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Critical Role Recap: The Vasselheim Arc

By: I.Am.No.Man

Chapter 2 the Vasselheim Arc

Story Recap of Episodes 17-23

Episode 17: Hubris

The group sets off from Pike’s temple. Scanlan runs back one last time and drinks his scrying potion from Gilmore. He waits to see what effect it will have and his stomach begins to turn. He runs off to a small side room and… takes a squat. His ‘gift’ to Pike is sparkling, and glowing a faint blue and Scanlan realizes he may be able to use it to check in on Pike every once in a while. Vox Machina makes their way through the sprawling city of Vasselheim looking for a place to stay. Grog finds a gladiator style fighting pit called The Crucible and enters the ring. The gang places bets and Grog enters the ring. He chooses the fanciest name he can think of. Philip. He faces the beastly half-orc fighter Kern the Hammer, a crowd favorite. They engage in a grueling fist-fight, smashing nuts, kicking in faces, and Mike Tyson style face-biting. Grog and Kern are matched blow for blow, but Kern gets the final, bloody hit on Grog. The group gets Grog all patched up and try to raise his spirits, offering to buy him ice cream and a visit to the whorehouse. They find an inn to rest for the evening. The next morning, the group make plans to visit Keyleth’s druid family the Fire Ashari in the Pyrah mountain range. While they are preparing to set off, alarm horns begin blaring and the city is attacked. They rush out to the city walls where the sounds of battle are coming from. A monstrous Hydra is attacking the city walls. The group rises to action and begins to fight the beast. Just before they kill the Hydra another adventuring group runs into the fray telling Vox Machina to get out of their way, the beast is theirs to take. Tiberius ignores the newcomers and kills the Hydra with a massive fireball. The newcomers are furious and their leader, a human knight named Aldor, berates them and threatens to have them arrested for breaking the law. He tells them his group was contracted by the Slayer’s Take to kill this Hydra. Vox Machina must come to the Slayer’s Take to rectify the contract. They apologize and agree to meet with the Huntmaster of Slayer’s Take. The Huntmaster, a tiefling woman, agrees to forgive Vox Machina for breaching the contract only if they take the pledge and become members of the Slayer’s Take. They are to meet their Trial guides in the morning. She splits the group in two. Percy, Scanlan, Grog, and Vex’ahlia in one group, Vax’ildan, Tiberius and Keyleth in the other.

 

Episodes 18 & 19: Trial of the Take part 1 & 2

Introducing guest stars Felicia Day as Lyra, the human Wizard 

and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Zahra, the tiefling Warlock.

If you’re looking for a jumping in point, or a couple episodes to watch to get to know Critical Role, these are the ones to start with. The role playing is amazing, the story arc is fast paced and action packed. The sultry Mary Elizabeth plays her first ever game of D&D and plays a spectacular Warlock. Felicia Day steals the show with her incredible character play and wise cracking problem solving. You can watch episode 18 below:

Alright, let’s jump in.

Part 1

Vox Machina spends a somber morning together, worried about splitting the party. The twins say a tearful goodbye to each other and Vex, Percy, Scanlan and Grog meet their Trial guide Lyra, and co-initiate Zahra. Zahra makes a stunning entrance and endears herself to Grog, Scanlan and Percy, but receives a cold welcome from the grumpy Vex. Lyra makes a tardy and bumbling entrance. Lyra is not ‘technically’ a member of the Slayer’s Take, she works as their bookkeeper, but is eager to lead her first group and hopefully be accepted by the Headmaster and the rest of the group. They are wary of their new leader but have no choice except to follow her lead. The Huntmaster gives them their contract. They are to slay a White Dragon. The group warily signs the contract and make plans to hunt the dragon. Asking at a local tavern, they learn there have been sightings of a massive beast and some strange, icy activity in a nearby mountain range. Lyra leads them to her rich uncle’s mansion and secures them some horses to borrow for their trip. They set off towards the mountain and make it halfway before nightfall. In the middle of the night, a small group of orcs attacks the party. Percy comes out guns blazing, Trinket rips an orcs head off, and Zahra obliterates a foe. The group continues on towards the mountain and sees the dragon circling the peak. They begin their trek up the mountain and are ambushed by two frost giants.

Part 2

The group does bloody battle with the two frost giants.  Zahra magically coerces the giants to stop fighting and join them in taking the dragon down. They enter the dragon’s cavern. Winding their way through the dangerous terrain, they find the Dragon’s lair. The white dragon, Rimefang, speaks to the group, calling them into his lair. The group lays a trap, a bag of gold and diamonds with a grenade crafted by Percy at the bottom. Zahra and Scanlan convince the dragon they mean no harm and they place the offering in front of the dragon. The dragon is unconvinced and calls his giants to his side, but Zahra’s spell is too strong and they stand opposed to Rimefang. The fight begins. Zahra deals beastly damage with her warlock abilities and Scanlan shows off some nasty new spells. Lyra surprises the group with a disintegrating spell. Rimefang rips the group apart, nearly killing Scanlan. Percy is knocked unconscious and is nearly crushed in the fray. Lyra also falls under the barrage of attacks.

The group rallies to save them and Zahra deals the killing blow! They harvest what they need from Rimefang’s body and make the trek back to the Slayer’s Take. They are welcomed back and everyone is happily surprised the entire group survived the encounter. The group is inducted into the guild and settle in to await word of how their companions are faring.

 

Episodes 20 & 21: Trial of the Take part 3 &4

Introducing guest stars Wil Wheaton as Thorbir, the dwarf fighter

and Will Freidle as Kashaw, the human cleric.

The other half of Vox Machina is ready for their fight! Vax, Tiberius and Keyleth do a little shopping and morning drinking while they wait for their Trial guides to arrive. Back at the Take, they meet Kashaw, a scarred and surly cleric. He is short-tempered, blunt, and bored by the antics of the group. Thorbir, their grizzled dwarf Trial leader arrives. He is world-wearied and unimpressed by the group. They receive their contract. They must hunt and kill a Rakshasa, a mythical shapeshifting ‘tiger-man’ devil. The group gets off to a rough start, but picks up the trail of the Rakshasa in the Raven Queen district of the city. They track it through a dia de los muertos style festival, following the clues of a supposed serial killer that tears up the bodies of its victims. The city bastions, a police-like guard, inform the group that the last known location of the beast was a posh club called the Velvet Cabaret. Keyleth and Vax disguise themselves as a wealthy Lord and Lady Scanlan and Coraline Shorthalt, owners of a gnome shoe empire, who are travelling with their entourage. They gain entrance to the Velvet Cabaret and begin to investigate for signs of their target. The owner assures them the Velvet Cabaret is safe and they are about to leave when they see one of the workers nervously trying to escape and they give chase. Wheaton rolls an unbelievable amount of 1’s and 2’s and seems like absolutely no help to the party. The worker dashes into an empty room and disappears. They discover a hidden tunnel leading underneath the Velvet Cabaret. They carefully traverse the trap-ridden tunnel but trigger an Indiana Jones boulder chase trap and lose their footing on the slippery ground. Kash, Tiberius and Keyleth fall into a stinking pit right on top of a tentacle monster.

The group battles the dung heap monster. Tiberius and Keyleth land some serious blows. The Wheaton curse is real, Thorbir struggles to deal any damage. Keyleth gets the killing blow! The group continues down the tunnel into a haunted and abandoned catacomb. They are attacked by vengeful spirits. Vax and Keyleth get possessed, Thorbir still can’t hit anything, Kashaw uses his cleric abilities to banish the undead. They escape the spirits and face a new obstacle, a lake of acid that seems impossible to cross. They back track a short way and rest for the night. Keyleth prepares a Heroes’ Feast to aid them in their adventure. The group has no choice but to cross over the acid. They use their magic flying carpet to try and fly over it but a hidden anti-magic trap springs and they begin to fall into the acid. Thorbir and Tiberius safely land on a floating island, Keyleth, in eagle form escapes harm. Vax tries to save the carpet by holding it over his head when he lands in the acid, but he is completely submerged in the acid and the carpet is irreparably damaged. Kash splashes hard into the lake but manages to make it to the other side of the lake. Keyleth carries Tiberius and Thorbir to safety and they mourn the loss of the carpet. Keyleth picks up the trail of the Rakshasa and they corner the beast in its lair. It tries to barter for its life, but the group attacks. Wheaton rolls a natural 20 and breaks the curse! Until he immediately rolls another 1. The Rakshasa calls an enchanted suit of armor to aid him in battle. The Rakshasa threatens to kill Vax’s sister, and in a rage, Vax gets the killing blow. They harvest what they need from the body and complete their contract. Kashaw, emboldened by their victory, kisses Keyleth.  The group makes it safely back to the Slayer’s Take and Vox Machina is reunited!

Episode 22 AraMente to Pyrah

The Huntmaster welcomes Vox Machina back to the Slayer’s Take and ushers them off to be officially inducted into the guild. In a ziggurat hidden below the Slayer’s Take, the group meets the patron deity of the guild. Osysa, a gyna-sphinx creature gives them her blessing and accepts them as guild members. While they are resting at the Take, deciding what to do next, Pike walks through the doors and says she is taking a few days off of rebuilding to hang out with them. They begin to gather supplies to travel to Pyrah for Keyleth’s AraMente. Percy accidently loses track of Grog who gets his numbers mixed up and overpays by a thousand gold for a potion. Tiberius gets distracted while getting everyone coffee after they’re night of drinking and buys a green dragon wyrmling named Lockheed. Keyleth meets an amateur mapmaker named Tyriok, who gives her directions to Pyrah. The group teases him for being eccentric and a little nerdy but Keyleth adores him. They begin their trek up the mountain, slowly realizing that the storm clouds are actually ash. They are making their way up an active volcano. Keyleth begins to see signs the Fire Ashari are nearby. They are captured by Ashari scouts and Keyleth reveals herself as the daughter of the leader of the Air Ashari. The scouts take the group back to the main city of Pyrah. She learns that her mother, who never returned from her own AraMente, had visited the Fire Ashari some years ago. The leader of the Fire Ashari, Circonus, allows Keyleth to pass into the Plane of Fire. The rest of the group goes with Keyleth into the plane to fight alongside her. When they pass through the portal, a massive red dragon blots out the entire sky. They hide and avoid notice. Keyleth finds the battleground for her Trial and must fight three fire elementals. After a long and difficult fight Vox Machina stand victorious. They must make a mad dash through a firestorm of ash and cinder back to the portal to their world. With a bit of luck, they all make it through, a little worse for wear. Circonus congratulates Keyleth on completing her task and presents her with a Spark Stone. Vox Machina rest for the night in Pyrah before heading back to Vasseheim. Pike is called back to the temple and says a tearful goodbye. Grog receives a gift from his opponent Kern the Hammer calling him back for a rematch of their fight.

Episode 23: The Rematch

Grog, with the encouragement of Vox Machina, calls out Kern the Hammer for a fight. They meet at the Crucible fighting ring and a huge crowd has gathered to watch. Kern and Grog’s fight is just as brutal and bloody as the first round. Grog nearly loses consciousness under a fury of blows but draws strength from his rage and clings to consciousness. Grog seizes the opportunity and rushes Kern, lifting him overhead, and slams him to the ground. Kern lies motionless and Grog stands victorious in the Crucible. While the group rests, Percy goes shopping for supplies for his gun making and meets Victor, an elderly and eccentric gunpowder salesman. He is willing to trade black powder for gold. Percy gingerly makes a deal with the man and shakily leaves after a stressful encounter. Vox Machina decide it may be time to check in at home. Tiberius crafts a transportation sigil to take them home. Upon arriving, Vax confronts a young man camping outside of their keep. The young man says he only wanted to meet his heroes and hopes he can join them one day. On edge, and untrusting Vax violently tells the boy he is too young and not ready, he cannot join them and must learn a lesson.  The boy starts to leaves in tears. Vax, feeling guilty, tells the boy to come back when he has trained his hardest and he will personally mentor the boy. The group continue inside and tell Vax to go easier on the next fanboy that comes their way. Scanlan uses his magic scrying poo to check in on Pike again and sees all is well. A message comes for Percy. The Briarwoods are coming to Emon for a dinner with the high council and Vox Machina has been invited to join them.

The Briarwood Arc Part 1 will be out soon. There will be guns. There will be vampires. There will be… no mercy.

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