Critical Role EN World's Critical Role Roundup 012: How Caleb Spent His Summer Vacation

The Mighty Nein face off against a hill giant, enjoy some revelry, we finally learn all about Caleb's inevitably tragic backstory, and the Mighty Nein reach Level 5 on the latest episode of Critical Role!

Episode Recap
We pick up where we left off last time, as the enraged hill giant enters the arena!

Fjord: Let's try to talk to him, guys!

It's a tough battle, with Molly and Yasha both unconscious next to each other at one point. Molly's Periapt of Wound Closure stabilizes him, and Jester heals Yasha. The Mighty Nein chip away at the giant until Caleb casts sleep, thinking it will be futile, but it works! The hill giant drops to the ground asleep, so the group surrounds him and all strike together to finish him off. Hooray!

View attachment 97386
As the giant goes after Nott, Sam erects a barrier of giant flasks for protection.​

The Stubborn Stock barely survives a fight against a wyvern with its wings clipped. The tournament is a tie! Each team receives 1,600 gold.

There's a soiree for the winners, attended by local dignitaries. They meet Starosta Wyatt Fedar, and Yasha and Beau get elected to talk to the two mages by the window. They are Oremid Hass, Headmaster of Halls of Erudition, and Master Trent Ikithon, the mage from the Zauberspire battle. They take a strong interest in Yasha, and Hass scans her mind magically. Ikithon is very focused on her.

Everyone reconvenes to stress out over whether the mages think Yasha is a Xhorhassian assassin. They agree they should get out of town before they get drafted. Under Nott's questioning, Yasha reveals that in the north of Xhorhas, dark elves have been doing terrible things and keeping the skies dark with magic.

The Mighty Nein go to the Pillow Trove to check for Jester's package, which is actually there! Her mother sent a very sweet letter, a vial of lavender perfume, 200 gold, and five bottles of ink for her sketchbook: red, blue, green, and two black.

Caleb quietly tells Beau he wants to go to the Cobalt Soul library before they leave town. Beau agrees to take him if he tells her why he's afraid of fire.

They get rooms, and the desk clerk mentions they offer other services if they need anything: food and drink, companionship, whatever they need. Molly requests two companions to entertain him with amusing conversation while one to gives him a very thorough post-near-death massage, and the other feeds him fruit while that's going on. Preferred gender? "Surprise me!"

Caleb gets his own room and asks Nott to bring Beau in. He asks Beau her opinion on the Empire. She isn't a big fan of authority in general, and thinks the Empire is oppressive and treats the poor badly. At this point, Liam asks Matt if everyone can leave the table except Caleb, Beau, and Nott. They go to the kitchen for ice cream.

Caleb begins his tale: "I am going to tell you the story of how I murdered my mother and father."

As a teenager, Caleb and two other teens from his town with clear arcane talent were invited to attend the Soltryce Academy. After a year of study, a mage moved the three kids to a country house for special training. That mage was TRENT IKITHON, whom Beau and Yasha met earlier! He was cruel, torturing them while training them to be war mages. He brainwashed them until they were willing to execute people in the name of the Empire.

When graduation drew near, Caleb visited home and overheard his parents speaking treason against the empire. Disgraced and shamed, he reported this at the school. The three teens were ordered to kill their parents, which they did. Caleb burned his house down with his parents inside. He "broke" as he heard their screams. He went to an asylum for years, which he doesn't remember much of.

Years later, a woman at the asylum put her hands on him and "took the clouds away." He realized the memories of his parents' treason were false, implanted with magic. Caleb ran away, killed one of Trent's people, and took the necklace he's wearing, which protects him from being found. He's been running for five years.

Trent clearly wants Yasha now. Beau says he has a responsibility to keep Trent from hurting other people. Caleb wants into the library to get deeper magic power: "I want to bend reality to my will."

View attachment 97380
It was subtle, but Caleb made A Face when Ikithon's name was first mentioned earlier.​

Though Nott and Beau insist he'd been brainwashed, he still blames himself because he wanted to do it at the time. Beau says he can either go after Trent for his own vendetta, or he can use his abilities to keep other people from being hurt like he was. Nott gives a lovely speech about how he needs to forgive himself, and says she will stay by his side while he learns to do that.

The other players re-enter. The next morning, the news is out that the war is on, and soldiers are all over the place.

Beau, Caleb, and Nott go to the library. Caleb researches ancient, boundary-pushing mages, searching for information about powerful transmutation -- time manipulation, specifically. It's very dangerous and barely achievable. He also reads a book about the Cerberus Assembly. Trent Ikithon is mentioned in it, as he is their Archmage of Civil Influence.

The Lawmaster seeks out the Mighty Nein, wishing to contract them as legionnaires to help keep the city safe while the military is away at war. It's a tempting and potentially very lucrative offer, but they would be employees of the Empire. They are undecided and will think it over.
Outside the Leaky Tap, the Righteous Brand marches through the streets. Kara approaches and says the Gentleman has a mission for them. Cliffhanger!

Before signoff, they level up to 5. Everyone rolls their new HP, get excited about having a +3 proficiency bonus, and look at the new features they get. Sam: "What's Uncanny Dodge?" Laura: "I get Revivify now!" It's the best part of D&D!

View attachment 97390
Sam utters famous last words upon realizing how Uncanny Dodge works: "I'm a golden god!"​

Play of the Game
With her offer of an afternoon at the library, Beau got Caleb to divulge his closely guarded backstory in extreme detail. Excellent strategy, perfectly executed.

Quote of the Week
Molly enters the girls' room with the remnants of his fruit platter, wearing only his new Platinum Dragon tapestry. "I am your god, long may I reign, eat of my fruits!"

Context-Free Comedy
"If they're garbage people, I'm their rare cousin, the trash person."

contributed by Annie Bulloch

log in or register to remove this ad

Annie Bulloch

First Post
As for the lack of recognition, the two wizards did have their backs to the party while looking out the window until Beau and Yasha approached them.

Also, I didn't notice at the time, but I saw it shared on Tumblr, but when Trent's name is dropped just watch Liam. He freezes in mid reach just staring for 20 seconds or more.

Yeah, in the screencap I included above, he made A Face and held it. I wasn't focused on him at the time, but of course I went back and looked later.

And you're right, Matt said specifically they had their backs to the room, looking out the window.

log in or register to remove this ad


There was SO MUCH happening in this episode. Sadly, it wasn't possible to cover everything and do it justice with my word limit. Deciding which details I have to leave out due to space restrictions is the hardest part of this gig.

Yah, sorry, I didn't intend to imply that your summary was deficient.

No reason to think they won't, though -- especially for a group who recently, repeatedly, and publicly proved to be very effective fighters. I think Molly's right to be cautious about it. I'd get out ASAP if I was in their shoes.

Assuming the worst has both benefits and costs.

General question - Are folks enjoying this campaign as much as the previous one?

Real question - no hidden agenda I promise!

The viewer numbers suggest that the enthusiasm for the stream has not waned.

Hrm. Not yet.

But it's a very different experience. I got into CR a couple years ago, when there was like 30 episodes. So there was always a new episode to watch, and I could watch episodes in a long chain. I was pretty much watching CR a couple hours every day. I became really familiar with the characters really quickly.
We're twelve episodes into the new campaign now. I likely watched that many episodes in my first week of getting into CR.

At that point, the characters were also well defined. And there were lots of amusing inside jokes. They had years of fun stories to retell.

It was a very different experience. Here, we're all still learning the characters. We're still just getting backstory on several.

There's also a fondness for the past that makes it hard to compare. CR wasn't the first live stream game I watched. But it was the first live stream campaign I embraced. I didn't know what to expect, so everything was a surprise.
I knew what I was getting into with campaign 2. The surprise and wonder isn't there.


I'm not yet as invested in this campaign as I was in the last one, but I'm enjoying it a great deal. This episode felt like a turning point, with the formal news of war, Yasha's description of the Kreen, and Caleb's revelations about the Empire's training methods combining with Molly's justifiable paranoia to set up a very clear dynamic of this group of friends trying to avoid being swept up in events spiralling rapidly out of control.

Caleb's backstory combined with Yasha's encounter with Trent feels like it's established the campaign's first long-term nemesis, and it looks like both the story and the party are set to move onwards soon, so I'm eager for more.

Side note: my tablet tried to autocorrect Kreen to Green, so don't feel too bad, Marisha.

Annie Bulloch

First Post
I think we're just starting to get to the real meat of the campaign, which is only natural.

Can I just say that one of the greatest challenges of this gig, aside from trying to distill several hours of talking into an acceptable word count, is guessing at how various fantasy names are spelled? It was so helpful when Matt stopped to spell out Ikithon. Otherwise, I just have to listen to it a few times and hope I get close. I swear, I never heard the N on the end of Creen (or Kreen/Crean/Kreighn for all I know).


First Post
General question - Are folks enjoying this campaign as much as the previous one?

Real question - no hidden agenda I promise!

The viewer numbers suggest that the enthusiasm for the stream has not waned.

I did not get into the first Campaign much. By the time I heard of Critical Role they had so many episodes I did not want to try and "catch up". I did watch a bunch of clips and fan-made animations though. I've been watching the new Campaign from the get-go though. While not a great comparison, based on the clips vs. the full episodes I am enjoying the new Campaign more due to the characters. Jester, Nott, and Caleb are the standout characters to me that I want to follow more closely.

Remove ads

Latest threads

Remove ads


Remove ads

Upcoming Releases