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"Labenda Awaits" (2x20) is the twentieth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. As The Mighty Nein get closer to Berleben, trouble awaits them on the road and in the swamp...

Synopsis Edit

Pre-Show Edit

Announcements Edit

  • Tonight's sponsor is the consistent and amazing: D&D Beyond! Sam lets us know that Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes is now out, and can be obtained through the D&D Beyond website. Sam then starts doing a Rhody Slater skit, before stopping half-way, unable to continue. He feels like he can do so much more, and that at this point in his career, he would be doing "serious shit, like Ibsen or O'Neill". He also worries about all of his skits being on the internet forever, and that his kids will watch them later and think he is a loser. At that point, he gets a phone call from his agent, where he finds out that he has booked a two-spot local radio campaign for Lord of the Wings, the new wings place in Chatsworth. This revitalizes him, as he is now "a real actor again", and he launches back into his Rhody Slater persona, finishing strong.
  • The hardcover collection of Vox Machina: Origins will be on sale next week, May 31st. It is so shiny and beautiful, and Sam rebukes Laura for putting her fingerprints on it. Marisha says that it smells so good, which everyone else agrees with. All information on the sale of the comic can be found at critrole.com.
  • The Stream of Many Eyes, hosted by D&D: Wizards Coast, is coming up June 1st through 3rd, which a bunch of the cast will be going to. All information and tickets for the event can be found at dnd.wizards.com/some.
  • A reminder to those with Amazon Prime accounts: you can connect it to your Twitch account with Twitch Prime and get a free monthly subscription to the Twitch channel of your choice.
  • Talks Machina will be talking about tonight's episode next Tuesday (May 29, 2018) at 7:00 pm PDT, once again hosted by the fantastic Brian Wayne Foster. Ashley gives a very quiet woo-hoo, as she is currently distracted by "hiding" the Vox Machina: Origins comic book under her shirt. The others call her out on it, with Travis saying "The Cube 2.0". Ashley counters that "this is [her] body, leave me alone". Liam comments that she looks very "boxy".
  • The Critical Role Live dice set, as well as the Vox Machina d20 die, are both back in stock in the store for a limited time.
  • A partnership with Stack Up was announced at the beginning of the game. They are a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping veterans and those in active duty. They will be giving away specific Critical Role challenge coins, as well as art by the fantastic Critter artist, Amy King. All other information can be found at critrole.com.

Previously on Critical Role Edit

"Last we left off, The Mighty Nein, after spending quite some time in the central city of Zadash had found that war had made its way to the Empire with the far eastern region of Xhorhas and the Kryn dynasty. Upon this conflict, you decided that perhaps it would be best to leave the central urban environment.

"You decided to dodge a few opportunities brought to you, especially that by the Lawmaster of the city, and instead went and made a conversation with your friend The Gentleman beneath the city in his Underworks. There, he offered two possible work opportunities in which you accepted both. The first of which is going to send you towards the swamp town of Berleben, to the north-northeast. Then from there, head far northeast to Shadycreek Run to converse with and retrieve an ally of his that he had not been able to do business with in a while.

"So, you gathered your materials, got your wagon and horses, made your way northward on the Bromkiln Byway towards the Labenda Swamp. Along that path, you managed to encounter a shack-living hermited orc of some unknown background.

"Continuing northward, you slept in a cluster of trees where you were ambushed by a wandering troupe of goblins and ogres. Upon escaping their clutches and defeating most of them - only one, I believe, got free - you gathered what information you could. Managing to keep out of the rain, you slept beneath your cart and awaited the next morning."

Part I Edit

Waking up and drinkingEdit

Everyone wakes up cold except for Jester, who is seemingly unaffected by the cold and wanders around, crunching the frost. Fjord asks Nott for a swig from her flask and the group discusses Nott's new bottomless flask for a while, with Jester wondering out loud if it always completely full, or just half full. Nott replies that she does know, but that they could probably perform an experiment to find out. The rest of the group ask what type of alcohol is in the flask, and we find out both that it is always full of Nott's favorite whiskey - the type that gets you good and drunk - and that this was chosen when the enchantment was placed on the flask by Pumat Sol.

Caleb asks if Nott could get it empty or close to empty if she tries, to which Nott replies that she could try. Jester reminds her that they are about to go to a swamp where they are about to fight people. Nott simply replies "Let's just see what happens!" before drinking a lot, resulting in her being very drunk. Fjord suggests that she throw up, and Nott asks someone to stick something down her throat to help her. Jester picks up a stick from the ground, and jams it into Nott's mouth, causing her to throw up all over the ground, where it steams in the early morning cold. Jester asks if she feels better, and she replies "No, not really". To test how sober she is, Caleb holds up four fingers and asks how many fingers he is holding up. Nott correctly responds "I think four" and Caleb goes on to ask "How many members of the Mighty Nein are there". Nott replies "Nine, but two are always gone", and Caleb says "She's okay". Yasha reveals that whenever she sees someone throwing up, it makes her want to throw up as well and she starts to gag. Jester asks if Yasha wants her to stick something down her throat, and Yasha declines, saying that she doesn't think it will do much to help her. Molly asks if it is just the sight or someone throwing up, or if it is the sound as well, before making retching noises. Caleb, uncomfortable, pulls out their map and starts to figure out how much further it is to their destination.

Planning the journey and setting outEdit

They figure out that if they move quickly, they could probably make it to Labenda Swamp around sundown. Fjord has concerns about being ambushed, given how early it is and says that they should go slowly. Fjord momentarily forgets the word "ambushed", saying "What do you call it when you get ... ambushed?", and Beau, Caleb and Molly all look at him and say "Ambushed", causing all in the group to laugh. Nott then mocks him saying "You're our strategy guy right?", to which Fjord replies "It's early in the morning, I-I'm not awake yet". Jester, Molly and Yasha say they can see if anything is coming for them from the main path and even if they are ambushed, that they can beat them.

Caleb counters, saying that if they go quickly, they would arrive at the swamp as night would be falling, which would then likely be full of "nasty things". The rest of the group agree that this is a really good point, and they all agree to camp out one more time and get there in the middle of the next day. Caleb remarks "You all are an enjoyable lot, it will be fun", and the others all comment on how believable and genuine he sounded. Caleb blushes at their remarks. Jester asks if she should drive the cart again, or if someone else wants to do it. Molly steps up and offers to drive, and they set out north-northeast on to the Bromkiln Byway once more at a medium pace - "not willy-nilly, not galloping pace", as Liam puts it.

The cart ride Edit

Jester and Caleb watch the road ahead, with Jester standing up, steadying herself by holding onto Molly's horns. Yasha asks for Frumpkin, and Caleb clicks his fingers, sending him to her shoulder. Molly offers his large "relatively clean" tapestry in case anyone is cold. Nott asks if they could turn the tapestries into coats, and Molly replies that they can "have that conversation".

For the first half of the day, nothing in particular catches their eye, and the sun starts to break through the clouds, as the storm from the evening before has passed. It is a very relaxing ride, and they take a moment to appreciate what the Empire protects and what people are fighting for in the upcoming conflict. For the second half of the day, Beau and Yasha take watch and Jester finally sits down to give her ankles a rest.

As Beau watches, from the north-northwest she sees a large, dark shape come over one of the hills on the horizon, almost as if the hilltop has been covered in shade. Checking the clouds, she realises that this is no characteristic of cloud cover as it is darker than the other areas in shade. Beau asks if anyone knows anything about clouds, and Nott says that Caleb knows about clouds, due to his long time on the road. Caleb joins Beau in watching the dark shape.

After ten minutes of watching this shape, some sunlight passes over the shape, and it glints in places. They realize that they are looking at a legion - hundreds and hundreds of soldiers marching from the northwestern side of the Empire to cross over the byway, heading east. After reporting this to the group, they decide that they should speed up to try to pass the legion before they cross the road.

As they speed along, Molly finds it difficult to control the cart at the high speeds, and the wheels of the cart veer slightly off the road and into the grass. While trying to correct the cart, they hit a partially hidden stone in the grass which breaks two wheels, tipping the whole cart backwards and Molly brings it to a stop. Jester is able to use Mending to fix one, but the other is too seriously damaged.

Five horsemen from the approaching regiment ride up, and Nott hides in the nearby tall grass, using Mage Hand to steal a pouch from one of their saddlebags which turns out to hold corn and dry oats. Captain Maximilian offers their aid for the broken wheel and his soldiers manage to patch it up, and when they ride off Jester uses Mending again to finish the job. They travel till nightfall, when they camp amid a thunderstorm. A lightning bolt hits a nearby tree, and Matt asks everyone but Yasha to leave the table.

Yasha's Dream Edit

Yasha has a dream, or a vision, of the people she grew up with surrounding her, all facing away. In the distance, she sees an elevated piece of ground with a central rock in the shape of a familiar figure. She feels pain burning up each arm, and looks to see dull blue-purple flames curling up the sides of her arms. All around her are bodies, dozens and dozens of corpses torn asunder. Blood is dripping down her arm where the flames were. She sees again the ruined statue, the one beacon of nameless hope that pulled her out of darkness. At its base is a disc with four bolts of lightning. She finds herself walking in the waste beyond the Xhorhasian central swamp, crawling with thousands of immense worms. She has a final vision of a figure in the dark center of a swirling storm cloud, the same figure as the statue, stepping out of the sky like a titan. She feels comfort, and a sourceless voice says, "You walk the right path. Be strong. Don't forget who you were, and decide who you will become." She wakes, and the others come back to the table.

Yasha and Nott take the final watch, and Yasha goes over to the lightning-struck tree, once there telling the Stormlord, "I heard you, and I wanted to thank you for saving me, and that I promise you I will be the best servant you ever had. Thank you." She carves his symbol into the tree and takes a piece of bark. When she goes back to camp, she tells Nott she is collecting flowers in her book for a special someone back home. Nott shares that she collects things too, like buttons, vials, and the soles of shoes.

Another cold, damp morning arrives and they set off. Nott makes a vial of acid in the back of the cart. They move into the swamp, with water encroaching the road from all the recent rain. Suddenly, they hear a strange trilled bird cry, frantic and intense. Beau spots movement in the water, and they stop, continuing to hear an occasional panicked bird croaking. Jester climbs a tree and spots a small black-feathered humanoid fighting against the swamp, being slowly approached by a long crocodilian reptile creature. She hits the gator with Guiding Bolt, and alerts the others before running towards the bird creature. The rest of the party chase after her.

At that point they notice a second gator attacking from the other side, striking at the bird creature, who goes limp and unconscious. They continue to attack both gators. Yasha is held in the jaws of one, and Nott by the other. Meanwhile, the bird creature fails a death saving throw, and Jester uses Healing Word to bring it back to consciousness. Yasha manages to kill the one grappling her, and Nott breaks out of the mouth of the one biting her, swinging around to shoot it, but it bites down on her once again, then drops her to hit her with its tail, knocking her out. Fjord manages to kill it with Eldritch Blast, and Jester uses her duplicate Jester to run to Nott and cast Cure Wounds

Break Edit

  • New season of Spellslingers add
  • How To Play: Carcassonne
  • Welcome to the Wednesday Club 5 minute one-shot

Part II Edit

Campaign 2 Tracker Map, Episode 20

Campaign 2 Tracker Map, Episode 20

Jester manages to pull the bird-person free of the bog, and it begins imitating and repeating what they say, although it is clearly intelligent, and they discover it can write. They learn she is female, four years old, and her name is Kiri. Her family was traveling west to escape the mountains to the east where the skies went dark. Her father said the valley folk were fighting. The swamp was to hide them, but they were seen by the swamp folk and ran. Kiri was caught by the bog, and her family - parents and four sisters - had to leave her behind. Caleb recognizes her as a kenku.

They feed her and give her a dagger, then skin the gators. Checking their stomachs, they find a lot of bones, meat, and black feathers. They surmise at least part of her family didn't survive, and decide they can't leave her there, bringing her with them to Berleben, a miserable-looking but functional village in the depths of the swamp.

Following The Gentleman's instructions, they find the Keystone Pub in the Puddles, the oldest section of town, which is covered by one to three inches of water and slowly sinking into the surrounding swamp. They climb eight feet up a rope to enter the bar, and rent rooms there in the "haunted" lower level. The innkeeper, Dent Bonswallow, points out their contact, Febron Keyes, passed out in a corner. Febron perks up immediately when they mention The Gentleman, however, telling them he wants out-- he wants nothing more to do with it.

His job was to meet people, lead them to the safe house, and then escort them back out. The last time he returned there, though, he heard a low, echoing howl and all of those who were there dead and strung up outside as a warning. He ran. 100 gp and a drink is enough to convince him to escort the Nein there, however. They make the mistake of paying him on the spot, and then it occurs to them he might not be there when it's time to leave in the morning, so they tell him he has to sleep with one of them. He chooses Yasha.

That night, Caleb tells Nott once again she can talk to him, if she wants. She replies that she just wants him to be okay, and if that means finding and killing Trent Ikithon, she's fine taking care of that first. She feels he can get revenge, or even redemption, and do good to counteract the bad he's done in his past. Beau and Jester talk about the handsome Captain Maximilian, speculating he has the hots for one of them. Jester then tells Kiri the story of Tusk Love. Molly and Fjord notice half an inch of water on their floor. Yasha, sharing with Febron, takes the bed which she has pushed across the door and dashes the hopes of Febron, who had hoped to share the bed with her. They all eventually get a night's rest.

Post-Show Edit

  • Matt announced that Mark Hulmes would guest on Critical Role on May 31st.

Featured Characters Edit

The Mighty Nein Edit

New Edit

Returning Edit

Mentioned Edit

Inventory Edit

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Acquired 1 small pouch crownsguard Nott with dry oats and corn
Acquired 1 piece bark tree Yasha
Acquired 1 pieces of lightning struck wood tree Fjord for good luck
Acquired 1 pieces of lightning struck wood Jester
Relinquished 1 silver Molly tree
Crafted 1 vial of acid acid kit Nott
Relinquished 2 ninja star Beau Gator
Relinquished 1 dagger Fjord Kiri
Acquired 1 armored husk gator Jester
Relinquished 25 copper Caleb Keystone Pub
Relinquished 8 silver Molly
Relinquished 1 gold Caleb Febron Keyes
Relinquished 17 gold Nott
Relinquished 12 gold Molly
Relinquished 20 gold Fjord
Relinquished 20 gold Beau
Relinquished 10 gold Yasha
Relinquished 20 gold Jester
Relinquished 2 silver Jester Dent

Quotations Edit

  • Nott: (To Kiri) Welcome to The Mighty Nein!
  • Kiri: (To the Mighty Nein) "Welcome to The Mighty Nein!"

Trivia Edit

  • Sam's giant flask bears a message in this episode that reads "Do NOT follow @SideBySamuel", with a cartoon of a child.

References Edit

Art:


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