Previously on Critical Role, the Mighty Nein departed the Dwendalian Empire and journeyed south towards the Menagerie Coast. They passed through the Wuyun Gates, braved the attacks of a pair of local ettins, and emerged onto a glorious vista, beholding the shining coast and sun-streaked jungles of the Menagerie Coast. They met a traveling animal merchant and purchased a group of new critter companions: a blink puppy named Nugget, a crimson weasel, and an owl. They took their animals and moved out… towards the city of Nicodranas, Jester’s hometown.
The Mighty Nein arrived in Nicodranas and met with the illustrious Ruby of the Sea, Marion Lavore—Jester's mother. In her company, they learned many things. One discovery led them to a new quest: the Ruby's future customers were being harassed by a former client, a boorish noble named Algar Dyomin. The Mighty Nein could ease some of her worries by taking care of this problem. They also learned that Marion and the water genasi they knew only as the Gentleman once had an amorous affair... and that the Gentleman might even be Jester's father!
The party stood several leagues from the entrance of Nicodranas, and Jester recounted the story of how she was exiled from her hometown. While practicing spells that she learned from the Traveler, she disguised herself as her mother and fooled one of the men that her mother had planned to do business with. She lured him out onto the balcony with his pants down and locked him out, embarrassing him before the whole town. This man, Lord Sharpe, put a price on her head. If she were to be caught in Nicodranas, she would certainly be killed by Sharpe’s hired assassins.
Behold, the Ruby of the Sea!
The party entered the city, and Jester cast disguise self to transform her appearance into that of a human version of herself. The entire crew, many of whom had never seen the water before, took some time to play with their animals on the beach and play in the water. Jester cast sending and communicated with her mother—and learned that she would be singing that night.
The guards of the town, the Zolezho, all wore individualized uniforms. A pair of them stopped the party as they entered the city and demanded to know their business. Jester brewed up a quick alias and cover story, and bribed the guards to let them in quickly and quietly after dark. They made their way into town, and discovered that there were a group of Crownsguard within the city, even though they were beyond the boundaries of the Empire. Fjord and Jester were unperturbed by this; they knew that Nicodranas had a small imperial presence, as it was the closest city to the imperial border.
The party traveled to the Lavish Chateau, the towering hotel—and brothel?—that Jester called her home. Caleb, Caduceus, and Nott all cast disguise self; Caleb cleaned his ensemble up, Caduceus made himself look like a human being, and Nott transformed into a dwarf woman wearing a simple muumuu. When inside, Jester decided that she wanted to see her mother before the performance, and she rushed upstairs to find her. Though the disguise fooled even Marion Lavore—the famed “Ruby of the Sea”—for a moment, Jester and her mother were reunited. She recounted tales of her adventures and agreed to meet with her friends after the show.
Jester reunited with her friends on the main floor, and found themselves surrounded by other guests. They settled in, and the room went quiet. The flickering torches dimmed and the Ruby of the Sea descended. She sang a gorgeous, lilting melody as she strode and danced with purpose around the room, flirting subtly with patrons and surreptitiously accepting tips. The song was beautiful beyond words. She concluded her performance and escaped upward—where Jester said she would typically accept a guest who would enjoy her company for the evening.
But, to their surprise, Marion Lavore had turned away all visitors. The party heard heavy footfalls descending the stairs and saw a wealthy but rugged man stomping down in a huff. Clearly, he had been rebuffed by the Ruby. They rushed upstairs and found Marion, and were pleased to learn that she had reserved the evening for meeting her daughter and her companions.
Marion delivered a quest into the laps of the Mighty Nein. The rugged man who had plodded past them earlier was Algar Dyomin, and he had grown distressingly possessive of Marion’s companionship in recent days, even going so far as to threaten other potential customers. Marion had no desire to harm him or even threaten him, but she needed him to relax. Beau and Jester offered to kill him, or at least rough him up, but Marion urged caution. There was no need to break the law and get themselves in trouble if they could avoid it. The party decided to deliberate on this quest later.
After making an offhanded joke about the Gentleman spending the night with the Ruby of the Sea, Jester described the Gentleman to her mother. To everyone’s surprise, Marion revealed that she had a romance with someone matching his description. The entire table was aghast, and the next few minutes was spent trying to discern if the Gentleman—or as Marion knew him, Babanon Dosall—was actually Jester’s father. Jester eventually used sending to communicate with him and ask if he was indeed her long-lost father, but he responded curtly: “No. That’s preposterous.”
Marion tried to console her daughter and help her come to terms with still not knowing her father’s identity. She did her best to remind Jester of the ways in which Babanon was a good man, just to set her mind at ease.
A New Quest in Town
The Mighty Nein spent the night in the Lavish Chateau, and in the morning, they set off to the docks of Nicodranas to search for the wharfmaster. Upon meeting the wharfmaster, Fjord put on an affectation and asked after two things: the crew of the Vandaren, his old ship, and Algar Dyomin. The wharfmaster said that the Vandaren was lost at sea months ago, and no one has heard back from them since. When asked about Algar, the wharfmaster directed them towards the Sluice Weave, his place of business.
Along the way, Caduceus led them on a detour to a lighthouse dedicated to the Wildmother, his patron deity. They met with its curmudgeonly old caretaker and shared a cup of tea, but tarried little. Their search for Algar continued at the Sluice Weave, a dockside bar with an unusual clientele. The many ships passing in and out of Nicodranas brings many people to its docks, including a tortle! Though the bar was full of interesting sights, sounds, and smells, the hour was late, and Matthew chose to call it a night. (A gracious thing for this sleepy recap-writer!)
What is up with Algar Dyomin? What information is the Gentleman withholding? And most importantly… is it Thursday yet?
Unless otherwise credited, all images in this article are courtesy of Chris Lockey and Critical Role.
James Haeck is the lead writer for D&D Beyond, the co-author of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and the Critical Role Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, the DM of Worlds Apart, and a freelance writer for Wizards of the Coast, the D&D Adventurers League, and Kobold Press. He loves watching Critical Role and wants everyone he knows to get into it, too. He lives in Seattle, Washington with his partner Hannah and his very own Frumpkins, Mei and Marzipan. You can usually find him wasting time on Twitter at @jamesjhaeck.