

Inventory[edit | edit source]

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Acquired 1 Threshold crest Ruins of A2 The Vault of Amber within the Bag of Holding Recovered from the ceiling of the chamber in A2.
Acquired 1 Power source gem Automaton in the ruins of A2 Caleb Usable in the Collar of Silence.
Acquired 1 Smooth polished red spherical gem Automaton in the ruins of A2 Jester
Acquired 1 Lance Automaton in the ruins of A2 Yasha
Expended 1 Bead of Nourishment Caleb Iver Caleb gave Iver one more boba in an attempt to win his trust before camping for the night.

Quotations[edit | edit source]

  • Beau: Weird question... but we might die soon.
    Yasha: Yeah.
    Beau: Do you want to like go on a date or something?
    Yasha: ... Um. Yes, of course.
    Beau: Yeah? Okay. I never, like, do anything the right way, and so I figure that maybe with this I should just go like-- start from the beginning. And we haven't really had a beginning-- we had like a beginning and then we had like-- 'you stabbed me' thing, and then now we kind of need like a second beginning.
    Yasha: I would love that more than anything.
    Beau: Okay.
    Yasha: And just-- I feel weirdly happy and excited in this really weird place. But... wow, I feel really good. I think I just thought that when you start acting weird or stupid around someone, and then you're just like, "Why can't I just act normal?" But I think I like you, Beau.
    Beau: Yeah, I like you a lot, too. [...]
    Yasha: If we live, let's go on a date tomorrow night. [...] Well, I'm looking forward to it. Stay alive, please.
    Beau: Yeah, you too. Let's go steal an ancient relic.[4]
  • Jester: That forest needs to be destroyed, Caleb. I don't know how much magic you have left, but I have one high level Fire Storm left and I want to use it.
    Caleb: I mean, I could, but you know what you're doing.
    Jester: Okay. Get ready to move, I guess. I don't know what these trees are going to do.[5]
  • Dagen: You've only been here a few months, isn't that right, little one?
    Iver: Yes, but we all need income. Right? (aside) I'm not as good as he is.
    Yasha: That's okay, you're learning.
    Dagen: Yeah, I kept my employers alive, for one thing.[6]
  • Caduceus: We've never technically met before, really, by the way. I don't know if you know that.
    Lucien: I don't think I've technically met most of you. Just the blue one.
    Caduceus: Well, I don't have any previous experience with anybody who looks like you, I suppose, would be how I'd put it.
    Lucien: Oh, right, right, the weird period. Don't worry about it.
    Caduceus: It occupies a lot of the thoughts of my friends. But not me. For the record.[7]
  • Caduceus: (discussing trying to wait out the Tombtakers in the dome) It just feels rude.
    Beau: ...Rude?
    Caduceus: I dipped my toe into the world of deceit and ill intention and it did not turn out well.[8]
  • Yasha: It seems like "finders, keepers" out here in Eiselcross. No?
    Lucien: Perhaps. You're right. You found that. And now, we found you. So the law would say under these conditions that perhaps you're ours for the taking. [...] I'm not here to pick a fight. I'm here to ask for something that I was after, and I'm giving you the opportunity to be a friend and help us.[9]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • After the game ended, Matt suggested that the Tombtakers (and Cree, their Blood Cleric) had used the party's blood taken from the vials the Gentleman had to track them.
  • This episode marks the final episode of the third year of Campaign 2, which began January 11, 2018.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. See "Fetching Fables & Frosty Friends" (2x115) at 1:49:24.
  2. See "The Beat of the Permaheart" (2x82) from 1:35:06 through 1:35:37.
  3. See "From Door to Door" (2x81) at 0:35:01.
  4. See "Contentious Company" (2x120) from 0:16:25 through 0:19:33.
  5. See "Contentious Company" (2x120) at 2:15:35.
  6. See "Contentious Company" (2x120) at 3:05:57.
  7. See "Contentious Company" (2x120) at 3:23:37.
  8. See "Contentious Company" (2x120) at 3:30:25.
  9. See "Contentious Company" (2x120) at 3:37:23.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Beau and Yasha, by Elaine Tipping (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of the automaton battle, by Kieran Slate (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Fjord getting harpooned, by Omegasama art (source).  Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of Jester's Fire Storm, by Dian Huynh (source).  Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of Caduceus peering through the dome, by BlackSalander (source).  Used with permission.


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