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"Jugs and Rods" (7x10) is the tenth episode of the seventh chapter of Critical Role. Vox Machina, having barely survived their escape from the Nine Hells, returns to Whitestone for some much-needed rest and respite as Vex'ahlia partakes in the Grey Hunt to truly earn her noble title and place in the city.

Synopsis Edit

Pre-Show Edit

  • Marisha, Taliesin, and Sam briefly appeared for an audio sync test.
  • The updated Critical Role fan art appreciation gallery was shown.

Announcements Edit

  • Ashley Johnson is currently in traffic but she has returned and will be here for a while due to Blindspot's production hiatus.
  • The Critical Role survey closes on April 18th, so go take it at geekandsundry.com/CRSurvey if you haven't already.
  • Taliesin forgot that he was leaving town last week, so this week Wednesday Club will be having their Comics 101 episode.
  • Satine Phoenix's first official GM Tips episode is now on YouTube.
  • The newest episode of Signal Boost features Brian Wayne Foster. It also has cameos from a lot of the Critical Role cast, although they don't remember doing so.
  • Matt is flying out to Seattle, Washington tomorrow for Sakura-Con. He'll be having panels and signings all weekend.
  • Talks Machina is every Tuesday at 7pm Pacific time on Twitch and Alpha.
  • Matt, Marisha, and Taliesin will be at MomoCon in Atlanta, Georgia from May 25-28.
  • Laura met Sara Bareilles last weekend. She didn't cry, but some of the people with her did.

Previously on Critical Role Edit

"Vox Machina had found theirselves finishing up dangling loose threads after they had completed the destruction of the Chroma Conclave, and essentially brought what seems to be—for the time being—peace to Tal'Dorei.

"[They] helped Keyleth complete her Aramenté in which she was crowned the Voice of the Tempest, and [they] all had one wandering thread Hotis, the rakshasa, of which [they] have now killed twice and kept returning to the Nine Hells to recoup and threaten to come and slay [them] and everything [they] love in the near future.

"So to cut that off at the head, [Vox Machina] traveled to the second layer of Hell, the Iron City of Dis, to hunt down this rakshasa. After signing a contract with a devil [they got] the proper information in this regard of where it was within the Bastion of Flesh in the subterranean prison known as Mentiri.

"[They] slaughtered a pit fiend named Utugash and—in response to that, as part of the contract—[they] were given passage into this prison with [their] equipment and [they] began a madcap rush through the prison, given the directions [they] were presented as part of this deal [they] had made.

"[They] turned into a flock of bats, rushed down with a new friend—a dwarvish blood hunter, a werebear particularly of the Order of the Lycan, named Tova who [they] had discovered in Utugash's lair—and [they] all, as bats, flew through, averted a number of blockades, managed to just get the attention of a few devils that couldn't catch up to [them] in time, and basically the entire prison began to converge on [them] as [they] reached the central area where this rakshasa was.

"A couple of scuffles in transition to that area, [they] were attacked by a large construct made of black chains from this lower area of the Hell, and—averting its actual battle presence—[they] systematically went through the doorways to discover the one that housed Hotis, of which he was quickly destroyed while still in his larval reforming form by Grog.

"[They] all battled through the swath of chains that were binding and pulling them back as [they] all reached out to join hands in time for Keyleth to pull out her tuned fork to the Prime Material Plane and cast Plane Shift. And [they] all vanished into a familiar flash of whitish-green light."

Part I Edit

As the Plane Shift spell activates, the chains surrounding Vox Machina release. They approach the Divine Gate and safely pass through it once more. The group appears in the southern portion of Whitestone in the late afternoon as the sun begins to set.

They all express their relief at managing to escape the Nine Hells mostly intact. Vex'ahlia attempts to heal Trinket but the spell has little effect due to her exhaustion. She apologizes for the bear for not being able to do more and he easily forgives her.

Vax is very excited that they don't have any more pressing matters to attend to. Percy mentions that they need to rebuild Doty and offers to help Taryon with that. Vex asks Tary if he's okay. He says he's alright, adventurers lose people all the time. Percy hands him some alcohol.

Percy says that when Tary's ready they'll build a new one. Tary says it won't be the same; he felt like Doty understood him better than anyone else. Percy proposes that Tary could build a new construct who could chronicle Doty's past adventures, and says that Vox Machina will help fill in everything that was missed.

Vax congratulates Tary for surviving their journey through Hell. Vex asks if that was on his list. It wasn't, but "a revenge plot" was, so he checks that off.

Grog asks Tary what it's like to be a real adventurer now. Tary says he's been thinking about that a lot and asks if he can read them all the final passage that Doty transcribed before they entered the Hells, as sort of a memorial to the construct. They accept and Tary begins reading.

Doty, take this down:

As I, Taryon Darrington, embark on a mission into the very depths of Hell, I do so with no fear or hestitation. Though this undertaking is fraught with peril, I have a secret weapon that no inferno monster or hellhound can defeat: I am flanked by the ferocious band of mercenaries known as Vox Machina.
In the days since meeting this ragtag company, our relationship has blossomed. At first I was viewed as a suspicious outsider, then as a gallant and trusted colleague, and now, having proven my mettle, accepted as a lifelong brother and full-fledged teammate. No matter what we face in the abyss my comrades would risk their lives for me, kill for me, and I am one hundred percent sure each would gladly give his or her life to save mine. Loyalty like that, you can't put a price on it...but if I had to, I'd say their friendship is worth about 210,000 gold, which even to me is a relatively large amount of money.
Their faith emboldens me, but it's more than that. I've started to wonder: if I have so easily won the confidence of these battle-hardened titans, perhaps I am even more venerable, more impressive than I ever knew. Perhaps after this mission I should return home, newly confident, to confront my father once and for all. Maybe the time has come to complete my journey here and show my family that I am indeed worthy to carry the Darrington name.
But first, revenge! Soon we will venture to where nightmares are born, and it's going to be fun, fun, fun!

That's all for now, Doty. As always, correct my grammatical errors before you rest, and go fetch my sleep mask and night shirt.
– 
The final passage Taryon dictated to Doty.[1]
Vox Machina suggests to Tary that they go out to a bar and get a drink, and maybe even flirt with other people while there to take his mind off of losing Doty. Vax asks if he "goes rogue or ranger" but Tary does not understand the euphemism.

Vex continues to insist on when they will be paid for what they were hired for, much to Vax and Grog's dismay. Tary begins to be dismissive about it, so Vax insight checks him and gets the sense that maybe he's not currently worth as much as he leads on. They drop the subject, and head to the streets of Whitestone.

The group passes a caravan with a pack of people with children playing. They see Odessa, Illya, and Gren Tal'Dorei running past and being chased by the two young aasimar brothers, Hunin and Kyor, that Vex had saved from slavery. They stop, looking nervous, but Vex urges them to go on and keep playing.

Salda Tal'Dorei greets them respectfully and tells the group that they are heading back to Emon. She is grateful for them saving the city. She tells them they are taking the aasamir boys with them and will provide for them. Vax asks how the kids are holding up, she says they are okay. Keyleth tells Salda that the Emon they will be returning to may not be the same, but it's getting better. Salda says Odessa has a crush on Hunin.

Tary blurts out that he has lost his best friend to Salda. She says she understands the difficulty of loss. Tary asks if it gets better, and she says it does when people like Vox Machina surround him. She walks along, heading back to the kids. Percy lets a guard know that Vox Machina has returned to stay for a while.

As they make their way towards the tavern, Pike Trickfoot comes quickly from behind them. They all share a welcome back hug. Having been helping the reconstruction effort in Emon, she heard that the remaining members of the Tal'Dorei family are heading back from Whitestone, and so arrived in the city a few days ago to help.

The group apologizes for not being able to take Pike to the Nine Hells. Pike says it's okay because she felt the realm would effect her in some way. Vex tells Pike that Taryon lost Doty.

Tary explains to Pike that the group said that flirting would take his mind off of it. Pike responds that flirting can take your mind off a lot. The group ponders who to introduce Tary to, and he acts confidant that he will able to woo whoever they chose.

Grog asks what his type is. Tary says tall, strong, and fair-skinned. Keyleth asks if he wants Grog, in which he strongly declines. Vex suggests someone like Keyleth. He says he should be so lucky to have a mate as capable as her. Tary feels confident in the situation, because he's a Darrington.

They make their way into the Tipsy Quorum tavern. A barkeep, looking to be in her mid-forties, welcomes them to any table. Grog asks if they have turkey legs. She responds with that they have the best turkey legs in Whitestone. Grog orders two for everyone. She flirts with him and goes to take the order. Grog - 1, Tary - 0.

Pike reluctantly comes up with the idea for a contest. Whoever wins the affections of the barkeep will win a prize from the loser. Tary suggests if he wins, Grog will give him his Alchemy Jug. If Grog wins, Tary will give him his Rod of Mercurial Form.

Grog swings first by flirting with the barkeep. Those at the table decides to rate the come-ons. Percy says he has too much insight to rate, while Keyleth and him hope she hates all of them. The barkeep comes back and serves them their hot turkey legs.

Tary takes his first swing and tries to charm her with flowery language, but it doesn't work well. Grog tells Tary to be blunt and say he wants to be on her. She comes back, and Tary blurts out what Grog said to him. She gives him points for boldness, but just points.

Grog walks up to the barkeep and asks her if she would take a bunch of cash to say he slept with him. She says no. Grog lies to the group and says he's sleeping with her tonight. Everyone but Tary sees past this, and Percy and Keyleth give Tary flirting advice. He practices with the group, to no avail.

The barkeep comes back and Tary asks what she does during the day when the bar isn't open. She reveals that she is a mother of two with a hobby in textile work, and wishes to start a business in the trade. She gives Tary some flirting advice, and tells him to ask what their name is. He does, and she says it's Shauna.

Shauna leaves the table and Tary feels he has learned a lot. The group asks more about Tary's past flirting endeavors while Shauna listens in. He talks about his sheltered life and how he's never hit on a woman before.

Percy shares that he grew up sheltered too and it's good to get out there and that he will learn in time. Keyleth tries to join in, saying she was also sheltered and awkward. Shauna says she will introduce someone to Tary.

Tary reveals to the group that his father caught him with one of Tary's tutors, Lawrence. Tary expressed how he and Lawrence hit it off over their love of literature and philosophy, but when his father caught them, Tary never saw him again. He fears the worst for Lawrence, thinking he was banished or killed.

The group express their support and condolences, and Keyleth asks why Tary didn't tell them sooner.

Break Edit

  • Matthew Mercer presents the Twitch giveaway prize from Wyrmwood.
  • Felicia Day talks about her role on the Netflix series "Mystery Science Theater 3000".
  • The Critical Role fan art appreciation gallery is shown.

Part II Edit

Pike and Grog decide to spend the night at the tavern to wait for Tary. The rest go back to Whitestone Castle. Percy admits to Vex that he looked in on Scanlan, and that he's angry at him for leaving; Vex responds that she's doing her best not to hold a grudge, though she does miss him. Vax talks to Keyleth about the Raven Queen's purpose for him and his future with her in Zephrah.

Percy visits Cassandra at the castle to discuss Vex's title as Grand Mistress of the Grey Hunt. He also sends a letter, enclosed with 400 gold, to Jarrett to start keeping tabs on Scanlan.

Back at the tavern, Pike drunkenly confesses to Grog that she sometimes talks to Scanlan on her earring, even though nobody answers. They talk about how much they miss him before passing out together at the table.

Scanlan? I know you can't hear, but I'm sitting in a tavern right now with Grog; he just went to sleep. I had a pretty good day. I had to do a lot of labor; just lifting stuff into a cart. And then, you know, Vox Machina, lo and behold, come home and I see them and now we're here. But we miss you.
– 

The Morning After Edit

Shauna wakes them up the next morning, just as Trish comes downstairs. Trish dashes past without stopping to talk, as she is running late to get to her post. Tary follows a moment later, looking bleary. He tells them about his night with her, saying that he has now "experienced the pleasures of the flesh." After a moment of talking, he pukes and confesses that women are not for him.

In Whitestone Castle, the rest of the party is having breakfast with Cassandra. Trish shows up, late and out of breath, to take over her shift as Cassandra's bodyguard. There is an awkward moment as Pike and Keyleth realize why she is late.

The Grey Hunt Edit

Brandon Chang Vex'ahlia Grey Render

Fan art of Vex'ahlia and the grey render, by Brandon Chang.[art 1]

Over breakfast, Cassandra tells Vex about the history and responsibilities of her new title, Grand Mistress of the Grey Hunt. Her duty will be to tend to the surrounding Parchwood, rooting out mundane and supernatural threats to Whitestone. For Vex's initiation, she will have to embark alone on a hunt, guided by the Dawnfather. Cassandra suggests that Keeper Yennen might know more about the specifics.

Vex goes to the center of town to find Yennen, who tells her she will have to meditate under the Sun Tree to be granted a vision of her quarry. From there, she will track down the quarry and decide its fate, preferably bringing back some manner of trophy.

Deciding there is no time like the present, Vex sets off for the Sun Tree. She spends the rest of the day sitting at its base and meditating, hoping for a vision, though none arrives. Eventually she decides to go under the ground, into the space between the roots that Keyleth had once carved out. She says a prayer to Pelor and continues to wait. Finally, as she begins to fall asleep, a vision does appear: a bipedal creature with six yellow eyes emerging from a pond. She wakes up and begins the Hunt.

First, Vex checks in with Percy to see if he can identify the pond she saw in her vision; he gives her a map and some suggestions. With a good idea now of where to go, Vex rides Trinket into the forest toward the Alabaster Sierras. She finds the pond from her vision after about 40 minutes of travel, identifies the footprints of the creature, and stealths after it.

In a glade, after following the footprints for a while, Vex finds that the trail has gone cold. She looks around for a moment and find claw marks, which lead her to a cluster of bushes with six glowing eyes staring out of the darkness. She quietly prepares her broom and fires a Bramble Shot at the creature. The shot doesn't hold, but the creature takes significant damage and comes running out to fight her.

Vex harries the creature from her broom, but gets knocked down by a thrown tree. From the ground, she continues to shoot it, taking heavy damage herself. A well-placed arrow to the shoulder takes the creature down without killing it. Vex tries to speak to it, asking where it came from and whether it will go back there willingly. She gets no response, and as the creature goes to flee she fires a final arrow to kill it. Taking one of its hands as a trophy, she then leaves the woods to return to Whitestone Castle as the morning sun rises.

Lady of Whitestone Edit

Vex presents the hand of the beast to the rest of Vox Machina and to Cassandra as proof that she has completed the hunt. Percy identifies the creature as a grey render and notes that there may be a young one in the woods still. Cassandra congratulates her on becoming an official member of the Chamber of Whitestone.

As Vax sees his sister to her room, he mentions that, since they have no work left to do, they may be parting ways soon; he to Zephrah with Keyleth, she to stay in Whitestone with Percy. As Vax is leaving the room, he notices Fenthras, in the corner, start to curl and take on a new shape; it has just achieved its exalted state.

Featured Characters Edit

Vox Machina Edit

New Edit

Returning Edit

Mentioned Edit

Inventory Edit

Quotations Edit

External Links Edit

References Edit

  1. See "Jugs and Rods" (7x10) from 0:27:30 through 0:29:38.  Time based on Twitch VOD.
  2. See "Jugs and Rods" (7x10).

Art:

  1. Fan art of Vex'ahlia and the grey render, by Brandon Chang (source).  Used with permission.