"The Favor" (2x56) is the fifty-sixth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein bring their hard-fought evidence of the Abyssal rifts to Lady Olios in hopes of gaining their promised favor of the Bright Queen...
- Travis gives his signature "We play Dungeons & Dragons!" Liam confirms that it is a permanent installment: it's here for good!
- Sadly, no Taliesin tonight: he is very sick and hopefully watching how the rest of the cast ruins his character while he's gone. Get better, and we'll see you when you get back. Liam jokes it's super-rude that they saved his character from dying last week, only for him to not show up this week.
- First and foremost, we have our wonderful sponsor of the campaign: our friends at D&D Beyond! Speaking of campaigns, everyone is on the edge of their seats to see what will unfold in the campaign for President of D&D Beyond! Sam is not sure if they know about the campaign yet, but Sam will win and he will command their company. Running against him is Liam O'Brien. Liam asks if Sam has seen the polls lately? Sam admits he did some polling while they were in Seattle, and a lot of people said they were voting for Liam...which scared the shit out of Sam. Liam affirms that D&D players want a "firm hand", and Sam thinks Liam's strong-arm authoritarian campaign strategy will fail. But just in case, Sam has prepared a campaign ad which he hopes will win him back support, by showing people what he believes they really want most out of a candidate...celebrity endorsements! The whole cast groans, "Oh no...". Celebrities just know more than you or I the average voter do: they exist on a much higher plane of thinking and existence. Travis wonders how much blackmail Sam has on all those celebrities? Sam has ABSOLUTELY recorded every time each person has farted or said a naughty word in the booth. Sam has gotten some pretty hot celebrity endorsements that he hopes will turn the tide of this election:
- Ben Schwartz: "Truth, justice, and the 'Samerican' way...[Samerican] is just TERRIBLE. Sam is the man for...me. (mumbles to himself) Sam Riegel makes SHIT happen!"
- Bobby Moynihan: "Sam Riegel just...makes shit happen. Sam Riegel for president...Vote for Sam 'Roe-gul' for President...is that his name? Am I done?"
- Aimee Carrero (after numerous takes): "Truth, justice, and the Samerican way! Vote Sam! ...Can you give me my phone back, please...?"
- Dave Hewlett (complete with Stargate event horizon): "Yay to my bestest best friend...Sam? ...Yay, Sam! And boo, Liam! ...Are we done?"
- Grey DeLisle: "Sam Riegel is running for president, and he asked me to make an endorsement video for him...So I said I would, and um, so...I...am. And this is my endorsement video...that I said I would make. I have to see Sam a lot, so I...um...I told him I would make this. So...this is it."
- Timothy Simons: "Hi, this is Timothy Simons. And on behalf of Sam, I just wanted to say that...wait, he wants me to say THAT?"
- Yvette Nicole Brown: "Sam, SAM, he's OUR man! If he can't do it, no one can! Vote Sam! ...Who's Sam?"
- Tony Hale: "Uh...is it 'Rye-gull'? Okay...(robotically) The love and compassion that this person has for the world is in-sur-mountable. Samantha Rye-gull: ahh."
- Sam Riegel: "I'm Sam Riegel, and I approve this message...because celebrities are the best among us." (blows a kiss)
- Matt thanks all the celebrities who are now debt-free from Sam Riegel. Matt also thanks everyone who came out and saw them this past weekend at Emerald City Comic Con! We had an amazing time in Seattle, and it was a great panel. Critters come out in full force at every con! Every convention kind of gets taken over by Critical Role, and it's kind of amazing. We had the opportunity to meet a whole bunch of you Critters, and we shared some great words, some tears, and some hugs. Thank you all for making the time to come see us out there. We have Denver Pop Culture Con coming up on Sunday, June 2, 2019, as well as other events to be announced throughout the year!
- The Legend of Vox Machina: Our Vox Machina Kickstarter animated series campaign is STILL. RUNNING. STROOOOOONG! (That singing was Travis's best Sam Riegel impression.) As of this evening, the campaign is at over $7.7 million to make this animated special/series/Briarwood amazingness. Our next (and really, final) stretch goal is $8.8 million. And if we hit that, we will be able to complete the series and make a total of 10 episodes for The Legend of Vox Machina. Sam realizes, "Holy shit...we...guys...we might actually get there! This is like...it's POSSIBLE! We can make the whole SEASON of a TV SHOW!" Marisha comments how insane that is! Matt remarks that it will be made by just them and the Critter community...no big studios or production companies. Travis says it's amazing. Also, if we hit $8.8 million, then finally...FINALLY...our very own Ashley Johnson will DM her very first Dungeons & Dragons game! We will put her behind Matt's DM screen (effectively KIDNAPPING her from NBC's Blindspot) and it will be amazing! (Lawyers, don't quote Travis on the kidnapping remark.)
- merch update from Laura: Laura has a quick merch announcement...a Cobalt Soul-themed journal! Y'all, this has been a long time coming. Critical Role has been working on this notebook for a while. Taliesin designed the gorgeous cover art, complete with Cobalt Soul ciphertext. Matt reveals that Taliesin wrote a functional language for the Cobalt Soul cipher. Liam remarks that Taliesin has been talking about that design for TWO YEARS! Laura has been constantly asking Taliesin about it, and it was totally worth the wait. Sam asks if anyone actually deciphered the Cobalt Soul ciphertext to see what it actually means?!? Matt did decipher it...THANKFULLY. It's actually really cool: it has a bunch of hidden symbolism. Travis jokes that it translates as, "Tits and ass." Laura got a lot of tweets from Critters, wishing that Critical Role's journals had graded paper for notes and maps. So Laura made sure that there was graded paper for the last 30% of the pages. It's pretty freaking cool, and it's in the shop and the UK store right now! Bom-bom...chicka-and that's as much of that song that they're cleared to sing. We've been working on that journal for a while, so we're pretty excited!
- Matt announces that Critical Role will be taking next week off. We've been working our butts off for a while, and some folks at Critical Role need a little break, to travel with family, and/or to escape on a little vacation. We just decided, "Let's go ahead and take a week off for ourselves and for our crew.", because our crew has been working tirelessly for the past few weeks on the Kickstarter, the Twitch/YouTube channels, and more. So there will be no Critical Role on next Thursday, March 28, 2019 and no Talks Machina the following Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Critical Role will return to its regular schedule on Thursday, April 4, 2019. As for you, Critters: enjoy the next two weeks! Use that time to relax, watch other episodes, check some of the other great D&D streams out there, or indoctrinate the rest of your friends and family into D&D! Liam is ready for that colonoscopy. Laura says, "EverythingIsContent, right?" Sam puts on his rubber gloves and says he's ready! Liam asks Sam if he realizes how many tabletop miniatures are trapped up there? He needs to flush them out. Travis reminds the kids to check your colons!
- That last swear before coming back from the intro was a "team effort". Liam insists that they will NEVER stop doing that, Matt! This is Matt's life now. Sam claims that at Matt's funeral, they will be hurling swears at his casket lowers into the ground. Matt wonders what horrible thing he did in a past life that he is still paying penance?
Previously on Critical Role
"Last we left off: The Mighty Nein - the intrepid...cast of...unique and broken individuals - found their way east to the lands of Xhorhas, in search of the, uh...seemingly recently-captured husband of Nott the Brave from a previous life...which seems to be held and is currently residing somewhere beneath Ghor Dranas.
"Upon traveling through subterranean tunnels under the mountain range of the Ashkeeper Peaks, wandering past the dangers of the ashen wastes of the western side of Xhorhas, you made your way to the City of Beasts. Asarius, where you (under the guise of various illusions and/or just smeared mud) um, hid throughout the society, made some friends, purchased some moorbounder beasts as mounts, and underwent a conversation with one of the uh, drow heads of the city...and accepted two contracts, it seems, to both gain gold and possibly favor with the 'Bright Queen': Leylas Kryn herself (or whoever that may be).
"Upon searching for one of these - uh, for, for a, a, an Empire spy - you discovered it to be Dairon: your mentor from the Cobalt Soul. And the other one enabled you to travel towards the north-center of the city, beneath the well there to discover what seemed to be a source of this slow-rolling demonic incursion into the city of Asarius.
"There, you did battle with a succubus and an incubus, as well as some sort of other demonic general entity that, that came through the portal. A very harsh battle ensued in which uh, a number of members of your own party turned against you, under the Charm effects of these demonic creatures. [ Travis tells Liam, "He's talking about you, dick."] At the end of this, all of you lay bruised and beaten, and Caduceus...snuffed. His life lost.
"If not for the divine magics of Jester and [those diamonds] you guys have been carrying around for a long time as components, by pulling him from the jaws of death, he returned with a mild vision from the Wildmother, and you all - broken and beaten, and not in a place to make much conversation - quickly made a night's rest here, in the seemingly-now-safe caverns beneath the city..."
Before the party takes a full rest, Nott asks Caleb if he wants to Identify a leather bound scroll now or after they go to sleep? Caleb curtly asks for Nott to hand it over, and Nott reminds Caleb that "please" is always appreciated. The scroll is in an unfamiliar language, so Caleb casts Comprehend Languages instead. It is in Abyssal, and it is an incomplete set of instructions for constructing planar rifts. Essentially, it is the second half to the glyphs that the quasits were carving into the rock: it would have made the Abyssal gate that Jester dispelled permanent. Caleb then casts Detect Magic on the alien-looking disk with the quicksilver inside. There is a strong essence of Conjuration magic coming off of the disk, and Identify reveals it is usable in its current form. It is a magical "generator" that will begin to tear and bend different Inner and Outer Planes to be closer together. Based on its haphazard construction, it seems to be specifically tuned to and draw its current plane towards a specific layer of the Abyss. Caleb is not able to ascertain which specific layer, but it is not a mighty artifact that has lasted eons; it is serviceable, but it looks like it has been constructed comparatively cheaply and can be easily broken. Its design is to gradually, by proximity, shred the barrier between the planes. Nott worries that it could create a rift to the Abyss if it stays in one place too long. The party goes to sleep under the dome.
Jester doesn't sleep well, partially because she's trying to keep an eye on Caleb, and partially because both Caduceus and Frumpkin are snoring loudly. When the party wakes, they find that the demon corpses have rapidly decayed into a black sludge... except for the demon general's heart, which was cauterized by the demon's own electricity.
The party wakes mid-afternoon and climbs back out of the well. Beau's natural 20 perception roll allows her to notice the symbol of the Traveler on the door of a hut across the street. She and Jester go knock on the door, meeting Covak, an elderly, smelly gnoll. He tells Jester that he met the Traveler when his partner was killed a couple years before, and the Traveler became his only friend. Covak has been sowing mischief in his name ever since, and he mentions the upcoming TravelerCon. Jester seems anxious to establish that the Traveler likes her more, but is thrilled to meet a fellow worshiper. When they rejoin the party, Jester tells them about Covak and about TravelerCon.
They decide to go see Lady Olios and seek the favor from the Bright Queen they were promised in return for their closing the rift. Nott, Jester, and Fjord tell her about the battle and that the rift is closed, and show her the scroll, the glyph rubbings, and the glowing disc. She calls in a male drow wizard, Lythir VaSuun, who confirms their identification of the objects and breaks the disc. They tell Lady Olios they didn't find the Empire spy, protecting Dairon.
Lady Olios agrees to grant them the favor by taking them to Rosohna and introducing them to the Bright Queen, and also pays them 2000 gp. Lythir asks to join them for the trip, and she agrees, saying they will leave at sundown, an hour away. The Nein collect their moorbounders and buy leather slave harnesses for Caleb and Beau.
As the party makes their way through the city streets of Asarius back to the Aurora Hold, they are greeted by a servant of Lady Olios who asks if they are ready to depart. The rest of the party states they have an appointment with Lady Olios and Fjord claims that the harnessed Caleb and Beau are their enslaved workers. The servant asks if they intend to bring their moorbounders inside Lady Olios's keep? The party questions why they are going inside, so the servant fetches Lady Olios and Lythir. Lady Olios looks over the party: Caduceus, Yasha, and in particular, the harnessed Caleb and Beau (who Fjord tells Lady Olios are "good workers"). She asks if they will be bringing their beasts too? Fjord says absolutely. Jester states they don't want to offend anyone, but their mounts were very expensive. Lady Olios sighs heavily, but states that she will try to bring them along. Fjord asks how long the journey will take, and Lady Olios insists not long at all. Jester asks if they're going to be teleporting, and Lady Olios confirms she is utilizing a "faster means of travel". Nott asks if they should leave the moorbounders behind, but Lady Olios hesitantly repeats that she can try, and leads them into the keep and down a hallway.
The party, including Lady Olios, Lythir, and the moorbounders, teleport to another room, which they are told is the Underarches of the Lucid Bastion. The Nein are ushered into a comfortable antechamber and talk about their strategy in the upcoming meeting with the Bright Queen. After about 40 minutes, Lythir joins them, and they are shortly afterward ushered into the impressive throne room of the Bright Queen, surrounded by her court.
She tells them that Lady Olios has told her of their aid in Asarius, and asks what favor they seek of her. Nott says they want the return of Yeza, but lies and says it's because his experiments have harmed people and he must be punished. Nott uses the mote of possibility from the dodecahedron in the process, and the Queen seems to notice that. Lythir steps in and tells the Queen that the party attacked him and his companion on the border of Xhorhas a few days ago, which they admit, but Fjord tries to persuade her that they were attacked first, and didn't know who they were fighting. The Queen is unpersuaded, and calls in her guards, who surround the party and begin shackling them.
Caleb then steps forward, saying that he has brought the proof that the Empire is working against the Dynasty.  He removes the dodecahedron from Jester's bag and holds it up, declaring, "I am of the Empire, but I am no friend to the Empire. One of your own came to retrieve this, and fell. And I bring it to you." The Court goes silent, and the Queen orders the party released, saying, "You bring us hope. And you have undone one of many great wounds against us today. I have no words. My emotions burn within my chest. If you are no friend to the Empire, you have certainly today become the heroes of the Dynasty.”
- Caduceus Clay (controlled by Matt)
- Jester Lavorre
- Yasha Nydoorin (controlled by Matt)
- Caleb Widogast
|Acquired||2,000||Gold||Lady Olios||Mighty Nein||Reduced amount from 10,000 which the Mighty Nein accepted along with a favour from Zethris Olios|
|Relinquished||1||Beacon||Jester||Empress Leylas Kryn||Given by Caleb|
- Jester (excitedly holding her holy symbol of The Traveler up): O! M! G!
Covak (squinting his eyes): Eh? You...what's that?
Jester: What do you think it is?!? What is on your door right here, man?!?
Covak (sniffing the holy symbol): ...Are you a friend of The Traveler?
Jester: Are yooooouuuu...? (Covak and Jester begin giggling.)
- Beau: You know what my mom used to always tell me? If you ask, the worst they can do is say no--
Caleb: Not exact--
Beau: -–and throw you in an Imperial prison–-
Caleb: There you go.
Beau: --and you never see your family again. That's the worst that could happen.
Caleb: That is the worst they can do.
Nott: That's happened to at least three of us.
- Kryn herald: Visitors! You bear witness to the Bright Queen Leylas Kryn... May she warm your weariness!
- Caleb (holding the beacon above his head): I am of the Empire...but I am no friend to the Empire! One of your own came to retrieve this, and fell. And I bring it...to you. (places the beacon on the ground in front of Jester)
- Leylas Kryn (approaching the beacon, with tears in her eyes): If you are no friend to the Empire...you have certainly today become Heroes of the Dynasty.
- The Beacon was returned to the Dynasty on 19 Horisal 836.