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Critical Role Recap: Episode 113 – “The Final Ascent”

SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 113 (obviously).  Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
Our recap of Episode 112 can be found here.

Vox Machina prepares for their final confrontation with the Whispered One and meets an old friend in the final leg of their journey.

Previously on Critical Role

After reaching Thar Amphala, Vox Machina searched for and found the Sword of Kas, a legendary weapon to aid them in the fight against Vecna. However, their plans were quickly thwarted when Delilah Briarwood learned of their location and attacked when they were low on spells and resources. Keyleth planeshifted the party out of harm’s way and into the Feywild. While there, they worried about the discrepancy in time between planes. To combat this, they summoned their friend Artagan to help keep the passage of time stable. He agreed that only an hour will have passed in their world for the day spent in the Feywild, but, in return, he wanted a door between the Feywild and their plane. He also wanted to kill Vax to see if he would truly return to life. Artagan squeezed Vax’s throat until the life drained from him and his body turned to ash. Vox Machina anxiously awaited his return.


Vax rounds the corner, meeting his friends again after several hours. He immediately asks for his clothing. Keyleth directs him to Scanlan’s makeshift druid circle.

Scanlan: “The goddess Ioun told me to protect it in a circle reminescent of the circle of my third eye.”

Keyleth: “I don’t think he’s telling the truth.”

Vax: “Do you have all my shoes and glasses so I may have them?”

Scanlan: “As Ioun wills it, yes.”

Vax: “Can you lead me and my penis towards them now?”

Scanlan: “Ioun be pleased, I will.”

The others help to prepare the hero’s feast while Vax gets dressed again.

Grog wonders about Vecna’s weaknesses. Percy suggests asking the sword. Grog brings up that the sword needs a blood offering, and, after some discussion, Percy volunteers. After a brief countdown, Grog slices through the back of Percy’s knee. Vex immediately casts cure wounds and chastises Grog for where he cut Percy.

With the sword now coated in Percy’s blood, Grog asks about Vecna’s weaknesses. The sword explains that Vecna is smart, but arrogant. Grog relays to the others that Vecna is smart and aromatic. The sword goes on to say that Vecna weaves webs that can be cut down. The sword urges Grog to go to Vecna and kill him. Grog tells the others that Vecna has spider abilities.

Grog asks about Vecna’s physical weaknesses.

Kas: “Me.”

Grog thanks the sword and sheaths it once again.

They discuss who should take the trammels. They give one each to Vax (who takes the most fragile trammel), Grog, and Pike. Pike mentions that she can fly due to her blessing from Sarenrae. Grog looks for wings but finds none. Their plan is to unload their spells onto Vecna while the three with the trammels close-in on him.

They encounter the issue of Grog being unable to fly if Vecna flees from the battlefield. Percy suggests having Grog borrow his boots of spiderclimb. Keyleth says if he takes the boots, she can create pillars reaching towards the sky that Grog can run up. She can also transform into a giant eagle or another flying creature to bring him to Vecna. Scanlan also suggests polymorphing Trinket into an eagle or wyvern. Vex, after getting permission from her bear, reluctantly agrees to this plan if needed.

They eat their hero’s feast, discussing plans and tactics as they dine. Artagan joins in on the meal.

Scanlan tells the others that he can polymorph Trinket into a young dragon or wyvern, or, alternatively, he can create another Scanlan. The others immediately respond that they want another Scanlan.

They officially decide for Keyleth to create pillars and for Grog to take Percy’s boots. Scanlan prays for a double. For the next twelve hours. Scanlan forms another version of himself out of snow while the others rest. They spend the last few moments before bed reminiscing with one another and giving their tentative goodbyes. Vex tells her brother that he isn’t going anywhere after the fight.

After the spell completes, an itemless, perfect replica of himself stands before Scanlan. He decides to test his double to see if it is a true replica. They have a sing-off until Scanlan is satisfied. Scanlan dresses and equips his double and then they go to sleep, spooning.

Each member of Vox Machina dreams of their loved ones and all that they have accomplished in their lives.

They wake again in a meadow, the tents and furniture gone. Reality rushes back to them. Artagan steps forward. He reminds them that they have been there more than a day and tells them that they can leave whenever they are ready.

Keyleth casts planeshift and takes them back to Thar Amphala.

They find themselves back on the material plane in the interior of Thar Amphala. They land on their knees in the ruin of a building. Cracks of energy light up the sky. In the distance is clusters of gloomstalkers. The run into a nearby building.

As soon as they are in cover, however, there is an impact on the side of the building, and stone begins to fall on them. Scanlan and Percy are hit by some of the falling stone, but are mostly uninjured.

They look to see a disoriented gloomstalker crawl on the ground. Suddenly, a seven foot tall dragonborn with black, hooked armor attacks the gloomstalker, attempting to put something around its neck. Vox Machina, seeing a potential ally in the middle of a battle, rush to join.

The dragonborn shouts out to not hurt the gloomstalker, but Vax has already thrown two daggers at the beast. The gloomstalker yells out in pain as the daggers sink into it. The dragonborn takes this opportunity to try once again to wrangle the gloomstalker to the ground.

Vex throws the rope of entanglement over the gloomstalker, ensnaring the beast. Grog runs up to it and helps in wrestling it to the ground. The dragonborn removes a needled wreath from his own neck and fastens it around the neck of the gloomstalker. The thrashing gloomstalker begins to slowly calm and become still.

The dragonborn presses his forehead to the gloomstalker and closes his eyes. When he opens them again, the gloomstalkers eyes turn the same coloration as the dragonborn’s. The dragonborn climbs on top of the gloomstalker.

The party, now with the magically-tamed gloomstalker and dragonborn, go back into the building to avoid unwanted attention.

As they rush into the building, Pike asks the name of the gloomstalker, then, remembering that the draognborn is also a stranger, asks for his name as well. The dragonborn informs the party that he already knows Keyleth and Percy. The two suddenly recognize the dragonborn as their friend Arkhan, an Oathbreaker Paladin. They tell they others that they adventured briefly with their friend a couple of years ago.

They pause their reunion when they hear a gloomstalker land above them. They become still while the creature sniffs around above them. Unfortunately, however, the creature still finds their location and attacks.

As soon as the gloomstalker’s head peeks around the corner, Vex looses two arrows into it. Then, Arkhan swings his axe, beheading the beast before it can get close to the party.

Safe once more, they continue with their introductions. Arkhan explains that his group was attacked by the death knight and Lady Briarwood. His companions, he explains, were killed in the battle. When buzzards came for him, however, he was not dead. Tiamat, he says, had a different plan for him. The group expresses some apprehension at working with a servant of Tiamat, but he swears to fight for the lives of those in Vox Machina.

Arkhan heals the wounds on the gloomstalker.

They advise Arkhan to stay within 60 feet of Vex, and they look outside of the building for the crystals protecting the dome around the city. They see pulses radiating from the crystals through the dome. There is one nearby.

They sneak out of the building. Arkhan rides the gloomstalker, making sure to stay within 60 feet of Vex.

As they move through the city, they notice that the once aimlessly wandering undead are now unified and moving with purpose. They make their way into the titan.

They reach the walls that surround the city. A violent hum rings through the air. They see a locked door. Vax checks the door for traps. Grog and Arkhan share jerky.

Vax finds no traps and begins to pick the lock. When it opens, he sees a rushing wall of green arcane energy blocking them from entering further.

Vax throws a rock at the wall of arcane energy. There is a flash and the rock shoots back at him, leaving a bruise.

They ask Grog to punch up on the doorway in an attempt to dislodge the crystal on the other side of the wall. Grog punches upwards. The wall sustains serious damage but holds together. There is a burst of arcane energy where he hit the wall, and he is pushed back fifteen feet.

Arkhan goes up the wall and cleaves his axe into the stone. The archway collapses. For the first time since the arrived, they see the unfiltered sky. Looking at the landscape around them, they see that they are quickly approaching Vasselheim.

Suddenly, they see a skeletal dragon flying towards them. Arkhan attempts to hide holding onto the underbelly of the gloomstalker. As he climbs down, he recognizes the skeletal dragon as the white dragon that brought him to the city. Sylas and Delilah ride on the back of the dragon.

The dragon lands on the tower across from them. It sucks up the shards of bone and debris nearby, and it releases a blast of bone onto Arkhan and the gloomstalker. Vox Machina watches from a nearby building.

Grog goes into a rage and rushes over to the dragon.

Vex looses a needle arrow at Delilah, hitting her. The second arrow, however, misses. Delilah points a finger at Vex, who hides.

Delilah: “I remember you.”

A green ray streaks out from Delilah’s finger. The wall disintegrates in front of them.

The dragon flies into the sky above them. As it flies away, Grog swings and hits it. The dragon inhales and unleashes another bone breath attack, hitting Scanlan, Scanlan’s double, Keyleth, and Percy.

Percy aims his gun at the wand in Delilah’s hand. He shoots, and the wand is knocked from her hand.

Delilah: “I certainly remember you.”

Percy: “Missed you too, darling.”

With another shot, Percy knocks Sylas off the dragon. His final shot pushes Delilah off as well.

The gloomstalker flies over to the dragon and attacks it. Arkhan goes into a rage. He casts divine smite at the dragon. After the first attack hits, he casts the spell again.

Sylas makes eye contact with Arkhan and casts a spell to dispel his rage. Arkhan manages to sustain his rage, however. Sylas runs away.

Pike casts beacon of hope, and she casts sanctuary on Vex.

Two gloomstalkers notice the battle going on and fly down to join. They tear into the buildings.

Sylas uses spider climb to walk up the building.

Vax attacks Delilah and uses whisper to teleport over to her.

Keyleth restrains Delilah with an entangle spell. She turns into an earth elemental near the dragon.

Scanlan’s double casts Bigby’s hand and smashes it into the restrained Delilah. He then inspires Vax.

Sylas moves over to Delilah just as Grog leaps down from the tower on to her. He pulls out the sword of Kas, who is eager to taste blood. She screams as she is attacked by the sword and her blood drained.

Vex looks at Delilah and activates her blazing bow string. Using her sharpshooter ability, she looses her arrow.

Vex: “How’s it feel, bitch?”

The arrow goes through her jaw and kills her.

Sylas reaches down to the corpse of his wife and screams. He looks at Vex.

Sylas: “Vengence, I suppose, is mine this time.”

Vex looses her second arrow at Sylas.

The bone dragon falls apart and collapses into a heap of bones.

Percy takes shots at Sylas, hitting him.

Arkhan has his gloomstalker shriek, stunning the two gloomstalkers. Sylas manages to stay in control.

Arkhan charges Sylas. He uses divine smite on the vampire.

Sylas, after being attacked by Arkhan, turns into a bat and begins to fly away. Grog, Keyleth, and Arkhan swing at the bat.

Pike casts guiding bolt at the bat. The spell causes the bat to shine. Sylas flees.

Vex aims her arrow at the now shining bat. She looses the arrow, hitting the bat. Bramble vines encase him and he falls to the ground. Upon impact, Sylas becomes mist.

The party rushes over to Sylas so Keyleth can use sun beam on the mist. By the time they get there, however, it is gone.

They return to the battlefield. Arkhan casts animate dead on Delilah. Dozens of gloomstalkers surround them. Arkhan commands that Delilah kneel before him.

As the creatures come closer, there is a roar and a flash of light. J’mon and hundreds of wyvern riders breach the dome and begin their siege on the city. Knowing that this is the best distraction they will get, they move quickly towards the tower. Arkhan takes Delilah’s corpse with him on the gloomstalker.

The party runs towards the Spire of Entropis. Numerous gloomstalkers fly around the tower. The doors to the tower are open. A rock behemoth guards the entrance.

They notice that the gloomstalker is getting weighed down by a tree growing out of Delilah. Arkhan uses his axe to chop off the tree, though the roots remain in her.

When they land near the rock behemoth, Percy throws a gem tied to a string to distract the construct. His plan is successful, and the party sneaks around to the door. Arkhan sends his gloomstalker up to the top of the tower.

When they enter the tower, they see that the first chamber is filled with 30 undead. Percy pulls the gem into the room to distract the undead. Many of the undead of mesmerized, but the ones who aren’t rush towards the party.

Pike channels divinity to kill the undead in the room. Too late, she notices that some of the corpses are members of The Slayer’s Take: Aldor and Grubby. The last four undead and the rock behemoth are still distracted by the stone. They destroy the skeletons and the rock behemoth. Arkhan recognizes one of the zombies. It is the corpse of his party member. He stops the others from destroying it and uses animate undead on the creature.

The party pauses long enough to heal. Arkhan casts death ward on himself. Scanlan objects to resting for very long, saying they should drink potions instead. They decide to use spells to heal.

As they climb the tower, Keyleth inspires them with a speech.

Keyleth: “These stairs are going to be fucking nothing compared to Vecna!”

When they come to a fork in the stairs, they go to the right. Eventually, they come across an arcane laboratory. Vax uses his divine sense to search for undead, but he finds none.

The twins search for traps. They find three glyphs ready to activate by proximity in the center of the chamber. As Vax more closely examines the glyphs, he realizes quickly that he will be unable to deactivate them.

They have party move carefully around the room avoiding the glyphs. Keyleth, Percy, and the twins manage to pass. Unfortunately, Scanlan and Pike activate one of the glyphs. There is a burst of arcane energy, and a force cage pops up. Scanlan casts dimension door and pulls Pike through with him. They appear on the other side. Arkhan and Grog are left on the other side of the force cage.

Grog uses his boots to climb on the wall over the cage. He uses his strength to pull Arkhan over as well.

They continue to climb up the tower. They see the necrotic energy holding the cracks in the building together. In the next chamber, they see tortured corpses hanging from chains. Vax senses no undead. He does sense Vecna 120 feet above them.

Pike and Keyleth cast freedom of movement on the party. The party members with blessings invoke them. Vex brings out Trinket. Scanlan activates his book.

The party moves on. Vax sneaks ahead, looking for traps. In another chamber, he sees three armored figures. Keyleth stealths ahead, she saw this room when scrying.

Vax and Vex sneak ahead and attack two of the figures before they are noticed. Both fall to the ground dead. Arkhan rushes in and attacks the third. The first attack clangs off his armor, but the second hits flesh, though the figure does not react to the blood pouring out of him.

Vex, realizing that something is amiss, yells at Arkhan to pull the helmet off of the figure in front of him. He pulls off the helmet to reveal Gilmore. He is wearing a metal band across his forehead, unmoving and staring past them.

Arkhan orders Delilah and Vander to remove the helmets of the dead figures. The party sees that they have killed Cassandra and Kaylie.

Pike speculates that it may be an illusion. She goes over to one of the bodies, and sees that they are who they think they are.

They take the band off of Gilmore. He immediately comes back to his senses and is confused about his present location. Pike quickly casts revivify on Kaylie and Cassandra.

Scanlan tells Gilmore to get the other two to safety. He says he will take them to Emon. They quickly say what may be their final goodbyes. Gilmore quickly casts haste on Grog.

The death knight enters the room. Arkhan tells the others to run ahead to Vecna while he takes on the death knight.

The last they see of Arkhan as they rush up the stairs is him swinging his massive axe at the death knight.

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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