"Unfinished Business" (1x100) is the first episode of the eighth chapter of Critical Role. It is also their 100th sequential episode. Vox Machina, along with Lionel Gayheart and Scanlan Shorthalt, travel into the mountain range of Marquet to investigate the existence of another Ziggurat. As Scanlan tries to make amends for his actions, what lies beneath will lead to a shocking reveal that will set the stage for something greater...
Vox Machina travel to Marquet, to the Smouldercrown Mountains, to investigate a tip from Scanlan about a second ziggurat. Pike and Grog struggle with their emotions toward Scanlan after his year-long disappearance. Inside the ziggurat, they encounter cultists of Vecna, a second sphere of annihilation, and Delilah Briarwood, returned from the dead. They see new behavior from the sphere of annihilation, as Delilah and her cultists use it as a gateway to escape into the Shadowfell.
- This is the 100th episode of Critical Role! The crew have put together a new set in celebration.
- Jon Heder is returning tonight as a guest star.
- The episode is sponsored by Marvel Puzzle Quest. Sam quizzes Taliesin on "Marvel Puzzle Quest character or yoga position?"
- In honor of the 100th episode, a podcast version of the show is now being rolled out. First ten episodes are on iTunes and Google Play.
- Merch update: As a commemorative 100th-episode item, David Mack has designed an art print. It is being printed on heavy paper with a gold emblem on the bottom corner. That will be available for one month only, along with a limited edition signed version.
- An ad clip is run, featuring Tary, Vex, and Pike of The Slayer's Cake, to present a new apron design.
- There will be a Wyrmwood feature and giveaway at the break; go to wyrmwoodgaming.com/criticalrole for free domestic shipping with promo code Critrole.
- Info on the Tal'Dorei campaign guide is available on the Green Ronin site.
- CritRoleStats have helped put together an infographic with stats and trivia from the show.
- Matt will be at A-Kon, in Dallas, tomorrow.
- Talks Machina is live on Tuesdays, 7PM Pacific Time, on Twitch and Alpha, hosted by Brian Wayne Foster.
- Signal Boost will be hosted by Jeff Lewis.
- Friend of the show Kiki made something for Liam.
Previously on Critical Role Edit
"Vox Machina had just completed their venture in the distant countryside of Wildemount, interfacing with the Darrington family and apparently their long-acquired debt with the Myriad criminal syndicate on that side of the world.
"After making a deal that would salvage elements of the Darrington family, [Vox Machina] made [their] way back and encountered a half-orc 'bardbarian' by the name of Lionel who was there on behest of his boss, Aes Adon, or—as [he] was immediately referred as—the Meatman.
"[The party was] brought to a nearby tavern in Whitestone where the vicinity had been rented out entirely and [they] met with a large, intimidating-looking gentleman; scarred, pockmarked, ready to ahead to try and wheel-and-deal some business with [them].
"After some...interesting conversation and some sly insight by Vex'ahlia and Keyleth, it was discovered that the Meatman was indeed [their] old compatriot, Scanlan, under an illusion to attempt to notify [them] that he had discovered something quite dangerous on his side of Exandria.
"[Vox Machina] discovered that this fantastic bardbarian, Lionel, had been working for him under his Meatman guise in Ank'Harel for the better part of a year, and while set out on a mission with a number of other compatriots of his, Lionel had stumbled upon in an area called the Smolder Crown—a mountain range, not terribly far from Ank'Harel—what seemed to be a cavern structure that led to an underground pyramid similar to the Ziggurat that [Vox Machina] had been keeping an eye on underneath Whitestone, which also contained its own small black spherical orb, which they were feeding magical items towards, it looked like.
"However they were discovered in that tunnel, and Lionel was the only one to escape with his life; the rest fell behind and were left for dead. Upon notifying Scanlan—or "the Meatman"—of this information, he knew it was pertinent to return and get this to [Vox Machina] in person.
"After which, apologies were made, some were accepted, some were not, but it was generally decided by the team that—based on this information—[they] needed to make [their] way to Ank'Harel posthaste and discover what exactly resides beneath the mountains of the Smolder Crown.
Part I Edit
Keyleth opens a portal through the Sun Tree into the oasis of Ank’harel. Scanlan dons his disguise as Aes Adan. This prompts Keyleth to realize that he hasn’t been hugged in a year and she initiates a giant, ten-minute group hug in the middle of the bazaar.
As the Meat Man, Aes Adan, Scanlan leads them to a modest tobacco shop on the south-eastern side of the city, which seems to be his base of operations. Grog tries to convince the shop owner to shake Aes/Scanlan’s hand, which would ruin his illusion; Scanlan blows him off. They descend through a hidden door into an underground area, where they find a second copy of Aes Adan in conversation with an employee.
The confused employee is sent off and told not to mention what he has seen; the second version of Aes drops his disguise and is revealed as Kaylie, who has been holding down the fort in Scanlan’s absence. They spend some time catching up, and Scanlan asks Kaylie if she can see about getting some ducks as pets for Chod. She agrees, and also loans them an Amulet of the Drunkard and several healing potions.
Keyleth transforms the group into clouds so they can quickly cover the distance to Smouldercrown, the mountain range where Chod has discovered a new ziggurat. Chod leads the way, and they arrive in the evening after a few hours of flight. They land and exit their cloud forms.
Chod finds that the entrance he previously used has been collapsed. Vex finds footprints and evidence that the collapse was deliberate, not natural. Chod tries to Commune with Ducks for more information and succeeds in summoning a duck out of the desert, which he questions. Before it flies away, the duck reveals that there are two other entrances into the mountain.
Meanwhile, Vex has slipped away to follow the footsteps around the mountain. The tracks bring her to a bare mountainside, but when she presses her hand against the wall she realizes the entrance is hidden behind an illusion. Upon sticking her face through the illusion, she triggers a trap and takes a significant hit of necrotic energy, but stays conscious and alerts the rest of the group. They join her. Vax goes in search of the third entrance, but has no luck.
Vex then uses an Oracle Arrow to scout the entrance. Scanlan Dimension Doors after it to retrieve the arrow, lest it be found by a cultist. Keyleth attempts to dispel the magical trap that hit Vex, but determines that it has already expended its one charge. Tary is then able to identify the trap as a Glyph of Warding.
They all decide to go through this second entrance and start exploring the hallway beyond. They encounter two more glyphs, which Keyleth dispels. After a while they hear something approaching, and Scanlan preps his mansion as a safe retreat. The figures turn out to be a handful of skeletons, which are easily dispatched. Everyone then retreats to the mansion for a night’s rest.
Part II Edit
In the mansion, Vax goes off with Scanlan to play cards and catch up before dinner. Scanlan tells him the story of his past year; how he wandered with Kaylie for a while around Whitestone; how he eventually boarded a ship to Ank'harel, seeking revenge for a bad drug deal; and how he took over the counterfeiting business of the people who had swindled him. Vax, in turn, tells him how much Vox Machina has missed him.
The servants of Scanlan's mansion provide a feast of vegan salads for dinner. (Kaylie has him on a diet.) Vex checks out the front door and finds a cluster of skeletons gathering, but they decide to leave that problem until morning.
Before bed, Pike privately confides to Vex that she's still mad at Scanlan, but getting less so. She then goes to Grog, who expresses anger and insecurity at Chod replacing him as Scanlan's barbarian best friend. Pike makes a blanket fort with him, and they plan to impress Scanlan by tackling the skeletons together in the morning.
The night passes. In the morning, while everyone else is taking breakfast, Pike checks the front door and finds about 20 skeletons waiting outside. She and Grog charge out to handle them. Pike's divine magic takes out most of the skeletons in a single hit. Grog starts cleaning up the rest of them and is joined by Chod, who is eager to impress him. Chod scores two critical hits; Grog scores a critical failure on the final skeleton and, though furiously jealous, pretends to be proud of Chod.
Scanlan, picking up on the tension between Grog, Pike, and Chod, takes a moment to formally apologize for the events of the previous year. He gives Grog a letter that will grant him free drinks at any alehouse in Ank'harel. Grog doesn't expressly forgive him, but doesn't turn it down, either.
Having cleared the air, Vox Machina venture outside the mansion to ambush a group of passing cultists. They loot several magical items off the bodies, including a small iron ball, which Percy takes. They then move on to the room where Chod found the Orb of Annihilation.
Inside the room are cultists throwing offerings into the orb. One of the cultists spots them and alerts the rest, initiating combat. She then uses an amulet to turn the orb from its usual black to a white color they haven't seen before. As she does so, they recognize her: Delilah Briarwood, Percy's old nemesis, killed over a year ago.
As battle is joined between Vox Machina and the cultists, Delilah summons a Prismatic Wall around the altered orb of annihilation. Pike gets hit with a Feeblemind spell, preventing her from casting spells. Doty takes damage and is rendered inoperable. While everyone else deals with the cultists, Scanlan uses a Dimension Door to follow Delilah inside her Prismatic Wall.
Delilah, seeing most of her minions eliminated, transforms the annihilation orb from white to black again, annulling all magical effects in the area. The Prismatic Wall disappears, and they are able to watch as she steps safely through the annihilation orb and out of sight.
Pike, momentarily unaffected by Feeblemind due to the anti-magic field from the orb, prays to Sarenrae for guidance. Sarenrae grants her a vision of the world beyond the orb: a desolate, gray landscape with a single obsidian tower at its center. Vax tries to contact the Raven Queen as well, but is unable to.
After a Greater Restoration by Keyleth, Pike grabs the body of one of the cultists, a blackguard knight. Using Speak with Dead, she questions him and, with her five questions, learns that:
- Anyone can pass through the annihilation orb, either by using one of the crafted stones carried by the cultists, or simply by surviving a presumably huge amount of damage.
- These cultists call themselves the Remnants and are trying to remake the vessel of the Undying King, Vecna.
- Higher members of the cultists' order sacrifice their left eyes to be more like their king and to share in his knowledge.
- The cultist does not know how Delilah returned from the dead, only that she is a powerful necromancer and could have made some unknown preparations to avert death.
- The Ritual of Seeding, which will return Vecna to physical form, will happen soon, and he will rise "from within the gate" -- presumably, the Divine Gate, which gods cannot normally cross.
The spell then fades.
Featured Characters Edit
Vox Machina Edit
- Taryon Darrington
- Doty 2.0
- Percival de Rolo
- Scanlan Shorthalt
- Grog Strongjaw
- Pike Trickfoot
- Scanlan: I wasn't going to...I was just going to give you a gift. Because the times we had together were the best times ever. You might be a little slow, but you're the best friend I ever had. And our times together were great not because of our conversations or witty repartee, it was because of the fun we had together and the experiences we had. So, last night I wrote something for you. I know you can't read but ---
Vex'ahlia: He CAN read.
Grog: No Vex. He doesn't know that.
Scanlan: I just got you a gift. Because if you won't spend time with me now, maybe you'll be able to spend time on your own. So I wrote you this; maybe someone else can read it for him?
Pike: He might be able to read it, Scanlan
Vex'ahlia: It depends on if there's long words.
Scanlan: There's REALLY long words.
Grog: It's a bit...a big word ---
Pike: Give it a try.
(Grog begins to sound out the first word, only to horribly mispronounce it)
Scanlan: Nope, nope.
(Grog and Pike discuss between themselves for a moment)
Grog: Yeah, I don't feel like showing off my prowess, Pike...I can't read the dirty-hand of betrayal.
- Pike: All who read this, let it be known: by order of...A-ae-Aes Adon...it's a stupid name Scanlan, but it's fine...
Scanlan: It's Elvish
Pike:"...aka The Meat Man, aka Vickle the Vicious, aka Reddish the Bold, aka The Little Paws, aka Francois Bertrand Jean-Luc Australia. Beware that the bearer of this note, Grog Strongjaw, shall be entitled to any libation of his choosing at any pub, tavern, restaurant, inn, alehouse, brewery, or house of 'lady favors' within the city limits of Ank’Harel. He shall be allowed to drink until drunk, and enjoy no molestation by any employee of said establishment (unless he requests it). All charges and bills related to his drinking, cavorting, or violent behavior resulting from drunkenness, shall be forwarded to the Meat Man for timely payment in full. By complying with this request, you are hereby under the protection of the Meat Man, and shall receive all the benefits and goodwill accompanying such association. The Meat Man ALWAYS remembers. - Sincerely, Aes Adon.
(Grog has a moment of contemplative silence)
Grog: Prob--Probably best to test it out. See if it's worth anything.
External Links Edit