"Sarsaparilla, Licorice, and Red Hot" (2x127) is the one hundred twenty-seventh episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein enact a heist on the storage vaults of the Vergesson Sanatorium, but their quick caper proves more difficult and dangerous than they'd anticipated...
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Previously on Critical Role
So, last we left off: The Mighty Nein, having slipped from the Tombtakers and made their way away from Eiselcross, having bought themselves a bit of time, went to convene with some allies and gather information and gather things to help them, as they hope to return more prepared and more ready for what dangers may await them to the far north.
After meeting with Yussa, and Kima and Allura, you made your way to Rexxentrum, checked in and spoke with the Cobalt Soul, and after a tense engagement in the middle of a dance hall between Caleb and Astrid, discovered an extension of the tensions here at home, in the Empire, and interest to perhaps utilize that point of distraction as a time to... make some long-running plans viable.
After scattering to finish up your shopping for the day as well, you set up for the night, and left the tower to Yasha and Beauregard to finally have their long-delayed date, and we left off at the end of that evening. So, after a night of-- for some, discomfort in a not-so-great chamber, others probably a little more comfortable, the morning comes to.
In the morning, the rest of the party wake Beau and Yasha by pounding on the door of the tower, and enter to explore the hot tub, water slides, and lioness masseuses. Joined by Yasha and Beau, they breakfast. Caduceus mentions that he thinks they should head at some point to the Blooming Grove.
Jester uses Sending to contact Astrid, who agrees to meet them at the school, saying a conversation is required. They meet at a bench near the dormitories after Caleb casts Seeming on everyone but Jester to make them look like students. Astrid sits next to Caleb, telling them she has discovered where the bulk of the Volstrucker "veilers" are: in a small vault under the northwest tower on the grounds of the Vergesson Sanatorium. She tells them there is no cost for this information; it is a meager start at an apology. She warns that Trent Ikithon is more likely to be there at night, and that it would be best to get in and out quickly and quietly. When she departs, she casually leaves a small wooden case behind on the bench, which proves to contain several floor plan drawings of the tower at the Sanatorium showing its wards and traps.
Caleb warns that the Sanatorium is full of fully trained agents working for Trent, and tells them when he escaped, he had to murder one of them. Veth and Beau suggest splitting the party into a small break-and-enter team, and a lookout team.
Caleb Teleports them to just outside the Sanatorium, using the amulet as a focus. They can see a few guards patrolling inside the iron fence. They take some time to reconnoiter and try to figure out a plan. Eventually, they decide that Caleb, Veth, and Jester will go inside while Fjord, Yasha, and Caduceus stay outside. Beau decides to climb the tower and keep watch from above.
Fjord proposes using Channel Divinity to cast Marine Layer for "Team Outie" to hide within, while the innies ("Team Firestorm") are inside. They determine their code words: "sarsaparilla" means things are going well, "licorice" means "come save us", and "red hots" is "we're leaving at high speed". Veth casts Intellect Fortress on Caleb and Caduceus gives Team Firestorm Freedom of Movement.
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Fjord casts Arcane Gate to open a doorway from where they are in the trees outside the fence, to a hidden corner against the northwest tower. Jester uses her magic paint to create a doorway into the tower itself, while Caleb casts Detect Magic on himself. When a guard approaches the area of the gate, Fjord is able to pull Jester back before the guard spots her painting arm, and she is able to finish her painting before the gate spell ends.
Veth enters first. She finds herself in a darkened room, and Caleb and Jester follow. Beau scales the tower, finding a guard at its top with his back to her. She notices he is snoring and freezes in indecision.
Meanwhile, Team Firestorm proceeds cautiously, using Astrid's map as a guide. Veth checks the door for traps and lockpicks it, and Jester uses her hair oil to keep the door's hinges from squeaking. They reach the lower level where they encounter a lone guard named Cymie whom Jester casts Fast Friends on, making an ally of him. He tells them there are a few more guards around down here, and Jester and he have a nice conversation. She tells him to stay in the entry room, come help her if he hears shouting, and distract anyone else who comes in.
The doorway leading onward is marked with a sigil on Astrid's map, and Caleb's Detect Magic confirms it. His 3rd level Dispel Magic fails, but a 4th level succeeds and it opens, revealing a darkened hallway with another guard at its end. Veth crossbows the guard and Caleb finishes him off, bloodily and noisily, with Gravity Sinkhole. As another guard approaches, Veth uses Silent Image to create an image of the dead guard, but it doesn't fool the investigating guard. As he turns to get help, Caleb casts Gravity Sinkhole again, and Veth finishes him with her crossbow. They hear at least one more voice coming from the next room. Jester instructs Cymie to sit still, close his eyes, and start counting.
Caleb walks to the doorway of the room, an armory holding two more guards. They attack, wounding him. Jester Invokes Duplicity just behind Caleb and tries to distract the guards, while Veth casts Hypnotic Pattern, affecting one of them. Caleb then uses the Staff of Power to cast Lightning Bolt, but while it kills the guards, it ricochets and wounds both him and Veth.
Veth wants to stay and loot, but Caleb is focused on their objective and they move to the final room on this level. It smells of caustic chemicals. A huddled robed figure in the corner leaps up as Veth enters and casts a spell on her, but she shrugs it off. The mage casts a Fireball into the corridor, hitting Jester and Caleb, Caleb retaliates, and Veth again finishes the job with her crossbow. The dead guard mage falls down the stairs behind him, triggering its sigil and setting off a lightning attack on Veth.
Meanwhile, Beau on the roof feels the vibrations through the tower of the battle below and the sleeping guard begins to stir. She forces her bottles of acid into his mouth, slowly killing him. As she puts him out of his misery, she spots a guard rushing out of the tower toward the center of the grounds, and she tries to alert Team Outie with hand signals. Fjord also spots him. He tells the others he thinks the jig is up and they need to be ready to get Team Firestorm out.
Caleb, Veth, and Jester have found what appears to be a torture chamber, holding a rack and tables of implements for incisions and carving flesh. The sigil at the stairs downward is still glowing, Caleb dispels it, and they look down into an empty room. Veth investigates the far door, behind which they believe the amulets are kept. Caleb spots a magical film between them and the glyphed door, however, and Dispel Magic has no effect at either 5th or 6th level. Caleb realizes it is a Wall of Force, through which magic can pass, and he dispels the glyph on the door, but Veth is unable to lockpick it. Jester then casts Dimension Door to take her and Veth inside the room behind the door. Inside, they see boxes and crates.
Outside, Fjord sees a group of guards heading toward the tower, led by a red-robed figure: Trent Ikithon. Fjord casts Marine Layer to hide Team Outie, and also a Major Image of a red dragon in the other direction, but Trent seems to realize it is an illusion and continues toward the tower.
Jester finds the Amulets they seek via Locate Object and picks up the locked box they are held within. Veth investigates and finds an interesting box, which she quickly lockpicks. Inside are multiple metallic containers filled with long, thin, pointed blue crystals. She grabs as many as she can. Outside, Fjord sees Trent disappear. Jester grabs Veth and they Dimension Door back out to rejoin Caleb. Veth Messages Yasha "Red hot! Red hot! We're leaving fast-- get out of here! Move! Get! Go!" Caduceus tries to signal Beau to come join them but they are hidden by Fjord's Marine Layer. Seeing the red dragon, Beau jumps off the tower, but stays at its base.
Jester casts Word of Recall as soon as she touches Veth and Caleb, but it doesn't work. From the top of the stairs, they hear the voice of Trent Ikithon, standing there looking down at them.
- Beauregard Lionett
- Caduceus Clay
- Caleb Widogast
- Jester Lavorre
- Veth Brenatto
- Yasha Nydoorin
|Transferred||3||Floorplans||Astrid||Caleb||Contained in the box. Show the ground and lower levels of the Vergesson Sanatorium tower where the amulets are kept.|
|Expended||Some||Hair oil||Jester||Door hinges in Vergesson tower||To keep the hinges from squeaking.|
|Expended||2||Acid||Beau||Guard on the Vergesson tower|
|Acquired||1||Metal case holding multiple Amulets of Proof against Detection and Location||Vergesson Sanatoriun||Jester||Held under her arm.|
|Acquired||Multiple||Long thin blue crystals in vials||Vergesson Sanatoriun||Veth|
- Veth: (to one of the guards) Please don't attack us! I'm traveling with a murderer!
- Trent Ikithon: (upon finding Jester, Veth, and Caleb within the Sanatorium) Well, if this isn't extremely curious.
- This was the shortest episode of Critical Role since "The Favor" (2x56), almost two years ago.
- This was the 100th episode with Caduceus Clay as a member of the Mighty Nein following his debut in "Within the Nest" (2x28).
- See "Talks Machina #156: Discussing Up to C2E129 - Between a Ball and a Hot Place" (TMx156) at 0:20:28. Matt confirmed on Talks Machina the guard was Cymie.
- See "Sarsaparilla, Licorice, and Red Hot" (2x127) at 2:33:17.
- See "Sarsaparilla, Licorice, and Red Hot" (2x127) at 3:15:33.
- Fan art of Astrid on the bench, by Cheryl (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Beau, getting ready, by Rickmeister (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Caleb casting Gravity Sinkhole, by Foltzy (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of The Vergesson Heist, by @ suespai (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Team Firestorm, by Ro Smith (source). Used with permission.