"What Comes Next" (Ex08) is the eighth and final episode of the first season of Exandria Unlimited. Face to face with the foe who has been following them through the jungle, the group must use every ability and asset at their disposal to contend with a force that threatens to tear them apart at the very seams...
Even though she usually prefers "Game Master", Aabria's outfit suggests "Dungeon Master" is more appropriate tonight. The cast introduce themselves, their characters, and their relationships to latex before throwing to their favorite time-traveler, Cozy Matt.
- A startlingly blue Matt announces the first sponsor: Bethesda and ZeniMax Online Studios and their latest release The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood, now available on all platforms.
- Second sponsor is Sega and Humankind, a turn-based historical strategy game available for pre-order at 17% off.
- Critical Role is now livestreaming on both Twitch and YouTube. The moderated community live chat is on Twitch.
- Next Thursday, August 19th will be the second one-shot inspired by Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood, DM'ed by Marisha Ray and starring Aabria Iyengar, Michelle Nguyen Bradley, Sam Riegel, Laura Bailey, and Taliesin Jaffe.
- The Exandria Unlimited roundtable-style campaign wrap-up, hosted by Marisha, will be streamed on Thursday, August 26th.
- Aabria thinks it's great Matt did the last Announcements read in full Dorian cosplay.
Previously on Exandria Unlimited
One night in Niirdal-Poc: revelations, realizations, and a new direction forward. You decided to head south through the lower jungle towards the heart of the Iron Authority in order to find Tetrarch Umejii, to find and avert some yet-unknown disaster. You came across the ruins of Niirdal-Sarqet, the spiritual center of the Qoniira Tetrarchy, and marveled at a massive floating stone hexahedron covered in runes and light. You climbed it, translated it, and inadvertently gave portions of your own life force to summon violent stone constructs. Fearne, you seized control of the entire cube, and by halting its rotation caused it to shatter apart and release a bright blue miasma of arcane energy that flows around you and through you and remains still.
It also called her to you all. Myr'atta Niselor, the purple-clad arcanist from Syngorn that has stalked you halfway around the world and even into the streets of Niirdal-Poc, has arrived. She attacked Opal during your fight, sending residuum needles into both of your shoulders and your forehead, and tethering you to something. As she stepped out, finally, into view, she spoke words of greeting, even as her magic slammed Opal to the ground. Ever defiant, our warlock growled back. And as she stood over Opal, our villain retorted: "I'm not talking to you."
Orym, 40 feet away, notices the stone construct he had knocked off the cube fragment earlier is now approaching Little Mister, and also sees that Myr'atta has two additional allies (an archer and a mage) behind her. He leaps down, runs to Myr'atta and Opal, and interposes his shield between them as Opal mentally reaches out to Ted, whom she senses is screaming in terror. As the battle progresses, she manages to put on the Ring of Greater Invisibility, although she remains pinned to the ground by the residuum needles in her shoulders and forehead.
Lightning shoots from Myr'atta's hands and the blue miasma surrounding them turns purple as a sigil resembling those at the ash-blown mesa begins to form. The area within a mile-and-a-half radius is flattened. Orym continues to defend the prone Opal against Myr'atta, who focuses on the center of the clearing with her hand out. The ground rumbles and erupts with large pseudopods made of dirt, earth and old ruins, held together by the miasma around them, building something strange. Opal realizes Ted's screaming is coming from it.
Dorian manages to finish off the stone construct and uses his Winged Boots to hover near Dariax 15 feet above the ground and inspire him. Opal is pinned down further with two more residuum needles in her thighs, tethered to the object rising in the center of the clearing. As she struggles to rise, she hears the voice of the Spider Queen in her mind urging her to wear the Circlet of Barbed Vision in exchange for all her health and spell slots back.
Orym climbs up to the elven archer, gaining all of his superiority dice back along with an additional maneuver, and succeeds in knocking her heavy crossbow to the ground. Fearne wildshapes into a dire wolf and attacks the elven mage, knocking him prone. The ground rumbles again and the pseudopods form more concretely into a warped face and hand protruding from the earth, with Myr'atta now riding on top of the hand.
When Dariax attempts to help Opal, he receives the effect of a Haste spell. Dorian hears the voice of the Spider Queen taunting him, daring him to put on the Circlet, but he resists. When he pulls a residuum needle out of Opal's forehead and lifts her to her feet, they both take minor psychic damage and Opal feels her connection to Ted diminish. She asks him not to remove more of the needles, even though it limits her movement. Myr'atta retaliates with Eldritch Blast, knocking Dorian unconscious.
Oryn attacks the elven archer, pushing her off the plinth, and leaps after her, landing on top and killing her. When Fearne attacks the mage, she too hears the Spider Queen's voice, urging her to promise to take the circlet in return for aid in ending the mage, but she resists. The mage retaliates with a Cone of Cold, using his last strength.
The ground shakes again, knocking Opal back to the ground, and the form in the center of the clearing is now clearly a misshapen head... Ted.
- Bethesda Softworks and Zenimax Online Studios present The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood, available now on all platforms.
- Humankind, a turn-based historical strategy game, is now available from Sega.
- Merch Alert! Exandria Unlimited sticker set, enamel pin, t-shirt, and journal now available in all four Critical Role shops.
- Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn coming late 2021/early 2022. Learn more at DarringtonPress.com.
- Commissioned art montage.
Before the eyes of the party, Ted is being summoned and pulled from Opal by Myr'atta and brought into the world as a warlock patron that others could call upon. As Dariax heals Dorian back to consciousness, Dorian feels the presence of the Spider Queen and hears her voice. Dariax grabs him and flies them both toward Myr'atta, dropping Dorian just before he reaches her and then himself flying to her on the towering hand. He uses his ability to increase gravity to make his spear heavier and heavily wounds Myr'atta, demanding that she "put her back". When Myr'atta responds "No!" so does the mouth of the misshapen head of Ted.
The eyes of the head lock onto Opal and heavy smoke pours from it, which damages everyone and knocks Little Mister unconscious and back into his monkey form. When Opal attempts to talk to Ted, the Spider Queen blocks her, and when Dorian attempts to heal himself, Myr'atta Counterspells him. Opal tries again to reach Ted, and the whole party hears the answer coming from the massive head: Ted is not choosing this, but is being pulled from Opal, and asks Opal to stop Myr'atta. In desperation, Opal attempts but fails to grab the bag holding the Circlet of Barbed Vision from Dariax.
Meanwhile, Myr'atta pulls herself even further onto Dariax's spear so that she can reach him, and casts Dispel Magic on his wings, shattering them. Orym grabs up the crossbow of the dead elven archer, runs up a column, and fires it at Myr'atta. She continues touching Dariax and casts Inflict Wounds, knocking him unconscious in her grip so that she is using him as a shield. As he slumps, the bag holding the Circlet slips free. Dire-Fearne manages to reach them but can take no action. Dorian flies to the hand as well, just managing to touch Dariax and heal him to consciousness.
Opal grabs the bag holding the Circlet. She wants desperately to kill Myr'atta and save her friends, but has no clear shot for Eldritch Blast. The voice of the Spider Queen returns, and Opal tells her that if she will promise she will be able to save her friends, she will put on the Circlet. The Spider Queen agrees, and Opal slowly and reluctantly puts on the Circlet.
As its thorns grow and dig into her scalp, her hit points and spells are fully restored. Her hair becomes truly opalescent white, not dyed, her eyes go dark black, and she feels herself become just slightly more like Ted in appearance and personality, welding the two of them together in a union of souls. Opal Misty Steps to the top of the hand, grabbing the hair on the back of Myr'atta's head and pulling it backward. Saying, "You can't have her," she slices Myr'atta's throat, turning her so that she stares into her eyes as she dies.
The others watch, cautious and exhausted. Dire-Fearne walks over and begins licking the blood from her hands. Dorian takes some of the residuum they acquired in Emon and taps it to the residuum needles still in Opal's body. A clear tone is emitted and a new tether is created, which Dorian flies over to Ted's giant head and attaches to its forehead. He uses the residuum to try to trace the glyph from the ash-blown plateau on its forehead, and the others help in his efforts. Opal realizes Ted is slipping away, and uses the power in the area to understand the glyphic language, succeeding in carving the glyph for "Opal" — sister, family, home, safety, and belonging — onto the massive head. The ritual completes, and Ted retreats from the physical world to go home as the normal sounds of the jungle return. Opal can sense her, exhausted but safe. Opal feels whole again. When she tries to remove the Circlet, the voice of the Spider Queen tells her to keep it on for a while, then decide.
The party tries to decide what comes next. Dorian points out that they haven't found Umejii, and that they're still being hunted by assassins. Dariax suggests they name themselves the Crown Keepers, and the others agree, and agree that they want to stay together for at least a while. They decide to start with Umejii, and then perhaps head back north to Emon and their standing gig there. The issue of the Circlet is a problem for tomorrow, and a story for another day.
Poska holds court in a dimly lit room that could barely pass for an office. She kicks her feet up on the desk, soft, split-leather soles giving some inkling as to her roguish nature. And all around her, though unseen, the gentle creaking of leather alerts you to the other people in the room, so often accustomed to leaning back, hanging in the shadows.
"All right, then. I thought we could be different, nobler than the Myriad or the Clasp, more incisive in our purpose. But my generosity was exploited and I'm not at my best when my feelings are hurt. So, violence, then. And woe betide any of those fools if they should come back into my city."
- Matt: (under a Haste spell, with wings giving him a fast fly speed) I am become Vax!
- Ted: I know that the course of my life has been bent to be with you and protect you, but I don't know you.
Opal: You know me. We were born together.
Ted: You, I am your patron.
Opal: No, you're my sister. Before that. [...]
Ted: Stop it or let me go. You've always been the strong one. You've been the sword. I have always been your shield, but I can't protect you from this. From her. It hurts.
- The Spider Queen: Why are you hesitating?
Opal: Because you have given me no assurances about anything. You just want me to put this fucking crown on and you can still kill, and--
The Spider Queen: I want you to hold your power.
Opal: But I don't want power. I want to save my friends, bitch, so give me that option and I'll put it on.
- Aabria: (to Orym) Your mind reaches back, to stories, liturgies, about the gods of Tal'Dorei, of Exandria, of the Betrayer Gods and the Divine Gate, of good and of evil. You've heard so many stories, but you've heard new ones, too, ideas from the Tetrarchs in Niirdal-Poc, an idea of power, raw and unadulterated, lacking distinction, simply calling out to be used, and that flows with everything that you see around you as the miasma that's given you strength, that's given others insane abilities, that's allowed Ted to be summoned from deep within your friend's soul and brought into the world. It's just power. And even though this Vestige was marked by the Spider Queen, it is wielded by a friend. And she can decide what she will make of it.
|Transferred||1||Circlet of Barbed Vision||Dariax||Opal|
- At the end of this episode, Aabria referred to the series as the "first season" of Exandria Unlimited, implying that additional seasons might be in the works.
- See "What Comes Next" (Ex08) at 3:23:01.