"The Trick about Falling" (1x05) is the fifth episode of the first season of Critical Role. Having successfully slain a dangerous illithid and its dwarven general, Vox Machina finds themselves surrounded by a small army of duergar. Barely escaping with their lives, they press forward, quickly realizing their path is growing more dangerous with every step into the darkness.
Previously on Critical Role Edit
|This article or section may require cleanup. The spelling, grammar, or formatting may need attention. The content may be out of place, overwritten, and/or contradictory. You can help the Critical Role wiki by reviewing this article and cleaning it up.
"The party has initially been sent down on a mission by the arcanist Allura Vysoren in search of a halfling paladin who's gone missing, named Lady Kima of Vord. A folk hero and very respected individual, she went on a vision quest and apparently went alone into Kraghammer seeking some sort of great evil that was festering beneath the city and hasn't been seen for weeks and weeks. The party was hired by Allura to go and try to find [Kima's] whereabouts and hopefully bring her back safely.
"Since traversing and meeting individuals in Kraghammer they then spearheaded into the Greyspine mines where apparently these monstrosities had been burbling out time and time again over the past few weeks. Pushing down, they had encounters with umber hulks, they managed to inquire some duergar which apparently there are a lot of them down here (duergar being an ashy-skinned, subterranean, dark, evil dwarf-type offshoot). One of which had with it a brain-type quadruped that managed to brain spike Grog and send him catatonic for a short time.
"Wandering through the caverns, discovered there was a duergar warcamp across this large chasm that was currently being run by a general duergar alongside what appeared to be, and what they've now discovered to be, a mind flayer, an illithid. They managed to, upon looking deeper into this cavern, find hidden behind a waterfall—thanks to the druid and the ranger completely stealing from the rest of the group their flying carpet—made a very tenuous relationship, alignment, with another mind flayer apparently cast out of his own society searching to find a way to both get revenge and find his way back into his colony of people. His name was Clarota, lovingly called Clarence by the group, probably much to his own chagrin. After which they decided to go ahead and try to extract information from this duergar general and stop this warcamp from preparing itself for battle and its attack seemingly on Kraghammer in the near future.
"Through a strange crazy plan they came up with, they managed to fly undetected via flying carpet, giant eagle, and floating sorcerer, over the entire warcamp, made a Metal Gear run into the center of their main barracks, threw a bucket of goblin shit into the face of the one mind flayer, after which Vax bisected it pretty much in one surprise round of attacks, lead into a large battle in the center of this building, partway through of which the ground began to rumble and then, digging forth from underneath, a bulette, a gargantuan armored burrowing creature that was hungry and very dangerous, that then made the battle that much more intense. A heavy blood-filled battle later, involved with Percy getting his hand caught and firing his gun into the gullet of the beast, eventually it had its armor pulled apart and was defeated by the party. The remnants of the duergar army inside of this building have been destroyed aside from a few stranglers that have laid their weapons down and the general now lies beaten on his knees before the rest of the party."
Part I Edit
The General's Interrogation Edit
The party interrogates the general for word of Lady Kima. After Vax intimidates him, he reveals that they captured her and delivered her to King Murghol and she is now being tortured in the dungeons of Emberhold. During the interrogation, Clarota attempts to reads his thoughts, causing blood to pour out of one of the general's nostrils and ears, after which he gives up what he knows about K'Varn:
❝K'Varn was responsible for forging the alliance. For centuries and generations, his people and mine killed and fought. It wasn't until K'Varn came that we decided to work together for a common cause: expansion, unification, dominion over this land and these mountains. Divided we were weak, petty, greedy. With K'Varn leading us, we have purpose, we had growth, we could take what we like. And I'm but one dwarf; if I fall here many more will take over where I fell.
I have not seen K'Varn personally. What I know of K'Varn, a being of immense intelligence, a creature that needs not walk this earth, one that does not touch the land of which it traverses. I know it sees all, it smiles from a toothy maw and laughs, laughs in the darkness. Protruding from its forehead, one nasty gnarled black horn. A terrible source of its dark power. That is what's been rumored.❞
The general also tells them of a secret side entrance into Emberhold. The group decides to let him live, but they take his weapons and his clothes.
- "In fact, we'll be keeping your weapons, your armor, and, I believe, your pride."
- ― Percy
To that end, Vax slices the general's belt, causing it to fall, but his armor keeps his pants up. The general doesn't like this idea and tries to leave with his warhammer which Grog had already earmarked for himself. The general vanishes from sight briefly, and reappears near the front door. Vax and Grog throw their weapons at him. Clarota walks up to the general, holds his head with his tentacles, and eats the general's brain.
After his "meal", for a moment, Clarota looks a little younger, a little stronger, a little more dangerous. Residual memories from the general allow Clarota to declare, "He spoke the truth about the path into the Emberhold."
Looting the general's body yields the Firebrand Warhammer and his blackened plate armor, which radiates a magical essence. Grog harvests the armor from the bulette.
Escape from the Warcamp Edit
Bells and horns sound off in the warcamp. Vex uses Dust of Tracelessness and sprinkles it around the room as they prepare to leave. Keyleth casts Pass without Trace, turns into an eagle and scoops up the gnomes.
They all take off, flying from the barracks. Thirty duergar are now rushing towards it. They are spotted, and a stream of javelins are fired up at them, hitting Grog, Keyleth, and Percy. Tiberius shoots a fireball at the duergar, taking out twelve.
As they crest over the warcamp, they can see more and more duergar gathering. Bells are going off, horns are blowing hard. A bunch of them are running over to the siege equipment, specifically larger ballistae.
Vax steers the carpet of flying to the tunnel on the far side of the camp against Vex's objections over leaving Trinket behind. As the carpet circles around, another volley of javelins hit Grog, Keyleth and Percy. Keyleth loses her eagle form and she, Scanlan, and Pike begin to fall.
Vax swoops the carpet underneath them, catching them, but causes Tiberius to lose concentration on the flying spell he cast on Grog, who now begins to plummet. The flying carpet is bearing too much weight and careens out of control.
Tiberius jumps off the carpet to try to catch Grog, but ends up tumbling uncontrollably. He manages to cast Feather Fall on himself, but Grog hits the ground.
Vax skims the carpet over the top of a nearby building, lessening the impact slightly, toppling the occupants. The fall knocks Percy and Scanlan unconscious.
They can still hear the bells and the horns blowing in the distance. Vox Machina managed to fly over the main part of the camp, but the duergar will reach them shortly.
Vox Machina briefly take care of the wounded and unconscious before running towards the back of the camp, through the buildings, to the main tunnel. They make it into the tunnel before hearing bolts from the ballistae hitting the walls above them.
Keyleth prepares to cast Wall of Stone at the entrance, but before she does they see Clarota, levitating towards the tunnel, get shot with two ballistae bolts. As he begins to falter, Tiberius casts Glacial Blast beneath him and Clarota slides down into the tunnel.
Keyleth raises her hands and the blackened stonework of the tunnel shakes for a second then a giant thick wall of natural rock closes off the entire tunnel behind them. Just on the other side of the stone wall, javelins and other things are being shot at the stone wall but it's keeping the duergar at bay.
The tunnel continues into a passage they haven't seen yet. Grog sprinkles the Dust of Tracelessness behind them like a flower girl. Keyleth asks Grog if he has any ale, saying, "I think I need a drink."
After healing Clarota, the group pushes on down the tunnel until they enter another cavern and what looks like an extension of the war camp. Fortunately, this section looks like it has been abandoned. Vex and Keyleth investigate a tunnel to determine which of two they will continue down. After deciding the left one is the most likely, Grog charges ahead, the others giving chase.
The tunnel continues in a slow decline and curve to the left. Twenty minutes down there is a small alcove to the right where they find another abandoned camp of four tents and another seal of Bahamut. Looking at the dirt on the ground there seems to have been a serious struggle. Tiberius seals the tunnel behind them with pillars as they take refuge in the alcove for the night.
- "It's like having Goofy as a party member."
- ― Liam O'Brien
Vax and Grog, while on watch, begin to hear many footsteps from above. Vax wakes up Vex and they quietly wait for the footsteps to pass.
At the beginning of the break, Zac Eubank made announcements regarding Geek & Sundry's give-away, including a poster that the Critical Role cast would sign. Matt promoted their charity, 826LA, and then character intro videos were re-aired.
Part II Edit
After their unrestful rest, Pike, with the help of Grog, break them out of their hiding place and they continue down, stealthily. The air begins to warm, the smell is a combination of still ground water mixed with sulphur.
- Vax: "Smells like Grog."
- Travis: [in Grog's voice] "I would like to trip Vax."
- Grog: "Suck it, elf."
- Vax: "What goes around, comes around, baby." [Vax face plants into the stone ground.]
- Grog: "What happened? Did you not stealth past that little pebble?"
- Vax: "S'alright. When the illithid general is bearing down on your walnut sized brain – I may be there, I may not."
- Pike: "Hey! Don't be rude to him."
- Vex: "You guys. You guys. These caverns are getting to us."
- Grog: "I'm so happy right now."
- ―The Trick about Falling[src]
- Pike: "In this vision, I basically saw what we've been going through already and what the [general] was talking about. I saw something that was a single twisted horn of blackened soul matter. It was a point of concentrated evil. And it was so strong that I couldn't stay in the vision because I could feel that it was taking over, so it pulled me out of the dream. I saw some other visions … I kind of went in past and then got to this thing, so I guess depending on where we are, —"
- Vex: "Can you lead us the direction to go?"
- Pike: "Yes, if I see things that are familiar, such as I went past a jagged onyx-colored fortress, framed in molten rock, past a field of broken glass and bone, and the prettiest was into a cavern of blue crystal where a fungal fortress entwined an ancient city of marble and jade."
- Clarota: "That's where the colony resides.… That is where the temple resides where K'Varn holds the elder brain."
- Vax: "He sounds like a real fun guy." [Vax feels a mental slap as Clarota glares at him.]
- Clarota: "There will be none of that in my presence. I hate puns."
- ―The Trick about Falling[src]
They begin to encounter little orange glowing trickles coming down from the ceiling, then large clusters of pools of molten rock. They hear footsteps farther down the tunnel. Vax and Vex scout ahead and discover two giant ogres dragging a cart. The twins set a trap by holding a rope across the tunnel and the lead creature trips over it. At that, they call for Grog, who is all too eager to fight.
Vax jumps onto the back of one of the ogres, slashing and pulling open its flesh, eviscerating it. Vex fires the explosive arrow at the second ogre. It arcs slightly and smacks into the side of its chest. The explosion rocks the vicinity, toppling the cart. A glass container that was in the back of the cart shatters.
- "This is poppycock."
- ― Tiberius
Tiberius blasts the ogre with three Scorching Rays. As each explosion hits, its flesh ripples from the impact and exposes bone. It gives out a horrible roar. The cart shifts and something amorphous and liquid emerges. Scanlan inspires Grog and casts Invisibility on himself. Vex fires a Lightning Arrow at the black ooze and it splits. Vax runs up the remaining ogre's back and plunges his daggers into him. The ogre's jaw goes slack as it tumbles forward, lifeless. Percy shoots ice at an ooze and it quivers but the ice gets absorbed. He shoots again and the form quivers but continues to slither forward. Keyleth lashes an ooze with her Thorn Whip and pulls it to the edge of a pool of lava. Pike casts Insect Plague over the two oozes. Grog activates the Firebrand Warhammer, lighting up the cavern, and charges at the ooze not in the lava, leaping over the bodies of the dead ogres. He smacks the ooze twice and it screeches as splashes of ichor hit Grog and burns his torso. The oozes flank Grog and hit him.
Clarota casts Lightning Bolt, apparently not seeing what happened when Vex shot it with her lightning arrow. The ooze divides again.
Vax[presumed] hears a pair of clacking sounds, on the ceiling and see two large creatures clinging to the ceiling scurrying across before both leap down from the ceiling. One takes a swing at Pike and hits. The other swings but misses Tiberius. With a funky grin, Tiberius picks up the creature next to him with Telekinesis and throws it in the lava pool. It sizzles and shrieks in pain as it sinks into the pool. Tiberius blasts the other with a Glacial Blast; he misses the creature but forms the blast into a spike jutting from the cavern wall.
Scanlan, worried that Pike is in danger, inspires her. He then attempts to dominate the monster near her and succeeds. Vex shoots an arrow at the creature in the lava. Vax runs and jumps over the lava pool. As he jumps over the lava pool, the creature there claws at him. Once he lands, he slashes the oozes with his daggers and their acid splashes his arms.
Percy takes two shots at the little oozes. Keyleth shapes into an eagle and flies behind the oozes then returns to human form and casts Thunderwave.
- ― Keyleth
Pike sprints to Grog and casts Cure Wounds on him. Grog ends his rage. He tries running back to the creature near the ice spike, but takes hits from the oozes and falls unconscious.
One of the oozes moves towards Pike and Vax gets an attack of opportunity. Pike gets hit by the ooze. The other two attack Vax but he dodges out of the way. Clarota, taking a note from Tiberius, uses his own Telekinesis to lift the large ooze and slam it on top of the hook horror already in the lava pool, completely dissolving the hook horror.
The dominated hook horror moves to the edge of the lava pool and strikes twice at the creature in the lava, causing it to dissipate, but then breaks Scanlan's domination.
Tiberius throws two Ice Spikes at the hook horror trying to push it into the lava pool but it holds its ground. Scanlan arcs his sword at the hook horror, piercing where Tiberius' ice spikes embedded, cracking open the armored shell. Vex marks the ooze by her brother and makes two bow attacks, killing it. Vax throws his two daggers at the ooze. They begin to sink in but they teleport back to his Blinkback Belt. Percy takes two shots at the ooze. It splats against the wall and liquefies.
Keyleth hooks two ends of her Thorn Whip into the creature and rips it apart. The creature plummets into the magma and the still sizzling form of the ooze.
Pike heals Grog and the rest of the group.
- Grog: "Thank you, Pike."
- Pike: "Oh, you're welcome, Grog. My best pal." [Grog howls and Pike joins in]
- ―The Trick about Falling[src]
- Grog: "Did I—did I kill it?"
- Vex: "You did, Grog. Good job."
- Vax: "You killed them all, Grog. You were magnificent."
- Grog: "Tell me more." [falls asleep]
- ―As Grog comes back to consciousness.[src]
Percy examines the cart. He discovers a broken and slightly scarred glass containment unit, and various body parts. Grog loots the ogres and finds some gold, two pieces of which he gives to Vax and two to Pike for healing him. Keyleth collects some shards of broken glass.
They tread for another half-hour until it opens up into a familiar cavern to some. They are in the crevasse where Keyleth and Vex met Clarota. It is also familiar to Pike, as she saw this in her vision. They take this opportunity to collect Trinket.
Zac Eubank announces the winner of the give-away. Matthew Mercer and Zac confirm that the chat did choose the ooze for the encounter. Matt explains that having the chat choose a creature for an encounter will be occasional, not weekly. Zac allows the chat to decide what's next on the Geek & Sundry stream and convinces some of the cast of Critical Role to stay for any dancing.
Featured Characters Edit
Vox Machina Edit
- Percival de Rolo
- Scanlan Shorthalt (DM-controlled)
- Tiberius Stormwind
- Grog Strongjaw
- Pike Trickfoot
- Duergar General
|Acquired||a few||travel bags||Alcove camp||Vex'ahlia||Includes rope, grappling hooks, and 8 torches.|
|Converted||1||explosive arrow||Percy||Percy||Percy makes an explosive arrow out of materials on hand, including black powder.|
|Transferred||1||explosive arrow||Percy||Vex'ahlia||Percy gives the explosive arrow to Vex.|
|Expended||1||explosive arrow||Vex'ahlia||Giant ogre||The explosive arrow had a -4 penalty to hit and did an extra 2d8 damage to the target and nearby objects.|
|Transferred||1||Earring of Whisper||Scanlan||Grog|
|Transferred||1||Studded Armor +2||Vax||Grog|
|Transferred||2||Gold||Grog||Pike||For healing him.|
|Acquired||some||shards of glass||environment||Keyleth||Hand-sized shards of broken glass from the glass containment unit.|