SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 92 (obviously). Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
My recap of Episode 91 can be found here.
Vox Machina makes a deal.
Previously on Critical Role
Vox Machina traveled to the Nine Hells in order to defeat Hotis. When they arrived, they found the landscape to be more complicated than anticipated. Eventually, they managed to find a tavern where they purchased rooms. Keyleth used a scry spell to discover that Hotis was being kept in an underground prison.Percy and Grog talked to the innkeeper, who told them his name was Ipkesh. He offered to help them find Hotis in exchange for their help in killing his boss. Not wanting to make a deal in the Nine Hells, they turned him down. Keyleth later left the room disguised as a succubus. While out in the streets, she was stopped by a dwarf and a devil, demanding information on the “white one” (possibly referring to Vax, who was earlier disguised as an albino tiefling).
Keyleth stammers nervously in response to their request. They begin to approach her. She casts shape change and transforms into an erinyes. They take a step back. She asks for their names.
They immediately begin to apologize and assure her that they mean her no harm.
Keyleth: “Are you sure? Because I would love to add you to the collection.”
The two quickly leave. Keyleth makes one final move after them and then immediately goes back to her original plan as soon as they are gone.
As she walks through the city, she sees an impish creature wearing gold armor watching her. She nods at it. It does not respond.
She goes back to the tavern, shape changing back into a tiefling before going upstairs to the rest of Vox Machina. When she gets back to the room, she tells them what happened. She warns Vax that others are looking for him, and she fears his connection to the Raven Queen is known to residents of the Nine Hells.
She also excitedly tells them that she got the chain devil and dwarf to leave by transforming into an erinyes. She transforms in the room, showing off her ability.
They begin to discuss their next course of action. Tary asks the group if they should consider Ipkesh’s deal. He argues that taking a deal that has no apparent bad outcomes could be better than accepting a deal with worse terms later.
Tary: “I feel that we’re already ahead of the game if we aren’t being actively murdered.”
Keyleth adds that, no matter what they do, they are being watched. She tells the party of the impish creature watching her. The party remembers that they have meant an imp before. Grog pulls out a ring from the bag of holding that he stole from an imp. Tary casts identify on the ring, but it has no magical properties. It does, however, have a signet on it. Percy recognizes it as the symbol of Asmodius.
They continue to discuss their plans and the merits of taking Ipkesh’s deal. Grog takes back the ring and puts it around his pinky.
They take a vote to decide if they will take Ipkesh’s deal or take the day to find another way to Hotis.Grog and Tary are the only two who vote to immediately take the deal. Tary, in an attempt to sway the group to his side, points out that Doty hasn’t voted. Vex counters that Trinket hasn’t voted either. Tary challenges Trinket to an arm wrestling contest with Doty.
The robot and grizzly bear shuffle over to a table. Doty sits down and gets into arm wrestling postion. Trinket, being a bear, simply swipes at Doty’s hand and attempts to knock it over.
Trinket hits Doty’s hand so hard that its arm temporarily goes out of its socket. Doty pops it back into place. Vex praises Trinket for winning the competition.
Tary immediately launches into arguments about why the arm wrestling was not fair nor regulation. Vex points out that Trinket’s joints do not allow him to put his elbows on the table. Tary blames her, saying she should have designed her robot bear better.
To prove Trinket is not a robot bear, Vex orders him to pee on Tary. Tary, scared of Trinket, accepts this. He feels warm bear urine drip down his leg.
The competition over, they all leave the room. Keyleth stays disguised as an erinyes, but the others are not disguised, as they have no more spells.
As they enter into the bar downstairs, Ipkesh is waiting for them. He has a contract in front of him on the table. Percy and Tary go over to him. Ipkesh hands them the contract. They quickly read it over.
The contract involves three pacts. The first is the pre-discussed deal. The second and third (which are available to them, but don’t need to be fulfilled) are offers of devils and magic in exchange for power and their souls, respectively.
Tary offers for his father’s lawyers to look over the contract, but he admits that they don’t have a branch in the Nine Hells. Percy tells Ipkesh that he will consider the deal. Ipkesh tells him to return after he has considered the contract and any adjustments he would like to make.
They go out into the city searching for The Bastion of Flesh: the entrance to Hotis’s prison.
As they walk through the city, Keyleth sees a building made of sheet metal with a triangular entrance. They enter into the shop. They quickly make up code names for each other: Tary is Yrat, Vax is Wode, Vex is Wade, Keyleth is Minxy, and Grog and Percy stick to Greg and Freddie.
The shop is filled with geodes and rocks that appear to have been cut away from larger structures. Sitting on a stool in the back of a shop is a humanoid creature. Greenish spines protrude from its shoulders. It asks Keyleth what she seeks. She asks for items from The Bastion of Flesh. The creature tells her that it does not go there.
Keyleth insists to the creature that she must get items from this place. She intimidates him in an attempt to get what she wants. Grog points out his ring with the sigil of Asmodius on it.
The creature, sufficiently scared of Keyleth, insists that chain devils will know where to find what she seeks. He then offers some of the geodes in his shop to her. He offers her one that is useful for spells. They see the souls trapped inside the geode reflecting in the light.
Keyleth informs the shopkeeper that this is insufficient to satisfy her. Percy suggests finding something unique rather than expensive.
The shopkeeper digs through his supply and pulls out a dismembered, decaying arm with a bracelet around its wrist. Tary casts identify on the bracelet. It is one half of a communication system. The other half is able to record and take notes on the wearer of the bracelet.
Keyleth decides that this is sufficient, and she informs the shopkeeper that he will give it to her as a gift. He begrudgingly accepts this. On their way out, she gives the shopkeeper 20 gold and informs him that they will be returning.
Keyleth offers her “minions” a chance to shop. Tary purchases the geode the shopkeeper showed them earlier. Keyleth says that she is pleased, and that the shopkeeper should keep it that way.
On their way out, Vax asks the shopkeeper where he suggests avoiding. The shopkeeper points out the iron tower. He also points out the imps in gold armor and tells Vax that they are “whispers.”
The end of her spell nearing, Keyleth uses alter self to transform into a tiefling.
They head back to the tavern. When they are in their room, Keyleth scrys on the chain devil who was interested in Vax. He blocks the attempt to scry.
Grog goes down to the bar. He asks for food that “normal people” eat. The bartender offers him a plate on the house.
He hands Grog a piece of purple meat with bone shards sticking out of it. It is as though whatever creature this meat was taken from was pulverized before the meat was cut from it.
Grog, ignoring the utensils on the table, uses one of the bone shards to scoop the meat into his mouth. The taste is both gamey and metallic. Pieces of bone cut his mouth and throat as he eats.
Grog: “It kind of tastes like if you took a bunch of rusty nails and shoved them in your thumb and sucked on that for a while.”
When he finishes his meal, Grog gives his compliments to the chef.
They begin to discuss the contract. Percy offers to be the one to take the contract. He says that he is not tempted by the other pacts, and he believes that requesting a guide to the prison and safe passage out of the Nine Hells will make the contract sufficient for their needs. Tary insists that he cannot let Percy take the deal, and that he will be the one to sign the contract. Percy accepts Tary’s offer. Tary is taken aback and begins to silently panic. He had assumed Percy would insist he didn’t sign. Percy, when he is done making Tary squirm, goes to Ipkesh.
When Percy sits down with Ipkesh, he tells the innkeeper his counter offer for the contract. Percy asks a few questions, and Ipkesh informs them that they are meant to slay a pit fiend.
Tary makes one last attempt to sign instead of Percy. Vax pulls him away. Percy signs the contract.
As he finishes signing, the ink burns into the parchment.
Ipkesh informs them that Vasah the imp will guide them. He tells them that they will be able to pass unseen and unheard.
They go up to their rooms and rest for the night.
They wake up the next morning overheated and hungry, but rested. Vex takes boar meat from the bag of colding and sets it on the floor to cook.
As they head down to the bar, they see Ipkesh sitting with Vasah on his shoulder. Ipkesh hands Percy a silent spell. He warns them that the whispers see through invisibility, but not illusions. He orders Vasah to guide them to the keep.
Vex casts pass without a trace, and Keyleth transforms into a tiefling.
They pass through the city following Vesah. They see lemures and spine devils going through the streets. Whispers pass overhead.
Vasah disappears ahead out of sight. Eventually, he signals to for them to follow him. They attempt to move quickly and quietly after Vasah. However, as they go along, Percy trips, catching the attention of the whispers. Percy, in an attempt to act natural, simply walks off to the side, nursing his elbow. He pretends to not notice the whispers above him. Tary follows Percy rather than going with the group.
Sitting off to the side, Percy pulls out one of the soul shards. He goes to eat it, but then stops. He sniffs it and throws it to the side in disgust. One of the imps goes after it.
Having fewer imps watching him, Percy tries to disappear down an alley. Tary casts invisibility on himself.
Suddenly, a specter comes out of the ground and appears before Percy. Percy continues to walk ahead. Tary joins him. The imp tailing Percy jumps from windowsill to windowsill behind him. Tary throws sticky black tar at the imp’s feet, immobilizing it.
Vax, who is extremely well-hidden, catches up to them. He throws Whisper at the imp.
They dart around the corner. More imps follow, but they are already hidden. They join up with the rest of the party.
Vasah continues to lead them through the city.
They turn one final corner to see a giant monstrosity. Multiple arms are stitched to the creature. It’s 15 feet tall and sewn together from scraps of body parts. Gems pulse at its throat. A chain is tied around it. It is being pulled along by an imp.
They see a gap between a fence and the stronghold. Vasah goes through it. The hole is too small for Grog.
Vex climbs through. She releases Trinket from her necklace. She transfers Grog into the necklace and brings him through. Trinket goes back in.
They realize that they have no way to get Doty through. Doty cannot go in the necklace because he is not a living creature. Doty simply rips through the fence. Grog fixes the fence after Doty passes through.
Tary surveys the outside of the stronghold. He rips a patch off of his robe and fixes it to the wall. The patch turns into a door through which they can enter.
Vex opens the door slightly and peeks in. It is very dark inside. It is lit by a small candle. Vax looks in as well. He sees chains with hooks dangling from the ceiling. Strips of flesh still hang from some of the hooks. He sees two tables, each holding a humanoid figure. He notices the one on the far table is still breathing. Vax goes in, closing the door behind him.
There are two other doors in the room. Torture instruments are scattered around the room. The figure on the far table is a female dwarf. She has many wounds from the torture that has knocked her unconscious, but she is still alive. Vax casts divine sense. He picks up on an evil signature in the north chamber of the fortress.
Vax tells the others over the earrings what he sees. They quietly enter.
Vex walks over to the dwarf. She begins to stir. Tary quickly says hello before the others shush him. The dwarf asks who the fuck they are.
Percy: “We are a remarkable opportunity if you’re willing to be quiet and maybe have a little faith in the truth in this very dark place.”
The dwarf agrees. Vex casts cure wounds on her. The twins free her from her manacles. During this process, Tary loudly whispers to her asking her name.
Once she is freed, the dwarf reveals that her name is Tova. Keyleth gives Tova their code names. She also refers to them as Mox Vachina.
Percy explains that they are attempting to sneak into the fortress to attempt a prison break. Tova asks if she can join them. They agree.
Since her equipment is gone and hidden somewhere, Tova takes one of the torture devices to use as a weapon.
Grog asks if she would like a great sword instead. She gladly accepts–though the sword is bigger than she is.
Suddenly a door opens. They all scramble to hide. Tova falls back onto the table.
A creature similar to Ipkesh enters the room. He looks around for a second and clearly notices something is amiss. He goes to leave the room.
Percy tries to prevent him from leaving the room. The gunslinger is knocked over by the guard. Percy begins to swing at the guard, hitting twice.
Tova runs over to her captor. She swings at him with the great sword, missing twice. Suddenly, she turns into a werebear, surprising everyone. Grog is impressed.
As the guard tries to leave, Tova swings her great sword at him, successfully hitting. However, the guard still manages to leave. He throws open another door and goes into another chamber.
However, as he leaves, Vax throws two daggers at him. One poisoned dagger hits.
Vax shoots over him. She successfully hits, dealing lightning damage.
Grog runs after him. He says hello to the guard and then goes into a rage. Just as the guard tries to cast a spell, Grog kills him.
Tary casts haste on himself to catch up with Grog. He sees two lemures rush towards them. He turns his rod into a lance.
Keyleth takes a moment to consider her surroundings. Her friends all ran out of the chamber, and her new friend turned into a bear. She uses enhance ability on Grog.
Tary, overwhelmed by the battle already, is ready to invoke another one of the pacts. Percy explains to him that it is not how that works.
A winged succubus appears. She attempts to charm Tary, but he brushes it off. She retreats further into the fortress.
Vax kills one of the lemures with his dagger.
Trinket is released from the necklace. There are now two bears on the battlefield. Trinket chases after the succubus, attacking her. He tears into her, but she is still alive.
Tary stabs at the succubus with his lance. He sets it on fire. He stabs her again, killing her.
In the aftermath of the battle, Tary relishes the moment.
Tary: “Doty, take this down: I am the vanquisher of souls.”
Keyleth casts locate creature on Utugash. He is in the next chamber.
They decide to flank the pit fiend. Tary walks around to create another entrance. Grog goes through the main entrance.
Before they go in, Tary asks Tova a question.
Tary: “You won’t pee on me, will you? I’ve been marked before.”
Tova: “Why would you ask that? What kind of stuff do you guys do? Who are you people?”
As Grog opens the door, boiling oil is poured over him. He manages to dodge it.
Looking into the chamber, he sees red light. There are two pools of red liquid. A giant chair and alter sits in the center of the chamber. Sitting in the chair is a massive pit fiend with a large axe.
It taps its fingers on the arms of its throne, waiting for them to come in.
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.