"The Search For Bob" (Sx45) is the forty-fifth special episode of Critical Role. Vox Machina returns in this special one-shot, canonically taking place immediately following Campaign 1 and the events of "The Search For Grog" (Sx42).
This adventure is one of the stretch goals of The Legend of Vox Machina kickstarter campaign and is also a throwback to Critical Role's Sunday morning brunch games prior to Twitch streaming. They are all wearing pyjamas or similar sleepwear for this session.
There were no announcements for this game.
Previously on Critical Role
"So, last we left off... The party known as Vox Machina upon saving Exandria, by and large from the incursion of Vecna, Thar Amphala and the Shadowfell based minions of his that had brought him to ascend as a god, sealed them away, however in the process closed the chapter on your friend Vax'Ildan."
"Upon returning home to Whitestone, Grog pulled a card from the Deck of Many Things, pulled the worst card from the deck and had has soul jettisoned off into a random plane, his body left lifeless. You had discovered his soulless body... Took it to Vasselheim and asked some of the Council there for help in trying to ascertain the location of his spirit, wherever it may be."
"Discovering that it was in the Plane of Pandemonium, the windswept realm of madness, you gathered yourselves, a couple of allies in Sir Bertrand Bell, a seasoned adventurer who had volunteered his services as a guide, who had been to Pandemonium before supposedly, but had never been to Pandemonium and Lieve'tel, a really nice Lady of the Raven Queen, who as paying penance for the loss of Vax'ildan offered herself to volunteer to aid them on this mission."
"So, you guys round up the last bit of things you needed, said goodbye to a few friends about the city and then made your journey to Pandemonium."
"Immediately blasted by the incredible winds and the lightless expanse that was around you, in the interior you shouted commands as you made your way across the dangerous landscape... Ran into a strange individual, who seemed to be of Gith lineage who couldn't remember their name and asked some curious questions before vanishing into the dust storm around you."
"You continue going forward after having visions of where this stone, this ruby-like gem that contained Grog's soul was embedded, at the top of this spire that existed somewhere in this plane. You made your way to the Howlers' Crag, the base of this mountain tower. You battled Howlers that had stalked and hunted you on your way there. You made your way through the tunnels and caves that wound up the interior of this giant structure... A bunch of Bugbears came out of nowhere and tore off Percy's arm... It was crazy."
"You then also stealthily bypassed a distracted demon entity known as a Balor that seemed to be in the process of painting bloody pictures on the wall... As you carefully pushed by the tight space, many of you burned heavily, escaping the other side and climbing to the top of the tower, where awaiting you...Guarding this gem as part of the enchantment, or just the general proximity of Pandemonium, or a combination of the two... A Corrupted Empyrean, an entity of celestial origin, a half-child of the gods, screaming mad into the winds above, bound somehow to this tower... Its history lost and its mind every bit as scattered."
"You climbed the outside of this tower, did battle with it. It smashed and angrily dashed each of you... Nearly from the tower multiple times, sending Bertand Bell clinging to life, did actually smash and kill Lieve'tel, who now lies lifeless."
"In the midst of this intense throw-down, Trinket, gritting his bear teeth with the unconscious, soulless body of Grog affixed to his back by chains, climbed the edge of the mountain, rushed towards the stone, and upon meeting Grog's body to the stone, Grog was brought back to consciousness, this spirit instilling him with angry barbarian power from within... And through some absurd luck dealt the final blow to the creature. His axe sinking into its corrupt, celestial body, tearing it sunder. And that was where we ended."
Immediately following the death of the forgotten Empyrean, while Lieve'tel lies dead and Bertrand unconscious, Grog tells the party that he thinks the Deck of Many Things is perhaps dangerous. A frustrated Vex'ahlia asks him if he knows where they are right now; he does not. Percy recommends the group find or create shelter and Keyleth drops out of goristro form. Meanwhile, Bertrand succeeds on one death saving throw and fails two before Keyleth heals him.
After some discussion and failed attempts to impress upon Grog the consequences of his actions, the party agrees that shelter is needed and Scanlan casts Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion. Pike and Vex bring Lieve'tel's body into the mansion. Inside, they discover that in addition to their component pouches, the Bag of Holding had also been stolen by Bob, and Scanlan tells Grog that he can plot revenge. However, the party decides to rest first before tracking down Bob, and begins discussing how they might bring back Lieve'tel without components. After some thought, Vex realizes that her wedding ring contains a diamond of sufficient worth for resurrection rituals, and volunteers it for use with the understanding that she and Percy will renew their vows with a more public party at a later time.
Keyleth and Pike put Lieve'tel's body back together as best they can, adding in a small piece of fossil they found in Pandemonium as a souvenir. Pike casts Raise Dead, and Vox Machina begins the resurrection ritual. Scanlan goes first and smears some of his own poop on Lieve'tel's head, but is still sufficiently persuasive. Vex also attempts to persuade Lieve'tel's soul to return, but her anger towards The Raven Queen is apparent and her attempt is not successful. Grog chooses to intimidate Lieve'tel's soul, citing the many previous losses Vox Machina had suffered, and the ritual succeeds. Lieve'tel is aware that some strangeness occurred during the ritual and remarks that she had not died for 107 years as the group welcomes her back.
As Lieve'tel freshens up in the bathroom, including removing the fossil, while accompanied by some of the spectral servants, the rest of Vox Machina provide Grog with a recounting of their mission to restore him. The conversation then turns to how they will descend the mountain, given the balor still inside; they realize that flighted creatures or Wind Walk would be very challenging given the strength of the winds of Pandemonium. Eventually, Keyleth scries on Bob and finds that he is near where they first arrived on the plane, in a crumbling ruin with collapsed pillars and a marble floor. It seems to be a home of sorts for Bob, who is sorting through their items.
Keyleth relates the information to the group, and Lieve'tel returns and begins flirting again with Bertrand. She discusses the possibility of casting Find the Path to find Bob, but lacks the components. Scanlan casts Wish to create a chalice of sufficient worth for a Heroes' Feast prior to the journey, and the party and their companions gain the benefits before going to bed. They also decide that in the morning, Percy will use his Boots of Spider Climbing to descend the mountain, with the rest of the party turned into birds via Keyleth's casting of Animal Shapes.
Before the party rests, Scanlan asks Pike where she will be sleeping and when she says she will sleep in her room, he tells her he will send up some water. They discuss Scanlan's elaborate bed, and Pike decides to join Scanlan briefly to jump on the double-wide heart-shaped water bed. Meanwhile, Lieve'tel takes Bertrand up to her room.
In the morning, Keyleth casts Foresight on Percy, Vex casts Pass without Trace, and Lieve'tel casts Death Ward on Vex before everyone but Percy is transformed into a bird. Percy then runs down the mountain, wearing his mask and carrying a lantern so he can see and be somewhat protected from the wind. He manages to avoid several howlers thanks to his stealth and makes it to flat ground. At that point he takes Keyleth, in bird form, from his pocket, and she immediately is blown away in the fierce winds. She drops the spell, causing everyone to revert to their normal form which tears Percy's jacket and pants, but they all regroup at the base of the tower.
As they did previously, Keyleth and Lieve'tel lead the way and Keyleth shields the group somewhat with Gust. They travel in the direction of Bob, but Vex notices a subterranean rumbling that seems to be following them from beneath, and Bertrand takes another point of exhaustion. The group then comes upon a 50-foot tall leafless tree that appears to be made from iron, with a blue-green patina, and with egg-like black metallic fruits hanging from the branches. Bertrand claims it is normal for Pandemonium, and after Lieve'tel verifies with the Rod of Alertness that it does not appear to be evil, he volunteers to pick a fruit. He is able to cut one down with the Gambler's Blade and catches it, finding it to be cold. Grog cracks the fruit and finds that the interior appears almost like meat. Vox Machina hears the rumbling again, so they put a piece of the fruit in the Bag of Colding and continue on. Grog begins to become exhausted.
They next come across a statue that Keyleth had seen when she scried. It is somewhat eroded by and partially buried in the sand of Pandemonium, with only about half of its approximately 25 foot height exposed. The statue is of a woman with a series of blades around her head, almost like a lion's mane. None of them can identify her, although Bertrand claims she is the Blade Queen. Lieve'tel detects no evil or magic, and Percy is able to determine the material is a steel alloy. Bertrand becomes still more exhausted, and Lieve'tel successfully receives a divine intervention from the Raven Queen to inform her of what has been stalking the party. She sees a vision of a massive elemental form that appears to be made of sandstone, with bright green eyes. Lieve'tel tells the group and they begin to run. Keyleth inspects the fruit they had found while on the run and recognizes it as Pother fruit, which is used in vision quests.
They finally reach the ruined citadel from Keyleth's vision. Vex casts Locate Object to try to find the tuning fork, and is able to discern the direction in which it can be found. However, Bob notices the party and calls out to them, telling them he can hear them. They ask him for their items back, but Bob claims that they were presents. As the party approaches him, one of the greenish-black metallic humanoid sculptures in the ruin steps towards them. Vox Machina attempts to appease Bob and persuade him to sit down and have some tea, and warns Bob of the creature pursing them. Bob tells them he is familiar with the "rolling danger", and that it had destroyed the citadel. He also tells them the statue was of the Lady of Pain, not the Blade Queen. When various party members try to persuade him again to give them their components, he says he needs the items to get home, though he cannot remember his home nor companions. Scanlan remembers that githzerai come from the plane of Limbo.
Bob continues to refuse to return the items, believing he has what he needs to return home. Scanlan and Pike offer to bring Bob home himself, and Lieve'tel and Percy also attempt to intervene. Meanwhile, Vex warns the party the elemental continues to approach, and Percy convinces Bob to show him his book. The book is in a language Percy does not recognize, but does have sketches of Bob's golem. The party tells Bob that they can at least take him from Pandemonium and provide him with unlimited gifts if he gives them the tuning fork back. At that moment, the huge elemental reaches the party, shaking the ground on which it walks.
- The Search for Grog/Bob Heat Activated Coffee Mug is available in the online store.
- Erica Lindbeck has joined in for an anime themed episode of MAME DROP.
- The Baby Got Backstories is available now for preorder in the online store.
- Liam O'Brien asks you to subscribe or not subscribe.
- Critters’ art montage.
Percy goes first, and asks Bob for help then attempts to seek cover from the elemental, whom he also hexes. Vex flies up on her broom towards the tuning fork, casts Hunter's Mark, and drops prone to attempt to be a more difficult target for the creature. Keyleth casts Wall of Stone in an attempt to create something of a barricade, and Bob begins to search for the tuning fork on his desk. Grog activates his Titanstone Knuckles and waits for the creature to attack, and Pike casts Beacon of Hope.
The creature shifts form from its sandstone body to a cyclone of dust, and Grog gets in an attack, but Scanlan, Grog, Pike, and Keyleth all take damage as they are pelted by debris in the cyclone. Pike and Keyleth are then attacked, and Keyleth is grappled. Lieve'tel activates her Rod of Alertness and casts Mass Healing Word just before Keyleth is attacked once again by the cyclone. Scanlan inspires Vex and casts Bigby's Hand, and attacks the creature. Bertrand tries to help Bob find the tuning fork but fails, although Bob's golem is able to get in a few hits on the whirlwind. Percy climbs up one of the walls and takes several successful shots at the creature, and deals additional damage with Cabal's Ruin, just before Vex finally comes upon the bag of holding and pulls out the tuning fork attuned to the Material Plane. Vex also tries to restrain the creature or free Keyleth, but is unsuccessful. She then uses her Earring of Whisper to contact the rest of the group and tell them she has the tuning fork.
The dust titan tries to squeeze Keyleth to death, but is prevented from doing so by Scanlan's Cutting Words. Meanwhile, Bob finds Pike's component pouch and returns it to her. Keyleth Wildshapes into an air elemental thus escaping the grapple, casts Blight on the cyclone, and moves over to Vex. The creature then attacks and grapples Pike, and is itself attacked by Grog, who reaches towards Vex and Keyleth in preparation for Plane Shift. Pike then uses Divine Intervention to ask Sarenrae to hold back the creature so that the party can escape. Sarenrae, or her avatar, arrives to do so, although Pike remains grappled. Pike also activates her blessing so that she can attempt to fly out. Lieve'tel heals Pike, and Scanlan uses Bigby's Hand to push Pike from where she is engulfed in the cyclone so that she can join the rest of the party. He then uses Dimension Door to reach Vex.
The creature shifts its form again, back into the sandstone body. Bertrand joins the chain of party members preparing to return, and the golem tries to attack but misses. Percy is able to reach Grog, and Vex takes Scanlan on her broom down to join the others, and returns Trinket to the Raven's Slumber. Bob grabs a few more possessions and then teleports over to the group. Keyleth reverts to her normal form and joins the chain, waiting for Pike to arrive. Pike and Lieve'tel complete the chain, and Keyleth Plane Shifts the group back to Whitestone.
Keyleth collapses, badly injured, upon the return, and Pike and Lieve'tel both heal her. Bertrand states that he hopes to never see any of the party ever again, and the he is going into retirement, then walks off. Pike then casts Greater Restoration on Bob, who had landed in a nearby thorn bush. "Bob's" memory returns, and he recalls that his name is Shanak, and that he is an Anarch of Limbo from Shra'kt'lor. He had been creating a "pocket" of Limbo when his group had been attacked. He tells Pike that now that his sanity has been restored, he can return home without help, and asks her what she loves most. When she tells him she loves Vox Machina, particularly her close friend Grog, Shanak manifests a statue of the group, even making Scanlan slightly taller than he truly is by request. Shanak also tells the group that he had created the pother fruit tree, which likely contributed to his mental deterioration. He returns Pike's components to her, although Lieve'tel's relic of Purvan Suul is lost. Grog asks about the Deck of Many Things, and the party convinces him that it was lost, and that they will draw him a new deck. The party then wishes Shanak safe travels, and Shanak vanishes.
Vox Machina then asks Lieve'tel what she intends to do. While she tells them she plans to return to Vasselheim, she wishes to stay in Whitestone for some time with Bertrand. Vex and Percy tell her of the shrine to the Raven Queen being built in the city, and offer her a place to stay. Keyleth asks Lieve'tel if, while she was dead, she saw anyone. Lieve'tel tells her she did not see anything, and that her goddess can be a private one, but quietly casts Commune. She asks if Vox Machina will be safe for some time, and is told that they will be; she asks if Vex will be happy and is told that she is; and asks if Keyleth will be happy and is told that in time, she will be. Lieve'tel then tells the group Bertrand has "better qualities...than speaking", and that she will see them at dinner, before taking her leave.Cassandra de Rolo meets Vox Machina at that point, and after bantering with Percy, who is still in his ruined jacket and pants, tells them all to come in for dinner. As the scene closes, Vex states that she's feeling slightly nauseated, and Scanlan takes Pike's hand.
- Shanak, formerly known as Bob (NPC)
- Bertrand Bell (played by Travis)
- Lieve'tel (played by Liam)
- "It's been awhile!" (recurring reference to the 2001 song by Staind, usually in response to someone forgetting their character's spells, inventory, etc.)
- This episode was unlocked for reaching the $1 million stretch goal in the Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund The Legend of Vox Machina. It was pre-recorded in the Critical Role studio on April 7, 2019, and later aired on the Critical Role Twitch channel on June 23, 2019.
- This is the seventh episode in which one player plays multiple characters, following "A Bard's Lament" (1x85), "Masquerade" (1x99), "Unfinished Business" (1x100), "Thar Amphala" (1x101) and "Race to the Tower" (1x102) (Scanlan/Taryon) in the first campaign; and "The Search For Grog" (Sx42) with Travis once again playing Grog and Bertrand Bell.
- It is also the second episode following "Race to the Tower" in which said characters interact with one another.
- See "The Search For Bob" (Sx45) from 3:27 through 7:43.
- later spelled Shraklore in the transcript