"A Name Is Earned" (1x49) is the eleventh episode of the fourth chapter of Critical Role. Vox Machina ventures deep beneath the Stormcrest Mountains to confront the mysterious androsphinx mate of Osysa — and hopefully learn more about the Vestiges of the Divergence.
Previously on Critical Role
"Vox Machina, having traversed many places in the world in hopes of finding a way to expel or destroy the Chroma Conclave, a collective of four chromatic dragons that together managed to destroy large bastions of society on the continent of Tal'Dorei and beyond in Wildemount. Thordak the Cinder King, the seeming leader of their group, currently sits in the center of the partially destroyed city of Emon. The other dragons have scattered about and claimed their own territories. From this, the party has discovered the existence of these legendary magical items referred to as the Vestiges of the Divergence that existed from wars long past, that were carried on from generation to generation, that contain power that may be sufficient to defeat these creatures.
"The party was sent to seek out the nameless sphinx that exists somewhere near the Frostweald, the mate to Osysa—the gynosphinx they met in Vasselheim who sent them to seek out this information. Upon going to the town of Westruun to the north, it had been partially destroyed by the black dragon Umbrasyl, and in its absence had been taken over by what seems to be Grog's roving barbarian herd. They currently sit on the throne of the town of Westruun and have made some sort of accord with the dragon, where they can kind of both simultaneously rule that area as long as they continue to provide goods, gold, and whatever they can procure from those who live within the city still.
"Deciding to continue south, the party made their way into the ever-frozen forest of the Frostweald. They stumbled upon a small hive of basilisks that surrounded an obelisk of Ioun, which gave them their first clue as to the location where this sphinx could be found. They battled the basilisks, destroyed their underground hive, or at least the exit from it, via Fireballs and Stone Walls and other such endeavors. Amongst the stone ruins of previous victims of the basilisks they found most of Tyriok Gadsworth, the wandering cartographer, now missing a portion of his right arm, however he is restored and alive, which is much better than how he was before, and is currently leading the party towards a camp of orcs supposedly nearby, as some of the survivors of Westruun's destruction were camping far south, and some were being captured by this roving orc camp. The party has just stepped away from the obelisk and the remains of these basilisks they've slaughtered, as Tyriok guides them to where he saw some roving orcs before he himself was turned to stone in that previous area."
Vox Machina finds that Tyriok, although an earnest guide, is noisy. Vex'ahlia recasts Pass Without a Trace to incorporate him, and they start stealthing. Vax'ildan gives Tyriok the Keen Dagger for protection, but Vex persuades Tyriok it's too dangerous for him and Vax pretends to swap it for an ordinary dagger.
They spot two orcs and stealthily follow them back to their camp, where the orcs are torturing prisoners and having a good old time. While Scanlan casts Magnificent Mansion as a potential refuge for the prisoners, the rest of the party prepares for battle. Keyleth Conjures Woodland Beings to summon two dryads to join the fight, but they immediately fall into a previously-invisible pit, screaming. Seeing their stealth is blown, Scanlan rolls into the camp in a Resilient Sphere and the party attacks. While the fight is going on, Scanlan Dimension Doors into one of the tents, finding two brutalized human prisoners whom he unties and sends on their way toward the mansion door. After a short but intense fight, all but one grappled orc is dead.
Grog steps forward to question the orc, but the orc knows little and will not say if he knows where the sphinx is. Grog brutally kills him, and Craven Edge absorbs some of his strength, bringing Grog's strength (since he has refused to take either a short or long rest) to 24. They discover that the tortured prisoner that they saw earlier is Cyrus, the brother of Cornelius, unconscious but alive, and Pike heals him. The party releases the other prisoners (who head into the mansion) and loots the slain orc chief and the camp. Vax starts burying the dead.
Vex on her broom and Scanlan as a Polymorphed crow scout Stormpeak and find an intentionally carved triangular entrance to the very base of the mountain recessed into the mountain rock. Scanlan flies in, but is defeated by the dark and drops his crow form. His gnome darkvision sees stairs leading downward and a blue shimmer coming from the tunnel beyond. He Polymorphs into an owl, rejoins the party, and they all regroup in the Mansion. Grog stays awake that night, taking a second level of exhaustion in addition to the first one gained by a frenzied rage in the battle.
Grog stays awake and talks to Craven Edge. He asks the sword how it felt about its previous master, Sylas Briarwood, and if it knew about anything about the Briarwood’s plans with Vecna. Craven Edge recalls that Sylas kept it well fed, and that it doesn;t know anything about Vecna due to lack of interest. After Grog explains that he’s staying awake so they can continue their kill streak the next day, Craven Edge claims it’s close to being full. This surprises Grog and he asks what will happen when Craven Edge is full, to which it challenged him to feed it and find out. Grog suggests they declare the day Craven Edge gets full as its birthday.
The party begins to wake up and have their standard chicken breakfast with some boar looted from the Orc camp. Grog lies and tells Vex he slept well after she greets him with a couple wake-me-up slaps across the face.
Tyriok reassures the party that he can lead the people that were captured by the Orcs back to their refugee camp. Vex tells him to pass along that the party will be back to send them to Whitestone. After they all say their goodbyes, Vax gently reminds Tyriok to return the dagger he lent him while Vex lets him keep the opal dagger in hopes that Scanlan would witness her being generous, but he conveniently missed the act.
Liam gets his first whisper from Matt after an insight check on Grog who was lying again about sleeping.
Continuing Up the Mountain
The party reaches the cavern Vex and Scanlan found scouting the night before. Making their way down the stairs and find themselves in a circular room with seemingly no exits. In the middle of the room is a 10ft pool of water. Inside there is a very small blue light. Along the walls they find markings in Celestial, which Percival translates.
They begin the investigate the pool - Vex inspects from above on her broom while Grog makes a wish and tosses a gold coin in. Keyleth dips her hands into it cautiously before diving in. About 40ft down she reaches the bottom and sees a tunnel before her that continues around 60-80ft before curving upward. After Vax tells him to follow Keyleth, Grog jumps in and meets her at the bottom. He continues down the tunnel to investigate and gets shocked and paralyzed by red algae-like tendrils mixed in with the plant life. Keyleth grabs Grog and uses Control Water to jettison them both back to the surface and pulls the water out of Grog’s lungs after the others help pull him out of the pool.
Through the Tunnel
While Keyleth is controling water the party traverses the tunnel and reach a second, larger chamber made of cobalt marble. There are 4 pillars with lion heads on each of them. There is a gold trim around the pool they exit from and within is another message in Celestial.
A mural on the chamber’s ceiling depicts the four elements melding into each other and forming a loop around a small 3ft hole in the center. Vex flies up to inspect the hole and notices the mural is painted over symbols that are rooted in Draconic as it is the basis for arcane writing. Pike explains that the mural represents elemental chaos, and the hole is our world that was created when the gods came.
Percy splashes some water from the pool over the pillar that aligns with the water on the mural. There is a shift and the lion’s mouth opens. Following suit, Vex blows on the air pillar, Vax runs his flame dagger on the fire pillar, and Keyleth druidcrafts some soil onto the earth pillar. After all the lion mouths open they begin pouring sand and the room begins to fill quickly.
The Next Chamber
Vex flies up the hole and ties the infinite twine to the immovable rod at the top. Sand begins to pour into the the tunnel ontop of everyone climbing. After a bit of struggling everyone makes it into the next room and face 2 metal doors with the symbol of Ioun.
Percy opens the doors and Vax moves ahead to investigate. The next chamber is divided into 3 paths which are started by large obilisks exactly like the one in the forest. They reconnect on the other side. The right and left paths have rubble and weblike threads hang from the ceiling covering half the path. There is a divet in the ground visible in the center passage while both the left and right have pools of water similar to the first one. Scanlan places his Ioun stone in a triangle hole in the obilisk and the room where the passages reconnect lights up and the party splits to walk through the passages simultaneously.
Scanlan Dimension Doors to the other side of the passages and notices a large form that was previously unseen. A sphinx reveals itself and tells the party he has watched them come and Osysa told him about them, but that great knowledge cannot be given and must be earned. Roaring as he says this he cause a gust of wind to blow throughout the chamber, activating the traps in the passages behind them. He roars again, asking the party for his name and they enter combat.
- After failing a constitution saving throw, Vex, Grog, and Scanlan all immediately age 15-20 years - Grog being the most noticeably affected.
- Grog maxes out the strength he can steal with Craven Edge, which then grows and becomes jagged.
- Vex anchors the immovable rod near one of the pools of water, ties the infinite twine to it and jumps in. Matt whispers to Laura, after which she reemerges and shouts “K,A!” to the party.
- Percy dons his mask and sticks his head into a sand pile that he uncovers under some of the rocks. Matt whispers to Taliesin and he passes on the letters “J,I”.
- Keyleth turns into a fire elemental in order to enter the fire pit. Matt whispers to Marisha and they gain the letters “M,A,L”.
- Grog jumps into the tornado and everyone reminds Travis that Grog can’t read. Matt whispers to Travis before continuing aloud that Grog is drifting away and running out of time. Grog ties the chain of returning to Craven Edge and throws it through a door that leads back to the battlefield. After it catches something, Grog pulls himself back only to find that Craven Edge was embedded into Pike. Grog runs to Pike and is unable to relay the information he gained in the cyclone.
- Scanlan dimension doors into the cyclone and is suspended in air with no way to get back.
- After failing a constitution saving throw - Keyleth, Vax, and Vex (again) age spontaneously 10 years.
- Grog comes back to his senses and shouts “the letters in the wind are O,R,I”
- While trying to help Pike, Vex is targeted by the sphinx and falls unconscious.
- Vax wraps a pre-tied loop around Grogs neck and uses him as an anchor before jumping into the cyclone after Scanlan.
- Scanlan dimension doors to right in front of the portal back to the fight and uses Vax’s rope to escape. Once out, Scanlan heals Vex for 11 points, bringing her back to consciousness.
- Right after waking up Vex ages another 4 years.
- After 4 failed attempts, Percy shouts the correct name “Kamaljiori”.
Everything comes to a halt as Kamaljiori disperses all the effects and elements and adopts a calm demeanor. Grog yanks Vax back through the portal just before it closes. After a belated greeting to Vox Machina, the sphinx uses the marble on his chest to reveal a Vestige - the Mythcarver - a sword gifted to him by the White Duke.
He reveals the location of other vestiges.
- Fenthras, the Wrath of Feywarden, a bow that defeated titans. It was lost in the Feywild during the Calamity and is currently in a tree that is corrupting the land.
- Plate of the Dawnmartyr, beacon of protection to the chosen of Pelor, and it’s on display in the City of Brass. It was won by a fire giant in a card game against a Suutan.
- Cabal’s Ruin, a magic-devouring cloak once used by an assassin to eliminate the den of Druja. Now owned by a merchant-warrior with a missing eye in Ank’harel.
- The Spire of Conflux, a staff born from Melora’s breath. It was devoured with its owner by a goristro named Yenk in the endless maze of the Abyss.
- The Titanstone Knuckles, now in Westruun with Grog’s uncle - Kevdak
- Whisper, a blade forged from metal from the Far Realm, lies at the bottom of the Ozmit Sea on a lost ship, the Shrew.
The sphinx warns the party that others will be looking for the vestiges now and says the race is on, before returning them to the entrance of the temple via a sandstorm.
- Percival de Rolo
- Scanlan Shorthalt
- Grog Strongjaw
- Pike Trickfoot (DM-controlled)
- Kamaljiori: androsphinx mate of Osysa; gave the Mythcarver to Vox Machina.
- Cyrus: Westruun refugee; brother of Cornelius; captured by orcs; mentioned in "Into the Frostweald" (1x48); rescued by Vox Machina.
- Vanessa: Westruun refugee child; captured by the orcs; rescued by Vox Machina.
|Aquired||1||Circlet||Orc Chief||Bag of holding|
|Aquired||230||Gold||Orc corpses||Party funds|
|Aquired||3||Barrel of alcohol||Orc camp||Bag of Holding|
|Relenquished||1||Gold||Grog||Pool of water||Grog made a wish with this gold to the disapprovement of Vex.|
- Grog: What do you see, Percy?
Percy: I see a door that I have conquered.
- Vax: Do you still have that doohickis?
Scanlan: 'Course I have my doohickis!
Vax: Do you want to shove it in the hole?
Scanlan: You realize that I was born to shove things in holes?
- Matt: You take 38 points of slashing damage as the claw just grabs you and slams you against the stone, and you can feel the claw actually pierce part of your throat, and, as it withdraws, you can feel the blood beginning to pour. It didn't hit anything vital, but it's a serious wound, and the rest of the–
Sam: All the vital stuff's below the belt.
- During the Pre-Show, Laura Bailey mentions that she played Jester, a tiefling cleric, on a one-shot game with Kinda Funny that was being released that week.