"Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) is the second episode of the second chapter of Critical Role. With Vox Machina now split, Scanlan, Percy, Vex'ahlia, and Grog find themselves teaming up with an unlikely duo assigned by Huntmaster Vanessa Cyndrial of the Slayer's Take guild. The task at hand: ridding the wilds around Vasselheim of a troublesome white dragon past the frost-harried north of the Vesper Timberland...
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Featured Characters
- 3 Inventory
- 4 Quotations
- 5 External Links
- 6 References
- Matthew Mercer notes that there will now be giveaways for every 100 subscribers as opposed to the original 50. Giveaways tonight contain a special care package consisting of D&D books and a photo, all signed by the cast in addition to comics and other goodies.
- Matt reminds the audience that Vox Machina has been split into two separate groups due to their actions in the previous episode and choosing to join the Slayer's Take instead of going to court, and that joining the first group (Vex'ahlia, Grog, Percy, and Scanlan) are two guest players for the next two weeks: Felicia Day and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. Orion Acaba gives Matt a mysterious headkiss, to which Matt remarks that this is the best Thursday ever. This will be Mary's first ever D&D experience and is a big fan of the show. Felicia is also a huge fan of the show, and Scanlan ("the one with the scatological problem") is not her favorite character.
- Laura Bailey is flying out immediately after the episode to go to GenCon in Indianapolis for a Titansgrave panel tomorrow. Laura specifically changed her flight so she could be here for this episode, a testament to how much she loves the Critters. The new Trinket that devours everyone that hugs him was a big factor.
- Mary is heading to San Antonio tomorrow morning with Steve Blum for SanJapan.
- Due to a lot of questions, Matt notes that Percy's martial archetype has been rebalanced. Taliesin Jaffe jokingly notes that he may as well be firing pump-action foam darts now, but Matt jokingly tells him that he doesn't get them until level 18. He also notes the rebalancing that has been done to the homebrew rule regarding spell use where if using two spells, one cannot be higher than 2nd-level (which also applies to the Quickened Spell homebrew rule for sorcerers since the original homebrew rule was getting too overpowered, something that confuses Mary but ultimately does not apply to her).
- Before the game begins, Travis Willingham in-character gets excited. Matt asks "Phillip" to calm down. Travis notes that Phillip is long gone, that he's currently training to an '80s training montage.
Previously on Critical Role
"The party has found themselves in the city of Vasselheim, a very deity- and religion-based city, and a very harsh environment; it's far up north in this continent and the weather itself is very cold, the landscape is very harsh and rugged, and outside of the city itself there is an extremely dark, oppressive, almost unnaturally fast-growing forest known as the Vesper Timberland. This is where [they] encountered the hydra last time; [they] just barely trekked out of the city and found that creature. Who knows what else lies out there? But the city seems very well-prepared to defend itself against whatever atrocities make their way towards the outskirts of the city. After Grog fought very gloriously in the Crucible and just barely lost—the test of strength just didn't fall in his favor—he sulked via ale and ladies back at the tavern. The party, after defeating the hydra, being called on their law-breakage in Vasselheim, have been tasked to return the next morning, as separate groups, to figure out what contract is being given to them and what members of their team await them as they arrive."
As the morning comes, the first half of the divided Vox Machina—Vex'ahlia, Grog Strongjaw, Scanlan Shorthalt, and Percival de Rolo—go about their business preparing the best they can before heading of to the Slayer's Take. Vex heads down to the tavern to take a shot with Vax'ildan, the twins lamenting about being split apart for the next few days. The twins have their drinks and wish each other good luck on their separate trials. Her group leaves the tavern, Grog saying goodbye to Vax as the rogue flips him off in true Vax fashion.
En route to the Guildhall as they walk down the rough streets of Vasselheim, Scanlan remembers that he had stored a Lightning Bolt in his Ioun Stone. Percy asks Grog for some metal armor so that he can tinker something. As they search for a place where he can do his work, Scanlan inspires him.
Eventually, Percy finds a long-abandoned workshop with a functional but long-unused forge. Keeping in mind the time constraints and pushing through it without having breakfast, despite the poor conditions it takes him two hours to create a container filled with black powder and shrapnel that will be safe to carry and not risk an explosion.
The party arrives at the Guildhall and are greeted by Murtin Cyndrial, the groggy yet jovial halfling noting that they were twenty-five minutes late but will not mention it to the Huntmaster. He requests that they say nothing about Murtin referring to her as "my wife". He walks off to get one of their new traveling companions, another hopeful seeking entry into the guild. He returns shortly afterward, and behind him walks out a red-skinned tiefling wearing a black cloak, with white hair and silver eyes and wielding a staff with four dragon skulls and a moonstone in the center.
The tiefling walks out slowly, quietly sizing them up one-by-one and seeming disinterested in all but Grog, nearly hitting Scanlan with her tail and Vex with her horns. She recognizes Grog from his battle with Kern in the Crucible the other day. She praises Grog regarding the bout, and the goliath mentions that he gets confused with "Phillip the Terrible". She notes, however, that he is not so in her eyes, causing Grog to blush. Vex asks for her name, and the tiefling introduces herself as Zahra Hydris.
Zahra is soon introduced to her new companions, beginning with Scanlan, who brags about himself in his usual way, and then Percy, whose inventions have her intrigued. The party feels somewhat put off by her elegance and the way she silently judges them. Vex introduces herself to Zahra, the two women already feeling tense around each other. Vex sarcastically mentions how glad she is to be here without Vax, Zahra responding with indifference. Grog then introduces himself as not Phillip but "Grog the Unintimidated", to which Zahra is glad to know his true name. Percy tries to discern whether she is titled, and he notices her self-confidence but also a mild hint of insecurity. Grog asks what her weapon of choice is, and she shows her staff that she had made herself, which Vex is begrudgingly impressed by.
Murtin is looking at his pocket watch while this whole exchange is happening, and mentions that their leader has not arrived yet. When asked about that, Murtin notes that it is guild policy for newcomers to be led by a senior member of the guild. Scanlan offers to be leader, but is quickly shot down and dismissed by the halfling, being called "small man" as an insult. Looking through the books, he notices the name of the leader and grimaces, noting that things should be "curious indeed". As he mentions that she is late, the leader in question—a frazzled-looking human woman with curly black hair and glasses wearing nice robes—bursts through the door and runs towards the group carrying cut papaya. As she babbles about how sorry she is for being late, she trips and the papaya scatters all over the floor. She gets up and quickly apologizes to everyone, seeming excited and in awe at her group. She continues to babble until Murtin silences her, saying that someone else will clean it up and that she should stay with her group. The rest of the group, Murtin included, collectively groan at the fact that she is their leader for their trial, but the party still welcomes her as she introduces herself as Lyra.
Lyra expresses her excitement about leading a group as the party, absolutely stymied, watches on and ask the human more about herself, Murtin noting that she is "useful" to the guild. She notes that this is her first time leading a group of hunters, which further stupefies the party but they assure her that she is capable. She continues to note her excitement about leading as she is told about there being papaya all over her, the human brushing it off and her robes accidentally falling off. Murtin facepalms as hard as he can and goes off to retrieve the Huntmaster.
Scanlan asks Lyra about her place in the guild, and she mentions that she joined "on a technicality". She yearns to tell the party all about how she got in, but seeing as it is a long story, they request that she keep it short and to the point. Vex wisely distracts Grog with the papaya on the ground, and the goliath happily gets down on all fours to eat it off the floor. Lyra voices her concern, but they assure her that he's fine. It's then that Lyra finally notices Trinket behind her as the armored bear pushes past her to join Grog in eating the papaya off the floor. Grog playfully gives him a noogie. Lyra asks the group if they would be interested in more… proper food that they can take with them but settles for giving Percy a crumpled biscuit.
Lyra, after being asked if she ever slew any creatures before, goes on to mention that she is from Vasselheim but had visited Emon quite some time ago, having studied how to use the arcane arts, and mentions her uncle Randy who is the diplomat for trade between the two cities. She notes that she had never heard of Vox Machina before but is still intrigued and says that she'll put it on a scroll later. Upon mentioning her "boyfriend" Aldor, Scanlan notes that he and his group already met him when they accidentally broke the law in killing the hydra. The party honestly tells Lyra their thoughts on Aldor, and Lyra mentions how "large" he is and that she's "seen it", but thankfully doesn't go into any more detail on that. Grog asks what her weapon of choice is, and she pulls out her ashen wand.
Before Lyra goes into any further extensive detail about herself, Murtin returns with Vanessa, the Huntmaster mentioning how interesting it will be to see Lyra's first official hunt as a leader. Lyra thanks her for the opportunity to prove her worth to the Take. Vex also sarcastically thanks her for putting the party in her "capable" hands. Vanessa notes how this is a choice of convenience and a universal test of Vox Machina's abilities and Lyra's leadership skills, both of which are unproven in the eyes of the Slayer's Take. She goes on to note that Lyra's knowledge and skills will be of aid to the group, which generates more sarcasm towards the naive human wizard that they will learn a lot from her talking. Scanlan and Grog then ask Vanessa if they can finally move on to the task at hand before they "learn" anything else.
Getting down to business, Vanessa and Murtin provide a small leather chest. The chest is opened, containing four Potions of Greater Healing. After not much deliberation and Lyra's hospitality, Scanlan takes all four potions for himself. They then pull out a leather satchel that resembles the Bag of Holding but is not quite so, its purpose being for safely transporting perishable body parts of any creatures that the Slayer's Take is contracted to hunt. Vex offers to carry the satchel but Zahra fights her for it. They settle for it with a game of roshambo. Vex wins and claims ownership of the bag. Upon asking for whether or not they should confer with the team leader, Lyra voices her agreement with the results of the roshambo as Zahra spanks the ranger with her tail, claiming that it has a mind of its own. Vanessa, amused at the "establishment" of the pecking order, hands the satchel to Zahra but Vex snatches it from her and slings it over her shoulder, having won the contest fair and square.
Grog inquires as to what would happen if they returned with less people, and Vanessa notes that they will simply not be members of the guild and that it is not their problem. She then gets to the heart of the matter and pulls out a small piece of parchment, a contract recently approved and submitted to the Take from the Crown of Erathis within the Quadroads. Vanessa notes that the quarry will indeed be quite dangerous and a challenge based on how highly the party spoke of their abilities, and that should they get in trouble, it is better to live and fail than to be foolish and die. Percy is handed the contract, which Lyra tries to take but accidentally rips a tear in. Zahra casts Mending to undo Lyra's mistake. Percy then reads the contract aloud.
The party collectively expresses their shock at what they had just gotten themselves into. Vex, having studied dragons for a large portion of her life, recalls white dragons as being more spiteful, arrogant, and bestial compared to other dragons, be they chromatic or metallic, and that they are very dangerous. They recall having faced a white dragon before during the Winter's Crest festival that was ultimately slain by Pike. Vanessa notes that this may be easier than she expected considering they had already faced a white dragon before. Percy tells the party that they need the listed anatomy items: two eyes for 900 gold each, one tongue for 1200, one heart for 3500, six claws for 250 each, and twenty teeth for 50 each. Anything else is fair game for the group to take.
Vanessa then notes that part of the job is to find the quarry wherever it may be, and that the contract must be signed before anything else, to bind them to it. The party members place their hands on the contract one-by-one, their names magically signed onto it. Trinket's paw is also placed on the contract as he is technically a member. She then bids the party farewell. Lyra, upon being asked, mentions that she had killed a warg that had threatened to kill Aldor. The group mentions that Aldor looked frightened when they encountered him, which makes Lyra very upset and defensive, especially when she is told that he was scorched by a fireball from Tiberius but his face was fine.
They eventually leave the Guildhall and head back out into the streets of Vasselheim with only three days to fulfill their trial, the others finally noticing the scruffy beard growing from Grog's chin. Grog is so happy about it, bragging about his restored beard, only to generate a sassy remark from Percy. Vex uses her Primeval Awareness, but she is unable to determine the location of the dragon from their current position. After some deliberation (and Lyra asking Scanlan for love advice), they choose to go to the Abundant Terrace—represented by the goddess Melora—to gather information on the Vesper Timberland and whether anyone has seen the dragon flying within the heavily wooded area.
The party arrives at the Abundant Terrace on the western side of Vasselheim, the district itself densely filled with rich and fertile farmland despite the harsh environment due to the blessings of Melora. Scanlan recalls that Melora is a goddess of the wilderness and the sea, and one of the five main deities that are worshiped in Vasselheim, soon to be six if the temple of Sarenrae raises. Looking around, they notice a portion of the district that is not farmland, but taverns and general stores.
Splitting up to find information, Vex, Lyra, and Scanlan find themselves gathering together at an establishment known as the Midnight Breath Tavern and hear about the co-owner, a rugged-looking older human named Dagon, who claims to have seen a dragon flying by the woods. Lyra asks Vex to use her feminine wiles to talk to Dagon. The ranger approaches Dagon, asking about dragons. Dagon suddenly gets excited, telling the patrons to shut the hell up when they start laughing. The co-owner of the tavern starts telling his tale to the three of them.
Dagon was up north with some companions, two days' travel northwest via the Glasswalk Road. They were riding on horseback up the road to go see Dagon's brother, the place too chilly and cold for his tastes. During the trek, a blizzard had suddenly hit as they were forced to find shelter and make camp beneath the thick canopy of the woods. Partway through the night, a terrifying roar was heard. When Dagon rushed out of his tent, he saw a pack of four dire wolves converging on the camp. Thinking that it was time to make a stand, Dagon pulled out his dagger, ready to defend himself and die. Just when he believed that they would all perish, a second roar bellows out from above. He then saw streaking through the clouds towards the pack a large white dragon. The dragon snatched one of the creatures with its massive jaws, threw it into the air and exhaled a freezing-cold breath of sleet and ice which froze the dire wolf instantly. It then snatched the frozen creature with its jaws and shattered it into two pieces before flying away. The rest of the wolves scattered to the four winds, Dagon and his companions harried but alive. They decided to turn around and return to Vasselheim as fast as they could, never turning back.
Seeing him as honest, Vex thanks Dagon for his story as Lyra hands him some gold for his troubles, the ranger noticing how huge the bag of money is. Unable to convince him to guide them to where he saw the dragon, they wish him a good day and leave the tavern as they set out to obtain warm winter clothing and horses for the trip, Lyra noting that they will have to find those provisions on their own. As they leave, Vex tells Lyra to be more careful regarding her money, that someone could easily steal from her. Lyra thanks her for the advice, noting that she's never had a friend before.
The rest of the party convenes with Vex's group, mulling over the length of time in regards to riding along the road and back again, a total of four days' time on horseback. Lyra, however, notes that once the contract is complete, the time limit is revoked, meaning they can take their time getting back. First things first, the party locates a livery nearby and as they negotiate with the owner regarding the purchasing of horses for the trip, Zahra casts Suggestion and manages to have him give the party the horses for as long as they like, settling for half the normal cost along with with a sturdy warhorse for Grog. Vex, however, is hesitant to pay even half-price for the horses, but Lyra pays the owner right away.
As they leave the livery and get their horses, Lyra pulls Zahra aside and chastises the tiefling for going against her wishes, that using such an underhanded tactic without her permission to get them their transportation was uncalled for. Zahra assures the wizard that it will not happen again, Lyra earning praise from the others for being firm but fair. They then go to Uncle Randy's warehouses and, after a case of mistaking the gentleman in charge of managing the buildings for Randy himself, wait a while before he returns with a bunch of furs and cloaks for the group. With provisions and horses at the ready, and after a brief consideration of going to the Braving Grounds and deciding against it, the group sets out beyond the gates in pursuit of the dragon.
The party begins their trek through the Vesper Timberland and up the Glasswalk Road, the canopy of trees dense and thick above but the road itself maintained well for travelers. After nine hours of travel, the sun begins to set and the chilling air grows colder, the forest growing darker. The party agrees to make camp for the night as Grog sets out to find firewood, axe in hand, insisting on chopping down a "baby tree". Vex remarks that Keyleth would be proud of him. Grog asks that they don't tell her what he did.
As Grog looks for trees, Vex and the others find a small opening within the forest that seems suitable for setting up camp. As Grog returns with the small tree, he asks if Zahra is impressed. The tiefling, however, is slightly impressed but mostly indifferent. The fire pit is made as the sun is now completely set, the cold air getting worse as the party bundles up. In preparation for bed, Lyra takes out her Transmuter Stone and sets it to cold resistance as Zahra walks out into the open area seeking to bask in what moonlight she can find before retiring. Lyra begins talking again about the warg she had killed that led to her "technical" entry into the Slayer's Take as Grog is struggling to start the fire. Vex uses her own skills to succeed where Grog failed. The party decides who will take turns guarding the camp, Zahra and Vex taking first watch, Percy second, and Grog third. Scanlan and Lyra choose to sleep instead of taking watch. As the two mismatched women sit down in front of the fire, they begin to converse after a moment of awkward silence.
As their awkward watch comes to a close, Percy is woken up for second watch, nothing happening during it. Grog is woken up for third watch. The goliath suddenly notices a sound in the distance and goes off to investigate, noticing something in the darkness due to his darkvision from the Belt of Dwarvenkind. He sees a large furred wolf-like creature, a dire wolf, encroaching on the campsite as two humanoids approach as well. Grog alerts the others.
Ambush in the Timberland
As Grog shouts to the party about their new "playmates", he turns to the dire wolf and humanoids—which he recognizes are being orcs—and remarks that they remind him of Kern as he goes into a rage. He charges at the dire wolf with his greataxe and lands two hard-hitting blows, the beast wounded but growling with its fangs bared.
Waking up from Grog's shout, the party finds themselves surprised and ambushed by more orcs and another that seems to be a half-ogre/half orc humanoid rushing towards Percy. He swings with his club but misses as Percy rolls out of his bedroll and stands up, only to get hit by an axe swing from one of the two orcs surrounding him. Another orc lunges towards Scanlan as the bard attempts to sing to distract him.
Despite the distraction, the orc still manages to get his attack in, the glancing blow startling him. The dire wolf lunges at Grog, but the beast's bite is largely shrugged off due to the barbarian's rage. The two orcs flanking Grog swinging their weapons but the goliath easily dodges the blows. Percy, rattled, pulls out The List and aims for the orge/orc entity, shooting his foot with the fire barrel. The blast knocks it off-balance as Percy kicks it down to the ground. He aims for its face, the resulting blast destroying part of its jaw as the creature attempts to grab its club. Not giving it a chance at retaliation, he aims once more and obliterates the creature's head as it finally falls still. Turning around, he laughs maniacally as he aims the pepperbox at the next target in his sights. The gun discharges, the bullet blasting a crater in his shoulder.
Grog, excited at all of his playmates surrounding him, goes into a frenzy as he swings the axe around him, wounding the two orcs and cleaving the dire wolf's throat. The beast falls with a gurgling yelp, dead and limp. The orcs then retaliate against Grog, but the blows are easily taken as Grog shrugs them off. The orc attacking Lyra swings his two-handed axe at the wizard as she manages to get out of the way but is still shaken by the sheer impact of the blow as it lands right in front of her. The orc attacking Scanlan attacks him, but fails horribly due to his small size. The orcs surrounding the screaming Percy retaliate with their weapons and easily land two strikes due to the gunslinger being unarmored and in his pajamas. Scanlan whips out the Hand-cone of Clarity and casts Dominate Person on the orc that attacked him, the humanoid easily falling prey to his control as Scanlan orders him to go and protect Grog with his life. The bard then goes to Lyra to back her up and he inspires her.
Vex, seeing Percy flanked by the two orcs on him, casts Hunter's Mark on the wounded one and shoots him with the Blazing Bowstring. As the arrow connects and ignites, the orc hears a sudden growling from behind as Trinket pounces him. The orc can only watch as the large brown bear grabs his head with his jaws and tears it off of his body, catching it in midair and crunching down on it. Zahra notices the one remaining orc next to Percy and, channeling her powers as a warlock, casts Hex on him and unleashes a powerful Eldritch Blast. The three rays of energy collide, blowing a large gaping hole through the orc's body as he falls dead onto the snowy ground.
Lyra, still in shock, unleashes a Chain Lightning spell at her attacker who looks at her a sudden pity, the blast of lightning utterly frying his entire upper torso and striking the dominated orc nearby. Scanlan is visibly impressed as he throws up at seeing this grotesque sight. Percy starts running towards Grog, unloading his last two shots at the dominated orc. Both shots impact and down the orc. Grog cleaves apart one of the orcs flanking him and then grabs the last orc by the throat.
As the dust settles, the party convenes with Grog as the orc still tries to resist, threatening them in Orc. Zahra—who speaks Orc—is unintimidated at this display and notes that they're simply passing through and that if he helps them, they may let him live. The orc then gives up the fight, saying in Common that he is eager to live and serve.
- Keyleth (mentioned)
- Percival de Rolo
- Scanlan Shorthalt
- Tiberius Stormwind (mentioned)
- Grog Strongjaw
- Pike Trickfoot (mentioned)
- Vax'ildan (briefly DM-controlled)
|Acquired||4||Potions of Greater Healing||Slayer's Take||Scanlan||Originally they were going to be divided, but Scanlan took them all for himself.|
|Acquired||1||Bag of Colding||Vanessa Cyndrial||Vex'ahlia||Vex and Zahra initially fought for the bag, but the ranger beat her in a game of roshambo.|
|Acquired||3||iron axes||Orc corpses||Zahra||poor condition|
|Acquired||1||Orc head||Orc||Grog||Grog chops off the orc's head and puts it into the Bag of Holding.|
|Acquired||1||Canine tooth||Dire wolf||Zahra|
|Transferred||1||Transmuter Stone||Lyra||Scanlan||Lyra hands Scanlan her stone (set to cold resistance) after he starts to feel fatigue from the cold.|
- Matt: Since Grog woke up this morning he had a very, very nice coat of somewhat bristly, translucent-- not very attractive facial hair, but facial hair by definition.
Laura: It's like fishing line coming out of his face.
Grog: I'm a damn pirate now. Watch out.
Percy: Like a 14 year old whose father doesn't love him enough to teach him how to groom himself.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 0:01:30 through 0:01:59.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 0:01:59 through 0:04:56.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 0:04:56 through 0:05:48.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 0:05:48 through 0:06:10.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 0:06:10 through 0:07:47.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 0:07:47 through 0:08:16.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 0:08:16 through 0:09:34.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 0:14:14.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 0:09:34 through 0:30:45.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 0:38:29 through 0:39:17.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 0:30:45 through 0:49:02.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 0:49:02 through 1:12:38.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 1:18:46 through 1:20:40.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 1:12:38 through 1:24:18.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 1:23:25.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 1:25:25 through 1:32:33.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 1:33:48.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 1:33:48 through 1:34:16.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 1:34:16 through 1:34:36.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 1:46:50.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 1:40:20.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 1:53:35.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) from 1:34:36 through 2:08:14.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 2:07:50.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 0:29:43.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 0:19:43.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 0:51:21.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 0:33:33.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 0:34:28.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 0:37:07.
- See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 0:46:01.