Critical Recap: Critical Role C3E51 “The Apogee Solstice”
Written by Dani on March 15, 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 51 The Apogee Solstice!
REUNITING THE PARTY
Fearne and FCG are still on the skyship, The Silver Sun, with Captain Xandis and Ira Wendegoth. Ira watches the Malleus Key through his fey spyglass and comments that the Key is different from his original designs, and that it is missing its lens. FCG asks Ira what he hopes happens today – Ira hopes for wanton destruction, punishment for those who wronged him, absconding with some obscure machinery. Then to go where the winds take him.
FCG admires Ira’s and Fearne’s ability to find inspiration in the moment. Ira warns them that friends complicate things. FCG messages Orym to check in and Orym lets him know they made some friends (Beau and Caleb) and could use some advice regarding a robot. FCG and Fearne decide to join their friends on the rim of the excavation site and make Ira promise to get Xandis safely off the ship before they crash it into the Key.
Meanwhile, the others are taking a short rest. They’re approached by a couple people patrolling the rim, but Laudna convinces them that they are fixing their automaton Warder. Finally, FCG and Fearne arrive, rejoining the group. FCG examines the interior of the automaton, finding that the power core is fried. He hooks himself into the Warder via his hair wires and is able to control the robot like a power loader or a suit of armor.
INTO THE PIT
FCG is now operating a 16 foot tall automaton that has enough space inside its torso to fit most of the party and sneak them inside. Ashton, Fearne, Laudna, and Chetney go inside the Warder. Imogen walks alongside, while Orym feigns being a captive in the Warder’s hand. They move down into the pit, past a trophy display of holy symbols and heads, and are hit by the spire’s pulse of anti-magic. Luckily, both FCG and Pâté only experience a slight fuzziness as the wave passes over them.
Imogen messages Keyleth, updating her. It will take an hour for Keyleth and the cavalry to arrive, so it’s time to get ready. They descend deeper into the pit, interacting with General Ratanish of the Paragon’s Call. Orym plays possum and Imogen plays up her role as an Exaltant. Ratanish has heard that Vasselheim forces are approaching, but he believes they won’t arrive in time. They then see that the smaller spires are filled with potions of possibility, and watch as Otohan Thull gets her arcane backpack refilled with the potions.
Otohan leaves through one of the numerous and freshly excavated tunnels and they spot the petrified statue of Planerider Ryn near the stone ruins. Imogen sees her mother flying and telekinetically adding metal armor to the structure of the Key. They also see that the anti-magic pulses emanate from several small, arcane engine devices. These allow the pulse to cover the entirety of the chamber within the pit’s walls.
THE FIRST TUNNEL
The group heads to one of the tunnels so that FCG!Warder can let everyone get out. Laudna sends Pâté down the tunnel to see what lies within; he finds a cluster of arcane power sources tethered together and guarded by three individuals. Two are from Paragon’s Call and one is a dragonborn Exaltant. Ashton, Orym, and Imogen go down to tell them that the three are needed on the rim, but they see through this lie and a fight ensues.
Orym kills the Exaltant while Ashton kills one of the Paragon’s Call members, but Chetney intimidates the second, a halfling, into standing down. They notice that the halfling is wearing a symbol of the Duskmaven and he explains that the Paragon’s Call makes everyone wear them. He warns them of a glyph on the ground in front of the cores, which they moved down here recently. Orym finds a locket on the Exaltant’s body, with a picture of a little girl. He takes it.
FCG, who is still outside within the Warder looking busy, sees Otohan approaching the tunnel. They message Laudna to warn her as Otohan descends. Everyone hides, but Otohan is distracted when two of the anti-magic machines detonate, likely due to Beau and Caleb. Otohan leaves, but not before Imogen hits them with a psychic attack and FCG throws a rock at them. FCG messages Ira, telling him to launch the airstrike. The others detonate a few of the arcane cores and Ashton kills the halfling on Chetney’s orders.
FCG goes looking for Ryn, spotting Ludinus Da’leth at the base of the Key wearing ceremonial armor. FCG accidentally collapses a wall of the ruins on top of Ryn in their attempt to rescue her. He plays it off, but Ludinus deactivates the Warder, leaving FCG trapped inside. Otohan then makes a telepathic announcement, telling everyone that their timetable is moving up and to gather at the Key.
As they exit the tunnel, they see Caleb get captured by a mage hunter golem and Beau charmed by Liliana. Both are brought to the base of the Key in front of Ludinus, where Beau is shackled. Ryn is unearthed, but her right arm is broken off. Ludinus wants his enemies to see their failure. He places his hand within the machine and fuels it with arcana as Liliana opens the sides of the Key, revealing a Luxon beacon within.
As the device glows, everyone freezes. Hours pass in seconds. Suddenly, Ruidus is directly overhead. But so is The Silver Sun. The skyship begins to rapidly descend, but Ludinus throws up a forcefield to protect the spire. The skyship shatters against it, raining rubble down on those below. Ira and Xandis appear on a walkway above, safe and sound. Ira is off to cause some chaos and Xandis darts away to hide.
Ludinus begins a speech from his platform on the Key. The greatest lie ever told is that the gods are necessary. The gods created the mortals in order to feed on their faith, hopes, and souls, and their belief gives the gods form, purpose, and control. But mortals surpassed their masters and found their own power. The Matron of Ravens killed one of the gods and became them. Ever since, the gods have feared their children. The Calamity was a punishment for following their own will, and now the gods hide in fear behind the Divine Gate.
Meanwhile, Imogen commands the golem to release Caleb, but he now wears a silence collar. Laudna and Ashton go to another tunnel to destroy more arcane cores. Orym frees FCG from the Warder. Imogen speaks to Liliana telepathically, telling her that better halves make a better whole and begging her to remember. It doesn’t have to be like this. Liliana says this is the only way they can be free. Another explosion goes off within the caverns, due to Ira. Liliana casts banishment on Ira, sending him back to the Fey Realm.
Ludinus continues, looking at FCG and saying he was given life not by a god, but by mortal creators. Ludinus claims to have worked selflessly for a thousand years to shatter the chains of fate. He will gladly be their villain if it means liberation. The sounds of fighting emanate from the top of the pit – the Ashari have arrived. Laudna and Ashton explode more arcane cores and run out. Liliana tells Imogen that it’s already done. Ludinus is stronger than her.
Ludinus calls out to the Ruidusborn, saying they carry seeds of Predathos’ power and can break these bonds. They are here for their true purpose. A red glow begins to emanate from every Ruidusborn, including Imogen, Fearne, Liliana, and Otohan. Ludinus says that they will unleash the natural predator of the gods, and the children will inherit the world. Suddenly, Keyleth in her earth elemental form slams into the ground in front of the Key, demanding that he halt. She casts mass cure wounds on those around her.
Ludinus, however, simply says she is right on time. He casts power word stun on her, freezing her in place. Otohan races out, her three shadow forms with her. She ambushes Keyleth, striking her over and over again, forcing her out of her earth elemental form and bringing her within an inch of her life. As Otohan goes for the killing blow, a dark flash and a cloak of feathers blocks her sword. The Champion of Ravens, Vax’ildan, has arrived from the beyond to protect his beloved. “Don’t you even dare,” he tells the Legend of the Peaks Otohan Thull.
Orym leaps down next to Otohan and slashes at her backpack with Seedling. Though he strikes true, the backpack is just barely holding on. Chetney turns into a werewolf and leaps down onto Ludinus, but Ludinus blocks him and he falls, speared on the Malleus Key. Fearne and Imogen try to destroy the backpack, but both miss. Imogen begs her mother to help her, but Liliana tells her this for the best. Ludinus says it is time for the final piece – the sliver of divinity, the lens.
Liliana casts a spell on Vax and all the mirrors shoot bright energy into him as Ludinus triggers something within the machine. Vax screams and is compressed into a sphere of dark shadow. Liliana telekinetically places the sphere into the top of the machine to act as a lens. There is a lack of power in the machine and another explosion goes off, but Ludinus says it will have to do as skyships from Vasselheim appear in the sky.
Ruidus glows and every Ruidusborn freezes in place, acting as living batteries as the red energy floats into the spire. Ludinus says they will destroy what will unmake them, and a beam of red energy shoots out from the Key. The machine begins to spark; Ludinus looks nervous even as he laughs. The leylines spark and the sky erupts in colors before exploding into a familiar, all-encompassing white.
Eventually, vision returns. Laudna, Ashton, and Orym find themselves on the edge of a rocky cliff. There is a sulfurous, acidic smell and pools of strange colored liquid. They’re in an unfamiliar place with natural geysers below. They can see Ruidus in the far distance with a solid red beam sustained beneath it. They have no idea where they are and they are alone. Not even Pâté is with them.
FCG, Fearne, Chetney, and Imogen find themselves transported to a snowy desert with mountains in the distance. Chetney recognizes this as the Crystalsands Tundra, just outside the Flotket Alps and his hometown of Uthodurn in Wildemount. They’re on the other side of the world from Marquet. The leylines still dance across the sky and the apogee solstice is still in effect, but the party is split in two.
That is it for Episode 51 of Critical Role!
- Holy shit y’all. Vax. Keyleth. The party is split. What happened??? What HAPPENED?!
- Ira came back from his banishment but are Beau and Caleb okay? What about Ryn? What about the entire world?? What about the gods??
- Where are Orym, Laudna, and Ashton? How are they all going to get back together?
- The fact that Ludinus hinged this plan he’s been perfecting for centuries on Vax’s love for Keyleth is breaking my entire heart. Vax! Kiki! Exandria!!!