In the spirit of Talks Machina’s look back at Campaign 2 so far, we decided to take a look at everything we’ve learned thus far about each Mighty Nein member’s history. Because we’re us, we can’t do things in halves, and spent the better part of the last three weeks researching, compiling, timestamping, linking, writing and editing information on each character’s background. (A friendly reminder that we have a ko-fi!)
We’ll be presenting this information in three parts:
what we, the viewers, know about TMN from what they’ve said on Critical Role and Talks Machina;
what The Mighty Nein (except Caduceus, since he came later) knows about each others’ past;
and what information certain characters know about others’ history that isn’t known by the group at large along with what Caduceus knows about the rest of the Nein.
In this first section, each character’s heading links to a compendium of quotations about that character’s backstory.
A massive thanks to the volunteer editors and transcribers at CRTranscript for their hard work making Critical Role accessible! Projects like this wouldn’t be possible without them. We are basing our spellings off of what has been confirmed by CRTranscript and Stats, what is on the Wildemount maps, and from other places where spellings have been confirmed.
Beau is from Kamordah, a city in the western Dwendalian Empire surrounded by mountains. She has a mother and father, both of whom wanted a son. Her family owns and runs a wine making business. Beau was tasked with taking care of the bookkeeping, which is how she learned Halfling. Beau’s father was particularly protective due to his beliefs, and they raised Beau to participate in stereotypically girly things, much to Beau’s disdain. This protectiveness may have led to her general lack of friends growing up. Her father sacrificed a lot to impress the authorities, which Beau doesn’t like.
Beau rebelled against her father and started participating in petty (and not so petty) crimes, including selling her family’s wine on the black market. Her father paid the Cobalt Soul to take Beau away to teach her some discipline, but she didn’t take to the research/bookkeeping side of the Cobalt Soul. Sometime while she was there, she received a note from her parents informing her that she had a baby brother. The note either told her to come home (based on Matt’s comment in Episode 2-08) or that Beau and her parents should part ways (per Beau’s conversation in Episode 2-47 with Fjord). She left to travel on her own for the first time in her life.
Beau traveled southward, where she met up with Fjord and Jester in Trostenwald. Her former teacher, Archivist Zeenoth, found her in Trostenwald, where Expositor Dairon recruited Beau to join the Expositor branch of the Cobalt Soul. Expositors mete out justice where they deem fit and find out as much information as they possibly can, a perfect fit for Beau’s curiosity about the world and her inherent distrust of authority.
Caduceus grew up in the Blooming Grove in a family whose calling for generations was to tend to the graveyard on behalf of the Wildmother. He has at least a mother, a father named Cornelius, an aunt, a brother, and two sisters, one of whom caused his knee injury that aches when it’s going to rain, and one of whom made him his green beetle armor. He had a pleasant childhood, despite their relative seclusion. His parents and siblings left one-by-one over the years to find a solution to the unnatural blight upon the woods surrounding the Blooming Grove that relentlessly creeps into their land from the Savalierwood. His last sister left “about 20 seasons ago” and headed east from the Blooming Grove. Caduceus, waiting for a sign from the Wildmother, left when he saw what he believed was a sign in The Mighty Nein finding him. He also knew it was dangerous for him to leave the temple alone, so he was waiting for people to tag along with.
Caleb hails from the small village of Blumenthal, raised by his mother, Una, and father, Leofric, a lower-level Righteous Brand soldier. Caleb had a knack for magic from an early age, and learned much through reading. As a teenager, he was charismatic, and social experiences came easy to him.
Caleb and two other Blumenthal teens, Astrid and Eodwulf, were selected to attend the Soltryce Academy. (He thought Astrid had the most handsome nose and was a better dancer than him.) After a year at the Academy, the three of them were groomed by Trent Ikithon, the current Archmage of Civil Influence in the Cerberus Assembly, to leave the Academy and train under his tutelage. His training was cruel, and involved interrogating, torturing, and murdering “traitors” to the Empire. While there, Caleb fell in love with one of the other students (not specified).
Trent modified their memories to think that their parents were speaking out against the Empire. As a final trial, each of the students were ordered to kill their parents for their supposed betrayal; the three did. Hearing the screams of his parents as they burned alive in their home broke Caleb, forcing him to spend many years in an asylum. Near the end of his time there, a female patient cast something on him, removing the modified memory from his brain and making him realize he had been manipulated into killing his parents. Caleb killed Trent’s employee stationed at the asylum and fled, keeping off of Trent’s radar by wearing a necklace with a charm that conceals him and his location ever since.
Caleb wandered the Empire, getting by mostly through theft. He was thrown in a small town’s jail, where he met up with Nott. They helped each other escape prison, and have been together ever since. Caleb found his current spellbook in an adult bookstore and has shifted his focus from evocation magic to transmutation as part of his goal of learning how to bend time and reality to his will to undo his past wrongs. Many of his spells, however, still lean towards the evocation magics he learned as a teenager, particularly those based on fire. At some point, he became familiar with the iconography of the Archeart, though it is unconfirmed when or where.
To provide context for Fjord’s backstory, we need to start with Vandran. Vandran was a follower of Uk’otoa, and potentially a pirate of some renown in Darktow, seeking to unlock the great leviathan from below the ocean. That unlocking could be achieved by finding three cloven yellow orbs. At some point, he initiated the interested Avantika into the cult of Uk’otoa, and they sailed together searching for these orbs. They managed to find one, and if Fjord’s vision was true, Vandran killed someone in order to get it. Vandran later stored this orb a box in his quarters on The Tide’s Breath.
In addition to the orb, Vandran wielded a falchion he called the Sword of Fathoms. Avantika grew more fervent in her devotion to Uk’otoa, but Vandran got cold feet and left both Avantika and the cult of Uk’otoa. He began life anew as a merchant sailor out of Port Damali, though he kept his sword and his orb hidden away.
Fjord was raised in Port Damali in an orphanage, where he was shamed for being a half-orc. He was taken in by Vandran, who taught Fjord everything he knows about sailing and how to carry himself. Vandran also took another under his wing, Sabian. Fjord and Sabian didn’t always see eye to eye, but Fjord thought they had put their disagreements to rest.
One night, as their ship, the Tide’s Breath, was sailing through an area of the Lucidian Ocean known as the Diver’s Grave, a massive storm hit. Fjord caught Sabian going below deck, lighting a fuse. When Fjord called him on it, Sabian put a dagger in Fjord’s chest and ran above deck to abandon ship. An explosion hit, and Fjord was thrown overboard.
When Fjord awoke, he was on Bisaft Isle next to a falchion that he had never seen before. When he examined it, he suddenly came to have new powers gifted to him by Uk’otoa. Wanting to learn more about his new magical capabilities, he struck out for Rexxentrum to potentially gain entry to the Soltryce Academy. Along his way, he met Jester, who was escaping from the bounty on her head in Nicodranas. On their way out of the Menagerie Coast, Fjord adopted Vandran’s accent as his own. While Fjord is still unsure of Vandren’s fate, Caduceus has received confirmation from The Wildmother that Vandran is still alive somewhere.
Jester grew up the daughter of Marion Lavore, a highly respected courtesan in Nicodranas named The Ruby of the Sea. Her father, Babenon Dosal, was a charming man from an island at sea with blue (and damp) skin and dark hair who wore many rings on his fingers. After Marion and he fell in love, she got pregnant, and they decided that they were going to get married. Babenon left to get his home set up for them, but he never returned, leaving Marion as a single mother.
Jester spent the majority of her childhood in The Lavish Chateau, where her mother lived and worked. She stayed hidden away so that her mother’s clients wouldn’t know about her, though she went into the city sometimes with Marion’s minotaur bodyguard, Bluud. Marion still spent a lot of quality time with Jester, and sang to her a lot. Jester learned to play the piano (kind of), waltz, and bake scones. While Jester was growing up, a mysterious figure often kept her company: the Traveler. She would draw him pictures, her artistry a skill she learned from her mother. The Traveler encouraged her to sow chaos in the world, but to always give back.
One day, Jester played a prank on one of her mother’s clients, Lord Sharp, taking on her mother’s appearance, luring him out onto their balcony, and locking him out to the public while he was in a girdle. He was furious, and put a bounty on Jester’s head. Jester left Nicodranas to escape Lord Sharp and hopefully find her father to live with him. Along the way, she met Fjord, excitedly joining him in his journey to the Dwendalian Empire as a traveling companion.
Before Molly was Molly, the person inhabiting his body was an individual named Lucien or Nonagon. Lucien was a blood hunter who created his own sect called the Tomb Takers around Shadycreek Run, broken off from a previous order whose judgement had become clouded. Members of the Tomb Takers included Lucien (who later went by Nonagon), Cree, Tyffial, Zoran, Jurrel, and Ottis. Lucien/Nonagon (L/N) led the group, and was sometimes charismatic in his cruelty.
Two years earlier, the Tomb Takers were working under contract for a “spell-spitter lady from the capitol” who was an ally of L/N’s. This spellcaster performed a ritual using a book L/N found that would supposedly lead them to a city he promised where they could learn long-lost secrets and powers. L/N directed the other Tomb Takers that if things went wrong to scatter and vanish and wait until he returned. Things did indeed go wrong, and it seemed that L/N died. The Tomb Takers buried him outside of “the hideout,” and scattered. With L/N gone, the woman from the capitol “took the book and left, and that her contract said she was in the right and that [The Tomb Takers] knew better than to go toe to toe with her and her ilk."
Mollymauk Tealeaf awoke after being buried with no memory of his past. Days after waking up, he was found by Gustav Fletchling, who was from Shadycreek Run, on his circus’ tour. All Molly would say for some time was “Empty;” due to the phonetic similarity to the initials M.T., Gustav named him Mollymauk Tealeaf. Molly served as a techie for the circus, as well as performing fortune telling, illusions, and sword juggling. After living with the circus for some time, he developed who he was when the rest of The Mighty Nein’s members met him in Trostenwald. While traveling, he got all of his tattoos, which were to cover up and camouflage the nine red eyes he had on his body. He also became a follower of the Moonweaver.
Nott grew up near Felderwin on the eastern side of the Dwendalian Empire. She has no knowledge of her biological parents, since all goblin children were raised by the entire clan. Her clan acted as goblins traditionally do: stealing, kidnapping, torturing, etc. Nott was never entirely comfortable with that or with herself.
While apprenticed to the clan’s lead torturer, a halfling named Yeza was taken captive. Nott took a liking to him, and in exchange for the information she could get out of him, the clan let him live for a while longer than most captives. Eventually, however, the clan wanted him dead. Rather than let that happen, Nott shot a goblin in the butt as a distraction, and the two ran in separate directions. Nott has not been back since.
Nott was caught stealing cherry wine and placed in a small town’s jail cell with Caleb. After breaking free, the two began traveling together. Nott occasionally sends packages to Felderwin of the things she has gathered along the way. Though the recipient is thus far unknown, Nott told Caleb that the only person she wanted to check on in Felderwin was Yeza, so he’s the most likely candidate.
Yasha is from a swampy area of Xhorhas called Iothia Moorland. Iothia Moorland was far south of Ghor Dranas, and her people didn’t go near it because of the rumors of how terrible it was. She was a member of the Dolorav tribe, and was given the name Orphan Maker by the Skyspear, the matriarch of the clan. We don’t know everything that the clan was about, but we know it appreciated Yasha killing a lot of people in a village at one point.
Yasha fell in love with another woman in the clan, Zuala, and secretly married her, despite knowing she was matched to marry another. When their marriage was discovered, Zuala was killed and Yasha ran away. Her memory is very spotty between then and when she woke up at the temple of the Stormlord, who saved her. When she woke up she both looked and felt different. It was on her journey away from Xhorhas that she was picked up by Gustav Fletchling and his circus, and hired on as muscle. This was between 6 months and a year and a half before she met the rest of the Mighty Nein (her timeline has varied).