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For the city from the Shadowfell, see Thar Amphala (city).

"Thar Amphala" (1x101) is the second episode of the eighth chapter of Critical Role. Vox Machina journey through the Ziggurat into the Shadowfell, hot on the trail of Delilah Briarwood.

Synopsis Edit

After collapsing the tunnels around the newly found sphere of annihilation, Vox Machina return to Whitestone to plan their response to Delilah Briarwood's return. They find a way into the Shadowfell, using stolen cultist necklaces to leap safely through the sphere beneath Whitestone. There, they begin to learn the full extent of Delilah's scheme to return Vecna to power.

Announcements Edit

  • For the first time since the home game, everyone is now at the same table.
  • Merch update: the David Mack poster is available for a limited time still.
  • The Tal'Dorei campaign guide will be released at GenCon in August. Pre-order sales begin mid-July. For more information, check the Green Ronin website.
  • An audio-only podcast version of the show is now available.
  • Taliesin doesn't know what Wednesday Club will be discussing next week.
  • Signal Boost will be hosted by Jeff Lewis.

Previously on Critical Role Edit

"Vox Machina had recently been visited by an old ally, Scanlan Shorthalt, who had spent the past year or so building a reputation and a criminal ring in Ank'Harel as a forging master in various types of furniture and accoutrement. Upon realizing through the aid of one of his hired help, Lionel, discovered that there was a second Sphere apparently on some sort of pyramid-like ziggurat structure not far from Ank'Harel.

"Upon Scanlan returning to notify the party, [they] all made [their] way to Ank'Harel, briefly met with Kaylie and saw a little bit of the setup that they've been building for the past year or so, and then made [their] way towards the Smouldercrown Mountains to the southeast of Ank'Harel, where apparently this structure resides, and apparently this cult has been sacrificing objects of magical power towards this black Sphere.

"[They] made [their] way to the outskirts of this mountain, discovered that the entrance that was previously there had been collapsed, and discovered a new carved entrance into the mountain. [They] were beset by a few traps, made [their] way into a far corner, set up a Mansion, and [dealt] rather briskly with a cluster of undead that had kind of built up on the outside of the entryway to [Scanlan's] Magnificent Mansion .

"[They] made [their] way to the final chamber where this structure was residing. A number of cultists there were in the process of quickly, hastily throwing these objects to the top, then noticed that [Vox Machina] had come as interlopers into this space. At which point [they] realized that the head of this cult, or at least this group here at the top of the pyramid, was none other than Lady Delilah Briarwood, who then protected herself and two of her cult members beneath the veil of a Prismatic Wall in the shape of a sphere.

"[Vox Machina] did battle with a number of undead and other cultists and followers of the Whispered One, that involved largely just throwing a bunch of them into the ceiling, including [Vox Machina themselves], thanks to a well-placed Reverse Gravity. Scanlan had darted past the Prismatic Wall with a clever use of Dimension Door, but [Delilah and two of the cultists] escaped into the Sphere after turning it from a glowing white back into its black, magic-absorbing form, leaving [Vox Machina] there.

"[Keyleth] managed to cleanse Pike of her Feeblemind spell, and after acquiring a few of these magical artifacts that were left unbroken, some cult robes, and apparently symbols of this cult of the Whispered One, [they] now stand in the middle of this cavern on the outside of where this second Ziggurat exists, deciding what to do next and what the next step of this journey means for [them]."[1]

Part I Edit

Inside the ziggurat, after Delilah’s escape, Vox Machina regroups and plans their next steps. They recover several more iron necklaces from the bodies of fallen cultists, enough that each of them can take one. Grog experiments with the annihilation orb left by Delilah, tossing in one body with and one without a cultist’s necklace. The body with the necklace seems to pass through an opening, while the one without is annihilated.

With now only seven necklaces remaining, Scanlan hints that he won’t be going, as he doesn’t feel invited. Vax, Pike, and Grog quickly dispel that notion and welcome him back into the group.

As they prepare to leave the ziggurat, Grog and Pike take it upon themselves to collapse the tunnel around the sphere, hoping it will dissuade any cultists from coming back through. Vex and Keyleth head to the top of the mountain to collapse the other entrance. Vax wanders a little way off to commune with the Raven Queen, sensing that his deal with her is coming to a head.

Back outside, Grog samples the local fruit and finds it unpleasant. Scanlan offers to leave his employee, Chod, with Tary, who will be returning to his family home and needs people for his brigade. Keyleth opens a tree portal to bring them all back to Whitestone.

In Whitestone, they check in with Cassandra. Vex goes to retrieve Eskil Ryndarien from where he had set up shop inside the Whitestone ziggurat, warning him that the siphon isn’t safe and nobody should be near it. Meanwhile, Percy breaks the news to his sister that Delilah Briarwood is back and has completed a second ziggurat. Cassandra tells him he must, “Shatter the soul. Whatever it takes. End her, brother.” Percy assures her that he will.

Percy goes with Keyleth to conduct more research on the Shadowfell and on Vecna, but finds it difficult. It seems that every text in the library that should mention Vecna now simply, somehow, doesn’t.

While the others are researching, Grog goes to the kitchen and requests “a salad with meat in it.” Within an hour, he is presented by Chef Varon with a salad made entirely of thinly sliced meats; Grog declares it the official meal of Whitestone and names it GoFiBePo.

After discussing what has happened, considering where there may be more ziggurats across the continents, and what to do next, the group retire for the night.

Break Edit

Part II Edit

In the morning, Keyleth checks in with Eskil to hear about his research on the Shadowfell. She learns that the iron necklaces taken from the cultists could be used to guide a planeshift spell, but would require some modification. After some cajoling, she also convinces him to send a message to her father, Korrin, notifying him that she might be gone for a while in the Shadowfell.

Vex spends the morning procuring two chalices suitable for a heroes’ feast spell, as well as a vial of holy oil. Percy loads up on ammunition and starts, with Pike’s help, preparing 12 enchanted silver musket balls. Vax goes to visit Kynan and leaves him with his Keen Dagger as a gift. Tary tells Vex that he’ll have to stay behind to repair Doty. Vex tries to find a gift for him, but Tary simply asks her to rip up the check he wrote when they first met; she tells him she already has.

Donning their iron necklaces, Vox Machina now proceed to the orb beneath Whitestone Castle and jump through it, one by one. Emerging more or less safely on the other side, they find themselves in the Shadowfell, amidst the shattered remains of items that have previously been tossed through the sphere of annihilation. Stretching away from them are the remains of an ancient city, with a massive obsidian spire at its center.

Above them, Vex notices a faint strand of bluish-purple light stretching from the orb, where they emerged, to the very top of the tower, and from the tower down to two other orbs. It seems that a total of three siphons have been installed around the city, and all are linking to the top of the tower at the center.

The group ducks into a nearby building to keep out of sight. Scanlan casts a Seeming spell to disguise them all as undead. Keyleth pulls Vax aside to bless him with her ninth-level spell, Foresight. They all begin making their way through the city, toward the distant tower.

Pike starts noticing undead who bear the symbol of Pelor, the Dawnfather, which seems out of place; this leads to speculation that the city was the site of an ancient battle and may have been transported from the Prime Material Plane. Further in, Percy notices three figures who are not undead, but cultists in black robes. One is carrying a censer that emits an incense-like smoke.

The twins ambush the three cultists, taking two down instantly. Grog takes the third one captive. The man doesn’t respond to intimidation, but Scanlan is able to extract answers from him using Dominate Person. They learn that the censer he carries will protect them from roving undead; that the city they are in is called Thar Amphala; and that Vecna is being slowly reformed in the Tower of Entropis at the center of the city. Before Scanlan’s spell wears off, he tells them that a ritual of seeding is underway to fully restore Vecna.

Grog then snaps the cultist’s neck. They loot him and his fellow cultists for their censer and cloaks, preparing to do what they can to stop Vecna's ritual.

Featured Characters Edit

Vox Machina Edit

New Edit

Returning Edit

Mentioned Edit

Inventory Edit

Quotations Edit

External Links Edit

References Edit

  1. The recap.  See "Thar Amphala" (1x101) from 0:06:14 through 0:09:33.

Art:


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