Critical Recap: Critical Role C2E104 (The Ruined Sliver)
Written by Dani on August 5, 2020
Hello! Welcome to Critical Recap! I’m Dani Carr, Production Coordinator and CR Lorekeeper. Let’s dive into our recap of Critical Role Episode 104 The Ruined Sliver!
A GIFT FROM THE WILDMOTHER
Diving into action, Beau and Caleb catch up with Caduceus swimming in the tunnels. Beau punches him in the head, stunning him with Stunning Strike, and Caleb uses the Cat’s Ire claw to pull him back to the entrance. Once away from the tunnel and out of the water, Caduceus’s compulsion to swim to Vokodo fades. The cat’s claw sets him down on one of the ships, The Fiona, and the others join him, taking part in a short rest. Jester wants to make a Heroes Feast for everyone, but they decide to save it for before bed when they are sure they’re going to fight Vokodo the next day. Fjord notices that the biggest ship, called Eden’s Horizon, has ballistae on board, pinpointing its creation to be somewhere between 60 and 100 years old.
Spurred by questions, Caduceus attempts his Divine Intervention to discern who they face and where he comes from – and he actually succeeds! The Wildmother lifts Caduceus’s consciousness to a dark space in a silver gossamer sky, which he recognizes as the Astral Sea. He senses that whatever Vokodo may have been, he was running from something and crashed through the barriers of the Astral Sea onto the island of Rumblecusp. The impact of this crash dragged shards of other places with it and his landing at the base of the volcano changed both Vokodo and the island itself. Caduceus doesn’t fully understand what the creature is, but he knows that it came here to hide. He can feel Vokodo watching and knows it to be unwise to look any further, so the Wildmother returns him to his body.
Caduceus explains his vision to the others, who are stunned by the breadth of knowledge they now have on Vokodo. They contemplate different strategies, like letting him hide in the Happy Fun Ball, but seem especially intrigued by the idea of trying to use banishment to return him to the Astral Sea and lock him there. They decide to head to the Ruins before fighting Vokodo, in hopes of seeing what he’s hiding and maybe finding more answers. They look around both The Fiona and Eden’s Horizon, but both ships carry nothing of value. Fjord doesn’t recognize any of the other ships and zeroes in on Eden’s Horizon being the best of the bunch. They decide to adopt it as their new ship and Veth proposes rearranging the letters to rename it Nein Heroz.
After a debate about exactly how to leave the cavern (Pro Tip: don’t douse avian forms in water and try to fly), Jester again casts control water and the group swims out. Vilya, Jester, and Caleb assume their giant owl forms and carry the rest of the party to the Ruins. After a recast, the second leg allows them to see the Ruins in the distance, with its wide grove of dead, rotting jungle. Beau and Owl!Jester see a chasm along the North-Northwestern side of the jungle – The Winding Core, a slice of the Underdark. As they ready for landing, they notice structures of buildings among the fog and a spire rising from the center of the Ruins.
They land in the jungle about three miles away from the Ruins. Vilya guides them, keeping them mostly out of danger with Veth paying attention to the winding path. As they get closer to the Ruins, the trees begin to look more withered. Jester talks to a tree, who tells her it’s feeling icky. She learns from the tree that the forest has been like this for the better part of half a century and that the other trees seem to be losing their minds. She wants to help, to move this tree back a few feet, but Veth urges her to focus on the root problem, despite every individual tree having a story. As they stealth into the decaying jungle, they see multiple half-withered trees walking around and clicking to each other. Caduceus confirms that these are zombie trees, and they manage to stealth around them.
Pressing forward, they enter the Ruins, where the temperature drops. The buildings, ominous and pointed, look similar to the ones in the Ghostlands near Rosohna but only slightly. They see that the spire is part of a bigger tower, sliced perfectly like a piece of cake. They can hear whispers in Common and Infernal, speaking of wanting their warmth, of being broken and displaced, that ‘Oracs demands our return’. Caduceus sees that they are surrounded by five ghostly figures. One materializes in front of the spire, a humanoid in flowing black shadows and a skeletal face. Jester speaks to it in Infernal, saying they can get them home. The creature asks how and initiative begins.
Beau struggles with whether to talk more or punch. She tries both, punching and saying ‘fuck Vokodo, am I right?’ but her act of mild diplomacy falls short as she enrages the wraith. The Nein fight the ghosts, with Caduceus and Yasha momentarily possessed. Jester’s turn undead frees them, but Yasha is rattled by being a puppet again. The fight continues, with Fjord slaying the wraith with Star Razor and Divine Smite. The remaining ghosts flee and the group questions whether they should have tried harder to get the ghosts to join their side.
SLICE OF LIFE
Outside of the tower, there is a clear indication where the shard of the town ends, again perfectly sliced – like a dollhouse piece placed on terrain. They investigate the inside of the tower, finding two stone sarcophagi on the ground floor with Infernal writing that says ‘Retainers to the Lord.’ Yasha notices symbology depicting the blade wielded by the lead wraith. Beau climbs the outside of the tower, finding a larger, more ornate black sarcophagus on the second floor and two more stone sarcophagi on the third. An investigation of one of the stone sarcophagi reveals skeletal remains and the ceremonial armor that the ghosts they fought wore.
When they attempt to investigate the big sarcophagus, it loses its balance and falls out of the room and onto the ground, breaking into pieces. Jester finds a name in Infernal – ‘Lord Cioro’. He too wears ceremonial burial armor. Jester takes the hilt and handle of his blade, learning that it was destroyed to imbue its ghost with the sword’s abilities. Jester feels guilty for fighting, thinking they could have banished him back to his plane and sent him home. They take a skull with them in hopes of casting speak with dead tomorrow.
They discuss what exactly they’re looking for and what they might be missing within the Ruins. Beau puts together that Vokodo likely declared this area off-limits so that no one would come across displaced, angry souls that could be seeking vengeance. Unfortunately, with the death of Lord Cioro, their opportunity to make allies has passed. Veth points out that these ghosts didn’t seem very powerful anyway, but Beau is annoyed that everyone is harping on this lost allyship. Jester defends Beau’s fighting and they recognize that any one of them could have spoken up and attempted to talk, but no one did. Besides, their track record with ghosts isn’t super great.
They leave the Ruins and head to the base of the volcano, deciding to hike up the mountain and get as close as possible before sleeping. They wonder if they should try to turn Terra to get another ally, but decide it’s not worth the risk of her bringing an entire group or having to fight her. They talk through multiple strategies, like trying to lure him out or splitting the party to use the front entrance and the back entrance at the same time. Beau wonders if they could imbue an item with a trap, like glyph of warding, but it would require a lot of diamond dust and would be difficult to transport due to the limitations of the spell. They hike along the volcano, still trying to come up with a plan and weighing multiple options.
That is it for Episode 104 of Critical Role!
- Vilya’s experience leads her to believe that Vokodo cannot hear them, but always knows where they are. So the element of surprise is out but they can speak freely.
- Caduceus is now missing his cooking pot. How is their stuff going missing? Is it Vokodo stealing things or is misplacing items a gradual version of the memory loss?
- It seems like the Ruins was a literal slice of the Nine Hells or the Abyssal Plane that Vokodo pulled with him in his crash landing. Fire plane, Shadowfell, Underdark, Abyss…He crashed through a LOT of places.
- Oh Mighty Nein.
Anyway, catch Episode 105 on Thursday, August 6th at 7pm Pacific on twitch.tv/criticalrole! Is it Thursday, yet?