"Rumble at Rumblecusp" (2x105) is the one hundred fifth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. Armed with knowledge and an amorphous plan, the Mighty Nein prepare to confront Rumblecusp's dangerous overlord...

Synopsis

Announcements

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Previously on Critical Role

So, last we left off: the Mighty Nein, after arriving on the island of Rumblecusp to set up the coming TravelerCon, now not but seven days away, you discovered that a culture of people have been living here for quite some time before you arrived, worshiping this fire entity known as Vokodo, and an enchantment seemed to lay on the space that caused them to forget everything about their past lives and live here happily amongst their new society here in the village of Vo. With the aid of one such druid as their spiritual guardian, named Viridian, you went and spoke with this fire god, who seems a little less godlike and a little more strange greedy entity that rules those on the island. You freed the mind, long clouded, of this druid, and discovered that her name is actually Vilya, apparently a druid from Tal'Dorei, and you began to figure out how best to possibly free the island of whatever this creature’s influence is in preparation for the coming hordes of Traveler followers that are making their way.

You then traveled across to the Heaven Falls, the upward shooting waterfall on the eastern side of the island, which seemed to contain behind it and an illusory cliff face, a bunch of ships that have been long hoarded away, apparently the vessels that carried many of the people here on the island originally and then were kept from sight to prevent them from remembering where they came from and how to leave. You narrowly lost a Caduceus, who was drawn in by some sort of magical enchantment at the tunnels that lead to Vokodo’s lair, and upon fleeing, you made your way northward to the strange Ruins, a sliver, one of many strange segments of either this world or other nearby dimensions that came here, it seems, when Vokodo fled here from the Astral Sea for some reason. Unfortunately, you destroyed the spirits that remained at the Ruin, as opposed to seeking possible alliance with them, but in doing so, also removed a dangerous aspect of the island that prevented people from going there, so not all is lost.

Gathering yourselves, and beginning your trek backwards towards the actual volcano of Rumblecusp later in the afternoon, you begin to plot whatever your next stage of engagement with the dangers of this island may be.

Part I

Vilya tells the party that she has remembered how to use Transport via Plants and can take them to anywhere on the island that she's familiar with. This leads to more discussion of whether they should attempt to recruit aid from the Vo village before facing Vokodo. Jester suggests that they should try to tempt the dragon turtle (which they nickname "Dieter") to come to Vokodo's lair by telling him about all the ships Vokodo has hidden away, and the party agrees that's a brilliant idea to try to lure Vokodo out of his lair and hopefully into a fight with Dieter that would weaken him before they face him.

Jester uses Sending (twice) to message Dieter, telling him they know a guy with like a hundred ships on Rumblecusp. He responds asking where, and that he is, "Interested, maybe." When she is ready to reply, Caleb casts Tongues on her and she is surprised to find she understands and can speak Caleb's Zemnian. Her message to Dieter lets him know exactly where the ships are, but he is suspicious, asking why she would tell him that after he destroyed their ship in vengeance. She is out of spells, so cannot reply.

Fan art of Jester's Heroes' Feast, by Sami Jen.[art 1]

After more discussion, they still agree the best bet to get Vokodo out of his lair is to bring the dragon turtle to destroy the hidden ships, and that recruiting in the village is too risky for a limited payoff. Vilya transports them through a tree back to the Heaven Falls and they enter the hidden cavern and set up on the deck of the Eden's Horizon, where they distribute their remaining residuum to the clerics and count their diamonds for bringing life back to the fallen. Jester creates a Heroes' Feast of mostly pancakes and they all dig in.

Over dinner, Beau asks Jester how she's feeling about TravelerCon. Jester admits that she's feeling confused and overwhelmed by the conflicting demands of trying to satisfy the Traveler while not taking advantage of his followers, and also freeing the villagers, and what him not being a god anymore would mean for their relationship. She begins crying, although she insists it's just stress. She reiterates how good he was to and for her when she was young, and admits that he knew people lost their memories on the island. She now recognizes his essential selfishness, but still wants to be his friend. They suggest that she will have time with him to discuss this at TravelerCon, assure her that they will do whatever she wants and that they will be there for her under any circumstances, even without the Traveler.

Fan art of Yasha and the lightning, by Toby Sharp.[art 2]

During the night, as they sleep under the dome, Yasha has a vision. She sees a single white feather drifting down onto a still pool, and a storm rolling in from the horizon. With each step towards the feather, the storm grows closer, and as she reaches it, lightning strikes the water in front of her. She tries again and hears a rolling voice say, “Do not run from yourself. Overcome what faltered. And rise stronger.” A bolt of lightning streaks toward her, and she says, "I do not want this fear anymore,” and waits for it to strike her. As it hits, she sees white, and then a blue glow from an abyss before her filled with broken chains. She bamfs out her withered skeletal wings, faintly feathered as before, and more feathers begin to emerge, growing thick, full, and angelic. She hears Zuala's voice calling her from the chains in the abyss, and a figure beckoning, but she sighs and says, "I have to go," and leaps up, wings extended. As she does, Zuala's voice says, "I'm proud of you. Don't let me be a shackle." Yasha flies strongly upward as the storm clouds suddenly dissipate, and she finds herself high above Exandria, feeling a freedom she has never quite felt before, like she could go anywhere.

Fan art of Yasha above Exandria, by Hantie Engelbrecht.[art 3]

The party wakes early, and only Caleb has lost his memory, which they can tell because he's standing straighter and in a good mood. Jester immediately uses Greater Restoration to bring his memories back, and he unconvincingly assures them it's better this way. Jester Sends to the dragon turtle again, explaining that the guy with the ships is way worse than the turtle, and suggesting he should fuck him. She comes very close to persuading him but fails, and he declines.

Veth suggests that if the reason for bringing the turtle here was to destroy ships to lure out Vokodo, they are perfectly able to destroy ships. She and Caleb go to the Fiona and set Veth's homemade depth charge, which they then set off with a tremendous explosion and fire. They hear a low rumble begin and small stones fall from the roof of the cavern, but although the rumbling continues to peak and fall, Vokodo does not appear. Caleb sets fire to a second ship, but nothing changes. Vilya transforms into an owl to scout outside and returns in moments to tell them the volcano is erupting. They decide their only remaining option is just a straightforward charge into the lair.

Tying themselves together, they cast Freedom of Movement on Beau and Yasha, with Fjord's always-on Water Breathing already covering the party. They all dive in and approach the tunnel entrance. The two leaders of the group, Beau and Fjord, are fortunately the two affected by the compulsion to swim as quickly and accurately as possible through the winding tunnels to the lair. They notice the water is continually getting warmer as they swim, rising to an uncomfortable level. After about thirty-five minutes, the tunnel widens out and they enter the lair. Vokodo immediately descends from the ceiling in a rage, bellowing: "What... have... you... done?!" and the chamber quakes.

Break

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Part II

Fan art of the battle against Vokodo, by BlackSalander.[art 4]

As the battle begins, Beau swims up on top of Vokodo's head and begins pummeling him. He burns his first two Legendary Resistances to negate her Stunning Strikes on successive rounds, but her blows cause him significant damage. She learns that any melee attack also causes fire damage to the attacker, that he is immune to fire damage, and resistant to damage from cold and non-magical weapons. Yasha is hypnotized by a lair action at the top of the fight and unable to attack for multiple rounds before finally breaking free. Vilya turns into a killer whale and uses Call Lightning to attack. The water temperature continues to rise, and the party begins taking fire damage from it each round.

As the fight continues, Vokodo takes damage from Beau's fists, Veth's crossbow, Fjord's Eldritch Blasts, and Vilya's Call Lightning, but Beau is taking significant fire damage every time she hits Vokodo. When Caleb casts Polymorph unsuccessfully on him, Vokodo reflects it onto Beau but she is able to save, and Matt also does a retroactive save for Caduceus's failed attempt at Bane. Veth creates an illusory giant black portal with voices growling, "I'm coming for you!", and Fjord creates the image of an astral dreadnought. Vokodo seems terrified of both, and uses his hypnotizing lair action on them with no effect.

Fan art of Beau in the Astral Sea, by Dylan Chinn.[art 5]

Caleb attempts to Banish the creature, but fails, and it reflects the spell onto Beau who disappears into the Astral Sea. Vilya's Call Lightning misses Vokodo and reflects onto Fjord and Jester.

Fan art of Caduceus in the Astral Sea, by Elaine Tipping.[art 6]

Yasha finally succeeds in throwing off the hypnosis, but her attacks are still unable to connect with Vokodo. Jester attempts another Banishment which Vokodo uses his last Legendary Resistance to reflect onto Caduceus. He too finds himself peacefully floating in the Astral Sea, apparently near but not within sight of Beau, who is returned to the fight when Caleb drops concentration on the Banishment. When Vokodo attempts to cast Chain Lightning, Caleb is able to Counterspell it, and then Jester lands a Banishment sending Vokodo away to the Astral Sea and returning Caduceus.

However, the party is still taking fire damage every six seconds, which Caduceus's healing isn't able to keep up with. Jester's concentration holds, but the party begins to consider if they want to allow Vokodo to escape with all the loot he was carrying on his back. At the last moment before the Banishment would be permanent, they bring him back and all begin attacking him simultaneously.

Fan art of Caleb casting Disintegrate, by HeartofPack.[art 7]

Fjord uses his Divine Smite on attacks by the Star Razor for massive damage and Beau hits him again. Caleb casts Disintegrate, with 72 damage if Vokodo fails to save, and the same damage reflected to one of the party if Vokodo succeeds. Several of them, including Caleb himself, have under 72 hit points at that point. Matt rolls... and it is a natural one. Vokodo fails, and is disintegrated. But before he is, the party sees a vision as he screams in agony:

Fan art of the city in the Astral Sea, by Cyarna Trim.[art 8]

You're seeing in your mind's eye a gossamer sky of purples and blacks and greens and blues, the Astral Sea itself, clouded with distant shattering pieces. An endless sea of stars and possibility. Flashes of something in shadow, large, ominous, monolithic. A city. A city that is moving under its own power. Hunting. Moving with will. Following. You feel the fear of Vokodo. You feel it trying to escape. You feel this city hungry and chasing. You flash into the streets of the city. You see paved roads. You see buildings and towers. And they flick and bend, organically, shift like they're alive. Roads pulse. This is weirdly familiar, but so alien. Thousands of minds within are the city. It doesn't make sense. Hungry, seeking. There's another flash. Within the minds of Eyes of Nine, flash back, the vessel, the city draws close. Fear. Flee. Break through. Break and drag. Obfuscate. With its last power, you feel Vokodo attempt to flee and break through the barriers, dragging with it the pieces to flee from whatever this thing, this entity, this form, was.
– 
Vokodo's dying vision.[1]
[!h]

Featured Characters

The Mighty Nein

Fan art of Yasha's vision, by @JustHustina.[art 9]

New

Returning

Mentioned

Inventory

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Transferred 400 Powdered residuum Veth Jester
Transferred 300 Powdered residuum Veth Caduceus
Retroactively expended 100 Powdered residuum Jester For Greater Restoration after party's prior memory loss. 300 left.
Retroactively expended 200 Powdered residuum Caduceus For Greater Restorations after party's prior memory loss. 100 left.
Expended 100 Powdered residuum Jester For Greater Restoration on Caleb. 200 left.
Lost 1 Belt with a key attached Jester Vokodo Lost or misplaced overnight. Possibly from the spiders at the entrance to the King's Cage.[2]
Expended 1 Homemade depth charge Veth The Fiona Crafted by Veth in "Hunted at Sea" (2x100).
Transferred 1 Transmuter's Stone Caleb Jester Set to add proficiency to Con saves.

Quotations

  • Veth: Life doesn't need things to live.[3]
  • Caleb: (about the Traveler) What if it were just you and him? Like your old days.
    Jester: I don’t think that’s a bad thing. You know, he... he was really wonderful then. He was my best friend. I know all of you are concerned that maybe he’s taking advantage, or he doesn’t have our best interests, which, maybe, who knows? Maybe he doesn’t, but he really got me through a lot when I was younger, you know? And he was all I had, really, and he was wonderful! He taught me so much. If it was just him being my friend again, I’d be okay with that. I just don’t know what that means for everyone else, you know, all the people who are coming here.[4]
  • Jester: (about the Traveler) He’s not like the best. He’s really cool. But I don’t think he always, you know, thinks about other people, about how they’ll actually be affected sometimes. And that’s just because he’s super, super powerful and to him, we’re like ants sometimes. We don’t think about the fact when we squish an ant. It doesn’t mean anything to us. But the ant is real sad.
    Fjord: Or just dead.
    Jester: Or dead.[5]
  • Matt: (during Yasha's vision) You look up just as a streaking blast of pure lightning energy streaks down towards you. What do you do?
    Yasha: I... I will look up at it and I will just say, “I do not want this fear anymore.” And I will stand there and wait for it to hit me.[6]
  • Matt: (as Yasha prepares to leap, after hearing Zuala's voice) As you withdraw your hand, and alter your stance into a crouch as the wings unfurl, preparing to take their first beat, [Zuala] says, “I’m proud of you. Don’t let me be a shackle.” And with a renewed strength you’ve not felt from an extension beyond your own arms, you fight your way up into the storm, this tunnel around you, the lightning flashing all around you, forcing your way up as high as you can, until eventually you break past the clouds, up into a night sky of stars and two moons. And as you look back down, the hole closes, the clouds become mist, and as the mist fades, you’re looking down upon land masses, water, Exandria. And it’s a freedom you’ve not quite felt before. Like you could go anywhere.[7]
  • Fjord: (after yet more strategizing against Vokodo) I really feel like we’ve covered all the bases here, and in no way could analysis after the fact could reveal anything we haven’t thought of. Air tight.[8]

Trivia

  • In this episode, Jester confirmed she still has one 300 and one 500 gold diamond, and Caduceus has one worth 350.
  • The in-game date at the conclusion of the episode was 20 Unndilar 836.

References

  1. See "Rumble at Rumblecusp" (2x105) from 4:37:55 through 4:39:45.
  2. See "Beyond the Eyes of Angels" (2x67) at 1:09:36.
  3. See "Rumble at Rumblecusp" (2x105) at 19:49.
  4. See "Rumble at Rumblecusp" (2x105) at 1:14:28.
  5. See "Rumble at Rumblecusp" (2x105) at 1:17:28.
  6. See "Rumble at Rumblecusp" (2x105) at 1:34:43.
  7. See "Rumble at Rumblecusp" (2x105) at 1:41:41.
  8. See "Rumble at Rumblecusp" (2x105) at 2:05:58.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Jester's Heroes' Feast, by Sami Jen (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Yasha and the lightning, by Toby Sharp (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Yasha above Exandria, by Hantie Engelbrecht (source).  Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of the battle against Vokodo, by BlackSalander (source).  Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of Beau in the Astral Sea, by Dylan Chinn (source).  Used with permission.
  6. Fan art of Caduceus in the Astral Sea, by Elaine Tipping (source).  Used with permission.
  7. Fan art of Caleb casting Disintegrate, by HeartofPack (source).  Used with permission.
  8. Fan art of the city in the Astral Sea, by Cyarna Trim (source).  Used with permission.
  9. Fan art of Yasha's vision, by @JustHustina (source).  Used with permission.


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