The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood - Part I: Death & Taxes

"The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood - Part I: Death & Taxes"
One-shot episode
Episode no.Episode 39
AirdateMay 24, 2021 19:00 PDT
Running time3:37:05
Game systemElder Scrolls-based d20 homebrew
Laura Bailey as Grelnok Nightbringer
Taliesin Jaffe as Mallory Klaxton
Sam Riegel as Slaughter Grimm
Michelle Nguyen Bradley as Hoa Sen
Aabria Iyengar as Tavima
Matthew Mercer as the Dungeon Master
Links and related articles
Episode chronology
"Diablo One-Shot" (OSx38)
"Vox Machina vs. Mighty Nein" (OSx40)
Airdate order
"Rebirth" (2x139)
"Talks Machina #161: Up to Rebirth" (TM2x139)
List of one-shots

Apologies in advance, Bethesda, for ruining it.

— Matthew Mercer[1]

"The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood - Part I: Death & Taxes" (OSx39) is the first part of Critical Role's The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood series, sponsored by Bethesda and ZeniMax Online Studios. Game Master Matthew Mercer leads Laura Bailey, Taliesin Jaffe, Sam Riegel, Michelle Nguyen Bradley, and Aabria Iyengar as they play a group of restaurateurs in an adventure inspired by The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Announcements[edit | edit source]

This episode is sponsored by Bethesda and ZeniMax Online Studios for their upcoming 2021 release of The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood. Matt is super excited: he loves the Elder Scrolls and he and Marisha even named their pet bird, Dagon, after a character featured in this update.

Part I[edit | edit source]

The staff of the Dreary Jug - Tavima, Hoa Sen, Slaughter Grimm, Grelnok Nightbringer, and Mallory Klaxton are each introduced in their respective roles as bouncer, hostess, waiter, barteder, and cook as they serve a group of soldiers. As the evening wears on, two more customers, a surly woman and an altmer man in blue robes, arrive at the tavern. The woman eats quickly and leaves, although Tavima calls after her to get her to tip more, but the man asks a number of questions. He reveals himself to be Diven Leson, a bureaucrat for the Aldmeri Dominion, and tells the group that they are behind on their back taxes on the tavern, which the prior owners had also not paid.

Grelnok attempts to provide a makeshift and questionable ledger but it is not accepted, and Diven tells them that they will need to pay a deferrment fee of 300 gold or he will come back with reinforcements. The party asks and Tavima threatens him until he reluctantly agrees to give them until the next day. Upon leaving he nails a sign to the door indicating the tavern is closed, and Hoa adds a note that they will be right back.

Hoa then notices an odd sound like breaking wood coming from behind the tavern. The party goes back to investigate and finds the surly woman breaking into their shed. A fight ensues, in which Tavima gets the killing blow. They find a letter of unknown origin on the woman's corpse, and as they rest to recover from the fight they also find two entrances descending down into a larger opening behind their tavern.

Break[edit | edit source]

Part II[edit | edit source]

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Player characters[edit | edit source]

Screenshot of Official art of the proprietors of the Dreary Jug: Grelnok, Tavima, Slaughter, Mallory, and Hoa, by Minttu Hynninen from "The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood - Part I: Death & Taxes" (OSx39) at 4:09.[art 1]

Non-player characters[edit | edit source]

  • Diven Leson, an Aldmeri tax collector
  • An unnamed treasure-seeker
  • Unnamed Bosmer soldiers
  • An unnamed Grahtwood farmer

Mentioned[edit | edit source]

  • Lyranth, a dremora treasure-seeker
  • Massacre Grimm, Slaughter's father, an argonian necromantic torturer
  • Felony Grimm-Lebowitz, Slaughter's mother, an argonian necromantic torturer
  • Homicide Grimm, Slaughter's brother, an argonian necromantic torturer
  • Agony Grimm, Slaughter's sister, an argonian necromantic torturer

Quotations[edit | edit source]

  • Diven Leson: What can you tell me about this place? What's it called?
    Hoa: Um, it's called the… Dingy… the Jug of… the, um, Dirty, uh, Drinking Hole… What's the name of this place again?
    Slaughter: The Dr—
    Grelnok: The Dirty Hole. That's right.
    Tavima: "The Dirty Hole"?
    Hoa: The Dirty Ho— That doesn't sound right.
    Slaughter: The Dreary Jug!
    Grelnok: The Dreary Jug.
    Hoa: Oh, it's that, yes. It's the Dreary Jug. I'd forgotten.
    Diven Leson: Well, I recommend perhaps maybe workshopping that a bit, seeing as it's a bit challenging to remember and/or present. But anyway…
    Hoa: Wow! Do you work in marketing?
    Diven Leson: More or less, you could say. Hm!
    Hoa: Tell me more!
    Diven Leson: Well, um…
    Hoa: Where did you grow up? Where did you learn to do marketing? What does 'marketing' really mean?
    Diven Leson: You're—you're new at management here, aren't you?
    Hoa: Um… Aren't we all new beings on this beautiful planet that we call, hmm…
    Matt (stage-whispered): Nirn.
    Tavima: Nirn.
    Hoa: Nirn. (Winks at camera.)
    Taliesin: Walked into that one.
    Hoa: I mean, I think that every place is new and exciting, and it's great to learn about every single thing that you may set your eyes upon.[2]
  • Grelnok (Referring to the secret entrance to a subterranean tunnel reputed to lead to treasure): How is it that this was right behind the bar the whole time?
    Tavima: Right?
    Grelnok: In our shed?
    Hoa: It's very coincidental that we need money and we found it right away.
    Slaughter: But also—could be a selling point.
    Tavima: True.
    Slaughter: You know, like, "Come to the Dirty Hole, and if you spend a certain amount, you get a quick tour of the… the dirty hole."
    Hoa: Oh, like an escape room thing!
    Slaughter: An escape room is a great idea!
    Hoa: Yes!
    Slaughter: It's like a theme restaurant now!
    Hoa: Yes!
    Mallory: I am on board with this.
    Hoa: I love it.
    Tavima: Yes. This is very good.
    Grelnok: I like it. I like it.
    Mallory: Themed menus.
    Tavima: And now it makes sense to call it—
    Grelnok and Tavima: "The Dingy Hole"!
    Tavima: Yes!
    Grelnok: Really.
    Slaughter: It's a theme restaurant.
    Hoa: Well, it's not, it can't, it doesn't have to be "Dingy". We can make it really nice in here, put lights up, and it could be "The G—"
    Slaughter: "The Glory Hole"?
    Grelnok: (Points approvingly.)
    Hoa: "A Really Nice Hole"?
    Slaughter: A Really Nice Hole.
    Grelnok: A Really Nice Hole.
    Slaughter: "Come to our Really Nice Hole. Take a look!"
    Hoa: It sounds better than "Dingy" to me!
    Grelnok: "Take a look at our Really Nice Hole!"
    Mallory: Hole in the Hill. I don't know.
    Hoa: "It's nice. And exciting. And you must escape from it."
    Slaughter: We're still workshoppin', we're still workshoppin'.
    Grelnok: Yup.
    Hoa: I write it down.[3]
  • Tavima: This door sucks.[4]
  • Matt: You come to consciousness, healing up three points.
    Grelnok: (Gasps.) We got it?
    Tavima: I can't believe that worked.
    Mallory: More or less.
    Tavima: You missed Slaughter's skull kill it!
    Hoa: The skull worked!
    Slaughter: I'm a hero!
    Grelnok: I don't believe it.
    Slaughter: Come on! Come on!
    Grelnok: No. Didn't happen. Didn't happen.
    Tavima: No, it did happen…
    Hoa: He did. It was glorious. It was very nice.
    Grelnok: That's sweet, that you guys want… Mmm. Didn't happen.
    Tavima: She's not going to believe me.
    Slaughter: It's all right. I'll prove myself with diligent waitstaffing.[5]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Part Two, announced at the beginning of "What Comes Next" (E1x08), aired on August 19, 2021. A third and final installment was announced the next day to be scheduled for September or early October 2021, and aired October 26, 2021.[6]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood - Part I: Death & Taxes" (OSx39) at 2:00.
  2. "The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood - Part I: Death & Taxes" (OSx39) at 19:27.
  3. "The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood - Part I: Death & Taxes" (OSx39) at 1:22:57.
  4. "The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood - Part I: Death & Taxes" (OSx39) at 2:35:57.
  5. "The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood - Part I: Death & Taxes" (OSx39) at 3:27:50.
  6. 2021 Late Summer & Early Autumn Programming Updates on


  1. Screenshot of Official art of the proprietors of the Dreary Jug: Grelnok, Tavima, Slaughter, Mallory, and Hoa, by Minttu Hynninen from "The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood - Part I: Death & Taxes" (OSx39) at 4:09. This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.