"The Streets of the Forgotten" (2x134) is the one hundred thirty-fourth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. Now following the Tombtakers’ trail, the Mighty Nein converse with voices of the past for clues and meet some of Aeor’s creations...

Synopsis

Announcements

  • Sam is supposed to do the ad for Nord VPN... but he's not there, because last installment, he gleamed the cube. The rest of the cast mourn him, and know that he wanted everyone to use code CriticalRole to get a 2-year plan with a 70% discount. Travis mistakenly eats the cake-cube that Sam has become and absorbs his haxxor knowledge to become "The Two", or "Number Two", the one who will save the universe from the coming nano-storm. His training will begin in the next thrilling installment of the Nordverse.[1]
  • D&D Beyond is the official toolset of D&D 5th Edition and Critical Role, and includes digital dice rolling and the master tier subscription, which allows the DM to share all their books with everyone in the campaign.
  • Critical Role is now livestreaming on both Twitch and YouTube, but the moderated community live chat is on Twitch.
  • The newest episode of Crit Recap Animated summarizing Campaign Two Episodes 9 - 16 is live on YouTube.
  • Narrative Telephone returns next week with storyteller Travis Willingham and guest Aabria Iyengar on Tuesday, April 20 at 4:00 pm Pacific on Twitch, YouTube VOD on Thursday April 22.
  • The Critical Role Foundation is launching a new project teaming with 826LA to create the Critical Role Writers' Room at Venice High School. Donate at criticalrolefoundation.org.

Previously on Critical Role

So, last we left off: The Mighty Nein have trekked back to Eiselcross. You've conscripted the aid of your longtime ally, the Shadowhand Essek Thelyss, to join you into the ruins of the ancient magical city of Aeor proper. Upon arriving, you inspected some of the space within. You set a trap for the Tombtakers and successfully managed to ensnare them, killing three, and the only remaining members being Lucien and Cree.

In this climactic moment, as you rushed in to finish them off once and for all, the last trick up their sleeve allowed Cree and Lucien to escape, shunting themselves past the tunnel that you were safeguarding and collapsing it behind them via some sort of magical quake. You had just finished killing off the remaining members of the Tombtakers that lie there bleeding and unconscious. But as you take a moment and watch the dust settle, the rumbling fade, and you all look at each other in the low light, feeling the immensity wash over you of what just transpired, we come into tonight's game.

Part I

Veth asks Fjord if the guards outside warned them of the Tombtakers's approach, and he replies that they did, but does not mention he told them to engage. Caduceus suggests that the person he saw in stasis in the amphitheater[2] might know how to fight the Somnovem. They cut off the heads of the three dead Tombtakers and take them with them as they begin to slowly clear the rubble from the hallway ahead. Essek receives a message from Dagen Underthorn on his sending stone that some rangers were lost and many injured in the confrontation with the Tombtakers, but some live.

Eventually, the hallway is cleared enough to proceed. They notice dots of fresh blood leading onward and follow them into and through the Praesidis Ward until the blood fades out next to a ruined temple-like structure within a sinkhole. Fjord's Divine Sense reveals a strong sense of celestial, fiend, or undead nature from within the building. Jester goes to look, followed by Caleb and Fjord, but sees only a ruined interior from which Caleb's Detect Magic senses necromantic magic. Unsure which way to go, Beau and Veth scout further down the road.

Fan art of The Mausoleum, by Clara.[art 1]

Staying behind at the temple, Caduceus makes himself look like Cree and casts Speak with Dead on the severed head of Tyffial Wase. Tyffial tells them the Tombtakers had previously taken the road outside to reach their destination, and it took them about a day. When asked about the eyes, the head begins laughing and Caduceus Decomposes it. Caleb casts Comprehend Languages and discovers that the temple is the "Mausoleum of the Forgotten" and bears hundreds of carved names.

Meanwhile, Veth and Beau follow the road outside until Veth steps into a large puddle of blood and they find the massive dead bodies of two creatures that appear freshly killed by slashing wounds. The road ends at a rockfall. Beau hears movement, and as they start back, a low growl.

Fan art of the stasis bubble, by Kieran Slate.[art 2]

The party reunites and heads back to the amphitheater, which has a sign reading "Praesidis Discussion Colosseum", a center for political discourse. Caduceus selects one of the hundreds of bodies and, after Caleb casts Tongues on him, Caduceus casts Speak with Dead. He learns that the crowd was there to beseech "Brashaar" to protect them. Brashaar is the woman in the stasis bubble on the dais. She was one of the great mages, an architect, and one of many who doomed the people by filling their minds with thoughts that drew the ire of the gods. When asked where the party could find those who opposed this and tried to stop it, the reply is, "Look around you."

Veth investigates the automaton Caduceus saw previously among the bodies, and they succeed in replacing the cracked power gem within its chest with the one they had found earlier in another ruin.[3] It suddenly comes to life, and Caduceus gives it the name "Charlie". Charlie identifies himself as an aeormaton and is badly damaged, including gaps in his memory records. He tells them he might be able to be repaired in the Genesis Ward, which happens to be roughly in the direction the Tombtakers had been heading.

With Charlie carried on Jester's back, they start off on the Tombtakers' trail again. Essek reminds them that many things in Aeor were designed for warfare against the gods themselves, and that they should be careful of trusting things at face value. He does not trust Charlie.

Break

Fan art of Charlie and Jester, by oliviahintz.[art 3]

Part II

The party stealths back through the Praesidis Ward and reaches the dead beasts in the road. They ask Charlie if he knows the direction of the Cognouza Ward, and although he recognizes the name, he goes entirely blank when asked its location, saying he has sustained much damage. They inspect the rockfall and hear movement but see nothing. They move along the stone to the left (hearing another sound behind them), and reach a slightly crushed metallic doorway leading onward.

As they enter, the temperature drops precipitously and they reach a natural ice tunnel. In the frost on the floor, they can see occasional dots of blood leading to a large, roughly cube-shaped 80-foot chamber lit by a thrumming blue light. Beau and Yasha move forward to investigate, noticing that the temperature rises again within the room. There are hallways across the room and to the left, and in the middle, a raised pillar topped with a spiraling 20-foot spire topped with a pulsing blue light. Energy in the room spikes and fades with the pulsations, and their hair rises and falls. They play with the static charges a bit. Charlie tells them it is a security checkpoint, that they can pass if they are approved to do so.

Fan art of the security checkpoint, by CT Chen.[art 4]

Caleb uses the Staff of Power to cast Globe of Invulnerability and walks within fifteen feet of the tower, where the spire attacks with lightning, but the globe protects him. As the party joins Caleb within the globe, they hear growls and grunting coming from behind them. Quickly, they run in a huddled group toward the door on the left as an Aeorian absorber leaps from the tunnel they were heading toward and a reverser approaches from behind them.

Beau runs forward into the corridor and attacks the absorber, stunning it, and Jester and Yasha follow up. The reverser, meanwhile, moves to the rest of the party in the globe, attacking Fjord and Caduceus. Fjord uses Thunder Step to reach the third corridor, but sees there a second absorber racing toward him. It attacks, wounding him significantly. Beau manages to kill the first one quickly, but the second one wounds Essek with a Mind Bolt attack. Essek casts Gravity Sinkhole on the reverser, pulling him backward.

As the fight continues, the party is unaware of the creature attacking Fjord. The reverser moves forward again and attacks Caleb, but Veth immediately kills it. Hearing Fjord's cries, they turn their attention that way, but a wild magic surge hits Fjord and they see what appears to be darkness pouring down his face. The creature continues to attack him, but his Armor of Agathys wounds it seriously, and the others also hit it repeatedly. Jester manages to finish it with her hand axe. The tower sparks with lightning, hitting Yasha and Jester, but they manage to avoid half of the damage and Caleb quickly moves the globe and the rest of the party into the safety of the corridor.

They realize the dark shadow they saw on Fjord was actually his hair falling out, and soon his entire head is bald, including beard and eyebrows. They decide they need to sleep, and Caleb casts the dome in a corner that blocks three entrances. Charlie thinks that beyond this is the Genesis Ward.

Don't worry, we're getting there. I can feel it. But they're close now, too, the wee babes, lost without their king. Endless hunger, limitless potential, without focus, divided among thousands of mewling fragmented minds. The Nonagon saw this in them. And they'll be reborn greater. I am their savior, as they were mine. I will save them from their pain, from their wasteful existence. And you're to join me there, in their memory.
– 
Lucien's monologue.[4]
[!h]

Jester casts Scrying on Cree. She hears the splashing of water and sees the familiar dots of green light in the darkness, and focuses in on a threshold crest sitting on a smooth marble floor with a faint yellowish-orange, industrial hue around it. Cree and Lucien are seated nearby bandaging themselves. Lucien says they are getting close to their objective, and that Cree should sleep while Lucien keeps watch. Caleb notices the same thing he saw earlier[5] when Jester casts her Scry.

Jester tells the party what she saw, and that she thinks Lucien knew she was watching and his speech was for their benefit. Caleb casts the dome and they all go to sleep, with Yasha and Fjord taking watch. Beau and Caleb hear a voice in their dreams, saying, "Your friends are peeking. You are wily bastards, continuing to stick in my sides like a thorn in my drawers. Clever, but not enough I have to respect it. I'm not here to kill you. Yet. I'm here to open a door, to take my reign. Long may it be.[6] You're welcome to watch, if you can keep up. There's so much beyond this door. So much." His voice fades into harsh whispers echoing "So much, so, so, so much...." over and over, fading into screams and static.

Featured Characters

The Mighty Nein

Fan art of Fjord, bald, by BlackSalander.[art 5]

New

Returning

Mentioned

Inventory

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Acquired 1 Head of Tyffial Wase Tyffial Caduceus
Acquired 1 Head of Otis Brunkel Otis Caduceus
Acquired 1 Head of Zoran Kluthidol Zoran Caduceus
Destroyed 1 Head of Tyffial Wase Caduceus Caduceus cast Decompose on it after using Speak with Dead
Expended 1 Power gem Veth Charlie Originally found on an automaton in the ruins of A2.

Quotations

  • Charlie: Hello. My designation-- There is no record of that designation. Please offer a designation.[7]
  • Lucien: (in Beau and Caleb's dreams) Your friends are peeking. You are wily bastards, continuing to stick in my sides like a thorn in my drawers. Clever, but not enough I have to respect it. I'm not here to kill you. Yet. I'm here to open a door, to take my reign. Long may it be. You're welcome to watch, if you can keep up. There's so much beyond this door. So much.[8]

Trivia

  • The ending of the animated intro changed with this episode, showing the party (with Veth rather than Nott) facing a variety of monsters, a strange city, and nine glowing red eyes in the sky.

References

  1. Matt's quote "Who is Number One?" "You are Number Six." "I am not a prisoner -- I am a free man!" is from The Prisoner, a 1967 British television show.
  2. See "Hunter and Hunted" (2x133) at 1:56:55.
  3. See "Contentious Company" (2x120) from 1:48:11 through 1:50:54.  Two gems, one octagonal and orangish-yellow, and one red and spherical, were harvested from a downed automaton.
  4. See "The Streets of the Forgotten" (2x134) at 4:00:40.
  5. See "Hunter and Hunted" (2x133) at 1:07:02.
  6. See "Whispers of War" (2x18) at 3:03:39.  This is a direct reference to Molly's, "I am your god, long may I reign. Eat of my fruits."
  7. See "The Streets of the Forgotten" (2x134) at 1:47:52.
  8. See "The Streets of the Forgotten" (2x134) at 4:07:52.

Art:

  1. Fan art of The Mausoleum, by Clara (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of the stasis bubble, by Kieran Slate (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Charlie and Jester, by oliviahintz (source).  Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of the security checkpoint, by CT Chen (source).  Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of Fjord, bald, by BlackSalander (source).  Used with permission.


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