"Uninviting Waters" (1x62) is the sixth episode of the fifth chapter of Critical Role, and the second episode of the series to be performed before a live audience. Still travelling through the Feywild, Vox Machina and Garmelie finally arrive at the Gilded Run, a series of rivers that separate them from the Shademurk Bog. Nature itself bars passage, and even if they contend with the magical rivers, who knows what lurks below?
The following pre-show content was removed from the final Geek & Sundry YouTube video:
- About half an hour before the scheduled start of the episode, the cameras began showing the crowd in the theatre.
- The updated Critical Role fan art appreciation video aired.
- More views of the crowd.
- Instructions for the audience.
After the audience instructions, the members of the cast were introduced and entered the stage individually to uproarious applause and character-related chants.
This show was broadcast live from the Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 6th, 2016. This was a bonus appearance during Gen Con 2016 and the cast's second live show. The pre-show was primarily filled with announcements for Geek & Sundry's programming and other tidbits, but these did not survive the YouTube version, which was uploaded over a month later. The recorded version picks up with a thank you from Geek & Sundry and the introduction of the entire cast (except Liam, who was not at the event).
- Matt and Chris Pramas announced that Green Ronin Publishing would begin releasing Critical Role campaign books for 5th edition D&D. The first, with an anticipated release of late-Q1 or early-Q2 in 2017 (later released in the fall after Campaign 1 ended), was planned to focus on the kingdom of Tal'Dorei. If the book was successful, they hoped to do more campaign books on other continents on Exandria (later publishing the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount with Wizards of the Coast). This was the first formal announcement of Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, which at the time did not have a name.
- Matt thanked Wizards of the Coast for providing D&D gift bundles that they were giving away to both the live audience and to people watching the show through chat.
- Matt discussed Force Grey: Giant Hunters, in which Brian Posehn will make an appearance in the fifth episode.
Previously on Critical Role
"The group of adventurers, Vox Machina, had found themselves in the Feywild, intent on discovering another one of the Vestiges of the Divergence, one of the many artifacts that they hope will aid them in their struggle against Thordak the Cinder King and the rest of the Chroma Conclave. They've defeated two of the members, three still remain, Thordak being the seeming powerhouse head of that troupe.
"So now, deep in the Feywild, a crazy alternate dimension in which fey creatures rule the landscape, where up is down, everything's topsy-turvy, and nothing is what it seems. They've made their way through the Moonbrush, parleyed with a group of lycanthropes—werewolves, werebears, weretigers—and a group of pixies, and made a choice: the pixies now scattered and stapled to a number of trees within the forest.
"The leader of their troupe, an extremely large powerful werewolf lord named Ukurat, has pledged his aid to some degree in the near future, should they need it as they travel duskward past the Gilded Run, eventually to the source of where apparently this bow Fenthras exists in the Shademurk Bog."
As Vox Machina are preparing for the next leg of their journey into the Feywild, Pike appears as an astral projection to join the group for the time being. They all look ahead and see in the distance a series of rapidly-flowing rivers surrounding the Shademurk Bog beyond. They move toward the churning rivers, and Vax and Vex go ahead to the edge to scout it out. Vax using the wings from the Deathwalker's Ward and Vex on her broom, they attempt to fly across. While over the next river, they both feel their bodies compelled to steer toward the water and they dive into the rapids below.
Chasing after them, Grog puts Pike and Scanlan on his shoulders and leaps across the first river. Percy attempts to do the same but trips and falls in. He pulls himself out but feels a force tugging him back underwater. Vex uses Grasping Vine to pull herself out to safety. Keyleth tries to Control Water around Percy, but the river's magical essence overpowers her spell and he floats further downriver. Scanlan catches Vax with Bigby's Hand and places him on shore. Grog ties his Chain of Returning to his waist and gives the other end to Pike to hold, using her Gauntlets of Ogre Power. He wades into the water and Percy is able to grab onto Grog, but the current strengthens and pulls them toward the center, dragging Pike along. Keyleth again tries to Control Water and this time is able to force them up onto the opposite shore.
Faced with having to cross several more of these rivers, they call across to Garmelie to see if he knows how to cross, but the only thing he's heard about this place is that it's dangerous and it keeps the Shademirk Bog from spreading. Scanlan uses Bigby's Hand to throw Garmelie across as many of the rivers as he can and he makes it across five of them. Keyleth again tries to use Control Water but the river's magic resists her. Scanlan takes the Immovable Rod from Vex, grabs Pike and uses Dimension Door to cross all of the rivers, landing at the edge of the bog. Vex attaches the Endless Rope to an arrow and fires it across to the gnomes, and Pike ties a fancy sailor's knot around the rod. The rope dips into the water and is magically pulled downward. Keyleth again fails to help with Control Water but Percy is barely able to pull it free and pulls the rope taut across the rivers.
They each tie the rope around themselves and begin to cross over, picking up Garmelie on the way. Keyleth is finally able to use Control Water to hold the water back and they cross. Along the way, Grog steps on something that moves under his foot and he sees something vanish into the mud. While crossing the second-to-last river, Grog is bitten by a huge crocodile-and-plantlike creature and dragged across, pulling the rest of the party along with him.
Grog and Vax attack the beast, but then it swallows Grog whole, again pulling most of the rest of the party closer to it. A few hits are scored against the creature. The gnomes are still cut off across the river, but Pike hits with a Guiding Bolt and Scanlan uses his Wand of Magic Missiles to cut the rope between each party member. Keyleth casts Blight on the creature, which is much more effective than usual because of its plantlike nature. Grog uses his Titanstone Knuckles to Enlarge himself, causing the creature to spit him out. The creature stings Vex with its tail, poisoning and confusing her, and she runs directly into the river. The creature bites Percy, and he hacks at it with his sword from inside its mouth....
- Twitch stream:
- Youtube VOD:
- A Critical Role fan art reel was played.
Vax, running and dodging around the stinger of the crocodile, reaches out to try and pull Vex out of the river. Pike uses Flamestrike on the torso of the crocodile from her limited sight, just barely avoiding Trinket, and healing Percy of some of the damage from the earlier bite afterward. Scanlan, through his Hand Cone of Clarity, forces the crocodile to become sick through an Eyebite. He then inspires Grog with a limerick.
Keyleth then does another Blight right over where Pike's previous attack hit, petrifying the plant skin of the crocodile, the life force drained.
Vex is unable to pull herself out, even with the help of her brother and Garmelie. She calls Trinket over to help, which the bear does so by grabbing Vax's cloak and strangling him in the process. Together, they manage to pull Vex out. Percy, still dangling in the now-dead crocodile's jaws, calls for Grog to help chop him out of the plant matter. Vax leaps across the final river. Grog, still in his enlarged state, tosses the rest of the party across. Garmelie makes a move to leave since he's now held up his end of the bargain, but Grog grabs him and jumps across.
They see that everything in the bog is constantly issuing a black, stinking, tar-like substance. Garmelie says that he is leaving and Vex gives him a hug, checking to make sure he hasn't stolen anything from them. She finds the Onyx Mastiff Statuette on him and takes it back from him. Then he tells them not to stand still in the bog and takes his leave, turning invisible and making his way upriver.
Vex is able to move freely through the sludge using her Land Stride ability, but the rest are drastically slowed by it. She puts the gnomes on her broom so they don't sink in. Behind them, Keyleth spots a sneaking Ukurat, following and watching them, and she waves at him and gives him an "OK" hand signal. The party stealthily make their way into the bog, batting away large insects and trying not to breathe the caustic fumes bubbling up from the surface. Ahead, Vex spots a large tree emanating a soft glow. She sends Trinket ahead to scout it out while she follows behind, and sees that the glow is coming from a small window in the bottom of the tree. She pulls Trinket back into the Raven's Slumber and returns, saying that this doesn't seem like the tree they're looking for.
They send the gnomes ahead to the tree to see if they can get any information from whoever lives there, while Keyleth climbs a nearby tree to cast Commune with Nature. She's overcome with a sense of hollow dread issuing from the life in this place. She learns that there are a number of corrupted plant-like entities in the area and she can feel the source of the corruption further ahead of them to the northwest.
The gnomes reach the tree and see that its branches are tied together at the top, forming a sort of roof. In the window they see a comfortable-looking home, and long fingers appear from behind a large chair and grasp a teacup. Then this figure snaps its fingers and the door gently swings open. The gnomes try to fly back but the broom slows to a stop and falls into the sludge, to Vex's horror. Pike grabs the broom and Scanlan casts Invisibility on them both. They make their way back to the party without incident. Pike returns the broom to Vex, who is delighted to find that it is still functional.
- After the gameplay, the live-action credit sequence that premiered in "Best Laid Plans..." (1x50) was played.
- The Q&A and other post-show events were not streamed live on Twitch. The show ended with Matt saying they would be doing a live Q&A with the audience, and then to a special VIP event with those who paid extra to attend it. Sadly, this was not shown live or recorded as Matt ended the broadcast with a reminder they'll be back to normal the following Thursday.
- Percival de Rolo
- Scanlan Shorthalt
- Grog Strongjaw
- Pike Trickfoot
- Vax'ildan (DM-controlled)
- Unnamed plant-based crocodile fey creature
- Scanlan: I sing to myself: (singing to the tune of "Alexander Hamilton") Scanlan Shorthalt. I’m a gnome. My name is Scanlan Shorthalt. I’m a gnome. There’s a million chicks I haven’t boned, but just you wait--
All: (singing) Just you wait.
- Keyleth: (to the plant crocodile) Stop putting foreign objects in your mouth!
- Grog: Do I get to chop down a tree, finally?
- This episode was the second to be performed before a live audience, with the first being "Heredity and Hats" (1x60). It was performed live at Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana, and simultaneously streamed live on Twitch.
- This episode was the first to be streamed from a timezone other than PST/PDT.
- Liam O'Brien was absent for this episode, so his character Vax'ildan was played by the Dungeon Master, Matthew Mercer.