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"The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) is the second episode of Exandria Unlimited Prime. The party makes their way to the Fire Ashari, but their search for answers yields only more questions and deeper conflict...

Synopsis

Pre-Show

The cast introduces themselves and Aabria Iyengar throws to future Cozy Matt for the announcements.

Announcements

  • First sponsor is Skillshare, with thousands of online courses for creative and curious people. The first thousand people to sign up at the above link get a free trial of premium membership.
  • Second sponsor is Fandom Gaming and D&D Beyond, whose Master Tier subscription allows you to share a purchased book with all players in your campaign.
  • Critical Role is now livestreaming on both Twitch and YouTube. The moderated community live chat is on Twitch.
  • New episode of Critter Hug is coming Tuesday, July 6, at 4 pm Pacific on Twitch, VOD on YouTube Thursday, July 8.
  • Coming back from the future, Aabria admires future-Matt's glitter beard. Past-Matt is not happy.

Previously on Exandria Unlimited

Last time, you all woke up post-a rooftop pissing contest, and grabbed some brunch together at a lovely little inn and tavern called The Third Wing. You met a Nameless One who went by Poska, who gave you a job to head down to the docks, liberate something fancy, and leave it in a warehouse. You all boarded the Blightstar, an Issylra galleon, took something of great interest, and then in a warehouse were jumped by some thieves with an interesting ability to vanish and reappear.

You now are all in the midst of a rainy day in Emon, crossing town. That's where we'll begin.

Part I

Fearne is very worried about the baby ankheg they left behind but is talked out of going back to get it. They decide to head toward the Fire Ashari at the Scar of the Cinder King east of the city, but sense that they are being watched. Fearne manages to duck a tiny dart suddenly fired at her and they start running toward the southern gate, with Dariax using Thaumaturgy to trick their pursuers.

Fan art of Opal and Dorian with the Nameless Ones, by Lap Pun Cheung.[art 1]

At the gate, they notice two shady cloaked figures. Opal and Dorian cast Charm Person on them, but only Opal's succeeds in charming the figure who tells her his name is Arthur and they were planning to kill the whole group. She walks him away from the balance of the fight. Dorian unsuccessfully attacks the other hooded figure and is grappled as the others attack as well. Meanwhile, Opal manages to tie up Arthur while flirting with him.

As the fight continues, the party notices the town's guards are conspicuously absent. They succeed in downing their hooded opponent, and decide their safest course is to run leaving the still-charmed Arthur behind with a parting Eldritch Blast from Opal.

The party successfully makes it out the gate and skirts around the edge of the city, noticing the slow return of guards to the walls of the city after about a half hour and realizing the guards must have been in cahoots with the Nameless Ones. The Scar of the Cinder King is about half a day's walk east of the city, but as night falls, they camp in the woods half an hour off the road. They talk about the residuum they stole and what they should do with it. Opal remembers that it can be processed into an illegal drug called suude and is very valuable.

Fearne brings up the barbed onyx circlet they found, and Dorian confirms that being near it still makes him nauseous. He feels a faint skittering like tiny spiders in his stomach. When Opal touches it, she hears the skittering of spiders all around her, and sees a vision of a massive spider leg stepping forward. Telling the group about it, she suggests it could belong to the queen spider. The others immediately realize that Lolth, one of the Betrayer Gods, is known as the Spider Queen, and Dorian remembers the Vestiges of Divergence, extremely powerful items from the time of the Calamity that are often connected to the gods.

Orym shares that the ruler of the Air Ashari, Keyleth, had a vestige. If this is a vestige, it is too much for them to deal with. Orym wants to take it to the Fire Ashari to get their input. Fearne suggests taking it to her grandmother in the Feywild, but isn't sure how to get there right now. When she came to the Prime Material Plane, her grandmother sent her through a large beautiful ornate stone gate wrapped in vines to appear near Syngorn.

Fan art of the party sleeping, by Annalise Jensen.[art 2]

As they settle to sleep, Dariax patrols the area and sees on the road a single horse bearing a figure wearing a black cloak over red leather traveling quickly eastward. He reports to the others that Poska has missed them, but they keep watches throughout the night, hearing multiple horses galloping past on the road, and carts moving by.

During the night, Opal dreams of the giant spider, then hears the voice of her sister Ted asking what she thinks she's doing. Ted says she's trying to keep her alive and she should get rid of the circlet because it's evil. They argue, and an angry Opal manages to wake herself up.

During Dorian's watch, he hears a faint lullaby being sung in Undercommon, takes out his flute, and softly plays along with it. He senses a pair of eyes watching him, pleased.

Break

  • Merch Alert! Exandria Unlimited t-shirt and Wildemount pre-painted miniatures in the US, Canada, and UK shops; Exandria Unlimited journal, 2021 Pride t-shirt, and Don't Forget to Love Each Other socks in all four shops.
  • Let's Play Uk'otoa VOD on YouTube Friday, July 2. Uk'otoa is available in all four Critical Role shops.
  • Critter Hug new episode on Twitch Tuesday, July 6 at 4 pm Pacific. VOD on YouTube July 8th.
  • Commissioned art montage.

Part II

In the morning, after a few hours of walking, they reach the Flamereach Outpost where Orym is greeted by Lorkathar, mentioning that he thinks he's late. He introduces the party and they are ushered into Lorkathar's office. He tells her they have some residuum they stole from the Nameless Ones and she should get word to the Voice of the Tempest that it is being sold on the black market in Emon. When Orym starts to tell Lorkathar about the circlet, Opal and Dorian stop him.

Lorkathar describes a "flare" about a week ago at Thordak's Crater in Emon, which the Ashari have been controlling successfully until now, that wiped out several of the firetamers. While she goes to get the two survivors, the party argues about whether to tell the Fire Ashari about the circlet. Lorkathar returns with Jhessho and Reyan Lister, who describe an organized attack against their group by ten cinderslag elementals when they entered the crater about a week ago. In the past few months, conditions have worsened, with tremors and fissures opening in the ground. They suspect something else is trying to come through the scars left by Thordak. A being within the crater reached into it and created the elementals, much as Fearne created Little Mister at the same location. Dorian describes a woman of burning lava and wings, and they suspiciously note he knows a lot about what they saw.

Suddenly, a massive earthquake strikes, and when they go outside they see a new, massive mesa just past the petrified forest, and powdery ash is falling all around. Dariax grabs the circlet to put it away, and as he touches it, his eyes turn jet black, but he seems otherwise unchanged.

Fan art of the Oh No Plateau, by CT Chen.[art 3]

They run to the plateau and climb to the top, and discover that breathing the ash is slowly exhausting. There is no visibility because of the falling ash, but they slowly become aware that the other Ashari are around them and moving toward the center of the mesa. Little Mister happily consumes the ash as they walk forward toward a purple-red glow ahead, and when they are within sight, he transforms into a small fire elemental.

The source of the glow is a massive burning purple-red sigil carved into the ground which they sense is powerful but not necessarily dangerous, and is incomplete. As Fearne and Opal approach it, Opal realizes her magic is gone. Dariax then throws a rock toward the sigil, which melts as it goes in, although Fearne and Opal were not harmed by proximity.

Opal approaches and tries to talk to the sigil, but it is Ted's voice that responds, telling her she will give Opal her magic back when she apologizes. The others overhear Opal's side of the conversation, and Opal explains that it is her twin sister who took her magic.

Fearne approaches the sigil with Little Mister but is pushed back as he enters it and transforms into a large elemental of hot vapor. As combat begins, Opal realizes her magic is still gone. Two additional fissures open up and tentacles of hot vapor lash out, but are easily dispatched. Dorian casts Dissonant Whispers on the elemental, forcing it to move away from the sigil that is the source of its power, and it dissolves into a small fire elemental approximating Little Mister's monkey form. Dariax tries to attack him but Fearne (in dire wolf shape) is able to move Little Mister out of the way and Orym catches Dariax on his sword to keep him from falling into the sigil from the momentum. The end of his spear that crossed into it is immediately burned away.

About a dozen Ashari approach and tell them the sigil seems to be the heart of what's happening at the crater and now, here. They want to contact the other Ashari tribes to see if the other elemental planes are reacting as well. Little Mister, still in not-quite-monkey form, runs to Fearne for hugs and scritches to the surprise of the Ashari. While they walk back to the Outpost, Orym admits that hanging onto the circlet is probably a good idea, and Dariax apologizes to Fearne for trying to kill her monkey.

At the Outpost, Lorkathar greets them as Little Mister becomes a monkey again. Fearne tells her the sigil appears to be a gate of some kind, and Opal draws it for her, but Lorkathar doesn't recognize it. She asks Orym to go back to the city to find someone to explain the sigil. She can think of only one person with such knowledge, a Runechild named Shaun Gilmore. They can rest, have some lunch, and then go back to Emon to visit Gilmore's Glorious Goods.

Epilogue

Ted watches from her low, dark place. She seethes with a frustration that she's known her entire life. It's mingled with love, yes, and duty, but frustration nonetheless. She will cave, eventually. She knows that she will always protect her sister: protect her from the world, from herself. Always.

Featured Characters

Player Characters

Returning

New

Mentioned

Quotations

  • Opal (sensing they are being followed): Do they think we're cute?
    Fearne: Maybe. That's entirely possible because to be honest, we're all very attractive.
    Opal: True.
    Fearne: Should we just be cool?
    Dariax: I've been doing that since I woke up, but sure.[3]
  • Orym: They should put that on billboards around Whitestone: "Whitestone: Is it drugs yet?"[4]
  • Aabria (to Opal): You don't open the box, but you put your hand on it; and around you the sky gets darker, your vision sort of tightens in on this, and you can see it clearly: that barbed onyx circlet on a black pillow inside a case. And then you hear the skittering of spiders all around you. (Opal shudders.) And the last thing you see, before your vision kind of comes back to yourself, is one massive spider leg stepping forward. [5]
  • Dariax: If you steal something that may have originally been stolen, does that unsteal it?[6]
  • Dariax: If I'm wrong, it's not my fault.[7]
  • Ted: (about the Circlet) Did you consider that maybe with your incredibly weak moral fiber, that it would make you evil?
    Opal: Okay, that's insulting, first of all—
    Ted: But not inaccurate![8]
  • Ted: Literally, I made this bitch magic and she's asking me to leave. Cool. Cool.[9]
  • Dorian: So we're really doing this? We're running to the… oh-no plateau, and we're going to what?[10]
  • Dorian: Chaos! Chaos is what we're made of![11]
  • Opal: If you were here, you would've been dead a week ago.
    Ted: Because I'm here, you're not dead. And when you apologize, I will give you your magic back.
    Opal: (gasps) You took my magic?
    Ted: I am your magic, bitch.[12]
  • Dariax: A monkey bit me when I was 12, so it's just kind of a thing.
    Fearne: I get it. I totally get it. When things happen to us when we're young, they just can scar us forever.
    Dariax: I hadn't really seen a monkey since then, so it's a lot, suddenly, a lot of things unearthing at once. I'm working through it, you know. And he's on fire, which is twice as scary!
    Fearne: I understand! I had so many run-ins with creatures when I was a child and probably died many times.
    Dariax: ... We're going to talk about that and unpack that later.[13]

Inventory

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Destroyed 1 Spear Dariax The end of the spear that entered the sigil was burned completely away.

Trivia

  • The gate that Fearne used to walk from the Feywild to the Material Plane may be the one built by Vox Machina for Artagan[14] in exchange for his help.

References

  1. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 1:21:40.
  2. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 1:05:55.
  3. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 11:21.
  4. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 59:24.
  5. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 1:05:22.
  6. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 1:14:42.
  7. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 1:22:51.
  8. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 1:27:13.
  9. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 1:28:41.
  10. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 2:21:21.
  11. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 2:33:40.
  12. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 3:04:30.
  13. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 3:44:21.
  14. See "Dark Dealings" (1x112) at 3:33:37.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Opal and Dorian with the Nameless Ones, by Lap Pun Cheung (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of the party sleeping, by Annalise Jensen (source). Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of the Oh No Plateau, by CT Chen (source). Used with permission.


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