Spoilers for Critcal Role Episode 7 (obviously). Check out the recap for Episode 6 here.
Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
Vox Machina, having infiltrated the Emberhold and rescuing Lady Kima, mount an offensive against the leadership of the duergar forces.
Sent at the behest of their friend Lady Alura, Vox Machina traveled into the mines beneath Kraghammer and into the underdark beyond in search of the paladin of the Platinum Dragon, Lady Kima of Vord. After fighting through several obstacles and allying with an outcast Mindflayer named Clarota, the party infiltrated the duergar fortress, Emberhold, and found and rescued the captured Kima inside.
Now united with Lady Kima, they check their immediate surroundings for signs of danger.
Kima tells them that she’s only seen half of the stronghold. She guesses that her things are kept on the second floor.
Vax peers down the hallway ahead. He sees two duergar guards, but they do not notice him. Vex suggests teaming up to take them both out. Ignoring his sister, he goes further down the hallway.
He turns down another hallway. He sees an open doorway. Listening, he hears the crackling of fire and the clang of metal against metal. Peeking in, he sees a smith hitting a piece of black iron.
Impatient from waiting for Vax, Scanlan and Clarota turn themselves invisible and follow after the half-elf rogue. They come int time to see Vax sneak into the room and assassinate the duergar.
Kima, also impatient, sneaks down the hallway as well. Fortunately, she doesn’t seem to catch the attention of the guards. She quickly finds the others. Scanlan asks if her equipment is in the room, but, after a quick search, she says that her stuff isn’t there.
The others, seeing that the group staying behind is growing smaller and smaller, decides to push forward as well. Vex comes out of their hiding spot and attacks the two duergar guards. Percy joins her, hitting one of the guards with the butt of his gun for a more stealthy attack. Vax rounds the corner to help his sister and friends. Pike takes the incapacited, but alive guards, and kills them with her mace of disruption.
The guards now dead, they travel further down the labyrinth of hallways. Finding a closed door, Vax puts his ear to the wood to listen to what’s on the other side. Upon hearing nothing, he searches for traps on the door. It isn’t trapped, but it is locked. With little effort, the door swings open. They all eagerly look in, only to see a communal commode.
In tiger form, Keyleth grabs one of the bodies. Grog grabs the other. They place them in the commode, as if they were drunk and passed out. They quietly close the door behind them, and continue to search the stronghold.
Opening more doors, they find a large, empty barracks. They begin to search the room, and Scanlan explores a nearby guest bedroom. As they look, Vex worries about the lack of duergar they encountered.
Just as she expresses that thought, they see two duergar rushing towards them, though the guards appear to not notice the group. They all hide and ready an attack, except Scanlan, who is taking a poo on the bed in the guest bedroom.
The duergar turn the corner, and they immediately see Tiberius. They quickly throw their javelins, but Tiberius casts blur on himself before they release their weapons. The javelins clatter off the walls and to the ground.
Vex jumps onto Trinket’s back. She looses an arrow at one of the guards, hitting him.
Keyleth attempts to vault off of Grog’s back to pounce on the guards. Grog, not expecting a tiger to jump on his back, stumbles forward, and she lands just short of the guards. However, she is able to bite one of the guards and break his arm.
With the others distracted by combat, Pike opens another door. In it, she finds another guest room.
Tiberius casts firebolt on the guards. The impact destroys the armor of one of the guards. With another blast, he is knocked off of his feet and killed.
Scanlan, finishing his bowel movement, rejoins the group.
With the guards now dead, Scanlan, Pike, Vax, Vex, and Percy re-enter the barracks. They see a glimmering object across the room. Grog, Keyleth, and Tiberius wait outside, on the lookout for another group of duergar.
Once the group inside the barracks reaches the glimmer light though, they realize it is not an object, but a small ball of twinkling light. The light goes out, and the doors slam shut behind them, leaving them in darkness. They quickly realize that they have walked into a trap.
Suddenly, Pike, Vex, and Clarota feel a sudden cacophony of pain. They are stunned by the sudden attack.
An illithid emerges from the darkness and grabs Vax. It pulls him towards it, wrapping its tentacles around the rogue’s face. However, before its teeth can burrow into his skull, Lady Kima jumps into action, smiting the mind flayer.
Behind the door, Grog goes into a rage. He takes his axe and cleaves the door in two, freeing their friends inside.
Vax escapes from the mind flayer’s grasp and pulls out his dagger of venom. He stabs it into the illithid’s eye, killing it.
Tiberius rushes into the room and casts light, brightening the room. Now that the room is filled with light, they see a second mind flayer. He then casts obelisk of stone under the second mind flayer to try and smash it into the ceiling. However, the mind flayer manages to jump off the rising platform before it hits the ceiling. In the chaos of the moment, it disappears.
They quickly exit the barracks. Vex insists they go up to the second floor, but Percy argues that they should finish searching the ground floor.
The party stumbles across a chapel with a statue of Laduguer, a god of strength and conquest in duergar mythology. In front of it is a hunk of rotting flesh.
Meanwhile, Scanlan opens another door, which leads to a magical laboratory with a robed duergar inside. A puff of green poison sprays in his face.
The others rush into the room, ready to kill the duergar mage.
Duergar: “Wait! Wait! Wait! Let’s have a conversation!”
Vex: “Speak fast before I kill you.”
As Vex and Trinket walk in, two more puffs of poison are released into their faces. Trinket is unable to resist the poison and begins coughing and trashing around the room. Vex quickly casts protection from poison on her bear.
Scanlan yells at the mage using vicious mockery.
The mage listens to Scanlan’s words and frowns with a sense of self-loathing. This distracts him from casting another spell.
Kima grabs the mage by the throat.
Kima: “Listen, where is the rest of her fucking army?”
Terrified of Kima, he admits that they are waiting for them upstairs and on the outside of the fortress.
She squeezes his throat, cutting off his air supply. She grabs her greatsword, and slowly pushes it into the duergar’s abdomen. She asks who they are going to face. He tells her that anyone they haven’t face is waiting for them upstairs, including the king himself. Kima kills the duergar.
Vex grabs a few healing potions before joining the others. She also grabs a vial with a mysterious yellow, viscous liquid. Scanlan sings them a song of rest before they continue.
Vax asks Kima what she is seeking. She tells them she is seeking whatever is at the heart of the cavern. It’s something she has seen, but it is of a great darkness. She tells them there is a connection between the mind flayers and the assault on Kraghammer. She tells them that they have lost the element of surprise and now just need to move forward. The link to K’Varn is above them.
They resolve to move upstairs, and then begin to plan.
Scanlan suggests acting like a big scary monster and intimidating the army upstairs. Tiberius adds onto this, saying he will magically disguise himself as Laduguer to intimidate and control the duergar armies. Percy suggests he ride in on Keyleth as a giant scorpion. Pike says she will cast thaumaturgy on Tiberius to make his voice three times as loud.
Clarota: “You’re all crazy. I like it.”
Kima: “You know, for once, I actually agree with the thing.”
They go up one of the sets of stairs leading to the second floor. Vex and Vax sneak ahead, disabling traps along the way. At the top of the stairs is six duergar guards.
They quickly eliminate the guards. Keyleth and Tiberius quickly transform and rush the closed door. The force of Keyleth and Tiberius splinters the door and it bursts open.
They enter the throne room and see two changed basiliks, a room full a duergar, a mind flayer, and a platform with two thrones.
Tiberius: “Silence! All of you, silence! Who knows who I am?”
Tiberius looses a fireball up into the air above the duergar. Vax and Vex use this as a distraction to sneak into the throne room.
One of the duergar throws down his hammer and kneels. Tiberius announces that his soul is saved, and the other duergar quickly follow suit.
The king, weapons drawn, tells his men that they kneel before a false idol. Tiberius curses the king and casts fireball once more.
The duergar brace themselves against the damage. The two basiliks on the side look at Tiberius. He avoids their magical abilities.
Vax surprises the mind flayer and stabs it in between its eyes.
Scanlan rushes into the room and casts lightning bolt on the basilisks.
Vex casts conjure barrage and kills five duergar in quick succession, but she hits some of her friends in the process.
Kima joins the fray. She slices a basilisk in half, and then swings her giant sword at the king, who narrowly blocks her attack. The king tells her she’s supposed to still be downstairs, enraging the paladin.
The queen attempts to casts blur on herself, but Tiberius blocks her spell. Instead, she casts chain lightning, hitting the twins, Kima, and Scanlan.
Tiberius uses his ring of spell storing to cast another fireball, killing the last of the guards. He then casts ice knife, hitting the remaining basilisk and the queen.
Clarota steps up to battle the mind flayer. They stare at each other in an intense mental battle. Then, the enemy mind flayer turn towards the queen while Keyleth and Tiberius move in on the king.
The basilisk turns its gaze to Kima and Tiberius. Both are turned to stone, but the monster is killed by Vax shortly after. Vax takes some of the basilisk blood from his blade and drips it into the Kima statue’s eyes.
The king, running out of options, begins to attack wildly.
As the battle continues, the queen casts disintegrate on the ceiling. Hot magma begins to flow into the room. The party quickly tries to escape while also defeating the king and queen. Percy and Keyleth try to cool the magma as it flows in.
Scanlan casts singing dawnblade and decapitates the king. The queen grabs a Grog, who she has dominated, and pulls them both through a dimension door.
With no more enemies and missing a party member, they have to escape the stronghold quickly.
Dragging the statue of Tiberius, they rush out of the room and escape using the hidden entrance to the stronghold. Vax begins to search for a way out, but Keyleth magically modifies the stone, apologizing for intruding on Vax.
As they rush out, a spray of magma knocks Vax unconscious. Pike and Trinket drag him out of the stronghold. Pike heals him, and he wakes up, but his foot is badly burned, inhibiting his ability to sneak.
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.