A Gathering of Heroes

"A Gathering of Heroes"
Campaign 3 episode
"A Gathering of Heroes" (3x76) thumbnail featuring Liam O'Brien and Travis Willingham.
Episode no.Episode 76
AirdateOctober 19, 2023 19:00 PT
Running time4:01:04
Links and related articles
Associated 4-Sided Dive"Anxiety Game Gauntlet" (4SDx18)
Episode chronology
Previous
"An Ancient Flame" (3x75)
Next
List of Campaign 3 episodes

"A Gathering of Heroes" (3x76) is the 76th episode of the third campaign of Critical Role. Bells Hells return to Whitestone in search of allies and refuge, taking time to reflect on the weight of their choices and the path ahead...

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Pre-show[edit | edit source]

The cast is dressed as the Fellowship of the Ring as portrayed in the The Lord of the Rings film series. They have Sam, who saw the films once, identify everyone: Matt is Gandalf the Grey, Travis is Aragorn, Marisha is Legolas, Sam is Gimli, Ashley is Pippin Took, Laura is Merry Brandybuck, Liam is Frodo Baggins, and Taliesin is Samwise Gamgee.

The cast dressed as the Fellowship of the Ring, by Critical Role.[art 1]

Part I[edit | edit source]

After a brief teleportation mishap, Bells Hells successfully lands in Whitestone. They are immediately approached by members of the Pale Guard, who were expecting them and were instructed by Lord Percival de Rolo to take them to Castle Whitestone if the party had no other errands. The group agrees to go at once. As they walk, Laudna remembers her life living here, both positive and dark, and looking out across the city feels like an "ice cold slow knife" in her stomach.

The group is taken to Percival's workshop where Percival, Dancer, Imahara Joe, and Verna are repairing Ludinus Da'leth's harness. They are shortly joined by Allura Vysoren, who identifies the strange version of Ludinus Da'leth they encountered earlier[1] as a simulacrum. Usually, a simulacrum cannot learn, but the gem they retrieved allows Ludinus to learn what his extensive simulacra network experiences. She continues repairing the enchantment on the harness and explains that it is a large power still called a Quintessence Array. She is anxious because they are dangerous, highly regulated, and are often created by those with ill intent. She requests that, after Ludinus is defeated, the party surrender it to the Cobalt Soul to be sealed or destroyed. Percival pressures them into agreeing.

Ashton Greymoore presents the spark of Rau'shan. Allura observes they intend to use the power of an ancient enemy of the gods to save the gods. Laudna disputes they intend to save the gods, which is more incidentally a "package deal" to saving Exandria, and Fresh Cut Grass briefly quarrels with her about it. Orym asks Allura if Keyleth is here; Keyleth will be present at a meeting in the castle soon. To test the completed array, Chetney uses it to strip the enchantment from a set of self-cleaning silverware provided by Percival.

They turn onto the topic of transferring the essence from the spark. They recall that Evontra'vir warned that it would destroy Ashton due to the shard of Ka'Mort already in him. Allura speculates that Ashton surviving is indeed possible but believes it more likely Ashton will be rent to pieces. Off further questions, Allura is unsure if the spark itself would survive destroying an individual or if the shard's magic in Ashton can be transferred to something else. She adds, after Bells Hells riffs on Rau'shan and Ka'Mort being mates, that putting the spark into Fearne Calloway and engaging in sexual activity with Ashton (or "a hug, at least" or other kind of "meeting") is not necessary.

Ashton allows Allura to investigate the magic inside their head. She identifies the magic as dunamancy and explains that it is a pre-Founding and pre-Primordial magic connected to the fundamental energies of the universe, like gravity and entropy. She says that within Ashton's head is a "condensed focus" for dunamancy like Luxon beacons; she is familiar with beacons as objects sacred to the Kryn Dynasty's worship of The Luxon, though she is unsure if the Luxon exists. She describes what is within Ashton's head as a "half-beacon". Her descriptions remind the party they saw a Luxon beacon at the Malleus Key[2] and remind Ashton that they have dreamed of the beacon and emblazoned his previous jacket with its symbol. Allura wonders if Ashton's fragmented nature is what keeps the disparate powers within them in check and advises the spark's essence not be transferred into them.

Chetney wonders if the Luxon was attacked and scattered by Predathos. He and Laudna declare they need to absorb the essence of a beacon. Allura muses about the mysteries of the universe, laments people like Ludinus misusing knowledge, and envies the party's position of "stumbling first-hand without grasping the whole picture" because they are unaware of the related terrors. Ashton wants to visit the Kryn Dynasty. Allura advises to be careful doing so because there is potential for misunderstanding. She mentions colleagues who know more about dunamancy, but she has been unable to contact them. She also hopes that Bells Hells will attend the meeting.

Bells Hells turns back to transferring the spark's essence into Fearne. Ashton says that they "always wanted a sister," which "wasn't exactly" what Fearne was thinking. They plan to do this tomorrow to avoid breaking the array. Percival begrudgingly makes arrangements for Joe, Dancer, and Verna to stay at the castle until further notice. Everyone is dismissed.

Dancer pulls Fresh Cut Grass into a private conversation. She understands that it was not truly "them" when Fresh Cut Grass attacked her, acknowledges that they are thriving with Bells Hells, and admits that she and Fresh Cut Grass did not work well together. She did not wish for them to head into danger before she said this. Fresh Cut Grass thanks her for saying this and for bringing them back to life, a gift they hope to pay forward to Bells Hells. They also admit that they realized that living and happiness is not found in forgiveness, validation, or intrinsic purpose, and they thank her for putting them on the path forward. They further ask for information about D. Dancer observes that D moves around quick and has unique pieces, and she notes that he makes a lot of money but does not know what he does with it. She reluctantly allows Fresh Cut Grass to hug her.

Laudna eavesdrops through Pâté on a private conversation between Percival and Allura. Percival worries for Whitestone and has Allura promise the fight will happen elsewhere. Allura reassures him. She notices Pâté and removes him from the room. Bells Hells have lunch in the castle and discuss their plans going forward. They arrive at the meeting with Percival, Allura, Keyleth, Vilya, and Ebenold Kai.

Part II[edit | edit source]

Ebenold announces that the Grim Verity and Vilya secured support from Ank'Harel, Yios, the Tangulan Keep, and the Clovis Concord. Because the Grim Verity stole records from Vasselheim, they are reluctant to reach out to powers in Othanzia until necessary. Vilya contacted allies in Wildemount, including some already involved. Increasing populist support for Ludinus' ideals immobilized politicians, and she observes he planned well. Keyleth adds that many powerful individuals are busy dealing with released dangers, which compound people's fear and frustration, leaving efforts scattered. Rapid organization is difficult without long-distance magical communication.

The Arcana Pansophical has identified that the magical disruption is or is near the Malleus Key. Only Vasselheim's military has been able to mobilize to the Tishtan excavation site but is held off by the Reilorans, who have innate ability to dampen divine magic. The Pansophical further speculates that the Key increasingly strains the leylines, and it will tear the weave and fundamentally alter magic, destroy magic, or destroy Exandria. It needs to be destroyed, but it is the only way to travel to Ruidus. However, they cannot send their forces across the bridge without scouts.

Bells Hells points out that Imogen saw the surface of Ruidus through visions,[3] and Chetney volunteers the party as scouts. Percival doubts whether it's safe to send them, since Imogen feels a calling toward Ruidus; Orym and Laudna defend her as an advantage. They also name Ira Wendagoth as an ally already on Ruidus. Keyleth wonders if the group is small enough to escape notice, but Laudna notes they have been noticed by Ludinus. Fresh Cut Grass and Imogen ask for items to help shield them from danger, Scrying, or telepathy, and Allura promises help. Because getting to the bridge will be difficult, a distraction can be arranged. Forces are being mustered to prepare for a proper assault and can be mobilized if Bells Hells returns with information.

Allura needs to locate others in the Pansophical, especially Ryn. Bells Hells informs her that Ryn was petrified at the base of the Malleus Key and damaged in the attack,[4] and she is still there. They also tell her about Caleb Widogast and Beauregard Lionett. Allura knows of them and has spoken to some of their allies; she can quickly find them. If they can recover Ryn as part of the scouting mission, it would be of great help.

Ashton asks if anyone has spoken to followers of the Betrayer Gods. Allura has not but is sure some are in the Hellcatch. Keyleth instructs Vilya ready their allies. Allura promises to see what she can muster, but the Council of Tal'Dorei can only offer what is not required to protect themselves. Fresh Cut Grass requests a jeweled plate or chalice[5] from Percival, who promises to find one. Keyleth reflects on all that she's seen in her life and urges the party luck. The meeting ends.

Orym thanks Keyleth for her example and believes their paths are diverging. Keyleth is certain their paths will meet again. She asks Orym to keep an eye on Imogen, for family ties can be confusing. Orym admits thought the same. She clarifies she does not distrust Imogen but distrusts the Vanguard. Orym has faith in Imogen. Keyleth tousles his hair (from his mother) and tells him to stay safe. Chetney rounds back on recruiting allies among followers of the Betrayer Gods. Ashton remarks that they've already spoken to one, Teven Klask, and know the Betrayer Gods and their followers are also anxious. They consider asking Teven to help them get to the bridge but are uncertain if he can be trusted. Fresh Cut Grass can contact Teven using Planar Ally.

Laudna wants to snoop around the castle. The group offers to attack Whitestone Andy for throwing dirt at her as a child. Because Delilah Briarwood has a connection to Whitestone, Laudna wonders if confronting the dark parts of her past will illuminate others. Orym notices that Gwendolyn de Rolo is eavesdropping. To entertain Gwendolyn, who likes scary things, Laudna shows her Pâté and exposes her sternum. Gwendolyn touches the bone and suddenly leaves, frightened.

Laudna, Fearne, and Imogen pursue Gwendolyn and speak to her through a door. Laudna is looking for answers and urges her to find her for a conversation. Gwendolyn admits that she is scared of Laudna but does not know why; Laudna is afraid of herself too sometimes. Imogen attempts to reassure Gwendolyn, who felt hatred within Laudna. Fearne gifts Gwendolyn the Eyes of Charming. Imogen tells Laudna that Gwendolyn sensed Delilah and that Percival will destroy her if he finds out. Laudna is uncertain what to do with Delilah and invites Imogen and Fearne to sneak around the castle with her tonight.

Ashton, Orym, and Chetney visit the Altar of the Raven. Chetney hopes to have another vision but is doubtful. They find a statue outside of the Champion of the Raven, whom they recognize from the battle. There is little inside other than its carataker Othinon and five empty sarcophagi, which they climb into. After an indeterminate time in darkness, they see a white light. They walk toward it until it clarifies into the Matron of Ravens. She removes her mask to reveal a void that pulls them in. They then find themselves in a hole, reminiscent of that the Tree of Atrophy stands in, with the Raven Queen looking down into it. Chains dangle from her wrists. They climb the chains, causing the chains to break off. The Matron flies free and scatters into ravens as they fall. They feel noticed and appreciated, then wake from the vision. As they leave, Ashton donates five silver to the Altar and, as an insult, one copper to the nearby Dawnfather temple (The Zenith).

At the Horizon Temple, Fresh Cut Grass prays before a statue of the Changebringer and asks her to direct dangers toward them instead of their friends. The statue's eyes turn red and cry red tears. She warns of dark days ahead and says that those who "walk the path of bravery", like Fresh Cut Grass and many others, can protect what they care for. Fresh Cut Grass asks if she will continue to watch over them. Her tears become clear water and promises that "we" always do. They say to her that they've learned that one makes their purpose as they go along, and she affirms this as true freedom. They ask her to send a sign to Ashton, then rescind the request. She urges them to be safe and reminds them that they can choose to walk other paths. Osli Kamyda says that the Changebringer has seemed distracted lately, then goes to clean a puddle at the base of the statue. Fresh Cut Grass reflects on the Changebringer's words and understands that she is mercurcial as a god of change. She changes her approach to find what most encourages her followers; this is not something to distrust.

Everyone regroups at a crêpe stand near the Sun Tree. They learn the seller is named Andy, though he insists on Andrew. Imogen and Laudna antagonize him, against the protests from some of the party, and refuse to pay for their crêpes. Imogen demands he apologize to Laudna for throwing dirt at her as a child, but he turns out to be the wrong Andy. Imogen pays Andrew a gold as an apology.

They return to the castle. As the others sleep, Laudna wakes Imogen and Fearne to sneak around.

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Main player characters[edit | edit source]

Companions[edit | edit source]

These characters are familiars or other companions of the player characters.

Returning[edit | edit source]

These characters previously appeared in Campaign 3 or any other Critical Role work.

New[edit | edit source]

These characters have not previously appeared in Campaign 3 or any other Critical Role work, though they may have been previously mentioned.

  • Andrew, different from "Whitestone Andy"
  • Othinon

Mentioned[edit | edit source]

Quotations[edit | edit source]

Inventory[edit | edit source]

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Destroyed 1 Enchanted silverware set Castle Whitestone Chetney Absorbed by the Quintessence Array as a test
Transferred 1 Eyes of Charming Fearne Gwendolyn
Transferred 5 silver Ashton Altar of the Raven
Transferred 1 copper Ashton The Zenith
Transferred 1 gold Imogen Andrew An apology. Crêpes cost 1 copper each.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. As depicted in "An Ancient Flame" (3x75)
  2. As depicted in "The Apogee Solstice" (3x51)
  3. As depicted in "For The Tempest" (3x68)
  4. As learned in "An Exit Most Fraught" (3x48)
  5. The component for Heroes' Feast

Art:

  1. The cast dressed as the Fellowship of the Ring, by Critical Role (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.