SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 91 (obviously). Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
My recap of Episode 90 can be found here.
Fresh after Keyleth’s coronation, Vox Machina go to hell to slay the rakshasa, Hotis.
Previously on Critical Role
After completing the final stage of her Aramente, Keyleth and the rest of Vox Machina journeyed back to Zephra, where Keyleth informed her father that she had completed her Aramente. A ceremony began that night, and Keyleth was crowned The Voice of the Tempest.
As the celebrations cease and Keyleth joins her friends, Vex approaches. She asks Keyleth if she knows whether or not she can still accompany her friends on their journeys. Keyleth admits that she isn’t sure and seeks out her father, Korren.
When she finds Korren, she asks to speak to him. He guides her away from the celebrations to a private corner. There, he begins to further explain her role as Voice of the Tempest. He explains that she will be called upon for her wisdom as a leader. Keyleth asks if the Aramente was meant to be her training. He says that her Aramente was meant to help her establish connections with the other tribes and help her on a journey that will force her to grow as a person and leader. He adds, however, that, since he has never taken the Aramente, he will not be able to fully answer these questions.
Keyleth admits to her father that she sometimes resents that he never fully explained to her how cruel the world could be. He counters this by saying that he tried to warn her, but he also knew that she would have to experience some things for herself. He also states that he had scouts watching her during the first leg of her journey to make sure she was safe. This surprises Keyleth, but she accepts it as best she can.
She also adds that she thinks vast improvements could be made to the society of the Ashari. She says that she feels that, if they had a closer connection to each other and the people they were bound to protect, they could have headed off major problems like The Chroma Conclave. Korren says he agrees and adds that improving these relations is part of her new role.
Keyleth asks if she must stay in Zephra as The Voice of the Tempest. Korren replies that she does not have to stay, but her heart must always be with her people. He tells her that they will call for her if she is needed.
He steps in and pulls her into a hug. They release, and Keyleth adjusts her mantle. She asks if she has to wear it all the time or if it’s just ceremonial. He tries to answer, but he isn’t sure how to respond. She leaves to get a drink.
Across the room, Vax and Vex watch Keyleth and her father. Vax asks his sister to read their lips to find out what they’re saying. She lies and tells him that Korren is telling Keyleth how much he dislikes Vax. Vax, not believing his sister, tells her sarcastically how lucky he is to have her in his life. She responds that they were also talking about how great she is. He walks away.
The party joins each other later in the night. They begin to discuss their plans for the next day. They decide to leave in the morning and have Keyleth planeshift them to the Nine Hells. Percy lets the others know what he has learned about the Hells.
Grog suggests kidnapping Asmodius and assuming his identity. The others decide that there are several problems with this.
They all agree to not sign and contracts or make any deals while there. Tary interrupts, saying he is very good at signing contracts. Grog encourages this. The others do not. Percy points out that Tary’s contract with them includes an exclusivity clause. Tary checks their contract and agrees that it does. He tells Doty to make a note to not include exclusivity clauses in future contracts.
They decide to have Keyleth disguise herself as a tiefling to guide them through Dis. They believe that this will let them get far enough to allow them to search for the rakshasa in relative peace.
Vex begins to pass out the potions. She gives Vax a superior healing potion. Tary guilts them into giving him a greater by pointing out that he was the one who bought the potions. Vex gives it to him, with plenty of passive aggressive comments. Vex takes the other greater for herself and gives the other to Grog to use on whoever goes down in battle.
They realize that the residents of the Nine Hells all speak Infernal, which none of them speak. Keyleth mentions that two tieflings live in Zephra who may know Infernal, though one is a gardener and the other is six. After a long discussion, they decide to just wing it.
The discussion turns serious as they all wonder why they haven’t managed to stay dead for long. Like the other times it has been brought up, it is abandoned quickly, and they begin to wonder about their retirement plans. Their plans all mostly consist of settling down.
Percy mentions the Grey Hunt. The others question what exactly it is since he refers to it often, but never fully explains the event. He is vague in his answer, saying something about going into the woods during winter’s crest and finding an animal. Vex says she looks forward to it.
Vax takes a look into Grog’s mug. He realizes that the Goliath has been drinking mayonnaise all night.
On that note, they all go to bed.
Keyleth seeks out the gardener tiefling, Whitney. She asks her if she can help them learn some basic Infernal for their trip to the Nine Hells. The gardener admits that she’s very rusty in the language, as she has lived in Zephra her whole life.
She teaches Keyleth a few basic phrases.
After making a few more uncomfortable assumptions about how much she would know about The Nine Hells, Keyleth leaves.
She finds the rest of the party and teaches them the phrases she learned.
Tary practices the phrases with Doty.
Grog: “Do you have a will made up?”
The others quickly warn Tary of the dangers.
Keyleth transports them to the City of Dis.
As they teleport, they come across an obstacle: The Divine Gate. Flames grow across a lattice. They wince, waiting for the impact, but pass through it. Suddenly, they find themselves in the city.
They see a glowing red city. It’s a broken maze of ramparts. Alleyways twist through the city. Bone devils whip their slaves as they move past them. A tower stands leering far above the city.
Vex realizes they never had a hero’s feast.
The party takes in the city. They put up their hoods. Vex leans against a wall, looking around. Her cloak immediately begins to burn on contact.
They see that there are humans in the city, but most of the occupants are devilish in heritage.
Keyleth transforms herself into a tiefling. Tary does as well. The rest of the party, except Grog and Doty, are disguised as well. Vax is disguised as an albino slave.
The city before them is massive, and they are unsure where to begin their mission. Percy suggests heading to the tower. Grog suggests murdering someone in the street in order to blend in. This plan is vetoed. They begin to walk through the city. Tary places himself as close to the center of the group as possible, intimidated by the scene around him.
As they walk, Percy notices that the lemures seem to all be heading the same direction, and that, as they walk, they don’t seem to be approaching the tower. Percy approaches one of the lemures who is farther away from the rest and attempts to speak to him. He asks the lemure for directions to the tower. A bone devil notices this and begins to shout at the gunslinger. However, it quickly leaves, taking its lemure.
Vex looks into the building from which the bone devil came. There are red lights and furniture inside the room visible from the door.
Keyleth suggests finding a place to rest while she casts locate creature on Hotis. She says she can also scry on him.
They continue to walk. The buildings grow taller and get closer and closer together as they walk, but the tower still stays the same distance from them. Vex keeps an eye out for humanoids who speak common. Keyleth looks for indigenous creatures, but finds none.
Vex spots two humans: a man and a woman. Vex tries to listen to their conversation. The two people are armored and carrying large sacks. A humanoid sits in a cage next to them.
Vex walks past them, pretending to be in conversation with her brother. She looks at the woman, trying to act casual.
She asks the man why he is staring at her. He points out that she and Vax entered into their space. Vex apologizes. The two begin to walk away.
Vex peers into the cage. She stops the two as they begin to walk away. She tells them she has something she would like to sell and that she wants to know where they went for their “merchandise.” They inform her that they don’t give out client information. Vax attempts to get directions, but the couple ignores him.
Grog spits on the ground and watches it evaporate.
They see no taverns as they walk through. Percy looks, seeing plenty of beings, but only a few tieflings and humanoids. Vex follows the couple from a distance.
As they walk through the streets, they continue to see horrors. Traffic stops for a parade of devils and a pit fiend. They see an orb with a thousand screaming faces in it. Eventually, traffic resumes.
Eventually, they see the closest thing they can find to a tavern: a room with chairs. Keyleth notices that a handful of humanoids seem to be following them. She warns the party of this as they walk into the tavern.
Devils feast on purple meat. There are two other figures in the room. One of them is a scarred humanoid.
The humanoid approaches them, speaking infernal. They respond in common. He points out that they aren’t from around there. Keyleth responds “no,” in Infernal, catching the attention of a cambrian in the room. Keyleth responds with flaming finger guns.
They ask for rooms. He accepts. They add another 100 gold to the final price for gratuity.
He gives them iron keys to their rooms, and spongey stones to eat. These are souls. The food glows a sickly yellow-green. The soul rushes into Keyleth, who is immediately energized.
Tary takes a bite of the soul and asks for more. The innkeeper asks for 30 gold. Tary is incensed by the price, saying he should get 20 for that price. They oblige, giving him 20 soul slivers. They exit to their rooms.
The rooms, which are not near each other, each have well-crafted furniture. The rooms are still very hot, but the beds are resistant to the heat. The effects of alter self fade for the party.
Doty leans against the wall. He takes no damage, but he is glowing red hot.
Keyleth, now in privacy, attempts to scry on Hotis.
Her vision is pulled from her as she sees alleyways rush past her. She suddenly sees an underground prison. And then, Hotis. He is withered and half-formed. He screams in pain as he sits cramped inside an orb that acts as his prison cell. Guards watch over him.
Keyleth informs the others what she saw. They realize that finding him will be hard, but fighting him will be easier than anticipated.
Keyleth, deciding that they shouldn’t eat any more souls, prepares a hero’s feast for everyone. They gain the benefits from the feast for the next 24 hours.
They go to leave the room, but suddenly realize they are no longer disguised. Tary admits that he can only cast the spell only one more time. Vax suggest using it on their best talker, referring to Vex. Grog assumes Vax is talking about him. Grog and Percy are selected as the leaders: Grog for his intimidation tactics, and Percy for his ability to talk to others.
Percy and Grog leave the room. Percy is disguised while Grog is not. Vex casts bless on Grog and Percy as they leave, and Vex smacks both on the butt as they pass.
They go down to the bar. The bar is empty except for an imp, who leaves when they arrive. Percy and Grog sit and introduce themselves as Freddie and Greg. The barkeeper introduces himself as Ipkesh. He offers them a drink from his personal cache, explaining he would rather them be in his debt.
Percy asks Ipkesh for information about the underground prison. Ipkesh admits that he’s heard of it, but explains that it will cost them. Percy asks how much it will be to get a target out of the prison rather than get them into the prison. Ipkesh leads them away to talk privately.
When they are in private, Ipkesh says he will help them in exchange for overthrowing his boss. Utugash, he explains, needs to be overthrown and Ipkesh’s allies freed. Percy agrees to consider this with the rest of the party.
They go upstairs to discuss this with the rest of the party.
Percy presents their options. The party discusses this. They eventually decide that simply getting arrested and put in the prison will be the preferable option to making a deal. They discuss sneaking, but realize that Tary and Doty are not very stealthy.
Keyleth leaves the room, using locate creature to try to get a more accurate idea of Hotis’s location. Right before she shapechanges into a succubus, two shadows approach her. It is a dwarf-like female accompanied by a chain devil.
Keyleth lights up her hands and demands to know what they want. The chain devil demands the “white one” (referring to Vax) or else she will become their tribute. Keyleth says she has no ownership over the “white one,” but they see through her lie.
The devil gives her the choices. He repeats that either she or the “white one” will come with him to meet his superior.
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.