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Isharnai is a hag who lives alone among the Cyrios Mountain woods north of the Bromkiln Hills. She wields strange magics, weaving boons and hexes for those who make the journey to find her, demanding high prices for her deeds, sometimes beyond mere coin.[2] As an NPC, Isharnai is played by Matthew Mercer.

Fan art of Jester offering the cupcake to Isharnai, by @mellifera38.[art 2]

Description

Appearance

Nott's memory of Isharnai was of a humanoid woman with elongated features, very high and prominent cheekbones, jowls sunk very deep and hanging below, and dull green eyes.[3] Jester's later Scry revealed a woman with gnarled clumps of oily black hair drifting out from the sides of her robe, tangled and knotted into large rats' nests, and wrapped in heavy, tattered robes with long ratty gold twine wrapped around from shoulder to side, holding it on in a very unique, ready-to-travel pattern.[4] On the Mighty Nein's visit to Isharnai's lair, they specifically see that she has a long, pointed jaw, her cheekbones are so high as to be like exaggerated elvish features, and her eyes are almost glowing.[5] Above the dark robes, her cloak is gray-brown and stained.[6]

Isharnai's body is curved backward in an S-formation where the front of the torso pulls back like a serpent, and then the shoulders slouch forward with the head emerging from the shoulders in the center in a very heavy hunch. Even hunched, she stands about six-and-a-half feet tall. If she were able to stand straight, she would be probably seven-and-a-half feet tall.[7] Her arms are long, almost appearing to have two elbows each,[8][9] and she has extended fingers reminiscent of Keona the Keen[10]. Definitely not human, she moves with unnaturally graceful, sweeping gestures and sudden rapid grasps and snatchings.[11] Similarly, she walks with "long, lumbering strides" and her arms swaying unnaturally, then suddenly skitters up a rock like a spider.[12]

When Yasha threatens her, her shoulders pull back and her body momentarily begins to swell and cause shadows to grow across the walls.[13]

Personality

Matt describes Isharnai as a "very intelligent and conniving individual that has made their living feeding off the misery of other people that she's tricked them into."[14] That said, she doesn't approach Beau's father or the Mighty Nein; they come to her, through much difficulty; the willingness of the person to make the deal is key.[15]

Isharnai is extremely old, claiming to have seen many lifetimes.[16] So, unsurprisingly, she is cautious. When the Mighty Nein appear at her lair, she stealthily perches, invisible, atop her house to observe them.[17] Though they say they wish to converse peacefully, she tries not to leave her back exposed.[18] She agrees to meet with them one at a time[19] inside her windowless house,[20] where she can open and close the one door at will[21][22][23][24][25] and perhaps see through the walls.[26]

Isharnai has a habit of sniffing loudly when she gets close to people;[27][28] she can smell Beau's misery, and Beau's scent is "familiar" because they are already somehow tethered, but Isharnai doesn't immediately recognize it's through her father.[29]

Home

Fan art of Isharnai's hut, by BlackSalander.[art 3]

Isharnai lives in a bramble forest among dark, dangerous woods and rocky mountainside cliffs. Her home is small, about 15 to 20-feet in size, and has a large porch in front. It has no windows and no back door. At its base, heavy roots emerge almost as if the house itself was rooted into the ground. The cabin appears to have been put together from numerous thin, tall trees. There are hooks hanging from its edge from chains and ropes, and a wooden rack off to the side of the porch that contains stretched-out leathers. The roof is heavy-thatched and brightly green with moss, mold, and other natural growth that has taken root in it.[30][31]

Inside, her house is small, dense, and cluttered in an organized way with everything in its place, but it is very jam-packed. There are many collected books, papers, broken lanterns and pieces, elements of animal bone, and a large collection of jars and vials holding various alchemical and magical supplies. In the corner lies a collection of stones arranged in a pattern.[32] It is both warm and muggy, the smell intensely reminiscent of strong mildew and herbs. In the middle of the room is a table bearing a single glowing lantern. Along the ceiling on the inside, between where the wooden boards hold up the thatch, cages of varying sizes holding small animals hang from chains, rope, and twine.[33]

Biography

Background

"Home is Where the Heart Is" (2x92)

The party realized that the mysterious woman that transformed Nott into a goblin, and the soothsayer that foretold Beau's father Thoreau Lionett's business success were possibly the same, which Caduceus confirmed with Commune. Researching at The Cobalt Soul, they discovered she was likely Isharnai the Prism Sage. Nott used Disguise Self to show the others her memory of the woman, and Jester cast Scrying on her, successfully seeing her in her home casting runes. However, Isharnai looked up and saw the scry focus, saying, "Hello. Who's this I see? My curiosity is piqued. I hope this means I’m having visitors." She then crushed the focus between her hands.

"Misery Loves Company" (2x93)

Fan art of Jester with Isharnai, by @hierothraxs.[art 4]

The invisible Isharnai is perched unseen on top of her hut when the party reaches it after traversing mountains, a swamp, and a bramble forest. Fjord sees and greets her when he casts See Invisiblity and she invites them inside one at a time to bargain with her: she will lift the curse on Nott in return for a new source of the misery upon which she feeds. Beau offers to walk away from her family, the Mighty Nein, and her position with the Cobalt Soul. Nott offers to sabotage the upcoming peace negotiations between the Empire and the Dynasty, and Yasha offers her book of collected flowers. Jester makes Isharnai think she is about to agree to sacrifice her hands to have Nott's curse lifted, but has actually sprinkled her Dust of Deliciousness on a leftover blueberry cupcake which she shares with Isharnai lowering her wisdom, and then successfully casts Modify Memory on her. She makes Isharnai believe that they have had such a good visit that Isharnai lifts the curse just to please Jester. Jester leaves the somewhat confused and distracted Isharnai and goes outside to the others, urging them to hurry away.

"Family Shatters" (2x96)

Jester sent a dozen black moss cupcakes to Isharnai via a summoned quickling. Isharnai confirmed receiving them via Jester's Sending spell in "High Seas, High Stakes" (2x99), although from her response it was unclear whether she was still under the influence of Jester's Modify Memory or had dispelled/removed it in the meantime.

Relationships

Character Information

Battle map of the surrounding area near Isharnai's house.[art 5]

Abilities

  • Can see invisible objects[34]
  • Invisibility[35]
  • Reincarnation or similar spell used on Nott
  • Magic Resistance[36]

Notable Items

Quotations

  • Isharnai: "I’ve seen many lifetimes. And I enjoy being tethered to misery. It feeds me. And your friend has been a delicious drip. [...] Existing misery is paltry. New misery... that is lasting."[37]

Trivia

  • The name "Isharnai" is an anagram of "I, Raishan".
  • Matthew Mercer imagines Isharnai, who is no longer under the effects of Modify Memory, has some respect for having been outmaneuvered, but will cross paths with Jester again.[38]

References

  1. See "Critical Role Campaign 2 Wrap Up" (Sx56) at 2:50:17.
  2. See "Home is Where the Heart Is" (2x92) at 1:05:06.
  3. See "Home is Where the Heart Is" (2x92) at 1:08:51.
  4. See "Home is Where the Heart Is" (2x92) at 1:11:58.
  5. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 02:51:01.
  6. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 02:53:15.
  7. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 02:53:40.
  8. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 02:50:26.
  9. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:13:37.
  10. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:52:17.
  11. See "Home is Where the Heart Is" (2x92) at 1:12:35.
  12. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 02:56:35.
  13. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:33:16.
  14. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:50:50.
  15. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:16:08.
  16. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:02:12.
  17. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 02:49:35.
  18. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 02:54:10.
  19. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 02:55:32.
  20. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 02:37:28.
  21. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:04:34.
  22. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:05:27.
  23. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:13:16.
  24. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:20:16.
  25. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:47:16.
  26. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:10:51.
  27. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 02:54:18.
  28. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:28:20.
  29. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 03:05:39.
  30. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 02:08:30.
  31. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 02:36:49.
  32. See "Home is Where the Heart Is" (2x92) at 1:11:45.
  33. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 2:43:10.
  34. See "Home is Where the Heart Is" (2x92) at 1:13:31.
  35. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 2:54:43.
  36. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 3:49:16.
  37. See "Misery Loves Company" (2x93) at 3:02:13.
  38. See "Critical Role Campaign 2 Wrap Up" (Sx56) from 2:50:17 through 2:51:57.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Isharnai, by GalacticJonah (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Jester offering the cupcake to Isharnai, by @mellifera38 (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Isharnai's hut, by BlackSalander (source).  Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of Jester with Isharnai, by @hierothraxs (source).  Used with permission.
  5. See Matt Mercer's Tweet.
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