Critical Recap: Critical Role C3E96 “Shadows New and Old”

Written by on June 5, 2024

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 96 Shadows New and Old!


Imogen holds Laudna on the rooftop, and the two discuss whether it was Laudna or Delilah who took the sword from Orym. Laudna doesn’t think it will do any good to try and distinguish between herself and Delilah anymore. She knew what she was doing, but Delilah told Laudna it was an evil sword, and it made Laudna uncomfortable to see Orym with it. Laudna thought she was doing the right thing, but Imogen reminds her that Delilah lies and doesn’t care about Laudna.

Still, Laudna doesn’t know how to remove the voice in her head. Imogen thinks that would require Laudna to stop feeding her. Laudna thought they’d all agreed to do whatever it takes to defeat Ludinus – and if that requires Laudna throwing herself wholly into this, then she will, even if it means the end of her. She never meant to hurt Orym, and isn’t lying about that, but Imogen knows that Delilah is the liar, and worries that Laudna no longer knows the difference.

Imogen has never believed that Laudna is a dead end; she believes her girlfriend is stronger than Delilah, and that there’s a reason Delilah chose her. Laudna just has to choose for herself – to finally see that she’s special, even if she can’t yet promise she’ll be able to resist or pull away. Orym wants to wield the sword and Laudna wants to wield Delilah. Imogen understands, but she tells Laudna how much she will miss their little cottage. (Pain, suffering. And during Pride month!!)


Imogen returns to the others while Laudna stays outside a little longer, weeping. Fearne checks in with Orym, who is shaken and feeling terrible, and Dorian is updated on everything going on with Laudna. Orym and Ashton reveal Bor’Dor’s betrayal in Issylra, and how much it affected Laudna. Ashton says they have to take care of Laudna and make sure she still trusts them, but Dorian questions if she can be trusted at all.

Imogen tells them all that she saw Laudna absorb the dagger from within a Delilah shadow, and that Laudna is making Delilah stronger in order to give Bells Hells more help – but that Delilah will never let Laudna go. Imogen blames herself for not embracing Predathos’ power, so that Laudna wouldn’t be alone. She just wishes Laudna wanted to fight it. Meanwhile, Delilah tells Laudna that no one will ever understand what the two of them have been through together.

Fearne calls Laudna back, who subsequently apologizes. Orym tells Laudna that she is more important than this sword being at his side. He believes in Laudna and – if anything – what happened brought him back to himself. Orym wants her to trust him, and he knows he will get farther with her than with the sword. He’s betting on Laudna, not Delilah. He knows Delilah is along for the ride, but Laudna deserves her place in history. She, not Delilah, has done so much for Exandria.


Laudna wants everyone to be aware that she sometimes doesn’t know what is real or not. Bells Hells understands. Ashton thinks of her as his big sister and promises to always stand in front of her as protection. Dorian tells Laudna that she deserves to be well and they will all take care of her. Laudna and Orym discuss the nod he gave her at Bor’Dor’s death – it had to be done, but Orym knows Laudna was chosen by Delilah for her own abilities.

Chetney puts the sword in the bag of holding and Ashton gives Laudna their pipe of heroism; if she wants to see herself without judgment, the pipe will show her something good about herself. She’ll hold onto it. Dorian is reminded of how he and his brother would beat each other up, bonding over the fight. Fearne wants to know what will help Laudna deal with Delilah – Laudna wants to bring Delilah into the fight. She owes Laudna. Afterwards, they’ll figure out something to do about her.

Ashton has Laudna promise to let them know when Delilah is poisoning her, and to trust them when they say Delilah is leading her astray. Laudna promises she will tell them whatever information Delilah gives her. They go to bed, and though Laudna gives Imogen space, they wake up holding hands. (Pride month is saved.) Ashton and Fearne cuddle together again. Dorian ponders over Bertrand’s Gambler’s Blade, thinking about his brother, and uses the blade’s ability to take an extra risk for the day by giving himself a boost to his attack, but a detriment to his death saves — his first real risk.


They meet with Essek, who warns them about how dangerous magic is around Aeor. While picking up their outfits from the tailor, we learn that everyone is incorporating aspects of FCG’s color scheme or metal plating into their new looks as a beautiful homage. Chetney and Orym both have a shoulder pauldron from FCG, and Fearne has FCG’s coat, along with other representations of her friends. Ashton made a new jacket, the back of which says ‘Smiley Day, Bitch’. Laudna’s crafted outfit, however, is reminiscent of Delilah, with aspects of a cage.

Essek warns the group that teleporting to Eiselcross is difficult. His first attempt to teleport causes damage and doesn’t get them out of the room. The second takes them outside Lyrengorn in Tal’Dorei, and though the third finally takes them to Eiselcross, they land right outside of a frost giant castle. They are spotted by several frost giants and flee, being teleported again by Essek to an unknown mountaintop.

Imogen looks into Essek’s mind to find a memory of their destination. She uses her staff to cast Teleport, but again they wind up in the wrong spot. They call it a wash for now, and Essek casts a magical bubble for them to rest in while he Trances for four hours. When he wakes up, it takes another two Teleports before they finally arrive outside the cavern entrance to Aeor. They enter the cavern and rappel down a dark pit, finding three corpses below: the bodies of previous enemies of the Mighty Nein.


They enter the Praesidis Ward and Essek warns them to follow him and not touch anything. Bells Hells immediately ignore him by going inside an amphitheater filled with skeletons, where Chetney touches a strange blue dome and uses Grim Psychometry. He sees the packed colosseum amidst massive unrest and arguments. A woman stands on the central platform, shouting to try and quell the crowd as the sky darkens above her. A white light fills the space and she freezes in place – the same pose she holds in the dome now.

This dome is likely time-locked, according to Essek. It’s a gamble to try and unlock them, as no one is sure if the 1000 years of time would catch up to the individual instantaneously. They leave the theater after seeing a strange, gorilla-like creature (an Aeorian Reverser) and return to Essek’s path. They find a mummified corpse that is not frozen, but moving imperceptibly slow. Laudna takes its amulet and Essek again reminds them not to touch anything.


Essek takes them to the Genesis Ward, a more industrial neighborhood with a massive crater in the street. Nearby, they find a recently constructed large tent. Chetney casts Arcane Eye to look inside of it, and sees broken furniture and blood everywhere, with five bodies all in Vanguard robes. The bodies have been recently and horrifically slaughtered with gleeful cruelty.

One victim, the elf, has a dagger embedded in their throat and their face is unsettlingly euphoric. Chetney uses Grim Psychometry again and sees the elf touch their forehead and wander away. They then wait in the tent until four people enter. The elf attacks with unnatural strength and immeasurable violence, cackling as they carve. The elf then sits in the center of the bodies, carving something into their own chest before stabbing the dagger through their own throat as they smile. Having a normal one!

Chetney opens the elf’s shirt and sees the carving – two overlapping circles, one large ring and one smaller ring with drawn lines. Neither Essek nor Delilah recognize the rune, though Delilah thinks it’s ritualistic in nature. Laudna gets the feeling that this is something divine. Everyone needs to be careful of their own heads.

Orym hears a faint grinding sound, like stone on stone. The group hides as quickly as they can before a tall, thin, lumbering humanoid rounds the corner. It drags along a piece of a statue, a hand gripping a hammer. Its head arches forward like it wears a hood, but there is no cloth – only gray flesh. Its chest contains spinning rows of teeth. The chest mouth (eugh) opens, and numerous translucent scorpions scatter out and search, discovering Laudna’s hiding place.

That is it for Episode 96 of Critical Role!


  • Oh Laudna, Bells Hells love you so much.
  • Orym used the harness to absorb his ring of protection, gaining +2 to his HP.
  • Apparently Essek turned into a fish once due to Aeor’s wild magic and Caleb had to carry him around. I love them. And I love that Bells Hells are following in the Nein’s footsteps!
  • Hey so what the helter skelter is going on in that tent?!

Catch Episode 97 on Thursday, June 6th at 7pm Pacific on and on or a week later on our podcast. Is it Thursday yet?

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