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"Thicker Grows the Meal and Plot" (3x09) is the ninth episode of the third campaign of Critical Role. The group continues their search for Chetney's missing friend, even as their discoveries yield stranger and stranger reports about the man they're looking for...

Synopsis[]

Announcements[]

  • The Nordverse is back! The hacked Robbie, now a rootkit virus named Setty inside the new Critical Role set, infects Laura, Liam, and "Assley Donkson". This is only possible because Marisha decided to renew the subscription to Matt's Vest of the Month club instead of to Nord VPN. She promises to find a solution... next time on The Nordverse!
  • Second sponsor is Ghostfire Gaming's Fables, a subscription-based set of six-part D&D all-in-one adventures released monthly. The first, Grimhollow Adventure: Citadel of the Unseen Sun, released January 1st. Go to ghostfiregaming.com/fables-criticalrole for discounted subscription.
  • The Legend of Vox Machina will now debut on Friday, January 28, a week in advance of the original air-date.
  • Merch Alert! Now available: a red Eiselcross beanie embossed with "Even we don't know what's here" and a matching scarf.

Previously on Critical Role[]

Last we left off, our heroes here, who have been traversing the city of Jrusar, had been on the trail of a few disappearances that have been happening in recent weeks at a theater. They managed to find out what was responsible and destroy this creature that had taken these people's lives. But upon finishing this mystery, a figure nearby overheard that you had completed this appointed risky endeavor to find missing people, an individual named Pock O'Pea, Chetney Pock O'Pea. Upon coming along with your band and asking for their help in finding a missing person that they themself are seeking, you began to search throughout the city, followed the path to where this individual, this Gurge, was currently staying temporarily within the city of Jrusar.

Upon inspecting the temporary abode, the hovel in which he was living, you found signs of a struggle. Apparently, some sort of attack had transpired, and you watched marks of him being dragged away, while also hearing of a terrible dire wolf attack in the city. Fearing that this individual may have fallen to the same dire wolf, you spoke for information with the person who had rented them the space and followed the assumed intent that he had been arrested by the local wardens. You had gone over to the nearby factory and spoke with these wardens to see where he may have been.

Upon them awkwardly, nervously almost, walking into the factory and locking the gates behind them, Fearne decided to go ahead and inspect secretly in the form of a rat, sneaking through the interior tunnels and heading into one of the side chambers where it seemed the warden with more authority amongst the two you spoke with were having a conversation. Bit shifty of them. Already in a place of mistrust with these wardens assigned to this factory, they turned to leave just as you were there wading out from underneath the door in the tight space. Attempting to turn from where their footfall was, you failed to do so and took just enough damage to pop you out of your rat form. We come in just as Fearne has emerged full bodied in the middle of this small office chamber within the factory, staring now at these three wardens that look at you with surprise, confusion, and a slight shift towards whatever arms they have at their side.

Part I[]

The C3 party vs The Door - Hugo Cardenas

Fan art of the party vs. The Door, by Hugo Cardenas.[art 1]

Fearne tells the suspicious guards that a pack of dire wolves is right outside, and she came in to get their help, but she fails to convince them and telepathically alerts Imogen to her precarious situation. Ashton tries to break down the outside door and Chetney tries to pick the lock, both unsuccessfully. Fearne, however, is able to cast Charm Person on the head warden, who tells her they were paid to help Artana Voe, an old friend and bounty hunter who had been hunting Gurge Kisgregg. Gurge has a reputation as a strange wild man, and became a terrifying beast when assaulted. It took four of them to subdue him, and Artana left with his unconscious body while the guards told the neighborhood the fracas had been caused by a dire wolf attack.

Meanwhile, the party's noisy efforts to break through the outside door finally succeed just as the guards and Fearne arrive to investigate. The party is able to talk their way out of it and leave, and Fearne tells them what she learned.

They take this information to Lord Eshteross, who warns them to be cautious about accusing the powerful House Treshi of involvement without firm proof. He tells Orym that The Anger has agreed to meet with him and he will set up a meeting as soon as possible, and that Artana Voe has a sister, Preio Madali, the part-owner and manager of the Soot and Swill Tavern in the Smolder Spire. Lord Eshteross will also try to get the party admitted to an upcoming ball being held in a week for the rich and powerful of Jrusar, where they may be able to learn more.

Outside, the party questions Chetney again about his relationship with Gurge and why finding him is so important. Chetney restates that Gurge has connections to a master craftsman, and Chetney needs work to survive.

Once at the tavern, Preio, the manager, tells Ashton it will take buying an 80 gold bottle of elven plum wine liqueur to make up for whatever happened the last time Ashton was thrown out of the place. Fearne pickpockets from Ashton the Allhammer earring that Ashton stole from her[1] and offers it to Preio as half payment, and Ashton pays another 50 gold on top.

After the party tastes it, FCG gives the rest of the bottle to Preio, and asks her if she knows where Artana Voe is. Preio acts unperturbed by the question and denies that she knows Artana's location. She also says she's not her sister. FCG's high passive insight notices, however, that her eyes flick toward the kitchen when the questions are asked.

Pretty - Thomas Lue

Fan art of Pretty, by Thomas Lue.[art 2]

Chetney casts Invisibility on himself and sneaks into the kitchen, finding an ogre busily cooking and a second, hidden, door behind what looks to him like a heavy bookcase. He sneaks out and reports this to the party. In order to get the ogre (named Pretty) out of the kitchen so that Dorian, Orym, Ashton, and Chetney can investigate, Fearne orders a meal and then asks to give her compliments to the chef, moving Pretty to tears.

While Pretty is distracted, the others sneak into the kitchen and discover the "bookcase" is a serving cart. Eventually, Chetney manages to pick the lock of the hidden door and they discover a small hidden storage room, holding a cot and a seated uniya woman who immediately aims a heavy crossbow at them.

Break[]

Part II[]

Artana Voe - Kiera James

Fan art of Artana Voe, by Kiera James.[art 3]

The woman fires at Orym, wounding him, then aims at Dorian. Orym and Ashton tell her they don't want to fight; they just want to talk to Artana Voe and find Gurge Kisgregg. Chetney says that they have money, and puts 30 gold on the table, but she is not impressed. When Dorian matches it, she tells them that she captured Gurge, but his location is privileged. Orym offers another 100 gold for more information, and she tells them her client was Vali Dertrana, the business commissioner of the Mirror Towers in the Core Spire, who works out of the Moon Tower. Vali wanted Gurge alive. Artana has also heard about the bounty on Cyrus and tells them to advise him to get out of town quickly. She warns them if they go after Gurge not to get bitten.

Meanwhile, Pretty starts heading back to the kitchen to continue working. In an attempt to distract him, Imogen asks him to go on a date with her, Laudna, and Fearne, and with Preio's encouragement he agrees to meet them after he gets off work that night. In the meantime, the others are able to sneak out of the kitchen and back into the main room.

With about three hours to go until the date with Pretty, they head toward the Core Spire just to look around. Discussing what they've learned, they are all thinking Gurge might be some form of werewolf. Chetney tells them once more that the people who pointed him in Gurge's direction said that Gurge was the key to Chetney gaining higher clientele. He knows nothing more.

At the Mirror Towers, they talk to the guards but don't learn much. They return to Lord Eshteross and obtain a letter from him granting them legal entry to the Towers. Ashton asks him if he could get Cyrus quietly out of town, and he could, but it might not solve their problem as word of a bounty that large would travel far. The other option is to pay off the amount owed to the person issuing the bounty, or to return the stolen property. Imogen, remembering that the initials "J.H." on the case containing the stolen automaton are the same as on the mysterious letter Ashton received,[2] asks him about it again, but he once again evades the question.

With still more than two hours till the scheduled date with Pretty, they return to the Mirror Towers and use Lord Eshteross's letter to gain entry just at sunset, with a mist rising into the spires and rain imminent. The clerk in the Moon Tower takes their letter and goes off to check if Vali Dertrana is available. While they wait, Fearne gets an electric shock when she touches the locked-up books in the room, and Ashton steals her chamber pot from her while she is blinded.

When the clerk returns, he tells them Vali Dertrana didn't answer the knock at his door and must be unavailable – they should return in the morning. They convince the clerk to go back and open the office's door to make sure Master Vali is all right, and follow him just in time to see him closing and locking the door. Master Vali is not in his office, and must have left for the day. Dorian surreptitiously casts Invisibility on Chetney, but Chetney can't pick the door's lock. As a distraction, FCG also touches the books and pretends to malfunction. Imogen asks the clerk to put a note on Master Vali's desk that they will return in the morning and when the clerk opens the office door, the invisible Chetney is able to sneak in and is locked inside the office when the clerk leaves again.

Vali: Our patron is pushing for legislation in the coming week so whatever you plot must be quickened.
Ira: Your dullard mind fails to grasp the beautiful pattern I've already constructed across the city.
Vali: Ira, I'm serious. Let us get this over with, so that I might never deal with your cruel arrogance again.
Ira: Then bring me some riffraff from The Steps. People no one would miss. And maybe a Mahaan child just to spice things up. This next wave will--
Vali: I will most certainly not bring you a child, you freak. And only a short time longer. Finish your work and be gone from my life.
Ira: Of course. Once my work is done, I shall leave.
– 
The overheard conversation betweem Vali Dertrana and Ira.[3]
[!h]

When Chetney explores the desk, he finds a map of the Oderan Wilds, over 100 platinum, a heavy velvet sack and a small leather-bound book with the notations: "Pay made, order, Dreamset" and "requested by Nightmare King, bring alive". He notices faint sounds from behind the bookcase and realizes it hides a secret door, eventually finding the locking mechanism in the desk. The door opens to reveal a dark descending staircase. From it, Chetney overhears part of a conversation between Master Vali and "Ira". When he hears footsteps approaching up the stairs, the still-invisible Chetney hides in a corner.

Master Vali returns to his office and almost immediately realizes someone has been inside it. With a saber in hand, he searches the room, slashing as he goes. When he approaches the hidden Chetney, Chetney bolts, going straight through the closed stained glass window and landing safely in the courtyard below where the party is nervously waiting.

Featured Characters[]

Player Characters[]

Returning[]

New[]

Mentioned[]

Quotations[]

  • Matt: (about his subscription to the Vest of the Month club) These vests are cool.
  • FCG: (discussing Lord Eshteross's sponsorship of the group) When you accept sponsorships, isn't that sort of selling out a little bit?
  • Fearne: Time is a construct that man uses to define change. So be whatever age you want, I guess.
  • Dorian: You also just wanted to set the cook's face on fire, was the other idea, so...
    Laudna: Oh, don't get me wrong, I wasn't being judgmental. I'm here for it, if it calls for murder.
  • Artana Voe: (about Gurge) He's not a typical mark, that one, and if you're looking for him, you'd best be careful. [...] I don't deal with people like him often. In fact, only once before. Just don't get bitten.
  • Imogen: (desperately trying to distract Pretty) Pretty, do you want to go on a date?
    Pretty: With you?
    Imogen: Anybody at this table! Whoever you want to go-- I don't know.
    Fearne: We could all go, just make it a full group hang type of thing.
  • FCG: (to Chetney, about Gurge) We're talking about going to bust out a werewolf man from an ivory tower so that he can recommend you for an apprentice carpenter job?
  • Fearne: (discussing the women's upcoming date with Pretty) What if we fall head over hooves with him?
    Dorian: What if it's a terrible date? Two of you have never actually been on one before.
    FCG: And there's also three of you.
    Fearne: Well, it's more to love, I guess.
    FCG: Are you going to fuck this guy?
    Fearne: Isn't that what you do on a date?

Inventory[]

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Stolen 1 Allhammer earring Ashton Fearne Fearne successfully pickpocketed it from Ashton's belt.
Transferred 1 Allhammer earring Fearne Preio Accepted as half payment for a bottle of elven plum wine/liqueur costing 80 gold.
Transferred 50 gold pieces Ashton Preio To pay for the damages from his last visit to the Soot and Swill.
Transferred 1 bottle elven plum wine/liqueur Soot and Swill Tavern Ashton
Transferred 1 partial bottle elven plum wine/liqueur Ashton Preio
Stolen 1 tomato Kitchen of the Soot and Swill Chetney
Transferred 45
30
103
gold pieces Chetney
Dorian
Orym
Artana Voe For information about Gurge and the bounty on Cyrus.
Stolen 1 chamber pot with flowers Fearne Ashton Ashton successfully pickpocketed the pot. Fearne had stolen it from Dugger's house, and Orym magically made flowers grow in it.[4]
Stolen 1 map of the Oderan Wilds Vali Dertrana's office Chetney See the map here.
Stolen 100 platinum pieces Vali Dertrana's office Chetney
Stolen 6 gold pieces Vali Dertrana's office Chetney
Stolen 1 heavy velvet sack Vali Dertrana's office Chetney Contained a yet-undetermined amount of coin.
Stolen 1 small leather book Vali Dertrana's office Chetney Appeared to be a notebook in cipher with records of transactions.
Transferred 1 tomato Chetney Office in Moon Tower Thrown at Vali Dertrana in his office Chetney escaped by jumping through a stained glass window.

Trivia[]

References[]

  1. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 2:29:37.  Fearne had pickpocketed the earring from a pachydan when she first arrived in Jrusar in the same episode at 1:29:23.
  2. See "Growing Bonds and Teasing Threads" (3x06) at 2:32:30.
  3. See "Thicker Grows the Meal and Plot" (3x09) at 4:07:13.
  4. See "The Threat Between the Walls" (3x05) at 4:00:28.
  5. See "A Woodworker's Quandary" (3x08) at 19:40.

Art:

  1. Fan art of the party vs. The Door, by Hugo Cardenas (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Pretty, by Thomas Lue (source). Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Artana Voe, by Kiera James (source). Used with permission.
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