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"Misery Loves Company" (2x93) is the ninety-third episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein find themselves on the hunt for the entity responsible for Nott's predicament, but neither the journey nor the quarry are quite what they expected...

Synopsis Edit

Pre-Show Edit

Travis and Ashley are playing Dungeons and Dragons!

Announcements Edit

  • Dra'kar Noir is here direct from the Fantasy Ranch to sing the praises of Knights of Pen & Paper II, a free to play turn-based retro pixel art RPG game available on iOS, Android, and Steam.
  • The second sponsor is D&D Beyond, returning since the beginning of the campaign. It's a fantastic online digital tool for tracking content in D&D 5th Ed.
  • A new Critical Role Live Show is happening in Chicago 27 February 2020 at the Auditorium Theater, leading into their appearance at C2E2. Tickets go on sale 5 February 2020 at 10:00 am CST. The broadcast on 27 February will be one hour earlier than normal, starting at 6 p.m. PST.
  • Critical Role has a non-fiction book coming out in September from Penguin Random House, The World of Critical Role. Check out their web site for more information.
  • All Work No Play returns Tuesday, 4 February 2020 at 4:00 p.m. PST to explore chainsaw art. Liam will believe it when he sees it.

Previously on Critical Role Edit

So, last we left off: The Mighty Nein, upon watching and aiding Caleb finally finish his design, completing what Halas once had attempted to complete, designing a spell in which you could transmogrify another person into a different body of their choosing, the ritual attempted but failing at the realization that a curse still remained on Nott that prevented any sort of shift or change. Trailing the source back, it seems, to the individual responsible for cursing her with the goblin body in the first place, you returned to Zadash to research this possible individual, coming to find it might be this Isharnai the Prism Sage, an individual that lives north of Kamordah in the Bromkiln Hills within the Cyrios Mountains near Mount Mentiri.

After this moment, you realized you had to travel west from Zadash to Kamordah, and wanting to clarify the possible link of this sage that had originally done this terrible deed to Nott at the request of the goblins that had killed her, you met the Lionett family. A tense reunion, long held back, ensued, at which point it was confirmed that it seems this same sage that helped bring her family’s fortune, and had put a black cloud over her name and life since she was born, may indeed be the same one that’s responsible for Nott’s predicament. This tense reunion complete, you all stepped outside to the evening rain and gave Beau a hug of support after the emotional, exhausting interaction. And that’s where we left off. As you all pull away outside of the Lionett Estate, the darkened sky above, the cold rain pattering around you in the muddy streets, the smell of sulfur and minerals still strong in the air, what would you like to do?

Part I Edit

The party heads to town to a nearby tavern Beau knows of, the Gemmed Hearth, a ramshackle inn with three re-purposed storage rooms it rents out for sleeping. The whiskey is bad, the goat's milk is questionable, and the rooms are disappointing, but a night's rest is had.

Jester communing with the Traveler - BlackSalander

Fan art of Jester Communing with the Traveler, by BlackSalander.[art 1]

In the morning, they head out on horseback north into the Cyrios Mountains towards Mount Mentiri in the rain. Jester suggests she Commune with the Traveler for advice on which pathway to take, and sets up a makeshift altar in a little alcove in the rock as the party watches. The Traveler appears, emerging from the stone, and the party for the first time sees the figure as well, although they hear only Jester's side of the ensuing conversation. As she chats with the Traveler, Fjord uses his Divine Sense on the figure and is initially told he senses no celestials, undead, or fiends in the vicinity. However, when Travis tells Matt that it would also sense anything affected by the Hallow spell (which can affect fey and elementals), Matt says Fjord does sense "a presence."

Jester asks if they need to kill Isharnai to break the curse, and is told that while that is one method, there are many ways to break such curses. At her request, he points the shortest route to Isharnai, but when for her final question she asks if there is anything they can do to prepare themselves to meet her, he simply answers, "Yes," and disappears in a flash of greenish-blue light that the whole party sees.

They begin their journey along the route the Traveler suggested. They must succeed on four skill challenges to reach their goal. Beau succeeds by using her survival skills to guide them, but Caduceus's use of animal handling to urge the horses to help them along leads to a clearing filled with harpies, who attack when the party's attempt to bargain with them fails. After a brief battle (during which Nott becomes drunk in order to become immune to Fear), they kill the harpies, reclaim the horses, and move on. Jester succeeds in perceiving the correct path to go forward and they reach the top of the next mountain crest, seeing before them a foggy valley.

Caleb uses Frumpkin to attempt to scout the way, but he fails to notice the acid geysers along the way that strike the party, inflicting damage and killing three of their horses. They decide the remaining horses can go no further and send them back towards their home, after Caleb makes them all appear to be moorbounders in an attempt to frighten off potential predators. Yasha tries and fails to use her athletic ability to travel through the trees, and Fjord, Beau, Nott, and Caduceus become slightly exhausted. Nott successfully investigates the paths that animals use to traverse the swamp they have found themselves in, but Fjord fails at deceiving his way through, leading them into a lifeforce-stealing fog. They reach a thick wall of brambles, and Yasha successfully uses her strength to cut through it.

Isharnai's hut - Kent Davis

Fan art of Isharnai's hut, by Kent Davis.[art 2]

Traveling single file through the path cut by Yasha, they get through the bramble wall, reaching a clearing scattered with tar puddles pushing through the deep red earth and rock. On a small hillock ahead, they see a small thatched-roof cottage with a partially ajar door spilling warm light from the inside.

Break Edit

Part II Edit

Caleb sends Frumpkin to scout the back of the windowless hut, but there is no rear entrance. They walk up to the door, with Fjord and Yasha taking the lead. Nott casts Invisibility on herself. They knock on the partially ajar door, but looking inside, can see no one there. Fjord casts See Invisibility and still sees nothing. While the others remain outside on the porch, Nott and Beau investigate the interior, finding it cluttered with alchemical supplies, jars of mysterious objects, wax stalactites left by burned candles, and small cages hanging from the ceiling.

Isharnai with Fjord - OrcBarbies

Fan art of Fjord and Isharnai, by OrcBarbies.[art 3]

Fjord walks out a bit to check the tree line, and as he looks back toward the house, sees a crouched and looming figure on the roof, a massive female humanoid form with unnaturally long and strangely jointed arms. He greets her, and she asks which of them visited her from afar recently. Jester timidly raises her hand, and the invisible Isharnai leaps off the roof to land next to her. Fjord tells her that they've come seeking an audience, and she becomes visible, goes into her house, and invites them to enter one at a time.

Fjord goes first. He tells her they've come seeking to have the curse lifted from Nott. Isharnai remembers Nott, and says that the curse was the repayment of a debt she owed to the goblins. She feeds on misery, and to lift the curse, she would require a gift of substantial new misery. She offers a shift in his fortunes, but he declines and leaves. He tells the others what he learned, and Beau abruptly walks in.

Isharnai can sense that she and Beau are already tethered in some way. She tells Beau she wants to be given something that Beau would not want to lose, and Beau offers to walk away from everything: her family, the Mighty Nein, and her position with the Cobalt Soul. Isharnai is attracted, but tells her to think about it, and Beau leaves, telling Nott to go talk to her.

Isharnai immediately recognizes Nott, telling her that the goblins once did her quite the favor and her curse on Nott was its repayment. In order to lift it, she requires equal misery in return. Nott suggests she could sabotage the peace talks, extending the current war. In order for Isharnai to be tethered to the ensuing misery, one of the major parties would need to swallow or have applied a special tincture Isharnai can provide. Nott says she'd better talk to her friends first, and leaves. Outside, the others are doubtful such a thing would even be possible. After the party repeatedly asks Beau what she offered, she tells them, saying that she knows she'll never top what they've already done, that it can't last forever, and that Nott needs to get back to her son.

Yasha then goes in. Isharnai suggests she could return someone from the dead, but Yasha resists the temptation to have Zuala returned to her, and offers her book of collected flowers in return for lifting Nott's curse. When Isharnai declines, Yasha suggests the alternative is that she kill Isharnai, but Isharnai seems unimpressed by the threat. Yasha goes back out and Jester quickly goes in.

Jester's cupcake - Omegasama art

Fan art of Jester's cupcake, by Omegasama art.[art 4]

Jester greets Isharnai in her usual ebullient way. She offers to paint Isharnai's portrait or play her a concert, but Isharnai is more interested in the suggestion that she would give up her artistic expression by losing her hands. Jester is worried about how she would manage without hands, noting sorrowfully how difficult it would be to cast spells or eat. She asks if she can eat one last cupcake, pulls one out, and offers to share it with Isharnai. With a very high persuasion roll by Jester, Isharnai agrees and consumes her half of the cupcake. Jester then reveals that it was sprinkled with the Dust of Deliciousness,[1] which not only makes it taste much better but gives disadvantage on wisdom rolls. She successfully casts Modify Memory on Isharnai, convincing her that she enjoyed Jester's company so much she agreed to end Nott's curse.

As they then have a friendly chat, Isharnai seems confused and distracted, but apparently lifts the curse and Jester takes her leave. Once outside, she urges the party that they need to leave now, and they disappear into the night shadows of the swamp.

Featured Characters Edit

The Mighty Nein Edit

New Edit

Returning Edit

Mentioned Edit

Inventory Edit

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Killed 3 horses Killed by acid geysers on the path to Isharnai
Released 4 horses Party Made to appear to be moorbounders and released
Expended 1 serving Dust of Deliciousness Jester Isharnai Consumed (sprinkled on a blueberry cupcake)

Quotations Edit

  • Isharnai: “I’ve seen many lifetimes. And I enjoy being tethered to misery. It feeds me. And your friend has been a delicious drip."
    Fjord: I’m sure you can understand, I don’t want to speak for any of the other members of our group, but there may be more... misery amongst us.
    Isharnai: “Existing misery is paltry. New misery... that is lasting.”
  • Laura: (after Isharnai eats the cupcake) That was sprinkled with the Dust of Deliciousness.
    Matt: (laughs) Okay. Remind me what that is again.
    Laura: That is a dust that makes food taste much better. And it also gives you a disadvantage on wisdom checks and wisdom saving throws. And I'm going to cast... Modify Memory.

TriviaEdit

  • At 1:09:15, Laura attempts to count the number of harpies and breaks into the Pinball Number Count song from Sesame Street, with Ashley, Taliesin, and Liam joining in.
  • This episode ended on 23 Thunsheer 836.[2]

References Edit

  1. See "Commerce & Chaos" (2x31) at 0:53:55.  Jester buys the0 Dust of Deliciousness at the Invulnerable Vagrant.
  2. See CritRoleStats' running game calendar.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Jester Communing with the Traveler, by BlackSalander (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Isharnai's hut, by Kent Davis (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Fjord and Isharnai, by OrcBarbies (source).  Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of Jester's cupcake, by Omegasama art (source).  Used with permission.


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