Critical Recap: Critical Role C3E50 “Red Moon Rising”
Written by Dani on March 8, 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 50 Red Moon Rising!
In the early morning hours of the apogee solstice, Bells Hells discuss their plans to stop the Ruby Vanguard before they can release the ancient god-eater Predathos from its prison on the red moon Ruidus. Ira uses a fey spyglass to direct them to the ruins, which are a half day’s journey away. They want to do some reconnaissance, but as one of their main plans involves using the skyship itself as a weapon, someone will need to stay behind to fly the ship.
They question what to do with the crew and Captain Xandis. FCG flips his coin, asking the Changebringer whether she wants them to sacrifice innocents on the ship – the coin flip is a yes, troubling FCG. Ira warns them of Ludinus Da’leth’s impressive power as an older mage and leader of the Ruby Vanguard. Considering Ludinus claims to have seen the Calamity, which occurred nearly 900 years ago, they wonder just how old he really is.
After a discussion about who should be on which team, they decide that FCG and Fearne will stay with the skyship, along with Ira and possibly Xandis, while the others infiltrate the ruins. Ira has Dimension Door, so he could theoretically get one of them to safety, but they know they can’t truly trust him. Xandis is uncomfortable with this plan, but they agree to stay on the ship after testing Fearne’s ability to fly the skyship.
SPLITTING THE PARTY
Imogen suddenly realizes that her new Circlet of the Hidden Eye keeps her from involuntarily hearing other people’s thoughts. For the first time in years, there is silence within her mind. The dust storm hits and they drop the crew off in a safe spot, giving them supplies and a map to Bassuras just in case. Imogen messages Keyleth with their location and the Voice of the Tempest tells her to look for a tree and give her a time, as the cavalry will not be quiet.
The ground team, consisting of Laudna, Imogen, Orym, Ashton, and Chetney, disguise themselves in Ruby Vanguard and Paragon’s Call outfits. A mile outside of the ruins, they land the skyship to let them off. The skyship team will need a ten minute warning to arrive at the ruins. They begin to say their goodbyes to each other, but everyone agrees that these are pump-ups, not farewells. They don’t need to have faith in the gods – they have faith in each other.
When Ashton hugs Fearne, he attempts to steal from her. When they fail, Fearne asks what they’re looking for. Ashton requests something personal and irreplaceable, so Fearne gives him a kiss on the head. Ashton thinks that will be much harder to steal back. Fearne asks them to take care of everyone. With hugs exchanged, the ground team boards the crawler and heads towards the sinkhole.
After a short distance, they hide the crawler and continue on foot. They spot a tree big enough for Keyleth’s cavalry to travel through and Orym marks it with the Ashari symbol. They also find a strange structure, which Chetney discovers to be the remnants of a downed Vasselheim skyship. They consider calling off their skyship attack, worried about a possible shield or an automatic defense system, but decide to wait as the sandstorm could prove useful as cover.
They make it to the edge of the pit, where there are rocky steps and tents set up, with bustling people and several automatons either moving boxes or walking the perimeter. A crawler rides by, but it leaves them alone. They are noticed by three Ruby Vanguard members. Imogen tells the leader they are with Miss Temult, which does work, but then one of them recognizes them from the kitchen fight in Yios. She speaks to the leader, who again stops Imogen.
The leader asks Imogen if she has been infiltrated, as Orym and Laudna are suspicious. She says these people have been with her a long time and they’re clear, but he remains unconvinced. An automaton joins them and the leader says he must take her team in. Imogen telepathically tells them to run as Ashton is magically held in place. Chetney transforms into a werewolf and attacks, starting combat.
The ground team fights against three Ruby Vanguard members and a huge round automaton known as a Warder. The Warder has a hollow torso within it, as well as a flamethrower. They dispatch the Vanguard members and a combo electrocution from Imogen and Laudna (via Pâté) destroys the Warder. As combat ends, Imogen is grabbed around the throat and pulled into a tent. The figure asks why she’s fighting the Vanguard.
The two struggle for a moment, but Imogen demands to talk to them face to face since they’re fighting the same enemy. This is Beauregard Lionett of the Cobalt Soul and the Mighty Nein. She’s been chasing Ludinus for a decade. They talk privately with the others on the ground team and Beau explains that she is here to destroy the Malleus Key and take Ludinus back to prison, where he can join the rest of his friends.
Beau didn’t come alone. Another individual steps out of invisibility – this is Caleb Widogast of the Mighty Nein. The two explain that they are friends of the Grim Verity and came here with Planerider Ryn to run their own reconnaissance. Ryn’s petrification was caused by accidentally activating a glyph ward. They can’t restore her, but they have friends who likely can. They’ve been biding their time and furtively investigating the area.
Beau and Caleb explain that the solstice has brought many dangerous things into being due to mages attempting to use its power. While some of the threats are real, others like the Elder Cross Cult, the Carrion Breach, and a splinter of the Children of Malice were all fronts connected to the Ruby Vanguard. They’ve been following Ludinus for years, gathering proof to take him and his inner circle down, but he’s clever and knows they’re coming.
Though Ludinus doesn’t know Bells Hells intimately, they have encountered him. They’ve also encountered his generals, Otohan Thull and Liliana Temult. Otohan killed Laudna, Fearne, and Orym and Liliana is Imogen’s mother. Beau asks Imogen if they have permission to kill her mom — she would prefer it not come to that. She is hoping Liliana will help them. She seems only recently committed to the cause, so Imogen wonders if Ludinus did something to her.
Bells Hells explain their plan to crash the skyship into the tower. Beau and Caleb saw the Vasselheim skyship get attacked. It was struck down at Ludinus’ behest, who they haven’t seen in days. But this was on a clear day; since today is a dust storm, that could help. Beau and Caleb were the ones attempting to destroy the Shadowfell’s Malleus Key. They were only able to damage it before they had to flee. Other friends of the Verity were lost in this attempt.
As for the ruins, Beau and Caleb know that the site is illusion-proof and that the tower sends out energy that dispels or interrupts magic every single minute. The magic pulses, which seem to emanate from mirrors along the cavern walls, don’t destroy magical items, but they interrupt spells and subdue anything magical. Additionally, there is a mage hunter golem along the base of the device. It seems that Ludinus reverse-engineered Age of Arcanum tech from the ruins of Aeor and built a stock of distilled dunamis to use in this central key.
Caleb teaches them that dunamis is an obtuse form of magic that exists between the fabric of all forms of power. It is one of the oldest fundamental forces within Exandria and beyond. It can alter time, space, and probability. The Malleus Key has been reinforced with residuum and its arcane cores have been separated and buried in nearby chambers. Beau is concerned that Ludinus has been sloppy lately. He showed his hand with the Vanguard a few months ago and it felt intentional. As if he is counting on opposition. He’s always steps ahead of them.
Now, though, Ludinus seems to be operating outside of the Cerberus Assembly. No one there knows of his activities. Beau thinks Ludinus is just another mage for them to take down, like Halas, Trent Ikithon, and Benathar. Beau and Caleb were planning to use illusion between the bursts of dispelled magic, counting on an eventual distraction. Bells Hells explain that the Ashari are coming – that could be the distraction.
The goal is to extract Ryn and Liliana and then bring the whole place down. Beau and Caleb will go in from the other side and they can all meet in the middle. Take out whatever they can in regards to the cores and the key. Caleb gives Chetney a sending stone for communication. Caleb takes a look at the Warder, which is still functional but its energy core is damaged. Maybe FCG can do something with it.
Imogen ushers another crawler away by saying they’re having issues with the Warder. For now, though, Beau and Caleb are going to circle around. They’ll stay in touch. The ground team discuss possibly bringing in Fearne and FCG, leaving Xandis and Ira to fly the skyship. They still don’t know if they can trust Ira. But time is of the essence and the apogee solstice is coming fast. They have to make a decision.
That is it for Episode 50 of Critical Role!
- Beau! And! Caleb!!!! It’s Beau and Caleb!!!! They’re here!!! They’re Beau and Caleb!!!
- This skyship plan is so scary. Will there be time for the others to escape?
- FCG could TOTALLY do something with that Warder. Maybe they’ll bring Fearne and FCG back from the skyship. Never split the party!
- The apogee solstice is coming, y’all…