Spoilers for Critcal Role Episode 3 (obviously). Check out the recap for Episode 2 here.
Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
Vox Machina continues their trek into the underdark in search of the halfling paladin, Lady Kima.
Vox Machina ventures through the Greyspine Mines into the caverns beyond and encounter duergar and an intellect devourer that leaves Grog catatonic.
Grog lays limp on the cavern floor, drooling and unresponsive
Scanlan calls out to his dazed companion. Vex and Keyleth slap his face.
Keyleth: “I knew it wouldn’t work, I just… Dammit, Grog!”
Percy examines Grog. He sees no notable damage or obvious signs of ailment other than Grog being catatonic. He goes over to the remains of the brain creature. Among the grey matter he sees bits of red. The structure of the being feels slimy and rubbery.
Tiberius announces to the group that the creature is likely magical and caused this effect. Percy and the others agree and add that this was obvious.
Keyleth says that she may be able to release him from this effect, but she has to rest first.
They turn their attention back to the duergar. Vax grabs the tied up duergar and puts a knife to her throat. Vex begins to intimidate her into talking.
Vex: “What did you do to our friend?”
Duergar: “I didn’t do anything. That was the brain’s work.”
The duergar insists that Grog, though he may be breathing, is dead on the inside.
Vex asks the others what else they want to know. Percy asks through Vex how to fix Grog’s condition, but she says only to bury the dead weight. Percy then shoots off his gun, getting the tip red hot. He presses it against the duergar’s open wounds, cauterizing them, but also burning her.
Tiberius uses mage hand to poke her in the face.
Feeling that the torture is sufficient for now, Vex asks for whom the duergar works. She reveals that she and the others in the mines are ruled by K’Varn. K’Varn, she admits is the one who has been creating the flesh abominations. She tells them that K’Varn is deep in the mines, but won’t tell them where.
Vex asks if she has seem Lady Kima. The duergar says she has, but Kima came in alone and is now dead. She says this while laughing. They all realize she is lying.
Vax drags her over to the edge of the cliff. Vex asks the duergar again to tell her the truth about Kima and K’Varn. The duergar amends her story telling her that she’s alive, but good as dead. She is deep within the mines.
Vex: “We’ll rescue her, and we’re going to kill your god.”
Vax slits her throat and drops her off the cliff.
They decide to rest. Scanlan sets up an umber hulk head on a spike to ward off others.
Vex loots the bodies. She finds 125 gold and a gnarled, strange bleached ivory implement. Tiberius examines it and announces that it is a wand of magic missiles.
Keyleth studies while she takes the first watch. She casts anti-life shell around the party. As she sits, she notices that the campsite seems to have been there longer than the duergar. Above the fire pit, she sees a large carved symbol, but she doesn’t understand what it is. She glues together several pages from her spellbook and colors over it to make an imprint.
The twins take the next watch. Vex searches the area where they are staying. She also notices the large symbol and points it out to her brother. Neither of them known anything about it either.
Scanlan and Tiberius take the last watch. The occasionally check on Grog to make sure he’s still breathing. Tiberius also takes notice of the symbol and recognizes it as a symbol of Bahamut used in protection rituals. He points this out to Scanlan. They guess that Lady Kima, a follower of Bahamut, made the symbol.
They feel a rumbling in the ground. Scanlan suggests that it was just Grog farting, but Tiberius wakes the others to alert them of the possible danger. When they wake up, the rumbling stops.
Now that they’re all up, Keyleth prepares her ritual to heal Grog’s mind. Trinket gives her a massage and Scanlan plays relaxing music for her. She lights incense. Scanlan sets out his idol of Pike. She takes a bit of earth from her home that she keeps in a couch. She spreads it around Grog. She centers herself and connects with the earth’s essence. She lays her hands on Grog’s forehead.
Scanlan suggests Keyleth or Vex should kiss him to help rouse him. Vex leans over and kisses his face. When the ritual is completed, there is a brief glow around Grog. He takes in a deep breath and his eyes begin to focus. Grog wakes up as himself again. He sees his party members standing above him, staring anxiously. He pulls Keyleth into a tight hug. Almost immediately, he takes out a cask of ale and pours drinks for everyone.
He asks them what they’re killing next.
Vex begins to look around for Lady Kima’s footsteps. As she finds them, she sees signs of a struggle and fleeing footprints. Along the way, she sees partially decomposing goblin corpses.
As they follow the tracks, they see huts in the distance. The twins sneak over to the nearest building. The buildings have been ransacked and their occupants killed. Tiberius moves up with them and points out dwarven bodies, partially eaten.
By examining the corpses, Vex notices that the skulls all have the same wound. Looking through a puncture mark, she sees that their brains have been removed. Her brother remembers hearing about a creature that steals and digests brains. This creature is far more dangerous than the brain that temporarily incapacitated Grog.
They discuss who among them is the smartest in the group. They decide that it is Vax and Percy. They decide these two will lead the party on. Tiberius uses light to illuminate their way. Vex takes armor off of a dwarven corpse. Tiberius identifies it as enchanted studded leather armor. She gives it to her brother.
They sneak ahead. They come across a group of humanoid figures walking ahead of them. The twins sneak ahead to scout out the situation. They come across a dark cliff holding a rope bridge. They are unable to see where the bridge ends. Three dwarf miners are in chains being moved across the bridge.
Vex runs back to the group and takes the magic carpet from Grog. Grog ties the endless rope to the end of the carpet. Scanlan, Vax, and Vex fly out on the carpet, using the cover of darkness to watch the group and see where the bridge goes.
When they reach the end of the crevasse, they feel warm air moving up towards them. A thousand feet below, they see streams of lava. The river waterfalls off the edge of the crevasse and disappears into the darkness below.
Following them across the crevasse, they see a shantytown of tents. Vax points out that it’s a temporary war camp. Red stone torches are hung up on poles throughout the area. They see hulking figures move through the camp.
Through their magical communication earrings, they relay to the others what they see. Scanlan turns himself invisible and sneaks into the camp. Vax hides nearby in case there is trouble. Vex flies back to the group with the carpet.
Wandering amongst the duergar, he sees two trolls and ogres with pupil-less, white eyes. All of the duergar have similar eyes as well. The duergar are constructing camps and forging weaponry. He sees a raised platform with six duergar in black plate armor.
He barely dodges out of the way of several duergar exiting a building. Their white eyes look past him.
Beyond, two figures step out of a barracks and onto the platform. One is wearing the black plate armor but with intricate gold and silver scrolling inlayed into the metal. He wears a long purple cape and has a scar on his face. He carries a gargantuan silver sword on his back. Behind him is a taller figure in black and purple robes. A hood obscures his features.
Scanlan does not speak their language, but he sees the figures shout to the crowd nearby. A war party forms and the duergar pull the dwarven captives away. The tall figure drifts over to the prisoners.
The duergar stare at the figure, their attention completely on him. The figure gestures in Scanlan’s direction. One of the figures are brought over. After some struggle, the dwarf is magically compelled to walk over to the cloaked figure. Tentacles come out from the front of the hood and wrap around the dwarf’s head. The hood falls back to reveal a purplish blue head. After a brief struggle, the dwarf’s arms fall limp at its sides.
The body drops lifeless to the ground. The creature pulls its hood back up. They go back into the barracks.
The other two captives are taken to a large tent. Inside the tent, Scanlan hears muffled growling. Inside, he hears several voices, some of them yelling in gutteral dwarvish. There are the sounds of a fight, and the duergar exit, covered in blood.
Scanlan, terrified, makes his way out of the tent city. He makes it back to the other side without incident.
He recounts the incident for them. Tiberius suggests that it may be a mind flayer. Keyleth had once heard of a creature called an illithid, but it was usually in a colony rather than alone.
They discuss their next plan of action. Grog suggests using the landscape and crevasse to their advantage. They plan to make a distraction in the camp. Tiberius offers his deck of illusions to create the distraction. Vax also offers to be the distraction. Keyleth will then cast hallucinatory terrain to fool the group into thinking the ground is solid for a farther distance than it actually is. If that plan is, Grog will cut the ropes to the bridge as the war party crosses it.
Scanlan gives Grog and Tiberius inspiration as they go across. Keyleth casts hallucinatory terrain. She warns the others to be careful as they cross.
When they reach the camp, Vax begins to yell at the duergar in the camp. Tiberius creates three illusions. A hideous lich appears along with a fierce-looking human warrior and an exact duplicate of Tiberius himself.
Some duergar peer out from tents and begin running towards the center of the shantytown. After a short wait, they hear drums. Armored duergar, trolls, and ogres run towards Tiberius, Vax, and the illusions. Tiberius has the lich taunt the approaching crowd while Vax and Tiberius run onto the bridge.
Four duergar throw javalins at Vax. The trolls attempt to attack the illusions. Both trolls and the illusions fall off the edge. Several duergar fall with them. Tiberius calls his illusions back. Realizing what is happening, the duergar carefully find the edge and begin to cut the ropes of the bridge.
Percy attempts to fire at the duergar, but his gun misfires. They successfully cut the bridge with Vax still on it.
Vax feels a bad feeling in the back of his mind. The illithid enters the battlefield. Vax manages to pull the carpet out of his bag, but he is unable to help himself as the illithid takes over his mind.
Tiberius flies down to try to catch his rogue friend as he falls.
He just barely grabs on and pulls Vax up to the other side. The carpet falls into the pit, but Vax is saved.
Across the crevasse, they see the illithid and duergar. Percy shoots again at the creature. The shot hits and he’s blown back. The illithid drifts back upright, and Percy shoots again. The second shot misses. He drifts away back into the city.
They go back over to the side of the crevasse, searching for the flying carpet. Vex manages to spot the carpet tangled in the rope bridge. Tiberius flies down and retrieves it. Below him, he sees water.
When he returns to the group, he suggests exploring the crevasse. He flies back down with Keyleth and Percy on the carpet.
When they reach the water below, they see that the water diverges into several rivers. Where the lava meets the water, it cools, hardens, and turns to stone. Keyleth pulls the water using control water to staunch the flow of water.
They see the trolls and ogre struggling to swim in the water. One is pulled under the surface.
She takes the water in a tube and forces it into a nearby tunnel. The lava is cooled, but the heavy flow continues.
Another troll is pulled under the water.
They go back to the others and discuss their options. After much arguing, they vote on a solution. The party votes to cross the crevasse and face the illithid. However, Vex and Keyleth, who did not vote for this solution, decide to quickly steal the flying carpet and explore the crevasse more. Keyleth moves water away from the waterfall and finds a hidden tunnel.
Keyleth turns into a black panther and quietly moves along while Vex sneaks beside her. The tunnel stops. In the alcove, they find decomposing bodies and a pile of rags.
Vax calls his sister asking what she’s found. Vex steps inside, looking for more clues as to what the alcove could be. She notices that the rags are actually a curled up, unmoving humanoid figure.
Vex asks Keyleth what they should do. This wakes the creature who is a dirty, scarred, desperate illithid. Around its head is a metallic skullcap.
They hear its voice in their heads, asking who they are.
Keyleth tries to calm it, saying that they’re friends. She offers it a druidcrafted tulip.
It tells them to give them a reason to not kill them. Vex offers to help him get revenge. Keyleth offers to take him to her friends. He agrees.
Tiberius flies down the carpet. They introduce him to the illithid. The illithid is very interested in Tiberius’s practice in the arcane arts. The illithid tells them his name is Clarota. They ride up to the others.
The others begin to panic upon seeing Clarota. Tiberius, Vex, and Keyleth, promise that he is friendly. Clarota corrects that he is an ally.
He explains that he was cast out from the other illithids and cursed with the mark of the arcane. He was left to die in the waterfall. Vex offers to kill the hive, but he refuses. He says that something has taken the mind of the others hostage. He tells them that his helmet helped save him, but the others are under the control of the creature.
Clarota: “Help me free our hive mind. Free my people.”
Vex asks for his word that upon defeating the creature, they will be safe. Scanlan offers to heal him, but Clarota shoots him a dirty look. Still, he accepts the healing.
Clarota: “I have not heard this song. I shall call upon you for more in the future. Now, we talk about how we can kill K’Varn.”
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.