Ancient Sins

"Ancient Sins"
Campaign 3 episode
"Ancient Sins" (3x97) thumbnail featuring Robbie Daymond, Travis Willingham, and Ashley Johnson.
Episode no.Episode 97
AirdateJune 6, 2024 19:00 PT
Running time3:42:04
Links and related articles
Associated 4-Sided Dive"Suddenly Samuel" (4SDx25)
Episode chronology
"Shadows New and Old" (3x96)
"The Nox Engine" (3x98)
List of Campaign 3 episodes

"Ancient Sins" (3x97) is the 97th episode of the third campaign of Critical Role. Bells Hells encounter Aeorian terrors as they explore the ruined city and seek out the wrinkle in Ludinus' plans...

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Part I[edit | edit source]

Bells Hells immediately enter into combat with the tomb tapper and the translucent scorpion-like creatures. Ashton is up first and attacks the scorpions with their hammer, but they find that the scorpions stick to their weapon and splash acid to those attacking in melee. He warns the others. The scorpions then attack them and Laudna, hitting Ashton but missing Laudna repeatedly. Fearne casts Flaming Sphere and moves it towards the tomb tapper. Orym then approaches the creature and slashes with Seedling from a distance, hitting on two attacks and successfully goading it, but missing on his third. The tomb tapper retaliates and deals significant damage but is unable to throw him. Essek casts Gravity Fissure, badly injuring a number of the scorpions, though Fearne and Ashton are also caught in the area of effect. Ashton's head sparks from the dunamancy interactions. The tomb tapper then bites Orym and grapples him in its mouth, and hits Dorian with its hammer, causing him to be thrown through the wall of a ruin. Dorian activates his Winged Boots to fly out of the ruin, and he and Imogen both cast Lightning Bolt on the tomb tapper, though it does not seem to take the full brunt of their damage. He grants Chetney inspiration. Imogen also experiences an Aeorian magic effect, and involuntarily casts Fireball on herself, catching Laudna and a scorpion within the radius as well as the tent with the dead Ruby Vanguard members. Chetney uses Turmoil to cast Shatter on the tomb tapper, and then transforms into his werewolf form and moves to get a vantage point. Laudna activates her new feat, Void Puppet, which manifests as the effigy of Pike, and then casts Fireball on two more scorpions.

Ashton shifts into Hyper Rage and hits the tomb tapper twice with his attacks. Fearne brings out Little Mister and casts Scorching Ray at the tomb tapper, but learns that it seems to be immune to fire. The tomb tapper bites down on Orym, but is unable to siphon away any magic due to Orym's lack of it. Orym, grappled, attacks six times using his action surge and kills the tomb tapper. Imogen and Fearne use Control Flames to put out the fire, and Chetney quickly copies down the symbol the elven member had carved into their chest. He also hears sounds off in the distance. After Ashton and Fearne realize the dead tomb tapper and its hammer are too heavy to move, Dorian, excitedly recapping the battle, casts Motivational Speech and everyone hides in one of the nearby towers. While hidden, they see three Aeorian hunters approach and eat the Vanguard members in the tent. Orym, looking around, notices that some of the roof is a sheet of ice and other parts are stone, and as they all take a short rest, Essek approaches Ashton and asks if, at a later date, he can study their head. Ashton enthusiastically agrees. They complete their rest, during which they notice a thin, silvery thread descend from the ceiling and grab one of the Aeorian hunters. Essek reiterates the dangers of the ruins and advises they all use Fly: he and Imogen both cast it on everyone except Dorian, who uses his boots, and Orym, who asks Dorian to carry him.

Bells Hells sees a violent impact crater and begin descending, via Fly, down into its levels. They pass by the first few, including the Genesis Ward, which Essek observes all appear to have been picked clean. The party notices a number of skeletons within the ruins. They find the fourth floor nearly entirely collapsed, though they see glowing eyes, and Chetney is able to smell a strange type of sweat, hard water, rot, and rust. The party members with an affinity for magic feel the strangeness of magic down here, and Essek notes that the research floors also seem to have been freshly collapsed. They stop on the eighth and ninth floors, where Essek says he and his partner found notebooks mentioning the Occultus Thalamus. Orym asks how far down he has gone, to which Essek says this is the furthest depth, though he has explored further on the eight and ninth floors, and drops a coin down. It takes about half a minute before Orym can faintly hear the sound of a splash as if into water.

Laudna mentions, after Essek drops the coin, FCG's Coin of delving they used in Jrusar. They all briefly reminisce and regret that FCG isn't here to see Aeor for themself. They reach an outcropping, where they notice a fallen-in ceiling from the upper floors, with wire and cables fallen through, as well as a braced archway with what appears to be another Vanguard camp. It is abandoned, and the party hears a single distant humming sound which vibrates them and their surroundings. Orym approaches one of the tables, which has several lanterns, and finds some blank pieces of leather to be used for maps or notes. Orym lights one of the lanterns and notices a smear leading further into the tunnel. Chetney recognizes it as blood and sees that there are number of footprints going both deeper and back towards the camp. Laudna brings out Pâté and, after a discussion of how loud he is, she encourages him to communicate telepathically instead and sends him forward down the tunnel.

Part II[edit | edit source]

As they prepare to follow the trail, Dorian casts See Invisibility and Imogen casts Dancing Lights. They see ruins and note that the temperature is warmer and the atmosphere slightly damp. When Chetney smells the air, it smells acrid and bilious and sweetly rotten. They continue to follow the smear as Pâté peeks into an open archway. He sees what might have been a former storage chamber which appears to have been partly searched over, with some open and some stacked containers. The loose cables are here as well. Another door further down the hallway shows many glass cylinders, one of which is shattered and the rest intact. There are shelves, which are mostly but not entirely empty. Dorian wanders ahead, somewhat distracted, looking around, as Laudna stresses to Pâté he not touch anything.

Bells Hells asks Essek for his experiences and he tells them that in the final chamber before a magical seal, he once found a notebook with mentions of the Thalamus. However, when the party reaches that location, they find that there is no longer a seal: there is instead another recently-braced arch, which Essek confirms is new. Chetney, at Ashton's request, confirms it is free of traps. Pâté continues to scout down the hall and finds two closed doors, each with a square stone inlaid near the handle. The stone doesn't seem to do anything when touched and has no writing, but when they manage to open the doors they find a glyph on a matching stone inside, as well as a number of mummified skeletons. Imogen thinks the stones might be warning signs, but Essek tells them they seem to be a way to lock the doors from the inside. Looking around the room, he tells them it might have been an experimental armory or production house for the Aeorian military, pointing out a discarded sword blade.

The smell gets stronger as they move forward, and Pâté, still ahead, enters a chamber at the crossroads of three hallways. They notice many black, jagged chains hanging from the ceiling, all ending in hooks. There are over a dozen bodies hanging on the hooks, which appear recent, wearing Vanguard attire, with carvings into their chests. The party notices chains coming out from the stone, and more chains on the ground. Some of the people are, like the person in the other Vanguard encampment, smiling strangely. They do not see Ludinus's body among them. Laudna requests Pâté scout further ahead, but as the party discusses what to do, her connection to Pâté drops. Chetney immediately runs ahead and the rest follow, Laudna taking on a Delilah-like form of dread, though not as pronounced as the previous night. They find the floor covered in blood and in chains, some of the bodies still slowly dripping blood. Pâté is on the ground, inert, and Chetney senses fiendish energy with Hunter's Bane. Laudna realizes the chains were conjured into place, rather than placed there during the time of Aeor. Chetney transforms into his hybrid form and Orym sees that some bodies are holding onto the chains, but it is unclear if they were trying to escape or climb. Amid the recent corpses they find some ancient skeletons as well, two of which are heavily armored. Essek, floating, is openly nervous and brings out a brass bracelet with a finger bone in teh center. He tells them that they might be able to use this to get info, as it can cast Speak with Dead twice per day.

Bells Hells decides to ask one of the recent corpses that is not grinning and they find a body of an older blond man with mixed orcish ancestry, clutching a hook and wearing a breastplate. His hands are hooked on the chains and he has many puncture wounds. Orym keeps lookout as Imogen uses the bracelet, and Essek prepares to cast in case something goes badly. Imogen asks her questions of the man, who tells her the creature that did this called itself Dominox and whispers in their heads. He is unsure how to defeat it; while trying to hold the chamber as told, his colleague Raah Cosen lifted him onto the hook and he bled out there. He did not see Ludinus while this was happening, and his group had been tasked to search all through the chambers on this level. When Imogen asks him where he believes Dominox came from, he tells her he believe it was the engine room.

Fearne uses Mage Hand to look at a smiling corpse and sees the same symbol Chetney had copied. Upon learning it is fiendish, she decides to invoke Teven Klask's boon and kisses the marking on her finger. Her finger begins to emit a searingly bright light before Teven appears and tells her that the pact has now taken effect. The party asks him about the Dominox, and he says that name has not been said in a very long time, and that it belongs to a grand demon who had not been seen since the time of the Calamity; the devils wanted to kill him but were unable to find him. When the party asks for more devils to assist, Teven says they cannot spare people given the current Ruidus-related plans, but he does want to slay Dominox, the Grand Demon of Loathing. He tells the party that Dominox is tricky, and that his sigil is the "carving of gifting" made by those in their final moments. He then admits that he is unsure where they currently are, and Essek explains that they are in the lower levels of Aeor. Bells Hells discuss the situation and whether they can use Dominox to kill Ludinus and decide to continue forward.

As Chetney begins to walk towards the three paths away from the room, he turns around; instead of seeing the party, he sees dozens of children who step towards him, all showing lethal claw marks. They ask him what he's done and whether he remembers what he did, and call him the big bad wolf who ate them. Chetney tries to shake it off, but the party notices him acting strangely. He turns to the door again but still sees the children and finds himself unsure of whether this is true; he did have some missing time when he was first turned into a werewolf and doesn't quite know who he killed during his transformations. He sees visions of himself killing animals as well as people. Imogen casts Calm Emotions on him, which works to calm him but doesn't penetrate the vision; the children seem sorrowful over what he had done to them. Laudna tries to Message him but it fails, and Chetney sees the disappear, giving way to a forest. Orym rests his hand on his shoulder, but Chetney feels it as a blade. He attacks. Orym attempts to push him back towards the wall but Chetney sees it as the children swarming him before he comes back to himself. The party tells him to calm down, and once he has, he reveals what he saw.

The party asks Teven what this is and he tells him it is the nature of Dominox, and when they ask how to stop it, he gestures at the various bodies around them, telling them to do better than those here. Fearne is annoyed, and Dorian, realizing the danger, gives another Motivational Speech to bolster the party's resolve. Chetney notes that the effect took place before he reached one of the paths, while still in the chamber, and uses Grim Psychometry, which shows him people throwing each other on the hooks before placing themselves on the hooks to die as well. The party decides to use the second casting of Speak with Dead on one of the ancient corpses.

Imogen uses the bracelet again, this time on an armored Aeorian. She asks how Dominox was released, and he tells her through the Pinion of Service, an Abyssal soul anchor that contains shadow magic and shackles him to the engine, which he returns to if slain. When Imogen asks how the engine is turned on, the man tells her it should already be on, provided the seals are intact. The party realizes they are clearly not. She then asks for Dominox's weakness, and he tells her that the Pinion of Service is of the Abyss, and demons, when slain, return to the Abyss, but if slain in the Abyss die forever. She finally asks what Dominox is attracted to, and he tells her he preys on insecurity.

As Imogen finishes the spell, Dorian looks around and sees his brother on one of the hooks. Cyrus accuses him of not letting him solve his own problems and ultimately killing him.

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Main player characters[edit | edit source]

Guest 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.

Mentioned[edit | edit source]

Inventory[edit | edit source]

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Liam rolled a 1 for the first time as Orym in the campaign, thanks to rolling the number twice in a row due to the Halfling Luck trait.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Ancient Sins" (3x97) at 1:34:01.