Critical Recap: Critical Role C3E97 “Ancient Sins”

Written by on June 12, 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 97 Ancient Sins!


Bells Hells are thrown into a fight against the hooded Aeorian monster, the Husklumber. Essek shows off dunamantic gravitational magic to the group for the first time, causing a reaction in Ashton’s head. Orym is chomped on by the Husklumber while Imogen and Dorian tag team an impressive lightning bolt move. This leads to Imogen being the first to experience Aeor’s chaotic magical consequences, as a fireball from nowhere explodes on top of her after she casts a spell.

Laudna uses void puppet, her new ability from Delilah, creating a spirit from her past to aid her. Orym casts misty step to escape the monster’s jaws, slaying the creature while atop its body (Shadow of the Colossus style). Bells Hells hide in a nearby crumbling tower when they hear more creatures approaching. Three doglike creatures, Aeorian Absorbers, arrive and devour the bodies left in the tent. While taking a short rest, the group watches one Absorber get dragged up to the ceiling via a strange goo.

Their path clear, Essek directs them to the cavernous hole in the middle of the area. They fly down, with Orym riding piggyback on Dorian. This enormous hole carves a layer cake through the levels of Aeor, showing the other floors and their violent damage. Essek notices how much has been picked clean by the Cerberus Assembly. He and his partner were attempting to map the ruins before they were forced to leave by the Assembly’s takeover.


Essek leads them to the 8th floor, where he and his partner had originally seen reference to the Occultus Thalamus within a notebook. Essek is unsure what the Thalamus is, exactly. Laudna and Orym recall FCG and comment on how painful it is to be here, in FCG’s home, without their friend. Laudna thinks they should return to Jrusar when the Ruidus business is concluded and find FCG’s Coin of Delving that was lost in the spires.

They fly to the 8th floor and find the remains of another Ruby Vanguard encampment, but there are no signs of people. They hear a distant, vibrating hum in the darkness, and spot a smeared blood trail on the ground. Laudna sends Pâté to investigate – he follows the blood smears down a hallway, finding a room with shattered glass cylinders. This area was central to the magical research and technology developed for the city.

Essek brings them to the chamber where he originally found the papers mentioning the Thalamus. He notices an area that was previously magically barred to him that is now recently opened and braced. The blood trail tracks this pathway and Bells Hells follow to a room of ancient corpses – Essek says this room was likely an experimentation room of some kind.


Pâté finds a larger chamber with more ancient corpses on the floor… and wicked-looking black chains with far more recent bodies hung upon their hooks. The bodies, over a dozen, are dressed in various Vanguard attire. Some carry the same intense smile as the elf they found, as well as carvings on their chests. Bells Hells realize that this is the work of the Dominox – the wrinkle in Ludinus’ plans. This is why Ludinus had to come in person to fix things in Aeor.

Suddenly, Laudna’s connection to Pâté is lost. Chetney leads the group into the room, where they see Pâté on the ground, lifeless. Chetney senses the presence of fiends. Essek presents a charm that allows the user to cast speak with dead, which Imogen uses on one of the hanging corpses. The dead man confirms that it was the Dominox who whispered in their heads and that it started with the engine room.


Fearne decides to kiss the symbol of the Lord of Hells on her hand, summoning the Champion Teven Klask. Teven appears in the flesh through a fiery portal, pleased that Fearne called. He tells her that the pact begins. Teven recalls Dominox, a grand demon from the ancient past who was presumed lost in the Calamity. He was an enemy and Teven is happy to assist in bringing him down. Teven confirms that the Lord of Hells is also gearing up to take down Ruidus.

Teven calls Dominox the Grand Demon of Loathing, whose sigil is the ‘carving of gifting’ for those who offer him their oblivion in their final moments – his victims literally gift their suffering to Dominox. Laudna wonders if Dominox was locked away by the Aeorians and now has been released. She points out that he is currently messing up things for Ludinus, so maybe they can use Dominox to their advantage.


Chetney steps up to check another door when he suddenly sees not his friends, but dozens of slashed and bloody children. They surround him, calling him the big bad wolf and asking if he has forgotten what he did to them, how he crafted toys for them before devouring them. Chetney knows there was a time when he was transformed and feral and has trouble recalling exactly what happened. He doesn’t believe he could have done this.

Orym steps up to try and calm Chetney down and Chetney slashes him. Chetney sees the children attacking him and again says he didn’t do this before Orym brings him out of the vision. Everyone is now extremely on edge, worried about Dominox getting in their heads. Chetney uses Grim Psychometry on the floor, seeing people clutch their heads and putting themselves on the chains.


Since Dominox is before Teven’s time, they decide to talk to one of the older corpses. Imogen uses the charm again, talking to an ancient woman. She reveals that Dominox was captured by the Pinion of Service, an Abyssal soul anchor that was developed to keep him shackled to the engine. When Dominox is slain by the engine, he returns to the soul anchor – thus keeping the engine running forever. The engine must stay on with the seals intact in order to hold Dominox.

Imogen asks what Dominox is attracted to and the woman reveals that he feeds on insecurity; his victims’ suffer under self-loathing until they surrender to oblivion and feed him. Laudna realizes she was right – there was a demon in the engine who has now been released.

While Bells Hells discuss what they’ve learned, Dorian examines one of the hanging bodies. His mind is taken over, causing him to see his brother Cyrus hanging from the hook. The deceased Cyrus tells Dorian that by never letting Cyrus fix his own mistakes, Dorian pulled his brother into his own chaos and got him killed.

That is it for Episode 97 of Critical Role!


  • Nooooooooo!!! Don’t listen to the self-loathing demons, Bells Hells! Y’all are so screwed!
  • It is so much fun being back in Aeor, especially with an extra helping of scary demons.
  • Oh hey Teven Klask. I refuse to think about the implications of Fearne’s new pact and am instead focusing on the blessed return of Demon Daddy.
  • Dominox and Loathing Live at the Greek!!!

This Saturday is the Bells Hells Live Show, which will air on Thursday, June 20th at 7pm Pacific on and on or a week later on our podcast (Beacon subscribers receive the podcast same day as the VOD). Is it Thursday yet?

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