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"Stone to Clay" (2x91) is the ninety-first episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein spend some time at home connecting with an ally, while the answer to a once-distant goal comes rapidly into view...

Synopsis Edit

Announcements Edit

  • Most importantly and excitingly, Critical Role has partnered with Dungeons & Dragons for the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, a full campaign setting being released on 17 March 2020. It includes new world lore, settings, sub-races, creatures, three subclasses, and some dunamancy spells, along with much much more. If you can, Matt recommends supporting your local game shop by buying it there.
  • Faithful sponsor D&D Beyond is offering bonus character sheets and color themes for pre-orders of the Explorer's Guide right now.
  • Sam is back again as h4x0r BlackWillow73@aol.com, protected by Nord VPN (now offering 70% off a three year plan with code Critical Role) while on the track of his nemesis Cryptonic Override (aka Laura Bailey. Find out next time if the Ultra Codex succeeds in infecting the whole world.

Previously on Critical Role Edit

So, last we left off: The Mighty Nein have been working between the Dwendalian Empire and the Kryn Dynasty to try to arrange some sort of negotiation to bring us to a semblance of peace talks between these two places. You were give the option by King Dwendal to essentially clear the slate of what could be some problematic behavior from their perspective in your dealings with the Dynasty by arranging this. You went ahead and ran some errands, fought some people in the basement of a butchery, ordered some musical instruments, and then eventually made your way back to Rosohna, where you checked into your Xhorhaus in Xhorhas, met up with Shadowhand Essek, and made your way to the Bright Queen’s throne room. There, you beseeched her, on behalf of the Dwendalian Empire and the relationship you’d already forged, to listen to what you had to say, what you’ve discovered, what you’ve accomplished, and what you were sent to do. Through some relatively persuasive arguments, and some keynotes made in the center of that chamber within the Lucid Bastion, you succeeded in convincing her to allow-- not only for it to happen, but for you guys to be somewhat present during these negotiations

So, you were sent to return this information onward to the Dwendalian Empire, and an arrangement will be made at some point in the future where these will take place, under the absolutely necessary scenario that the ceasefire is maintained on both sides. There is very much a mutually assured reinstated conflict should anything poorly go down. You returned towards the Xhorhaus, you messaged an encroaching series of questions upon Essek, you went into your home, and after setting yourselves up in the early part of the evening to have a night back in the house that you were gifted based on your deeds here in Rosohna, began to play a cacophony of musical something. Actually, you were doing pretty good, along with the tiny piano, and the bone flute. After your loud performance display, thrashing the ears of the neighborhood who had thought it calm and silent for oh so long in your absence, what would you like to do with the evening?

Part I Edit

The party discusses what they need to do next, and Nott produces a list of possibilities:

Essek coming to dinner - BlackSalander

Fan art of Essek coming to dinner, by BlackSalander.[art 1]

Suddenly, there is a knock on the door. It is Essek, bottle of wine in hand, who has thought about their invitation to dinner and decided to take them up on it. They greet him with delight and welcome him in. He stops hovering and removes his mantle, revealing stylish though comfortable clothes beneath. He explains that he began levitating everywhere when he was young, to try to impress people, and now it is expected of him. After some conversation about his background and family, he begins asking each of them what their goals are.

Nott shares that she is not in her original form, and wants to be restored to it. This leads to a discussion of consecution, with the conclusion that it would not solve her problem. He is very interested in the Happy Fun Ball, and reveals his frustration with the religious interpretation the Dynasty puts on the Luxon Beacons. Essek asks Beau what she wishes to accomplish, and she says she thinks she's doing pretty good since she's now an Expositor. Asked the same, Fjord isn't sure, since everything has changed for him. Jester also isn't sure, but brings up TravelerCon and tries awkwardly to sell Essek on the Traveler. Ultimately, she just wants to find where she fits in the world.

Dinner with Essek - AJ Putz

Fan art of dinner with Essek, by AJ Putz.[art 2]

Beau shares that the beacon the Empire is planning to trade is the one they recently uncovered near Pride's Call, and Essek urges them not to tell that to the Bright Queen because the Dynasty considers all beacons its property by divine right. Caleb gives Essek the vial of dunamantic power that the party found in the basement of the destroyed Brenatto Apothecary,[1] and Essek offers to help with Caleb's research into transformation of bodies. They all move to the hot tub to continue the discussion, and Caduceus shares his quest to save the Blooming Grove.

When Essek leaves, Caleb asks to come with him to see where his house is, and Beau immediately jumps in to join them. Essek shows them his home and agrees to help research Halas's spell on body transformation, inviting them to breakfast. When Caleb and Beau return to the Xhorhaus, Jester is worried about how badly she did trying to sell Essek on the Traveler. Fjord runs her through roleplaying her pitch.

Fjord tells Caduceus he wants to help on his quest and the others agree, and as Caduceus retells his family mythology of the Stone family building their Menagerie for the Wildmother, it suddenly clicks for Fjord: the last name he was given in the orphanage where he was raised was Stone. While he's sure it's simply coincidence and he rejects that the name belongs to him, he's shaken.
Amber Hamster Unicorns - Hla Rosa

Fan art of the amber hamster unicorns, by Rose.[art 3]

On the way to bed, Caleb talks to Jester, telling her she changes people and the Traveler is lucky to have her. She confesses the Traveler didn't reply when she called to him earlier, and she wonders if that means she's a bad cleric. Caleb reassures her and shows her the amber-colored unicorns he can now produce with Major Image, and she hugs him. As she prepares for bed, the Traveler comes to her and tells her that Caleb isn't wrong about her. She was the Traveler's first and she'll always be his favorite.

Caduceus talks to Yasha, saying that she needs to remember to put some of the blame for her grief and rage on someone else rather than herself, and that she needs to rely on her friends to help. She asks to spend the night in his room, and finishes the book that Fjord gave her.

Break Edit

Part II Edit

When Yasha awakens, she finds herself stronger after having finished the book. The group (except Caleb, who remains at home to research the spell to transform Nott) heads to the Marble Tomes Conservatory and picks up Yasha's ordered Bracers of Defense. However, she discovers that they won't improve her defense over the breastplate that Obann gave her, and since she can't wear both, says she'll need to think about which to choose.

Nott and Fjord go shopping at Turmin's Tinctures and Tonics, buying diamonds worth 300 and 50 gp and some willowshade oil that allegedly protects against being turned to stone. Later, Jester comes to the same shop and purchases a large vial of beard oil for Fjord. Nott gives Jester the larger diamond, calling it repaying the debt she owes for her Revivify in the Happy Fun Ball.

Jester receives a Sending from Martinet Ludinus Da'leth, telling her that Vence Nuthaleus has been apprehended and is being interrogated. The Empire accepts the terms for negotiation with the Dynasty and sets the date for four weeks off at the previously proposed neutral location in the Lucidian Ocean midway between Nicodranas and the Whitedawn Lagoon. This puts the date for the meeting very close to TravelerCon, which is to take place in a little over five weeks.

Caleb makes excellent progress on the spell, purchasing components to advance his research. He excitedly shares this with Nott. Jester goes out and buys twelve green cloaks and enough fabric to make 20 more, and Yasha privately decides she's going to keep wearing Obann's breastplate. There is much discussion of where, when and how they need to go, and the final decision is that they are going to ask Essek to Teleport them to the Whitedawn Lagoon to pursue Caduceus's quest to further transform his residuum into a form that he believes will somehow heal the Blooming Grove. They then plan to head to the coast where Orly and the Ball-Eater will be waiting to pick them up and transport them to the negotiations.

The party heads to Essek's home, where he welcomes them in and serves them food. They tell him the Empire has accepted the terms of the negotiations with the Dynasty. Caleb brings out his spell research and he and Essek, with Nott, take it upstairs into Essek's laboratory and excitedly dive in. After about an hour, they reach a breakthrough and the spell is complete. The required components are 50 pounds of raw clay and 100 gp worth of ground gem dust, and it takes one hour to cast. It is a permanent alteration of the target's body from one known humanoid race to another.

Nott, however, is hesitant. She wants to think about it for a while before moving forward, and they go downstairs to rejoin the party and share the news.
Best Trick Yet - Sashthesloth

Fan art of the best trick yet, by sashthesloth.[art 4]

Nott is subdued, and Jester asks how she feels about it. Nott says she's excited, but she didn't think it would happen so quickly or be so easy. She's worried about what she does after being transformed -- she feels as though she needs to go back to Yeza and Luc, but when Fjord suggests she should remain with the group through the peace treaty talks, she agrees she could stay with them until she comes to a spot where that's it. They gather the needed components.

Nott is still hesitating. She shares that she doesn't know how she'll be after the spell, whether she'll still think the same about all of them. She's worried that she won't be as skilled and be useless to them, and she's the most scared that if she changes, she won't want to stay. The party tells her that she should be absolutely sure before she goes forward, and that whatever she decides, they will be there for her. Saying she loves them, she decides to go forward.
Nott's spell - Rebecca Snowden

Fan art of Nott, by Rebecca Snowden.[art 5]

They all move to Essek's research chamber and start the ritual. The arcane powers swirl as Nott is encased within the clay, and Caleb starts the second element of the spell to begin the process of rearrangement -- but he is blocked. There is something dark in the way that pushes back against him. The clay cracks and shatters as the spell drops, and Nott and Caleb hear a terrible laugh. Nott recognizes it: the mysterious female spellcaster who was there when Nott was drowned and initially transformed has placed a curse upon her. Nott is alive and safe, but still in her goblin body, unchanged.

Featured Characters Edit

The Mighty Nein Edit

New Edit

Returning Edit

Mentioned Edit

Inventory Edit

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Transferred 1 Vial of dunamantic power Caleb Essek The vial found in the Brenatto Apothecary in "Homeward Bound" (2x48)
Acquired 1 Bracers of Defense Marble Tomes Conservatory Yasha +2 bonus to AC if you are wearing no armor and using no shield.
Acquired 2 Willowshade oil Turmin's Tinctures and Tonics Nott Protects against being turned to stone.
Acquired 1 Giant vial of beard oil Turmin's Tinctures and Tonics Jester
Acquired 1 Diamond worth 300 gp Turmin's Tinctures and Tonics Nott Given to Jester
Acquired 1 Diamond worth 50 gp Turmin's Tinctures and Tonics Nott Possibly crushed and used in the spell to transform Nott's body
Acquired 12 Green cloaks Unspecified shop in Rosohna Jester
Acquired 4 Bolts of green fabric Unspecified shop in Rosohna Jester Enough for 20 green cloaks.
Expended 1 Manual of Gainful Exercise Tumblecarve residence Yasha via Fjord Granted +2 to strength after reading for 48 hours over 6 days or less

Quotations Edit

  • Essek: There is so much untapped possibility in the utilization of dunamis. To answer your question of what it is I want to do -- and I believe you can understand this, and I can see a similar spark in you, Caleb -- I want to unlock these mysteries. I want to dive as deep as I can into that ocean of the unknown, and see what is possible.
  • Fjord: When you’re at an orphanage, they give you a shit last name. Mine was Stone. I never used it because it’s not– it’s not my name. It was just given to me.
  • Caleb: (to Jester) I am the transmutation wizard, but you are the one who changes people. I see it every day.
  • Fjord: (to Nott) I had to make a choice and it changed everything. No certainty of what was on the other side. You've been trying so hard to get to this point and you have the ability now. There's no reason for you to do it immediately. Unless you absolutely are sure you want to, when the time is right, then you shouldn't. Otherwise that uncertainty could lead to regret or anything else that you couldn't predict. Wait, if you're not ready. We're here for you.
    Nott: I guess the thing I'm most scared of is if I change, I won't want to stay.
    Caduceus: That would be okay too.
    Caleb: Nott, I don't think any of us can give you that answer, and you know that. But whatever you want to do, we're here.
    Nott: I love you all. Let's do it.
  • Caleb: "You are you and you will continue to be you. And we are here. Are you ready?"
    Nott: (exhale) I'll just lean forward and sweetly kiss him on the lips and say "Thank you, Caleb, for getting me this far, and for devoting yourself to me. You're a good man, and I I hope you find where you're going, too. All right. Do the thing."
    Caleb: He cups the side of her cheek. "This will be our best trick yet."
    Nott: We have to name it.

TriviaEdit

  • After revealing Widogast's Vault of Amber[2] in "Lingering Wounds" (2x89), Caleb cast two more amber-flavored spells in this episode: his dancing lights, and Major Image with amber-colored unicorns.
  • This episode ended on 19 Thunsheer 836.[3]

References Edit

  1. See "Homeward Bound" (2x48) at 3:31:32.
  2. See "Lingering Wounds" (2x89) at 1:38:29.
  3. See CritRoleStats' running game calendar.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Essek coming to dinner, by BlackSalander (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of dinner with Essek, by AJ Putz (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of the amber hamster unicorns, by Rose (source).  Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of the best trick yet, by sashthesloth (source).  Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of Nott, by Rebecca Snowden (source).  Used with permission.


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