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"Masquerade" (7x15) is the fifteenth episode of the seventh chapter of Critical Role. As Vox Machina returns to Deastok to clear the Darrington family of their debt, Taryon has a talk with his family about the future. The party then returns to Whitestone where two strange individuals make themselves known, one of them possibly being more than he seems.

Synopsis Edit

Announcements Edit

  • Next week is episode 100!
  • Jon Heder will be joining as a guest star tonight.
  • Merch update: new Scanlan concert tee.
  • Info about the Tal'Dorei campaign guide is up on the Green Ronin website.
  • The D&D people at Wizards of the Coast are hosting Stream of Annihilation over the next two days. Marisha, Taliesin, Liam, and Matt will be playing games on that stream.
  • Laura will be in Las Vegas this weekend for a Gears of War event.
  • Matt will be at A-Kon, June 8-11, and will be attending their charity dinner.
  • Wednesday Club will be discussing Young Avengers.
  • Talks Machina, Tuesdays at 7 PM Pacific, on Twitch and Alpha.
  • Laura got Liam a present for his birthday; it's a ring that says, "Do not go far from me."

Previously on Critical Role Edit

"Vox Machina had discovered that one of their companions—the most recent addition to their team, Taryon Darrington—had gone missing, seemingly taken by a bounty hunter who had masqueraded as a pastry chef and was retrieving him to be returned to Wildemount within the city of Deastok to the rest of the Darrington family.

"Upon heading them off at the pass and retrieving Taryon, [they] all made [their] way to Deastok and spoke with the rest of the Darrington family, and discovered that they have gone into serious debt. There's been a long-running agreement between the Darringtons and a criminal syndicate known as the Myriad that seems to be very prominent in Wildemount, and as the years have gone by that debt has compounded and compounded to the point that they were threatening to take everything from the Darrington family and toss them out onto the street.

"[Taryon's] father, Howaardt, told [them] that his plan to prevent this from happening was to marry [Tary] off to a very rich and powerful family up in the capital of the kingdom. [Taryon] decided to look for other options.

"[The party] went and spoke with a gentleman named Korshad who was within a secret bar beneath the Grumpy Lily tavern, where a bunch of Myriad and other lowlifes go to drink, be merry, and go about their business in a safer environment. [They] talked with him about a possibility of making some sort of arrangement, and an accord was made where if [Vox Machina] went and cleansed a nearby platinum mine of Herethas[spelling?] that had seemingly been overrun with some sort of awoken entity that had prevented them from mining the platinum and they're losing a lot of money.

"If [the party] were to destroy this creature or cleanse the mines of the threats to it, [the Myriad] would forgive some of the debt: they would still take the lands from the Darrington family, but they would leave the estate, they would leave whatever remains on that land, and would not mess with [the Darrington family] any further, thus ending the contract and still leaving a comfortable lifestyle for the family.

"[Vox Machina] agreed to this, made [their] way to the Herethas platinum mines, delved deep into the open sinkhole that seemed to consume a portion of its construct, and discovered what had awoken within: a strange, once-seeded celestial that had been awoken too early and too young. As such, its weird angelic baby-like form had withered and twisted, and in battling the celestial which manipulated the terrain around [them], [they] managed to defeat it and destroy it before it could escape.

"[They] gathered some of its remaining glittery ashes and proceeded to fly up through the sinkhole as the rest of the ankheg swarm that seemed to parade through the tunnels within began to swarm up the sides and spit acid at [the party] as [they] escaped out the top into the moonlit sky. Looking down below, [they] can see this swarm now crawling up and out of the maw of this mine."[1]

Part I Edit

As there are still a good number of ankhegs infesting the platinum mine, the party debates about how best to eradicate them. Pike takes the initiative by casting Earthquake to cave in the mine, then uses a Fire Storm to incinerate those that make it to the surface. That done, they all return to Deastok.

Back at the Grumpy Lily, they meet for a second time with Korshad. A seer named Dualla confirms that the mine has been cleansed, and Korshad hands over the deed to the Darrington estate. Taryon convinces Korshad to add in a small farmhouse and its plot of land, but nothing more. They leave.

Clearing the Darrington Name Edit

Over breakfast the next morning, Tary explains to his family the deal that was struck with the Myriad. He proposes that they leave behind their days as land barons, move into the farmhouse, and turn the manor itself into a house of charity. He suggests creating a Darrington Brigade, led by himself, to fight evildoers in the surrounding lands.

In my year of travel, I didn't just dilly-dally around the world having fun. I was learning about the world and about life and about family. I was learning from these fine people what it means to really be a family, and care about each other.

I learned from Grog and Vax what it means to be a man, and to be a father. I learned from Pike what it means to be a caring mother. I learned from Keyleth what a real sister is like, one who loves you and cares for you. I learned from Vex what a best friend is like. These are things you never gave us, growing up. I even learned from Percival... the type of man I would want to marry one day.

We never got that at home. From this day forth, I'm going to create a home, my home, that I own, that values and respects the opinions of each family member. That cares for one another.
– 
Taryon confronts his father

Howaardt has a breakdown, but does hear his son out. Vox Machina step outside while the Darringtons have a private discussion. A bit later, Howaardt comes out to speak to them. He apologizes for the scene they saw inside and thanks them for their friendship to Tary.

They discuss next steps; Tary has to retrieve his things from Whitestone, but then plans to return to his family. He says a farewell to his mother, promising to be back in a few days or maybe a week.

News from Ank'Harel Edit

Keyleth brings the party through a tree into Whitestone, where they find a small caravan of merchants have set up in the center of town. While they pause to shop, a half-orc figure comes rushing up. He introduces himself as Lionel Gayheart, or Chod to some, and explains that the people he works for need help with a situation in his homeland, Ank'Harel.

When Lionel mentions that his boss is called the Meat Man, Vox Machina are all immediately intrigued; however, Lionel has never heard the name "Shorthalt", nor does he recognize the description of their former gnomish companion, Scanlan. He tells them that his boss' actual name is Aes Adan.

Lionel brings them to an empty inn on the south side of town. There, they meat with Aes, who proves to be a human man looking nothing like Scanlan. Aes offers a trade: in exchange for Percy's firearm designs, he will share knowledge about a pyramid structure that Lionel has discovered in Marquet. When pressed about his title, the Meat Man explains that he took it from his predecessor, a gnome, who is now imprisoned beneath Ank'Harel.

Percy refuses to give up his designs, or even a single pistol, and so Aes gets up to leave. Keyleth remarks that something seems familiar about him. Vex'ahlia, who has carefully scrutinized him for any signs of illusion, follows him out of the inn. As she catches up to him, she goes for a hug, reaching low—and her arms pass through Aes' figure to a gnome-sized body beneath.

Stop! Stop stop stop stop stop! Not here! Not here! Let's go somewhere else. Now. Let's go.
– 
Scanlan Shorthalt, caught in a lie by Vex'ahlia

Break Edit

Part II Edit

The Meat Man Cometh Edit

Scanlan, still wearing his Aes disguise, sends Lionel back into the inn. He takes Vex into a side alley and removes the Hat of Disguise he has been wearing. He confesses that he was in Marquet for most of the past year, unsure of whether he could directly contact his friends. He attempts to cast Modify Memory on her, but she interrupts the spell and the resulting racket attracts the rest of the party. Without his disguise, they all realize what has happened.

We went to Ank'harel to get a little simple revenge, and it turned into something more than that. I didn't mean to, but I guess I became one of the three largest crime bosses in Ank'harel.
– 
Scanlan, concerning his year away with Kaylie

They go back inside to do some catching up with their old friend. Scanlan, it transpires, has been traveling with Kaylie the entire past year. He has come back because Lionel found a second ziggurat like the one under Whitestone, complete with black orb. Lionel reports that he saw hooded figures throwing treasures into orb. Scanlan felt it was important for Vox Machina to hear about this so they could investigate it.

Percy, Pike, Keyleth, and Grog, who have reacted coldly to Scanlan's return, get up and leave. Vax'ildan and his sister, however, welcome his return. Eventually, the twins and Scanlan go off on their own, while Lionel follows the rest to a different pub.

Bar Brawl Edit

Everyone orders drinks, Lionel asking for a chocolate milk. Grog asks this newcomer barbarian a few questions, sizing him up, then punches him across the jaw. Lionel reacts with delight as Grog goes into a rage. Grog flips a table and breaks it over Lionel's head; Lionel, with a big grin on his face, rages as well and starts to punch back. He gets Grog into a grapple, then tries to tickle him. After the tickle is quickly followed by a solid punch and a groin shot, Grog gets flustered and walks away.

Pike aims a punch at Lionel as well before walking out after Grog. Those who remain at the table learn about Lionel's childhood and history with the Meat Man. Keyleth tries to teach him how to play Boulder-Parchment-Shears; he punches her.

The twins, meanwhile, share a flask under the Sun Tree before going to find the rest of the group. They arrive at the pub just in time to see Keyleth yell "Boulder!" and smack Lionel with an earth elemental fist.

Making Amends Edit

They leave the tavern a little later. Lionel finds Scanlan back at the first inn and gives him a bullet he managed to pickpocket from Percy. He then uses Commune with Ducks to summon a duck for questioning, and thereby learns a few facts about the local weather. Scanlan promises to buy a few ducks for Lionel when they go back to Ank'Harel.

On Vex's advice, Scanlan then goes to find Grog and Pike in their rooms. Grog doesn't answer his knock, so Scanlan Dimension Doors into the room, whereupon Grog gets up and leaves.

Scanlan goes to Pike's room next. She does answer the door, but slaps him across the face after listening to his apology. He continues to apologize, and she hears him out before saying good night.

I'm comfortable with the bastard that I've been, because I know that the man I am now is different. So I can't make everybody happy anymore, and I think that was my problem before. I was trying to make everyone happy, and that's not my goal anymore.

I'm sorry if I hurt you. I'm sorry how I treated you when we first met, how I ogled you and flirted with you relentlessly. That was disrespectful. But what I'm most sorry for is that you met me then, and not now. And that's all I can say.
– 
Scanlan's apology to Pike

Over their earrings, everyone except Grog and Pike (who have removed their earrings) agree to leave on the morrow with Scanlan for one last adventure together. They all gather the next morning at the Sun Tree for the trip to Ank'Harel, to investigate Lionel's ziggurat.

Featured Characters Edit

Vox Machina Edit

New Edit

Returning Edit

Mentioned Edit

Inventory Edit

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Expended 1 Swift Step Draught Tary Lionel during the bar fight with Grog
Expended 10 gold Percy barkeep to pay for drinks and damages
Relinquished 1 salt lick rock Scanlan Grog left outside Grog's door; not remarked on
Transferred 1 pistol bullet Percy Scanlan Lionel pickpocketed Percy at the bar and brought the bullet to his boss

Quotations Edit

  • "The Darrington name is one of ill repute. We are scoundrels, and we are land barons, and we are awful people, and now we are penniless awful people. But I feel that we can fix it.

    "What I propose is this: Our home will be vacated by us. We are going to move to the farmhouse, where we will all live as a family. We will tend to the farm, and we will raise crops together. Our home will be turned into the Darrington Fund for charitable giving, where people who are down on their luck can come and live and get back on their feet.

    "Now, such a fund will need donors, and you have many contacts in the business world. You, and possibly Sister, could run this foundation and spread goodness all over Wildemount, instead of badness and evil."

    —Taryon lays out a new vision for the Darrington family

  • "There was a night early on, a few weeks after I left you. It was just me and Kaylie by a campfire, and she was asking me about myself and my life, and she has this thing. I don't know if it's a spell or a special ability, but she can always tell when I'm lying. She's the only one. I was trying to spin some sort of bullshit to her about my past, and she called me on it, and said, 'The truth. Let me hear it.'

    "I told her everything. I told her about all the lives I had ruined, and about the women, and about all the other Kaylies out there that I know of, and the ones that I can only assume exist. Everything. She spat at me, and she gave me this scar with her knife, and she left. I thought that was it. I had ruined it.

    "But before dawn, she came back. She unrolled her bedding. She went to sleep, and woke up the next morning, and said, 'What's for breakfast, Dad?' And I realized that I've been wrong, that you don't leave your shit behind and keep going. You take it with you, and the ones you surround yourself with better get used to the smell. She stayed with me despite all my flaws.

    "When I left you all, it was the first time that I had realized that you were all really flawed people. Really flawed people. And I left, and I did not come back, and I was wrong. Because family sticks around even if you kind of hate the other person.

    "I didn't. I betrayed you. And I've lived with that shame for a year."

    —Scanlan reflects on his departure from Vox Machina

Trivia Edit

  • The Fate Die that Taryon used during his attempt to persuade his father was Sam's reward for winning "Critical Role – Level 17 Battle Royale!" (Sx19).
  • When Laura got a whisper from Matt after a successful check on "Aes Adon", Matt told her that she noticed his shadow was shorter than his appearance would suggest.[2]

External Links Edit

References Edit

  1. The recap. See "Masquerade" (7x15) from 0:08:09 through 0:11:07.
  2. See "Talks Machina #27: 'Masquerade'" (TMx27) at 0:40:48. Time based on Twitch VOD.

Art:


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