"The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) is the sixth episode of the fourth chapter of Critical Role. In hopes of defeating the Chroma Conclave, Vox Machina sets out to recover the Vestiges of the Divergence—ancient armor, weapons, and other items of immense power. They learn the location of one Vestige, the Deathwalker's Ward, interred with an ancient Champion of the Raven Queen... at the bottom of a lake.

Continuity

The regular episode for 2016-02-25 was replaced due to cast illnesses and attendance at a funeral, airing "Critical Role Q&A and Battle Royale!" (Sx08) instead.[1]

The regular episode for 2016-03-03 was cancelled due to Matthew Mercer and Marisha Ray being in Ireland for Kaizoku-Con.[2]

This episode celebrates the one-year anniversary of Critical Role, which is 2016-03-12.

Synopsis

Pre-Show

Announcements

  • Tor Books is the sponsor of tonight's episode. Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson is their newest release.
  • Matthew Mercer and Marisha Ray give thanks and a shoutout to those at Kaizoku-Con in Ireland.
  • Dwarven Forge is providing some dungeon tiles for future episodes of the campaign. The Kickstarter for a "castle builder" set of modular pieces to build and customize individual castles went up last week.
  • The Order of the Lycan Bloodhunter received minor tweaks, clarifications, and balances last night.
  • Marisha has a new show on Geek & Sundry called Signal Boost airing Tuesday.
  • Laura Bailey is in Gears of War 4.
  • Liam McIntyre started a Kickstarter for a new card game called Monster Lab 15 days ago and they are aiming for stretch goals now.
  • Taliesin Jaffe is the new voice of Crazy Dave in Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.
  • Mary Elizabeth McGlynn thanks everyone at CoastCon for a wonderful time.
  • Liam O'Brien has been cast as Doctor Strange by Marvel Animated.
  • Wyrmwood Gaming is still offering the code "critrole" to have free shipping off of a purchase.
  • Mark Whitten has a Dungeons and Dragons-based web series starting tomorrow called Rolling High.

Previously on Critical Role

"Vox Machina, our intrepid band of adventurers, after dealing with the horrible attacks by the dragon circle known as the Chroma Conclave destroying cities all across Tal'Dorei, the party escaped, sent the refugees they could, as well as allies, back to Whitestone—seemingly not on the radar of this attacking front of dragons at the moment. They made their way toward Vasselheim to find allies, Pike staying behind to help with the refugees at the moment.

"Upon going to Vasselheim, [they] managed to encounter a number of old friends from the Slayer's Take and enlist them for the time being to help [them] with the refugees and [their] current wanderings in the city proper. At the same time, [they] encountered Lady Kima, who also has agreed to help with the events in Whitestone and this entire dragon attack towards the east. After wandering the city for a bit and retrieving these allies, [they] followed Grog into the Trial Forge, where [he] had a conversation with Earthbreaker Groon—and by conversation I mean a full-on, drag-out sandpit battle to prove [his] worth to him. In which case [he] was given information about these things called the Vestiges of the Divergence—artifacts of great legendary power that existed from previous wars that had wiped out most of society multiple times. These Vestiges have been scattered around the world, many of them lost to the history books, or passed down as symbols of power through various bloodlines or government positions, or stolen and haven't been seen for hundreds of years.

"[The party] found the location of two of them: one of which was the Titanstone Knuckles, and the other happened to be some sort of leather, the Deathwalker's Ward that belonged to a Champion of the Raven Queen. This exists in, apparently, the Champion's tomb, which used to exist to the west of Vasselheim, until it eventually sunk into the ground as the topography shifted over time, and resides beneath a lake known as the Marrowglade Loch."

Part I

Grog tells the party that he thinks his Uncle Kevdak has the Titanstone Knuckles that Earthbreaker Groon mentioned, but he doesn't know where the Herd of Storms is now. They do know where the Marrowglade Loch is because it is on their map, and decide to go there first since it's close by. Kima says she wants to come with them but also wants to take a day in Vasselheim arranging passage east. The party assures her they have means of transport back to Tal'Dorei when that's necessary. Vex goes to a bookshop to try to research the loch and any possible underground temples or caverns near it. She finds a book about The Raven Queen for thirty gold, and for once, her bargaining skills fail her and she has to pay full price. The book, however, does contain information about Purvan Suul, a former Champion of the Raven Queen who fell in the final conflict of the Divergence and was interred in a lost multi-leveled tomb to the west of Vasselheim in the direction of the loch.

Zahra gives Grog the Moon Hammer, and Grog enthusiastically tries it out by trying to hit first Scanlan, then Vax with it. Vax, who's seen what's coming, has backed away and stealthed into the shadows, but Scanlan uses Minor Illusion to create a poor simulacrum of him. Grog swings at the illusion and is briefly convinced he's killed Vax when it disappears.

They use Keyleth's Wind Walk to transport Vox Machina, Zahra, Kashaw, Kima, and Trinket to the loch within the Vesper Timberland. Landing at its edge, they see bits of stone and fallen walls about thirty feet out in the frozen lake, but there is no obvious entrance. Vex knocks a hole in the ice and sticks her head in the water, and can just see part of the structure underwater. Percy, using his mask, can see a little more. The structure seems to rest on the floor of the lake about fifty feet down. Vex and Vax try swimming there in mist form but discover they still need to breathe air, and resurface. Zahra Polymorphs into a large alligator to swim down and finds two blocked-off entrances, but also finds a clear area with no plant life.

They set up camp and Vax starts rebraiding Vex's wet hair. Zahra talks to Keyleth and Vex about the clear area and they realize it's probably where a creature of some kind goes in and out. Keyleth turns into a giant shark to check it out but learns nothing further and returns to report. As they settle down, Vex makes sure Trinket is between Kash and Keyleth at all times. The night watch is slightly disturbed by a group of wandering owlbears that don't notice the party but leave behind two feathers from which Vex crafts two owlbear arrows. The next watch is Vax and Percy. Vax checks in with Percy on how he is doing, and he thinks he's doing better. He's starting to imagine a better version of himself. Vax tells him that he has a family with his friends, if he wants it. The whole party wakes up as they hear the distant screech of a patrolling roc, the same one they helped previously.[3] Scanlan and Kash take the last watch, and Scanlan tells Kash that he's noticed the way Kash has been flirting with Vax, but he doesn't think Vax is interested.

The next morning they wake and discuss strategies. Keyleth casts Control Water to move the loch's water out of the way and they all run to the sunken tomb and begin searching for an entrance in the mud and muck. Vex gets stuck and Vax gets stuck as well trying to pull her out. Grog refuses to help and Trinket can't get enough traction, so Scanlan casts Bigby's Hand to pull them out and then uses the hand to move rocks until a stairway leading down is uncovered. They rush down it and use the hand to pile rocks at the entrance to hold back the water when Keyleth's spell ends. Water rushes in and is dribbling through the barrier, but the wall is holding... for now. Vax begins sneaking down the stairway.

Break

Several Geek & Sundry promotional videos aired during the break.

  • International Tabletop Day:
    • The Doubleclicks played music and sung the message in this promotion for International Tabletop Day on 2016-04-30.
    • Information about this event is available at tabletopday.com, Geek & Sundry's website, and through "#TabletopDay" on social media.
    • Geek & Sundry will feature a 24-hour livestream on Twitch from midnight until midnight (PDT) on 2016-04-30. Hosted by Ivan Van Norman and featuring Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton, there will be special guests and many different tabletop games throughout the day.
    • The livestream will raise funds for charity.
    • Notably, one of the graphics in this promo featured an owlbear, after owlbears were spotted by Vox Machina earlier in this episode of Critical Role for the first time on stream.
  • Signal Boost! With Marisha Ray:
    • Marisha Ray introduced her new Geek & Sundry series (not the same promo that aired with this episode of Critical Role).
  • Super Fun Awesome Party Game Time:
    • Hosts Jesse Cox and Jessica Marzipan introduced their show, which features hosts and guests playing classic board games with a twist.
    • In this episode, guests Chloe Dykstra and Jason Horton joined the hosts to play the game Thin Ice—with teams, blindfolds, and punishments for the losers.
  • Critical Role Fan Art:
    • Per tradition, this video slideshow of fan art begins with an expression of gratitude from the cast and crew of Critical Role to the Critters for sharing their art.
    • The corresponding fan art article/gallery from 2016-03-10 includes the art featured in this slideshow.
    • Ends with a "Thank you!"

Part II

Vex senses no undead in the vicinity as Vax stealths down the stairs. He reaches the bottom, noticing that the floor is tilted by the uneven sinking of the tomb. He sees two small fish/amphibian-like humanoid shapes (kuo-toa) walking down a tunnel stretching directly ahead of him, seemingly either not noticing or not caring about the party's presence. There are also tunnels to the left and right, which they cautiously explore. There is nothing to the right but a fallen section creating a deep chasm. To the left, the tunnel is coated in a mysterious viscous goo. They reach a spiral staircase going down, so the party rejoins and they slowly descend.

Vex finds two dark feathers buried under the slime on the stairs, and guesses they are raven feathers. They reach the lower level, and Vex notices very thin slits in the walls to either side. Vax tries to disarm them but fails, and two pendulum blades swing out, narrowly missing him, and then back into the walls, resetting. Scanlan is able to determine how they work and tries to hit the disarming button inside one of the slots with a blade, but then realizes his hand will work better and quickly pushes the button. To everyone's relief, the blade stops swinging and Scanlan's head and hand are safe.

Continuing, they reach a T-intersection where the center has fallen into a chasm. Vax leaps over it and finds a dead end with symbols of the Raven Queen carved on it. To the left, however, is a large set of double doors. The rest of the party jumps over the chasm to the doors, but Grog falls in, just managing to catch himself on the edge before Keyleth snags him with Grasping Vines. The doors are not locked and open into a large room with four pillars and a raised platform in the center. Stepping in, Vex sees shifting shapes behind the platform, and hears hushed voices saying in Undercommon that they will attack as soon as the intruders enter, in order to defend the tomb.

Since the creatures know they're there, Zahra and Kash each cast Light, revealing a stone coffin lying on the platform surrounded by four of the fish entities. The kuo-toa begin calling to their unseen master as initiative begins. They are not difficult opponents, and within the first round, Kash finishes off three of them with one Flame Strike. However, a burbling murmur arises behind Kima and Percy in the rear from the pit they all leaped over, and to their horror, a beholder rises up and begins shooting beams at them. Percy and Grog avoid Disintegration and Petrification, but Kima is hit by a fear-producing blast taking her out of the fight as the beholder drops her into the pit. Its anti-magic cone shuts down much of the party's spellcasting unless they are outside its coverage. Keyleth is able to transform into an earth elemental but the creature's rays do significant damage to the rest of the party, and its ability to float high above makes it hard to reach with melee weapons.

Percy finishes off the last kuo-toa but the fight against the beholder continues. Although they are able to avoid almost all of its attack rays, the anti-magic cone limits what the magic users can do against it. The beholder utilizes its legendary actions and lair action mostly on attack rays, but also at one point summons grasping tendrils out of the walls that must be saved against at the start of each turn or be grappled and unable to move. Kash, while grappled, fails to save against paralysis and petrification rays and is effectively out of the fight. One ray hits Vex for 55 necrotic damage. Scanlan uses Bigby's Hand to pick up Grog and fling him at the beholder, getting him within range and creating additional damage for his strikes. Zahra gets the How do you want to do this? with a Witch Bolt doing massive critical damage and covering the party in pureed beholder.

Kash's petrification and paralysis fade with the beholder's death. Vax, Keyleth, and Vex run to the chasm and call to Kima, who is okay, and Vax rappels down. He has Grog throw down a rope and pull Kima up to safety, while he continues to investigate the bottom of the pit. Percy calls Trinket to him and pushes the black feather-covered sarcophagus open, revealing a skeletal corpse surrounded by fine gold and silver jewelry. It is wearing a set of jet-black studded leather armor bearing a series of runic engravings and carvings and trimmed with black feathers. Vex tells Vax (still at the bottom of the pit) that she is going to look at what Percy is finding, and runs over to the sarcophagus. She begins making an investigation check on the sarcophagus to see if it is safe to take things out of, but before she can finish, Percy begins to remove the leather armor from the body.

As his fingers touch it, there is a vibration and it seems as if the nearby shadows in the corners reach up towards his hands. Percy pulls back in time, but Vex and Trinket notice a little too late as there is a burst of death energy for a ten-foot radius around the entire sarcophagus. Percy avoids it, but Trinket and Vex (with a natural one save) suffer fifty-six points of necrotic damage, instantly killing Vex. Zahra immediately runs over and feeds her a healing potion with no effect. Vax climbs up out of the chasm and to his horror, sees his sister cold and lifeless on the ground being cradled by Zahra. He runs over, picks her up, and pours a greater healing potion into her mouth with no effect. He is growing more and more angry and frustrated, when Kash says he can Revivify her and sprinkles diamonds across her chest. He hesitates, fearful that it will draw Vesh's attention and her potential to "destroy everything", but then decides to go forward with the ritual. Dark energy swirls from him, touching the diamonds which shatter upon impact, and seeping into Vex's corpse. Her back arches, her body lifts slightly in place, and her arms drape, dangling and scraping against the stone beneath her as she is elevated.

As the ritual begins, Percy places three shards of residuum among the diamond dust on Vex's chest, but fails his intelligence check with a six and the glass shatters. Zahra places the moonstone from her staff near the focus of Kashaw's ritual, its dull white glow intermingling with the dark shattered energy of Vesh creating a strange grey swirl. With a 17 arcana skill check, the grey balances and seeps into Vex's body. Looking up at the altar where the body was, there is the very faint drifting image of a dark female form looking on. Vax completes the final part of the ritual, pulling his sister's body in close, and saying only, "Take me instead, you raven bitch."

Fan art of Vax's deal with the Raven Queen, by Lap Pun Cheung.[art 1]

The drifting dark female form near the altar gets closer and closer, and they can see it is not Vesh. It is an image or specter of the Raven Queen herself, a formless, perpetually blurred female face, hair tumbling down, and as it steps forward, no expression, no words. Her hand reaches out towards Vax and she nods. The magic strengthens, focusing through the moon crystal into Vax's body. Moments pass, then the vision of the Raven Queen nods to Vax, steps backward, and the specter vanishes. Breath fills Vex's lungs as she begins to cough, her form drifting back to the stonework. She finds herself looking up at the partially broken stone ceiling of the dark altar into the face of her brother, tears streaming down his face, and the rest of her friends gathered around.

Vex does not know what happened, and Vax tells her she was knocked out, but Grog tells her she fucking died. She asks how she's not dead now, then, and Grog asks Vax how he's feeling. Vax walks out. Percy admits he set off a trap, which killed her, and Scanlan tells her she was brought back by Kash and her brother.

Vex asks about the armor, still intact in the tomb around the powdered remains of the corpse. The jewelry was corrupted by the necrotic blast, leaving only a black crystal, pointed on one end, with a loop on it to carry on a chain. Scanlan is able to determine that the trap was expended and not reset. Zahra uses Mage Hand to lift the armor into the Bag of Holding and also takes the black crystal. They make their way back up through the temple and out the way they came. Zahra gives Vex one Arrow of Dragon Slaying that she forged. Keyleth takes Kash aside and he tells her that what he believes in is life -- and Zahra. He tells her Vax is a good guy and she should stay near him when fighting the dragons. When he admits that the kiss he had stolen from her was only his second one, she shares that it was her first. Kash's first was with his wife, and that awkwardly ends their conversation.

Kima decides to join Allura and the other survivors of Emon in Whitestone for now to aid in its defense. She invites Zahra and Kash to come, and when they accept, the rest of the party decides to use Transport Via Plants to go there as well to spend the night.

Post-Show Promo

Featured Characters

Vox Machina

Official miniature of Lady Kima, painted by Matthew Mercer.[4]

New

  • Benjamin Cole: A staff member at a book collector's shop in Vasselheim.
  • Purvan Suul[5] (corpse): One of the highest champions of the order of the Raven Queen. When he swore himself to the Raven Queen, his name was given to the Raven Queen as a gift. Like her other champions, he therefore became nameless, referred to by other people only as "The Champion".

Returning

Inventory

Quotations

  • Matt: One of the highest of the order of the Raven Queen, that fought in her name, [...] was named Purvan
    Laura: Haha, yeah he was!
    Marisha: Perv'on?
    Matt: Purvan! P-U-R-V-A-N!
    Sam: Last name: Pedobear!
    Taliesin: We're running out of good names, aren't we? We've finally gotten to the end of your list of good names.
    Travis: [laughing] Perv'on Pedobear, haha!
    Matt: Ohhh, you guys are cruisin' to a TPK today!
    Laura: Not on the anniversary, Matt! Not on the anniversary!
    Matt: Yeah, this is great
    Travis: Haha, Perv'on Pedobear!
    Mary Elizabeth McGlynn: Kash and Z were left, staring at the bodies...
    Matt: Purvan! For the second—
    Liam: Yes, yes, get your perv on! Emphatically!
    Matt: Oh, alright, that's...that's...that's...
    Taliesin: Perv on, Matt.
    Travis: [laughing] I can't breathe!
    Matt: [writing notes] more hit points onto these guys...[7]
  • Laura: We can talk in mist form?
    Matt: Uh... sure. [cast bursts into laughter] At this point, I don't give a shit.[8]
  • Taliesin: It's good to want things. It's very, very good to want things. It's also very, very good to have things. It's good to-- it's good to find the things that are important to you and move towards them. I'm in a place where I'm realizing that I have to make decisions about what's important, and I'm a little envious that you seem to be ahead of the curve on that.[9]
  • Will: Kash walks over to also pee, and then looks down at Grog and goes, 'Holy god!', and just turns and walks.[10]
  • Taliesin: (on disarming a swinging-blade trap by hand) We get two tries each—it'll be great.[11]
  • Matt: It looks like there was a path that went to the right; that whole thing collapsed inward and is completely impassable.
    Liam: And it's pooped into the passage down here?
    Will: (to Liam) Wow, you paint with words.
    Liam: This is my profession![12]
  • Sam: Remember, Laura, you can move a little bit faster, because you have 30 gold less than you did earlier.[13]
  • Liam: I pull my sister in close, and I say, Take me instead, you raven bitch.[14]
  • Keyleth: By the way, y'know, you didn’t need to apologize for stealing that kiss before, it was fine.
    Kash: Well, that’s good to know. It was only my second one!
    Keyleth: What? Really? It was my first!
    Kash: Well, between us we’ve had three kisses now, I think we did pretty well.
    Keyleth: Question. Who was your first kiss?
    Kash: That would be my wife.
    Keyleth: Oh, sure, yeah.
    Kash: Yeah.
    Keyleth: Yeah, no, that makes sense.[15]


Trivia

  • This episode marks the first time that Vex'ahlia has died.
    • This is the second on-stream death of a player character, and the third overall.

External Links

References

  1. See "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 00:00.
  2. See "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 00:00.
  3. See "Consequences and Cows" (1x26).
  4. Official miniature of Lady Kima, painted by Matthew Mercer, and posted on Twitter.
  5. Official spelling of "Purvan Suul" confirmed by Matthew Mercer on Twitter.
  6. See "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 4:43:18.
  7. See "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 0:32:11.
  8. See "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 0:44:14.
  9. See "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 1:17:44.
  10. See "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 1:27:16.
  11. See "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 2:26:21.
  12. See "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 2:30:39.
  13. See "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 3:23:10.
  14. See "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 4:30:31.
  15. See "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 4:47:12.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Vax's deal with the Raven Queen, by Lap Pun Cheung (source).  Used with permission.


Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Aquired 1 Dusty old book Benjamin Cole Vex'ahlia
Relenquished 30 Gold Vex'ahlia Benjamin Cole Vex tried to haggle, but ended up paying full price.
Transferred 1 Moonhammer Zahra Grog Zahra gifted this warhammer to Grog, which she crafted herself.
Aquired 2 Owlbear feathers Wandering owlbears Vex'ahlia Vex scavenged the fallen feathers; no owlbears were harmed.
Converted 2 Owlbear-feather arrows Vex'ahlia Vex'ahlia Vex fletched two arrows with the scavenged owlbear feathers.
Aquired 6 Gold Kuo-toa corpses (pit level) Vax'ildan
Aquired unknown Kuo-toa bones Kuo-toa corpses (pit level) Vax'ildan It is unclear whether Vax kept the bones after playing with them.
Aquired unknown ("a few") Beholder teeth Beholder corpse Zahra
Aquired 2 Beholder eye-stalks Beholder corpse Keyleth
Aquired unknown ("a bunch") Poor-quality spears Kuo-toa corpses (main level) Scanlan
Aquired unknown Poor-quality leather armor Kuo-toa corpses (main level) Scanlan
Aquired 12 Gold Kuo=toa corpses (main level) Scanlan
Aquired 1 Deathwalker's Ward Purvan Suul's sarcophagus Percy
Aquired 1 Black crystal Purvan Suul's sarcophagus Grog's Bag of Holding
Transferred[6] 1 Arrow of Dragon-Slaying Zahra Vex'ahlia Zahra crafted this arrow specifically for Vex'ahlia, after they slew Rimefang.
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