Critical Recap: Critical Role C3E76 “A Gathering of Heroes”
Written by Dani on October 25, 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 76 A Gathering of Heroes!
Teleportation via Ludinus Daleth’s staff once more fails Bells Hells as they take damage before successfully arriving in Whitestone. They are led to Lord Percival de Rolo’s workshop within Whitestone Castle, where Dancer, Imahara Joe, Verna the Viper, and Percy are working on the nearly repaired magical harness. They meet Arcanist Allura Vysoren of the Tal’Dorei Council, whom Percy has called in for aid and expertise.
Bells Hells describe their encounter with Ludinus and Allura recognizes that Ludinus was utilizing a simulacrum: a copy of himself. The opal allowed the simulacrum to learn information about the group. Allura knows Ludinus, the most powerful mage she has ever met. The simulacrum verifies her suspicions that Ludinus is off-world and using these copies to be in multiple places around Exandria.
Allura begins to chisel the required runic enchantments into the harness, but she pauses to give a warning: this is a Quintessence Array, an enormous power still used to siphon power. Using it against anything sentient is deeply amoral, but she approves of its usage in stopping Ludinus. Once they have finished with it, she requests that they hand the harness over to the Council or the Cobalt Soul for destruction or safekeeping. Bells Hells hesitate, but agree.
Ashton shows Allura the shard of Emperor Rau’shan. She recognizes it and is awed by its power, as well as the fact that Ashton is already infused with a shard of the Empress Ka’Mort. She recognizes Orym from his past as a guard and reveals that Keyleth will be joining soon for a war council. She invites Bells Hells to join this meeting as well before activating the final rune. This turns the harness on, causing it to glow and thrum.
Chetney volunteers to use the harness for a test run, using it to siphon the enchantment from a set of magical silverware. The silverware is destroyed and Chetney gains 5 temporary hit points. The harness is capable of granting a magical boon equal to the rarity of the magical essence, granting temporary and permanent hit points and raising an ability score.
Moreover, if a magical creature touches the harness for 1 minute, their essence is drawn from them for 24 hours and grants a benefit upon the wearer until a long rest. If a magical creature touches the harness for an hour, they are destroyed and the wearer gains a permanent benefit based on said creature. If the harness is used more than once per 24 hours, there is a cumulative chance that it will break.
Ashton is still intrigued by using the harness to place the shard into themself. Allura and Bells Hells worry that the warning given by Evontra’vir, that placing both shards into one vessel could prove fatal, is true. There is a possibility he could survive, but it’s also highly possible that the process would rend Ashton into pieces. Ashton feels pretty rendered already. Fearne is put forth as a possibility, due to her wildfire nature. Maybe Ashton and Fearne are meant to recreate the Emperor and Empress.
Ashton gives Allura permission to investigate the magic within his head. She realizes that Ashton is imbued with an esoteric magic known as dunamancy, which hails from the cosmos and concerns the fundamentals of the world – gravity, time, entropy. Their head reminds her of the Kryn Dynasty’s worship of the god known as the Luxon and the beacons. Ashton’s head holds an approximation of a beacon that Allura says rests between reality and destruction.
Bells Hells recall seeing Ludinus use a beacon within the Malleus Key and Ashton has seen the beacon in his dreams. Allura claims that Ashton is either their greatest weapon or their end. His fragmented nature may be what keeps all these disparate essences in check. She warns that placing another powerful entity like the shard within Ashton might be too dangerous. Fearne is willing to try the shard out. Ashton always wanted a sister, though that wasn’t what Fearne was thinking. Percy sends everyone out for food and a private conversation with Allura.
ONE ON ONE
Laudna leaves an invisible Pâté behind to spy on Percy and Allura. Percy is worried about Whitestone becoming a sanctuary city again, especially as it has been rebuilt and contains his family. Allura assures him that, with everything going on in the world, no one is concerned about Whitestone. Allura notices Pâté and shoos him out.
Meanwhile, Dancer talks to FCG. She understands working through past mistakes and grappling with creation. She knows that FCG’s attack wasn’t really them. Though she isn’t ready, she sees that FCG is doing well in his new life and doesn’t want the past to weigh on him. FCG is grateful for the gift of life that she gave him. He has been trying to find meaning for so long, but now understands that no one – no forgiveness, no memory, no god – can tell them who they are or where they should go. Life is figuring that out for himself.
FCG just wants to find a place to be happy and Dancer is the one who sent him on that path. They ask her for any information about D, but she knows very little about him beyond that he is a scrapper that gets around quickly and always wears a mask. There’s something about D that Dancer doesn’t trust. FCG asks for a hug, which Dancer begrudgingly allows.
COUNCIL OF MERCER
Bells Hells take a short rest before the war council, whose attendees are Keyleth, her mother Vilya, Ebenold Kai of the Grim Verity, Allura, and Percy. The meeting commences with a discussion of the support received from Ank’Harel, Yios, the Tangulan Keep, and the Clovis Concord. In Wildemount, more civilians have claimed allegiance to the Ruby Vanguard. The freedom of legendary dangers has added to the people’s fear.
The source of the mass communication scrambling is either near the Malleus Key or the Key itself. Vasselheim’s military is at the site, but the Reilorans hold a large defense. The Reilorans also have an innate ability to diminish divine magic. More alarming, the Arcana Pansophical (a council of mages) is worried that a cumulative strain is being placed on the very weave of magic and the leylines. The longer the Key holds Ruidus in place, the worse it gets; it could tear the weave, thus altering the fundamental rules of magic, destroy magic entirely, or destroy Exandria.
The Key’s destruction is therefore a high priority. Unfortunately, it is the only way they are able to reach the surface of Ruidus, via the Bloody Bridge. Keyleth wants to send a scouting mission to gain intel about the moon and what awaits them there. Imogen volunteers Bells Hells for this, as she has already seen the surface. They’re expendable, they want to be useful, and it’s advantageous to have someone close to this, like Imogen is.
THE PLANNING PART
Bells Hells, however, are not likely to get in undetected now that they have Ludinus’ attention. Allura can magically protect them from scrying for 8 hours and will see what items she can find that could help against mental prying. Percy has ideas on how to cause a diversion to give the group some cover. Bells Hells must cross the Bloody Bridge, learn about the state of Ruidus and the Reilora, discern how advanced the Ruby Vanguard’s plan is, and then return to inform the others and help plan the advance on the Key and Ruidus.
Hopefully, Bells Hells can also use this opportunity to rescue Planerider Ryn from the site, as she is, presumably, still turned to stone. As for Beau and Caleb, Allura has been in contact with some of their allies. It’s time to rally those who are conscripted to the cause. Keyleth is heartened to know that, even after all this time, people like Bells Hells still rise to the occasion.
The meeting is adjourned and Orym thanks Keyleth for all her inspiration. She asks him to keep an eye on Imogen, as she knows that family ties can be complicated. He agrees that he’s thought the same, but he has faith in his friend. Laudna wants to do some snooping around Whitestone. Delilah, after all, has a connection to the castle. She wants to learn something.
THE QUEEN OF THE HOUSE
Orym realizes that they’re being watched by Gwendolyn de Rolo, Percy and Vex’s youngest daughter. She is a red tiefling, which strikes the group as unusual given her parents’ human and half-elf lineages. She introduces herself as the queen of the house and declares that everyone shorter than her must do her bidding. It’s the law. Gwendolyn likes spooky things, such as skeletons, and Orym takes her to meet Laudna.
Laudna shows her Pâté and shows off some of her undead spookiness, like the ability to tear some of her own skin away. When Gwendolyn touches the cut, she becomes upset and runs off. Fearne, Imogen, and Laudna go after her, following her to her room. They try to convince Gwendolyn to talk to them again, as Laudna is looking for answers. Gwendolyn is afraid of her and doesn’t know why. Sometimes Laudna is afraid of herself, too.
Laudna leaves, but Imogen tells Gwendolyn that sometimes scary things are beautiful when given a chance. Gwendolyn just wants to know why Laudna hates her. She felt so much hatred when she touched her. Imogen goes to Laudna and hugs her, explaining that it was Delilah. They have to keep Laudna safe from Percy. Laudna wants to go on an excursion tonight. Imogen and Fearne agree to join her.
Ashton, Orym, and Chetney go to the Matron of Ravens’ temple in the Greyfield. The Altar of the Raven is a modest place of worship, with two statues – one of the Matron and one of her Champion of Ravens. This Champion is who they saw on the battlefield protecting Keyleth outside the Malleus Key. They go to the back structure of the temple and descend a staircase, where they meet a caretaker named Othinon and find 5 empty sarcophagi.
Ashton immediately recognizes that these sarcophagi are meant to represent all who will pass on. This is exactly how to meet a death god. Ashton climbs into one sarcophagus while Chetney and Orym share another. Within, they all receive a vision from the Matron: meeting her in the darkness, the face behind her mask a black void that they are pulled into. They find themselves staring up from a grave at the Matron, whose shackled wrists bear chains dangling into the hole.
They climb the chains and reach the top; as they do, the Matron raises her arms and the chains break. Raven wings release from her back and she flies as they fall. She breaks into hundreds of ravens, flying free as darkness returns. They feel neither scared nor exploited, but noticed and appreciated. They return, having only been within the darkness of the sarcophagi for 2 minutes.
SHE WHO MAKES THE PATH
FCG, meanwhile, goes to the Horizon Temple of the Changebringer, where he once more chats with Osli Kamyda. He goes inside and prays at a statue. FCG feels that doom is on the horizon – if bad things happen, please have them happen to him and not his friends. The statue of the goddess begins to cry red tears as it looks down at FCG. She tells them that dark days are ahead for all, but that they walk the path of bravery and can save what they care about most.
FCG is also not the only one walking that path. This is a road fraught with peril and loss, but that is what it means to be a hero and a child of change. FCG is grateful that she is watching them. She will always watch over them. FCG has realized that no one is given a purpose and no one chooses a purpose, but they make a purpose as they go. He’s ready to make one. The Changebringer says that is true freedom and one of the great meanings of life.
FCG requests that the Changebringer give Ashton a sign to make them believe in her. She tells him to guide Ashton to the path that inspires FCG and that one has to be open to miracles to believe them. She tells him to remember that if the road ahead is frightening, he can always choose to walk another. She repeats the word freedom as the conversation ends. Her words confuse FCG, but they recall that the Changebringer is a mercurial goddess in how she guides her followers.
Bells Hells meet back up at the Sun Tree, by a crepe stand run by a man named Andrew. Laudna and Imogen begin questioning him as to if he is the Andy who once threw dirt clods at Laudna when she was a little girl named Matilda. This confuses Andrew, who is not the only Andy of his youth. He apologizes, just in case, but they realize this is probably the wrong guy.
They return to the castle, where Ashton finds a book about the history of the de Rolo family. After a bit of rest, Laudna and Imogen get up in the night to do some skulking.
That is it for Episode 76 of Critical Role!
- Allura!!! That’s my mom!!!!
- Oooooh what are the witches up to? Off to explore the castle or the city? Will Delilah come out to play?
- Gonna need these god visions to be a little more cut and dry. Go here, do this, save the cheerleader, save the world, that kind of thing. But still, love a good god vision.
- This was a Halloween episode, so the cast was dressed as the Fellowship of the Ring. Pretty perfect for taking the hobbits to Whitestone and having a council.
- Let’s go to the mooooooooooon!
This week, reunite with the Mighty Nein for Echoes of the Solstice on Thursday, October 26th at 7pm Pacific on twitch.tv/criticalrole and on youtube.com/criticalrole, as well as in Cinemark theaters, or a week later on our podcast. Is it Thursday yet?