The Tunnels Below

"The Tunnels Below"
Campaign 3 episode
"The Tunnels Below" (3x15) thumbnail featuring Travis Willingham and Marisha Ray.
Episode no.Episode 15
AirdateMarch 3, 2022 19:00 PST
Running time4:42:23
Links and related articles
Associated 4-Sided Dive"Silken Secrets" (4SDx01)
Episode chronology
Previous
"In Too Deep" (3x14)
Next
"The Shade Mother" (3x16)
Airdate order
Previous
"Elden Ring One-Shot: O Ye of Little Faith" (OSx45)
Next
"The Shade Mother" (3x16)
List of Campaign 3 episodes

"The Tunnels Below" (3x15) is the fifteenth episode of the third campaign of Critical Role. Bells Hells awaken to the repercussions of their antics at the ball, but the unwanted attention of certain parties could be the key to unraveling some of Jrusar's mysteries…

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Announcements[edit | edit source]


Part I[edit | edit source]

The party completes a long rest at Lord Eshteross's home. In the morning, Chetney presents Ashton with his gift, an articulated wooden hand with movable fingers. Fearne feeds Lord Treshi's ring to FCG for disposal, and Lord Eshteross assures the party that the replacement ring they placed on Treshi will allow Eshteross to track his movements.

They discuss the events of the masquerade ball:

  • Treshi was at the party with Lady Emoth Kade, and Emoth was a "jelly beast" similar to Dugger. She also mentioned a "mother".
  • Orlana Seshadri chatted with both Gavis Aranda and Treshi. She is from a mid-level Mahaan house, low enough in station that Ariks Eshteross didn't suspect them to be involved with the Chandei Quorum.
  • Eshteross worries the events of the ball bolster Treshi's push for increased security in the Oderan Wilds. Eshteross remains unsure why Treshi is so keen on private mercenaries and wonders if the investment is monetary.
  • Treshi is uncomfortable with his connection to the Nightmare King.
  • Emoth was robbing people at the ball, though Emoth's goal there is unclear.
  • Ashton shares that Ratanish knows the party was connected to the destruction of the Moon Tower.
  • Eshteross optimistically hopes to oust Treshi from the Quorum and worries for the Wilds if the rest are also involved in Treshi's schemes.
  • Eshteross believes Ajit Dayal is a good person, though often a target for exploitation by the less scrupulous.
  • Eshteross has analyzed the vial of shade creeper goo the party gave him and determined it is a lubricating excretion.

They discuss the mission Jiana Hexum gave Ashton to steal an item from her rival in the Heartmoor[1] and decide to visit her to see if she can provide a means of traveling there.

A few minutes after leaving Eshteross Manor, they notice they are being flanked by the two Green Seekers (Gus and Olly) seen at the ball, who "invite" the party to join them for a private chat within a magical dome cast by Gus. Olly explains they've noticed the party's connection with some of the weird things happening recently around Jrusar, particularly the destruction of the Moon Tower.

After introductions, the party shares their recent experiences, including with the "jelly people" like Dugger. The Green Seekers immediately connect this with the recent incursions of shade creepers, and the party tells them they believe they need to investigate the tunnels into which the creatures disappear. The Seekers had discovered the Nightmare King's lair beneath the Moon Tower and believe there has been a cover-up by the government of Jrusar along with other underhanded political machinations. Eventually, the party persuades the Seekers that they are on parallel investigative paths and that they too are seeking to do the right thing. The Green Seekers agree to work with them for now.

The Seekers had also reached the conclusion that answers lie beneath the Spires of Jrusar, and the party agrees to join their investigation and postpone their trip to Heartmoor Hamlet. The Seekers want to bring back evidence of the strange shade creepers, preferably in the form of a living Lady Emoth. The entire group heads to the Smolder Spire and the Underrush Mining Operation Facility at its base. Once there, Gus reluctantly asks for Ogdes Friez.

Ogdes greets Gus, saying it's been some time. They have an uncomfortable conversation before Gus asks him for a favor. Equally awkwardly, Ogdes invites them inside the mine to talk.

Break[edit | edit source]

Part II[edit | edit source]

Once inside the mine, the awkwardness and thinly veiled hostility between Ogdes and Gus becomes even more apparent. Ogdes tells Gus that in order to help them by giving them access to the mines, he wants an apology and his furniture back from when they lived together. But he agrees weird things are happening. The Crownset Cavern portion of the mines has been shut down for months with no clear reason and the workers from that area were moved elsewhere.

FCG steps in with some relationship counseling, convincing Ogdes to take them to Foreman Shotan Bruo. Shotan is inside his office and only reluctantly admits them but recognizes the Green Seekers and seems nervous and willing to cooperate. Laudna intimidates him anyway, startling him into tripping over a stool and knocking himself out. A search of the office reveals Shotan seems to spend most of his time there but it contains suspiciously little.

Before FCG casts Cure Wounds on Shotan, bringing him to consciousness, Chetney searches him and takes some brand-new knives and 30 platinum he finds. They question him, learning the Crownset was closed by order of the Underrush family, owners of the mine. Gus bends Shotan's fingers backwards until they break, but he reveals almost nothing beyond that he's being paid to keep the mines closed. By probing his thoughts, FCG learns House Treshi was behind the order and the payments, but "she" hasn't been by for a while. Shotan grows even more terrified when they mention Emoth Kade.

Shotan leads them to an elevator going deeper into the mine. Before they leave, Gus casts a spell on him convincing him to stand guard there. The descent is long, at least 15-30 minutes, but eventually they reach the bottom and a dark tunnel with a familiar strong musty odor overlaid with an acrid smell of decay. Preparing for battle, they see multiple shade creepers approaching along the floor, walls, and ceiling. Roll initiative!

As before, the shade creepers are easy to kill but can also deal significant damage, and there are a lot of them with more continuing to arrive as the battle progresses. There are also three mutated acid-spitting shade creepers with four arms and a split jaw. They finally manage to kill all the visible shade creepers and hear the feet of others scurrying away. FCG uses Aura of Vitality to heal the party, particularly the seriously wounded Orym.

Chetney volunteers to scout ahead while invisible, following the skittering sounds. As he goes further in, he notices the viscous slime growing thicker and forming slime cocoons on the wall. There are occasional piles of bone and clothing. Eventually he reaches a more open area, where about eight shade creepers, including two of the larger, mutated ones, are gathered around a humanoid figure cocooned into the wall of a pillar amid congealed slime. One of the creepers claws the cocoon open, revealing Lady Emoth Kade within. As she emerges, Chetney can see her form is not fully humanoid and has holes in her back through which she breathes. She begins smelling the air, turning toward the invisible Chetney, who immediately scuttles away and reports to the group what he saw.

They decide to head there quickly and stealthily, remembering that the goal is to bring Emoth back alive. Gus plans to soften up the enemies with an ambush fire attack from invisibility, while Olly displays a pearl that she says, if she can get close enough, will make Emoth be at their beck and call. Chetney volunteers to run into the cave to draw the creatures' attention to him rather than the party.

They advance slowly and none too stealthily until Chetney, in the lead, is about 50 feet from the creatures gathered around Emoth. He dashes into the room, arcing around the enemy, and they shift to follow the sound of his footsteps. When he reaches the other side of the pillar, he sees it opens out into a much larger room, and that Emoth is nowhere in sight. Behind him, Gus's promised Fireball takes out the creatures still gathered around the pillar.

In the chamber beyond, Chetney sees two figures working at tables and Lady Emoth in the center looking up. Above her, attached to the wall, is a gargantuan mass of pulsing flesh like a 60-foot slug. At its front, a nightmarish drawn-out humanoid torso emerges with four 10- to 12-foot long arms. Arms raised, Emoth says to it, "Mother, we have visitors," and looks directly at the invisible Chetney.

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Main player characters[edit | edit source]

Companions[edit | edit source]

These characters are familiars or other companions of the player characters.

Returning[edit | edit source]

These characters previously appeared in Campaign 3 or any other Critical Role work.

New[edit | edit source]

These characters have not previously appeared in Campaign 3 or any other Critical Role work, though they may have been previously mentioned.

Mentioned[edit | edit source]

Quotations[edit | edit source]

  • Ashton: Who knew you could piss off so many people in one evening? It's fucking amazing. This feels like a record. Well, no, I take that back. This feels like a record at the pure amount of money that somehow we have pissed off. Normally, the people I piss off don't have anything.
  • Fresh Cut Grass: I've never tasted anything before, so I'm just going to imagine what [the ring] tastes like. (Describes it with many vivid flavors). I don't know what any of those flavors are.
    Orym: How is your knowledge of wine?
    FCG: Oh, I'm an expert.
  • Gus: We've been contacted and hired specifically to figure out what—and pardon the Marquesian—the fuck is going on around here.
    Ashton: Ooh, I speak Marquesian! Which fucking problem, specifically? Because there's a lot of weird shit going on, so you actually would have to be a little fucking specific. I think I said that right, the Marquesian.
  • Olly: (interrogating) All of you were two separate groups of people at an event that all seemed to be one group of friends, as well as keeping proximity to Mr. Lord Ariks Eshteross.
    Imogen: We became friends very quickly.
    Olly: Stayed over at his place last night. That's pretty close.
    Laudna: It was a good night.
  • Laudna: We're here to raise hell in the name of Bell.
  • Orym: Guys, I think we're deputy Seekers.
  • Laudna: (as Pâté) Bird in the head, rat in the body. You know what I'm saying?
  • Laudna: (as Pâté) I remembered the phrase. I got it wrong.
    FCG: What's the real phrase?
    Pâté: I'm a bird in the beak, but a rat in the sheets.
  • Orym: Well, it's like they always say: Bird on a wire, rat in a pocket.
  • FCG: Remember, you're flying like a bird and you're landing like a rat.
  • Emoth Kade: (to the slug creature) Mother, we have visitors.

Inventory[edit | edit source]

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Crafted
Transferred
1 Articulated wooden hand Chetney Ashton Fingers can be adjusted into various positions.
Transferred
Destroyed
1 Lord Treshi's ring Fearne FCG Fed to FCG as fuel.
Stolen a handful Knives Shotan Bruo Chetney The knives appear brand-new and unused.
Stolen 30 Platinum pieces Shotan Bruo Chetney

Trivia[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Art: