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Critical Role Recap: Episode 101 – “Thar Amphala”

SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 101 (obviously).  Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
Our recap of Episode 100 can be found here.

Vox Machina travels to the Shadowfell.

Previously on Critical Role

After finding their old friend, Scanlan, Vox Machina heads to Ank’Harel to find the next ziggurat. They eventually found the mountain where Lionel saw cultists passing through an orb. They fought their way to the ziggurat where they found the cultists being led by none other than Delilah Briarwood. They managed to kill some of the cultists, but Lady Briarwood and the others escaped into the orb.


Taryon crosses the battlefield over to the destroyed Doty. He starts to gather the pieces of the automaton to repair later.

Percy: “I kind of want to collapse this cave.”

He goes on to say that though they cannot destroy the ziggurat and the orb, they can make them very difficult to get to. The others point out the issues with this plan, saying that they would be blocking themselves off from the ziggurat as well and they do not know if this orb leads to the same place.

They compromise, deciding to block the entrances, but keeping the ziggurat intact.

Looting the bodies, they find armor and various other items. They also find necklaces similar to the ones Delilah and the other cultists used to pass through the orb seemingly without harm. They have enough for each member of Vox Machina.

Grog pulls a corpse out of the bag of holding. The body pulls strangely as a result of Grog’s strength and all the other things in the bag. The others watch in disgust. Grog throws the corpse into the orb. It sickeningly twists as it is absorbed.

Their test complete, they pull another corpse out of the bag of holding. This time, he places one of the symbols around its neck before throwing it into the orb. Though the body still twists as it passes through, it does not seem to harm it.

They realize that they now only have seven necklaces with eight people who need to pass through to pursue Delilah. Instead of immediate pursuit, they decide to head back to Whitestone and prepare there instead.

Lionel offers to carry Doty out of the cave, which Tary accepts. He watches the others loot the bodies and expresses his disappointment that he will not get any of the loot. Vex, in an attempt to make things better, offers him a musical jewelry box, which he accepts after approval from Scanlan.

Vax reaches into his own bag and pulls out a metal helmet. He places it on Lionel’s head and informs him that it helps the wearer resist mind control. Vex immediately begins to argue, saying that Grog would be better suited for this helmet. Lionel uncomfortably watches them yell at each other. Grog eventually chimes in, saying he doesn’t want to give up one of his other items in order to use that, and Vex grumpily concedes the point.

As they prepare to leave, they remind Grog that the tunnels still need to be collapsed.

Grog: “Is that permission?”

Percy: “That’s more than permission. That’s permission and an audience.”

Percy begins to examine to tunnels to tell Grog where the best place to smash would be. Meanwhile, Vex and Keyleth fly up to find the entrance at the top of the mountain. As they fly, Keyleth notices that the tunnels were likely created by a disintegration ray, explaining the smooth walls and fine dust that covers the cave.

Meanwhile, Percy shows Grog the best place to smash the tunnels, and then he backs far, far away. Grog calls over Pike to start the smashing. She jumps up and slams into the spot indicated by the gunslinger. She then crawls into Grogs shoulders and holds onto his head. Then, Grog deals the finishing blow and the tunnel begins to collapse.

Grog runs through the collapsing tunnel, Pike holding onto to his ears. She directs him like a horse the best way to avoid the falling debris.

Eventually, they make it out. They celebrate their achievement together with high fives.

After collapsing the other tunnel in the same manner, they find themselves outside the mountain. The desert surrounds them, but they see a fruit-bearing tree nearby. Grog and Pike go over to inspect it.

Their stomachs rumble as they examine the fruit. The lack of meats and dairy in Scanlan’s mansion have caused them to be hungry all morning. They can’t tell what it is or if they should eat it, but it looks very tasty. Pike suggests waiting for Keyleth, but since the fruit has not yet rotted off the tree, Grog takes a bite.

The fruit is extremely moist and juicy in the center, but the taste is pungent and bitter. Grog spits out the fruit and begins to gag. He tells the alchemist’s jug to produce honey. He and Pike snack on this instead.

Meanwhile, Keyleth and Vex fly up the mountain to find the final entrance. They find a small crevasse that goes deeper into the mountain. Keyleth tosses in a pebble but doesn’t hear it land.

Vex lights an oracle arrow and shoots it down the crevasse. It shatters after about 60 feet. Before it breaks, Vex sees a series of platforms that appear to be there to assist in climbing down.

Keyleth turns into a rock elemental and jumps down into the tunnel before Vex can stop her.

As she goes down the tunnel, she finds that one of the platforms is uncharacteristically soft. She sees a roof of woven palm over the platform.

When she reaches the end of the tunnel, she looks out and sees the ziggurat. Vex warns her over the earrings to stay away. She climbs back up the tunnel, collapsing it along the way.

Vax wanders away from the group into the desert. He drops to his knees and asks The Raven Queen if this journey is her calling upon him to redeem her favor.

Raven Queen: “It seems that the bender of fate is feeling the tug of destiny. It is almost as if you’re coming towards me. If you sense this path is the right one, follow your instincts. Perhaps we will meet soon enough.”

Vax: “I will see you soon.”

He joins the others as Keyleth and Vex land. Pike immediately asks Keyleth to check out the fruit Grog was eating. She picks one up and looks at it. It was not rotten, but the pungency was a natural part of the fruit. She also notes that it is very good for you. They decide to take a few to use in salves and possibly a salad at The Slayers Cake.

They go to a nearby tree and treestride back to Whitestone. As they go to the castle, Lionel asks repeatedly if he can put Doty down yet.

Vox Machina finds Cassandra to learn what she and the others have discovered about The Shadowfell. She advises that they inform Eskil and the rest of the council.

Vex advises Eskil that the there is another ziggurat and that Delilah can change it from black to white, therefore changing its properties. Eskil is skeptical but believes her.

In rpivate, Percy tells Cassandra that there is a cult who can control the orb, and the cult is led by Delilah Briarwood. She drops her glass in shock. Percy also sadly informs her that she escaped into the Shadowfell.

Cassandra: “Destroy everything she is… End her brother.”

She takes a sip of Percy’s flask.

Outside of the room, Keyleth is waiting for Percy. She asks if he thinks Delilah can corrupt the crisis orbs.

Percy: “I think we’re going to be walking a fine line of paranoia from now until however long.”

He tells her that it will probably be fine, but they will need to look closely at everything. They head together to research the symbols.

He finds that the symbols are tied to a mage. However, information on this mage is suspiciously absent.

Meanwhile, Grog is in the kitchen, instructing the chefs to make him a salad consisting entirely of meat. The chef gives him a dish of various meats (goat, fish, beef, and pork), and Grog salivates at the ingenuity. He attempts to make it the official dish of Whitestone.

Vex searches for her brother and finds him in his room. She asks if they can expect help from the Raven Queen, and he sadly informs her that this is The Raven Queen’s mission for him. He tells her that he doesn’t think he can return to Zephra. She tells him to be more optimistic.

Vex leaves and joins Keyleth, Percy, and Pike in the library.

Keyleth speculates that Delilah is corrupting The Seed of Pelor. She goes on to say that perhaps this is much bigger than simply the ziggurat and she has dominion during all of the doors and odd happenings in Whitestone.

They notice that these rituals they have encountered line up with arcane laylines. They wonder if they have seen more ziggurats than they remember.

Keyleth returns to bed to see Vax. He asks what they found. She explains everything in extreme detail.

Vax asks Keyleth if they should check in with Zephra. He also tells her the same thing he told Vex: that he is being called upon by The Raven Queen. Keyleth assures him that things will work out.

They all go to bed.

The next morning, they plan their next course of action. They go to find Eskil. They ask again about the Shadowfell.

From the tomes in Whitestone, he’s found that it is a plane of negative energy. It is used to bring souls from life to death or vice versa. It is a twisted version of Exandria filled with undead.

Keyleth shows him the necklace symbol. She asks if she can use it to planeshift to the Shadowfell. He says it is possible, but would take extreme precision.

She asks if he can send a message to Zephra to inform her father that she will be gone for a while. At first he scoffs at such a task, but Vax convinces him that it is an important part of their mission.

As a final favor, she borrows his notes on the Shadowfell.

Vex heads to the traveling vendors to find chalices for a hero’s feast. She finds a vendor. He is so impressed by Vox Machina’s accomplishments, and offers them a discount in exchange for an endorsement by Vex.

After talking to Eskil, Vax goes to find Kynan. When he finds him, he apologizes for taking back his gift the previous year. Instead, he offers him the Keen Dagger. Kynan happily accepts this, and sheaths it on his belt. Vax departs and promises that they will see each other again soon.

Much to everyone’s sorrow, Tary insists he stay behind to fix Doty and go home. Vex pulls him into a big hug and asks if he wants anything. Tary asks for money. He also asks that she tear up the cheque he used to pay them. She tearfully tells him that she did shortly after he was accepted as a member of Vox Machina and a friend.

He gives her the geode with thirty souls inside it. Vex promises to show Pike. He also leaves a gem for Percy’s flashlight.

He says that Lionel will help him journey back and they will pick up adventurers to join them along the way.

They promise to visit each other. Tary advises her to wash her hair less and trim it more.

Pike looks into blessing musketballs, but she realizes it will take a few days.

They discuss the best way to move through the orb. Grog tells them to hold their breaths and jump in the bag of holding while he goes through.

Vex suggests putting a living being in the bag of holding for a few seconds to see what happens. Percy advises against it.

They decide to simply wear the necklaces and go through the orb. They put on the symbols and go through the orb under Whitestone.

Vax goes through first. He twists under the immense pressure of the orb, but goes through relatively unharmed. On the other side, he sees a sunless horizon and a landscape dressed in greys and blues and an ancient city with ruined buildings and movement in the streets. He sees the obsidian spire in the distance. He stands atop a platform. Around him, he sees the objects that they threw through the orb to see what would happen.

Everyone else follows through.

Keyleth pulls out Eskil’s notes and Vex casts pass without a trace.

They notice that there are two other siphons in the distance. Thin pulsing strands of arcane energy stretch from the siphons to the tower.

As they look around more, they see that the city is war-torn, but there’s no immediate signs of life.

They hide behind a building. Vex hears crunching sounds inside. Peeking in a window, they see an undead being eating a rodent. Sensing something, it climbs up to the rooftop. It jumps from rooftop to rooftop. In the distance, they see more of these creatures. The building now abandoned, they get inside.

Vax searches for a sense of The Raven Queen, but he finds nothing.

Scanlan cast seeming and transforms the party into undead. They avoid the creatures, but also try to spy on them and the tower.

Before they leave, Keyleth tells Vax that he needs to be in the present with them and not in future uncertainties with the Raven Queen. She casts foresight on him.

The party ducks out of the building back outside. They find rubble with broken swords, armor, and bodies littered in the streets. They notice that the undead are not moving randomly around the ruined city. They are moving as troops.

Pike notices that the armor on the undead hold the symbol of Pelor.

Overhead, black winged creatures fly above them. Disturbingly, no one in the party recognizes what type of creature they may be.

As they go deeper into the city, they see three cultists heading towards the Whitestone orb. The twins hide, ready to attack, while the others hide in a nearby building. They notice that the cultist carry ornate ceremonial torches.

As the groups passes by, the twins kill two of them with a single blow each. Keyleth captures the third in a grasping vine and whips him towards Grog. Grog catches him and silences him with a hand over the cultist’s mouth.

To further restrain the restrained cultist, Percy binds him once more with his iron bands.

Percy begins to interrogate their prisoner.

He tells the cultist that the souls killed by his gun are claimed by Orthax, but that there may be a debate over his soul by several entities. He advises him to answer their questions carefully, and he opens the iron bands.

The cultist laughs at his threats and keeps his silence.

Vax punches him. Still no information from the cultist.

They continue to threaten him to no result. He refuses to answer if he knows Delilah Briarwood.

He tells them that if he dies, he will die knowing that they have no way out.

Grog asks about the flying creatures. He tells them that they are sentinels, also known as Gloom Stalkers.

Scanlan dominates person on the cultist. He commands him to tell them everything he knows. He reveals that his eye was taken by the acolytes after he was inducted into the cult. He also says that he doesn’t know the purpose of the Gloom Stalkers and the smoke from the torches protects him from the undead.

He goes on to say that he doesn’t know about the protections on the tower nor what Delilah is currently doing. His job is simply to watch the outskirts of the city.

However, he does know that the ultimate goal is a ritual of seeding. This ritual, he says, will bring Vecna back from the dead. The siphons will assist in helping Vecna reclaim what is his.

They ask when the ritual begins. He simply says it will begin “soon.” Scanlan asks who is the most handsome. The cultist responds that Scanlan is the most attractive.

The spell ends.

The cultist smiles and tells them that “he already knows you’re here.” Vax gouges out his other eye. Grog snaps his neck.

On the corpse, they find another symbol, though it is different than theirs. Grog stuffs him into the bag of holding.

They grab the torch and head towards the tower where the Remnant are trying to bring back Vecna for a larger plan.

To be continued…

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About the Artist: Nick Uroseva (@Nick_Uroseva)

Nick is a professional graphic artist from Youngstown, Ohio. He has a BA in Multimedia Technology. When he isn’t doodling for one thing or another, he spends is his time writing and Dungeon Mastering several D&D games, enjoying craft beer, shooting zombies with Nerf blasters, and tweeting about #CriticalRole.

Fiona L.F. Kelly (@FionaLFKelly)
Fiona L.F. Kelly is a writer, editor, and podcaster. She has published numerous articles about all things gaming and pop culture on websites all across the internet, was also a writer for Trinity Continuum: Aberrant 2e, and has been published in books and magazines. She is an editor for the pop culture and media website GeekGals.co. In addition to her writing and editing, she has also been a guest and host on several podcasts. She hosts the Project Derailed podcast Big Streaming Pile, produces and performs on Fables Around the Table, and plays the githyanki pirate Rav’nys on Tales of the Voidfarer. Buy her a coffee: ko-fi.com/fionalfkelly

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