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The Chroma Crisis[1] was a large-scale conflict in which four ancient dragons invaded and subjugated the Kingdom of Tal'Dorei, as well as the nation of Draconia in Wildemount. The crisis began on 26 Duscar, 810 PD, and came to an end on 12 Misuthar, 811 PD, nearly two months later.

Background

Sealing of Thordak

Around 794 PD, the ancient red dragon known as Thordak rampaged across southern Tal'Dorei, destroying towns such as Byroden and Port Udall. An adventuring party including Allura Vysoren and Kima, helped by the Arcana Pansophical devised a trap that could, they believed, permanently seal Thordak within the Elemental Plane of Fire, preventing him from ever returning to Exandria. To trap him, they bound him to an artifact called a soul anchor from the salvaged heart crystal of a primordial fire titan, which could not be removed from the Fire Plane.[2]

Forming the Conclave

During his imprisonment, Thordak was approached by Raishan. The ancient green dragon had been cursed by a druid and was slowly dying of a horrific disease. Thordak claimed to know of a cure, but refused to share this knowledge with her until she found a way to release him, and help him conquer the city of Emon to enact his revenge. Raishan proposed an alliance of powerful dragons to aid them and left to prepare, gathering three other dragons, Brimscythe, Umbrasyl, and Vorugal, who were promised rule over a city of their own. This alliance would be named the Chroma Conclave.

Brimscythe's Demise

The young blue dragon Brimscythe had infiltrated the Tal'Dorei Council, taking the guise of a human named General Kreig and the position as the Master of Law. As General Krieg, Brimscythe thwarted an assassination attempt against Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei III in early 810 PD, which was carried out as part of a demonic incursion. It is unclear what part Brimscythe played in this incursion and whether he was directly involved. During their investigations into this incursion, the adventuring party called The S.H.I.T.s, later known as Vox Machina, investigated General Krieg's house, finding a teleportation circle leading to Brimscythe's lair in the Cliffkeep Mountains.

Art of an unknown dragon looking through one of the orbs on the wall of Brimscythe's lair, by Wendy Sullivan Green. From "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06).

There Brimscythe confronted them, but was slain. Within the lair, Vox Machina found four orbs that the Chroma Conclave used to communicate with each other. They touched one of the orbs, alerting a member of the Conclave, who proclaimed that "I know your face now. He is a fool, and so are you, insect."[3] Ultimately, Brimscythe's death was convenient for the Conclave, as the overly ambitious blue dragon was vying for control of Emon. Thordak wouldn't've allowed that, and was planning to kill the younger dragon himself.

Thordak's Release

In 806 PD, Raishan infiltrated the Fire Ashari village of Pyrah, which is built around a portal to the Plane of Fire. There, she took the guise of a young humanoid girl, and was accepted into the Ashari. There she researched the Plane of Fire. In order to facilitate Thordak's escape, Raishan formed an alliance with a number of fire giants ousted from the City of Brass. With their help, they encased a bit of the Fire Plane, called the Ember Seed, into the soul anchor in Thordak's chest. This is what would allow him to leave the Plane of Fire. She planned to wait until a Celestial solstice to enact the plan, but seeing Thordak's deteriorating mental state due to the Ember Seed now embedded in his body, she accelerated the plan.

On 20 Duscar, 810 PD, the day of Winter's Crest, Raishan widened the rift to the Plane of Fire in Pyrah. Thordak, the soul anchor embedded into his body, tore through the rift, razing Pyrah as he went. Leaving the devastation behind, he and Raishan rendezvoused with the other members of the Conclave, and set their sights on Emon.[4]

Invasions

Attack on Emon

Fan art of the Chroma Conclave attacking Emon, by Thomas Brin.[art 2]

The Chroma Conclave arrived in Emon at dusk on 26 Duscar, 810 PD. Uriel Tal'Dorei III was delivering a speech, attended by Vox Machina, in which he was abdicating the throne and transferring power to the Tal'Dorei Council. Vex'ahlia saw the dragons first, Thordak and Umbrasyl ducking between clouds, as Vorugal landed on the Ivory Tower, breathing his frost breath and destroying it as he kicked away. At that moment, Raishan arrived at the stage, breathing her poison breath into the crowd, and was quickly joined by Umbrasyl and Thordak. Vox Machina escaped by the use of Transport via Plants, fleeing to their keep, Greyskull.[5] There they did battle with Vorugal, as fleeing civilians took refuge inside the keep. Thordak interrupted the battle, ordering Vorugal to continue east. The red dragon then returned to Emon, projecting his voice to proclaim his rulership over the city.[6]

Uriel was killed in the initial attack by Thordak. His family, however, was rescued by the sorcerer Shaun Gilmore, along with Seeker Assum Emring and Guardian Tofor Brotoras of the Tal'Dorei Council. Gilmore personally did battle with Thordak, but was injured and retreated to his shop, along with the Tal'Dorei family. Arbiter Brom Goldhand was thought to have been killed by dragonfire, but was later revealed to have survived.

By the next day, much of the city was in ruin, having been burned, melted, and frozen by dragon breath, and many civilians were killed. Thordak's army, the lizardfolk of the Scions of Flame which he previously ruled in the Ashen Gorge,[7] had moved into the city, patrolling the streets on the backs of wyverns. Raiders who submitted to the dragon were looting the streets to bring treasure back to Thordak, who had taken residence in the ruins of the Palace of the Sovereign.[8] The red dragon's presence within the city opened portals to the Plane of Fire, allowing fire giants loyal to Thordak, as well as rampaging elementals, to enter the city.

Attacks on Westruun

After invading Emon, the members of the Conclave, save for Thordak, flew east. The dragons reached Westruun within a few hours. They attacked the city, destroying many buildings, including the Cobalt Reserve. The dragons then left, continuing to the east.

The Herd of Storms, a barbarian tribe of goliaths led by Thunderlord Kevdak, saw opportunity. The herd had recently conquered the Rivermaw Tribe, and incorporated their numbers into the herd. On the advice of the tribe's seer Greenbeard, Kevdak led the Herd of Storms invade Westruun. There they set fires and pillaged the town. Kevdak killed the margrave of the city, Atrix, and claimed his mansion. Days afterward, the black dragon Umbrasyl arrived and demanded fealty from Westruun, including the Herd of Storms that had swept in. Kevdak proposed an alliance: that they would act as Umbrasyl's enforcers within the city. The black dragon then made its lair in a cave high in Gatshadow Mountain, which overlooked the city from across the Bramblewood Forest. Between the two attacks, many civilians fled the city, taking refuge in Kymal and around the Foramere Basin.

Fall of Draconia

Fan art of Ruins of Draconia, by Kent Davis.[art 3]

A few days after destroying Westruun, on 29 Duscar, 810 PD, the dragons had flown to Wildemount, across the Lucidian Ocean and the Menagerie Coast, reaching the Dreemoth Ravine within the Ashkeeper Peaks. There they attacked the flying dragonborn city of Draconia. The city had been tracking their movements, and was considered to be a priority target for the Conclave.[9] During the attack, the dragons destroyed the brumestones holding the city aloft, causing it to crash down into the ravine. Tiberius Stormwind, companion of Vox Machina, was killed in the battle while defending a number of ravenites from Vorugal.

In the wake of Draconia's fall, the ravenites enacted a slave revolt against their draconblood masters. While the revolt was largely successful, Vorugal soon returned to claim lordship of the fallen dragonborn city. The presence of the white dragon's lair caused the normally tropical climate of the ravine to grow cold.

Syngorn's Retreat

The elven city of Syngorn had quickly caught word of the rampaging dragons. Taking no risks, the Wardens of Syngorn activated the threshold crests that surrounded the city's walls, Plane Shifting the entire city into the Feywild. Caught in the middle was Warmaster Mikael Daxio of the Tal'Dorei council, and a number of regiments from Fort Daxio who had been in the city on a diplomatic mission to aid Syngorn in driving back an army of lizardfolk that had been advancing north. Unbeknownst to either nation, these lizardfolk were loyal to Thordak and were marching to Emon.

Razing Serpent's Head

For reasons unknown, Thordak briefly left his roost in Emon and traveled north to the village of Serpent's Head. Most of the villagers had already evacuated to Kraghammer after hearing about Emon's fate. When Thordak arrived in the village, the dragon burned it to the ground, killing any remaining citizens. In the process, the dragon transformed the small mountain that the village was built on into a small volcano, opening a portal to the Plane of Fire.[10]

Vox Machina's Intervention

Aftermath of the Attack

Fan art of Grog and Percy fighting over the skull, by Thomas Brin.[art 4]

Immediately following Vox Machina's retreat to Greyskull Keep, an argument broke out over the potential use of a githyanki skull they had recently found, which claimed that a Wish would be granted to the one who destroyed it. Grog Strongjaw believed that it could be used to wish the dragons away, while Percival de Rolo felt that it was too much of a risk. Arcanist Allura Vysoren arrived at that moment, having been in Whitestone investigating the ziggurat that Vox Machina discovered beneath it, along with her friend and colleague Drake Thunderbrand. Allura explained her personal history with Thordak, informed them that Westruun had likely been attacked at that very moment, and urged Vox Machina to act in order to defeat the Conclave. She and Drake then Traveled via Spark to Westruun.

The next day, 27 Duscar, 810 PD, they snuck into Emon to seek surviving members of the Tal'Dorei Council, making an alliance with Garthok, a member of the Clasp, along the way. They made their way to Gilmore's Glorious Goods, which they found destroyed. Inside, they found an injured Gilmore, his employee Sherri, and the remaining members of the Tal'Dorei Royal Family. Gilmore told them that the council members he rescued, Assum Emring and Tofor Brotoras, left to search the city for more surviving council members. Vox Machina took Gilmore and the others back to Greyskull. Pike Trickfoot and Keyleth Scried upon Vasselheim, Whitestone, Zephrah, and Syngorn, finding the first three untouched and a crater in Syngorn's place. Percy surmised that it had been Plane Shifted to the Feywild.

Knowing that Whitestone was safe for the moment, having been liberated from the Briarwoods, they evacuated the refugees there using Transport via Plants. Percy traveled with them to inform his sister Cassandra of the Conclave's attack, as well as Eskil Ryndarien, who was in town helping to research the ziggurat. Percy then teleported back using one of the gate stones. The party went to speak with the Clasp in their hideout beneath the city, attempting to make an alliance and ensure that they would aid the surviving civilians in the city. However, the deal fell through. The next day, Vox Machina sent the rest of the refugees to Whitestone, abandoned Greyskull Keep for the time being, and set up base in Whitestone Castle.

Seeking Aid on Vasselheim

On 29 Duscar, 810 PD, Vox Machina used Transport via Plants to teleport to Vasselheim across the Ozmit Sea in Issylra, knowing that it was untouched by the dragons. Pike stayed behind in Whitestone to help the refugees and heal Gilmore. There they met with the Slayer's Take and reunited with Zahra Hydris and Kashaw Vesh. They sought aid from the Take, speaking with their leader, Osysa. The sphinx told them about the Vestiges of Divergence, powerful magic items from before the Calamity, and shared the location of her mate, who knew where to find some of them. Osysa encouraged the party to seek the Vestiges in order to gain the power necessary to defeat the Conclave. It was also at that moment that Osysa received a vision, telling Vox Machina that the Conclave was attacking Draconia at that very moment.

After spending some time collecting supplies and taking some much needed respite from the stress of the past few days, the group went to the Platinum Sanctuary. Highbearer Vord told them that he was aware of the Conclave's attack, but didn't believe they were acting at the behest of Tiamat. While the Highbearer didn't offer them the help of an army, he did give them an escort, their friend and ally Lady Kima of Vord. They then went to the Trial Forge, where Grog, aided by Vax'ildan and Scanlan, dueled with Earthbreaker Groon. Following this, the Earthbreaker offered them information on two Vestiges known to him: the Deathwalker's Ward, buried in a sunken tomb in the Marrowglade Loch, and the Titanstone Knuckles, whose location was unknown to him.

Vox Machina and their companions traveled to the sunken tomb of Purvan Suul, champion of The Raven Queen, where they retrieved the Deathwalker's Ward, as well as a magical necklace called Raven's Slumber, after battling with a beholder. Vex'ahlia was killed by a trap, but was Revivified when her brother Vax offered his life to the Raven Queen in her place. They briefly Transported via Plants back to Whitestone, dropping off their allies in the city. They spent the next day inspecting the armor and necklace retrieved from the tomb, and Scried on Allura Vysoren, who at that moment was collecting books from the ruined Cobalt Reserve in Westruun, accompanied by Drake Thunderbrand. The two then Traveled via Spark out of the city, presumably going to rendezvous in Whitestone.

Mission to Pyrah

Fan art of Gern's thrall helping to seal Fire Plane rift, by Thomas Brin.[art 5]

After this, on 32 Duscar, 810 PD, Vox Machina returned to Issylra, arriving at the Cindergrove to assist the Fire Ashari of Pyrah. There they were surprised to find Keyleth's father, Korrin, who had come to Pyrah the previous day with other members of the Air Ashari to assist their sister tribe. They also encountered an eccentric ravenite named Gern Blanston, a necromancer and chandler. With his help, they were able to fight back against the rampaging fire elementals and stabilize the portal to the Elemental Plane of Fire. Scanlan created his Magnificent Mansion for the first time and invited the Ashari inside for the night. Keyleth had a conversation with Cerkonos, headmaster of the Fire Ashari, who revealed to her Raishan's past infiltration into the Ashari.

Rescuing Refugees

The next day, 1 Horisal, 811 PD, Vox Machina Transported via Plants to the Bramblewood Forest outside of Westruun and used Wind Walk to scout the city unseen, where they learned that the Herd of Storms had taken over the city. They decided to travel south to the Frostweald, hoping to learn about more Vestiges of Divergence.

On the way, they encountered a refugee camp near the Foramere Basin. The refugees had been denied entry into Kymal due to the city being filled with other refugees from Westruun. Vox Machina sent some of the refugees to Whitestone, using Transport via Plants. They were told that a number of the refugees had been kidnapped by a band of orcs and taken into the Frostweald, and encountered Drez Vina and his employer, Quall, who hired them to retrieve something that he had left behind in his home in Westruun. It was at that time that Pike Trickfoot joined the party, teleporting to them using the gate stone that was left in Whitestone.

While in the Frostweald, Vox Machina rescued the cartographer Tyriok Gadsworth, who had been petrified by basilisks, as well as the refugees who were kidnapped by the orcs. They continued onward to the Cavern of Axiom, leaving Tyriok to guide the refugees back to camp.

Liberation of Westruun

Having learned the locations of other Vestiges and having been gifted Mythcarver from the sphinx Kamaljiori, as well as ridding themselves of the cursed sword Craven Edge after Grog Strongjaw was killed from abusing its power, Vox Machina traveled back north to Westruun. They arrived outside the city and rested within Scanlan's Magnificent Mansion, devising a plan to face Kevdak.

On 7 Horisal, 811 PD, Vox Machina enacted their plan. Keyleth used Move Earth to dig a covered pit outside of Westruun's west gate, while Scanlan walked Invisibly to the center of town. To draw the Herd of Storms to the gate, he cast Thunderwave in the middle of a group of barbarians, but forgot that his Invisibility would drop. He then Dimension Doored into a temple of Erathis, encountering a group of civilians, as well as his old mentor Dr. Dranzel and his daughter Kaylie. Salvaging the plan, Scanlan and Kaylie created an illusion of the head of Grog's father, Stonejaw, telling the Herd to go to the west gate. He then cast Seeming on the civilians to disguise them as members of the Herd and led them to the city's sewers to hide.

Meanwhile, the rest of Vox Machina fought with a number of Herd members at the West gate, who had been alerted to an attack by Scanlan's disturbance. Most of the Herd members fell into the pit that Keyleth dug, while Grog fought and killed a goliath named Suda. Vox Machina then entered the city, traveling along the rooftops. During this, barbarians of the Herd of Storms were pulling people from their homes and gathering at the center of town. The party rendezvoused with Scanlan and rested within an abandoned house. There, they made a plan for Grog to challenge Kevdak in single combat, while the rest of the party would wait nearby to give backup if necessary.

Grog strode into the streets alone, shadowed by the rest of the party, and was approached by a group from the Herd who brought him to Greenbeard. Greenbeard initially ordered the Herd members to kill Grog on the spot, but Grog convinced Greenbeard to bring him to Kevdak. In the center of town outside of the Margrave's mansion, Grog called out to Kevdak and challenged him to single combat, berating the Herd for bending the knee to a dragon. While Kevdak refuted Grog's right to issue the challenge as he was no longer a member of the Herd, he accepted, temporarily reinducting him into the Herd.

Fan art of Grog Strongjaw landing the killing blow on Kevdak, by David Rodrigues.[art 6]

The Herd created an arena for the fight, surrounded by barbarians holding civilians hostage. Grog dueled with Kevdak, who used the Titanstone Knuckles to enlarge himself. Grog began to lose ground in the fight and called out for Vox Machina, who were waiting hidden on the rooftops, to join the fray. In response, Greenbeard and a number of barbarians joined as well. The ensuing battle was bloody, and a number of civilian hostages were killed. Grog was nearly felled, but was rescued by Vex'ahlia capturing him inside Raven's Slumber. She flew into the air on her broom and released Grog from the necklace, where he fell and cleaved Kevdak from shoulder to waist.

Claiming victory, Grog called out to the Herd to help Vox Machina defeat the dragon Umbrasyl. He also called for Zanror, who had been imprisoned for previously defying Kevdak. Greenbeard brought him out, and gave Grog Kevdak's Bloodaxe and Titanstone Knuckles to give judgement. Grog pivoted and beheaded Greenbeard, and proclaimed that Zanror would be the new Thunderlord of the Herd. Zanror accepted Grog's proposition to kill Umbrasyl, and a tenuous alliance with the Herd of Storms was achieved.

Planning at Dawn

After the battle, Vox Machina went to the Red House of Trickfoot to confirm that Pike's great-great-grandfather Wilhand was safe, and searched the home of Master Quall. There, they found a Circlet of Golem Control, as well as the stone golem that it controlled, which they named Fassbender.

The next day, the party returned to the Margrave's estate to speak with Zanror, and convinced him to wait one day to prepare to kill Umbrasyl. At that meeting, Ivon the Ironwilled of the Rivermaw Tribe proclaimed that his people would split from the Herd of Storms and not take part in the fight with the dragon. Zanror sent a scouting party up Gatshadow Mountain to Umbrasyl's lair. Vox Machina then set a trap for Umbrasyl at the location where the Herd of Storms presented loot from the city. Percy, with the help of some Westruunian citizens, built a spring trap at that location, hidden beneath a small amount of treasure. Keyleth used Move Earth to create a trench in which the goliaths would hide in wait.

Grog searched the Iron Stocks prison, and among the people imprisoned there by the Herd he found Abjurist Noja, a wizard and proprietor of Beyond the Veil. Grog and Scanlan recruited Noja to help fight Umbrasyl, and helped him find his spare spell book. Keyleth set Fassbender at the trap as well to aid with the fight. In preparation for the fight, Vox Machina and the warriors of the Herd of Storms ate a Heroes' Feast.

Slaying Umbrasyl

Fan art of Umbrasyl's retreat, by Lap Pun Cheung.[art 7]

On 9 Horisal, 811 PD, the party to slay Umbrasyl awoke early to hide in wait at the trap. Umbrasyl arrived and was caught in Percy's trap, and the goliaths sprung from the trench and threw hooked chains over the dragon in an attempt to keep it earthbound. The dragon, however, broke free and breathed acid onto the goliaths, killing most of them. As a backup, Scanlan and a Reduced Vax'ildan Dimension Doored directly into Umbrasyl's body and set an immovable rod within, though they trapped themselves in the dragon's gullet in the process. Grog threw the Bloodaxe into Umbrasyl's body, attached by the Chain of Returning. Battered by Vox Machina and recognizing the fight was turning against him, Umbrasyl ripped free of the immovable rod and retreated toward his lair in Gatshadow, taking Grog, Scanlan, and Vax with him. Scanlan and Vax cut themselves free mid-flight and escaped on Grog, who Scanlan Polymorphed into a giant eagle.

Fan art of Grog killing Umbrasyl, by Viktor Engholm.[art 8]

Vox Machina hiked through the Bramblewood. On the way, they met Shale, a goliath who was part of the scouting party Zanror sent. With her, they traveled up Gatshadow and made their way to the cave in which Umbrasyl made his lair, where they found the rest of Shale's scouting party had been killed. Inside the cave, Umbrasyl had recovered from the fight and was waiting for them while under Greater Invisibility. Vox Machina and Shale resumed the battle with the dragon. Keyleth caught Umbrasyl with Faerie Fire, allowing Percy to deal massive damage using the Dragon Slayer Longsword. Ultimately, Grog dealt the final blow by driving the Bloodaxe into Umbrasyl's skull, slaying the dragon.

Rebuilding Westruun

Vox Machina rested for the night within Umbrasyl's lair and collected some treasure from his hoard, sleeping in Scanlan's Magnificent Mansion The next day they hiked down the mountain and met with the remainder of the Herd of Storms, who had burned their dead. Zanror told them he had disbanded the Herd, and was setting out to make amends with and join the Rivermaw Tribe. Vox Machina then met Kerrek, a retired adventurer, blacksmith, and respected community member in Westruun. He had gathered a group to go up the mountain to find out what had happened with the dragon. The party told him that Westruun's plundered wealth was left in the cave, and Kerrek sent a group to retrieve it over the next few days. Kerrek and Vox Machina went into town to announce Umbrasyl's defeat, and the town celebrated.

The next day Vox Machina gathered the remaining citizens in the town square to discuss plans for rebuilding and returning refugees to the city. Over the next three days, Keyleth retrofitted a bunker into the Westruun sewers using Move Earth. She also sent Scanlan, Pike, and Kerrek to Kymal using Transport Via Plants to tell the Westruunian refugees there that they could return home.

After spending a day in Vasselheim to gather supplies, Vox Machina returned to Whitestone on 17 Horisal, 811 PD. There they met with the resistance leaders they gathered in the town: Eskil Ryndarien, Shaun Gilmore, Cassandra de Rolo, Allura Vysoren, and Kima. They had dinner and discussed the ziggurat beneath the city, the Vestiges, research on the types of dragons they had left to face, as well as plans to create an illusory field over Whitestone in order to hide the city from the Chroma Conclave.

Syngorn's Plan of Attack

While on a mission to recover the vestige Fenthras, Vox Machina entered Syngorn, which was still in the Feywild. There they spoke with Syldor Vessar, an ambassador of the elven city and father of the twins. He told them that Syngorn had been preparing its troops to go to war with Thordak, and that they had been gathering intel on the dragon. The plan was that upon returning to the Material Plane, the Verdant Guard as well as those of the Tal'Dorei military that were stationed in Syngorn would meet with the remaining forces of Fort Daxio.

Draconic Movements

By this time, Thordak's rule in Emon had reached new tyrannical heights, gathering the residents every day at dusk at the Cloudtop District to gloat and instill fear. Any civilian who wouldn't supplicate to him would be snatched and eaten by the red dragon. His vanity had also grown, having enslaved a number of sculptors to erect statues and reliefs in his likeness. Seeker Assum Emring was working with the Clasp to aid and civilians, succeeding where Vox Machina had failed to make a deal. He was aided by Tofor Brotoras and Brom Goldhand.

During this time Raishan met with Thordak, having fulfilled her end of the bargain they struck, and asked the red dragon to reveal how to cure her disease. Thordak however rebuked her. Betrayed by Thordak, Raishan decided to take matters into her own hands. Knowing that Vox Machina had already killed Umbrasyl, she set out to find them in disguise. It was around this time that Thordak learned of Umbrasyl's death, and ordered many of his wyverns, as well as the white dragon Vorugal, to search the eastern coast of Tal'Dorei to find Vox Machina.

A Scare in Whitestone

On 26 Horisal, 811 PD, Vox Machina returned from the Feywild, having successfully recovered Fenthras. They Plane Shifted back to Whitestone, where they found the illusory barrier was now in place. In Whitestone Castle, they met with Jarett Howarth, now a member of the Pale Guard, as well as Shaun Gilmore and Cassandra de Rolo. They informed Vox Machina that Allura Vysoren and Kima had left three days ago to seek information on Raishan. Unbeknownst to them, Raishan had arrived in the city that day, disguised as Assum Emring of the Tal'Dorei Council. "Assum" told them that he had escaped from Emon using a Scroll of Teleportation to reach Whitestone, and informed Vox Machina of the city and dragon's status. Gilmore also informed Vox Machina he was unable to Scry upon Raishan, but a few days ago was able to see Vorugal lairing in the ruins of Draconia in Wildemount.

It was at that moment that guards reported a sighting of dragons approaching Whitestone. Vox Machina and the Pale Guard went into action, evacuating the civilians into the Castle to be led into the underground tunnel leading to the Ziggurat. Keyleth used Move Earth to expand the tunnel she had dug beneath the Sun Tree during the Whitestone Rebellion. Overhead, Vorugal and an entourage of wyverns circled around the city, but were unable to see or hear it thanks to the illusory barrier, which at that moment was being bolstered by Gilmore. The dragons then left as quick as they came, flying back to the south.

After this, Vox Machina discussed what to do next, debating whether to go to Ank’Harel and recover another vestige, or go to Draconia while they knew Vorugal was away. After much debate, the decided upon the latter.

Reconnaissance in Draconia

The next day, Keyleth used scrying to attempt to find their companion Tiberius Stormwind, who last they knew was in Draconia. She was unable to see him, but was able to find his pseudodragon companion Lockheed, as well as a tree from his position. They traveled to the Dreemoth Ravine using Transport via Plants, and used Seeming to disguise themselves as draconblood survivors, hoping to scope out the city and Vorugal's lair unnoticed. However, their appearance caught the attention of a group of ravenites led by a dragonborn named Skork, who planned to imprison them for the draconblood's enslavement of the ravenites. Embarrassed, Vox Machina dropped their disguise and explained the situation.

They were led to the leader of the ravenites, an old dragonborn named Tooma. She explained to them that while they were glad to be free from the slavery of the draconbloods, they knew they were now just as much slaves to the white dragon. Vox Machina formed a tenuous alliance with the ravenites, telling them that they had business elsewhere but would return within two weeks to slay Vorugal.

Vox Machina also discovered that many draconbloods had been slain by Vorugal and placed upon spikes of ice. Among these dragonborn was the body of their friend and companion Tiberius. With permission from the ravenites, the party removed his body and held a funeral, where Tiberius was temporarily buried within the ruins of a Draconian library. Vox Machina returned to Whitestone via Plants and spent the rest of the day grieving their lost friend.

Alliance with Marquet

Fan art of J'mon Sa Ord, by NLN4.[art 9]

During their mission to Marquet, Vox Machina gained an audience with Ank’Harel's mysterious ruler, J'mon Sa Ord, who had defeated Thordak and drove the red dragon out of Marquet centuries ago. The party explained the situation in Tal'Dorei and asked for the monarch's aid in defeating the Conclave. J'mon tested the adventurers with a combat trial against a cobalt golem, and the party succeeded. J'mon agreed to an alliance and offered their aid in the fight against Thordak, gifting Vox Machina a magical flute that would summon them in the party's time of need. J'mon then revealed that they were in truth an ancient brass dragon named Devo'ssa, the Protector of Ank’harel.

Upon Scanlan's request, Devo'ssa also gave the party an emblem to show that they had the favor of J'mon Sa Ord. Vox Machina would use this emblem to charter the skyship Deera to take them to the Isle of Glintshore. While there they persuaded the ship's captain, Damon, to help them in the coming fight in Emon and to meet them in Whitestone.

A Tenuous Agreement

Fan art of Raisha in disguise as Assum, by Thomas Brin.[art 10]

Vox Machina returned to Whitestone from the Isle of Glintshore, having sucessfully recovered the vestiges Cabal's Ruin and Whisper, on 2 Misuthar, 811 PD. Percy was killed in a battle with his enemy Anna Ripley, and his body was brought to Pike to be Resurrected. Keyleth also received a letter from Kerrek, who wrote that Westruun's continued reconstruction was going well, and gave the druid words of encouragement.

The day after, "Assum" called the party to a private audience in the war room of Whitestone Castle. It was there that Raishan revealed her deception, as well has her intention to kill the Cinder King. She explained her cursed disease, her deal with Thordak, and how he reneged once he had rule over Emon. Keyleth was furious with Raishan because of her involvement in Pyrah's destruction, and threatened to kill the green dragon at that moment. The rest of Vox Machina, while equally untrusting of Raishan, were willing to cooperate if it meant they could turn the dragons against each other. They proposed that Raishan help them in killing Vorugal as a show of good faith before they discussed any further terms, which Raishan agreed to on the condition that Vox Machina not reveal her presence in the city to anyone.

Vox Machina then planned among themselves how to defeat Vorugal. Vex'ahlia devised a plan in which they would use a Gate Spell Scroll, which they found on Glintshore, to summon Yenk, a goristro demon that possessed another vestige, the Spire of Conflux. They would use the demon as bait and set it against the white dragon, and swoop in and kill whoever was left. They also proposed turning on and killing Raishan there if they had the strength remaining.

The party met with Allura and Kima, who had returned to the city. They proposed that Kima join them in the fight against Vorugal, which she heartily accepted. Keyleth accidentally let slip their agreement with Raishan, to which Kima was incredulous and told them to be careful, but sill insisted on coming with them. Scanlan attempted to cast Modify Memory on Kima to make her forget, but the paladin resisted and whacked the gnome upside the head with her maul in return. Percy met with Raishan and told her to meet them in Draconia.

Battle at Dreemoth Ravine

Vox Machina and Kima teleported to the Dreemoth Ravine using Keyleth's Transport via Plants and set up Scanlan's Magnificent Mansion to rest for the night. Scanlan and Vax'ildan stealthily flew down to the ruins of Draconia to meet with Tooma. They informed her of their plan, which they intended to enact the next day. The two returned to the Mansion, but were met by Vex, who convinced them that they should wait another day to scout the location and let Percy rest, who was still recovering from Resurrection weakness. Vex and Scanlan returned to Tooma, who was annoyed at being woken up twice in one night, but begrudgingly agreed. Keyleth returned to Whitestone using the gate stone to collect Pike, realizing they left her behind and could use her help in the coming battle.

The next day, Vox Machina scouted the ambush location recommended to them by Tooma, a circle of stones within the ravine to the north of Draconia's ruin, using Wind Walk to remain unseen. They cast Scanlan's Magnificent Mansion within the ravine so they could wait inside during the ambush. During this time, Vorugal left the ravine to hunt, and the party used the opportunity to create a pair of ledges on the walls of the ravine for Percy and Vex to snipe from. After this, a dwarf calling himself Larkin came walking from further up the ravine. The group slowly realized this was Raishan in disguise, and explained their plan. Before going to bed, Pike cast Heroes' Feast, giving the party a boost to their vitality before the coming battle.

Fan art of Vorugal fighting Yenk, by Kamille Areopagita.[art 11]

At noon on 5 Misuthar, 811 PD, Vox Machina enacted their plan. The ravenites sent Vorugal to the ambush point, telling the dragon that a hunt awaited him there. Moments before the white dragon's arrival, Scanlan used the spell scroll to cast Gate, only barely succeeding. The goristro Yenk was summoned from the Abyss and charmed by Scanlan, who ordered the demon to kill a white dragon. Scanlan joined the rest of the party hidden in the Mansion, leaving Vax, Vex, and Percy hidden within the ravine. Vorugal arrived and did battle with Yenk, who landed a solid charging blow against the dragon. When Vorugal began to gain the upper hand by flying outside of the demon's reach, Vax took the opportunity to land a surprise attack on the dragon, at which point Vox Machina joined the fray. Yenk, whose charm was broken by Vorugal's attacks, began to attack whatever creature was nearest to him.

Pike called out to Sarenrae for Divine Intervention, which the goddess granted by briefly reaching beyond the Divine Gate to land a mighty blow against Vorugal, knocking him to the ground. "Larkin" lurked at the edge of the fray and fired spells at the Vorugal. Unable to deal with the flying dragon, Kima and Grog dealt with Yenk, who was eventually killed by a swing of the goliath's axe. As Vorugal gained the upper hand against Vox Machina, Raishan revealed her draconic form and attacked the white dragon directly. Vex fired an arrow into an open wound on Vorugal's chest, striking his heart and causing him to crash against the wall of the ravine. As he laid on the ground where he fell, Raishan landed and tore out his throat. Vex's arrow, shot from Fenthras, began to grow into a tree sprouting form the dragon's ribs. Percy told Raishan that they'd have another conversation in Whitestone, and she changed shape into Assum's form and Teleported away.

Vox Machina spent the rest of the day recovering from the battle, as well as inspecting treasure from Vorugal's hoard, which the ravenites happily gave to them as a reward for slaying the dragon. The bulk of the hoard, which came from the draconblood nobility of Draconia, was collected by the ravenites so they could use it to rebuild. Keyleth spent the next day to cast Plant Growth to help revitalize the land around the Dreemoth Ravine.

Thordak's Spawn

By this time the Ember Seed embedded within Thordak had warped the dragon with elemental power and driven him completely insane, making him unpredictable. A team led by Brom Goldhand managed to lure Thordak away from his crater in the Cloudtop District, and caught a glimpse inside. They saw that he was building something, but were unsure what, and most of the team were killed save for Goldhand himself. Unbeknownst to all, the Ember Seed had caused Thordak to become hermaphroditic, and he had lain a clutch of eggs within his crater. If hatched, these eggs would produce dragons suffused with primordial elemental power.

Tal'Dorei's Retaliation

Planning the Attack

Vox Machina returned to Whitestone via Plants on 7 Misuthar, 811 PD and were summoned to a war council in Whitestone Castle. The meeting was attended by Cassandra de Rolo, Allura Vysoren, Drake Thunderbrand, Shaun Gilmore, and "Assum Emring". The council discussed the next action to take, deciding to attack Thordak before Raishan, and that they should make the first move before Whitestone becomes a target. Without warning, Percy moved to stab "Assum" in the back, revealing that the halfling's form was an illusion. Pressured, Raishan reavealed to the council her tenuous alliance with Vox Machina, Assum's real whereabouts, as well as the method she used to allow Thordak to leave the Elemental Plane of Fire. The council was shocked, but trusted in Vox Machina's judgement, knowing that they didn't trust Raishan either. They demand that the dragon bring the real Assum to Whitestone, to which Raishan agreed and disappeared.

The meeting continued in the Ziggurat beneath the city, where its Antimagic Sphere prevented magical scrying and subterfuge. They created a plan in which the war council's allies, Mikael Daxio and the regiments he lead, as well as the Syngornian army, would amass at Fort Daxio. There the plan would be to lure Thordak away from Emon, potentially using a ruse that Raishan was killed by Vox Machina, or by actually killing the green dragon.

Allura Teleported Vox Machina to Fort Daxio, where they met with General Elle Gorgofon of the Aegis Regiment. Her 225 soldiers were low on supplies, as the fort and caravans from Kraghammer had been harried by Thordak's wyvern riding lizardfolk. They informed her of the current status of Mikael Daxio and the rest of the regiments still in Syngorn, as well as the plan to lure Tordak to the fort, to which Gorgofon agreed. The party spent the day helping the soldiers prepare. Scanlan fed them using his kitchen in the Magnificent Mansion, Keyleth dug bunkers around the fort using Move Earth, and Percy helped to repair a trebuchet. During this time, Vox Machina's arrival at the fort was unknowingly spotted by scouts loyal to Thordak.

The next day, Allura contacted Syldor Vessar and Mikael Daxio via Sending to tell them the time had come to return to Exandria and mobilize the Tal'Doreian and Syngornian armies. Vox Machina Transported via Plants to Pyrah and spoke with Cerkonos, who agreed to lend the aid of the Fire Ashari willing to fight, and would contact Korrin of the Air Ashari. Vox Machina then Plane Shifted to the Elemental Plane of Fire to recover the final vestige known to them. At some point, Allura brought Kima to the fort.

Clash at Fort Daxio

On 9 Misuthar, 811 PD, Xanthas of the Alabaster Lyceum arrived at Fort Daxio, appearing injured. Allura allowed the mage inside, as she was familiar with him. He spoke to her about the state of Emon, and led her to a private room in the fort. There he revealed himself as a traitor working for Thordak as he used a wand to cast Feeblemind on Allura, nullifying her intellect and spellcasting ability. Shortly after, a strike force of around one hundred lizardfolk of the Scions of Flame accompanied by a contingent of wyvern riders arrived and besieged the fort, managing to breach the outer walls.

Vox Machina Plane Shifted back to the outskirts of the fort, having successfully retrieved the Plate of the Dawnmartyr. Seeing Fort Daxio beginning to fall, the party rushed to the fort, blasting wyverns out of the air along the way. When they arrived, Keyleth Fireballed numerous lizardfolk as they attempted to breach the fort's keep. Xanthas emerged from one of the keep's towers and attempted to flee on wyvernback, but was restrained by a Bramble Shot from Vex.

Fan art of Vax'ildan after killing General Ordis, by Hugo Cardenas.[art 12]

At that moment, General Ordis, the fire giant leading the lizardfolk's attack, arrived on the back of an ember roc and entered the fray against Vox Machina. Xanthas Dominated Vex'ahlia and ordered her to kill her friends. After several back and forth blows, Ordis was killed by a critical sneak attack from Vax'ildan, and her ember roc mount was slain by Grog. Kima appeared from the keep and dealt a heavy blow to Xanthas, breaking his command over Vex. In return, she slew him with an arrow to the face. With their leaders killed and the tide turning, the remaining lizardfolk retreated from the fort.

As the soldiers tended to their dead and wounded, Kima brought Vox Machina to Allura, where Pike used Greater Restoration to restore Allura to herself. She told the party that Syngorn had returned to the Material Plane and that Syngorn and Tal'Dorei's armies were one day south of Emon, marching northward covered by an illusion to mask their movement. After some deliberation, Vox Machina rested for the night at the fort, then Transported via Plants to Whitestone.

Final Preparations

Upon arrival, Vox Machina attended a war meeting at the Ziggurat beneath the city, where Raishan, in her true dragon form, had brought the real Assum Emring as well as Brom Goldhand from Emon, who updated Vox Machina on the city's status. Vox Machina decided, after much deliberation, to bring Shaun Gilmore with them for the confrontation with Thordak, as well as Kima and Jarett Howarth.

The party collected several Potions of Fire Resistance prepared by Drake Thunderbrand and went to find Zahra Hydris and Kashaw Vesh. They discussed the battle plan, with tactical revisions from Kash, and resolved that the army would need further aid. Keyleth, accompanied by Vax'ildan and Allura Transported via Plants to Zephrah. There they met with Korrin, Keyleth's father and acting headmaster of the Air Ashari. He agreed to come to battle with around a hundred fighters and druids to conjure a storm over the city. After returning to Whitestone, Vox Machina and their retinue ate a Heroes' Feast and went to bed.

Siege of Emon

The following day Vox Machina and company, including Raishan disguised as "Larkin", waited until evening for the armies to arrive, then Teleported to the outskirts of Emon, where the assembled armies of Tal'Dorei and Syngorn had gathered and made camp under the cover of an illusory barrier. All together, the armies numbered around 2,000 soldiers. They were also joined by a small group of fighters from Westruun led by Kerrek. Vox Machina met with Warmaster Mikael Daxio and discussed the plan one last time. They informed Daxio of the coming aid from the Ashari, who had already conjured a storm that was coming from the east towards the city.

At dusk on 11 Misuthar, 811 PD the siege began. Vox Machina and company snuck towards Greyskull Keep and entered their secret tunnel leading into the city, where they then entered the sewers of Emon and rendezvoused with a group of Clasp agents, who reluctantly led them towards the Cloudtop District. In order to prevent Vox Machina from being swarmed by the Scions of Flame, the Tal'Dorei and Syngorn armies surrounded the city and attacked at all of Emon's entrances, pulling the lizardfolk army in all directions. While the lizardfolk numbered around 8,000, they were scattered and disorganized after the death of General Ordis at Fort Daxio.

Fan art of Zahra holding back the fire giants, by Brandon Chang.[art 13]

As Vox Machina surfaced just outside the gates to the Cloudtop, Keyleth cast Skywrite to signal to the armies and the Ashari that they were in position within the city. The storm intensified, and the Ashari harried the wyverns, keeping them from attacking the ground forces. Meanwhile, the soldiers withdrew and attacked at a single point, pushing forward into the city to establish a fortified position. Vox Machina approached the gate to the Cloudtop, which was guarded by a pair of fire giants. Zahra cast Evard's Black Tentacles to restrain the giants, allowing Vox Machina and company to slip by, while she and Kash stayed behind to fight the giants.

References

  1. Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 134. The event is identified as the Chroma Crisis.
  2. See "Desperate Measures" (1x40) from 2:36:18 through 2:42:03.
  3. See "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06).[citation needed]
  4. See "The Family Business" (1x47) from 47:31 through 49:32.
  5. See "Omens" (1x39).[citation needed]
  6. See "Desperate Measures" (1x40).[citation needed]
  7. Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 72.
  8. See "Desperate Measures" (1x40).[citation needed]
  9. See "Talks Machina Fireside Special: Q&A with the Critical Role Cast" (Sx33) at 1:40:45.  Matthew Mercer explains each member's motivation and the reason for the loose alliance.
  10. Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 70.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Vox Machina facing the Chroma Conclave, by Alika Gupta (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of the Chroma Conclave attacking Emon, by Thomas Brin (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Ruins of Draconia, by Kent Davis (source).  Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of Grog and Percy fighting over the skull, by Thomas Brin (source).  Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of Gern's thrall helping to seal Fire Plane rift, by Thomas Brin (source).  Used with permission.
  6. Fan art of Grog Strongjaw landing the killing blow on Kevdak, by David Rodrigues (source).  Used with permission.
  7. Fan art of Umbrasyl's retreat, by Lap Pun Cheung (source).  Used with permission.
  8. Fan art of Grog killing Umbrasyl, by Viktor Engholm (source).  Used with permission.
  9. Fan art of J'mon Sa Ord, by NLN4 (source).  Used with permission.
  10. Fan art of Raisha in disguise as Assum, by Thomas Brin (source).  Used with permission.
  11. Fan art of Vorugal fighting Yenk, by Kamille Areopagita (source).  made in collaboration with Kevin Areopagita  Used with permission.
  12. Fan art of Vax'ildan after killing General Ordis, by Hugo Cardenas (source).  Used with permission.
  13. Fan art of Zahra holding back the fire giants, by Brandon Chang (source).  Used with permission.