Critical Recap: Critical Role C3E32 “A Stage Set”

Written by on September 7, 2022

Hello! Welcome to Critical Recap! I’m Dani Carr, the Critical Role Lore Keeper. Let’s dive into our recap of Critical Role Campaign 3 Episode 32 A Stage Set!


Bells Hells return to Bassuras and say goodbye to Birdie, promising to keep her updated. After some discussion, Imogen contacts Dancer, telling her that they’ve captured her automaton and asking to meet with her so she can recoup some costs. Dancer agrees and the group meets her at a bar, though FCG stays outside while Orym and Imogen take the lead. They present FCG’s buzzsaw to Dancer and learn from her directly that she purchased FCG from a masked trader who finds things in the Rumedam Desert.

Dancer saw something special in FCG and it took weeks of tinkering to get him working again. FCG wasn’t broken, just dormant, and cables were dislodged. She had to figure out where things reconnected and one day FCG woke up. After that, she and some friends became adventurers in the Hellcatch Valley, but she lost everything in the attack. Orym explains that FCG is outside and wants to see her, if she is interested in talking to them for the closure they both seek. She hesitates, but Dancer agrees to speak with FCG from a distance.


FCG apologizes for their actions and promises not to do it again. Dancer knows they can’t keep that promise and tells FCG that even though they shared good times together, their paths have diverged and he should go figure out who he is. FCG’s personality is not something she programmed – they woke up as a helpful healer. Forgiveness is not in the cards right now, but could be possible if he figures himself out.

Dancer doesn’t hold them entirely responsible for what happened, because that violence didn’t feel like her friend. Before the incident, FCG had been acting strange after going through some tougher fights. He was helping the group recover after one of those fights and it was like a switch flipped within him. He killed everyone and nearly killed Dancer before she got away.

Is there a way to turn FCG off, if they start killing again? If they open him up and pull on the glowing runic cable, that will shut him down. FCG wants Dancer to take care of herself. She returns the buzzsaw and says that Imahara Joe might know more about the masked trader. Imogen wonders if Dancer got FCG’s wires crossed somehow when she fixed them. Bells Hells go to Imahara Joe’s to see if he knows anything.


Joe tells them all about the masked trader who was selling FCG. He’s only ever come through about three times in the past few years, starting about five years ago. He goes by ‘D’, is very tall, and wears an intricate metal mask. D has brought ancient relics and automaton pieces and weaponry, typically from the Rumedam Desert. Imogen asks about the runic cable, which Joe calls a ley tether and explains that it channels arcane energy from the power source to the enchantment. If the ley tether was jostled or misaligned, an automaton could cease to function or even explode.

FCG agrees to let Imahara Joe look inside him to see if there is something mechanically wrong. Joe figures out how to open FCG’s torso – within them is a metal vat that transmutes what he ingests, as well as numerous glowing runes and pipes. When FCG casts a spell, the runes glow and the violet core swells with light in different sequences depending on the spell. The ley tether is correctly placed. As far as Joe can tell, FCG is running normally and in incredible condition.


Bells Hells explain FCG’s violent episode to Joe, who shows them a book that mentions an event during the Age of Arcanum known as the Care and Culling. A series of automatons that were gifted to various individuals around Exandria as caretakers and helpful companions suddenly killed all the people they were gifted to. They were sent by political figures in Aeor to their rivals as a peace offering that turned into assassination and resulted in the barring of magical gifts from Aeor.

Joe talks with FCG, telling them that they are truly unique. Joe has spent a lifetime building and changing creations, with improvement always as the goal. FCG is not above that improvement. FCG can find their own purpose now, but he worries that he was only created to kill, not to help. Joe tells him that lots of people were created for violent purposes but still settled down into gentle lives. FCG gets to choose whether he wants to be a killer or a healer – FCG staunchly wants to heal. There is no greater purpose. Joe gifts FCG a coin, a token of the Changebringer. The deity has been a source of inspiration for Joe, so maybe she can be one for FCG.

Before they leave, Joe allows Imogen to look inside his mind so she can get a visual of D. She sees D as earlier described, traveling on a metallic crawler and keeping a distance while Joe peruses his wares.


Their business with Joe concluded, Bells Hells head to Paragon’s Call’s fortress, the Seat of Disdain, wondering how to hide Imogen from Otohan Thull. Imogen tries to use her wild magic stone to see if it will change her appearance, but it only makes her levitate. They discuss where to take Armand Treshi once they successfully abscond with him from the Seat of Disdain; they could take him back to the Calloways’ hideout.

As they’re walking, Orym spots Artanna Voe, the bounty hunter they met in Jrusar, checking out the fortress. He talks to her and Artanna claims to be visiting a friend. Orym returns and the group agrees that she’s likely here for Treshi in some capacity.

Bells Hells arrive at the Seat of Disdain and General Ratanish leads them to the barracks, telling them that Paragon’s Call is moving a large shipment out of the city tomorrow, so their first job is to keep watch over the fortress while the main force is gone. A minotaur, Rockmond, gives them a tour of the fortress. There is a basement, three floors, and a roof. They receive yellow cloaks and are told to stay out of the basement and not to wander too much.


They return to the courtyard and assist with loading a mammoth crawler with crates of construction materials. Ashton realizes that several of the crates look exactly like the one he found in Hexum’s estate the night of his fall. The name ‘Treshi’ is stamped into the wood, with faint sounds of glassware within. There are also two reinforced lockboxes that carry the emblem of the Cerberus Assembly. They load everything into the crawler, taking note of where they were placed, and return to the barracks as a dust storm moves in.

Bells Hells discuss what to do next. They could possibly grab Treshi and put him in the portable hole, then leave. FCG casts locate creature, discovering that Treshi is almost directly beneath their feet in the basement. Chetney runs invisible recon, finding the locked stairs to the basement and going down. He sees Treshi in a locked prison cell that has been more comfortably outfitted, as well as several guards and a massive vault door.


Meanwhile, Laudna and Ashton head out into the dust storm to retrieve the tracker ring from the jewelers in the Bank of Renewal. The shop is closed, but they convince the merchant to let them in to escape the dust storm. They peruse the shop, eventually purchasing the ring and returning to the storm. They discuss the morning’s events and Laudna’s trauma, as well as their desires to fix their friends and give Imogen and FCG the lives they never had. Ashton wants Laudna to communicate with them when she’s dealing with her inner demons.

Everyone returns to the barracks and they discuss Treshi’s situation. Why is Treshi locked up? Is he leaving with the shipment? Are the crates his belongings? Laudna encourages Ashton to contact Jiana Hexum and ask her about the crates, but Ashton is reluctant. As they discuss options, they hear a commotion outside. Chaos ensues as the fortress is attacked by an unknown enemy!

That is it for Episode 32 of Critical Role!


  • Who could be attacking right now? Artanna Voe? The Fist of the Ruiner?
  • So FCG was possibly an assassinbot! Poor friend. All they want to do is help people.
  • Who is D? Someone new? Or could it be Devexian, the aeormaton that the Mighty Nein met in Aeor? If it’s Devexian, why would he sell FCG?

Anyway, catch Episode 33 on Thursday, September 8th at 7pm Pacific on and on or a week later on our podcast. Is it Thursday yet?

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