SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 75 (obviously). Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
Nick’s recap of Episode 74 can be found here.
Vox Machina further investigates the City of Brass in the Elemental Plane of Fire in search of their final Vestige, the Dawnmartyr armor.
Previously on Critical Role
The party heads to Fort Daxio to prepare for the ambush against Thordak, the Cinder King. Once they arrive, the decide to go to the fire plane to retrieve the final vestige before their battle: the Plate of the Dawn Martyr, which Pike will use against Thordak. In order to not attract attention to themselves, Pike, Grog, Scanlan, Percy, and Vex shackle themselves so they appear to be slaves. Keyleth uses alter self to disguise herself as a genasi, and Vax uses invisibilty to travel with the party unseen.
The party walks down the main street of The City of Brass. The sun beats down on them, never setting, but merely growing dimmer.
Cenokier: “So, we are to find our way to the first giant you requested. This is the one named Whaska. Is that correct?”
The party confirms that this is who they are seeking. Cenokier and Utan lead them there. Along the way, Cenokier explains that Whaska is one of the few free fire giants remaining. He says that they will find him in the Zenith Forge. When the party tries to respond, he tells them that slaves must not speak to their masters.
As they pass through the city, they see many efreet often patroling with scimitars and flaming pendants. There are few humans or elves who are not enslaved. Those who are free travel with body guards. They also see that instead of waterways, molten lava flows from the sea of fire. Pike becomes exhausted from the unrelenting heat.
Vex asks Vax to pick the locks on their chains to free them. After a few blocks, he’s able to unlock her manacles without anyone noticing.
While they are walking, Keyleth asks Utan if they often show others around the city. Utan responds that they don’t with strangers, but sometimes they will with customers. They are surprised by this, as Cenokier is quite the tour guide.
Utan adds that he and Cenokier have been in business together for the better part of a decade. When Keyleth pushes him, he responds simply that they deal in fine jewelry. He also points out that they shouldn’t talk to each other so much.
Keyleth, in an attempt to appear more foreboding an cruel, hits Grog, who is disguised as her slave. It doesn’t physically hurt Grog, but emotionally, he is scarred.
When they finally arrive at the Zenith Forge, Cenokier tells them that they must find a way to secretly communicate with each other or reveal their true identities to Whaska and hope for the best. He also says that he doesn’t often deal with fire giants, but they definitely wouldn’t like slaves talking out of turn. He also warns that he is likely very cunning to have escaped slavery.
They discuss the best course of action. Pike suggests challenging him to a game of cards for the vestige. Vex casts locate object, but cannot sense it. Ultimately, they decide to funnel their questions through Cenokier. He tells them to quickly tell him their questions, as they must proceed shortly. First, they ask if he has heard of the Plate of the Dawnmartyr. Next, They tell Cenokier to ask if he knows where it is, if he needs an errand run in exchange for the armor, and, finally, they ask about the Sutan bloodline. Cenokier doesn’t know how the last question will go over, but they decide to ask anyway. Cenokier leads them inside.
They enter to find four giant forges running simultaneously with anvils scattered around the room. Humanoid creatures run around room, moving water and doing various other tasks. In the center of the room on the largest anvil, Whaska holds a massive hot piece of metal and slowly works it into a sword. He stands at nearly 20 feet tall.
Cenokier gestures her forward, and Keyleth nervously addresses the giant.
Keyleth: “Good day, fair Whaska… Strong Whaska.”
He puts down the sword and looks down at her, standing at his full height.
Keyleth introduces herself to him. She tells him that she knows his time is valuable but tells him that she has a few questions for him. He directs everyone else out of the room.
Whaska: “You may ask your questions.”
Keyleth asks him if he has heard of the Plate of Dawnmartyr. He says he has not heard of it. She tells him that it was likely won in a game of cards. Whaska tells her that he thinks he knows who she should look for. He asks her if it’s valuable, and she confirms that it is. He tells her to make an offer.
She asks Cenokier what he thinks Whaska would want. He says that he’ll likely want something he can craft or she can simply ask Whaska what he wants. Whaska pulls a small cylinder out of a pouch and looks through it. He points out that their “servants” are very well-equipped. She says that she will confer with Cenokier and her servants to see what they have to offer.
They go through the magical items with which they don’t mind parting. They offer him a magical greatsword and a ring of lightning resistance. He is not satisfied with the amount that they have offered him, but says it is a strong start. Keyleth also throws in a magical choker.
Whaska: “It was a strong start. Not a very strong follow-up.”
Keyleth also quickly throws in a ring of protection. Whaska is unimpressed. He tells them that they can make him one more offer, but warns that, if they do not give him a good enough offer, he will alert the town to their disguises. Keyleth quickly offers their white dragon hide. He accepts this offer.
When Keyleth pulls out all 40 pounds of white dragon hide, he tells them that another fire giant, Sugan. He was the “brains” behind enslaving most of the fire giants. He also tells the party about Jarael, another fire giant. He gives them a token that will allow them to speak to Jarael. The token is far too large for the party to easily carry. After a few minutes, Keyleth and Pike manage to pick it up and carry it out.
Whaska goes back to work.
Cenokier leads them to the shrine where they will find Jarael. They walk the streets for approximately an hour. They see a structure made of curved obsidian spikes in the center of the city. Many devilish entities patrol around the building. Cenokier tells them it is an embassy, where the ambassadors from the nine hells reside. The party decides to not go over there.
They finally arrive at Jarael’s home. Keyleth casts locate object. The vestige is there. They decide that Scanlan should win the armor in a game of cards. They decide to conceal the true value of the armor. Vax scales the building to see if he can find the armor. The rest of the party walks around the block to avoid suspicion.
As he climbs the building, he looks through an opaque window. However, he sees that it is trapped, so he moves on. Peering into another window, he sees an extravagant bedroom, but no armor. He scales down the building and waits for the rest of the party to come back. When they come back, it is revealed that Cenokier can see Vax even though he is invisible.
Grog knocks on the door, using siege. He asks to see the token. It has giant inscribed into it. Though he cannot read, he tells Keyleth and Pike that it says that if they drop the token, they will die. Pike and Keyleth believe this completely and adjust their grips so as not to drop it.
Two armored fire giants open the door. They say nothing. Keyleth tells them that they are there to speak with Jarael. Someone shouts from inside the house, asking what their business with Jarael is. Keyleth gets anxious and yells out that they want to play cards.
Jarael emerges from inside the house. Keyleth presents her with the token. She accepts it and agrees to hear them out. They enter the house. It is ornately decorated. She has her servants bring forward chairs that allow the party to see eye to eye with her.Grog takes a potion of fox’s cunning. He attempts to read the token. He still doesn’t know how to read. Keyleth drops her disguise and unshackles the rest of the party.
Scanlan begins to address Jarael. He brags about his prowess in playing cards and even tells her that the rest of the party is his servants, and he won them by playing cards. Jarael, convinced by his lie, is intrigued. She asks about the ante. Percy, in an attempt to further deceive her, has Scanlan discuss a ruby shield. Scanlan rejects this, and asks for the armor since it’s his size. She agrees, but asks for his friends if she wins. He agrees.
She pulls out a deck of cards that are too small for her and too big for Scanlan. She asks Scanlan how much he knows about the armor, since he traveled so far to try to win it. Scanlan says he’s pursuing the game instead of any prize.
Scanlan draws poorly on the first hand, and loses the next one as well. Jarael has won Vox Machina as her servants.
Scanlan tries several ways to bargin his way out of losing: more rounds, a better ante (short of offering up himself as well), etc. She does not accept. She does, however, offer their freedom in exchange for a favor.
Jarael tells the party that they can have their freedom and the armor in exchange for dealing with a pit fiend. Scanlan agrees to the deal. The party leaves.
Outside, they meet Cenokier. He reminds them that they still owe him a favor, and then he leads them to his house. Vex, Keyleth, and Percy are all weakened by the heat, and Pike is further exhausted. They set up for the night.
Vox Machina considers leaving the fire plane and heading back to Fort Daxio. Cenokier points out that, when they come back, it will be difficult for them to get back into the city. Keyleth can cast plane shift, but not the spell is not specific enough to allow her to choose a location within the city.
The party, exhausted and thirsty, goes to drink from their waterskins, but they find them all empty. The sun sets and the city suddenly shuts down as they realize this. Cenokier tells them that this is because of a strict curfew. Those who don’t follow the curfew, he says, are jailed.
Vax suggests breaking into Jarael’s house, stealing the armor, and then planeshifting home. Percy points out that the spell will likely not work well under these conditions. Keyleth then decides to scry on the embassy. She sees a wide chamber full of scrolls and papers. There are humanoid creatures chained to the walls, and, in the center of the room, the pit fiend sleeps.
The party comes up with several plans. First, they decide to try to lure the fiend into Scanlan’s mansion to try to attack it from all sides. Next, they discuss convincing the guards to fight the pit fiend with them by saying he insulted the sultan. Their last option is finding the pit fiend out in the open.
Cenokier tells them that if the party is going to fight the pit fiend, he requests that he not be present. He says tells them that they should at least try to dress like the rest of the free elite in Brass City. They discuss all dressing like Vax and Vex and attempting to pass themselves off as sextuplet slaves.
Grog, sensing that his Fox’s cunning is about to wear off, asks Pike to teach him the alphabet. She tries to teach him how to write his name. It is too advanced for him. He struggles to get all four letters. Pike spends hours teaching him the alphabet, but as the potion wears off, Grog loses the ability to learn the letters.
The next morning, the party wakes up free from exhaustion and ready to begin the day. They cast the spell to make everyone look like Vax and Vex. Both Cenokier and Utan refuse to get involved with the pit fiend. Keyleth druidcrafts an item so that Cenokier can find the party if there’s trouble.
The party heads to the Arches, which is where the slaves are sold. They see cages packed with prisoners and slavers yelling out to try to entice passerby into buying the slaves. They set up shop, everyone except Scanlan disguised as Vax or Vex.
While they are there, Scanlan buys two aasimar (celestial) slave boys, and Vex starts to make connections with the slavers. Scanlan asks the boys about the pit fiend. They say that they haven’t seen him around. The boys walk around the market with Percy and Pike. Meanwhile Keyleth attempts to scry on the pit fiend. It does not succeed.
Some time later, the real Vax and Vex see a large individual who resembles the pit fiend approaching the Golden Arches. He goes through the market and stops at Scanlan’s shop after spotting the two aasimar children.
Pit Fiend: “I have discourse with you, small one.”
Percy tells the servants in the mansion to keep the boys safe. Scanlan tries to sell unique slaves to the pit fiend. He lies and tells him he has many different slaves and creatures inside the mansion. nagas, goristros, and more. He offers a price, and the pit fiend begins to leave. However, he quickly lowers the price, and the pit fiend is convinced.
Vex stalls for time saying that one of the aasimar is fighting back. Scanlan fiends distress and darts inside to investigate. The pit fiend is unconvinced by the charade. Scanlan tells the others they have to fight (“FUCKING JENGA”) and they plan to distract the fiend with the two boys they ambush the devil.
Pike comes out with the slave boys. The pit fiend goes to reach for their chains. Keyleth casts feeblemind. He looks hurt, but otherwise unaltered by the spell. Vex releases Trinket. A confrontation is about to begin.
The pit fiend whips his head to stare directly at Keyleth. A portal opens next to him and a second humanoid figure emerges. An armored female form with wings and a glowing rope. “You called?”
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.