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"Rebirth" (2x139) is the one hundred thirty-ninth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein prepare for an intense confrontation with their transformed former friend, but the Nonagon who awaits them above the streets of Cognouza is more powerful than any of them anticipated...

Synopsis[]

Announcements[]

Previously on Critical Role[]

So, last we left off: The Mighty Nein had arrived at the living city of Cognouza, adrift for over a thousand years in the Astral Sea, as the Somnovem and the thousands of minds that were melded due to the arrival in a terrifying psychic storm all those years ago had slowly reformed into the chaotic essence of what is now that living city.

Giving chase to Cree and Lucien as they both rocketed off to different directions on this rock, you ended up choosing left and followed the path of Cree. Upon searching, you ended up encountering her in the subterranean semi-stone tunnels beneath the city, and battled her, catching her entirely off-guard as two of you managed to journey into the Threshold Vault beyond, and begin to keep it from being pulled into the city itself, thus temporarily thwarting the Tombtakers' plan. The rest of you slaughtered Cree and in her dying breaths, you heard-- those of you who were currently connected to the Somnovem through the eyes upon your body-- heard Cree mentally reach out to Lucien for aid. And Lucien aided, in a way, by transforming Cree into a terrifying flesh horror. Flickering elements of "the pattern" seemed to visibly appear upon this creature's body. And some of you, upon peering into it, could not withstand the will of the Somnovem and grew eyes yourself.

Eyes of Nein - Melissa Hahn

Fan art of the Eyes of Nein, by Melissa Hahn.[art 1]

As you reconvened, you all aided Jester and Caleb in tearing free one of these two threshold crests and sending it into a distant plane, seemingly thwarting the long-form plan of Lucien and the Tombtakers. There you went searching for the spirit of Yussa. Beauregard, utilizing the gifts of the Somnovem, expanded your consciousness into the city of Cognouza itself, and using the network of minds in this place, you were able to successfully locate where Yussa's spirit was currently being bound. All of you together took flight across the astral sky above the city, arriving and freeing Yussa of his prison here on the city, sending him back to his physical body back in Exandria.

Feeling the success still vibrating within you, you decided to go ahead and consider willing yourself a tunnel within the city to lead you to the Aether Crux, this location where it seemed the Somnovem's heart resided beneath the surface. You followed this tunnel downward and came into this massive chamber. Here in the center of this space, amongst the areas of broken stone, echoes of cityscapes, and roiling skin, you saw in the center a massive fleshy structure where you saw nine egg-like entities merged in the center: the core of the Somnovem, the Aether Crux. There, all of the varying scattered personalities, these nine long-shredded philosophers, combined and spoke to you as the true singular Somnovem.

As you discussed things back and forth, asked questions, received answers, and are left with more questions, you weren't the only ones to have entered the chamber, as you noticed across the way, Lucien had approached from the opposite side of this massive room. And apparently came prepared with the next wave of his long-cracked plan, as a cluster of intuit charges seemed at the ready, linked to detonate at a whim. Lucien then offered the opportunity to run, for you'd already played your part in distracting the Somnovem enough to allow this moment to transpire. In a brief instant, Jester summoned a massive earthquake here in the center that began to rip and sunder elements of the flesh and stone. Parts of the room began to collapse as you hear Lucien laughing and laughing. The rest of you running, back in the cavern where you came and hoping that you were far enough away, saw the residual flashes of the detonations of multiple intuit charges behind you. As you all lie scattered on the floor of this cavern, heavily breathing, still processing what had just transpired, and what's about to transpire, we return to the game.

Part I[]

Jester and Fjord hear shifting from the chamber they just ran from and see the red glows that previously heralded the arrival of the Somnovem, but they are continuously flashing and seem to indicate the Somnovem are heavily wounded. They hear Lucien's voice saying, "Unexpected, but still, I needed a little time to heal. I've always wanted to be a butterfly, anyway. Come." The egg-like orbs torn from the center of the chamber begin to lift out of sight.

As the party tries to decide what to do next, Jester suggests a Heroes' Feast. While she prepares it, Veth, Caduceus, and Yasha stealth back to the Aether Crux and see that it is slowly healing itself. The city is pulling the glowing Somnovem spheres upward, closing behind.

The party eats their Feast and prepares for the coming battle. Fjord notices lights moving past them into the Aether Crux. They say what they fear may be their final words to one another, including Veth sharing her unused jokes and Caduceus giving a Motivational Speech granting temporary hit points, then move back into the Aether Crux to see pulsing red glows being pulled up into the ceiling one after the other. Jester mentally opens a passageway to the surface to follow them, but Caduceus's attempt fails and he receives a second red eye on his abdomen. They all fly up through the passageway to the surface of the city.

Lucien rising as the Neo-Somnovem - BlackSalander

Fan art of Lucien rising as the Neo-Somnovem, by BlackSalander.[art 2]

All the structures of the city seem to be leaning in slightly toward a luminescent dome like a cocoon or egg sac. The pulsing red lights stop moving and the top of the dome peels away as a purple, muscular humanoid shape rises. It is Lucien, now the Neo-Somnovem, his red eye tattoos gone and nine thick tentacles each ending in an eye growing from his back. He rises above the rooftops and they hear his soft voice in their minds, mingling with layers of other voices. He welcomes them, and their minds fill with a flash of a thousand worlds, endless possibility, colors, and all of time condensed to a moment in an overload of information and sensation. As they pull out of it, most of their noses begin to bleed.

Neo-Somnovem - @Hierothraxs

Fan art of the Neo-Somnovem, by @hierothraxs.[art 3]

Fjord asks him why he left them alive, and this seems to confuse him. Jester and Caleb try calling Mollymauk's name, and all the eyes turn toward them as Lucien twitches. He finally answers that he needed someone to hear his birth cry as he raises his hands and the city screams around them. Jester begins singing the song that Toya sang in the Fletching and Moondrop Traveling Carnival of Curiosities when they first met Mollymauk,[1] and Beau asks if he still intends to leave the world better than he found it.[2] Lucien suddenly realizes the second threshold crest is no longer in place and grows furious. He asks whom they care about, so that he can reach out to them in their night's slumber to show them the pattern so they will bring him what he needs. Veth tells him her family doesn't steal from nice people,[3] and Beau invites him to ask "the charm."[4] That is a push too far, and the battle begins.

They are floating above the rooftops, and Lucien attacks three times with the Eyes of the Somnovem, each attack named for one of the Nine. While Veth resists the effects of the "Elatis" attack, she gains another eye. Ira's attack is a Fireball, and Fjord is thrilled when the Ring of Fire Resistance he gave to Jester helps her resist its damage. Beau resists the Gaudius attack. However, they learn the Neo-Somnovem has both legenday attacks and resistances.

When Jester's "Invoke Duplicity" fails, she realizes they forgot to activate the Arcane Field Generator and she uses her bonus action to do so, so that they can now see Lucien's anti-magic cone. Fjord is Slowed by Luctus, but the party is getting in some hits while taking some in return. In addition to his eyes, Lucien also has a psychic attack that combines in a multi-attack with two Gaze of the Somnovem attacks.

After some time, Beau uses a bonus action to ask Lucien if he wants to see Gustav again. On a successful persuasion roll, this has a strong effect on Lucien, and he loses a legendary action. He uses Fold Space to teleport 60 feet. Jester uses her bonus action to remind him of her tarot reading predicting his death,[5] but the persuasion roll fails. Fjord, however, succeeds, and Lucien loses another legendary action. Caleb's successful Gravity Fissure drains a legendary resistance and Lucien is starting to show a little wear and tear. The charmed Yasha attacks Beau, but misses three times and Essek uses Dispel Magic to remove the charm.

Break[]

Part II[]

Lucien regains his legendary actions at the top of the round. Beau becomes racked with guilt by the Culpasi eye, and the Fastidan eye causes heavy necrotic damage to Jester, but Caleb is unaffected by Mirumus because of his Protection from Aberrations. Lucien also uses his reaction to cast his blood maledict Curse of the Eyeless on Beau, reducing her attack rolls by ten. However, she is able to cause him to lose a legendary action and allow Veth to get sneak attack damage. He retaliates with another Fastidan attack causing heavy necrotic damage to Beau. When Jester apologizes to Mollymauk for not being there when he died, it costs Lucien another legendary action and he clutches his horns in apparent pain, shouting, "Would you please stop saying that name?!"

Stop saying that name!

Fan art of the Neo-Somnovem hearing Molly's name, by Luwhart.[art 4]

The Slowed Fjord casts Far Step to reach the inside of a tower where he takes shelter, while Caleb moves over to Beau to include her in his Protection from Aberrations. His cast of Slow causes Lucien to burn another legendary resistance, and Yasha uses her battle cry. Her attack causes Lucien to start looking a little rough, but on his turn he hits her with his heavy psychic attack, which stuns her even though she halves the damage with her Coat of the Crest. Essek is charmed by the Gaudius eye, and Jester is hit again by the Fastidan eye. With Caduceus's Holy Weapon on her and two natural 20's, Beau does over a hundred points of damage on her turn. Lucien uses Fold Space to teleport sixty feet away from her.

Jester casts Dispel Magic on the hidden Fjord to remove his Slow and hides herself. Lucien then focuses on Veth with the Fastidan eye for heavy necrotic damage. Caleb uses Dispel Magic to remove the charm on Essek. The Elatis eye pulls Caduceus next to Lucien, and gives him another eye on his left shoulder. Caduceus channels divinity to put Path to the Grave on Lucien, and Veth's attack therefore causes a hundred points of damage to him.

Heavily wounded, Lucien pants, "I think I've been doing this on my own a little bit too much. Now that I've flexed this a bit, let's borrow the full power of the city around me," and dives away as Caduceus hits him with a parting Blight. Lucien disappears into the ground below, which opens to receive him.

Lucien's next form - Rezan 'Rez' Gungor

Fan art of Lucien's next form, by Rezan 'Rez' Gungor.[art 5]

The clerics both cast healing spells on the party, who dive after the fleeing Lucien. They descend into the lightless depths of Cognouza, reaching the Aether Crux and seeing a deep red pulsing mass in the center. It breaks open, a second birthing, and Lucien emerges. His lower body begins to twist and morph, connected with the city of Cognouza, a bulbous, twisted mass of flesh and stone, building, winged statue, cathedral, eyes, muscle, and teeth. The eye stalks and eyes are gone, replaced by two giant wings of muscle. He stands centered and connected at the base of Cognouza, saying, "Well, shall we finish this then?"

Featured Characters[]

The Mighty Nein[]

New[]

Returning[]

Mentioned[]

Quotations[]

  • Lucien: I do believe now it's time to take the city back to where it all began. Where the pattern can reach all the minds.[6]
  • Jester: (to Lucien) Molly, I've never forgiven myself for not being there when you died. I wish I could have saved you. I wish I could've done something. [...]
    Lucien: (clutching his horns and shouting) Would you please stop saying that name?![7]

Inventory[]

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Transferred 1 Ring of protection Yasha Caduceus
Crafted
Transferred
Expended
1 Grey bead containing Haste Essek Yasha Created by Essek using Arcane Abeyance. Used by Yasha in the battle against Lucien, the Neo-Somnovem.
Expended 1 Potion of Maximum Power Caleb Caleb Originally purchased from Pumat Sol.[8]
Expended 1 Scroll of Protection from Aberrations Caleb Caleb Originally found by the party floating in wreckage on the ship journey to Eiselcross.[9]

Trivia[]

  • Sam's flask shows a picture of Travis with removable word bubbles that have various regrets on them; the back still shows a QR code.

References[]

  1. See "Curious Beginnings" (2x01) at 2:19:05.
  2. See "Fleeting Memories" (2x14) at 2:16:12.  Molly states he left every town better than he found it.
  3. See "Steam and Conversation" (2x09) at 1:14:58.  Molly tells Nott to steal only from rich, grumpy people.
  4. See "Curious Beginnings" (2x01) at 0:49:44.  Molly introduces Yasha as "a charm".
  5. See "Ice and Fire" (2x121) at 3:17:31.
  6. See "Rebirth" (2x139) at 1:01:55.
  7. See "Rebirth" (2x139) at 2:49:59.
  8. See "Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) at 3:52:30.
  9. See "The Chase Begins" (2x112) at 3:34:46.  Identified at 3:44:57.

Art:

  1. Fan art of the Eyes of Nein, by Melissa Hahn (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Lucien rising as the Neo-Somnovem, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of the Neo-Somnovem, by @hierothraxs (source). Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of the Neo-Somnovem hearing Molly's name, by Luwhart (source). Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of Lucien's next form, by Rezan 'Rez' Gungor (source). Used with permission.


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