"Cornered" (2x53) is the fifty-third episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein explore the markets of Asarius and tangle with the locals in a no-holds-barred prize fight...



Woof woof woof.


  • D&D Beyond: Sam uses his ventriloquist skills from his life before he was an actor. He tried to rehearse the bit, but Liam walked in so he stopped. Sam brings out a puppet named Yandi the alpaca to talk about how using D&D Beyond makes you a smarter player and helps you do math. Matt is so, so sorry.
  • Starting this week Critical Role will be using the official D&D Beyond Twitch extension. It is available to use while watching live in a browser. Scroll to the right of the screen to see live updates from the cast's D&D Beyond character sheets. Please don't yell at them if they mess it up.
  • Travis announces the title of the animated special: "The Legend of Vox Machina". It will be an in-canon original storyline that takes place before the game started streaming. The characters will be about level 7. The Kickstarter campaign to crowd-fund the animated special launches Monday, March 4.

Previously on Critical Role

So last we left off, the Mighty Nein had been heading east, absconding from the Empire to pursue the threads that seemed to lead towards the kidnapped husband of Nott in her former life. Gathering your materials, following the signs that this burrowing incursion into Felderwin by the Kryn Dynasty had headed beneath the ground and due east, you went through these tunnels, encountered a few challenges and then emerged in the eastern wastes of Xhorhas.

A few conflicts later, almost being hunted down by a roc, you made a friend, who was a bugbear and led you to the "City of Beasts": Asarius. There you took on a few more monstrous forms visually and began to note the brewing battlements and army that seems to be preparing itself for a future incoming conflict with the Empire against the Ashkeeper Peaks and beyond. You saw what looked to be a possible way of traversing quicker to the east in the way of the moorbounders. You decided to work out a transaction with Zorth (the goblin purveyor of these) and got a discount by aiding him with what seemed to be some sort of unhappy scenario happening in the breeding caves beneath his establishment.

There you did battle with a number of fiendish entities and completed your quest. And upon inquiring about what more information there could be or at least making a small name for yourself as taskmasters, you were given towards Lady Zethra Oleos, one of the apparently more official Kryn within Asarius. The investigators extraordinaire over here, Nott and Jester, were given two possible tasks which they could pursue with monetary compensation or possibly favor with some of the powerful entities (including the Bright Queen) that exist in the capital of Ghor Dranas.

And we left off with you leaving the city of Asarius to go ahead and take a break in the wilds and outskirts of the city. And that's where we go ahead and begin tonight.

Part I

Camping outside of Asarius, Caleb casts Alarm and Leomund's Tiny Hut, and puts Frumpkin on watch to protect the Mighty Nein while they rest for the night. Fjord dreams of being on a dry, open plain. A small spring at his feet begins to spread and grow, rising above his head, leaving him fathoms below. He hears the voice of Uk'otoa say "Watching". He sees the shape of a giant serpent uncoiling all around him. "Return". The giant yellow eye appears, followed by dozens of different sized yellow eyes all around him. "Reward". Scaly serpent tendrils close in. "Wander". The serpent begins to squeeze and crush him. "Punish". Fjord feels the last of the air leave his lungs and wakes up vomiting salty water and brine.[1]

Caduceus, on watch, sees this, and Fjord tells him about the dream and how it was different than the previous dreams. He believes that Uk'otoa is angry with him because he decided not to release it. Caduceus states again that he is proud of Fjord for maintaining his sense of self while in contact with a powerful force. Fjord asks about Caduceus's communication with The Wildmother. Caduceus believes it is a two way communication. Everything we do is an interaction with nature. Fjord thinks he should start looking for a way to counteract Uk'otoa.

The next morning, at Caduceus's urging, Fjord tells the rest of the Mighty Nein about his dream and that he interpreted it as a threat, but that for now, he'll just deal with it. The party discusses what to do now: charge ahead to Ghor Dranas and Yeza, or take up one or both of Lady Olios's job offers in the hopes of gaining money and/or a favor (to root out the Empire spy, and to find and close the source of the Abyssal rifts). They decide to pursue their moorbounder training and take the jobs.

Jester Sends to Yeza, asking if there are any markings around him, if he's alone, and if he knows what they have planned for him. He responds that he's being kept in a dark underground cell, no interrogations yet, and he doesn't know what they have planned. She asks if he knows why he was taken, and tells him Nott says hi. He answers that he asssumes it was to do with him helping the Assembly working with the weird box thing, and that he doesn't know who Nott is.

Fan art of Jannik meeting Caleb, by Bethany Berg.[art 1]

Caleb, Jester, and Caduceus are trained by Zorth and bonded to their moorbounders Jannik, Yarnball, and Clarabelle. They leave them, for now, with Zorth, and head to the Scowl Square, a small but bustling market area. Caduceus picks up a conversation with Baron Visco, the butcher, where he notices a large pile of spoiling meat. Visco tells him that in recent weeks, the meat's been spoiling faster than normal. They also visit Madam Musk, a cloaked figure with a big hood sitting in a large chair, with two tiny clawed hands and two tiny legs on a giant head and torso. Fjord, totally creeped out by her, buys four potions of poison resistance, and she tells them that "Old Potis" recently went crazy and murdered his family nearby. Jester's high perception check lets her notice that "Madam Musk" is actually several kobolds in a cloak.

They break into Old Potis's house, finding puddles of blood from the murders, but nothing else. They head down to the Four Corners tavern for food.


Part II

Fan art of Beau chatting up the ogre, by Lost Acumen.[art 2]

The Four Corners is a barn-like tavern with seven or eight tables filled with gnolls, goblins, orcs, and an ogre. There is a large gravel fighting pit in the far corner. The ogre is just scooping up from the center of the pit a pile of gold coins and trinkets, and unwrapping his hands. Beau engages him in conversation, and he tells her if she's interested in fighting, just drop her ante in the pit.

Fjord spots a female drow sitting alone and staring at Beau, and alerts Beau to her. Beau goes over and tries to converse, but receives only curt answers before the drow walks away. Nott steals a greater healing potion from the drow, who is now leaning against the back wall. Fjord also tries to talk to the drow, who again walks away. Beau decides the only way they're going to get any respect is to fight, and Jester agrees to join in. They ante one of Caleb's jade stones, 10 gold, a sequined glove, and some bloody manacles. When that doesn't seem to be enough, Jester adds her Revivify diamond, and the ogre and the drow step up for a four-way fight.

During the fight, Nott uses her invisible Mage Hand to try to slowly and surreptitiously slide the diamond out of the pit. Jester gets knocked out first, and after Beau is beat up significantly, the drow goes after the ogre and knocks him out. She then rounds on Beau and they trade blows, but the drow, with two hit points left, finally succeeds in knocking Beau out. Nott tries to fling the diamond into a bystander's pocket, but it is noticed, and handed to the drow with the rest of her winnings. The drow approaches Beau, asks her to walk with her as the tavern is not the best place to talk, and leaves by the front door.

Half the party go out the back door and get lost, but Beau, Caleb, and Jester follow the drow into a deserted storage shack. The drow tosses them the diamond, and her image shifts and fades to a bald female elf wearing the uniform of the Cobalt Soul monks. It's Dairon, Beau's mentor.

Featured Characters

The Mighty Nein





Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes


  • Caduceus: "Nature isn't separate. We're part of it. We communicate with the world every day, with every breath. Everything we do is our declaration of our love, adoration, or our denial of it."[2]
  • Caduceus: (giving Fjord advice on Uk'otoa) "I think there will come a day where you really will have to make that choice. We'll help you with that choice, whatever it ends up being. I do think you're on a path, and I don't necessarily think it's the path of just being a servant to some creature."
  • Caleb: (asking about the smut book about sailors he gave Jester) "Did you learn a lot?"
    Jester: "So much."
    Caleb: "Name three parts of the boat."
    Jester: "Oh, the port side... the poop deck... and the mast." (waggles her eyebrows suggestively)[3]
  • Caleb: (to Frumpkin) "Now, Jannik is number two cat. You are number one. You are in charge. You just... dress to impress, okay?"
  • Fjord: (asking about Jester's comment to Madam Musk) "You guys?"
    Jester: "They were really cute, though!"
    Fjord: "Who?"
    Jester: "The KOBOLDS!"
    Nott: "There were kobolds?!?"
    Jester: "YEAH!"
    Nott: "Wait, there were kobolds under there?!?"
    Jester: "Shh! She wants to be creepy, okay? Let her be creepy."
  • Matt: (describing the drow Monk as she drops her illusion) "What you see is a female elf. Dark skin, no hair, pointed ears, and the familiar blue-and-grey outfit of the Monks of the Cobalt Soul."


  1. See "Cornered" (2x53) from 13:51 through 16:02.
  2. See "Cornered" (2x53) at 19:12.
  3. See "Cornered" (2x53) from 23:02 through 23:18.


  1. Fan art of Jannik meeting Caleb, by Bethany Berg (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Beau chatting up the ogre, by Lost Acumen (source).  Used with permission.

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