Critical Recap: Exandria Unlimited E2: “The Oh No Plateau”
Written by Dani on July 7, 2021
Hello! Welcome to Critical Recap! I’m Dani Carr, the Critical Role Lore Keeper, and I’m back to bring you recaps for Exandria Unlimited! Let’s dive into our recap of ExU Episode 2 The Oh No Plateau!
The group leaves the warehouse, ready to attempt deceiving Poska, but they realize they’re being stalked by the Nameless Ones and take off into the night. They give their pursuers the slip, but then run into two more rogues disguising themselves as guards at one of the gates out of the city. Opal charms one and ties him up in an alley while the others fight the second “guard” and leave him unconscious. They proceed to successfully leave the borders of Emon.
After making camp in the woods, they discuss the damage they’ve done in the last 24 hours, what with upsetting an emerging thieves guild and all. They might not be able to return to Emon. Orym wants to take both the residuum and the circlet to the Ashari and figure out what to do from there. The circlet still makes only Dorian and Orym sick. Opal touches the box and receives a vision of the circlet, along with imagery of spiders. When she tells the others, they explain that one of the Betrayer Gods is known as the Spider Queen.
Dorian realizes that this circlet must be a Vestige of Divergence – powerful items forged during the Calamity that are directly connected to certain gods. It’s a wildly rare thing to have. Dorian questions whether or not this is a good thing to just give away. If it’s the Spider Queen’s…that’s probably bad. Fearne thinks they could give it to her grandmother in the Feywild. But Fearne isn’t sure it’s time to go back, yet. Fearne has two memories – one where she was simply sent to Exandria and another, more correct memory, of walking with her Nana for weeks to a huge gate of green light and passing through it to the woods on the outskirts of Syngorn.
The group decides to get some sleep, with Orym taking the first watch. At the tail end, he hears the sound of skittering in the box, unnerving him. Meanwhile, Opal dreams of spiders, but she also hears her sister Ted’s voice, asking what she’s doing. The two argue, with Ted claiming that she’s trying to keep Opal alive. Opal tells Ted to stop shitting on her adventure. Ted is aghast at the thanks she gets for making Opal magic, which confuses Opal. Ted tells her to have fun with her daggers. Dorian takes the final watch and hears a strange lullaby on the breeze. He pulls out his flute and plays along with it, pleasing something.
Upon waking, they head to the Flamereach Outpost at the Scar of the Cinder King, a petrified grove. They meet Lorkathar, a half-orc woman. Orym was originally supposed to join up with the Fire Ashari and help out, but he’s brought a problem. He explains finding the residuum stolen by the Nameless Ones, but Lorkathar doesn’t know anything about the thieves guild. Orym asks her to contact Keyleth, the leader of the Air Ashari, because she’d want to know. It might have to do with her friends in Whitestone. Lorkathar will reach out.
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN…
Orym tries to segue into discussing the circlet, but Dorian and Opal cut him off, both irritated by the lack of help here. Lorkathar apologizes for her terseness and explains some of her stress. There was activity at Thordak’s Crater a week ago, fire elementals coming through the tear. This recent one killed a few firetamers. Lorkathar goes to get the two survivors, Jhessho and Reyan, and the group argues about what they’re doing here and their plans.
Jhessho and Reyan arrive, looking quite worse for wear. Jhessho explains that the fight at the Crater was a coordinated attack by some planar being. Things have gotten worse over the last couple months, with both the Crater and the Scar. Constant tremors and fissures in the ground. Thordak was a rot that seeped into the ground of Tal’Dorei. Now, something is pushing back against their attempt to reverse the damage. Like something is trying to use the holes that Thordak punched between the planes and is trying to come through.
The party is familiar with the issues at the Crater – they had their own run-in there. It’s how they got Mister. Fearne explains that when they were at the Crater and trying to protect themselves, she felt like she should reach into the earth. Little Mister was already there and she brought him out. Jhessho explains that Fearne made something out of the magical energy of the area. Dorian reveals that everything Jhessho has described about their fight is what the party experienced, as well. They all want to help figure out what happened.
…AND INTO THE FIRE
Suddenly, a massive earthquake rips through the Outpost! Ash is falling from the colorful sky and just past the petrified forest is a brand new land feature, a mesa that has just arisen from the ground. The Fire Ashari are panicked and understaffed, so Orym volunteers their group to join those who are investigating the new mesa. In the panic, Dariax accidentally touches the circlet. His eyes go black, but he doesn’t notice anything amiss.
The group nicknames the mesa the ‘Oh No Plateau’ and run over, forced to climb up the forty foot cliffside to the top. They get separated in all the ash that is falling around them, but they eventually meet back up and begin their trek across the mesa. They take points of exhaustion if they breathe in too much ash, making their walk even more difficult, but negate it a little with makeshift masks as they make their way to the mesa’s center.
In the center, the air glows purple and red. As the group moves closer, Mister is pushed out of his monkey form and turns back into a fire elemental, his flames a similar hue to the glow around them. Then they see it – in the middle of the mesa is a burning, purple-red runic sigil burned into the ground.
Fearne and Opal approach the rune, with Fearne reminded of her own extraplanar experience with the gate and her passage into Exandria. This rune feels powerful, but incomplete. Opal tries to use her magic, but nothing happens. Dariax throws a rock, which immolates upon touching the rune. Opal tries to talk to the rune, but all she hears is Ted in her head, telling her to apologize in order to get her magic back.
Dariax thinks they should send Mister into the rune, who seems deeply excited about this entire situation. Dorian suggests Fearne try to touch the ‘ash hole’, since she was able to touch Mister. She touches the air above the rune – the heat would burn anyone else, but she takes no damage. Fearne is a Wildfire Druid, after all. Fearne lets Mister cross into the rune and when he does, he becomes a large, ashy elemental who turns on the party.
A fight begins, with Opal unable to use her magic and refusing to apologize to Ted. They can tell that the elemental is still Mister, stuck in place to the rune. Dorian casts dissonant whispers, telling Mister to come back to them and Fearne. It successfully pushes Mister away from the rune, turning him back into their monkey friend, who happily reunites with Fearne, even as Dariax nearly attacks him.
It seems this rune is the heart of whatever is going on with the Crater, as well. The Fire Ashari plan to contact their sister clans to find out if the other elemental tears are behaving strangely. As the group heads back to the Outpost, Orym tells Dorian that he agrees they should keep the circlet for now. Dorian is grateful for Orym’s trust. Dariax apologizes to Fearne for being antagonistic with Mister and the dwarf and monkey come to a mutual respect.
They meet back up with Lorkathar and explain what happened. She asks a favor of them, to head back into Emon and find Shaun Gilmore, the owner of Gilmore’s Glorious Goods. Gilmore is a runechild and he might be able to help them decode this rune. Opal is irritated by Lorkathar’s requests. They came here for help and are only getting chores. Lorkathar and Opal argue, with Opal asking that Lorkathar try harder to contact the Air Ashari for Orym. Lorkathar agrees and the group decides to rest before figuring out how to re-enter Emon.
Ted watches from a dark place, her feelings a mix of frustration, duty, and love for her sister. She knows she will cave. Ted will always protect her sister, from the world and from herself. Always.
That is it for Episode 2 of Exandria Unlimited!
- Ash hole. ASH HOLE.
- No one has told Dariax that he has black eyes now! Y’all! Tell your boy about his eyes!
- Shaun Gilmore? THE Shaun Gilmore? -lore intensifies-
- Landscape changes? Needing to sneak back into Emon? Oh the stakes are getting RAISED.
Anyway, catch Episode 3 on Thursday, July 8th at 7pm Pacific on twitch.tv/criticalrole and on youtube.com/criticalrole or a week later on our podcast. Is it Thursday, yet?