Critical Recap: Critical Role C2E117 “The Tortoise and the Dare”

Written by on November 25, 2020

Hello! Welcome to Critical Recap! I’m Dani Carr, the Critical Role Lore Keeper. Let’s dive into our recap of Critical Role Episode 117 The Tortoise and the Dare!


Entering the chamber, the Mighty Nein speak with the purple tiefling they once called friend. He introduces himself as Lucien, the Nonagon. He does not recognize them, but with a reminder from Cree, Lucien realizes they met when one of his ‘fragments’ took over. Apparently, Vess’s ritual shattered him and it took time for him to be pieced back together. Molly was a fragment of his true self but the blessing of the true Nonagon made him whole again.

Lucien wants to know why they’ve followed him, so Caleb explains that they were hired to protect Vess and now he’s murdered their client. Lucien is sorry they got roped into all this but he needed to get the jump on her when the opportunity presented itself. Fjord explains that they have history with him – that ‘fragment’ was their friend once. Veth argues that Molly mattered to them, despite Lucien’s dismissal. The Nein just came seeking understanding about their friend. But Lucien claims their friend is gone.

Lucien has unfinished business in Aeor, but if they’re worried about Vess’s death leading to consequences, he’s happy to explain things once he takes his place. When pressed, he explains that he’s been the Nonagon for several years now and that the last person to hold the title disappeared a long time ago. He talks in riddles but shows off that his tattoos allow him to speak and see through the eyes of his fellow Tombtakers – he can even control their movements. The Tombtakers (a female halfling, a male goliath, a human woman, and Cree the tabaxi) speak of complete devotion to the Nonagon, even when not under his control.

Caleb asks about the Eyes of Nine and Lucien “explains” that his nine eyes were granted by those that gave him his title. Caleb asks if they’re staying on this plane or going further – a bit of both. Yasha asks Lucien about why Vess also had the tattoos – she was a traitor and a usurper who never had claim to the Nonagon title. She shattered him, scattering his spirit, but he was put back together once the vessel was empty.

The Tombtakers retrieve the blue gem from the ceiling and Caleb asks about it, assuming this is Lucien’s way to the veil, but Lucien says that this is one of many gifts to bring. To Alpha and Alpha – there is more to pick up and knowledge is earned. Lucien tells them that if they’re feeling directionless, they’re welcome to follow him. Caduceus thinks Lucien should be curious about his ‘fragment’ and by the people who came here for him. Lucien reiterates that their friend is gone. Yasha takes out her book and gives him the four leaf clover that Molly once gave her. Her life was better thanks to him. Lucien pockets the clover.


The Tombtakers leave and the Nein regroup. Caleb returns Vess’s body to the Vault and puts it in the bag of holding, so no one can scry on her. What do they do now? There is a long discussion about whether to go to A2, A4, or A?, or even Aeor itself. They can talk to Vess DeRogna again in two days. They discuss resurrecting her but Fjord thinks she’ll kill them, considering how much they’ve learned about her – she’s not their ally. Maybe finding out what a Nonagon is would be good proof for the Assembly to clear their name.

Caleb realizes that the blue gem was a threshold crest – meant to move cities. Beau thinks this is proof they are bringing the Living City here. They would need more than one in order to do so. Should they go get a threshold crest, try to beat Molly to it? Right now they’ll follow to see where he goes. They head out of the chamber, making their way back to the entrance. Jester talks with Beau, who thinks there has to be part of Molly still there. There are similarities between Lucien and Molly, which makes the loss hurt more. Was Molly even real? Jester reminds her that they have the tarot cards and coat to prove it. So now they have to stop their dead evil friend.

They exit the excavation site and find Dagen, who Jester had warned to hide when the Tombtakers left. The group went northward, so the Nein explain that they’ll be following their tracks. It’s 10 days to Aeor, but they have to wait for the snow to fall in order to cross the lava river, as snow doesn’t melt on the river itself. Heading to A? takes 8 days but Dagen’s never been there, so the entrance is a mystery. A2 is also about 8 days away. The Nein discuss where to go for a long time before focusing on following the footprints for now. They don’t know what Lucien’s plan is, outside of acquiring threshold crests and even those aren’t confirmed.

They could reach out to Essek, to see what the Dynasty knows. They could reach out to Astrid & Eodwulf to see what the Assembly knows. They can talk to Vess in two days. For now, onwards. They come upon a group of frozen undead corpses, one of which carries a material similar to the threshold crest. They leave before the undead can do much. As night falls, Jester scries on Cree. The Tombtakers have made camp and Cree, with Lucien’s voice, talks to Jester and hopes they’re keeping close. Lucien is curious what they want out of this and claims they lie with confidence, which he understands. It got him through his previous life.


Caleb sets up the tower and they take a rest, with various pies for dinner. Fjord talks to Jester, asking her to be careful. He doesn’t like that Lucien can see her when she scries. He gives her the Amulet of Nondetection – maybe it will help when she scries on them. Fjord doesn’t want Lucien to key into her or manipulate her. Jester asks how Fjord is doing – Avantika coming back was weird. He keeps trying to start new chapters but the old ones won’t leave him alone. He tells her about the bounty he placed on Sabien and she messages Kotho for him. They learn that Sabien is on Darktow. The one place they’re super banned from.

The Nein eat and discuss their options. Who to call? Who to trust? Fjord accidentally reveals Vess’s death to Dagen and the Nein quickly explain what happened. Dagen did not want to know ANY of this, as now he’s an accomplice. He wishes they could wipe his memory of the knowledge and Jester offers to do so for him in the morning. He heads to bed with her promise in mind. Caleb thinks they need to tell someone at the Cerberus Assembly what happened. The longer they wait, the worse it will be for them. Beau thinks they should go to a higher ranking Assembly member then, not Astrid & Eodwulf. Essek might know more but they haven’t mentioned any of this to him yet. That’s a longer conversation.

Caduceus wants to know what the goal is. Is it to get their friend back? Hopes vary on that. They need to stop whatever Lucien is doing, for a multitude of reasons. They don’t have a plan, but everything is converging in a fated way. Inspired, Jester pulls a tarot card. It’s the Magician and the Tinker, which the Magician facing up. Molly drew these for Caleb and Veth. Caleb’s gut tells him to go where Molly is, because nothing else makes sense. The others agree. They have to stop Lucien from destroying the world.

Jester messages Essek, mentioning that they’re headed to Aeor, the Nonagon is here, and they’re looking for threshold crests. Essek tells them that he is at the Vurmas Outpost, east of Aeor. Essek is close by! They’ll follow Lucien for now but check in with Essek again tomorrow. Before going to bed, Caleb goes to the 8th floor and visits a small room with an unmade bed. He talks to the bed, asking what they are to do about their home and if he can trust ‘you’. They could make it better.


In the morning, Jester talks to Dagen and casts modify memory, relieving him of the knowledge of Vess’s death. They leave the tower, following the Tombtakers’ tracks. Jester messages Essek, asking to meet up, and while he’s glad their paths are uniting, he oversees this outpost and can’t leave. But they can come to him. They realize that there are two paths to A2 – one that follows the Tombtakers and one that will take them close to Allowak Sanctuary. Maybe the yetis could help! It’s a gamble, since the yetis have no real reason to help them.

They follow the trail, which is paused when a giant ice worm attacks. Everyone but Jester is stunned by the worm’s terrifying screech, so Jester turns the worm into a snow bunny. The bunny attacks Fjord, but Star Razor automatically defends him. So the bunny is a worm again before Jester then changes it into a tortoise. Yasha moves the tortoise onto the ice as they wait for everyone to save from the psychic affect. When Veth is the final person still affected, Yasha simply picks her up and the Nein walk away from the polymorphed worm.

When faced with a decision as to follow the tracks or go to the sanctuary, Caduceus casts commune. He confirms that the Tombtakers are heading to A2 and that they’ve been watching them, but doubt is cast on the importance of the threshold crests. They might be collecting various things. They need help, but Essek is far from A2. If they get ahead, they could steal a threshold crest and possibly bring it to Essek first. They decide to polymorph into eagles and fly ahead of the Tombtakers, with A2 as the destination.

That is it for Episode 117 of Critical Role!


  • He’s definitely not Molly, but he’s not *not* Molly. He took the clover. That’s gotta mean *something*? I refuse to lose hope.
  • Decisions are hard, you guys. The Nein had a lot of options open to them and there’s still so much they don’t know!
  • Poor Dagen. No one needs to know the details of the Nein’s antics. And hey we found a nice reason to use Modify Memory! Sort of.
  • He took that clover.
  • Oh Mighty Nein.

Anyway, catch Episode 118 next Thursday, December 3rd at 7pm Pacific on or a week later on our podcast. Is it next Thursday, yet?

Continue reading

Current track