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"The Final Ascent" (1x113) is the one hundred thirteenth episode of the first campaign of Critical Role. Vox Machina, having made their final preparations, make their way to the top of the tower of Entropis. With special guest Joe Manganiello!



  • Ashley is here in the flesh!
  • There is a new Matthew Mercer shirt in the store.
  • The Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins comic book is available on Comixology, from Dark Horse. Currently the second highest-rated book on Comixology! There will be information next month about the second comic.
  • Talks Machina, Tuesdays at 7 PM Pacific.
  • Twitch subscriptions are half off for the month of September.
  • Laura and Travis are going to be at Anime Weekend Atlanta. They will also be in Australia in November.
  • Ashley hasn't been busy; she's just been looking at Cute Emergency and didn't want to come.

Previously on Critical Role

"Vox Machina [have] made their way through the innards of the undead, risen, primordial earth titan. On its shoulders was held the long-abandoned, until recently, city of Thar Amphala, from the Shadowfell, a city that once held the armies of Vecna, the Undying King, who has since risen once more and achieved godhood in recent days.

"[They] traversed to this titan, through its innards, up into the city of Thar Amphala. The outer wall currently manages to maintain an arcane dome that holds at bay any of the outward assailing forces of the wyvern riders or Devo'ssa, the brass dragon. The inside of it contains, in wait, a cloud of various gloomstalkers and apparently a skeletal dragon that peruse the city in safety as [they] make [their] way through the streets in search of the now recently reassembled and standing tower of Entropis.

"Now, upon seeking a sword that [had] historical binds of hatred of Vecna, and hopefully his downfall, the Sword of Kas, [they] went seeking this weapon, apparently long ago discarded and bound within a buried catacomb of some kind, within a pit of acid, along with many various corpses left over from an ancient war. In doing so, [they] unfortunately notified Vecna of [their] arrival. As Vex passed through into the ethereal plane, the ring that kept any sort of scrying at bay was lost, and both Vax and Keyleth came to his attention.

"All of [them] managed to flee back to Scanlan's mansion, where the rest were in wait. However, with a notification fresh at hand, the skeletal dragon swooped into the chamber where the mansion was set. On its back [were] riding Lady Delilah Briarwood and apparently the recent, re-risen, Sylas Briarwood.

"The mansion was dispelled, [Vox Machina] were exited from the pocket plane and, barely maneuvering due to do a very lucky roll, having [their] Plane Shift dispelled, [they] made [their] way into the Feywild as a hail-mary. Through a dick-drawing, [they] made contact with the one archfey that [they] have encountered in [their] previous journeys.

"Upon being summoned, and [their] knowledge of the strange time-altering nature of exiting the Feywild, [Vox Machina] asked if it was within his power to ensure the condensing of the time passage when [they] were to return. He agreed, under two conditions. One, when this was all said and done, [they] would help him assemble a doorway in the Prime Material plane, in which he could visit [their] space. Two, upon realizing that Vax was of some undying or re-rising nature, wished to strangle him until dead. [They] agreed, and shortly thereafter Vax expired into ashes and [they] all spent time awaiting his return."

Part I

Downtime in the Feywild

Once Vax'ildan has returned and reclaimed his equipment, Vox Machina take time to plan for the upcoming fight. They decide that Grog, Vax, and Pike will each carry a Trammel. Percival loans his Boots of Spider Climbing to Grog, to help him get closer to an airborne Vecna. Vex'ahlia promises Scanlan that she will wear the witch hat he gave her if he promises not to run from the fight.

They prepare a couple of longer-term spells before bed: Pike uses Vex's last ornate chalice to cast Heroes' Feast. Scanlan, for the very first time, casts Wish and asks for a Scanlan-simulacrum, which begins to form out of falling snow. The spell takes 12 hours, but at the end of it, a snow-golem duplicate of Scanlan stands naked and ready to fight. He is given some spare equipment before they all go to sleep.

To Thar Amphala, on the back of a titan.
Keyleth casts Plane Shift

The next morning, Artagan greets them. He tells them they have been been in the Feywild for longer than the agreed-upon 24 hours, but that he will see what he can whip up. He casts a spell to control the time dilation, and Keyleth takes them back to the Material Plane.

An Unlikely Ally

Fan art of meeting Arkhan, by Lap Pun Cheung.[art 1]

They find themselves back in Thar Amphala, inside the blue-green barrier that has kept the forces of Vasselheim at bay. The party hurry to the nearest abandoned building. Outside, they hear something collide with the wall. It turns out to be a gloomstalker, currently being wrestled to the ground by a red, armored dragonborn. Vax hurries to attack the gloomstalker, but the dragonborn yells, "Don't hurt him!" Vex and Grog help hold the creature down while the dragonborn uses a thorned golden wreath to tame it.

A second gloomstalker finds them but is quickly dispatched. Percy and Keyleth, who have both recognized the dragonborn newcomer, introduce him as Arkhan, someone they adventured with a couple years ago. Arkhan explains how, a few weeks ago, he and his companions were attacked by a death knight and Delilah Briarwood. He and his party were left for dead, but his patron goddess, Tiamat, kept him alive. He offers a temporary alliance with Vox Machina against Vecna.

I understand that, because of my dogma, we belong to groups that would never mix. But I can assure you, if you help me get revenge on the one that killed my friends, I swear to you: I will fight for your lives with the fury of a man who is already dead.
Arkhan, to Vox Machina

Together, they head toward the outer wall of the city to try to break one of the crystals powering the barrier. They find a point on the wall where the energy seems most intense. Grog and Arkhan together smash the wall to pieces, dislodging the crystal and opening up one-sixth of the barrier dome above them.

Briarwoods Reprised

Fan art of the Briarwoods riding Obatalá, by Kent Davis.[art 2]

Unfortunately, their actions attract the attention of the undead dragon they saw previously, which comes to investigate. They hide in a nearby building, but Delilah and Sylas, on the dragon's back, find Arkhan hiding under his gloomstalker. The undead dragon -- none other than the slain white dragon, Obatalá, that once served as Arkhan's mount -- unleashes a breath of bone shards at him.

Vox Machina leap to Arkhan's defense, deciding it is best to face the Briarwoods now rather than later. The dragon hits them with a second breath shot after Delilah Disintegrates the wall they are hiding behind. Percy knocks her wand out of her hand and pushes her and Silas off the dragon, putting them in easy reach of the melee fighters.

As Delilah takes several devastating hits from Grog, she reaches out for Sylas' hand to try to escape with him. Before she gets the chance, Vex shoots her dead with a final arrow, saying, "How's it feel, bitch?" With Delilah dead, the skeletal dragon also falls to pieces, no longer held together by her magic.

Sylas, seeing his wife fall, cries out. He takes a few hits from Percy and Arkhan before turning into a bat to flee. Vex manages to hit the bat-form with a Brambleshot before it gets out of range. The bat falls to the ground, hitting hard and reverting from bat into mist-shape. However, by that point, Sylas is so far away that they are not able to dissipate his mist-shape with Daylight, and he barely escapes. Arkhan then reanimates Delilah's dead corpse to travel with them as a zombie.

Hundreds of gloomstalkers begin to converge, at this point, on their location, attracted by the commotion. Just as the party realize this will be a hopeless fight, Devo'ssa arrives with all the wyvern-riders of Vasselheim, no longer held at bay by the barrier. An aerial battle commences overhead and Vox Machina seize their chance to run for Entropis.


Part II

They find that the spire of Entropis has been reconstructed since Keyleth and Pike toppled it in the Shadowfell, now held together by veins of green arcane energy. At the apex of a tower is a shadowy cyclone that they watch obliterate any wyvern-riders who try to pass through it.

Inside Entropis

Guarding the base of the tower is an undead rot behemoth, which Percy distracts using their Pulse Stone tied onto an Infinite Rope. They slip into the tower, Arkhan sending his gloomstalker away to meet them at the top. Inside, they find a crowd of zombies and skeletons. Pike dispatches most of them with a Destroy Undead, but not before they notice an undead Aldor and Grubby among the crowd. Another one, Vander, Arkhan takes control of and brings along with zombie-Delilah.

They consider taking a short rest before moving up the tower, but decide they can't risk giving Sylas time to recover. Instead, they chug a few potions and cast low-level healing spells to get themselves back up to full health.

On the second floor of the tower, they find an empty arcane laboratory. Vax notices a series of arcane traps in the floor, which they carefully avoid -- all except Scanlan and Pike, who stumble and trigger a Force Cage. Scanlan casts Dimension Door to get the two of them out. Grog and Arkhan, who are too big to squeeze past the trap, instead lock arms and use the Boots of Spider Climbing to walk across the ceiling. They all reach the other side and carry on.

On the third floor, they find an abandoned torture chamber. Among the mutilated corpses left there, they recognize the body of an old ally, Scalebearer Desona. Vax uses his Vecna-dar to confirm that they are now within about 120 feet of their quarry. They prepare for the final confrontation: Pike and Keyleth cast Freedom of Movement on the team, Pike puts a Death Ward on Scanlan, and Vax spreads the wings of the Raven Queen. Vex, Pike, and Scanlan invoke their divine blessings, and Scanlan prepares the Tome of Isolation.

Cruel Schemes

They stealth up to the fourth and final room of the tower. There they find three figures in dark cultist armor. As the cultists do not seem to notice them, the twins are able to quietly assassinate two of them before letting Arkhan run in to take the third. Arkhan's first hit misses, and his second does not kill his target.

As the remaining cultist shows no reaction to their presence, or even to Arkhan's hit, Vex calls for Arkhan to remove the figure's helmet. He does so, revealing the face of none other than Shaun Gilmore, dressed in cultist armor and standing as if paralyzed.

Horrified that they have been tricked into attacking one of their closest friends, they remove the helmets from the two dead "cultists". The bodies are revealed to be those of Scanlan's daughter, Kaylie, and of Percy's sister, Cassandra. Pike checks their bodies more closely, but only confirms that these are really their family lying dead around them. She removes the circlet that seems to be holding Gilmore still, and he comes awake.

Parting Ways

Pike spends two of her precious spell slots to Revivify the fallen Kaylie and Cassandra. They wake up, and Scanlan runs to hold his daughter. Gilmore tells them what he remembers of being pulled through a doorway while he was in his workshop. Keyleth asks him to get himself, along with the other two, back to Emon.

Before he goes, Gilmore offers Grog some "intense adrenaline" and casts Haste on him, asking that they "leave a scar in my name, if you don't mind." Scanlan says his goodbye to Kaylie as Gilmore pulls her and Cassandra close for a Teleport. Behind them, coming up the stairs, they hear heavy footsteps. Vecna's death knight comes into view. As Arkhan runs to meet the knight, Gilmore escapes with the two young women.

Vax'ildan:  Shaun! It was an honor knowing you.
Gilmore:  And it will be an honor knowing you all still.
Vax's farewell to Gilmore, at the top of Entropis

Their friends now safe, and with Arkhan holding the death knight at bay, Vox Machina brace themselves to go above for the final confrontation with Vecna.

Featured Characters

Vox Machina





Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Transferred 1 Deathwalker's Ward Scanlan Vax Vax reclaimed all his equipment on his return
Transferred 1 Prime Trammel Bag of Holding Grog The Trammels were distributed to those deemed most likely to be good at attaching them
1 Vax
1 Pike
Transferred 1 Boots of Spider Climbing Percy Grog
Transferred 1 Bracers of Defense Vex Scanlan 2 Scanlan 2 was created with no equipment
1 Acid-Resistant Armor
1 War Wand
1 Gloves of Missile Snaring Percy
1 Dragon-slayer Longsword
Expended ? Needle arrows Vex fired at Delilah
Acquired 1 Unidentified wand Delilah's body Vex
1 Inert arcane symbol
Transferred 1 fancy robes Bag of Holding zombie-Delilah
Crafted 1 Pulse Stone on a rope Pulse Stone, Infinite Rope Percy used to distract the rot behemoth and other undead at the base of Entropis
Expended 1 Greater Potion of Healing Vex Vex possibly more potions were used without being announced
Expended 1 torch Percy arcane laboratory in Entropis Percy torched the lab as they left it
Transferred 1 longsword Bag of Holding zombie-Vander


  • Vax'ildan: Percy, get your rest, because your last words to me tomorrow need to be indignant and irritated.
    Percival: I've already planned them out.
  • "You all find yourselves resting. Uncomfortable at first, but the knowledge and the exhaustion hitting you, eventually it takes you. The dreams lead seamlessly, one to the next: memories of your meeting, of your story, of your experiences, bleeding between your fears, your victories, and the people whose lives you've touched and who've touched your lives. Wilhand; the fall of Kevdak; to the respect of your father and the vengeance of your mother; to climbing the destiny of the Aramente; to rebuilding the memory of one's family; and to spooning a second version of yourself." -- Vox Machina take their last long rest before facing Vecna.

External Links



  1. Fan art of meeting Arkhan, by Lap Pun Cheung (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of the Briarwoods riding Obatalá, by Kent Davis (source). Used with permission.