"Family Shatters" (2x96) is the ninety-sixth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein, having arrived at the oasis menagerie, must now protect both themselves and the fragile garden denizens from the danger barreling toward them...
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Previously on Critical Role
So, last we left off, The Mighty Nein had made their way to the southern edge of Xhorhas, to the White Dawn Lagoon, in search of what seemed to be the next destination in Caduceus’s main journey, through his visions he had received through the Wildmother in hopes of hopefully coming upon the rest of his family, as they themselves have been traveling, scattered a bit, over time. You made your way through the jungles on the southwestern edge of the White Dawn Lagoon coast. Through there you encountered some dangerous creatures, had some revelations with the Traveler, and a unique series of conversations of mild understanding of where both sides between you and him stand, and the impending gathering of Traveler followers in the weeks to come.
Upon battling your way through the jungle and some odd creatures that didn’t seem indigenous to this specific region, you made your way to the oasis in question, a beautiful lake lying here in the center of this deep, dense jungle, its deep red earth exposed against the clear waters, and a collection of stone sculptures that peppered the entirety of the banks here, of all sorts of creatures and people, which upon closer look, seem to be a bit more detailed than you anticipated. Upon inspecting a number of these entities, Caduceus recognized members of his family amongst these statues, and as you began to assess the scenery, you heard the heavy hoof-beats of a creature charging from the tree line in your direction: a metally-armored bull-like entity, swollen with muscle, piercing barbs that pushed between its metal plates, emitting some sort of a greenish fume from between its various exposed underbellies, its giant carved horns pushing forward, and hooked. As it barreled towards you, you hear this large, bellowing roar as its mouth opens up, not like that of a bull’s, but almost like a giant two-part scoop jaw. It is unnatural. It is mutated. And it is charging your direction.
The gorgon approaches the party from the forest as they are scattered along the edge of the pool. Although they are able to wound it, anyone near it when it receives impact damage takes damage from the cloud of poison gas it emits. It also has legendary abilities each round to tighten its armor plating (increasing the difficulty to hit it), to move out of melee without incurring an attack of opportunity, and to unleash Petrifying Breath, which on a failed save restrains the victim and begins the petrification process which concludes at the end of the victim's next turn on a subsequent second failed save. Early on, Beau is hit by it but succeeds on her second save, shrugging off the petrification effect. During the battle, two statues are hit by the giant bull and crumbled into rubble.
Fjord takes massive damage from the creature, knocking him unconscious, but his Relentless Endurance brings him back with one hit point. Beau hits the gorgon twice, and its consequent poison gas release knocks out Fjord again, then inflicts a failed death saving throw on him. Once the bull moves away, Jester brings Fjord back with Healing Word. The gorgon regains its Petrifying Breath and Beau fails her save again, then fails the second save and freezes into a stone statue.
Caleb gets the How do you want to do this? despite the creature using its last legendary resistance to succeed on its saving throw against Widogast's Web of Fire. Jester and Nott immediately run to Beau, where Nott uses her willowshade oil to cure the petrification. Yasha uses Healing Hands on Fjord. Caduceus immediately runs to the statues of his father and sister Calliope, casting Greater Restoration on both.
They are startled to see Caduceus there, and Caduceus seems overcome to see them again. Cornelius, his father, points out his petrified mother Constance, and Jester immediately restores her as well. She hugs Caduceus excitedly, but is horrified to see Corrin, Caduceus's aunt, in pieces at her feet. Jester begins reassembling the chunks of rock and eventually succeeds in putting it back together, mostly, using Mending. There are still two large gaps in the chest and waist of the body, however, and Caleb uses Vault of Amber to store the statue until they can figure out what to do.
Cornelius suggests that they next restore Eremis Stone, an elf statue standing nearby, as he could be helpful. When they do, they discover that he has been petrified for ten years. He identifies two other petrified figures nearby, all of different races, as also being members of the Stone family, and suggests they go into the cave to restore another family member who may be helpful. While the rest of the party looks for broken statue bits at the edge of and in the pool, Beau finds the head of a dragonborn and tosses it into the water, telling the others, when they ask what it was, that it was just a rock.
They head into the cave descending downward at the north side of the pool, a red stone chiseled shaft veined with gold. It leads to a domed oval-shaped cavern with numerous small huts along the edges, and a large beautiful shrine in the center, the home of the Stone family. It is surrounded by many other figures, all frozen in stone.
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Constance tells the party that she and her sister Corrin left the Blooming Grove in 827 P.D. and arrived at the Menagerie within a few months after failing to find the glass seen in their visions. Caduceus shows them his transformed crystals, impressing them, but his sister Calliope produces one that she, too, had transformed. The party introduces themselves to the Clays, with Fjord for the first time hesitantly using the last name of Stone.
Eremis Stone's theory is that the gorgon came from Blightshore, since the creatures that come from there are twisted and mutated. Meanwhile, Constance finds the intact petrified bodies of Caduceus's siblings Colton and Clarabelle. The party decides to spend the night in the cave with Caleb's Alarm spell set at the entrance to rest and recover spells to begin the restoration process in the morning.
In the evening, Caleb checks in with Nott. She says that she has two decisions to make, and she's made the first - she's ready to change back into a halfling. But she doesn't know whether she'll return home or remain with the Mighty Nein once that happens, because she doesn't know how she'll feel then. After their talk, when Nott goes with Jester to play pranks, Caleb remains behind and studies the collar that was used on him in the Happy Fun Ball, learning that it's still operative but requires a power source.
Caduceus wanders off and finds Calliope sitting and praying at the edge of the glowing pool of water in front of the temple, looking between it and the transformed crystal in her hand. He is able to sneak up directly behind her and hit her with a blast on his death flute, startling her enough to send her into the water. She throws the crystal at Caduceus as he scarpers and he scoops it up as she tackles him, taking him to the ground. He gives her the flute, and they notice that the crystal she was holding when she fell in the lake has started to sprout tiny buds. Returning to the lakeside, she throws it back in where it sinks to the bottom and the buds expand into root-like appendages. Caduceus also drops his crystals in the water and they sprout as well, like partially germinated seeds. When she pushes him into the lake after them, he gives her at least some of the crystals to take home and plant. He's not sure he's ready to go home yet.
Meantime, Beau, Jester, Nott, and Yasha are in the village playing pranks on the petrified villagers - at least, those who have not been shattered irretrievably. Fjord goes with them in an effort to rein them in slightly, if necessary. Yasha rearranges furniture. Jester is stymied in her idea to leave underwear in odd places when she discovers the villagers apparently don't wear any. She sets water pails on doors instead. Nott places odd large nuts and tubers from the jungle in the statues' hands, with a full bag on Gaima Stone's petrified figure. Jester uses her magic paint to create a necklace with a tiny statue of the Traveler in the shape of a dick and gives it to Nott, telling her she would make a wonderful follower of the Traveler. Nott agrees to consider it once she's a halfling again. Beau, who has been drinking, sees this and knocks the necklace out of Nott's hand, but Jester simply makes another necklace and hands it to Beau, whose response is to tell Jester that she's very attractive right now.
In the morning, the villagers have moved the statues of Mecatoth and Gaima Stone into the cave, and at Eremis's request, Jester and Caduceus restore them. After explanations and thanks, the two Stones begin restoring other figures, while Caduceus restores Clarabelle and Colton. Jester decides to try using Stone Shape to mend Corrin's pieced-together figure, then casts Greater Restoration as Caduceus casts Cure Wounds. Corrin is restored, alive, but with some remaining stiffness and difficulty breathing. She is very grateful to be alive, however, and thanks them. Calliope shares with the rest of the family the news of the successfully-transformed crystals she's carrying.
Caduceus asks Caleb to use Teleportation Circle to get both the party and the Clay family closer to the Blooming Grove. They decide Uthodurn is the closest choice, and arrive precipitately in the Vellum Steeple library there. Jester uses Sending to contact Reani, who agrees to escort the family to their home when she returns from her current mission in the Savalirwood. They rent rooms for the Clays at the Broken Stool.
Jester buys three dozen black moss cupcakes, then casts Planar Ally to summon a quickling, instructing it to deliver one dozen of them to Isharnai. When they are alone, Beau asks Fjord how he feels about the Traveler, and they both agree that he's taking advantage of Jester. While Fjord's willing to see how it plays out, since no one's really been hurt yet, Beau wants to punch the archfey.
Caduceus goes to his family, telling them that he owes it to the Mighty Nein to see them through, that some of them still need him. His parents are loving, accepting his decision and telling him how proud they are of him. He bids farewell to his siblings, giving Clarabelle his straw hat. The party gathers and decides to head to Nicodranas and the Ball-Eater, since the peace talks are now about three weeks away. Caleb opens the Teleportation Circle and they step through, realizing as they arrive that they have again forgotten to tell Yussa they were coming.
- Cornelius Clay
- Calliope Clay
- Constance Clay
- Corrin Clay
- Clarabelle Clay
- Colton Clay
- Eremis Stone
- Mecatoth Stone
- Gaima Stone
- Tevas (quickling)
- Reani (via Jester's Sending)
- Archivist Demid Sunlash (via Jester's Sending)
- Scribewarden Ressia Uvesic
|Expended||1||Willowshade Oil||Nott||Beau||Cure for petrification|
|Transferred||unknown||Transformed refined residuum crystals||Caduceus||Calliope|
|Acquired||36||Black Moss Cupcakes||The Softer Stoneforge||Jester|
|Transferred||12||Black Moss Cupcakes||Jester||Isharnai|
|Transferred||1||Black Moss Cupcakes||Jester||The Quickling||As payment for delivering one dozen cupcakes to Isharnai|
|Expended||probably 500||Gold pieces||The party||Deducted from player gold after the stream in lieu of diamond dust component for 5 Greater Restorations performed|
- Caduceus: (in battle against the gorgon) I'm trying to be a good cleric.
Jester: I don't want to be a good cleric. I want to hit him.
- Caleb: (to Nott) It is a blessing to have family again. I mean that in the realest sense of the word. It has been a blessing to me, and I am so grateful for your presence next to me on the road.
- Nott: (talking about her transformation back to halfling form) And you’ll be there for it.
Caleb: I will absolutely be there for it.
Nott: All right. Well, maybe for the last time, goodnight, Caleb.
Caleb: Goodnight, Nott... the Brave.
- Jester: I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone in my entire life that would be as good a follower of the Traveler as you. You’re everything he looks for.
Nott: Are you asking me to join your cult?
Jester: Wellll, I’m asking you to open your heart to chaos.
- The title of this, the 96th episode of Campaign Two, is "Family Shatters". The title of the 96th episode of Campaign One was "Family Matters".
- Fan art of the Menagerie Oasis, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of the Gorgon, by @hierothraxs (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of the gorgon charging, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Cadceus's greeting, by Fael Draws (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of the Stone Temple, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Caduceus, Calliope, and the Crystals, by Cait May (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Caduceus and Constance, by Omegasama art (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of the Clays, by Taylor Weltzer (source). Used with permission.