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"The Open Road" (2x05) is the fifth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The group hits the road, preparing for a long trip to Zadash. But trouble in the small town of Alfield stops the band of adventurers in their tracks.

Synopsis Edit

Pre-Show Edit

On the Twitch stream, a Critical Role fan art slideshow played before the episode began, but the pre-show was removed from the final YouTube video of this episode. It featured the following art:


The slideshow repeated partially until the episode began.

Announcements Edit

  • Thank you to our returning sponsor and partner for the foreseeable future: D&D Beyond. Matt just learned today that you can add players to your campaign, and now he has access to his player's character sheets at all times.
    • Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes is now available for pre-order on www.dndbeyond.com, and the code "beginnings" can be used to get $10 off the new book. Sam holds a competition between Liam, Marisha, and Travis to name a character generated on D&D Beyond. The winner will personally get a copy of the book from Sam himself. The contest ends with Liam = 2, Marisha = 0, and Travis = 2...so Marisha wins and gets the book!
  • Talks Machina is next Tuesday at 7:00 pm PST, to discuss tonight's episode.
  • The premiere of Weave Society happened yesterday. It is an interactive storytelling RPG played by the ladies of Geek & Sundry. More episodes will air at 9:30 pm PST, after The Wednesday Club.
  • "Disparate Pieces" (2x04) is now available in podcast form for the Critical Role Podcast.
  • The latest issue of the Critical Role comic ("Vox Machina: Origins #4") is now available for digital download wherever digital comics are sold (Comixology, Dark Horse, etc.). Minxie is in it, killing things.
  • Check out the fantastic charity 826LA if you haven't already. The group does fantastic after-school programs for kids to get into creative writing. If you can't give to help out this charity, you can donate your time as well to help teach some of these kids and help them expand their imaginations. Critical Role continues to support them moving forward.
  • If you want to know what conventions the cast will be at in the near-future, watch last week's episode: "Disparate Pieces" (2x04). It gets monotonous for them to announce it every episode.
  • "The Blade of Galadriel" expansion pack for Middle-earth: Shadow of War came out last Tuesday, and you can play as Laura. Not Eltariel, but literally Laura Bailey herself running around Mordor, throwing donuts. She also has a Ring of Power. Go get it and check it out.

Previously on Critical Role Edit

"So last we left off: the group of adventurers, whose fates are slowly entwining, found themselves meeting in the city of Trostenwald, on the southern reaches of the Dwendalian Empire, on the continent of Wildemount. Through a mishap in a circus passing through town, you began to give chase to the investigation that seemed to have caught you up in this legal issue, and you find yourselves locked under house arrest and being considered possible murderers.

"You sought the answer to this endeavor. You found the Devil Toad (or the Nergaliid, as you discovered) was responsible. You hunted it down, slew it, brought its head back, and - after arguing with a very tired and just-kind-of-wanting-to-get-it-over-with Lawmaster in Trostenwald - managed to convince her enough to let you off the hook...and leave most of the standing legal issues with Gustav. Thus, disbanding the circus, and setting you and Yasha free.

"Yasha went on her own path, while the rest of you (the six of you) decided "strength in numbers", and at the time-being, you all seem to enjoy each other's company. Purchasing a fresh map, looking at your future prospects and your dwindling funds, you decided to head northward towards the city of Zadash, by way of the "Golden Road", past the city of Alfield..."

Part I Edit

Traveling North Edit

The horse pulling the party's cart, spooked after being smacked on its rear end, rides off into the northern fields. The party chases it down and sets off northward up the Amber Road, passing along the way a large caravan that doesn't stop. After several hours of travel, they take a break on the side of the road. Caleb uses Frumpkin to scout ahead while Beau and Jester climb a tree. They don't see anything, and so continue on their way until dark.

The group makes camp that evening about halfway to Alfield and sets up watch for the night. During the second watch, Caleb sees mysterious creatures in the distance and wakes up Nott. Nott, sneaking ahead to investigate, uses the Message cantrip to tell Caleb that they are buffalo-type creatures. Caleb is very excited and proud of her for using magic for the first time. The party expresses some interest in capturing the creatures--which are, in fact, just buffalo--but scares them off when they try to approach. Losing interest, the party then goes back to sleep.

Fjord's Vision Edit

Later that night, Fjord is visited in his sleep by a mysterious vision. He finds himself underwater, facing an enormous, yellow eye. He tries to speak to it, but it responds only in single words: "Watching. Potential. Learn. Grow. Provoke. Consume. Reward. Patience." He wakes up with a start, coughing up seawater, and finds that his falchion is missing from its sheath.

Jester:  Fjord, do you think you're slowly turning into water?
Fjord:  No. I hadn't considered that terrifying thought, but thanks. I'll just add that to the fucking list.
Jester:  If you feel like it's happening, let us know and we'll try to catch you in a jar.
– 
[!h]

The rest of the party are very concerned for him and ask him questions about his sword, his past as a sailor, and his magical abilities. Fjord confesses that his magical abilities came to him around the same time as the the sword did, which was recently, after a trip on a merchant ship went bad. When he focuses on the sword, Fjord is able to conjure it in his open hand. When Beau and Caleb offer to take an informed look at the sword, Fjord asks to revisit the idea later.

Alfield Edit

Having learned all that they can about Fjord's odd incident, the party embarks on their second day of travel. As night is falling, they come within sight of the village of Alfield in the distance and decide to push through until they reach it.

On arrival at the outskirts of town, the party finds that Alfield is under attack and burning. A pack of gnolls is raiding the town, despite the best efforts of the local crownsguard. One of the crownsguard, seeing the party approach, offers them 30 gold a gnoll ear for their help in the fight. They agree and make their way into the fray.

Beau dodging arrows

Fan art of Beau dodging arrows, by Hugo Cardenas.[art 1]

Dodging through and around burning buildings, the party takes down a few of the gnolls, including a couple of undead ones. Before they can do much more, however, a much larger, more ornamented gnoll lets out a signal, and the gnoll pack begins to retreat from the city along with a cart heaped with bodies. Nott goes chasing after them, followed by Molly and Beau. Seeing them give chase, the pack leader fires two arrows; the first takes down Nott, and the second, Molly.

Seeing their friends go down, the rest of the party give no further chase, but Beau notes the direction the gnolls went. Jester revives the fallen Nott and Molly before they can bleed out, and the crownsguard begin to gather in the center of town to assess damages.

Break Edit

  • Marisha Ray "Additional Knowledge Acquired" PSA about Twitch subscriptions, Amazon Prime, and resubscribing.
  • Sam de Leve and Eric Campbell promo for "Behind the Shield"
  • Adulting in the Apocalypse: Confidence
  • Marisha Ray "Additional Knowledge Acquired" promo for Alpha
  • Painter's Guild: Ron Hawkins interview
  • Marisha Ray "Additional Knowledge Acquired" PSA asking viewers who want to avoid spoilers to mute hashtags rather than yell at cast members
  • The art slideshow replayed through @Torheit's drawing of Frumpkin and Jester

Part II Edit

After the Attack Edit

As villagers begin to emerge from their homes, the party helps put out fires and collects ears from the dead gnolls. They are shortly found by the individual crownsguard who asked them to join the fight, who introduces themself as Watchmaster Bryce Feelid. Bryce notes that, while wandering bands of gnolls are not uncommon, an attack on this scale is unprecedented. The gnolls, says Bryce, have raided the butcher's stock and completely cleaned out the city of meat.

Bryce pays the party for the gnoll ears they have collected and points them toward the Feed and Mead Tavern for the night. There, Molly has a drink at the bar and a mild panic attack; Caleb sets an Alarm spell on the room and counts his gold; Jester jumps on the bed until Fjord asks her to stop; and the party eventually all goes to sleep.

Featured Characters Edit

Player Characters Edit

New Edit

Returning Edit

Mentioned Edit

Inventory Edit

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
transferred 1 bouquet of flowers Jester Nott
acquired 12 gnoll ears dead gnolls in Alfield Jester and Caleb
acquired 360 gold Bryce party for gnoll ears; 60 apiece to Beau, Caleb, Fjord, Jester, Molly, and Nott
expended 1 gold Molly Crute for a drink at the bar

Quotations Edit

  • Laura: "You're doing it, Peter! You're doing it!" (encouraging Liam to eat imaginary donuts; a reference to the movie "Hook")
  • Jester: "These donuts...are not that old." (Jester sidestepping the fact that the donuts from her bag are stale)
  • Jester: "Have you ever made him...?" (pestering Caleb about what Frumpkin can turn into, despite Caleb being unable to hear or respond)
  • Jester: Fjord, do you think you're slowly turning into water?
    Fjord:No. I hadn't considered that terrifying thought. But thanks. I'll just add that to the fucking list.
    Jester: If you feel like it's happening, let us know and we'll try to catch you in a jar.
    Fjord: In a...in a jar?
    Nott: We're not gonna let you run into the dirt.
    Jester: Maybe something can happen and-
    Fjord: I tell you what. I start sweating real hard, I'll let you know.
    Molly: It's fine. It's fine. He's fine![5]
  • Caleb: "NEIN!" (repeated by the rest of the cast for comedic effect)
  • Nott: "This is fine." (said while in a burning building)

References Edit

  1. See "The Midnight Chase" (2x03) at 1:57:00.
  2. See "Disparate Pieces" (2x04) from 3:20:35 through 3:21:30.
  3. See "Disparate Pieces" (2x04) at 0:34:34.
  4. See "The Open Road" (2x05) at 1:04:35.
  5. See "The Open Road" (2x05) from 1:04:34 through 1:05:19.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Beau dodging arrows, by Hugo Cardenas (source).  Used with permission.


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