Critical Recap: Critical Role C2E119 “Malice and Mystery Below”
Written by Dani on December 16, 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 119 Malice and Mystery Below!
AN AEORIAN ABOMINATION
A fight breaks out between the Mighty Nein and the terrifying baby/mammoth/hands abomination. Its angler fish lure light stuns Beau and Yasha but the others keep their eyes averted. Jester’s high damage usage of inflict wounds results in the first Wild Magic roll for Eiselcross, but luckily she simply summons some butterflies. Unfortunately, the abomination then swallows Beau.
Beau, for her part, pours her bag of suude into its stomach – 10 doses worth. The drug overdose causes the abomination to fall unconscious. Fjord unleashes a fifth level Divine Smite with Star Razor, though the high damage wakes it up early from its stupor. Luckily, Veth and Yasha are able to pull Beau out of its stomach before it can react. Fjord manages to slice off the lure light but Veth is swallowed in the meantime. Luckily, Caduceus is there with a Blight spell, which kills the creature and allows Fjord to pull Veth out of its stomach.
A short rest is taken so everyone can heal up. Beau bemoans the waste of her suude, but they all assure her of their confidence in her ability to locate more drugs. Yasha wants to know what the hell this thing was. Was it created? Has it been here the whole time? Is it a ‘biological weapon,’ as the sign over the door indicates? No one has an understanding of the creature, but Yasha takes some of its bones and Beau examines its guts, discovering it has no digestive tract. She also finds some dissolved bone, which Jester estimates as being swallowed a few days ago. These bones are likely remnants of the Cerberus Assembly excavation party that Iver, the gnome guide, asked the Nein to rescue.
They venture into the broken hallway, continuing their journey into an enormous room that’s been heavily damaged from the structural collapse. It looks like a lab, with containment units for creatures and broken, green glass tubes that the Nein recall seeing in Halas’s laboratory, including two that are still intact. It’s clear that a fight broke out in here – most likely the carnage of the abomination. Caleb finds a metallic rod (a Rod of Fear) while Beau investigates a strange blue shawl. She discovers the body of a woman underneath the fallen rubble – most likely Zana, the annex to Ludinus. Jester casts locate object, getting a ping below them and to the right.
At a panel in the center of the room, Caleb reads writing that says ‘Hunter Development List’ – the bottom portion is missing from the damage taken but a line says ‘Absorber 0-072’, ‘Nullifier 0-038’, and ‘Subject 0-002’. Upon closer inspection, the Nein realize the intact glass tubes have occupants. The one on the left contains a humanoid, bipedal creature standing 10ft tall, with elongated arms, gill-like slits on the chest, and a serpent head – a label reads ‘Nullifier’. The tube on the right contains a quadrupedal panther-like creature the size of a horse, with heavy claws and a strangely colorful body, as well as a tail with an eyeball on the end that peers at the Nein. It too has a label – ‘Absorber’. Both creatures are clearly alive, but sleeping or in stasis.
Caduceus finds an opening in the wall near the structural damage – a tight and angled tunnel that leads in the direction of Jester’s ping. They know this is the right place to go, but they ponder leaving something behind that will possibly disrupt the Tombtakers’ day. Caleb wants to release the two creatures in the tubes and leave them in the room, but there’s no telling what those creatures could do and they might end up fighting the Nein. They ponder the Intuit Box, but its radius is 300ft and is a one-time use – better to save it. They decide to let Caduceus cast a guardian of faith as a sentry, leaving it in the lab.
Meanwhile, Veth scouts down the tunnel on rope. She eventually comes to an opening, through which she can see the tops of trees. Veth messages Yasha to let her know about the trees, though Yasha is new to the experience of the message spell. She tells Veth to wait for them, and Jester and Beau climb down after her. Veth drops down to the closest tree top, managing to grab on and shimmy her way down to the forest floor. Guided by the disco light of a tossed celebone, she notices that the trees are almost petrified, pale and dry, gnarled and unnatural. The forest floor itself is more compost than dirt. The entire forest feels man-made and eerie.
Yasha covers the entrance of the tunnel as they all slowly make their way down to the forest floor, aided by owl!Caleb. Caduceus swiftly notices the similarity of the trees to the corruption that took root in the Savalirwood. This makes him deeply uncomfortable as they walk through the forest in the direction of Jester’s locate object spell. They reach an archway in the domed wall, with a sign that Caleb reads as ‘Threshold Vault’ – this is their destination.
Once everyone is in the hallway, Caduceus turns back to the trees, with Jester by his side. He apologizes to them, telling the trees they can help. Jester casts speak with plants, to reaffirm Caduceus’s words – though she expects to receive no reply, she can sense a fragment of its essence reaching out to her. That essence is a malevolent hunger, of desperation, that unsettles and disturbs her. The life here is twisted and tormented. Caduceus, visibly upset, is ready to move on. He has seen enough of this forest.
The Nein move through the aesthetically pleasing hallway, coming to a ‘t’ intersection. Caleb can sense a magical barrier of evocation magic that encompasses the intersection. He casts dispel magic, depowering the glyphs so the party can safely cross. They head down the stairs and find themselves in a chamber nearly identical to the one at A5 – circular room, glyphs, and glowing blue threshold crest embedded in the ceiling.
That is it for Episode 119 of Critical Role!
- What are the Nein going to do about that crest? Can it even be destroyed?
- Veth and Beau possibly becoming a team of pranksters is both terrifying and intriguing.
- Yasha remembered she can cast light, which I know is an ‘Ashley was away’ thing but it’s also so *deeply* in character for Yasha, too? Remembering that she has this light inside her that she can share with people? I’m EMOTIONAL.
- The corruption of the Savalirwood is connected to Aeor somehow! The plot! It thickens!
- Oh Mighty Nein.
Anyway, catch Episode 120 on Thursday, December 17th at 7pm Pacific on twitch.tv/criticalrole or a week later on our podcast! Is it Thursday, yet?