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Critical Role Recap: Episode 56 – “Hope”

SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 56 (obviously).  Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
My recap of Episode 55 can be found here.

After a very combat heavy two episodes, Vox Machina takes a second to recharge and regroup with some stellar roleplay and great moments.

Previously on Critical Role

After liberating the city of Westruun from the tyranny of the Herd of Storms, a band of goliaths and other barbarians and bandits, Vox Machina set out to slay the Ancient Black Dragon Umbrasyl. After a long and brutal fight that started just outside Westruun at the foot of the mountain Gatshadow and moved up to the dragon’s lair in the mountain itself, Vox Machina stood victorious.


With Umbrasyl freshly slain, Vex begins inventorying the dragon’s loot while Keyleth (with the aid of Percy) begins harvesting useful and/or valuable bits from the dragon itself. Vax accompanies his sister and makes a point to watching her closely.

Vex’s favored terrain is decidedly not “gold” so she gets no bonus in appraising the loot.

After some time, it is determined that the loot is worth about 78,000 gold pieces. 25lbs of gems are also recovered. Scanlan looks for a ring that would function as a wedding ring. He finds a ring with a large sapphire and pockets it. The party also finds some art pieces.

Vox Machina debates how much is fair for them to take for themselves and how much to return to the people of Westruun. The logistical challenge of transporting such a vast loot back down the mountain is also brought into question.

The group searches for magic items. Grog finds a strange ceramic jug with runes carved around the rim. The sound of sloshing liquid is heard from the jug as it is handled, but the jug is empty. Pike identifies the item as possessing some sort of transmutation magic, and the group passes it around, employing different methods of determining its magical properties.


Water, dragons blood, and dirt are placed in the container and subsequently dumped out. Vex tries reaching into it, Pike attempts to drink from the empty container, and Grog wears it like a helmet, all without any strange effects. The party sets it aside to be examined by an expert at some later time.

The party also finds two vials of potion among smashed vials, presumably from potions used by Umbrasyl to heal himself upon his return to his lair. These intact potions are later identified to be a potion of etherealness and a potion of climbing.

They also find a large leather bound tome. Its title page, while not written in any recognizable language, is understood by all to read The Tome of Leadership and Influence.

Scanlan conjures Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion in the  middle of the dragon’s lair and the group retires for the night. Percy immediately heads to the mansion’s workshop to fix his rifle “Bad News” that had jammed and broken beyond quick repair.

Vax asks for his Boots of Haste back from Vex, who had received them in preparation for the fight with Umbrasyl. She refuses and the rogue concedes to his sister. “Fine. Keep them. See if you still have them in the morning.”

Vex retires early. Scanlan slyly charges ten of his 100 spectral mansion servants to “guard Vex’s feet.” Vax waits a bit, retrieves a cup of water and a cup of flour from the kitchen and sneaks into his sisters room to find the spectral servants staring directly at him despite his stealth. They let him pass as he does not indicate he has any intentions regarding anything to do with her feet. He suddenly leaps on to the bed, splashes the water into his sisters face followed immediately by the flour.

The servants pull Vax off and restrain him as he demands the return of his boots from Vex. “Give me my boots! Give me my fucking boots, you greedy shitbird! I don’t trust you as far as I can throw you!”

Vex, wiping off the water and flour mixture now caked to her face, offers the boots in exchange for the low down on Vax’s relationship with Keyleth. Vax invokes the deal he made with the Raven Queen to save Vex’s life. “I can rescind this pact I made with a goddess and you can drop to the ground, or you can ask about my personals…”

Vex removes one of the boots and gives it to him. The servants quickly snatch it and put it on Vax’s foot. Vex dangles the other one in front of him. “Do you love her?”


“Does she feel the same way about you?”

“…Ask her.”

Vex gleefully hands over the second boot, “maybe I will!”

Meanwhile, Keyleth finds Scanlan and asks about the hot springs that obviously exist in the mansion. Scanlan informs her that the springs are in the third basement. This is punctuated by a soft rumble of the mansion making his statement true.

Keyleth heads there to find a room featuring natural hot springs and a large nude portrait of Scanlan on the wall. She contacts Vex and Pike via the party’s magical earrings.

Keyleth:  “Hey, I think I just found a great place for a girls hang out. Third basement.”

Grog: “There is a third basement?”

Percy: “We can all hear you, you know.”

Its not long before Percy and Grog crash the girls’ spa date. Grog jumps right in, splashing the lot of them (“FUCK YES, CANNONBALL!”) Pike gleefully follows his lead. Percy carefully removes his glasses and gingerly eases himself in to soak alone in the corner.

Vex gets in with Keyleth and almost immediately questions her about Vax.


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Keyleth: “You just said a lot of words in a very short amount of time.”

Vex continues to push her. “Do you love him?”

“I am afraid of what will happen if I say yes.”

Vex assures her that it is okay, surprising even herself, and that they should go for it. The conversation shifts to Vax’s pact with the Raven Queen, to “Death.” Keyleth asks Vex, “Do you believe in the gods? Do you believe that Vax really serves Death?”


The conversation concludes with Vex telling Keyleth to relax and live a little as she cannonballs into the hot spring. Keyleth casts alter self to give herself gills and slowly sinks to the bottom of the hot spring to recover from the exchange.

Grog harasses Percy for his lack of cannonballing.

Grog: “Perrrccccyyy.”

Percy: “I do not cannonball.”

Pike: “We should have a cannonball contest!”

Percy: “Well if there is a dare involved that is completely different!”

Scanlan arrives, eating chicken and pantsless. Vex points out that his portrait isn’t very accurate.

After determining that Scanlan’s servants cannot officiate the cannonball contest (they would vote for Scanlan), Grog decides to sit out to officiate, as he would clearly win, anyway. Vex puts up the 25lbs of gems from Umbrasyl’s loot as a prize.

Keyleth goes first, transforming into an earth elemental mid leap, creating a sizable spalsh. Percy promptly sends a servant to fetch raw sodium from his workshop (“Its on, motherfucker”). Pike goes next, leaping in, all nude except for her gauntlets of ogre strength, the magic items giving her the boost to match Earth-Keyleth’s splash despite her gnome stature. Percy keeps quietly working on something in the corner. Scanlan saunters up to the pool and casually skips in, casting Thunderwave to create a large splash. Percy announces he is ready, revealing a tea-cloth pouch of raw sodium suspended in an iron kettle, to shield himself. He leaps in, there is a modest splash, but after a moment an explosion of smoke, water, and shrapnel echoes around the room. Percy deals 23 damage to himself as the iron kettle is completely destroyed.


Vex grabs her broom and takes it to the ceiling. Leaping off it, she releases Trinket the bear from his magic locket and they both impact the water creating a large splash.

Grog declares Percy the winner as his performance was the only one to draw blood. Percy takes his bag of gems and limps to his room, leaving a trickle of blood trailing behind him.

The next morning arrives. Grog tells the party that in the night he was craving some ale and suddenly the mysterious magic jug filled with beer. It wasn’t an endless amount but it was plenty to get the goliath shitfaced.

The party inquires more, if it produces just ale or other substances. Grog reveals that after finishing the four gallons of ale, he had a craving for mayonnaise and the jug filled with that.

“So you have a bunch of mayonnaise now?”

“No. I ate that too.”

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Two gallons of mayonnaise, according to the DMG.

They party packs up and begins their trek down Gatshadow to return to Westruun. Percy commissions Keyleth to stoneshape the Vox Machina crest into the wall of the lair, accompanied with the words “One down” in draconic and one of Umbrasyl’s teeth embedded in the stone.

As they approach Westruun they see columns of smoke. Upon closer inspection they see they are funereal pyres. Zanror, Shale, and the remnants of the herd are burning their dead before leaving Westruun and returning to their nomadic wanderings. Zanror offers to let Grog to join them, but he refuses, saying that he has a new family now, gesturing to Vox Machina.

The party spots a group of refugees being led out of town by a large bearded man in his mid forties with grey streaks in his hair and beard. He introduces himself as Kerrek, a local smith and former adventurer (played by guest Patrick Rothfuss!).  Kerr explains that he is leading a group out to learn what had happened.

Vex: “That dragon? Gone! Killed! Destroyed! VOX MACHINA!”

The party debates what the people of Westruun should do now. Kerr mentions that many have fled to the nearby town of Kymal, but many are too stubborn to leave. The creation of an underground dragon shelter is mentioned.

Pike asks Kerr, being a smith, if he knows how to make armor quiet. He laughs.

They head into town to a tavern that is serving as a communal shelter for many of the survivors. With Kerr’s help, word of Umbrasyl’s death is spread and soon alcohol is broken out and the town celebrates.

Vex remains outside, an eye to the sky, but none of the other three members of the Chroma Conclave are seen. Percy goes to join her, but is intercepted by a distraught Keyleth. Keyleth is slightly intoxicated and is unsettled by the town viewing them as heroes when she clearly doesn’t believe they are. Kerr sees them and offers to take Keyleth outside. They pass Vex as she is on her way back in.

Kerr asks if its the people in there or if Keyleth has “finally just realized how pointless it all is?” Keyleth confesses to a little of both and the two have a lengthy existential conversation about the nature of the world they live in and the curse of being the only ones who can see the big picture. Keyleth confesses to being jealous of how ignorant Grog is about the gravity of it all. Keyleth finds herself unexpectedly comforted in the company of this strange man who seems to understand her struggles more than any of her friends that she has traveled with for so long.


Grog tells the group that he found Amelia, the daughter of Reginald, the farmer that died at the hands of the goliath herd to protect the knowledge of Vox Machina’s presence in Westruun. Vex and Pike find her in the party and inform her of her father’s death and how brave he was, and deliver the savings he wanted her to have. She thanks them, returning to the party, drinking much more heavily.

The party continues into the night. Scanlan drunkenly asks Kerr to smith a small secret compartment into the scabbard of his Singing Dawn Blade, much to the annoyance of Percy, who is much more adept at such delicate work. Kerr succeeds, and the compartment is functional if not aesthetically pleasing.

The party gathers the remaining townsfolk in the town square and ask them if they want to stay or if they want to leave, offering to build them underground shelter if they wish to stay. The town seems evenly split. Many wish to reunite with their families that have fled to Kymal, but many refuse to leave the homes they have lived all their life. Percy implores that they do not abandon the city. “The death of a city is such a blasphemy.” He offers that word be sent to the refugees in Kymal so that they may return to help rebuild Westruun.

The town eventually agrees, especially when Vox Machina offers to magically deliver word to Kymal themselves. Scanlan, Pike, and Kerr use Keyleth’s tree portal to transport there while the rest stay to begin clearing and expanding upon the existing sewers to create a habitable bunker.

Scanlan, Pike, and Kerr spread the word and organize aid to be sent to Westruun. Scanlan uses the last of his “shit-scrying” potion to create a small magic turd he puts in the secret compartment of his scabbard, allowing him to view its location at any time.

He tracks down his daughter Kaylee and his friend Dr. Dranzel who had previously fled to Kymal. He gives her the sapphire ring and the Singing Dawn Blade (and scabbard).

“Me and my friends are going to do something very stupid. Save the world.”

She makes him promise that he won’t die.

Meanwhile, Percy begins writing the names of all the survivors of Westruun on a large wall in the underground bunker. He chronicles the history of the city, complete with the story of Umbrasyl and his defeat, on the other wall.

Keyleth questions him. He explains that a city is a history of its people. If a city falls, anyone who has ever been born or lived there dies, their lives lost to history. Making sure the city stands, and people remember, will be how they live forever.

A child begins adding to the wall as they talk.

The party regroups and Percy and Keyleth gift Kerr a box containing a scroll of parchment, a wooden bracelet, and the magical metal circlet that controls the stone golem Fassbender. They thank him, tell him the scroll will tell him how to use the golem, and to use it to help rebuild the city. Kerr thanks them for everything they have done for Westruun.

The child drawing on the wall finishes his masterpiece and runs off.

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Hey! Step off, kid! Critical Role doodles are my shtick!

Vox Machina debates their next move. Visiting the Fey Wild was on the agenda, as Vax and Vex’s (and their father’s) home, the elven city of Syngorn, was transported there to protect it from the Chroma Conclave’s initial attack. They also haven’t returned to Percy’s home of Whitestone in some time, where all of the refugees from Emon were taken. Vax, however, is adamant that he, at least, needs to go to Vasselheim immediately, and fulfill his calling to Raven Queen. However, Vax is adamant that he doesn’t want his sister anywhere near the goddess’s temple.

Having never gotten the opportunity to talk to him about what happened when they were retrieving the Deathwaker’s Ward, the armor of the Champion of the Raven Queen, from the Sunken Tomb while she was gone, Pike pulls Vax aside. Being a cleric of Sarenrae, she expresses concern over the pact Vax made to save Vex.

Vax admits he always admired Pike, and that through her he came to see the light of Sarenrae and was planning on asking her to teach him upon her return, but then the moment in the Sunken Tomb happened, and now he has no choice but to serve the Raven Queen. He has accepted that.

Pike reassures him and vows to support him, but if the Raven Queen screws  him over or doesn’t change him for the better she will fuck up the death goddess.

Vax is reassured by her comfort.


The party agrees to head to Vasselheim for Vax first. Keyleth opens the tree portal and Vox Machina steps through, leaving Westruun behind.


New Critical Role Recaps will be here on ProjectDerailed.com every Tuesday!

ANNOUNCEMENT: In addition to our weekly Critical Role Recaps for new episodes, we will soon be starting Critical Role Catch-Ups, doodle recaps just like these, starting at Episode 1! First one will hopefully land in a few weeks and they will be every week on Thursdays!

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Is it Thursday yet?

Episode 57 – “Duskmeadow” Recap[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Nick Uroseva (@Nick_Uroseva)
Nick is a social media marketing professional and content creator by trade but also dabbles in everything from graphic design, photography, illustration, videography & video editing, animation, and podcasting. He is the Co-Creative Head at Derailed Medial LLC, the creator and Dungeon Master of the ENNIE-nominated podcast Tales of the Voidfarer and cast member on Cape Chronicles and Fables Around the Table.

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