"Dangerous Dealings" (1x42) is the forty-second episode of the first campaign of Critical Role. Vox Machina, having rescued Gilmore and the surviving members of the Tal'Dorei royal family, must decide how to handle the Chroma Conclave's attacks across Exandria—and whether to make a devil's bargain with the Clasp.
Previously on Critical Role
"Vox Machina, the intrepid band of adventurers, after a series of adventures had found their way back to their central city of Emon, in the center of the region of Tal'Dorei. After a ceremony in which the leader of their city, Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei, announcing him stepping down, the town was suddenly under siege by a group of extremely powerful and dangerous ancient dragons that call themselves the Chroma Conclave. After tearing the city asunder in many places, three of them flew off into the east under the instruction of the fourth and possibly largest and leader of the group, that has recently been found to be called Thordak, the Cinder King, who currently resides in the center of the city of Emon, claiming that his mercy is only to those who worship him and essentially feed his greed and hunger. As such, Vox Machina narrowly escaping the battle—a couple of encounters with these dragons, including one above their Keep—and are housing a number of survivors who have made their way out of the city and are currently residing within Greyskull Keep for protection.
"The party went into the city to see if they could find any other allies and friends that may have survived this encounter. They befriended a member of the Clasp named Garthok who walked amongst the rubble and proceeded to show them the entrance he knows to the Clasp, of which they may be trying to inquire about information. On their way to that area, they passed by Gilmore's shop, Gilmore being a good friend of the group and a powerful magic practitioner and creator of magical items and artifacts and a number of glorious goods. His abode, however, smashed and currently a pile of burnt wood and rock. Looters were currently pouring through, and Vox Machina attempted to get them to leave the area alone. It came to blows, with many of the looters falling in battle, two of which walked away.
"They discovered the location where the looters were hoarding the massive amounts of gold and artifacts that they had acquired from the rubble. They then found the secret compartment in which Gilmore's teleportation sigil was locked beneath his shop, where the remaining family of Tal'Dorei, Salda and the three children, as well as Gilmore himself, wounded and barely alive, having saved them. They found that Uriel, the sovereign, did not seemingly survive the encounter with the dragon, and Gilmore nearly fell going back to try and make sure Vox Machina was okay, barely escaping with his life. They managed to save his, taking the children, Salda, Sherri, and Gilmore back to Greyskull Keep.
"Some of them splintered off to try and acquire the goods that were taken from his store, however they apparently had already been stolen from the location they were being stored in, or been delivered already, they're uncertain as to what became of them. But they get the sense that it was probably best that they chose Gilmore over the gold, at first glance. Making their way back to the Keep, they've sent Gilmore up to rest for the evening. Some of them have then found their way down into the Temple of Sarenrae, where a number of the escaped refugees from Emon currently try desperately to cling to their memories to try and keep the shakes at bay, and contemplate what the next step is in survival in this now partially ruined city."
Vox Machina discusses which of their allies they can rally to help them defeat Thordak and the Chroma Conclave. Percy wants to make an alliance with the Clasp, but Vax'ildan doesn't think they can be trusted. Scanlan unequivocally disagrees with a plan for him to spy on Thordak.
Knowing that Whitestone is safe (for the moment), and given the heavy death toll it suffered throughout the Briarwoods' reign and during the Whitestone Rebellion, Vox Machina decides to abandon Greyskull Keep and transport the refugees under their protection to Whitestone, thinking that the refugees could help rebuild Whitestone while waiting for the dragon threat to be resolved. Percy mentions stealing a skyship for fast travel. Scanlan likes this idea, but it is temporarily abandoned by the rest of the party in favor of Keyleth's transportation spells, Transport via Plants and Wind Walk, and the gate stones that Percy and Cassandra hold.
Percy travels to Whitestone with the refugees and talks to his sister about making preparations in case the dragons come. While there, he encounters Realmseer Eskil Ryndarien, who is researching the Ziggurat.
As Vox Machina proceeds to the Clasp's headquarters, they encounter wyverns with lizardfolk riders.
After dispatching the wyverns and their lizardfolk riders, the party heads to the secret entrance to the Clasp's headquarters shown to them by Garthok. Upon entering the building indicated to them, they discover a ladder beneath a barrel in the cellar. The rest of Vox Machina decides it is best to take a short rest at this point, but Vax'ildan descends the ladder to scout ahead.
Vax and Vex have a short conversation via their Earrings of Whisper, momentarily forgetting that they can be heard by the rest of the party. Upon being notified of this fact, Vax calls Vex down to finish their conversation in private.
In the sewers, Vax informs Vex that prior to them having joined forces with Vox Machina, there was a patron of the Clasp that wanted Vex'ahlia. Vax exchanged Vex's life for another person that was transformed into a likeness of Vex and given to the patron, on the condition that Vax becomes branded with the mark of the Clasp, signifying that "they are allowed to call on [him] when they want." Vax is concerned that a member of the Clasp will recognize Vex as one of their targets.
As the rest of the group joins the twins in the sewers, Vex asks Scanlan if he has anything that would allow her to disguise herself. Scanlan playfully casts Minor Illusion on Vex to give her a "fancy, fancy moustache that [she] cannot wipe off [her] face," but promptly dispels it. Vex offers Scanlan a limerick in exchange for his Hat of Disguise:
Impressed, Scanlan gives Vex'ahlia temporary usage of the Hat of Disguise.
Arriving at the Clasp's sanctuary, Vox Machina is briefly met with gestures of hostility before Garthok speaks up, informing the members of the Clasp that they are with him. Vox Machina speaks to one of the Clasp's spirelings (a leadership rank) named Shenn, asking him to help the people of Emon and spy for them while they get help to defeat the dragon. The spireling requests entrée into Vasselheim, where they have yet been unable to gain a foothold. Percy and Scanlan are willing to make the deal, but many of the others are not, for various reasons. Through most of the discussion, Vax is quiet, but the group elects him to make the final decision. He decides not to take it, much to the dismay of the Clasp, which now considers Vax and his companions enemies. As they leave, they hear the secret entrance being destroyed. Vax asks Keyleth to burn the Clasp's brand off of his back, which she does.
Vox Machina heads back to Greyskull Keep for the night, which Vax and Keyleth spend together in the druid's bedroom. The next morning, the party takes Gilmore, Empress Salda Tal'Dorei, Salda's children, and the remaining refugees and staff of Greyskull Keep to Whitestone.
The next day, Vox Machina travels to the Slayer's Take guildhall in Vasselheim.
- Percival de Rolo
- Scanlan Shorthalt
- Grog Strongjaw
- Pike Trickfoot (DM-controlled)
- Cassandra de Rolo
- Jarett Howarth
- Mertin Cyndrial
- Salda Tal'Dorei
- Shaun Gilmore
- Thorbir Falbek
|Transferred||1||Hat of Disguise||Scanlan||Vex'ahlia||temporarily transferred to disguise Vex from the Clasp|
|Transferred||1||Hat of Disguise||Vex'ahlia||Scanlan||returned after Vex decides she no longer needs the hat|
|Acquired||4||Pieces of Residuum Glass||Cassandra de Rolo||Percy||half-dollar-sized pieces of residuum glass from the mining operation at Whitestone|
- Scanlan: Ah! That was close, guys. I saw my mother! Then I saw myself at math class, failing.
- Vax'ildan: You know what? Keep your deal. I don't think you're going to let this city fall anyway. If this city dies, you've nothing. If the parasite hasn't a host to feed on, the parasite dies. No, thank you. 
- Keyleth: Percy? I'm sorry... but I think our methods of being rulers might differ. I don't think I need to sell myself for the greater good. 
- Percy: I would like to point out, since you had such noble intentions towards my position on things, this is your ego at work here. I may be many things, and I may be a deal-maker, but I never forget that when I rule, I rule these people, as well. I'm not better than them. And you may think you're better than them, but this is what it creates. It creates enemies.
Keyleth: No, Percy. The difference is, I don't think I'm better than them.
Percy: They certainly think you do, and they are not pleased. 
- Gilmore: Let's just say I'm not a huge fan of the zealot type. Vasselheim doesn't really... jangle my dingles. 
- Vax: I go to Keyleth's door and knock on it.
Keyleth: I open the door. Hi.
Vax: Hi. I don't want to be alone tonight. Do you?
Keyleth: I haven't been wanting to be alone most nights. And I let him in.
- Matthew Mercer uses his catchphrase, "How do you want to do this?", and isn't referring to a boss kill.
- Vax'ildan tells Vex'ahlia about the origin of his brand from the Clasp. See "Dangerous Dealings" (1x42) from 2:25:05 through 2:29:11.
- Scanlan casts Minor Illusion to give Vex a moustache. See "Dangerous Dealings" (1x42) at 2:30:53.
- See "Dangerous Dealings" (1x42) from 2:31:27 through 2:31:42.
- Scanlan gives his Hat of Disguise to Vex'ahlia. See "Dangerous Dealings" (1x42) at 2:32:05.
- Spirelings were referenced in Matthew Mercer's background story provided to Critical Role Transcriptions.
- See "Dangerous Dealings" (1x42) at 3:08:20.
- See "Dangerous Dealings" (1x42) at 1:52:12.
- Vax'ildan rejects Spireling Shenn's offer. See "Dangerous Dealings" (1x42) at 2:54:12.
- Keyleth comments upon Percy's willingness to entertain the Clasp's offer. See "Dangerous Dealings" (1x42) at 2:54:37.
- Percy responds to Keyleth after the entrance to the Clasp's sanctuary is collapsed. See "Dangerous Dealings" (1x42) at 2:58:49.
- Gilmore decides to stay in Whitestone. See "Dangerous Dealings" (1x42) at 3:22:53.
- See "Dangerous Dealings" (1x42) at 3:08:18.
- See "Dangerous Dealings" (1x42) at 0:46:19.