Trial by Firelight

"Trial by Firelight"
Campaign 3 episode
"Trial by Firelight" (3x02) thumbnail featuring Marisha Ray and Laura Bailey.
Episode no.Episode 2
AirdateOctober 28, 2021 19:00 PDT
Running time4:07:39
Special guest
Robbie Daymond as Dorian Storm
Links and related articles
Associated 4-Sided Dive"Silken Secrets" (4SDx01)
Episode chronology
"The Draw of Destiny" (3x01)
"The Trail and the Toll" (3x03)
Airdate order
"The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood - Part III: The Golden Goose" (OSx43)
"The Trail and the Toll" (3x03)
List of Campaign 3 episodes

"Trial by Firelight" (3x02) is the second episode of the third campaign of Critical Role. The three groups of adventurers slowly begin to form a cohesive unit as a tentative alliance is forged with the vigilant and mysterious Lord Eshteross...

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Pre-Show[edit | edit source]

It's the Halloween episode! This year, the cast dressed up as each other: Travis as Sam, Robbie as Matt, Marisha as Taliesin, Sam as Marisha, Ashley as Travis, Laura as Robbie, Liam as Ashley, Taliesin as Liam, and… Matt as a pretty spot-on Laura.

Announcements[edit | edit source]

Part I[edit | edit source]

Roll initiative!

Up first, Orym tells Lord Eshteross, "We really don't have to do this," and holds his action, but Laudna has no such reservations and immediately casts Hex and Eldritch Blast on him. The others also attack, landing with both spells and physical attacks, with the exception of Bertrand who retreats across the room and watches, making occasional encouraging comments.

The party does well at first, landing some significant damage while not taking much in return. However, Lord Eshteross uses his three attacks and an Action Surge to good effect to severely wound Orym, damage Laudna, and knock Dorian unconscious to join Orym prone at Eshteross's feet. The party continues to hit Eshteross, while FCG brings Dorian back to consciousness, and Dorian immediately gives Orym badly-needed healing as well.

These are challenging times in the Wilds. Terrible things happen to good people, and much of the Quorum promises protection or justice, but meets expectations with excuses. The Ivory Syndicate moves nearly unimpeded through Jrusar and the great Honored Trails of the jungle, further tightening their grip on the fine people of this region. And this is just the social struggles. Rumors of darker, deadlier things hide on the outskirts of these whispered streets, dangers both ancient and new creep up in the jungles surrounding, even the further townships where protection is a luxury. So what do I have to offer? Well, employment, for those who want to do something about it. I'm not interested in common sellswords.

— Lord Eshteross explaining his mission.[1]

Lord Eshteross, significantly wounded at this point, says, "Enough!" and moves back to his chair. He admits he is surprised; they indeed do have some skill. As most of the group gathers around, he adjusts the top of his cane and those closest feel a warmth which Dorian only much later realizes was a Zone of Truth. He asks about their goals, saying that these are challenging times and that while the Chandei Quorum promises justice and protection, they have failed. The Ivory Syndicate moves unimpeded through both Jrusar and the Honored Trails of the jungle, and there are rumors of yet darker dangers creeping closer. He offers them a chance to combat these evils in return for payment and a chance to prove the unity of their ideals, but stresses that for both their safety, they cannot reveal for whom they work.

Orym is sold, but FCG suggests they discuss it among themselves first. The party leaves for a tavern where they talk a little about their individual goals and histories, still hiding more than they reveal. Laudna shows them her dead rat with a raven skull that she made herself, named Pâté de Rolo, which she puppets and speaks through. Orym recognizes the de Rolo name, and the party learns that Laudna left Whitestone after the Briarwoods took over but before Vox Machina arrived and restored the de Rolos to their rulership of the city. Bertrand proudly shows them his Vox Machina lapel pin. FCG urges everyone to be open and honest with each other, and Pâté, Orym, and Ashton agree.

They return to Lord Eshteross and tell him they've decided to accept his offer, but want a written contract. Lord Eshteross replies they will do that if this preliminary venture goes well. The Dayal Hall is a privately funded learning center in the Core Spire, and Lord Eshteross has been overseeing its deliveries and supplies storage. Recently, however, there have been thefts. He would like them to go to his storage warehouse in the Lantern Spire, called "Prudaj Textiles", and investigate. They will each receive a 50 gold advance, 150 gold for a "satisfactory conclusion", and 350 gold if the source of the thefts is dealt with. They must not let the warehouse workers know that they work for Lord Eshteross.

On the way out, Fearne tries and fails to steal a "shiny", then tries and fails to lie her way out of it, but Lord Eshteross lets it go. Making their way to the Lantern Spire, they locate Prudaj Textiles, a storage facility. Laudna and Dorian head around its side, Fearne and Ashton guard the front, and Imogen, Orym, and FCG go inside just as several dead rodents are flung out the front door. They are greeted by a worker asking if he can help them. Imogen convincingly tells him they're here on behalf of Madam Zhudanna, who is opening a shop in the Core Spire.

Break[edit | edit source]

Part II[edit | edit source]

As Imogen, Orym, and FCG wander the warehouse, uncertain what they're looking for, Orym notices three crates that look more recently arrived than the others. He manages to get atop one and opens it, noticing that it had been previously forced open. Inside are simple fabrics and clothing, and some small bags of dried figs and grains. There is also a gap as if something small has been removed, and a strange gravel-like residue left behind. Both FCG and Imogen attempt to read the thoughts of the workers, but neither learns anything useful. When FCG opens another crate that looks recently opened, he too notices a gap and a granular residue. He uses a lens over his ocular sensor to Identify the residue: it is brumestone, a very rare substance now used to keep skyships aloft.

Meanwhile, outside, Laudna, Ashton, and Dorian discover a second entry to the warehouse from the rear alley, sealed and barred. There is a rotted rope ladder hanging from the roof fifteen feet above them, and Dorian uses his Winged Boots to reach it, carrying Laudna, but all they find is a thoroughly ruined leather satchel holding a moldy leather case, which she takes.

Meanwhile, also outside, Fearne asks Bertrand about his family (no significant other, no children that he knows of), and when he asks, tells him she does want to settle down with a family someday. He also shares that the Ivory Syndicate mentioned by Lord Eshteross is dangerous and clandestine. Bertrand is concerned that they may be involved in their current investigation and since they're aware of his existence, might recognize him if he enters the warehouse. Fearne, however, really wants to go in and is easily talked into it by Bertrand.

She arrives just as FCG is attempting to let Imogen know about the brumestone, and makes a total hash of trying to talk her way in. An increasingly suspicious and frazzled Danas, the manager, is arguing with her when Orym takes a pratfall as a distraction. FCG reads Danas's thoughts, which are to get them out as quickly as possible, and they decide to leave.

Outside, the group rejoins in the back alley to discuss what they found. Imogen suspects the thefts are an inside job, and they decide it might be smart to stake the place out once darkness falls. They decide on one group at the back door, one at the front, and one person inside in case anything arrives other than by way of the doors. Ashton, Laudna, FCG, and Fearne are Team Back Door; Dorian, Bertrand, and Imogen are Team Full Frontal; and Orym is designated to be made invisible by Dorian and sneak inside while the employees are leaving. While they wait, Laudna investigates the pockets of a drunk that passes out near them, but Ashton talks her out of keeping the three coppers she finds.

Team Full Frontal waits by the front door as two of the employees leave, then Dorian casts Invisibility on Orym and he succeeds in darting through the door as the third leaves, leaving only Danas inside nervously scurrying between the crates before she leaves as well. Team Full Frontal watches her tensely pull a note from her pocket and read it before briskly running off. Bertrand and Imogen follow her, leaving Dorian alone at the front door.

Orym is alone inside the warehouse in total darkness. He sits down and starts listening intently. Laudna Messages Imogen, who tells her they're following Danas, Orym is inside, and Dorian's alone. FCG attempts to contact Orym, but all he gets is a feeling of FCG's curiosity. Laudna then contacts him and he confirms he's okay, but he doesn't know Imogen and Bertrand have left. Worried about him, Fearne bangs on the metallic door. They consider sending some of their group to the front, or loosening some of the bars on the back door, but decide to leave him alone to do his thing.

Orym sits in the darkness inside, blade drawn, facing the metallic banging he just heard. Team Back Door remains in place outside. Dorian is pacing nervously at the front door, and Bertrand and Imogen are chasing Danas through the streets of Jrusar. And in the midst of this chaos is where we'll pick up next week!

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Main player characters[edit | edit source]

Guest player characters[edit | edit source]

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]

  • Lord Eshteross: I have many contacts across the city, across Marquet, even, and hear of many places where people cry out for help unheard. So I seek individuals that can do these deeds in my stead, offer guidance, protection, or at least be my eyes and ears in the greater world. Doing this kind of work as long as I have tends to make some enemies, so it's safest I stay here, and those that work for me make no mention of it.
  • Lord Eshteross: (recounting the fate of Bertrand's prior party) One fell. The others left.
    Laudna: (smiling) Tragic.
    Bertrand: Unfortunate.
    Ashton: Shit happens.
    FCG: That must have been very hard for you.
  • Imogen: So we'd be the good guys?
    Lord Eshteross: I would certainly hope so. And the minute you prove otherwise, our business is done.
  • Bertrand: There were many stages to Vox Machina in its glory, but I was there in the heyday of it all. Rescuing Frog-- uh, Grog... uh, Strong-- Strongbone. Large fellow. Beard. I think he's in Whitestone now, actually.
    Fearne: I thought I remember it... Stonejaw or something.
    Travis: (under his breath) I'm going to fucking...
    Ashley: Try it.[4]
  • Liam: (rolling dice) That is... ooh, it's a natural one, which I get to re-roll because I'm a halfling, motherfucker.
    Sam: What a stupid rule.
  • Fearne: You know what I think we should do?
    Bertrand: (hesitantly) What?
    Fearne: I think we should kill them all. (pauses and laughs) I'm just kidding.
    Bertrand: Which-- which, which, which... who were you, in that-- were you talking about the people inside the warehouse or, just, everyone?
    Fearne: I don't remember.
  • Laudna: (in a very spooky-sounding Message) Do you need assistance?
    Orym: Well, I'm pretty sure I'm locked inside and I can't see shit, but I think this is the plan still. And don't worry, Dorian and Bell and Imogen are out front, so they've got me covered.
    Laudna: (turning to FCG) Oh, he's totally out of the loop. It's quite adorable.
  • Fearne: (trying to whisper under the back door) I try just under the crack. I get down low--
    Matt: There is no crack. It is sealed.
    Sam: This back door has no crack.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The ringtone of Sam's phone in his break ad for Twitch subscriptions was Sponsor Me from his musical ad bit in Announcements last week.

Inventory[edit | edit source]

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Expended 3 Gold pieces Bertrand The Weary Way Tavern Pays for the party's breakfast
Acquired 400 Gold Evelyn Wress The party An advance payment from Lord Eshteross
Acquired 1 Moldy leather case Roof of Prudaj Textiles Laudna Contained 10 gold, 12 silver.
Acquired less than a handful Tiny pieces of brumestone Prudaj Textiles Imogen
Acquired 1 Shabby cloak a passerby Bertrand Paid 4 silver

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 1:00:32.
  2. "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 1:33:11. Not mentioned by name. "Found his sister."
  3. "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 1:33:11. Not mentioned by name. "Lost son showed up."
  4. "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 1:35:05. Grog's father's name was Stonejaw Strongjaw, so named because Travis had trouble remembering Grog's last name. See "Talks Machina Special #3: Critical Role Campaign 1 Wrap-up" (TMSx03) at 24:45.