Critical Recap: Critical Role C3E49 “The Aurora Grows”

Written by on February 22, 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 49 The Aurora Grows!


Bells Hells are back on their skyship, The Silver Sun, and heading to the Tishtan Excavation Site. They notice a faint, drifting energy in the sky – an aurora made up of Exandria’s leylines. Chetney remembers seeing something similar in northern Wildemount a long time ago. They discuss allies they could contact for aid. Ashton offers Jiana Hexum and the Nobodies. They could speak to Ira, the de Rolos, Dorian, Imahara Joe to get a bomb… they have options.

Maybe Imogen’s mother could be their inside man. Chetney asks Imogen to see if they too are being spied on. Imogen opens her mind, hearing a constant white noise from the aurora, but she doesn’t sense a presence. She contacts Ira, seeing if he wants to destroy the Malleus Key with them. He’s interested and they can find him with the Calloways. FCG contacts Imahara Joe about making a bomb, which the Calloways will pick up. FCG then reaches out to Milo about the Nobodies. Milo just laughs. They have no idea where the other Nobodies are.

Finally, Imogen messages Ebenold Kai of the Grim Verity, letting him know that they destroyed the Fey Key. Ebenold and Dr. Vestisho are stuck in the Plane of Fire without Planerider Ryn and don’t know if the Shadowfell team destroyed their key. Bells Hells might be the only line of defense. Chetney has an idea for a failsafe – crashing their skyship into the key itself. They could have a ground team get Imogen’s mom and Ryn and a sky team for chaos.


Before bed, Orym uses the sending stone to message Dorian, letting him know that hell will be unleashed in a week. Dorian is in Tal’Dorei with the other Crown Keepers, but Opal is getting dark. He doesn’t know how to get to them. As Opal is now the Champion of the Spider Queen, this news worries them all. For now, though, Imogen wants to see her mother. FCG casts shared dream on Imogen, Orym, and Fearne.

Imogen finds her mother in the swirling clouds of the red storm dream. She tells Liliana they are coming and asks if she knows this is wrong. Liliana thinks Imogen misunderstands – the world will be saved and they’ll be free. She touches Imogen’s forehead and shows her the lattice pulling apart. Imogen feels a sense of freedom, the beginning of something new, of endless possibility without fate. She is doing this for them. Change is hard, but they’ve been toys since the beginning. She wishes Imogen could understand and pushes them all out of the dream.

Orym, Fearne, and FCG heard Liliana’s speech but didn’t see the vision. Imogen wonders if they are just fighting change. Orym wishes that his family hadn’t had to die for Liliana’s brighter tomorrow. Imogen apologizes and explains what Liliana showed her, and she knows it was likely not the truth, but are the gods good? FCG flips his coin, but gets a confusing answer from the Changebringer. Ashton doesn’t think it matters what the Ruby Vanguard wants, they’re doing it wrong. If they had a great idea of what the world would be, they’d tell people. Instead, they’re killing people. It’s easy to make a nice world if you kill those who disagree.


Ashton and Laudna share a drink on the deck. She asks Ashton where they came from. Ashton says that everyone here has a place they came from, people who made them who they are. He hates them all a little, in his jealousy. No one knows the loneliness he endured. Laudna does. They both died and now struggle with the debt of being saved. Ashton worked for a terrible person to help the people who left them behind. What was it like for Laudna to wake up and have everyone there? She says it was the greatest feeling, because it wasn’t like that before.

Laudna asks about the Hishari helmet. Ashton has little memory of what happened before the orphanage. People who may have been his parents, an accident, those people torn to pieces. Then Ashton was in a desert with no idea how they got there. The word ‘Hishari’ stuck in his head, which he saw for the first time in the museum with that suit of armor. That word is why they’re here. Ashton heard Orym say ‘Ashari’ and thought he remembered it wrong.

Ashton hoped that, if they helped the others, then the others would help them. But now he likes them all. Laudna hopes they can help him figure it out and encourages them to talk to Orym. Ashton isn’t willing to spend these last few days thinking about the past. He is going to do his job and keep everyone safe, including FCG, who seems set on sacrificing themself. Laudna helps a very drunk Ashton to bed while Fearne and Orym privately agree to take down Imogen if it comes to that.


Over a couple days, they travel through fair weather and the same aurora. FCG messages Pike, letting her know about Predathos and the solstice – she’ll see what she can find. Imogen messages Jiana Hexum, who tells them to give her name to Yunis, a general supplies dealer in Bassuras. Ashton studies the physics of the skyship and Fearne learns how to steer. Imogen messages Nana Morri, who is recovering and is strongest from home, so she’ll be watching and will do what she can.

FCG messages Dancer, who doesn’t respond, then messages D, the merchant who sold them. D’s gift to FCG is a return to their own path. D pulled him from the wreckage and that the future is his to make. There are more of them and more to come. The next day, a massive dust storm hits, which blows the ship off course. They lose a day getting into Bassuras. Orym messages Dorian, who can see the leylines and would enjoy it if things weren’t so tense right now. Imogen and FCG message Ira and Birdie, who are preparing for their arrival tomorrow.


Bells Hells finally arrive in Bassuras and go to the Calloway Layaway. Ira is working on the telescope device and is eager to mess up the Malleus Key to sate a grudge. Ira was contacted by Ludinus to design the first key. They offered him examples of strange technology that piqued his curiosity. He grew more curious than they were comfortable with and he was kicked out. He wants to destroy what they built and prove that he is the superior designer.

Ira explains that they wanted a channel, something that could gather a focused amount of energy and direct it through a lens. The initial design was to be an anchor – the Fey Key. Ira claims that he helped the Calloways take the Moontide Crown. He’s been keeping an eye on the Malleus Key in the ruins and shows it to FCG, who can see the tents and Paragon’s Call crawlers. He sees a large, modern automaton clearly inspired by Aeorian designs.

Within the pit, people are hammering things to the outside of the spire. Then the tower alights and the view vanishes. Apparently, the spire emits a burst of anti-magic every single minute on the minute. Ira thinks they could overload the spire. They’ve moved the arcane power cores underground, but they still have to be tethered to the key. He needs to see everything more closely. Fearne mentions Predathos, but Ira doesn’t know who that is.


Imogen, Ashton, and Orym drive into Bassuras, where they go to Yunis’ store and Ashton gives Jiana’s name. Yunis locks the door and his voice hilariously drops an octave. He takes them to a back room and shows them a few items, like greater healing potions, an Amulet of Health (Con bump to 19), a Circlet of the Hidden Eye (makes one immune to mind-reading), and a Belt of Momentum (human battering ram). They buy the lot and return to the hideout.

Imogen wonders if they should tell someone in Vasselheim about the Ruby Vanguard, but they would need proof. The Grim Verity has attempted to tell them before, but were turned away or arrested. They return to the ship with Ira, the arcane bomb, and their crawler. Laudna takes the amulet, Imogen takes the circlet, and Ashton takes the belt. They return to the sky and the next day, an arcane dust storm kicks up, triggered by the leylines. Lightning strikes the ship, forcing Xandis to land. They lose a day, but fix the ship and return to flying.


Another dust storm kicks up, this one bringing a strange fiery bird that pursues them. Fearne polymorphs the bird into a goldfish, where it is carried away by the storm’s winds and the skyship gets away. The next day, Orym feels a pulse from the seed that he received in Niirdal-Poc. FCG casts identify – this is a message bloom and it will convey a message upon being planted. They plant the seed and it blooms, bearing a message from Keyleth.

She tells him that the Ashari fought the Cult of the Dark Heart beneath Terrah. The Dark Heart Behemoth was dealt with and the rift healed, but when she attempted to apprehend the head of these Ashari betrayers, Vureeo, he vanished and shouted that the Vanguard would prevail. Their paths are converging, so Keyleth wants to join him with the Ashari in taking down the Vanguard. Keyleth’s message sends a wave of relief through the party – the cavalry is coming. Imogen messages Keyleth, giving her directions.

The next day, though the weather is dangerous due to the leylines, The Silver Sun sails without issue. That evening, Imogen asks Orym if the moon, and thus his tattoo, ever feels tainted. No, because this tattoo is him and his husband. The moon has been around for a long time and the things that happened under that moon are not rendered meaningless. If anything, Orym feels that he was meant to be here now. Imogen is grateful for whatever brought them together, whether it was chance or fate.


Imogen talks to Laudna. She’s been afraid to ask, but do they want to stop Predathos? Laudna understands the appeal of change, but the unknown unknowns make her nervous. They could lose so much at the cost of perceived freedom. They still have a chance at a normal life and nothing could keep them from it. Imogen has a choice and that is as much of a power as her magic. Laudna urges her to not let them get in her head.

Laudna feels so comfortable with Imogen, even if they haven’t talked recently. Their relationship transcends words. Laudna will always support Imogen and won’t let her make these choices alone. Imogen tells Laudna she loves her and Laudna loves Imogen in return. She tells Imogen about her conversation with Ashton and attributes her groundedness to having Imogen as a foundation. Imogen says that Laudna is her tether. Laudna agrees and their tether goes beyond this realm and this life.

Liliana was trying to show Imogen that normalcy would make her happy, but she realizes that their weirdness is what makes them right. If better halves make a better whole, as Liliana’s locket says, then they have to love it all. Laudna is happy to be Imogen’s better half. They’re not destined for normalcy. They cuddle up for the night. Ashton has a drunken evening arguing with people who aren’t there. In the morning, there is a gentle storm, and today is the apogee solstice.

That is it for Episode 49 of Critical Role!


  • Hondir mentions that the Calloways could use some tending while Ira leaves. What did Ira do to them?
  • Vindication for Keyleth and the goldfish! Long live Keyfish!!
  • I love Laudna and Imogen and Laudna and Imogen love each other.
  • It’s apogee solstice time, y’all.

Catch Episode 50 next Thursday, March 2nd at 7pm Pacific on and on or a week later on our podcast. Is it Thursday yet?

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