"Crimson Diplomacy" (1x25) is the second episode of the third chapter of Critical Role. Vax'ildan finds himself alone in the clutches of the villainous Briarwoods! While the party rushes in to save him, they are joined by a mysterious tiefling named Lillith Daturai, a powerful wizard on the run from bounty hunters. Can Vox Machina save both Vax and Lillith from their grim fates?
- Less than an hour left to pick up the Is It Thursday Yet? T-shirts.
- Today is the anniversary of Team Hoomanism. Check out the hashtag #Hoomanism. There will be a T-shirt giveaway in celebration.
- The cast will be at New York Comic Con on October 10-11th.
- Check out Joe Madureira's Kickstarter for the game Battle Chasers: Nigthwar, and the hashtag #BattleChasers.
- The reason for Ashley Johnson's absence is her involvement with Blindspot. You can check out the show on Monday nights on NBC.
- Watch for a video about the charity 826LA at the break.
- Orion is currently sitting on Zac Eubank's face. (It's a body pillow. Marisha and Taliesin are sitting on the stomach and feet, respectively. The real Zac is blushing.)
- Check out Orion's Twitch stream at orionacaba.
- Sam Riegel is running late due to traffic. The cast have a present for him when he arrives.
- Sam does arrive after the intro. He is presented with a tankard, scaled to size for Sam to resemble a gnome, which is to say that the tankard is the size of an ice bucket.
Previously on Critical Role
"The party, after traveling abroad in the distant city of Vasselheim and the surrounding lands, eventually returned to Emon, their central hub city where they have their Greyskull Keep constructed, to relax and take in a brief moment of respite, before learning that the Briarwoods—two individuals apparently responsible for much darkness and sadness in the history of Percy—were coming to court within a week to have a feast and talk with Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei. Upon hearing the Briarwoods were arriving within the week to discuss political matters and enjoy a feast, the members of Vox Machina, who are part of the Council of Tal'Dorei, were invited.
"Within that week, they made their various preparations, made their various beard-checks, made their various beard-shavings, and made their way to the central palace in the Cloudtop District of Emon. The Briarwoods arrived, a feast was put out, however Percy went in under an illusion to look like Vax, while Vax went invisible. Everyone had formal attire on, weapons left at the door, unarmored, dressed for the occasion. During the feast, conversations were had, questions were raised, and information was extracted. Seeker Assum had requested to have been met in the foyer by our rogue here, who forgot and then decided to go on his own upstairs, following the Briarwoods to the second floor where their guest room was set. He distracted one of the guards with his Serpent Belt, knocked out the other, entered the room, and found himself face-to-face with the Briarwoods themselves. After a brief discussion, a little bit of awkwardness, [Vax] attempted to leave but [was] placed in a holding pattern, if you will, by a Hold Person spell and had the two Briarwoods come up to [him], whisper in [his] ear that [he] had nothing to worry about, [he looks] delicious."
Vax'ildan finds himself in the clutches of the Briarwoods, and overcomes their paralysis and charm spells but fails to talk his way out of the tight spot and the Briarwoods attack him. They seem to be vampires, as Lady Briarwood uses necrotic magic and Lord Briarwood attacks with fists and fangs. Vax takes heavy hits and at the first opportunity he disengages and leaps out of a second-story window while yelling "Jenga" (the team's agreed-upon safe word) into his headset.
The rest of Vox Machina were just exiting the party when they hear this warning, so they leap into action: Keyleth turns eagle and starts searching the halls with flying Tiberius following. Scanlan orders a drink at the open bar, and Vex, Grog, and Percy retrieve their weapons from the entryway.
Before the party can make it to the scene, Lord Sylas and Lady Delilah Briarwood follow Vax out the window and knock him unconscious. Lillith Daturai the tiefling wizard (guest Kit Buss), currently magically disguised as a human servant) enters the scene, and Seeker Assum appears out of a wardrobe in the Briarwoods' bedroom before leaping down to Vax and pulling him away from the attacking nobles, but he then succumbs to Silas' charm attack. In her eagle form, Keyleth swoops into the bedroom and grabs Scanlan in her talons with the intention of joining the fight below. Vex gets in range and fires a lightning arrow at Lady Briarwood, which crits and catches Lord Briarwood and Seeker Assum (but not Vax) in the splash damage. With her second attack Vex crits AGAIN on Lady Delilah, but on her turn Lady Briarwood deals 66 damage to Vex and then approaches Vax's unconscious body again. Scanlan uses Healing Word at 5th level to revive Vax.
Lillith drops her magical disguise (appearing to all as a tiefling) and attempts to cast Crown of Madness but Lord Briarwood resists. Percy roars Sylas Briarwood's name before hitting him with Bad News, followed by an Arm Shot, dealing him damage and putting him at disadvantage for his next attack. Between these hits Lord Briarwood comments to his wife regarding Percy "the Pup yet lives." He then fails his attempts to grapple Vax thanks to a distracting Cutting Words performance from Scanlan. Keyleth flies down to the ground, dropping Scanlan off at ground level and then dropping her eagle form before healing Vax a bit more. Vax hops up and bravely runs away, away. Tiberius misses a Counterspell as Delilah Briarwood deals him 21 points of psychic damage and drop his Intelligence and Charisma to 1, reducing him to instinctual responses and disabling his flying.
Tiberius, still in the bedroom indoors, runs back out to the hallway, hissing at a guard along the way. Grog hits Lord Briarwood with his flaming hammer and pulls it back with his chain of retrieval. Scanlan begins chatting up the Briarwoods and then surprises them with lightning, overcoming the Lady's Counterspell though they do both make their saving throws. Briarwood partially resists Lillith's next spell but he does take the frightened condition. Percy fires again at him while shouting Sylas' name, this time hitting him twice with the Pepperbox. Sylas appears to partially heal and then draws a previously invisible greatsword from a back sheath and charges Grog, who takes a few points of damage but his constitution resists whatever draining enchantment is on the sword. Keyleth casts a Sleet Storm on the Briarwoods. Vax misses a dagger throw and chugs a greater healing potion, still backing up. Vex moves her Hunter's Mark to Lord Briarwood and hits him with a holy arrow in the hopes it will overcome his vampiric resistances. It seems effective as the holy water spreads burns across his body and halts the healing noted before so she shoots him with another.
Sylas is starting to look rough, and Delilah on her turn uses Dimension Door to disappear. Vex uses her Hunter's Mark to track the Briarwoods around the corner. As the party gives chase they find the Briarwoods fleeing in their carriage and Percy opens fire, splintering a wheel as Keyleth casts another sleet storm, this time in the carriages path. The carriage crashes to its side and slides to a stop. Tiberius rejoins the party at this point, still bestial. Lady Briarwood extends Percy a sarcastic invitation to visit his family at their home and Vex is able to hit her with an explosive arrow, launching shrapnel from the carriage. Lord and Lady Briarwood are still whole and they teleport away.
Percy then proceeds to aggressively interrogates the burned carriage driver, blowing off the young man’s fingers before threatening to do the same to his other hand. When asked about the location of each member of Percy’s family, the frightened driver claims they're all gone and pleads that the Briarwoods will kill him if he says more. Percy replies "No, they won't. Because I will kill you first."
The party and guards begin gathering in front of the palace, where the destroyed carriage lies. Percy knocks the young, bleeding driver unconscious. Keyleth makes sure he won't bleed to death.
Vax and Keyleth intimidate the guards into letting the tiefling leave and bring the driver in their keep's holding cell.
Tiberius shows up, distressed, to Allura, who calms him down and makes him stay put.
The party gets acquainted with Lillith Daturai, who turns out to be the cousin of one of their friends from the Slayer's Take, Zahra Hydris. Lillith deflects questions about her presence in the castle. A red glowing eye sigil on her chest raises suspicion in the party. She explain it's the mark of the Broker, who hunts her. She goes back to her servant disguise.
Uriel interrupts the party departure towards the Sarenrae temple to heal Vax and Tiberius. The meeting is quickly adjourned to first thing the next morning.
Three clerics, including Tristan, the old one who led the resurrection ritual on Pike, welcome the party into Sarenrae's temple.
Vex refuses to haggle the price (100 gold) of healing Vax and Tiberius. Dried, yellowish leaves of glissfoil are pressed onto the biting wound to disinfect it. The cleric assures Vax that, as far as he knows, Vax shouldn't be tainted by the vampirism.
Tiberius asks the cleric to bless his bottomless bottle of water. The cleric is unsure how the enchantment will work out with the blessing; he quotes 25 gold for 2 days of work.
The cleric is moved as the party brings news of the temple being restored in Vasselheim. The party successfully plugs Gilmore's shop to the temple.
Walking the street towards Greyskull, Vax apologies for his stealth failure. Grog whacks him as they accept his apology.
The Broker, a red-skinned, horned tiefling ambushes the party with the help of a sickly older lady and a scarred, masked humanoid. The Broker names "Nefertiri, Nethspira and Bellenore", sisters of Lillith, as his quest givers, and hints that he is acting legally.
During the fight, Scanlan puts the woman to sleep; Grog wakes her up with a lightning spear. Percy shouts for the ambushers to leave, then kills the Broker by shooting 6 bullets in his chest, yelling "You fool, your soul is forfeit! Die! Die!". He ends his turn by glaring the other two down, pulling out his other, bigger gun. The old lady starts running away, she is shot in the back by Vex, put back to sleep, and hit by Tiberius's spinning blades.
Vox Machina captures the masked man, denying him the honor of death, revealing his face to be melted by acid. He is released, and starts wandering.
Lillith animates the Broker, the eye sigil on her chest vanished. She sends him back to her sisters at Palac Lusterka.
The party invite Lillith into the keep. Keyleth plants a glissfoil plant out of the dried leaf.
- Percival de Rolo
- Scanlan Shorthalt
- Tiberius Stormwind
- Grog Strongjaw
Pike Trickfoot(absent; mentioned only)
- The Broker
- Lillith Daturai: tiefling wizard, played by Kit Buss.
- Desmond: the Briarwoods' carriage driver.
- Father Tristan: cleric at the Temple of Sarenrae.
- Vax: Jenga!
- Scanlan: Hello. What a lovely dinner we had-- LIGHTNING!
- Percy: You will tell us everything you've seen.
Desmond Otham: They'll find me, sir. They'll kill me.
Percy: No, they won't. Because I will kill you first.
- Percy: (as he kills The Broker) You fool, your soul is forfeit! Die! Die!
- Fan art of Vax's escape, by Lap Pun Cheung (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Sylas Briarwood turning as he hears Percy scream his name, by Jessica Huegel (@Cryptobaffling) (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Percy yelling, "Your soul is forfeit!", by Ari (source). Used with permission.