"Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) is the sixth episode of the first season of Critical Role. Vox Machina and Clarota continue to wind their way ever downward, eventually reaching the duergar fortress of Emberhold. With a little dash of gnomic derring-do, the group sneaks in through a secret entrance to begin searching for the captive Lady Kima of Vord.
- Matthew Mercer introduces the show.
- The Critical Role intro video and the character bio videos air.
- The Critical Role intro video was created by Zac Eubank, with mixing and sound effects by Alex Niedt, and music by Jason Charles Miller.
- The cast that were able to participate had a great time on International Tabletop Day the previous Saturday (2015-04-11). Met some wonderful fans, including @RuzgofDi, who made the t-shirt that many of them are wearing.
- Marisha Ray announces the possibility of making this the first of many fan designed t-shirts made available for a limited run.
- Liam O'Brien thanks Tim West for supplying jewels and dwarven coins from Fantasy Coin HQ
- Matt announces the night's giveaway.
Previously on Critical Role
"Last we left off, the party had been traveling into the dwarven city of Kraghammer at the behest of the arcanist Allura Vysoren in search of a halfling paladin, a very revered folk hero, named Lady Kima of Vord. She had gone missing following a vision quest, somewhere beneath the city, supposedly for some great evil that was germinating there, festering and growing.
"After [Vox Machina] traversed through the dwarven city, [they] began to find [their] way down into the mithral mines of Greyspine beneath the dwarven town. After a few fateful encounters, the return of [their] gnome cleric, Grog having his proverbial brains temporarily blown out by an intellect devourer, the party then decided to make friends with a mind flayer, an illithid that had been cast out from its people seeking vengeance and possible return to its people.
"Upon making this alliance, they made an attack on the duergar warcamp that is threatening to rise up and attack Kraghammer from deep within the mountains themselves. The attack was successful, the general was interrogated, and some interesting information was gleaned from him before his brain was sucked out of his head by Clarota, the mind flayer friend.
"However this attack also announced to the local warcamp of [their] presence, and in the process of attempting to escape the druid was damaged and lost her eagle form and thus began a free fall of many party members. A haphazard attempt to use the magic carpet far over its weight limit led most of the party to crash land and nearly killed everyone.
"[They] managed to escape, walled themselves in, thanks to Keyleth's stone wall spell and after staying the evening in one of the deeper tunnels and barely avoiding a roving band of duergar, managed to find [themselves] in battle with two ogres carrying a strange mutated black pudding ooze contained in a glass container. The glass container shattered, of course, by an Explosive Arrow created by Percy and fired by Vex'ahlia at the very start of the battle. [This] led into a very rough battle [because] the strange mutating ooze kept splitting and splitting and splitting. Through some good teamwork, and crafty use of Telekinesis and the nearby lava pool, [they] managed to survive the encounter.
"Making [their] way to the bottom of this tunnel, [they] found [themselves] looping back around to the large crevasse where the giant waterfall pools, where [they] had met Clarota, which allowed [Vex'ahlia] to retrieve [her] bear, Trinket. We pick up as [the party] begins to step down into the lower tunnels, the ones that are partially coated with a series of magma pools and falls that are trickling out of the rock side."
Vox Machina heads into the lower chasm, the temperature of the air grows steadily warmer and warmer, with a drier heat. Members of the party with thick armor feel sweat beads trickle down the side of their face. Pressing farther down, the hint of sulphurous smell in the air is now becoming stronger and stronger, deeper and deeper into this cavernous tunnel. The tunnel narrows and widens but continues in a steady descent and doesn't veer off. Some of the small magma trickles pool and gather into magma cups. After a slight hill in the tunnel a larger portion of the left side of the rock wall has collapsed and a gargantuan pool of magma is pouring into the tunnel, essentially covering half of the tunnel.
Scanlan asks Keyleth "You don't have any way of getting any water?" "Oh, I do," says Tiberius and he pulls out an empty bottle. Vax asks Tiberius what the bottle does and Tiberius explains, demonstrating with two bottles, "Well, they're both empty, of course, but this one is an air bottle and this one is a water bottle." When he opens the air bottle, a small gust comes out. He then replaces the cap, and swaps it for the other bottle. He removes the cap and tips the bottle. A never-ending stream of water flows out.
Vex inspects the area for tracks and she determines that it is heavily trafficked by duergar and other larger creatures, possibly ogres and trolls. She also notices several cave-ins caused by large burrowing creatures. Vox Machina stealthily continue down the tunnel and reach a gargantuan chamber, the Emberhold.
Keyleth casts Pass without Trace and Grog does his flower girl routine with the Dust of Tracelessness, as the group moves forward with Vex and Vax in the lead, avoiding the main path. Grog and Trinket are telling jokes in the back of the group. Vex uses her knowledge of the Underdark to mark the places where the terrain would be dangerous.
Percy and Vax halt the group as they hear the clanking of metal and low voices.
Vex and Vax sneak up on the roving patrol of a dozen armed and dangerous duergar. They overhear them discussing one of K'Varn's pets on the loose, as the band moves towards the tunnel Vox Machina just exited.
They continue carefully for an hour until Vex sees one of the obsidian spires is a different color than the rest. Most are a deep shiny black glass, but this one is a dull crimson. Vex wants to head towards the red spire, so the twins take a peek and Scanlan accompanies them, absentmindedly humming to himself.
They make their way up to the spire and can now see that the reason it is red is because it is completely coated in dried blood. Vax and Vex investigate the area and discover that this is the remnants of a battle from almost a week ago. Duergar body parts were pulled apart by force or gnawed off. There are duergar and hook horror tracks as well as a series of unfamiliar and erratic humanoid tracks. They decide to head back to the group.
While they are gone, the rest of the party, except Tiberius, accept a sip from Grog's cask of ale.
When Vax gets back to the group he tosses to Grog an arm he collected from the battleground. Grog catches it, "Thanks for the hand."
The group starts out again, hoping not to run into whatever made those tracks.
Vox Machina just manages to stealthily skirt the city and move straight towards the fortress at the very back wall of the cavern. About a quarter mile from the stronghold, Vex picks up a strange person standing 50 or 60 feet ahead. They aren't moving. Scanlan Polymorphs into a fly and buzzes over to investigate. It is an illithid turned to stone. Scanlan buzzes back to the group and messes with Tiberius' ear before transforming back.
Clarota believes that the duergar use trained basilisks as part of the defense of the fortress. The group continues to move on. When Clarota sees the statue, he recognizes the illithid. He hopes that they can be restored and he has seen it done but personally does not know how.
Vox Machina walks for another 20 minutes, and can now see the large magma fall that is pouring over the top of the fortress' second story. Vax and Vex move ahead of the group to investigate the wall for a sign of the door, an opening mechanism or tracks. Vex notices a slight raise in the flow of the magma. Above them on the parapets they see duergar patrolling.
Scanlan uses Dimension Door to transport himself and Pike to the parapet between the guards and then casts Thunderwave, causing them to plummet over the side of the wall.
- Pike: "I didn't have to do anything, Scanlan!"
- Scanlan: "Make out with me! We're alone. It's super romantic. I just killed two fuckers. C'mon. It's now or never, baby."
- Pike: "Let's just wait until we're out of danger. And that was really hot."
- Scanlan: "It was really hot, right? C'mon, just a little somethin' somethin'." [points to cheek]
- ―Breaching the Emberhold[src]
But before Pike can answer him, the duergar both land, avoiding the magma, and Grog, raging, charges one, cleaving off his arm and then splitting him down the torso.
Keyleth pushes the second guard into the lava and he gives a horrible, painful scream. "Shh, sh," and she uses Wind Wall to try to push him under, but causes him to freeze in the magma as it cools, and then gets buried as more magma pours over him.
- "I notice everything and I sit down and turn to the next chapter in my book."
The sound of the Thunderwave and horrible screams of pain have alerted other guards as Pike and Scanlan hear footsteps approaching them. Scanlan uses Dimension Door again, and he and Pike are transported back to the group. Keyleth casts Wall of Stone perpendicular to the wall above where they suspect the trap door is. The lava flow is bent away from the wall and Vox Machina can now see a stone door was hidden beneath it.
The door appears to have no handle. Vax and Tiberius check for a way to open the door. While they do so, two duergar appear on the parapet. Vex takes two shots, one with her Blazing Bowstring, and Percy takes a shot with Bad News. Vex's target is killed.
The door is not magical, but there is a contraption that opens it from the inside. Vax manages to hook a chain through a gap in the door. Grog grabs the chain, Pike grabs onto the back of Grog, and they both pull. As they pull they hear the grinding of the chain as it rises. It is slightly blocked by the Wall of Stone but the space is big enough for them to squeeze in.
Using Spiritual Weapon, Pike attempts to lasso the duergar guard but catches the wall instead. Scanlan conjures his Unseen Servant behind the duergar to push him off the wall. It gives the duergar a hefty slap. Confused, the duergar readies his crossbow. Vex attacks and hits. The duergar targets Vex but misses. Percy shoots and blows the duergar's head off.
They all head through the door and enter a musty storage room.
At the beginning of the break, Marisha promoted their charity, 826LA, Zac Eubank made announcements regarding Geek & Sundry's give-away, a signed picture of the Critical Role cast, and then character intro videos and the Critical Role intro were re-aired. On their return, Matt thanked Jacqueline Laster for the food she sent and displayed the photograph of the cast that is the give-away.
They find themselves cramped into a tiny storage room with a single door in one direction and steps leading up in another. Vax "sniffs" the door and picks its intricate lock. The door swings opens into a hallway. Grog farts. Tiberius "Oh, Grog!" and casts Prestidigitation, clearing the smell. Vax steps out into the hallway, looks around, hears footsteps above, and then heads down some stairs.
Down the stairs is a room guarded by two duergar. Moaning sounds come from inside the room, and a guard yells, "Shut up in there!"
Vex begins to get worried for her brother and leaves the storage room. The others follow out of boredom.
Vax changes his mind and goes to get his sister first. As he pulls Vex down, they hear more footsteps above, and Keyleth grants Vax Guidance.
Vax throws two of his daggers, and Vex shoots two arrows, one each at each duergar. The first duergar is killed instantly, but the second one is able to shrug off some of the poison from the Dagger of Venom and still stands. A second barrage of daggers and arrows hit him and his body slumps up against the door.
Vex contacts the others using her Earring of Whisper, "I think we found the prison cells. Get down here." They all rush down the stairs, wincing at the clank of Pike's armor.
They look in the open door and see a series of dungeon cells. Vax calls out for Lady Kima. There are a number of dwarven captives in poor health. Pike heals them but they require nourishment and fresh air. Tiberius and Keyleth administer fresh water to them.
They hear footsteps coming from the stairway. Grog stands at the bottom. Vax and Vex flank the door. Keyleth hides in a cell under a decomposing body. The others prepare for a fight but eventually the footsteps fade away.
Vax unlocks the second door and, as he pushes it open, a large fast-moving blade descends towards his head. Vax dodging most of the damage, and the blade embeds itself in the door. A scarred duergar in a black leather tunic with a hood pulls the great axe back with a grin.
Vex yells, "Hold!" Vax throws his Serpent Belt at the duergar, who ducks, slapping it away and kicks the door closed.
Tiberius casts Stoneskin on himself. Percy moves into the corridor and shoots at the door with his Pepperbox and it swings open slightly. Vax yells, "Your turn Grog," as he yanks open the door. The duergar backs up and the room's interior is revealed — a torture chamber, including a rack which is occupied. "You are so fucked, dwarf," Vax continues.
Tiberius moves into the corridor, "I like where this is going, Vax." But unable to see the menace, he says, "I encourage violence."
Keyleth Wild Shapes into a saber-toothed tiger and carries the dead body she was hiding beneath in her mouth. As she bites down on the body, it stirs briefly and then falls limp again, as the body was not actually dead until now. Tiger-Keyleth moves into the hallway.
Vex smacks Grog on the ass, "Go get 'em." Grog rushes the duergar, lifts him up, and throws him onto a shiny, pointy hook. With burning rage in his eyes, the duergar, pinned with a hook through his chest, tries to grab Grog and pull him in for a head butt. But Grog grabs onto the duergar's jaw, rips it off, and starts pummeling him in the face, with the jaw in his fist, until his head caves in.
They can now see the figure strapped to the rack, it is Lady Kima. She has been there a while and suffered immensely but there is still fight in her. Percy disables the rack and shoots her chains off. Scanlan sings a healing song for her. She jumps onto the table, her hands still bound, and pulls herself free from the restraints with a show of strength. She greedily takes the water that Tiberius offers her and dons the studded armor Grog offers her from the Bag of Holding.
Seeing she is still sore, Pike gives her some more healing. Kima asks for Pike's mace, which she reluctantly relinquishes. Kima smashes it into the body of her torturer again and again, with anger, frustration and joy in her eyes. As she gives it back to Pike, she burns the blood off with radiant energy, "Thank you. I needed that."
"Very welcome. I'm sorry I questioned you," Pike takes back her mace.
With awe, Grog says, "That was amazing."
Kima convinces Vox Machina to help her retrieve her belongings and they begin heading up to the vault. Grog throws her a greatsword, which she catches easily despite her diminutive stature. Before they leave Vex tells the remaining dwarves in the cells about the secret exit.
At the bottom of the stair, Kima spies Clarota at the top and goes for her weapon. Tiberius interposes his Mage Hand between the two and tries to explain that they are allies, that they share a common purpose. Kima does not trust Clarota and has issues with his people. There is a heated discussion between the three parties with both Kima and Scanlan issuing ultimatums. Kima backs down but it is an uneasy truce.
Kima [to Clarota]: "One single misstep and I will not hesitate to carve that head from your body in the name of Bahamut."
Clarota: "And please understand if you ever intend to try to cut my life short I will also not hesitate to bore that beautiful mind from your skull."
Kima [to Vox Machina]: "I pray that you are right [...] and I pray that [...] this entity is telling the truth, because if it is not, none of us are making it out of here alive."
Kima ascends the stairway. Clarota backs up, arcane energy forming in his hands. Kima uses her sword to push him aside. Clarota and the rest of the group follow, except Pike, who quickly runs back to the torture chamber to pick up some items.
Zac Eubank read out the names of those who made donations to 826LA. He promoted the Geek & Sundry channel, announced a celebration for reaching 2,000 subscribers and Ify Appreciation Day. Zac invited the cast of Critical Role to stay for dancing, next, and reminds the audience the give-away photo is still available.
- Percival de Rolo
- Scanlan Shorthalt
- Tiberius Stormwind
- Grog Strongjaw
- Pike Trickfoot
- A dozen unnamed duergar patrol guards
- Two unnamed duergar guards on the walls
- Two unnamed duergar prisoner guards
- Unnamed duergar torturer
- Lady Kima of Vord
|Transferred||1||Studded Armor +2||Grog||Lady Kima||From the Bag of Holding|
|Transferred||1||Mace of Disruption||Pike||Kima|
|Transferred||1||Mace of Disruption||Kima||Pike|
|Transferred||1||Greatsword||Grog||Kima||From the Bag of Holding|
|Acquired||2||large bladed hooks||environment||Pike||In the chamber where Kima was tortured.|
|Acquired||1||lengthy hand razor||environment||Pike||In the chamber where Kima was tortured.|
|Acquired||1||small bag of various rusty instruments||environment||Pike||In the chamber where Kima was tortured.|
- Liam: "I'd just like to point out that we're nine adults playing don't touch the hot lava."
- Tiberius: "Well, they're both empty, of course, but this one is an air bottle and this one is a water bottle."
Vax: "Oh, thank you. That clears that up."
Grog: "Even I feel dumber now."
Vax: "Does it make a lot of water?"
Tiberius: "Oh, yes." [pulls out bottle] "This, if we ever need air…" [he opens the bottle and a small gust comes out]
Vex: "Yes, but what about water?"
Tiberius: [replaces cap, and swaps it for the other bottle] "This, if we need water…" [he removes the cap and tips the bottle. A never-ending stream of water flows out.]
Scanlan: "It's like a piss stream."
Vex: "Oh, nice."
Tiberius: "And if you wanted a squirt…" [he squirts some water in Scanlan's face]
Scanlan: "Hey." [wipes face]
Vex: "Oh, okay."
Vax: "Is that unlimited?"
Tiberius: "Of course it is! Why would I carry a non-magical item? That's ridiculous. So, yes, Scanlan, we're fine."
- Matt: [to Vex] "... and be wary of any locations that might be unsafe for load bearing."
Grog: "I saw that look. You calling me load bearing?"
Grog: "That's honest."
- Vax: [after an hour of travel] "I'm so bored."
Vex: "Don't say that."
Matt: [laughs] "That can be fixed, Liam."
- Vex: "We could try to set a trap or we could look and see if we can loot anything, or we can…
Laura: Is there anything to loot? Does it look like anything shiny in there?
Matt: "A couple of blood-soaked coin purses."
- Pike: Oh, delicious. Oh, no, I'm drunk. That was fast.
- Liam: "It's a good thing we've all been watching Daredevil this week."
- Laura: "I'm just gonna not let you see me eat it." [ducks under table to eat chicken]
Liam: "Oh my god. Her mouth opens up and tentacles come out and sucks it in."
- Scanlan: [to Pike] "What the fuck is going on? Where are they?"
Tiberius: "I don't know but this book, Scanlan, is incredible."
Scanlan: "I'm sure it is."
Tiberius: "It's all about …"
Scanlan: [with a roll of his eyes and a sigh, interrupts] "I read nonfiction."
- Liam: [to Ashley] "Careful, Clanky."
- Vex: [to Keyleth] I'm Vex, he's Vax. We look alike — it's understandable.
- Keyleth: "This is the meanest thing I've ever done."
Vex: "No, no. Remember, you killed that kid one time."
Keyleth: "Oh, thanks for bringing that up, Vax."
Vex: "I'm Vex, he's Vax." [points to herself, then to Vax]
Keyleth: "This is for that kid." 
- Matt: "You can give one of them Guidance, because it's concentration."
Marisha: "Ah, Vex."
Laura: "That's me."
Marisha: "Fuckin' …"
Laura: "Did you mean to give it to him?"
- Marisha: "Keyleth tries so hard."
Tiberius: "You're not trying hard enough, dammit."
Keyleth: "Fuck you, man. I'm having a tough day. Vex brought up the fact that I killed a kid. Having all these memories come back. I'm on the brink."
- Scanlan: "Not my strong suit."
Travis: "Don't fuck it up."
Sam: [rolls Stealth, audibly sniffs]
Vex: "No, Scanlan. What did you do?"
Vax: "You dick."
Sam: [shakes head]
Travis: "Did you?"
Marisha: "What did you do?"
Pike: "I grab Scanlan and I kiss him on the cheek and make him stay."
Group: "Ah! Oh!"
Orion: [to the audience] "Ladies and gentlemen, this is a huge moment."
Marisha: "Can you persuade a crit fail?"
Matt: "It was a one, I assume."
Sam: "It was a one."
Liam: "That's a 'One Face'."
- Scanlan: "Pike, I have this weird feeling, like, you wanted to make out with me. Is that something that happened?"
Pike: Well, you weren't paying attention.
Pike: I think you were moving along to try to go stealth, and sometimes you should stay put and see what happens.
Vax: That was the most adorable dis in history.
Grog: It's okay, Scanlan. We'll go pay for it later.
- Scanlan: [Percy rolls a one for Stealth.] "I quickly kiss Percy."
Percy: [gagging] "Why?"
Scanlan: I don't know. I thought it might help.
- At one point Liam starts singing "Still Alive" from the video game Portal. This prompts Ashley to join in, followed by everyone except Sam and Travis.
Behind the Scenes
David Norris provided dinner for the cast.
- This is the first episode to feature the Critical Role intro video. See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 0:15:04. Intro airs at 0:00:34
- The explanation for Scanlan's inattention due to Sam Riegel's absence for The Trick about Falling. See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 36:54.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 53:33.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 57:42.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 58:31.
- After Scanlan pushes two guards off the Emberhold parapets with Thunderwave. See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 79:52. NSFW.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 2:02:47.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 140:33.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 28:50.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 28:58.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 42:30.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 50:31.
- While investigating the battleground. See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 57:01.
- Pike takes a drink of ale. See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 58:23.
- When the group discuss how to fight basilisks. See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 1:06:07.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 1:13:33.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 2:08:20. NSFW.
- As Vox Machina move through the Emberhold. See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 2:08:32.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 44:45.
- Keyleth pushes the second guard into the lava. See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 1:22:13.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 2:05:00. NSFW.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 2:22:15. NSFW.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 51:32. NSFW.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 59:51.
- Upon Percy critically failing his stealth roll. See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 1:01:07.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 1:18:52.
- See "Breaching the Emberhold" (1x06) at 1:13:26.