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Recap / Critical Role 001 Arrival At Kraghammer

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Volume I
Beneath the Mines of Kraghammer, Episode 1:

Arrival at Kraghammer

"Arrival at Kraghammer" is the first episode of Volume I of the Dungeons & Dragons streaming series Critical Role, and the first episode of chapter 1, Beneath the Mines of Kraghammer. It's the premiere of Critical Role as an online streaming series, but the campaign had been in progress for two years as a Pathfinder game which was converted to D&D 5th Edition.

Starring:

  • Liam O'Brien as Vax'ildan note 
  • Laura Bailey as Vex'ahlia note 
  • Orion Acaba as Tiberius Stormwind note 
  • Taliesin Jaffe as Percival de Rolo note 
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  • Marisha Ray as Keyleth note 
  • Sam Riegel as Scanlan Shorthalt note 
  • Travis Willingham as Grog Strongjaw note 
And

Previously... The band of adventurers known as "Vox Machina" have become heroes of Emon, the capital city of Tal'Dorei, after saving the royal family and halting a demonic insurrection. They were rewarded with a place on the Tal'Dorei council and a keep on the outskirts of the city, called "Greyskull Keep", and the party decided to split up and go their own way for the six months it would take to construct the keep. Once reunited, Vox Machina were visited by Allura Vysoren, an Arcanist and fellow council member, who asked the party to travel to the Dwarven city of Kraghammer and track down Lady Kima of Vord, a paladin of Bahamut who has gone missing on a vision quest. After an encounter on the road with members of Grog's former Goliath herd, Vox Machina arrived at Kraghammer and were allowed inside...

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Emerging into the subterranean metropolis of Kraghammer, Vox Machina make plans to find accommodation before they search for Lord Greyspine, who owns the mithril mine where Kima is believed to have disappeared. Tiberius' attempt at finding a reputable inn goes awry, until Vex'ahlia greases some palms and leads them to the Iron Hearth Tavern, a popular and raucous establishment that's barely big enough for Grog. Vax'ildan buys a round for the house, which earns enough goodwill for the party to ask questions about the city, Kima, and Lord Greyspine. They learn that recently, goblins and worse have been crawling out of the mines in greater and greater numbers to attack the city, and the Lord Nostoc Greyspine is a tough individual to pry favors from. Vex'ahlia, Keyleth and Tiberius manage to convince Balgus, a local brewer and amateur brawler, to sell them some of his most exotic ale with which to bribe Lord Greyspine.

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The party split up for the evening. Scanlan and Grog find a house of lady favours and have a good time. Vax'ildan and Vex'ahlia go to the residential district to scope out Lord Greyspine's manor, but two Half-Elves — and Vex'ahlia's armoured bear companion, Trinket — attract the attention of the Carvers, Kraghammer's force of guards. The twins convince the Carvers they are admiring the architecture of the houses, and learn more about the harsh conditions in the Greyspine Mines. While Vex'ahlia flirts with one of the guards, Vax'ildan sneaks off to observe the Greyspine manor and concludes it's too well-guarded. Tiberius visits House Thunderbrand, Kraghammer's most reputable dealer in the arcane arts, but he's thwarted at the front door by powerful magical wards and his own magic isn't strong enough to overcome it. He also runs afoul of the Carvers, but convinces them to let him go. And Percival and Keyleth make comment cards.

The party reunites at the Iron Hearth and compare notes, but when Vex'ahlia leaves Trinket downstairs, he's drawn into fighting ring against Balgus. A combination of fast talking and druid magic gets Trinket out of trouble, and Vax'ildan smooths over the situation with Balgus. The next morning, Vox Machina pay a visit to the Greyspine manor, but Lord Greyspine is at the mines. Scanlan takes the opportunity to scout inside the manor while invisible, but doesn't find anything of note. Next, they pay a visit to the mithril mine and, with their cask of Balgus ale, are able to speak with Lord Nostoc Greyspine himself. He confirms that Kima came through, was denied permission to enter the mines on her vision quest, and ran afoul of the Carvers, but she broke free and "went screaming" into the mines alone. The party negotiate permission to enter the mines and retrieve Kima, but before they can make a deal on payment for other services, an alarm is sounded in the mines and Lord Greyspine dismisses them.

Attracted by the commotion, Vox Machina find the mines being evacuated as a group of goblins and a pair of ogres emerge from a subterranean tunnel. The party make short work of these foes, but Grog recognises that the interlopers had been fleeing something, and sure enough, a bigger monster breaks out of the mines: a huge serpentine creature called a naga, but one with extra heads stitched onto its body. After a brutal fight, the naga is finished by a lightning bolt from Scanlan. One of the guards explains that many strange, stitched-together creatures have attacked recently, leaving Vox Machina to ponder what lies beneath the mines of Kraghammer...


Tropes in this episode:

  • A Round of Drinks for the House: Vax'ildan buys everyone in the Iron Hearth a drink, which greases the wheels enough for Vox Machina to learn what they need to know.
  • The Alcoholic: VM finds Balgus asleep on a bar stool in the Iron Hearth Tavern, passed out drunk.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Trinket is temporarily transformed into a mouse to get him out of the fighting ring.
  • Beary Funny: Keyleth manages to defuse the fighting ring by transforming into a bear in Trinket's place and doing circus tricks.
  • Blood Knight: Balgus is this, ecstatic to fight Trinket and quite put out that he was robbed of this new experience until Vax'ildan pays him off.
  • Booby Trap: House Thunderbrand us protected by wards — aka magical booby traps — which electrocute Tiberius and dispel his magical attempts at entering the house.
  • Every Man Has His Price: Bribery is shockingly common in Kraghammer as a way to get pretty much anything done.
  • Get Out!: Nostoc has officially had enough of Vox Machina when he catches Vax trying to sneak a flask of ale, though Vax was only trying to live up to their end of the bargain they made with a group of guards to get even this far.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: When Tiberius tries to pass himself off as a Dwarf, he picks the first Dwarven-sounding surname that comes to mind: Kraghammer. As in, the city of Kraghammer. Where they are.
    Sam Riegel: Johnny New York!
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The players all freak out when Scanlan decides to turn invisible and sneak into Greyspine manor.
  • The Oldest Profession: Scanlan and Grog visit a high-end brothel.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Scanlan, the jokey bard, is scarily gung-ho about killing the goblins that Vox Machina encounters. note 
    They will all die. Don’t spare any of them.
  • Running Gag: Percy and Keyleth's comment cards.
  • Shock and Awe: Scanlan deals the killing blow to the naga with a lightning spell.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Keyleth, after taking three attacks from the naga (two of them criticals) and failing her constitution save against its poison, losses about 75% of her HP. She uses her next turn to shapechange into an eagle and fly away.

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