"Under Timeless Ice" (2x116) is the one hundred sixteenth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein delve into their first of Eiselcross's excavation sites, hot on the heels of their mysterious quarry...

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Announcements[edit | edit source]

  • Cortex is a brand-new gaming toolset that lets you create your own game from hundreds of modular parts. To demonstrate, Sam's created an immersive horror game, "Tax Code Carnage: IRS Annihiliation," an adventure in accounting. To enter for a chance at a free copy of the core rules, go to twitter.com/cortexRPG, or buy directly at bitly/cortexrpgcr.
  • The second sponsor for the night is Hocus Pocus: The Game, based on the Disney movie. Check it out at bitly/CritRoleHocusPocus.
  • Critical Role's next project with Dark Horse Comics is Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins, starting with the origin stories of Jester and Caleb in June and July, 2021. Available for pre-order right now.
  • The second episode of Narrative Telephone Round 2 will be this Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 4:00 pm Pacific featuring storyteller Brian Wayne Foster. Rated NSFW.
  • Merch Alert! Vox Machina full dice sets from Die Hard Dice for Vex, Vax, and Grog now available in all three CritRole.com shops.

Previously on Critical Role[edit | edit source]

So, last we left off, the Mighty Nein, making their way north into the realm of Eiselcross, hired by Vess DeRogna of the Cerberus Assembly to help bring her and protect her, towards the ruins of Aeor on the region of Foren. Unfortunately, Vess was murdered by the previous ally -- or at least the body of the previous ally -- Mollymauk, traveling with other individuals northward on a similar path.

Fan art of camping in the snow, by MadCookiefighter.[art 1]

You discovered Vess's dead corpse, covered for it so nobody else would discover it as well, and made your rapid escape from Balenpost, along with your scout, Dagen Underthorn, who has been leading you through the icy, frigid realm towards the first location on the map which you've decided to explore. Dubbed "A5" on the map, it is one of the numerous early excavations of fallen Aeorian debris, and after making your way across some mysterious encounters, some strange weather, and making some allies out of possible enemies in the shape of intelligent yeti, you discovered the outside of this excavation site. As you found a number of long-frozen bodies left in the surrounding debris of ice and stone, you begin to approach the entrance to it.

Part I[edit | edit source]

Dagen say he'll set up camp outside the entrance and wait for them. Veth goes first to scout, borrowing Beau's Goggles of Night in order to see in the darkness. The first room holds an abandoned encampment and narrows into a very small hallway leading downward. Beau finds the fresh body of a drow in Kryn Dynasty attire who appears to have died in the same way that Vess DeRogna did but bears no eye tattoos. Jester chops his head off so they can take it with them for Speak With Dead later and Caleb puts it into the Vault of Amber.

Fan art of Jester boosting Caleb, by Hannah Spronz.[art 2]

Veth sets off again, finding a point where the hallway ends at a crack just large enough to squeeze through. Caleb sends Frumpkin ahead to scout and he finds a three-foot drop into a new chamber that is a room turned on its side covered in decorative arcane markings. There are signs of foot traffic about the room. Holding onto one end of a fifty-foot rope, Veth enters followed by the others. There are doors leading out on what is now the ceiling and the opposite wall, and Caleb jumps on Jester's shoulders to look through the opposite one. He sees a dark, ice-covered chamber turned at a different angle and sloping downward. It holds four unlit pedestal braziers.

Investigating the door on the ceiling, Caleb uses his Stormrider Boots to fly up and into the room above, a mostly collapsed chamber filled with rocky debris where he fastens one end of a rope which the others climb up. They notice bundles in the corner which appear to be covered in fine, wound silk, and then see a well-hidden, translucent, motionless 12-foot-wide arachnid among the icy stalactites. Beating a hasty retreat, they climb back down the rope to the previous room. Jester partially seals the door with Stone Shape after Fjord uses Dwueth'var to cast Fly on her.

Meanwhile, Caleb casts Alarm at the other doorway so they will know if they are being followed, and they climb in. The entire room is at a steep slant and is freezing cold. Jester flies down it carrying one end of the rope and braces herself against a handle-less set of double doors at the other end, joined by Caleb. As Caduceus is coming next along the rope, halfway through the room the temperature drops even further. He notices six faintly glowing blue ice-crystal creatures descending from the ceiling which quickly surround him.

The creatures are attracted to warmth and cause cold damage by proximity and on a melee attack. Jester invokes her duplicate near Caduceus and casts Spiritual Weapon, but three more creatures drift down and surround her and Caleb, attacking and wounding them both and causing cold damage. The beleagured Caduceus is seriously wounded by those surrounding him, although he retaliates with the Shield of Retribution. Yasha dashes to his defense but slips and slides all the way to the bottom of the room with Jester and Caleb, taking ice damage from the freezing auras of the creatures as she passes through them.

Beau dashes to one of the braziers and notices an empty shelf-like cubby with glyphs of transmutation or evocation. She shouts this to the rest of the party. Veth runs along the rope toward Caduceus, using a spell scroll to cast Flaming Sphere on two of the creatures near them. Caleb uses Widogast's Web of Fire to send fire into all four of the unlit braziers and one of the creatures surrounding Caduceus, but Beau is blocking one and he hits her instead of the brazier. The other three braziers, however, burst into arcane flame.

Fan art of the ice crystal fight, by Melissa Hahn.[art 3]

Jester casts Spirit Guardians around herself in the form of infernal hamster unicorns, killing one of the creatures around the group at the door, Yasha kills another, and Beau takes out two near Caduceus. He barely survives the cold damage from the three still surrounding him. Hanging onto the rope running through the room with her knees, Veth throws the Corecut Dagger and takes out another creature, but the dagger slides away to the double doors. Caleb uses another cast of Web of Fire to light the final brazier and aims fire at all four remaining creatures, killing the two remaining near the door. As the last brazier lights, the doors Caleb and Jester are leaning against swing open, but they manage to keep themselves from falling through them.

Alone at the top of the room holding the rope, Fjord drops it, sending Veth careening down the slope and through the doorway out of sight. Fjord slides down to Caduceus, grabs him as he slides, and immediately casts Thunder Step carrying them both to safety and destroying the two remaining creatures.

Meanwhile, Veth has slid through the doors and is free-falling, so she casts Feather Fall. The floor is 270 feet down, filled with debris, jagged rock, and ice.

Break[edit | edit source]

Part II[edit | edit source]

Veth lands safely and calls up to the worried group far above her that she's all right. She investigates and finds two frozen, picked-over bodies and a strange smell emanating from a tar-like substance. Veth touches it and it shoots out and tries to wrap around her, but she avoids it. The creature, a black pudding, emerges and Veth backs away as far as she can, casting Hypnotic Pattern and charming it. Another ooze immediately appears, however, and also attacks.

Fan art of the black pudding fight, by astrolunos.[art 4]

Veth casts Spider Climb and heads up the wall, pursued by an ooze which wraps around her. Caleb activates the driftglobe, hands it to Fjord, Polymorphs into a giant eagle, grabs Fjord and Yasha and begins flying down. Beau throws a celebone down to provide some light as well. Jester grabs Beau and they Dimension Door into the pit, falling twenty feet to the ground, slightly cushioned by Beau's Slow Fall ability.

Meanwhile, Veth tries to continue running up the wall but is hit by one of the oozes, losing her concentration on Spider Climb and falling thirty feet into the other ooze. She is slowly being wrapped by the creature and taking acid damage, so casts Hypnotic Pattern again to charm both oozes. It also catches Beau, though.

Jester uses her Ring of Spell Splitting to Polymorph herself and Veth into giant eagles. Veth is able to extricate herself from the ooze, grab Beau, and fly upward eighty feet, joined by eagle-Jester and eagle-Caleb. Regrouping with Caduceus up at the top of the shaft, they decide to go back down and try to kill the oozes with ranged attacks. Caleb drops his eagle form, Polymorphs Yasha, and climbs on her back while she grabs Beau in her talons. Fjord climbs on eagle-Jester and Caduceus on eagle-Veth and they all fly back downwards. They encounter the oozes about halfway down and Fjord hits one with three Eldritch Blasts. Beau hits the other with her Maelstrom Gloves but it splits into two smaller oozes. When she does it again it splits again. Caleb casts a Fireball on all of them, killing the smaller ones, and Caduceus finishes off one of the larger ones with a Sacred Flame. Fjord gets the last large one with three more Eldritch Blasts.

Veth searches for and finds the Corecut Dagger at the bottom of the pit, and looks relieved. Meanwhile, Jester claws away ice and exposes an opening. They take a short rest to heal before heading onward and Fjord apologizes to Veth for dropping the rope and sending her plunging into the pit.

They set off through the now-exposed opening into a hallway lit by light-emitting orbs along its length. Eventually they encounter a pile of fresh bodies in Kryn Dynasty garb (two drow, a human, a goblin, and two orcs) killed in a recent battle. They proceed down the hallway until the lighted orbs end at a rusted iron door without handles or knobs, but with a shelf resembling those in the pedestal braziers found in the tilted room above them, covered in ancient arcane glyphs and symbols. Caleb is able to ascertain it requires abjuration to complete.

They discuss that they still have the vial containing Molly's blood, and Matt notes that all the blood vials seem to contain less than they originally did. Caleb brings Vess DeRogna's body out of the Vault of Amber and tries her hand in the door's slot with no effect. Fjord puts his hand in the slot and casts Armor of Agathys at first level, lighting up about a sixth of the sigils within. Caleb follows with three casts of Shield at first level and once at second level, succeeding in filling the sigils and opening the door.

Fan art of the purple tiefling, by KageSatsuki.[art 5]

The circular chamber within is lit with bright blue light from a foot-wide gem in the center of the ceiling thirty feet above. The far wall bears an elaborate fifteen-foot arcane sigil that rises to wrap around the glowing ceiling gem. Walkways line the outer edges while small stairways descend into the middle. In the middle of the room are the remains of a small encampment with bodies strewn across the ground at the feet of other figures.

The party has entered at the end of the fight. As they watch, two more figures are cut down by four others in the opposing group. The last survivor, a screaming woman, is being lifted into the air by one hand of a fifth figure, who is illuminated briefly by a flash of nine points of light across their body as the screaming ceases, the woman goes limp, and her body drops to the ground. The familiar figure then looks directly at the Mighty Nein, saying, "My apologies. You've arrived early. I was hoping to tidy up a bit."

Featured Characters[edit | edit source]

Fan art of the Nonagon, by Elaine Tipping.[art 6]

The Mighty Nein[edit | edit source]

New[edit | edit source]

Returning[edit | edit source]

Mentioned[edit | edit source]

Inventory[edit | edit source]

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Transferred 1 Goggles of Night Beauregard Veth For scouting. Beau made it very clear she expects them to be returned to her.
Expended 1 Celebone Beauregard Used to light up the pit Veth had fallen into.

Quotations[edit | edit source]

  • Lucien: "My apologies. You've arrived early. I was hoping to tidy up a bit."[1]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. See "Under Timeless Ice" (2x116) at 4:03:17.

Art:

  1. Fan art of camping in the snow, by MadCookiefighter (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Jester boosting Caleb, by Hannah Spronz (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of the ice crystal fight, by Melissa Hahn (source).  Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of the black pudding fight, by astrolunos (source).  Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of the purple tiefling, by KageSatsuki (source).  Used with permission.
  6. Fan art of the Nonagon, by Elaine Tipping (source).  Used with permission.


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