Previously on Critical Role, the Mighty Nein traveled to Nicodranus, Jester's seaside home town, and met with her mother. Marion LaVorre, the famed Ruby of the Sea, met with the heroes and lavished them with affection. She also told them a sobering tale of a irascible nobleman named Algar Dyomin—a man who simply would not take "no" for an answer. She did not abide the professional company of men like him, and in his furor he had begun harassing not just her—which she could handle—but her customers, driving off those eager to see her perform and damaging her reputation. Jester and her friends instantly leapt into action. They would find Algar and take him down. They followed Algar's scent and tracked him to the docks of Nicodranus...
The Mighty Nein reunited briefly with Yasha and entered the Sluice Weave, a network of drainage and sewage tunnels that kept Nicodranus clean and dry. Within its depths, they found Algar and his flunkies, as well as Dzundi, a water genie that he had bent to his will. After struggling through a challenging fight, Fjord brought Algar's control over the marid to a definitive end.
Art by Donna Stong (@VHoeCake)
The Mighty Nein entered the dockside bar and spoke with Orly Skiffback, a weather-beaten tortle with a full set of bagpipes sticking out of his shell. They inquired about Marius LePual, the man mentioned in the note they found in the Sour Nest several weeks ago. He grew uneasy, but reported that Marius wasn’t so much a sailor as he was a man in over his head, as far as debts go. They pushed further, but chose to back off; their investigation was going nowhere.
They spoke with a woman who went by the name of Captain Adella of the Drensala Vis, a ship that went between Wildemount and Marquet. Fjord talked back and forth with her for a while, and received an invitation for him and Caleb to join her crew for a time. He said he’d think about it. Though she didn’t mention it, Captain Adella gave Vox Machina passage to the water ashari enclave of Vesrah around 20 years ago.
Reunited with Yasha
Then, the party was silenced when Yasha entered the room. She had come to the Menagerie Coast in search of passage across the water. She was frustratingly vague about her motivations, as usual—but she described that she had a vision of an island in a dream. These dreams are her way of communing with the Stormlord. She follows her dreams because she’s searching for some kind of purpose in her life. Her friends mused about how strange it was that they kept meeting, no matter how many times she went off in her own direction—and that perhaps it was the will of the magical beacon that they called the “dodecahedron.”
Reunited with Yasha again, the party traveled to the Sluice Weave in search of Algar Dyomin, the Ruby of the Sea’s latest harasser. The sluice is a network of water tunnels that train sea water and sewage away from the city. Beau approached one of the Zolezho guards and adopted a dumb, airheaded persona she called “Tracy” and wheedled information out of him. With the guard firmly distracted, she and the rest of the Mighty Nein slipped into the sluice. Caleb transformed Frumpkin into an octopus, and the entire party began to navigate the underwater passages.
Navigating the Sluice Weave
The party’s pets traveled with them and only narrowly avoided becoming waterlogged, but the entire crew made it through the water safely—or so they thought. Their heads emerged above water in a large sewer tunnel, and a swarm of tiny whirlpools began to form in the water around them. Tentacles and pseudopods burst from the murky water. Water elementals! The party flew into action.
After dispatching the elementals, they continued through the sluice tunnels and made their way to a cube-shaped room. Three large grates were positioned on the right, left, and the far end of the room. Two platforms were raised about ten feet above, and rose to balconies that watched over the chamber. They also led to two more passageways, creating six total entries and exits. A very faint green glow emanated from the water, and a faint mist rolled through the chamber. “This room looks kind of fucked up,” muttered Caleb. “We probably shouldn’t rush into it.”
An Inconvenient Combat
They approached with caution, but could see no other living creatures within the chamber. By taking it slow, they found their mark. Algar and his two dwarven bodyguards strode across the balcony and muttered to a being next to him. “It’s sleeping,” he grumbled, and then called to a creature deep below the water. The glowing light beneath the water began to pulse—and Matt slunk over to Taliesin and whispered something in his ear—and a giant being that looked like a large, fish-like humanoid with a swirling, elemental lower body. A marid, a genie of elemental water.
The genie looked about and sensed intruders. Algar raised his lantern and spotted the intruders—and initiative was rolled! Dzundi the marid was powerful, but in the midst of combat, Caduceus said, “We gotta get that bracelet.” Matt’s whisper must have communicated to him that some sort of bracer rested around Algar’s wrist, granting him some measure of command over the genie!
Algar realized that these warriors were actually a threat, and began to panic. He chugged a potion of healing and screamed “protect me!” Caleb hurled a fireball at the combatants and the other members of the Mighty Nein closed in for the kill. The pendulum of battle then swung the other way, and both Caleb and Caduceus were knocked unconscious. Fjord cast hunger of Hadar and engulfed their enemies in the darkness of the void.
Beau pinned Algar to the ground and Fjord approached the pitiful, helpless aristocrat. He politely asked for the bracelet. Algar wriggled and squealed. Fjord shrugged, raised his falchion, and brought its blade down upon Algar’s arm. Steel tore through flesh and muscle, and cracked through bone, severing the limb. And as if a veil had been lifted from his eyes, the genie Dzundi looked up at the balcony, and he began to float towards Algar’s writhing form.
“And that’s where we’ll end for tonight,” said Matthew.
What does Dzundi plan to do with its former master? Will the Mighty Nein intervene… or let the genie pass its grim judgment? 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.