Critical Recap: Critical Role C3E45 “Ominous Lectures”
Written by Dani on January 18, 2023
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 45 Ominous Lectures!
ASHTON’S DAY OUT
Ashton grumpily replies to Imogen’s message, saying he’ll meet up with them and asking where they are. Bells Hells leave Pâté to guard their prisoner Tuldus and meet with Ashton at the Aydinlan Seminary. Ashton is magically disguised to look human, wearing chef whites and covered in food refuse. Ashton explains that they recognized someone – Violet, who specializes in finding people. Ashton left to make sure that Violet wasn’t looking for Bells Hells.
It turned out that Violet wasn’t here for their group, but Ashton accidentally told Violet a lot about Bells Hells. In exchange for Violet’s silence, Ashton came along to act as muscle on a quick job. Violet was looking for the notes of a local mob known as the Baneful Brood. When they infiltrated a manor, they were caught and had to tangle with some mobsters. It turns out the mob’s leader, Orgreo, has a kenku who keeps his notes. Violet and Ashton kidnapped the kenku, but were attacked.
During their interrogation, the sentries arrived. A fight broke out in the kitchen, Orgreo and the kenku were arrested, and the local sentries were very pleased with everything. They even gave Ashton a favor! Ashton suddenly realizes that this favor was given while Ashton was under a glamor, so the sentries have no idea who he is. Bells Hells are just glad to have them back.
As they are already at the Aydinlan Seminary, the group encourages FCG and Imogen to speak with Professor Vitro Isham and Professor Kadija Sumal before they leave for the Fey Realm. Laudna and Fearne join them as they go inside and look for the automaton department. They find Vitro Isham, a tall and thin firbolg, in his office. Isham is delighted to meet FCG and invites him inside. Laudna stays with them while Imogen and Fearne look for Kadija Sumal.
FCG quickly tells Isham the abridged version of his story – the discoveries they have made about themself and their desire to move forward by knowing what they did in the past. Isham takes a look within FCG, confirming that he is an Aeormaton, specifically a Harmonious Aeormaton. These were peacekeepers and diplomats, guides and communicators of Aeor. It is possible that FCG was constructed as part of the Care & Culling assassin program, as he is fitted with an arcane accumulator that is far bigger than what is needed for his size.
Isham is surprised that FCG has healing powers, as it’s unusual for Aeormatons. He shows FCG a ball of blue arcane energy within him – an arcane core, but more intricate. It may be the source of FCG’s abilities, but if it became overloaded, it could explode. Isham cannot access FCG’s memories as that technology was lost in Aeor’s demise. Isham encourages FCG to carve their own path, regardless of the past. Being alive may be scary, but it’s worth everything. It’s time for FCG to find his own purpose. FCG is more beautiful than a simple binary answer.
Meanwhile, Imogen and Fearne locate Kadija Sumal’s office, but she refuses to see them until Fearne tells her their visit is about the Ruidusborn. Sumal, an older orc, has not been visited by Vasselheim’s militant Judicators, yet, but it’s clear the worry of being found has been weighing on her. Imogen assures her that Ebenold Kai is safe and Sumal recognizes Imogen as the daughter of Liliana, the first major breakthrough of their research study.
Professor Sumal and her team were assembling the Omen Archive – a full breakdown of every major historical figure who was Ruidusborn, as well as information about the increasing number of modern Ruidusborn. Liliana was the first Exaltant, the Ruidusborn with fascinating anomalies. There are at least 12 Exaltants now. Otohan Thull is one; they were the last research subject and kept asking strange questions. Otohan was unhappy with the limitations put upon her and the Grim Verity stopped working with them. That was when their members began to disappear.
Sumal explains that some of the Exaltant had dreams of walking on Ruidus and meeting other Ruidusborn within shared dreams. Some Exaltants began meeting a collection of crimson beings that referred to themselves as the Reilora. They spoke without words, in riddles, asking for alliance or subversion. It was both curious and ominous. The Verity theorized that the flares were a way for the Reilora to tether themselves to Exandrians, marking one at birth and sending the dreams later. The Exaltant, including Liliana, could communicate with the Reilora.
It was difficult for them to ascertain the Reilora’s intelligence and morality. The Exaltants began to pull back on communicating with them. Some of them were friendly and empathetic, comforting. Some were aggressive, enticing with intimidation and demands. This spectrum made understanding them difficult. The beings were always a crimson hue, though their bodies were sometimes flesh, sometimes made of energy.
Liliana was developing the ability to enter other people’s dreams, but the Verity had her pull back due to the Reilora and their fear of pushing too far into the unknown. Imogen explains that she too has dreams and would like tips on pushing against them. Professor Sumal finds a book containing a key and opens a trapdoor beneath her desk. She withdraws a stack of torn paper and explains that the Omen Archive was recently taken, but she removed some of the important pages. As she begins reading Liliana’s sleep studies, the door is magically opened.
An older elven man enters the room – he introduces himself as Ludinus Da’leth of the Cerberus Assembly. He claims that Professor Sumal has ignored Assembly requests to meet and so a personal visit is more productive. He forces Fearne and Imogen to sit as he calmly intimidates Sumal and demands that she turn over the missing pages of the Omen Archive. When Sumal refuses, he casts a spell, robbing Sumal of her will and forcing her to give him the pages. He hates resorting to such measures, but this is too important.
Ludinus turns his attention to Imogen. She looks just like her mother. He’s genuinely pleased to meet her, having heard of her prowess. Imogen says she came here in order to find out more information about her mother. Ludinus invites her to ask him anything, as he’s worked with Liliana personally for some time. She’s integral to everything they’re doing. He asks if Imogen feels the pull northward and for the first time, Imogen realizes that she feels a pull to the north.
They ask how they can help his cause, but Ludinus knows of their time with the Grim Verity. However, he believes that they are simply coming from a place of ignorance and tells them to stop resisting what is to come. He is not Ruidusborn himself, but he has his own connections. Ludinus thinks Liliana would like to see Imogen, as she wished that her destiny hadn’t taken her away from her daughter. They seem to share a similar destiny. Imogen claims that Liliana has been calling her to come and join her.
Ludinus asks if they know what he is doing. Imogen says they know a bit. The power is enticing. He scoffs and says that power is a tool that fools use for personal gain. If he succeeds, part of the power will go away. For those who have cheated and built society on unearned transactions based on an obsession with the gods. Ludinus saw the Calamity. He watched the world burn at the behest of the gods and saw the ruin it made of their people. The destruction to stunt the potential of mortal minds. The gods act only to preserve themselves.
He can tell that Imogen is not of any faith and asks why. She says she has never needed it. The gods don’t mean anything to her. As Ludinus leaves, he tells them that mortals are seeds planted by the gods to struggle in their maze and feed their power even after death. The gods came to fear them and their will. The Divergence wasn’t to protect them – it was to protect the gods from them.
After he leaves, Imogen and Fearne grapple with what they just experienced. Hopefully someone can help Professor Sumal. Imogen must find her mother. Outside, Orym sees Ludinus leave and join two others from his Ruby Vanguard, and the three vanish. Orym, Chetney, and Ashton intimidate the formerly friendly clerk Carolle into letting them go inside. Meanwhile, FCG asks Isham to install an Easy-Bake Oven in his chest. Isham does so and they promise to keep in touch.
Everyone meets in Professor Sumal’s office. Imogen messages Planerider Ryn, who arrives quickly. Ryn will take Sumal to a divine healer and get her help. The pages of the Omen Archive that Ludinus took contain the names of every known living Exaltant in Exandria and information on the rotations of Ruidus and each flare. Bells Hells decide it’s time to go to the Fey Realm and see if Nana Morri can help them. Laudna summons Pâté back to her and Ryn opens a portal to the Harrowcall Fens, where Nana lives.
They arrive in the Fey Realm in a creepy marshland and a canopy of gnarled trees. Fearne welcomes them to her home. Fearne also looks a bit stranger, her features sharper and limbs exaggerated. She leads them through the unusual forest, telling them to take whatever Nana gives them and to just listen to her because she loves to entertain.
Laudna is captivated by the watching flowers along the path, which Fearne says will sing. Laudna sings to them and the flowers lean in. When they attempt to leave, a tree blocks their path. The flowers wait for the singers to continue, so Imogen and Laudna sing and Fearne plays her pan flute. The tree and the flowers dance along to the jazz-like music and the group leaves the area. The flowers scream their appreciation for the song.
TO GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE WE GO
Fearne leads the group to a hidden glade past the trees. There is an enormous tree in the center of the glade. The vines part like curtains for Fearne as she runs up. The tree is as big as the Sun Tree and holds numerous little huts and staircases and many decorations of baubles, knit dolls, and posed animal skeletons. A voice beckons them to enter.
Fearne runs to the entrance in the split of the trunk and Nana Morri comes out to greet her. Nana is about ten feet tall, with a massive barrel torso. Her head is on a long, stretching neck, she is noseless save for nostril holes, and her eye sockets glow golden. There is another face on her torso that speaks and welcomes them. Nana offers to show them to her tiki bar.
That is it for Episode 45 of Critical Role!
- Ludinus is dropping some POWERFUL opinions on the gods. To have left Exandria because they feared the mortals? Intense.
- Nana Morri is everything I hoped for and more. I love her.
Catch Episode 46 next Thursday, January 26th at 7pm Pacific on twitch.tv/criticalrole and on youtube.com/criticalrole or a week later on our podcast. Is it Thursday yet?