"Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) is the fortieth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein undergo a dangerous watery escape from the temple, and go to great lengths to maintain their alliance with Captain Avantika...
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Featured Characters
- 3 Quotations
- 4 Inventory
- 5 Trivia
- 6 References
Previously on Critical Role
Last we left off, The Mighty Nein, in pursuing a thread of a mysterious orb that seemed to connect in some way to the entity in which Fjord has somehow connected himself to, and as such been granted these strange eldritch powers, led you southward from the Menagerie Coast after commandeering a ship called The Mist, turned into The Mistake. Followed it through some dangerous reefs to a pirate ship called the Squall-Eater, and there on the captain, Avantika.
You made a pact with her, where the choice was to either die, to help aid her and a companion she hired for this to help navigate this island.This kind of strange, seemingly dangerous or cursed island, to which you made your way through the jungle of this Urukayxl. Managed to avoid lizardmen. Managed to barely sneak through a ancient city of yuan-ti. Making your way to the top of this temple and through the interior. A series of battles later, an encounter with a strange lightless internal orchard in which two of the fruit within had been eaten by two members of your team and have been tripping balls ever since.
You made your way to the bottom, subterranean, guardian chamber, where you met a yuan-ti abomination that was laying guard to the true guardian: a large hydra. The hydra had turned around and laid waste to much of your party, but you managed to, through a series of clever choices, uses of fire magic, and some rapid assaults, managed to cleave all the heads from its body and kill it just in time. Its corpse now lying fresh on the ground, Captain Avantika seeming pleased and impressed by the display of the strange, new compatriots that have now come to work under her. You now sit in the stillness of this chamber, able to now finally take a moment to look about and see what secrets or mysteries it holds.
The Mighty Nein and Avantika took a moment to breath following the defeat of the Hydra. Caleb and Nott angrily confronted Jamedi Cosko about why he hid throughout the whole fight. Jamedi argues that was not paid to fight giant beasts; he was paid to scout.
Unlike the rooms in the rest of the temple, the original wall carvings in this chamber have not been covered up. Caduceus cast Detect Magic, while Fjord and Avantika examined murals on the walls. The three walls have three murals, mirroring the placement of the three pillars that hold up the room. Caduceus noted that the pillars have a magical aura to them.
One mural shows a crowd of humanoids looking up at silhouettes of three larger humanoid figures bathed in light. Most of the mural depicts a giant bird made up of dark purple, red, and grey flames. The bird's head has three eyes with an onyx stone set in each one.
Avantika walks towards another mural. It shows a similar crowd of humanoids, also looking up to three larger figures with a radiant aura. Above them is painted a giant coiled serpent with eyes all along the body. Each eye is a small amber piece set into the wall. Its head has three eyes made of amber as well. Its mouth is open as a giant tidal wave bears down on the crowd below it. Fjord tries again to ask Avantika about the third "chosen" she had previously mentioned, but she dodges the question, instead inviting him to discuss it over a glass of wine after they are successful.
Beau examines the third mural. It depicts a curling worm with tooth-like scales over its skin. Its mouth is an open ring of teeth with three ivory eyes set where its tongue should be. Its burrowing creates mountains and cliffs that look about to break and crush the crowd below. Three larger humanoid figures stand above a crowd in this mural as well. 
Caleb and Nott, still under the influence of the unknown fruit from the underground orchard, can see glowing runes that start in the ceiling, continue down the walls, onto the floor, and meet at the well where the Hydra rose from. Caleb determines the runes are some kind of abjuration magic, although he cannot read them.
The First Seal
The group gathers around the well, discussing how to best approach exploring it. Avantika jumps in unexpectedly. As Fjord makes to follow her, Caleb grabs him and warns him about the abjuration magic with an unknown purpose. Fjord anxiously jumps, worried about what Avantika will do if he does not catch up to her. The well continues down almost 80 feet; strangely, it is salt water. Avantika had a head start on Fjord, but he managed to catch up and reach the end of the tunnel at the same time as her. The two began to scrape grime off the floor.
Fjord finds a spherical stone relief about the size of a fist. He tries to reach inside his chest for the orb, but only touches his armor. He summons his falchion and tries to touch the now glowing yellow eye in the hilt to the relief. Avantika, faster than Fjord, rushes towards the relief, pulls her glove off her right hand, and touches the relief with the eye in her palm.
As her palm touches the relief, her body seizes up. A yellow glowing light spreads out from between her fingers. When she pulls her hand back, blood begins to pour out from a large open wound. A cloven crystal rests in the stone relief on the floor.
Escape from the Temple
Previously invisible runes begin to glow, reaching out in three lines from the relief up the sides of the well. The rest of the group still in the hydra chamber saw runes appear glowing and spiraling on the three pillars. A loud crack resonated throughout the whole temple, creating cracks in the walls. Avantika began to swim towards the surface; Fjord reached up and tried to grab her. She slipped out of his grasp. Fjord played it off like an accident. She seemed to be fooled and kept swimming upwards.
The well in the hydra chamber began overflowing rapidly, filling up the room. Caduceus, Caleb, Jamedi, and Nott ran towards the stairs to the outside. Beau and Jester waited by the well for Fjord. As the water reaches high enough they can no longer stand, Avantika and Fjord made it back into the hydra chamber.
The party rushed up the stairs all the way back to the orchard, the rising water level just on their heels. Nott found the button to close the door behind them and lower the spiral staircase back up. Water continued to rise. Caleb cast Enlarge/Reduce on Caduceus, making him twice his normal size. Caduceus used his height to lift members of the group up into the next level. Fjord held on to Enlarged Caduceus's hand. Caleb cast Enlarge/Reduce again to shrink Caduceus down to half his normal size so Fjord could pull him up.
Once the whole party was in the top floor, three yuan-ti entered the chamber from another door. The rising water filled the entire chamber. Caduceus cast Spirit Guardians and rushed at the yuan-ti before they could retaliate. An underwater battle ensued. Beau and Caleb dashed up the stairs to the trapdoor the party used to enter the temple and found it locked. Beau realized Jester had the key. Caleb attempted to pick the lock, but failed. Jamedi moved to the side of the chamber, avoiding the battle entirely.
Avantika, Caduceus, Fjord, Jester, Nott, and Yasha were able to defeat the three yuan-ti, but not before Fjord and Yasha took enough damage to reduce the amount of time they could hold their breath. Caduceus, Jester, and Nott were forced to use some of their air as well to cast spells in the battle. As they all prepared to flee, both Jester and Caduceus ran out of air and began to drown.
Fjord grabbed Jester, kissed her, and gave her his own air supply, putting himself in danger of drowning to save her. Jamedi and Avantika grabbed Caduceus and pulled his unconscious body towards the exit. Beau, Caleb, and Nott teamed up to help Jester get to the trapdoor and unlock it.
As soon as the door was unlocked, a geyser of water pushes everyone 20 feet straight up into the air out the top of the temple. Nott and Caleb both cast Feather Fall. Between the two of them, they were able to target everyone. Nott used a shield she had taken off a yuan-ti as a "sled" for a still unconscious Caduceus. Now outside, the party could see more and more water spilling out of the temple and flooding the entire city. Gently falling into the rushing water, Jester was able to reach Caduceus and cast Cure Wounds.
Escape from the Jungle
The party were able to ride the flooding water safely away from the temple, but were noticed by about twenty yuan-ti. The yuan-ti began to chase them as they hit solid ground. Caleb, able to perfectly recall the route they took from the Squall-Eater, led the charge through the jungle, assisted by Jamedi and Yasha clearing vines.
Nott decided to put her and Jester's brainchild "fluffernutter" to the test. She threw the keg of black powder behind her while running. Beau then threw a shuriken at it, and Caleb shot three Scorching Rays from the Glove of Blasting towards the barrel. The resulting massive explosion set a few nearby trees on fire and left a large black crater in the ground.
Running for almost two hours, the Mighty Nein were consistently faster than the pursuing yuan-ti. However, the explosion attracted the attention of a lizardfolk hunting party. Nott told the party to go the other way while she distracted the Lizardfolk. She ran out of the trees in full view of the hunting party, causing them to chase her and not notice the rest of the party. Caleb began to tire to the point where he was unable to keep up. Despite being exhausted herself, Yasha was able to carry him.
Running for another hour, the Mighty Nein heard both lizardfolk and yuan-ti still pursuing. They reached the beach just as both parties caught up to them. The lizardfolk and yuan-ti were confused about whether they should attack each other or the Mighty Nein. Half of each group rushed each other; the other half continued to chase the Mighty Nein, who were now getting into rowboats.
As the rowboats pushed off the shore, the Squall-Eater opened fire on the lizardfolk and yuan-ti still on shore. Under fire from Caduceus's Sacred Flame, Caleb's Fire Bolt, Fjord's Eldritch Blast, and the Squall-Eater's cannons, both the lizardfolk and yuan-ti gave up pursuing the party.
As the party continued to row towards their ships, Avantika tried out her new power for the first time. She caused the water around her rowboat to pick up speed and push her boat towards the Squall-Eater significantly faster than the other boat. Vera, the ship's quartermaster, anxiously asked how the mission went. Avantika proudly showed off her hand, which still had an open wound from the Cloven Crystal being ripped out, and said the mission was a success. Vera suggested heading towards Darktow Isle, as they are running low on supplies. She pointed out The Mistake was still in need of repairs. Avantika agreed, saying also that she has a contact on Darktow who can help find another temple of Uk'otoa.
Avantika announced in front of her crew that the Mighty Nein proved themselves and upheld their bargain. She invited them to continue traveling with her and suggested mixing the crews of the Squall-Eater and The Mistake so they could stay with her. Fjord responded they need some time to rest and would discuss future plans later.
The Mighty Nein went to their quarters. Fjord told the rest of the group what happened in the bottom of the well. He was sure Avantika's power she used to move the rowboat faster was a result of her placing the orb in the temple. The party discussed the possible meaning of the murals of three creatures and each having three eyes. Beau remembered from her studies that The Cloaked Serpent and other gods created many avatar-like creatures as warriors during the Calamity. After the gods were banished, some of these creatures became almost god-like on their own, gathering followers and creating religions.
Caleb questioned Fjord about his intentions. Fjord insisted he does not share Avantika's desire to release Uk'otoa, stating "I'm not a crazy person". Caleb questioned if they are not planning to help Avantika, what were they doing on the sea? Beau warned Fjord about getting close to Avantika, believing her flirting with Fjord was a tactic. Fjord admitted he had tried to kill Avantika while they were at the bottom of the well but failed. He agreed with the rest of the party they should try to get away from her as soon as possible. Caleb doubted she would let them leave because she needs Fjord and his orb. He went further, saying that if it seems like Fjord became interested in releasing Uk'otoa, Caleb would not support him. Fjord insisted again that he does not share Avantika's desire.
The Mighty Nein came to the conclusion they have no choice but to play along, at least until they reach Darktow Isle and The Mistake was repaired. The party planned to ask Avantika if they can keep The Mistake and use it to search for the third orb.
Fjord went to Avantika's quarters to take her up on the glass of wine she had previously offered. He arrived to find her nude on the balcony, creating and manipulating a column of water. She was unfazed by his arrival, already having two wine glasses set out on her desk. Avantika came back inside her cabin and put on a robe. They toasted to success.
Avantika told Fjord she knew someone else who had a falchion similar to Fjord's. His name was Vandran, Fjord's former captain who was with him when the ship wrecked and he found his falchion. Vandran had called his falchion the "Sword of Fathoms". Avantika told Fjord Vandran was the one who introduced her to the power of Uk'otoa, but later abandoned her and took a Cloven Crystal with him. The orb Vandran took may be the one Fjord now has or Vandran may still have it.
Fjord asked Avantika how she got her Cloven Crystal. She tells him Vandran helped her. They discovered one was being auctioned off in Port Damali. Avantika and Vandran stalked the collector who bought it to an unknown island, killed him, and took the crystal. Avantika absorbed it, causing Uk'otoa's eye to appear in her palm. Avantika continued to press Fjord about why he has the same sword and possibly the same orb as Vandran. Fjord claimed he did not know Vandran. He told her he found the falchion after being lost at sea in a storm and washing up on as island with it, not mentioning Sabian's act of sabotage.
Avantika was not fooled by Fjord's lie. He admitted Vandran had been the captain of the ship that sank. Avantika concluded Vandran would not have traveled without the orb so it is likely still at the site of the wreck. Fjord showed her the location of the storm on a map and agreed to help her find it. Fjord and Avantika slept together to seal their pact.
The Squall-Eater sailed on towards Darktow and whatever awaited them there...
After this episode, the Mighty Nein reached level 7. The players present rolled hit points. 
- Travis rolled 5 for Fjord
- Marisha rolled 1 then 2 on the re-roll for Beau
- Sam rolled 1 then 8 on the re-roll for Nott
- Liam rolled 2 for Caleb
- Taliesin rolled 6 for Caduceus
The Mighty Nein
- Caduceus Clay
- Jester Lavorre (controlled by Matt, Sam, & Taliesin)
- Yasha Nydoorin (controlled by Matt & Travis)
- Caleb Widogast
- Travis: Okay. Looking around, still having plenty of air in my lungs, I turn around and see Jester starting to panic and I know she has the key, so I will reach out and grab her face and bring her into a kiss, and I will blow all of my air into her lungs.
Sam: Are you upside down right now?
Travis: Shape of Water!
- Taliesin: (describing Caduceus casting Sprit Guardians) Anybody I don't like within 15 feet is currently getting ransacked by tiny fairies.
- Nott: Beau! Repeat after me... Fluffernutter!
Sam: I'm going to throw the keg of gunpowder behind us.
- Caleb: (to Fjord) We're all here. We all like you, and if you are being completely forthright with us, we're good, but if we get even the slightest whiff that you are after what this woman is after-- Well, I can't speak for them; I'm not interested in being here anymore.
- Taliesin: Can I figure out what happened just by looking at him?
Matt: You, yeah.
(Fjord and Caduceus stare at each other; Fjord awkward and Caduceus dubious as the former crawls into his bunk)
Caduceus: Sleep well with your bad decisions.
- Liam: Seamen, seamen, everywhere.
Sam & Taliesin (together): And not a drop to drink.
Matt: (laughing) You may have broken me. I think it finally happened.
|Expended||1||keg of black powder||Nott||Fluffernutter|
- Sam's flask bears an image of a mostly-naked McCree riding a mechanical bull, with two Nott stickers above it.
- Nott got the "How Do You Want To Do This" against the yuan-ti mailson in the underwater battle.
- At the end of this episode, the Mighty Nein reached level 7.
- The in-game date at the beginning of this episode was 18 Cuersaar 835.
- See "Temple of the False Serpent" (2x39) at 2:31:04.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 22:40. Mural of unknown fire entity
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 25:23. Mural of Uk'otoa
- See "Dangerous Liaisons" (2x37) at 2:10:52.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 28:39. Mural of an unknown earth entity
- See "Temple of the False Serpent" (2x39) at 1:29:19. Nott begins to see Caleb's hair turning different colors after eating an unidentified fruit from the temple of The Cloaked Serpent
- See "Temple of the False Serpent" (2x39) at 1:42:19. Caleb eats the same fruit as Nott to be able to see runes in the temple
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 43:39. Avantika unlocks the seal on Urukayxl
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) from 47:15 through 48:03. Fjord tries to drown Avantika
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) from 1:00:45 through 1:22:35.
- See "Temple of the False Serpent" (2x39) at 1:14:56.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 1:26:05.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 1:26:05.
- See "Temple of the False Serpent" (2x39) from 2:34:49 through 2:36:28. Jester and Nott describe a combo move they call "Fluffernutter!" where Jester throws a keg of black powder at something and Nott shoots it with her gun.
- See "Talks Machina #89: 'Dubious Pursuits'" (TMx89) at 21:00. Matt confirms Avantika received an Eldritch Invocation allowing her to cast Control Water once per day as a reward for bringing the Cloven Crystal to the temple
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) from 2:07:03 through Avantika casts Control Water.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 2:13:27.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 2:22:22. Beau has read about powerful entities created by gods that grew to have religions based around them after their creator god was banished
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) from 2:32:51 through Fjord reassuring the Mighty Nein he does not intend to release Uk'otoa.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 2:26:40.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 2:28:45. Beau and Caleb warn Fjord about Avantika's intentions
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 2:31:34.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 2:41:01.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 2:43:23.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) from 2:51:31 through 2:53:22. Fjord and Avantika sleep together in her quarters on the Squall-Eater
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) from 2:53:46 through 2:55:18.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 2:56:23. Matt uses a house rule to re-roll ones for hit points
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 1:26:05.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 56:32.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 1:46:46.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 2:31:50.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 2:54:55.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 2:58:05.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 1:46:46.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 1:22:35.
- See "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 2:55:35.
- See CritRoleStats' running game calendar.
- Fan art of the Warden's Chamber, by Clara (source). Used with permission.
- Screenshot of the warden's chamber. "Temple of the False Serpent" (2x39) at 2:31:04
- The Mighty Nein's underwater battle against yuan-ti. "Dubious Pursuits" (2x40) at 1:00:45
- Fan art of Fjord kissing Jester, by LadyPlasmodium (@goreywaifu) (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of fluffernutter exploding, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Avantika controlling water, by OrcBarbies (source). Used with permission.