Critical Recap: Critical Role C2E118 “Solace Between the Secrets”
Written by Dani on December 9, 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 118 Solace Between the Secrets!
SLEDS, SNOW, AND STATUES
The Mighty Nein fly as eagles for an hour, hoping to gain a lead on the Tombtakers. Upon landing, they rest for the night before taking off again in the morning. After an hour of flying, they land on the decline portion of the mountain range, giving them an easier path to traverse. Veth finds a hill to sled down on a borrowed shield. She ends up sledding right off a cliff edge, but luckily, the snow breaks her fall. The others sled (some better than others) or walk after her, eventually joining Veth towards the bottom of the mountain where they continue their trek to A2.
At Veth’s request, Jester messages Yeza to let him know that Veth is fine. Jester also receives a message from Uraya, an associate of Essek’s, who asks that they keep Essek updated on their arrival and to let him know if they need help. Caduceus asks Jester to check in on Calliope, who informs her that the Clays and the Blooming Grove are doing fine – the crystals are taking root. The next day, a terrible ice storm hits, exhausting the party during their travel. This causes them to lose a day, but in the morning, they polymorph back into eagles, regaining some lost ground.
Halfway through the day, they discover 7 stone sculptures, all of different racial lineages, surrounded by snow. Caleb can sense Divination magic from the carved figures, which give off a strange warmth. A platform sits in the center of the circle. After a couple rounds of Boulder, Parchment, Shears, it is Jester who steps onto the platform to see what will happen. She finds herself frozen in place as feelings enter her mind – they tell her to ask and they’ll take. Jester asks what the Tombtakers are trying to bring back. She receives a vision of the Living City in the Astral Sea, then the Tombtakers themselves with their gathered components.
Jester feels something cold pull from her spirit, falling to her knees as she comes back to herself. The Nein are worried, but she feels fine and can still do magic – but Cad and Beau notice that she looks a little older. It seems the statues (which have now disappeared) took some of her life away, around 4 or 5 years. Jester believes the knowledge was worth it – they have to stop the Tombtakers. Her vision gave her the sense that the group had numerous items, possibly not just threshold crests. Beau wonders if the Tombtakers truly know what they’re bringing back.
They take a night of rest and return to eagle form the next morning to continue working their way across the tundra. Upon returning to the tower for the night, Beau has Jester message Yudala Fon to ask for information on the words ‘Cognouza’ and ‘Somnovem’ – Yudala agrees to do some digging. Meanwhile, Cad and the others have been pondering what questions to ask Vess DeRogna now that Caduceus can talk to her again. They set up Vess’s body and Cad casts speak with dead.
- What is Somnovem? They are the minds of Cognouza, the ones who orchestrated its escape and wish now to enter
- Escape from what? The destruction of Aeor. They betrayed their own city to ensure their survival.
- Why do you want to unlock, bring back Somnovem? To become one of the minds is to receive the lost knowledge of the greatest magocracy in history.
- We are collecting the keys to complete this. What do we need at A2? It requires the means to come back. Enough crests to replace lost when it found the storm.
- Where must the ritual be completed? The gate lies in the center of the city’s ruin.
Caduceus wants to reach out to Essek and tell him everything, but Caleb and Beau think it’s dangerous to dangle this power in front of another powerful mage. Jester does message Essek to warn him about what’s coming, that villains are going to unleash something terrible. He tells her that he trusts the Nein’s instincts and he will do what he can to assist them.
Before bed, Fjord goes to Jester’s room. He tells her how worried he was when she fell and that this is all much more serious than he thought. He asks her to be careful and not gamble with herself. Jester says she will try, but they have to stop the City, no matter the cost. Fjord tells her he cares for her. He asks if he can kiss her and Jester consents. The two kiss and Fjord tells her he wanted to do that for a while, but he was a coward. Yes, they have to fight the City, but he can’t let her throw herself at the problem – Jester has no argument. They both feel a bit better.
ARRIVAL AT A2
In the morning, Yudala Fon reports that the Cognouza ward was a section of the city of Aeor and that Somnovum had something to do with the leadership of that ward. They wonder if this was the Cerberus Assembly of its day and whether they jettisoned their own ward when Aeor was attacked, or even if they brought down Aeor themselves, contrary to popular belief. Maybe they destroyed the rest of the city to save themselves or turned themselves into something that could survive.
The Nein follow Dagen to a snow plateau, where an illusion hides the entrance to the excavation site. Caleb’s detect magic helps them pinpoint its location, leading them to a deep chasm that descends into darkness. Leaving Dagen outside, the party descends – first down a rickety staircase and then down a rope into a dark pit. They eventually find themselves lowering into a large chamber that contains a small camp. They meet a gnome, Iver Clemtaver, who is the guide to Zana Deelio – Ludinus’s annex. Iver thinks the Nein are here to look for Zana and the rest of her team, who have not resurfaced for over a week.
That team went excavating in the western chamber – Iver heard a terrifying noise, like a baby crying, only deeper and more unsettling. There is another chamber to the southeast that the Nein investigate first, after telling Iver to remain hidden. The southeast passage opens up to what looks like a broken cobblestone street. The strange architecture reminds Veth and Jester of Gelidon’s lair. There is a faint blue glow inside one standing building. The glow is coming from a blue dome that contains three people frozen in time. They fail to destroy the dome with dispel magic and wonder if this is a protection spell gone wrong or if these people were dangerous.
STEP INTO SCI-FI
Jester casts commune since locate object isn’t picking up anything – the Traveler confirms that the people in the blue dome have been here for a long time, locked in their final moments, and that the threshold crest is to the west, where the tunnels are deepest. Veth investigates upstairs, finding a strange metallic box with a device inside. Caleb casts identify (while being carried by Beau and Yasha) and learns the box is an intuit charge. They enter the western chamber – a long corridor with structural damage, where strange tubing hangs from the ceiling.
They come upon a heavy metallic door that Jester and Yasha realign; once they do, the door lifts up, revealing a broken and ransacked laboratory that evokes science fiction. Caleb casts comprehend language, finding signs on the walls reading ‘Development Laboratory Procedures,’ ‘Primordial Applications,’ ‘Biological Weapons Research,’ and a podium with two circular buttons, one labeled ‘Emergency Flush.’ Jester’s locate object pings to the left, through the Biological Weapons Research wall. Upon closer inspection, it seems that the wall slides upwards, but they are unable to lift it.
They decide to push the Emergency Flush button, which causes the wall to raise and the door behind them to shut and falls off its hinges again. As they step into the hallway, they begin to hear the low wails of a deep baby cry, with a light approaching. Stepping back out, the Nein ready themselves in the chamber. Emerging from the hallway is a monstrous, mammoth-like creature with the face of a baby, clusters of human arms surrounding the massive head. An angler fish lure protrudes from its forehead and its mouth opens to reveal hundreds of teeth.
That is it for Episode 118 of Critical Role!
- Holy shit y’all, I do not like the scary baby! Please do not get eaten by the scary baby!
- Divination statues! The Living City! Aging! Kissing! Jester had quite a day.
- This excavation site is absolutely wild – laboratories and links to Gelidon and frozen time bubbles! It’s sci-fi time in Exandria, y’all!
- What happened to Aeor? Was it the gods or was it their own people, this Somnovum?
- Oh Mighty Nein.
Anyway, catch Episode 119 on Thursday, December 10th at 7pm Pacific on twitch.tv/criticalrole or a week later on our podcast. Is it Thursday, yet?