"Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) is the fifteenth episode of the eighth chapter of Critical Role. Vox Machina's climactic battle with Vecna begins.
- 1 Synopsis
- 1.1 Announcements
- 1.2 Previously on Critical Role
- 1.3 Part I
- 1.4 Break
- 1.5 Part II
- 2 Featured Characters
- 3 Inventory
- 4 Quotations
- 5 Trivia
- 6 External Links
- 7 References
- Tonight's sponsor: Marvel Puzzle Quest. Sam is too excited about their new stuff to even think about the upcoming fight against Vecna!
- Merch update
- Critical Role podcast: now updated through episode 55.
- Wednesday Club will be discussing monsters in honor of it now being October.
- Twitch's Sub-tember has been extended until Twitch Con at the end of October.
Previously on Critical Role
"Vox Machina had been traveling for a means of stopping the ascension of the Whispered One, Vecna, the lich, seeking ascension to godhood. Unfortunately, [they] failed to do so as he transported his Shadowfell city of Thar Amphala into the Prime Material world. Using the Ritual of Seeding that was once responsible for bringing the Raven Queen into the pantheon, [it] brought him as well, as the sole god on this side of the Divine Gate, and possible god-ruler of the Prime Material Plane.
"Using the power of his worshippers and of his newfound abilities in his avatar god form, he gave temporary undead life to a long-buried, dead primordial earth titan that lay deep beneath the ground in Issylra. It has begun hulking its way, closer and closer, toward the Dawn Cradle, the city of Vasselheim, as [Vox Machina], traversing through the innards of this titan, making [their] way within the city of Thar Amphala, sneakily finding [their] way beneath the dome, which he had constructed to keep outside any of the assailing forces.
"[They] managed to defeat and destroy Delilah, made an ally of Arkhan, the oathbreaker paladin dragonborn, sent Sylas off to recover, and hopefully have enough time. [They] ascend the Tower of Entropis, where [they] fell into one of a number of traps that Vecna had laid out for [them], causing [them] to kill two—almost three—of [their] closest friends and family. Managing to recover them within an inch of irrecoverability, [Vox Machina] sent them with Gilmore off to safety as the black knight made its way up the staircase, Arkhan heading it off at the pass, giving [them] the opportunity to rise up to the top of the tower to face Vecna, the Ascended."
Vox Machina ascend to the very top of Entropis, making a few final preparations as they go. Scanlan 2 is instructed to wait below for a cue. The rest of the party step out onto the very top of Entropis, where Vecna awaits. He has grown immense in his avatar form, and trapped in his ribcage, they see the unconscious form of a little girl: Velora, the twins' half-sister.
The Battle Begins
As the first move of the fight, Vecna summons a swarm of meteors. Three impact temples in Vasselheim below, while the fourth strikes the tower itself and sunders it into pieces. The blast pummels all of Vox Machina and Scanlan is thrown over the side of the broken tower.
Grog goes first of Vox Machina, throwing the Sword of Kas to strike Vecna from below. Vecna, who seems shaken by the appearance of his nemesis' sword, banishes Grog from the battlefield. Vex'ahlia and Vax'ildan both do some damage to him before skeletons rise from the debris of the battlefield, attacking whatever combatants are not airborne.
Scanlan 2, having seen his signal—albeit rather earlier than expected—now climbs up to join the fray. Vecna attempts to dispel the simulacrum, but Scanlan 2 protects himself with a well-placed counterspell.
A Sunburst from Keyleth nearly causes Vecna to lose concentration on Grog's banishment, but he steels himself and maintains it. However, Velora is also struck by the spell and falls, burnt and lifeless, to the ground.
The original Scanlan, now falling past the edge of the tower, uses Dimension Door to put himself on Vecna's chest, but finds that he is too late to rescue Velora. Pike heals the group to alleviate some of the damage from the meteor. Grog remains trapped in a maze on another plane, unable to escape, while Vex retrieves the body of her sister. Keyleth just barely dodges two Feebleminds, with some help from a counterspell.
Aid from an Ancient One
At that moment, the ancient brass dragon Devo'ssa appears through the clouds and releases a torrent of fiery breath against Vecna. Once again, Vecna nearly loses concentration on Grog's banishment, but once again, he manages to maintain it.
Vecna, picking out the greatest perceived threat, finally succeeds in dispelling Scanlan 2. With that, the simulacrum melts back into snow.
Keyleth changes her shape, assuming the form of a winged planetar. A well-placed shot from Percival finally breaks Vecna's concentration and brings Grog back to the battlefield. Another shot opens a visible chink in Vecna's avatar form. Frustrated now, Vecna seeks to end the conflict with a second hail of meteors. The impact batters them severely and does knock out Scanlan, but triggers the death ward that Pike had put on him earlier. Scanlan is left alive but barely conscious.
Still picking out the greatest threats, Vecna traps Devo'ssa in a force cage and thus effectively ends the dragon's part in the fight. Scanlan is the next target, knocked out by a bolt of fire only for Vax to heal him up again.
They begin to notice that Vecna's form is regenerating somewhat every round.
Four new figures enter the fray, unexpectedly, from beyond the tower: two wyverns bearing old allies, Zahra Hydris and Kashaw Vesh, and hotly pursued by a pair of gloomstalkers. Zahra aims a Finger of Death at Vecna while Kash delivers healing to Percy, Grog, and Scanlan.
Keyleth, in her planetar form, boosts Grog closer to Vecna, where he is able to cut open a second wound in Vecna's side.
Pike, for the very first time, casts a 9th-level spell of her own: Mass Heal, which immediately brings the entire team back to full health—desperately needed after the two meteor blasts. Though Vecna attempts to counter her spell, his attempt fails (thanks in no small part to a hex from Zahra).
His counterspell fizzled and now facing a fully healed team of adventurers, Vecna decides to start cutting down allies. With a high-level Hold Monster, he paralyzes Zahra, Kash, and both their mounts, sending them plummeting back over the side of the tower.
As Vecna's wounds again begin to seal, he telekinetically raises the central platform of the broken tower. That done, he summons a third and final Meteor Swarm to strike the lifted platform, detonating in range of everyone both on the ground and in the air.
While Vox Machina are reeling from that impact, Arkhan's gauntleted fist reaches over the edge of one of the platforms. He throws down the helmet of Vecna's defeated death knight and joins the fight alongside Vox Machina. Grog strikes again with the Sword of Kas, opening a third wound in Vecna's avatar. Percy manages to take down both of the gloomstalkers that had arrived chasing Zahra and Kash.
Applying the Trammels
In the city below, they watch as a group of devas join battle against a group of gloomstalkers, and both are annihilated by a single swipe of the titan's arm.
Grog, hanging off Vecna's side, pulls out Pelor's Divine Trammel and drives it into the closest wound—the first of their three trammels to be attached. Vax, realizing that it takes great strength to attach a trammel, passes off the one from the Raven Queen. Keyleth takes it and, with the strength of her planetar form, tries to drive it into a second wound. However, the strike misses and the already-fragile trammel shatters in her hands.
Scanlan chooses not to prepare the Rites quite yet, instead casting Bigby's Hand to carry him up closer to Vecna. When Vecna tries to banish Grog along with Pike, who holds the third trammel, he is counterspelled by the newly in-range Scanlan.
Vecna's hateful gaze turns to Scanlan, and he strikes out with a Finger of Death that falls just short of lethal on the gnome. That strategy having failed, Vecna next polymorphs Scanlan into a fox. Vax, realizing the problem that fox-Scanlan (who cannot cast spells or read books) presents, flies down and strikes him once with his dagger, just enough to revert Scanlan from fox to gnome shape.
Vecna follows up on his fox strategy with a Banishment on both Grog and Scanlan, removing the two of them from the field. Arkhan quickly puts an end to that, breaking Vecna's hold of the banishment spell with a series of mighty blows. Pike passes the third and final trammel to Grog.
A Moment of Panic in a Fresh God's Eyes
With the fight going south, Vecna uses his recently reattached Hand to cast Teleport. Percy and Grog, seeing this, do their best to blast the hand off of him, though they know their strategy is not likely to work.
Scanlan hesitates for a moment, asking, "Is it worth it?" Told that, yes, Vecna cannot be allowed to leave, he counters the Teleport with a 9th-level Counterspell. While the rest of the party rejoice at Vecna's foiled escape, Scanlan looks heartbroken. He whispers, "I was going to save Vax."
Meanwhile, a look of panic appears in Vecna's eyes. Grog takes Ioun's trammel from Pike and drives it deep into Vecna's chest. Scanlan now issues a warning: they cannot inflict much more damage, because killing Vecna instead of banishing him would ruin all they have done. Vax, Arkhan, and Keyleth, therefore, choose to grapple onto Vecna's body instead of attacking him.
Scanlan begins to read.
"Chapter One. The rites of banishment are ancient and powerful. They cannot be stopped by anyone, not even a god." As the ritual tries to take hold of Vecna, he resists, but only by using the last of his five legendary resistances. The ritual fails, for the moment.
Desperate to remove Scanlan and his book from play, Vecna attempts to cast Dominate Person on Scanlan, but is foiled once again—this time by a low level, but lucky, counterspell. His next Banishment fails as well, but a second one finally succeeds, sending Scanlan and the Tome of Isolation both into another plane. Grog strikes hard at Vecna, just enough to shatter his concentration one final time, and Scanlan reappears with the book.
Meanwhile, one of the titan's hands arcs overhead, swinging down toward the tower in a final, desperate attempt to stop Ioun's ritual. Grog holds his next strike, simply waiting, while Vex goes to hold hands with Percy and Vax spreads his wings in front of Scanlan.
The Rites of Prime Banishment
Although Scanlan is the only member of Vox Machina able to read arcane texts, Keyleth realizes that, in her planetar form, all languages are legible to her. While Scanlan must wait for his next chance to attempt the ritual, she flies to him and takes the book, beginning to read. As Keyleth recites, the runes on the book and on the trammels begin to glow. All of Vox Machina gather close to each other to watch.
The clouds part above them and light shines down as the Divine Gate ensares Vecna's form. With that, he claps out of existence with an explosive flash and a thunderclap.
Sunlight touches the city from above. Hordes of gloomstalkers vanish into smoke, and the titan's encroaching arm grinds to a halt. Grog and Arkhan both fall, catching themselves on the edge of the tower, as they all hear sounds of celebration from below.
With Vecna now gone, his detached Hand falls to the platform below. Arkhan picks it up, raising his axe over his head to destroy the artifact. However, instead, he chops off his own hand, attaches Vecna's to the stump, and uses it to teleport himself away.
Vox Machina, not having the emotional capacity to deal with that turn of events quite yet, simply share a sigh of relief at their victory.
Taryon Darrington(absent; mentioned only) Doty 2.0(absent; not mentioned)
- Percival de Rolo
- Scanlan Shorthalt
- Grog Strongjaw
- Pike Trickfoot
|Expended||1||vial of holy oil||Vex||Vex's needle arrows|
|Expended||1||Potion of Superior Healing||Vax||Keyleth|
|1||Potion of Greater Healing||Vex||self|
|Expended||1||Prime Trammel||Grog||Vecna||Pelor's trammel was attached to Vecna by Grog|
|Destroyed||1||Vax||-||the Raven Queen's fragile trammel shattered on impact with Vecna|
|Expended||1||Pike||Vecna||Ioun's trammel was attached to Vecna by Grog|
|Relinquished||1||Tome of Isolation||Scanlan||Ioun's atheneeum||Per its item description, once the Rites succeeded, the Tome was teleported back to the Endless Atheneeum|
|Lost||1||Hand of Vecna||Vecna||Arkhan||stolen by Arkhan before Vox Machina could destroy it|
- "I believe in you, buddy. I've always believed in Number 2." —Scanlan, to Scanlan 2
- "You leave when Burt Reynolds tells you to leave!" —Scanlan, attempting to whack-a-mole a god
- "I'm both frustrated and proud." —Matthew Mercer
- At the end of the fight, Vecna was down to a mere ten hit points. With his Discorporation ability, had he dropped to zero, he would have returned to his phylactery to reconstitute himself, and Vox Machina would have had to hunt him down as a far more prepared and knowledgeable god.
- Matt refers to Velora Vessar as being of human and elven origin, though she was previously established to be fully elven.
- According to CritRoleStats, this was the first episode where three guests were present.
- See "Vecna, the Ascended" (1x114) at 5:35:15.