Critical Recap: Critical Role C3E66 “Aid of the Tempest”
Written by Dani on August 2, 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 66 Aid of the Tempest!
Bells Hells arrive amongst the cliffs of Zephrah and are greeted by a defensive wind blast from one of the village’s guardians – Orym’s sister, Maeve. The two happily reunite, but the dread of their circumstances overshadows the conversation. The Ashari are reeling from the conflict at the Red Center, as they call the excavation site, and many of them were shunted like Bells Hells.
Maeve takes them to see Keyleth and Orym explains his family tree to his friends: Will’s parents are Derrig and Nel. They had triplets: Maeve, a druid, Leeta, the Master of Defense, and Baernie, an herbalist. Then they had Will. Orym’s mother is Alma, a midwife, and his blood father was never in his life. Orym considers Will’s entire family to be his own, for all intents and purposes.
They arrive at Keyleth’s home and meet Leeta, as well as two of Keyleth’s advisors, Shendunei and Thollo. Leeta takes them to Keyleth’s bedroom, where the Voice of the Tempest rests, still crowned in her antlers. She is weak and wounded, but welcoming, bearing open gashes across her face and body, which are not healing. Keyleth believes that Otohan used the same toxin on her that killed Will and Derrig in the assassination attempt six years ago.
While this toxin doesn’t have a historical precursor, the Ashari did find a remedy that helps with those wounded – the rare blue perennem flower. They are known to only bloom in cursed landscapes, places of strife that attract dark entities. A team was sent three days ago to the Grey Valley above the Umbra Hills, led by Baernie, Orym’s sister. They should have only been gone a day, but there’s yet to be any contact from them.
Keyleth doesn’t feel as if she’s ever done enough. They lost two dozen in the conflict and may have lost more if they hadn’t been scattered by the white light. The last thing Keyleth saw was someone important to her that she lost long ago. She vows to do everything in her power to destroy those behind this – Orym asks to be her blade. She will tear down everything that Otohan, Ludinus, and Liliana represent and see that they leave no more pain in their wake.
Orym informs Keyleth that Liliana is Imogen’s mother. Keyleth only cares that Imogen is here to help. Imogen wonders if the white light could have been her mother trying to help by sending them all away. Keyleth is aware that the Ruby Vanguard are now emerging publicly to rally the common folk, using fear and unrest to bolster their ranks and cloud the focus of their enemies.
Keyleth asks Orym to find the lost group and the flowers. Orym has been so angry. Keyleth says that anger can be challenging, but sometimes it’s exactly what you need. She tells him not to lose his anger, but learn when to use it. Keyleth has been angry for thirty years and asks Orym to help her find a place to use it in return: Bring back their people, gather the flowers, and together they will reign down Exandria’s fury upon these shitheads.
FCG asks if Keyleth prays to a god. The Ashari are good neighbors to the gods but they worship the natural world. The gods are nature’s stewards and nature was here long before the gods were. If the gods go away, will that affect nature poorly? Keyleth hopes they never find out. They leave Keyleth and ask Leeta about the conflict. The skyship damaged part of the Malleus Key and numerous enemies. Leeta mentions seeing several Reilora come through as allies to the Vanguard.
Leeta grabs Thollo to tell them about the Grey Valley. It was the site of King Trist Drassig’s bargain with the Demon Prince of Indulgence during the Scattered War in Gwessar/Tal’Dorei. It left the valley forest cursed and those scars still linger, with remnants of demonic essence clinging to the area. Powerful denizens of the Abyss and beyond wander the landscape -This is the safest known place where the blue perennem blooms.
Spurred by Thollo’s historical knowledge, Ashton asks what he knows of the Hishari. Thollo calls them grifters and a cult of personality based around a man who gathered folks around Issylra, talking about a great event to reclaim the power of the elemental titans. They borrowed the name of the Ashari and used it to spread false promises. People went to them for answers and belonging and they eventually dallied with powers they were never meant to and blew up a town. Thollo agrees to do some more specific research into the Hishari for Ashton.
Orym takes Bells Hells to meet his mother, Alma, at his childhood home. Alma is delighted to see her son and meet his friends, serving them biscuits and honey and Orym’s favorite carrot-bran muffins. She tells them about her work as a midwife and how Ashari women would sometimes intentionally sustain labor during a Ruidus flare due to the superstition of Ruidusborn children. No one has been born recently, though.
Alma tells them about Orym as a child, how he was very physically active and curious. She is very proud of him, but tells him not to be a hero if he doesn’t need to be. She wants him to come back home safe. She shows off his old baby booties and a cloth diaper and his blankie. When Chetney gifts her with a wooden statue of Orym in a fighting pose, she shows Orym’s old wooden toys that were also made by Chetney – CPOP is carved into the side and everything.
Ashton and Orym head out to get some new clothing and gear, with Orym commissioning Torth, an impressive blacksmith, for some armor and Ashton requisitioning Fanny Z, a fabulous tailor, for an antihero chic design. They’ll be able to pick up their new gear in a couple of days. Bells Hells meet with Maeve, as well as the Tempest Blades, who have come to see them off to the Grey Valley.
Maeve gives them a large bag to fill with the flowers, as well as two greater and one superior healing potions. Orym promises to bring Baernie back. Leeta says that Will would be proud of him. Orym salutes the Tempest Blades and they salute him in turn. Maeve hands over a blue petal and informs them that the blue perennem grows in clusters in fields. She opens a portal in the cherry blossom tree and the group steps through into the monochromatic Grey Valley.
THE GREY VALLEY
Their destination is well-named, filled as it is with dead, stonelike trees amidst cracked, gray landscape. FCG drops their coin inside Orym’s shield to cast divination and ask the Changebringer for directions to the flowers. The coin spins and FCG sees a hand reach out and pluck the coin. The others see the coin stop midspin, then fall facing west. This impresses the group and they head west, with Pâté flying overhead to scout.
Unfortunately, Pâté is colorblind and unable to assist much with spotting the blue flowers. Chetney catches the scent of burning fat, which he knows to accompany fiendish creatures, and warns the group that fiends are afoot. After some stealthy travel, they find the remains of an armored figure and hide from two hunting gloomstalkers. They notice smoke in the distance and further in, the trees are splintered and broken into a strange crop circle.
Continuing west, they find a forgotten battlefield within an ashy marsh. Orym spots a charred stone with obsidian crystals and a thorn bush with the blue perennem flowers. This rock feels like a trap, but Chetney stealths in to carve out the entire bush. During this, two corpses shift in the marsh, puppeteered by a shadowed figure on the hill. Chetney tries to leave and the being stands, revealing itself as a demon.
The demon, along with multiple corpses, puts up a dangerous fight against the group, with a spinning attack that causes major necrotic damage and the ability to teleport around the field. Orym recognizes one body as an older Ashari scout named Turan. The demon’s chest is open and they can see a screaming humanoid shape within its ribs – Orym recognizes this to be a young Tempest Blades recruit named Fira.
Fearne casts the clutch spell aura of life, giving everyone within range resistance to necrotic damage and immunity to having their max hit points reduced. Laudna summons her hound of ill-omen, revealing this new shadowy good boy to the group at large – including her girlfriend. Imogen casts watery sphere, allowing Laudna to send Pâté within and cast a twinned shocking grasp through herself and her rat. This hits two of the corpses and kills them both.
The demon knocks Fearne unconscious, but FCG casts mass cure wounds and brings Fearne back up. Imogen casts a lightning bolt on the demon, killing it before it can sink into the ground to teleport. A faint fading spiritual energy is left behind – the soul of Fira. Orym holds her hand as she looks west, then vanishes. Bells Hells gather the personal effects of the fallen and fill the bag to a third with flowers. They take a short rest, their eyes still on the smoke to the west.
That is it for Episode 66 of Critical Role!
- Zephrah! Orym’s family! KEYLETH!! Oh poor Keyleth. She’s been through enough!
- They only found a couple of the missing Ashari and no sign of Orym’s sister Baernie, so there is still hope that they’ll be able to rescue some of the missing volunteers.
- Take pity on our dear GM Matthew Mercer, who did not realize that the ‘blue perennem’ flower might have a similarity to… another word.