The Apogee Solstice

"The Apogee Solstice"
Campaign 3 episode
Episode no.Episode 51
AirdateMarch 9, 2023 19:00 PT
Running time4:37:04
Links and related articles
Associated 4-Sided Dive"Previously On..." (4SDx11)
Episode chronology
Previous
"Red Moon Rising" (3x50)
Next
"Far From The Others" (3x52)
List of Campaign 3 episodes

"The Apogee Solstice" (3x51) is the 51st episode of the third campaign of Critical Role. Bells Hells race against time and lifelong plotting as they attempt to stop the Ruby Vanguard from releasing the god-eater Predathos and potentially dooming the world...

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Pre-show[edit | edit source]

Happy eight year anniversary! Also, unfortunately, Laura has mostly lost her voice.

Part I[edit | edit source]

On the Silver Sun, FCG talks to Ira Wendagoth about his goals and hopes for the future. Ira tells them he's mostly interested in revenge on those who betrayed him and in laughing at them in the process. When FCG asks Ira for longer-term plans, Ira tells him he tends not to think in that manner. Fearne agrees that it's preferable to live in the moment, but admits that she's currently nervous. Ira advises FCG to avoid friends, who slow you down. FCG and Fearne immediately realize they should contact the rest of Bells Hells and FCG casts Sending to Orym. Orym responds that they could use FCG's help with the Warder. FCG wants to go, but Fearne wants to stay; a Changebringer coin flip tells them to go. Fearne drinks her Potion of Possibility and the two bring up the subject of them going to Ira and Xandis. Xandis is uneasy, but FCG's insight reveals that Ira is indeed dedicated to the plan, if only because of how much he wishes to cause harm to Ludinus's machinations. FCG gives Xandis a Potion of Possibility, which Xandis immediately drinks, and they and Fearne tell Ira to wait for their signal. As Xandis sets them down outside the Tishtan excavation site, Ira notes that the Malleus Key seems to be missing a lens. Fearne then successfully guides herself and FCG to the site, despite the heavy dust storm.

The rest of Bells Hells rest by the Warder. They are interrupted by two guards, one in Ruby Vanguard robes and one in the garb of the Paragon's Call. The Vanguard member telepathically asks Laudna what happened, and she responds that it broke. They believe her, and tell her to get it fixed. Some time later, Fearne and FCG approach, and Imogen mentally beckons them over. Orym is concerned that they left Ira and Xandis alone on the ship, but FCG and Fearne reassure him, and Chetney tells him what's done is done. FCG also tells them about the missing lens, and surmises they might be able to use the Weave Lens as a decoy.

FCG then gets to work on the Warder and is able to, with some investigation into the inner workings, connect himself to the robot shell, though the energy core is broken. Their movement is awkward but functional. As FCG does this, the rest of Bells Hells catches them and Fearne up on Caleb and Beau's mission. The party also realizes that all but one of them can fit inside the Warder. Imogen chooses to stay outside, with Orym in the hand as lookout, and Chetney, Fearne, Laudna, and Ashton inside along with FCG, who enjoys being the controls of a larger automaton.

As the party descends, they find stacks of heads, including some from Judicators, as well as weapons and religious symbols that appear to have been taken as trophies from the Vasselheim skyship and others who had come across the site. The party can see the Malleus Key and four smaller spires around it, as well as the original excavation. The key appears to have residuum reinforcements. Additionally, Bells Hells experiences the antimagic pulse, which briefly scrambles FCG's connection but does not permanently break it. Laudna verifies that something similar happens with Pâté, who becomes disoriented briefly but does not vanish. Bells Hells realize the waves are coming from structures on opposite sides of the key rather than the Malleus Key itself. After a pulse, as they continue on, Imogen casts Sending, telling Keyleth and the Ashari to arrive in an hour. Keyleth agrees.

They encounter General Ratanish and a Vanguard colleage. Ratanish asks Imogen where they're going. She successfully convinces him that Orym is an unconscious, beaten prisoner. Ratanish wonders if Orym is an ally of Ryn, but lets them go. There are now bodies along the path, none of which look familiar, merely like unlucky travelers. Some members of the Vanguard recognize Imogen is unfamiliar, but she convinces them she is here to deliver something to General Temult, and is able to shield them out of her own mind, which intimidates them. Bells Hells, at this vantage point, is now able to see Otohan Thull, her backpack being filled with dunamis potions, and the arcane shield around the key. They notice a number of the caverns that Caleb had mentioned earlier, but do not yet see Ryn's form. Imogen notices Liliana telekinetically adding more shielding around the key.

FCG and Imogen reach the main excavation, where they find more Judicator bodies and various crates marked with the symbol of the Cerberus Assembly. They find an alcove away from the one in which Otohan stands in which to discuss their plans, having noticed that there are fairly heavy Vanguard patrols in this area. Laudna keeps the tracker orb out to keep an eye on Otohan. Orym keeps an eye out for glyph traps like the one that petrified Ryn, and warns Imogen accordingly. Imogen continues to successfully intimidate lower level Vanguard members, and she and FCG make their way to a chamber that appears to hold some of the arcane batteries.

Pâté scouts ahead invisibly, as there are three guards, two from the Paragon's Call and one from the Ruby Vanguard. Through Pâté's eyes, Laudna learns they are nervous and not particularly invested in the greater goal. Ashton, Orym, and Chetney exit the Warder, leaving Laudna and Fearne inside, though Laudna is watching through Pâté. Imogen tries to get the guards to leave by telling them Ratanish needs them at the rim, but they realize it's a lie. A brief combat encounter ensues, in which Laudna and Fearne exit the Warder and Bells Hells quickly takes down the dragonborn and half-giant guards, leaving a halfling guard from the Call alive. He quickly surrenders when Chetney threatens him with Turmoil. The party interrogates him. He tells them that the Duskmaven pendants are required as part of the Paragon's Call uniform, but he has no love for the gods himself and is aware of the plans to unleash Predathos. Imogen also gets the location of a nearby glyph from him so she can avoid it. As Chetney investigates the machine, Laudna notices the tracker orb indicating Otohan is moving, and FCG casts Message to warn the party that Otohan is coming towards them.

Part II[edit | edit source]

Bells Hells hides and prepares to ambush Otohan, but as she approaches, they hear two explosions (and Matt has Marisha and Liam roll for Beau and Caleb). Imogen still casts Psychic Lance as Otohan draws close, but Otohan does not realize where it come from and instead runs out towards the explosions. FCG, as the Warder, throws a large rock at her but Otohan psychically deflects it and thinks he is merely malfunctioning, rather than malicious. As Otohan continues out to the other explosions, FCG tells Ira to begin making their approach. Ira excitedly agrees. Bells Hells, led by Chetney and Laudna's arcana knowledge, break several of the arcane cores in their chamber, which detonate. Ashton offers to use dynamite, but they hold off for now.

FCG heads over towards the statue of Ryn. As he goes there, he notices Ludinus and Liliana by the Malleus Key. Liliana is flying and giving telepathic orders. FCG attempts to pick up some rubble and include Ryn, but instead collapses a wall onto her. Ludinus and Liliana notice, but do not suspect the Warder is anything but malfunctioning, and Ludinus magically deactivates it. FCG is stuck inside without visual input, but they are functional and aware. In the chamber, Ashton breaks the neck of the surviving guard. Other Call and Vanguard members come in, asking if everything is okay in there. The party, in their own Call and Vanguard disguises, tells them there's been some damage as they head out. Suddenly, Otohan's voice speaks in everyone's mind, telling them to gather by the Malleus Key as the timetable has been accelerated.

Outside, Bells Hells sees Liliana with a Mage Hunter Golem, who is holding Caleb by the neck. Beau, meanwhile, is walking, seemingly controlled by Liliana. Ludinus addresses them, taunting them, as people shackle Beau, and tells them they will have a front row seat. He also asks the Vanguard to free the "ornament", at which point the statue of Ryn is pulled from the rubble, one of her arms missing. Ludinus uses his own magic to start the key. The residuum glows green, and Liliana parts the outside of the spire telepathically, revealing a gold-rimmed dodecahedron. Ludinus tells the crowd it is time to bring "it" to them and suddenly, everyone finds themselves unable to move as time passes rapidly and it becomes night, with the stars and Ruidus overhead. The arm Ludinus had put into the device appears blackened and shriveled.

At this time, a shadow passes over, and Ludinus looks up to see the approaching Silver Sun, dropping rapidly. He deflects it with an arcane shield that shatters it to pieces, which kill a number of the people assembled as they drop. Laudna able to notice in the distance that Ira and Xandis have teleported off the ship and are escaping. She messages Ira asking him how to disable the device, and he agrees that a direct attack would not go well, so he will look into the chambers, and sends Pâté towards him. He then leaves her Message range. FCG, hearing the commotion, tries to break out from inside the Warder but is trapped.

Ludinus speaks to the crowd, whom Liliana is to an extent controlling to ensure they pay attention despite the chaos. He tells them that the gods don't care for mortals, and that they fear them following the ascension of the Raven Queen. As this is happening, Chetney notices Beau's guard was killed by the falling fragments of skyship, but cannot tell if Beau is attempting to escape. Imogen successfully commands the golem holding Caleb to release him, but Caleb is still restrained by a collar and held by Liliana. Orym begins to navigate towards the Warder. One of the assembled followers notices and tries to stop him, but Orym knocks him out. Chetney goes invisible and runs towards the key, and Ashton and Laudna head towards one of the power source caverns. Fearne brings out Little Mister. As they do this, Ludinus tells the followers the Calamity was retribution for the achievements mortals had made, and the Divine Gate is meant to protect the gods.

After some attempts and Enhance Ability on their strength, FCG breaks free of the Warder with Orym's help. Chetney attempts to climb the key, but it is very difficult. Liliana notices and turns towards them but Imogen telepathically speaks to Liliana, telling her she doesn't need to do this, and quoting the inscription on the locket Relvin gave her. Liliana pauses and asks Imogen why she didn't run, but also tells Imogen that they are "seeds". Imogen questions why Liliana trusts Ludinus, and Liliana tells her she just does. Meanwhile, there is another explosion beneath the ground, which Pâté verifies was Ira's doing. Ira runs out as Ashton and Laudna make it to their chamber, and Liliana stops speaking to Imogen to Banish Ira. Fearne tries to use her Ring of Telekinesis to pull pieces from the key, but is unsure what to do. Ludinus also appears to have noticed FCG, and addresses him, telling him that mortals have created their own life in the aeormatons and do not need the gods.

In the chamber, Laudna Eldritch Blasts several more cores, and outside, the party notices the residuum veins dim. Liliana tells Imogen that it is already done, and will be alright, but Imogen continues to encourage her to stop what she's doing. As Ludinus addresses the Ruidusborn, a red glow begins to come from them - a stronger one from Exaltants like Liliana and Imogen, and a fainter one from Fearne.

Chetney is able to get a hold on the key and climb up, and Laudna and Ashton light their dynamite and throw it into the chamber before running, as Ludinus tells the crowd that they will now unleash the predator of the gods. Suddenly, a wind whips up, and Keyleth appears in Earth elemental form, telling them all to stop in the name of the Voice of the Tempest. She casts Mass Cure Wounds, but is then Power Word Stunned by Ludinus. Otohan begins attacking her repeatedly, eventually forcing her back to her half-elf form, though FCG tries to absorb some damage. What is intended to be a killing blow is suddenly stopped by a feathered, masked figure who appears standing over her. FCG tries to dispel the collar on Caleb, but fails. Orym repeatedly attacks Otohan's backpack, badly damaging it but not quite destroying it. Fearne and Mister also try to destroy the backpack, but do not succeed. Chetney transforms and leaps onto Ludinus, who shields himself, which knocks Chetney off the key, impaling him below. Imogen also tries and fails to destroy the backpack, and to convince her mother to help, but it fails.

Ludinus turns to Liliana and asks for the piece of divinity, and Liliana casts a spell that compresses the Champion of the Matron of Ravens into a lens. Liliana places it as the mirrors of the device focus, which breaks her concentration and permits Ira to return to the plane. As more skyships, some from Vasselheim, approach, a beam of energy shoots towards the moon, scattering and destroying them. Ludinus laughs evilly, and the sky turns red, then everything goes white. Bells Hells find the whiteness reminiscent of when Imogen manifested her abilities during their fight with Otohan.

Laudna comes to sitting on a rocky landscape, with sulfurous smells, geysers, and small pools around her. She is unsure of the location, but it seems to be on the Material Plane, and the stars appear familiar. The leylines are also still visible. She notices Ashton nearby. Ashton wonders if they won. Orym then awakens on a ledge above them and notices the two of them. They can see a red beam from the moon going down below a mountain range, and wonder if they are even still in Marquet.

FCG falls into something soft. It is dawn, and they are in a dune made up of a crystalline, sandy snow. He cannot see either of the moons in the sky, but there are stars and the leylines. There are also mountains in the distance, and an ocean in the other direction, and FCG notices Fearne digging her way out. Fearne no longer has the red light coming from her. The two of them yell, which alerts Chetney and Imogen. Imogen looks for Orym and Laudna, and Chetney cannot smell anyone else, but he does recognize that they are in the Crystalsands Tundra, not far from his home of Uthodurn.

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.

Mentioned[edit | edit source]

Quotations[edit | edit source]

Inventory[edit | edit source]

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Consumed 1 Potion of Possibility Fearne
Transferred 1 Potion of Possibility Fresh Cut Grass Xandis
Consumed 1 Potion of Possibility Xandis
Expended 1 stick Dynamite Ashton

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Ahead of the episode, Critical Role changed the icons of their social media profiles to feature a red accent.[1] The Twitter account also posted an in-universe archivist's notes on the two moons of Exandria.[2]
  • At the end of this episode, the party leveled up to 9th.
    • Ashton rolled a 7, increasing hit points to 105.
    • Orym rolled a 10, increasing hit points to 83.
    • Imogen rolled a 5, increasing hit points to 58.
    • Fearne took a level in Druid and rolled a 5, increasing hit points to 63.
    • FCG rolled a 5, increasing hit points to 85.
    • Laudna took a level in Sorcerer and rolled a 5, increasing hit points to 80.
    • Chetney took a level in Blood Hunter and rolled a 7, increasing hit points to 77.

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Art: