"Heredity and Hats" (1x60) is the fourth episode of the fifth chapter of Critical Role, and the first episode of the series to be performed before a live studio audience. Forced by circumstance to enter the elven city of Syngorn in the Feywild, Vox Machina reluctantly seeks audience with Vax'ildan and Vex'ahlia's estranged father, Syldor Vessar, and his new family. After a tense reunion, the party acquires diplomatic papers to pursue their agenda in the city—and complete some unscrupulous tasks for their satyr guide, Garmelie.

Synopsis

Pre-Show

Announcements

  • Live show in Indianapolis, Indiana, at the Hilbert Circle Theatre on Saturday, August 6th, 2016, at 8:00pm. Tickets are available online for General Admission ($60) and VIP ($200, includes poster and meet-and-greet).

Previously on Critical Role

"Our intrepid band of adventurers, Vox Machina, found themselves recently traversing the Feywild in search of another Vestige of Divergence. In doing so they managed to find an old friend in the nymph Nahla, acquired some information by trading a book, and found their way towards the Evershifting Grasses northward in search of where the object of the Divergence lay.

"In doing so they found a new ally, a new friend, a little satyr by the name of Garmelie, who had made some really interesting sketches of the party upon being caught, and was then dragged into Scanlan's Magnificent Mansion, and Pike then asked him to make a fantastic mural for the interior of that place, which I think still resides there to this day...on the Internet, as we've discovered.

"Upon traveling further north—hopefully to find their final destination in the form of the Shademurk Bog where the Fenthras bow seemingly exists—they instead came upon Syngorn, the city from the youthful days of Vex and Vax. Upon encountering Watcher Iova watching the gate, recognizing the twins and letting them within the actual city of Syngorn."

Part I

Once inside the city, the party asks Garmelie what it is he wants them to steal. He asks them to find a quiet place so they can talk, but they decide first to go see Syldor Vessar, the twins' father. They walk through the beautiful city into a residential area, greeting the elven passersby, to their old home that they have not seen for many years. The door is opened by Devana, the wife of Syldor Vessar, whom they had met in Emon some time ago.[1] She is very surprised to see the twins and the rest of the party, but invites them in when they ask to see their half-sister Velora. As they enter, still surrounded by guards, Scanlan and Keyleth continue to greet everyone with, "Good day," which Grog mis-hears as, "Bidet." He continues to greet everyone with "Bidet," not only for the remainder of their time in Syngorn but from then on.

Once inside the pleasant home, the party each introduce themselves and Devana brings tea for them and also brings the very young and shy Velora out to greet them. Syldor joins them shortly, curt as always but also tired and distracted. He tells them that the city fled the Material Plane to the Feywild when, with most of the Syngorn army off fighting another threat, they received word following the fall of Emon of three large dragons flying directly towards Syngorn. They have the remnants of the Emon army within the city, and they are re-equipping them and preparing their own army to join them in battling the dragons. He can offer the party food and a place to stay within the city, but no aid in their own fight, and he is disparaging of their plans to seek out the bow Fenthras within the Shademurk Bog. He bluntly tells the twins their presence brings up difficult memories. He clearly wants them gone.

The city plans to go to war against Thordak in a few weeks, after joining the remaining forces of Fort Daxio and gathering intel on the dragon. Syldor can give them a letter granting access to some storehouses, but they are outsiders and some are ostracized in their own rights. Percy attempts to play the royalty card but Syldor is rather dismissive of Whitestone, saying Percy's title and court is unfamiliar to him. When he asks what else his children want of him, they respond they don't want or need anything from him. They do ask if anyone can help with information on the path they must take through the Feywild, and Syldor tells them he can get them passage to see High Warden Tirelda. The party tells him they've already killed two dragons: Brimscythe and Umbrasyl, and he does seem impressed by that.

However, he makes it clear that the twins' presence is an embarrassment to him, and their anger breaks out, telling him he should have left them with their mother. He responds that he thought they would be worth more, given that they have his blood in their veins, and Vex'ahlia says bitterly she would rip his blood from her veins if she could. Syldor apologizes to the extent he's capable, telling them their sister admires them and that they are an inspiration to her and to others. He regrets his actions toward them, but it is too late. He leaves the room, and they awkwardly talk a bit with Velora while Devana is fetching more tea.

Suddenly, Syldor returns returns with diplomatic papers granting them passage through the city and a single meeting with the High Warden. Upon reading the parchment, Percy thanks Syldor but points out that he'll need to amend one of the names - it's actually "Lady Vex'ahlia, Baroness of the Third House of Whitestone and Grand Mistress of the Grey Hunt".[2][3] Syldor apologizes, and Vex, obviously thrilled with this news, is gracious. Syldor will send word to Whitestone or to Allura Vysoren when the city plans to return to the Prime Material Plane to attack Thordak in Emon. He wishes them luck and safe journeys. It was good to see them. Devana brings Velora back in, and the twins lovingly say goodbye. Vex gives her an owlbear feather, and they tell her she's not their half-sister, she's their sister.

Once outside, Vex immediately hugs Percy, and he confirms it's a real title since they did kill two of the three barons of Whitestone the last time that they were there. There's no house because Scanlan burned it, and there's no money - just a crypt and a title. And once a year she has to do something ridiculous.

Still heavily escorted, the party finds lodgings for the night and gather in one of the rooms with three guards just outside the door. Garmelie reappears and they search him, but he has a pocket of holding. He finally reveals the two things they must steal: a piece of a threshold crest (the large stones they saw at the city gates that allow the city to plane shift), and the High Warden Tirelda's green tricorn hat. He shows them what he stole: a very finely sculpted bronze statue of Syldor. Vex uses her new-found confidence in her authority to order one of their guards to set up the meeting with the High Warden, and he obeys. They talk about how they could obtain a piece of one of the threshold crests but reach no conclusion.

Just as they're leaving the inn, the guard returns to tell them their meeting with Tirelda can take place immediately and they start toward the palace.

Break

Part II

The party arrives at the palace and are admitted to see High Warden Tirelda, telling her they seek Fenthras in the Shademurk Bog. To prove their credentials they tell her of the two dragons already slain. She seems impressed and tells them some of the history of the Shademurk. It was corrupted many years ago by an archfey who was betrayed by his beloved and became one with the land. The area is now extremely dangerous. They ask about the threshold crests, but she is unwilling to share them with the party.

Scanlan shows the High Warden his fine beret, and says he's heard she has a lovely hat as well. He persuades her to have it shown to him, and her son Braum comes to show them to the hat room. Keyleth asks for the gift shop, as well. They are escorted to a room displaying various armor and helmets, with a small hat rack to one side holding the green tricorn they seek. Vex immediately fakes a noisy fall, and as Keyleth threatens a lawsuit, Vax is able to extract the hat without being seen. They demand to be taken to the gift shop, which is actually more of a storeroom for gifts the warden has received but had no use for. It's mostly junk. Keyleth randomly takes a fine tobacco box, Percy gets half a jeweler's kit, Vex gets a carved dark wooden music box, and Grog gets a potato, which he crushes.

They go back to their inn, where they again all gather in one room, telling the guards they need to pray together. When the guards are skeptical, Scanlan tells them it's a polyamorous thing. The guards believe this, but Keyleth doesn't know what it means and uses Polymorph to change Vax and Percy into squirrels, deeply disturbing the guards. They give Garmelie the hat, pleasing him. Percy pins down that what Garmelie requires from them is a piece of a threshold crest, any threshold crest, and Keyleth and he put their previously talked-about plan into action. She uses Stone Shape to cut a Whitestone crest into the threshold of the inn room doorway, which they then break and give Garmelie a piece. He has to admit that they've fulfilled the bargain, and insists they leave for the Shademurk immediately. They are escorted to the city gates and the guards watch them leave with relief.

Once again in the Evershifting Grasses, they head duskward about two hours. The color of the grass goes from a deep verdant green to a maroon purplish color. When Keyleth says, "Suck it, grass!" it suddenly goes to a deep red. Keyleth tries to backtrack, saying, "Because you... suck out the joy of all of us living around you, and you're so amazing," but her words only make things worse, and the grass begins impeding their progress. When Grog threatens to set it afire, it goes deep cinder-like red. Percy steps forward, apologizes beautifully and gives the grasses lavish compliments, while Scanlan sings a song to inspire him and Keyleth performs an interpretive dance. The grass is mollified and allows them to pass.

After another half hour they reach the edge of the Moonbrush Forest, and Garmelie warns them of the dangers ahead. First, a clan of lycan hunters led by Ukurat live there, along with their enemies, a faction of pixies known as the Wishers. The two clans are forever locked in struggle, and the party should avoid both. They should also avoid the mandrakes, in addition to the things Garmelie's already warned them about.

They make their way into the perpetual night of the darkened Moonbrush. After a half-hour, Vex'ahlia notices a series of obelisks of rough stone around a large cave. There are hundreds of small objects, fruits and flowers and bones and stone carvings, ritually placed in front of the cave. She inspects them, joined by Keyleth, just as they hear a giant, echoing roar coming from the cave and the trees close together, cutting them off from the rest of the group. Emerging from the cave is a gargantuan dire bear-like entity made of crackling blue ghostly energy, shimmering, translucent, not actually a physical form, but massive in size. Vex attempts to grab Keyleth and fly upward but the branches close off that path as well and they both tumble to the ground.

Fan art of Trinket protecting Vex'ahlia and Keyleth from Orlan, by J.T. Arndt.[art 1]

The bear communicates mentally, telling them that, "The beasts of this land hold no kinship with you. You will prove offering yourself." Its threat is heard by the entire party. Keyleth defensively turns into a giant scorpion and Orlan recognizes her kinship with beasts, allowing her to pass. The giant spirit beast approaches the cowering Vex, and she releases Trinket to aid her. Sensing danger, Trinket immediately attacks Orlan, putting up a good fight but ultimately doing little more than gnawing on the spirit bear and getting knocked around. However, Trinket's persistence sways Orlan, and after an impassioned speech by Trinket, the spirit bear allows them to pass in peace after imbuing Raven's Slumber with a blue radiance that slowly fades. Vex learns that Trinket now benefits from her Hunter's Mark and has an ability called Primal Fury. The trees part and they can rejoin the rest of Vox Machina.

Featured Characters

Vox Machina

New

Returning

Inventory

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Acquired 1 Diplomatic papers Syldor The party Grants safe passage in the city and one audience with the High Warden
Relinquished 1 Owlbear feather Vex'ahlia Velora Vex had picked it up while with Zahra
Acquired 1 Bronze statue of Syldor Syldor's home Garmelie Stolen while Vox Machina spoke with Syldor
Transferred 1 Bronze statue of Syldor Garmelie Vax'ildan Reclaimed from Garmelie
Acquired 1 Fine tobacco box The palace gift room Keyleth
Acquired 1 Half a jewelers kit The palace gift room Percy
Acquired 1 Carved dark wood music box The palace gift room Vex
Acquired 1 Potato The palace gift room Grog Immediately crushed by Grog

Quotations

  • Vax'ildan: (to Syldor) You should've left us to be with our mother when she died!
    Vex'ahlia: Why? Why pull us away from her if you had no love? We would have been happy with her.
    Syldor: Because I had hope that you would be worth more, given that you had my blood in your veins, than to waste away in some small hovel.
    Vex'ahlia: If I could pull the blood of you from my veins and give it back, I would. I want no part of you.[5]
  • Percy: You’re going to have to amend that one name, though, just to be fair. It’s Lady Vex'ahlia.
    Syldor: “Lady?”
    Percy: Lady Vex'ahlia, Baroness of the Third House of Whitestone and Grand Mistress of the Grey Hunt. So good sir, despite your relationship with her, do watch your manners.[6]
  • Percy: (attempting to win the favor of the Evershifting Grasses) Lovely field, I apologize at the rudeness of my compatriots. We will be gentle trouncing through you. We will make as little mark as we can and enjoy the splendor of your ever-changing colors. You are majestic; you are windswept; you are everything I could hope for in a beautiful field.[7]
  • Matt: You've successfully parleyed with a field.
    Travis: First doors, then grass.
    Liam: Don't talk shit to grass! (hums 'The More You Know' jingle)
    Sam: How do you want to 'mow' this?[8]
  • Orlan: You walk with this one; is she your charge?
    Trinket : She is everything. Her life is mine; you take HER, you take ME! Or we walk on and remember you as a kind soul.
    Orlan: (after a moment) Very well. If you are at her side, I take your charge as well.[9]
  • Grog: Bidet![10]

Trivia

  • This episode marked the first time Grog used the greeting, "Bidet!"[11]
  • This was the first episode of Critical Role performed before a live audience.[12]

External Links

References

  1. See "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06) from 6:24 through 7:10.
  2. See "Heredity and Hats" (1x60) at 54:40.
  3. Taliesin Jaffe clarified that it is "Grey", not "Great".
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Matthew Mercer released a page of his DM notes containing a description of Feywild characters.
  5. See "Heredity and Hats" (1x60) at 0:47:25.
  6. See "Heredity and Hats" (1x60) at 0:54:39.
  7. See "Heredity and Hats" (1x60) at 2:21:55.
  8. See "Heredity and Hats" (1x60) at 2:24:00.
  9. See "Heredity and Hats" (1x60) at 2:38:40.
  10. See "Heredity and Hats" (1x60) at 0:25:15.
  11. See "Heredity and Hats" (1x60) at 0:25:11.
  12. See "Heredity and Hats" (1x60) at 0:00:17.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Trinket protecting Vex'ahlia and Keyleth from Orlan, by J.T. Arndt (source).  Also see J.T. Arndt's website.  Used with permission.


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