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This wiki contains spoilers for all stories of Critical Role. This includes the story for unaired episodes of The Legend of Vox Machina, as it's based on the first campaign of Critical Role from 2015-2017.

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"Beyond the Heart City" (E1x07) is the seventh episode of Exandria Unlimited Prime. Pressing deeper into the jungle, the group stumbles upon an intriguing puzzle, but unlocking its mysteries leads to a dangerous encounter...

Synopsis

Pre-Show

The cast introduce themselves and then go to future Cozy Matt (guest starring Omar as a rabbit) for announcements.

Announcements

  • This episode is sponsored by Bethesda and ZeniMax Online Studios and their latest release Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood, now available on all platforms.
  • Second sponsor is Magpie Games and their official licensed tabletop game based on Avatar: The Last Airbender and the Legend of Korra.
  • Third sponsor is Nord VPN, now offering a two-year plan plus a bonus gift at a discount with code "EXU".
  • Exandria Unlimited livestreams on both Twitch and YouTube. The moderated community live chat is on Twitch.
  • The Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn is coming soon and will have a deluxe Beadle & Grimm's version as well, complete with jewelry, paper handouts, player gazetteer, and GM screen. Pre-order now at Beadle & Grimm's.
  • Aabria compliments Matt on his rendition of Hot Cross Buns on the recorder.

Previously on Exandria Unlimited

You've survived weeks of treacherous travel south through the feral splendor of the Rifenmist Jungle, a land that seems almost sentient, animated with the breath of Melora, the Wildmother. And she guards a great secret, one that you have finally discovered for yourself: a great civilization known as the Qoniira Tetrarchy, believed to have been lost in the violent chaos of the Calamity eons ago. It still stands, very much diminished but alive and well in its capital of Niirdal-Poc.

Fy'ra Rai, the mysterious fire genasi monk that led you here, escorted you to the city and to a trusted friend of hers, Elam Genar, an earth genasi, before moving towards the central plaza dominated by a massive statue of a feline humanoid with four outspread feather wings and an uplifted hand grasping a strange gray-gold light that you see permeates every part of the city. In the presence of The Observer, our divine soul sorcerer Dariax experienced a moment of communion with this being, and they spoke of The Gift, and spoke kindly and ebulliently of your predilection for chaos and curiosity.

You all met one of the four Tetrarchs, an elephantine cleric of the moons named Thrascuur, that saw ill omens and imminent disaster written across the night sky. They translated the fiery rune of the ash-blown mesa as "a place of burning", a point in the world so white-hot with potential energy, both fiery and arcane, that it was marked by glyphs that predate the gods' vulgar Celestial language. You also learned of Tetrarch Umejii's solo mission south through the Beynsfal Peninsula headed toward Tz'Arrm, the heart of the ominous Iron Authority, to suss out if they're the source of Thrascuur's ill omens.

Headed back from that meeting, you were accosted by invisible mages bent on abducting Opal. A chase ensued through the streets and valleys of Niirdal-Poc, and through cunning spell work, stone-shattering swordsmanship, and some good old-fashioned fanged violence, you all won the night. But one very powerful spellcaster escaped. Bloodied and exhausted in the foggy darkness, you collected yourselves and parted ways with Fy'ra Rai, whose destiny for now, at least, lay northward toward her long-lost sister.

Part I

During the remainder of the night, during his watch Dariax wanders to the statue of The Observer, who again converses with him. She tells him she has bequeathed him The Gift: his intuition. If he needs her, she will help him however she can. As he leaves, he notices his spear is a little more effective.

The city seems to be becoming increasingly active and guarded, despite the hour. Dorian goes back to the battle scene and finds his axe among the bodies. He pulls away a strand of spider silk and hears the voice of the Spider Queen taunting him for his cowardice.

In the morning, they all share breakfast wine and talk about what to do next. Orym suggests getting out of town to avoid future attempts to abduct Opal. Tetrarch Thrascuur arrives and their blessing gives Opal five temporary hit points. They give the party a map, telling them that if they follow the constellation of Surrac's Shield, it will lead them to the ruin of what was once the southernmost city of the Qoniira Tetrarchy, Niirdal-Sarqet. Once there, they should keep heading south. They are welcome to return to Niirdal-Poc whenever they choose.

One of the staff who delivers supplies to the party (a very young feline girl who was present at the home of Elam Genar) tries to give them a letter to deliver on Elam's behalf, but they are suspicious. Orym follows her out and learns she is Neera, and promises to deliver the letter to Umejii.

Fan art of the Cube, by Hunter Rogerson.[art 1]

They head southward out of the city and after a few days' travel reach the ruins of Niirdal-Sarqet, among which they find a slowly rotating massive elaborately-carved stone cube floating 15 feet in the air. They notice the gravity is odd around it, and when Fearne throws a rock at it, it sticks onto one of its faces. Dariax and Dorian each recognize a word on the cube: "universe" and "shield".

Opal approaches it, tethered by a rope tied around her held by Dariax, but he trips and they both are pulled onto different faces of the cube, learning they can walk normally across and around it. Trying to decipher more of its writing, they read "the universe above". As Dariax speaks the words aloud, the lights within the cube change to red.

The universe above
The universe within
Remember what came before
Decide what happens next
Provide for all
A shield to protect.
– 
The Cube[1]
[!h]

Orym investigates the area and although he sees no signs of physical creatures, he senses they are being watched. As they decipher each side of the cube, they read "a shield to protect," "decide what comes next," and "remember what came before," and the cube changes color each time. Dariax manages to fall off the side and he and Orym both see a massive stone construct arrive, pulsing with the same colored lights as the stone cube. Dariax reads another side: "The universe within." Fearne deciphers the final side: "Provide for all." The cube goes blue, they hear a rumbling, and the sigils begin to shift. The cube breaks.

Break

Part II

A burst of energy shoots out and away from the broken cube. All of the party except Orym find themselves floating on shards of the cube, with Dariax directly in front of the stone construct. During the ensuing battle, each player has a chance of suffering minor damage and a drop in hit point maximum at the end of each of their turns, but also gain new special abilities. The initial golem is slowly joined by three more.

Orym gains an additional battle maneuver; Dariax gains the ability to either attack twice with his spear, or double his damage. Dorian hears the voice of Lolth in his head taunting him again, and feels himself able to control in which direction gravity pulls him. Opal gains an eleven point pool of healing she can use herself or give to others, and Fearne gains the ability to require a re-roll on any d20 roll made by a creature within 30 feet.

Orym manages to push one of the creatures off its cube to the ground, but a new one appears. Opal finds a needle of residuum in her left shoulder, and as she is attacked, hears a voice that reminds her of the way the people of Niirdal-Poc spoke asking what she most fears. When she replies that it is never seeing her sister again, a hand reaches out to her opal necklace but is hit back.

Fan art of Dariax's wings, by Swisidniak.[art 2]

As he is attacked, Dariax feels an itching in his back, and two wings erupt out of his back giving him the ability to fly. Opal is knocked off her cube shard and as she falls, she notices another residuum needle between her eyebrows. Dariax flies after her, scoops her up, and flies back to the top of the cube, hitting two creatures with Burning Hands as he goes and killing one. Opal then realizes the two needles are tethered to someone hiding in the brush, and not attached to her, herself. When a third one hits, she notes from which direction it is coming and leaps down toward it. Dariax gets the final hit on one creature while awkwardly flying, and Dorian kills the last one.

As the last creature falls, Dorian sees Opal on the ground moving toward a flash of purple robes. Myr'atta Niselor steps forward, pulls out a long spike of metal and residuum and sinks it into the ground. As she does, Opal feels her body pulled slamming onto the ground, and Myr'atta tells her she will free her from "this little girl" and together they will change the world. When Opal asks what she's talking about, Myr'atta responds that she is talking to Ted, not Opal, and that Myr'atta has been through too much to fail now.

Featured Characters

Player Characters

Fan art of Neera, by Nikki Dawes.[art 3]

New

Returning

Mentioned

Quotations

  • Neera: I'm an assassin.
  • Matt: (as Liam is deciding to leap from his cube while wearing a Keyfish[2] t-shirt) We're practically mortals!
  • Myr'atta Niselor: (to Opal) Oh, whatever your name is, I'm going to free you from this little girl, and together, we're going to change the world. Just hold on a little longer.[...]
    Opal: What the fuck are you talking about?
    Myr'atta: Oh, (chuckles) I'm not talking to you.
    Opal: Who are you talking to?
    Myr'atta: I'm talking to Ted.
    Opal: She's not here.
    Myr'atta: That's where you're wrong. [...] You don't understand what's happening here. I'm not worried about you, (to the others) or any of you, and I have been through too much to fail now.

Inventory

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes

Trivia

References

  1. See "Beyond the Heart City" (E1x07) at 2:10:16.
  2. See "Taryon, My Wayward Son" (1x97) at 0:13:56.

Art:

  1. Fan art of the Cube, by Hunter Rogerson (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Dariax's wings, by Swisidniak (source). Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Neera, by Nikki Dawes (source). Used with permission.


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