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Critical Role Recap: Episode 96 – “Family Matters”

SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 96 (obviously).  Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
Our recap of Episode 95 can be found here.

Vox Machina grapples with the curse of the Trickfoots.

Previously on Critical Role

After spending a year away from adventuring, Vox Machina meets back up to celebrate Winter’s crest in Whitestone. Afterwards, they went on a vacation to the Bay of Gifts. When they returned to Whitestone, Pike found old members of her family waiting for her. She brought them into the city to meet her friends. Shortly after, they reveal that a curse follows the Trickfoot name, and she is a part of a series of premonitions.


Vox Machina agrees to split up. Pike, Keyleth, Vex, and Tary will go visit Pike’s great-great-grandfather Wilhand, whilst Vax, Grog, and Percy give a tour to the Trickfoots.

Before they depart, Keyleth asks Percy if he knows anything about a shadowy creature with burning coals for eyes. Percy tells her that it is too general of a description to know any specifics.

The party heads downstairs. They see Johan and Astra eating breakfast. Astra is in the process of stitching together silks from material she cut from dresses she found in their quarters. Percy and Vex wince upon seeing this. Vex tells a servant to remove any of the clothing from the guest quarters that has not already been cut up. Johan leaves to check on Ogden.

Grog asks Percy for a hat with a loud plume so the Trickfoots will not get lost on their tour. Percy and Vex go through Cassandra’s closet to find the most ostentatious hat that they can. Percy finds a large captain’s hat. They add bows, a feather, and bells to it.

J.B. heads downstairs with Uncle Ogden. They sit down and begin to eat breakfast.

Percy and Vex come back into the room with Grog’s magnificent tour hat. He is very pleased with it. He asks about the history of the tour guides before him. Percy says that Whitestone has never had an official tour guide and declares Grog Grand Poo Bah and Official Tour Guide of Whitestone.

Keyleth and Vax bow. The Trickfoots follow suit.

They pull out the flying carpet and load the gnomes on. Grog announces that the tour is beginning.

Grog: “All right, Percy. Time to learn about your castle.”

Grog begins to tell them about the castle with little understanding of its history. He takes them outside and makes up a few more facts before prompting Percy to chime in. Percy begins giving them real historical information about the castle and grounds.

Percy begins to drone on about urban legends and historical inaccuracies before the gnomes turn back to Grog.

Vex, Pike, Keyleth, and Taryon head to the Sun Tree. They teleport and arrive at Wilhand’s house. Construction on the home has been completed.

Pike knocks on the door. Wilhand opens it. His face lights up with delight when he sees her. They hug.

When they enter Wilhand’s home, Tary expresses astonishment that Grog was ever able to fit inside the house. Pike admits that he slept outside a lot.

Wilhand rushes around the house, trying to make tea and be a good host for his unexpected guests. Pike insists he sit and relax while she prepare the tea.

Vex whispers to Pike, asking if Wilhand will be able to handle their questions. Pike admits she isn’t sure and says that they will gently broach the subject. Vex agrees to follow her lead.

Pike begins to talk about the construction on the house. Vex interjects, asking about Fassbender, the giant stone gollum. She asks who retrieved Fassbender. Wilhand responds that a human came to get him, claiming to be Fassbender’s owner. She asks him to describe him further, to confirm that it was in fact Fassbender’s owner.

Vex: “Was he kind of a dick?”

Wilhand: “A what?”

Keyleth: “A penis!”

Pike clarifies that they mean a rude person. Wilhand confirms that he was.

After a bit more conversation, Pike finally brings up Johan, Ogden, Astra, and J.B. She admits that she sent them money, and they have since come to visit her in Whitestone. She also tells him about Ogden’s dreams and the blood curse.

Wilhand says that he does not know much about the specifics of family history, but he does know that several curses have been thrown at the family over the years. He too recognized a special quality in Pike early on, so he took her to live away from the rest of the Trickfoots.

They ask what he knows about Theobald Trickfoot. Wilhand tells them that he knows Theobald died mysteriously, but that isn’t uncommon for the Trickfoots. He adds that he understands it is difficult for them to make a living by legal means, but he wished for neither himself nor Pike to be a part of that life.

Vex tells Wilhand that Pike is changing the Trickfoot name for the better. Wilhand is impressed by this. Tary adds that she is also one of the finest bakers at The Slayer’s Cake.

They chat a while longer. Taryon asks Wilhand if he would like them to relay a message to the Trickfoots. Wilhand says to warn them that they have a family history of diabetes and to be careful with sweets.

Wilhand: “And don’t be penises.”

Wilhand promises that he will let them know if he remembers anything else about the curse. As they leave, Tary tells him it was a pleasure to make his “acquaintanus.” Wilhand suggests Tary improve on his Gnomish before talking to any Gnome nobility.

Back in Whitestone, there is a small cluster of explosions. Ogden yells out, but the others see that it is the guard doing rifle practice. They see Kynan directing the practice.

Vax heads over to say hello. Kynan nervously greets him and explains what they are doing. Vax asks about his snake. Kynan takes the belt that Vax gave him, and it magically changes back into the snake. Vax picks it up.

He asks about the snakes well-being. Kynan admits that he hasn’t had use for the snake, so it’s just stayed as a belt. Vax is aghast at hearing this. He tells Kynan that he has greatly missed his snake asks if he could have it back. Kynan agrees, saying he was just loaned the snake.

Johan asks about the guns in Whitestone. Percy says that they are closely guarded and not for sale. He adds that thieves who take the guns are often sentenced to death. Johan gives Astra a look.

Grog points out to Percy that they should end the tour with a bang. Vax suggests letting himself and Grog fire some rifles as demonstration. Percy surprisingly agrees to this and begins to load up a rifle. Grog insists on loading his up on his own.

Vax fires the rifle. He hits the head of one of the hay targets. Grog goes up to do the same. He fires, but none of the targets are damaged. Then, a few hundred yards back, a small tree falls over.

Grog: “Was that the Sun Tree?”

The others look. It was not the Sun Tree.

Percy: “It may be.”

Grog: “I’m so sorry.”

Percy: “It’s all right.”

Grog: “I can do put it up and fix it with tape and stuff.”

Percy tells him that is a great idea. Grog runs off towards the tree he damaged.

Vax hands the rifle back to Percy. Though he was moments before excited to fire the rifle, his expression has grown more solemn and concerned. He tells Percy that he has now realized how dangerous these guns are. Percy agrees. He reiterates that guns found outside the city are confiscated and the perpetrator faces harsh punishments.

Percy takes one of the rifles and expertly hits each target. He puts the gun down and turns to Vax.

Percy: “I will never outlive the shame I feel for inventing these.”

From a few hundred yards back, Grog yells out that the tree is not the Sun Tree. He runs back to the group.

Astra and Johan ask if they can fire one of the rifles. Again, Percy agrees. They excitedly climb off the carpet and pick up one of the rifles. Neither one is loaded. Percy purposefully misloads the rifle to create a loud bang and explosion, but no projectile.

He hands the rifle to Johan. The gun goes off and flies out of his hands. He turns back to Percy, his eyebrows slightly singed. He asks Percy if he hit the target. Percy tells him he hit something. Johan, much to Percy’s chagrin, is still excited by this.

Astra goes up to fire. Percy loads her gun normally. She fires it, managing to hold onto it. None of the targets are damaged. The heat from the barrel make her drop it. She tells Percy she is good for now. Percy nods, pleased that his plan worked.

Grog makes it back to the group. He tells them that he was worried because he heard gun shots. The others notice a small bullethole in his knee. Percy tells him that the Sun Tree has gotten revenge. Grog digs the bullet out of his knee and pockets it.

Grog asks Percy if they are going to show them the sphere. Percy says they are not, citing paperwork as the reason.

At the end of the tour, they meet up with the others, who have returned from Wilhand’s house. They begin to eat lunch.

Pike goes over to Ogden. She asks how the tour went. He said he got plenty of rest, other than in Firecracker Alley. She asks Ogden if they can take a walk together. He agrees, though J.B. clearly becomes jealous when she hears this. Pike assures J.B. that she will spend time with her as well.

Vex, seeing this, goes over to J.B. and offers to give her a private tour of her newly-built home. J.B. glances over to Pike and Ogden, and then agrees.

Pike walks Ogden to the shrine of Sarenrae. When they arrive and get settled in, Ogden makes a confession.

Ogden: “I’ve been tying together the missing pieces of our history for most of my life. Most of this information has helped me once before. And, as I’m sure has been discussed at length with your friends, there is a curse on this bloodline. My research has brought me some knowledge, and I’ve been able to cast this curse out of one Trickfoot before, but I failed once before that. And I miss her to this day.”

He asks if she would like to hear the history of the curse. She agrees. He tells her that one of their ancestors was jealous of his brother. He sabotaged his brother’s life. However, during this process, it was revealed that his brother was not merely facing bad luck, but that he was being purposefully destroyed out of jealousy. When confronted about this, he killed his brother of whom he was once so jealous.

He then wondered the mountains and had a vision during the full moon. It is said he saw Erathis, the goddess of law. She put a blood curse on him and his family line. The curse would be dormant in each generation unless those in the family line became extremely selfish and caused destruction to others.

He goes on to say that the Trickfoots may thieve, but they do it to survive, and they hurt no one in the process. He saw these visions for his own wife and Johan, but managed to exorcise them. However, he says that the visions have been strongest for Pike even though she is the most good of them all. He wonders out loud what would draw these forces to her.

Pike asks how long he has been having the visions. He says he has had them for a few years, but only recently learned where to find her. Pike then asks about J.B. Ogden says that she is sweet and dedicated. He adds that she lives vicariously through the stories of Pike’s heroism.

He tells her that he can perform a ritual to remove the curse on her, but he does not know if it is possible to remove it from everyone. She agrees to consider his offer.

They walk back to the castle.

Meanwhile, Vex gives J.B. a tour of her home. J.B. tells her it must be nice having a home that stays in one place. Vex tells her she can sympathize with that.

After chatting a bit more, Vex asks about her relationship with Pike. J.B. says that they were best friends growing up, and it was hard when she moved with Wilhand. She admits that, as an introverted, bookish person, it was hard for her to make new friends. Hearing this, Vex takes her to the library.

J.B.’s face lights up and begins to ask what kind of books Vex has in her library. Vex talks about the different subjects and mentions that they have a book on the Feywild. She also asks J.B. if information about the blood curse can be found in books. J.B.’s face darkens, and she responds that books aren’t written about Trickfoots. She laments that she doesn’t have visions like Ogden nor adventures like Pike.

Sensing her sorrow, Vex suggests asking Tary to write the family history of the Trickfoots. J.B. is excited by this. They walk back to the castle, J.B. with the book on the Feywild.

They meet up with Tary, who is having his hair combed by Doty. Vex asks him to write down the Trickfoot story about the curse. He is reluctant at first, but, after a few implied threats from Vex, agrees to put his book aside for a while and write a small book about the blood curse.

J.B. tells Tary what she knows about the curse while he takes some notes. Tary admits to her that there isn’t enough there to be a full book, but Vex insists that they’ll make it into a book anyway.

Grog asks Percy if he can put the hat back in its resting place, complaining of the tightness of the string around his chin. Percy asks if this means Grog is ready to give up his title. Unwilling to give up his power, Grog keeps the hat on.

While the Trickfoots have their dinner, Pike calls the rest of Vox Machina to her chambers. She repeats to them what Ogden told her about the curse. They all wonder why Pike is the target of this curse.

Vex asks if she is secretly doing drugs like Scanlan. Pike tells her she is not.

Vax considers the possibility that the Trickfoots may be misleading Pike.

Tary mentions that he’s been saving a potion of mindreading for such an occasion. He suggests using it on Ogden to find out his true motives. Grog points out a flaw in this plan.

Grog: “What if he thinks its the truth?”

Tary: “That’s the smartest thing you’ve ever said.”

Percy wonders if J.B. has anything to do with the curse. He points out that she seems to have more avarice in her heart than Pike. Vex agrees and adds that J.B. should probably be with them when the exorcism is performed.

They wonder if there’s any way to tell beforehand if Pike is really affected by this curse. Several people suggest praying to Sarenrae, but, due to the limited amount of time, other options are also suggested. Vax says that Pike is much more powerful than him in all things divine, but he uses his divine sense on her anyway. He confirms that she is not a fiend nor undead.

They decide they will leave in the morning for the mountain. Pike alerts the Trickfoots of this. Ogden informs her that he needs materials for the ritual. They say that they can easily get these items. Vex uses the teleportation circle to Sygorn to get the water blessed by a priest of the moonweaver goddess.

They ask what will happen if Pike is not affected by the curse and the images are incorrect. He replies that simply nothing will happen.

When Vex arrives at Sygorn, she heads to the Temple of the Moonweaver. When she arrives, she asks for blessed water. The priest asks her for a donation for the services. She passes him a flask of Courage, which he pockets.

When she arrives back in Whitestone, she and the rest of Vox Machina rest for the night.

In the morning, Ogden inspects the spell components. He announces that they are all sufficient.

They go to make their way up the mountain.

Keyleth casts tree stride. Vex and Percy fly through it on Vex’s broom. They come out in a tree at the edge of the mountain, and the begin to fly up. Keyleth turns herself, the four Trickfoots, Grog, Pike, Tary, Doty, and Vax into gas and they make their way up the mountain as well.

They set up on the mountain as far away from the cliff as they can.

During the three days, Vox Machina tells tales of their adventures, and the Trickfoots tell embarrassing stories about young Pike. Vax and Vex, in their downtime, look around for evidence of any unwanted guests on the mountain. Vex sees an old nest. After examining it, she realizes it is a harpy nest. They make sure to hide themselves from passing harpies.

Tary gives Vex a coin of revivify and tells her to use it on him if he falls. He gives her several needle arrows that he made.

Pike casts hallow to make the mountain hallowed ground.

On the final night, everything is set in place. They watch as the sulfur is arranged in a circle around Pike and J.B. splashes the water around.

Ogden walks over to Pike. He holds the diamond in his hand. Pike says a quick prayer to Sarenrae before they begin. Ogden tells her to close her eyes and concentrate on the goodness within her.

Tary drinks the potion of mind-reading. He tries to listen to Ogden’s thoughts. On the surface, Ogden’s thoughts are like the spell he is saying: in a language Tary does not know. Tary tries to probe deeper, but is unsuccessful, and Ogden realizes what he was doing. He pauses for a moment, but keeps going with the ritual.

The spell reaches a crescendo, and the diamond in his hand vanishes. Ogden falls to his knees.  He points towards Pike.

A black cloud-like mass swirls around the gnome cleric. Distorted screams emanate from the cloud as it forms into a large, dark figure behind her.

Percy fires at the figure, but the bullet passes through apparently without harming it. He tries to hex it to no avail. He looks at the gnomes who look very frightened.

Grog rushes the figure and swings twice. It screams out in pain as the attacks connect.

Trinket rushes up and attacks the figure. Vex tries to use hunter’s mark, but it finds no target.

Keyleth casts moonbeam on the creature to no effect.

Ogden rushes by Tary to hide behind the rock. Johan and Astra hide as well. J.B. rushes after Ogden.

Pike casts spirit guardians. They fly around her.

Tary throws a bead into the circle. It detonates and creates a large spherical prison, but the creature is not affected. He runs behind the rock with the Trickfoots and orders Doty to attack.

They all realize that, to attack successfully, they need to be closer.

Vax rushes up and stabs the monster, hitting successfully. There is a flash of divine energy as it splits in half. The creature is not defeated, but it is hurt.

Grog rushes up and, in a frenzied rage, attacks three times. He does a great deal of damage to the cloud, and it struggles to keep itself together.

The monster attacks those around it to no avail.

Vex has Trinket attack the creature while she watches its movements to try and find a weak point.

Over the earrings, Vex whispers to the others.

Vex: “It’s not real. They’re fucking us. Play it out.”

Keyleth, confused, steps forward. She notices that the faces on the creature are just one face repeated.

Pike goes over to Astra. She puts her mace up to the gnome’s throat. She tells her that she knows this isn’t real and she demands to know what’s happening. She ignores Pike. Pike drops her mace on Astra’s foot.

Tary quickly turns around and throws a bead at Ogden, trapping him in the bubble. Ogden’s staff flies away from him. The smoke creature vanishes.

Tary: “Doty, carry him to the edge of the cliff.”

Ogden panics and begins to congratulate them on killing the monster.

Astra and Johan go invisible. Keyleth quickly casts grasping vine and traps them before they can get away.

J.B. tries to run away. Vex tries to catch her in her rope of entanglement

, but is unsuccessful. Vax swoops down in raven form and manages to grab her. He flies her high into the air and she begins to panic.

Doty continues to walk him over to the edge.

Ogden continues to proclaim that they have defeated the monster. More than ever during the trip, he is able to stand up straight and stay awake. He calls out to Pike for help, asking what Sarenrae would think.

Pike asks for the diamond. Relectantly, Ogden pulls it out of his pocket and holds it out to her. Doty holds the bubble over the edge.

Tary demands to know what they were after. Ogden is finally honest with them. He tells the others that they have heard of Pike’s success and riches only to receive a small sum of money and no other contact. He defends himself saying he offered her adventure and a story of redemption. Pike simply expresses her disappointment in their ruse.

The sphere dissipates. Ogden begins to fall.

Percy, who was using spiderclimb on the cliffside, grabs for him, but misses. Vax drops J.B. and swoops down to catch Ogden. Vex quickly uses her rope of entanglement to grab J.B.

Vax grabs at Ogden. He catches some of his clothes, but they rip and he continues to fall. Then, just before the old gnome hits the water, Vax manages to catch him and starts to bring him back up.

Pike goes over to J.B. She starts to untangle her from the rope.

J.B. apologizes. Pike also apologizes for not spending more time with them, but she continues to say that their behavior was unacceptable. Pike asks what they want from her.

J.B. admits that the others wanted the money, but she just wanted Pike’s friendship. She says that she thought saving her from the curse would bring them closer together.

Pike goes over to Johan and Astra. They cry out that they were mislead by Ogden. Keyleth tightens the vines. Finally, Johan admits to the ruse. He says that they quickly spent the money she sent them. He adds that the money they have accumulated will be more than he sees in his lifetime. He says that, if his plan would have worked, it would have changed their lives while not affecting hers at all.

After a few more minutes, Vax arrives with an unconscious Ogden. They notice that the diamond was dropped when Ogden fell.

Vex whispers to Pike.

Vex: “If you send them on their way, think about J.B. That’s all I ask.”

Pike brings Ogden back to consciousness. She hands him her purse with all of her gold. She tells him that she never wants to see him, Johan or Astra ever again. She also declares that J.B. is going to stay with her.

Pike: “We are going to change the Trickfoot name. But, if I ever see you again, I will fucking kill you all.”

Ogden tells her that he understands her. He apologizes and takes the coins.

Before they leave, Vex pats them all down. She finds silverware and odds and ends from the castle. Keyleth gives Tary Ogden’s Staff of Major Image.

Percy informs them that the cart will be left outside of the city limits and they are banned from Whitestone for life.

As the gnomes leave, Vex calls out a warning for Johan to avoid sweets.

Pike: “There actually is a curse on our family. It’s called diabetes.”

They make their way back to the castle with J.B.

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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