SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 82 (obviously).  Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
My recap of Episode 81 can be found here.

Vox Machina

Previously on Critical Role

After Raishan escaped with Thordak’s corpse, Vox Machina and friends alerted the troops on the ground. In the process, they found that all of their friends survived the battle. They departed to Whitestone to alert the town that The Cinder King was dead and to track down Raishan. By scrying on her, they found that she had fled to an island. The party decided to rest for the night and attack Raishan in the morning.

Now

After waking up, Vax tries to get his boots back from his sister. She eventually complies. He also passes off the dragon slaying sword to Grog. They split up the rest of their loot.

Kerrek offers to take Grog’s new dancing sword. However, when Grog pulls it out, he gets a sudden headache. Looking at the blade, he sees a female face framed by snakes. He drops the sword as the headache grows more intense. It fades into a rusted, dull metal.

Grog: “That really hurt and it’s still hurting.”

Kerrek immediately recognizes this as a curse within the blade. Grog is made permanently weaker when saving against attacks.

Grog complains about his headache. Pike tries greater restoration to no avail. Keyleth offers him her ring of protection, but he says he doesn’t like jewlery.

Pike prepares a hero’s feast for breakfast.

Keyleth considers scrying on Opaash’s laboratory. They decide to teleport to the island first, and then use scry so they will still have the element of surprise.

Vex yells at Grog after he chews on some wood. He decides to look for a salt lick. Wandering around the castle, he finds crystalline white stones in the garden, but, upon trying them, finds out that they are not salty at all.

Kima prepares to join them. Keyleth casts travel via plants to transport them to the island. They use the Sun Tree at their starting point.

They arrive in a forest. As the trees go more towards the mountain Keyleth saw while scrying, the evidence of blight is clear. The trees towards the treeline are withered and black. They sneak through the jungle towards Raishan’s presumed location. Keyleth notices that the scarring on the trees seems to be hundreds of years old.

Vex searches for dragon tracks, finding none. She sees other tracks of small animals she assumes to be indigenous to the island.

Kima mentions that, while the party was resting, she read up on the island. There were indigenous people living on the island before Opaash arrived. However, once he settled there, they all disappeared.

Percy voices concerns that anything left behind by Opaash could be dangerous in the hands of Raishan. Since Thordak had resided there before raiding Tali’dore, Percy wonders, there may be a connection between Thordak’s gem and Opaash or Raishan. Kima confirms that Raishan was the one who embedded it in his chest while he was trapped on the fire plane.

They continue on, searching for traps.

Vex notices that some of the ground looks odd. She stops Vax before he steps in it. He notices too that the sand is discolored, as if it may be a trap. Keyleth takes a look and deduces that it’s hallow earth, an explosion of magical energy that has a sinkhole-like effect.

As they approach the mountain, Vax sees the entrance to the cave is blocked by a large boulder. Holes about the size of a gold piece cover the surface of the rock. Vex identifies these marks as being from dragon claws.

Keyleth says that she can stoneshape the boulder to allow them room to enter. Before entering, Vex uses her dragonsense to see if Raishan is inside. She detects three dragon life forces. She guesses that these are Raishan and the two eggs.

They prepare to enter, but Grog quickly pulls Vex to the side for a private conversation.

Vex: “Grog, I’m already seeing someone.”

Rather than asking her out, he tries to make a deal for the deck of many things. He offers her a periapt of wound closure, since she falls unconscious so often during their battles. She says that it is too dangerous for him to have, as evidenced by his headache. He responds that he can deal with a headache and adds that he was the one who found it. She reluctantly agrees to this, saying he cannot pull from the deck or even look at it. He promises that he will not.

She hands him a pouch in exchange for the periapt. This pouch does not contain the deck of many things, but Grog does not notice. He happily goes back to the group.

Keyleth casts stoneshape to make a five foot passage. It doesn’t go through all the way, but she cracks through to the other side. She peers through. She sees nothing, and Vex offers to loose an oracle arrow through the crack. The arrow flies through a tunnel and then sticks into a wall after the tunnel begins to descend.

Vox Machina is befuddled by the boulder blocking the entrance. Keyleth could burn another spell to finish opening it, but then she would waste a spell. They also discuss the possibility of Grog using his siege gauntlets to smash through the rock, but they worry that the noise would alert Raishan. Eventually, much to the chagrin of Kima, they use the holy avenger as a lever in the crack Keyleth created to move the boulder. Once the boulder is moved enough, they set the immovable rods to hold open the boulder. The quickly move through the opening.

As they move through the tunnel, Vax notices other small pieces of material mixed in the with pebbles lining the tunnel. The material is lighter and porous. Keyleth comes over to look as well, and recognizes it as pieces of charred bone. The charring, she notices, is relatively recent. A few years old, if not more.

As they walk down the tunnel, Vax quietly asks Pike to cast death ward on Vex to protect her. Pike complies.

The tunnel is completely black, leaving Percy and Kerrek, who don’t have dark vision, in complete darkness. Keyleth leads Percy and Grog leads Kerrek.

The hallway begins to open up, and the walls around them begin to have shelves and alcoves in the rock. Vax lights his dagger and moves closer to examine it. He sees a cluster of melted candles.

As he looks on, he sees more candles, a humanoid skull, and a box. He examines the box, and it doesn’t seem to be trapped. He leaves it anyway.

Kerrek uses divine sense to search for undead in the area. He senses that something undead is nearby somewhere to the left. However, he does not think that it seems very powerful.

Kerrek: “There is an unclean thing here.”

Grog: “Well, fuck. I’m sorry. It’s just not a priority to me, all right?”

Kerrek clarifies what he means, and the direction from which he is sensing the undead. Grog turns to the left. He sees the skull Vax saw earlier. He leads Kerrek towards it, and describes what it is.

Kerrek considers that the skull may be watching them as security for Raishan. Kerrek takes the skull and uses divine sense once again. It is the source of the undead aura. It does not react to him holding it. The party discusses what to do with the skull. Keyleth suggests simply turning it around to face the corner. Everyone agrees, and Kerrek throws the skull in a sack and puts it back in the other direction.

They continue to walk down the tunnel. Eventually, the tunnel opens up into a hexagonal chamber with a door on the opposite end. The twins arrive in it first. In the center is a pillar of dark green marble. On top of it is an iron bowl. To the right is a large tome on top of dry tinder. There doesn’t seem to be anyone else in the chamber.

Keyleth lights up her hands so Kerrek and Percy can see. Percy examines the bowl to see if it’s some sort of fire lock for the door. There doesn’t seem to be anything mechanical keeping it closed. There is some sort of residue at the bottom of the bowl. Vex starts to chip away a sample of it with a lock pick.

Vax unfurls his wings.

Percy also examines the book. There is no text on the outside of it. Vax pushes everyone back with his wings. Standing about 10 feet back, he nudges the book with his wings. The tome falls over on the ground and opens. They examine the book, but the text gets increasingly smaller as their eyes adjust to the light, always staying in obscurity.

Kerrek brings out the hammer. The head of the hammer lights up with radiant energy. It fills the room with light. As the light hits the pages, they go almost completely blank.

Percy suggests that perhaps this text isn’t meant to be read in light. They extinguish all light sources, but those with dark vision are still unable to read it. Grog suggests reading it by the light of a fire set on the tinder. Keyleth lights the braisière. It detonates. Kerrek and Keyleth take the brunt of the blast.

Percy reassures her that it happens to him all the time. The book is entirely destroyed and the door remains closed.

Allura: “Well, I think we just found the purpose of that book.”

Vex empties a basilisk vial into the bowl. Nothing happens. She cuts her hand and lets the blood drip into the bowl. The bowl sucks it in, but the door remains closed.

Kerrek: “No! Don’t! There’s a lot of things in the world that shouldn’t have your blood!”

Vex: “Oh. Well, shit.”

Kerrek: “Something clever enough to lay a trap like that may be clever enough to trick a bunch of people into handing over blood.”

Suddenly, the room begins to shake and the door starts to open.

They begin to exit the room. They hear multiple sources of laughter and small beams of light. Pike quickly casts holy aura.

Four flaming skulls fly into the room.

Scanlan turns invisible and backs up against a wall. Vax starts attack the skulls with his dagger.

Keyleth casts moonbeam, hitting two of the skulls.

The skulls casts fireballs against the party, hitting everyone except Scanlan. Vax uses evasion to avoid damage. Trinket goes back into the necklace.

Percy takes down two skulls. Vex destroys another. Grog hits the last one.

The final skull is nearly destroyed. Allura offers Kerrek the opportunity to kill it, but he tells her it’s all hers.

Allura: “You’re too kind.”

After the final skull is destroyed, Grog begins to run off down the tunnel. However, everyone is too injured to continue, and they decide to wait and take a short rest. Vex detects dragons. They are in the same spot.

Scanlan decides to smoke the suude he prepared the night prior. This high is much better than before. Scanlan feels that his mind is more clear than before. He gains a sorcery point and can use metamagic abilities.

Vax flies down the hallway checking for traps. There is a gap in the floor and then a wall on the other side. As he approaches, he sees that it is a spiral staircase. He hovers over it, searching for traps. He doesn’t find anything.

As he flies to the bottom of the stairs, he sees iron spikes with corpses impaled on them. They decide to shuttle everyone down on with the carpet, Vex’s broom, and Vax’s wings. Pike goes on Vex’s broom and Scanlan goes on Vax’s back.

A glyph on the ceiling slowly begins to glow. Scanlan immediately casts dispell magic, stopping the magical effect before it starts.

They shuttle everyone else down without issue. Vax continues to sneak and look for traps.

They come across a bridge over a deep chasm. The twins start to fly over.

His wings, exhausted from overuse, disappear. He quickly throws Whisper to a cliff edge and manages to catch himself before falling into the chasm below. Vex’s broom begins to act strangely flying over the pit, and she flies back as well.

Keyleth druidcrafts some vines to reinforce the bridge. Percy grabs infinite rope and attempts to walk across the bridge with his spiderclimb boots. His hair sticks straight up. Allura points out that gravity has been reversed here.

While they are discussing how to get past, they see things begin to fly upwards past them. Humanoid figures shift around above and below: there are skeletons here.

The skeletons begin to claw at them. Percy shoots at them and Keyleth uses her vines to attack them. Vex sees that one of the skeletons clawing at her is actually a zombie. Vex is knocked from the broom by falling animated corpses, dangling by her harness. Pike manages to barely hang on. Keyelth uses her grasping vines to grab the broom to keep them both from plummeting upward.

Vex can now see the ceiling of the chasm. It is covered with thousands of writhing zombies and skeletons.

Kerrick and Keyleth climb onto the magic carpet and fly out into the chasm. More falling corpses grasp out for them but they manage to hang on. Kerr steers the carpet up above Vex and Pike to try to catch them should Keyleth’s vine give out.

A cluster of corpses fall upward and forms into a massive hand. Kerrick grabs his holy symbol and turns undead, causing the hand to burst into ash around them.

Percy uses his boots of spider climb to cross the bridge and up the wall towards Vex and Percy. He ties off the rope to the broom.

Allura and Kima dimension door across the chasm to Vax. Percy hands off the other end of the rope and Kima and Vax pull Pike and Vex to safety across.

Grog and Scanlan still need to cross. Vex lets Trinket out of the necklace. She then crosses back over, puts Grog in the necklace, and heads back with Scanlan on the broom. Another massive cluster of bodies plummets upward toward the broom, this time forming a massive head with a gaping maw. Vex just manages to steer the broom to safety right before the jaws of mangled corpses closes around her.

They continue to head down the tunnel, looking for more traps. They approach a fountain. The water falls upward as if the gravity is still reversed. Keyleth tosses a pebble into the fountain. While the water is trickling up, the pebble goes down. She notices that the area in the ceiling where the water is hitting is different from the surrounding stone. Percy notices that it’s a green gem.

They investigate the fountain to see what is making the water float up. Keyleth thinks it may be attached to a magical source. Kerrek catches some of the water in a bottle. In the bottle, it falls back into regular water. Vax notices the remains of a temple onward.

Percy tries to borrow a jug off of Grog. Grog says he’ll give him the jug, but only if he gets his ascot in return. Percy points out that it probably wouldn’t fit around his neck, but Grog doesn’t care. Keyleth offers to teach Grog how to tie it, and Percy accepts the trade. He ties it around Grog’s neck in a big bow.

The twins notice the path forks ahead. Light comes faintly from both paths. They realize that they both rejoin at a common point.

They debate which path to take and what to do about the fountain.

Allura sets the jug in the stream of water. Suddenly, the gravity reverses and they hear the thousands of bodies in the chasm fall back into the cavern.

The twins continue onward. They enter into a room. They see two dragon eggs, Thordak’s lifeless body, and a woman with green hair reading a book with her back to them.

To be continued…

Episode 83 – “The Deceiver’s Stand”


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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.