"Unwanted Reunions" (2x88) is the eighty-eighth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein must deal with the political ramifications of their choices as they wade further into the depths of the war between the Empire and Xhorhas...
...and the cast already has senioritis for the holidays.
- Stand-up Santa is here pitching Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms in between his set of Christmas one-liners and puns. With love, Sam, don't quit the day job just yet.
- Tonight's second sponsor is the incredibly lucky D&D Beyond, who won the gift of not having Sam's set be their ad this week.
- Winter Break time: next week (December 19) will be the final week of live programming for the year, returning on Thursday January 9, 2020. The season finale of Travis Willingham's Yee-Haw Game Ranch will be Tuesday, December 17, returning in the spring.
- Ashley thanks Christina Ahrens for making them all lovely spacious dice bags.
- Two convention dates have been announced for 2020: C2E2 in Chicago at the end of February, and MCM London in May.
- Vox Machina Origins Volume 2 Issue 4 will release December 18, 2019.
- There will be an end-of-the-year Fireside Chat Hangout Wednesday December 17 at 5 pm PST on their Twitch Channel.
- Laura Bailey is off at the Game Awards tonight as an honored nominee. She might be able to join at some point during the evening, but if not, she's in a better place.
Previously on Critical Role
So, last we left off: The Mighty Nein had found their way to the capital of the Empire, Rexxentrum, to discover a Kryn Dynasty assault on the city overlapping simultaneously with the arrival of Obann and his “found family” of seemingly unkillable figures that he had collected as part of a ritual to unleash the Angel of Irons, which had been found to actually be Tharizdun, the Chained Oblivion, catfishing the fuck out of Obann as well as the rest of the cult, it seems. You managed to destroy the Laughing Hand, free Yasha from the mind control that Obann had inflicted upon her, destroy Obann’s physical form, and in the moment before he could return back to the hells to re-form, he was punished for his inability to fulfill his promise. Realizing Tharizdun in the final moment, he was corrupted into Obann the Punished, a horribly malformed, inky, tentacled creation, an abomination in the image of the Chained Oblivion.
You did battle with this creature, barely managing to scrape by, but in doing so you found your ally Pumat heavily hurt, but survived. You garnished the attention of the Righteous Brand, and it seemed that this incursion by the Kryn had almost simultaneously with your battle ended in retreat, seemingly for no reason. You were then brought by a captain of the Righteous Brand to Castle Ungebroch to meet with King Dwendal himself, of the Dwendalian Empire, along with a number of other figures currently in his council at the moment, including Allura Vysoren, the head of Rexxentrum’s Cobalt Soul archive, and Sydnock Truscan, the Prime Arbiter of the Empire, and Trent Ikithon, alongside Ludinus Da'leth. During this period of time, it was revealed that Ludinus’s assistant Vence seemed to be the figure heavily tied into this cult business, much to his surprise, it seemed, and those of the council. You were also discussing your interactions with Xhorhas and the Bright Queen, and it was revealed as part of this conversation your interactions there and the alliance that you had made on that side of the conflict. As part of that, you were charged with using this relationship, possibly helping bring about some sort of a meeting, a parlay, a negotiation to possibly bring this conflict to an end, as it seems a large portion of this conflict stems from the theft or disappearance of these beacons supposedly by the Empire. The members of the Cerberus Assembly say they have recovered the relic in question, and are eager to return it if it means the bloodshed will come to an end.
So, given this mission by the King of the Empire, you were assigned to meet in the coming morning with the Martinet himself to discuss how to go about this plan of action. So, Mighty Nein, as you exit assisted by a number of the members of the Righteous Brand, you are given your weapons back that you had left within the waiting chamber, and you are pushed back out into the Shimmer Ward, at this point now in the later afternoon, the clouded skies starting to take the color of a coming sunset, and the afternoon is yours. You know that supposedly rooms are going to be situated or prepared for you at a place referred to as the Camarouth Cottage here in the Shimmer Ward, and in the morning you will be meeting with Ludinus.
The group find themselves alone on the streets of the Shimmer Ward and decide to go directly to their lodgings at the Camarouth Cottage for the night. It is a large and comfortable inn run by a dwarven family, Kela Camarouth and her two teen-aged grandsons. The grandsons escort the party to seven nice rooms on the second floor that have been provided for them, and are very impressed by Beau and her Cobalt Soul status. One of them gets her some liquor at her request and Beau rewards him by giving him a few of her throwing stars, telling him it's official Cobalt Soul equipment.
The rooms are large and the four front-facing ones have glass doors opening onto balconies. To the party's surprise, Caleb opts for one of these more exposed rooms. They all clean up a bit and meet downstairs for dinner, talking with Yasha about her time away. She says that the only time she felt like herself was when she was dreaming, and tries to pay Fjord back the 500 gp she borrowed for her bracers back in Rosohna. At first he refuses, but then takes it in exchange for a gift to her: the book that Caleb gave to him that they stole from the Tumblecarve family house back in Uthodurn.
They retire to one of their rooms for further private discussion. All of them express their support for Caleb, who feels that they're going to have to work with Trent Ikithon in their mission to the Dynasty. They discuss the fact that neither side in this conflict is fully trustworthy and whether or not they should send a message to Essek Thelyss prior to their return to Rosohna.
They make a list of their "hard line" demands for their mission:
- They're not going anywhere today (Nott)
- They're not going supervised (Fjord)
- They're not going until they see the beacon themselves in person (Beau)
- More detail about the Empire's true goals (Caduceus) ("Squiggly" line)
- A thousand platinum (Fjord)
- The Empire should cover incidentals at their hotel (Nott)
- Chocolate (Yasha)
- Armaments (Fjord)
- Pastries (Jester)
- The party chooses the location for the meeting (Jester)
Despite having individual rooms, they decide for safety's sake to sleep with roommates: Caleb and Nott, Fjord and Caduceus, and Yasha, Beau, and Jester together. Before they sleep, Caduceus and Fjord discuss nature and the Wildmother's attitude toward deception, and Caduceus tells him he's well on his way and gives him a beautiful seal of the Wildmother that Caduceus had had forged at the Kiln. During the night, Yasha dreams of struggling through a storm to crest a mountain and looks down to see the shackles that had been binding her are now broken.
The next morning, Ludinus Da'leth arrives as they are finishing breakfast and escorts them to his tower in the Candles. He tells them that Vence Nuthaleus has not yet been found. They tell him that they want to see the beacon that Trent Ikithon supposedly has found recently and he readily agrees. Da'leth presents the Empire's reasons for the conflict with Xhorhas: the Kryn belief in the Luxon, Kryn missionaries recently found in Nogvurat, skirmishes along the border and the Kryn capture and torture of Empire spies, rising numbers of Xhorhasian creatures crossing into the Empire, general mistrust of goblinoids, and a growing suspicion that the Kryn covet the comparatively richer Empire lands. The loss of the beacon was just the spark that lit the fire. The Martinet reiterates the claim that this is the first beacon the Empire has encountered.
Caleb tells Da'leth that he is a former student of Master Ikithon, and goes on to tell him that the reason the party went to Xhorhas was to recover Yasha from the Angel of Irons cult. He saw a chance to make amends between the two nations, and the Bright Queen, though skeptical, took a chance on them. Da'leth asks for their thoughts on a possible location for the meeting and seems most receptive to Nicodranas on the Menagerie Coast. He brings up the fact that Yasha was involved in the attack on the Cobalt Soul in Zadash, and says that he has hidden her involvement from the investigators. He also says that the location of the other shackles holding Tharizdun is unknown, although he has sent word to Vasselheim requesting more information.
With their meeting concluded for now, Da'leth offers to take them to see the beacon. Since Trent will be there, Caleb can stay behind if he would be uncomfortable, but he agrees to come. Da'leth casts a teleportation spell taking them to a wooded area at the base of a mountain range, before a group of several gothic-looking buildings surrounded by a tall guarded wrought iron fence. Caleb recognizes it: The Vergesson Sanatorium.
Ludinus escorts the party to a waiting room and leaves to ask if the beacon is ready for their inspection. While they are alone, Yasha asks Caleb if he has been here before and he confirms that this is where he was held for eleven years. Ludinus returns with Trent Ikithon and the party is led to a locked cellar laboratory with the beacon on a tripod in its center. There are two individuals flanking it: one a female halfling with maze-like geometric tattoos on her arms, the other a tall, muscular human male with black hair, whom Caleb recognizes as Eadwulf.
Trent tells them that the Empire has had the relic only a few weeks since it was found in an archaeological dig outside of Pride's Call. They have been studying it and although they are interested by it and believe it could be useful, they are willing to give it up to the Dynasty in pursuit of peace. Nott touches it, trying to see if it will grant the fragment of possibility, but Trent notices and interrupts, noting that they must have seen a beacon before to know immediately what to do with it. The party denies this. Trent also denies that he has ever seen an object like it before, and tells Caleb he thinks that Caleb already knows about the form of magic it contains. After an exceptionally high insight check, Caduceus comments (after they are alone together) that although Trent didn't lie, he walked daintily around the truth.
As the meeting comes to an end and Ludinus begins to usher them out, Caleb greets Eadwulf, telling him it's good to see him again. Eadwulf responds impassively that it's good to see Bren, as well, and that he looks good. The party goes back up the stairs, where Ludinus apologizes for the tension and calls Trent "a challenging individual." He believes that Trent is not being entirely forthright with his knowledge or information about the beacon.
The party asks about magical shops in Rexxentrum and Ludinus recommends the Cryptic Collection. He notices and comments on Fjord's new symbol of Melora, and seems genuinely impressed when Fjord summons the Star Razor. He then teleports the party back to outside his tower in the city.
They discuss what to do next. Caduceus is in favor of asking Ludinus to submit to a Zone of Truth spell along with the party. Beau suggests going to Pride's Call to verify that this beacon was found there. Fjord suggests going shopping first. They decide on shopping, and visit the Cryptic Collection, owned by Keona the Keen, a strange half-elf with very elongated fingers. She sells them multiple items including a Revivify diamond, pieces of amber for Caleb, health potions, a non-magical bone flute for Caduceus, a Bead of Force, and some Sovereign Glue. Jester orders a gem-encrusted bowl, and Yasha orders a bone harp, both to be ready in two days. Unsure about what to do during that time, they ask Keona if they can do anything for her if they go to Pride's Call. She requests they bring back three of the very-well-guarded silkworms owned by families there.
After much discussion, they decide just to hang around Rexxentrum for the two days until their orders are ready. Beau plans to visit the Cobalt Soul, and Fjord and Yasha want to find a tournament to fight in. Unbeknownst to the party, Caleb plans to go by himself to 31st Woadstone Manor, the address given by Astrid in her letter.
- Caleb: (speaking about meeting Trent Ikithon in the Throne Room) You know, I have spent a long time imagining how seeing him again would go, and I did not imagine... that. I have spent years avoiding-- that. And we just walked in. I have imagined choking the life from that man, a lot, and I think we need to work with him.
- Fjord: (to Caleb) If you want to finish this on a personal level, let me know.
- Caleb: (after Trent says the Assembly would not be welcome in the Dynasty) I think he’s right, though. His previous poking about in the Dynasty did not end well.
Trent: “You misunderstand. I have not myself traveled to the Dynasty.”
Caleb: No, you don’t do that. You don’t need to. You have help for that. Always help for that.
Trent: “Not everyone is as helpful.” (And their eyes lock for a long moment, before Trent looks away.)
- Caleb: Wulf. It’s good to see you again.
Eadwulf: “It’s good to see you, too. It’s been some time. You look good."
- Ludinus: (to Jester) “It’s entirely off-putting how disarmingly charming you are. I genuinely do not know how to react. Take that as a compliment.”
- Jester: (about Trent) Did he ever seem, like, nice to you? Or was he always weird?
Caleb: Sometimes. Sometimes after being particularly harsh, he would apologize after.
Yasha: That can be very confusing.
|Transferred||500||500 gp||Yasha||Fjord||Repayment of a loan to order her bracers|
|Transferred||1||Book||Fjord||Yasha||Probably a Manual of Gainful Exercise|
|Transferred||1||Symbol of the Wildmother||Caduceus||Fjord||A beautiful Wildmother seal Caduceus had made at the Kiln.|
|Acquired||1||Potion of Healing||The Cryptic Collection||Party||Cost 50gp|
|Acquired||2||Potions of Greater Healing||The Cryptic Collection||Party||Cost 150gp each|
|Acquired||1||Potion of Superior Healing||The Cryptic Collection||Party||Cost 450gp|
|Acquired||1||Cruzela||The Cryptic Collection||Caduceus||Bone flute, cost 50gp|
|Acquired||5||Pieces of Amber||The Cryptic Collection||Caleb||Cost 200gp total|
|Acquired||1||Bead of Force||The Cryptic Collection||Beau||Cost 250gp|
|Acquired||1||Diamond||The Cryptic Collection||Jester||Cost 350gp|
|Acquired||1||Sovereign Glue||The Cryptic Collection||Nott||Cost 600gp, 2 uses|
- Apparently the forging was done off-stream, as Matt mentions it had been planned since the party was at the Kiln, and Taliesin thanks him for letting him do it ("Unwanted Reunions" (2x88) at 1:23:18) but the moment didn't appear on stream.
- Fan art of Fjord's symbol of Melora, by Doug Myers (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of the Candle of Ludinus, by Cyarna Trim (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of the Vergesson Sanatorium, by Cyarna Trim (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Eadwulf, by Bethany Berg (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Keona the Keen, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.