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"The Endless Atheneeum" (1x106) is the seventh episode of the eighth chapter of Critical Role. Vox Machina race against time to earn the blessing of the Goddess of Knowledge while Vecna continues to gain power.

Synopsis Edit

Announcements Edit

  • Guest star Darin De Paul returns!
  • The cast are still recovering from Comic-Con.
  • Merch update: new pencil pack with quotes from each Vox Machina character.
  • About 400 tickets left for the Gen Con live show in Indianapolis.
  • Chris Pramas from Green Ronin: demand for the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting guide exceeded expectations, so pre-orders are no longer open, but more copies will be printed after the initial run. PDF is available in the interim.
  • The next batch of the Critical Role podcast is coming soon.
  • Talks Machina, Tuesdays at 7 PM Pacific with Brian Foster.
  • The fifth episode of Sagas of Sundry: Dread is up on Alpha.
  • Dread shirts are available in the G&S store.
  • The plastic combat platforms that Matt uses are back in stock at Paizo.com.
  • Look for Liam and Laura as AI characters in the game Lone Echo, by Ready at Dawn.

Previously on Critical Role Edit

"Vox Machina had been finding their way through the realms to talk with various deities in hopes of getting information and perhaps a blessing or two to aid them in their coming battle against Vecna, the intent-to-ascend entity, the long-missing and recently returned archlich that plagued the end of the Age of Arcanum.

"Vox Machina have since discovered the location of his rebirth, followed him to the Shadowfell, through the city of Thar Amphala, took down his Tower of Entropis, did battle, and nearly fell. They escaped in time and in this recovery period have been seeking out information on how to stop him before this ascension occurs, and by what tools necessary.

"They've traveled to the Blessed Fields of Elysium where they met Pike's deity, the Everlight, Sarenrae, where she received her Blessing. They made their way to the Fortress of the Sun, where Vex'ahlia met with the Dawnfather, Pelor, took his challenge, and received his Blessing.

"They were then given information about the whereabouts of Ioun, the Knowing Goddess under the domain of knowledge, who had been hidden away since her wounding during the Calamity. The key to her realm was apparently hidden within not an object, but an individual.

"Given loose information about the whereabouts of this individual, Vox Machina tracked down a small home in the forested regions outside the Pools of Wittebak in the Cliffkeep Mountains. There they spoke with this individual, this Sprigg the Obnoxious, and then were immediately assailed by a number of assassins sent by the Whispered One, Vecna, apparently keeping watch on their current location and able to send such groups of assassins with vast haste.

"They did battle, managed to save the life of Sprigg the Obnoxious, and through conversation unveiled that he was indeed a key to this realm. Keyleth—by entwining her hands with the rest of the party and focusing on this strange magical essence hidden within Sprigg's form—completed her Plane Shift spell and Vox Machina found themselves suddenly within a dimension of an endless library: shelves of winding books and tomes that seem to spiral beyond sight.

"And in the midst of this amazing atmosphere, a voice called them to a central portion of the chamber, and there they've come across the Knowing Mistress, Ioun herself, awaiting their arrival."[1]

Part I Edit

The party step into the inner sanctum of Ioun's hidden library, greeted by the goddess herself. Sprigg asks her why she chose him, a nothing and a coward, to be her key. She replies that she has always chosen unlikely sorts for this role, but saw in him the seed of a seeker of knowledge who could yet be redeemed.

Scanlan asks for her aid and advice against Vecna. Ioun asks if they believe they have the strength to fight him; they respond that they have been gathering the blessings of the gods for this fight.

Ioun's Task Edit

In choosing her own champion, Ioun passes over Grog, Keyleth, and Percival, before landing on Scanlan, the storyteller, to attempt her challenge. She tasks him to find, within one hour, the tome containing the Incantation of Isolation.

The party begins their search. Locate Object fails, as Vex'ahlia has not seen the book, so they begin scanning the library around them. Scanlan hops on the back of Vex's broom to explore the higher levels, clutching his Ioun stone. As he does, he sings a song of inspiration to himself and notices that the spectral librarians stop to listen. By phrasing his questions in the form of songs, and using Mythcarver as a resonator, he convinces these specters to lead him through the library to the location of the book.

Scanlan and Vex arrive, about 40 minutes into the challenge, at a locked bookcase, which Vex skillfully picks open. Inside the bookcase, they find a number of books on various subjects, along with one which has no title and appears to be completely blank. Vex crams most of the books into her Bag of Colding while Scanlan examines the blank one. They head back to the center of the library where the rest of the group is waiting. On the way back, Scanlan works out that he needs to cast a spell on the book; he tries the 8th-level spell Dominate Monster. The book absorbs the spell and words appear on its pages.

Scanlan Champion Iount Knowing Mistress

Fan art of Scanlan as the Champion of Ioun, by David Rodrigues.[art 1]

Scanlan and Vex make it back to Ioun's sanctum just in time, and Scanlan presents the book. Ioun accepts it. She tells him it "will do you well in the coming fray," before giving the book back to Scanlan as a gift. As he has completed her challenge, she also grants him her blessing.

Advice from the Knowing Mistress Edit

Ioun then explains how to craft a Prime Trammel, which they will need to help with the Rites of Prime Banishment described in Scanlan's book. To craft these trammels, they must travel to the Core Anvil under the Ozmit Sea; Ioun gives Keyleth a vision of the land nearby. She grants Grog the knowledge of blacksmithing, so he can use his "strength of the titan". To Percy, who has the "ingenuity of a madman," she gives knowledge of the design of the trammels.

As Ioun is telling them the history of Vecna, she pauses and her expression changes. She tells them she has sensed the completion of Vecna's ritual and ascension to godhood. They will have to hurry now to seal him away before he can accomplish a "miracle of terror" that will expand him beyond his avatar. As her final gift, she grants Scanlan a bead of her own divinity, to be used in the making of a trammel.

Sprigg asks whether he can offer anything to help her in her recovery, and she offers to let him stay on as a steward. He says his goodbyes to Vox Machina. Vex remembers, at the last minute, to return the books she had picked up. Keyleth casts Plane Shift to bring them back to Sprigg's house.

Break Edit

Part II Edit

Back in Sprigg's house, as they stand discussing their next steps, they hear Vecna's voice and turn to find him standing in the doorway. Vex shoots an arrow at him and finds that he is only an illusion when her arrow passes through.

Vecna:  I can see your every move. I know your plot. I know your destination. I know your plan, your capabilities, your allies, and your imminent demise, should you continue. I offer you the chance to stand down, discard your imprisoned gods, and pledge to me. Many you love will. Many you love already have.

Grog:  I love it when they come begging for a truce. That means he's scared.
– 
Vecna, as an illusion, to Vox Machina

Vecna goads them, offering the chance to pledge themselves to him or else be destroyed. Grog laughs in his face while Keyleth opens a tree portal, which they all dart through, emerging on the other side in Vasselheim.

In Vasselheim Edit

They find the city abuzz with activity. A passing guard tells them the Bastions are preparing for a fight against Vecna. Vax'ildan leads the way to the Duskmeadow district, to the Raven's Crest temple. In the temple, he speaks to the Raven Queen and asks her for a third bead of divinity to use in crafting the trammels. She hesitates, fearing the other gods of the pantheon will take advantage of her weakened state, but gives in. When Vax emerges from the vision, he finds a small black opal in his hand.

Grog, Scanlan, and Vex head next to the Trial Forge to visit Earthbreaker Groon. They find him meditating in the temple. Vex asks if they might be able to contact Kord, but Groon tells them it will take time and meditation. Grog asks if perhaps Groon has a "bean" on him, hoping for another bead of divinity; Groon gives him a look and speaks to one of his monks. The monk fetches a small satchel of beans, which Grog accepts. They return to the Raven's Crest and retire into Scanlan's Magnificent Mansion.

Checking In Edit

Because Vecna had mentioned a group of adventurers who tried to fight him, Keyleth decides to scry on some of their friends to make sure they are safe. She sees Allura safe in Emon, writing messages, with Kima at her side.

Remembering Delilah's body in the Bag of Holding, they decide to try Speak with Dead on her. However, when Pike casts the spell, she finds that Delilah's spirit is not available. Keyleth tries to scry on Delilah and finds her, resurrected once again, in Thar Amphala. Vecna's voice then interrupts the scrying.

They plan for the next day, discussing a Heroes' Feast, how to breathe underwater, and how to get the platinum they need for the trammels. Before bed, Scanlan, alone in his room, polymorphs for the first time into a planetar and admires himself in the mirror.

Featured Characters Edit

Vox Machina Edit

New Edit

Returning Edit

Mentioned Edit

Inventory Edit

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Acquired 1 Tome of Isolation Ioun Scanlan to be used in banishing Vecna
Acquired 1 Bead of divinity Ioun Scanlan to be used in the making of a Prime Trammel
Acquired 1 Manners cultist's body Percy recovered after it was left in Sprigg's house
Acquired 1 Bead of divinity Raven Queen Vax'ildan to be used in the making of a Prime Trammel
Acquired 1 satchel of beans Monk of Kord Grog contains zero (0) beads of divinity

Quotations Edit

  • Sprigg: Knock knock.
    Ioun: Who's there?
    Sprigg: You would know.
    Ioun: (chuckling) Humor is perhaps a bit thin in these walls as of late. It's nice to have a laugh. Thank you.
    Vax: Who was it, though?
    Ioun: It was Larkin, my friend.
  • "I think, as generous as this offer is, we just don't enjoy associating with new money. Let's get out of here, now." - Percival, in response to Vecna's offer to stand down and join him.
  • Vex: Groon, if Vecna attacks here, he'll bring undead.
    Groon: That's all right. We'll bring the storm.

External Links Edit

References Edit

  1. The recap.  See "The Endless Atheneeum" (1x106) from 0:11:47 through 0:14:32.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Scanlan as the Champion of Ioun, by David Rodrigues (source).  Used with permission.


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