SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 61 (obviously). Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
My recap of Episode 60 can be found here.
After the run in with the spirit bear, Vox Machina make their way into the Moonbrush.
Previously on Critical Role
Garmelie the satyr continues to lead Vox Machina toward the Shademurk bog from the Elven city of Syngorn. The party survives a confrontation with grass and then Vex and Keyleth are blocked off from the party and encounter a giant spirit bear. Trinket convinces it to stand down and the spirit imparts a boon on both him and Vex.
The trees part again and the group rushes toward Vex, Trinket, and Keyleth to make sure they are alright.
Vex explains that a giant bear spirit or something appeared.
“Trinket saved us! Trinket fucking saved us, Scanlan!”
“Pics or it didn’t happen.”
Vax goes up to Trinket and feeds him biscuits he stole from his father’s house. Trinket happily scarfs them down. Vax whispers in the bear’s ear “I will ALWAYS give you that shit!”
Vex asks Garmelie if he knew anything about the spirit bear. He denies that he did, claiming that he would have warned them otherwise.
Grog wants to explore the cave from which the spirit bear emerged. The party consensus seems to be that it is not worth the risk.
Scanlan: “I am 100% behind any decision we make.”
Grog: “What if we just like run in there, touch the back of the cave and then run back. Just to say we did it.”
Keyleth: “Last time I touched something I didn’t hear the end of it. Are we just going to let this happen…”
Percy: “Yes, but we don’t care if they die… Is there anyone here of reasonable intelligence that wants to stop this from happening?”
Scanlan suggests they flip a coin. They do so, and it lands heads. Grog pulls Scanlan to his shoulder and the two barrel into the cave with reckless abandon.
Scanlan and Grog continue down the twisting dark tunnel. They get about 100ft into the cave and it widens out into a circular chamber filled with unlit candles. They all surround a raised dais atop of which resides a large (likely bear) skull carved of gemstone. Scanlan and Grog are unable to identify what kind of animal skull the sculpture is supposed to resemble.
The group waits patiently. Keyleth proposes a wager.
The two debate on taking the skull or not. Grog wants to take it but Scanlan tries to speak reason. Grog concedes and they settle for just leaving but pranking the rest, claiming there was a great and dangerous encounter.
Scanlan makes a small cut above Grog’s eye to make him bleed all down his face. Grog picks up Scanlan and begins running back out of the cave, both screaming.
Scanlan: “BEARS! THERE WERE BEARS EVERYWHERE!”
Grog: “THERE WERE BODIES EVERYWHERE! WOMEN! CHILDREN! ALL STAPLED TO THE CEILING!”
Scanlan: “I was in the mouth of a bear and Grog cut it from asshole to lips to get me out of there.”
Vex and Keyleth are unconvinced but Vax and Percy aren’t so sure. Keyleth collects her winnings from Percy anyway.
Vex asks what they really found and Scanlan drops the act and tells them about the skull and candles.
The group recomposes themselves and turns to Garmelie to continue forward to the Shademurk. “Duskward issss that way! Who is leading?”
Percy: “You are!”
Garmelie says he is guiding them but hardly wants to go first. He confesses he has never been in the Moonbrush before.
The party takes a moment to debate if Garmelie’s assistance is still actually useful, especially since they do not trust the satyr at all. They decide to keep him and allow him to fulfill his side of the deal to lead them to the outskirts of the Shademurk. They vow to continue to keep a close eye on him.
Garmelie points Vex in the right direction and she guides the others through the forest. Scanlan rides on Grog’s shoulder so he can continue reading the Tome of Leadership and Influence while they travel.
Keyleth begins druidcrafting uniquely colored pebbles to leave behind as a breadcrumb trail should they need it.
The party almost walks headlong into a patch of mandrakes but Vex spots the sprouts and is able to reroute them around the dangerous plants.
They reach a narrow river and Vex hears the sound of pleasant music coming some distance away. She inquires about it, but Garmelie and the party do not hear it. After a moment or two of listening the music creeps into their minds as well.
Garmelie is uneasy. “We don’t really need to go that direction!”
They ask him what it might mean and he says that he isn’t sure but doesn’t want to risk it. Vex and Scanlan want to know the source of the sound. Scanlan does not recognize the song.
Needing to cross the river anyway, Keyleth uses control water to create a bubble around the party as they walk across the riverbed to the other side. The music is noticeably louder here.
Vax is apprehensive, but suggests if they are to check out the source of the music, he and Vex should stealth ahead. The two twins stealthily approach, bringing Garmelie (invisibly) along with them. As they get closer they hear the sound of laughter, two distinct voices.
Scanlan pops up from his book with a moment of realization and, over the magic earrings, warns them of a possible charm effect being cast via the music. He offers to catch up with them and protect them with a counter-charm.
Keyleth and Percy watch Scanlan scurry off to catch up with the others ahead. She proposes another wager.
They realize Scanlan’s counter-charm song will ruin the group’s stealth, so he withholds the spell until he feels the need to cast.
As they grow ever more closer they notice two humanoid figures dancing around a single campfire. Vax continues forward alone to get an even closer look. The others remain back. Vax gets to the edge of the clearing and sees an elf wearing the Forlorn Guard armor of Syngorn. The other figure appears to be a humanoid wolf. The two are joyously dancing around the fire. A violin, flute, and drum float above the fire, emitting the music.
At this moment the music penetrates Vax’s mind and he gleefully joins the dancing himself.
Cursing, Vex grasps her magic necklace, usually used to store Trinket, and she pulls Vax into it. Vax’s mind clears as he finds himself in a small stone room. Vex swoops down and grabs Scanlan by the waist and tries to pull him up mid-dance. He is involuntarily struggling against her. The elf and the werewolf grab him as well.
Vex notices that while there is an expression of joy on their faces, she can see the fatigue and fear in their eyes. It is at this point she also notices the ground all around the fire is littered with the bones of dancers past.
The dancers succeed in freeing Scanlan. All three continue their dancing as if nothing happened.
Vex flies back to the group and gives them a quick situation report and says they need to save Scanlan.
Percy and Keyleth debate who exactly won their bet.
Grog: “Oh my god my friend is gonna die!”
They agree to call it a draw and they split the gold.
Keyleth druidcrafts cotton and they plug their ears as they make their approach to save Scanlan.
Percy notices that the earplugs do not seem to be dampening the music and he stops before the charm effect can grab hold of him. He pulls out “Bad News” and uses the scope to get a better view of the campsite.
Percy takes a shot at the instruments and Vex follows his lead.
The instruments scatter and the music momentarily stops. A wave of magical energy bursts outward. Scanlan, the elf, and the werewolf all scream in pain as they are assaulted by psychic energy. The elf and the werewolf collapse to the ground unmoving. Scanlan takes damage but continues dancing as the instruments reform and begin playing again.
The group realizes that Grog can resist the magic if he is raging. Keyleth polymorphs her fist into stone and punches him in the face. Grog rages and barrels into the campsite. He grabs Scanlan and begins heading back out. His rage begins to subside.
Percy pulls out his revolver, “Retort,” and fires for Grog’s shoulder. His first shot misses but his second lands, rekindling the goliath’s rage and he makes it outside of the campsite’s charm effect. Vex lets Vax out of her necklace.
Vex: “Garmelie! Why didn’t you warn us that could happen!?”
Garmelie: “Ya know, I TRIED! I REALLY TRIED! You guys continue to insist to go face-first into whatever I warn you about because you don’t trust me for some reason! YOU HIRED ME TO BE YOUR GUIDE! HOPEFULLY YOU LEARNED A LESSON! GOD!” He peeks up for a better look at the campsite. “You guys certainly found the happy campsite! Good job!”
Grog: “Oh, that thing you warned us about.” The party realizes that this must have been the “Last Campsite of Saradune the Happy.”
“Yes. Yes I did.”
Garmelie leads them onward.
Vax nudges Scanlan forward with his boot. Scanlan addresses the lycans, apologizing for intruding on their territory and explaining they are only wishing to pass through on the way to the Shademurk.
The weretiger steps up to address them, claiming to know nothing of Shademurk or the cancerous tree they wish to destroy.
Scanlan: “Its a source of great evil that has been corrupting this plane.”
Weretiger: “There are many evils that corrupt this plane, small tasty thing.
Scanlan: “I am not tasty.”
Keyleth: “So many diseases.”
The weretiger turns to the other lycans: “To parlay or continue our hunt. Call Ukurat.”
The lycans all howl in unison. The howls echo off the trees.
A moment or two passes, followed by the sound of rumbling footfalls. The massive form of a twelve-foot-tall humanoid wolf crashes into the clearing. Gemstone necklaces and rings decorate its body. It stands to its full height and addresses Vox Machina.
“So, you seek passage, yes? There is a toll to pay.” He tells them that he will let them pass for a favor. He explains their feud with the pixie tribe, the Wishers. He tells them how the pixies petrify lycans and use them to decorate their gardens. Ukurat asks the party to go to the pixie village and destroy a relic of their people, a circle of gemstones.
Ukurat explains that the lycans are not equipped to combat the pixie’s magic.
Keyleth questions why making peace isn’t an option and why they can’t come to a compromise. She offers to attempt to help broker a deal, or at the very least, build a wall between the two factions.
A lycan speaks up: “She speaks like she knows this place.” Laughter spreads through the lycan group.
Keyleth: “They think I’m funny!”
The party expresses more uncertainty in the situation at hand. Ukurat tells them to go see for themselves, to learn what they have already learned.
“We will be watching.” Ukurat leaps back up into the canopy and bounds away. The other lycans follow his lead.
The party debates their current predicament. They are unsure whether to uphold the lycans’ deal, ally with the pixies, or play both sides. They are determined to not underestimate the pixies, the effects of the charm magic from the campsite still fresh in their memories.
Without really deciding anything, the party follows the feyspecs as instructed to the pixie village.
Keyelth suggests casting illusory terrain on the village to only make it look like it has been destroyed, then booking it before the lycans are any the wiser.
Keyleth casts the spell and then the party takes off as fast as they can away. They run for over an hour until the see the edge of the Moonbrush. Just as they reach the treeline, they run headlong into a solid invisible barrier that prevents them from leaving the forest. They have Garmelie examine it. He tells them it is a very strong, very old enchantment. He turns back to the party. “Hello.”
Garmelie is looking past them. They turn to see Ukurat and the other lycans.
Ukurat accuses them of attempting to flee from their contract.
The party explains that they were running from the pixies and that they did as instructed.
“If you fulfilled your deal then you would have been permitted to leave!”
Percy plays this off as best he can “Then it didn’t work! We must go back!”
Ukurat denounces their deal, calling them deceivers. He leads his lycans away shouting back that the party is now trapped in the forest, same as them.
Grog attempts to smash the invisible barrier with his ax. His blow strikes the surface and he is flung forcefully backward into a treetrunk.
Percy: “Well, I think we learned a valuable lesson.”
The party debates several plans to salvage the situation and realizes that they are all shit. They decide to make camp. Keyleth transforms into Minxy (her sabre tooth tiger form) and patrols the nearby forest.
She runs into two pixies who curiously examine her. They are speaking to each other in sylvan, but Keyleth can understand. They ponder what Keyleth, this random big cat, is doing there, but dismiss it as not being involved with their investigation. They appear to be looking for whoever “did it.”
They zip away. Keyleth stealthily follows. The pixies spot her, now accompanied by a third. It attempts to cast a spell on her but it has no effect. Keyleth tries to act casual, rolling onto her back.
She continues to attempt to throw suspicion by doing random “cat things” like chewing on the grass and urinating.
Mid-urnination the pixie casts another spell on her “just to be safe” and Keyleth feels the effects of a petrification spell begin to take hold but she is able to resist. The pixies exchange concerned looks and zip off, saying “she must be informed.”
Keyleth begins heading back to the camp.
Vex notices Keyleth hasn’t been back for awhile and wakes Vax. “Hey! Your girlfriend isn’t back yet!”
Vax leaps to his feat and immediately uses his Deathwalker’s Ward armor to sprout wings and take off, still half-asleep. He crashes through the canopy, eventually gaining some sort of stability. He does a large loop of the adjacent areas and returns to find Keyleth safely back on her own.
Vax and Grog take watch. They spot two pixie lights approaching through the trees. Vax hides and tells Grog not to move. Grog freezes in an awkward, non-natural position. Grog involuntarily lets out a little fart. It goes unnoticed but the pixies are attracted to Grog’s giggles in response. They zip forward within 10ft of the pair of them, pause for a moment, then zip off out of site.
Vax wakes up Vex and tells her that they have been discovered. She wakes up Percy and tells him to use his words to talk them out of it. Percy groggily gets up and scrawls a note on parchment, attaches it to a nearby tree, and then promptly goes back to sleep.
The party comes to terms with the fact that they are going to have to talk to the pixies. They prepare for their arrival. Vex gets out her tea set. Percy, now fully awake from the commotion, brews tea.
Vex takes the last watch as the rest sleep.
The party eventually wakes up the next morning. It is not long before they notice pixie lights approaching. Several pixies emerge, flanking their leader. The party invites them to sit for tea and to talk about their current predicament.
The pixies are upset for having the shit scared out of them by Keyleth’s illusion. The party confesses responsibility and explains their situation with the Lycans.
Upon mention of the Lycans the pixies erupt into a nervous panic and each of Vox Machina is hastily inspected by the tiny fey for scratches or bites. They point out Grog’s cut on his face, causes by Scanlan the day prior, as a point of concern. The pixies refuse to continue their conversation unless they are allowed to put their minds at ease.
The party is hesitant but Grog insists this is alright.
The pixies petrify him.
The pixies tell the party that they should have come to talk to them first. They would have been all too happy to help with their situation. The pixies agree to forgive them for the previous transgression and to lower their barrier to let them leave; however mistakes cannot go unpunished, and their punishment is that the pixies will keep petrified Grog and he will be a new addition to their garden.
The pixies begin levitating the Grog statue away.
Keyelth casts earthlock, causing Grog to crash back down to the ground. The pixies are enraged, claiming that Keyleth cast magic at them. Keyleth argues she cast against the statue, not them. They begin carrying Grog away again. Percy casts hex on the leader.
“That is what is like when you are targeting by a spell.”
The pixies drop Grog and attack the party.
Scanlan manages to counterspell one of the leader’s spells. He is soon after polymorphed into a badger. They attempt to also polymorph Vax but he takes advantage of his luck and avoids it.
Keyleth attempts to cast sun beam but it is counterspelled by the pixies.
Percy takes two shots at one of the pixies. There is a tiny poof of blood and a faint squeak. “ONE!”
Vex takes a shot at the leader, critically hitting, stapling the pixie to a tree. “TWO! Your leader’s dead! Do you still want to fight!?” With her death, Scanlan poofs back to his normal gnome form again.
Scanlan attempts to cast thunderwave but the pixies counterspell it.
Vax gets petrified, joining Grog.
Keyleth attempts to cast greater restoration to restore Grog, but the pixies coutnerspell it too. She lets out a long howl.
Percy takes another shot, turning another pixie into a tiny cloud of blood and wounding a second.
Vex finishes off another pixie with two quick arrows.
Scanlan casts Bigby’s Hand and smashes a pixie into a tree with it.
The last pixie zips away, attempting to flee, but the massive form of Ukurat appears in its path, answering Keyleth’s call.
Its clasps its clawed hands around the pixie and eats it in one gulp. “You called?”
Scanlan: “Yes! Our plan worked. We did as you asked to the letter, as we always intended!”
Keyleth restores Vax and Grog.
Ukurat leads them back to the pixie village. The other lycans are finishing off the last of the pixie number as they approach. Ukurat breaks the stone circle and the barrier over the Moonbrush is broken.
Ukurat sends his brethren out into the world to find their own homes. He tells the party that he will aid them in the Shademurk if they desire it, they need only call for him.
The party leaves the Moonbrush and continue duskward to the Shademurk, as their final destination looms ever closer.
To be continued…
I will be in the audience for the next episode in Indianapolis! I look forward to meeting all you critters at Gen Con! Due to Gen Con and the episode on Saturday, next week’s recap will be delayed (planned delayed, not accidentally delayed). I will be planning to have it up on the following Thursday before the new episode.
New Critical Role Recaps will be here on ProjectDerailed.com every Tuesday!
Critical Role Catch-Ups, doodle recaps just like these, starting at Episode 1, are still in the works. Once they start they will be on Thursdays!
Remember to tune into Critical Role Thursdays at 7pm Pacific on Geek and Sundry’s Twitch Channel.
Thursday Saturday yet?