"Omens" (1x39) is the first episode of the fourth chapter of Critical Role. Vox Machina returns to General Krieg's home, learning about J'mon Sa Ord, ruler of Ank'Harel on the desert continent of Marquet. The group discovers a mysterious skull, and Vax'ildan questions the priorities of the group. Meanwhile, the city of Emon experiences a substantial political shift.
Previously on Critical Role
"Our intrepid adventurers, Vox Machina, having returned the traitor Riskel Daxio to Sovereign Uriel in the center of the town of Emon—Grog beheading him as part of his punishment for being such a traitorous worshiper of the evil entity known as Vecna. Upon going out for a pub crawl [they] came across Gilmore in a secret speakeasy, and managed to enjoy a Heroes' Feast at his expense. [Most of Vox Machina] got very drunk, Gilmore had a very intense conversation with Vax to ensure where they stood, and Keyleth vomited multiple times.
"After which, the party found their way back to the Keep, where Dr. Dranzel and his Spectacular Traveling Troupe were drinking and expecting [them] to be there so they could converse and try to convince [them] of a little caper that they've been trying to get their head around for a while, and [the party] seemed to have an entry to this possible windfall of money. Scanlan, after courting this young pixie-haired gnome, was instead confronted within his bedroom by Kaylie, who revealed herself to be Scanlan's long unknown daughter, from many years ago, who had trained very hard as a bard at the College of the White Duke in Westruun, and honed her skills with the blade with the intent of finding [Scanlan] one day and disgracing [him]. Thanks to Scanlan's sudden realization, change of heart, and attempt to connect with his lost blood, broke a bit of the cold, honed exterior, and managed to prevent a very dangerous and possibly deadly encounter. She left, frustrated and confused, and hasn't been seen since.
"The rest of [the party], gathering the next morning, discussed this endeavor with Dr. Dranzel and how they had found a home that had been long abandoned after being purchased by a collector—a home that [Vox Machina] had ransacked a little over a year before, after finding a portal within that led a dragon's horde, as the previous person who lived there, General Krieg, was actually a dragon who had infiltrated the Council. Brimscythe, the dragon, was slaughtered in this endeavor, however it has been over a year since. [Vox Machina] returned to this house, scoured it, found [their] way through the still-existing secret passage that led [them] to the now partially collapsed cavern which once housed Brimscythe and his horde.
"[They] found the tunnel itself freezing cold, the rubble of the partially collapsed cavern had been ravaged by some sort of large clawed entity that Vex had identified as another equally dangerous dragon, who seemed to have rummaged through and found the corpse of Brimscythe. [They] also found that a number of gold coins, a bit of his horde that had been buried, were now exposed by these strange smooth tunnels that were carved into the rock. Upon [Vex], Scanlan, and Trinket inquiring there, the rest of the party scattered: Pike and Keyleth went to find what seemed to be the owner of the house, now frozen in fright in a far alcove; and the rest of the group traveling towards the mouth of the cavern itself. The ground begins to rumble suddenly. Exploding from the rock and shale at the bottom of the cavern floor, [the party] managed to see before [them], piercing forth from the ground itself, a very very large, segmented, armored, worm-like entity, dark purple with rows and rows of teeth coming out of its eyeless face."
The battle starts with Vex, Keyleth and Pike scattering to get cover. Grog throws his javelin of lightning. Vax notices that the beast tracks movement. It burrows underground then bursts from below him, but he dodges. Scanlan casts Eyebite to sicken the worm. Keyleth, out of turn order, instructs the team to get in view and within range of what she presents as a Fly spell. Percy and Vex attack, but Pike skips her turn as instructed by Keyleth.
Grog hits twice in a frenzied rage, and the worm starts to look rough. A similar sized worm, without a stinger, bursts out of the ground, its armor purple and white and frozen mist exiting its maw. It sprays ice shards towards Grog and Vax, damaging the other worm in the process. Keyleth moves towards the center of the cavern, then turns herself, Percy, Vex and Grog into mist form through Wind Walk. The players realize that they are now limited to dashing, or slowly reverting the change. Vex starts to turn back, suggesting (before it's clarified that they can't talk in this form) that Scanlan cast Dispel Magic, but he doesn't know the spell.
The dark worms attack Scanlan, who fails to protects himself with Cutting Words and gets swallowed, trying to escape the acidic digestive track by casting Thunderwave from inside the worm. Percy goes to a corner and starts trying to revert from Mist Form. Vex repositions silently, then conjures a barrage of arrows towards the stalactites in the cave ceiling, which fall on one of the worms. Pike, still corporeal, casts Flame Strike.
Vax and the first worm are hit by a frost breath, and the team realizes the worms aren't allies of each other. On Keyleth's turn, Matt rules that a positive, unwanted spell should be able to be dispelled at will by its caster; it's also realized that the spell should have taken a minute to cast. Keyleth dispels the effect so that the party can attack. Scanlan casts Dimension Door to escape the worm swallowing him. The first worm digs underground, and Grog and Percy hold their turns until its return. Pike calls down another Flame Strike on the other worm.
The frost worm bites Keyleth, who casts Blight as payback and heals herself. Vax asks Pike for healing, then hits the visible worm. The purple worm bursts out of the ground under Vax and devours him. Percy kills it and Grog cuts it open with Craven Edge, but he also hits Vax, who falls unconscious. Scanlan, Vex, and Percy kill the remaining worm, while Pike brings Vax back to consciousness.
Grog slits open the back of the frost worm with Craven Edge. As the battle ends, he seeks the blade's approval. He covers up his whispering to the sword by repeating his question aloud to the party and starts rage-looting the gold pile, assisted by Scanlan's Bigby's Hand. Vex shows her trust issues about her team hoarding gold and monitors them. Keyleth starts looting the worms' bodies and acquires a mandible and blood. Vax takes a rest on Trinket.
Vex tries to get some of the frost worm armor. When the big usable chunks don't give when pulled on, she gives up and goes back to taking gold. Percy goes to check the frozen man, who looks like he might have been frozen by the frost worm. Keyleth starts thawing the man's feet with the expectation of being able to move his entire corpse.
A larger purple worm interrupts the looting and the party runs towards the teleportation circle. They understand that the new worm is an adult while the previous ones were juvenile entities.
Keyleth apologizes for casting Wind Walk as the party makes their way back up through the house. They have a long discussion about whether or not to tell Uriel of what they found, how much they owe to Dr. Dranzel, and whether they should try to take control of the house themselves.
Percy suggests taking the skull filigreed with a gem in the eyesocket. Grog bundles it in a tapestry and suddenly bolts out of the house, yelling for the rest to come out of the house, now. When they reach him outside, he says that the house and the skull are linked, and as long as the house stands, "his" evil will grow. The party realizes he's lying to them, and Vax tells him they know he's been talking to his sword and hearing voices, and he needs to come clean with them. Grog is offended, and in frustration Vax walks off and disappears into the town.
Grog quietly confesses to Pike that the skull promised him a wish. She tells him to put the skull down, and reluctantly, he does. Casting Detect Good or Evil on it, she senses that it is definitely evil. Percy picks it up on the end of his sword, and as Vex approaches to throw the tapestry over it again, she sees a fleeting ghostly face in the gem. Percy suggests locking it in his workshop for the night.
Percy, Pike, Grog, and Keyleth take the skull back to Greyskull Keep, while Vex and Scanlan head to the palace, interrupting a meeting of the Tal'Dorei Council. They tell them that General Krieg's old home, which had been sold to a new owner, contains an evil portal and the new owner is dead. They volunteer to investigate the portal, and Uriel agrees, but they are immediately pushed out of the throne room. Scanlan goes to the W.C. and Polymorphs into a fly and gets back to the throne room, but as he enters, the glyphs at the entrance glow and the spell is dispelled, turning him back into Scanlan in front of the council. He is escorted back out and he and Vex join the others at their Keep.
There, Zedd the drummer tells Scanlan that the rest of the troupe has gone to see if they can get Kaylie out of the stockade, where she's been taken after a serious bar tussle the previous night. Scanlan tells the others that he'd like to try to get her out, and they tease him about his romantic interest. He tells them he's no longer interested in her in that way, and finally confesses that she is his daughter. They agree that he should try to go to the stockade with a picked team, and he tries to reach Vax on the earring but there is no answer. Scanlan then decides to take Percy and Keyleth.
As they approach the nearest stockade, they see Dr. Dranzel's troupe sitting outside. Kent Plucker tells Scanlan that Dr. Dranzel is inside and has been arguing with the warden for some time to try to get Kaylie freed, but they want her to pay for the damages and fines first. Scanlan agrees to let Percy do the talking, and gives him 50 gold for use in the process. They are shown to the Warden's office, where Percival goes into his full nobleman persona, dismisses Dr. Dranzel, and introduces himself as the new ambassador from Whitestone. He claims that they are holding one of his official performers. The warden tells him the damages and fines amount to 700 gold, which Percival assures him will be paid out of Scanlan's troupe's pocket, and they can pick it up at Greyskull in the morning. In the meantime, he gives the warden 20 gold for his trouble. Unfortunately he rolls a 1 on persuasion while the warden rolls a natural 20, and the warden accuses him of attempted bribery. Scanlan immediately (with Percy's acquiescence) punches Percy in the face, then punches a guard, and is escorted in shackles to the same jail cell as Kaylie.
They have a little father-daughter talk and she tells him that her ideas of what he'd be like were pretty spot on till last night. He tells her he can get them out if she'll distract the guards, and she uses arcane ventriloquism to create voices and fight noises on the opposite side of the room. When the guards run off, Scanlan Dimension Doors them both outside safely. They return to the Keep and join the others and Dr. Dranzel's troupe, who decide to leave town right away (taking all the silverware with them, they find out later). As she leaves, Kaylie tells Scanlan not to come looking for her; she'll find him when she's ready.
They check and the skull is safely hidden and locked in the workshop. That night, Grog tries and fails to break into it. Vax does not return to the keep overnight.
In the morning, Seeker Assum comes by, asking them all to be at the Precepts Stage in the Cloudtop District near dusk for an important public statement by Sovereign Uriel. They agree to remain in town, and go out to look for Vax. While they're out, he stealths back to the Keep, and although Keyleth glimpses him, she does not tell the others. They return that afternoon, and Vax finds Vex in her room. He tells her he doesn't know what they're doing anymore, or why they're doing it, and he wants her to think about that, too.
That evening, they gather in the Cloudtop, along with much of the elite of the city, including Gilmore and the Council. Uriel speaks, expressing his sense of failure, saying that he is stepping down as Sovereign, and that the Council will rule henceforth. As he finishes, a guard hurries up and whispers to him. Vex notices two fast-moving streaks of black and red across the sky, which she points out to Grog and Vax. Warning bells begin to ring, and Assum asks everyone to quickly return to their homes.
There is a whoosh, and they turn to see a large white dragon slam into Allura's tower in the distance, unleashing icy cold magical breath into the interior. Allura's tower shatters and collapses as the dragon flies over them, heading deeper into the city. There is a loud impact as an enormous green dragon lands on the wall above them, saying, “Delicious cattle. Raishan enjoys the taste of fear.” Vex realizes that only the most ancient and powerful of dragons ever reach this size. Chromatic dragons are very selfish entities and do not usually work with individuals of other color patterns, so the coordinated attack is a very, very bad sign. She remembers a moment in her past seeing four orbs embedded in a wall.
Battle is joined, and Grog is horrified when a 19 attack roll misses, and a 22 barely hits. Raishan's first breath attack kills much of the crowd and deals 66 points of poison damage. Realizing they're in trouble, Keyleth casts Anti-Life Shell and the party runs toward it, watching the chaos around them as the crowd flees and hearing explosions in the distance. A gigantic ancient black dragon lands at the other side of the courtyard, and there is a burst of fire as an even larger ancient red dragon slams onto the top of the palace, shattering it, and saying, “Move on, Umbrasyl. I claim this as my domain now. The rest of you have a task to complete. Go! I shall remain and set a new dominion of the Chroma Conclave.” The black and green dragons fly off as the red continues to pour flames into the center of the Cloudtop. When the party reaches a tree, Keyleth casts Transport Via Plants and they all dive through to Greyskull.
- Percival de Rolo
- Scanlan Shorthalt
- Grog Strongjaw
- Pike Trickfoot (DM-controlled)
- Craven Edge
- Tofor Brotoras
- Assum Emring
- Brom Goldhand
- Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei III
- Jarett Howarth
- Kent Plucker
- Dr. Dranzel
- Laina Yor
- Shaun Gilmore
- Percy: I know you’re not used to actually having the means by which to just simply get what you want by asking for it. But you could just… ask for it.
Keyleth: That was the most privileged thing you’ve ever said.
Percy: That’s the most privileged thing I’ve ever said that you’ve heard.
- Raishan: Delicious cattle. Raishan enjoys the taste of fear.
- Thordak: Move on, Umbrasyl. I claim this as my domain now. The rest of you have a task to complete. Go! I shall remain and set a new dominion of the Chroma Conclave.