"Where the Cards Fall" (1x75) is the seventy-fifth episode of the first campaign of Critical Role. Guided by their bizarre new acquaintance, Vox Machina meets with the fire giant who is in possession of the Plate of the Dawnmartyr. Although their goal is literally in sight, retrieving the final Vestige might be one of their most perilous challenges yet.
Previously on Critical Role
"Vox Machina, slowly making their way towards the final confrontation with Thordak the Cinder King as well as the end of the Chroma Conclave, hopefully—or the end of Emon and Tal'Dorei as we know it, one way or the other.
"[They] have found [themselves] preparing Fort Daxio for some sort of a plot to draw Thordak out. In the process, [they] took the rest of [their] intrepid adventurers to the Fire Elemental Plane in search of the final Vestige that [they had been told about] by the androsphinx earlier in [their] adventure.
"Upon arriving here, [they] spoke with a number of efreet that ran the outskirts of the City of Brass, entered, found [themselves] immediately chased and followed, and discovered that the society here is...very different from the ones that [they're] used to.
"[They] managed to barely avoid a confrontation in an alleyway with two efreet. [They] escaped on the path of two seemingly recent-made allies for the time being, led into their establishment in which jewelry is crafted, and, with a plot to hopefully find whoever this fire giant is that holds onto the Plate of the Dawnmartyr, many of [them] allowed chains to be affixed to [their] neck and wrists so [they] could pass as slaves in a society where they're relatively normal under the efreet that run the city. And [their] new friends, Senokir and Uten, are to help guide [them] in the direction of the next part of their venture."
Vox Machina is led by Senokir and Uten into the streets of the City of Brass. Grog, Pike, Vex'ahlia, Percy and Scanlan are chained by their wrists and neck as "slaves". Vax'ildan and Keyleth are unchained, Vax'ildan using a Ring of Invisibility, and Keyleth using Alter Self to make herself look like Uten. The party knows that the Plate of the Dawnmartyr is in the possession of a fire giant. Senokir explains that there had recently been a coup amongst the fire giants, leaving most of them driven out of the city or enslaved. He leads the party toward Whaska, one of the three fire giants who are still free, at the Zenith Forge that Whaska owns.
As the party progresses, Senokir eagerly tells them about the City of Brass' many buildings and landmarks, along with what he knows of Whaska. Vex has her invisible brother pick the locks on her chains as they continue to walk, which he skillfully does. They reach the Zenith Forge and Senokir asks how they'd like to deliver their questions for Whaska. First Vex casts Locate Object to see if the armor is there, but it is not in the forge or within 1,000 feet of it. Even knowing this, they still decide to go inside. They find Whaska at work, along with several other human-sized workers. The party plans to have Keyleth take charge in her Alter Self state and ask the giant their questions.
Keyleth nervously addresses Whaska and blurts out her real name and title to the rest of the party's dismay. She then asks directly about the Plate of the Dawnmartyr. Whaska is unfamiliar with it, but when Keyleth says that it was won by a fire giant in a card game, he tells them that he may know who has it. Whaska can tell this information is valuable and can see the party's many magical items, and he asks Keyleth to make an offer. They hand over more and more items until the giant is satisfied, eventually giving up a Greatsword of Frenzy, a Ring of Lightning Resistance. a Magic Choker, a Ring of protection, and 40 pounds of white dragon hide.
Whaska tells the group of the two other fire giants in the city. Sugaan, who led the coup against the other fire giants, they should not bother with. The party should seek the other one, Juuraiel, and tells the party where she lives. He gives them a large (to them) square, metal icon, saying to show it to Juuraiel if there are any problems. There is script on it that Grog recognizes as Giant, but he of course cannot read it.
Senokir leads them to Juuraiel's home, and they see several devils along the way. Keyleth casts Locate Object and confirms that the Vestige is inside. Vax climbs up the building to take a look inside, seeing a couple of bedrooms but no armor on the walls, and comes back down. Grog violently knocks on the door and two giant servants answer. Keyleth tells them that they want to play cards with Juuraiel and make a deal, and she appears behind them. They show her the icon from Whaska and she lets them in. Grog drinks a Potion of Fox's Cunning in an attempt to read the script on the icon but is still unable.
The central chamber is a beautiful personal museum. The party spies the Plate of the Dawnmartyr amongst the pieces on the walls. Keyleth asks if they can speak candidly and remove their disguises and Uten unchains them all. Scanlan addresses Juuraiel and tells her that he is a reknowned professional gambler who owns the rest of the party and has come to play cards with her. He asks her to wager the armor, and she asks him to wager ownership of the party. Both sides agree and the comically large cards are dealt, playing a game of Gambit of Ord. During the course of the game, Scanlan wagers himself also in exchange for an advantage in the game, but despite this he is still beaten.
Seeing that the party seems capable, Juuraiel says that she will release them of their new contract and give them the armor in exchange for a favor: kill a pit fiend named Ghurrix, who killed her partner Drogat. She'd do it herself, but Ghurrix is well-connected and the consequences for her would be dire. She says they can find him at the Arches, the slave-market of the city, in a day or two. She gives them black metal rings for their necks which should keep them from being bothered by signifying to any onlookers that they are her slaves. They take their leave and head back to Senokir's shop.
A short Loot Crate video is played and Sam's Loot Crate ad from "The Coming Storm" (1x73) is reaired.
At the jewelry shop, the party discusses their next move for some time. Senokir recommends they somehow get the towns guards, the Illuminated, on their side if they wish to fight Ghurrix out in the open. The plan that they arrive on is to use Seeming to make everyone but Scanlan look like Vax and Vex to pass as sextuplet slaves, and Scanlan will pose as an azer that is looking to sell them at the Arches. They will try to trick Ghurrix into entering Scanlan's Magnificent Mansion to fight inside it, and failing that they will attempt to frame Ghurrix for insulting the Sultan of the City of Brass to gain the guards' favor as they battle him.
Wishing to escape the oppressive heat of the fire plane, the party declines Senokir's hospitality in favor of staying in Scanlan's Magnificent Mansion for the night. Inside, Grog goes to Pike to ask her to teach him to read. Pike adorably begins teaching him the alphabet for the next few hours, but as the effects of the Potion of Fox's Cunning fades, so does his recollection of any of it except for "Gr-."
The next morning, Scanlan casts the spell and the party all look like Vex or Vax. Senokir says he doesn't want to be involved in this business but Uten can take them to the Arches. He insists that they give him something of theirs so that he can find them if they try to leave without returning to him for his favor, so Keyleth Druidcrafts him a bracelet of flowers.
Uten takes the party as far as the Arches and leaves them there, also wishing not to get involved. The party finds a place to set up "shop," and they see two teenage boys with blue skin being held in red chains, looking broken of spirit. Vex and Scanlan go to them and see that they are being held by a dwarf, who explains that they have angel blood. Scanlan haggles with him and eventually purchases the boys for 15,000 gold.
Percy and Pike take a short walk around the surroundings with the two boys, and Percy poses as a slave inquiring about strange beasts at various stalls, making sure the market knows about their presence. Meanwhile Vax and Vex spot Ghurrix striding through the market. Scanlan tries to get his attention with a song, but he barely notices. Percy and Pike return with the two boys and Scanlan acts like he is packing up to go home and casts Magnificent Mansion. As Percy leads the boys into the mansion along with Pike and Grog, Ghurrix notices the boys and returns to ask Scanlan about them.
Scanlan is unable to convince Ghurrix to enter the mansion, but is at least able to hold his interested with an offer of 10,000 gold. Ghurrix agrees to this and tells Scanlan to fetch them. After a few more failed attempts to convince Ghurrix to enter the mansion with him, Scanlan goes inside and tells those inside that the plan has failed and the battle is on. The others also hear this over their earrings and prepare to ambush Ghurrix. Scanlan exits the mansion with the boys and as Ghurrix reaches to take their chains, Keyleth casts Feeblemind on him, which damages him but has no other effect. His eyes narrow and a portal tears open next to him, from which emerges a humanoid female with red-feathered wings, an erinyes, to his aid.
- Pike: (After Grog asks her to teach him to read) Okay, what’s the first letter of the alphabet? This you know.
Pike: That’s the first letter of your name.
Grog: Oh, it is!
Pike: Yes, but that’s not the first letter of the alphabet. You’ve said it before. Aaaah...
Grog: Aaaah... I. Hey!
Pike: Oh! It’s the first letter, well, you wouldn’t know that, because you don’t know how to spell.
Grog: Fucking A, this is tough.
Pike: Oh! You said it!
Grog: Fucking? A?
Pike: A! A is the first letter of the alphabet.
- Scanlan: (French accent) Hello, I am slave master Francois Australia and I am curious about your two angel boys. [...]
Slaver: “What’s your full name?”
Scanlan: (French accent) Francois Bertrand Jean-Luc Australia.
- Matthew Mercer: (to Liam O'Brien) You're not pickpocketing a giant without some high rolls. Mind you, you can certainly try. I would love for you to try.
- Vex'ahlia's alignment goes from Chaotic Neutral to Chaotic Good after deciding to purchase and free the two aasimar children from slavery.
- As pit fiends have truesight, Ghurrix likely saw through Vox Machina's illusory disguise immediately.