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"Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) is the eighty-fourth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. Having survived the dangers of the Folding Halls, the Mighty Nein must now grapple with the gravity of Obann’s plot and decide who in the Empire they can possibly trust...

Synopsis Edit

Announcements Edit

  • Sam leads the cheers for D&D Beyond. It's pithy, but not quite the most violent one yet. Matt thanks D&D Beyond for many reasons, mainly their endurance.
  • Travis announces that during the month of November, Critical Role is partnering with OSD, an organization supporting U.S. veterans. Contribute at critrole.com/OSD.
  • UnDeadwood Part IV (the finale) will air Friday, November 15 at 7 pm PDT on the Twitch channel.
  • The Legend of Vox Machina has been picked up by Amazon Prime. Season One has been expanded to 12 episodes and will be available free to backers. There will also now be a 12-episode Season Two. Details at their Kickstarter page.
  • Merch Update! Chibi pins for Fjord, Nott, and Molly. Also, a soft and snuggly blanket with Deven Rue's map of Tal'Dorei. Check out the U.S. and U.K. critrole.com stores.

Previously on Critical Role Edit

So, last we left off, the Mighty Nein, in search of their allies in the coming struggle that seemed to be slowly building around Obann, and the plans that he’s making in pursuit of the will of the Angel of Irons, you went to find that Yussa, the mage of Tidepeak Tower, had vanished into the Folding Halls of Halas, the Archmage Bane, the Heirloom Sphere, or, as you guys refer to it, the Happy Fuckin’ Fun Ball. After spending what was essentially weeks and weeks of real time, and just a few days inside the ball’s strange time dilation, you managed to make your way through all sorts of strange chambers and traps and battle mage-hunter golems, and then eventually find your way to a lost den of Halas, the creator of these Halls, who had found his soul locked within a trapped or sabotaged relic, which he was using in his research. Acquiring this gem, questioning him, and making an alliance, to a certain degree, to gain guidance out of this strange sequence of rooms, you managed to find yourselves the Prison of Soot. You freed Yussa, who had been silenced and put away as he began to peruse the interior of these Halls on his own. You all managed to escape, and found yourselves outside of the sphere, partway up Tidepeak Tower, along with Allura Vysoren from the Council of Tal’Dorei, who’d aided you as a friend through this small adventure.

Now as you all gathered, her research had brought her to ask information and to bring materials and thoughts and imagery, memories, of this individual Yasha, which you spoke of, which seemed to be involved in this mess with Obann. As you gathered, hands together and prepared the ritual, you peered past the veil of deceit, and revealed the Angel of Irons seems to have been a cover, some sort of a possibly fictional name, an entity to mask the true intent of one Tharizdun, the Chained Oblivion, who has been seemingly amassing allies under the guise of the Angel of Irons. To what end, we do not know necessarily. But, upon this revelation, we return to the chamber partway up Tidepeak Tower. As Allura finishes saying to herself, “I must inform the Council,” there’s a long, pregnant pause. The air itself is still. You can smell the salty sea air that comes in from the nearby docks and Ocean of Lucidian nearby. But amongst that is just this sense of dread and weight on your shoulders, as the sheer volume and gravity of what you’ve all recently heard comes to take your mind.

Part I Edit

The party tries to remember everything they know about Tharizdun, the Chained Oblivion. While classified as one of the Betrayer Gods, Tharizdun may in fact be far older. A mad and hungry black void, he lies chained by Ioun and Pelor at the bottom of the Abyss, secured by multiple sets of divine shackles anchored somewhere in Exandria. The party tells Yussa and Allura the names of those they know are associated with the cult of the Angel of Irons: Obann, Yasha, the Laughing Hand, Jourrael, and Vence Nuthaleus (aka "Blondie"). They discuss the rift-opening devices that are weakening the veils between the Abyss and the Prime Material Plane, and decide that they are going to need to take down the cult of the Angel of Irons.

Yussa mentions that he has a friend in the Empire: Oremid Hass at the Halls of Erudition in Zadash. He doesn't want to go there himself because the Halls contain "means to disable such glamours that would allow him free entry" but he gives them a letter of introduction so the party can go as his allies. He also suggests that since Oremid likes small furry animals, taking Sprinkle and Frumpkin may be a good strategy. Yussa believes that not all of the Cerberus Assembly is corrupt. Allura then leaves to seek aid from the Tal'Dorei Council, although their ability to intervene in foreign politics may be limited. Yussa gives the party a share of what he's recovered from the Heirloom Sphere, amounting to 2100 platinum pieces, and also replaces the diamond that was used to Revivify Nott.

They then discuss what to do about Halas. Nott still has the ruby and, at Fjord's suggestion, touches it to test if Halas is still there. She is unable to keep herself from asking further about Halas's ability to change a body permanently. He was researching such a spell but it is incomplete, although if she releases him, he will help her pursue it. The others grow increasingly concerned about the side of this conversation they can hear and Nott's failure to respond to them or drop the gem, so Caduceus casts Silence on her while Beau snatches the gem. Nott is furious, saying this was her opportunity and she can't just leave it alone. Yussa challenges Caleb to complete the spell that Halas was working on, and he promises Nott he'll try. Yussa then destroys Halas's body and locks the gem in a pocket dimension.

Tattoos - Aurex Aldori

Fan art of the Tattoos, by Aurex Aldori.[art 1]

They decide to proceed to Zadash to see Oremid Hass as Yussa suggested, and Jester Sends to Archivist Zeenoth at the Cobalt Soul to see if their last visit has been forgotten yet. Zeenoth reponds that everything's been smoothed over and they're welcome any time. Jester remembers the magical stat-raising tattoos that Orly Skiffback spoke of months before and she, Beau and Nott decide to spend some of their new-found riches on them. They find the Ball-Eater just leaving port and it returns to the wharf, where Orly gives tattoos for constitution to Jester, wisdom to Beau, and charisma to Nott.

Meanwhile, Caleb, Caduceus, and Fjord go out for fish and chips, and talk about destiny and fate, their obligation to try to stop Tharizdun even if it means their deaths, their growing attachment to the group, and their sense of duty to try to rescue Yasha from Obann. Caleb is very worried about speaking to Oremid Hass in Zadash, given his connection to Trent Ikithon, but believes that they need to save Yasha and deal with the Chained Oblivion.

The party sleeps on the ship in their old cabins and teleports to Zadash in the morning.

Break Edit

Part II Edit

Arriving in Zadash, they are greeted by Archivist Zeenoth, who apologizes for how things went in their previous visit and tells them that Dairon has returned to tell the Cobalt Soul of the party's recent accomplishments and Beau's promotion to Expositor. To the party's massive surprise, Beau apologizes to Zeenoth as well. Their privileges to the archives and to use the order's teleportation circles have been restored.

They meet with Dairon, who tells them she is trying to gain an audience with King Dwendal to inform him and his council about possible internal corruption. They share that Vence Nuthaleus is involved with the cult of the Angel of Irons, a front for Tharizdun. Zeenoth shows the party to Beau's new chamber within the Cobalt Soul where she dons her new raiment of an Expositor, saving her old belt.

Caleb decides to stay behind and research Tharizdun, learning that six shackles hold Tharizdun within the Abyss, anchored in locations within Exandria that are closely guarded secrets within the highest clergy of the Dawnfather and the Knowing Mistress. Taking Frumpkin with them, the rest of the party heads towards the Hall of Erudition. On the way, Jester reminds Fjord she'd like to meet with the Gentleman while they're in the city, and Beau realizes that she isn't lying as much recently because she's getting better at being herself. Using their letter of introduction from Yussa, they gain audience with Oremid Hass, the Headmaster.

The Mighty Nein are unusually honest with Oremid, telling him that the Chained Oblivion is trying to break free with the aid of the false cult of the Angel of Irons, that a third party is planting rift-creating devices to thin the barrier between the Prime Material Plane and the Abyss, and that they believe someone in Xhorhas allowed the capture by the Empire of two of the dodecahedrons. Oremid responds that in the private echelons of the Empire, there are rumors of Empire defectors working with the Kryn Dynasty. When they mention Vence Nuthaleus is one of the cultists and produce the fabric swatch found caught in a rift device, that is enough to convince Oremid to begin investigating. He contacts Vence, but learns he is back in Rexxentrum. When the party produces Frumpkin and Sprinkle, all Oremid's reserve crumbles and he dissolves into incoherent cuddling. He gives them a pin bearing the crest of the Cerberus Assembly to help them gain credibility.
Attack - Paul Hollingsworth

Fan art of the attack, by Paul Justin Hollingsworth.[art 2]

The party meets up with Caleb at the Invulnerable Vagrant, where Pumat Sol tells them his stock is low because he's been busy producing requisitioned wartime supplies for the Assembly. He asks them to get him a vial of Swavain basilisk oil, and they agree. They also purchase several healing potions and a potion of maximum arcane power. Suddenly, Caduceus feels a searing pain in his back as he is attacked and seriously wounded by a red-haired female drow specter that immediately shifts back into the ground like a ghost.

Featured Characters Edit

The Mighty Nein Edit

New Edit

Returning Edit

Mentioned Edit

Inventory Edit

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Acquired 1 2,100 platinum (value 21,000 gp) Yussa Party Reward for freeing Yussa from the Heirloom Sphere.
Acquired 1 Diamond (value 350 gp) Yussa Caduceus Replacement for diamond used to Revivify Nott.
Acquired 1 1312 gp Orly Party Split of profits from the Ball-Eater.
Acquired 1 pin with the Cerberus Assembly symbol Oremid Hass party Oremid marked it with his arcane signature.
Acquired 2 regular healing potions The Invulnerable Vagrant Party
Acquired 2 greater healing potions The Invulnerable Vagrant Party
Acquired 1 potion of superior healing The Invulnerable Vagrant Party
Acquired 1 potion of maximum power The Invulnerable Vagrant Caleb Single use. Allows maximum possible damage from one arcane spell.

Trivia Edit

  • Prices and gems required for the tattoos:
    • Strength - Ruby - 2200
    • Dexterity - Emerald - 2200
    • Constitution - Diamond - 2500
    • Intelligence - Sapphire - 2200
    • Wisdom - Jade - 2200
    • Charisma - Aquamarine - 2200
    • Resist Fire - Fire Opal - 5000
    • Resist Cold - Black Star Sapphire - 5000
  • Matt suffered a presumed 1 point of slicing psychic damage from the paper he threw into the air that boomeranged and attacked his eye.

Quotations Edit

  • Caduceus: Nott, you have to understand the difference between an opportunity and a temptation. That was a temptation.
  • A Good Garden - Shiv Kilsby

    Fan art of A Good Garden, by Shiv Kilsby.[art 3]

    Caduceus: Have you ever planted anything? Put anything in the ground?
    Caleb: A long time ago, yeah, plants.
    Caduceus: What did you plant?
    Caleb: Green beans.
    Caduceus: Green beans. Perfect. So you put something in the ground. It didn’t look like much. You knew what you were going to get at the end of it. You put this thing in the ground, and it’s going to do what it’s going to do. It doesn’t know what it is. It doesn’t know its purpose. But it’s moving to green beans. The gods plant us, they plant their will and their desire, and we move towards the fruit that we will eventually bear for them, if all goes well. That plant may not have made it. That plant may have fallen to a chill, or circumstance, been eaten by something that didn’t appreciate what put it there. But destiny has planted you here and now, and it hopes that you will bear its fruit. That’s destiny. The tree doesn’t know what it’s going to fruit. You don’t know where you’re headed, but you were put here. And I’ve always known this but I will admit I have never felt it as truly as I have since meeting the rest of you. This is a garden. This is a good garden. A lot of manure. But a good garden.
  • Caleb: I have started to forget what it was like to not be with you people. And we are missing one, and I am stuck on that, that we are missing one.
  • Fjord: I think the other part of it is, if you know everything that we know, and you have a choice, do you choose not to act? And sit by idly letting the rest of your life go by? Or do you act, knowing full well that you might fail entirely?
    Caleb: Well, I’m at least familiar with the concept of failure.
    Fjord: You’ve got me becoming comfortable with the idea of failing with you. Makes it a little less... lonely.
  • Caduceus: Are you going to go apologize some more? 'Cause that was awesome.
    Beau: Those are sparing.
    Caduceus: I understand. I apologize.
    Beau: I pick and choose my apologies.
    Caduceus: I give mine freely.


Link to Episode TranscriptEdit

References Edit

Art:

  1. Fan art of the Tattoos, by Aurex Aldori (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of the attack, by Paul Justin Hollingsworth (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of A Good Garden, by Shiv Kilsby (source).  Used with permission.


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