"The Climb Within" (1x110) is the eleventh episode of the eighth chapter of Critical Role. Vox Machina find treasures, horrors, and mysteries as they make their way through the body of an undead primordial.
- Back from GenCon!
- Laura and Travis will be running a little late.
- Next week, in lieu of a normal episode, Sam will be running a one-shot with Liam O'Brien, Brian Foster, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Ashly Burch, and Eric Bauza.
- Merch update: there's stuff!
- The Tal'Dorei campaign guide was well-received at GenCon; follow @GreenRoninPub on Twitter for updates on preorders.
- There will be a Critical Role art book in the fall sometime.
- The Critical Role comic book is coming along nicely.
- Next week's Talks Machina will be some sort of special show, due to absences.
- Sam and Liam will be talking about Hellboy on Wednesday Club.
- The first episode of One Night Only, discussing Sagas of Sundry: Dread, is now up.
- The second season of Sagas of Sundry will be titled Madness.
Previously on Critical Role
"Vox Machina had been counting down their preparations to the eventual showdown and second battle with Vecna, whom they discovered recently had completed his ascension into godhood, here: the only god on the Prime Material Plane. Not knowing what his plans were, you began to bring together what information you had, upon gathering blessings from different deities and pieces of their divinity, to craft the Prime Trammels, a device that was once used to seal the Chained Oblivion, long ago.
"You traveled deep beneath the volcano of Scaldseat, beneath the ocean, off the coast of Issylra. Between Percival and Grog's newfound imbuement of skills and knowledge via Ioun, you managed to successfully defeat the guardian, craft the trammels, and return to Vasselheim, where you discovered via Pike that there was a council meeting happening within the Platinum Sanctuary.
"There you met up with the Hand of Ord. Hierophant Ophera of the Birthheart. There was Earthbreaker Groon. There were Maidens of the Raven. Eventually Allura and Kima, and J'mon Sa Ord had also come into the fray. So during this discussion about what to do, you were granted a ring by High Bearer Vord that, within a certain radius, could prevent divinations or specifically scrying on you -- not the School of Divination, but magics that divine your location, whatever's in your vicinity.
"This moment, the council was interrupted by an image of Vecna, taunting you, until it was dispelled by Allura. The discussion was that something was going on in the mountain range where Vecna seemed to have Thar Amphala, which had been discovered by a couple of surviving wyvern riders. Thinking about the two possible locations that could be of interest to Vecna, you gathered your materials, your preparations, and, with the first striking lot of wyvern riders, on the back of the newly transformed J'mon Sa Ord, into the Devo’ssa dragon form, you were transported via druids to the northern icy landscape of Issylra, to the base of the Zenwick Mountains.
"You discovered that the Crypts of Thomara, an ancient, forgotten dwarven society that had destroyed itself through cannibalism and madness, was now a sinkhole in the mountain range. A series of large, heavy, 150-plus-foot-across cavernous openings in the ground formed a pattern that you soon discovered were footfalls. Steps. You came upon the risen undead primordial earth titan, long left beneath the surface of the world, dead since the Founding, now given unlife and walking its way south-east toward Vasselheim. Atop its shoulders, you saw Thar Amphala, protected by some sort of magical barrier.
"There you struggled with a few fleets of flying gloomstalkers that were charging their way toward you. You turned yourself invisible through both Scanlan and J'mon Sa Ord. You managed to, thanks to a very high roll from Keyleth, discover there was some sort of a waterfall or trickle of liquid near the hip of this giant titan. Its giant, four, swinging arms only managed to clip Keyleth and Vax once. Surviving the impact, you all gathered at this ingress right around the hip of the titan, where you leapt off the dragon and proceeded to make your way in. Keyleth, using control water, was keeping the heavy flow of an underground river from blowing you off the broken steps that lead into your entry. And that is where we left off."
While Keyleth holds back the waterfall, Vox Machina make their way into the hip of the titan. Grog pauses to painstakingly decipher some Dwarvish runes in the floor, which read, approximately, "Leave. Death here. No further." Using her primeval awareness, Vex detects thousands of undead somewhere far above them.
A footfall of the titan causes part of the ceiling to dislodge, burying Percy, Pike, and Scanlan in rock, but they are freed quickly and the party moves on. They come to a fork in the tunnel and pause to deliberate.
At that point, a pair of rock-like arms grab Percy and pull him into the wall. Keyleth turns the rock to mud and pulls him out, just as a number of earth elementals appear out of the walls and attack. The party dispatches them, but not without taking some damage and burning precious spell slots.
Tomb of the Stone King
Moving on down the left fork of the tunnel, the party comes across a chamber of dwarven construction, somewhat damaged. Vax uses Divine Sense to determine that there is one undead inside the gazebo-like structure in the center of the chamber. The party decide to check it out. While they take a short rest, Grog deciphers the runes above the central structure: "The last king, stalwart warrior of our mountain secrets, his might unmatched, his will unbroken, his passing invites the madness." Grog then breaks down the heavy door into the chamber.
Inside are five pedestals in a ring around a smaller, locked cylindrical room. Vax investigates the boxes on each of the pedestals, finding them to be trapped but empty. They move on to the bronze door into the inner room. Vax manages to pick the incredibly intricate lock, releasing a green fume into the room that transforms Scanlan, Pike, and Percy into stone. A handful of Greater Restoration spells brings them back.
On the other side of the door, a mummified dwarf king sits up and starts reaching for his hammer, but Vax kills him in a single dagger strike. From the mummified body, they loot an adamantine hammer and a gray leather belt studded with opals. Grog takes the hammer, and Percy puts on the belt.
They go back to the fork in the path and now proceed down the right fork. Vax, scouting ahead, comes across a hunched humanoid and kills it with a dagger throw. Looting the body, he finds a key that would probably have opened the dwarf king's sarcophagus. Meanwhile, Percy, having attuned to his new belt, finds out that it will protect him from psychic damage and paralyzing effects. Grog begins attuning to the adamantine hammer.
They continue past the dead creature, through the ruins of some ancient dwarven habitations, until they arrive at a pair of stone slabs blocking their way. Grog muscles a way through them, into what seems to be an ancient, emptied-out vault.
Inside the vault, they are attacked by undead trolls. During the course of the fight, Grog's new hammer smacks him in the face about half the times that he uses it. With a combination of Fireballs and Guiding Bolts, the trolls are dispatched. The party loots the vault, but find that it has already been looted.
Realizing that the adamantine hammer is cursed, Pike casts Greater Restoration on Grog so he can let go of it. He drops it on the ground and leaves it there, switching back to his Bloodaxe.
Taryon Darrington(absent; not mentioned) Doty 2.0(absent; not mentioned)
- Percival de Rolo
- Scanlan Shorthalt
- Grog Strongjaw
- Pike Trickfoot (controlled by Laura and Liam)
- Laura: "NOW TRINKET'S ALL ALONE!"
- Travis: Shit, what was it? So it was a... shit, I can't do reverse math.
Sam: You mean subtraction.
- See "The Climb Within" (1x110), part recap, from 10:20 through 13:00.