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Critical Role Recap: Episode 88 – “Tangled Depths”

SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 88 (obviously).  Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
My recap of Episode 87 can be found here.

Vox Machina attempts to collect Kraken poop.

Previously on Critical Role

Vox Machina sailed on the Drensala Vis to visit the Water Ashari. Though they encountered pirates along the way, they successfully reached their destination. Upon arrival, they met with the leaders of the Water Ashari so Keyleth could be assigned the final portion of her Aramente. Uvenda, the gnome Tribe Watcher, informed Keyleth that her Aramente would start the following morning, and that she is to collect lode stones, waste from the Kraken, to help support the infrastructure of their home. She adds that, in order to keep collecting lode stones, the Kraken cannot be killed.


After their feast, Keyleth approaches Uvenda, who is dozing off in her chair. Keyleth asks Uvenda what they can expect when facing the Kraken. Uvenda responds that the Kraken is very hungry and has a swarm of tentacles. She adds that the creature is extremely dangerous and maintaining the rift is of the utmost importance. She reminds Keyleth that, being in the water plane, they should be prepared to swim and be prepared for darkness, both from the deep depths and from the Kraken’s ink spray.

Vox Machina discusses the best swimming strategies. Keyleth suggests turning the others into different types of animals. Keyleth and Tary both have alter self which can modify the members of Vox Machina to have gills and webbed hands to aid in swimming and breathing underwater. Vex asks excitedly if they can make her into a mermaid.

Grog points out that Uvenda wasn’t finished speaking.

When they become silent, Uvenda continues her advice, saying that they have underwater arenas where they can test out their abilities before facing the Kraken.

They begin to debate if they should have their hero’s feast first or go to the arena first. Grog points out that they shouldn’t kill and fight underwater for half an hour after eating. They agree and go to the arena.

Keyleth casts waterbreathing on the party. This spells last for 24 hours, so they can use it during the Aramente the next day as well.

They get into the arena. Since it is nighttime, the water is dark, and their visibility is not great. Percy, having no use for his glasses in such a condition, puts them into his pocket.

Vex pulls out her bow and looses an arrow. The arrow is slowed in the water and only goes half as far as it normally would. The party realizes that all of their physical attacks will not be nearly as effective underwater. Percy’s guns are completely useless underwater, as the powder will not ignite.

Percy wonders if there’s a way to create an air-tight bubble around the combustion point of the gun. Tary joins in, suggesting they take apart Trinket, the “robot bear,” to look for parts. Vex is angered by this and informs Tary that Trinket is a real bear.

Grog suggests using Doty. Tary informs the group that no one is allowed to touch Doty.

Keyleth again revisits changing them into animals. Grog insists that he cannot be a whale. He does agree, however, to be an orca or killer whale. Keyleth also suggests making half of them animals and the other half riders. Tary immediately volunteers to be a rider.

They decide that their plan is to have Vex cast pass without a trace. They will then sneak into the Kraken’s lair, and begin to collect the lode stones. When that fails, because they cannot kill the Kraken and their weapons aren’t very effective underwater anyway, they will run. Hopefully, with all three lodestones already collected.

Tary: “Just a process question. I’m new to these strategy seshes you guys have. Is this how it always is with people just throwing out random bad ideas constantly for like fifteen minutes?”

The rest of the party confirms that it’s a pretty typical planning session. Tary reminds them that this is his biggest fight so far. Percy tells Tary that any plan they have, regardless of quality, will be out the window once the Kraken shows up.

Keyleth decides to test out her animal shape abilities and transforms herself into a killer whale at the bottom of the area. Seeing Grog swimming above her, she boops him. Grog, not paying attention to Keyleth’s transformation, panics and punches her. He hits successfully.

Keyleth uses alter self to turn back into a half-elf and give herself gills and webbed hands. Since she is underwater, she uses all of the air in her lungs to cast the spell. She realizes that, in order to cast multiple spells, she will have to go up to the surface for air.

They decide amongst themselves that Percy, Grog, and Trinket will become whales and Keyleth, Vax, Tary, and Vex will be the riders.

They leave the arena, and go to eat their hero’s feast. Afterwards, they are each given a water-logged chest. In each one is a leather band with a stone affixed to the center. Grog puts his on around his neck and lays face-first down into the water. He talks into the water. The stone warms and begins to vibrate as he does so.

Percy also goes underwater and listens for Grog. Grog’s voice comes through clearly. They realize that these objects allow them to speak underwater.

In each chest is also a pair of goggles.

They soon realize that Tary’s shiny armor may attract the attention of the Kraken. They try to convince him to become a whale, but he still refuses. Instead, they decide to cover up his armor with one of his robes. Vex stitches the front of the robe closed.

Keyleth sneaks away, searching for Uvenda. She is still asleep in her chair, flanked by two guards. Keyleth asks if she should wake up the tribe watcher. One of the guards gently nudges Uvenda awake with the handle of his trident.

Keyleth asks if Uvenda is sure that her mother perished in the battle with the Kraken. Uvenda becomes solemn and tells her that pieces of her and her companions were all that was able to be recovered. Living through that, she explains, is unlikely. She admits there are other potential possibilities, but dying to the Kraken is what she thinks happened.

Keyleth thanks her and heads to bed.

Along the way, Vax stops her. He reminds her how much she has already done. He adds that everyone already knows she’s a hero. He says that her questions in herself and her position speak to her character. His pep talk is brief, but it reminds Keyleth what she’s fighting for.

Vax: “I noticed about a week ago, you were curious about my wings.”

He unleashes his wings, stretching them out. Keyleth pets them.

Vax: “We have one hour.”

The next day, wave runner do runs around the perimeter of the island. Keyleth paints herself in traditional Ashari war paint. Everyone prepares for the upcoming task.

Before they leave, they realize that Vex cannot cast pass without a trace and use Tary’s alter self. They decide to have her cast the spell, but keep the alter self coin in case they are caught by the Kraken.

Keyleth gives Uvenda a druidcraft bracelet made from bark to scry on them if needed.

Tary passes out an alter self coin to each member of the party except Keyleth. Vax finally introduces himself to Tary. He also introduces Vex and explains that he knows that their names are very similar.

Tary: “Were your parents fond of you? Because to name them that similarly would be just quite annoying growing up. I mean you must have gotten confused constantly.”

Vex and Vax, upon hearing this, simply walk away.

A wave rider comes to shore and greets them. He guides them down to the portal.

Before they go, Tary orders Doty to stay and guard his things.  He instructs Doty to write detailed descriptions of anyone who tries to steal from him. As the walk away, Doty goes on alert. He writes detailed descriptions of the seagulls flying overhead, unsure of their motives.

There is a gap in the island filled with water. The wave rider dives straight down into the reef, and Vox Machina follows. They swim down through the tight tunnel, which eventually opens into a dark abyss. They follow the wave rider through a forest of underwater plants.

They eventually come to a large spiraling tower. From inside, a dull glow emanates. As they approach, they see that the tower is entirely empty on the inside. Other wave riders, some of them merfolk, approach, holding tridents.

They see an ovular opening surrounding by several stones. Murky water and black sand drifts through. They realize that this is the rift.

The wave riders give them a lodestone to examine before going through. The stone is very heavy and the color is a dark jade. Keyleth notices that these are the same stones they are using to speak underwater.

They also realize that the stones are magnetic. Tary tells the others he will use his compass to find the stones.

They go through the portal.

When they come out of the other side, they see hundreds of bones littering the sea floor. Chunks of decaying flesh float past them. They can’t see more than twenty or thirty feet in front of them.

Grog farts. The bubbles go up.

They looks cautiously around for the Kraken. Vex casts locate object to find a lodestone. Percy begins to dig through the sand. The sand soon gives way to black dirt that clouds up around them. Tary loads a daylight stone into his flashlight, being careful make sure it is fully closed so no light yet emits from it. Keyleth and Vex agree to cast daylight on one of Vex’s arrows if they need to distract the Kraken.

Vex brings Trinket out of her necklace. He is able to breathe underwater from Keyleth’s earlier spell, but he does not enjoy being underwater. Vex casts speak with animals to calm him. Trinket does not like how wet everything is.

Vex warns him that they may be turning him into a whale at some point. Trinket does not know what a whale is. Eventually, he agrees to trust Vex and go along with the plan.

Everyone quietly makes their way across the sea floor, searching for lodestones. Vex keeps her locate object spell on.

They come across ruins. It seems like ruins from giants. Percy notices that they have crumbled, and not sunk. The ruins are very old and eroded until they were almost completely smooth.

Keyleth notices movement from a cliff above. She alerts the others through the earrings. Tary does not hear this, as he does not have the communication earrings.

They detect a lodestone, but they aren’t sure where it is. They begin to gently dig around the wall where Vex detected the stone. Tary casts detect magic and helps them better locate the stone. They successfully dig out the first stone.

Vex senses another lode stone. They slowly swim over, following Vex.

They come across a large pile of skulls. Taryon vomits upon seeing this.

They search for the lode stone. Tary digs through. His finger hits something hard. He excitedly tells the others that he has found the lode stone. When he pulls it up, however, he sees that it is not a lode stone, but a humanoid head.

Strips of flesh hang off the head. Its eyes are swollen. Tary begins to panic.

Keyleth, who has been watching the movement above, sees the Kraken suddenly move away. As Vex pulls out the next lode stone, The Kraken approaches them, grabbing at them with its tentacles.

Vax casts bless on himself, Keyleth, and Grog and hastes himself.

Keyleth tells Vex to ready her arrow for the daylight spell and calls out to Taryon to find the other lode stone and not kill the Kraken. Taryon doesn’t have the magical earrings, but understand the gist of what she’s saying.

The Kraken uses one of the lair actions to hit the party with an electrical attack. Percy, Taryon, Vax, and Grog are able to brush off half of the damage but Vex, Keyleth, and Trinket take the brunt of the attack.

Vex shoots her arrow past the Kraken’s eyeball. Keyleth casts daylight on the arrow. Her arrow hits the Kraken. Light shines out from the Kraken, but he is not as distracted as she hoped. Her second arrow also hits. She then hides.

Percy grabs the lode stone Vex discarded and puts it in Tary’s bag of holding. He then instructs Tary to find the last lode stone.

The Kraken attacks again, this time with his tentacles, hitting Tary, Percy, and Grog. Each one of them is grappled.

Grog goes into a rage and smashes his knuckles together to englarge himself.

Tary pulls a patch off his robe. He uses the patch to cast hypnotic pattern to no avail.

Vax swims over to Grog and tries to pry the tentacle off of him, but he fails. Keyleth uses grasping vine to try to free Tary, but she also fails, as the Kraken is much stronger than both of them.

Vex uses her alter self coin.

The Kraken grabs Keyleth as well.

The Kraken makes a bite attack against Grog. The attack succeeds and Grog is swallowed. From inside the Kraken, Grog attacks the stomach lining. He recklessly swings his hammer, but it is not quite enough to make the Kraken throw him up.

Tary pulls another patch from his robe, casting vampiric touch. This attack succeeds against the Kraken and heals him.

Vax tries to cut off the tentacle holding Keyleth. He isn’t able to cut her out. Meanwhile, the Kraken smashes Tary and Percy together. Keyleth insists to Vax that he go find the last lode stone. She redirects the current of the water and pulls the Kraken and everyone its holding 20 feet away from the final lode stone.

Trinket claws into the Kraken, trying to free Grog from its stomach.

Vex summons a shark to help in the attack against the Kraken just as the Kraken grabs Trinket.

Percy successfully manages to cut himself out of the Kraken’s tentacle. Just as he starts to swim away, however, the Kraken grabs him with another tentacle.

The Kraken swallows Keyleth.

Grog pulls out the alchemy jug as the Kraken’s stomach acid burns him. He asks it to produce oil to make the Kraken throw up.

Taryon tries to smash a vial of acid against the tentacle holding him. The vial simply floats away. Taryon asks Percy to record his final wishes: that he wants to be buried with all of his things. Percy just stares at him in return.

Vax successfully finds and digs out the final lode stone. However, the Kraken then reaches out and grabs him.

Keyleth casts fireball in the stomach of the Kraken. The fire bursts out and ignites the oil in the Krakens stomach. Though Grog and Keyleth are also burned by the fire, they are also expelled from the Kraken’s stomach.

The Kraken unleashes another lightning attack. Keyleth is hit and falls unconscious.

Trinket attacks the Kraken, critically hitting it.

The Kraken smashes Percy and Vax together.

Percy continues to attack the new tentacle grappling him and casts alter self with his coin.

Grog gives Keyleth a greater healing potion, reviving her. He then throws his hammer at the Kraken, hitting one of its giant eyes.

Vax teleports using whisper and sneak attacks the Kraken. He frees Keyleth from the Kraken’s hold.

Keyleth, awake and free, debates what to do. She decides to cast animal shape on the party to turn them into electric eels. The suddenly smaller eel versions of Vox Machina are able to free themselves from the Kraken’s grasp (except Vax). The Kraken attempts to hit them with another electricity attack, but it has no effect on the already electric eels.

The Kraken bashes against Grog, Keyleth, and Tary. The attacks all hit and all three are transformed back into themselves and grappled.

Grog attacks his tentacle, quickly freeing himself. He then attacks Keyleth’s tentacle, freeing her as well. Grog attempts to free Vax to no avail. Five of the Kraken’s tentacles are left.

The Kraken attacks with more electricity. Keyleth falls unconscious again. Tary is hit as well, but he heals himself with a potion shortly after.

Vax uses lay on hands on Keyleth to revive her. The Kraken grabs him again.

Keyleth turns into a killer whale and uses her control over the water currents to push them all towards the exit.

Percy, freed from the tentacles and unable to attack with his guns, escapes through the portal.

Vax is knocked out by the Kraken and swallowed. Grog and Keyleth both see this.

Grog destroys another tentacle. The Kraken sends him a telepathic message.

Kraken: “Now you have made me angry.”

And the Kraken continues to attack Grog with his remaining tentacles.

Taryon attempts to use his ring of the ram, but misses.

Keyleth uses grasping vine to pull Grog free from the tentacles. She then changes out being a whale and is knocked out again by the Kraken.

Vex desperately tries to save her brother by firing arrows at the Kraken.

The Kraken swallows Grog, who now has a chance to save the quickly dying Vax. He searches for Vax, but is unable to find him. He takes a healing potion to heal himself.

Vex’s shark frees Tary. He uses one of the gems from his helmet to cast prismatic spray on the Kraken. The Kraken saves against it, but still takes damage.

The Kraken unleashes another lightning attack. Trinket is sent back to Vex’s necklace.

Vex swims over to Keyleth, healing her and bringing her back to consciousness. The tentacles grab for both of them. Vex is taken by the Kraken.

From inside the Kraken, Grog makes reckless attacks. The Kraken vomits up both Grog and Vax. However, as Vax is expelled from the Kraken’s stomach and floats away, he dies.

Keyleth, running out of options, desperately swims over to grab Vax. With the last of her movement, she goes to Vex to grab her hand as well. She plane shifts them back to Vesrah. Grog and Tary are left with the Kraken.

The two remaining tentacles continue to attack the last two members of Vox Machina. Grog destroys one of the tentacles, leaving just one remaining. However, the tentacle hits Tary, knocking him out.

Grog uses his alter self coin, and leaves through the portal, leaving Tary (and the final lode stone) unconscious with the Kraken.

Grog comes back through the portal to find Percy furious with him. Percy casts friends on Grog to compel him to find Tary and bring him back with him.

Grog quickly goes back through the portal and grabs Tary. He pushes him in the direction of the portal. Percy quickly grabs Tary and pulls him through, giving him a healing potion to revive him.

As Grog does this, the Kraken grabs him with his last tentacle, and swallows him. Grog, who is still conscious, though near death, makes a desperate attempt to escape, smashing the insides of the Kraken. The titan, unable to hold him down, throws him back up. Grog uses the momentum from being expelled to push himself back through the portal, flipping the Kraken off with both hands.

To be continued…

Episode 89 – “Curious Tides”

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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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