"The Endless Burrows" (2x50) is the fiftieth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein follow the tunnels of the Kryn's burrowing worms, but find much more than caverns and rocks await them down in the underground...
- First, our sponsor for the second year now of this campaign: D&D Beyond. Sam introduces his new invention, the Mer-Siri... that sounds just like Matt.
- New Season of Between the Sheets has kicked off.
- Merch Updates! The Whispered One T-shirt now available in the Critrole.com shop. The Mighty Nein Matteo Scalera and Moreno Dinisio art print is on pre-order.
- No show February 7 or Talks Machina February 12. Back on February 14.
Previously on Critical Role
So last we left off: The Mighty Nein had found their way back from the Menagerie Coast to check in with some friends and the general chaos that seemed to be brewing based on the conflict between the Empire and the Kryn Dynasty.
Upon traveling and making your way towards the city of Felderwin (a city which seemed to be involved with Nott's history) you discovered that this apothecary that had burned to the ground belonged to a male halfling, who has now gone missing, and discovered that Nott had a little boy. And after learning about Nott's history, you learned more than that. You learned that Nott at one point was, indeed, a halfling. And through a vengeful plot by the goblins that stalk the southeastern regions of the Empire's Marrow Valley, she managed to help her family escape; but was drowned and then reincarnated by some sort of a hooded, powered figure that had an alliance with these goblins (it seemed), brought back as a goblin, and has been living as such for the better part of two years now.
Upon asking around the city and getting some information you discovered that the husband of Nott, or Veth if you will, has been apparently taken by the Kryn and had some involvement with his alchemical studies with the Cerberus Assembly and the study of Dunamis. You acquired a few objects from a subterranean basement laboratory that was mostly trashed, apparently during the razing of the city.
You then decided to go ahead and inspect the tunnels where these Kryn emerged from, one of them apparently still somewhat intact. And deciding to not be balked by a sheer wall of stone and rock, Jester proceeded to twice Polymorph herself into a dire honey badger and burrow her way through hundreds and hundreds of feet of rock, emerging on what appeared to be the rest of this un-collapsed burrowed tunnel of a large worm creature they had used to attack without warning the city of Felderwin.
As you, the Mighty Nein, had made your way beyond that boundary and began to step into this subterranean cavern, stalking and seeking the path these individuals took here, underneath the surface, we begin tonight's game.
Jester worries that the Mighty Nein's plan to travel underground to Xhorhas might not be the smartest idea. Fjord suggests turning around, but Nott reminds him about her husband and that they spent three months searching for "your backstory". The tunnels range from brief bits of open caverns to following the carved worm-tunnels (which are about 10 ft. wide). Fjord and Jester lead the party through the darkness (with Jester keeping an eye out), as they march deeper underground for hours.
They come to a cavern filled with broken crystals of many colors, from milky white to a few purple amethyst, and Caduceus casts Light behind the crystals creating a beautiful effect. Caleb, Jester, and Nott scoop up a few each. The party decides to sleep there in Caleb's hut covered by Stone Shaped by Caduceus. Jester sends to Yussa in Nicodranas, telling him they're taking the dodecahedron to Xhorhas. He replies that he doesn't think they should give it up or pull it out of the bag, but (sarcastically) who is he to keep them from taking an artifact into the heart of danger?
The next morning, they press on, passing through a chamber which seems to be under a large body of water, in which Jester creates a shrine to the Traveler. Suddenly, Fjord notices two of the stalagmites unfurl tentacles and reveal themselves as ropers, which he Eldritch Blasts to alert the rest of the party. The ropers use their tentacles to grapple multiple party members (all but Fjord), and they take significant damage while struggling to hit the heavily-armored ropers. Finally Beau stuns one, Caleb Slows both, and Jester Banishes the other. They are able to kill the one still in range before the banished one can get back to them, and they kill that one with ranged attacks.
The party is then able to clear the rocks blocking the tunnel on the other side of the cavern, and continue on, stopping to sleep at night with the Hut covered in stone like the night before, and additionally Caleb sends Frumpkin out to keep watch. Jester Sends to Yeza, asking if he's being moved, and he responds that they have gotten out of the underground and he is being held in a room in the city. During the night, Frumpkin spots a creature scooting along the ceiling, similar to the ropers but smaller, but it keeps moving and doesn't bother them.
The next day, they entertain themselves while continuing to travel through the tunnels by singing "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall". Once an hour, Caleb tells them the time. At the end of the day, they set up camp and Jester Sends to Yeza again, asking how long he was in the tunnel, and saying that they're on the way and his wife misses him a lot. The only response is a stifled, "I can't." Fjord apologizes to the panicking Nott for dragging her onto the water given her previous drowning.
On the fourth day, Beau reads Jester's smutty book aloud to entertain the party, to mixed reactions. They reach a point where it appears the giant worm's path intersected some existing tunnels, and the party discusses using one to reach the surface but decides against it. Caduceus casts light on a ribbon they tie to Frumpkin's neck, and Caleb sends him ahead to scout, finding a larger, foul-smelling chamber intersected by multiple tunnels, which holds a caged small bedraggled-furred creature. He returns and Caleb sends him down a different tunnel, where he discovers two small kobolds, who notice the glowing cat and investigate. One confronts Fjord, who yanks his spear out of his hands, but the other runs off shrieking in alarm and the party hears the echoing sound of lots of claws scurrying through nearby tunnels.
As the two kobolds alert the rest of the pack, Jester turns herself into a huge kobold. Caleb completes casting Tongues so he can communicate, and they move forward into a large chamber filled with about 20 armed kobolds. They are surrounded, and Caleb tries to explain that they are chasing a large serpent through the caves. The apparent leader invites him, "Come forth, loud meal," but as Caleb steps forward, a rope loops wraps his ankles and hoists him dangling upside-down three or four feet off the ground. Caleb summons Frumpkin, with four globules of light floating around him, and says he is the Fey King who will curse them for decades. The leader demands they hand over one of the party to be eaten, or provide food, so Caduceus uses Create Food to produce some, and the leader agrees two of them can pass, along with Jester. They trade two gator skins and a pouch of tobacco for safe passage for the rest.
The leader tells them they saw the big worm but doesn't seem to know how long ago or how many people were with it. They ask about the unidentifiable ragged creature in the cage and are told it's food. Jester feels sorry for it, and Caleb offers Frumpkin the Fey King to the kobolds in exchange for it, but it immediately runs away once released. The leader surreptitiously tells two kobolds to follow the party, and they do, but rather noisily, at a distance of about 60 feet. The party decides to make a show of bedding down for the night. Nott uses Invisibility, sneaks up on them, snatches the spear from the armed one of the two, and grapples the other who whacks her with his scorpion on a stick. Jester Commands both kobolds to stop.
The formerly armed kobold is named Bex, and the one laden with boxes, pots, ropes, pouches, and a skunk in a cage is Spurt. Bex runs away at the first opportunity, but Spurt agrees to accompany them. They continue until Spurt sees a dull red light at ahead and runs toward it, into a room about 100 feet across holding a river of molten magma pouring down one obsidian wall and flowing under a bridge connecting the two sides of the room and access to the continuing tunnel. It also holds two massive fire giants. Spurt throws his wasp nest in a bag at the closest one, who immediately flyswatters him with its giant hammer, leaving only a stringy mess behind.
Observing that, the Nein decide fighting isn't an option. After much discussion, they agree to use their various spells and abilities to first distract the giants, and then reach the other tunnel without engaging.
The plan goes wrong at the start when both giants see through Fjord's illusory manticore and become suspicious, ringing the alarm bell. Caleb turns the near one into a cow. Beau successfully uses Step of the Wind to reach the tunnel with Caduceus, Polymorphed into a dragonfly in her pocket, and Jester Dimension Doors there with Caleb. Fjord runs out his full 30 feet and waits for Yasha to catch up, but the giant on the other side sees him and hurls a large rock at him, followed by a goring by the cow-giant. Yasha reaches him and Fjord Thundersteps them both to the tunnel; this injures the cow enough to turn it back into a giant. That leaves Nott, now Invisible, alone on the far side.
She dashes out, but the giant hears her and hits her with its hammer. Nott maintains concentration on Invisibility and reaches the bridge, but as it is blocked by the other giant she hides under the bridge. The anxious Caleb leaves the safety of the tunnel, looking for her. The giant blocking the bridge shield-charges it, collapsing it, but Nott manages to stay out of the lava. She uses her Ring of Water Walking to attempt to run across the lava, jumping on bridge debris, but she misses a jump, falls into the lava, and goes unconscious. Caduceus immediately casts Healing Word, bringing her back, but she's still in the lava. Caleb then Polymorphs the closest giant into a giant octopus. Beau dashes out, grabs the flaming Nott, and dashes back into the tunnel with her. That leaves Caleb still just outside the tunnel, but he manages to run in and Caduceus seals the entrance. The party runs as fast as they can away from the giants pounding on the stone to try to break through.
- Caduceus Clay
- Jester Lavorre
- Yasha Nydoorin (controlled by Matt & Travis)
- Caleb Widogast
- Beauregard (reading a book): "It was a glistening night. The snow fell on the winding path...It was chilly. She could feel her nipples getting HARD?!?!?" IT STARTS SO SOON, IT STARTS SO SOON!
- Jester: (casting Banishment on a roper) Get the fuck out of my temple!
- Matt: (as the kobold leader)(grunts) "Come forth, loud meal."
- Jester: Hey, Spurt? How long have you lived down here?
Spurt: Eleven days!
Nott: How long do kobolds live?
Spurt: Eleven days!
- See "The Endless Burrows" (2x50) at 1:14:34.