"Ice and Fire" (2x121) is the one hundred twenty-first episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. Forced to navigate a strange new relationship with the Tombtakers, the Mighty Nein continue their trek to Aeor, where both fiery and magical dangers await any wrong moves...

Synopsis

Announcements

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  • Critical Role has released a Doom Eternal: Assault on Armaros Station PDF adventure for 5e themed to their "Doom Eternal One-Shot" (Sx52) one-shot, written by Matt and Chris Lockey, and developed by Ivan Van Norman. It's available for download in the U.S. shop.
  • Merch Alert! Beau and Fjord statues are now available for pre-order at Sideshow.
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Previously on Critical Role

So, last we left off: The Mighty Nein, making their way through Eiselcross, had managed to hit up two of the satellite Aeorian ruin segments, the excavation sites of small pieces that had fallen from the ruined city before it collided with Foren itself.

After exiting the last one with a massive threshold crest in your collective hands, you managed to escape the depths of this ruin, you brought forth-- I wouldn't say a new friend, per se, but the survivor of a previous expedition, Iver, who oddly found reason to quickly mistrust you. You kept him along with you for safekeeping and journeyed for an hour beyond the ruin to rest for the night. Before your night's rest could complete, Caduceus found that you had been found yourselves by the Tombtakers, who had been aware that you had beat them to the A2 ruin, and taken what seemed to have been their quarry and reason for traveling there. So instead, they beelined it to you to have a conversation.

Through some odd trickery, Lucien dispelled your protective dome, and as you all sat there gathering yourselves in the snow, a brief conversation led to you agreeing to travel together. Perhaps along this journey, share some information; perhaps align the interests that you carry; and perhaps find a way for them to acquire what it is they need from you.

Part I

Jester asks Lucien if they can all complete a rest, but Lucien declines. As they gather their things, they discover Dagen is there, but hidden, and he tells them he'll follow at a safe distance because he wants the other half of his pay.

The party sets off following the Tombtakers at a brisk pace. Veth tries to ingratiate herself with Otis Brunkel, the halfling tombtaker, playing on their shared race, and they bond over how stinky the butts of their tall travel companions can be after days without bathing. The day's travel is uneventful, and they camp by the edge of the molten river of lava that bisects the island of Foren, the River Inferno[1]. They discover that snow and ice float on its surface and are not destroyed.

Fan art of Lucien receiving the eyes, by CT Chen.[art 1]

While they eat dinner, Caleb creates an image in the fire of the city in the Astral Sea[2] and asks Lucien to share information with them. Lucien tells the Mighty Nein that the Tombtakers were part of a disparate collective called the Claret Orders, and had broken off to form their own group. They did mercenary work for, among others, Vess DeRogna. Then Lucien found a secret tome that promised knowledge, and when he looked in, it looked back... and at that point, the Nonagon became more important than Lucien. The Somnovem came to him in dreams and showed him the city: a collection of minds becoming one under the Eyes of Nine. They gave him the eyes marking his body, one by one.

He sought someone who could comprehend the parts of the journal he did not, and Vess DeRogna promised to utilize the tome to help him reach the Somnovem. However, she lied, and sabotaged the ritual, shattering his spirit into pieces instead of sending it whole to the astral city. She took the book and attempted to take the same path as Lucien. The Somnovem found him and put him back together, and he learned much more of them in the process. There are still parts of the book he needs to understand, and Caleb offers to trade the threshold crest the party holds in exchange for access to the book. Lucien replies that they'll see how their relationship develops.

Big, bold, brave Yasha,
Hair so long like yummy pasta,
Sturdy as the cauldron of Tasha.
If you're dirty, we will wash ya.
If you cross her, it will cost ya.
We'd be sad if we ever lost ya.
– 
Veth's poem for Yasha.[3]
[!h]

Fan art of Beau and Yasha by the River Inferno, by BlackSalander.[art 2]

Beau and Yasha take a stroll together to look at the lava river. They agree to wait for their date until they can be in Caleb's tower, and shake on it. When they return, Veth takes Yasha for a walk and apologizes that the evening with her isn't going the way she anticipated. Veth has written her a poem, which Yasha puts in her flower journal. They agree to do something more special another time, and shake on it.

Fan art of Lucien, watching, by Dian Huynh.[art 3]

Caleb asks Lucien if it's all right for him to cast the dome, and Lucien agrees. Veth and Caleb take the first watch, but see nothing other than a non-sleeping Lucien watching their dome. Caleb examines the magic-silencing collar [4] and the power source,[5] but isn't able to make them fit together. Caleb tells Veth he feels guilty for talking her into coming to Eiselcross, but Veth reassures him she wanted him to talk her into it. She herself feels terribly guilty for being away from her family, but doesn't know how to square it for any of the Nein because they are all parts of a greater whole.

Jester and Yasha take the next watch. Yasha shares that Beau asked her on a date, and Jester is thrilled. Yasha asks about her and Fjord, and Jester shares he kissed her and it was awesome. But it feels different than she thought it would. It feels like they know each other really well, and it feels comfortable... in a good way. Yasha tells her she thinks passion grows the more you know and love them.

Beau and Fjord take the last watch. Fjord tells her he took her advice and told Jester how he feels, and it was okay, it was good, and they kissed. Beau shares that she asked Yasha on a date, and Fjord's excited. Beau notes she's fought Yasha four times, so they've had more physical contact in combat than anything else and she thinks they need a fresh start. Fjord suggests breaking into the top floor of Caleb's tower for their date, and Beau thinks that's a great idea.

In the morning, Cree uses a spell scroll to summon a storm which covers the lava river in a layer of ice and snow. The parties prepare to leave, Zoran carrying the backpack containing the Tombtaker's threshold crest. Lucien warns them that they must step stealthily since fiery spirits live in the river. Moving carefully, they begin the crossing, getting about two-thirds of the mile across when Zoran loses his balance and falls heavily. Fiery figures begin to arise from the lava beneath the snow.

Break

  • Narrative Telephone Round 2 returns Tuesday, 19 January 2021, with Mica Burton's tale.
  • Merch Alert! Beau and Fjord statues available for pre-order at Sideshow; Doom Eternal: Assault on Armaros Station PDF adventure for 5e available for download in the U.S. shop; Vox Machina dice for Pike, Percy, Keyleth, Matt, Vax, Grog, and Vex, holiday wrapping paper with matching washi tape, and Critical Role face masks available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia shops.
  • Sam just won the Superb Bowl and plans to celebrate with a Critical Role Twitch subscription.
  • Critters' art montage.

Part II

Fan art of the eagles over the lava river, by Ilona.[art 4]

All of the party are on fire and begin taking damage from a large fire elemental. Caleb Polymorphs Yasha into an eagle and he and Veth run towards her, while Jester casts on herself and Caduceus, picking up Fjord while Beau climbs atop Caduceus. Fjord uses Create Water to create a water cloud which the eagles fly through, putting out their fires.

As they pass over the Tombtakers battling three fire elementals, Lucien looks up at them disapprovingly and all the Polymorphs drop. They tumble to the ground, taking minor damage. The party begins to run, followed closely by the Tombtakers. Jester hangs back slightly so Zoran (whose backpack holds the threshold crest) and the others catch up to her as the elementals try to cut off their path forward.

Caleb Polymorphs into a giant owl but stays very low. When Jester stumbles, Zoran picks her up. She tries but is unable to loosen his backpack strap. Yasha and Caduceus also stumble, Yasha's leg falling into the lava, but the owl-Caleb picks them both up and the rest of the party continue to run forward. Fjord uses Dwueth'var to cast Fly on himself and hovers. While Beau draws one of the elementals slightly away, Jester Polymorphs into a giant eagle and picks up Zoran. She uses one of her claws to surreptitiously break the strap on his backpack but when it falls, it misses the lava and he picks it up. When Veth fails in casting Phantasmal Force on Otis, Otis notices but keeps running. Cree stumbles and takes lava damage but uses Cure Wounds on herself and keeps moving.

Fan art of the lost Lucien, by Elaine Tipping.[art 5]

Eagle-Jester grabs Veth and Lucien and the whole party except Beau reaches the far bank. Veth casts Levitate on Tyffial to help her up the embankment, while Fjord flies over and picks up Beau, getting her onto it as well. Otis glares at Veth, remembering the earlier failed spell attempt. As they all move onward, a heavy ice fog descends and to Lucien's annoyance they spend most of the day lost. It gives them all a point of exhaustion for the next day. Yasha confirms with Lucien that he does not sleep, "one of the gifts of the Somnovem."

Caleb tells Lucien he's going to put up the dome, but instead casts the mansion, dropping the door as soon as the Nein enter it. They discuss what to do and decide Word of Recall would probably work to get them back to the mainland, but they would then not have a fast reliable way to return to Eiselcross. They also discuss possibly Teleporting their threshold crest elsewhere, to Allura, Essek Thelyss, Yussa Errenis, or Yudala Fon and the Cobalt Soul, and tentatively decide on Yussa when there is a knock at the door.

Caleb answers the knock. It is Lucien, curious where the strange portal leads. Caleb briefly explains it is his house, there is only room for the Nein inside, and closes the doorway. Lucien immediately dispels the mansion and they find themselves outside in the snow. He tells them the mansion makes him uncomfortable but they are welcome to set up their dome, and walks back to the Tombtakers.

Caleb follows him, taking Beau with him and not noticing Jester has followed as well. He confronts Lucien, saying that although the parties don't like each other, they have similar goals. They can work together, but they need to know what Lucien is doing, and right now the Mighty Nein are being held captive. Lucien replies that they can leave if they want, but Beau backs Caleb, pointing out that Lucien has thwarted their spells cast to survive. Lucien backpedals, saying that he's not offering for them to leave and if they did, it would be annoying. Caleb again very persuasively asks Lucien to let them look at the book in return for staying in the tower tomorrow night, and Lucien says he'll think on it.

Fan art of the tarot reading, by Pigeon Princess.[art 6]

Jester breaks in with an offer to do a tarot reading for Lucien, and he agrees. The card representing his past shows a massive creature shattering a city during the Calamity. His present is The Tyrant, which shows two dragons fighting. The one facing Lucien is red. His final card, representing his future, is Death. Jester reassures him this can mean a rebirth, that something must end for something new to begin. Lucien's right hand twitches, twice, but he says only that that was "interesting" before walking away and sitting facing away from everyone.

Featured Characters

The Mighty Nein

Returning

Mentioned

Inventory

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Transferred 1 A poem Veth Yasha Veth wrote it, and gave it to Yasha who put it in her book of flowers.
Acquired multiple Small stones Foren Caleb Caleb has been collecting stones from each location they travel to.

Quotations

  • Lucien: Then I found a secret. I found a little peek into something beyond, (indicating the city in the Astral Sea) something that promised knowledge. And when I looked in, it looked back. So at that point, Lucien became more of... more of a costume. The Nonagon became more of the presence.
  • Jester: (to Lucien) We've seen you with food on your penis.[6] [...]
    Lucien: That wasn't me. That was an aberration.
    Beau: Same dick.
  • Lucien: (about the journal) When I started reading it, it was just for fun. But then the dreams started coming. Something was spilling into them, and it wanted my help. The extremely different mind came to me: Luctus, Gaudius, Ira, Vigilan... One by one, the Somnovem came to me and showed me what the city was: a collection of minds finding emergence, becoming one, under these eyes of nine. With each visit, they gave me one of these. (indicates his eye tattoos) That's when I knew it was real and I had to follow, had to learn that which they promised to show.
  • Caduceus: (to Lucien) We have something that you are clearly in dire need of. We have perspective. When was the last time that you had anybody who didn't just agree with you all the time? How are you ever going to work anything out? [ ... ]
    Lucien: I have the perspective of not just myself, not just these fine companions, nor the perspective of nine quite frankly batty as shit individuals from a long time ago, but many, many minds of that period. And there's plenty of disagreement.
  • Caleb: I feel like it's going to be threading a needle to come out the other side of this, all of us-- any of us.
    Veth: Well, and then the worst part is, if we come out the other side and we survive or win or whatever it is... then it's goodbye.
    Caleb: I don't want to think about that.
    Veth: Well, then, good, think about your guilt, and I'll think about mine.
    Caleb: (pulling her in for a hug) I love you.
    Veth: I will always love you.
  • Beau: (to Fjord, speaking about Yasha) I just want a fresh start with Yasha, because we've been through so much. I was thinking about it the other day. I've fought Yasha like four times in hand-to-hand combat. We've had more physical contact through beating the shit out of each other than anything else. So it feels like there's a little bit of this past baggage.
  • Caduceus: (regretfully, after Lucien dispels Caleb's tower) I was going to have a hot meal.
    Yasha: I was going to have a...(blushes)
    Veth: Hot meal?
    Yasha: Yeah.

Trivia

References

  1. See  Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 128.
  2. See "Rumble at Rumblecusp" (2x105) from 4:37:55 through 4:39:45.
  3. See "Ice and Fire" (2x121) at 1:06:06.
  4. See "The Beat of the Permaheart" (2x82) from 1:35:06 through 1:35:37.
  5. See "Contentious Company" (2x120) at 1:47:34.
  6. See "Midnight Espionage" (2x12) from 0:54:26 through 0:57:18.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Lucien receiving the eyes, by CT Chen (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Beau and Yasha by the River Inferno, by BlackSalander (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Lucien, watching, by Dian Huynh (source).  Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of the eagles over the lava river, by Ilona (source).  Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of the lost Lucien, by Elaine Tipping (source).  Used with permission.
  6. Fan art of the tarot reading, by Pigeon Princess (source).  Used with permission.


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