Critical Recap: Critical Role E135 “The Genesis Ward”
Written by Dani on April 28, 2021
Hello! Welcome to Critical Recap! I’m Dani Carr, the Critical Role Lore Keeper. Let’s dive into our recap of Critical Role Episode 135 The Genesis Ward!
Despite nightmares and restless sleep, the Mighty Nein manage to complete a long rest. Beau and Caleb have new red eyes – Beau’s is just below her throat and Caleb’s is on the palm of his left hand. Three each now. Fjord is still bald but casts an illusion to look like he has hair. Jester decides to wait for a short rest to make another heroes feast, since they still have a few hours left from the first casting. The Nein enter the Genesis Ward, another large and open neighborhood. In the center, the street bends upward and ends at a jagged point, like a catastrophic explosion.
This huge hole extends a mile across and descends down multiple floors – subterranean levels that have now been exposed, like the layers of a cake. Beau is able to ascertain how the crater was made – on the crater’s lip, she sees a unique groove, indicating that whatever triggered the explosion was sent from somewhere else. It bore into the ground, then detonated from the inside out.
Three floors down, Jester spies a familiar yellow light – she believes this to be where Cree and Lucien took their rest. The Nein rope climb down to the first floor below them, finding a tossed and disheveled open hall covered in the ashes of burnt books and dozens of bodies. There is a storage room to the side, filled with basic spell components. Another room reads Records 104.
Caleb and Veth take a peek inside and discover a room full of books, blank parchment, and ink – Caleb’s heaven. Among the books, Caleb finds a study of the creation of the pantheon and growing proof (from Aeor’s perspective) that mortal imagination gave birth to the gods, not the other way around. Other papers detail the debate, fighting both for and against the theory.
Another paper mentions the Somnovem and how they defied programs, broke approved protocols in research & experimentation and hoarded their findings. As such, studies in the Cognouza Ward were halted and members of the Somnovem Collective were banned from floors B3-B6 in the Genesis Ward. Another document refers to the Factorum Malleus Project (which Caleb translates as Hammer of Creation) and that its early results were satisfactory.
The last one mentions someone named Athodan and their promising work on rejuvenation – that a relic was found and that the weaving of necromantic glyphs revealed unique arcane properties. Caleb takes ten minutes to cast his vault of amber and gather the books and paper.
Yasha and Essek stay with Caleb while the others descend to the next floor, which is a fully incinerated room. Cad notices a corpse wearing an electrum bracelet that holds an amethyst gem that Charlie cannot identify. Meanwhile, Essek watches Caleb and the two discuss Essek’s rising unease, particularly in regards to the red eyes and Caleb’s distracting curiosity.
Essek asks Caleb which is more important to him, Trent chasing him or chasing Lucien? Lucien is more important, which mollifies Essek. Essek knows they are surrounded by curiosities but he warns Caleb that they need to focus on the goal and then be curious when time allows them to be. Caleb finishes up, but as he’s climbing down the rope to the others, it snaps in half – he polymorphs into a sparrow to save himself. Yasha bamfs her wings out and ferries the party safely down to the next floor, B3.
They’re now in the room Jester saw in her scry, which is reminiscent of the laboratory in A2. The room is split like a donut where the roof has fallen in. There are two foggy glass columns on one side, containing creatures. One metallic door reads ‘Rejuvenation Experimentation. Team Athodan Admittance Only.’ To the left is ‘Repair Terminal,’ which contains a metal contraption.
The Nein place Charlie in the repair capsule. After a few minutes, Charlie emerges, whole and intact. When he speaks, his voice is deep and commanding, and he introduces himself as Davexian. It takes a moment, but then he remembers what happened, saying ‘they’ must have found the experiment. Out of the various means of protecting Aeor from the gods’ destruction, one experiment was considered too dangerous to be allowed. The Hammer of Creation was mistranslated – it is actually the Creator Hammer.
As for the Somnovem, they were theorists obsessed with the metaphysical. Charlie thinks that it is a cruel joke of history that the Cognouza Ward is all that survives of Aeor. They give him a rundown of what they’re facing and Davexian points them to B9 – that’s where the planar tethers are: the Immensus Gate. However, Davexian has no interest in joining them. He’s going to try to get his associates back online. The Nein saved him, so he might be able to save others. He doesn’t know what the blue domes are, though.
Davexian opens up the metallic door for them, considering it a parting gift. He tells them to keep an eye out for any deeply set grooves and strange language on floors and doorways. The gate itself has an intricate pattern for initiation and they need to keep trained eyes on the gate. The bracelet Cad found is a security bracelet, utilized to bypass sensors, locks and seals. With that, Davexian takes his leave, a confident Aeormaton with a plan.
Within the room that Davexian opened are two odd platforms encased in cylindrical glass, one of which is heavily cracked. A purple crystal is set in the base of each cylinder. Essek realizes that the room contains dunamis: traces of dunamancy, which strikes him as odd.
Caduceus casts speak with dead on a corpse wearing armor and carrying an odd crossbow. Beau is able to translate, revealing that the machine was an attempt at instantaneous rejuvenation. It was mostly successful and requires the proper clearance to use. Veth takes the rune covered crossbow and Beau finds a second bracelet, this one with a turquoise gem.
Cad’s bracelet gets them access to the first cylinder. Fjord steps inside, eager to see if it will regrow his hair. As the machine turns on, Essek can sense dunamancy within the purple crystal at its base. The cylinder glows, then fades. Everything blurred in front of his eyes for a moment, but Fjord is fine and refreshed. And yes, his hair is back! He received the benefits of a long rest.
Essek examines the crystal, curious as to how they accelerated time, while Caleb reminds him of his own words. Caleb steps inside the cylinder, but the machine doesn’t seem to have enough power. It may just need a recharge. Essek notices the crystal is like a mini replica of a beacon, elements of space floating inside. Essek destroys the second terminal to take the crystal, giving it to Caleb.
LEAP OF FAITH
As the Nein leave the Rejuvenation Chamber, they notice a horrible smell. The two opaque glass tubes in the room have lifted and a creature is walking around. Though they try to distract it, a fight still ensues. The creature is extremely tall, with elongated arms and thin claws, a serpent head sitting on its shoulders and dozens of small mouths on its torso. They wonder if there’s any relation to the Laughing Hand.
They fight the creature, an Aerorian Nullifier, which particularly harries Yasha. Another creature appears, a strange fleshy bulldog monster with armored plates and a circular mouth for a head, as well as a tentacular tongue. Cad banishes this second creature and Fjord teleports over to the Nullifier, getting the final blow. With banishment held, the Nein run to the edge and jump off, casting a combination of featherfall and fly spells as they float down, looking for B9.
That is it for Episode 135 of Critical Role!
- Davexian, more like DaSEXYan, am I right?
- No other thoughts, that joke is me at my best.
- Okay, one more thought: so the gods might not be gods?? Intriguing!
- Oh Mighty Nein.