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"Denizens of the Moonbrush" (1x61) is the fifth episode of the fifth chapter of Critical Role. The satyr guide, Garmelie, leads Vox Machina toward the cancerous tree that houses Fenthras, Wrath of the Fey Warden, one of the Vestiges of the Divergence. The journey through the Feywild presents several challenges, but the biggest and scariest threats aren't always the most dangerous in this strange realm...

Synopsis Edit

Pre-Show Edit

  • Before the episode began on Twitch, the updated Critical Role fan art appreciation video aired. This was excluded from Geek & Sundry's YouTube version of the episode.

Announcements Edit

  • GenCon
  • Poster by Joma Cueto
  • Upcoming live episode in Indianapolis, IN.
  • Laura and Travis are going to see Hamilton
  • Backblaze is sponsoring the show: backblaze.com/criticalrole


Previously on Critical Role Edit

Vox Machina, in attempting to find ways to topple and destroy the Chroma Conclave, have found their way around the world seeking items called the Vestiges of Divergence—artifacts of great power that should aid them in their attempt to take down Thordak, the Cinder King, the red dragon that now sits lording over the central town of Emon in the kingdom of Tal'Dorei.

Their recent journey has brought them into the Feywild, a pseudo-parallel plane of fey magic, chaos, and all sorts of "goodness" in-between. They've wandered through, met an old friend in Nahla the nymph of the lake, discovered a fantastically artistically-talented satyr by the name of Garmelie, and had a trip to the city of Syngorn, the elven city from Tal'Dorei, which had phased into this realm for safety when the dragons of the Conclave attacked.

After a faithful re-meeting with the parents of Vex and Vax, discussions were had, hats were attempted to be stolen [from] the leader of the city—and successfully done so. The other half of agreements were... pseudo-achieved, and they made their way northward through the Evershifting Grasses to the outskirts of the Moonbrush, a heavy, heavy forested wood that will lead them to their destination after that, which is the Gilded Run, a series of rivers that wrap around their final destination, the Shademurk Bog, where apparently Fenthras exists.

You guys had managed to wander a few hours into the southern portion of the forest, of the Moonbrush. Coming through, you realize that, as opposed to the rest of the Feywild you've encountered so far, which exists in a perpetual dusk, there is an actual starry sky and moonlight poking through—a full moon—at portions of the canopy of this forest. Cruising ever-forward, you stumble upon what looked like some sort of a cave or a cavern, with a series of small stone and wooden trinkets and gifts that were left outside, as well as carved bones and rotting fruits. You came to realize that these were probably left for the spiritual entity that lived and existed within this cavern. Upon some of these gifts being disturbed, the bear attacked, and Vex'ahlia summoned forth Trinket, her faithful companion bear. A battle took place, putting Trinket in a difficult position, but upon a brief discussion with this spirit bear, had proven himself a worthy entity and was bestowed a boon, further solidifying the bond between Vex'ahlia and her faithful companion Trinket.[1]

Part I Edit

While Percy investigates the bear spirit's cave, noticing that the stone was definitely worked by hands, Keyleth reflects on the nature of guardian spirits, which can form due to the accumulated force of the people's belief and worship over time. Vex'ahlia and Keyleth explain to the rest of the group that Trinket defended them from a bear spirit, but Grog wants to explore the cave. The party agrees that it would be a bad idea, but just as Grog resigns himself to skipping the adventure, Scanlan volunteers to accompany him.

Hoisting Scanlan over his back, Grog dashes into the cave and through a tunnel, ending up in a distant cavern. There, they find a circle of candles around a raised platform upon which rests a large, gemstone-carved beast's skull. After deciding to leave it be, they exit the cave (albeit in a dramatic flair) and push on. Avoiding a field of mandrake, the intrepid group hears some faint folk music where Vax and Vex investigate with Garmelie in tow. Vax pushes further ahead despite Vex's misgivings and discovers a campsite clearing, where an elven Veridian Guard solider and lycanthrope dancing to music played by glowing spectral musical instruments.
The Dance Trap - Lap Pun Cheung

Fan art of the dance trap, by Lap Pun Cheung.[art 1]

Vax becomes Charmed by the music and wanders out of steath to join hands with the soldier and wolfman, dancing along to the tune. Vex grabs Scanlan, who immediately beings humming a Countercharm tune, and attempts to rescue her brother. Vex resists the charm, but Scanlan unfortunately fails and jumps off the broom to dance along. Vex puts Vax into the Raven's Slumber necklace and grabs the gnome bard. The soldier and wolfman attempt to grab Scanlan in return, and Vex notices the dancers are gaunt and suffering from being forced to dance for an unknown length of time. Noticing that plugging their ears has no effect, Vex and Percy aim their weapons at the instruments and fire, which causes the instruments to disperse, and causes psychic damage to Scanan while the soldier and wolfman collapse to the ground. A moment later, the spectral instruments rematerialize and resume playing their music. The gnome bard continues to dance while Keyleth punches Grog to allow him to Rage and dash into the camp. Grog sucessfully grabs Scanlan and runs back, while Percy shoots Grog to allow his Rage to continue unabated and exit the range of the music. Garmelie expresses frustration at Vox Machina, stating that the location was the campsite of which they had been warned[2], and the group move on.

As they continue towards their destination, discussing the Lycans Garmelie had mentioned, Vex notices a pair of yellow eyes within the forest, and moments later, Vox Machina finds themselves surrounded by several unclothed but armed creatures that seem to be part-beast, part-human: most wolflike, but also including one bear and one tiger. The tiger accuses them of intruding; though Scanlan explains that they only seek passage through to the Shademurk Bog, they summon the Lycan leader Ukurat to determine if they will hunt or parley with the group.

Ukurat arrives, identifying the Lycans as the Fendir, and agrees not to eat the party if they perform a favor: destroy a crystal stone circle among the homes of the Wisher pixies. According to Ukurat, they have been preying on the Fendir, turning them into decorative statues, and wish to see the Lycans exterminated. Though initially hesitant, feeling that they do not know the full context of the situation, the party proposes to agree to these terms, provided they are permitted safe passage out of the Moonbrush. Ukurat states that the Lycans only wish to live in peace and safety; though Keyleth attempts to broker peace without destruction, he refuses, telling them to go speak with the Wishers to inform their decision.

Vox Machina discuss their options: Vax is concerned about conflict with the pixies, citing the party's poor experience with charms earlier. Grog reminds the party that Garmelie recommended against taking sides in this conflict. Percy points out that they only need to destroy a relic, though Keyleth expresses her concern that trying to do so will result in bloodshed; she instead suggests speaking with them and asking them to pretend the relic was destroyed. Percy just wants to see the pixies, Scanlan wants to fight the Lycans, and Vex protests.

They eventually determine to head in that direction, following the lights as Ukurat instructed, luring Garmelie into following along with the opportunity to draw the pixies.

Break Edit

  • Backblaze is sponsoring Critical Role, so a promo aired during the break. Use backblaze.com/criticalrole to sign up for a free fifteen-day trial of the service.


Edit

Part II Edit

Scanlan continues to read, and the party eventually comes across a thicket containing a cluster of about two dozen homes, glowing in the darkness, looking as if they were grown from trees. They spot the crystal circle as well as three statues of Lycans, adorned with vines and flowers. They discuss several options, and Keyleth suggests casting Hallucinatory Terrain to fool the Fendir into believing the village had been destroyed. The party majority enthusiastically agrees, and Keyleth casts the spell, making the village look burned and destroyed. Vox Machina flees duskward, eventually running into a solid invisible barrier preventing them from leaving the area. They turn to find the Lycans watching them.

Post-Show Edit

  • After the episode ended on Twitch, the updated Critical Role fan art appreciation video aired.
  • Backblaze is sponsoring Critical Role, so a promo aired after the fan appreciation video. Use backblaze.com/criticalrole to sign up for a free fifteen-day trial of the service.


Featured Characters Edit

Vox Machina Edit

New Edit

  • Unnamed Verdant Guard member (killed indirectly by Vox Machina)
  • Unnamed dancing werewolf (killed indirectly by Vox Machina)
  • Six unnamed wisher pixies (killed by Vox Machina)
  • Mystic Iotha (elder wisher pixie; killed by Vox Machina)
  • Jameson, Garmelie's uncle (mentioned only)
  • Lord Ukurat, a member of the Fendir (also pluralized as "Fendirs")

Returning Edit

Inventory Edit

Quotations Edit

External Links Edit

References Edit

  1. See "Denizens of the Moonbrush" (1x61).[citation needed]
  2. See "Into the Feywild" (1x59).[citation needed]
Art:
  1. Fan art of the dance trap, by Lap Pun Cheung (source).  Used with permission.


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